Tags: Nabeel Rajab

U.S. Government Reinstates Arm Sales to Bahrain Despite Rampant Human Rights Abuses

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One of the many destructive myths Americans like to tell themselves is that the U.S. government is a staunch defender of human rights and democracy around the world. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes its true, there are plenty of well intentioned individuals and organizations across America that do care very deeply about such things; the U.S. government just isn’t one of them. The facts on the ground clearly prove this to be the case. The only thing those in charge care about is raw imperial power and money. Of course, they know this. They also know that keeping the myth alive is extremely important in order to maintain the moral high ground and some degree of legitimacy in the eyes of the public.

The most recent example of what a sham the government’s purported commitment to human rights is, was last week’s revelation that the State Department may be prepared to upgrade Malaysia’s trafficking in persons ranking just to move the TPP forward. Here’s an excerpt from the post, To Pass TPP, U.S. State Dept. Upgrades Malaysia’s Human Trafficking Ranking Despite Discovery of Mass Graves:

Earlier this week, we wrote about a troubling move by the US State Department to “upgrade” Malaysia from a “tier 3″ country to a “tier 2″ country regarding human trafficking. This move came despite a near total lack of evidence of any improvement by Malaysia. In fact, just two months ago 139 mass graves were discovered for migrant workers who had been trafficked and/or held for ransom. And the US ambassador to Malaysia had publicly criticized the country for failing to tackle its massive human trafficking problem.

Today, we learn about how the U.S. government has reinstated arm sales to Bahrain despite horrific human rights abuses. From International Business Times:

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Jailed Bahraini Human Rights Activist Writes Open Letter to Obama from Prison

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There is no region in the world in which the U.S. government’s blatant disregard for human rights, and its shameless foreign policy hypocrisy, is more fully on display than the Middle East. I have spent countless hours writing about this topic (see links at the end), with Saudi Arabia being the focal point of my critique for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, Bahrain has its own litany of human rights abuses, for which Nabeel Rajab has in many ways become the official and unofficial spokesperson.

Bahrain’s abuses have been mentioned here before, although not nearly as much as they warrant; probably because it is really just a colony of Saudi Arabia and the U.S., and I have focused criticism on them instead. That said, before reading on, I’d go back and check out the 2012 article: Meet Amber Lyon: Former Reporter Exposes Massive Censorship at CNN.

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The Bahrain Ghetto: Barbed Wire Fencing Goes Up Around Certain Neighborhoods

The regime in Bahrain has been one of the world’s greatest human rights abusers over the past several years, yet there’s barely a peep by our “most transparent ever” President Barrack Obama. Why?

Well, as anyone with even the slightest degree of geopolitical awareness knows, Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which represents the regional forces responsible for protecting regional “democracy,” ie the petrodollar. In exchange for our key military base, the U.S. turns a blind eye to the autocratic activities of the feudal monarchy that runs the place. The latest civil rights abuse is the emergence of razor-wire and concrete structures around certain neighborhoods of the capital city of Manama so that the citizenry cannot engage in protest. From the Washington Post:

MANAMA, Bahrain — Inspired by the movement behind Egypt’s military coup, anti-government activists seeking more influence in Bahrain are hoping to gain new momentum by calling for nationwide protests Wednesday. Authorities warned they will “forcefully confront” any large demonstrations, raising fears of more violence in the strategic Gulf kingdom.

Concrete barriers lined major streets in the capital, Manama, and security checkpoints surrounded by barbed wire guarded roads leading to the city from majority Shiite neighborhoods that house many of the protesters. And hundreds of security forces in riot gear stood guard near armored personnel carriers around what used to be Pearl Square, the epicenter of weeks of anti-government rallies that were met with a crackdown in 2011.

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Meet Amber Lyon: Former Reporter Exposes Massive Censorship at CNN

I saw first-hand that these regime claims were lies, and I couldn’t believe CNN was making me put what I knew to be government lies into my reporting.
– Amber Lyon

The Amber Lyon story is just the latest in a series of articles that expose the total Joseph Goebbels like censorship rampant in mainstream media today.  The first one I posted several weeks ago exposed how the NY Times basically just regurgitates whatever government officials tell them, while the other showcased how an NPR reporter covering D.C. had to leave and do her own thing out of frustration.  This is precisely why alternative media sites are taking off.  They provide the only outlets left for genuine journalism.

So back to Amber.  Back in March 2011, CNN sent a four person team to Bahrain to cover the Arab Spring.  Once there, the crew was the subject of extreme intimidation amongst other things, but they were able to record some fantastic footage.  As Glenn Greenwald of the UK’s Guardian writes in his blockbuster article from today:

In the segment, Lyon interviewed activists as they explicitly described their torture at the hands of government forces, while family members recounted their relatives’ abrupt disappearances. She spoke with government officials justifying the imprisonment of activists. And the segment featured harrowing video footage of regime forces shooting unarmed demonstrators, along with the mass arrests of peaceful protesters. In sum, the early 2011 CNN segment on Bahrain presented one of the starkest reports to date of the brutal repression embraced by the US-backed regime.

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