…from beneath the crooked bough, witness 230 years of brutal tyranny by the al Khalifas come to an end
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Posts from — April 2011

Contradiction in US Human Rights and Democracy Policy

Hueys Over Yemen
by Nick Turse and Tom Engelhardt, April 29, 2011

Recently, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates attended a groundbreaking ceremony at Mount Vernon for a National Library for the Study of George Washington. (“I’d like to thank the Mount Vernon Ladies Association for extending this invitation to me…”) He used the occasion for a full-throated defense of the American right to support democracy and freedom with extreme and remarkably self-interested selectivity in the Middle East. “The most successful leaders, starting with Washington,” he told the ladies, “have steadfastly encouraged the spread of liberty, democracy, and human rights… We have at times made human rights the centerpiece of our national strategy even as we did business with some of the worst violators of human rights. We have worked with authoritarian governments to advance our own security interests even while urging them to reform…”

And here, after a fashion, was the good news he had to offer, if you didn’t happen to be a Bahraini, a Yemeni, or from other states where we still like “doing business” with those “violators of human rights” and “authoritarian governments”: “When we discuss openly our desire for democratic values to take hold across the globe,” he said, taking a conveniently long view of history, “we are describing a world that may be many years or decades off.” …more

April 30, 2011   No Comments

Journalists, cyber activists in the line of fire

International Freedom of Expression Exchange: The global network for free expression

29 April 2011
Campaigns and Advocacy
Journalists, cyber activists in the line of fire

Journalists & Cyber Activists: In the Line of Fire

Although the ripple effects of the uprisings differ from country to country, the ongoing persecution of journalists and cyber activists remains a serious cause for concern for ARTICLE 19. Against this backdrop of continued unrest, a disturbing pattern of violence, harassment and intimidation against journalists, cyber activists and bloggers covering widespread civil unrest is emerging.

There have been widespread allegations of human rights violations and disappearances during the pro-democracy protests, and many journalists, human rights defenders, bloggers and cyber activists have been detained in a number of countries, including in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria. Accusations of torture of protesters and journalists especially in Syria and Bahrain are beginning to emerge, as the scale of government clampdowns is emerging.

ARTICLE 19 calls for the immediate release of all imprisoned peaceful protesters and political prisoners, including journalists and bloggers that are being detained in the context of pro-democracy protests. In addition, the authorities should immediately investigate and disclose the fate and whereabouts all those who are missing, and immediately inform their families.
…more

April 29, 2011   No Comments

US policy dissonance and reckless statesmanship

Bahrain: Beginning of international awareness amid more anti-Shia campaign
Bahrain Freedom Movement – 23/04/2011 – 1:46 p

As the ramifications of the Al Khalifa snub to Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs threaten serious rifts between Europe and GCC, the international pressure on Bahrain’s dictatorship has already been stepped up.

Yesterday UK’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague has criticised the Al Khalifa for their human rights abuses and attacks on free speech and medical rights of citizens. He defended the rights of Bahrainis to protest peacefully and express their views. Ms Ashton had earlier called for the immediate release of political prisoners whom Amnesty International had considered “prisoners of conscience”, and the right of Bahrainis to determine their destiny. The United States has yet to declare a clear stand on the ongoing revolution in that country and stop its double standard policy. Washington has expressed less negative stands to the pro-democracy protests in other countries; Libya, Yemen and Syria but supported the Saudi invasion and the violent crackdown against the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain. …more

April 29, 2011   No Comments

Obama sends more underlings with hollow words

US raps Bahrain over speed of trial
AFP – Fri Apr 29, 4:38 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States on Friday criticized Bahrain over the speed of a trial in which Shiite pro-democracy protesters were sentenced to death and life in prison for killing two policemen.

State Department Policy Planning Director Jacob Sullivan also said Washington has urged Bahrain at the highest levels to move toward “a comprehensive political dialogue” to end the political unrest.

Sullivan criticized a Bahraini military court over the speed with which it sentenced four Shiite protesters to death and three to life in prison Thursday for the killing of two policemen at a crackdown on a pro-democracy rally. …more

April 29, 2011   No Comments

Shi’ite worshipers condemn Bahrain death sentences

“If you wish to be assailed with problems, to lose all comfort…then allow the spirit of antagonism to take hold and spread in your country,” he said.

“This is a fire which may seem manageable at first, but is ultimately beyond control…and its consequences are always grave.”

Shi’ite worshipers condemn Bahrain death sentences
By Frederik Richter

MANAMA | Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:04pm EDT

MANAMA (Reuters) – Thousands of Bahraini Shi’ites gathered before a revered cleric on Friday denounced death sentences given to protesters over anti-government rallies crushed last month in the U.S.-allied Gulf kingdom.

The verdict, handed down by a military court a day earlier to four men accused of killing two policemen in violent protests last month, could intensify sectarian tension in the Sunni Muslim-led state that hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

“It’s not true that they killed them,” said a man who identified himself only as Moussa, after praying at the mosque of Sheikh Issa Qassim, as a police helicopter circled overhead. “The government made it up just like a movie.”

He was referring to video footage that Bahraini authorities have circulated showing the two policemen smashed by a vehicle that sped through a crowd of protesters, some of whom appeared to then trample and kick the fallen men.

Police kept a tight grip on roads leading to the village where the mosque is located, turning back many vehicles.

The rulings were only the third time in over 30 years that a death sentence had been given to a Bahraini citizen.

They have further divided a country whose Shi’ite majority says it faces systematic discrimination, but whose Sunni leaders warn Shi’ite giant Iran is trying to extend its regional influence by manipulating its co-religionists.

“The sentence was appropriate,” said Mohammad al-Ammadi, a Sunni lawmaker, citing what he saw as the extreme brutality of the killings. “This is the first time this happened in Bahrain.”

In his sermon, the cleric Sheikh Issa Qassim alluded to the growing rift in the country.

“If you wish to be assailed with problems, to lose all comfort…then allow the spirit of antagonism to take hold and spread in your country,” he said.

“This is a fire which may seem manageable at first, but is ultimately beyond control…and its consequences are always grave.” …more

April 29, 2011   No Comments

Bahrainis protest death sentences

Bahrainis protest death sentences
irishtimes.com – Last Updated: Friday, April 29, 2011, 19:46

Thousands of Bahraini Shi’ites gathered before a revered cleric today denounced death sentences given to protesters over anti-government rallies crushed last month in the US-allied Gulf kingdom.

The verdict, handed down by a military court yesterday to four men accused of killing two policemen in violent protests last month, could intensify sectarian tension in the Sunni Muslim-led state that hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

“It’s not true that they killed them,” said a man who identified himself only as Moussa, after praying at the mosque of Sheikh Issa Qassim, as a police helicopter circled overhead. “The government made it up just like a movie.”

He was referring to video footage that Bahraini authorities have circulated showing the two policemen smashed by a vehicle that sped through a crowd of protesters, some of whom appeared to then trample and kick the fallen men.

Police kept a tight grip on roads leading to the village where the mosque is located, turning back many vehicles.

The rulings were only the third time in over 30 years that a death sentence had been given to a Bahraini citizen. …more

April 29, 2011   No Comments

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing on The Human Rights Situation in Bahrain

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing on The Human Rights Situation in Bahrain
April 29, 2010
It is important to mention that this is the first time the United States Congress hold an official on the record hearing on Bahrain. On the record means that it will be published in the Congressional record and everyone will have access it to it. These are the people who attended the hearing as witnesses:

1. Joe Stork, Human Rights Watch
2. Stephen McInerney, Project on Middle East Democracy
3. Mohammed Alansari, Bahrain Society for Public Freedom (from the government)
4. Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle eastern Affairs – Library of Congress
5. Katie Zoglin, Freedom House

The Hearing was chaired by Congressman James McGovern, who is the co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) and Congresswoman Donna Edwards who is a member of the TLHRC. It is vital to mention that Congressman McGovern he is being the co-chair of the Commission and for him to attend; does elevate the issue and topic to high circles among the leadership in the Congress. In other words, for him to come is a sign that there is a serious concern about Human Rights Violations in Bahrain. The hearing started at 12 noon and ended at 1:45pm. There was a very high attendant to an extent some time during the Hearing some people stood because they were not enough chairs. Also, many members of Congress staffers were in the attendee and they were constantly taking notes. …more

April 28, 2011   No Comments

Al Khalifa Regimes Delusional Response to Human Rights Commission Hearings

Bahrain’s Embassy in the U.S. Responds to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing on the Situation in Bahrain

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Embassy in the U.S. recognizes the concerns of the Tom Lantos Human Rights commission but disagrees with the grievances aired in the commission’s hearing on April 25.

Bahrain is a progressive Arab nation and a longtime ally of the United States. Historically, Bahrain has been at the forefront of ensuring civil liberties and democratic reforms in the Middle East. Bahrain respects and protects all religions and ethnic groups.

The political unrest exhibited in Bahrain was characterized by violent sectarianism. Bahrain’s situation is unique from our neighbors in the greater region like Syria, Libya, and Egypt and it is wrong for the commission to treat the situation in Bahrain as indistinguishable. Actions in response to the protests went to stabilize the duress in our country and preserve our multicultural, multi-ethnic society.

The protesters did not use peaceful tactics and during the height of unrest, protesters overran our main thoroughfare and threatened our infrastructure. Bahrain was under siege and any sense of normal life was brought to a halt. Schools, businesses and ministries could not operate. The financial harbor was temporarily shut down due to road blocks and the main hospital was transformed into an opposition political command center. …more

April 28, 2011   No Comments

Royal Spectacle is Tarnish to Humanity

Britain’s Royal Wedding – “Dirty little Secret” in Bahrain
by Finian Cunningham

The British royal wedding is turning swiftly into a public relations disaster, with news that Bahrain’s Crown Prince is respectfully turning down his invitation to the event because of the “situation reigning” in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

However, the real story behind the headlines is that the diplomatic shuffle reveals that the British establishment is well aware of the vicious repression being conducted by the Bahraini rulers along with the armed forces of neigbouring Gulf states, including Western allies Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa reportedly said that that he did not want his presence to “tarnish” the royal wedding due to take place at Westminster Abbey in London this Friday. …more

April 28, 2011   No Comments

Counter-revolution: 250 missing in Bahrain

Counter-revolution: 250 missing in Bahrain
22 April 2011

In a span of one month, King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain unleashed a merciless repression campaign against his subjects.

More than 80 % of the adult population participated in this spring’s peaceful protest movement, demanding the democratization of the monarchy.

• Washington is concerned that the nationalist awakening will call into question the concession contract for Juffair, a port which is home to the fifth US fleet and the naval command of CentCom.
• Paris is afraid that a revolution would jeopardize the recent defense agreements signed with the kingdom.
• London considers that any loss of power suffered by the monarch would spell a loss of its influence over this former colony which has had a semblance of independence only since 1971.
• Riyad fears that any advancement toward democracy or social progress in neighboring Bahrain might ignite a similar movement in Saudi Arabia.

That is why, on March 13th, the King received US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and, under his oversight, called for the intervention of Saudi troops.

Since they entered the territory, 25 mosques were completely destroyed (including the historic mosque of Amir Mohammad), and 253 others were damaged. …more

April 28, 2011   No Comments

US Active in Bahrain Repression, Supresses Reports of Crimes Against Humanity

Washington censors Libyan TV plus Arab TVs covering violent clampdown in Bahrain

On 23 April 2011, Libyan state television antennas were hit by NATO airstrikes. Transmissions were cut off for more than 30 minutes before they could resume.

According to NATO’s mouthpiece, the target were not the antennas – since NATO respects and promotes freedom of the press – but the adjoining compound of Muammar Gaddafi.

Meanwhile, going by Saudi media reports, the U.S. Department of State asked Arabsat, the satellite management company, to suspend broadcasting by Libyan channels.

Moreover, a jamming station – located in rebel-controlled Libyan territory and coordinated with another station operating from Saudi territory – is used by Washington to obstruct any program on Arab television channels, regardless of where they are, covering the brutal repression in Bahrain. …source

April 28, 2011   No Comments

Manama’s McCarthyism

BAHRAIN
McCarthyism in Manama?
By Kanya D’Almeida

WASHINGTON, Apr 27, 2011 (IPS) – As the savage crackdown on the majority Shiite opposition movement drags on in Bahrain, King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa’s military regime – backed by the hefty armed forces of Sunni- dominated Saudi Arabia – has moved from launching outright assaults on peaceful protestors on the streets of Manama in broad daylight into the murky waters of what experts are calling state terror, featuring all the old tactics of petrifying a population into submission.

On top of facing over 1,500 troops from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s most formidable army, the Bahraini people appear to be increasingly encountering the far more sinister face of a monarchy desperate to retain power in the oil-rich Gulf state as regimes topple around it. Midnight knocks on doors, unmarked vehicles whisking activists away in the dead of night and relentless suppression of the media are fast pushing Bahrain into an abyss of impunity, critics here say.

“What we are seeing in [Bahrain] today is like what the United States saw in the 1950s under McCarthyism,” Dr. Muneera Fakhro, a leader of the left-leaning Wa’ad party, told a gathering of activists, reporters and policy heads at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington Tuesday. …more

April 28, 2011   No Comments

Bahrain Plans Execution of Protesters

MANAMA, Bahrain, April 28 (UPI) — A court in Bahrain sentenced four people to death Thursday for their roles in the killing of two police officers in March in the capital of Manama.

Besides ruling that the four men would be executed, the National Safety Lower Court also sentenced three people to life in prison for the same incident, Gulf News reported.

The defendants can appeal the verdicts before the National Safety Court of Appeals.

Prosecutors argued the seven men were involved in a plotting and carrying out a crime for terrorist purposes, offering confessions of killing the two police officers as support, Gulf News said. …source

April 28, 2011   No Comments

US wrote Play-Book for Bahrain’s al Kahlifa Regime

Gitmo Doctors Hid Evidence of Torture
By Spencer Ackerman – April 26, 2011

They explained away the bone fractures, didn’t ask what caused the lacerations, and called the hallucinations routine. Rather than blowing the whistle, medical professionals entrusted with the care of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay turned a blind eye when there were clear indications of abuse.

That’s according to a newly published report from two physicians with unprecedented access to the medical records of nine Gitmo detainees.

Writing in the online journal PLoS Medicine, Physicians for Human Rights senior medical adviser Vincent Iacopino and retired Brig. Gen. Stephen Xenakis, a psychiatrist now in private practice, found that medical personnel at Guantanamo concealed mental and physical ailments that signaled abusive treatment.

The report — which represents the first independent review of any Guantanamo detainee’s medical record — is the clearest evidence yet that members of the base’s medical staff were complicit in the torture regime there.

“Medics have an independent, professional responsibility to identify and report incidences of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture,” Xenakis tells Danger Room. “They had a responsibility to speak up.” …more

April 27, 2011   No Comments

Bahrain releases 312 detainees

Bahrain releases 312 detainees
By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief Gulf News
Published: 00:00 April 28, 2011
Sick people among 312 detainees released in Bahrain, says official.

Manama: Bahrain has released 312 people it had detained since the launch of a security operation following weeks of protests and political turmoil.

“I wish to announce that 312 detainees, including sick people, have been released either for health consideration or after they spent time in detention,” said Shaikh Fawaz Bin Mohammad Al Khalifa, president of the information affairs authority.

“Several people were detained after the declaration of the state of national safety on March 15 for their implication in security related violations,” he told reporters at a press conference.

Shaikh Fawaz, who was given the media portfolio in July, said that Bahrain was well ahead in recovering its full security and stability.

“The public order forces did a good job, and we were pained when two of them were targeted. One cameraman working for Bahrain TV was lucky to escape the attempt on his life, but the others were not. We also deplore the death of two motorists who refused to comply with security measures, raised alert levels by not lowering their speed as they approached the checkpoints and were killed,” he said.

The military court is scheduled to announce on Thursday its verdict in the case of seven defendants who were tried on charges of killing the policemen.

The military prosecutor earlier this week sought the death penalty for the seven defendants while their lawyers pushed for their acquittal. …source

April 27, 2011   No Comments

Stand up for the Bahraini Shiites

Let’s stand up for the Bahraini Shiites
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
TÜLİN DALOĞLU

[excerpt] “When asked about the Bahraini government’s approach to the protesters, which moved from a “severe crackdown” to “vindictive,” İhsanoğlu blamed the U.S. invasion and American policies in Iraq for creating sectarian conflict. “Prior to that, Saddam Hussein treated everyone badly,” he said. “Yet Shiites and Kurds and all others worked in his government. They were all equally mistreated.” When I reminded him that the Iraqis came to Washington separated as Iraqi Kurds and Iraqi Shiites to lobby for a regime change, İhsanoğlu said, “Up until the (2003) intervention, Iraqis thought of themselves first as Iraqis and then as Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds or Turkmens. But it was never their primary identity. Their sectarian and ethnic differences came as their second and even third identity. Yet the ones who lobbied here used those differences, and when the U.S. put a new system in place they built it on those differences. What the French did in Lebanon 90 years ago, the U.S. did in Iraq eight years ago.
[Read more →]

April 26, 2011   No Comments

AFL-CIO files legal petition – Failure of Government of Bahrain to Comply to FTA

By: Siun Sunday April 24, 2011 6:00 pm

One of the tradeoffs made by the US administrations to gain support for entering into Free Trade Agreements is that these agreements impose certain standards on the parties – to protect the environment, human rights and union rights.

So what will the Obama administration do when the terms of one of those agreements are blatantly violated?

The AFL-CIO filed a legal petition on Thursday with the United States Office of Trade and Legal Affairs :
[Read more →]

April 26, 2011   No Comments

Letter from Secretary General Sh. Ali Almahfoodh to Secretary Hillary Clinton, U.S. Department of State

[This letter has been authenticated as being from Secretary General S. Ali Almahfoodh Amal Society - Bahrain - on 26, April 2011. This letter is posted here for all to see and so no one can deny it's existence. ]

From Secretary General Sh. Ali Almahfoodh
Amal Society – Bahrain

To Secretary Hillary Clinton,
U.S. Department of State,

U.S. Embassy in Bahrain

Regarding the U.S. Department of State press release, announced by Mr Mark Toner on Apr 14, 2011. Regarding the Ministry of Justice of the Kingdom of Bahrain filing a lawsuit to disband two leading, actively involved political societies, widely known on the local and regional level for their diplomatic and cultural political activism over the past ten years.

We value the position of the US when it urged the Kingdom of Bahrain to revise this decision, and protect civil society institutions in Bahraini society.

The statement of the spokesman was quick, critical in correcting the political path in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Although the government initiated the State of National Safety, it does not permit the government to abandon their commitment to Human Rights and freedoms, were they political, cultural or religious.

We notice that the government of Bahrain, through the Ministry of Interior and the State of National Safety targets one of these leading societies, the Islamic Action Society, through attacking their offices repeatedly and targeting their Secretary General, his deputy, board members and staff. Until the time this letter has been written, the headquarters and offices of the society were attacked twice, the computers were confiscated, in addition to 4 raids on the home of Secretary General and his deputy and the imprisonment of the board member Mr Fahmi Abdulsaheb two days ago. The Secretary General, his deputy and many members are still hiding because they are targeted by security forces, which denies their political rights.

All of these violations and persecutions took place after the statement of spokesperson Mr Mark Toner. Of course, the justifications of the Bahraini government and their security forces are unclear, especially after your efforts to prevent harassing political societies and your confirmations that these principles are a prerequisite for stability considering the popularity and activism of these societies, and that the government’s actions reflects negatively on the political process and worsens the situation in the country and stands in the way of achieving peaceful and practical solutions.

It should be noted that the Secretary General of the Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad) Ebrahim Sharif has been arrested for over a month, while Wa’ad is considered one of the pillars of the political process in Bahrain alongside its colleagues AlWefaq and Amal (Islamic Action Society) and other civil society institutions.

We believe that civil society institutions cannot be replaced, for they represent the people and they constitute a more democratic representation of society than the regime itself.

What’s taking place of violations, raids, persecutions and arrests in the ranks of the board members of the Islamic Action Society, restricting it and isolating its staff, does not differ from disbanding it in the manner the United States stood against in their direct statement and does not differ from deleting it and officially removing it from the scene, for the result is the same.

Based on this, we call on the authorities of the United States to pressure the government of Bahrain to respect civil society institutions and the freedom of their members and staff to peacefully express their opinions, especially that those
institutions express their opinions clearly, publicaly and officially through their known offices and headquarters. As well as the immediate release of all the staff of the Society and all the other opinion/ conscious prisoners in Bahraini prisons, and stopping their persecutions.

- Attached: Detailed report of the violations that occurred to board members of the Society and a list of the names of all the arrested from its members with their dates and details.

[Editor's Note: the attachment was not avialbe at the time of publishing the letter here. It will be published as it is made available. ]

April 26, 2011   No Comments

Letter from Secretary General Sh. Ali Almahfoodh to Secretary William Hauge, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, UK Embassy in Bahrain

This letter has been authenticated as being from Secretary General S. Ali Almahfoodh Amal Society – Bahrain – on 26, April 2011. This letter is posted here for all to see and so no one can deny it’s existence.

From Secretary General Sh. Ali Almahfoodh
Amal Society – Bahrain

To Secretary William Hague,
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
UK. Embassy in Bahrain

Regarding the U.S. Department of State press release, announced by Mr Mark Toner, the press release, announced by the UK Secretary of State Mr William Hague on Apr 14, 2011, as well as the European supportive stand to them.

Regarding the Ministry of Justice of the Kingdom of Bahrain filing a lawsuit to disband two leading, actively involved political societies, widely known on the local and regional level for their diplomatic and cultural political activism over the past ten years.

We value the position of the US, and UK when they urged the Kingdom of Bahrain to revise this decision, and protect civil society institutions in Bahraini society.

The statement of the Secretary of state of UK and the spokesman of US were quick, critical in correcting the political path in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Although the government initiated the State of National Safety, it does not permit the government to abandon their commitment to Human Rights and freedoms were they political, cultural or religious.

We notice that the government of Bahrain, through the Ministry of Interior and the State of National Safety targets one of these leading societies, the Islamic Action Society, through attacking their offices repeatedly and targeting their Secretary General, his deputy, board members and staff. Until the time this letter has been written, the headquarters and offices of the society were attacked twice, the computers were confiscated, in addition to 4 raids on the home of Secretary General and his deputy and the imprisonment of the board member Mr Fahmi Abdulsaheb two days ago. The Secretary General, his deputy and many members are still hiding because they are targeted by security forces, which denies their political rights.

All of these violations and persecutions took place after the statements of UK Secretary of State Mr William Hogue, and US spokesperson Mr Mark Toner.

Of course, the justifications of the Bahraini government and their security forces are unclear, especially after your efforts to prevent harassing political societies and your confirmations that these principles are a prerequisite for stability considering the popularity and activism of these societies, and that the government’s actions reflects negatively on the political process and worsens the situation in the country and stands in the way of achieving peaceful and practical solutions.

It should be noted that the Secretary General of the Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad) Ebrahim Sharif has been arrested for over a month, while Wa’ad is considered one of the pillars of the political process in Bahrain alongside its colleagues AlWefaq and Amal (Islamic Action Society) and other civil society institutions.

We believe that civil society institutions cannot be replaced, for they represent the people and they constitute a more democratic representation of society than the regime itself.

What’s taking place of violations, raids, persecutions and arrests in the ranks of the board members of the Islamic Action Society, restricting it and isolating its staff, does not differ from disbanding it in the manner the United States, and United Kingdom stood against in their direct statements and does not differ from deleting it and officially removing it from the scene, for the result is the same.

Based on this, we call on the authorities of the United States, and United Kingdom to pressure the government of Bahrain to respect civil society institutions and the freedom of their members and staff to peacefully express their opinions, especially that those institutions express their opinions clearly, publically and officially through their known offices and headquarters. As well as the immediate release of all the staff of the Society and all the other opinion/conscious prisoners in Bahraini prisons, and stopping their persecutions.

- Attached: Detailed report of the violations that occurred to board members of the Society and a list of the names of all the arrested from its members with their dates and details.

[Editor's Note: the attachment was not avialbe at the time of publishing the letter here. It will be published as it is made available. ]

April 26, 2011   No Comments

Ted Danson dives into ‘Oceana’

By Carolyn Kellogg Los Angeles Times

April 26, 2011
“I’ve always been kind of a shill,” says Ted Danson. “The guy out in front of the tent saying, ‘Thank you so much for watching “Cheers,” come on in and let me introduce you to the marine biologists who have something really important to tell you.’”

The former Sam Malone might seem an unlikely environmental activist, but Ted Danson has quietly been advocating on behalf of our oceans for 25 years. Now he has taken his commitment to a new place: bookshelves.

His recently released first book, “Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do To Save Them” (co-written with Michael D’Orso, Rodale, $32.50), is a reflection of his experiences and what he’s learned. It begins, as Danson did, with the perils of offshore drilling and moves on to pollution, ocean acidification and overfishing reaching crisis levels at both the top and the bottom of the food chain.

“It’s a huge environmental disaster in the making that doesn’t have to happen,” Danson said by phone from New York. “We can change this. That’s part of what the book talks about.” …more

April 26, 2011   No Comments

SUM announces Arne Næss Chair in 2012-2013

SUM announces Arne Næss Chair in 2012-2013

Buell is professor of American Literature at Harvard University and a pioneer of Ecocriticism.
Published Apr 12, 2011

He is the author of influential books in ecocriticism like; ‘The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture’, Harvard University Press (1995). ‘Writing for an Endangered World: Literature, Culture, and Environment in the United States and Beyond’, Harvard University Press (2001), ‘Emerson’, Harvard University Press (2003), ‘The Future of Environmental Criticism: Environmental Crisis and Literary Imagination’ (2005).The American Transcendentalists (2006) Editor. …source

April 26, 2011   No Comments

Welcome to the Anthropocene

24 Jan 2011: Opinion
Living in the Anthropocene:
Toward a New Global Ethos
A decade ago, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Paul Crutzen first suggested we were living in the “Anthropocene,” a new geological epoch in which humans had altered the planet. Now, in an article for Yale Environment 360, Crutzen and a coauthor explain why adopting this term could help transform the perception of our role as stewards of the Earth.
by paul j. crutzen and christian schwägerl

It’s a pity we’re still officially living in an age called the Holocene. The Anthropocene — human dominance of biological, chemical and geological processes on Earth — is already an undeniable reality. Evidence is mounting that the name change suggested by one of us more than ten years ago is overdue. It may still take some time for the scientific body in charge of naming big stretches of time in Earth’s history, the International Commission on Stratigraphy, to make up its mind about this name change. But that shouldn’t stop us from seeing and learning what it means to live in this new Anthropocene epoch, on a planet that is being anthroposized at high speed.

For millennia, humans have behaved as rebels against a superpower we call “Nature.” In the 20th century, however, new technologies, fossil fuels, and a fast-growing population resulted in a “Great Acceleration” of our own powers. Albeit clumsily, we are taking control of Nature’s realm, from climate to DNA. We humans are becoming the dominant force for change on Earth. A long-held religious and philosophical idea — humans as the masters of planet Earth — has turned into a stark reality. What we do now already affects the planet of the year 3000 or even 50,000.

Changing the climate for millennia to come is just one aspect. By cutting down rainforests, moving mountains to access coal deposits and acidifying coral reefs, we fundamentally change the biology and the geology of the planet. While driving uncountable numbers of species to extinction, we create new life forms through gene technology, and, soon, through synthetic biology. …more

April 26, 2011   No Comments

Security Myths and Misunderstanding

Please consider the following when browsing this site. All information on the internet is viewed as a commodity or security interest. Because of this it is mined for commercial, scientific and State Security uses.

This site has a “Plea and Petition” page and asks for signatures and email addresses. Some people are naturally paranoid when giving up this information, thinking it might be some sort of trap. This is a silly notion, especially if you use facebook, twitter, sign petitions at petitionsite.com or make purchases or routinely use the internet, even if you use fictitious identities or pseudonyms.
[Read more →]

April 25, 2011   No Comments

Wiretapping Law Would Harm Civil Liberties

Proposed Changes To Wiretapping Law Would Harm Civil Liberties, Group Says

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (202) 675-2312 or media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union submitted testimony for a hearing today of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security that will examine a troubling proposal by the Obama administration to expand its ability to conduct invasive surveillance online.
The administration has argued that it is simply hoping to update the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which mandated that telephone companies rework their networks to be wiretap-ready. What is being proposed, however, is not just emulating CALEA. Telephones operate through central networks, making wiretapping relatively easy. Conversely, Internet communications are split up and travel in small pieces over thousands of computers, so the Internet would have to be “rewired” in order for the administration’s proposal to be implemented, making the entire system vulnerable.

“Though the administration claims this is just a technical fix, its request will actually change the structure of the Internet, providing the government with a master key to our online communications,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “The proposed changes will not only make it easier and cheaper for the government to invade our privacy, but also make the Internet more vulnerable to penetration from other sources.” …more

April 25, 2011   No Comments

Bahrain Revolution 14-Feb.

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