The ever-estimable Buzzflash asks the pertinent question: Will Laura Bush, renowned campaigner on behalf of the oppressed women of Islam, take up the cudgels for the “Girl from Qatif”: a 19-year-old woman who was gang-raped – and has now been sentenced by a Saudi court to six months in jail – and 200 lashes – for the “crime” of being in the car of a man who was not her relative?

Like Buzz, we all know the answer: she will not. At the most, we might possibly see a bland statement of mild, tut-tutting disapproval issued by a minor minion in the State Department, probably during the late Friday, post-deadline news dump. But as for Lady Laura, she will doubtless be too busy overseeing the next intimate get-together with the Saudi royals, watching with who knows what strange tingly fascination as her husband plants a wet kiss on the grizzled face of King Abdullah, or sits down to chomp barbecue man-to-man with the billion-dollar bribetaker and backroom grease merchant Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud – better known by the nickname “Bandar Bush,” bestowed by the president himself in honor of his long-standing connection with America’s ruling family.

Saudi Arabia remains a highly personal tyranny: a single word from Bush’s smooching partner could spare the rape victim from this savage punishment. These longtime Bush Family business partners and paymasters – who rule their kingdom through repression, mutilation and execution – could use their authoritarian power to reform the perverted, pseudo-religious strictures they have imposed at gunpoint on their people. But they will not – and Laura and George and Babs and old George Humperdink Warbucks Bush will never ask them to.

Why? Because they do not give a damn if a young woman who has been brutally raped is now whipped almost to death by their family friends — friends who have helped make the Bushes richer and richer down through the years.  If the lashing took place in front of their very eyes, they’d simply chat to Prince Bandar about the Cowboys game this weekend or ask King Abdullah if the weather was fine during his last stay on the Riveria. “Sure does scream a lot, don’t she?” George might say at some point, provoking a playfully stern wag of the head from Laura for bringing up an unseemly topic during such a pleasant conversation. Then burly guards – American-armed, American-trained – would drag the quivering mass of shredded flesh out of the room, while elegant footmen stepped nimbly around her, bringing in the evening’s sumptuous feast.

Oh, no doubt when Laura looks in her mirror at night, what she sees is one of God’s little sunbeams, who wants nothing but the very bestest best for every single person on earth. But what is actually there is the visage reflected in countless gilded mirrors of the Establishment elite: a wretched, bloodstained collaborator with evil.

From the International Herald Tribune: A Saudi court sentenced a 19-year-old woman victim of gang rape to six months in jail and 200 lashes — more than double than in her initial sentence for being in the car of a man who was not her relative, a newspaper reported Thursday…

According to Arab News, the court informed the rape victim that her sentence was made harsher because of “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.” Three judges from the Qatif court had initially sentenced the woman to 90 lashes, convicting her of violating Saudi’s rigid laws on segregation of the sexes…

At the time of the attack, the woman was identified in the media only as the Girl from Qatif, coming from the country’s Shiite minority. The court also banned the woman’s lawyer from defending her, confiscated his license to practice law and summoned him to a disciplinary hearing later this month.

“I explained to them that it was my job to do everything legal in order to serve my client. But they did not listen,” the lawyer, Abdul Rahman al-Lahem, was quoted by the paper as saying.

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