Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Saudi's just can do no wrong

15 of the 19 hijackers that murdered 3000 people and destroyed the World Trace Center on September 11, 2001 were Saudi's.

In a part of the report by the 9/11 commission you don't hear much about, it becomes painfully clear that had US Immigration simply done its work in an honest and unbiased manner, the attacks might well have been averted. The simple fact of obtaining visas for temporary travelers (which is what the hijhackers used to gain entry into the US) should have been too high a hurdle to take, if the regulations had been applied properly.

But Saudi's get free access to the US. Unchecked.
It was no coincidence that all but one of the 15 were Saudis. (The other was Emerati.) The General Accounting Office found in an October 2002 report that the red carpet shown them was par for the Saudi course: 99% of Saudi nationals applying for visas before 9/11 were approved. Egyptian nationals, by comparison, were refused 38% of the time.
And judging from the report, free access they get still.
Yet the State Department’s approach to Saudi visas has changed only marginally.

Although State no longer makes public visa issuance and refusal statistics, department sources reveal that nearly 90% of Saudi nationals applying for visas are approved. State’s representatives have defended this figure by arguing that since applications are down by over half, those who are applying are of a higher quality. The same reasoning, then, should apply elsewhere, yet refusal rates for most other Arab nations are three to five times higher.
So nothing's changed as far as the US State Department is concerned, except they longer want anyone to know who exactly they allow into the US without asking any embarrassing questions. Wouldn't want to upset the Arabs, at least not the ones with money:
Enforcing 214(b) in Saudi Arabia as is done elsewhere, though, might be a blow to diplomacy. Therein lies the basic problem: State’s core mission is to maintain good relations with foreign leaders, which is inherently in conflict with visa policy’s vital law enforcement function.

Good relations with Foreign Leaders? Maybe. If they're from oil-rich countries,certainly. On the other hand, if you are not from an oil-rich country, or even from a country hated by Arabs leaders from oil-rich countries, well, then you get a different treatment.

here for the full article. Mandatory.


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