Bahrain hit by doctors' desertion Major medical ethics conference is cancelled in the troubled kingdom Robert Fisk, 240313

Bahrain hit by doctors' desertion

Major medical ethics conference is cancelled in the troubled kingdom

Bahrain's already tarnished reputation for human rights will receive a body blow today with the cancellation of a major conference on medical ethics in the tiny island monarchy, and the resignation of the Irish director of Bahrain's principal medical school.

At least 20 civilians were killed by government forces – opposition leaders say the figures is four times as great – in the failed uprising by the majority Shia Muslim community against the minority Sunni-led government of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa two years ago. Security forces stormed hospitals in the kingdom and tortured patients in medical care, tearing apart the hitherto non-sectarian health service. The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) – which trained many of the doctors later arrested by the regime – was bitterly criticised after the violence for not condemning government brutality.

John Pilger: "Islamic terrorism" is the invented excuse for theft of Africa's riches

John Pilger -
30 January 2013

A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. Reported by Associated Press on Christmas Day, this was missing from most Anglo-American media.

The invasion has almost nothing to do with "Islamism", and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the US and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine. As in the cold war, a division of labour requires that western journalism and popular culture provide the cover of a holy war against a "menacing arc" of Islamic extremism, no different from the bogus "red menace" of a worldwide communist conspiracy.

Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments.
Last year, Africom staged Operation African Endeavor, with the armed forces of 34 African nations taking part, commanded by the US military. Africom's "soldier to soldier" doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are missing.

It is as if Africa's proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master's black colonial elite whose "historic mission", warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the promotion of "a capitalism rampant though camouflaged".

A striking example is the eastern Congo, a treasure trove of strategic minerals, controlled by an atrocious rebel group known as the M23, which in turn is run by Uganda and Rwanda, the proxies of Washington.

US hypocrisy on parade: arming Bahrain while denouncing Russia for arming Syria

US hypocrisy on parade: arming Bahrain while denouncing Russia for arming Syria

Barack Obama says: “We stand for principles that include universal rights for all people and just political and economic reform.” Except when it comes to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

By Doug Bandow
18 June 2012

Saudi Arabia sent tanks into Bahrain to help crush the democracy protests.

It wasn’t that long ago when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Syrian President Bashar Assad was a force for reform.  Now she is outraged that Russia is allegedly backing Assad with weapons.  At the same time, the US  is arming the government of Bahrain, which oppresses its Shia majority.

Anger at Bahrain medic prison sentences

Nine medical workers were sent to prison on Thursday in Bahrain. This capped off an eventful 24 hours in the Gulf state and the year-long uprising threatens to spill over once more.

Even the US, a staunch ally of the state, described the sentences as “deeply disappointing”. The trial of the medical workers, that drew widespread condemnation in September of last year, came to an end.

Dr. Ali Alekry, a vocal critic of the Bahrani regime, was sentenced to five years in prison while eight others received terms ranging from one month and three years. The most outlandish accusations – of possessing weapons and occupying the main hospital – were dropped. But in attempt to appease regime hardliners harsh sentences were still upheld.

Some defendants were acquitted. One of those, Dr Fatima Haji, said, “I feel very sad for my colleagues and frustrated.”

Amongst the medics there is no sense that this was a victory. Instead the sentences are understood as a continuation of the targeting of witnesses and victims of the government crackdown on democracy protesters.

Despite the crackdown – aided by forces from neighbouring Saudi Arabia – daily protests continue in villages combined with regular mass protests that attract more than 100,000 people. During a police raid on the village of Dair on Tuesday night a four year old boy was shot by security forces while standing with his father who was selling fish on the side of the road. He remains in intensive care.

At the beginning of the week Sheikh Ali Salman, leader of the main opposition party Al Wefaq, made a fiery speech saying,

“If you call all of the surrounding armies, it cannot stop us.”

He went on to openly criticise the military and it’s leadership. Many were surprised by the tone of the speech who is known for a more reformist approach.

BAHRAIN - The US is siding with the regime in its campaign against its citizens through its silent complicity over its ally's cr

The US is siding with the regime in its campaign against its citizens through its silent complicity over its ally's crimes and through continuation of arms sales.

By Murtaza Hussain
21 April 2012

Bahrain riot police confront democracy protesters.

BAHRAIN AND THE WEST - unpublished letter to Irish Times, 220412.


there are three key aspects of the Bahraini uprising that must be known:
Firstly, the uprising is hugely significant in proportion to the uprisings in neighbouring countries. Eighty people have been killed out of a small population of just over 1.2 million (0.6 million of these naturalised expatriates). This is equivalent to over 5000 dead in the Egyptian revolution. Nonetheless, the proportion of the population who are demonstrating has not elicited any serious expressions of concern from western powers nor serious coverage by the western media.
Secondly, the Bahraini authorities are playing the sectarian card against the protesters – invoking yet again, as occurred previously in Iraq, a conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslim, and the demonisation of the perceived regional evil - Iran.
The protesters on Pearl Roundabout in March 2011 were mainly Shia, due to the awful discrimination in all aspects of work and cultural life against this larger demographic group by the ruling Sunni elite. Yet many Sunnis were prominent amongst the protesters last year, including those arrested.
Thirdly and most importantly, the brutal suppression of the uprising in March 2011 by the Bahraini security forces was assisted by the western-backed Saudi military.
Western leaders have an appalling record of supporting and arming the despotic regimes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain Activist May Die from Hunger Strike

Bahrain Activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja May Die from Hunger Strike 
Bahraini democracy activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja may soon die in prison from a self-imposed hunger strike in the quest for the freedom of his country. Isn't it time you stood up for his freedom?
Demand the release of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, who is now on his 55th day of a hunger strike and may soon die from organ failure.
See here: Jailed Bahraini activist on hunger strike may die | AFP
Amnesty urges Bahrain to free activist on hunger strike | BBC
Bahrain hunger striker's life in danger, daughter says | CNN