To whom it may concern
Wednesday March 16, 2011
The indications at this moment are that Middle East and the North African region is potentially at the brink of a descent into chaos at a rate which, if it continues, should cause alarm amid acts of utter barbarity and unimaginable ferocity being committed by the hour at the present time by forces of the regimes of Libya and Bahrain, which are indiscriminately perpetrated against their own people.
It seems prudent to call for the United Nations and the International Community to investigate and act without delay in a manner which brings these savageries to an immediate halt. To not act in a timely manner may result in a humanitarian crisis, and perhaps worse, occurring in the region.
The violence is not being committed by any groups or peoples. The violence is being committed by governments. The ferocity and barbarity of the violent acts by the Bahraini government assisted by forces of the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is not being opposed or resisted by the people of Bahrain against whom it is directed.
A situation, which began in a small village in Tunisia, which spread to Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain, and which threatens to extend to other countries in the region, is now descending into acts of horrendous violence perpetrated at ferocious speed.
These acts are being perpetrated by the forces of repressive regimes against their own peaceful populations.
The crisis is increasing in severity because the increasingly savage acts employed by the forces of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to quell an uprising in Libya have not been acted against with a view to bringing them to an immediate halt.
World leaders, humanitarian organizations, the United Nations and other relevant agencies have, as yet, not recognized the ferocity and speed with which regimes facing popular uprisings will act to crush by increasingly horrendous means the overwhelmingly peaceful expressions of calls for democracy and representative government by means of free and fair elections.
The lack of action to halt the increasingly dreadful means being employed by Gaddafi’s security forces, which include the use of foreign mercenaries against his own civilian population to eliminate dissent, has given license to other regimes in the region who feel under threat to use tactics and means which exceed even the frightfulness of those employed by Gaddafi.
Section 1 How Gaddafi Deflects Attention From His Committing and Concealing His Crimes
The use of such means, judged by international standards, have already been identified as constituting crimes against humanity by the International Community, and, as such, subject to prosecution by the International Court of Justice at the Hague. This identification is enshrined in UN Resolution 1960, but the extend and depths of them have been cloaked and deliberating hidden by, among others:
Co-opting, confinement, harassment, intimidation and torture of international media attempting to report the situation on the ground
Co-opting and deliberate manipulation and misleading of international media, in a concerted effort to employed lies, deceptions and denials clearly at odd with readily visible reality and evidence based publicly witnessed accounts
Use of media, internet and communications blackouts, extending to the use of power blackouts and water supply shutoff
Use of state propaganda to manipulate, mislead, withhold information, and lie to their own populations, and the use of regime officials outside the country to engage in a similar activity towards officials of other countries in which they are resident
Use of propaganda strategies which have, among other effects, callously played upon Western fears,
Threats of various kinds directed at the international community, including the destruction of oil facilities, the release of chemical weapons, among others
The willful denial in the face of overwhelming evidence of the use of brutal and illegal force
Engaging in an attempt to intimidate and falsely discredit individual international leaders and the deliberate playing off of one individual international leader against another
Section 2 Failures to Address What is Happening on the Ground
International leaders and officials have seriously compromised their approach to the crisis on at least the following counts:
They have failed to offer leadership and speak in a unified voice against the wrongs being perpetrated by regimes in the region against peaceful protests.
They have so far failed to speak out publicly to clearly acknowledge the legitimacy of, and offer support to, the calls for democracy and fair and free elections made by unarmed, peaceful, popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Lybia, and Bahrain, which now threaten to engulf many of the 22 countries of the region.
They have so far failed publicly to acknowledge that the popular uprisings, in the face of extraordinary means of violence being used against them, are nonviolent and resolutely peaceful, are completely unarmed, resorting only when under mortal attack to the barest means of defense, and that these are nonpartisan, are nonsectarian, nonreligious, and non ideological.
Furthermore, the uprisings espouse ideas and values identical to those upheld by most democracies and pose no threat to any government anywhere, with the notable exception of their own. In the face of previous doubt about, and ignorance of, the nature of the aims of the uprisings, living proof of the nature of the aims of the uprisings now exists in post-Mubarak Egypt, if any were needed.
They have been utterly negligent in making any effort to gain knowledge of the nature and message of protestors and sabotaged their own ability to recognize the universal and humane nature of the uprisings. Because of this failure, they have allowed officials and representatives inside their own countries to deliberately misrepresent the nature of the uprisings in an effort to raise and play upon fears associated with ethnic, religious and extremist stereotypes by deliberately and cynically misrepresenting the uprisings in order to make political gains.
They have placed their security and economic interests in the region far ahead of concerns for humaneness and adherence to the values which they uphold in their own countries and have repeatedly said over decades that they support in the region and elsewhere in the world, and have hedged their bets on the outcomes of the uprisings in order to secure oil and other economic interests in individual counties and the region as a whole.
In the face of the popular uprisings, they have expressed support for the regimes that the uprisings were opposing, up to the point when the regimes head was deposed.
On the one hand they have denied the legitimacy of, undermined the integrity of, directly placed in jeopardy the lives of ordinary men, women and children, involved in the uprisings or not, living in, and threatened the security of, the country where the uprising is taking place by publicly discussing and threatening to intervene militarily despite clear calls by voices within the uprisings that such interventions were neither sought nor welcome, and other the other have been unable, to date, to marshall and put into effect no fly zones in a timely manner such that its speedy and effective introduction would have a seriously chilling effect upon the most flagrant means of violence being visited upon the population by the entrenched government.
Calls for those perpetrating acts constituting crimes against humanity subject to prosecution by the international court of justice were put into place with no means of their being enforced thereby leading to the greater levels of violence against populations on the principle that one might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.
Section 3 A Partial List of Crimes
It is not possible at this juncture to list the worst excesses of violence, and heinous crimes being presently committed by security forces and others on behalf of the regimes involved for some have not yet been validated for the reasons given earlier. The regimes so far involved, and the expectation should be that the number of regimes employing these practices will soon rapidly proliferate, are those of Libya, with the assistance of outside governments, the identities of which have not been positively identified, but are alleged to include Algeria and Syria, together with reports that mercenaries are still being flown into Tripoli and other airstrips in Libya and undeclared movements of military transports to and from Bulgaria, and Bahrain, with the publicly declared and widely witnessed assistance of forces from the Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
A partial and certainly incomplete list of verified or partially verified means of extraordinary violence and repression used in Libya and Bahrain against the unarmed populace includes:
Use of helicopters and military aircraft to fire on and bomb civilians
Use of tanks, heavy arms such as mortars, anti-tank guns, and rocket propelled grenades
Use snipers from rooftops and other places
Forced entry into places of worship during prayer
Chemically debilitating tear gas style canisters whose effects would appear to include rotting of flesh where chemicals have made contact with the skin and the inducement of epileptic fevers from exposure to the fumes
Use of live ammunition at close and blank range
The use of ambulances as armoured vehicles against unarmed civilians
Holding of hostages of the family members of citizenry resident overseas and the parading of the hostages on state television
The gathering up of migrant workers and inducing them by means of payments or mortal threats to take part in acts of violence against civilians
The entry into hospitals and removal of the injured and of dead bodies
The intimidation of doctors and medical personnel into treating government forces and the displacement of critically injured civilians to free up medical facilities for their care
The intimidation of doctors and medical personnel at the entry to hospitals including the use of fire arms held at point blank range and denial of entry to attend to sick and injured persons
The dismembering of military personnel who refuse to take arms against their fellow countrymen along with the charring by some means of their dead bodies
The use of racial and religious epithets against religious groups to incite divisions carried out, in the case of Bahrain, by soldiers of the neighboring countries dressed in Bahraini police uniforms
The wide spread killing of women, children and babies often as reprisals
The entry into homes of those suspected of having attended protests
The burial of victims in unmarked graves frequently under cover of darkness
Libyan state television has spoken on a number of occasions of “cleansing” town recaptured from opposition forces. Bahraini sources report of hearing the term used by the occupying forces. Until the evidence emerges, one cannot know what precisely has been carried out. With memories of the use of the term in Bosnia, the thought of what it might mean is chilling.
In addition, there are unverified reports coming out of Bahrain from credible witnesses of forms violence and crimes which exceed even the worst of those listed above.
Section 4 UN Needs to Act Not Simply Condemn
The UN and appropriate international bodies need to demand immediate unfettered access to the affected areas in order to verify for themselves the extent of the atrocities being committed
It may be pointed out that humanitarian organizations and human rights groups on the ground and outside the countries involved could do more to record, collect and disseminate evidence of the violence and crimes being perpetrated. This action is necessary because of widespread eye witness accounts of concealment, contamination and destruction of evidence.
The writer is not a citizen of any country in the region, has no connections to any group or organization, nor any religious has affiliations.
Malcolm D B Munro