By Press TV
By Hosen Alshimmary
It seems that the troubles of the regime in Bahrain keep getting bigger. A new revelation, if confirmed, may be the breaking point of the crisis that began back in February 2011.
A new footage released by the activists allegedly shows a son of the ruling king under disguise as policeman. Activists from the 14th of February Movement say Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, King Hamad’s eldest son from his second wife, is wearing a mask to cover his face in the video and while being surrounded by over a dozen police and military vehicles is getting ready for crackdown on anti-regime protesters.
The family’s connection with torture is not new. Last August, the London-based Bahrain Center for Human Rights was alarmed to learn that some senior members of the royal family have been personally involved in torturing and beating pro-democracy protesters. Protesters who have been released from prison mentioned specifically five members of the Al Khalifa family by name, Noura bint Ibrahim AL Khalifa, Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Khalifa bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, and two sons of the king Khaled and Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
The torture techniques used in Bahrain are just too brutal. Former prisoners say they have been electrocuted, whipped with metal rods, sexually assaulted, spat on, slapped, cursed on, and threatened.
Those behind bars are there for one reason and one reason only—because they want change. As Human Rights Watch put it a few months ago, “the protesters remain jailed on criminal charges for peacefully speaking out and there has been little accountability for torture and killings – crimes in which the Bahrain Defense Force is implicated.”
Just who is Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa?
The ruling king’s son is a senior prince in the British-founded Al Khalifa ruling family. He is only 24-years old and commands Bahrain’s Royal Guard. He is the president of Bahrain’s Olympics Committee and is also serving in the Bahrain Defense Force.
The activists in Bahrain say he has been seen among the swarms of police during crackdowns on the protesters. However, this is the first time he has been reportedly caught on tape. In the past, he has been accused of brutally beating the detainees. Prominent human rights activist Hussein Jawad says his father, an elderly man who was arrested nearly a year ago with three of his fellow activists have been tortured by Prince Nasser.
The footage can cause tremendous international outcry if confirmed. It can also be used as evidence by the opposition and activists who repeatedly claim that the crisis is so deep and that the royal family itself tortures people despite the regime’s claims otherwise. In fact, the regime has on numerous occasions claimed that it does not approve of the harsh violence used on protesters.
In November, King Hamad Al Khalifa promised to hold those involved in abusing prisoners responsible. His comments came after an independent inquiry into the government’s crackdown on protesters accused the regime of using excessive and unnecessary forces on protesters. King Hamad also vowed to replace those authorities involved in torture cases.
The possible outcomes of the would-be scandal are numerous. The first outcome would be a total embarrassment and shame to the regime. The government would totally loose whatever credibility left for it. The second outcome of the video would be a condemnation by many nations across the Persian Gulf and the world. A third would be nations calling for an international probe and that would maybe even result in a UN resolution.
The winners: the opposition, protesters, and activists. The video can be used as leverage by the opposition against the US and its Western allies to stop supporting the regime. The opposition, if it plays its cards right can use the footage and win public support from Western countries to pressure their governments into stopping their support to the Al Khalifa ruling family.
And that’s not all. The West can be accused of directly supporting the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. Where do you think the Al Khalifa family gets its weapons from? Since President Barack Hussein Obama came into office several years ago he has sent over USD 92mn in weapons to the government in Manama. Another USD 26 million of deadly weapons is scheduled for next year. The types of weapons sold include tanks, armored personnel carriers, helicopter gunships, different types of pistols, millions of ammunition, thousands of teargas canisters and sound grenades. The UK and France have also sent millions of dollars of weapons to Manama. These countries are continuing their weapons sales to Manama despite the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrators. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has accused Washington, Paris and London of putting their commercial interests ahead of human rights.
The US and several European countries including France and the UK have been criticized by Bahraini protesters of turning a blind eye on the massacre of Bahrain while crying Syria. On the ground in Bahrain, anti-US sentiment is growing rapidly. Protesters in the Persian Gulf kingdom have on numerous times burnt the US flag to show their anger with Washington’s policies.
It is important that the opposition and activist groups pursue this development and all information and accusations coming from previously imprisoned Bahrainis as it can be used to turn the table around in the ongoing revolution against the Saudi-backed Bahraini monarch.