The scene is being prepared in Bahrain for a bloodbath following a hate-filled speech this week by Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman al Khalifa in which he effectively declared war on the population, equating pro-democracy protesters with terrorists and foreign agents.
“This island will burn to a cinder all those who seek to tamper with its security and stability,” said the Khalifa premier. This corrupt ruler should be arrested for inciting mass murder, and yet the British and American government sponsors of the Bahraini regime say nothing of condemnation. Indeed, these Western governments and their silent news media are complicit in the crimes against humanity in Bahrain.
Khalifa bin Salman is the oldest unelected prime minister in the world, holding office since 1971 when the Persian Gulf kingdom was granted nominal independence by Britain. One of the richest men in the world, he is notorious for plundering the oil wealth of the Bahraini people for his own aggrandizement and that of this crony family – all with British and American government approval.
Earlier this month the Western-backed Khalifa regime invoked even more draconian police-state emergency powers via its unelected rubber-stamp parliament. These powers criminalize all public demonstrations and free speech. The regime has thus given itself a legalistic green light to allow its mercenary police to use lethal force against pro-democracy protests, and to carry out mass arrests and disappearances of anyone it smears as “inciting hatred and violence”.
This applies to the majority of Bahrain’s mainly Shia population who for the past two years (and decades before that) have been demanding an elected representative government to replace the Khalifa absolute monarchial dictatorship.
The Khalifa elite is a Sunni clan, originally from Central Arabia, who were imposed on Bahrain’s indigenous population under the British Empire. Since 1783, the Khalifa regime has subjugated the Bahraini people with oppressive laws and all forms of exploitation, while denying their democratic right of national self-determination.
In recent months, the regime has stepped up its brutal repression towards the Shia population – some 70 per cent of nation. House raids by masked plain-clothed paramilitaries have targeted villages across the island hauling off hundreds of civilians to unknown detention centers.
Among those disappeared are human rights activists, citizen journalists, photographers and lawyers, women and children. This targeting is a deliberate state terrorist measure to silence reports of the crimes that the regime is escalating against the populace.
Some of those detained include award-winning photographers Hussain Hubail and Ahmed Humaidan, as well as journalist Mohammed Hassan.
Bahraini legal sources attest that the detainees have been subjected to torture and gross mistreatment. Another unlawfully detained is female peace activist Rihanna al-Musawi. The mother of three has also been tortured, including being stripped naked in front of male guards and beaten. Her abuses include having her head shoved down a toilet.
Bahrain is thus being sealed off from the outside world, with Western complicity, so that the regime can step up its slaughter of innocent civilians.
In tandem, there is evidence that the Khalifa dictatorship is being supervised by Western intelligence in ways to intensify the repression. Britain has always retained a tight relationship with their Khalifa stooges, ever since nominal independence.
This week marks the country’s so-called Independence Day on 14th August, when British troops vacated the island in 1971. The occasion should really be called Dependence Day because of the parasitic relationship that Britain holds over Bahrain, with the Khalifa regime serving as the local enforcer of British interests against the democratic aspirations of the majority.
Since 1971 to this day, the Khalifa apparatus of repression and torture is maintained through British security intelligence and expertise. The United States is also a guarantor of Khalifa repression through the presence of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet base. But it is Britain that oversees the nitty-gritty of Bahrain’s barbarity.
The senior advisor to the regime on policing and security is John Yeats, the former assistant commissioner of Scotland Yard, London. He follows a long tradition of British police and military personnel liaising with the Khalifa National Security Agency and instructing it in “scientific methods” of repression: crowd control, detention, torture, psyops, and, generally, state terrorism to crush pro-democracy movements that threaten the British and American-backed dictatorship.
It is noteworthy that since Yeats’ appointment in December 2011 as “an advisor”, the Bahrain regime has implemented, in addition to the usual brutal police violence, more ‘refined’ techniques that are straight out of official British counterinsurgency doctrine. These techniques include the use of pseudo gangs and violence to discredit the pro-democracy movement, and the use of disinformation through the pliant pro-regime news media to delegitimize protests.
The British police advisor is known to have accompanied Bahraini Ministry of Interior officers on trips to London, where they have met with members of Britain’s MI5.
Consistent with the British tutelage in the black arts of state terrorism is the surge in explosions and violent attacks that have been blamed on the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain. The homes of pro-regime politicians have been hit with petrol bombs for example. No one has been injured in those attacks but they were attributed without evidence to anti-government activists.
Last month, on 17 July, a Sunni mosque in the Riffa area close to the Khalifa Royal Palace was reportedly damaged with a car bomb. But Bahraini sources say that the car was exploded in a remote car park and that regime agents moved the charred wreckage next to the mosque, which was then photographed by the loyal news media and reported as a “terrorist act”.
Three young Bahraini men were reportedly arrested and charged over that explosion. But in Bahrain, young men from the Shia population are routinely arrested without warrant and taken to the British-run Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in the Adliya area of the capital, Manama.
There, they are invariably tortured for weeks and denied access to lawyers. One special technique of torture is the “falaka” in which the prisoner is hung from the ceiling by his wrists with handcuffs.
The victim is suspended for hours in front of an air conditioning unit and his body beaten by guards. When he passes out from the pain, the guards revive him with buckets of cold water.
After weeks of this torture, men and women are broken physically and psychologically to the point where they will sign any confession – even when that will result in them being sent to life imprisonment by an Al Khalifa judge.
Even where incidents have purportedly involved fatalities of police officers in explosions there is evidence that the regime has fabricated the alleged killings. Bahrain’s morgues are full of indigent laborers from South Asia. It is easy to contrive false identities and attribute them to “dead policemen” who are reportedly killed in the “line of duty”.
Alongside the surge in apparent “terrorism” in Bahrain, the regime and its advisors have embarked on a psychological campaign through the local media to whip up sectarian hatred between the island’s indigenous Sunni and the majority Shia community.
A special noxious twist to this black propaganda is to insinuate that the Shia community is acting as a tool of foreign subversion. Iran is blamed as the source of instability. In this way, the regime inflames sectarian tensions and sets up a scenario of “loyal citizens” and “traitors”.
A recent billboard in a pro-regime district of Bahrain proclaimed: “Iranians are like a landmine. You have to keep your foot on them otherwise they will blow up in your face”.
Again, the fingerprints of British counterinsurgency theory and practice can be readily seen in the Bahraini regime’s repression, the tactics of divide and rule to discredit and crush what are otherwise legitimate calls for democratic rights.
Last week, Bahrain’s so-called King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa (nephew of the aging prime minister) was in London where he was received in Downing Street by the British premier David Cameron.
The red carpet was rolled out for the Bahraini monarch. Top of their agenda was completion of a deal in which British Aerospace is to sell 12 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Bahrain, with a price tag of USD 1.5 billion.
The fighter jets are only the latest item in a long inventory of military equipment that Britain supplies the Bahrain regime, including poisonous gas, shotguns and armored vehicles.
Cameron’s cozy pot of tea for the Bahraini dictator amid the ongoing slaughter of Bahraini people is another green light for a murderous crackdown.
The sinister scene is now set for even more bloodshed in Bahrain, with British and American silent complicity. In the words of the Bahraini Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salam, the regime is gearing up to “eradicate terrorism” and “all evil plots”.
As in Egypt, the Bahraini regime is giving itself a carte blanche to cut down civilians in the streets for “the crime” of calling for democratic freedom. And the British and American governments and their so-called news media are making sure that such state terrorism is wielded with impunity.
The struggle of the Bahraini people for democratic freedom starkly proves the real interests of the British and American governments. These governments, despite all their lofty rhetoric that is amplified by their propaganda news media, are in reality supporting murderous dictatorships to kill democracy.
Updated: Aug. 14, 2013
[DS added the video.]
Mass anti-govt protests shake Bahrain on Independence Day
RussiaToday on Aug 14, 2013
Police in Bahrain have fired tear gas and birdshot at protesters. This, however, could be just the start, as the Gulf nation’s authorities prepare for a major crackdown on dissent. Wednesday marks the country’s 42-nd anniversary of independence from Britain and exactly two and a half years since the current wave of unrest began. READ MORE: http://on.rt.com/hjqrm0
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