Bahrain Is Still a Miserable, Vicious Dictatorship, By the Way

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March 31 2011 4:03 PM

Bahrain Is Still a Miserable, Vicious Dictatorship, By the Way

Tired of the confusing and equivocal news from our war in LIbya? (Front of today's New York Times: "Top Libyan Official Defects; Rebels Are Retreating.") Try Bahrain. It's still very simple: our loyal Bahraini allies are continuing to ruthlessly smash the protest movement there.

More than 300 people have been detained since the middle of this month. This week, Bahrain's foreign minister accused the protesters of being agitators covertly backed by Hezbollah.

AFP reported that Hezbollah " vehemently rejected " those claims.

"All we are proudly offering (Bahrain) is political and moral backing as we did for the Arab revolutions in Tunis, Egypt, Libya and Yemen which is legal and part of our duty," Hezbollah said.

One consistent policy toward Bahrain, Libya, and Egypt? How did they come up with that?

Also, Human Rights Watch reported yesterday that Bahrain's security forces have harassed, detained, and

who were seeking treatment for injuries suffered during the protests. One patient, with more than 100 pellet wounds from birdshot, was removed from the hospital where he was waiting for emergency abdominal surgery and taken away in an unmarked vehicle to a military hospital instead. Another patient with pellet wounds died at the same military hospital after being transferred there by "masked police officers."

A patient who had suffered pellet wounds to the face told Human Rights Watch about how people injured in the protests were separated from other patients:

around 4 or 5 p.m. the hospital transferred him and many of the others who had protest-related injuries to Ward 62, on the sixth floor. He said that from that evening through early the next morning, several groups of men, some in uniforms and others in civilian clothes, most of them masked, entered their room and repeatedly interrogated them on videotape, demanding to know about alleged relationships with opposition figures, Iran, and Hezbollah. The men used anti-Shia slurs against the patients. He said at one point one of the men told the others to beat them with their shoes because they were "najes," or unclean, and the men beat the patients on their heads, hands, and necks.


, a popular blog moderator "who actively discourages the Sunni-Shia tension" in Bahrain, was arrested on Tuesday with no explanation.

UPI reported that now, the United States "

" in response. A deputy State Department spokesperson said:

"We hope that the Bahraini government's decision to arrest bloggers and Internet activists will not make it more difficult to resume a national dialogue that solicits the views and opinions of all Bahrainis."

Yes, America is hoping Bahrain will have a national dialogue. That is how very, very tough and serious we are about confronting the dictatorship there.

UPDATE: Mahmood Al Yousif just phoned the AP to report that he had been released . (Also the AP says his arrest happened Wednesday, where Time reported it as Tuesday.)


Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.


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