In this episode of The Empire Files host Abby Martin turns a sharp eye towards the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia and delivers an alarming overview of the country's poor track record with regards to human rights violations.
On the surface, Saudi Arabia appears to be a lavish, civilized society boasting regal architecture and extravagant resorts. This image is starkly contrasted by footage of Saudi citizens being brutally punished for any level of perceived crime. These punishments range from limb amputation and violent lashings to being publicly beheaded. Saudi Arabia is only one of four countries left in the world to still practice public beheadings and, in some circumstances, crucifixion. It is shockingly common for people to be arbitrarily detained and persecuted in secret trials. Non-violent offences account for a whopping 43% of these executions. Why, then, has the United Nations elected the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to head their panel on human rights? Martin explores this contradictory arrangement with her trademark skepticism and dubiety.
The patriarchal nature of Saudi Arabian society is also put under the microscope, as Martin reveals the country's general oppression of women's rights and proclivity for punishing women for their own sexual assaults. Emphasizing that women's rights are human rights, Martin takes the UN to task for their election of Saudi Arabia to such an inappropriate position. She also highlights the violence against youth, especially activists.
Martin goes on to connect the roles of the oil and arms industries to the image-spinning that has enabled Saudi Arabia to maintain its position as an ally to the United States in the war on terror; however, as Martin bleakly points out, both countries are in their own ways responsible for instigating the creation of ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
Somber and chilling, The Real House of Saud illustrates its points with graphic images of not just Saudis being brutalized, but civilians in adjoining countries as well. Not for the faint-of-heart, this film takes a deeply serious look at international relations and the fallout that comes from turning a blind eye to the violations that take place each day in the name of freedom.