Bahrain royal propaganda

A reader/activist sent me this but she wishes to remain anonymous: "The Bahraini government campaign of disinformation is now in full swing as you may have noticed a string of pro-government opinion pieces in Western rightwing media outlets recently, namely The Telegraph, The Times, and the WSJ promoting the narrative of 1) a liberal progressive government countering Iranian subversion in Bahrain 2) Opposition and protestors were violent and want an islamic state 3) a crackdown was necessary for peace and stability. See [1][2][3]. The Saudi-backed regime has dispatched several propaganda agents with the proud title of “Media Attaches” to its embassies in Washington and London whose job is to improve it's image after the damage caused by the regime's violent crackdown. So far, the likes of Saqer Alkhalifa posted in Washington has signed contracts with PR agencies such as Bell Pottinger, Qorvis and now Sentis International for ‘reputation management’ services. Qorvis has signed a $40,000+expenses monthly contract with the Bahraini government () and now with Sanitas International () with as yet an undisclosed amount, but Joe Trippi, along with his new colleagues Christopher Harvin and Matt Lauer, probably don’t come cheap. Almost immediately there was a noticeable improvement in the language of the English press releases of the state’s main news agency. However, the regime continue to ban foreign reporters in the country, and there is nearly no foreign media in Bahrain covering events.
Of course on the domestic front, such PR agents are unnecessary with near total state control of TV and printed press. It can resort to distortion of fact or total fabrication as it so desires. Today for example, Akhbar Alkhaleej ran with the front page headline, “Amnesty International: factions in Bahrain exploit children for political gains” [4] referring to the death of a 14 year old boy two days ago.
Amnesty has responded with this statement [5] today:  
"Incorrect reporting of Amnesty International Statement in Bahraini newspapers, 2 September 2011
A number of Bahraini newspapers published articles on 2 September containing incorrect information about Amnesty International statements on Bahrain.
The articles incorrectly state that Amnesty International called on Bahraini political groups not to use children in protests for political gains or as human shields.
Amnesty International has never published such a statement and urges all these newspapers to immediately withdraw this article from their websites and to publish corrections in their printed editions."
This follows the Alayam frontpage headline referring to statements made by Professor Cherif Bassiouni along the lines of “Truth commission finds no crimes against humanity in Bahrain”. BICI responded with this statement [6]:
"The Chairperson of BICI wishes to clarify that, contrary to information relayed by some news media outlets, he did not issue any statements on the outcome of the Commission’s investigations. The Chairperson’s recent interview with a Bahraini local newspaper was misrepresented. Professor Bassiouni’s comments were limited to clarifying the differences between various categories of crimes and violations of international law.
This also follows the total fabrication of Navi Pillay’s statements to the Minister for “Human Rights”, which led OHCHR to issue the following statement:
“The Bahrain News Agency, which was not present at the meeting, stated that the High Commissioner had “recognized misinformation” about the Kingdom of Bahrain, and quoted her as saying “Certain information which we received about the developments in Bahrain are untrue.”
The High Commissioner would like to stress that she made no such statement, and is disturbed by this blatant distortion of her words. She will formally request the Government officials who attended the meeting to issue a correction.” [7]
The campaign therefore seems to rest on several channels of disinformation:
1) to lie outright in the domestic press by grossly misquoting international representatives
2) to propogate the government narrative of a “liberal progressive state subverting Iranian influence” in Western press through the influence of PR agencies
3) to invent fictitious foreign characters, such as “Liliane Khalil” to feed the government narrative and to fuel social media “trolling” (this is subject of a future article/post)." 

Posted on September 5, 2011 by As'ad