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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 000642

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: All six Bahraini daily newspapers continue to
run stories about U.S. mistreatment of Iraqi POWs. In
addition to photos of prisoners, newspapers are running
photos of families waiting outside Iraqi prisons to obtain
information about their loved ones inside. Letters to the
editor pages are also full of letters from ordinary
Bahrainis and other Arab and South Asian expats living and
working in Bahrain. These letters include the same themes
as regular columnists: shock, sadness, and calls on the U.S.
military to punish, and not just reprimand, the
perpetrators. Bahrainis continue to watch Arab satellite
coverage of the issue and many fears that the abuse is
widespread and that the worse is not yet known. They
believe that prisoners in Guantanamo and Afghanistan are
also being subjected to torture. Papers are full of
political cartoons poking fun at American values of freedom
and human rights in light of the prisoner abuse. End
summary.

2. EDITORIAL COMMENT/BLOCK QUOTES:

ENGLISH DAILY "BAHRAIN TRIBUNE" EDITORIAL, 5/5:

"Moral Decadence of Coalition Soldiers"

"The vulgar and systematic torture of Iraqi prisoners by
coalition troops in Abu Ghraib prison has shown the moral
decadence and bankruptcy of some of the American and British
soldiers. It seems there was an understanding between the
US and UK troops as to how badly the captured should be
mistreated. That most of the coalition troops are mentally
sick became doubtless when a group of twenty Indians who ran
away from a US military camp in Iraq told their story in the
Hindustan Times. One of them said they were taken to an
American army camp in Mosul where they were told that they
had been `bought' to work in the kitchen. "We were slaves in
the American kitchens." These stories have made it amply
clear that the US-UK forces are much more inhuman than
previously thought. They abide by no engagement rules and
would make animals blush with their torture tactics.

..Torture is a tool of the weak. It will never help bring
peace in Iraq. The blood-boiling pictures will make more
people inside and outside Iraq determined to carry out
attacks against the Americans and British. Those
responsible - no matter how influential and senior they are
- must be punished for war crimes and given exemplary
punishment. Otherwise there is no reason for us not to
believe that the illegal detainees in Afghanistan and in
Guantanamo Bay are also subject to the same affront."

SEMI-INDEPENDENT ARABIC DAILY "AKHBAR AL-KHALIJ" 5/4,
BY COLUMNIST RADHI SAMAK (moderate Bahraini columnist,
returned International Visitor):

"The Dimensions of the Torture Scandal"

"It would have been surprising if there were no human rights
violations or torture incidents against Iraqi prisoners,
because the history of America since the end of World War II
shows that its forces tortured and degraded the citizens of
any country it occupied. The American and Britain
administrations are trying to depict the incidents as if
they were the acts of a few individuals, but the reality is
that any occupation on earth lacks ethics and moral values."

SEMI-INDEPENDENT ARABIC DAILY "AKHBAR AL-KHALIJ" 5/4,
COLUMNIST Fawziya Rasheed (Bahraini columnist):

"The Scandals of American Liberty and Happy Democracy" (part
I)

"As much as the pictures of tortured Iraqis were horrible,
the reactions of the American and British leaders were
pitiful if we take in consideration that they were
responsible for everything that has happened in Iraq so far.
CBS network has only revealed the tip of the iceberg of the
many facts that have been hidden. This incident shows the
true ugly face of the American slogans of democracy and
human rights. That is why verbal condemnation is not
enough. Arab governments and the international community
must form an international investigation commission to
disclose the crimes of occupation forces in Iraq."

SEMI-INDEPENDENT ARABIC DAILY "AKHBAR AL-KHALIJ" 5/5,
COLUMNIST Fawziya Rasheed (Bahraini columnist):

"The Scandals of American Liberty and Happy Democracy" (part
II)

"Unlike the image that America promoted about the goals of
the war in Iraq, facts show us clearly that everything is
crumbling down on America after the crimes that its
mercenary soldiers committed there were revealed. All that
we have seen so far about the crimes and torture Americans
committed against Iraqis is actually a small amount of the
barbaric crimes that lie beneath. American and British
officials must be punished for these crimes because all of
them happened with their knowledge and blessing. Arab
lawyers and legal experts must act together to take these
crimes and those who were responsible for them to an
international tribunal not only to question these crimes but
also the war and its hidden objectives."

3. Minimize considered.
FORD

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