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Bahrain Cracks Down on Freedom

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The ruling Al Khalifa monarchy is one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships. It’s also a valued US ally. Bahrain is home to America’s Fifth Fleet.

Imperial priorities matter most. Washington backs Bahraini harshness. State terror is policy. Murder, torture, lawless imprisonments, and daily atrocities get tacit support.

Bahrain ruthlessly wages war on freedom. Fundamental human and civil rights are spurned. Activists, protesters, medical professionals treating them when injured, independent journalists, and others supporting right over might are brutalized and imprisoned.

Nabeel Rajab is one of Bahrain’s best. He’s a prominent human rights leader. Activism got him targeted. His resume includes many impressive credentials. In 1999, he and others co-founded the Bahrain Human Rights Society.

In 2002, he, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, and others co-founded the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR). Authorities terrorized its members for years. Nonetheless, it remains viable.

It promotes civil, political, and economic freedom, ending racial discrimination, and universal human and civil rights. Bahraini despots equate these principles with terrorism.

Last August, Bahrain’s Lower Criminal Court sentenced Nabeel to three years in prison. Supporting right over wrong in the emirate is dangerous. Expressing democratic views is criminalized. So is championing social justice publicly.

King Hamad calls peaceful protests “foreign plots.” Nabeel and others like him put their lives on the line for years. Bahraini activists face arrests, harsh interrogations, torture, and imprisonment. The mainstream media largely ignores it.

Nabeel’s been in prison since July. He’s charged under Article 178 of Bahrain’s penal code. It prohibits unauthorized gatherings of five or more people for the “purpose of committing crimes (or) undermining public security, even if intended to achieve a legitimate purpose.”

His lawyers appealed. A Bahraini court delayed proceedings. Its ruling won’t be known until around mid-December. Peaceful protests are criminalized. State courts tolerate no challengers. They give kangaroos a bad name.

Bahrain banned protests earlier. On July 20, 2006, King Hamad ratified Code 32 on “Public Gatherings, Processions and Assembly.” Doing so amended the 1973 Decree No. 18. Human rights groups condemned the action. It lawlessly targeted free expression and peaceful gatherings.

Unauthorized public meetings and seminars were prohibited. So was anything thought potentially threatening monarchal rule. Activists were targeted. Arrests and prosecutions followed. Bahraini repression is brutal and longstanding.

On October 30, public gatherings were again prohibited. Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said “rallies and gatherings will be considered illegal, and legal action will be taken against anyone calling for or taking part in them.”

That’s how police states work. Fundamental rights are criminalized. Daily nonviolent protests continue nonetheless. Participants face tear gas, rubber bullets, beatings, arrests, and at times death.

Anyone challenging regime harshness faces arrest and brutal imprisonment. Even The New York Times noticed. On October 30, it headlined “Citing Violence, Bahrain Bans All Protests in New Crackdown.”

Protesters refrain from violence. Security forces commit it against them. Banning public gatherings “drew swift condemnation from human rights groups and opposition activists who said it was intended solely to stifle criticism of the ruling monarch in the tiny Persian Gulf nation.”

Activists accused the monarchy of “methodically blocking all avenues for dissent.”

“In recent weeks, activists have been prosecuted for postings on social media, and doctors, charged with illegal gathering and other crimes after treating protesters, have been sent to jail.”

It’s gone on repeatedly since early last year. The Times and other Western media gave it scant coverage. They still do. Reports exclude important information readers most need to know.

Dozens of deaths, hundreds imprisoned, torture, and kangaroo court justice go largely unnoticed.

On November 10, a Washington Post editorial headlined “Bahrain’s broken promise,” saying:

Last November, King Hamad promised 26 reforms. “That promise has gone unfulfilled.” At best, only three were partly implemented. “The most important ones – on the release of political prisoners and relaxation of controls on free expression – have been ignored.”

The Post exhibited a rare moment of candor. It should have done more much sooner. Nonetheless, it said “convictions of leading regime opponents (were) reconfirmed.”

It mentioned Nabeel’s imprisonment. It excluded his activist history and harsh treatment. It said public protests were banned.

Without explanation, it said “five bombs exploded around the capital of Manama on Monday, killing two people.”

Protesters spurn violence. Despite brutal security force crackdowns, they remain peaceful. Bahraini authorities called Monday’s explosions “terrorism.”

They were state-sponsored false flags. Expect more of the same ahead. Four suspects were arrested. They won’t be treated kindly or fairly. Bahrain’s head of public security blamed Hezbollah elements. No evidence whatever suggests it.

Minister Samira Ibrahim bin Rajab said opposition groups use Iranian tactics. He blamed pro-Iran television stations for supporting Bahraini protests. Press TV reports them accurately. So do Russia Today and independent journalists.

The Post downplayed what’s happening. “Bahrain is no Syria,” it said dismissively. Editorial policy belligerently attacks Assad for doing his job. Bahraini state terror over the same time frame got scant coverage.

The Post said the emirate is home to America’s Fifth Fleet. Implied is its presence legitimizes harsh security. The editorial admitted that Washington supported a Bahraini nominee for “an advisory position at the UN Human Rights Council.”

Congress approved military sales and aid. “Such action(s) damage US credibility across the Middle East.”

On the one hand, Washington lawlessly challenges Assad’s independence. On the other, it supports Al Khalifa despotism. It not only largely ignores its worst repression, it condones and encourages it.

The Post editorial went so far but no further. What readers most need to know was omitted. What’s going on in Bahrain, why, and who benefits wasn’t explained. Readers know little more now than earlier.

A Bahrain Center for Human Rights report headlined “The BCHR Holds the King Responsible for the Spread of the Culture of Impunity which Has Claimed the Lives of Tens of Victims.”

Facts don’t lie. Disturbing truths were revealed. BCHR compiled compelling evidence. Ruling Al Khalifa despots remain unaccountable.

Security forces commit daily “gross violations of human rights.” Bahraini and international laws are violated. Extrajudicial killings, arbitrary execution, torture, mock trials, and excessive force are commonplace.

“(I)mpunity is still entrenched in the doctrine of the Authority and its security institutions as a basic prevalent culture.

It operates as an instrument of state terror. Authorities get away with murder, torture and other atrocities. Ordinary Bahrainis wanting equal rights face brutalizing repression.

BCHR expressed special concern about a “systematic policy of impunity and of providing immunity to criminals and enabling them to continue with their duties and their security positions without accountability.”

Innocent people are shot and killed. Some are executed in cold blood. Others are beaten, arrested, and imprisoned. Justice is a four-letter word.

Principles relating to Effective Prevention and Investigation call for careful examination of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary executions, and other security force violence. Authorities whitewash state-sponsored crimes instead of prosecuting offenders.

King Hamad bears full responsibility. Bahraini law is what he says it is. Equity, justice and freedom don’t have a chance.

Activists challenging state repression may end up dead by gun shots, lethal gas or slit throats. Obama wholeheartedly endorses what legitimate leaders condemn. Fundamental human and civil rights don’t have a chance.

A Final Comment

On November 7, Bahrain revoked the citizenship of 31 activists. An interior ministry statement announced it. Doing so coincided with more state-sponsored violence and arrests.

Prominent opposition figures affected include:

(1) Saaed Shehabi, a London-based Bahraini political activist and Bahrain Freedom Movement member.

(2) Former MP Jalal Fairooz.

(3) Hasan Mushaima, Haq Movement head. It’s a high-profile Bahraini opposition group.

Revocations were ordered for violating Article 10 Bahrain’s Citizenship Act. It permits targeting individuals accused of threatening state security.

Justice in Bahrain is none at all. Activists wanting to live free may end up dying for it. That’s how police states operate. Bahrain is one of the worst.

Global Research

7 Comments on "Bahrain Cracks Down on Freedom"

  1. Arthur on Tue, 20th Nov 2012 2:24 pm 

    “The ruling Al Khalifa monarchy is one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships.”

    Not a problem as long as Bahrein does what Washington wants. Same thing during the run up to WW2. The USSR until 1939 had killed millions of its own citizens, but was perfectly acceptable as an ally for the Roosevelt government, because they wanted (red) world government. But German, Italian and Japanese nationalists, which opposed world government needed to be crushed. Thank God that today the nationalists (European populations, Russia, Japan and China, as well as an ever growing resentfull part of the Euro-American population) far outnumber the Washington Straussian elite and their European satraps, who are slowly being manouvered in the SED-1988 mode. So guess who is going to be crushed this time? But I digress.

    So what’s up in Bahrein? This:

    Something the Canadian lefties from globalresearch are not going to mention: tribalism. In the seventies all this tribalism was covered by the idea of (economic) progress. Many Arab states had a sort of socialist order (Baath), expecting better times ahead. And these days came indeed with the rising oil prices. But these days are coming to and end. The US lead West, aiming for world government, now is playing the Sunni-Shia divide and that is precisely what they are going to get. Unfortunately for the geostrategists in Washington think tanks, they have a bad set of cards. The West has chosen the side of the Sunni’s (Turkey, SA, Egypt and the rest of the Maghreb) but the Shi’ites have all the oil (all oil in SA in located in Shi’ite populated territory). Including Bahrain. And the Shi’ites are backed by Russia and China, who both can vaporize New York, London, Washington, Jeruzalem and Tel Aviv within half an hour (in retaliation that is, going down themselves in the process).

    The endgame is not difficult to guess: massive ethnic cleansing, like we have seen in Iraq, a process even a sophisticated US occupation army could do nothing against. Likely outcome: SA will fall apart and the entire Gulf coast, including Bahrain and SA coast line, will become part of the Iranian sphere of influence. Will be fascinating to see what Iran’s attitude will be against all these oilstarved western regimes which all favoured sanctions. Maybe Moscow will order Teheran to deliver, provided the clients behave.

  2. BillT on Tue, 20th Nov 2012 2:43 pm 

    We live in interesting times. TV has nothing on reality. But, most of the Us has no idea…

  3. dissident on Tue, 20th Nov 2012 2:53 pm 

    The comparison to the USSR is a really poor example. The USSR was sucking up 80% of Nazi Germany’s *total* war resources on the eastern front. You can’t ignore such a critical element in the war. So a war time alliance was practical and justified. But modern peacetime alliances with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc. are obscene.

  4. Arthur on Tue, 20th Nov 2012 3:29 pm 

    “The comparison to the USSR is a really poor example. The USSR was sucking up 80% of Nazi Germany’s *total* war resources on the eastern front.”

    Why a poor example? I am not talking about the war but the formation of alliances up until the war in 1939. The non-agression agreement between Germany and Russia came into being on Russian initiative and had no other purpose to lure the Germans into taking actions against the Poles, who were busy preparing for that what they finally accomplished at the end of the war: ethnic cleansing and killing of millions of Germans. Behind the scenes Moscow, Washington (Roosevelt, not Joseph Kennedy), London (Churchill, not Chamberlain) and Paris already were in agreement before september 1939, that Germany needed to be destroyed, so Europe could be divided by these two new NWO kids on the block. The Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement was nothing but a trap to make Hitler think he could protect his fellow Germans, who were put in Poland due to Versailles and were persecuted by the Poles. But that is something you will never hear. Instead we hear bullshit about ‘Nazis wanting to conquer ze wurld’ where in reality Americans and Soviets wanted to conquer the world. And the Americans want that until today. The real reason why after the war the US and USSR became adversaries, was because Stalin started to persecute a certain minority and remove them from power. This minority hit back in 1953 by killing Stalin (doctors plot) when Stalin was on the verge to ‘evacuate’ that minority from Moscow. But after the death (murder) of Stalin the Russian army finished the job anyway and up until the seventees all members of this minority tried to escape to Israel, Britain or the US. Chrustjov came to power and Soviet communism slowly started to become a more human, until it fell apart anyway, because communism does not work, only under terror. Just like the racial communist state USA will fall apart eventually, because that does not work either, as you will find out the hard way, once the handouts will evaporate and your tens of millions large under class will become obstinate and cry ‘racism’ and can easily be exploited by the US rulers behind the scenes as a revolutionary proletariat against Euro-America. Which was precisely the reason why an Israeli assasination squad led by Yitzak Rabin killed JFK, so his veep could become prez without elections and open up the borders of the US for mass immigration from the third world (immigration act 1965) after almost a century of lobby work by the perps. Good luck to you, you are going to need our (European) help when the blue states become the red states.

  5. actioncjackson on Tue, 20th Nov 2012 4:45 pm 

    Coming soon to a place near you.

  6. DC on Tue, 20th Nov 2012 6:25 pm 

    This sort of thing is the real reason the ME is so restive. Not, this Sunni, Shiite BS, its just regular people, tried of oppression and theft of there nations resource, all sponsored by the US. Arabs are just like the rest of us, can get along just fine, or fight like cats and dogs. The west as no claim to being civilized, WWI and II took place in the heartland after all. If the US had installed a brutal dictatorship like this in YOUR backyard, and was stealing your countries primary resource, you’d probably be out planting IeDs too!

    All the talk in ‘our’ news mis-characterizes so much of the un-rest over there. Its attempt to downplay the real reason people over there are so upset, US interference and domination. Sectarian this or sectarian that sounds very plausible to western audiences conditioned since birth to believe Arabs are little better than savages. None of this is meant to imply Arabic culture is especially wonderful, its not. But that hardly means they cant get along with each other, or even the ‘west’, if not for constant US efforts to stir up a hornets nest over there.

  7. Arthur on Tue, 20th Nov 2012 8:11 pm 

    “Not, this Sunni, Shiite BS, its just regular people, tried of oppression and theft of there nations resource, all sponsored by the US. Arabs are just like the rest of us, can get along just fine, or fight like cats and dogs. ”

    You seem to have forgotten what happened in Iraq after 2003, that was no ‘cat and dog fight’. According to the British medical journal The Lancet ca. 1 million people died in the conflict. Even if that is an exageration, there can be no doubt hundreds of thousands got killed. And most of them were not killed by the American invader but by intertribal violence, something the Americans did not want to happen. The rule of Saddam was tribal Sunni. Several times he had ‘disciplined’ Kurds (gassing) and Shi’its in the south. But once the US took out Saddam there was a vacuum at the top and a power struggle was the result with the known desastrous result. And you can bet your last dollar that neighbouring states with comparable ethnic mix, like Bahrein and Kuwait, started to become very worried about their own position and began to view their neighbours of different ethnic background in the street with distrust. What happened in Iraq is now happening in Syria, where US paid Sunni mercenaries are inciting ethnic violence, in order to bring down Assad, an ally of Iran.

    “Sectarian this or sectarian that sounds very plausible to western audiences conditioned since birth to believe Arabs are little better than savages.”

    Its universal. Even in your blessed country Canada. The French minority obviously refuses to ‘integrate’ (whatever that may mean) and lives in low level conflict with the Anglophone majority. During my student days in the eighties I was very well befriended with students from Quebec, who spend some time in Holland on a project at my university. I can’t remember the exact story but they told that at some point ethnic tensions in Montreal run very high, not too remote from armed conflict.

    The NWO fan BBC is no friend of tribalism (to put it mildly) but they confess, see link above:

    “Anti-government protests in Bahrain were suppressed last year with the help of Saudi Arabia, but the tensions between the Sunni leadership and the Shia majority population are never far below the surface.”

    There you go. The ethnic genie is out of the bottle everywhere in the ME and once Pax Americana will disappear at some point in the future, expect fake countries like SA to fall apart along ethnic lines, just like in Iraq and Yugoslavia.

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