Bahrain Opposition Meeting at Frontline Club

by craig on February 23, 2013 12:35 pm in Uncategorized

Please, please, do watch the video that starts about three and a half minutes in. Absolutely horrifying yet hilarious brief account of British complicity in torture and repression in Bahrain over sixty years.

It finishes with today’s House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) announcing firmly that their current investigation into UK relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will exclude human rights. The FAC has now published 36 papers of evidence it received in support of the government of Bahrain. It refused to publish any of the 19 papers received from the Bahraini opposition, on the grounds that the complaints of Bahraini government torture and repression might be “libellous” of the people commiting the torture.

I find that fact alone absolutely stunning. It genuinely almost makes me feel suicidal when I understand the extent to which we are losing the battle for human rights and some kind of ethical approach to government and society.

The video in question is poor quality because someone taped it from the screening shown at the meeting. I had asked for the original but was told they are updating it. On the meeting itself, the accounts from Bahrainis are fascinating. There were three Bahraini ex-MPs in the audience who had not only been expelled from parliament but stripped of their Bahraini nationality for supporting the majority of Bahrainis against the despot.

I was originally asked to chair, but while I was ill they had invited someone else, so I ended up making a short speech instead, The other speakers had much more knowledge of Bahrain and are a great deal more interesting.

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21 Comments

  1. Thanks Craig.

    It’s your right to redistribute love and not wealth.
    Big money can’t buy that.

  2. HOW LONG ? NOT LONG !

    > It genuinely almost makes me feel suicidal when I understand the extent to which we are losing the battle for human rights and some kind of ethical approach to government and society.

    Actually, we’re not losing the battle for human rights. The FCO and the UK government do as their masters – the US Empire? – tell them. But the UK people _are_ waking up. As Tony Benn recently said.

    It is always darkest before the dawn. And many – most notably Noam Chomsky – have pointed out that one should _never_ believe the Muppet Stream Media’s version of the world. Why? “Es ist ein reiner Unsinn,” to quote John le Carre. “It is a pure nonsense. ; )

    He was quite good on the US Empire Nazis and their UK quisling helpers, too. -

    - “What do you think US Empire Nazis and their UK quisling helpers, are?” ; ) (ER, Spies? Ed.) – *** Crank the volume, it’s too low *** -

    - The Spy Who Came In From The Cold -

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNrjAMV0HJk#t=01m28s

    ANTI-FASCIST – REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL !

    TONY BENN

    Q. “There is a lot of discontent in Britain. Do you think it will lead to Socialism with a capital S?”

    A. “There _is_ a lot of discontent in Britain. People are understanding who runs the world. Bankers. International Corporations. Great powers – Empire.”

    “When people realise that they are powerless and want to take control of their own lives – that’s _democracy_. _That’s_ what I call socialism. That’s how we (in Britain) got votes for men. That’s how we got votes for women. That’s how we got a National Health Service – our greatest socialist achievement. I don’t think that Tony Bliar’s effect – of dismantling the Labour party – will be as lasting as people think.” @ 24.15

    “The whole Cold War was used to prevent progressive change. The Russians (won WW2 for the world and) lost 25 million people and were never going to occupy western Europe.” Paraphrased inexactly.

    Tony Benn on the US Empire, the future, Europe, the Cold War as a (US Empire) anti-progressive stunt and the return of Labour and Democracy – the engine of Britain’s progressive development. (“If you can find the money to kill people, you can find the money to help them.” Hence the National Health Service.)

    Q. “What about the special relationship?’ A. “The UK is a subject nation. Because the UK wants to remain a nuclear power and keep nuclear weapons, the UK is a subject nation to the US Empire.” HA! Thank you very much! Lobster magazine – Robin Ramsay – has it right! – @ 11.30. Starts @ 10.30 ?

    - See Lobster #58, ‘The meaning of subservience to America’ – Page 87, Issue #58 -

    - http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/issue58.php

    Tony Benn has been voted Britain’s favorite politician several times and you can see why. And why many revere him as a wonderful absolute truth teller.

    He famously retired after fifty years as an MP “to devote more time to politics” – his wife Caroline’s line – and he’s still doing it. Tony Benn is now 87. Go Tony! : ) -

    - Tony Benn – 29.00 minutes – 25th January, 2013 – Voice of Russia radio –

    - http://ruvr.co.uk/radio_broadcast/73145563/102427733.html

  3. Craig, what can I say? I sympathise. For a short while it looked like some progress was about to be made, but the establishment closed ranks and the corporate media failed to hold them to account, and now the corporate entertainments industry is busy justifying torture and making it acceptable to the public. The whole thing is sickening.

    Best wishes, Craig.

  4. Much of the footage in the film can be found on Adam Curtis’ blog, in a ramblong but fascinating post about Bahrain:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/posts/if_you_take_my_advice_-_id_rep

    I don’t think the British Govt or FCO ever really believed in human rights beyond paying it lip service or as a pretext for demonisation of a particular regime.
    I just think they’ve gotten worse at covering up their contempt for the concept.

  5. I put up a link to the Frontline video on the Bethlehem thread over a week ago. Can’t believe that they have not got a better quality copy out by now.

    15 Feb, 2013 – 8:50 am
    The video of last night’s debate is here.

    1hr 28mins Craig speaks at 25mins

    LIVE @ 7pm: Two years of revolution: Bahrain’s uprising and Britain’s position http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcCLIANnw3Y&feature=player_embedded#!

  6. ANTI-FASCIST – REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL – 2

    John le Carre on the US Empire Nazis – ‘the wrong element in the US’ – HA!, Thatcher, War and more.

    “Under Thatcher whose influence upon my country I detest….” – @ 4.50. “We in old Europe know about war and we don’t want anymore war. We hate war. The United States, alas, has still to interpret politics in military terms and that’s a catastrophe.” @6.00 -

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eukzmGPDHJE#t=04m50s

    “Neo-Cons – A plundering movement.” Le Carre has the measure of the US Empire Nazi _uggers! –

    Q. Why is there a war on terror?

    A. “Because the US has not learned how to hold itself together without an external enemy.” “What you have to do – ask Karl Rove – is make sure that people are frightened.” !!! – @3.36 –

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGhNVmZlGyo#t=03m36s

    “These days it’s very hard to buy, or to read, uninfluenced, unbought, opinion. Whether in the press, in politics, on radio, on television. Increasingly people are afraid of offending against the corporate or the collective voice.”

    Which doesn’t even start to consider the (im)pure propaganda organs like the Grauniad and Monbiot and oh so many more!? ; ) (See Operation Mockingbird! Ed). -

    - Part 3 – @ 7.18

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eukzmGPDHJE#t=07m18s

  7. Harry Barracuda

    24 Feb, 2013 - 9:39 am

    “There were three Bahraini ex-MPs in the audience who had not only been expelled from parliament but stripped of their Bahraini nationality for supporting the majority of Bahrainis against the despot.”

    I think you mean “There were three Iranians who had not only been expelled from parliament but stripped of the Bahraini passports that they were given as a gesture of goodwill, for supporting the Shi’a Bahranis’ violence against the police, expatriates from the subcontinent and the rest of the security apparatus”.

    These people start *every* *single* *incidence* *of* *violence* and send their teenagers and children to the front line to get hurt, so that suckers like you will weep for them.

  8. Hairy toothless Barracuda makes it obvious that even such drastic measures does not stop those hurt for decades to demand their human rights.

    Thanks for your eloquent contribution, you must be some sap sucker yourself to bother, on the weekend rota one presumes.

  9. A British state that is fascist at home, isn’t going to be democratic abroad.

    @ Ex Pat, nice to see Robin get a nod (that’s strictly between you, me and the eavesdropping device.;O))

  10. The exiled English literature professor described a peaceful pro-democrary demonstration at his college which was bloodily attacked by a mob supporting the dictatorship. So I wonder where the asterix emoting commenter is coming from. Reads not unlike the Butcher of Bahrain himself : ” thet wis aan owrganised demonstration, its anti-british* anti-sheik* and anti-mee* “

  11. Thankyou, Craig, very much for posting this enormously informative video. I did not know much about Bahrein and it was very educational. It also occurs to me that perhaps because Bahrein is a small country and because all the panellists were articulate and comfortable with one another that between you you contrived to offer a fascinating and comprehensive overview of the way Anglo-American imperialism operates both in theory and on the ground in the modern world.

    In particular of course the role of the Saudis as a fulcrum of many ideologies stands behind the whole situation.

  12. Adam Curtis at the BBC did a good post on British hypocrisy in Bahrain.

  13. ANTI-US EMPIRE UK QUISLINGS – REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL -3

    DEMOCRACY

    Must Watch – Tony Benn – ‘Big Ideas That Changed The World: Democracy’ – Full 37:00 – includes Solutions – Organize! @ 33.30, missing from the Youtube version in parts. Funny how that works, eh? ! ; ) -

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rokTiJfL4WY

    - Tony Benn with Michael Moore on the NHS – “Britain’s greatest socialist achievement” – Sicko –

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LnY-jy_cE0#t=00m46s

    “Each and every one of us has to be given confidence. If anyone asks me what I hope people will say of me after I have gone, I hope it will be, ‘Tony Benn – he encouraged us.’ I would like that written on my gravestone.”

    Tony Benn – a noble, noble man.

    See Articles -> Articles and Articles -> Audio/Visual

    See Added 8/26/08 for for later Articles and Audio/Visual

    Tony Benn – Search for ‘bennites’ web site via Wayback machine –

    - http://web.archive.org/web/20111219054324/http://www.bennites.com/

    SO. HOW LONG ? NOT LONG !

    Tony Benn wipes the floor with US Empire Nazi ‘Bonkers’ Bolton. Because it’s a pleasure to see Bolton getting metaphorically punched in the face again and again and again. ; ) –

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YsJhLqgKHY#t=03m58s

  14. I was watching it and was probably about halfway into Craig’s part when the youtube crashed: ” :-( The Adobe Flash plugin has crashed”

    582 views

    sigh

  15. Craig speaks first – @ 25:00 – 7 minutes.

    Secondly @ 1:23:00 – 1:26:35

    Transcript of second time

    Q. @ 1:20:15

    “The feeling is that I don’t want to see another Arab country wrecked by uprisings that are ruthlessly put down. Where we’ve seen this happening in the countries that Britain and America and Israel are fond of, like Israel itself, the people are being repressed and we’re not supporting them and it’s very tragic. Where we’ve been on the side of the rebels, as in the case of Libya and Syria, it’s even worse because the whole country is being wrecked and everybody is suffering as a result.

    I just wondered whether you have a plan that’s going to deal with the huge American pressure from their interests there to stop the country getting wrecked due to this suppression of the inevitable uprising.

    Q. @ 1:22:00 – Jalal Fairooz –

    “I’m a former MP in Bahrain. I just need to raise this issue with the former Ambassador. (Craig Murray, for it is he! ; ) ).

    “For what reason do you think the British government will NOT think that the long terms interests of the British people and the British economy will be in a stable Bahrain even though Bahraini opposition will be either part, or even fully, in control of the government when you see that on the other side will be more eruption, when you see that for the the two years of repression more problems happened and I agree with the gentleman before me. If you don’t come into this issue – of understanding the people’s request then you will have another Libya or Syria, or whatever. Even though you can see how peaceful and how enlightened they are – I’m talking about the opposition – they are refusing any violence at all. So why don’t you think that in the long term it will be for the British people to support the opposition. Thank you very much.”

    Chair – “Thank you very much. Craig, would you answer both questions.”

    A. @ 1:23:12 – Craig Murray –

    “I think the British government’s calculation is that the regime can survive – and can survive for decades – and that reform and change is not inevitable. They calculate that the current situation serves them very well. It keeps Saudi very happy. It keeps the Americans happy – they have the fifth fleet in Bahrain. It keeps a significant part of the British establishment which has commercial and personal ties to the Bahraini ruling elite. It keeps them happy to.

    So they think that they have everything they want from the status quo. And, they believe …, we’ve seen – and this often turns out to be truer than you would wish-, we’ve seen from the video – that for over fifty years the people of Bahrain have been struggling for freedom and have not obtained it.

    And the British government thinks that as long as there is no reform, as long as the lid is kept on, that it can last for another fifty years. British diplomats tend to be very well read and one thing which is very current is, of course, is the theory of Alexis de Tocqueville, the great 19th century French historian who said that the moment of maximum danger for any regime is when it starts to reform and that’s a philosophy which is much understood in the British Foreign Office and their philosophy is that regimes should not start to reform because otherwise they will be in danger.

    I saw this. When I was in Uzbekistan I argued exactly the same. I said “There’s a dictatorship here which is hated. There’s great pressure building up against the regime. We’re seen to support the regime. One day there’ll be an explosion and the worrying thing is that the Uzbek people will hate us because they (UK gov) supported the regime.’

    And what the British government said to me was ‘Don’t worry the regime can survive for decades. We can keep the lid on.’ And I, uh, I actually didn’t believe them. I believed there would be a revolution in Uzbekistan before now and there hasn’t been.

    And the sad thing is that in this harsh world of realpolitik if you don’t actually care about rights, don’t care about reform and don’t care about anything except money you can keep the lid on with vicious torture, repression, foreign armies. You can do it.

    And what we have to encourage is a great swelling of resistance to that philosophy both in Bahrain and in the UK. Which partly is the answer to the first question as well. That “Is there a nice simple straightforward negotiated solution to all this, where everything ends up peacefully and there’s very little damage in the country?’ and my feeling is that, sadly, there’s very few examples in history of brutal, dictatorial regimes giving up power gracefully. It just doesn’t tend to happen. So I do think we are going to see more horror and more disaster before we see the light.

    Chair – “Well there you go. That’s a note to end on, isn’t it! …”

    Followed by a summing up that British foreign policy is based on British interests and that with large financial interests in Bahrain, they were considered before the opposition.

  16. Craig – @ 25:00 – 7 minutes.

    Freedoms disappearing. March on parliament and get arrested. William Hague – have to deal with countries not perfect. Yet in others we do attempt to change governments – Afghanistan – Iraq. Britain’s policy not consistent.

    Craig Murray is farseeing and has a wonderfully clear view of the situation, but he is bemused by the UK’s policy inconsistencies.

    Unless it is consistent with the inconsistencies of the US Empire’s policies. The strange missing factor ‘X’ being the US Empire and its policies and Britain’s supine lapdog acceptance of each and every one ?!

    Tony Benn, Robin Ramsay and John le Carre all describe UK subservience to the US Empire.

    ROBIN RAMSAY

    Robin Ramsay of Lobster magazine points out the strangeness of Craig Murray not foreseeing the likely results of opposing US Empire policy.

    A tad harsh? Who would expect to get stitched up by his own FCO colleagues? If none had ever opposed US Empire policy within living memory there would have been no living example. ; ) Bravo Craig, anyway!

    We’ve all got blind spots. But the US Empire … as a blind spot? Insert jokes on overweight USans and the unlikely-hood of failing to see the US Empire’s existence here. ; )

    - See Lobster #58, ‘Craig Murray’ – Page 87, Issue #58 – And ‘The meaning of subservience to America’ on the same page.’ Twofer! -

    - http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/issue58.php

    JOHN LE CARRE

    “I don’t believe we should ever have enslaved ourselves to United States foreign policy to the extent that we have done. … And the appalling pressure that the United States is exerting on European liberalism – forcing us to accept these black prisons – shipping prisoners to countries that we would entertain in the woodshed – I am deeply ashamed. I am deeply embarrassed that my Prime Minister became the minstrel, the herald for this deeply inarticulate and completely mistaken invasion of Iraq.” @ 6.12 –

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eukzmGPDHJE#t=04m50s

  17. TONY BENN

    Q. “How would you characterize Britain’s relationship with the United States. How would you like to see it develop?”

    A. Tony Benn – “What we call the Special Relationship is really a product of the fact that we depend upon the United States in Britain for nuclear weapons, nuclear power, and therefore we are really, to that extent, a subject nation. If we want to hang onto nuclear weapons we have to follow American policy and that causes a lot of frustrations and we call it the Special Relationship and it is really a position of subservience.” @ 11.30

    - Tony Benn – 29.00 minutes – 25th January, 2013 – Voice of Russia radio –

    - http://ruvr.co.uk/radio_broadcast/73145563/102427733.html

    Some people like to think that the US and UK are “Allies.” World War 2. Blighty versus the Hun. Today it looks more the UK elite’s Mussolini to the US Empire’s Nazis – so that be the US-UK ‘Axis’ powers then? – but we digress. ; )

    The rest of the world’s view – ‘We normally get chocolates and flowers before we let someone do that to us.”

    Our brave UK US Empire boys delivering aid to Iraq, ER Somalia, ER Sudan, ER Libya, ER Syria, ER Mali (ER, Shome mistake Shurely? Ed (*) –

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdBXApgTWz0

    Some ‘humanitarian’ aid they delivered earlier. –

    - http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/05/28/243502/us-responsible-houla-massacre-majlis/

    SHIRLEY !

    “Surely you can’t be serious?” you say? You _were_ awake for the last ten years we hope. In which case your mind had better be on ‘Permanent Suspicion Of Everybody. Except Yourself. And Sometimes You Wonder About Yourself.’ –

    “I am serious and don’t call me Shirley.” – Airplane –

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo7qoonzTCE

  18. Good stuff, and transcript Ex-Pat, thanks!

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