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…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 — May 2011

Al Khalifa intimidation tactics against New Protests

Report:Bahraini authorities had sentenced more than 60 demonstrators
May 31st, 2011

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) has issued a report from Manama today regarding the demonstrators convicted.

In a statement Mr. Mohammed Al-Maskati, the President of the BYSHR said: “Bahraini authorities want to teach the demonstrators a very harsh lesson and use the trials for that.”

Attached : List of demonstrators convicted (During National Safety law “Emergency law” 15 March-31 May 2011) ( click here)
…source

May 31, 2011   No Comments

Freedom and Democracy on the Horizon

Bahrain set for renewed protests as state of emergency ends
At least 24 people have died in clashes since protests began in February.

© Amnesty International

31 May 2011

Amnesty International has urged the Bahrain authorities not to again use excessive force against protesters, as activists called for mass anti-government demonstrations across the country on Wednesday.

The call for demonstrations comes as a repressive state of emergency imposed following previous protests, the State of National Safety, is set to be lifted by Bahrain’s King on Wednesday.

“The Bahraini authorities must not make the same mistakes as in February and March, when largely peaceful protests were violently suppressed by government security forces,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

“As the state of emergency is lifted, the authorities must allow people to peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association, “he added.

The protesters are calling on the government to end human rights abuses, and have been instigated by the February 14 youth coalition, the group which called for the first protests earlier this year to demand political reform..

The Bahrain authorities say at least 24 people, including four police officers, have died in clashes between police and demonstrators since they began in February.

At least 500 protesters have been detained and four have died in custody in suspicious circumstances. At least two thousand people have also been dismissed or suspended from their jobs, apparently for participating in the protests.

In a separate development, the military trial of 14 prominent opposition activists is set to continue on Wednesday.

The mainly Shi’a activists have been charged with alleged crimes in relation to the pro-reform protests that began in February.

“These defendants are likely to be prisoners of conscience detained simply for exercising their right to peacefully express their political views in public. If so, they must be released immediately and unconditionally,” Malcolm Smart said.

The State of National Safety set up a military court with exclusive jurisdiction to try those accused of offences under the state of emergency although they are all or mostly civilians. …more

May 31, 2011   No Comments

Al Khalifa Free the Advocates for Democracy so dialogue can be had…

Bahrain king offers to talk with parties

By ANDREW HAMMOND | REUTERS

Published: May 31, 2011 23:42 Updated: May 31, 2011 23:42

MANAMA: Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa called for talks on reform involving all parties in the Gulf Arab state “without preconditions” from July 1, the state news agency said on Tuesday.

The offer comes as the government prepares on Wednesday to lift a state of emergency which was imposed in March after a crackdown on proteshttp://www.crookedbough.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpts.

The government is also hoping to get back its Formula One race. The prestigious March event in the racing calendar was canceled because of the unrest but a meeting of the sports governing body on Friday could reinstate it for later this year.

“The king called on everyone to take part…to push forward reform for development in all areas and to firmly anchor the bases of the reform process,” the Bahrain News Agency said.

The news agency quoted the king as saying in a speech to Bahraini journalists that the talks would be “comprehensive, serious and without preconditions.” …source

May 31, 2011   No Comments

End of Times for Kings and Tyrants and Liars and Deceivers

Bahrain’s king has issued a call for national dialogue on reforms, as his government prepares to lift the state of emergency imposed to quash anti-government unrest.

The kingdom’s state-run media quotes King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa as calling for the talks to begin in early July, promising participants will be able to “freely raise demands.” A U.S. State Department spokesman says the dialogue would be a positive step.

Still, the Yemeni government has indicated that it will not ease pressure on anti-government groups when emergency laws are lifted on Wednesday.

The Justice Ministry issued a statement Tuesday warning that it will not tolerate political activity that threatens national security.

Bahrain’s Sunni rulers enacted emergency laws in March in an effort to end protests from the country’s Shi’ite majority. The emergency measures gave the military sweeping powers and also resulted in the detentions of activists and journalists.

Officials say at least 24 people were killed in the unrest, in which Shi’ites demanded a greater role in their government.

The unrest has apparently affected the Gulf state’s economy. The national carrier, Gulf Air, announced this week that it has laid off 200 workers. The airline says its bookings have dropped 25 percent this year. …source

May 31, 2011   No Comments

Al Kahlifa, Saud, Enough of the Lies and Deception, THE HOUR FOR DEMOCRACY IS UPON YOU

Bahrain government targeting Freedom of expression and suppressing truth by intensifying crackdown on Photographers

31 May 2011

Bahrain Center for Human Rights voices its deep concern over Bahrain’s nonstop attack on the freedom of speech, expression and publishing which have been evident in their mass and brute attack on Bahrainis photographers, by firing them from their jobs, assaulting them on duty and arresting them, merely, for their involvement in documenting the events of Bahrain’s revolution which exposed the sever Human Rights violations by the government of Bahrain against protesters.

“A picture is worth a thousand words” a saying proven true once again by Bahrain’s uprising; since February 14, photography spoke out of the peacefulness and nonviolent nature of the Bahraini protesters in pearl roundabout and revealed the legitimacy of their demands for political reforms to the world. It, also, exposed the brutality of the Bahraini government through photos of killing, arresting, torturing and terrorizing civilians.

Photographers, both professional and amateur, have had a vital role in documenting pro-democracy protests in Bahrain. During the first days and through their photos they were able to educate and inform the public of the demands of the protesters by covering their peaceful rallies[1] , events calling for unity like the human chain[2] and informative and educational speeches by Bahraini intellectuals held every night in the pearl roundabout. Bahraini photographers were also active protesters with their own demands which they expressed in the photographers’ rally on 28 Feb 2011; they held signs saying “A Picture delivers an effective message of Justice” and “No for arresting photographers”[3] . Whilst, international media was either banned from entering Bahrain or did not give any priority to covering Bahrain’s events, it was the Bahraini photographers who have covered the violent crackdowns on the protesters by the pearl roundabout, in front of Salmaniya Medical Center[4] , and by Bahrain Financial Harbor[5] by using tear gas canister, rubber bullets and live ammunition against unarmed protesters. Also, their covering exposed the role of the thugs protected by the security men in the attack on the University of Bahrain[6] . These photos and videos were soon distributed via the social networks and some of the media channels. …more

May 31, 2011   No Comments

Obama, Al Khalifa, Saud, THE WHOLE WORLDS WATCHING

NY-based group, joined by hundreds of Bahrainis, launches campaign against US support for the government of Bahrain

NEW YORK, N.Y., May 24 2011 – In a response that surprised U.S. organizers of a campaign calling on the United States government to repudiate its partnership with the Al Khalifa regime in Bahrain, hundreds of people from Bahrain joined in signing the Campaign for Peace and Democracy’s launching statement “End U.S. Support for Bahrain’s Repressive Government.”

“The statement was originally circulated for signatures in the United States, but we have been deeply moved by the fact that hundreds of Bahrainis have added their names,” said Joanne Landy, CPD Co-Director. “Given the violent government crackdown in Bahrain, the very act of signing is incredibly courageous. Bahraini signers have implored us to pressure the Obama administration to decisively repudiate its support of their brutal and authoritarian government.”

On May 16, the New York-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy (CPD) began circulating its statement, which has thus far gathered more than 1200 signatures including those of Ed Asner, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Martin Duberman, Daniel Ellsberg, Mike Farrell, Chris Hedges, Adam Hochschild, Jan Kavan, Kathy Kelly, Dave Marsh, Frances Fox Piven, Katha Pollitt, Alix Kates Shulman and Cornel West. The statement is below and on the CPD website. Signatures are still being accepted. The statement will be sent to President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and key members of Congress, as well as to domestic and international media.

In the United States, Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR) gave organizational endorsement to the statement. Stephen Soldz, PsySR president, stated, “We cannot be silent. Many of our members are health providers. The government of Bahrain has arrested nearly 50 doctors and other health providers, many of whom have been tortured. Their ‘crime’ is refusing to let injured protesters die and informing the world press about the abuses they witnessed.” …more

May 31, 2011   No Comments

Bahrain signaled it won’t allow anti- government protests when the nationwide state of emergency ends tomorrow.

Bahrain Warns Groups Before End of Emergency Rule Tomorrow
By Glen Carey – May 31, 2011 9:40 AM MT
To contact the reporter on this story: Glen Carey in Riyadh at gcarey8@bloomberg.net.

Bahrain signaled it won’t allow anti- government protests when the nationwide state of emergency ends tomorrow.

The Ministry of Justice warned against “any type of activities that could affect security or harm the national peace and safety,” in a statement carried by the official Bahrain News Agency.

Bahrain’s Sunni Muslim king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, declared martial law in March, as his government sought to quell Shiite Muslim-led demonstrations calling for more democracy and civil rights after popular uprisings ousted leaders in Egypt and Tunisia. The ruling family also invited troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to help quell protests.

Mainly Shiite activists and youth movements are planning to hold rallies tomorrow in villages “against the government and troops in protest at violations of human rights,” Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights said in an e-mailed statement.

Crude prices have jumped almost 21 percent since unrest in Bahrain began in mid-February. Crude oil for July delivery climbed $2.69, or 2.7 percent, to $103.28 a barrel at 9:34 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Dialogue

King Hamad called for talks on reform in the Gulf Arab kingdom from July, the Bahrain News Agency said today, citing a speech by the monarch. The king wants a “dialogue of national consensus” and for talks to be held without preconditions, the new service reported.

Police have arrested activists and doctors since protesters were forced from their rallying point at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, the capital, on March 16. Security forces this month arrested Mattar Ibrahim Ali Mattar and Jawad Fairoz, members of al-Wefaq, the largest Shiite opposition party in the country.

Bahrain will hold elections on Sept. 24 to fill at least 18 vacant seats in parliament after al-Wefaq members resigned in February to protest the government’s crackdown on pro-democracy rallies. A second round of voting will take place on Oct. 1, the Bahrain News Agency reported, citing Justice Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa.

Shiites make up about 70 percent of Bahrain’s population of less than 1 million, and many retain cultural and family ties with Iran as well as with Shiites in neighboring Saudi Arabia. Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. …more

May 31, 2011   No Comments

Sheik Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, also threatened even harsher crackdowns if demonstrators return to the streets

Bahrain military chief says Gulf troops to stay on
(AP)

12 May 2011, 4:18 PM
Saudi-led forces sent to Bahrain to help crush anti-government protests will remain even after emergency rule is lifted next month, the head of the kingdom’s military said. Saudi-led forces sent to Bahrain to help crush anti-government protests will remain even after emergency rule is lifted next month, the head of the kingdom’s military said in a move that is likely to deepen regional tensions with Iran.

In response, Gulf leaders have sharply warned Iran to stay out of their affairs and accused Bahrain’s protesters of having links to groups such as the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. The Bahrain military commander, Sheik Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, also threatened even harsher crackdowns if demonstrators return to the streets in the strategic US ally, which is home to the Navy’s 5th Fleet.

“I say to those who did not get the message, ‘If you return we will come back, stronger this time,’” Sheik Ahmed was quoted as saying late Wednesday by the official Bahrain News Agency. Meanwhile, the expected resumption of a trial against 21 opposition leaders and human rights activists was adjourned until May 16. The activists are accused of plotting against the state and having links to foreign factions — an apparent reference to Hezbollah.

Fourteen of the suspects are in custody and the rest are being tried in absentia in a special security court set up under martial law-style rule imposed in March. Separately, the same court also convicted another opposition supporter on charges of attempted murder of a police officer and participation in a protest aimed at disrupting public order, a report by the state-run Bahrain News Agency said Thursday. It added that the protester, Hamad Yousef Kazim, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Kazim’s court-appointed lawyer can appeal the sentence, the report also said.

Bahrain’s king said the emergency rule will be lifted June 1. But the military chief’s statements suggest a heavy security presence will remain along with the Saudi-led troops. Bahrain’s Shias comprise about 70 percent of the population, but claim widespread discrimination and abuses at the hands of the 200-year-old ruling Sunni dynasty. …more

May 31, 2011   No Comments

U.S. Government Must Press Bahraini Authorities to Protect Human Rights Defenders

CONTACT: Jessica Rosenblum, Human Rights First,
C: 202-279-0005, W: 202-265-3000 | Jessica@rabinowitz-dorf.com

Bahrain must prove itself ready to host Grand Prix

U.S. Government Must Press Bahraini Authorities to Protect Human Rights Defenders
For Immediate Release: May 31, 2011

Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Government should publicly call on the Bahraini authorities to protect human rights defenders when the national emergency laws are lifted in Bahrain tomorrow, said Human Rights First today.

“For several months Bahrain’s authorities have attacked and harassed human rights defenders, preventing them from carrying out their peaceful work to promote human rights,” said Brian Dooley of Human Rights First. “They have been arrested, beaten, and labeled as terrorists. Their homes have been attacked and they have been prevented from leaving the country.”

A new wave of protests is anticipated when Bahrain’s State of Safety is lifted tomorrow, and the U.S Government should publicly declare its support for human rights defenders and others who want to peacefully exercise their human rights.

Tomorrow will be a test for the Bahrain government, which has cracked down brutally on dissent over the last few months. The U.S. Government should be specific and clear in calling on the authorities not to attack peaceful demonstrators and to protect and support the work of human rights defenders.

A decision from the Grand Prix authorities on whether Bahrain will be allowed to host a grand prix race later in 2011 is expected on Friday June 3. “Bahrain is being watched to see how it reacts to protests in the coming days. If it is unable to respect and protect basic rights of freedoms of assembly and expression it’s hard to see how it is capable of hosting a major international sporting event,” said Dooley. …more

May 31, 2011   No Comments

Thirty IFEX members protest travel ban on Nabeel Rajab and other threats to BCHR

Thirty IFEX members protest travel ban on Nabeel Rajab and other threats to BCHR

(Maharat/IFEX) – 31 May 2011 – Free expression advocates from around the world gathered this week in Beirut, Lebanon, at the 16th IFEX General Meeting. Thirty-three IFEX members signed on to the following letter protesting the travel ban on Nabeel Rajab, president of IFEX member BCHR:

We, the undersigned members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), meeting in Beirut, Lebanon for the 16th General Meeting (GM) and Strategy Conference, call for the repeal of the travel ban enforced on Nabeel Rajab, president of IFEX member the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR).

On 29 May 2011, Rajab was once again prevented from travelling after he went to the airport to try to fly to Beirut to attend the IFEX GM. He was escorted from the airport and told he could not travel. He has tried unsuccessfully on several occasions to leave the country in the past few months. Rajab’s family home has been attacked several times, including with tear gas and armed invasions. Other BCHR members have also been arrested, threatened with death and forced into hiding.

On 1 June, the King of Bahrain has promised to end the state of emergency he imposed in mid-March to quell pro-democracy demonstrations. This would be a welcome occasion for the Bahraini government to end human rights abuses including lifting the travel ban on Nabeel Rajab so that he can join us in Beirut. …source

May 31, 2011   No Comments

Bahrain: 3 demonstrators were sentenced

Bahrain: 3 demonstrators were sentenced and the judge refused the request for release child
May 30th, 2011

Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) is deeply concerned about sentencing of 3 demonstrators Today in National Safety court ( Military court) .

Today 30 May 2011 , 3 demonstrators sentenced :

1- Hassan Abdullah Saeed was sentenced to two year imprisonment for taking part in illegal protests and disrupting public order.

2-Mohammed Ali Kadhim was sentenced to one year imprisonment for taking part in illegal protests and disrupting public order.

3-Ahmed Ali Mohammed was sentenced to three year imprisonment for taking part in illegal protests and disrupting public order and The obtaining of publications that contain content inciting the overthrow of the regime.

Case on-going:

Mohammed Ebrahim Khatem -15 years old – The case has been adjourned till 5 June, 2011 for the final pleading.The judge refused the request for release. …source (Ref:http://byshr.org/?p=518)

May 30, 2011   No Comments

ICRC Demands Access to Detained in Bahrain

ICRC wants more access to detainees in Syria, Bahrain
May 26, 2011

The head of the International Committee for the Red Cross on Thursday criticized both Syria and Bahrain for denying the rights group access to people detained during crackdowns on political demonstrations.

“It is true that we are the only international humanitarian organization accepted to work in Syria,” Jakob Kellenberger, the ICRC chief told journalists while presenting the group’s annual report. “But I have to tell you (…) what we can do so far is really very modest.”

Kellenberger said his staff have been denied access to several cities where people have been detained while demonstrating against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. ICRC staff have been given some access to prisoners in Daraa, Kellenberger added.

Some UN Security Council members are currently working on a draft resolution that says the brutality leveled against Syrian protestors amounts to a war crime.

Kellenberger also said that Bahrain has so far not honored requests by the ICRC to visit detainees arrested during its heavy-handed crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. Bahraini authorities came under strong criticism from international human rights organizations for their brutal suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations that lasted for a month in the capital Manama.

Bahraini authorities said 24 people died during the crackdown, including four who died in detention.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon …source

May 30, 2011   No Comments

Al Khalifa, Saud human rights abuse denials, misdirection, mimics that of psychopaths

Bahrain denies abusing female Shi’ite doctors
May 31, 2011

DUBAI – BAHRAIN’S interior ministry on Monday denied claims made to AFP by female Shi’ite doctors that they were abused and tortured while in detention over their alleged backing for anti-regime protests.

‘The claims and allegations made by female doctors in the AFP report are not only baseless but scurrilous,’ said a ministry statement emailed to the agency.

‘The Bahrain authorities affirm that very high standards of human rights norms are being followed at all detention / interrogation centres in the country.’

Several female doctors who were released recently had told AFP they were abused and tortured at the hands of interrogators in detention centres, amid a massive crackdown on the Shi’ite majority after security forces quelled a month-long protest in mid-March.

The women said they were forced under severe beating and verbal abuse to confess to backing their co-religionist protesters and abusing their positions. Some said they were made to testify against colleagues at Salmaniya hospital accused of lying and exaggerating on satellite channels to pile pressure on the government. There were also claims of verbal sexual harassment. …more

May 30, 2011   No Comments

Saud, Al Khalifa beligerence bringing US policy into question

McClatchy Washington Bureau
Posted on Thu, Mar. 24, 2011
‘Arab spring’ drives wedge between U.S., Saudi Arabia
Warren P. Strobel | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: April 19, 2011 09:15:44 PM

WASHINGTON — The United States and Saudi Arabia — whose conflicted relationship has survived oil shocks, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the U.S. invasion of Iraq — are drifting apart faster than at any time in recent history, according to diplomats, analysts and former U.S. officials.

The breach, punctuated by a series of tense diplomatic incidents in the past two weeks, could have profound implications for the U.S. role in the Middle East, even as President Barack Obama juggles major Arab upheavals from Libya to Yemen.

The Saudi monarchy, which itself has been loathe to introduce democratic reforms, watched with deepening alarm as the White House backed Arab opposition movements and helped nudge from power former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, another long-time U.S. ally, according to U.S. and Arab officials.

That alarm turned to horror when the Obama administration demanded that the Saudi-backed monarchy of Bahrain negotiate with protesters representing the country’s majority Shiite Muslim population. To Saudi Arabia’s Sunni rulers, Bahrain’s Shiites are a proxy for Shiite Iran, its historic adversary.

“We’re not going to budge. We’re not going to accept a Shiite government in Bahrain,” said an Arab diplomat, who spoke frankly on condition he not be further identified.

Saudi Arabia has registered its displeasure bluntly. Both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates were rebuffed when they sought to visit the kingdom this month. The official cover story was that aging King Abdullah was too ill to receive them.

Ignoring U.S. pleas for restraint, a Saudi-led military force from the Gulf Cooperation Council, a grouping of six Arab Persian Gulf states, entered Bahrain on March 14, helping its rulers squelch pro-democracy protests, at least for now.

A White House statement issued the day before enraged the Saudis and Bahrainis further, the diplomat and others with knowledge of the situation said. The statement urged “our GCC partners to show restraint and respect the rights of the people of Bahrain, and to act in a way that supports dialogue instead of undermining it.”

In a speech Sunday in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to Washington, said the Gulf countries now must look after their own security — a role played exclusively by the United States since the 1979 fall of the Shah of Iran.

“Why not seek to turn the GCC into a grouping like the European Union? Why not have one unified Gulf army? Why not have a nuclear deterrent with which to face Iran — should international efforts fail to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons — or Israeli nuclear capabilities?” Turki said, according to a translation of his remarks by the UAE’s state-controlled Emirates News Agency. …more

May 30, 2011   No Comments

Bahrain Regime Threatens US Embassy Diplomant

U.S. yanks diplomat from Bahrain after he’s threatened
By Roy Gutman | McClatchy Newspapers

BAGHDAD — The United States pulled its human rights officer from Bahrain last week after he’d become the subject of a weeks-long campaign of ethnic slurs and thinly veiled threats on a pro-government website and in officially sanctioned newspapers.

Ludovic Hood left the island nation on Thursday. During his final days in Bahrain, Hood was given security protection equal to that of an ambassador, U.S. officials said.

“The safety and security of our diplomatic personnel is our highest priority,” the State Department in Washington said in a statement in response to inquiries from McClatchy. “It is unacceptable that elements within Bahrain would target an individual for carrying out his professional duties.”

Hood’s early departure from Bahrain — five human rights and U.S. officials confirmed that he had not been scheduled to leave Bahrain last week — underscores the serious tensions that have arisen between the U.S. government and Bahrain, the home port of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

On May 19, President Barack Obama criticized the Sunni Muslim government’s harsh crackdown on the country’s majority Shiite Muslim population. The crackdown has featured the destruction of Shiite mosques, the jailing and physical abuse of leading opposition political figures and journalists, and official harassment and intimidation of teachers, medical professionals and others. …more

May 30, 2011   No Comments

France 24 correspondent tortured for covering pro-democracy demonstrations

France 24 correspondent tortured for covering pro-democracy demonstrations
Published on Monday 30 May 2011.

When Nazeeha Saeed, the Bahrain correspondent of France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, was summoned to a police station in the city of Rifa’a for questioning at midday on 22 May, she expected to be back home two hours later and had no inkling of the nightmare awaiting her.

On arriving at the police station, she took a seat and waited calmly. Other women, mainly nurses, were also waiting, sitting on the floor.

An hour later, she was called. She entered an office where there was a male officer. In a quiet but unsettling voice, he told her to answer the questions that would be put to her. He then left her with a female officer, who accusing her of “lying” in her reports and told her to admit her links with the Hezbollah TV station Al-Manar and the Iranian Arabic-language TV station Al-Alam. “You must confess,” the woman kept repeating, going on to accuse her of participating in the pro-democracy demonstrations that have taking place in Bahrain since March.

An hour later, she was taken to another office. There, a woman police officer mocked and insulted her. When Nazeeha ignored her, the policewoman grabbed her by the chin, held it hard, and slapped her with the other hand. “You must tell me the truth,” she screamed, continuing to slap her and then seizing her by the hair and throwing her to the ground. Four policewomen proceeded to slap, punch and kick her repeatedly. One of the women took her shoe and forced it into her mouth. “You are worth less than this shoe,” she said. …more

May 30, 2011   No Comments

US blatant disregard for people of Bahrain in midst of Human Rights Crisis

US base in Bahrain to double size
By ADAM GONN – Published: May 28, 2010 00:27 Updated: May 28, 2010 00:27

MANAMA: Amid regional turmoil, a US naval base in the Gulf is set for major expansion.

Ground has been broken at the American naval base in Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, for a $580 million expansion that is estimated to take five years to complete, the US Navy said in a press statement on Wednesday.

“Naval Support Activity Bahrain continues to grow to better support ongoing operations around the region,” said Capt. Enrique Sadsad, commanding officer of Naval Support Activity Bahrain. “This expansion project will not only enhance our ability to support our tenant commands and their mission, whether that be logistics, aviation, theater security, or surface operational support,” Sadsad continued.

“(The) US navy and its allies carry out many maneuvers annually with navies from the region. With these exercises, plus the expected conflict, the new base is more ideal,” defense consultant Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Musa Qallab, told The Media Line.

“It seems the US navy needs better infrastructure in order to fully fulfill the requirement it has for its operations, the new naval base, the US navy and its allies for decades,” Qallab said.

“Regarding the reaction of Iran,” he continued. “They will not accept this provocation. Iran sees Gulf security as something for the Gulf countries and not for foreign countries.”

Mustafa Alani, senior adviser and director of terrorism studies at the Gulf Research Center in the UAE, told The Media Line that the expansions were part of a natural process since the base in more than four decades old.

“It’s actually not forced by political development or changes in the security environment,” Alani said. “It’s forced by the need, because you have to remember this base was established more than 40 years ago. There is a natural expansion; there is a need to expand the building and the space,” he said. …more

May 29, 2011   No Comments

Eccleston ‘postpones’ inevitable cancellation of Bahrain F1, Bahrain Crown Price ‘held under wraps’ during Spain visit with Human Rights embarrasment in tow

Ecclestone meets with Sutil, Bahrain prince in Spain
Monday May 23, 2011 06:48:27 AM UTC

Bernie Ecclestone had meetings with two key people on the sidelines of the weekend’s Spanish grand prix.

Bild newspaper reports that the F1 chief executive met first with Adrian Sutil.

Force India’s Sutil is engulfed in a scandal that endangers his entire formula one career, with Renault team co-owner Eric Lux threatening to press criminal charges.

Bild said Ecclestone summoned Sutil in Barcelona because he “wanted to hear from Adrian the truth about the nightclub incident”.

Sutil was then photographed shaking 80-year-old Ecclestone’s hand.

Also in Barcelona at the weekend was Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, according to British newspapers the Telegraph and Guardian.

He was a guest of McLaren, which is part-owned by a Bahraini state-controlled company, even though the Telegraph’s Tom Cary said the British team “kept their royal visitor under wraps”.

It emerges that as Ecclestone admitted in Spain that the 2011 calendar could be extended into December to make room for a rescheduled Bahrain race, the 80-year-old Briton had a “brief chat” with the Crown Prince. …source

May 29, 2011   No Comments

Moody’s Signals Bahrain F1 bid won’t make it off the starting line

Moody’s downgrades Bahrain to Baa1 with negative outlook
Bahrain: 17 hours, 15 minutes ago

Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Bahrain’s government bond ratings by one notch to Baa1 from A3, and assigned a negative outlook to the rating. The rating action concludes the review for possible downgrade that Moody’s initiated on 23 February 2011.

Moody’s decision to downgrade Bahrain’s ratings is driven by the following three reasons:

1. The likely adverse effect of the recent turmoil on the country’s growth prospects and its public finances.

2. Continuing increases in the break-even oil price that is needed to balance the budget.

3. A weakening of the fundamental strength of Bahrain’s large banking sector.

The negative outlook on the Baa1 ratings reflects Moody’s continued concern over the recent situation in Bahrain.

Ratings Rationale

The main driver underlying Moody’s decision to downgrade is the significant deterioration in Bahrain’s unrest environment since February. The government of Bahrain has forcibly suppressed an uprising by the Shi’ah-led opposition with the backing of an intervention of armed forces from other member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), most importantly from its neighbour Saudi Arabia. Tensions in the country remain high and there seems little prospect of the underlying causes of the unrest being peaceably resolved, at least over the short term. The unrest outlook is therefore highly uncertain.

Moody’s believes that these events are likely to have damaged economic growth significantly, especially in services sectors such as tourism, trade and financial services. These sectors had previously been championed by the government in its effort to diversify the economy away from oil. The timing and pace of any economic recovery will very much depend on the recent unrest developments. In any case, the negative effect on consumer and investor confidence will likely linger. …more

May 29, 2011   No Comments

Al Khalifa on Reform dialogue okay, but only with those we choose – King Hamad clueless what Democratic Rule means

Bahrain Sunni says opposition must change leaders
By Andrew Hammond
MANAMA | Sat May 28, 2011 3:14pm BST

MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahrain’s opposition must change its leadership for the divided Gulf Arab state to move on with political reconciliation after crushing a pro-democracy movement led by majority Shi’ites, a Sunni cleric said on Saturday.

Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Mahmoud said the democracy movement, which began in February when protesters inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt occupied a roundabout in Manama, had been hijacked by Shi’ite opposition leaders with a sectarian agenda who were in contact with Iran’s clerical leadership.

Mahmoud led a team of Sunni negotiators coordinating with Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa in talks with the opposition days before Saudi troops entered Bahrain to help the government break up the protest movement and arrest its leaders in mid-March.

He said Shi’ite leaders, headed by Sheikh Ali Salman, leader of the largest opposition group Wefaq, had overplayed their hand by trying to marginalise the royal family in the talks on political reform and accused them of taking orders from Iran — a familiar Sunni charge against group.

“We consider there to be three forces: the system (royal family), the Sunnis and the Shi’ites, and political and constitutional reform needs the consent of all of them,” he said in an interview.

“The problem is that the political Shi’ite movement has not conducted a reappraisal up to now. We don’t want to reject Shi’ites or their political groups,” he said.

May 29, 2011   No Comments

CENTCOM on Bahrain Human Rights Atrocities – Business as Usual

CENTCOM commanders discuss regional security issues in Bahrain
by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer
US Naval Forces Central Command

MANAMA, Bahrain (May 28, 2009) – Commanders from the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility gathered in Bahrain May 20 – 22, for the USCENTCOM Commander’s Conference to discuss regional security issues and approaches to these challenges.

The conference, hosted by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, brought together Gen. David Petraeus, Commander, USCENTCOM, Gen. Ray Odierno, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, Commander, NAVCENT, Lt. Gen. William Webster, Commanding General, U.S. Army Central Command and Lt. Gen. Gary North, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, among others.

At the conference, commanders discussed various issues including operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, as well as counter-piracy efforts off the coast of Somalia.

“We face, in this region, a number of interrelated threats and challenges, from transnational to state-centric, to those who blur the lines between the two,” said Petraeus. “At the transnational level, violent extremism is, needless to say, the most pressing challenge. Al-Qaeda and its affiliates pose the greatest such threat to many states in the region.” …more

May 29, 2011   No Comments

Voices must be Free to be Heard – Reform impossible without Voices of the Leadership

Bahrain: International support for the people as Al Khalifa commit more crimes
Bahrain Freedom Movement – 27/05/2011 – 5:29 p | Hits: 369

With the prospect of further flare ups next week of the people’s revolution, the Al Khalifa have been working around the clock to elicit some international support and legitimacy as a way out of the crisis. Their efforts have, however, failed drastically. The Al Khalifa crown prince’s visit to UK and Europe brought not tangible support to his policy of repression and dictatorship.

He proved to be an embarrassment to his hosts as people were infuriated by his presence. In London Bahrainis protested outside Downing Street as the Independent Newspaper declared on its front page: “Cameron embraces tyranny”. In a speech addressing the Middle East, U.S. President Barack Obama said that “mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens, and will not make legitimate calls for reform go away.” Calling for dialogue, he added, “You can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail.” This statement followed the sentencing of two Bahrainis to death on a false accusation of participating in the killing of two policemen. There is now a feeling of outrage at the way the Al Khalifa have been allowed to kill Bahrainis with impunity; whether by bullets while protesting, torture in detention or execution in courts where the judge is the executioner. The ruling has been unanimously condemned throughout the world.

Yesterday, a protest delivered to the Bahrain Embassy in Brussels today by international, European and Belgian trade union organisations called on the authorities in the Gulf state to stop their violent campaign against the country’s trade union movement, to reinstate over 1,000 workers sacked and to drop false charges against union leaders, journalists and human rights defenders. “The Bahraini authorities have launched a vicious crackdown on peaceful and legitimate civil society organisations, including the trade union movement. There are real threats to the personal safety of people who are simply calling for legitimate reform and social justice. The government’s attempts to promote division and avoid change by misusing the power of the state are wrong and unsustainable. We are calling on them to stop repression, release all detained trade unionists, teachers, journalists, students and workers. The only way to end this impasse which threatens the country’s future is to open genuine dialogue for progress, and stop the repression,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.” …more

May 29, 2011   No Comments

Methods of Oppression

Bahrain: An official document certified that the dismissal of employees because of the freedom of opinion and expression
May 29th, 2011

An anonymous source leaked an official document –here- issued by Council of Representatives “Parliament” on the dismissal of employees from the Council.

The Document is a formal dismissal letter of one of the employees.

The employee was accused of :

1-Attend the funeral of “Ali Mushaima”

2-Participated in the funeral march.

3-Participated in the Pearl Roundabout.

Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima: The first person died because of the protests.Died on February 14 because of Bird shotgun wounds.

On the 2 of May 2011, Head of the Civil Service Bureau (CSB) Mr. Ahmed Al-Zayed stated in the media that ” The CSB denies the dismissal of employees in the public sector” (Ref: http://www.albiladpress.com/news_inner.php?nid=97913&cat=1 )

Civil Service Bureau (CSB) :Institution responsible for public sector employment.

On the 23 of May 2011, the Minister of Social Development, and the Minister of Health Mrs. Fatima Al-Balushi stated in an interview with “LBC- T.V Channel” that “Dismissal were not due to participating in the protests”.

Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) is deeply concerned about the freedom of opinion and expression in Bahrain.The right of the employee in the public sector to adopt a political opinion must protected by local laws. ..source

May 29, 2011   No Comments

COMMITTEE ON RIGHTS OF THE CHILD TO HOLD FIFTY-SEVENTH SESSION

COMMITTEE ON RIGHTS OF THE CHILD TO HOLD FIFTY-SEVENTH SESSION IN GENEVA FROM 30 MAY TO 17 JUNE 2011
Situation of Children’s’ Rights in the Czech Republic, Bahrain, Cambodia, Egypt, Cuba, Finland and Costa Rica to be reviewed
26 May 2011

The Committee on the Rights of the Child will meet at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 30 May to 17 June to review the promotion and protection of children’s rights under the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the Czech Republic, Bahrain, Cambodia, Egypt, Cuba, Finland and Costa Rica. The Committee will also consider the situation in Egypt with regard to the promotion and protection of children’s rights under the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the involvement of children in armed conflict. …more

May 29, 2011   No Comments

Bahraini female doctors recount detention ‘horror’

Bahraini female doctors recount detention ‘horror’
By Ali Khalil (AFP) – 12 hours ago

MANAMA — Out of prison but in fear of being rearrested, Bahraini Shiite women doctors have spoken of abuse and torture by police after being accused of backing pro-democracy protests in the Sunni-ruled monarchy.

Although medics usually enjoy protection in conflicts by virtue of their profession, many Shiite doctors and nurses in Bahrain were rounded up in the March crackdown on a month-long pro-democracy protest.

Authorities accused them of abusing their jobs and siding with their co-religionist protesters.

Doctors at Manama’s Salmaniya central hospital, not far from the capital’s Pearl roundabout that became the focal point of protests inspired by the Arab uprisings, were also accused of lying and exaggerating on satellite channels to pile pressure on the government.

Some of the women doctors recently freed told AFP how they were made to confess to such allegations under torture and after being subjected to verbal abuse.

They requested anonymity for fear of further persecution.

“I advise you that we will get you to say whatever we want, either by you saying it willingly, or we will beat you like a donkey and torture you until you say it,” one female doctor said, citing her interrogator.

The doctor said she was asked about her role in the February 14 Revolution, the name given by cyber activists to the demonstrations after two protesters were killed on that date.

She said she was smacked in the face by a female interrogator when she answered that she was just a doctor treating those wounded during the crackdown on the uprising. …more

May 29, 2011   No Comments