Bahrain Sues to Suppress Police State Terror Truths

Stephen Lendman

On June 14, London Independent writer Robert Fisk headlined, "I saw these brave doctors trying to save lives - these charges are a pack of lies," saying:

The Khalifa monarchy "started an utterly fraudulent trial of 48 surgeons, doctors, paramedics and nurses, accusing them of trying to topple the tin-pot monarchy of this Sunni minority emirate."

One of many Bahrain articles addressed this topic, accessed through this link.

Fisk said he witnessed medical heroism firsthand, "drenched in their patients' blood, desperately trying to staunch the bullet wounds of pro-democracy demonstrators, shot in cold blood" by state security force thugs, a Khalifa monarchy specialty.

"The idea that (these doctors) are guilty of (state crimes) is not just preposterous. It is insane, a total perversion, (the) total opposite (of) truth....(Bahrain is) a Saudi palatinate, a confederated province of Saudi Arabia, a pocket-sized weasel state from which all journalists should in future use the dateline: Manama, Occupied Bahrain."

On June 15, Independent writer Richard Hall headlined, "Bahrain 'to sue over Independent reporting,' " saying:

The Khalifa monarchy "commissioned a UK-based law firm to file a case against The Independent for its reporting on the crackdowns on (internal) protests...."

Mainly directed against Fisk's article, it also claims that:

"using columns, features and news to publish misinformation in repeated attacks on our people and rulers amounts to libel and will be treated as such in accordance with the law."

The monarchy, of course, spurns international law and its own constitution, reigning daily terror since mid-February on pro-democracy supporters. In fact, every imaginable barbarity is being inflicted, including Obama administration supported cold-blooded murder, mass arrests, detentions, torture, and bogusly charging medical providers helping victims with baseless crimes.

Lawyers for London Guardian contributor David Banks asked, "Can Bahrain's government sue the Independent for libel?" saying:

If it succeeds, it will defy "the well-established principle that governments cannot sue for libel," instituted in 1993 by the House of Lords in the Derbyshire County Council v. Times newspapers case.

Two Times articles "questioned the propriety of investments for the Council's superannuation fund. The authority sued for libel for the damage done to its reputation." The lower court denied it. The Council appealed. Dismissing it, the House of Lords said:

"It was of the highest importance that a democratically elected governmental body should be open to uninhibited public criticism, and since the threat of civil actions for defamation would place an undesirable fetter on the freedom to express such criticism, it would be contrary to the public interest for institutions of central or local government to have any right at common law to maintain an action for damages for defamation."

Since then, central and local governments weren't able to sue for libel, knowing they'd be denied. However, Banks cautioned that Britain's libel principle applies to UK "democratic governments," not police state monarchies like Bahrain, dismissing legal standards to further their own lawlessness with impunity.

Nonetheless, it would "set a curious precedent" if British courts let UK libel laws protect unelected despots, but not their own governmental bodies.

However, while authorities themselves can't sue, individuals may do so even if governments fund them. As a result, a Bahraini minister, perhaps one or more royal family members, or King Hamad, could file libel charges on their own, whether or not it could work. Facing incontrovertible evidence, that very much is in doubt.

Moreover, the "Reynolds defence" would apply - namely, that "The Independent was responsibly and fairly reporting matters of the highest public interest."

Perhaps Bahrain aims more to intimidate than prevail by pursuing expensive proceedings it can afford better than publications, giving others pause on what they say.

Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) on Bahrain

On June 15, an IHRC action alert headlined, "Bahrain to Chair UNESCO's World Heritage Committee whilst destroying its own heritage," saying:

On June 19, Bahrain began chairing the 35th Session of The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in Paris. At the same time, it's been demolishing mosques, as well as ravaging its Shia majority with impunity.

Moreover, the Khalifa monarchy has systematically destroyed Bahrain's culture for decades, including old buildings, palm tree huts, other traditions, and 21 ancient licensed mosques, including one over 640 years old.

Its membership on the World Heritage Committee is outrageous. Chairing it is intolerable. Write to Irina Bokova, UNESCO's Director-General demanding its removal, expulsion, and censure for its actions.

Bahrain Expels Independent Journalist

On June 18, Finian Cunningham was deported for reporting critically on Bahraini abuses, despite living there for three years and covering the uprising from its mid-February inception.

In a June 12 interview, he said the monarchy's call for "national dialogue" was hollow, cynical public relations, while reigning terror on its citizens. He also criticized Washington and Britain for turning a blind eye to its brazen abuses, including cold-blooded murder, torture, lawless arrests, and sham trials against innocent defendants.

Now in Belfast, he said:

"My lasting impression of Bahrain is not the brutish nation of its illegitimate rulers, but the bravery and decency of its ordinary men, women, and youths in their noble struggle for freedom."

The night he left, he witnessed 150,000 in Sitra demanding legitimate freedoms. Despite months of police state terror,

"(t)he people are stronger than ever and are more determined than ever to bring democracy and freedom to Bahrain."

Western media and governments barely notice or care, supporting ruthless terror states like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain and many others, instead of condemning, isolating, sanctioning, and ending diplomatic and economic relations.

Bahrain also threatens arrests and prosecutions for anyone speaking freely with media sources regarding human rights abuses and denial of democratic freedoms. As a result, persons appearing on camera or known to speak openly face severe recriminations.

In fact, CNN reporter Amber Lyon said sources who spoke to her later disappeared, their family members explaining they'd been arrested or forced into hiding after security forces raided their homes and threatened them. Yet Article 10 of Bahrain's Human Rights Act says:

"(E)veryone has the right of freedom expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers."

The Khalifa monarchy, in fact, spurns fundamental human rights, governing despotically, targeting anyone challenging its authority ruthlessly.

On June 20, Independent writer Alistair Dawber headlined, "Bahraini leadership faces new claims that torture took place in hospital," saying:

Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres - MSF) "alleges that (state) security forces.... regularly beat hospital patients who had injuries....sustained during the rallies that started in February."

MSF, in fact, confirmed the existence of

"a torture chamber maintained by Bahraini forces within the hospital. And it provide(d) fresh evidence that retribution was not limited to the alleged ringleaders of the protests."

A Bahraini surgeon's March 15 email to the British professor who trained him said:

"I am in the hospital exhausted and overwhelmed by the number of young lethally injured casualties. It's genocide to our people and our hospital doctors and nurses are targeted for helping patients by pro-government militia."

Two days later, Bahraini security force thugs stormed the hospital, reigning terror on pro-democracy patients and medical providers helping them.

On June 20, Bahrain 14Feb. Revolution said mentally disabled Hassan Nooh was maliciously held incommunicado for over two years.

On March 28, security forces stormed Nooh Yahya Abdalqahir's home. He was out, and Hassan there at the time was seized to force his surrender. On March 29, Abdalqahir submitted to arrest. Hassan remains in custody. Family members know nothing, expressing concern because he can't care for himself.

On June 19, Bahrain 14Feb. Revolution also said 70-year old Hasan Al-Sitri was murdered while walking in the Nuwaidrat area. Evidence showed his neck broken and a large wound on his back.

Bahrain's Interior Ministry issued conflicting reports. One said he died naturally, another that he was struck with a heavy object, and a third that he fell during a confrontation with three men, hitting his head on rocks.

The Ministry also demanded family members sign a death certificate, claiming his death was "normal." They refused, wanting an autopsy. It confirmed death from two blows with heavy objects, causing severe neck fractures.

A Final Comment

Bahrain is a lawless terror state. Its people wanting to live free are brutalized. Western media hardly notice. Washington offers wholehearted support. In early June, Obama met with crown prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa at the White House, the equivalent of welcoming a serial killer.

Afterwards he met with Hillary Clinton. She called Bahrain

"a partner, and a very important one....and we are supportive of a national dialogue and the kinds of important work that the Crown Prince has been doing in his nation, and we look forward to it continuing."

Unexplained was her support for preventing Bahraini democracy, no matter the body count to achieve it.

Stephen Lendman: I was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. Raised in a modest middle class family, attended public schools, received a BA from Harvard University in 1956 and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of PA in 1960 following 2 years of obligatory military service in the US Army. Spent the next 6 years as a marketing research analyst for several large US corporations before becoming part of a new small family business in 1967, remaining there until retiring at the end of 1999. Have since devoted my time and efforts to the progressive causes and organizations I support, all involved in working for a more humane and just world for all people everywhere, but especially for the most needy, disadvantaged and oppressed. My efforts since summer 2005 have included writing on a broad range of vital topics ranging from war and peace; social, economic and political equity for all; and justice for all the oppressed peoples of the world like the long-suffering people of Haiti and the Palestinians. Also co-hosting The Global Research News Hour, occasional public talks, and frequent appearances on radio and at times television.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site and listen to The Lendman News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.



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