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Cablegate: Bahraini Media Reaction On Iraqi Pow Treatment

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANAMA 000622

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, NEA/PPD MACINNES AND PAGNEW, NEA/ARP
CKANESHIRO
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA
USCINCCENT FOR PAO AND POLAD
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH AND HAMBLEY; PARIS FOR O'FRIEL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR KPAO OIIP BA
SUBJECT: BAHRAINI MEDIA REACTION ON IRAQI POW TREATMENT


1. Summary: For the past three days, all five Bahraini
daily newspapers have run front-page stories with banner
headlines, photos of Iraqi POWs being mistreated, and
columns about the mistreatment of Iraqi POWs. Writers and
opinion leaders have questioned U.S. values of democracy and
human rights. Bahrainis are also comparing Arab satellite
coverage of the issue with coverage on CNN and BBC World.
One managing editor told the PAO that Arabs no longer trust
CNN or BBC to report accurately on what is happening in the
region - they only trust the Arab satellite channels. Many
Bahrainis believe that the mistreatment of Iraqi POWs is
much more widespread than what has been reported in the U.S.
media. They believe that prisoners in Guantanamo and
Afghanistan have also been subjected to torture. End
summary.

2. EDITORIAL COMMENT/BLOCK QUOTES:

SEMI-INDEPENDENT ARABIC DAILY "AKHBAR AL-KHALIJ," 5/3,
COLUMNIST ABDULLA AL-AYOOBI (Bahraini columnist who is a
moderate advocate of reforms, even from the U.S.):

"I believed only one thing that Bush said when he commented
on the pictures of tortured Iraqis. I believed him when he
said that these actions did not represent the American
people. Apart from that comment, everything else he said
about the photos was a lie. We know that the American
people would never accept such practices. That is why the
American people were against the war in Vietnam and are now
against the war in Iraq."

INDEPENDENT ARABIC DAILY "AL WASAT," 5/3, COLUMNIST WALEED
NOUEIHED (Managing editor of Al Wasat, a moderate
intellectual, used to work for Al Hayat in London.):

"The pictures of tortured and degraded Iraqi prisoners
should not be surprising or shocking because this war
started with a lie. Why wouldn't Americans lie about the
values of their soldiers? The disgusting pictures are a
direct message to Arabs who have been fascinated with the
Western model and the American way of life. All American
values are fake. If these mercenaries, who came all the way
from the U.S. just to fulfill their racism against Muslims
and Arabs, do this at Abu Ghraib prison, why would they not
commit similar crimes against mosques and holy shrines and
then accuse Islamist groups for carrying out these
activities?"

INDEPENDENT ARABIC DAILY "AL WASAT," 5/3, JOURNALIST TAMAM
ABU SAFI (A moderate, twenty-something journalist, usually
pro-Western.):

"I was not as disgusted by the photographs of Iraqi POWs as
much as I was disgusted by the reaction of President Bush on
this issue. Didn't he expect these actions from soldiers
who joined the army because they failed in their studies.?
The question is what will pro-American Iraqis say about the
U.S. occupation in Iraq now? Will they still say that U.S.
actions are the democratic tools for a free Iraq?"

SEMI-INDEPENDENT ARABIC DAILY "AKHBAR AL-KHALIJ" 5/3,
BY COLUMNIST SAMEERA RAJAB (anti-American Bahraini
columnist):

"Torturing Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison is a war
crime and sets a very dangerous precedent. These pictures
in the media -- and many more posted on the internet,
including Iraqi women prisoners being raped by British and
American soldiers -- confirm the atrocities that happen
everyday, not only in Iraq but also in Guantanamo. The
American scandals and crimes have begun to be revealed . the
legend of American democracy and human rights are mere
illusions."

SEMI-INDEPENDENT ARABIC DAILY "AKHBAR AL-KHALIJ" 5/4,
COLUMNIST SAYED ZAHRA (anti-American Egyptian columnist):

"Everybody in the world, including American and British
leaders, expressed their shock about the photographs of
torture, as if they did not know of the atrocious crimes
their soldiers have been committing in Iraq. If the world
wants to know who the real criminals are, they will find
them in the White House and at 10 Downing Street. They are
not the seven or eight soldiers who tortured the prisoners.
They are the leaders of America and Britain. If the
international community has a conscience and keenness to
protect human rights, all crimes against Iraqis must be
independently investigated."

3. Minimize considered.
FORD

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