Endlessly tweeting mouthpieces for the Bahraini opposition

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Over the course of an average week (26 August-2 September), the leading figure from Human Rights First, Brian Dooley, sent 23 tweets and 25 retweets (@Dooley_Dooley). All but three of these Tweets concerned a single country.

You may have guessed that this offending country that deserved so much attention was perhaps the Syrian regime; or Russia for its abuses in Ukraine. Perhaps you may have guessed he was referring to atrocities in Iraq; or a rogue state like Iran or North Korea.

In actual fact, more than 95% of Mr. Dooley’s Tweets concerned the tiny Kingdom of Bahrain. This is not an anomaly. If you google Mr. Dooley’s media articles and public appearances; you’ll find that his activity is almost exclusively dedicated to Bahrain. If you read his published output, you’ll find him talking endlessly about events that happened more than three years ago and continual calls for the US to take harsh action against Bahrain.

It is reasonable to ask whether this obsession with a single issue by a human rights official responsible for covering the globe is healthy, balanced or normal. Of course it isn’t.

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Learning the wrong lessons in Iraq from the Amerli siege

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The media reporting on 1 August of the breaking of the siege of Amerli in northern Iraq was heartwarming. Brave besieged citizens had held out for a couple of months against brutal and well-armed ISIS fighters who certainly intended to slaughter all the townspeople from the Turkoman minority.

Young boys and even elderly women had carried guns on the front line, defending their families against heavy shelling and constant attacks. It was no small miracle that the town had held out all this time and a catastrophe had been avoided.

However, the factor that really attracted the attention of the media was that the siege had been relieved by a mixture of Shia militias, Iranian support, US firepower and a more modest role for the Iraqi army.

The US and Iran fighting on the same side against a common enemy - along with Shia militias who had been responsible for the killings of hundreds of US soldiers just a few years ago – was certainly a remarkable phenomenon.

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Russia Today video shows Bahraini police under fire

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Russian state TV channel has a strong track record of broadcasting hostile reports about Bahrain. Many of their reports are remarkably similar to those of the Iranian media; portraying an exaggerated and often dishonest viewpoint of events inside the Kingdom.

However, this is one video from Russia Today that we recommend that you do watch. Russia Today usually implies that Bahraini protesters are peacefully demonstrating for their rights. The shocking images here tell a very different story:

http://rt.com/in-motion/183908-bahrain-protest-political-prisoners/

You can see for yourselves showers of hundreds of Molotov Cocktails raining down on unarmed and undefended policemen and major streets blocked by violent rioters terrorizing those people living in the locality.

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Protecting freedom of speech in Bahrain

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We Bahrainis are blessed to live in a state where freedom of expression is enshrined into the Constitution. In 2011 our King formally forgave and pardoned all those who had verbally attacked him during the unrest. This is an example which we should be proud of and which should guide our own behaviour as responsible and loyal citizens.

That is why we should be concerned about the arrest of Yaqoub Al-Slaise, the prominent and popular member of the Al-Fateh Youth Coalition on 31 September. It is understood that this arrest followed a complaint raised by a journalist against Yaqoub related to Tweets he made many months ago regarding participation of the Bahrain Defence Force in elections.

As we go into the parliamentary elections period, it is important that Bahrainis feel empowered to have sincere and open debates about political issues regarding their choice of candidates, as is their right guaranteed by the Constitution.

Citizens for Bahrain has spoken out on several occasions against those abusing freedom of expression to spread sectarian hatred and incite violence. We reject hate speech against any religious sect and support the State’s right to take action against those guilty of this crime.

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