A statement by John Yates, an advisor to Bahrain police, that “the streets of Bahrain are as safe as London" has brought shock and dismay to the Bahrainis seeking democracy instead of a monarchy that has been cracking down on anti-regime protests.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Michael Maloof, a former Pentagon official, the US’ talks of democracy and its support for the Middle East dictatorships. The following is an approximate transcription of the interview.
There is a strange silence in the corporate media regarding the situation in Bahrain as violence and repression continues. It's as if everything is fine because nothing is being said hardly at all about Bahrain. Why is that the case in your perspective?
Number one, the US press is not going to be focusing on conditions such as Bahrain because it's not in their scope to look at it. They're going to be looking more at what they regard as an adversary namely Iran and the threats that they perceive coming out of Tehran now particularly toward the US warships and what have you - it's been that in recent days. And I've seen a lot of that in the US press.
But your points are very well taken that they're not focusing on what's really going on in the Middle East that is a revolution where people particularly in Bahrain want democracy, but the US is showing a position of hypocrisy in many respects.
A lot of this I think has to do with a geo-strategic issue and that is that the Fifth Fleet is there; other ships are joining it, all to prepare in case that everything goes south, as we say, in the Persian Gulf.
Let me jump in here. What exactly does that mean from a geo-political perspective? If something or policies serve the interests of a country, is it OK to be hypocritical, what exactly does it mean?
Well, we've never been consistent in our policies; we always talk about democracy on the one hand, but we certainly don’t practice it. For example, the issues right after the Egyptian revolution, we were conflicted and we were confused.
I think the US today is going out of its way now to try and make amends ultimately to Saudi Arabia to account for that deficiency simply because the Saudis now feel they can no longer trust the US from a security standpoint.
Our guest in London just talked about violent tactics used on the Bahraini population.
Though heavy-handed Saudi-led tactics have led to many arrests, claims of torture as well as death, former police chief John Yates who is actually now handling security in Bahrain along with Miami Florida former police chief John Timony, has said recently as a matter a fact that Bahrain is safer than London.
Now, this has obviously upset many Bahrainis especially the activists. What does that mean - does it mean he has a lack of connection or consciousness of what's going on on the streets or that he doesn't care?
I think he's delusional. It's very apparent that there is much more violence, there is a groundswell of opposition to the al-Khalifa regime in Bahrain. You're talking about the majority of the Bahraini people who are fed up and for him not to recognize that makes him delusional as far as I'm concerned.
The reality is the Saudis and Bahrainis - all the monarchies, all the monarchies are running scared.
Just tonight there was a report the Saudis now beginning to crack down on demonstrations as well within their own country. They're very fearful that there will be a spillover effect into their region, their eastern province where much of the oil production is taking place and that of course is populated predominantly by Shia.
I think that we have a proxy war going on, it's been going on and the US continues to support that. It's unfortunate that we have gotten into the middle of a sectarian issue.
But that's the reality and the US is in lock-step with the Saudis and if it happens to conflict with our standards of democracy that's just the way it goes.
And I think that's precisely what we're seeing today being demonstrated in Bahrain as opposed to Syria as you pointed out earlier. I think it's a duplicity of policy and they're sending that tremendous conflict and poor signals to the world.
In your perspective what does it take to get the word out of what exactly is happening in Bahrain in order to change the condition?
I think the kind of publicity that you're doing is really important, I think there should be more effort to try and reach out to the US media certainly to make this much more transparent.
The US has got a real problem in this and most of the American people don't understand or don't have clue about it. And what we're seeing right now is probably something that shows less of our democratic ideals than to usurp US strategic interests and that basically is to back the Saudis as opposed to Iran. The problem is that the American people cannot understand that.