Thursday, April 14, 2011

Obama Administration Kowtowing to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain & Support The Brutal Crackdown on Pro-Reform Movement in Bahrain

Bahrain's Rain of Blood


video

Obama condemned the Gadhafi government in his speech justifying the recent military attacks in Libya, saying: “Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested.” Now that the same things are happening in Bahrain, Obama has little to say.


As with the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the sentiment is nationalist, not religious. The country is 70 percent Shia, ruled by the Sunni minority. Nevertheless, a central rallying cry of the protests has been “Not Shia, Not Sunni: Bahraini.” This debunks the argument used by the Bahraini government that the current regime is the best bulwark against increased influence of Iran, a Shia country, in the oil-rich Gulf.
Add to that Bahrain’s strategic role: It is where the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet is based, tasked with protecting “U.S. interests” like the Strait of Hormuz and the Suez Canal, and supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Surely, U.S. interests include supporting democracy over despots. Quote from Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! April 13, 2011.


HELP Will You Support Bahrain? Bloggers and YouTubers are being tortured in Bahrain
desertrosetx

Uploaded by desertrosetx on Apr 12, 2011
mirrored with permission from 91177info on Apr 12, 2011

This is a call to YouTubers- Bloggers are being tortured RIGHT NOW in Bahrain. Hundreds of internet activists have been arrested and their whereabouts is not known. Families are told to collect their relatives bodies from military hospitals. Marks on their bodies show that they have been tortured.

A peaceful civilized revolution of Bahrain that turned to an aggressive war against innocent unarmed protesters, Those protesters need your support .. so .. will you support Bahrain .....



The Obama administration disingenuously uses Islamophobia to rationalize its lack of criticism of the brutal crackdown in Bahrain with the help of the Saudi military arguing the Bahrain uprising is not just a popular pro reform uprising but is rather sectarian in nature that the Shiites in Bahrain and their supporters want to set up an Islamic theocracy similar to that of Iran or of the Afghanistan Taliban.

(It should be noted that Saudia Arabia, Bahrain, Pakistan, The Taliban and Al Qaeda are Sunni Muslims and not Shia
whereas Iran is Shia . Saudia Arabia  & Bahrain both countries ruled by Sunni majority  have been oppressing Shia Muslims for decade- Saddam of Iraq was Sunni and his government represented the Sunni minority while oppressing the Shia majority and the minority Kurd- is that clear now)

The Bahrain protesters over and over again have made the point that they do not want any sort of Theocratic government but rather want democratic reform.
The protesters in Bahrain are made up of both Shia and Sunni Muslims and secularists yet the Obama administration insists otherwise . This once again shows the continuity of foreign policies of the USA in which certain countries and their leaders can be criticized for human rights violations while other nations or governments appear to get a free pass on human rights violations because they are seen as America's allies.

So the Obama administrations talk about reform and pro- democracy is just talk and talk is cheap.
If the Obama administration was sincere and even handed about defending reform movements it was stand up to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and insist they allow for peaceful protests in the streets and freedom of speech in the media and on the Internet.

And yet those outspoken in Bahrain including bloggers and those on Facebook, Twitter etc. are being shut down and even tracked down incarcerated and abused and torured or killed.
As I have noted before it is difficult for the Obama administration to sound genuine in their support of human rights when the US is holding thousands of people as prisoners at Guantanamo and Bagram in Afghanistan and dozens of other prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan where daily prisoners are denied their basic rights and are abused and tortured by American military or intelligence agents or by proxy .

Tariq Ali The Perils of Islamophobia part 3 of 4.




Tariq ali discusses how America and the West uses Islamophobia and  the word "evil" to justify propping up various oppressive regimes . Any regime or people who are critical of American foreign policy need only to be categorized as Islamic militants or as being "evil" to justify oppression and /or military intervention invasion and occupation.
The sovereign nation of Bahrain invited the Saudi Arabian military to occupy Bahrain in order to silence by any all means possible those who are protesting for reform.


Tariq Ali The Perils of Islamophobia part 4 of 4.




U.S.-Backed Bloodshed Stains Bahrain’s Arab Spring
by Amy Goodman April 13, 2011


Three days after Hosni Mubarak resigned as the long-standing dictator in Egypt, people in the small Gulf state of Bahrain took to the streets, marching to their version of Tahrir, Pearl Square, in the capital city of Manama. Bahrain has been ruled by the same family, the House of Khalifa, since the 1780s—more than 220 years. Bahrainis were not demanding an end to the monarchy, but for more representation in their government.

One month into the uprising, Saudi Arabia sent military and police forces over the 16-mile causeway that connects the Saudi mainland to Bahrain, an island. Since then, the protesters, the press and human-rights organizations have suffered increasingly violent repression.

One courageous young Bahraini pro-democracy activist, Zainab al-Khawaja, has seen the brutality up close. To her horror, she watched her father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a prominent human-rights activist, be beaten and arrested. She described it to me from Manama:

“Security forces attacked my home. They came in without prior warning. They broke down the building door, and they broke down our apartment door, and instantly attacked my father, without giving him a chance to speak and without giving any reason for his arrest. They dragged my father down the stairs and started beating him in front of me. They beat him until he was unconscious. The last thing I heard my father say was that he couldn’t breathe. When I tried to intervene, when I tried to tell them, ‘Please to stop beating him. He will go with you voluntarily. You don’t need to beat him this way,’ they told me to shut up, basically, and they grabbed me ... and dragged me up the stairs back into the apartment. By the time I had gotten out of the room again, the only trace of my father was his blood on the stairs.”

Human Rights Watch has called for the immediate release of al-Khawaja. Zainab’s husband and brother-in-law also have been arrested. Tweeting as “angryarabiya,” she has commenced a water-only fast in protest. She also has written a letter to President Barack Obama: “If anything happens to my father, my husband, my uncle, my brother-in-law, or to me, I hold you just as responsible as the AlKhalifa regime. Your support for this monarchy makes your government a partner in crime. I still have hope that you will realize that freedom and human rights mean as much to a Bahraini person as it does to an American.”

Obama condemned the Gadhafi government in his speech justifying the recent military attacks in Libya, saying: “Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested.” Now that the same things are happening in Bahrain, Obama has little to say.

As with the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the sentiment is nationalist, not religious. The country is 70 percent Shia, ruled by the Sunni minority. Nevertheless, a central rallying cry of the protests has been “Not Shia, Not Sunni: Bahraini.” This debunks the argument used by the Bahraini government that the current regime is the best bulwark against increased influence of Iran, a Shia country, in the oil-rich Gulf. Add to that Bahrain’s strategic role: It is where the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet is based, tasked with protecting “U.S. interests” like the Strait of Hormuz and the Suez Canal, and supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Surely, U.S. interests include supporting democracy over despots.

Nabeel Rajab is the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights—the organization formerly run by the recently abducted Abdulhadi al-Khawaja. Rajab is facing a possible military trial for publishing the photograph of a protester who died in custody. Rajab told me: “Hundreds of people are in jail for practicing their freedom of expression. People are tortured for expressing their freedom of expression. Thousands of people sacked from their jobs. ... And all that, because one day, a month ago, almost half of the Bahraini population came out in the street demanding democracy and respect for human rights.”

Rajab noted that democracy in Bahrain would lead to democracy in neighboring Gulf dictatorships, especially Saudi Arabia, so most regional governments have a stake in crushing the protests. Saudi Arabia is well-positioned for the task, as the recent beneficiary of the largest arms deal in U.S. history. Despite the threats, Rajab was resolute: “As far as I’m breathing, as far as I’m alive, I am going to continue. I believe in change. I believe in democracy. I believe in human rights. I’m willing to give my life. I’m willing to give anything to achieve this goal.”
and from David Walsh via Information Clearing House he argues the same point that Obama is guilty of ignoring the bloodshed in Bahrain as the Saudis continue with a brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters.

"US-backed Bahrain Regime Tortures, Murders Critics" By David Walsh April 13, 2011 "WSWS"

-- The regime of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Bahrain, which the Obama administration backs to the hilt, is continuing its violent repression of political opposition. The Khalifa regime imposed a state of emergency, after its security forces, backed by troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, violently cleared protesters from Pearl Square in Manama, the kingdom’s capital, on March 16.

More than 400 people have been arrested, including human rights activists, doctors, bloggers and oppositionists. Twenty-seven political opponents and protesters are officially reported dead and dozens are missing. A leading newspaper has been shut down and its editors and reporters threatened with imprisonment.

Two Shiite activists have been murdered in prison, according to human rights organizations and the families of the victims. The Bahraini interior ministry claimed that Ali Issa Saqer, 31, died when guards tried to restrain him for “causing chaos.” According to news reports, however, Saqer’s corpse showed telltale signs of torture and abuse.

The BBC reports that “Photos taken before his burial showed criss-cross purple lash marks all over his [Saqer’s] back. His legs were also badly bruised, and his toes and feet were covered in purple bruises.

“There was a big bruise on the left side of his head and possible burn marks on his ankles and wrists, said Daniel Williams, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch (HRW), who viewed the body as it was being prepared for burial.

“‘This looked much worse than anything I've seen,’ Mr Williams said, referring to other cases in Bahrain of apparent lash marks seen on the backs of people detained at checkpoints.”

Zakaraya Rashed Hassan, 40, was “found dead” in a jail cell, according to Bahrain’s officials. An official postmortem alleged he died of complications from sickle-cell anemia. Hassan’s family dismissed the claim. The victim was detained April 2 on charges of “inciting hatred, publishing false news, promoting sectarianism and calling for the overthrow of the regime” on social networking sites.

Williams of Human Rights Watch told the BBC, “It is extremely scary that in all three cases of the deaths last week, the families only heard about their loved ones when they were [already] dead.”

Nabeel Rajab of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights told the media, “We believe they [the authorities] killed them in prison.” In retaliation, Bahrain’s government turned around and accused Rajab of fabricating images and publishing them on the Internet; he was called in for questioning, in an effort to intimidate anyone considering further exposure of the government’s crimes.

Rajab told the Guardian, “They want to do their crimes in secret. … I am one of the few human rights activists who has not yet been arrested and the government wants to silence me and prevent me from doing my work.”

Zainab Alkhawaja, the daughter of another prominent human rights activist, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, launched a hunger strike April 11 to protest the beating and arrest of her father, along with the detention of her husband, brother-in-law and uncle.

Alkhawaja alleges that masked men burst into her family’s home and beat her father unconscious before the eyes of his family. She posted an angry open letter to President Barack Obama on her blog Monday.

Describing the arrest, she writes that her father never “raised a hand to resist” his assailants, “and the only words he said were ‘I can't breathe’. Even after he was unconscious the masked men kept kicking and beating him while cursing and saying that they were going to kill him. This is a very real threat considering that in the past two weeks alone three political prisoners have died in custody. The special forces also beat up and arrested my husband and brother-in-law.”

With considerable bitterness, Zainab Alkhawaja directly addresses Obama: “When you were sworn in as president of the United States, I had high hopes. I thought: here is a person who would have never become a president if it were not for the African-American fight for civil liberties; he will understand our fight for freedom. Unfortunately, so far my hopes have been shattered. I might have misunderstood. What was it you meant Mr. President? YES WE CAN… support dictators? YES WE CAN… help oppress pro-democracy protesters? YES WE CAN… turn a blind eye to a people’s suffering? …

“I am writing this letter to let you know, that if anything happens to my father, my husband, my uncle, my brother-in-law, or to me, I hold you just as responsible as the AlKhalifa regime. Your support for this monarchy makes your government a partner in crime. I still have hope that you will realize that freedom and human rights mean as much to a Bahraini person as it does to an American, Syrian or a Libyan and that regional and political considerations should not be prioritized over liberty and human rights.”

The US remains steadfast in its support for the murderous Khalifa regime, even as Washington blathers on about “democracy” and “human rights” in Libya.

and so it goes,
GORD.

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