ProPublica and “Informed Comment” are Uninformed on Bahrain

January 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

ProPublica, the highly respected independent investigative journalism organization, has stumbled badly in its recent reporting on U.S. military sales to Bahrain .

An article written by Justin Elliot and posted Tuesday January 15th on their website misleads its readers by omitting easily available facts that would have disproved the pre-conceived thesis of his piece. The article was re-posted by The Guardian and on a blog entitled “Informed Comment.”

This article was anything but well informed of the facts.

Most seriously, the article wrongly states that helicopter gunships—sold to Bahrain by the U.S. — had been used to attack peaceful protesters during the events of February and March 2011.

The Bahraini Embassy in Washington issued a statement to the author refuting the premise of his article. However, Mr. Elliott chose not to include the full statement in his report.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry Report –universally accepted as highly credible—was harshly critical of the government on many issues. However, the report explicitly found that the BDF did not use excessive force against protesters. Continued assertions to the contrary are untrue. The author ignored this fact as well.

The truth is that helicopters Bahrain purchased from the U.S. were used during the unrest for surveillance only. Certainly, any allegation that helicopters were used to attack our own people is factually inaccurate.

The article also cites an unverified and unattributed Time Magazine report published in 2011 as his proof. This report has been repeatedly proven to be false. And seeing as though the author has not offered any additional reporting to back up his allegations, they must be discounted.

ProPublica’s article falsely describes the events in Bahrain as a “bloody crackdown”—suggesting the military is shooting Bahraini protesters with live ammunition because of their political views. Mr. Elliott cites no information to support this wrong and vicious description. This image is categorically untrue, and puts the events taking place in Bahrain in a false context. These inaccuracies should be corrected.

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You are currently reading ProPublica and “Informed Comment” are Uninformed on Bahrain at Ambassador Houda Nonoo.

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