Moral Low Ground

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As Bahraini Torturers Force Doctors and Nurses to Eat Shit, Obama Welcomes Bahraini Crown Prince to White House

Forty-seven doctors and nurses who treated pro-democracy protesters injured by security forces were put on trial in Bahrain yesterday. These medical professionals, who were just doing their jobs and upholding the Hippocratic Oath, stand accused of  trying to overthrow the al-Khalifa monarchy, which has ruled Bahrain for 200 years.

Britain’s Independent reports that the doctors told relatives that they’d been beaten with hoses and nail-studded wooden boards. They were also made to eat shit. Most were tortured into signing false confessions.

These shocking stories are in line with others coming out of Bahrain in recent weeks. Moral Low Ground reported on May 31 that female Shiite doctors were being tortured and threatened with rape by state security forces. We also reported how those same forces were arresting, beating and threatening to rape school girls as young as 12. This is all part of the ruling Sunni minority’s desperate effort to quash an uprising of mainly Shiite Bahrainis who want greater freedom and societal inclusion.

The Obama administration has been highly reluctant to criticize the al-Khalifa regime, a close Gulf ally with lots of oil that plays host to the US Navy 5th fleet. While Washington launches harsh criticism and cruise missiles at Muammar Gaddafi for his human rights violations in Libya, Bahrain has gotten a free pass.

A "great pleasure" to be amongst friends in the White House. (Photo: Helene C. Stikkel)

Shockingly, President Obama even met with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa at the White House today. According to Agence France-Presse, the President “reaffirmed the strong US commitment to Bahrain.” That’s right, Obama, the Nobel Peace laureate, has reaffirmed the strong US commitment to a ruthless regime that is murdering and torturing its own people and forcing them to eat shit.

What about Obama’s commitment to human rights? “The President emphasized the importance of following through on the government’s commitment to ensuring that those responsible for human rights abuses will be held accountable,” a White House statement said. In other words, Washington won’t do a thing to upset such an important strategic ally.

Here’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “Bahrain is a partner and a very important one to the United States and we are supportive of their 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.”

There you have it. Instead of Predator drone strikes, special forces raids or economic sanctions, the barbaric Bahraini regime gets praised as a “very important partner” by the Obama administration.

Naturally, the Crown Prince said it was a “great pleasure” to be among friends in Washington during such a “challenging time” for his kingdom.

Not nearly as challenging as it is for those poor doctors being tortured or the scores of Shiites murdered by al-Khalifa’s thugs.

The Crown Prince vowed that his regime is “committed to reform,” but if the trial of doctors and nurses is any indication, his words rings as hollow as they always have.

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