Reviewing the news from Bahrain today, I came across a link to one that local activists are circulating as a prime example of what they are facing every day. That video is the one to the left – and while quite disturbing, it does not contain any footage that would merit the warning label slapped on it by YouTube:

The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as being potentially offensive or inappropriate. Viewer discretion is advised.

As I’ve noted before, the same has been done for even videos of completely peaceful marches in Saudi Arabia. You really have to wonder just who is able to mark such reports as “potentially offensive”?

What you see is the beating of three young, unarmed men by “security” forces – likely Bahraini though some reports say that the ones wearing masks may also be Saudi.

This treatment has become all too common in the streets of Bahrain as the government – with American nods and winks – continues it’s brutal crackdown.

This second video provides a particularly good overview of what conditions are like right now and the reporter, Yaara Bou Melhem of Australia’s Dateline, interviews some of the people whose stories we’ve been recounting over the past weeks.

As we’ve mentioned, the Obama administration has been complicit in this crackdown – with major figures like Mullen and Gates meeting with the King on very friendly terms, Clinton whispering Iran fears, and Obama merely issuing a weak tea statement of “concern,” never once expressing even slight worry about the brutality of what we are seeing each day.

Two weeks ago, former ambassador Craig Murray noted:

A senior diplomat in a western mission to the UN in New York, who I have known over ten years and trust, has told me for sure that Hillary Clinton agreed to the cross-border use of troops to crush democracy in the Gulf, as a quid pro quo for the Arab League calling for Western intervention in Libya.

The hideous King of Bahrain has called in troops from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait to attack pro-democracy protestors in Bahrain.

Can you imagine the outrage if Gadaffi now called in the armies of Chad. Mali and Burkina Faso to attack the rebels in Ben Ghazi?

Today, Pepe Escobar has more in his latest for the Asia Times:

You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a “yes”

Escobar goes on:

The al-Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain is essentially a bunch of Sunni settlers who took over 230 years ago. For a great deal of the 20th century they were obliging slaves of the British empire. Modern Bahrain does not live under the specter of a push from Iran; that’s an al-Khalifa (and House of Saud) myth. ??Bahrainis, historically, have always rejected being part of a sort of Shi’ite nation led by Iran. The protests come a long way, and are part of a true national movement – way beyond sectarianism. No wonder the slogan in the iconic Pearl roundabout – smashed by the fearful al-Khalifa police state – was “neither Sunni nor Shi’ite; Bahraini”.

??What the protesters wanted was essentially a constitutional monarchy; a legitimate parliament; free and fair elections; and no more corruption. What they got instead was “bullet-friendly Bahrain” replacing “business-friendly Bahrain”, and an invasion sponsored by the House of Saud. ??

And the repression goes on – invisible to US corporate media. Tweeters scream that everybody and his neighbor are being arrested. According to Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, over 400 people are either missing or in custody, some of them “arrested at checkpoints controlled by thugs brought in from other Arab and Asian countries – they wear black masks in the streets.” Even blogger Mahmood Al Yousif was arrested at 3 am, leading to fears that the same will happen to any Bahraini who has blogged, tweeted, or posted Facebook messages in favor of reform.

As he notes, the US media, apparently like YouTube with it’s “warnings,” is avoiding coverage of the violence of our allies in Bahrain. Katty Kay of the BBC made it all very clear on the Chris Mathews show – video here –when she said we should be paying attention to Bahrain but that the White House:

“would like that one to go away because there’s no real upside for them in supporting the rebellion by the Shi’ites.”

PS: One good note from Bahrain, blogger Mahmood Al Yousif, whose arrest we wrote about here, has been released.



Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com