Our liberal allies in the Gulf

uae_newspaper_cartoonImage: Antisemitic Cartoon In UAE Newspaper: Jew Hoists Baby On Nazi Pike For “60th Anniversary Of Nakba”.  Source: Al-Khaleej, UAE, May 14, 2008.  As reported by the MEMRI blog.

The next time someone refers to the United Arab Emirates as one of the liberal Muslim states, be sure and refer them to this:

A video tape smuggled out of the United Arab Emirates shows a member of the country’s royal family mercilessly torturing a man with whips, electric cattle prods and wooden planks with protruding nails.

A man in a UAE police uniform is seen on the tape tying the victim’s arms and legs, and later holding him down as the Sheikh pours salt on the man’s wounds and then drives over him with his Mercedes SUV.

In a statement to ABC News, the UAE Ministry of the Interior said it had reviewed the tape and acknowledged the involvement of Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, brother of the country’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed.

“The incidents depicted in the video tapes were not part of a pattern of behavior,” the Interior Ministry’s statement declared.

The Minister of the Interior is also one of Sheikh Issa’s brother.

The government statement said its review found “all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department.”

—  Vic Walter, Rehab El-Buri, Angela Hill and Brian Ross.  “ABC News Exclusive: Torture Tape Implicates UAE Royal Sheikh“, ABC News, April 22nd, 2009.

But the UAE has clubs, bars, movie theatres, and abundant shopping! Christians, Jews, and Hindus can practice their religions freely!  What’s a little police-sanctioned SUV to the nuts in the face of all that?

I’m curious, though, what sort of moron permits incriminating torture videos to be filmed, openly?  Clearly someone that sees little shame in having a collection of these goodies.  The kind of guy that likes to watch them later in the comfort of his palace, apparently.

The 45-minute long tape was smuggled out of the country by Bassam Nabulsi, of Houston, Texas, a former business associate of Sheikh Issa.

Nabulsi is now suing the Sheikh in federal court in Houston, alleging he also was tortured by UAE police when he refused to turn over the videos to the Sheikh following their falling out.

“They were my security, really, to make my case that this man is capable of doing what I say he can do,” said Nabulsi in an interview to be broadcast Wednesday on the ABC News program Nightline.

Nabulsi says the video tapes were recorded by his brother, on orders from the Sheikh who liked to watch the torture sessions later in his royal palace.

Note that Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan is one of the UAE’s 22 royal sheikhs, but is not a government official.  His brothers and half-brothers, however, are well-represented in the UAE’s Cabinet: the President, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Presidential Affairs, Minister of Public Works, and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Should be interesting to see how willing they are to hang their own flesh and blood out to dry.

So how did this Nabulsi fellow get to be good buddies with the Sheikh?  And, once things went sour, did he not attempt to notify other interested parties—like the US State Department?

Nabulsi first met Sheikh Issa when he traveled to Houston for medical reasons. Nabulsi provided hotel and limousine services and their relationship grew into a business partnership, he says.

Nabulsi, in his lawsuit, says he was falsely arrested on narcotics trafficking charges by Abu Dhabi police when he refused to turn over the tapes and mistreated in prison, where he was held for three months.

“They would stick a finger up his anus and say, ‘this is from Sheik Issa, are you going to give us the tapes,'” said Nabulsi’s Houston lawyer, Tony Buzbee.

“They would keep him from sleeping, deny him his medications, tell him they were going to rape his wife, kill his child. They made him pose naked while they took pictures,” the lawyer alleges.

The UAE government said its review “also confirmed that Mr. Nabulsi was in no way mistreated during his incarceration for drug possession.”

After a short trial, Nabulsi was convicted of having prescription medicine without a prescription from a local doctor. Evidence at the trial showed his doctor in Houston had prescribed the medicine.

Nabulsi was expelled from the country and his passport is stamped with the notation “Not Allowed to Return to the UAE.”

Nabulsi says officials at the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi were aware of the torture tapes but took no action to protest the Sheikh’s action.

The UAE is considered a stalwart U.S. ally in the region, with close cooperation in working against al Qaeda. The U.S. Navy has an important base outside Dubai.

Nabulsi says he even showed portions of the tape to a Department of Homeland Security official stationed in Abu Dhabi to train UAE police, Bill Wallrap.

Nabulsi says after the U.S. official watched the tapes, he advised Nabulsi to “gather your family and get out of the country as soon as possible for your own safety.”

A spokesman for DHS said neither Wallrap nor the DHS would have any comment on the torture tapes.

Rather sound advice from that DHS chap.

Canada, as DFAIT tells us, enjoys “excellent bilateral relations with the United Arab Emirates, founded upon substantial commercial ties and mutual goals of peace and prosperity.  Canada and the UAE share common interests in international peace and security, energy security, and humanitarian affairs (including refugees).”  Quite the humanitarian effort, learning how to whack people with nail-pierced boards.  Thankfully our Queen’s siblings don’t seem to be too inclined to drive over people in their Land Rovers.  Maybe the transmission can’t take it.

Canada also considers the UAE stalwart allies, having contracted to establish a permanent presence at a Dubai-area airfield (Minhad AB, a.k.a. “Camp Mirage”) as a forward logistics point to resupply our units in Southwest Asia.

One wonders if that will change.

Doubtless our diplomatic and military leaders (and their well-meaning boosters) will insist that we must engage with this foul and corrupt “liberal” government in order to further our suppression of foul and corrupt theocracy further east; not quite realising that the root is the same.

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