Bahrain dictatorship helped by USA, UK


This video is called Bahrain London Protest – 19 March 2011.

By Robert Mackey of the New York Times in the USA:

May 15, 2012, 7:08 pm

Western Support for Repression in Bahrain Stretches Back Decades

Activists and pundits accused the United States of hypocrisy last week for resuming arms sales to Bahrain, despite a continuing crackdown on dissent there, even as the State Department condemned Russia for selling arms to the Syrian government.

The fact that the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet patrols the Persian Gulf from its base in Bahrain is often mentioned in discussions of why the Obama administration’s condemnation of the kingdom’s use of force against protesters over the past year has been relatively muted. What is less frequently mentioned is how closely the American military’s position in Bahrain — using it as a base to defend the kingdom and its oil-producing neighbors from potential foreign aggression while taking no position on the country’s treatment of citizens calling for democracy as criminals — parallels that maintained by Britain for much of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Adam Curtis, a British filmmaker who blogs for the BBC, recently came across this video report, broadcast in 1956 — after 11 protesters were killed at a pro-democracy demonstration during a visit by the British foreign secretary that year — which gives a vivid sense of just how long the struggle for reform has been going on in Bahrain.

As Mr. Curtis explained in a fascinating post illustrated with several reports from the BBC archives, in 1956, the protesters were calling for the removal of Charles Belgrave, who had been recruited by the British foreign office to serve as the chief adviser to Bahrain’s king three decades earlier.

After noting that Mr. Belgrave was eventually succeeded as an adviser to Bahrain’s government on security matters by another British colonial administrator who also served for decades, Mr. Curtis argued that Bahrain’s “system of oppression, the rock against which the dreams of democracy are being dashed, was largely created by the British.”

Writing just months after a former assistant police commissioner of Scotland Yard, John Yates, was recruited to help Bahrain’s police force deal with continuing protests, Mr. Curtis wrote: “throughout most of the 20th century, British advisers to the Bahraini royal family, backed up by British military might, were central figures in the creation of a ruthless system that imprisoned and sometimes tortured any Bahraini citizen who even dared to suggest the idea of democracy.”

As The Lede reported in December, in addition to Mr. Yates, Bahrain’s interior ministry also hired John Timoney, an American adviser who was once a senior officer in New York, and later served as the police chief of Philadelphia, then Miami.

As Obama OKs Weapons to Bahrain, Neurosurgeon Tortured by Regime Faces Trial for Treating Protesters: here.

US Sets Another Record on Defense Sales, Already: here.

MANAMA, Bahrain — The commander of the Bahrain-based mine countermeasures ship USS Dextrous was relieved of his duties Wednesday “due to loss of confidence in ability to command,” U.S. Navy officials said: here.

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