Viewing cable 05MUSCAT368
Title: OMAN ONLINE: U.S. BEHIND ARRESTS; HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT3682005-03-02 12:26:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 000368 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARPI (TROBERTS), NEA/PPD (CWHITTLESEY), NEA/P 
(FFINVER), IIP/G/NEA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KPAO SOCI MU
SUBJECT: OMAN ONLINE: U.S. BEHIND ARRESTS; HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT 
HYPOCRISY 
 
 
¶1. Summary:  The Omani Internet chat rooms "Al-Sablah" and "Al- 
Majarra" are the liveliest and most comprehensive Arabic-language 
fora for political and social discourse in the country, touching 
on issues and personalities rarely addressed in the conventional 
media.  While not totally free, nor wholly reflective of Omani 
public opinion, these popular sites nevertheless offer a 
worthwhile window into the hot topics and unvarnished views of 
the day.  This edition of Oman Online contains the following 
topics: 
 
-- U.S. Behind Arrests in Oman 
-- U.S. Human Rights Report 
 
End summary. 
 
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Blaming the U.S. 
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¶2. Al-Sablah subscribers have been speculating about whether the 
United States is involved in the arrest of detainees accused of 
plotting to harm Oman's national security.  Most participants 
rejected this notion.  One subscriber wrote, "You overestimate 
the capabilities of American intelligence services.  If they were 
as good as people think they are, they would have prevented the 
September 11 attacks."  A small number of subscribers gave 
credence to the idea.  "The CIA is gathering information about 
Muslim activists in Arab countries and some nations will do 
anything to appease them.  I am certain this is the case here." 
Another participant suggested that visits by the American 
Ambassador to cultural institutions could have intelligence aims. 
"It's strange that the U.S. Ambassador should suddenly visit 
insignificant cultural institutions.  Could his visits be tied to 
this issue?"  Al-Majarra also discussed possible American 
involvement in the arrests.  The vast majority of its subscribers 
opined that the U.S. is involved in the arrests.  One Al-Majarra 
participant wrote, "Of course America is involved, the U.S. 
interferes with everything in this country." 
 
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U.S. Criticism 
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¶3.  An Al-Sablah subscriber posted a link to the web page of the 
State Department's Human Rights Report stating, "Washington is 
criticizing Oman's human rights practices because of the 
government's decision to ban journalists."  One participant 
stated, "It's strange that the U.S. should criticize Oman, one of 
its strongest allies, on an issue that only involves a few 
individuals."  Another subscriber commented, "The U.S. does not 
care what the governments of its allies think or how they react 
to its statements.  America learned long ago that Arab countries 
will not stand up to it." 
 
BALTIMORE