2011-02-19 More cables reveal corruption in #Bahrain

Every day the constant flow of leaks reveals why the people are fighting so hard to tear down the regime and write a new constitution: they show Bahrain as a country based on media manipulation, government lobbying and all sorts of corruption and trafficking of influences.

Policies in Iraq

On discussing political and military behavior of U.S. troops in Iraq with Ambassador to Iraq Crocker , the Crown Prince of Bahrain said that if the U.S. wants to "win the war in Iraq by using the democracy ticket, (...) that requires rallying Iraq and regional opinion, which in turn requires resolving the Israeli-Palestinian question". In the same cable, Ambassador Adam J Ereli wrote down that the Prince stressed that “If this [a democratic solution] was not possible, then the U.S. should drop democracy promotion as the main element of its strategy in Iraq and the region and rely instead on traditional power politics (...) identify strong groups that would support U.S. policies, and stand by them”. He also added, “you did it in the Cold War and you can do it now." ¨. (07MANAMA1010)

Eid Holiday 2007 - Media manipulation

On October 14 and 15, 2007, during Eid holiday (a three-day Muslim festivity that marks the end of Ramadan), activists of Al-Haq Movement, a political organization in Bahrain, tried to reach the Island of Um an-Nassan, near the fishing village of Al-Malikiya (the site of an active confrontation over fishing rights) “just off Bahrain's western coast”. On those dates, “security forces intercepted the boats” and turned back several dozen protesters. Activists subsequently circulated an "invitation" for ordinary Bahrainis to "visit" the island on the following day. When they did so, Al-Haq organizers claimed that security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd before they could launch their boats. There was, however, no retaliation against this attack, as the “Al-Wifaq society (which participates in Bahrain's parliament) told media that the protest was essentially peaceful”. In a further attempt to distort the truth, the “police chief for the area publicly praised Al-Wifaq's mediation efforts for helping to defuse the situation” and a “Malikiya municipal council official told media that some protestors attempted, but failed, to explode a propane gas cylinder”. The same cable explains: “Following the October 14 confrontation, the government issued a statement in local media saying that the island was essential for Bahrain Defense Forces training and would therefore remain off-limits to the general public. (Note: The government restricts access to some thirty smaller islands and large swaths of the southern part of Bahrain's main island. While it uses national security to justify these restrictions, it is widely believed that the access restrictions are used to reserve prime real estate for the ruling family.)” (07MANAMA950)

The Boeing Case in 2008 – Trafficking of influences

Cable 08MANAMA47 recounts the U.S. Ambassador interfering and lobbying for U.S. companies. “Following months of heavy lobbying by the Ambassador, the Crown Prince and King rejected a Gulf Air proposal to buy Airbus and directed the airline to make a deal with Boeing. Gulf Air signed an agreement valued at $6 billion with Boeing on January 13, in time to coincide with a POTUS visit. The agreement represents a significant Embassy commercial advocacy success”. It also points out that “Gulf Air was then still jointly owned by the Governments of Bahrain and Oman and Embassies Manama and Muscat each lobbied their respective host governments on Boeing's behalf”. Boeing ended up sending a message expressing its gratefulness for the Ambassador. “In a letter of thanks to the Ambassador Boeing stated, "Your continued effort to touch the right leaders and remain a strong advocate for Boeing in this process made an enormous difference in the final outcome. The working together activity between you, your team, and Boeing is a model that we should really aspire to replicate in other countries."”

Maintaining a Corrupt Regime

The leaked cables offer a glimpse of the level of corruption going on in the upper spheres of the regime, on the other end, the streets are becoming more and more unsafe and violent thanks to the repression by those who wish to stay in command. Until now at least ten people have been killed and hundreds are injured, some of the stories surfacing on social networking sites state that hospitals have been attacked and paramedics were beaten for trying to help wounded protesters. A couple of hours ago a video of peaceful protestors being assassinated in Manama by the armed forces surfaced on the Internet, it is very explicit in nature but it illustrates the point perfectly. Therefore, viewers are warned, extremely graphic content ahead:

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