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New Report Shows Saudi Arabia’s Reforms Are Bullsh*t, but Don’t Expect the Media to Care

Saudi Arabia continues to encroach upon basic human rights and freedoms at an alarming rate.



Saudi Arabia
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(TMU) — According to a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW), Saudi Arabia continues to encroach upon basic human rights and freedoms at a concerning rate.

The report notes that activists, clerics and political dissidents continue to face arbitrary detention. The report also details that there have been mass arrests of women’s rights activists, many of whom have suffered sexual abuse and torture through the use of whipping and electric shocks.

Some of those still being held without charge, trial or any legal process include members of the Saudi royal family and rich construction moguls, arrested in the so-called anti-corruption crackdown of 2017.

Saudi Arabia made headlines not too long ago after announcing a package of social reforms which included allowing females to drive and apply for passports to leave the country without the permission of a male guardian. These reforms were widely celebrated in the West, but as even the HRW report explains, the recent reforms are not telling the full picture of what is taking place inside of the Saudi kingdom.

Despite a UN report published in June which essentially assigned responsibility of the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) and other senior Saudi officials, this new report from HRW has barely attracted mainstream media headlines.

Why might that be?

Mohammed bin Salman is “the new, young crown prince reshaping Saudi Arabia,” Reuters once announced. “America should get behind Saudi Arabia’s revolutionary crown prince,” the Washington Post argued. “The Model for a Saudi Reformer,” the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) outlines. “Saudi Arabia’s Arab Sprint, at Last,” celebrated Thomas Friedman in the New York Times in 2017. “Mohammed bin Salman: Saudi Arabia’s great young reformer may struggle to control the forces he has unleashed,” the Independent once wrote. “Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman: A hard-to-read reformer” explains German newspaper DW.

The list goes on and on—and it’s worth noting that this praise appears to be coming from the so-called “liberal” media.

If worshiping war criminals and egregious violators of human rights makes you a liberal, then perhaps we need to redefine what a liberal is in the first place. And didn’t Donald Trump once accuse Saudi Arabia of committing the September 11 attacks? How did Trump go from verbally attacking Saudi Arabia to becoming one of its closest allies?

Whether the oil-rich country is committing attacks in Yemen, against its own people, or in the United States itself, the Saudi Kingdom sure does seem to get by with as little media criticism as possible.

The only exception to this rule is a Washington Post contributor who was brutally murdered in a Saudi Consulate in Turkey. But even then, and even with the amount of evidence connecting MBS to the assassination, it seems as though the Kingdom will feel no concrete repercussions as a result.

In fact, when the Guardian first reported on the infamous anti-corruption arrests of 2017, the Guardian’s author wrote in an article entitled “Saudi Arrests Show Crown Prince Is a Risk-Taker With a Zeal for Reform”:

“Saudi Arabia’s leadership has pulled off its boldest move yet to consolidate power around its young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, arresting 11 senior princes, one of the country’s richest men and scores of former ministers in what it billed as a corruption purge.” [emphasis added]

These arrests, celebrated by the media, are the same arrests now being criticized by HRW as being arbitrary.

In that vein, we can probably expect to see little in the way of any serious pushback against the Saudi Kingdom from the figureheads that matter the most. The only thing we can be sure of is that whatever it will take to force the US to finally turn against the Saudi Crown Prince will have nothing to do with human rights concerns.

By Darius Shahtahmasebi | Creative Commons |

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Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida



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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son



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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter



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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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