Brutal Bahraini State Terror
rebel1916: For over a year, Saudi and Al-Khalifa monarchy security forces terrorized nonviolent protesters. Thousands braved tear gas, beatings, rubber bullets, live fire, arrests, torture and disappearances.
Washington's very much involved. Bahrain's the home of America's Fifth Fleet. Millions of dollars in aid's provided. So are weapons, including armored vehicles, bunker buster missiles, wire-guided ones, and more. A Pentagon statement said:
They'll "improve Bahrain's capability to meet current and future armored threats. Bahrain will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense."
In fact, Bahrain faces no external threats. Except for Western/Israeli-targeted Syria, Iran, and Lebanon, neither do other Middle East states. Yet Washington's selling fighters, missiles, and other advanced weapons to regional allies.
In late December, a Saudi F-15 fighter deal was announced worth nearly $30 billion. Other plans include Iraq weapons sales worth around $11 billion. Israelis, of course, get billions of dollars in aid annually, including America’s most advanced weapons and technology. At the same time, Washington's belligerently expanding its Middle East footprint.
Thousands of Iraqi troops remain. Others were repositioned. Kuwait contingents increased. Libyan bases are planned, and close ties continue with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and other regional states for future air, ground, and naval combat missions.
Notably, Bahraini activists published photos showing US troops training state security forces in crackdown tactics. In addition, former New York/Philadelphia/Miami Police chief John Timoney's involved.
Occupy Miami organizer Mohammed Malik told Press TV he's currently training Bahraini forces. His record includes repressive crackdowns against Miami global justice protesters, Philadelphia ones at the 2000 Republican National Convention, and other brutality in New York. For years, he terrorized city residents where he worked.
rebel1916: On February 16, London Guardian writer Ryan Devereaux headlined, "John Timoney: the notorious police chief sent to 'reform' forces in Bahrain," saying:
For three decades, he was New York City police chief before heading up Philadelphia and Miami departments. He was hired along with former UK assistant top cop John Yates.
Timoney critics cite years of "police abuse, illegal infiltration tactics, fear-mongering, and a blatant disregard for freedom of expression."
His methods include "pepper spray, rubber bullets, bean bag rounds, Tasers, electrified shields, batons," beatings, and mass arrests. Florida ACLU executive director Howard Simon called his Bahrain presence "extremely unsettling. I'm concerned for the people of Bahrain with Timoney directing how police there are controlling crowds."
On February 15, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) said brutal crackdowns continue. Saudi and Bahraini security forces attack nonviolent protesters daily. Stun grenades, shotguns, water cannons, and tear gas are used. When fired in closed places, it's asphyxiating.
On February 7, six US citizens were arrested. Held in police custody for days, they were deported in handcuffs for the duration of their Bahrain/London flight.
On February 17, Press TV reported "a fierce overnight crackdown on anti-regime protesters across several regions of the country." Manama, Daih, Ma'ameer, Sitra, Sehla and other areas were attacked.
Earlier in the day, police used water cannons against thousands protesting a teenage boy's death. In Jidd Hafs, he died of severe burns inflicted while demonstrating peacefully.
Women were also assaulted. Homes were raided. Since February 2011 protests erupted, mass arrests, deaths, torture, imprisonments, and other abuses followed.
On February 17, Amnesty International (AI) issued an "urgent action" for "scores" of activists arrested on February 14, saying:
Police attacked, beat and arrested them. Their faces and legs showed signs of abuse. In custody, families have no contact with loved ones. Authorities freely torture and inflict other forms of abuse.
On February 17, Human Rights First said Mahdi Abu Deeb and Jaleela Al Saman (Bahrain Teachers Association president and vice president) will appeal their lawless military court convictions for protesting peacefully.
In custody, they were "tortured and ultimately convicted of unfounded charges and sentenced to prison by the discredited Bahrain military court." Hundreds of others faced the same abuse.
"Bahrain's crackdown and these baseless prosecutions continue as the United States considers a new military transfer to Bahrain." Obama's moving swiftly to approve it instead of condemning state terror.
Bahrain's a valued ally. While hypocritically vilifying Assad for confronting Western-backed insurgents, Washington facilitates Al-Khalifi brutality.
A Final Comment
In summer 2010, sporadic protests began. Since mid-February 2011, major ones erupted. Thousands of Bahrainis challenged repressive Al-Khalifa rule nonviolently. Anti-government demonstrations continue daily.
In mid-March, Saudi forces invaded guns blazing. With Bahraini police, they've terrorize protesters repressively, including women, children, doctors, journalists, human rights activists, and foreign observers.
On February 13, 2012, Bahrain chief of public security General Tariq Al-Hassan said police presence would continue to confront "unlawful or violent acts of sabotage" even though none whatever are committed.
Despite extreme security force brutality, Bahrainis remain scrupulously nonviolent. Nonetheless, they're brutally attacked. Minority Sunnis violate majority Shia rights. Bahrainis demand change. The monarchy yields nothing. Washington extends support.
King Hamad blames Iran for fomenting protests. So do Saudis for growing unrest in the kingdom. Heightened tensions suggest likely belligerent intervention ahead. At issue is replacing Tehran's government with a repressive pro-Western one like in Bahrain, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab League states.
Throughout the region, Washington backs state terror to achieve it. It's official policy for unchallenged regional dominance, no matter the body count, vast destruction and human misery.
Sarcastic Dots: The American position on Bahrain is no better than the Russian position on Syria. Arguably, it's worse given that America is the champion of free speech and protest.
rebel1916: Another Bahraini citizen has lost his life after inhaling toxic tear gas fired by the Saudi-backed regime forces on protesters, Press TV reports.
Fresh protests have erupted against the Saudi-backed Al Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain after the demonstrators blocked roads and set tires on fire in Sar, near the capital, Manama.
The protesters condemned the imprisonment of the rights activist Abdul Hadi Khawaja and demanded the immediate release of the top campaigner.
Khawaja, the co-founder and former president of the Bahrain Center for Human Right, was sentenced to life in prison by a military court last year. He is currently on a hunger strike to protest against his detention and Al Khalifa regime’s brutal crackdown on protests.
The protest dubbed the “cry of conscience” was organized by the February 14th Youth Coalition.
Despite the ongoing crackdown, anti-regime protests continue in the Persian Gulf kingdom and there is no sign of the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty’s inclination to step down.
Bahrain has been witnessing a wave of anti-regime protests since February 2011.
Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds more arrested or fired from their jobs since the beginning of the popular uprising in Bahrain in February 2011.
On January 26, Amnesty International called on Bahraini authorities to “investigate and account for the reports of more than a dozen deaths following tear gas use.”
Amnesty also called on the US government to “suspend transfers of tear gas and other riot control equipment to the Bahraini authorities.”
In a 94-page report issued on February 28, Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized the Bahraini regime’s trial of anti-government demonstrators, protest leaders, and the medical doctors, who treated the injuries caused in government crackdown on the protesters.
The HRW also called on Bahrain’s Saudi-backed Al Khalifa regime to release detained protesters.
(Edited by rebel1916)
rebel1916: In one of the many horrific cases we heard, a 17-year-old boy Hasan, his friend and his 8-year-old brother left their home to go to the grocery store. As they were entering the store they noticed some other youngsters running. Fearing the police would be following them, they decided to wait in the store. The 8 year old hid behind a refrigerator. The police entered the store with face masks on. They grabbed the older boys, pulling them out of the store and into the street.
Once outside the shop the police began to beat them with their sticks and hit them on the head, shouting obscenities and accusations. The police were accusing them of having been involved with throwing Molotov cocktails, asking over and over “Where are the Molotov cocktails?”
The four policemen, all masked and wearing regulation police uniforms, took turns beating the boys while one was instructed to keep watch to make sure no one was video taping. They seemed to be very concerned that there be no witnesses. Quickly, they forced the boys into the waiting police car. Inside the police vehicle was another youth about 18 who appeared to be “Muhabharat,” or plain-clothes police thugs associated with many dictatorships in the Middle East.
As the car sped off, the boys were told to keep their heads down “or we will kill you.” Soon they arrived at an open lot away from possible onlookers. As the two boys were being pulled from the car, the policeman who seemed to be in the charge shouted, “Make them lie down.” Once they were face down on the ground, the policemen took out their knives and stabbed both boys in the left buttock, leaving a gaping wound. The police thugs continued their “questioning”, using profanity to scare their victims. They threatened the boys that they would go to jail for 45 days for “investigation” and that they would never go back to school or get work.
When the thugs realized that they had no choice but to leave these victims, since they had no knowledge of the Molotovs, they searched them to see what they could steal. They took the boys’ mobile phones and asked them to hand over whatever money they had. When they discovered that the boys only had 500fils (about $1.50US), they kicked one of them in the raw wound, laughing as they left them bleeding.
“Who are these masked police and why would they do such things to children?”, you might ask. The boys said they were Syrian immigrants, part of a mostly foreign police force imported by the government and paid to inflict pain on the local people to dissuade them from protesting for their rights.
I asked if the police checked their hands, or smelled their clothes to detect the presence of petrol, since they were accusing the boys of carrying Molotov cocktails. Hussan, laying uncomfortably on his stomach, still in his bloody pants, answered, “No, they made no investigation. These police don’t investigate, they only accuse and punish. We had no contact with petrol, we are students.”
In the corner of the room was Husan’s aunt, holding a little baby that looked very sickly, the red hue of its skin almost burnt looking and its tiny eyes sore and red. I was straining now in my inquiry, like having to push words out my throat. “How old is your child?”, I asked. “Eight months old”, she replied. I knew about the nightly raids in this community, as I happen to be staying less than 200 meters from there and can see the light show each night as hundreds of teargas canisters are shot into this tight grip of middle class houses.
“How do you stop the teargas from getting in the house and affecting your baby?”, I inquired in a pained voice. I, myself, although not in village, feel the effects of the massive clouds of poison that pour over the entire area at night.
“Well, sir, wet towels, we place them each night under the doors,” she answers, as she lights down on the couch near a large flat screen television. “But, sadly, sir, this does not stop the gas. The baby suffers. I try to cover her face with a cloth but she does not like it and cries at the gas and the cloth at the same.”
“One way to stop the gas is to put plastic over the air conditioning unit,” she continued, “but the policemen always cut off the plastic and the gas seeps back inside quickly.”
They showed me a homemade video of those white-helmeted terrorists, using the very same issued knife that they used to cripple the boys, systematically, methodically removing the plastic that was placed to prevent the venomous gas from entering the house. Once removed, they can now shoot the gas, knowing that it will enter the house and poison all inside, especially the kids.
And so it goes in the Kingdom of Bahrain. So it goes in a world so addicted to oil, money and power that children can be stabbed, kidnapped, tortured, terrorized and gassed with nary a word from the outside world.
Are we, in America, so addicted to oil and beholden to powerful Saudis that we will block our ears to the cries of these Bahraini children? Or will we help them grow up in a world where they can know the joy and security that we all want for ourselves? The choice is ours.