John Philpot

Human rights campaigns in West blind the world towards Bahrain: Intl lawyer

Canada has no interest in protecting the majority population of Bahrain but rather it wishes to please the unelected Saudi leadership and its allies in Bahrain and, of course, the United States of America.


By John Philpot*

The recent massive repression in Bahrain brings to light the nature of western foreign policy and in particular Canadian policy. Human rights campaigns in Canada blind the world to the nature of Canadian and western foreign policy. 

Since 2011, Bahrain has seen massive protests and massive repression of its people. Press TV has provided important coverage of this repression. I have read Press TV and many western sources over the past six years. From my reading, Press TV articles are credible and do not seem exaggerated, factitious or selective. Their allegations can be cross-checked as I have often done. 1,300 activists in Bahrain were arrested in 2016. It is Bahrain public policy to deprive activists of citizenship, a draconian measure with enormous consequences. Since March 2011, Saudi Arabia has intervened militarily in Bahrain to suppress dissent by peaceful protesters. Sheikh Ali Salman the secretary general of the country’s now dissolved al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, has been in jail since 2014. My reading of recent history indicates that there is a systematic repression of the Shia population of Bahrain.

The undersigned is not an expert on Bahrain, Yemen or Saudi Arabia but I try to understand the issues for the perspective of support for the Palestinian people, of support for right to self-determination of the peoples of the region and the need for a just peace in the multiple conflicts in the regions. The undersigned has been an expert in International Criminal Law for almost twenty years.

In Canada, there is no general public knowledge of these massive problems in Bahrain even though Canada nominally espouses human rights. There is little or no awareness of the Saudi war on Yemen. Yet, we read in our media all the massive propaganda against the Syrian Government and our newspapers parrot syndicated sources of information about Syria. No mainstream newspaper questioned the story about chemical warfare alleged against the Syrian Government which led to the 7 April 2017 Tomahawk missile attack by the United States on the Syrian military airport in spite of the obvious fact that the Syrian Government had no need for chemical weapons and no interest in exposing itself to such criticism. No western source questioned the rather dubious account of the alleged mass killing of Syrian prisoners reported by Amnesty International on 7 February 2017.[1]  Rick Sterling made a careful analysis of the Amnesty Report and the lack of corroboration, cross checking and the specious use of satellite photographs to buttress the conclusions.[2] He is ignored by the mainstream media. (MSM)

Canadian foreign policy systematically supports Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.  In 2013, John Baird, Canadian foreign minister praised the Government of Bahrain for engaging in a national dialogue. He praised Bahrain for its condemnation of Hezbollah and pledged Canadian support for Bahrain against Iran.[3] This so-called national dialogue has only been followed by more repression.

Canada has recently made a massive arms sale to the order of 15 billion dollars to Saudi Arabia in spite of a court challenge to these sales.[4] This week the Trump administration reportedly promised the multibillion-dollar sale of jets to Bahrain[5] in addition to its much larger arms deals to Saudi Arabia.

Foreign policy is dictated by military strategic interests. Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet and an under-construction British naval base. Canada has no interest in protecting the majority population of Bahrain but rather it wishes to please the unelected Saudi leadership and its allies in Bahrain and, of course, the United States of America. Appealing to western NGO’s for help is an illusion which will not advance the human rights of the people of Bahrain in the face of repression and the risk of major war.



*John Philpot is a highly experienced Montreal based criminal lawyer. A member of the Barreau du Québec since 1984, he has specialized in Criminal Law since 1984 and International Criminal Law since 1998. He is a pioneer in trials in International Criminal Law. He acted at the International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC) in the Kenya file and at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in three cases. He is a judge at the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal. 







[3] crtr.sj1D=&crtr.mnthndVl=7&mthd=advSrch&crtr.dpt1D=&nid=729929&crtr.lc1D=&crtr.tp1D=&crtr.yrStrtVl=2008&

[4] This ruling is under appeal






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