The Keystone XL Pipeline was awakened from the dead with the stroke of President Donald Trump’s pen.
The new pipeline, proposed in 2008 by the Canadian oil company TransCanada, was planned to cover a distance of 1,200 miles stretching from Hardisty, Alberta, to the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected pump 830,000 barrels of oil per day through the United States.
America is currently importing 3 million barrels per day. Keystone could reduce America’s dependence on Saudi Arabia, which is currently exporting 1 million barrels per day to the U.S.
The State Department gave the project the go ahead. Even though petroleum prices are selling for half of their 2008 levels, there is optimism in the oil patch that Western Canada’s main economic engine will pull it out of recession. It will be a win-win situation. A stronger Canadian economy means more Canadian tourist dollars being spent in the United States and Canadians purchasing more goods made in America.
It also reduces America’s dependence on Middle Eastern OPEC petroleum which has been at times fickle, having imposed an oil embargo on the United States in 1973 which was followed in 1979 by the Arab oil crisis.
The Greens protested the pipeline saying it would stall research into renewable energy and threaten the environment. Climate-change advocates believe that the mining and processing of bitumen, the sands that contain the oil, spews off carbon dioxide which in turn melts the polar ice caps. For many Greens, anything is better than gasoline derived from Alberta’s oil sands, even oil beneath the sands of Saudi Arabia.
In its liquid form, crude from Texas to Timbuktu leaves the same amount of carbon footprint. It is the combustion of gasoline in automobiles that creates far more carbon dioxide than the drilling or mining of oil.
But there is an important reason why America should wean itself of Saudi oil: the governing monarchy of Saudi Arabia.
Neither liberals nor the federal government want to consider life in Saudi Arabia; that their citizens live in a place more attuned to the Dark Ages than the New Millennium. The very people that stand up for those that cannot demand equal rights are gleefully driving around with Saudi oil sloshing in the gas tanks of their Volvos and Saabs.
This is transportation courtesy of a society based on the 7th Century dictates of Muhammad, where women are charged if they are raped and gays are executed. Some “criminals” are beheaded in the town square, their bodies crucified and put on display.
The Saudi News Agency is expected to announce the beheading and crucifixion of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr. In 2011, at age 14, his friends got the boy to attend an anti-government protest. Over the next three years he was tortured. Torture wasn’t necessary for a confession because he was arrested at the protest. Then there was the mass killing of 46 prisoners in 2016, the largest mass execution in Saudi Arabia since 1980. In 2015 Saudi Arabia executed more than 150 people.
There are 16 reasons the Saudi government can execute someone.
They are: aggravated murder, non-premeditated murder, non-fatal terrorism activity, rape (to the man, just jail for the victim), espionage and treason.
You can also be executed adultery, consensual gay sex with an adult, arson, robbery, burglary, drug distribution, drug possession, apostasy, consummation of intoxicants, sorcery and witchcraft.
Dying over a glass of beer is outrageous, but that is life in Saudi Arabia. I recently did a phone interview with one of my closest friends of more than a decade, a lady who is married to my best friend. They both worked in a Western compound in Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia and located on the west coast.
I adhere to something I coined: better to be too paranoid than not paranoid enough. Therefore I have changed my friends’ first names.
I know generally about Saudi Arabia from the trips my publisher took there and from my own research, but Alice told me about day-to-day living outside their Western compound.
Myers: Alice, you and Ted worked in Saudi Arabia for two years. Compound life sounds pretty much like living anywhere in North America except for the climate. What struck you most when you went outside of the compound and into the city?
Alice: What bothered me right away was the Mutawa. They are actually horrible people. They are selected to be the “religious police” and uphold Islamic values throughout the community. Ironically, during our last week in Saudi I had an encounter with one. They wear traditional Saudi Dress, white robe with the red/white headdress. I was in the shopping mall with my Egyptian friend, we were wearing our abaya and I had the baby with me. The Mutawa aggressively approached us, got in our face shouting at us in English, “This is Saudi Arabia, cover your hair!” Then they walked away. We immediately covered our hair. I kept mine covered until I safely got into the car with the driver, but my friend removed hers by the time she got to the next store.
Myers: I would be afraid that even a little bit of indignation might get me into real trouble. It doesn’t take much to be in harm’s way, does it?
Alice: There are horrible rumors about them such as if they see a young female on her own, they will stop her and if she doesn’t have any papers, iqama (like a residence permit), they will drive her out to the desert, rape her and then dump her somewhere. There was also a news story about a prince who raped and killed a Filipino maid, then dumped her body out of his fancy SUV (there was a picture of this body being dumped from the car) — obviously nothing happened there.
Myers: Obviously the Saudi’s have very strict rules about women’s hair. What are some of the other rules that seemed bizarre?
Alice: Women are not allowed to drive, women must be covered wearing an abaya (foreign women don’t usually have to cover their hair, but you should always carry a scarf with you in case you get asked). Women and men are not to be alone talking, especially if they are unmarried. Girls who have had their periods have to wear an abaya. Men are not allowed to speak with married women (so in fact that Mutawa shouldn’t have been speaking to us — the irony). If Ted was there he would have told me to cover my hair. But it boils down to this, when wearing an abaya you are not supposed to have any skin showing — wrists, ankles, etc.
Myers: Are dress rules as strict for men?
Alice: Men are allowed to wear t-shirts, but they are supposed to wear trousers. However, lots of men (foreigners) wore shorts, Ted included. Once in the shopping mall Ted was told by some old man that he should be wearing trousers and that it is haram (forbidden).
Myers: What about other things that Americans, and most of the world, consider normal? What are the restrictions on that?
Alice: You cannot drink alcohol, but there are lots of people who brew their own beer and smuggle in ingredients via pet food bags and other means. Ted went to a beer-tasting party at one of the compounds. We went to a party a couple of times at the U.S. Embassy. Now again the irony, when leaving the U.S. Embassy everyone is staggering across the busy street (it is clear people have been drinking) and the local police were there to help people cross the street!
Myers: This sounds like a society you would find in Bizarro World. I think Personal Liberty® readers are going to be intrigued.
Alice: There is a rumor that a plane belonging to a member of the royal family was searched by accident and inside they found an insane amount of booze.
Myers: That really isn’t surprising. The House of Saud makes rules for the commoners which they can’t possibly be expected to follow. It was leaked in September 2015 that a senior member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family had circulated a letter expressing his fear that the monarchy could collapse upon itself unless the king is urgently replaced and the position of deputy crown prince scrapped.
In 2010, a prince made international headlines when he was caught on tape viciously beating his servant — and male lover — to death at a five-star hotel in London. He was sentenced to 20 years but faces the death penalty when he gets back home. But I regress. Tell me more about what it was like for you living in Saudi Arabia.
Alice: Another rule is that you are not allowed to eat pork. They don’t sell it anywhere in Saudi. However, if you go to a foreign store in Dubai, like Tesco, they have a foreigner section where you can buy pork-based products like sausages, etc. But they really crack down on women.
Myers: That and protesting the government. It is ironic to me that Muslim women were thick as thieves in that 500,000 women march protesting Donald Trump. If they tried that in Riyadh it would be known as the 500,000 casket parade. But progressives don’t seem to worry very much that women, gays and even children caught up in a protest march could have their heads lopped off. Liberals pull up in their cars and tell the attendant to fill it with premium. Doesn’t seem to occur to them that one out of every 10 gallons they buy supports Saudi Arabia.
Alice: Most people can’t imagine what Saudi Arabia is like unless they have lived there. Even on the compound we lived, when I was at work I couldn’t have my shoulders exposed and I had to wear a skirt/dress to my knees. I became very conscious of this, and even when I wasn’t working, I wouldn’t wear a tank top walking to the compound shop or to a work event.
Myers: Those two years must have been difficult years for you and Ted. I want to thank you for sharing your experiences with me and with the readers at Personal Liberty®.
After my interview with Alice, it came to me that what is reported in the mainstream news is either a lie or passes by us unnoticed. People who hear of real-life experiences will realize that there is a lot more to the oil industry than geology, economics or ecology. Millions of people live and die under the sword in Saudi Arabia, a country that the United States has financially and militarily supported without question since 1945.
It is a question of conscience. For me, I would rather burn dirty oil than bloody oil.
Yours in good times and bad,
— John Myers