…from beneath the crooked bough, witness 230 years of brutal tyranny by the al Khalifas come to an end

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A bitter-sweet taste of freedom – Nabeel Rajab freed after arduous sentence of injustice

May 24, 2014   Add Comments

US Protesters could learn much about their government’s injustice by noticing Bahrain

They Can’t Outlaw the Revolution
by Chris Hedges - commondreams.org – 19 May, 2014

Cecily McMillan. (Photo by Lucy Parks CC-BY)RIKERS ISLAND, N.Y.—Cecily McMillan, the Occupy activist who on Monday morning will appear before a criminal court in New York City to be sentenced to up to seven years on a charge of assaulting a police officer, sat in a plastic chair wearing a baggy, oversized gray jumpsuit, cheap brown plastic sandals and horn-rim glasses. Other women, also dressed in prison-issued gray jumpsuits, sat nearby in the narrow, concrete-walled visitation room clutching their children, tears streaming down their faces. The children, bewildered, had their arms wrapped tightly around their mothers’ necks. It looked like the disaster scene it was.

“It’s all out in the open here,” said the 25-year-old student, who was to have graduated May 22 with a master’s degree from The New School of Social Research in New York City. “The cruelty of power can’t hide like it does on the outside. You get America, everything America has become, especially for poor people of color in prison. My lawyers think I will get two years. But two years is nothing compared to what these women, who never went to trial, never had the possibility of a trial with adequate legal representation, face. There are women in my dorm who, because they have such a poor command of English, do not even understand their charges. I spent a lot of time trying to explain the charges to them.”

McMillan says Grantley Bovell, who was in plainclothes and did not identify himself as a police officer, grabbed her from behind during a March 17, 2012, gathering of several hundred Occupy activists in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. In a video of the incident she appears to have instinctively elbowed him in the face, but she says she has no memory of what happened. Video and photographs—mostly not permitted by the trial judge to be shown in the courtroom—buttressed her version of events. There is no dispute that she was severely beaten by police and taken from the park to a hospital where she was handcuffed to a bed. On May 5 she was found guilty after a three-week trial of a felony assault in the second degree. She can receive anything from probation to seven years in prison.

“I am prepared mentally for a long sentence,” she told me this past weekend when I interviewed her at the Rikers Island prison in the Bronx. “I watched the trial. I watched the judge. This was never about justice. Just as it is not about justice for these other women. One mother was put in here for shoplifting after she lost her job and her house and needed to feed her children. There is another prisoner, a preschool teacher with a 1-year-old son she was breastfeeding, who let her cousin stay with her after her cousin was evicted. It turns out the cousin sold drugs. The cops found money, not drugs, that the cousin kept in the house and took the mother. They told her to leave her child with the neighbors. There is story after story in here like this. It wakes you up.”

McMillan’s case is emblematic of the nationwide judicial persecution of activists, a persecution familiar to poor people of color. Her case stands in contrast with the blanket impunity given to the criminals of Wall Street. Some 8,000 nonviolent Occupy protesters have been arrested. Not one banker or investor has gone to jail for causing the 2008 financial meltdown. The disparity of justice mirrors the disparity in incomes and the disparity in power.

Occupy activists across the country have been pressured to “plea out” on felony charges in exchange for sentences of years of probation, which not only carry numerous restrictions, including being unable to attend law school or serve on a jury, but make it difficult for them to engage in further activism for fear of arrest and violating their probation. McMillan was offered the same plea deal but refused it. She was one of the few who went to trial. …more

May 20, 2014   Add Comments

Democracy Shamed – The Charade of Western Imperialism and Neo-fascist delusions of Righteousness

Robert D. Kaplan’s Geopolitical Bunkum: Inside the Fanciful World of Stratfor
16 May 2014 – By Steve Breyman – Truthout

Readers of Time were recently treated to an absurd take on Ukraine, Putin, “the West” and a bunch of other stuff by journalist Robert D. Kaplan, “chief geopolitical analyst” of Strategic Forecasting, Inc., popularly known as Stratfor.

Stratfor bills itself as a “private global-intelligence firm” that provides “strategic intelligence on global business, economic, security and geopolitical affairs.” Some bamboozled critics and fans call it “the shadow CIA.” Its mocking critics claim “Stratfor is just The Economist a week later and several hundred times more expensive.”

In addition to having its interns use Google to “gather intelligence,” Stratfor reportedly operates by paying corporate and foreign policy informants via Swiss bank accounts and prepaid credit cards for inside information that it then repackages as “analysis” and peddles to those of its 300,000 subscribers and clients – who include Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, the US Marine Corps, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Henry Kissinger, and Dan Quayle – foolish enough to pay for it. It also follows the online antics of activists (including PETA and the Yes Men), “monitors the media” (for, among other things, coverage of Union Carbide’s chemical massacre in Bhopal 20 years on) and provides “information on the financial sector.”

Anonymous hacked Stratfor servers two years ago. The hackers turned over five and a half million emails to Wikileaks, which published them on the web. From the emails, we learned that Russia and Israel sold out arms deal customers to their enemies, the United States has a sealed indictment against Julian Assange, unnamed Pakistani intelligence and military officials knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and other such not very surprising nuggets.
Kaplan published “The Dangers of Peace,” in which he warned that the United States was at risk from peacetime’s “numbing and corrosive illusion.”

According to his Wikipedia page (from where this biographical background comes), Robert D. Kaplan, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, is a New Yorker who served in the Israeli army, traveled around a lot, and reported on fundamentalist resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan for Readers Digest. His 1993 book Balkan Ghosts allegedly convinced Bill Clinton “against intervention in Bosnia,” a result Kaplan found appalling. Kaplan or whoever wrote his Wikipedia entry, fails to explain how Clinton’s 1999 war against Serbia, complete with thousands of bombing sorties (including against the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade), massive industrial destruction, grievous civilian casualties and lasting environmental damage constituted nonintervention.

In 2000, Kaplan published the essay “The Dangers of Peace,” in which he warned that the United States was at risk from peacetime’s “numbing and corrosive illusion.” He’s consulted for the Army, Marines and Air Force. He’s lectured at war colleges, the FBI, the NSA, the CIA and the Joint Chiefs. These institutions embrace people like Robert D. Kaplan because he tells them what they want to hear. …more

May 18, 2014   Add Comments

Saving lsa Alaali – U.K. needs to grant him Asylum

lsa Alaali was released on bail on the 16th of May 2013; the amount being 200 Bahraini dinars. His case was to be taken up by the high court. Following his release, lssa AI-Aali was offered a financial incentive in exchange for his cooperation in acting as an informant; upon his refusal, lssa ai-Aali was threatened with prison and death.

lsa Alaali was arrested a second time on the 19th of September 2013, at a funeral procession in the village of AI-Dayah. Security forces entered the home that he was in, and he was subjected to physical abuse from the moment he was arrested until his arrival at the police station. The prosecution ruled that he be detained for 45 days whilst investigations are carried out.
He was then charged with the following:

1. Gathering and rioting
2. Attacking security officials
3. Injuring security officials

Isa Alaali was released on bail on the 29th of October 2013, for 100 Bahraini dinars, whilst his trial continues. He was arrested a third time on the 17th of December 2013 in Manama, after being abused physically and verbally. One day after his arrest, he appeared in front of the prosecution, who ruled that he be detained for 45 days whilst investigations are carried out. He appeared in front of the prosecution again on the 9th of January 2014, after 24 days.

He came to U.K three months ago on 14th February 2014 to claim political asylum but has been stuck in detention since arrival. Two other Bahrainis are at risk of deportation as the Khalifas try to stop activists settling in U.K. Whilst the Government and the royals are fawning over the Khalifas, we should recognise the real situation is in that unhappy country and their continuous attack of young people who want democracy.

Isa won’t have an M.P. as he hasn’t left the detention centre. If he’s at the centre near Heathrow, perhaps the local M.P. could help to find what stage of the procedure he’s at.

May 18, 2014   Add Comments

AlMahfoodh suffers repeat attacks, torture while serving unjust sentence in Jau prison – Free AlMahfoodh

…on the occasion of Sheikh AlMahfoodh’s Arrest in 2011; “They broke into my home four times and told me it’s either your husband or your daddy”. On April 2nd police arrested her husband in what she says was a ‘hostage situation’ to secure the arrest of Sheikh Mohammed Ali. …more

freealmahfood3

May 2, 2014   Add Comments

Bahrain Courts of Injustice Sentence Hussain Hubail, Jasim AlNaimi, Sadiq AlShaabani to Five Years

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Hussain Hubail and Jasim AlNaimi received sentences of FIVE years today, with Sadiq AlShaabani, an actor and six activists no longer in the country. There is no pretense that these young men have actually done anything other
than attend demonstrations or sent emails.

In Hussain Hubail’s case, he will not survive with his heart condition. Please write to Jeremy Hunt, U.K. Minister of Health saying Hussain should be released on Health and Humanitarian grounds. Ask Mr Hunt to contact the Bahrain Minister of the Interior. You can contact Jeremy on: Department_of_Health@dh.gsi.gov.uk

A list of potential prisoners for release, women, kids and sick and injured has been prepared for the U.N officials who should meet the Bahrain Foreign Minister, before they leave Bahrain having completed the UNHCR project.

Regarding the Warsi statement on “no specific evidence of torture”, the Bahrainis have written to Mr Cameron and the Chairman of the House of Commons.

The Chairman said “he couldn’t talk about it” Why?

Mr Cameron said “please write to Hague”. Mr Cameron as leader of the Tories and Prime Minister should reprimand Warsi and say she must apologise. If this means a change in U.K. stance on the Khalifas’ policy of systemic torture, so be it. This issue will not fade away as most Bahrainis in London were tortured and it’s basis for their asylum application.

These are the names of all those sentenced today for 5 years:

1. Husain Hubail (in Jail)
2. Jasim Alnaimi (in Jail)
3. Sadiq Alshaabani (In Jail)
4. Husain Yousif (abroad)
5. Baqer Darwish (abroad)
6. Hasan Alsitri (abroad)
7. Yousif Al Hoori (abroad)
8. Ali Al Fayez (abroad)
9. Ahmed Almotaghawi (abroad)

حسين حبيل 5 سنوات
جاسم النعيمي 5 سنوات
صادق الشعباني 5 سنوات
حسين يوسف 5 سنوات
باقر درويش 5 سنوات
حسن الستري 5 سنوات
يوسف الحوري 5 سنوات
علي الفايز 5 سنوات
أحمد المتغوي 5 سنوات

April 28, 2014   Add Comments

Saudi blogger, Fadhel al-Manasef, 26 Sentenced to 15 Years

Saudi activist sentenced to 15 years in jail for protests: lawyer
17 April, 2014 – by Sami Aboudi – Reuter

DUBAI (Reuters) – A judge on Thursday sentenced a Saudi blogger and activist to 15 years in jail for taking part in protests and defaming the kingdom by communicating with foreigners and through publishing articles on the Internet, his lawyer said.

Fadhel al-Manasef, 26, is the latest activist to be convicted this week on charges which international human rights groups and activists in the kingdom say are part of a new drive to curb political, religious and social dissent. The government denies there is any crackdown.

The Special Criminal Court in the capital Riyadh also fined Manasef 100,000 riyals ($26,700) and barred him from travelling abroad for 15 years after he completes his sentence, the lawyer, Waleed Sulais, told Reuters by email.

Officials from the Justice Ministry were not available to comment on the report.

Sulais said the court found Manasef guilty of charges that included incitement and participation in demonstrations, writing articles against state security and posting them online, signing an anti-government petition and contacting foreign judicial and media outlets without authorisation and taking reporters to protests and giving them harmful information on the kingdom.

Sulais said Manasef, who has been in detention in a jail in Dammam since October 2011, was convicted in three cases that date back from 2009.

Sulais said he planned to appeal the verdict and said Manasef, who is also a photographer, denied the charges and demanded proof of the charges of giving harmful information.

The ruling came two days after prominent Saudi rights lawyer and activist, Waleed Abu al-Khair, was detained by authorities after appearing in court in Riyadh on sedition charges, according to his wife, Samar Badawi.

Human Rights Watch called for Abu al-Khair’s release.

“Saudi authorities have repeatedly harassed Abu al-Khair for his human rights work, and now they’ve suddenly jailed him without letting him notify his family,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement on Thursday.

“The authorities should free Abu al-Khair immediately and drop the charges against him.”

State news agency SPA also reported on Thursday that an unidentified activist was sentenced to six years in jail on charges including taking part in illegal demonstrations and organising women’s protests.

Another unidentified activist was also sentenced to three years in jail for spreading lies against King Abdullah and inciting the public against him, SPA said.

The world’s top oil exporter has regularly dismissed criticism of its human rights record by Western countries and campaign groups.

($1 = 3.7503 Saudi Riyals) …source

April 20, 2014   Add Comments

Bahrain Regime unleash shoutguns and birdshot on Children

April 20, 2014   Add Comments

Bahrain Police launch brutal response to Protest denoucing Regime Murder of Abdul-Aziz al-Abbar, 27

Bahrain Troops Clash with Anti-Regime Protesters Near Manama
20 April, 2014 – Tasnim News

TEHRAN (Tasnim) — The Bahraini regime forces launched a fresh round of crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators protesting the killing of a 27-year-old protester, local media reported on Sunday.

The protest rally, which was held in Sanabes Village, a few miles from the capital Manama on Saturday, turned violent after the Al Khalifah regime forces fired tear gas and shotgun pellets to disperse the angry protesters.

Abdul-Aziz al-Abbar, 27, is the latest victim of the regime’s deadly crackdown aimed at suppressing voice of dissent.

He died on Friday after 55 days in coma from injuries he suffered during a rally held in late February in Sa’ar, a residential area west of Manama.

Rights campaigners have said that Abbar was hit by a teargas canister and shotgun pellets fired by regime forces at a funeral procession.

One pellet penetrated Abbar’s brain and another his eye and he was in a coma in hospital until his death, his family said.

“We have refused to receive the body until we get an (official) report that Abdul-Aziz died from shotgun pellets,” Sayed Hassan, Abbar’s cousin, told Reuters.

Bahrain’s Health Ministry, in its report on the death of Abbar, has said that he died from brain damage and blood flow problems, without specifying what caused this.

Scores of anti-regime protesters have lost their lives and many others put behind the bar in a Saudi-backed military crackdown on pro-democracy rallies in Bahrain since 2011.

All the same, anti-regime protests are held almost on a daily basis across the tiny Persian Gulf monarchy in defiance of the tough security clampdown. …source

April 20, 2014   Add Comments

Two killed and one severly injured in Bahrain car blast

At least two people have been killed and a third person injured in a car explosion in Bahrain, the Interior Ministry said.

“Two burned bodies and one injured person were found” in a car that exploded in the Shia village of al-Mughsha, west of the capital, Manama, the Interior Ministry noted on Saturday.

“Initial details indicate explosives (were) inside the” vehicle, it added.

Bahrain has been the scene of pro-democracy demonstrations since mid-February 2011. The peaceful demonstrations, however, were met with a heavy-handed clampdown by regime forces.

In March 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were called in to help Manama quash anti-regime protests.

Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

On Friday, Abulaziz al-Abbar, 27, died after 55 days in coma from injuries he suffered during a rally held in late February in Sa’ar, a residential area west of Manama.

In Mid-February, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the Bahraini regime to respect its “international human rights obligations” in dealing with peaceful protests in the country.

Physicians for Human Rights says doctors and nurses have been detained, tortured, or disappeared because they have “evidence of atrocities committed by the authorities, security forces, and riot police” in the crackdown on anti-government protesters. …source

April 20, 2014   Add Comments

On Formula 1 race day, a teacher’s letter from inside Bahrain’s Jau Prison

mahdi

As the focus of international media falls on Bahrain for the Grand Prix, it should not ignore the government’s continuing crackdown on civil society.

More on Mahdi Abu Deeb HERE

On Formula 1 race day, a teacher’s letter from inside Bahrain’s Jau Prison
Mahdi Abu Deeb – 4 April, 2014 – global post

JAU, Bahrain — The opening day of the prestigious Formula 1 race in Bahrain — April 6, 2014 — is an important day for my country: the government gets the chance to show the world a modern, vibrant side of Bahrain. It’s also a landmark day for me, the third anniversary of my arrest for peacefully representing the Bahraini Teacher’s Association (BTA).

I write today from Bahrain’s central prison with the hope that while the focus of international media falls on Bahrain for the Grand Prix, it does not ignore the continuing crackdown on civil society.

In early 2011, like in other Middle East countries, people in Bahrain demonstrated peacefully for political reform against generations of dictatorship. We are ruled by a family where the king’s uncle has been the country’s unelected prime minister for over 40 years.

On this day three years ago I was arrested and then tortured for protesting against the government’s violent response to peaceful demonstrators who gathered at the Pearl Roundabout in February and March 2011.

The police raided my home which I had fled, ransacked our property, and terrified my wife and daughters. Hundreds of others were arrested around that time including my colleague and vice-president of the BTA, Jalila al Salman, taken by police on March 29 after her home was raided in the middle of the night.

On April 6 they finally found me and I was taken into police custody. I was beaten, forced to stand long periods of time, verbally abused and tortured. I was hung from the ceiling, hit with a plastic hose and prevented from speaking with my family for weeks.

Immediately after my arrest, the Bahraini Teacher’s Association was dissolved by the Bahraini government for encouraging a school strike. In September 2011, I was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after an unfair trial in a military court on charges including “inciting hatred amongst the regime,” “calling for teachers to strike” and “participating in calling for illegal gatherings.”

Jalila al Salman, along with other labor leaders, medics and human rights activists was also tortured and sent to prison. The United States government sent observers to my trial and other trials, but never spoke out publicly about the unfair proceedings, even as human rights organizations such as Human Rights First urged the Obama administration to say something.

In October 2012 my sentence was reduced to five years, which I continue to serve at Bahrain’s Jau Prison — notorious for its overcrowding and poor treatment of prisoners. I am imprisoned along with several of Bahrain’s most prominent human rights defenders — leading, peaceful figures in Bahrain civil society. …more

April 7, 2014   Add Comments

New Mexico police brutality protests spread – Denver Police Brutaly Crush Sympathy Protest

Denver Police Attack Protest Against Police Burtality
6th April, 2014 – Anonymous Police Brutality Protest

MEDIA ALERT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Denver 4/5—Police in Denver violently attacked a protest march against police brutality on the Downtown 16th street mall a few minutes after it began at 5:30 pm. 6 arrests took place, with police violently tackling individuals in the crowd and spraying pepper spray at protesters and bystanders. A witness said that several of those arrested were passers-by who were not involved in the protest. This protest, called by the informal net-based group known as “Anonymous,” was part of the “Every 5th” event series, in which protesters have gathered downtown on the 5th of every month to protest various issues since November 5, 2013. This particular march was planned in solidarity with protests over a recent police murder of a homeless man in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with an eye to similar ongoing police brutality issues in Denver.

“The Albuquerque Police Department has come under federal scrutiny for being involved in 37 shootings since 2010, 23 of them fatal. “ (source) http://www.democracynow.org/2014/4/1/the_bounty_police_force_albuquerque_officers

One participant said: “There were about 50 of us at the march. We peacefully marched from Civic Center Park to the 16th st mall, our usual march route. As soon as we turned off the mall, police officers violently tackled individuals, swung clubs at others, and sprayed clouds of pepper spray at the crowd. They then formed a line and took out rubber bullet guns, and continued to try to antagonize the crowd. The crowd grew larger as pedestrians became alarmed by the aggressive behavior of the Denver Police Department. There were also numerous military-style vehicles present with SWAT officers riding on the outside. This seems to be a deliberately intimidating response in which DPD is trying to send a strong message to the citizens of their city that the police will not tolerate people speaking out against police brutality. Despite the police violence, our march continued successfully for several hours, snaking through city streets, denouncing police brutality with chants and fliers. This sort of behavior by the police really only serves to promote our protest, and as we saw today, it actually encourages people to join us.”

UPDATE: All 6 who were wrongfully arrested have plead not guilty and have been released on bond/PR and reported back the following:

Police kept insisting the protestors’ water bottles in their backpacks were “molotov cocktails” even after smelling the water. Repeatedly.

They were taken to what appeared to be a mass arrest area that had been set up in advance. There was a table piled with sandwiches and frosted cupcakes. When asked by one of the protesters if the cupcakes had been made especially for the occasion. A cop responded “Yes, there are cupcakes. And they aren’t for you!”

One Denver Sheriff was heard bragging in the jail to another sheriff about how he had just said to one of the cuffed arrestees “I can beat the shit out of you and won’t even lose my job. Nothing will happen to me.”

Multiple photos of direct police interaction during the protest were deleted off of one of the arrestee’s cameras

When one bystander tried to ask a question about the protest, he was called homophobic and sexist slurs by the police as he was being arrested.

Regardless of arguments about reforming the police versus abolishing them altogether one thing the protesters are in agreement about is that DPD acts like a gang of terrorists who aren’t accountable in any way to the people they purport to “Protect and Serve.

Videos of some of the arrests:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUeXBG1E0W4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9CQBI07TRs&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9CQBI07TRs&feature=youtu.be

April 7, 2014   Add Comments

New Mexico Police are paid bounties for Murder

gomez

Payments to Albuquerque Officers Are Called a ‘Bounty System’
By MANNY FERNANDEZ and DAN FROSCH – 24 March, 2012 – NYT

ALBUQUERQUE — Mike Gomez has been angry with the police officer here who shot and killed his 22-year-old son, Alan, last year, after officers responded to a report that the young man was acting erratically and firing a rifle. But Mr. Gomez became even angrier just days ago after he learned that the officer, Sean Wallace, received a $500 payment from the Albuquerque police union shortly after the shooting.

The payment, union officials said, was made to help Officer Wallace cope with the stress of the shooting. But Mr. Gomez said he believed the money served a more ruthless purpose: as a bounty-style reward for a shooting.

“You’re telling police that if you shoot somebody you’re going to get paid leave and you’re going to get $500,” said Mr. Gomez, whose son was unarmed when he was shot last May. “If the police shoot a person they get this. What does the family get? A funeral bill.”

The controversy surrounding the payments has shed light on a little-known practice that police unions in at least a few other cities, including Phoenix, have engaged in for years.

Raymond Schultz, the city’s police chief.

Advocates and others here have protested the Police Department’s 23 shootings by officers since 2010 — 18 of them fatal — with some people calling for the police chief’s resignation and for a Justice Department investigation.

Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico with a population of 546,000, has 1,100 sworn officers. New York City, with a population of 8.4 million and a uniformed police force of 35,000, had 22 fatal shootings by officers in the same time period.

The police union payments were reported on Friday by The Albuquerque Journal. Twenty Albuquerque officers involved in shootings in 2010 and 2011 were paid by the union, with 16 receiving $500, two $300, one $800 and another $1,000, the newspaper reported, citing internal union financial documents. Many of the officers who received the money were involved in the 15 fatal shootings in Albuquerque during that time.

Executives of the union, the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association, said the payments had been given to officers after the shootings and that the practice had gone on for at least two decades. They said the payments of up to $500 were to cover the costs of out-of-town trips for officers and their families after stressful episodes, and that any payment to an officer beyond $500 was for other union-related matters. The executives denied that the money was intended to reward officers who fired their weapons. …more

April 7, 2014   Add Comments

Patterns of Repression – New Mexico Police practice impunity like Bahrain Police Force

The “Bounty” Police Force? Albuquerque Officers Face Protests, Probe over Spate of Fatal Shootings
1 April, 2014 – Democracy Now

Outrage is growing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after the latest incident in a spate of police shootings. Video footage captured by a police helmet camera shows officers killing James Boyd, a homeless man who appeared to be surrendering to them at a campsite where he was sleeping. Boyd is seen picking up his belongings and turning away when officers deploy a flash grenade and then fire six live rounds at him from yards away. The Albuquerque Police Department has come under federal scrutiny for being involved in 37 shootings since 2010, 23 of them fatal. This week the FBI confirmed it is investigating the killing of Boyd, and the Justice Department has already been investigating the city’s police shootings for more than a year. We are joined by Russell Contreras, an Associated Press reporter who was tear-gassed while covering the Sunday protest and has been following the police shootings. We also speak to Nora Tachias-Anaya, a social justice activist whose nephew, George Levy Tachias, was fatally shot by police while driving in Albuquerque in 1988. Tachias-Anaya is a member of the October 22 Coalition To Stop Police Brutality.
Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

RENÉE FELTZ: We begin today’s show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where hundreds marched over the weekend to protest a spate of deadly police shootings. The march began peacefully, lasting at least eight hours, and ended when police fired tear gas at demonstrators who blocked traffic. Albuquerque has one of the highest per capita rates of fatal police shootings in the country. In the latest incident, police killed a homeless man named James Boyd, who appeared to be surrendering to them at a campsite where he was sleeping.

AMY GOODMAN: Video from a police helmet camera shows Boyd picking up his belongings and turning away from the police, when the officers deploy a flash grenade and fire six live shots at Boyd from yards away. That’s after he picked up his belongings and appeared to turn away. Police fired beanbags and let loose a police dog on Boyd as he lay on the ground, still alive, pleading with officers not to hurt him and saying he could not move.

This is a clip from the Albuquerque police video of their encounter with James Boyd. Boyd died from his injuries the next day. After footage of the police shooting him went viral, the hacker group Anonymous called on people in Albuquerque to protest.

ANONYMOUS: Recently, a video has been released to the public which shows Albuquerque police officers murdering a man in cold blood for illegally camping. This man, which was schizophrenic, obviously had no intention of hurting these police officers. On the contrary, this man looks as if he is simply attempting to protect himself from visually fierce, militarized thugs. Whether this man had a history of crime is irrelevant. We drastically need to address the growing police state that has occupied our country. When will we say, “No more”? How many more citizens will be murdered? Naturally, the APD will attempt to label Anonymous as a terrorist organization for our demands of justice. But the question has to be asked: Who do we terrorize? Is it not the growing police state that terrorizes its own citizens?

AMY GOODMAN: On Sunday, Anonymous claimed responsibility for taking down the Albuquerque Police Department’s website for several hours.

The police department has come under federal scrutiny for being involved in 37 shootings since 2010, 23 of them fatal. This week, the FBI confirmed it’s investigating the killing of James Boyd, and the Justice Department has already been investigating the city’s police shootings for more than a year. …more

April 7, 2014   Add Comments

Americans can help give world peace a chance

nowar1

How Americans can help world peace
1 April, 2014 – By Finian Cunningham – PressTV

A first step for world peace is for the American people to rein in their reckless government from the international stage and to stop it making misery for so many.

Americans need democratic government like the rest of the world needs rid of Washington’s thuggish global policeman.

This may come as a shock to many ordinary Americans who tend to think that their country is already the beacon of democratic light unto the world, bestowing all sorts of benevolence to others. Such delusional “American exceptionalism” has to stop. America is only special in a very negative meaning. It plays a central part in fomenting conflict in almost every scenario we care to look at.

We see this nefarious US role in the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian travesty known as a “peace process”. In reality, this process is but a continual green light for the Israeli regime to commit massive violation of international laws against the long-suffering Palestinian people.

US Secretary of State John Kerry this week rushed off to the Israeli regime allegedly to urge its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to engage with Palestinians. To many ordinary Americans, as told by their news media, Washington is acting as a hapless peace broker between two implacable opponents. Wrong.

The US is indulging, as it always has, a systematically criminal Israeli regime, which continues to build illegal settlements in contravention of Geneva and Nuremberg principles, and which is reneging on past commitments to unconditionally release thousands of Palestinian prisoners as part of the Oslo Accord signed more than 20 years ago.

Washington does nothing, nothing, to stop this Israeli affront to humanity. In fact, the US is fully complicit with these crimes against humanity by bankrolling the Israeli regime to the tune of $3 billion every year.

This fawning by Washington is underscored also this week by US army chief Martin Dempsey who was visiting his Israeli counterpart Benny Gantz. Photographs of the smiling military bosses, days after Israel killed civilians in air strikes on Gaza, speaks of the real relationship, and it shows unequivocally which side Washington is on with regard to this decades-old mass suffering. There will never be peace in Palestine – because of Washington.

Meanwhile, we also see the inimical role of the US in a new flare up of conflict between North and South Korea. The two countries have this week exchanged live fire across their maritime border, accompanied by warnings of an all-out war. Again, the US poses here as some kind of “honest broker” of peace between two belligerent parties. …more

April 7, 2014   Add Comments

The Syria Red Line and the Rat Line

The Red Line and the Rat Line
Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels – 6 April, 2014 – London Review of Books

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.​* Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)

Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.

The DIA paper took the arrests as evidence that al-Nusra was expanding its access to chemical weapons. It said Qassab had ‘self-identified’ as a member of al-Nusra, and that he was directly connected to Abd-al-Ghani, the ‘ANF emir for military manufacturing’. Qassab and his associate Khalid Ousta worked with Halit Unalkaya, an employee of a Turkish firm called Zirve Export, who provided ‘price quotes for bulk quantities of sarin precursors’. Abd-al-Ghani’s plan was for two associates to ‘perfect a process for making sarin, then go to Syria to train others to begin large scale production at an unidentified lab in Syria’. The DIA paper said that one of his operatives had purchased a precursor on the ‘Baghdad chemical market’, which ‘has supported at least seven CW efforts since 2004’.

A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’ …more

April 7, 2014   Add Comments

Westrn Media Blackout of New Syria Revelations

Media Blackout of New Syria Revelations
By Brad Hoff – Global Research – 6 April, 2014

On April 6, The London Review of Books published in its online journal Seymour Hersh’s “The Red Line and the Rat Line.” Hersh continues to expose details surrounding the staged August 21 chemical attack incident in Syria, which apparently pretty much everyone in Washington’s intelligence bureaucracy suspected was carried out by the rebels as soon as it happened.

Seymour Hersh is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist whose 40+ years career includes the exposing of the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up, as well as the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. His December 19 report, “Whose Sarin?” -was his first report to expose the Syria chemical attack hoax based on close contact with US Intelligence officials. While “Whose Sarin” was originally prepared for the Washington Post, the newspaper rejected it and a media blackout followed in American press. Currently, Hersh’s newest investigative findings are going unacknowledged in mainstream US media.

Hersh’s report confirms the following:

- Obama’s push for attack on Syria was halted last minute when evidence that the Syrian government had nothing to do with the August 21 chemical attack became too overwhelming.

- It had been well known to US government officials throughout the summer of 2013 that Turkish PM Erdogan was supporting al-Nusra Front in attempts to manufacture Sarin.

- US military knew of Turkish and Saudi program for bulk Sarin production inside Syria from the spring of 2013

- UN inspectors knew the rebels were using chemical weapons on the battlefield since the spring of 2013

- As a result of the staged chemical incident, the White House ordered readiness for a “monster strike” on Syria, which included “two B-22 air wings and two thousand pound bombs” -and a target list which included military and civilian infrastructure targets (note: most of these are in densely populated civilian areas)

- Full military strike was set for September 2

- UK defense officials relayed to their American counterparts in the lead up to planned attack: “We’re being set up here.”

- CIA, MI6, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey set up a “rat line” back in 2012 to run Libyan weapons into Syria via Turkey, including MANPADS; the Benghazi consulate was headquarters for the operation

- Obama OK’ed Turkish-Iranian gold export scam (that went from March 2012 to July 2013) which erupted in a Turkish scandal that nearly brought down the Erdogan government

- US Intelligence community had immediate doubts about Syrian regime responsibility for Aug. 21 attack, yet “reluctant to contradict the president”

- US government will not expose continued Turkey support of terrorism simply because “they’re a NATO ally”

In addition, last Thursday freelance Middle East journalist Sara Elizabeth Williams broke the story of a CIA/US Military run training camp for Syrian rebels in the Jordanian desert. VICE UK ran her story, “I Learned to Fight Like an American at the FSA Training Camp in Jordan,” yet it too failed to make it across the Atlantic into American reporting. International Syria experts thought her story hugely significant, but it got little attention. Top Syria expert in the US, Joshua Landis, announced on his Twitter account Thursday: “Sara Williams gets the scoop on the top secret FSA Training Camp in Jordan.” This courageous young freelancer revealed, with photos, the ins and outs of this secretive facility -yet the mainstream carefully shielded Americans from knowledge of the explosive report. …more

April 7, 2014   Add Comments

Bahraini’s fill streets with massive protest against Bloody Spectacle of F1

Massive demo held ahead of Formula 1 race in Bahrain
4 April, 2014 – PressTV

Tens of thousands of Bahraini protesters have staged an anti-regime demonstration ahead of a Formula One Grand Prix to be held in the Persian Gulf country.

On Friday, around 200,000 men and women marched along 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) on a highway west of the capital Manama.

The demonstration had been organized by al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the country’s main opposition party.

The protesters, who were carrying national flags and posters, chanted pro-democracy slogans and called for the release of prisoners jailed during regime crackdown on protests.

“The people demand democracy and reject tyranny,” a poster read in Arabic and English.

Anti-regime protesters have held similar rallies every year since 2011. They say the Formula One governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), should cancel the event in Bahrain over the ongoing crackdown by the Al Khalifa regime against peaceful protests.

Rights activists also say that the Formula One event is used as a political tool by Manama to make the world believe that the situation in the country is normal.

On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.

According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested.

Physicians for Human Rights says doctors and nurses have been detained, tortured, or disappeared because they have “evidence of atrocities committed by the authorities, security forces, and riot police” in the crackdown on anti-government protesters. …source

April 7, 2014   Add Comments

Bahrain F1 Blood Sport for Oppression

April 7, 2014   Add Comments

Bahrain’s Bloody F1 – Promoting Police State Murder, Collective Punishment, Torture Frenzy

Staging the Bahrain Grand Prix is “a matter of life and death”
By Ahmed Ali – 3 April, 2014

Salah had been protesting the staging of the race when he was arrested. His body was found with multiple large bruises and numerous shotgun pellet wounds. His ribs were broken and dried blood covered his head and body.

The police officer responsible for his murder was acquitted last year.

On the day of Salah’s funeral, thousands of protesters poured onto the streets shouting anti-regime and anti-Formula One slogans. Journalists covering the protests were arrested, detained and deported from Bahrain.

Two days following the death of Salah, the UK’s Channel 4 news team was detained and deported from the country.

Sports and human rights had unified into a single cause for protest as the result of the brutal killing of Salah; the reputation of Formula One and motorsport in general was in tatters.

A year later, the race was back on despite the ever-deteriorating human rights situation. Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone assured media that it was safe for the race to take place in the country.

The Bahraini government racked up its public relations campaign to win over hesitant sponsors. …more

April 7, 2014   Add Comments

Bahrain’s grand F1 race used to crush dissent

bahprotest

Bahrain’s Grand Prix: another opportunity to stifle dissent
By: Chloé Benoist – 5 April, 2014

On Sunday night, Bahrain will celebrate its ten-year anniversary as a Formula One host country. The event has been touted as a moment of national pride and unity, but the glamor and rumbling motors of the race have become yet another sinister excuse to quash Bahraini dissent.

Under the slogan “UniF1ed,” Bahrain has turned the Grand Prix into a propaganda tool to burnish its image on the international stage as a peaceful modern country.

But this image is threatened by the reality of three years of state repression against dissent, which has killed close to 100 protesters and jailed hundreds of opposition members.

Formula One, one of the world’s most lucrative sports, has become a battleground between Bahraini activists seeking to raise international awareness of their plight and the government trying to silence them.

“Who benefits from the Formula One race? The ruling family,” Bahraini activist Nedal al-Salman told Al-Akhbar. “We want to show what is really happening.”

Since the cancellation of the Bahraini Grand Prix in 2011, in the early moments of the uprising, the monarchy has intensified its campaign to clamp down on protests every year ahead of the Formula One races, and 2014 seems to be no exception.

“Every year before the Formula One race, there is a huge crackdown on protesters, with arrests, collective punishment, house raids, injuries and even protesters being killed by the police,” Yousif al-al-Muhafda, head of the documentation unit of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said.

But this image is threatened by the reality of three years of state repression against dissent, which has killed close to 100 protesters and jailed hundreds of opposition members.
“They don’t allow protesters to go out in the streets so journalists can’t see them,” he added. “Some villages are even surrounded with barbed wire. The crackdown started in January this year, and we documented 500 people getting arrested since.”

Journalists have been barred from covering protests in the country in further efforts to strangle the opposition, said Salman, who is also involved with BCHR and helps journalists access opposition sources.

At least two journalists who cover Bahraini protests have been arrested in the past two months, the Committee to Protect Journalists said, who added that Bahrain has one of the highest number of incarcerated journalists per capita, second only to Eritrea. Three reporters have been killed since the beginning of the uprising, and numerous others have been injured or otherwise intimidated into silence.

“This year we’re a bit careful, because we are worried that we might be punished,” Salman said.

Meanwhile, Formula One’s president, Bernie Ecclestone, has played dumb in regards to the human rights violations in Bahrain. …more

April 7, 2014   Add Comments

499 Jordainian policemen are costing Bahrain 1.8 million dollar per month

Jordanian-riot-police

Jordanian Police: 499 policemen are costing Bahrain 1.8 million dollar per month
3 April, 2014 – Bahrain Mirror PDF HERE

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Bahrain Mirror reached important documents that assure the existence of about 499 Jordanian policemen in Bahrain whose financial allocation mounts to approximately 700000 Bahraini Dinar monthly (about 1.8 million dollar).

The documents issued by the Bahraini Ministry of Interior on February 11, 2014 and fully published by “Bahrain Mirror” unveil the names, salaries and bank accounts numbers of all policemen found in Bahrain. These documents also show that these names were merged within the ministry staff.

Moreover, these critical documents signed by the finance affairs manager related to the Ministry, Khaled Abdullah Ali Almoaili, reveal that transferring the police’s salary happens via Arab Jordan Bank, where the salaries are asked to be paid to those “attributed to the Ministry” who appear to be of the blood of known Jordanian families.

The average salary for each policeman stands at 1200 Bahraini Dinar (about 31000 Dollars)

This new information refutes the announcements of the Jordanian Minister of State for Information Affairs, Official Spokesman of the Jordanian Government, Mohammed Hussain Al-Moumini, who said yesterday on Tuesday, April 1 that “the Jordanian policemen are found in Bahrain for training purposes and for qualifying the Bahraini policemen.”

A letter dated on February 11, 2014 holding the number “A-M-4-6-361” under the title of “Dues to those attributed to the ministry” states that: “enclosed, you will find payment returns of 699.604.073 Dinar (Six hundred ninety nine thousand six hundred four dinar and thirty seven fils) as salaries for February 2014 for those attributed to the ministry.”

These documents states that “the number of accrued persons is 499 one”. All of the names are enclosed within the letter.

This number does not include all the Jordanian security members found in Bahrain, but only those who have been recently recruited.

Another letter holding the same date and the number “A-M-4-6” notices that the dues transferring is conducted through the “National Bank of Bahrain” to the “Arab Jordan Bank” which opened bank accounts to all the Jordanian policemen within “Special arrangements regarding this issue”, as stated in the letter.

Before considering that “the Jordanian policemen existence had nothing to do with the Bahraini crisis”, the Minister of State for Information Affairs, Sameera Rajab, affirmed during a lecture in Jordan on Tuesday that the Jordanian policemen are found in Bahrain pursuant to a security agreement. Ms. Rajab also underlined that “arrangement and security cooperation with an Arab state is better than that with a foreign one”. …source

April 3, 2014   Add Comments

Bahrain learns impunity, promotions for torturers from US

When CIA Tortured Detainees to Death — And Agents Escaped Accountability and Were Promoted
By: Kevin Gosztola – 2 April, 2014 – FDL

There is not much being reported about CIA torture, as detailed in the major report by the Senate intelligence committee, that has not been reported previously. However, there has been no accountability, and the struggle between CIA and Senate over the report and what parts will be declassified for the public to read offers an opportunity to reckon with some of the horrific acts that were committed.

McClatchy Newspapers spoke with some sources for a story on the contents of the report and was apparently able to confirm that “the CIA’s own internal documents confirm the agency’s culpability in the hypothermia death of one Afghan captive.” The CIA has never had to publicly discuss the incident, even though in 2009 the Justice Department under President Barack Obama opened an investigation into what happened.

As summarized by Larry Siems in The Torture Report: What the Documents Say About America’s Post-9/11 Torture Program, a young agent named “Matt, “a former Naval intelligence officer who joined the CIA and was put in charge of an operation for which he had no experience or training.” At the Salt Pit prison in Afghanistan, he ordered a captive named Gul Rahman to be “dragged around his concrete cell, doused with water and left shackled overnight.”

The temperature plummeted. Rahman, who was in the cell all night half-naked, was found dead. This happened despite the fact that Matt knew the prison was in need of heaters, which he had requested from the CIA’s Afghanistan station chief.

A report by CIA inspector general John Helgerson faulted the agency for “fail[ing] to provide adequate staffing, guidance and support to those involved with the detention and interrogation of detainees.” This report called attention to the poor judgment of Matt and the role of Paul, a CIA station chief in Afghanistan. And Helgerson also recommended that Rahman’s death be “referred to the Justice Department for prosecution.”

However, the Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) refused to prosecute insisting that a “declination memorandum” protected Matt from prosecution because he had no “specific intent.” The memo by Jay Bybee explained that, as manager of the Salt Pit site, if Matt “did not intend for Rahman to suffer severe pain from low temperature in his cell, he would lack specific intent under the anti-torture statute.”

John Sifton, an attorney and private human rights investigator, wrote for Slate, “The declination memo ‘regarding Gul Rahman’s death” was essentially an after-the-fact blessing for Rahman’s killer, in the form of a memo stating that DoJ would not prosecute the officers responsible.”

The Justice Department’s Criminal Division “provided declinations in cases of detainee abuse, thus giving individual officers de facto immunity from criminal prosecution.” Even if the Justice Department wanted to prosecute under Obama, this declination could be cited by defense counsel “as a partial shield.” (Sifton suggested these “declinations” may have been issued as “after-the-fact-immunities” similar to pardons.) …more

April 3, 2014   Add Comments

Protest set during Bahrain’s abuse enabling F1

f1crash3

Bahrain opposition calls F1 Grand Prix protests
AFP – 1 April, 2014 – Times of India

DUBAI: Bahrain’s influential Shiite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq and a more radical group have called separate rallies for Friday to protest the weekend staging of the Formula One Grand Prix in Manama.

Demonstrations have been held during the annual three-day Grand Prix event every year since 2011 by opponents of the ruling Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty in an attempt to highlight pro-reform demands.

The protests, which first erupted in the wake of a Shiite-led uprising in February 2011, have at times been marred by violence but the race has never been affected.

They are mainly staged in Shiite villages surrounding Manama and away from the Sakhir F1 circuit in the capital’s south.

The Bahrain Grand Prix practice sessions begin on Friday ahead of Sunday’s race.

Al-Wefaq in a Tuesday statement urged its supporters to hold a rally on the main Budaya highway, four kilometres (2.5 miles) west of Manama, which links several Shiite villages.

Al-Wefaq’s peaceful rallies are usually tolerated by the authorities and rarely end with clashes.

But protests by supporters of radical cyber-group the February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition are more violent and often end with clashes between police and demonstrators armed with petrol bombs.

The February 14 group, accused by authorities of links to Shiite-majority Iran, called on its Facebook page for demonstrations Friday in the Al-Seef Junction area, west of Manama, under the slogan: “Stop the blood formula.”

Protests in Shiite villages surrounding Manama began earlier this week, with witnesses reporting masked demonstrators staging rallies chanting: “No, no to Formula 1″ and “Down Hamad,” in reference to the king.

The rallies have been broken up by police firing tear gas and sound grenades, with protesters hurling petrol bombs and throwing stones, according to witnesses.

Public security chief General Tariq Hasan said Tuesday the authorities have taken “all measures and plans” to secure the April 4-6 Formula One event.

Police will deploy around the Sakhir circuit and along main roads leading to it, the official BNA news agency quoted Hasan as saying.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Bahrain’s hosting of the event, the race will this year take place at night.

Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, remains deeply divided three years after the Shiite-led uprising was quashed, with persistent protests sparking clashes with police, scores of Shiites jailed on “terror” charges and reconciliation talks deadlocked.

The International Federation for Human Rights says at least 89 people have been killed in Bahrain since the uprising began in February 2011. …source

April 3, 2014   Add Comments

Bahrain villages brace for regime’s F1 blood letting and ravishes of repression

bloodsport

Bahrain: Fears of renewed government crackdown ahead of Grand Prix
2 April, 2014 – Amnesty International

As the eyes of the sporting world turn to Bahrain’s Formula One Grand Prix this weekend, Amnesty International urges the country’s authorities not to quash peaceful protests surrounding the event.

The Formula One racing tournament is due to take place in Bahrain from 4-6 April. In previous years, the authorities have taken severe repressive measures against pro-reform demonstrators, activists opposed to the Royal family and human rights campaigners during the event.

“Bahrain’s authorities must not repeat past mistakes by restricting freedom of movement or crushing protests. The rights of people in Bahrain to peacefully to express their opposition to government policies and voice human rights concerns are legitimate and must be respected,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

Opposition activists calling for a boycott of the Grand Prix have already been branded “traitors” by the government. There are fears that the authorities may use recent unrest, including terror attacks on police, to justify imposing further restrictions during the Grand Prix, such as preventing people from leaving their villages and clamping down on peaceful protests.

During previous Grand Prix events, foreign and local journalists were barred from covering protests, with some deported from Bahrain for attempting to do so without permission.

“Rather than continuing to resort to security measures to deal with anti-government protests, Bahrain’s authorities should mark the Grand Prix by announcing concrete steps to address the dire state of human rights in the country,” said Said Boumedouha.

“Three years on from the 2011 uprising, Bahrain has seen only cosmetic changes and empty promises of reform. Arbitrary arrests, crackdowns on protests and torture in custody continue unabated. Using the Grand Prix to boost Bahrain’s public image is little more than a blatant attempt to gloss over mounting abuses with the hype of an international sporting event.”

Compounding ongoing abuses, there is also a complete absence of accountability for past violations, with a host of victims and their families still awaiting justice for killing and torture that occurred during previous Grand Prix events. …more

April 3, 2014   Add Comments