US Navy base in dictatorial Bahrain

This video says about itself:


Bahrain TV and Police caught ‘Red Handed’

Not for the atypical “Bread and Circus” crowd – Now not seen in a Sports Bar near you! Watch how the Bahrainian Reporter shuts off her mic as a screaming woman is attacked outside a hospital off camera by police, as one thug walks behind the reporter toward the woman, with the reporter pretending to lose audio to the studio.

By Robert Naiman in the USA:

“Convenient” Base Is Unexamined Excuse for U.S. Silence on Bahrain Crackdown

Posted: 10/13/11 08:27 PM ET

Pressure is building on the Obama administration to delay a proposed arms sale to Bahrain, which brutally suppressed its pro-democracy movement and continues to squash dissent, the Washington Post reports. The Pentagon wants to sell $53 million worth of armored Humvees and anti-tank missiles to Bahrain, a plan slammed by human rights groups, who want the U.S. to end its silence on the crackdown in Bahrain.

This week, five Senators — Sens. Casey, Durbin, Cardin, Menendez, and Wyden — weighed in against the arms sale in a letter to Secretary of State Clinton:

“Completing an arms sale to Bahrain under the current circumstances would weaken U.S. credibility at a critical time of democratic transition in the Middle East,” the senators wrote. “We urge you to send a strong signal that the United States does not condone the repression of peaceful demonstrators by delaying the possible arms sale until the Bahraini government releases its political prisoners, addresses the independent commission’s recommendations, and enters into meaningful dialogue with Bahraini civil society and opposition groups.”

In noting that the U.S. has been quiet on the crackdown in Bahrain, press reports usually mention the fact that the U.S. has a naval base there. In one sense, this is obviously a good thing: it’s a key piece of information, clearly, about possible U.S. motivations for silence. If this fact weren’t reported at all, one would have cause for legitimate complaint. But the way this fact is often cited gives the impression that it’s a foregone conclusion that the Administration can’t speak up about human rights in Bahrain because of the naval base.

Doesn’t this assumption deserve some interrogation? If we say boo, do we lose the base automatically? And even if we did lose the base, would that be so awful? And if losing the base were a big concern, might not it be short-sighted in the long run to tie ourselves so closely to the regime? If the Shia majority victimized by the regime perceive that the base is the reason for our silence, doesn’t this make it more likely that when democracy comes to Bahrain, a democratically-elected government will kick out the base? If the base were really so crucial, wouldn’t we consider that? Is the presence of the base a “get out of jail free card” for justifying current policy?

Shouldn’t these questions be considered before automatically assuming that “U.S. interests” demand our silence on the crackdown?

Meanwhile, the conspiracy theories about the not really believable “Iranian government-Mexican drug dealers Saudi ambassador murder plot” get nuttier and nuttier.

The New York Times reports:

Saudi Claims Alleged Iranian Plotter Also Orchestrated Bahrain Unrest

Washington and Iran: the reckless policy of provocation: here.

British Royal Navy officer hanged himself ‘by accident’ in Bahrain, inquest finds: here.

7 thoughts on “US Navy base in dictatorial Bahrain

  1. U.S. lawmaker urges delay in arms sales to Bahrain

    By Agence France-Presse

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    WASHINGTON — The United States should delay the sale to Bahrain of any items in a proposed $53 million weapons package that could be used against protesters there, a US senator said Thursday.

    “I urge the administration to delay the sale of any items within the proposed weapons package that could be used to disrupt peaceful dissent,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio said in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    Rubio said Washington should for now withhold items “that could be use to disrupt, monitor, or otherwise restrict the Bahraini people’s right to peacefully assemble and petition their government.”

    The senator’s letter came as pressure mounted in the US Congress against the proposed sale after Bahraini security forces in mid-March crushed a month-long protest that authorities say left 24 people dead, including four policemen.

    The opposition puts the death toll at 31.

    US lawmakers were shocked in January when it came to light that tear gas used against Egyptian demonstrators against deposed president Hosni Mubarak was found to be “Made in America.”

    Since then, some have sought tighter restrictions on weapons and non-lethal equipment provided to Middle Eastern governments that could be used against protestors in the so-called “Arab Spring” pro-democracy movement.

    Bahraini opposition groups called in a new declaration on Wednesday for an elected government and for ending discrimination against the Sunni-ruled country’s Shiite majority.

    The crackdown saw authorities sweep through Shiite villages, arresting hundreds, and scores were dismissed from their jobs.

    Hundreds are being tried by a special security court, and dozens more have received lengthy jail sentence, while at least five were sentenced to death.

    A group of Democratic senators on Wednesday urged Clinton to delay the arms sale, warning it “would weaken US credibility at a critical time of democratic transition in the Middle East.”

    “We urge you to send a strong signal that the United States does not condone the repression of peaceful demonstrators by delaying the possible arms sale” until Bahrain frees all political prisoners and seeks political reforms, they said.

    Democratic Senators Bob Casey, Richard Durbin, Benjamin Cardin, Robert Menendez, and Ron Wyden signed the letter.

    Wyden and Democratic Representative James McGovern last week introduced legislation to bar arms sales to the kingdom until it addresses “alleged human rights violations” since February.


  2. Fri, Oct. 14, 2011 08:48 AM

    Family: jailed Bahrain Shiite leader gravely ill

    The Associated Press

    Relatives of a jailed Shiite opposition leader in Bahrain say he is gravely ill, but prison authorities have not provided proper treatment.

    Hassan Mesheima’s son Mohammed says his father had treatment for cancer before he was jailed in March for his role in protests for greater rights by the Gulf kingdom’s Shiite majority.

    He says his father told him the cancer has returned and that he needed treatment. Mesheima’s family asked authorities to facilitate it, but “our efforts were rejected,” his son told The Associated Press Friday.

    Bahrain’s Information Authority said it was checking on Mesheima’s health with relevant authorities.

    Hassan Mesheima and seven other opposition leaders were convicted in June of trying to overthrow Bahrain’s Sunni rulers and sentenced to life in prison.


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