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

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Human rights defender Maryam Alkhawaja, jailed without access to lawyer

Bahrain: Human rights defender jailed without access to lawyer
By Milana Knezevic – 1 Sep. 2014 – Index on Censorship

Prominent human rights activist Maryam Alkhawaja has been jailed in Bahrain. She was detained at Bahrain International Airport on Friday as she tried to enter the country, and has yet to meet with her lawyer.

Alkhawaja, a dual Danish-Bahraini citizen, had her Danish passport confiscated and was told she no longer held Bahraini citizenship. She was also barred from using her phone or contacting her family, according to the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), the organisation of which she is co-director. GCHR also reported that she was interrogated on charges of assaulting and injuring police officers, while lawyer Mohamed Al Jishi said he was not allowed to speak to his client before she was questioned. She is currently held in Isa Town women’s prison.

Alkhawaja was travelling to see her imprisoned father, who last week started a hunger strike. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja is a Bahraini human rights campaigner who co-founded the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), which won the 2012 Index Freedom of Expression Award for Advocacy. He was sentenced to life in prison on terrorism charges following pro-democracy protests that swept the country in 2011. Abdulhadi and his daughters Maryam and Zainab are outspoken critics of human rights violations in the constitutional monarchy, which is categorised as “not free” by Freedom House.

The case first gained attention after Alkhawaja tweeted about being detained on Friday, and an unnamed person close to the family continues to provide updates through her Twitter account. On Saturday, the account reported that she is also facing charges of insulting the king of Bahrain and over an anti-impunity campaign she was involved with in November 2013.

Human Rights Watch called the arrest “outrageous”, while GCHR has labelled the charges “fabricated” and has called on the international community to put pressure on Bahraini authorities to release father and daughter. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sending a representative to Bahrain to provide support. Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard tweeted on Sunday that a “solution must be found in Al-Khawaja case” and that he has raised the issue with the European Union.

This comes as the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bahrain on Sunday upheld a 10-year sentence on photographer Ahmad Humaidan. He was convicted over an attack on a police station in 2012, but human rights groups believe the case against him is connected to his coverage of pro-democracy demonstrations. …source

September 2, 2014   Add Comments

Speak Up for Hussain Hubail, a photographer illegally detained and dying in Bahrain Jau Prison

Hussain Hubail, is struggling to get medical care and survive in Jaw Prison. If he gets a consultant’s appointment the prison refuses to provide transport. Hussain’s Appeal on 20th August against his 5 year sentence was postponed until 21st September.
If the US and UK Governments don’t want this young man to die in prison, they should use their influence to get him released on medical and humanitarian grounds.

Hussain’s crime, like all the photographers, is to take pictures of the attacks on unarmed demonstrators by the Bahraini police force, most of whom aren’t Bahrainis. They have documented the Khalifas’ attack on freedom of speech and assembly so the world knows what is going on. The Khalifas want them silenced, so they have detained and tortured them. This is dangerous work with three journalists killed and 25 sent to prison. 14 photographers are in prison today with sentences from 3- 10 years.

Professor Abhi Prasad at St Georges Hospital, Tooting has agreed to treat Hussain if we can get him released. What can you do to help? This is URGENT – Hussain has had no medicine since April 2014 when he left Dry Dock Detention Centre and was moved to Jaw Prison.

Please contact your Congressmen or MP and ask them to ask the al Khalifa regime to allow treatment.

August 22, 2014   Add Comments

US Militarizes Racism and Neoliberal Violence

The Militarization of Racism and Neoliberal Violence
18 Aug. 2014 15:43 By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout

policestate
Police form a line during a standoff with protesters in Ferguson, Mo. – Photo: Whitney Curtis – NYT

The recent killing and then demonization of an unarmed 18-year-old African-American youth, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri by a white police officer has made visible how a kind of military metaphysics now dominates American life. The police have been turned into soldiers who view the neighborhoods in which they operate as war zones. Outfitted with full riot gear, submachine guns, armored vehicles, and other lethal weapons imported from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, their mission is to assume battle-ready behavior. Is it any wonder that violence rather than painstaking, neighborhood police work and community outreach and engagement becomes the norm for dealing with alleged “criminals,” especially at a time when more and more behaviors are being criminalized?

But I want to introduce a caveat. I think it is a mistake to simply focus on the militarization of the police and their racist actions in addressing the killing of Michael Brown. What we are witnessing in this brutal killing and mobilization of state violence is symptomatic of the neoliberal, racist, punishing state emerging all over the world, with its encroaching machinery of social death. The neoliberal killing machine is on the march globally. The spectacle of neoliberal misery istoo great to deny any more and the only mode of control left by corporate-controlled societies is violence, but a violence that is waged against the most disposable such as immigrant children, protesting youth, the unemployed, the new precariat and black youth.

Neoliberal states can no longer justify and legitimate their exercise of ruthless power and its effects under casino capitalism. Given the fact that corporate power now floats above and beyond national boundaries, the financial elite can dispense with political concessions in order to pursue their toxic agendas. Moreover, as Slavoj Žižek argues “worldwide capitalismcan no longer sustain or tolerate . . . global equality. It is just too much.” (1) Moreover, in the face of massive inequality, increasing poverty, the rise of the punishing state, and the attack on all public spheres, neoliberalism can no longer pass itself off as synonymous with democracy. The capitalist elite, whether they are hedge fund managers, the new billionaires from Silicon Valley, or the heads of banks and corporations, is no longer interested in ideology as their chief mode of legitimation. Force is now the arbiter of their power and ability to maintain control over the commanding institutions of American society. Finally, I think it is fair to say that they are too arrogant and indifferent to how the public feels.

Neoliberal capitalism has nothing to do with democracy and this has become more and more evident among people, especially youth all over the globe. As Žižek has observed, “the link between democracy and capitalism has been broken.” (2) Theimportant question of justice has been subordinated to the violence of unreason, to a market logic that divorces itself from social costs, and a ruling elite that has an allegiance to nothing but profit and will do anything to protect their interests. This is why I think it is dreadfully wrong to just talk about the militarization of local police forces without recognizing that the metaphor of “war zone” is apt for a global politics in which the social state and public spheres have been replaced by the machinery of finance, the militarization of entire societies not just the police, and the widespread use of punishment that extends from the prison to the schools to the streets. Some have rightly argued that these tactics have been going on in the black community for a long time and are not new. Police violence certainly has been going on for some time, but what is new is that the intensity of violence and the level of military-style machinery of death being employed is much more sophisticated and deadly. For instance, as Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers point out, the militarization of the police in the United States is a recent phenomenon that dates back to 1971. They write:

The militarization of police is a more recent phenomenon [and marks] the rapid rise of Police Paramilitary Units (PPUs, informally SWAT teams) which are modeled after special operations teams in the military. PPUs did not exist anywhere until 1971when Los Angeles under the leadership of the infamous police chief Daryl Gates, formed the first one and used it for demolishing homes with tanks equipped with battering rams. By 2000, there were 30,000 police SWAT teams [and] by the late 1990s, 89% of police departments in cities of over 50,000 had PPUs, almost double the mid-80s figure; and in smaller towns of between 25,000 and 50,000 by 2007, 80% had a PPU quadrupling from 20% in the mid-80s. [Moreover,] SWAT teams were active with 45,000 deployments in 2007 compared to 3,000 in the early 80s. The most common use . . . was for serving drug search warrants where they were used 80% of the time, but they were also increasingly used for patrolling neighborhoods. (3)

At the same time, the impact of the rapid militarization of local police forces on poor black communities is nothing short of terrifying and symptomatic of the violence that takes place in advanced genocidal states. For instance, according to a recent report entitled “Operation Ghetto Storm,” produced by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, “police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes extra judicially killed at least 313 African-Americans in 2012. . . . This means a black person was killed by a security officer every 28 hours. The report suggests that “the real number could be much higher.” (4) …more

August 19, 2014   Add Comments

Ferguson, MO and Police Militarization

August 19, 2014   Add Comments

Ferguson Riot Police Stoke Flames of Discord with agitation and violation of Civil Rights

August 19, 2014   Add Comments

Ferguson, MO enjoys Neoliberal Repression shared by Bahrain

What The Police’s ‘Non Lethal Weapons’ Can Do To Human Bodies
by Tara Culp-Ressler – 18 August – Think Progress

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Police advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd of protesters in Ferguson, MO on Sunday – AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

The ongoing unrest in Ferguson over 18-year-old Mike Brown’s shooting has illustrated the increasingly blurry line between law enforcement and military combat, as heavily armed police forces in riot gear have repeatedly clashed with unarmed protesters. On Sunday night, that tension was on full display, and police reportedly fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds well before the town’s midnight curfew.

U.S. police are increasingly relying on those so-called “non lethal weapons” for crowd control, a dynamic that’s inspired a national conversation about whether it’s appropriate to arm cops with weapons that are typically used in combat. Indeed, there’s increasing evidence that non lethal weapons can actually inflict serious pain and, in some rare cases, even kill people. Here’s how the police in Ferguson are potentially putting protesters’ health in danger:

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People run from tear gas after police dispersed protesters in Ferguson on Sunday night – AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Although tear gas is a chemical agent that’s banned in warfare, it’s perhaps the most common method of crowd control at protests around the world. Tear gas activates pain receptors in the body, causing a sensation of burning in subjects’ eyes, noses, and throats. In response to the pain, victims typically cough and choke, and their bodies produce excessive tears and mucous in an attempt to flush out the chemical. Because there are so many pain receptors in the cornea, it’s usually impossible for them to keep their eyes open, and some people report temporary blindness. People who suffer from asthma, or people who have been sprayed with tear gas in an enclosed space, often struggle to breathe.

Although tear gas is classified as non lethal because it’s generally considered to have only short term consequences, some scientists warn that things can quickly go wrong if it’s deployed incorrectly. There have been several reports of people dying in Egypt and Israel after inhaling too much tear gas.

Opponents of this particular chemical agent point out that there hasn’t been enough conclusive research into its potential long term health effects. Physicians for Human Rights has documented several cases in which people in Bahrain have suffered miscarriages, respiratory failure, and persistent blindness after being exposed to tear gas. The Chilean government suspended the use of tear gas in 2011 over concerns that the chemicals could damage women’s reproductive systems and harm their fetuses.

“These agents are certainly not benign,” Sven-Eric Jordt, a professor of pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine, told the National Geographic in an interview last year. “There is no way to disconnect the pain that is induced from the physiological inflammatory effects of these agents.” …more

August 19, 2014   Add Comments

Voices Grow Louder Calling for Release of Blind Detainee Jafar Matooq

9 Bahraini Human Rights Organisations Launched a Campaign for the Release of the Blind Detainee Jafar Matooq
18 August, 2014

SHAFAQNA – 9 Bahraini human rights organisations along with human rights activists in Bahrain have launched a campaign for the release of Bahraini blind detainee Jafar Matooq, who is in urgent need of treatment.

This campaign was launched because of the deteriorating situation in Bahraini prisons in terms of the treatment provided for prisoners, as many of them live in therapeutic crisis and neglect of their health.

The right to receive treatment is guaranteed by international charters and conventions, as it is a fundamental human right. The government of Bahrain ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that receiving treatment is a right of each person just as the other residual rights enshrined in the Covenant.

Participating organisations see that the human rights situation in Bahrain has reached a very dangerous level at all aspects in a way that the institutions of civil society and human rights organisations are not being able to take care of each individual case despite the fact that many of the victims of the Government are suffering as a result of the systematic persecution. Therefore, a group of human rights and civil society organisations, activists and bloggers in Bahrain and abroad initiated a step to adopt the case of a blind detained Bahraini citizen Jafar Matooq, through a human rights media campaign that will include several events, which will be announced soon. Hoping that this will be the beginning of a continues work on similar cases in order to get the victims their right, and to not let them convert to numbers in the escalating list of human rights violations.

The victim Jafar Matooq, lost both eyes in a painful unclear accident, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison without questioning and with no genuine charges, as he was receiving treatment in the hospital. A court decision was issued for him to be viewed by an eye specialist to examine the extent of his health. This decision was issued in May 2014; however, it has not been implemented yet, which forced his lawyer to submit a complaint against the Criminal investigations unit. This campaign is to demand his release and the necessity of granting him the right to treatment that is available outside of Bahrain to work on recovering his eyesight before it becomes too late.

The involved organisations hope for an extensive interaction with this campaign including its programs and events to succeed and to establish a collective action to defend the victims and try to let them receive their rights and to stop the injustice actions against them. The organisations indicates that the campaign is to be launched on the 19th of August, 2014.

Human rights organisations participating in the campaign:
Bahrain Human Rights Observatory
Bahrain Human Rights Society
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Bahrain Salam for Human Rights
Bahrain Forum for Human Rights
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights
European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights
“BRAVO” Organisation
“I am free” Campaign
The detainee’s Family
Human Rights activists
August 15, 2014

August 19, 2014   Add Comments

Got Gas? Welcome to Revolution’s Morning

Around the world in tear gas: Protests stifled in 2014
14 August, 2014 – Al Jazeera

As a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, seethes with anger after the murder of an unarmed black teenager over the weekend, images of demonstrations are reminiscent of protest zones across the globe. With security forces lobbing tear gas canisters at people to quell unrest, individuals sometimes simply pick up the devices intended for crowd control and throw them back at the riot police.

The images below show similar circumstances in many different locales where political discourse is expressed in street clashes. From anti-occupation rallies in the West Bank and sectarian protests in Bahrain to anti-government agitation in Ukraine and Venezuela, marchers are often eager to turn law enforcement’s own techniques against police.

While such photographs may be familiar in unstable Egypt, perhaps they are more shocking emerging from the Midwest of the U.S.

gotgas1
West Bank. A Palestinian protester throws a tear gas canister back towards Israeli police close to the Israel’s Ofer military prison in the West Bank town of Betunia on April 4, 2014, during clashes after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas rejected appeals from US Secretary of State John Kerry to halt applications to join international treaties to salvage peace talks with Israel.Abbas Momani / AFP / Getty Images

gotgas2
Bahraini protestor throws a tear gas canister back at riot police during clashes following a protest condemning the deaths of Ahmed Al-Mosajen and Ali Abbas, in the village of Al-Maqsha, west of Manama, on April 25, 2014. The two men were killed on April 19, when their car exploded in a Shiite village in Bahrain.Mohammed Al-Shaikh / AFP / Getty Images

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August 18, 2014   Add Comments

‘Contractual Constitution’, latest in rhetorical spin from Bahrain’s Reformist Wing

Bahrain opposition: A contractual constitution is a necessity to end the political crisis in Bahrain
18 aug. 2014 – ABNA

The national democratic opposition parties in Bahrain staged a mass rally on Friday August 15th , 2014 marking Bahrain’s independence day anniversary from British mandate in 1971.

The national democratic opposition parties in Bahrain staged a mass rally on Friday August 15th , 2014 marking Bahrain’s independence day anniversary from British mandate in 1971.

In the final communiqué, the opposition parties called for a contractual constitution laid freely by the people to put an end to the political crisis in the country.

“The continuous arrests against dissidents, expulsion, punishment for calling for democracy clearly violates freedom of expression” the opposition parties said.

The national opposition parties stress that the current political crisis has led to many setbacks in the national economy, ignited sectarian strife between citizens as many citizens have chosen to flee Bahrain because of the regime’s policy of nourishing the culture of impunity, encouraging more abuses to take place against human rights.

“The need for contractual constitution is so essential in Bahrain to enable the people to be the source of all powers”, they added, ” the people must be able to elect their own government and their own legislative power through fair elections, to form their independent judicial system”, they stressed

Finally, they emphasized that the popular movement will continue to take to streets until all legitimate demands of the people are fully realized. …source

August 18, 2014   Add Comments

Saudi Injustice toward Sheik al-Nimr addressed by Hezbollah

Hezbollah warns Saudis on Sheikh Nimr’s trial
15 August, 2014
Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has demanded a halt to the prosecution or any legal pursuit of prominent Saudi cleric Ayatollah Nimr Baqer al-Nimr by the Riyadh regime, vowing that continuing with the fabricated legal case against the Shia scholar will further deteriorate the regional situation.

In a Wednesday statement on the case, Hezbollah has called on the Saudi Arabian authorities to stop the trial of Sheikh Nimr based on trumped up charges, al-Alam news network reported Thursday.

The statement added that the objective of Saudi authorities in insisting on following up with the prosecution of Sheikh Nimr, who has been in detention since 2012 based on false accusations, is to issue harsh sentences against him.

“The continued detention of this great scholar and prosecuting him for [engaging in] natural political activities comes while such rights exist for every individual and every scholar and expression of ideas and views is a natural right of all individuals, underlined by all international regulation and divine faiths,” said the Hezbollah statement.

The Lebanese resistance group further emphasized in the statement that the issuance of any unjust ruling in the case will be harmful to Islamic relations and may lead to deterioration of the regional atmosphere.

It further emphasized that the region is in need of cooperation and collaboration among Arab and Muslim nations in efforts to encounter threats they are facing today. …more

August 18, 2014   Add Comments

Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amr victimised by sectarian system of Saudi Injustice

Amnesty slams Saudi Arabia over Shia cleric verdict
1 5 August, 2014 – Shia Post

Amnesty International has slammed Saudi Arabia for handing down a harsh verdict to a leading Shia cleric in the country.

Amnesty International said on Thursday that the harsh sentence of Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amr shows the disturbing pattern of harassment against the Shia community in Saudi Arabia.

A court in the Saudi kingdom has given the Shia cleric an eight-year jail term and a ten-year travel ban. He has also been barred from delivering religious sermons.

“Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amr is the latest Shia cleric to pay a very high price for refusing to be silenced,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The cleric has been charged with criticizing the country’s ruling system and calling for political reform.

“Daring to peacefully criticize Saudi Arabia’s rulers is no reason to end up behind bars. He must be released immediately in connection with these charges,” Boumedouha added.

Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amer has been arrested several times over his calls on the Saudi government to give Shias further freedom to exercise their religious rights.

“The conviction of Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amr by a special security and counterterrorism court reveals the extent to which the Saudi Arabian judicial system is arbitrary and unfair. Had the cleric signed a pledge not to deliver religious sermons, he would have currently been a free man. Yet the authorities seemed concerned about one thing alone which is how to punish him harsher for not obeying them,” said Said Boumedoua.

There have been numerous demonstrations in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province since 2011, with the protesters calling for political reform and an end to widespread discrimination.

Activists say there are over 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia. …more

August 18, 2014   Add Comments

Bahrain Kingdom of Injustice 22 new Political Prisoners to its list of detained on false charges

Bahrain regime imprisons 22 Shiite over anti-regime protests
17 August, 2014 – PRessTV

The Bahraini regime has given jail terms to 22 activists for taking part in pro-democracy demonstrations in the Persian Gulf country.

The Bahraini regime has given jail terms to 22 activists for taking part in pro-democracy demonstrations in the Persian Gulf country.

On Saturday, a Bahraini court sentenced 18 citizens to three years and four others to two years in prison for partaking in protests in Bani Jamra, a village in the northwest of Bahrain.

On Friday, thousands of people staged an anti-regime protest in the village of Diraz on the country’s northwestern coast to voice solidarity with journalists and photographers arrested by the Al Khalifa regime’s crackdown.

A separate demonstration was held in the village of Sanabis, located in the suburbs of the Bahraini capital Manama.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.

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.

On June 10, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) censured the Manama regime for human rights violations in the country. A total of 46 members of the international body expressed deep concern over the Al Khalifa regime’s crackdown on peaceful protesters. …more

August 18, 2014   Add Comments

Prisoner of Conscience Nabeel Rajab Speaks about Prison Ordeal

August 18, 2014   Add Comments

Opposition fill streets of Bahrain with ceaseless protest since Massacre at Pearl Roundabout Feb.2011

Bahrainis to Hold Protest Rallies
15 August, 2014 – Tasim News Agency

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Bahrain’s political and revolutionary forces have called on the Persian Gulf country’s people to take part in protest rallies on Friday.

They urged people to hold anti-regime demonstrations and insist on the withdrawal of Saudi and Emirati forces from Bahrain, Al-Alam news network reported.

The planned Friday rallies will come on the occasion of the country’s Independence Day and a few days after an Al Khalifa regime’s court has sentenced 14 people to life in prison in relation to the political crisis in the country.

Another 12 citizens have been sentenced to 7 years in prison, making a sum of 434 years for all 26.

“The sentence further entrench the tyrannical rule and extends the crisis between the majority of the people who are demanding democratic transition and the dynasty in power”, the website of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, a main opposition party in Bahrain said.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Ali Salman, the society’s secretary-general, in a Twitter post underlined that the repressive verdicts will not (deter) the Bahraini people’s struggle for democracy and equality.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power, amid the regime heavy-handed crackdown on them.

On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to Bahrain to assist the Manama regime in its crackdown on the peaceful protesters. …more

August 18, 2014   Add Comments

Bahrain’s ‘injustice system’ heaps sectarian motived sentences on opposition protesters

Bahrain’s ‘injustice-system’ issues anti-Shia jail terms up to 434 years
14 August, 2014 – ABNA

A Bahraini court has handed life sentences to 14 citizens in relation to the political crisis in the country. Another 12 citizens have been sentenced to 7 years in prison, making a sum of 434 years for all 26.

A Bahraini court has handed life sentences to 14 citizens in relation to the political crisis in the country. Another 12 citizens have been sentenced to 7 years in prison, making a sum of 434 years for all 26.

The sentence further entrench the tyrannical rule and extends the crisis between the majority of the people who are demanding democratic transition and the dynasty in power.

Detainees continue to complain of severe torture and coercion during arrest and interrogation. However, their complaints are overlooked by the Public Prosecution Office and the courts that lack fundamental international prosecution standards.
The very well know Human Rights Watch (HRW) described the Bahraini judiciary as an “injustice system” criticizing courts for supporting the repressive regime by repeatedly sentencing peaceful protesters to prolonged periods in jail.

HRW was not the only one to criticize Bahrain for its tarnished record of human rights, Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated that the trials in Bahrain represent “political persecution” of dissidents. Furthermore, the Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) confirmed in its report that the trials in Bahrain are used to attack the opposition. In September 2013, Bahrain faced condemnation of 47 member States in the UN Human Rights Council for its appalling human rights situation.

Commenting on the jail terms issued today, Sheik Ali Salman, Secretary-General of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, said, “It has become clear that the repressive verdicts will not the Bahraini people’s struggle for democracy and equality”. …source

August 18, 2014   Add Comments

Neoliberal Profiteering more important than Human Rights and Democracy in Bahrain

Business Interests Are More Valuable to Bahrain’s Western Allies Than Democracy and Human Rights
17 August, 2014 – Business Insider

I was sentenced to two years in prison for holding what authorities in Bahrain described as “illegal demonstrations” in 2012. In actual fact I was doing my legitimate and peaceful human rights work. I have been released in May this year, after serving the full sentence. My crime, if it can be called one, was defending the people’s rights and calling for reform in Bahrain. But under the pretext that I had not acquired permission from the government for my protest, I was locked away. The real reason was to keep me silent: my role as the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, my advocacy on the media, including twitter and my relations with international human rights organisations and the UN system made me a threat to the undemocratic government and the Al Khalifa family that runs the country. Now that I am released from prison I can speak freely and engage myself in human rights work again.

The fearsome possibility of being re-imprisoned can’t stop my work. During the time I that spent in prison, my country has transformed into a fully functioning security state. The police force, now made up of thousands of naturalised Bahrainis, mercenaries in all but name, control the streets. Law upon law has been passed to silence protesters. It is now illegal to demonstrate in the capital, or to criticise the king. Offenders are punished by a vindictive and non-independent judiciary. Parliament is too cowed to even question government ministers any longer. Also, prisons in Bahrain are at the moment with detained human rights defenders and political detainees. Since 2011, over 50,000 people have been in and out of jail. Over three thousands of them are now serving time in Bahrain’s prisons, in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. Mass beatings and torture is a common occurrence. Although I was not tortured as badly as others, I witnessed other prisoners being beaten and tortured in front of my eyes.

The reality Bahrain’s situation has not improved. Like most countries which saw uprising and revolution in 2011, it has only worsened. I am happy to say that the United States, one of Bahrain’s closest allies and whose Fifth Fleet is station in my country, is keenly aware of these problems, though whether they will pressure the government to improve the situation remains to be seen. More concerning – and infuriating – is the British response to Bahrain’s crisis. In 2013, the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs recommended that the FCO should “designate Bahrain as a ‘country of concern’” in its next Human Rights Report. Despite overwhelming evidences that the human rights situation had only continued to deteriorate, the British Government refused to upgrade Bahrain to a country of concern. The government reasoned that a new dialogue with the Crown Prince was promising evidence of improvement. Even when the dialogue quickly fell apart, Britain has refused to take further action. But the fact is that there can be no meaningful dialogue when most of Bahrain’s civil and political leaders are in prison. …more

August 18, 2014   Add Comments

Paying The Price for Britian’s Silence on al Kahlifa’s Crimal Conduct and Murderous Reign in Bahrain

August 18, 2014   Add Comments

Bahrain’s belligerence includes British bruises with long arm of injustice and abuse

Nabeesignl

Bahrain: Harassment of leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab at Heathrow Airport
31 Jul, 2014 – BCHR

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) express their concern over the harassment and ill-treatment of leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab and his family at the hands of the authorities at Heathrow Airport.

On 24 July 2014, Nabeel Rajab, president of BCHR and director of GCHR, arrived with his wife and two children (12 and 16 years old) at Heathrow International Airport from Bahrain on a personal visit to see friends and undergo medical checkups in the UK. To their surprise, they were held for approximately five hours at a temporary detention center at the airport as they were waiting for the immigration authorities to process their entry papers. Their luggage was thoroughly searched and their fingerprints and photos were taken. They felt that they were treated “like criminals”. Rajab was allowed one phone call only and had to be escorted by a policeman when going to the rest room. Additionally, he was interrogated about his sentence and imprisonment in Bahrain, which was the apparent reason for this treatment. Later, they were informed that they would be allowed to enter the country; however, their passports were held for investigation and they were told that they will be notified in two weeks (by August 7, 2014) whether they will be allowed to stay in the UK for three weeks as they had planned. Rajab’s visa was issued via the UK embassy in Bahrain a few days before his trip and no issues were brought to his attention at that time.

Rajab was imprisoned in Bahrain for two years between July 2012 and May 2014 for exercising his right to freedom of assembly by participating in and calling for peaceful protests, in the Capital Manama, in defense of people’s rights in Bahrain.

He was considered a prisoner of conscience by several human rights bodies including the UK based Amnesty International[1], and his detention was considered arbitrary by the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.[2]

In June 2014, the UK embassy in Bahrain held his passport for over 16 days after he submitted it to apply for a UK visa, despite the fact that the normal visa procedure does not take more than 5 days. The embassy also delayed handing back the passport after he asked for it even if without a visa. Eventually he was handed back the passport with a visa that was issued then canceled. As a result of this delay, the embassy effectively managed to hinder the human rights defender’s planned activities to travel to the UN human rights council (HRC) 26th session in Geneva, as a meeting organized between Rajab and the OHCHR was cancelled after initial postponement, and his participation in several planned events on the side of the UN HRC, which were announced publicly were also cancelled, due to the fact that he was not able to travel while his passport was held at the embassy.
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August 18, 2014   Add Comments

Bahrain Children in Chains – Hostages in a Tyrant King’s, Politics of Repression

Children of Bahrain: Those who oppose the regime are in prisons
01 August, 2014 – Shafaqna

SHAFAQNA – Why are more than 190 Bahraini children spending Eid inside the prison cells of the “Prison Island” as, the US Assistant Secretary of State, Tom Malinowski described it?

The very first Eid to occur during the period of the 14th February uprising, saw on 31st August 2011 an event that turned Eid celebrations into mourning and sadness. This was the killing of 14-year-old Ali Jawad Al Shaikh, who was shot and killed at the hands of the regimes security forces in Sitra.

Since this time, Eid in Bahrain has changed into protests. However, Eids has been an opportunity for the regime to continue to harvest the lives of a children; a martyr, a detainee and a tortured. Eid is sometimes considered an occasion to remember these children behind the bars whose number has exceeded the hundreds. Other times and for others, Eid is but a time for tragic events.

According to Al Wefaq statistics, the children in the Bahraini prisons have exceeded 450 since the beginning of the revolution on 14 February 2011 until September 2013.

Between 14 February 2011 and until November 2013, the extrajudicial killing cases have resulted in 16 deaths of children. And now the number has surpassed to 20.

Between Alnham’s eye and Hisham Hassan’s School

On 13 June 2012, the 5-year-old child, Ahmed Alnham, was next to his father who works as a fish seller in one of Al Dair’s neighborhoods when the regime’s forces directly shot Ahmed in his face. Ahmed Alnham lost one of his eyes in front of his parents with blood covereing his face.

Some schools’ administrations called some students’ parents for investigation sessions because of drawings on the students’ desks like Lulu Roundabout. The 8-year-old- Hisham Hassan was suspended from the school on 8 January 2013 and got beaten by the school’s administration members in front of his peers for repeating political slogans. Hisham was entered into a school commission inquiry without his parents knowledge.

Although he was imprisoned, Al Wefaq honored, on 24 July 2014, the outstanding youth, Mohammed Abdulrida Al Jalabi, who graduated from high school with an average of 95%. An empty seat on the platform was specialized for Al Jalabi, where his photo was placed. …source

August 18, 2014   Add Comments

revolution’s conundrum – a poem

revolution’s conundrum
Phlipn Pagee – Aug. 2014

revolution’s conundrum
vision resolute
will divided
opportunists delight
history owns unresolve
to be free

change of masters
neo-liberal slave state
call it democracy
without western furnishing
lost in western desire
chained to Islam’s divide
shadows over liberty

kingdoms appointment
destiny’s agent of deception
bleak hour

redemption calls
unheard cries for freedom
mastered by unbridled greed
great petrol economies
violent illusion of power
crushes you

the streets weep
the mosques mourn
patterns of protest
again and again
animals pacing the cage

will to rise up
dash the illusion
dispossess the souls

desperation’s hour
child born
father chained
brother felled
sister weeps
mother’s hearts break

ruled become unruled
kingdoms gone
truth retold

revolution’s hour
remains between
symbol and reality
measured over and again
paces of the cage
called oppression
shouting to be heard
remains chained
by another truth

August 17, 2014   Add Comments

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