Bahrain King boasted of intelligence ties with Israel

Haaretz reports:

The Bahraini King bragged about intelligence contacts with Israel, and instructed that official statements stop referring to Israel as the “Zionist entity,” according to the latest trove of documents revealed by WikiLeaks.

On February 15, 2005, U.S. ambassador to Bahrain William Monroe met with the leader of the small kingdom, Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa – the same king whose position is now threatened by popular protests.

Monroe wrote to Washington the next day, saying the meeting was amiable and that the two sat near the fireplace on a cold and unusually wet day. Their conversation lasted about an hour and a half, and at some point moved to the subject of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The king said he was pleased with the developments in the peace process.

He also revealed to the ambassador that he had instructed his public information minister to stop referring to Israel in official statements of the kingdom as the “enemy” or the “Zionist entity.”

The Associated Press reports:

An international humanitarian organization said Thursday that Bahraini authorities turned hospitals into “places to be feared” during a deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters in the Gulf country.

Doctors Without Borders condemned the arrest of injured opposition supporters being treated at medical facilities. In a statement, the organization said Bahrain’s security forces used hospitals and health centers as “bait to identify and arrest those (protesters) who dare seek treatment.”

The capital’s Salmaniya medical complex, in particular, was at the center of the country’s turmoil, treating hundreds of injured demonstrators. The military took control of the facility, and doctors and patients there said soldiers and policemen interrogated and detained them.

The BBC reports:

The BBC has obtained images of alleged police brutality against peaceful protesters in the Bahraini capital Manama, where fears of a systematic crackdown on pro-democracy activists are growing.

Pictures sent by a human rights activist show police from Bahrain’s Interior Ministry, and others in plainclothes, their faces hidden by balaclavas.

The police are seen beating and kicking men who are handcuffed and hooded.

The attack occurred on the outskirts of the capital Manama last Wednesday, 30 March, on a busy stretch of road opposite a popular shopping mall.

Eyewitnesses, some of them crying, described a scene that one said “was like watching a horror film.”

But the attack is not isolated.

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