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US Preaches Human Rights yet Fails to Order Countries like Bahrain to Cease HR Abuses

2017-05-09 - 9:11 p

Bahrain Mirror: In an article published on the Strategic Culture website Brian Cloughley notes that US Ambassador Nikki Haley rightly warned at the UN Security Council that "if this Council fails to take human rights violations and abuses seriously, they can escalate into real threats to international peace and security," singling out Burma, Cuba, Burundi, Iran, North Korea and Syria for censure and urged the nations of the world to adopt a policy of "standing for human rights." Cloughley explains that when it comes to US allies like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain; however, this policy changes.

He states that when the US State Department's Human Rights Report of March 3 is examined in detail it is obvious why Secretary of State Mr Rex Tillerson was reluctant to enthuse about his Department's findings and did not present the report in person, "because some of them don't fit in with public pronouncements concerning the essentiality of human rights in all countries."

Cloughley points out that the oppressive dictatorship of Saudi Arabia, where violations of human rights include citizens' lack of the ability and legal means to choose their government; restrictions on universal rights, such as freedom of expression, assembly, association, movement, and religion, is valued by Washington for being "the United States' largest foreign military sales customer, with nearly $100 billion in active cases".

Then there is another valued ally of the United States, Bahrain, whose king is also an autocrat with "the power to amend the constitution and to propose, ratify, and promulgate laws", Cloughley further highlights, adding that the Bahraini King's penal code specifies penalties of "no less than one year and no more than seven years in prison, plus a fine, for anyone who ‘offends the monarch of the Kingdom of Bahrain'".

Cloughley notes that the State Department records reports of "torture, abuse, and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" in Bahrain, while "societal discrimination continued against the Shia population, as did other forms of discrimination based on gender, religion, and nationality". He further stresses that these are exactly the sort of tyrannical human rights' abuses denounced so vehemently by Ambassador Haley who described the United States as "the moral conscience of the world".

"There are complications, however, in ordering Bahrain's ruler to cease torture and other inhuman punishment because, as Bloomberg reported, there were two related developments on March 29. First, the commander US Central Command, General Joseph Votel, told a Congressional Committee that foreign arms sales to allies shouldn't be burdened with preconditions tied to human rights because they could damage military-to-military ties and singled out Bahrain as an example. Then the State Department told Congress it backs the sale of 19 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters to Bahrain [for $2.7 billion] without preconditions on improved human rights previously demanded by the Obama administration."

And suddenly the country with "the moral conscience of the world" looks a trifle off-balance, says Cloughley. "It is a moral travesty to accept a little bit of torture or a morsel of gender discrimination. For example, how much torture is permissible? One shriek or two?" he asserts.

It isn't much good preaching about human rights and then embracing a policy conveying the message that if a country has "strong military ties" with the United States then it is of no consequence if it persists in "torture, abuse, and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment" of its citizens, Cloughley says concluding his article.

"This isn't just hypocrisy. It is a most regrettable example of the arrogance of power."



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