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

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Update #18 Attachments

June 13, 2011   Add Comments

Bahrain Updates #18: Baby you can drive my car….

From: Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D.
Subject: Bahrain Updates #18: Baby you can drive my car….
Date: 06/11/2011 01:40:22 AM

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach nonviolence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleaning of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

—(Robert F. Kennedy 1925-1968)

Dear Folks,
Strange that the fate of a country is reflected in the cancellation of a car race. Yet that is exactly what is taking place, for as the British chief of the Formula One Group, Bernie Ecclestone, lamented on Wednesday, June 8th, the Bahrain Grand Prix will not be held in Bahrain this year, for the driving teams refused to go along with a decision made just five days prior by the body which governs the sport. And why did the Formula One governing body initially decide to go ahead with the race in Bahrain amidst a brutal crackdown over the past two months against citizenry calling for democracy? Well, we don't exactly know, but as Ecclestone was quoted as saying: "Nothing to do with money at all. Nothing, in any shape or form," the 80-year-old told Reuters Television.
This is an interesting twist to observers who have spent time in Bahrain over the past several years, as the monarchy placed great value on building the Formula One racetrack out in the Sakhir desert just opposite the University of Bahrain and near the Sakhir Air Base. Students and professors would often complain about the noise emanating from the Bahrain International Circuit, or "BIC" as it is popularly known, and some sound filters were later added to muffle the loud buzz of the racing engines though everyone could hear when racing season was approaching as advance teams and local afficionados would bring their fastest and jazziest cars to the track to compete or just show off. Each spring, advertisements would appear months in advance all along the Shaikh Isa Bin Salman Highway announcing the upcoming Formula One Grand Prix racing days and encouraging fans to buy their tickets now. On campus, students would vie with each other to obtain a limited number of free tickets from the UOB Administration while professors would rework their course syllabi around the racing dates. For University of Bahrain students and staff, it meant one day off from school, as the three-day event would fall on at least one school day, and that day was always declared a holiday by the King.
The BIC and its sleek race cars and international driving teams represent a small slice of modernity in the island kingdom, and to not be able to go forward with the Bahrain Grand Prix is indeed a sign of a political impasse. The regime would like the world to believe that all is fine in the Kingdom and that the events that began in February are now over and done with. In some ways they are correct, as most of my in-country reports have dissipated to a trickle, with tales of fear and dread from those brave enough to send out one last email before they go silent. Yes, the regime has succeeded quite handily so far in stifling the main protests through a campaign of arrests, torture, detention, disappearances, harassment, firings, kangaroo trials, murder, surveillance, etc. But force and intimidation will not have the same stifling effect on the hearts of the opposition in Bahrain; indeed, many will harden, and some will begin to question the utility of peaceful protests down the road. Repression may end a particular unwanted behavior for a time, but desire will find an outlet somehow and in some other way. Close off democratic channels in modern society and you are certain to generate an even greater subsequent explosion.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, June 7th, Washington officialdom, including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, met with Bahrain's Crown Prince, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, to let him know, presumably, that while Washington will continue to preach non-violence to the Kingdom, no further repercussions will be forthcoming, at least not until after the 2012 elections. Obama and his advisors believe that they will be able to neutralize the Gulf monarchs with–as one of my former Bahraini students used to say–"sweet lies". But, as indicated in a previous missive, i.e. Bahrain Updates #16, Obama has already rattled the autocratic club in the Middle East infuriating them (pardon the pun) royally! As I stated then and repeat again here:

So, this brings us back to my earlier claim that the world ended on Thursday, May 19th, for history will record that date as the beginning of the end of the long-standing cordial relationship between the United States and the Gulf Kingdoms. Faced with an existential battle, Bahrain and the other Gulf Kingdoms will pour every spare dinar, dirham, riyal, etc. of oil wealth into undermining the Obama Administration in the upcoming 2012 election and backing the Republican Party to the hilt. Capitulation by Obama is not an option. Concession to democratic rule by Gulf monarchs is out of the question. Who will be left standing will write the history.

Restructuring the Middle East will be one of Obama's lasting legacies, and the autocratic regimes in the region, rightly or wrongly, see Washington's hand behind the wave of unrest which threatens to undermine their stability. Appeasement, therefore, at this point is a foolish policy for Obama's handlers to follow. Already, retaliation against American officials in Bahrain has begun in earnest. In late May, State Department human rights officer Ludovic Hood, who had worked at the US Embassy in Bahrain was forced to leave the country amidst a targeted campaign against him including anti-Semitic slurs and the publishing of his home address on a web site. Then, on June 2, Bahraini television journalist Sawsan Al Shaer berated US Deputy Chief of Mission Stephanie Williams on Bahrain TV for nearly an hour and a half demanding to know what, if anything, did the Bahraini government do wrong, while Ms. Williams merely reiterated time and again to each charge that the US Government simply wants both sides to engage peacefully.
The Gulf monarchs govern regimes that do not understand the language of peaceful negotiations. For them, either you are with them or against them. This is what Barack's handlers do not understand. The US may want to pursue gradual change in the Gulf region–given our dependence on Saudi oil–but compromise is characteristic of democracies. With autocracies, it is either my way or the highway. Compromise or middle ground solutions are seen as weakness and are to be avoided at all cost. The mentality of monarchy is based on mendacity; indeed, how else can you maintain an hereditary regime for over 200 years? Thus while sweet lies will be traded back and forth between the Obama Administration and the Gulf monarchs over the next period, behind the scenes one can be sure that planning to unseat the other is in full play.
regards,

csc

Latest Updates:

For those following developments in Bahrain closely, I refer you all to The Crooked Bough website for timely updates on the political situation in the Kingdom. As well, The Crooked Bough is now acting as a repository of all prior Bahrain Updates which are accessible at: http://www.crookedbough.com/?page_id=1154.

In addition, I urge you all to sign up to The Pearl Roundabout.org as they are sending the most timely updates as events unfold in Bahrain and are doing a superb job.
And, of course, The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is a mainstay of the struggle, and their regular updates are accurate and reliable.

About the author:


Until February 15th of this year, I was an Assistant Professor teaching in the American Studies Center at the University of Bahrain. I submitted my resignation following the Fall semester at the end of January, as my wife, a Moroccan national, was granted an immigrant visa to the US by the State Department with the proviso that we be residing within the USA by April 1, 2011. Little did we know in January, when I submitted my resignation, that we would be in a race for time before we could leave, as the Arab rebellions were sweeping from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen and into Bahrain and beyond. We left Bahrain on February 25th, the day of the largest demonstrations in Bahraini history, and have since been residing in Seattle, Washington.

Background on Bahrain:

On February 14, 2011, the citizenry of Bahrain rose up in opposition to the Al Khalifa monarchy and demanded democratic reforms. Their voices were met with stiff resistance from the autocratic regime which has been in power for over 200 years now. Unbowed, the citizenry took to the Pearl Roundabout in downtown Manama with some advocating for a constitutional monarchy and others a democratic republic. In response, the regime unleashed a reign of terror down on the protesters. Meanwhile, the US was directing its focus on Libya and getting through the United Nations a resolution for a no-fly zone over that country, which passed on Thursday, March 17th. One week prior, on Friday, March 11th, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates flew to Bahrain and met with the King and the Crown Prince, and on Monday, March 14th, approximately 2000 to 3000 Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) tanks and troops rolled across the causeway from Saudi Arabia into Bahrain to crush the opposition. The next day, March 15th, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued Royal Decree No. 18 for the year 2011, declaring a three-month "State of National Safety". The Bahrain Defence Forces (BDF) subsequently began a systematic crackdown on anyone who was suspected of opposing the monarchy and calling for democracy. On March 18th, the BDF tore down the Pearl Monument, known to locals as either "Lulu" or "the GCC Monument" and to the international press as "Pearl Square" due to its similarity to Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt where protesters had gathered. The regime's crackdown is an attempt to wipe away the memory of the 2011 Bahraini Democratic Spring from the popular mindset, and they are sparing nothing to root out and crush, using force, intimidation, torture, and murder, any further resistance. The silence from most of the mainstream media in America is deafening.

The fact that the US Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain and the fact that the US is completely dependent on and addicted to Saudi-monarchy oil–i.e. oil doled out by a corrupt and sclerotic regime, and that both regimes (i.e. the Al Sauds and the Al Khalifas)–indeed all GCC regimes–in turn, are kept in power by US guns, makes all the difference–for now at least. The US continues supporting the Al-Khalifa monarchy, putting its oil interests ahead of its avowed democratic principles. From all accounts, the beating into submission as well as the subsequent bloodbath continues in earnest. For US citizens, it is another lost opportunity… But with your help and voices, we can eventually rectify our country's policy in this regard and realign it with our country's avowed democratic principles.

US interests in the long term will ultimately be served by supporting democratic elements and, eventually, democratic regimes in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. Does that mean we should overthrow existing governments? No, but it does mean that we should not be arming, financially supporting, and enabling corrupt regimes to slaughter opposition forces advocating for democratic rights in their countries, and then remaining silent while it happens. Sycophancy in the service of autocratic rulers with decidedly undemocratic ethos is degrading and demeaning. Such a stance is an affront to humanity. Putting off the goal of aligning ourselves with democratic elements for short-term advantage will have negative repercussions not only on current US foreign policy but, as well, on US domestic policy, as millions of petro-dollars will find their way back into US politics attempting to undermine our democracy here at home. While countering theocratic influence in the region is understandable and necessary, this will require a strategy with quite a bit more sophistication than is presently being demonstrated. As well, implementing such a strategy will necessitate experienced hands who are neither intimidated by the apparent chaos often associated with democratic movements nor infatuated with monarchical tendencies and supportive of elite rule as some bureaucrats appear to be.

NOTE:

Names and other identifying information have been removed and/or redacted in order to protect the safety of the sender[s], unless the person(s) is (are) a reporter or a public activist(s) and want their names to be known, as publicity sometimes gives them some protection from regime retaliation. If you are not a known public activist and/or reporter, please inform me if you would like your name to appear along with your report; otherwise, I will redact it to maintain your anonymity.

regards,

csc

__________________
Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D.

P.O. Box 9087
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 734-8187
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: thepearlroundabout.org <thepearlroundabout@gmail.com>

Date: Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 6:09 PM
Subject: thepearlroundabout.org
To: ccavell@gmail.com

thepearlroundabout.org

Link to thepearlroundabout.org

Bahraini jails ‘no lonely place’ (audio)

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 02:25 PM PDT

BBC Radio 4 – Ala'a Shehabi, a British-born woman whose husband Ghazi Farhan has been arrested and is awaiting sentence, told James Naughtie how he was held in incommunicado detention for 48 days before being put on trail.

Bahrain’s unseen protests fall on deaf ears

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 02:18 PM PDT

AhramOnline –

M16 Machine gun? Nuwdreat 10 June, 2011 (video)

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 02:07 PM PDT

YouTube

Lally Weymouth talks with Bahrain’s foreign minister

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 01:58 PM PDT

Washington Post – Two top Bahraini officials visited Washington this week after the country’s king lifted a state of emergency used to counter anti-government protests. The Post’s Lally Weymouth sat down with Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa.

DC law firm defends Bahrain on human rights crackdown

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 01:56 PM PDT

Salon.com – The Bahraini regime has inked a contract with a high-priced Washington law firm to help fight a labor complaint filed by the AFL-CIO about an under-reported aspect of the crackdown: the firing of hundreds of workers and union leaders for participating in strikes and other pro-democracy actions.

‘Bahrain major financial spot for US, UK’ (video)

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 01:48 PM PDT

Press TV – A political analyst says the US and Britain do not talk about human rights abuses in Bahrain because the country is a major banking center for British and American finance.

Shi’ite cleric warns Bahrain nearing “abyss”

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 01:41 PM PDT

Reuters – A top Bahraini Shi'ite cleric said trials of dozens of people and the breaking up of Shi'ite religious marches were dragging the country towards destruction, not reconciliation, ahead of a planned national dialogue.

The US and Bahrain: Sending Ludo home

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 01:30 PM PDT

Al Jazeera – While US denies "recalling" diplomat from Bahrain, larger issue looms about support for American interests over values.

Rights body to take Bahrain, Britain to International Criminal Court

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 01:29 PM PDT

Tehran Times – A Lebanon-based rights body plans to file a case with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Bahraini and UK governments for their collusion in the brutal crackdown on Bahraini protesters.

Dozens of Bahrainis on trial after protests

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 04:18 AM PDT

Reuters – About 400 people have been put on trial in Bahrain for their roles in weeks of protests that rocked the Gulf island kingdom this year, a leading opposition group said on Thursday, but the government disputed the figure.

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Date: Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 12:29 PM
Subject: Re: the prince has come…

I guess O was asking for advice on how to treat dissenters…..

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 12:31 PM
Subject: Shi'ite cleric warns Bahrain nearing "abyss"
To:

I found this article on Reuters Mobile (us.mobile.reuters.com) and
thought you might find it interesting:

Shi'ite cleric warns Bahrain nearing "abyss"
http://www.reuters.com/article/idAFTRE7594IN20110610

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: NYTimes.com <newstracker@nytimes.com>
Date: Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 11:46 PM
Subject: My Alerts: Bahrain Alerts (1 article)
To: ccavell@gmail.com

The New York Times

June 10, 2011

My Alerts

ADVERTISEMENT

Alert Name: Bahrain Alerts
June 10, 2011 Compiled: 1:57 AM

SPORTS / AUTO RACING

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (NYT)

Organizers of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix said they would not pursue plans to reschedule the race and stage it in October.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 10:22 PM

Subject: Formula One drivers for democracy

The Wall Street Journal

REVIEW & OUTLOOK EUROPE

JUNE 9, 2011, 3:55 P.M. ET

Bahrain's Crash Course

Formula One drivers for democracy.

Formula One drivers, accustomed to fast cars and luxury locales, aren't the first people who come to mind when we think about democracy campaigners. But maybe we've sold the drivers short, given the controversy that's erupted over whether or not to proceed with this year's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The F1 race has been held in Kingdom since 2004. In February, the Crown Prince canceled the event, citing the need to build a "new national dialogue" after a crackdown on pro-democracy protestors. The protests swelled and Bahrain's security forces shot civilians, jailed several hundred people and instituted emergency law. The emergency law was lifted last week and the ruling family has made noises about national reconciliation. The sport's governing body decided it was okay to race again.

That's when the uproar started. Wrote Australian driver Mark Webber on his Web site last week: "Like it or not, F1 and sport in general isn't above having a social responsibility and conscience. I hope F1 is able to return to Bahrain eventually but now isn't the right time." The drivers' association penned a letter to the Bahrain organizers citing concerns about "security conditions" and "insurance coverage." Fans are up in arms. On Wednesday F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone told the BBC "it's not on" without "the agreement of the participants."

Formula One is a private concern and its owners have never pretended to have higher moral aims other than to make money for shareholders. The drivers race in several undemocratic places, including Bahrain. Their letter noted Bahrain is "a country that has always hosted us with enthusiasm and warmth."

But it's hard to untangle sports and politics; recall sporting boycotts of South Africa during apartheid, or the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Formula One and Mr. Ecclestone may find that good business may involve following drivers like Mr. Webber's lead.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304259304576375282897276062.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

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From: thepearlroundabout.org <thepearlroundabout@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 6:05 PM
Subject: thepearlroundabout.org
To: ccavell@gmail.com

thepearlroundabout.org

Link to thepearlroundabout.org

Bahraini poet set to face verdict for protest reading

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 01:44 PM PDT

Amnesty – A Bahraini poet faces possible imprisonment for reading out a poem criticizing the country’s King when a military court rules on her case next Sunday.

Bahrain bans seminar about crackdown

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 01:42 PM PDT

AFP – Bahrain's main Shiite opposition group said Wednesday it has been banned from going ahead with a presentation detailing abuses committed during a government crackdown on Shiite-led protests this year.

Bernie Ecclestone sides with teams over Bahrain race as revolt grows

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 01:39 PM PDT

The Guardian – Change of tack may be ploy to win backing for smaller engines. Teams wanting postponement meet in Montreal this weekend

Doctors and nurses ‘tortured with wooden boards studded with nails’ in barbaric crackdown on protests in Bahrain

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 10:14 AM PDT

Daily Mail – Doctors and nurses ‘tortured with wooden boards studded with nails’ in barbaric crackdown on protests in Bahrain

Formula 1 call-off would hit Bahrain pride and economy

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 10:10 AM PDT

BBC – If, as Bernie Ecclestone accepts, the Bahrain Grand Prix will not go ahead in October, it will be a huge and humiliating blow to the tiny Arabian island.

Sanctions now against brutal Bahraini tyranny

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 07:23 AM PDT

Tribune Magazine – The international community has failed in its duty to protect the civilian population of Bahrain. It has sat back and done nothing to rein in the regime of King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa. He stands accused of terrorising his own people, resorting to mass arrest, detention without trial, torture and murder. If the duty to protect civilians applies in Libya, why not in Bahrain?

Bahrain Grand Prix will not go ahead, says Ecclestone

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 07:21 AM PDT

Channel 4 News – This season's grand prix in Bahrain, where there has been political unrest since February, will not go ahead after Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone admitted it could not be rescheduled.

Six One News: Irish-trained doctors on trial in Bahrain (video)

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 07:19 AM PDT

RTE News

Gracia defends FIA’s Bahrain report

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 05:42 AM PDT

Autosport – The president of the Spanish motor sport federation, Carlos Gracia, has defended his report on the Bahrain situation after it was leaked to the public, but pressure continued to grow on Formula 1 after more criticism following the decision to reinstate the country's grand prix.

Decision to stage Bahrain Grand Prix ‘shameful’ say MPs

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 05:40 AM PDT

BBC – MPs have criticised the decision to hold the Bahrain Grand Prix in October after the violent crackdown on political protests earlier this year.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 11:29 AM
Subject: State of Emergency Bahrain makes a desperate attempt to charm Washington — while it declares war on protesters back home.
To:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/06/07/state_of_emergency?page=0,1

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 3:52 AM
Subject: an article
[redacted]
Please read the report below from the UN. It is obvious the Bahraini officials are going on non-stop with their lies; the problem is that they don't realize that the world is not stupid. Fatma Albolousha said to Bahraini Media that the UN has received "fabricated evidence" that caused "misleading the UN's opinion concerning Bahrain". This is the answer from the UN…
Just want to know; is there any brains left inside these heads/ do they see the whole world as the audience of Bahrain TV with the "stupid" lies broadcasted everyday? How can we trust their other news concerning the officials meeting US officals and senators for instance…
Press briefing note on Bahrain
7 June 2011
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva
BAHRAIN
The High Commissioner would like to make clear that a meeting she had last Friday with Bahrain’s Minister of Social Development and acting health minister, Dr Fatima bint Mohammed Al Balooshi and three other Bahrain government officials, has been grossly misrepresented in a report by the Bahrain News Agency. The BNA article was subsequently picked up by a number of newspapers in the region, including the Khaleej Times and the Gulf Daily News, and even by some Sri Lankan government officials and media for their own purposes.
The Bahrain News Agency, which was not present at the meeting, stated that the High Commissioner had “recognized misinformation” about the Kingdom of Bahrain, and quoted her as saying “Certain information which we received about the developments in Bahrain are untrue.”
The High Commissioner would like to stress that she made no such statement, and is disturbed by this blatant distortion of her words. She will formally request the Government officials who attended the meeting to issue a correction.
The discussions at the meeting with the Bahraini Government delegation focused mainly on the proposed OHCHR mission to Bahrain, as well as a number of other issues relating to the recent protests, including the need for transparent independent investigations into the human rights violations that have taken place there. The mission has been accepted in principle by the Bahraini government but no dates have yet been set.
ENDS
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: NYTimes.com <newstracker@nytimes.com>

Date: Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 11:37 PM
Subject: My Alerts: Bahrain Alerts (1 article)
To: ccavell@gmail.com

The New York Times

June 7, 2011

My Alerts

ADVERTISEMENT

Alert Name: Bahrain Alerts
June 7, 2011 Compiled: 1:54 AM

WORLD / MIDDLE EAST

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (NYT)

Dozens who treated injured antigovernment protesters during unrest in Bahrain went on trial on charges that they had participated in efforts to overthrow the monarchy.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Jun 5, 2011 at 8:26 AM
Subject: Two more deaths and ongoing military trials. Bahrain Updates.
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

Dear Friends,


Hope this email finds you well.


In the past few days there have been several continuous widespread protests across Bahrain which were met with unnecessary excessive force by the security forces. These attacks have resulted in numerous injuries, but we are unable to document how many due to people treating themselves at home because of fear of going to hospitals.


Kindly find attached a report with brief points of all the ongoing violations and numbers since February 14th.


Zainab AlTijairi, 69 years old, died on the 2nd of June due to a heart attack as a result of the extensive use of sound bombs and teargas in her village. These crowd control arms are being misused in Bahrain in which security forces will shoot continuously inside a village and sometimes even inside people’s homes.

On the 3rd of June, another death was reported. Salman Abu Edrees had been submitted to the hospital on the 16th of March, and according to his family had been missing until the announcement of his death. http://yfrog.com/3tzycz

The ministry of Interior has denied responsibility in both deaths, as all other cases.


Mohammed Albuflasah, a Sunni ex-military man who gave a speech at the Pearl square on the 15th of February and went missing shortly after, was supposed to be released on the 14th of February as he had been sentenced to two months imprisonment on the following charges:

1- 1. Engage in political activity
2- Participate in the gathering
3- Incitement against the regime

AlBuflasah was not released as the military prosecutor extended his detention for 45 days till further notice which often means to an unknown period without any new charges or clarification. Since June 1st, according to his family, AlBuflasah started a hunger strike. There is great concern over his health and well-being.

Received from BYSHR http://byshr.org/?p=555


Tomorrow will be the second hearing for the 20 year old poet Ayat AlQurmezi, and the first hearing for the doctors and nurses of Salmaniya hospital. Despite the lifting of the state of national safety, military trials are still ongoing.


Kindly find attached the list of people who are undergoing or were sentenced or acquitted through military trials.


Child Report 2: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4186


BCHR Report: Committee on the Rights of the Child discusses the violations against the children in Bahrain http://tinyurl.com/689y9ev


Kindly find attached a letter of appeal written about the situation of students in Bahrain.


Aluminium Bahrain (ALBA) dismisses hundreds of its employees in flagrant violation of domestic laws & international conventions: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4178


Amnesty International: Bahrain government failed to conduct independent investigations into alleged abuses by security forces http://ow.ly/5a1Be


Amnesty: Bahrain: human rights briefing http://amn.st/mA9k6m

Regards,

Maryam Al-Khawaja
Contact: +44-7587303080 / +1(401)572-6597
Head of Foreign Relations Office
Bahrain Center for Human Rights

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Sun, Jun 5, 2011 at 7:21 AM
Subject: Bahrain

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Continuing-Bahraini-State-by-Stephen-Lendman-110605-783.html

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From: NYTimes.com <newstracker@nytimes.com>
Date: Sun, Jun 5, 2011 at 12:30 AM
Subject: My Alerts: Bahrain Alerts (1 article)
To: ccavell@gmail.com

The New York Times

June 5, 2011

My Alerts

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Alert Name: Bahrain Alerts
June 5, 2011 Compiled: 2:33 AM

SPORTS / AUTO RACING

By REUTERS (NYT)

The Australian driver Mark Webber has spoken out against Formula One’s controversial decision to race in Bahrain this season and said he did not expect the rescheduled race to happen.

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Date: Sat, Jun 4, 2011 at 10:46 AM
Subject: an important article on Wallstreet

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576363833015079742.html?mod=googlenews_wsj


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From: NYTimes.com <newstracker@nytimes.com>
Date: Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 11:08 PM
Subject: My Alerts: Bahrain Alerts (2 articles)
To: ccavell@gmail.com

The New York Times

June 4, 2011

My Alerts

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Alert Name: Bahrain Alerts
June 4, 2011 Compiled: 1:34 AM

WORLD / MIDDLE EAST

By NEIL MacFARQUHAR (NYT)

Ignoring pleas from human rights activists, organizers scheduled the Bahrain Grand Prix for October, after it had been delayed because of an antigovernment uprising.

SPORTS / AUTO RACING

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (NYT)

Formula One’s governing body, FIA, rescheduled the canceled Bahrain Grand Prix for Oct. 30.

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From: thepearlroundabout.org <thepearlroundabout@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 6:03 PM
Subject: thepearlroundabout.org
To: ccavell@gmail.com

thepearlroundabout.org

Link to thepearlroundabout.org

‘International action needed against Al Khalifa’

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 07:00 AM PDT

Press TV – Press TV has conducted an interview with Maryam al-Khawaja from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights regarding the protests in Bahrain and aggressive tactics being used by the Bahraini army.

Bahrain police fire at protesters marching toward landmark square after emergency rule lifted

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 06:49 AM PDT

Washington Post – Bahraini police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters marching toward the landmark Pearl Square in the country’s capital Friday, eyewitnesses said, just two days after authorities lifted emergency rule in the Gulf kingdom.

Bahrain protests resume

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 06:46 AM PDT

ABC News – Brendan Trembath interviews Nabeel Rajab

Bahrain police open fire at protesters in capital

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 06:40 AM PDT

AP – Bahraini police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters marching toward the landmark Pearl Square in the country's capital Friday, two days after authorities lifted emergency rule.

Bahrain Formula One grand prix will be run on 30 October

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 06:28 AM PDT

The Guardian – • Zayed R Alzayani: "This is welcome news for Bahrain" • Decision went against wishes of F1 teams

FIA approves return of Bahrain Grand Prix to Formula 1 calendar

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 06:25 AM PDT

BBC – The race, originally due to be held on 13 March, was called off in February because of pro-democracy protests in which more than 20 people have died. The Indian Grand Prix, which originally was due to be held on 30 October, will now be held in December.

Bahrain decision not about money – Ecclestone

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 02:15 AM PDT

Reuters – A decision on whether to reschedule the postponed Bahrain grand prix will have nothing to do with money and is about satisfying safety concerns, Formula One commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Friday.

Bahrain unrest continues on eve of FIA meeting

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 02:14 AM PDT

ESPN – On the eve of the decisive World Motor Sport Council meeting, Bahrain looked unlikely to return to the 2011 Formula One calendar as reports of continuing unrest continued to circulate.

Mosley warns of PR disaster if Bahrain GP goes ahead

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 02:12 AM PDT

ESPN – Former FIA president Max Mosley has said the Bahrain Grand Prix should not take place in 2011 and would certainly not have done had he still been in charge.

Formula One teams against restaged Bahrain Grand Prix but money talks

Posted: 02 Jun 2011 03:20 PM PDT

The Guardian – • Formula One teams do not want December racing • Financial realities may force teams to race

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Esam Al-Amin <alamin1919@gmail.com>

Date: Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 12:39 PM
Subject: CounterPunch: The Determination of the Arab Revolutions by Esam Al-Amin (6/3/2011)
To: alamin1919@gmail.com

COUNTERPUNCH

Weekend Edition
June 3 / 5, 2011

Autumn of the Autocrats?

The Determination of the Arab Revolutions

By ESAM AL-AMIN

After the relatively swift triumphs of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions in deposing their dictators earlier this year, other Arab dictators drew a different set of lessons than their populations did.

Fed up with decades of repression, corruption, and the break down of state institutions, as well as the complete loss of faith in any meaningful political or social reforms in their societies, people across the Arab world this spring have waged simultaneous mass movements to force sweeping changes.

Arab autocrats, sustained for decades by the powerful security state, were shocked and startled as they observed in horror the dismantling of the security apparatuses in Tunisia and Egypt, facing fearless populace willing to sacrifice their lives to liberate themselves from the yoke of tyranny and regain their freedoms and dignity.

To their credit, in both the Tunisian and Egyptian models, the armies refused to shoot at their people after the failure of the security forces to clamp down. The popular uprisings spread across each country with incredible determination and zeal as the fear barrier of the ruthless regimes completely broke down.

Shortly after the fall of the Egyptian dictator, people across the Arab world took to the streets in peaceful uprisings against their long time repressive rulers. The concurrent massive demonstrations were especially widespread in Yemen, Libya, Syria, and Bahrain, against the decades-old repressive regimes of Muammar Gaddhafi in Libya (41 years), Ali Saleh in Yemen (33 years), the Assad family in Syria (Bashar and his father before him- 40 years), and the minority Al-Khalifah dynasty in Bahrain (230 years.)

The primary lesson learned by the Arab masses watching the revolutions unfold in Tunisia and Egypt was that the people’s collective power and determination can ultimately triumph in the face of isolated regimes that have been ruling them with an iron fist.

However, the authoritarian regimes drew different lessons from the Tunisian and Egyptian experience. They did not see the power and determination of the people but the weakness of the regimes and fragility and indecisiveness of its leaders.

In each case, though engulfed in its own particular circumstances and distinct features, the overall framework of how each regime dealt with its own popular uprising is strikingly similar.

As in the Tunisian and Egyptian models the first response of each regime was to rely on the security forces to put a quick end to the uprisings before they spread. When such attempts fail within the first few days, the next step is to try to contain the demonstrations by embracing the demands of the protesters while asking for a return to calm in order to implement reforms.

The problem with these initial steps is that they are perceived by the people as disingenuous and are almost always too late. Like Tunisia and Egypt before them, in each of the cases in Yemen, Libya, Syria, or Bahrain, the initial brutal response of the security forces had an adverse effect and did not stop the protests. In fact, the increasing casualties in the streets intensified the opposition and the revolts became widespread.

For instance, the initial demonstrations that started in Benghazi in mid-February to protest the arrest of a human rights lawyer quickly spread to western Libya, where they were met with repression. Similarly the protests in Yemen spread the same week from Sanaa to the rest of the country as Saleh’s security forces cracked down on the demonstrators. When the people of the southern city of Dar’aa in Syria protested in mid-March calling for freedom and reforms, the protests quickly spread as the Syrian army shortly thereafter surrounded the city killing dozens and arresting hundreds of protesters.

In the next phase of the confrontation between the people and the authoritarian regimes the dictators would call for dialogue and claim to have embraced the calls for reforms. For example, within days of the fall of the eastern city of Benghazi to the opposition, Qaddafi’s son, Saiful Islam, promised that if the protests ended then all demands were on the table. But then he asserted that no reforms or dialogue would be initiated unless the protests ended. President Saleh in Yemen made similar overtures to his people promising to form a national unity government and initiate political reforms if the protests ended.

In Syria the regime announced several steps for political reforms and the end of the state of emergency, which had been in place for almost a half century. The Syrian people held hope that their president would announce, and immediately take steps for far-reaching constitutional and political reforms.

But when the Syrian president addressed the parliament at the end of March it became clear that the reforms embraced by the regime were superficial and vague while requiring a significant amount of time to implement, a ploy that seemed designed to contain the popular uprising. Moreover, the party officials entrusted to propose and implement these reforms were themselves people known to defend the status quo that has favored them for decades.

As in Egypt, when the trick of calling for dialogue and the embrace of a reform agenda fails to attract the people and the opposition groups – mostly marginalized for decades- the regimes would then mobilize their supporters to mount counter-demonstrations.

However, many of the supporters of these regimes act like goons, bullies, and criminals, as they beat up and abuse the opposition. Such elements supporting the regimes include thousands of security officers or party loyalists roaming the streets in civilian clothes. They were called baltagies in Egypt, balatega in Yemen and Shabbiha in Syria. Their main role is to brutalize the people and punish them for their protests in a desperate attempt to halt them. But often times, the end result is the opposite as the people link these thugs to the regimes and become even more enraged.

As the casualties mount and international condemnations of the regimes become widespread, the dictators employ a new tactic by charging that there are armed “Islamic terrorist” groups tied to Al-Qaeda who are killing the protesters and wreaking havoc upon society.

Ultimately, the main strategy of each regime is to regain the initiative from the streets so they continue to use these different tactics in order to split the opposition or wear down the people. Endless promises, delay tactics, and old style propaganda techniques and maneuvers are utilized. President Saleh employed his infamous delaying schemes to wear down the opposition, thus promising to step down five different times as a result of the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative, only to renege each time. Eventually, the GCC itself completely abandoned its own initiative. The Syrian president officially lifted the state of emergency. Yet since then, over 1200 people have lost their lives and over 12,000 have been detained without trial. Electricity as well as water and phone lines were cut off from some cities that were under siege by the military for many days.

Watching Hosni Mubarak, his sons, and other high-ranking officials in Egypt dragged to prison and tried for political and financial corruption solidified in the minds of these regimes the fate that awaits them. In essence, the dictators and their cronies are fighting, not just to stay in power, but also to literally escape punishment for their crimes. But perhaps the most brutal and effective tactic to derail any peaceful revolution is to drag the country into civil war.

Regional players such as Israel and the Saudi ruling family, as well as other international players are very nervous about the popular discontent and the changes sweeping the region. The status quo has benefited these regimes and the international order for a long time.

People in the Arab world are instead determined to rely on themselves with an uncompromising will to continue their just struggle for freedom and dignity echoing the voice of another young leader in the Latin American jungles many decades ago, as Che Guevara reminded his comrades “Until victory always” but “better to die standing, than to live on your knees.”

Esam Al-Amin can be reached at alamin1919@gmail.com

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Subject: Alwefaq Society is a partner in the crackdown; it lost its credibility as a society of Opposition
[redacted]
Top News
FEATURE-Did Bahrain opposition squander democracy chance?
Tue, May 31 12:20 PM EDT

* Opposition may have lost best chance at winning reforms

* Sunni leaders say opposition was waiting for Iran guidance

* Emergency law to be lifted on June 1

By Andrew Hammond

MANAMA, May 31 (Reuters) – As martial law comes to an end in the Gulf Arab state of Bahrain this week, opposition activists are wondering whether they threw away what might have been the first real chance for democracy in the Gulf Arab region.

Shortly after young Bahrainis, inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, converged on a roundabout in early February, the government offered dialogue with opposition parties on political reforms. But the talks failed to get off the ground.

After weeks of behind-the-scenes discussions during which sectarian tension worsened between the Shi'ite majority and Sunnis who saw the ruling Al-Khalifa family as protection, Saudi troops poured in on March 15, martial law was declared the next day and the roundabout encampment was broken up on March 16.

Critics say the leading opposition party Wefaq, headed by Sheikh Ali Salman, failed to show leadership during the unrest, allowing hardliners within the ruling family and among the Shi'ite opposition to steer events.

"What a massively missed opportunity. Wefaq should have had the conviction to stand ahead of the others and sit at the table. I'm sure they rue it," one Western diplomat said.

When talks eventually resume, he said, "the ceiling will be lower" and reforms could have been set back by a decade.

King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa authorised talks on democracy in 2001, but the opposition boycotted elections in 2002 because the upper house of parliament — royal appointees — was to retain key powers.

Seven opposition parties including Wefaq took part in 2006 elections, but hardliners broke away to form the Haq movement.

Haq's exiled leader returned during the protests on Feb. 26 and announced with other groups on March 8 that he wanted to turn the small island kingdom into a republic. That was anathema to Saudi Arabia which financially backs Bahrain to help stave off Iranian influence.

On Tuesday King Hamad called for reform talks "without preconditions" from July 1. But the parameters were vague, and with opposition leaders in jail, protesters off the streets and Wefaq attacked daily in state media, the government will have the upper hand to steer them away from parliamentary reforms.

FEAR OF LOSING THE STREET

Munira Fakhro of secular opposition group Waad says Wefaq was paralysed by fear of losing the street — Shi'ite protesters radicalised by the deaths of their comrades when security forces made a botched attempt to clear the roundabout on Feb. 17.

"My analysis is that after all this anger and death among Shi'ites the street was tilted towards Mushaimaa. Ali Salman was afraid that if he accepted the crown prince's proposal without assurances he would be cheated at the end of the day," she said, referring to opposition anger over the upper assembly in 2002. "I told them, 'the crown prince wants to reach out to you but he's alone because no one is supporting him from his family, you must support him'."

Mushaimaa and the republic supporters are now among 21 men on military trial. The defendants also include Waad's Sunni leader Ibrahim Sharif and some independent Shi'ite rights activists prominent during the protests.

Salman, a young cleric born in 1965, says he didn't agree with the escalation in protests or the open call for a republic, but acknowledges that they complicated the position of Wefaq and the rest of the opposition.

"There is a view that we were late to respond to the call for dialogue, but we had our reasons," he said at Wefaq offices overlooking the waters of the Gulf.

"We did not go to public talks, but we talked behind closed doors. I met the crown prince three times alone during the crisis and my working team was meeting his working team almost daily. But there were no results until March 13."

That day the crown prince said again he was interested in dialogue, but specified this time that it would centre on seven principles, including representative government and a parliament with full powers.

On March 14, Wefaq and six other opposition groups said they wanted clarifications before entering direct talks with the crown prince.

IMPASSE

The government and Sunni leaders have another theory for why the opposition appeared to drag their feet over negotiations: Wefaq was waiting for approval from Iran.

"We think so. How else would you explain them not coming to the negotiating table?" said Sheikh Abdul-Aziz bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Senior International Counselor at the Information Affairs Authority.

"We need a rational, practical leader who doesn't look for religious blessings before he can embark on a political reform initiative," he said. "We didn't see leadership emerging from their side and they didn't let themselves loose from radical elements or come to the negotiating table."

Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Mahmoud, leader of the mainly Sunni National Unity Rally which emerged as a counter-weight to the Shi'ite opposition during the unrest, goes further.

"In the second week of March their clerics were telling the Shi'ite masses that the Hidden Imam was about to come. That held them up going into talks since they thought the Shi'ite state was coming," he said.

The twelfth Imam of mainstream Shi'ism disappeared in 9th-century Iraq and many believe he will return one day. Mahmoud also suggested the U.S. navy was coordinating with Wefaq and Iran could have been planning a military intervention.

Wefaq leaders roll their eyes at these accusations.

They say they are not interested in Iran's system of clerical rule, and that in any case most Bahraini Shi'ites look to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Iraq as their reference in religious affairs. Bahrain's most senior Shi'ite cleric is Sheikh Issa Qassim.

Mahmoud, Salman and other government and opposition figures spent all of March 13 at Wefaq offices in what proved to be fruitless last-minute talks before a decisive Saudi intervention.

Wefaq wanted a guarantee from the crown prince on elections to a constituent assembly to write a new constitution before entering face-to-face public talks.

Mahmoud wanted the royal family to have guaranteed representation on the assembly and a high bar on the percentage required to approve constitutional amendments to avoid Sunnis being permanently hostage to Shi'ite numerical superiority.

In a sign of the mistrust now prevailing, Mahmoud says that when news came in that Saudi troops were really coming, Salman stood up and announced: "We will seek the help of Iran."

Wefaq says he never said that. (Editing by Reed Stevenson and Jon Hemming)

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 3:45 PM
Subject: Bahrain TV Interview between Sawsan Alshaeer and Stephanie Williams

[redacted]
First, forgive me for my tone if it is not neutral, and it has been a long while since I wrote such a thing. I feel it is my duty to comment in the interview mentioned above; the interview was between Sawsan Alshaeer, a journalist who has been for two motnh ivolved only in one-sided shows. She spends all the time of her program creting and spreading hatred based on sunni/shiite dialogues. She never interviewed Shiites at all, and her interviews and talks were as follows. She attacks and condemns a certain person or a certain group, and on the same night, early morning, the targetted group is arrested and their house are raided by the thugs – military in civilain disguise. before around three weeks, she publicly condemned BBC network as spreading "iranian agenda", and that "Amnesty, FrontLIne and others" are manipulated by Shiites. In another show, she directly said "Obama, don't think that you will create a new Iraq in Bahrain; we have men to defend Bahrain; and it will remain a Khalifate Kingdom despite your program."
The interview with Stephanie Williams who is the highest post in the embassy right has a couple of points as follows:
1. Since Ms Williams is a diplomat, their should be certain protocols in the dialogue. Throughout the interview, Sawsan was atacking Ms Williams as "conspiartor" against Bahrain. She did not speak with any kind of attequette or respect. I am sure that since Ms Williams is American, she does not see a problem, but from the Bahraini point of view, this treating her with "what she deserve"s as the Sunnis say. She never gave her chance to speak her opinions and she interrupts her to avoid any inconvenience despite the "neutrality" of Ms Williams.
2. The questions were condemning America on all levels. For example, Sawsan claimed that the US does not have the right to state opinion supporting the "oppostion" because this is "direct intervention in interior affairs" and the US should respect "the soveregnty of Bahrain." I wonder then what the hell the Fifth Fleet is doing? Did the US take permission to do that? what would happen to Bahrain if the US only threat to retreat? i.e. we all know that the US is the manipulator of all Arab government, why is this different now? Moreover, she accused the embassy of avoiding and preventing any meetings with Sunni parties. I never thought their are any Sunni oppositions in Bahrain except Waad, headed by Ebrahim Sharif.
3. Sawsan condemned the "sectarian discrimmination" that is commited by the US embassy against Sunnis. She believes that the US embassy advocates Shiites only and belittles the Sunnis. First, as she claims, they talks with Shiite parties only – and although Ms Williams tried to explain that they contact people who respond to them, and this is natural because the majority of Bahrain are SHiites, Sawsan insisted that "the US is practicing Sectarian discrimmination against the Sunnis of Bahrain." In addition, Sawsan claims that the US keeps stating "the majority Shiites are ruled by the Minority Sunnis" and this is not true because the demography of people changes. Sawsan does not know that what the US and all the world is based on the officla site of the CIA of Population count, last updated in 2010. It showed the Shiite ratio withdrew from 85% to 70%; but Sawsan still insisted that this is not true. For those who do not know history; Bahrain was 100% Shiites before the Khalifa family came to Bahrain. Untill the 1990's, the ratio was 85% Shiites and 15% Sunnis. The family carried out a huge top confidential program and nationalized many people from Syria, Jordan, Yemen, and Pakistan to change the religous demography of Bahrain.
4. Sawsan criticized the speech of Mr Obama about the opposition behind the bars of prisons and jails. Ms Williams insisted that the US believes in Obama's speech, highlighted and ascertained by Mr Toner "there cannot be any serious dialogue with the legitimate Oppostion in prison." Sawsan showed selected videos but there was no live video of any protester killing a securty person. So, Ms Williams told her that "we were terrified by what was going on; but we support the freedom of speech and protest."
5. Sawsan attacked the American Sudies Centre and the embassy because they "steal" Bahraini youth and brainwash them with American agendas to destabalize Bahrain, example is Mariam Khawaja and many others – i cant believe that there are still people obsessed with "false conspiracy theories". She accused the States of supporting terrorists like Mriam, Matar Matar and many others who played a vital active role in these events. [redacted]
Although Ms Williams expressed that the US is very proud of these exchange programs, Sawsan inisted on attcaking her and the Congress and Mr Obama himself. Actually, this attack on the ASC was begun by university of Bahrain itself. The Sunni satff wanted to boast and show off with their "patriotism", so they established a site to show the "traitors of UOB." Dr Colin was described a jew who hates Islam. I wonder how American would see this; I geuss they will say "the Sunnis are anti-semetic" :)
6. Sawsan tried to embarrass her geust with a consumed question about Iraq, but Ms Williams answered that Iraq is a baby democracy that is growing fast and that secatrain tensions are doomed to end because people want to live not to fight.
Final note:
There is an important plot behind this scene. As you know, Mr Lodovic Hoods, the inchanrge of Human Rights Reports in the US embassy has returned to Washington DC becuase he has been receiving threats from the Sunnis, loyal to the government. These threats were by messages and on forums. It is thought that the extremist parties of the family are behind this. I belive that this is a threat to any American and not only Mr Hoods. They described him as "the dirty jew" and serving "iranian agenda" – I know this looks stupid but this is the level of the Sunni audience. Now, the Sunnis are threating Ms William. A former Parlaiment Wahhabi member acused he of being a "bitch" and a "dirty Barbie". She is also threatened now, and there was a meeting between her and Dr Abdullateef Almahmood, and the letter was not received well by the embassy in general. Ms Williams said she will send a complaint about this to DC directly but I don't know how far is this from the truth.
All Americans are threatened if these two people are threatened. This incident also shows us an important thing. Although the SHiite party accused Obama of giving the family the green light to this crackdown, they did not threat the security or life of any American. On the ocntrary, the SHiites insisted that it is Mr Obama who will save them. After Obama's speech, Shiites will carry American flags in their protests. Regardless to how pinkish or naiive this look, it shows who sees the world with a dark heart full of hatred and who cannot live without sectarian discrimination.
This interview will condemn Sawsan as a journalist who is spreading hatred and sectarian discrimination and I am sure now Ms Williams understand who these people are really and what they are doing.
[redacted]
[redacted]
hope you are doing great; I have something for you. Yesterday, there was an interview between Sawsan Alshaeer and Stephanie from the embassy; it was paethetic. Sawsan is used to one-sided dialogues, and she is accusing Washington DC directly. I will send you the link now, but I will send a lengthy commentary on it because it is in Arabic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WixonFsvu2w
[redacted]



———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Re: Urgent: Bahrain targets Abdulhadi Alkhawaja's daughter to put pressure on him
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

Dear Friends,

Relieved to let you know that Zainab Alkhawaja has been released. Important to note that their remains to be hundreds of political prisoners who are still kept in prison, many of whom have detained for more than 2 months with no due process.
Regards,

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 8:22 AM
Subject: Urgent: Bahrain targets Abdulhadi Alkhawaja's daughter to put pressure on him
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

Dear Friends,

As Zainab Alkhawaja heads to the police station, I write to you in urgency as I just received confirmed news that her father Abdulhadi Alkhawaja was told in prison that if he does not comply with their demands and accepts what they're asking of him, they will get his daughter Zainab as they "already have a file on her". They also told him to instruct Nabeel Rajab and his other daughter Maryam Alkhawaja to stop the pressure on the government.
Zainab Alkhawaja, also widely known as @angryarabiya on Twitter and for her hunger strike which then inspired a mass hunger strike, released this picture minutes before she left to the police station: http://yfrog.com/hsqjywej. If detained, Zainab will be the 6th member of their family to be detained.
Zainab's husband Wafi, was arrested 55 days ago and it is still unknown where his location is or what the charges against him are. He has had no access to lawyers or to his family. Now with Zainab being summoned, if arrested, their 1 and a half year old daughter will have both her parents in detention. Both of their arrests are seen to be a tool used by the regime to put pressure on Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, prominent human rights activist, and his other activist daughter, Maryam Alkhawaja.
It is not new in Bahrain that they use a family member to pressure someone to do what they want. In a testimony I recorded in late February I was told: "They brought my younger brother in front of me and stripped him naked except for a blindfold. They told me if you don't do as we say, we will rape him in front of you. I said ok, I will do whatever you want, and they made me sign documents without letting me read them."
This is clear targeting of a human rights defender's family to put pressure on him and we urge you to do all that you can to put pressure on the Bahraini government to comply with human rights standards and release all political prisoners.
Regards,

Maryam Al-Khawaja
Contact: +44-7587303080 / +1(401)572-6597
Head of Foreign Relations Office
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: NYTimes.com <newstracker@nytimes.com>
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 11:38 PM
Subject: My Alerts: Bahrain Alerts (1 article)
To: ccavell@gmail.com

The New York Times

June 2, 2011

My Alerts

ADVERTISEMENT

Alert Name: Bahrain Alerts
June 2, 2011 Compiled: 1:54 AM

WORLD / MIDDLE EAST

By KATHERINE ZOEPF (NYT)

Security forces attacked peaceful protesters in more than 20 villages with rubber bullets, stun grenades, shotguns and tear gas, according to human rights observers in Bahrain.

About This E-mail

You received this e-mail because you signed up for NYTimes.com's My Alerts tool. As a member of the TRUSTe privacy program, we are committed to protecting your privacy.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: s.yousif mohammed <s.yousif1982@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 10:47 AM
Subject: Urgent Appeal: Daughter of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja and internationally known hunger striker summoned to police station
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

: Dear Friends,
In alarming news and despite promises of reform by the King, Zainab Alkhawaja (known on twitter as @angryarabiya) has been summoned to the police station tomorrow at 6pm.
Zainab Alkhawaja went on a 10 day hungerstrike in response to her father, uncle, husband and brother in law getting arrested. (read more: http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_62778.shtml) Her hunger strike received worldwide media attention. Her father and uncle are now undergoing a military, (please read: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/15241). Her husband and brother in law are still in detention with no access to lawyers or family, and it is unknown under what charges they are being kept or their location.
The summoning raises great concern as her father, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, told his family a few days ago that security forces inside the prison kept threatening that they had arrested and raped his daughter Zainab. Therefore this is an urgent appeal for international pressure to prevent any physical or psychological harm to Zainab Al-khawaja.
Regards,
Said Yousif Almuhafdah
Bahrain Center For Human Rights
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 8:39 AM
Subject: Urgent: Several attacks on peaceful protests now
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

Urgent: attacks on protests right now. Several protests have started today in many parts of Bahrain, all of which have been violently attacked by security forces using teargas, sound bombs and bird shotgun pellets.Due to fear of going to hospitals protesters are treating themselves at home.

Bahrain: Show trial of prominent human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja continues before military court against background of torture and intimidation : http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/15241

Poet Ayat AlQurmezi is due to go on trial tomorrow in a military court. More on her case: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/3865

Best,

Maryam Al-Khawaja
Contact: +44-7587303080 / +1(401)572-6597
Head of Foreign Relations Office
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: NYTimes.com <newstracker@nytimes.com>
Date: Tue, May 31, 2011 at 11:34 PM
Subject: My Alerts: Bahrain Alerts (1 article)
To: ccavell@gmail.com

The New York Times

June 1, 2011

My Alerts

ADVERTISEMENT

Alert Name: Bahrain Alerts
June 1, 2011 Compiled: 1:48 AM

SPORTS / AUTO RACING

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (NYT)

Bahrain asked Formula One’s governing body to reschedule its Grand Prix race this year and hopes to hold it in October or November.

About This E-mail

You received this e-mail because you signed up for NYTimes.com's My Alerts tool. As a member of the TRUSTe privacy program, we are committed to protecting your privacy.

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Tue, May 31, 2011 at 8:32 PM
Subject: Bahrain: Bad To Worse

Bahrain: Bad To Worse

Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2011

by Elliott Abrams

Not so long ago Bahrain was considered one of the more liberal Arab states. No longer.

The situation in Bahrain is deteriorating further, despite occasional government claims that things are stable and even improving. The most recent proof is the Bahraini treatment of the human rights officer at the U.S. Embassy, Ludovic Hood, who is being forced to leave the country after a vicious campaign against him. The story is told in a recent Miami Herald item entitled “U.S. Yanks Diplomat From Bahrain After He’s Threatened.” The U.S. diplomat was the target of anti-Semitic slurs and his address was published in a web site tied to the Bahraini government, a sure effort to intimidate.

The Miami Herald story ends this way: “In his final message to his friends in Bahrain, Hood apologized that he had had to assume a low profile in his final weeks and couldn’t say goodbye. In his message, he sounded like a man ordered home on short notice. ‘Hello,’ he wrote. ‘I am leaving Bahrain today and moving back to Washington. I will start my new assignment at the State Department in June. I am sorry I was not able to say goodbye properly. Given recent developments affecting the Embassy, it was prudent for me to keep a low profile during my final weeks in Bahrain.’”

The State Department has said little about the incident, but it is a mark of how bilateral relations have soured and should get more attention. This intimidation of an American official should be forcefully protested and condemned by the United States. It is the kind of incident that should have us thinking out loud about the future of the Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: thepearlroundabout.org <thepearlroundabout@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, May 31, 2011 at 6:05 PM
Subject: thepearlroundabout.org
To: ccavell@gmail.com

thepearlroundabout.org

Link to thepearlroundabout.org

Bahrain set for renewed protests as state of emergency ends

Posted: 31 May 2011 01:31 PM PDT

Amnesty International – 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.

MSF staff member in Bahrain remains detained

Posted: 31 May 2011 09:30 AM PDT

MSF – An employee of the international medical organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been detained for weeks in Bahrain after being severely beaten upon arrest by authorities, with no information provided about his condition and whereabouts, including to his family and lawyer.

Silencing Bahrain’s journalists

Posted: 31 May 2011 09:11 AM PDT

Al Jazeera – Lamees Dhaif tells Al Jazeera: "They can stop us from telling stories now, but they can't stop us forever."

Bahrain Lifts Martial Law on a Skeptical Public

Posted: 31 May 2011 09:03 AM PDT

The Media Line – Politicians, rights activists, say the military presence is still in full force Bahrain is preparing to lift martial law on Wednesday in a bid to close a brief but controversial chapter in the country’s history. But human rights activists and politicians say they don’t expect life for the country’s one million citizens to change much on the ground.

Bahrain king calls for dialogue from July 1

Posted: 31 May 2011 09:01 AM PDT

AFP – Bahrain's King Hamad called on Tuesday for a national dialogue to begin on July 1, as the authorities readied to lift a state of emergency enacted during a crackdown on demonstrators, BNA state news agency said.

Bahrain: Bad To Worse

Posted: 31 May 2011 09:00 AM PDT

Elliott Abrams – Not so long ago Bahrain was considered one of the more liberal Arab states. No longer.

Bahrain: Tough line remains on protest groups

Posted: 31 May 2011 08:57 AM PDT

AP – Bahrain's Justice Ministry warned Tuesday that authorities will not ease pressure on anti-government groups after emergency laws are removed even as the nation's king appealed for dialogue.

Bahraini authorities have sentenced more than 60 demonstrators

Posted: 31 May 2011 07:54 AM PDT

BYSHR – Full list of convicted demonstrators.

The Battle for Bahrain and the Future of the Middle East

Posted: 31 May 2011 05:15 AM PDT

The Trumpet.com – A massive geopolitical earthquake is shaking the Middle East. For more than six decades, Saudi Arabia has bound itself to America for security. But a series of strategic blunders and missteps in the region has broken Saudi confidence in the United States. Consequently, the Saudis are striking out on their own—cobbling together their own alliance to face off against Iran. That may not sound like such bad news, but it is actually a signal that time is running out for America, Britain, and the tiny nation of Israel.

Mistrust abounds as Bahrain to lift emergency law

Posted: 31 May 2011 05:10 AM PDT

AFP – Tanks have begun withdrawing from Manama's streets ahead of the planned lifting Wednesday of a state of emergency enacted amid a crackdown on demonstrators but mistrust still abounds in Bahrain.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, May 31, 2011 at 2:12 PM
Subject: Re: Urgent appeal: Nabeel Rajab summoned by military prosecutor
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

Nabeel Rajab has been released.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

Date: Tue, May 31, 2011 at 1:30 PM
Subject: Urgent appeal: Nabeel Rajab summoned by military prosecutor
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

A few hours after the King's speech about reform and dialogue, leading human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, president of BCHR, Deputy Secretary General 4 FIDH, Chairman of CARAM Asia & MENA Advisory member of HRW, was summoned by the military court, and has yet to be released. (Summon letter attached)

The military prosecutor summoned the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Mr. Nabeel Rajab, to appear before the court today at 6 in the evening and the summon was conveyed to Mr. Rajab at 4 in the afternoon the same day.

Mr. Nabeel Rajab proceeded to go to the Center where he was summoned accompanied by his lawyer, but has since been missing in action and has not made any contact up until the writing of this appeal.

The call by the prosecutor comes 1 day before the lifting of martial law in Bahrain, as it has been ordered by the King. Martial law has been in effect in Bahrain since March 15th, 2011.

During this two and a half month period of Martial law, Mr. Rajab has been victimized and stripped of his human rights on more than one occasion.

· On March 20th, 2011, Mr. Rajab was arrested for a few hours by a group of armed government sent men. During his detention, Mr. Rajab was beaten and threatened with rape before releasing him.

· Mr. Rajab was also present at his domicile when his house was showered with tear gas and up to the point of nearly suffocating his mother to death.

This appeal goes out to voice fear of torture and coercion of Mr. Rajab due to the track record of recent documented cases of torture of detainees by the Government of Bahrain and the death of four opposition members whilst in custody of the Government of Bahrain.

Background on Nabeel's case: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4144

Regards,


Maryam Al-Khawaja
Contact: +44-7587303080 / +1(401)572-6597
Head of Foreign Relations Office
Bahrain Center for Human Rights

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Tue, May 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM
Subject: Bahrain news


———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Sun, May 29, 2011 at 10:54 PM
Subject: The Pearl Revolution magazine

Dear All,

Attached is the English version of "the Pearl revolution" magazine.

As received

[redacted]

http://www.crookedbough.com/pearl/The_Pearl_Revolution.pdf

It takes about 4+ minutes in the browser, which is faster than most email. The file size is 15mb (my compression), you might mention this in the update.




June 13, 2011   Add Comments

Bahrain Updates #17: Attack the Messenger! Date: 05/31/2011 03:56:06 AM

Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D.

Dear Folks,
Speaking out publicly often brings criticism, and in the last few weeks, I have been the subject of two such attacks. The first attack basically acuses me of being a spy for Washington or an agent of the United States. The second, on the other hand, accuses me of being a communist revolutionary bent on violence and intent on overthrowing all democratically elected governments. I shall deal with each one separately herein.
First, there was an article in the Bahrain newspaper Al Watan on Monday, May 23, 2011, by Mr. Yousif Al Benkhalil (No. 1990). An English translation of the article follows:

Washington and the Sunnis of Bahrain…American Studies Center

A child asks his mother:' Mom! Why did they demolish the Pearl Roundabout?

'Do you know when you play a game with a friend and you win in that game, as a result, he gets angry and stop playing with you. It is the same situation.' Replies the mother.

In such a naive way, one of the American academics, who had worked at American Studies Center in the University of Bahrain, described a state's (country) relation with its people after the events of last February. This academic, is not committed to academic ethics; however, he was a great supporter of Washington's politics , which, in its efforts, aims to find new allies in Manama. So, what did he do?! He contributed in establishing this center. This centre turned quickly to an academic centre that graduates Bahraini students specialized in the field of academic studies. The center was able to provide a great deal of in-class and out-of-class events and activities to its students that serve the goals that Washington sought to achieve in the region of gulf, particularly in Bahrain. For example, there were a series of cultural lectures that were presented by the center. Generally, the main goal of those lectures was to create a general culture (spirit, atmosphere) about the significance of democracy in accordance with the American flavor. Therefore, some of those lectures spoke about subjects that were new to Bahraini society, such as freedom of religion and thought and doctrines in democratic regimes, as well as empowering women politically. Furthermore, the center supervised the process of sending Bahraini students in scholarships to continue their studies as a part of the Fulbright Scholarship Programme in coordination with the US embassy in Bahrain. In short, the center found a valuable opportunity to intervene in the students' community at the University of Bahrain and select the ideal students that would be able to make a mark later on, and those students would have political roles that could achieve Washington's goals in the future. Also, we spoke in the past about the efforts of the American Administration to convert a number of Bahraini citizens to political as well as human rights activists. And the American Studies Center was able to do this brilliantly through direct interactions with the students and then selecting the ideal ones. It is sufficient to know that a number of kids, whose parents were involved in a plot to overthrow the political system and who are now currently in multiple trial charges, were studying in that center and some of them graduated. This is as the case with Mariam Al Khawaja who has strong ties with the operators of the center as well as with a number of officials at the US embassy in Bahrain. During their study in the American Studies Center, the Bahraini students were subjected to political speech that was different from the speeches that they can get in Bahraini society. It is because that speech has its goals and specific frameworks. It can open wider outlooks for the students themselves, particularly when the center was keen to the idea that there was a direct interaction between the students and all that is American. Therefore, there were frequent visits for the students to the aircrafts carriers in the gulf waters to inform them about the efforts of Washington in order to promote peace and security in the Arabian Gulf. This is along with other visits to the US. The issue ends with organizing an educational scholarship to complete university studies in one of the prestigious universities of America. And the final outcome is that we find some of the personalities who studied in this center move now from one university to another in the US reaching the Congress to give her human rights witness testimony as representing 'the people of Bahrain'.

Arabic link:

http://www.alwatannews.net/writer-read.aspx?id=Ju2+g7pNv8TXlYroM28HBSviKnSBtGc/Zwp5v25RT8Q=

To begin with, the quote Mr. Benkhalil uses is not mine. It was a quote from one of the eyewitness reports I received from Bahrain and which I included in one of the previous Bahrain Updates. If freedom of speech was supported in Bahrain, then I would not have to remove or redact people's identity; unfortunately, that is not the case in Bahrain today, as the government retaliates against anyone that opposes it.
Secondly, as regards Mr. Al Benkhalil's assertion that I am "a great supporter of Washington's politics, which, in its efforts, aims to find new allies in Manama," I reply that I am indeed a supporter of the freedoms enshrined in the US Declaration of Independence and believe that the U.S. Constitution, as amended, is a bulwark of democratic liberties. However, in contributing my efforts, over eight and one-half years, to the establishment of the American Studies Center (ASC) at the University of Bahrain, I sought not to recruit allies to serve U.S. government interests but rather to educate students with democratic mindsets. In other words, in no way did my pedagogical techniques seek to develop automatons or "yes men" or "yes women" who echo what authoritarian figures command. To the contrary, I taught students to question authority in all forms. As Ralph Waldo Emerson states in his essay "Self Reliance" (1841): "He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness."
And, Mr. Al Benkhalil is correct that the ASC did provide numerous activities for its students from lectures and conferences to field trips and community activities, albeit, it appears he disapproves of such activities. Such events are normal for an active academic department in universities around the world, and few would condemn such activities as merely following the dictates of their governments. It is a well-established belief that extracurricular activities aid and enhance student development, and this is why most academic departments attempt to provide such activities. Yes, it is true that the ASC did receive monies from the US Embassy to fund many of these activities, but the initiative and organization of such activities was primarily done by ASC staff. As well, Mr. Benkhalil is correct that the aim of many of these activities was to engender an appreciation for democracy amongst ASC students, as democracy is the espoused guiding principle of the United States of America. As such, I often advocated for the principles of freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of the press, women's rights and the empowerment of women, worker's rights, non-discrimination, etc., which, as you state, were subjects "new to Bahraini society."
And, yes, the ASC was indeed fortunate enough, with the assistance of the American government through the US State Department, to be able to send many Bahraini students to the US, either for further academic study, student leadership programs, or foreign language teaching assistantships. In so doing, many ASC graduates have become experts on American government and culture, and, in fact, several are now working for the Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs because of their specialized knowledge. But as no forcible indoctrination was involved in any of these pedagogical activities, graduates of the ASC are of many political persuasions. A number of graduates were and continue to be strong supporters of the monarchy, with a number working in the Bahrain Defence Forces (BDF); others are strong opponents to the monarchy, though some support a limited constitutional monarchy, while others favor an outright democratic republic. And still there are many–if not most–who are non-committed to either one of these options and/or are apolitical. So, yes, it is true that Maryam Al Khawaja is a graduate of the American Studies Center, as is her sister, Zainab. But so, too, are several of the Al Khalifas graduates of the American Studies Center, and they, too, are honored graduates who have strong ties to ASC staff.
Mr. Al Benkhalil is also correct in asserting that:
During their study in the American Studies Center, the Bahraini students were subjected to political speech that was different from the speeches that they can get in Bahraini society. It is because that speech has its goals and specific frameworks. It can open wider outlooks for the students themselves, particularly when the center was keen to the idea that there was a direct interaction between the students and all that is American.
While such a wide offering of political speech appears to be a negative aspect of the ASC according to Mr. Al Benkhalil, from this author's vantage point, subjecting students to a variety of political perspectives allows for students to be able to compare and contrast political theories, practices, policies, and persuasions, so as to allow them an informed choice as to what will frame their own beliefs as well as illuminate the likely consequences that follow from such adoptions.
Mr. Al Benkhalil finishes his article by lamenting the fact that some of the ASC graduates are granted scholarships to prestigious US universities only to wind up before the US Congress providing human rights eyewitness testimony and claiming to be "representing 'the people of Bahrain'." To this, all I can say, Mr. Al Benkhalil, is that, yes, I was guilty of educating many of these students to believe in themselves and to speak the truth as they see it. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
For most readers outside of Bahrain, I believe you can now see the absolute gulf which exists between some of the supporters of the Bahraini monarchy and the democratic values commonly shared by those who oppose monarchical governments.
Now, as regards the second published criticism directed at me, it is more farce than serious criticism and arises primarily because I wounded its author a few weeks ago by printing his exact published words in his attempt to be a courtier to King Hamad Al Khalifa. It comes from Dr. Scott Catino, the individual I quoted in Bahrain Updates #14 as he openly praised the King of Bahrain. Here is what I wrote in Bahrain Updates #14:
Readers this week called my attention to a blog article entitled "Bahrain: Are You Confused?" and dated March 25, 2011 and written by a former Fulbright recipient, a Dr. Martin Scott Catino, who briefly taught at the University of Bahrain in the American Studies Center during the second Bush era, and who now claims to be "a Senior Military Adviser in Afghanistan, a specialist in US Foreign and Security policy". In his blog article, Dr. Catino blames radical Shia extremists for Bahrain's present chaos. He asserts that these clever insurgents are utilizing guerrilla warfare tactics in an attempt to realize "their violent dreams." Catino writes: "Radical Shia Imams parading as caring pastors mixed with Shia malcontents, human rights activists, the intelligentsia, and the young and the restless who moved about in abayas and dishdashas at schools like the University of Bahrain, where Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah and Iran’s Ali Khamenei were deemed champions of the world’s oppressed, and of course, of the Shia of Bahrain. These very people and groups are now key players of the insurgency taking place in Bahrain" (http://www.thoughts.com/martinscottcatino/the-insurgency-in-bahrain).
Dr. Catino, of course, is entitled to his opinion about the democratic opposition and, indeed, we should welcome his contribution, for it provides us with a clear articulation of present US policy towards the six Gulf Kingdoms and, in particular, of US policy towards Bahrain, for it displays not only a disdain for the majority Shia population of Bahrain but, as well, it further evinces the same servility towards monarchy that the pro-Bush crowd exhibited during W's time in office. Catino writes of Bahrain's King as follows:
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the ruler of Bahrain, is a powerful man, whose whit and ability to maintain control is admired, envied, and despised by the various sectarian and racial groups that walk the streets of places like Manama, the capital of Bahrain. The King is brilliant, and holds the reins of power with an ease and finesse that baffles his opponents. His ability to manage easily the diverse interests of the Sunni Arab world, the shifting sands of international economics, and the many South and Southeast Asian migrants that inhabit his island involves subtle skills that he uses confidently, grasping intangible power structures as easily as one could grasp the steering wheel of the family car. He understands every Middle Eastern leader’s most cherished secret: the most important fight is the one to stay in power. So he offers much more than crackdowns: free schooling, subsidies to the poor of his country (Shia included), and business freedoms in the local markets. In fact, the Ajam, the enterprising Persian business class of Bahrain, embrace this freedom. But more importantly they embrace the freedom to stay out of politics, which dampens the delights of the dinar.

It is all-too-often that some self-professed conservatives in the USA proclaim their love of liberty in one moment while in the next subjugating themselves to monied interests who are determined to crush the very liberty by which they speak. This, of course, is compounded when such persons claim to be supportive of republican governments (i.e. representative governments where power arises from the people) and yet grovel before unelected monarchs. And, as long as US foreign policy leaders follow such a submissive course, America will remain obedient to kings, emirs, shahs, shoguns, czars, sultans, etc.

Apparently, confronted by his own sycophantically written words, Dr. Scott Catino could not contain himself and went ballistic with "An Open Letter to Dr. Colin S. Cavell" which appears on his blogsite and is dated as having been posted on May 18, 2011 (see: http://www.thoughts.com/martinscottcatino/an-open-letter-to-dr-colin-s-cavell). His letter is mostly an ad hominem attack against me which readers will be able to see quickly in the text that follows:

An Open Letter to Dr. Colin S. Cavell

This will be a short letter and response to your barbed words used often against the government of the United States, the administration of President George W. Bush, American conservatives, and least of all me in your latest blog at http://bahraincenter.blogspot.com/2011/05/bahrain-updates-14-monarchy-and.html.

Why are you parading as a democratic and human rights advocate? While I served as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in Bahrain I heard you repeatedly advocate for the violent overthrow of the United States, the government of Bahrain, and other “capitalist countries.” No doubt you were caught for such activities in Bahrain and thus ran from your job in that country only to hide in the very nation that you ridiculed daily.

Why do you not have the courage to honestly and publicly admit you are Communist, which you have admitted on occasion when no one in authority was listening? Why do you not admit that you support the violent overthrow of all democratic, popularly elected governments in order to enslave them under a totalitarian regime? And now you claim you support democracy?

Do you not remember the public debates we had in class where you admitted such? Do you not remember that you tried to justify the mass murder (communist purges) of multiplied millions of people in China, Russia, Cambodia, and Vietnam, stating, “it was worth it”?

Wish you would have had the courage to continue to debate me in Bahrain, but you chose not to, fearing that you would be exposed and the student body would see your agenda.

Let me state for the record that I am deeply saddened that the many decent Shia of Bahrain are manipulated by people like you.

Relegating himself as the least targetted in my criticism is a diversion, as it is his self-published words lionizing the monarch of Bahrain that are specifically called into question. And, unlike the bald assertions of hearsay or, rather, psychological projections Catino uses in his diatribe against me, it is his very own words that I utilize from his very own blogsite to critique him. If such words indict Catino, then he should retract them rather than spewing venom at me in an attempt to deflect the meaning of his own words. One is reminded of presidential candidate Newt Gringich's recent disavowel of his own words on the May 15th edition of "Meet The Press" where he described the GOP Medicare proposal as "rightwing social engineering" and said he'd be against such radical change, implicitly opposing Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) Medicare proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher system. When the rightwing got furious at Newt, he disavowed his own words and told Fox News that the opposition should not quote him (Don’t quote me, says Gingrich)!
To advocate for the political rights of the majority in Bahrain is, apparently for Dr. Catino, to parade as a democratic and human rights advocate. Of course, this could not be a valid description of me in his mind, for, as he recalls from his time spent at the University of Bahrain as a visiting scholar, he heard me "repeatedly advocate for the violent overthrow of the United States, the government of Bahrain, and other 'capitalist countries'." Not only did I do no such thing, but, more importantly, anyone who has any real knowledge of the Bahraini government knows very well that I would have been put on the next flight out had I ever advocated for the overthrow of the Bahraini government. As it was, I was commended for my service to the University of Bahrain in a letter signed by the UOB President upon my departure.
Following this first big lie, Catino then proceeds to assert that I was "caught for such activities in Bahrain and thus ran from your job in that country only to hide in the very nation that you ridiculed daily." As I have written on every edition of the Bahrain Updates from #10 on, I resigned from my job at the University of Bahrain in mid-February as the US State Department granted my wife, a Moroccan national, with an immigrant visa provided we be residing within the USA by April 1, 2011. This is something my wife and I had been working on for a number of years and, contrary to a certain opinion in the United States, obtaining an immigrant visa to the USA is very difficult and very expensive and very time-consuming. So, no, Scott, I was not caught for the nefarious activities which exists only within the confines of your mind, nor did I run from Bahrain in order to hide. To the contrary, Scott, I have been openly writing about the crushing of the democratic opposition in Bahrain since March and sending out my Bahrain Updates to members of the international media and world press, as this edition will be distributed as well, and all from the confines of the USA where freedom of speech is a constitutional right, a right I have often praised.
Catino then turns to the bottom-feeding tactic of McCarthyism, or as Wikipedia defines it "the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence," and berates me as follows:
Why do you not have the courage to honestly and publicly admit you are Communist, which you have admitted on occasion when no one in authority was listening? Why do you not admit that you support the violent overthrow of all democratic, popularly elected governments in order to enslave them under a totalitarian regime? And now you claim you support democracy?
Catino's understanding of communism is akin to that of a Southern Klan leader; as such, anyone who advocates for democratic change is–according to this logic–a communist. As regards Catino's second charge, viz. accusing me of supporting "the violent overthrow of all democratic, popularly elected governments in order to enslave them under a totalitarian regime"–this allegation is as narrow as the first is broad. However, like the first, both are projections or psychological defense mechanisms, uttered by a wounded Catino who is denying his own undemocratic and pro-monarchical attributes and projecting them onto me. And why would he do so? Consider that it is I who have worked for two state legislatures, been a paid worker for one gubernatorial campaign and one presidential campaign, a volunteer for a number of other campaigns, have ran for elected office in grade school, high school, and in graduate school, and have written my doctoral dissertation on the subject of democracy which was later turned into a book. In other words, I have spent a good portion of my life reading about, writing on, and practicing democracy. In fact, all Dr. Scott Catino need do, if he were truly interested in what I think and have to specifically say about democracy, is to read my book Exporting 'Made-In-America' Democracy: The National Endowment for Democracy & U.S. Foreign Policy (2002) which is available from University Press of America (http://www.univpress.com/Catalog/SingleBook.shtml?command=Search&db=^DB/CATALOG.db&eqSKUdata=0761824405). [And, Scott, does peddling my own book make me a capitalist?]
Dr. Catino, on the other hand, proudly describes himself on his blog as currently participating in his "second counterinsurgency effort" and, like his disdain he utters for the majority Shia of Bahrain so, too, he holds most Afghanis in contempt. He writes, "The War in Afghanistan pits the United States and our allies against an insurgent culture that extols nearly all human passions and behaviors condemned by my American upbringing…." Catino then rattles off a litany of shortcomings he associates with the Afghan citizenry, including this one:

Fourth, this is a war for civility. Our American sentiments that glamorize “the people” are useless in Afghanistan. Corruption, deceit, duplicity, and treachery are rife in Afghanistan and that at the local level. Everything in the average American does not want to believe that. Our political and cultural values taught to us from childhood have conditioned us to lionize the average human, believe we are equal culturally (in moral and social development), and thus we are victimized by our own ideology. Cultural relativism wreaks a foul odor in the valleys of truth, and how much more in the valleys found here in Afghanistan, where acts of charity are often viewed as a sign of weakness, and billions of dollars of aid have created as many enemies as friends, or at least, created instability and not the reverse (http://www.thoughts.com/martinscottcatino/afghanistan-and-the-valley-between-us).

Civility indeed!

Catino's remaining charges are pure figments of his imagination, analogous to me charging Catino with openly extolling the virtues of fascism, particularly his second to last sentence which reads: "Wish you would have had the courage to continue to debate me in Bahrain, but you chose not to, fearing that you would be exposed and the student body would see your agenda." Scott, I remind you that it was I who invited you to speak in my classes, as many of my students did not believe that such an ideologue such as yourself truly existed in the American political landscape. You were very helpful then as you are now. But note Scott, I did not, do not now, nor will ever fear a person of your mentality. As for my students, I trust that I did not hide very much from them and that they have a fairly good idea of what my agenda is, and I will leave it to them to speak for themselves about my pedagogical skills and presentation.
Yes, Samuel Johnson was correct in that patriotism is indeed the last refuge of a scoundrel.
regards,
csc
Latest Updates:
For those following developments in Bahrain closely, I refer you all to The Crooked Bough website for timely updates on the political situation in the Kingdom, as it is beating most outlets at critical reportage coming out of Bahrain. As well, The Crooked Bough is now acting as a repository of all prior Bahrain Updates which are accessible at: http://www.crookedbough.com/?page_id=1154.

About the author:

Until February 15th of this year, I was an Assistant Professor teaching in the American Studies Center at the University of Bahrain. I submitted my resignation following the Fall semester at the end of January, as my wife, a Moroccan national, was granted an immigrant visa to the US by the State Department with the proviso that we be residing within the USA by April 1, 2011. Little did we know in January, when I submitted my resignation, that we would be in a race for time before we could leave, as the Arab rebellions were sweeping from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen and into Bahrain and beyond. We left Bahrain on February 25th, the day of the largest demonstrations in Bahraini history, and have since been residing in Seattle, Washington.

Background on Bahrain:

On February 14, 2011, the citizenry of Bahrain rose up in opposition to the Al Khalifa monarchy and demanded democratic reforms. Their voices were met with stiff resistance from the autocratic regime which has been in power for over 200 years now. Unbowed, the citizenry took to the Pearl Roundabout in downtown Manama with some advocating for a constitutional monarchy and others a democratic republic. In response, the regime unleashed a reign of terror down on the protesters. Meanwhile, the US was directing its focus on Libya and getting through the United Nations a resolution for a no-fly zone over that country, which passed on Thursday, March 17th. One week prior, on Friday, March 11th, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates flew to Bahrain and met with the King and the Crown Prince, and on Monday, March 14th, approximately 2000 to 3000 Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) tanks and troops rolled across the causeway from Saudi Arabia into Bahrain to crush the opposition. The next day, March 15th, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued Royal Decree No. 18 for the year 2011, declaring a three-month "State of National Safety". The Bahrain Defence Forces (BDF) subsequently began a systematic crackdown on anyone who was suspected of opposing the monarchy and calling for democracy. On March 18th, the BDF tore down the Pearl Monument, known to locals as either "Lulu" or "the GCC Monument" and to the international press as "Pearl Square" due to its similarity to Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt where protesters had gathered. The regime's crackdown is an attempt to wipe away the memory of the 2011 Bahraini Democratic Spring from the popular mindset, and they are sparing nothing to root out and crush, using force, intimidation, torture, and murder, any further resistance. The silence from most of the mainstream media in America is deafening.

The fact that the US Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain and the fact that the US is completely dependent on and addicted to Saudi-monarchy oil–i.e. oil doled out by a corrupt and sclerotic regime, and that both regimes (i.e. the Al Sauds and the Al Khalifas)–indeed all GCC regimes–in turn, are kept in power by US guns, makes all the difference–for now at least. The US is clearly supporting the Al-Khalifa monarchy, putting its oil interests ahead of its avowed democratic principles. From all accounts, the beating into submission as well as the subsequent bloodbath continues in earnest. For US citizens, it is another lost opportunity… But with your help and voices, we can eventually rectify our country's policy in this regard and realign it with our country's avowed democratic principles.

US interests in the long term will ultimately be served by supporting democratic elements and, eventually, democratic regimes in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. Does that mean we should overthrow existing governments? No, but it does mean that we should not be arming, financially supporting, and enabling corrupt regimes to slaughter opposition forces advocating for democratic rights in their countries, and then remaining silent while it happens. Sycophancy in the service of autocratic rulers with decidedly undemocratic ethos is degrading and demeaning. Such a stance is an affront to humanity. Putting off the goal of aligning ourselves with democratic elements for short-term advantage will have negative repercussions not only on current US foreign policy but, as well, on US domestic policy, as millions of petro-dollars will find their way back into US politics attempting to undermine our democracy here at home. While countering theocratic influence in the region is understandable and necessary, this will require a strategy with quite a bit more sophistication than is presently being demonstrated. As well, implementing such a strategy will necessitate experienced hands who are neither intimidated by the apparent chaos often associated with democratic movements nor infatuated with monarchical tendencies and supportive of elite rule as some bureaucrats appear to be.

NOTE:

Names and other identifying information have been removed and/or redacted in order to protect the safety of the sender[s], unless the person(s) is (are) a reporter or a public activist(s) and want their names to be known, as publicity sometimes gives them some protection from regime retaliation. If you are not a known public activist and/or reporter, please inform me if you would like your name to appear along with your report; otherwise, I will redact it to maintain your anonymity.

regards,

csc

__________________
Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D.

P.O. Box 9087
Seattle, WA 98109

———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Mon, May 30, 2011 at 6:15 PM

thepearlroundabout.org

Link to thepearlroundabout.org

Bahrain denies abusing female Shiite doctors

Posted: 30 May 2011 01:50 PM PDT

AFP – Bahrain's interior ministry on Monday denied claims made to AFP by female Shiite doctors that they were abused and tortured while in detention over their alleged backing for anti-regime protests.

France 24 correspondent tortured for covering pro-democracy demonstrations

Posted: 30 May 2011 01:40 PM PDT

Reporters Without Borders – 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.

End actions against the medics in Bahrain

Posted: 30 May 2011 09:37 AM PDT

Irish Medical Times – Recent events in the Kingdom of Bahrain have evidenced violations of the Geneva Conventions, with the arrest of doctors and nursing staff treating persons injured during civil unrest in that country.

Arab spring: an interactive timeline of Middle East protests

Posted: 30 May 2011 09:21 AM PDT

The Guardian – Ever since a man in Tunisia burned himself to death in December 2010 in protest at his treatment by police, pro-democracy rebellions have erupted across the Middle East. The Guardian's interactive timeline traces key events

UK trained Bahraini army officers even after crackdown began

Posted: 30 May 2011 09:17 AM PDT

The Independent – Britain continued to train Bahraini army officers at Sandhurst months after the Gulf state began its brutal crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators, it was disclosed yesterday.

Who cares in the Middle East what Obama says?

Posted: 30 May 2011 09:16 AM PDT

The Independent – President Obama has shown himself to be weak in his dealings with the Middle East, says Robert Fisk, and the Arab world is turning its back with contempt. Its future will be shaped without American influence

Gulf Air lays off hundreds, sales drop on unrest

Posted: 30 May 2011 09:13 AM PDT

Reuters – Gulf Air, Bahrain's loss-making national carrier, said it had laid off 200 employees and bookings were down a quarter following political and social unrest in Bahrain and the region.

Bahrain: ‘We will keep insisting on our just demands’

Posted: 30 May 2011 09:12 AM PDT

Green Left – Protests across Bahrain that began on February 14 have rocked the US-backed Khalifa royal family, mobilising hundreds of thousands of people against the regime's repressive rule.

Ecclestone still hopeful of Bahrain solution

Posted: 30 May 2011 09:06 AM PDT

CNN – Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is hopeful that the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix will take place this season despite the recent turmoil in the Gulf Kingdom.

Bahrain Shi’ite leader says backs royal family

Posted: 30 May 2011 07:31 AM PDT

Reuters – The leader of Bahrain's main Shi'ite opposition party said on Sunday his goal was to help bring political reform, rejecting accusations of taking orders from Iran or seeking to install Shi'ite religious rule.

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———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: 2011/5/30
Subject: June 1st, and other updates.
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

Dear Friends,

Hope this email finds you well. Updates on Bahrain:

1. June 1st will be the beginning of a new wave of protests as announced by what is known as the “February 14th Coalition”. (Read more below)

2. June 1st will be the next hearing of the 21 prominent leaders and may be when the sentencing will take place.

3. June 1st is when King has announced will be the lifting of State of National Safety. (Military courts are to continue and GCC forces will not be leaving.)

4. Defense lawyers Mohammed Ahmed, Hafedh Hafedh and Mohammed AlJishi were interrogated today by the military prosecution and later released with the guarantee of location. Charges against them are: illegal assembly (more than 5 people illegal in Bahrain without authorization from Ministry of Interior), demonstrating outside justice ministry and inciting hatred of regime.

5. There are still many cases in which people were arrested more than two months ago and their families have yet to hear anything from them. Many are concerned that they are being tortured. For example: Ali Abdulla Albanna was arrested two months ago, still no communication and location unknown. Mohammed AlBuflasah was the first to be arrested on February 15th, still not released.

6. Resigned MP Matar Matar, after a month since his arrest, calls his family and says he is ok

7. Still cases of missing injured like: Student Mohammed AbdulMahdi Kadhem was injured during attack on university of Bahrain, moved to hospital, now there is no info about him.

8. People are still being fired from their jobs in what people now call the “Regime’s campaign of hunger”. (Read more below)

9. State of daily terror: plea for help from a citizen of Bahrain (Read below.)

10. February 14th Coalition has put together a report of what they have documented in cases since beginning of protests. For those of you interested in reading it: online http://bit.ly/j6b3cf. Download: http://bit.ly/mfLEa9

11. Numerous attacks on Shia businesses by what appear to be government thugs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4flgj8SUF5U

Kindly find attached the new report on Children in Arabic and English.

AFP: Bahraini female doctors recount detention 'horror'http://tinyurl.com/42vdde9

Official document certified that the dismissal of employees is because of opinions: http://byshr.org/?p=532

President of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights still banned from traveling as he attempted to leave the country yesterday to attend an international conference that was organized by IFEX and attended by more than 100 local, regional and international human rights organizations.

Human Rights Defenders Nabeel Rajab, Abbas AlOmran and Maryam Alkhawaja along with other activists labeled as terrorists (see picture attached). Activists are being targeted through harassment, death threats and defamation campaigns online.

Best,

Maryam Al-Khawaja

Head of Foreign Relations Office
Bahrain Center for Human Rights

(Sent by February 14 Coalition)

URGENT APEAL FROM BAHRAIN!

To all institutions of the international community and permanent members of the Security Council and international organizations, human rights bodies and mrdia outlets around the world, we call on you all to dispatch international observers to monitor the peaceful rallies planned to take place in Bahrain, starting from the first of June 2011, in order record the expected abuses and aggressions by the Regime and the Saudi occupation forces against the peaceful demonstrators. The law on National Safety (Martial law) is scheduled to be lifted on this date; it is the law under which the authorities cracked down every peaceful protest, confined peaceful demonstrators in prisons, subjected them to non imaginable forms of torture, amounting to physical liquidation, and pronounced the most unfair sentences, including death sentences, by illegitimate military courts. We therefore submit this urgent appeal to the international community to intervene immediately in order to protect the Bahraini people's right to peaceful demonstration and to urge the Regime to abide by the principles of human rights and not to confiscate the right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully; which is established in all international laws and norms.

(ãäÇÔÏÉ ÚÇÌáÉ)

Åáì ÌãíÚ ãÄÓÓÇÊ ÇáãÌÊãÚ ÇáÏæáí æÇáÏæá ÏÇÆãÉ ÇáÚÖæíÉ Ýí ãÌáÓ ÇáÃãä æÇáãäÙãÇÊ æÇáåíÆÇÊ ÇáÏæáíÉ ÇáãÚäíÉ ÈÍÞæÞ ÇáÅäÓÇä ææÓÇÆá ÇáÇÚáÇã Íæá ÇáÚÇáã¡ ääÇÔÏåã ÌãíÚÇð ÈÖÑæÑÉ ÅÑÓÇá ãÑÇÞÈíä ÏæáÜííä áãÜæÇßÈÉ ÇáÊÜÙÇåÑÇÊ ÇáÓÜáãíÉ ÇáÍÜÇÔÏÉ ÇáãÒãÚ ÎÑæÌåÇ Ýí ÇáÈÍÑíä ÇÈÊÏÇÁð ãä ÇáÃæá ãä íæäíæ/ ÍÒíÑÇä ÇáãÞÈá¡ æÐáß áÑÕÏ ÇáÇäÊåÇßÇÊ æÇáÚäÌåíÉ ÇáÊí ÞÏ íõÞÏã ÚáíåÇ ÇáäÙÇã æÇáÅÍÊáÇá ÇáÓÚæÏí Ýí ÊÚÇãáåãÇ ãÚ ÇáãÊÙÇåÑíä ÇáÓáãííä ÇáÚõÒøóá¡ ÍíËõ ãä ÇáãÞÑÑ ÅäåÇÁ ÇáÚãá ÈÞÇäæä ÇáÓáÇãÉ ÇáæØäíÉ ÇáÐí ÞÇãÊ ÇáÓáØÇÊ ÊÍÊ ÛØÇÆå ÈÞãÚ ßáø ÇáÊÙÇåÑÇÊ ÇáÓáãíÉ æÇáÒÌø ÈÇáãÊÙÇåÑíä Ýí ÇáÓÌæä¡ æãÜÇÑÓÊ ÈÜÍÞøåã ÔÊì ÃäÜæÇÚ ÇáÊÜÚÐíÈ ÇáÊÜí ÈÜáÛÊ ÍÜÏ ÇáÊÕÝíÉ ÇáÜÌÓÏíÉ¡ æÃÕÏÑÊ ÃÍßÇãÇð ÌÇÆÑÉ ÃÈÑÒåÇ ÃÍßÇã ÇáÅÚÏÇã Ýí ãÍÇßã ÚÓßÑíÉ ÝÇÞÏÉ ááÔÑÚíÉ¡ áÐÇ ÝäÍäõ äÑÝÚõ ãäÇÔÏÉ ÚÇÌáÉ ááãÌÊãÚ ÇáÏæáí ÈÖÑæÑÉ ÇáÊÏÎá áÍãÇíÉ ÍÞø ÇáÔÚÈ ÇáÈÍÑíäí Ýí ÇáÊÙÇåÑ ÇáÓáãí æÍÖø ÇáäÙÇã Úáì ÇáÇáÊÒÇã ÈãÈÇÏÆ ÍÞæÞ ÇáÅäÓÇä æÚÏã ãÕÇÏÑÉ ÍÞø ÇáãæÇØäíä ÈÇáÊÙÇåÑ ÇáÓáãí ÇáÐí ÊõÄßÏ Úáíå ßÇÝÉ ÇáÞæÇäíä æÇáÃÚÑÇÝ ÇáÏæáíÉ.

Hunger campaign and appeal from Bahrain:

"I feel the situation on the streets is worse than in prison sometimes, there is no safety. Nobody is safe. You never know when they’ll (the security forces) come into your home, when they’ll harass your mother, sister or daughter. You never know when your brother, father or uncle will go missing or get beaten and insulted. They are thieves when they go into homes they steal things. When they stop you at checkpoints they take your money. We are living in a state of daily terror and nobody is talking about this. There is nothing worse than living in constant fear. Nobody is safe from them (the security forces). Everyone else has to stand in the face of their own government but we have to stand in the face of 5 monarchies, 4 monarchies which sent troops to help violate our freedom. They've fired more than 1300 people from their jobs soon people will run out of money to even feed their families or pay off their loans and now they are recruiting people from other countries to take the jobs of those who have been fired. Why is no one responding to the humanitarian crisis in Bahrain? What are they waiting for?”

(According to BCHR statistics, the layoffs affect approximately 9000 people in Bahrain due to many of those being fired being the bread winners in their families.)

———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Mon, May 30, 2011 at 8:59 AM
Subject: Part 3
Part 3,
In the initial talks between the 7 societies and the Pearl, the talks and decisions were discussed but the director of the talks was Moahmmed Ali Almahfoodh. In order to begin the negotations, he made it clear to all societies that the condition to begin the dialogue with Crown Prince is to withdraw the military forces from the Pearl. At the beginning, the response was negative, but the Crown Prince made a good moce to show good intentions and ordered the troops to withdraw. The Bahraini mass considered this day "liberating the Pearl." Many of them did not know what was happening behind the scene. The first mobs who began surging were the youth of Feb 14th, who have no connection with the seven societies.
After liberating the Pearl, Alwefaq faced a crisis, because almost all Shiites surged to the Pearl, including their audience. The angry and enthusiastic wave took with it all people from all levels and with most loyalties. At the same time, there was a decree by the King that released many of the poltical detainees and allowed Hasan Mushaimaa to come back to Bahrain. These events and the new trend of the youngsters made the societies to rethink their policies. Amal declared that they support the youth of February 14th, and the mass has the right to decide their own destiny. The Head of Amal, Mohammed Ali Almahfoodh tried to deliver a message to the mass that they should liberate their loyalties to a leader, and begin adopting a new collective loyalty to freedom and liberty. His message showed that he had strong faith in change whihc is inevitable as a natural phenomenon like the seasons, years and days. He also stressed the fact that the unilateral system that carry what he called a narrow-minded conservative policy is dead, and we are living in a new era, where the mass have the final say and not the leader, including himself. Waad, headed by Ebrahim Sharif tried to be close to the people, neutral and at the same time they used the Prime Minister as a source of all the problems in Bahrain. Sharif condemned him publicly many times. Alwefaq was the only society that did not show a satble opinion in this era. They were in a crisis. For the first time, they cannot control the mass, and for the first time they have many competitiors at one time. They wanted to appease the governemnt and promised to control the audience, because they are "the biggest group in the oposition." They missed an important fact that their popularity has been curved down more than 50 percent as shown in the last elections. Moreover, there was a gathering for Alwefaq memebers for a campaign, and the number of attendees didn't cross 700 while they were thousands before. As for the US embassy, Alwefaq also played a role to manipulate the embassy in a big lie " we control the mass." The American party did not try to see the credibility of this speech and this had tragic consequences for all. As for Iran, they also told them that we carry our loyalty to Iran as a source of clergy authority, and even for Hizbullah they said a different vision. The Spirit of the Pearl was a challenge, and their agenda, as will be revealed later was to destroy the youth of February 14th. They wanted to domiante without any cost. This made Alwefaq under the pressure of going to the Pearl, but not to support peopl – it was to destroy or weaken the movement of February 14th.
The office of Sheikh Isa Qassim, a conservative clergy affiliated and directely directed by the Iranian clergy, sent around 500 members to begin dominating the pearl. The pearl was two parts: the tents and the stage. The 500 members dominated the stage. They tried to be portrayed as the patrons of this "revolution" – leaders are Ali Salman, and others. They began spreading roumers about the visitors of the pear, especially the youndsters. They described them as robust teenagers without experience, enthusiatic because they are young, the smoke and don't pray, they go datin (sthg not accepted by the Islamist clergy), and many other negative roumers. In addition, they began spreading words abotu the other societie. Ebrahim Sharif is an aethiest, Amal and Moahmmed Ali Almahfoodh want to steal the revolution. These attempts did not succeed because the youngsters have new blood, new mentalities, and they were sick of the clergy authoritative tone towards them.
There were constant debates and verbal battles between 14th February and these people. This group were organiseed and they had a target. No one could be allowed to speak on the stage without their consent. This does not mean that they succeeded; their success was 50% as a maximum, but as the days began to get closer to the crack dowwn, the stage lost its power, and the power was shifted to the tents. In the tents, there pannels run by leaders supporting Febraury 14th, like Ebrahim Sharif, Abdulwahab Hussein, Dr Alsingace, and Mohammed Ali Almahfoodh. However, the stage continued with their slogans and cheers :down with the system; Down Dow Hamad; Sunni and Shiites are brothers, we do not sell our country; and Go Out'." These cheers could not be stopped and this put Alwefaq in an embarassing sitaution. While they promise the US and the Gov to calm things down, the movement of February 14th increased the mood of the Pearl. The peaceful protests soon began to show the gap between Alwefaq and the clergy and the younsters of February 14th.
Alwefaq and the committe of the clergy headed by Sh Isa Qasim and Sayed Al-Mashaal began to propagate and call for protests at the same time that the movement of february 14th called for another protest in a different place. For exampl, the committee of 14 February arranged a protest to the Royal Office in Rifaa, while Alwefaq and the Islamic Clergy Committee managed another one from Bahrain AMll to the Pearl. The result was people split, and the surpirse was the majority did not follow Alwefaq.
Also, ALwefaq began trying to present dialogue as a solution to the crisis of Bahrain, but the audience insisted on "down with the system." Alwefaq sent MP Jawad Fairouz, Khaleel Marzouq, and Waad arranged a pannel run by Dr Mansoor ALjamri and Dr Muneera Fakhro, but they did not succeed to get rid of "down with the system."
At the same time of all these events, there were constant negotaions and discussion between many parties: the 7 societies, the government and the US embassy.
[redacted]

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Mon, May 30, 2011 at 6:20 AM
Subject: Part 2

[redacted]
I discovered that the truth is very dangerous because each of us has a "truth"; but when we discover the "real" truth, we receive a jolt in the face. I feel absurd:) ANyway, I will begin today Part 2;
In the inistail meetings that were carried out amongst the seven societies, the gap was very clear. It is important to know that they are 7 societies, but in reality only three have a say; Waad headed by Ebrahim Sharif representing the secular people and he is a Sunni; Alwefaq supported by the clergy of Iran, Hizbullah and to some extent the clergy of Iraq, and Headed by Ali Salman, A Shiite; and Amal which is not supported by any official party but it has connections with human rights societies, the EU Parlaiment, AMnesty and other agencies; this group is headed by Moahmmed Ali Almahfoodh, A radicalist Shiite; his vision is a mixture of liberal and Islamic theories. These three leaders are a wierd mix because the way they perceive politics differently. Sharif is very pragmatic and liberal and he believes in the youngsters; he sees Bahrain's future is best as long is it diverges from the suthority of religious authorities. Ali Salman does not convey or carry one visions; he is an opportunist; it seems that he is very worried about any competition and he perceives all Shiite public leaders as a threat to him. In one of Wikileaks papers; he convey his huge concern of the increasing popularity of Hasan Mushaima to the American Embassador and he required his help to contain this issue. He also confessed that after Hasan left Alwefaq, half of the audience were lost as well. He is very much patronized by the clergyman, Isa Qasim who goes back to Iran clergy. He does not have a clear agenda about Bahrain but he cares about getting posts in the government so that Sunnis do not monpolize the posts. The third leader is Mohammed Ali Almahfoodh; His vision are liberal radical, very much influenced by characters like Mandella and the movenments of African Americans and Human rights. His vision about Bahrain is that there should be a new relationship between the government and the people. This realtionship should be cleansed of corruption, based on mutual trust, and that the Shiites, since they are the majority, should be a decisive partner in the country's affairs.
There is another important figure, Dr Mansoor Aljamri, who used to run a newspaper. This person is also an opportunist. He does and says whatever matches his personal interests, something that the people discovered very late.
the youth group of February 14 th are without any influence or patronage. Actually, most of them are still anonymous to the government. They depend heavily on the high tech and the media. This group is not influenced by any of the societies, but they have huge respect for only Ebrahim Sharif and Mohammed Ali Almahfoodh; Ali Salman is perceived by them as a "liar" or in the best cases "a competitior."
Back to the initial meetings. In the initial meetings, the crown Prince asked the societies to help him overthrow his uncle the Prime Minister. He conveyed to them a sincere approach to intiate a national dialogue. The societies did not have a united answer. Sharif did not say anything, and Ali Salman showed his support to the Crown Prince, while Moahmmed ALi Almahfoodh had another opinion – he believed that this is an issue that should be dealt with inside the royal family, it is not the problem of the ordianry people, and he beleived that if anything happens the people will fall prey to all parties of the family. This stand of Amal was misued by Alwefaq, who claimed to the government that Amal is blocking dialogue and Sharif is getting more neutral. This claim of Alwefaq was exaggerated and propagated beneath the surface to the US emabssy and to the government of Bahrain. By this move, ALwefaq was trying to be the only key player in the stage. Prior to Feb 17th, Alwefaq did not have any presence in the Pearl. After the so called "liberating the Pearl", Alwefaq began advocating a new policy, especially after the talks began with the societies, crown prince and the US reprentatives.
—–
[redacted]
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Sun, May 29, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Subject: Part 1

[redacted]
I will begin writing to you a documentary of what is happening in Bahrain beneath the surface, the dialogue. [redacted] I will send today Part 1:
After the first attack of the Pearl, Feb 17, 2011; the crown Prince approached the head of Alwefaq Ali Salman to begin a dialogue. There were no clear frames or boundries concerning the dialogue. Ali Salman called the Head of Waad, Ebrahim Sharif, and they wanted to begin a dialogue without the consent of the other societies and people in general. It is important to know that Alwefaq, headed by Ali Salman, are in a huge trouble because they have no contact with the groups of February 14. Moreover, this society tried to make the government and the US embassy believe in a big lie, a bubble; they wanted to prove to both parties that they can control the mass. At the same time, Wikileaks exposed some important information. this society has been playing a double role; to the US emabssy, they were trying to create a phobia or a taboo of anyone against them. This was done by Ali Salman and Mansoor Aljamri mainly. For example, they convinced the embassy that Alkhawaja is a terrorist and he was prevented from entree to the US to take part in an activity of HUman Rights first. At the same time, there were other documents that showed ALi Salman as a person who doesn't have a say. He was asked by the Minister of interiror, for example, through the embassy to convince the family of one of the martyrs of bahrain to stop examining the body of their son. The minister of Interior thanked Ali Salman for this favor. There were many issues in Wikileaks but the most important is that Alwefaq and Dr Mansoor Aljamri were pleaying a double standard role. They say sthg to the government and they say a different thing to the embassy; and the use the clergy to force people vote in the elections.
Back to the Pearl, after Feb 17th. The other societies discovered this move and they called for emergent meeting for all – the 7 parties. Mohammed Ali Almahfoodh was the one controlling the dialogue in egneral, and as you can guess, his demands have no limits. However, Alwefaq stressed to the Bahraini Government that it is the Amal Society that was stopping and preventing dialogue. However, there was a call for dialogue but no clear map of anything else. I will stop here and continue later on in Part 2.
[redacted]
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Richard Wolff <rdwolff@att.net>
Date: Tue, May 24, 2011 at 1:39 PM
Subject: Fw: Hundreds of Bahrainis join call to end US support for Bahrain gov't
To: "Ph.D. Colin S. Cavell" <ccavell@gmail.com>

Dear Colin,

Thought this might interest you………

rick

rdwolff@att.net
rdwolff.com

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Joanne Landy-Campaign for Peace & Democracy <cpd@igc.org>
To: rdwolff@att.net

Sent: Tue, May 24, 2011 4:25:53 PM
Subject: Hundreds of Bahrainis join call to end US support for Bahrain gov't

Below is the press release the Campaign for Peace and Democracy sent out today noting the tremendous support our statement has received from Bahrainis. If you have not yet signed or donated to help publicize the statement, please do so now at the CPD website.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2011
Contact: Joanne Landy cpd@igc.org

HUNDREDS OF BAHRAINIS JOIN
U.S. CAMPAIGN AGAINST U.S. 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.” [See the report by Physicians for Human Rights.]
In the face of mounting complaints against Washington for muting its criticisms of repression in Bahrain, President Obama did say in his May 19 speech on the Middle East, "…we have insisted both publicly and privately that mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain's citizens. The only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can't have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail." However, in the same speech Obama referred to Bahrain as a "friend" and "partner" of the U.S., thus signaling that the massive human rights violations in that country would not stand in the way of continuing U.S. support for the regime or the continuing presence of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, a naval force supporting an interventionist foreign policy.
In words reminiscent of the Administration’s disgracefully neutral stand on the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt up until the last moment, when the Ben Ali and Mubarak regimes were clearly no longer sustainable, President Obama has called on both the government and the opposition in Bahrain to "engage in dialogue." What is needed now, however, is not episodic toothless reprimands to Bahrain’s government or pressure on the opposition to engage in dialogue with the regime, but a clear U.S. break with the Al Khalifa government. This would involve:
– An unambiguous statement from Washington that because of the atrocious government repression, Bahrain is not a "partner" or "friend" of the U.S.
– An immediate end to all U.S. aid to Bahrain
– Vigorous condemnation of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emiratesfor sending in forces at the request of Bahrain's government to back up the repression
CPD has launched this campaign in order to build pressure on Washington to stop propping up the Al Khalifa government. The brave people of Bahrain deserve no less.

THE TEXT OF THE CPD STATEMENT FOLLOWS:

End U.S. Support for Bahrain's Repressive Government
Statement by the Campaign for Peace and Democracy
May 16, 2011
(Add your name, donate or share at http://www.cpdweb.org/stmts/1019/stmt.shtml )

On Feb. 13, 2011, inspired by the forced resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, peaceful democratic protests erupted in Bahrain. Protests grew and, in response, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa invited other Gulf states to send security forces into the country to assist in violently suppressing the demonstrators. The March 15 invasion by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates brought an intensification of torture, secret trials, demolition of Shia mosques, and repression against human rights activists, journalists, labor, lawyers, medical professionals, students, political figures, and others. On March 18 the regime destroyed the Pearl Monument that had served as the protest center.

Like many other autocracies in the region Bahrain has been a key U.S. partner. It has provided a home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, responsible for naval forces in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and the coast of East Africa as far south as Kenya. This is why Washington’s response to the vicious repression in Bahrain has been so muted and pro-forma, in contrast to forceful denunciations of repression in countries outside the U.S. orbit, such as Iran and Libya.
Richard Sollom from Physicians for Human Rights says health care workers in Bahrain have been targeted on a scale he has never encountered. Government forces have invaded hospitals; doctors have been dragged out of the operating room, abducted and detained for giving care to wounded protestors. The government says it will try 47 medical workers it accuses, incredibly, of causing the deaths of protesters by inflicting additional wounds on them.

Hundreds of workers, including union leaders, have been fired for striking for democratic change. Security forces closed down the General Bahraini Federation of Trade Unions headquarters. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights writes, “Bahrain is currently considered a dangerous zone for the freedom of press and journalists.” On April 3 the government suspended the country’s only independent newspaper, Al Wasat. On May 2 it arrested two politicians belonging to the opposition Al Wefaq party.

Bahrain’s population is 60 percent or more Shia, with the government dominated by a Sunni minority. There is systematic discrimination against the Shiite majority in political representation, employment, wages, housing, and other benefits. The government has tried to split the opposition along Shia-Sunni lines, but uprising leaders insist their struggle for democratic rights is non-sectarian.

Zainab Alkhawaja wrote to President Obama after her father, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, former head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was beaten unconscious in front of his family and arrested by masked men: “if anything happens to my father, my husband, my uncle, my brother-in-law, or to me, I hold you just as responsible as the Al Khalifa regime. Your support for this monarchy makes your government a partner in crime. I still have hope that you will realize that freedom and human rights mean as much to a Bahraini person as it does to an American, Syrian or a Libyan and that regional and political considerations should not be prioritized over liberty and human rights.”

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, the International Crisis Group and many others have exhaustively documented the brutal terror of Bahrain’s government. No further evidence is needed. As long as the repression continues, the promise to lift the state of emergency is only an empty public relations gesture. The United States should end all aid to Bahrain, condemn the invasion by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and sharply denounceBahrain’s horrific suppression of democratic rights.

As the Arab Spring has swept through North Africa and the Middle East, the role of the United States has been truly shameful.Washington’s rhetoric cannot conceal a deep fear of democracy. Its first instinct was to stand behind its old friends. Only when it became obvious that Ben Ali’s and Mubarak’s days were numbered were they abandoned. As for Saudi Arabia, this ultra-reactionary monarchy, with its appalling treatment of women and religious minorities,is almost never criticized by U.S. officials.

There are those who, while deploring repression in Bahrain, justify continuing U.S. support for that country's brutal tyranny as "realism"; in a dangerous world, they argue, our security depends on having a Middle Eastern state willing to host the Fifth Fleet. This argument is profoundly mistaken. Interventionist naval forces are part of a foreign policy that, by siding with despots and pitting the United States against the Arab people's longing for responsible government and a better way of life, guarantees endless terrorism and bloodshed and an even more dangerous world for everyone. For good reason, democratic movements around the world today do not trust the United States, which they see as motivated by imperial interest. That is why the U.S. desperately needs a new foreign policy, one that welcomes democratic forces — not hypocritically, in order to manipulate them and blunt their impact, but to stand in solidarity with their struggles to win political power for the people and achieve social and economic justice.

* * * * * * *

THE CAMPAIGN FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY advocates a new, progressive and non-militaristic U.S. foreign policy — one that encourages democratization, justice and social change. The Campaign sees movements for peace, social justice and democratic rights, taken together, as the embryo of an alternative to great power politics and to the domination of society by privileged elites. Founded in 1982, the Campaign opposed the Cold War by promoting "detente from below." It engaged Western peace activists in the defense of the rights of democratic dissidents in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and enlisted East-bloc human rights activists against anti-democratic U.S. policies in countries like Nicaragua and Chile.
Recent CPD campaigns include: support for the democratic revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya; New York Review of Books letter to Iranian officials in defense of human rights leader Shirin Ebadi and a statement “End the War Threats and Sanctions Program Against Iran, Support the Struggle for Democracy Inside Iran.” Additional CPD statements have been Opposition to the U.S. Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and on Gaza, “No More Blank Check for Israel!”

Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Co-Directors Joanne Landy and Thomas Harrison, 2790 Broadway, #12, NY, NY 10025. Email: cpd@igc.org Web: www.cpdweb.org

June 1, 2011   Add Comments

Bahrain Updates #16: President Obama’s Second Middle East Speech Date: 05/24/2011 01:05:59 AM

Folks,

Thursday, May 19th, the day that President Obama gave his latest much-anticipated Middle East speech was truly the end of the world rather than the much more ballyhooed date of Saturday, May 21st, heralded by Evangelist Harold Camping which has come and gone. Building on his June 4, 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt where he recognized Islam and Muslims as partners, acknowledged that Morocco was the first country in the world to recognize the nascent United States in 1777, and, most importantly, gave voice to his and the United States' preference for democratic regimes where people have "the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose," President Obama–commenting on the Arab Spring of rebellions which have so far dislodged autocratic leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and put others on notice–singled out a few regimes for their decisively undemocratic behavior, most particularly the Kingdom of Bahrain.
And though some will point with cynicism and derision at Barack Obama's words claiming they are the same old story, boring, and with the usual rhetoric (all of which are arguable from a certain vantage point), there was, I believe, something new. And even veteran reporter Robert Fisk grudgingly recognized the novelty when he wrote: "There was some knuckle-rapping to Bahrain (no revolution there, of course) and there was not a word about Saudi Arabia, although I rather fancy its elderly king will be on the blower to Obama in the next few days. What's all this about change in the Middle East?"
Yes, it is the knuckle-rapping to Bahrain that should draw our attention, for Obama was indeed selective about his–and, by default, the United States Government's–criticism of the various Middle Eastern regimes he talked about. Of course, the Israeli-Palestinian dialectic has received the lion's share of commentary, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rejection of Obama's call for a peace settlement based on pre-1967 lines of demarcation between the two states as the main topic of most political pundits. Asserted Obama: "The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states." Although this has been stated policy by previous US administrations, it was Obama's forthright statement on the issue that has drawn Netanyahu's rebuke, for the US President is publicly rejecting the 1967 takeover by Israel of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. Retorted Netanyahu: "While Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines. These lines are indefensible." No doubt newspaper columnists with their Israeli-centric focus will pen much ink in the next few months on the Israeli-Palestinian question, leaving the remainder of Obama's speech untouched. However, one can be certain that on the eastern side of the Middle East, Obama has ignited a fiery kettle in the Gulf Kingdoms which will not remain tepid.
Tis true that the President did not mention the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the sayidat asharq al-awsat or the grande dame of the Gulf, but he did mention the tiny 33-island chain along its eastern shore, viz. Bahrain. Some will see in this silence towards the KSA sinister motives. M. K. Bhadrakumar (Asian Times, "Decoding Obama's Bahrain Puzzle," May 24, 2011) sees it as part of a possible US strategy to gradually empower the majority Shia in Bahrain, imposing a power-sharing arrangement on the minority-Sunni regime, so as to demonstrate to Iran that peaceful democratic regimes–like the majority Shia government in Iraq and the eventual Shia-run government in Bahrain will garner US support, thus posing an "ideological headache for the Islamic regime in Iran." Argues Bhadrakumar: "Thus, reform in Bahrain holds the potential to kick-start an engrossing shadow play within the world of Shi'ism in the Muslim Middle East. If Bahrain can be finessed to follow the 'secular' democratic route of Shi'ite empowerment and be conjoined with Iraq politically, it may hasten the demand for democratic change within Iran itself." If only such foresight were possible by the Washington bureaucracy, I, too, might believe this were so. But, alas, a simpler explanation holds.
Recalling Obama's preference for democratic governments in his 2009 Cairo speech, his chastisement of Bahrain reflects his consistency with those principles. Since the protests started in Bahrain on February 14th, the Bahraini regime has reacted with brutality. And, since mid-March, an orchestrated purge has taken place in the Kingdom–including beatings, arrests, disappearances, detentions, murders, show trials, firings, etc.–which is anything but democratic. Instead, the minority Al-Khalifa government has created the boogeyman of Iranian outside instigation as the cause of all of Bahrain's ills, i.e fodder for those unfamiliar with the Middle East and Bahrain to swallow. Isn't the support of over seventy percent of the population sufficient enough to justify democratic rule? Or does being primarily Shia nullify their democratic voice? If memory serves me, seems that's what the old apartheid regime in South Africa used to say about its majority (yes, it too was over 70%) black opposition–you know, they're black!
Well, just exactly what did President Obama say about Bahrain? Starting slowly, Obama stated that not all of America's friends in the region have reacted to the demands for change consistent with the principles he outlines as part of the transitions to democracy occurring in the Arab world, akin to the democratic transitions in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Then, Obama gets quite specific, and he states:
Bahrain is a long-standing partner, and we are committed to its security. We recognize that Iran has tried to take advantage of the turmoil there, and that the Bahraini government has a legitimate interest in the rule of law. Nevertheless, we have insisted publically and privately 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. The only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail. The government must create the conditions for dialogue, and the opposition must participate to forge a just future for all Bahrainis.
And further:
In a region that was the birthplace of three world religions, intolerance can lead only to suffering and stagnation. And for this season of change to succeed, Coptic Christians must have the right to worship freely in Cairo, just as Shia must never have their mosques destroyed in Bahrain.
Words of principle and reprimand directed at a long-standing ally can sometimes be just mere words with no action expected to follow. For the monarchs of the Gulf, they would prefer to believe that Obama is much like the previous George W. Bush Administration, where a wink of the eye and the signing of a few multimillion dollar contracts could clear away any hassles or problems; unfortunately, they know that Obama is more than rhetoric and is, instead, a dangerous commodity, as he is more popular amongst their own populations than any of them are. Obama has political capital because people not only believe him when he speaks, but they will march by his words.
So, this brings us back to my earlier claim that the world ended on Thursday, May 19th, for history will record that date as the beginning of the end of the long-standing cordial relationship between the United States and the Gulf Kingdoms. Faced with an existential battle, Bahrain and the other Gulf Kingdoms will pour every spare dinar, dirham, riyal, etc. of oil wealth into undermining the Obama Administration in the upcoming 2012 election and backing the Republican Party to the hilt. Capitulation by Obama is not an option. Concession to democratic rule by Gulf monarchs is out of the question. Who will be left standing will write the history.
Latest Updates
For those following developments in Bahrain closely, I refer you all to The Crooked Bough website for timely updates on the political situation in the Kingdom, as it is beating most outlets at critical reportage coming out of Bahrain. As well, The Crooked Bough is now acting as a repository of all prior Bahrain Updates which are accessible at: http://www.crookedbough.com/?page_id=1154.
About the author:

Until February 15th of this year, I was an Assistant Professor teaching in the American Studies Center at the University of Bahrain. I submitted my resignation following the Fall semester at the end of January, as my wife, a Moroccan national, was granted an immigrant visa to the US by the State Department with the proviso that we be residing within the USA by April 1, 2011. Little did we know in January, when I submitted my resignation, that we would be in a race for time before we could leave, as the Arab rebellions were sweeping from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen and into Bahrain and beyond. We left Bahrain on February 25th, the day of the largest demonstrations in Bahraini history, and have since been residing in Seattle, Washington.
Background on Bahrain:

On February 14, 2011, the citizenry of Bahrain rose up in opposition to the Al Khalifa monarchy and demanded democratic reforms. Their voices were met with stiff resistance from the autocratic regime which has been in power for over 200 years now. Unbowed, the citizenry took to the Pearl Roundabout in downtown Manama with some advocating for a constitutional monarchy and others a democratic republic. In response, the regime unleashed a reign of terror down on the protesters. Meanwhile, the US was directing its focus on Libya and getting through the United Nations a resolution for a no-fly zone over that country, which passed on Thursday, March 17th. One week prior, on Friday, March 11th, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates flew to Bahrain and met with the King and the Crown Prince, and on Monday, March 14th, approximately 2000 to 3000 Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) tanks and troops rolled across the causeway from Saudi Arabia into Bahrain to crush the opposition. The next day, March 15th, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued Royal Decree No. 18 for the year 2011, declaring a three-month "State of National Safety". The Bahrain Defence Forces (BDF) subsequently began a systematic crackdown on anyone who was suspected of opposing the monarchy and calling for democracy. On March 18th, the BDF tore down the Pearl Monument, known to locals as either "Lulu" or "the GCC Monument" and to the international press as "Pearl Square" due to its similarity to Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt where protesters had gathered. The regime's crackdown is an attempt to wipe away the memory of the 2011 Bahraini Democratic Spring from the popular mindset, and they are sparing nothing to root out and crush, using force, intimidation, torture, and murder, any further resistance. The silence from most of the mainstream media in America is deafening.
The fact that the US Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain and the fact that the US is completely dependent on and addicted to Saudi-monarchy oil–i.e. oil doled out by a corrupt and sclerotic regime, and that both regimes (i.e. the Al Sauds and the Al Khalifas)–indeed all GCC regimes–in turn, are kept in power by US guns, makes all the difference–for now at least. The US is clearly supporting the Al-Khalifa monarchy, putting its oil interests ahead of its avowed democratic principles. From all accounts, the beating into submission as well as the subsequent bloodbath continues in earnest. For US citizens, it is another lost opportunity… But with your help and voices, we can eventually rectify our country's policy in this regard and realign it with our country's avowed democratic principles.
US interests in the long term will ultimately be served by supporting democratic elements and, eventually, democratic regimes in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. Does that mean we should overthrow existing governments? No, but it does mean that we should not be arming, financially supporting, and enabling corrupt regimes to slaughter opposition forces advocating for democratic rights in their countries, and then remaining silent while it happens. Sycophancy in the service of autocratic rulers with decidedly undemocratic ethos is degrading and demeaning. Such a stance is an affront to humanity. Putting off the goal of aligning ourselves with democratic elements for short-term advantage will have negative repercussions not only on current US foreign policy but, as well, on US domestic policy, as millions of petro-dollars will find their way back into US politics attempting to undermine our democracy here at home. While countering theocratic influence in the region is understandable and necessary, this will require a strategy with quite a bit more sophistication than is presently being demonstrated. As well, implementing such a strategy will necessitate experienced hands who are neither intimidated by the apparent chaos often associated with democratic movements nor infatuated with monarchical tendencies and supportive of elite rule as some bureaucrats appear to be.
NOTE:

Names and other identifying information have been removed and/or redacted in order to protect the safety of the sender[s], unless the person(s) is (are) a reporter or a public activist(s) and want their names to be known, as publicity sometimes gives them some protection from regime retaliation. If you are not a known public activist and/or reporter, please inform me if you would like your name to appear along with your report; otherwise, I will redact it to maintain your anonymity.
regards,
csc
__________________
Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D.

P.O. Box 9087
Seattle, WA 98109

ccavell@gmail.com

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FT.com – Companies – Middle East
Foreign media allege Bahrain abuse
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Bahrain police detain 2 foreign media reporters

Posted: 23 May 2011 01:59 PM PDT

Reuters – Two Bahraini journalists working for Western media were detained and at least one was mistreated by police this week, one of the journalists said on Tuesday.

Bahrain races to restore normality

Posted: 23 May 2011 01:46 PM PDT

FT.com – Bahrain, traumatised by months of protest and repression, hopes to reschedule its Formula 1 race for later in the season after it was cancelled in March because of large pro-democracy protests.

Foreign media allege Bahrain abuse

Posted: 23 May 2011 01:20 PM PDT

FT.com – Bahrain has allegedly arrested and abused local journalists working for foreign news agencies in an escalation of the crackdown just days after Barack Obama, US president, called for dialogue.

‘US complicit in Bahrain govt. crimes’ (video)

Posted: 23 May 2011 04:16 AM PDT

Press TV – Press TV has interviewed Dr. Saeed al-Shehabi, from the Bahrain Freedom Movement, to ask for his insight into the latest developments regarding Bahrain.

Bahrain sentences two protesters to death, frees newspaper columnist

Posted: 23 May 2011 04:15 AM PDT

Miami Herald) – United Arab Emirates-A military tribunal in Bahrain Sunday upheld death sentences against two Shiites for the alleged murder of two policemen at the start of the government's harsh crackdown in March, touching off demonstrations in at least 10 Shiite villages on the small Gulf island.

Bahrain F1 race in Oct a mistake, says Brawn

Posted: 23 May 2011 04:11 AM PDT

Arabian Business – A possible plan to host Bahrain’s postponed Grand Prix in October has been branded a step too far by Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn.

Crown Prince makes low-key visit to Spanish Grand Prix

Posted: 23 May 2011 03:58 AM PDT

F1 – Speculations and rumours began to emerge at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, that the inaugural Indain GP could be moved from its 30th October race date to the start of December to make way for the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix.

Decoding Obama’s Bahrain puzzle

Posted: 23 May 2011 03:46 AM PDT

Asia Times – The address by United States President Barack Obama on Thursday regarding the Middle East situation was a mixed bag of certainties and ambiguities, although Obama did bring US regional policy frankly and squarely behind the Arab Spring.

Bahrain violence ‘used to force Shia out’ of Sunni kingdom

Posted: 23 May 2011 03:44 AM PDT

Belfast Telegraph – Shia leaders have accused the Bahraini government of using violence, intimidation and mass sackings to drive their community out.

How Bahrain is oppressing its Shia majority

Posted: 23 May 2011 03:34 AM PDT

The Guardian – Bahrain's parliament once gave me a standing ovation, now I've been banned from the kingdom – both for pursuing human rights

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Subject: Bahrain as meme and other writing
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Date: Mon, May 23, 2011 at 5:20 PM
Subject: fractures
From The Socialist newspaper, 11 May 2011
Bahrain repression: Muted criticism of West's ally
John Sharpe
The vicious regime in Bahrain has arrested and detained doctors and medical staff for treating injured protesters during recent clashes with security forces. 47 are to be tried in military courts.
The ruling Sunni royal family imposed martial law and thousands of troops from neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were brought in to crush the protests last month.
Dozens of opposition activists have been killed. Hundreds have been detained, four sentenced to death. Four have died in police custody.
Tory Foreign Secretary, William Hague, commenting on the situation in Bahrain, said: "The arrests of opposition figures, the reports of deaths in custody, allegations of torture and the denial of medical treatment, are extremely troubling."
Troubling indeed but not for the reasons he puts forward. Bahrain is regarded by the West as a key ally in the region and a "counterweight to aggressive Iranian designs" (Wall St Journal). The US navy's 5th fleet is based there.
The Wall St Journal spits out the truth when it goes on to explain that the US Obama administration needs to "distinguish between its friends and enemies in the region, urging reforms on the former and encouraging regime change with the latter. Bahrain falls into the camp of friends… The West has no interest in seeing an autocratic but friendly Bahrain replaced by a pro-Iranian, Islamist 'democracy'".

For Libya, regime change but for Bahrain, reform. And urging a monarchy to introduce it to boot!
The Western imperialist governments have little interest in whether Bahrain will "meet all its human rights obligations and uphold political freedoms, equal access to justice and the rule of law" (Hague). Their interests are overwhelmingly concerned with oil, arms sales and political influence, etc, ie the profits of big business.
For that they need governments that are "friends". The interests of workers and poor, and even the middle classes of Bahrain are a long way down the list of priorities.

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Date: Mon, May 23, 2011 at 5:21 PM
Subject: PBS: In Bahraini Government Crackdowns, 'Nobody's Untouchable'

REPORT AIR DATE: May 20, 2011

In Bahraini Government Crackdowns, 'Nobody's Untouchable'

SUMMARY

Mansoor al-Jamri, former editor of Alwasat, Bahrain's largest independent newspaper, faces charges that his paper intentionally published false news reports to destabilize the Persian Gulf kingdom. Margaret Warner reports on the case and discusses the government's crackdowns with al-Jamri.

JIM LEHRER: And now Margaret Warner wraps up a week of reporting from Bahrain, that small, but strategic Persian Gulf nation that is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

Tonight, she talks to an editor caught in Bahrain's crackdown on dissenters.

MARGARET WARNER: Mansoor Al-Jamri, former editor of Bahrain's largest independent newspaper, this week found himself being the story, rather than covering it.

On Wednesday, he arrived at Bahrain's High Criminal Court to face charges that his paper, Alwasat, intentionally published false news reports to destabilize the Persian Gulf kingdom. At his lawyer's request, his trial was adjourned until June.

Son of a revered Shia cleric, Jamri spent 20 years in exile in London, then returned about a decade ago to found the paper. The progressive Alwasat was Bahrain's most popular and profitable newspaper. Its reporters covered opposition parties, as well as the government. And Jamri's daily column was a voice for non-sectarian moderation.

During Bahrain's Arab-Spring-inspired protests earlier this year, he urged the Sunni royal family and the Shia-led opposition to negotiate their political differences.

In Bahrain's Crackdowns, 'Nobody's Untouchable'

In Bahrain's Crackdowns, 'Nobody's Untouchable'

But, after the government imposed a crackdown on March 15, Jamri and his newspaper became targets. He was caught up in a crackdown that has detained more than 1,000 Bahrainis, mostly Shias, doctors, nurses, teachers, journalists, office and union workers, and has cost thousands more their jobs.

Government-run Bahrain TV broadcast an expose, charging that Alwasat published items and photos from other outlets as if they were about Bahrain. Jamri and his two top editors resigned. Within days, they were all criminally charged.

Today, critics say, Alwasat is just another government mouthpiece. For daily coverage of Bahrain, readers here now have only state-linked newspapers.

For nearly two months, Jamri and his Sunni wife, also a journalist, have been keeping a low profile close to home.

He spoke with us yesterday, in his first television interview since being charged.

Mr. Al-Jamri, thank you for joining us.

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI, Alwasat: Thank you.

MARGARET WARNER: Why do you think you have been singled out for prosecution?

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI: I'm really very surprised, because I was part and parcel of the reform process. I was invited by the king to come to Bahrain to launch this newspaper, Alwasat, which I founded and launched. And it became very successful commercially and politically.

And then, on the 15th of March, 2011, our press was attacked and damaged. And we had to work from homes. Later on, some e-mails cropped up into our system, which we didn't know they were bogus news, and they were published. Later on, we found all came from one single I.P. address located in a neighboring Gulf state, namely in Saudi Arabia.

They filtered through the system because we couldn't work. We were working from homes and because the authorities didn't give us the protection for our journalists, who were targeted in checkpoints and in every other place.

MARGARET WARNER: So, you were set up?

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI: It was a setup. We were framed into it, and later on attacked, using — using it as a launching pad for closing down the newspaper.

MARGARET WARNER: You were founder of this paper. How does this make you feel?

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI: I feel, really, very sad. The Alwasat newspaper was distinct. It enlarged freedom of expression. It also enabled the leadership of the country to understand things that were not understood because there wasn't the proper coverage.

Ministers, top leadership people, opposition, pro-government, and everybody who was interested in public affairs and issues of Bahrain must read Alwasat. Alwasat was a must-read for anybody interested in Bahrain.

We always acted in good faith, calling for progress towards better democracy and a better reform process. We were part and parcel of the reform process. And to target Alwasat in the way it was targeted, it was targeting the reforms, rather than Alwasat.

MARGARET WARNER: So, what message do you think they were trying to send with the arrest of you and some of your top editors?

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI: I think they want to say that Bahrain now is different; whatever we had before is finished.

I think it is, in a way, to drive despair or to instill fear in many people, so that, oh, gosh, I mean, with all the suffering that we are having, we would love even to go back to what we used to be just prior to the protests.

And I think the message is, you won't even get that level. What we have now, Bahrain has turned from a political crisis into a humanitarian crisis.

MARGARET WARNER: Where does the basic neutering of Alwasat, the charges against you, how does that fit in the broader crackdown of what is going on now?

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI: It is creating — I mean, for — if you target Mansoor Al-Jamri, you will be targeting others as well.

Mansoor Al-Jamri came to Bahrain by an invitation of the king. He came to Bahrain and he was allowed to function and to work on a free — a larger margin for freedom of expression. And to attack that margin, basically, you're sending a message, look, even Mansoor was targeted, and he's been persecuted.

And, therefore, I think the message now, nobody's untouchable. Everybody — we're coming to everybody, and we're going to do whatever we like to do.

MARGARET WARNER: The government insists this is about the Sunni-Shia divide in this society. Is it?

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI: It's not about Shia-Sunni divide, although the confessional divide is being superimposed on the problem, so that to cover it up.

I think this is between aspirational society looking at what is happening in the world and wanting to live in a better condition. The majority of the — majority of Bahrainis, Sunnis and Shias want to have democracy, a constitutional monarchy. And they don't want to have conflict with the ruling family or with the neighboring countries around Bahrain.

As it is now, if you are a Shia, you are told, you are unwanted, you are a — no citizen, you are zero, you are out. If you are a senior official, you will be got ridden of. If are you a Sunni, you're OK, you're our friend.

That is the — that's a very dangerous message for the medium- and long-term. You could create security, but you cannot create stability. And without stability, you don't have prosperity and you can't have democracy and human rights.

To continue in the way as it is now, it is only you're planting problems for the future. It cannot continue. This is not sustainable. We are either one nation and one country, or we can't continue like this.

The way it is now, they have created two nations in one country living apart. One is frightened and one is comforted. This cannot continue forever.

MARGARET WARNER: Now, the government says, once we have restored law and order, which we think we basically have, that we can go back to some sort of political consultation.

Do you think that's possible?

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI: You have many casualties, how will you be addressing those — the injuries, you know, to the nation, people who died in custody, people who died during the protests, those who had been sacked from their jobs, the medical profession that had been targeted, the schools, the way that they were treated?

You can't say to somebody, forget it. And unless you come to realize that something wrong has happened, you just can't forget it, basically.

MARGARET WARNER: You still face trial.

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI: Yes, indeed.

And many people of — many of my fellow countrymen are also facing difficult times. We all, as a nation, are facing a very difficult time. And we need to speak very frankly to each other. And we need to hear each other. We have not been listening to each other for the last month — for the last two months. It is time that we start listening it to each other to find an exit to this crisis.

MARGARET WARNER: Thank you very much.

MANSOOR AL-JAMRI: You're welcome. Thanks.

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Mon, May 23, 2011 at 7:16 AM
Subject: Human rights in Bahrain

"I once advocated due process and humane treatment on behalf of Bahrainis who happened to be Sunni. Now, I am advocating due process and humane treatment on behalf of Bahrainis who happen to be Shia, largely. While the Bahraini government celebrated such principles six years ago as applied to my Guantánamo clients, it cannot countenance them now as applied to a majority of its own people, who are the subject of a massive crackdown."
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Bahrain Center for Human Rights <Bahrain_Center_for_Human_Rights@mail.vresp.com>
Date: Mon, May 23, 2011 at 6:26 AM
Subject: Bahrain government shifts to eliminate virtual protests
To: ccavell@gmail.com

bchr

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

For the Latest updates please follow BCHR on twitter: http://twitter.com/BahrainRights/bchr-7

cnn

Home of the Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab is attacked, again.

nabeel_house

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 22, 2011 — Updated 0156 GMT (0956 HKT)
(CNN) — The home of prominent Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab was attacked Saturday, the rights group he heads said.
The attack took place early Saturday morning while Rajab and his family were sleeping, said the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Assailants launched teargas grenades into the house, breaking the window of Rajab's brother, the group said.
"We had very frightening moments rescuing my brother, his wife and his daughter as they were close to serious suffocation. This is an attempt to murder a member of my family to pressure me to stop my human rights activities," said Rajab, president of the Center.
"Thank God the teargas bombs fell on the tile and not the carpet, which could have caused a fire and could have killed the whole family while they were asleep," he said. "Please do whatever you can to stop the government from attacking me and my family who have nothing to do with my human rights work." Read More on CNN.com
S
ee the photos of the attack damage on Nabeel's public Facebook page

Bahrain: After destruction of the actual protesting site at "the Pearl", the government shifts to eliminate virtual protests

Information community on the internet faces the danger of disappearance due to the brutal crackdown on freedom of expression

Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

17th May 2011

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses its deep concern regarding the continuous crackdown on the freedom of individuals to express their views and the suppression of Bahraini authorities to freedom of expression in various ways. This report focuses on the repression of freedom of expression through the web space that targeted activists and bloggers on the internet through killing threats and detention leading to a state of extreme self-censorship. Many websites that discuss the local affairs and political events, including discussion forums and blogging pages of Bahraini activists, have been blocked or closed by authorities in Bahrain. The diversity of electronic contents on the web is compromised as more bloggers are disappearing everyday along with the closure of their websites and pages.

Bahrain workers are facing a tyrannical dismissal and penal prosecution as punishment for exercising their legitimate rights

Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) dismissed hundreds of its employees in retaliation for their political views

19 May 2011

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights are deeply concerned by Bahrain’s Government persistence in taking arbitrary actions and punishments against the citizens who believes they participated or supported the peaceful protests in February and March. The authorities are targeting the workers in particular; hundreds were tyrannically dismissed from their jobs. As well as prosecuting them criminally as a punishment for exercising their legitimate rights that is guaranteed by the international instruments and ratified by Bahrain.

How Bahrain is oppressing its Shia majority

Bahrain's parliament once gave me a standing ovation, now I've been banned from the kingdom – both for pursuing human rights

Six years ago, Bahrain's parliament gave me a standing ovation. This month, the Bahraini government barred me from entering the tiny kingdom which sits off Saudi Arabia's coast and hosts the US Navy's Fifth Fleet. While this fall from grace might seem extreme, it is easy to explain.

In 2005, I was representing the Bahrainis detained at Guantánamo Bay and, with a colleague, went to Bahrain to advocate on their behalf. We emphasised that the US had denied our clients due process, had asserted that our clients had no right to humane treatment, and had inflicted abuses on certain clients, as corroborated by US government sources.

Bahraini officials welcomed us with open arms. A prominent member of parliament invited us to a session at which Guantánamo would be discussed. There, he thundered that the rights to due process and humane treatment were universal, and decried that they were being denied to his fellow Bahrainis. Pointing to us in a spectators' balcony, he said we had done more for his countrymen than anyone and offered his heartfelt gratitude. His colleagues arose in spontaneous applause. Read more on guardian.co.uk

PR Mercenaries, Their Dictator Masters, and the Human Rights Stain

thor 2Maryam al-Khawaja took the stage at the Oslo Freedom Forum last Tuesday and stunned the audience with her experiences of government violence in the Kingdom of Bahrain. She described the killing of student protestors, the torture of democracy advocates, and how human rights defenders are "disappeared." Maryam also detailed how troops from a neighboring dictatorship, Saudi Arabia, rushed into Bahrain to prop up the crown prince's regime.

Ali Abdulemam, a renowned Bahraini blogger, was also invited to the Oslo Freedom Forum. Ali was imprisoned by his government in September 2010 for "spreading false information." After being released on February 23, he enthusiastically accepted his speaking invitation and plans were made for his travel. And then he disappeared. No one has seen or heard from him since March 18. Read more on huffingtonpost.com

BYSHR updates on the military trials and sentences of civilans and activists in Bahrain

May 19, 2011
Bahrain: Sentencing on 8 protesters and prominent cleric “20 years imprisonment”

Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) is deeply concerned about sentencing on 9 demonstrators today in National Safety court ( Emergency court) .

On 19 May , 2011 :

1-Hamid Ibrahim Al-Madhoun
2-Khalil Ibrahim Al-Madhoun
3-Jassim Ali Yahya

Testimony from Richard Sollom, MPH, Deputy Director, Physicians for Human Rights


Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC)
Hearing on Human Rights in Bahrain
Friday, May 13, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Tom
Lantos Human Rights Commission.

Mr. Chairman, in the interest of time, I’d like to summarize my
remarks and ask that my full statement be made part of the record. In addition, I’d like to submit for the record our full report as well as a list of Bahraini doctors, whose whereabouts remain unknown in the wake of the government crackdown against medical personnel.

19 May 2011

Following reports of torture including an attempted rape against former Front Line Protection Coordinator Abdulhadi Alkhawaja there are grave concerns that his health and even his life may be in danger. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja is currently on trial as part of a group of 21 individuals facing a variety of charges including ”organising and managing a terrorist organisation” and “attempt to overthrow the government by force and in liaison with a terrorist organisation working for a foreign country”. Front Line considers his trial proceedings to fall grossly short of international fair trial standards.

IFJ Calls for End to Intimidation Campaign against Journalists in Bahrain

18 May 2011

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the widespread intimidation campaign targeting journalists who work for newspapers which are critical of the Bahraini government. The IFJ accuses the authorities of systematic harassment of media in the wake of recent anti-government protests and says that at least 68 journalists working for two leading Bahraini newspapers, Al Wasat and Al Bilad, have been singled out for sacking, arrests and charges for treason. Others were forced into exile to escape arrest in the on-going clampdown.

Amnesty International: Bahrain activists jailed following 'politically motivated' trials

18 May 2011

The trials of 15 activists convicted over their involvement in pro-reform protests in Bahrain that began in February, were politically motivated and unfair, Amnesty International said today.

A military court in Bahrain’s capital city Manama has over the last few days sentenced the 15 activists, in two separate cases, to between one and four years imprisonment for “participating in illegal demonstrations and inciting hatred against the regime” during popular protests in February and March.



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BB 2212EEF6
Manama, BCHR 10
BH

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: thepearlroundabout.org <thepearlroundabout@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, May 22, 2011 at 6:06 PM
Subject: thepearlroundabout.org
To: ccavell@gmail.com

thepearlroundabout.org

Link to thepearlroundabout.org

Ramzi may run for Bahrain after serving doping ban

Posted: 22 May 2011 01:17 PM PDT

AP – Disgraced Olympic 1,500-meter runner Rashid Ramzi has finished serving a two-year ban for doping and could run for Bahrain's national team again.

Bahrain Crackdown Puts Pressure On U.S. Diplomacy

Posted: 22 May 2011 02:51 AM PDT

NPR – When popular uprisings swept through Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, President Obama openly threw his support behind the protesters, trumpeting the dual ideals of democracy and freedom.

Home of a Bahraini activist is attacked, again, rights group says

Posted: 22 May 2011 02:49 AM PDT

CNN – The home of prominent Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab was attacked Saturday, the rights group he heads said.

Bahrain upholds 2 death sentences in police killings

Posted: 22 May 2011 02:45 AM PDT

(Reuters) A Bahrain emergency appeals court upheld death sentences on Sunday for two men found guilty of killing police officers during recent unrest, punishments human rights activists said were designed to prevent more protests.

Bahrain insists open to dialogue with opposition

Posted: 22 May 2011 02:42 AM PDT

(AFP) The Bahraini government insisted on Friday it remains open to dialogue with the opposition, in line with a call by the US president that was praised by the kingdom's main Shiite opposition group.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, May 22, 2011 at 3:34 PM
Subject: Updates on trials today, government shifting to eliminate virtual protests
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

Dear Friends,

In updates about today:

1. Court reaffirmed death penalty on two detainees.

2. 2. More counts of torture.

3. 3. At the hearing of the 21 prominent activists 2 witness accounts were heard and the hearing was postponed until next Wednesday. Details were reported from Abdulhadi Alkhawaja about detention conditions.

4 4. Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights is still banned from traveling.

5. 18 year old Nouf Ramzi Alkhawaja and other students were taken from the exam room at their school and were held for several hours for interrogation. During the interrogation Nouf was slapped hard on her face numerous times.

To read more details please read bottom of email.

Please read:

1. BYSHR updates on the military trials and sentences of civilians and activists in Bahrain: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4082

2. Bahrain workers are facing a tyrannical dismissal and penal prosecution as punishment for exercising their legitimate rights: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4100

3. Bahrain: After destruction of the actual protesting site at "the Pearl", the government shifts to eliminate virtual protests: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4101

Best,

Maryam Al-Khawaja
Contact: +44-7587303080 / +1(401)572-6597

Head of Foreign Relations Office
Bahrain Center for Human Rights

In an update about today’s trials, in the first case, which was the appeal of the death sentence against four young men, the sentence was lifted from two of the four. The two detainees, Qassim Hassan Mattar and Saeed AbdulJalil Saeed received a life imprisonment sentence, annulling the death penalty. On the other hand, the court confirmed the death sentence on Ali AlSingace and AbdulAziz AbdulRedha. This was despite the fact that the lawyers had presented evidence that Ali AlSingace had a broken leg during the time of his alleged crime, and the judge gave no reasons for why the sentence was changed for two and not the others.

In the case of the accused of kidnapping and torture of police officers, Mohammed Habib AlMuqdad, a Swedish citizen, showed the judge what appeared to be a hole drilled into his leg. He told the judge he could show him the rest of the torture marks on his body due to the torture he had been subjected to.

At the hearing of the prominent 21 activists, Lieutenant Isa Sultan was brought as a witness. Isa Sultan is the person in charge of the case and investigations. According to people present at the hearing, he was sweating and appeared very nervous. He said that the defendants were working in coordination with Iran as they all followed Velayat-Al-Faqih and wanted an Islamic Republic. He also said that they received payments of “Khums” which is Islamic taxation. The lawyer asked him how he knew this if there were checks or such, and he responded that they received it all in cash and then used it to buy gas and car tires for the youth to burn on the streets. He then said that the defendants were receiving directions from Hezbullah who told them they must achieve a constitutional monarchy.

Two other witnesses were then questioned who were in charge of the arrest of AbdulJalil AlMuqdad and Hassan Mushaima. The first person was Nawaf Aldoseri and another person who said that they conducted the arrests in a legal manner. When they were about to question Bader Ghaith (the person in charge of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja’s arrest and named as a top torturer by several victims during previous cases) the lawyer asked that the other 3 witnesses be brought for questioning. Salah Alkhawaja’s wife immediately identified Bader AlGhaith as being the person who beat her when arresting her husband and sexually harassing her. The court was adjourned till Wednesday the 25th of this month.

During the last hearing the judge ordered that the detainees be taken out from solitary confinement, but many of them remain in solitary confinement. In the other cases, security personnel had brought a mattress into the cells of the detainees where they were held in solitary confinement and an Indian or Philipino prisoner who have criminal charges to stay in their cells with them. The detainees are not able to even communicate with them due to the language barrier.

When the hearing was over families were told that nobody would be given visitation rights today but were later on called back in. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja and his younger brother Salah (accused in the same case) were seated together and the visit lasted for around 40 minutes. The information below was taken from Abdulhadi Alkhawaja.

– He is still in solitary confinement and some of the detainees had Asian inmates brought into the cells with them which didn’t really help with the solitary confinement problem since communication with them is impossible due to the language barrier.

– In the hospital after his operation they had his eyes constantly covered, had chained his legs and one of his arms so that he couldn’t move and had left only one arm free for the IV line. He remained like that for 6 days and they regularly came in to insult and threaten him while he was in this condition. They kept telling him that they had arrested his eldest daughter Zainab, had raped her and were keeping her in a prison in Saudi.

– He had gone on hunger strike on three different occasions to demand the improvement of their treatment and of his condition in jail. He mentioned that after his surgery he had refused to take even his medicine and they had severely beaten him to stop the hunger strike and when he still refused they tied him in the “Faylaqa” method with one arm loose and forcibly inserted an IV line for him.

– The doctor and nurse who were treating him always had their faces covered when they came to see him. At one point the doctor got really frustrated and started saying who did this to you, and when my father said he did it to himself, the doctor said there is no way a person can cause those types of injuries to himself.

– Insults and dirty language is something the detainees have gotten used to by now, especially when it comes to the detained clerics. The prison guards do everything possible to degrade and insult the detainees and there is no doubt that psychological torture is implemented on all of them. He said that the worst psychological torture is when they in the middle of the night the guards start banging with metal rods on the cells, and shouting really loud then go into the cells and threaten the detainees. He said that many other prisoners were being subjected to torture much worse than what he had gone through and had been threatened not to speak up.

– After the trial before last (in which he had told the judge that he’d been threatened) they had beaten him and left him outside in the sun for half an hour with a sack over his head. He also said that to and from the trials they were always transferred with their hands tied behind their backs and sacks over their heads. This made it difficult to breathe due to the heat and humidity in Bahrain.

They constantly talked about and insulted Maryam AlKhawaja and Nabeel Rajab. They gave him details about what they will do to his daughter Maryam in very vulgar language.

– They’re being kept in AlQurrain prison.

One of the women brought her 22 days old baby to the court as her husband who was detained and had not seen his baby girl yet. He was also previously arrested in the August crackdown. When she had gone into labour she had to convince the ambulance to come because he said he would not go to her area in Sitra. When he finally came he was accompanied by riot police who opened the ambulance door and interrogated her.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: thepearlroundabout.org <thepearlroundabout@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, May 21, 2011 at 6:13 PM
Subject: thepearlroundabout.org
To: ccavell@gmail.com

thepearlroundabout.org

Link to thepearlroundabout.org

U.S. Official on Perceived Double Standard on Bahrain (video)

Posted: 21 May 2011 10:37 AM PDT

(PBS) U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said the U.S. and Bahrain have a good working relationship, but "we still have big concerns" about the way the government is handling the opposition.

What happened to Patricia Bulgen?

Posted: 21 May 2011 03:41 AM PDT

It is now 60+ days since Patricia Bulgen, a 78-year-old British Teacher disappeared from her home in Bahrain at the height of the pro-democracy protests. If you have any information which may help locate this lady, please visit www.patriciabulgen.co.uk or email findpatbulgen@hotmail.co.uk.

Bahrain Insists It is Open to Dialogue with Opposition

Posted: 21 May 2011 03:31 AM PDT

(VOA News) Bahrain Insists It is Open to Dialogue with Opposition

‘Bahraini govt. hits social networkers’ (video)

Posted: 21 May 2011 03:29 AM PDT

(Press TV) President of Bahrain's Center for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab says the Bahraini regime dismiss people from their jobs for sending information of the government's harsh crackdown on protesters via social networks.

What Obama could not possibly say

Posted: 21 May 2011 03:25 AM PDT

(Asia Times)

Obama’s Middle East speech missed ‘historic opportunity,’ say many Arabs

Posted: 21 May 2011 03:22 AM PDT

(CS Monitor) While those involved in Arab uprisings welcomed Obama's support, others were disappointed with his failure to apologize for US support for Middle East dictators.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, May 21, 2011 at 12:49 PM
Subject: Attack on Nabeel's home again, appeal tomorrow on the death penalty and hearing for the 21 political activists
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

Dear Friends,

Hope this email finds you well.

For the second time in few weeks Nabeel Rajab's family house was attacked early morning Saturday by teargas bombs while the family was sleeping. Nabeel Rajab is the president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and the vice president of FIDH. Today’s (Saturday) attack was different because the teargas bombs were shot into the house on purpose breaking the window of Nabeel's brother, Nader Rajab, section where he lives with his family. Nabeel said: "We had very frightening moments rescuing my brother, his wife and his daughter as they were close to serious suffocation. This is an attempt to murder a member of my family to pressure me to stop my human rights activities. Thank God the teargas bombs fell on the tile and not the carpet which could have caused a fire and could have killed the whole family while they were asleep. Please do whatever you can to stop the government from attacking me and my family who have nothing to do with my human rights work"

In an urgent matter, those who were released from prison are now being called back for interrogations and military courts. It appears now that the cases against them, usually the charges range from illegal assembly, incitement to hatred, incitement against the regimes and so on, were not dismissed. There are several cases in which people have already received sentences ranging from 2-20 years imprisonment. We are currently working on a list of cases and sentences which will be sent to you when ready.

On another note, the appeal against the death penalty in the case of four young men who made coerced confessions to killing two policemen will be tomorrow, Sunday, as well as the hearing of the 21 prominent Bahraini leaders.

In the case of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, the spokesperson for foreign affairs of the leftist government party in Denmark has stated that if Abdulhadi Alkhawaja is not released soon it will cause a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. This is due to Abdulhadi being a Danish citizen.

Best,

Maryam Al-Khawaja
Contact: +44-7587303080 / +1(401)572-6597

Head of Foreign Relations Office
Bahrain Center for Human Rights

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: thepearlroundabout.org <thepearlroundabout@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, May 20, 2011 at 6:09 PM
Subject: thepearlroundabout.org
To: ccavell@gmail.com

thepearlroundabout.org

Link to thepearlroundabout.org

Bahrain’s ‘revenge drive’ against protesters (video)

Posted: 20 May 2011 12:27 PM PDT

(Amnesty International) Amnesty International researcher Said Boumedouha criticizes the ongoing detention and trials of pro-reform activists.

Briefing: The problem with reinserting Bahrain GP this season

Posted: 20 May 2011 09:57 AM PDT

(James Allen on F1) Another story to break today is the growing energy behind trying to run the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix on October 30, with India moving to the last race of the season on December 4.

F1 » Boullier: We have to think hard about Bahrain

Posted: 20 May 2011 09:03 AM PDT

(crash.net) Renault team boss Eric Boullier has insisted that F1 needs to think long and hard about whether or not the Bahrain Grand Prix should take place.

Robert Fisk: President’s fine words may not address the Middle East’s real needs

Posted: 20 May 2011 08:14 AM PDT

(The Independent) In a keynote speech today, Barack Obama will try to redefine America's relationship with the Arab world. Our writer is sceptical

Official documents prove Salmaniya Hospital equipment was transferred legally to Pearl Roundabout

Posted: 20 May 2011 03:47 AM PDT

(BYSHR) An anonymous source leaked an official document –Attached- issued by Dr. Mohammed Amin Al-Awadhi (Chairman of Doctors) to Dr. Walid Al-Manei (Administrative Executive in the Salmaniya Medical Complex), and document shows a request for providing some medical equipment for the Pearl Roundabout Clinic (where the demonstrators gathered between the 14th of February and the 16th of March to demand political reforms).

PR Mercenaries, Their Dictator Masters, and the Human Rights Stain

Posted: 20 May 2011 02:09 AM PDT

(Huffington Post) Maryam al-Khawaja took the stage at the Oslo Freedom Forum last Tuesday and stunned the audience with her experiences of government violence in the Kingdom of Bahrain. She described the killing of student protestors,

IFJ Calls for End to Intimidation Campaign against Journalists in Bahrain

Posted: 20 May 2011 02:03 AM PDT

(IFJ) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the widespread intimidation campaign targeting journalists who work for newspapers which are critical of the Bahraini government. The IFJ accuses the authorities of systematic harassment of media in the wake of recent anti-government protests and says that at least 68 journalists working for two leading Bahraini newspapers, Al Wasat and Al Bilad, have been singled out for sacking, arrests and charges for treason. Others were forced into exile to escape arrest in the on-going clampdown.

David Cameron under fire for No 10 Crown Prince photocall

Posted: 20 May 2011 01:58 AM PDT

(The Telegraph) David Cameron risked criticism after he was pictured shaking hands with the Crown Prince of Bahrain on the steps of Downing Street.

Cameron embraces tyranny

Posted: 20 May 2011 01:56 AM PDT

(The Independent) As President Obama tells the Middle East to embrace democracy, the Prime Minister welcomes Bahrain's Crown Prince to Britain

Cameron blasted for welcoming ‘torturer’ of Bahrain to No. 10

Posted: 20 May 2011 01:55 AM PDT

(Daily Mail) David Cameron was accused of rolling out the red carpet for Bahrain’s torturer-in-chief last night after holding talks with the head of the hardline Arab regime.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Sat, May 21, 2011 at 6:49 AM
Subject: Obama's Arab Spring Duplicitous Babble

http://original.antiwar.com/medea-benjamin-davis/2011/05/20/obama-should-follow-his-own-advice-on-the-moral-force-of-non-violence/


———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Sat, May 21, 2011 at 5:51 PM
Subject: Robert Fisk: President's fine words may not address the Middle East's real needs

Independent.co.uk

Robert Fisk: President's fine words may not address the Middle East's real needs

In a keynote speech today, Barack Obama will try to redefine America's relationship with the Arab world. Our writer is sceptical

Thursday, 19 May 2011

OK, so here's what President Barack Obama should say today about the Middle East. We will leave Afghanistan tomorrow. We will leave Iraq tomorrow. We will stop giving unconditional, craven support to Israel. Americans will force the Israelis – and the European Union – to end their siege of Gaza. We will withhold all future funding for Israel unless it ends, totally and unconditionally, its building of colonies on Arab land that does not belong to it. We will cease all co-operation and business deals with the vicious dictators of the Arab world – whether they be Saudi or Syrian or Libyan – and we will support democracy even in those countries where we have massive business interests. Oh yes, and we will talk to Hamas.

Of course, President Barack Obama will not say this. A vain and cowardly man, he will talk about the West's "friends" in the Middle East, about the security of Israel – security not being a word he has ever devoted to Palestinians – and he will waffle on and on about the Arab Spring as if he ever supported it (until, of course, the dictators were on the run), as if – when they desperately needed his support – he had given his moral authority to the people of Egypt; and, no doubt, we will hear him say what a great religion Islam is (but not too great, or Republicans will start recalling the Barack Hussein Obama birth certificate again) and we will be asked – oh, I fear we will – to turn our backs on the Bin Laden past, to seek "closure" and "move on" (which I'm afraid the Taliban don't quite agree with).

Mr Obama and his equally gutless Secretary of State have no idea what they are facing in the Middle East. The Arabs are no longer afraid. They are tired of our "friends" and sick of our enemies. Very soon, the Palestinians of Gaza will march to the border of Israel and demand to "go home".

We got a signal of this on the Syrian and Lebanese borders on Sunday. What will the Israelis do? Kill the Palestinians in their thousands? And what will Mr Obama say then? (He will, of course, "call for restraint on both sides", a phrase he inherited from his torturing predecessor).

I rather think that the Americans suffer from what the Israelis suffer from: self-delusional arguments. The Americans keep referring to the goodness of Islam, the Israelis to how they understand the "Arab mind". But they do not. Islam as a religion has nothing to do with it, any more than Christianity (a word I don't hear much of these days) or Judaism. It's about dignity, honour, courage, human rights – qualities which, in other circumstances, the United States always praises – which Arabs believe they are owed. And they are right. It is time for Americans to free themselves from their fear of Israel's lobbyists – in fact the Likud Party's lobbyists – and their repulsive slurs of anti-Semitism against anyone who dares to criticise Israel. It is time for them to take heart from the immensely brave members of the American-Jewish community who speak out about the injustices that Israel as well as the Arab leaders commit.

But will our favourite President say anything like this today? Forget it. This is a mealy-mouthed President who should – why have we forgotten this? – have turned down his Nobel Peace Prize because he can't even close Guantanamo, let alone bring us peace. And what did he say in his Nobel speech? That he, Barack Obama, had to live in the real world, that he was not Gandhi, as if – and all praise to The Irish Times for spotting this – Gandhi didn't have to fight the British empire. So we will be treated to all the usual analysts in the States, saying how fine the President's words are, praising this wretched man's speechifying.

And then comes the weekend when Mr Obama has to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the biggest, most powerful lobbyist "friend" of Israel in America. Then it will be all back to the start, security, security, security, little – if any mention – of the Israeli colonies in the West Bank and, I feel sure of this, much mention of terrorism, terrorism, terrorism, terrorism, terrorism, terrorism, terrorism. And no doubt a mention of the killing (let us not use the word execution) of Osama bin Laden.

What Mr Obama doesn't understand however – and, of course, Mrs Clinton has not the slightest idea – is that, in the new Arab world, there can be no more reliance on dictator-toadies, no more flattery. The CIA may have its cash funds to hand but I suspect few Arabs will want to touch them. The Egyptians will not tolerate the siege of Gaza. Nor, I think, will the Palestinians. Nor the Lebanese, for that matter; and nor the Syrians when they have got rid of the clansmen who rule them. The Europeans will work that out quicker than the Americans – we are, after all, rather closer to the Arab world – and we will not forever let our lives be guided by America's fawning indifference to Israeli theft of property.

It is, of course, going to be a huge shift of tectonic plates for Israelis – who should be congratulating their Arab neighbours, and the Palestinians for unifying their cause, and who should be showing friendship rather than fear. My own crystal ball long ago broke. But I am reminded of what Winston Churchill said in 1940, that "what General Weygand called the battle for France is over. The battle of Britain… is about to begin."

Well, the old Middle East is over. The new Middle East is about to begin. And we better wake up.

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Sat, May 21, 2011 at 1:52 PM
Subject: Few Surprises in Obama's Mideast Speech

Home > Few Surprises in Obama's Mideast Speech

Few Surprises in Obama's Mideast Speech

By Mathieu
Created 2011-05-20 10:09

Few Surprises in Obama's Mideast Speech

Friday 20 May 2011
by: David Elkins , Inter Press Service [3]

In a much-anticipated speech on the Middle East and North Africa on Thursday, US President Barack Obama broadly outlined an ambitious set of US-guided initiatives intended to reinforce economic and political prosperity, democratic reforms and, most emphatically, self-determination for the millions of protestors throughout the region who have taken to the streets over the past six months.

However, some analysts here were quick to characterise the speech as a recapitulation of earlier policy positions.

"[W]e have a stake not just in the stability of nations, but in the self-determination of individuals. The status quo is not sustainable. Societies held together by fear and repression may offer the illusion of stability for a time, but they are built upon fault lines that will eventually tear asunder," Obama stated [4].

Decades of violent conflict, corruption and diminishing economic opportunities for millions have ingrained the perception – based on both fact and opinion – held by many in the region of the US as being a complicit partner, if not sole instigator, in the perpetuation of such misfortunes: a perception that, since first coming to office, Obama tried to counter assiduously.

Some analysts argue that it was critical for the Obama administration to outline a shift in its regional policy.

"The old way of doing business in the Middle East is no longer sustainable…[T]he Obama administration should redouble its efforts to support the transition by adopting a more comprehensive reform package for Egypt, revive its longstanding but flagging efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, and stay the course on Iran," Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, wrote [5] Wednesday.

"Moving more boldly – as President Obama did in his decision on the bin Laden raid – will lead to greater chances for progress and change in the region," Katulis added.

Dr. Paul Pillar, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst, argued that the speech failed to deliver an immediate shift in overall policy, but left room for some optimism.

Truthout sustains itself through tax-deductible donations from our readers. Please make a contribution today to keep truly independent journalism strong! [6]

"Most appetites – of those on different sides of the issues concerned – will be left unsatisfied by this speech. That is unsurprising, given the political realities with which the president has to work. But there was enough in the appetizer to raise hope that later – even if only in a possible second term, when Mr. Obama will never have to face re-election again – the president will serve up some real meat," Pillar wrote in the nationalinterest.com [7]blog on Thursday.

Since the uprisings began, two parallel themes that emerged along with that of the power of organic, peaceful and popular uprisings yearning for dignity, justice and political reform was that of the US response, which received charges of hypocrisy, to the uprisings and Obama's self-described pragmatic "country-by-country approach and that of the uprisings as presenting an opportunity for a dramatic change in US policy towards the region.

"We have the chance to show that America values the dignity of the street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw power of the dictator," Obama said.

The speech touched on human rights abuses in countries such as Yemen, where the Obama administration has backed a Gulf Cooperation Council- mediated dialogue with President Ali Abdullah Saleh; and in Bahrain, where the US continues to support a dialogue between Bahraini opposition leaders and their government, which has used violence to suppress protests and arrested doctors providing aid to victims.

"The only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can't have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail," Obama said, referring to the protests in Bahrain.

President Obama took a tougher tone in acknowledging the intransigence of some the US's closest allies in the region in suppressing protests, but he did not put forth a clear set of consequences if governments continue such repression.

"[I]f America is to be credible, we must acknowledge that at times our friends in the region have not all reacted to the demands for consistent change — with change that's consistent with the principles that I've outlined today," Obama stated.

The central message in his speech was framed as an optimistic plan forward, rather than a retort to the criticism of the contrasts in US policy in the region – full support, even military intervention in Syria and Libya compared to the negligible US backing for political change in Bahrain and Yemen.

As Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in Washington Friday and the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee gears up for its annual conference this weekend in Washington, Obama did not include any profound changes in policy with regards to the Palestinian- Israeli issue.

He stated that the US's focus will now be on Israeli security and, most significantly, pre-1967 borders for a Palestinian state rather than the controversial Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank, the division of Jerusalem or the return of Palestinian refugees

Notably, however, he explicitly denounced the United Nations General Assembly vote on officially recognised statehood planned for September while remaining open to the recent Palestinian national reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, a group the US considers to be a terrorist organisation.

The largest piece missing from the president's speech was mention of Saudi Arabia – a historically strong US ally that has articulated seemingly divergent policies than those of the US in the regional uprisings.

"Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council's policies have changed quite dramatically in the last couple of months," Gary Sick, former member of the National Security Council under three administrations said on a PRI "To the Point" interview on Thursday.

"One hand we have enormous people-driven change in part of the Arab world and on the other, we have a really counter-revolutionary movement that is saying 'we want nothing to do with any of this,'" Sick added.

Obama's brief mention of Iran, centred on its past human rights abuses, the Iranian government's role as an enabling ally of Syria and its alleged meddling in sectarian divisions in countries such as Bahrain – a shift from the US's concentrated focus in the past on Iran's nuclear weapons programme.

Implicit, however, in his emphasis on self-determinism was that fact that the US, as has been the case since protests began, will wield little influence over the path that each uprising ultimately takes.

"[W]e must proceed with a sense of humility. It's not America that put people into the streets of Tunis or Cairo – it was the people themselves who launched these movements, and it's the people themselves that must ultimately determine their outcome," Obama said.

Visit IPS news [8] for fresh perspectives on development and globalization.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Sat, May 21, 2011 at 2:16 PM
Subject: PR Mercenaries, Their Dictator Masters, and the Human Rights Stain

PR Mercenaries, Their Dictator Masters, and the Human Rights Stain

Posted: 05/19/11 03:36 PM ET

Maryam al-Khawaja took the stage at the Oslo Freedom Forum last Tuesday and stunned the audience with her experiences of government violence in the Kingdom of Bahrain. She described the killing of student protestors, the torture of democracy advocates, and how human rights defenders are "disappeared." Maryam also detailed how troops from a neighboring dictatorship, Saudi Arabia, rushed into Bahrain to prop up the crown prince's regime.

Ali Abdulemam, a renowned Bahraini blogger, was also invited to the Oslo Freedom Forum. Ali was imprisoned by his government in September 2010 for "spreading false information." After being released on February 23, he enthusiastically accepted his speaking invitation and plans were made for his travel. And then he disappeared. No one has seen or heard from him since March 18.

Beyond disappearing bloggers and rights activists, Bahrain also tries to disappear criticism. The government has been aided by a coterie of "reputation management" experts, including professionals from the Washington, D.C., offices of Qorvis Communications and the Potomac Square Group, in addition to Bell Pottinger out of their offices in London and Bahrain.

Within minutes of Maryam's speech (streamed live online) the global Bahraini PR machine went into dramatic overdrive. A tightly organized ring of Twitter accounts began to unleash hundreds of tweets accusing Maryam of being an extremist, a liar, and a servant of Iran. Simultaneously, the Oslo Freedom Forum's email account was bombarded with messages, all crudely made from a simple template, arguing that Maryam al-Khawaja is an enemy of the Bahraini people and a "traitor." Most of the U.S.-based fake tweeting, fake blogging (flogging), and online manipulation is carried out from inside Qorvis Communication's "Geo-Political Solutions" division.

The effort is mechanical and centrally organized, and it goes beyond the online world. In fact, right before Maryam was to give her speech, she noticed two young women in the crowd who stalk her speeches and heckled her a few days earlier at an event in the U.S.

More so than intimidation, violence, and disappearances, the most important tool for dictatorships across the world is the discrediting of critics like Maryam. For instance, Uyghur activist Rebiya Kadeer is accused of terrorism by the Chinese government, Cuban poet and former political prisoner Armando Valladares is called a "subversive" by the Castro regime, and Human Rights Watch's Jose Miguel Vivanco is branded a CIA agent and "Pinochet supporter" by the Venezuelan government. In each case, the accusations are bogus but their repetition has an impact. The tactic is universal.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF), the organization that produces the Oslo Freedom Forum, has been described by the Cuban state media as a CIA front, labeled "imperialist" by the Ecuadorean president, and declared "enemies of the state" by the Venezuelan propaganda machine. Rather than addressing criticism head-on, the method is to shoot the messenger.

Oppressive governments are threatened by public exposure, and this means that it's not just human rights defenders but also bloggers, opinion journalists, and civil society activists who are regularly and viciously maligned.

Just as Maryam al-Khawaja was smeared by the Bahraini government's PR campaign as a "terrorist" during this year's Oslo Freedom Forum, Venezuelan media executive Marcel Granier was falsely branded as an "enemy of democracy" by Venezuela's propagandists and their allies at the 2010 Oslo Freedom Forum. Much as Maryam was followed by hecklers and "astroturfers," Granier was libeled by paid PR agents of Hugo Chavez in order to discredit him and his message –that the Chavez administration is a threat to freedom of speech.

These examples illustrate how dictatorships are today able to enhance their skill set and prolong their "communicational hegemony" (as one elected thug calls it) by hiring PR firms to whitewash their records. These companies specialize in burying evidence of human rights violations deep under rosy language about stability, economic growth, and commitments to help the poor. Their efforts also infect sources deemed reliable by many journalists, such as Wikipedia. Numerous governments have paid editors to whitewash their digital reputations.

In May 2010, the Tunisian government hired the Washington Media Group to help its public relations. After inking the half-million dollar contract, the company praised Ben Ali's kleptocratic autocracy as "a stable democracy" and a "peaceful, Islamic country [with] a terrific story to share with the world." They dropped Tunisia as a client only after Ben Ali began picking off protestors with snipers — one week before he fled.

A fawning article on Syria's first lady, Asma al-Assad, appeared in Vogue magazine less than a month before her husband's government brutally put down pro-democracy protestors. How did Asma, wife of a medieval dictator, score a puff piece in Vogue? The fashion magazine article noted that she was accompanied during her interviews by a "high profile American PR" flack. (The uproar caused by the sycophantic Vogue profile was such that its PR people have succeeded in disappearing the piece from their website.)

Even dictators are entitled to a voice in global public opinion, but those who spin for brutal killers — like those running Equatorial Guinea and Libya, for instance — should be exposed as amoral and unperturbed by abetting injustice and repression.

Qorvis Communications, for instance, represents dictators from Equatorial Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen and has made more than $100 million dollars by helping their many clients battle negative public opinion or bury the truth under a mountain of fluff journalism. This is mercenary work, fighting actively against human rights advances and on behalf of criminals like Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang. Qorvis exec Matt J. Lauer styles himself as a PR wonderboy rather than as what he is: an accessory to human rights violations. By virtue of whitewashing the Obiang clan's reputation he is engaged in criminal facilitation of the Obiang conspiracy including grand theft, larceny, money-laundering, influence-trafficking, murder and other Obiang activities that would keep any principled PR professional awake at night.

Washington's most notorious lobbyist for tyrants was the late Edward "von" Kloberg, who unapologetically and flamboyantly represented Saddam Hussein and dictators from Romania, the Congo, and Burma (among dozens of others). Kloberg was so venal he became a caricature — even trying to score business with North Korea's Kim Jong Il. Kloberg knew his work was a spectacle and he admitted he was shameless. These other firms do no different, yet try to mask their work by contracting with innocent sounding government bodies. For example, Bell Pottinger worked for the "Economic Development Board" of the Bahraini government, and its work for Aleksander Lukashenko was not specifically detailed.

While Maryam al-Khawaja was bravely giving her speech at the Oslo Freedom Forum, Qorvis staff were busy in their plush offices on Connecticut Avenue helping to distract people from her revealing talk and trying hard to disappear concern over the disappearance of Ali Abdulemam. Meanwhile, the money keeps rolling in.

Thor Halvorssen is president of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and founder and CEO of the Oslo Freedom Forum. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: NYTimes.com <newstracker@nytimes.com>
Date: Thu, May 19, 2011 at 11:42 PM
Subject: My Alerts: Bahrain Alerts (1 article)
To: ccavell@gmail.com

The New York Times

May 20, 2011

My Alerts

ADVERTISEMENT

Alert Name: Bahrain Alerts
May 20, 2011 Compiled: 1:56 AM

WORLD / MIDDLE EAST

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (NYT)

A security court has sentenced a prominent Shiite cleric and eight others to 20 years in prison for kidnapping a police officer.

About This E-mail

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Hussein Ibish <hussein.ibish@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, May 19, 2011 at 3:31 PM
Subject: New Ibish article in Foreign Policy on Obama's Mideast speech and the problem of interests vs. values
To: halafoundationnetwork <halafoundationnetwork@googlegroups.com>

http://hn.12.sl.pt

One Step Forward; By acknowledging that interests and values sometimes
contradict, President Obama has cleared the path for progress in the

Middle East.

President Obama's Middle East speech couldn't possibly have — and
almost certainly didn't — please all of its potential audiences. His
comments, however, were refreshingly honest in acknowledging the
limitations of American power and influence and even broke new ground
on a number of important subjects.

Obama returned to the theme that characterized his last major Middle
East policy speech, on the Libyan intervention: the intersection, and
often tension, between American interests and values. He wisely chose
not to proffer a facile panacea that would almost certainly have
proven unworkable.

Obama was strikingly frank in acknowledging that many Arabs feel the

United States has pursued its interests "at their expense." And he
bluntly stated that "there will be times when our short-term interests
do not align perfectly with our long-term vision of the region,"
recognizing that there is no clear and consistent formula for
resolving the ongoing contradictions between U.S. values and the
aspirations of Arab peoples with some of Washington's interests and
alliances that are still considered indispensable.

Perhaps the most important change in tone in this regard was on
Bahrain, where Obama condemned the crackdown in much stronger terms
than the United States has to date. He called for dialogue but noted
"you can't have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition

are in jail." Even more striking, he compared the persecution of Copts
in Egypt with that of Shiites in Bahrain, a stronger statement than
anyone had anticipated. His remarks implicitly recognized the
limitations of American influence with its own allies.

This statement is unlikely to be welcomed by Saudi Arabia and other
Gulf Cooperation Council members, whose perceptions have become
increasingly at odds with new American approaches to the Arab world,
particularly when the Obama administration urged the ouster of former
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak over vociferous Saudi objections.
Nonetheless, as the Associated Press reported today, despite these
disagreements, U.S.-Saudi defense cooperation is expanding, including
the creation of a new "facilities security force" to protect petroleum

and other key installations in the kingdom.

Obama's promise of debt forgiveness to Egypt and expanded trade and
development programs across the region will be broadly welcomed, as
will his commitment to work with Arab reformers and civil-society
groups seeking change. In most cases, including Syria, he stopped
short of calling for regime change, but suggested that Bashar al-Assad
has to either reform or "get out of the way," again the strongest U.S.
statement thus far.

On the most sensitive subject of all, Palestine, Obama reiterated
familiar U.S. policies in support of a two-state solution and
criticized Israeli settlement building. This is noteworthy since the

Israeli government just announced major new settlement expansion
projects in extremely sensitive areas around occupied East Jerusalem,
the continuation of a pattern of such announcements timed to coincide
with major meetings with American officials.

Obama bluntly stated that the continuation of Israel as a "Jewish and
democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation." At
the same time, he warned Palestinians against efforts to delegitimize
Israel and correctly pointed out that symbolic measures in the United
Nations would not create a Palestinian state. Obama's invocation of
the 1967 borders recalls President George W. Bush's 2005 statement

that any changes to the 1949 Armistice lines would have to be agreed
by both parties. Obama insisted that "Palestinians should know the
territorial outlines of their state," and suggested that the issues of
borders and security should be dealt with first, and that such
understandings would be the basis for progress on other permanent
status issues. Neither side seems fully comfortable with such an
approach.

Significantly, Obama did not close the door on working with a new
Palestinian unity government, saying that the Fatah-Hamas agreement
raised "profound and legitimate questions" for which Palestinians will
have to provide "a credible answer." This is a far cry from Israel's

blanket rejection of anything springing from the agreement, although
it places the onus on the new Palestinian government to satisfy
American and international expectations on its commitment to peace
with Israel and the rejection of violence.

In essence, the vision of peace Obama reiterated was nothing
particularly new for American policy, but it was considerably at odds
with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent speech at the
Knesset. Netanyahu demanded as a prerequisite that Palestinians
recognize Israel as "the nation state of the Jewish people," implying
transhistorical and metaphysical national rights in this territory for
all Jews around the world, whether or not they are Israelis. He

virtually ruled out any compromise on Jerusalem, spoke of annexing
settlement blocs and insisted on a "long-term IDF presence along the
Jordan River," ideas that are clearly at odds with Obama's vision of a
"sovereign and contiguous [Palestinian] state."

The most important message Obama communicated on Palestine is that he
believes a peace agreement is "more urgent than ever," suggesting that
in spite of the growing complications and the looming presidential
election of 2012, his administration will continue to look for
opportunities for progress.

There was a great deal to both please and annoy almost all concerned

parties, and Netanyahu has already signaled his displeasure with the
1967 lines. But it was not a bad step forward: Within the constraints
of U.S. interests and the limitations of its power, Obama offered a
number of important commitments that can, in fact, be fulfilled, and
that help to place the United States more on the side of the
aspirations of the Arab peoples than it ever has been in the past.


Hussein Ibish, PhD
Senior Research Fellow, American Task Force on Palestine
1634 Eye Street NW, Suite 725
Washington, DC 20006
Mobile: (202) 438 7297
hussein.ibish@gmail.com


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: csc <ccavell@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, May 19, 2011 at 7:25 PM
Subject: President Obama Speaks on US Policy in Middle East and North Africa
To: ccavell@gmail.com

Message from sender:

yo

Truthout
Published on Truthout (http://www.truth-out.org)

Home > President Obama Speaks on US Policy in Middle East and North Africa

President Obama Speaks on US Policy in Middle East and North Africa

By James
Created 2011-05-19 10:49

President Obama Speaks on US Policy in Middle East and North Africa

Thursday 19 May 2011
by: President Barack Obama, The White House [3]

I want to thank Hillary Clinton, who has traveled so much these last six months that she is approaching a new landmark – one million frequent flyer miles. I count on Hillary every day, and I believe that she will go down as of the finest Secretaries of State in our nation’s history.

The State Department is a fitting venue to mark a new chapter in American diplomacy. For six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change take place in the Middle East and North Africa. Square by square; town by town; country by country; the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights. Two leaders have stepped aside. More may follow. And though these countries may be a great distance from our shores, we know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security; history and faith.

Today, I would like to talk about this change – the forces that are driving it, and how we can respond in a way that advances our values and strengthens our security. Already, we have done much to shift our foreign policy following a decade defined by two costly conflicts. After years of war in Iraq, we have removed 100,000 American troops and ended our combat mission there. In Afghanistan, we have broken the Taliban’s momentum, and this July we will begin to bring our troops home and continue transition to Afghan lead. And after years of war against al Qaeda and its affiliates, we have dealt al Qaeda a huge blow by killing its leader – Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden was no martyr. He was a mass murderer who offered a message of hate – an insistence that Muslims had to take up arms against the West, and that violence against men, women and children was the only path to change. He rejected democracy and individual rights for Muslims in favor of violent extremism; his agenda focused on what he could destroy – not what he could build.

Bin Laden and his murderous vision won some adherents. But even before his death, al Qaeda was losing its struggle for relevance, as the overwhelming majority of people saw that the slaughter of innocents did not answer their cries for a better life. By the time we found bin Laden, al Qaeda’s agenda had come to be seen by the vast majority of the region as a dead end, and the people of the Middle East and North Africa had taken their future into their own hands.

That story of self-determination began six months ago in Tunisia. On December 17, a young vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi was devastated when a police officer confiscated his cart. This was not unique. It is the same kind of humiliation that takes place every day in many parts of the world – the relentless tyranny of governments that deny their citizens dignity. Only this time, something different happened. After local officials refused to hear his complaint, this young man who had never been particularly active in politics went to the headquarters of the provincial government, doused himself in fuel, and lit himself on fire.

Sometimes, in the course of history, the actions of ordinary citizens spark movements for change because they speak to a longing for freedom that has built up for years. In America, think of the defiance of those patriots in Boston who refused to pay taxes to a King, or the dignity of Rosa Parks as she sat courageously in her seat. So it was in Tunisia, as that vendor’s act of desperation tapped into the frustration felt throughout the country. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets, then thousands. And in the face of batons and sometimes bullets, they refused to go home – day after day, week after week, until a dictator of more than two decades finally left power.

The story of this Revolution, and the ones that followed, should not have come as a surprise. The nations of the Middle East and North Africa won their independence long ago, but in too many places their people did not. In too many countries, power has been concentrated in the hands of the few. In too many countries, a citizen like that young vendor had nowhere to turn – no honest judiciary to hear his case; no independent media to give him voice; no credible political party to represent his views; no free and fair election where he could choose his leader.

This lack of self determination – the chance to make of your life what you will – has applied to the region’s economy as well. Yes, some nations are blessed with wealth in oil and gas, and that has led to pockets of prosperity. But in a global economy based on knowledge and innovation, no development strategy can be based solely upon what comes out of the ground. Nor can people reach their potential when you cannot start a business without paying a bribe.

In the face of these challenges, too many leaders in the region tried to direct their people’s grievances elsewhere. The West was blamed as the source of all ills, a half century after the end of colonialism. Antagonism toward Israel became the only acceptable outlet for political expression. Divisions of tribe, ethnicity and religious sect were manipulated as a means of holding on to power, or taking it away from somebody else.

But the events of the past six months show us that strategies of repression and diversion won’t work anymore. Satellite television and the Internet provide a window into the wider world – a world of astonishing progress in places like India, Indonesia and Brazil. Cell phones and social networks allow young people to connect and organize like never before. A new generation has emerged. And their voices tell us that change cannot be denied.

In Cairo, we heard the voice of the young mother who said, “It’s like I can finally breathe fresh air for the first time.”

In Sanaa, we heard the students who chanted, “The night must come to an end.”

In Benghazi, we heard the engineer who said, “Our words are free now. It’s a feeling you can’t explain.”

In Damascus, we heard the young man who said, “After the first yelling, the first shout, you feel dignity.”

Those shouts of human dignity are being heard across the region. And through the moral force of non-violence, the people of the region have achieved more change in six months than terrorists have accomplished in decades.

Of course, change of this magnitude does not come easily. In our day and age – a time of 24 hour news cycles, and constant communication – people expect the transformation of the region to be resolved in a matter of weeks. But it will be years before this story reaches its end. Along the way, there will be good days, and bad days. In some places, change will be swift; in others, gradual. And as we have seen, calls for change may give way to fierce contests for power.

The question before us is what role America will play as this story unfolds. For decades, the United States has pursued a set of core interests in the region: countering terrorism and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons; securing the free flow of commerce, and safe-guarding the security of the region; standing up for Israel’s security and pursuing Arab-Israeli peace.

We will continue to do these things, with the firm belief that America’s interests are not hostile to peoples’ hopes; they are essential to them. We believe that no one benefits from a nuclear arms race in the region, or al Qaeda’s brutal attacks. People everywhere would see their economies crippled by a cut off in energy supplies. As we did in the Gulf War, we will not tolerate aggression across borders, and we will keep our commitments to friends and partners.

Yet we must acknowledge that a strategy based solely upon the narrow pursuit of these interests will not fill an empty stomach or allow someone to speak their mind. Moreover, failure to speak to the broader aspirations of ordinary people will only feed the suspicion that has festered for years that the United States pursues our own interests at their expense. Given that this mistrust runs both ways – as Americans have been seared by hostage taking, violent rhetoric, and terrorist attacks that have killed thousands of our citizens – a failure to change our approach threatens a deepening spiral of division between the United States and Muslim communities.

That’s why, two years ago in Cairo, I began to broaden our engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. I believed then – and I believe now – that we have a stake not just in the stability of nations, but in the self determination of individuals. The status quo is not sustainable. Societies held together by fear and repression may offer the illusion of stability for a time, but they are built upon fault lines that will eventually tear asunder.

So we face an historic opportunity. We have embraced the chance to show that America values the dignity of the street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw power of the dictator. There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity. Yes, there will be perils that accompany this moment of promise. But after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be.

As we do, we must proceed with a sense of humility. It is not America that put people into the streets of Tunis and Cairo – it was the people themselves who launched these movements, and must determine their outcome. Not every country will follow our particular form of representative democracy, and there will be times when our short term interests do not align perfectly with our long term vision of the region. But we can – and will – speak out for a set of core principles – principles that have guided our response to the events over the past six months:

The United States opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the region.

We support a set of universal rights. Those rights include free speech; the freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of religion; equality for men and women under the rule of law; and the right to choose your own leaders – whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus; Sanaa or Tehran.

And finally, we support political and economic reform in the Middle East and North Africa that can meet the legitimate aspirations of ordinary people throughout the region.

Our support for these principles is not a secondary interest– today I am making it clear that it is a top priority that must be translated into concrete actions, and supported by all of the diplomatic, economic and strategic tools at our disposal.

Let me be specific. First, it will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy.

That effort begins in Egypt and Tunisia, where the stakes are high –as Tunisia was at the vanguard of this democratic wave, and Egypt is both a longstanding partner and the Arab World’s largest nation. Both nations can set a strong example through free and fair elections; a vibrant civil society; accountable and effective democratic institutions; and responsible regional leadership. But our support must also extend to nations where transitions have yet to take place.

Unfortunately, in too many countries, calls for change have been answered by violence. The most extreme example is Libya, where Moammar Gaddafi launched a war against his people, promising to hunt them down like rats. As I said when the United States joined an international coalition to intervene, we cannot prevent every injustice perpetrated by a regime against its people, and we have learned from our experience in Iraq just how costly and difficult it is to impose regime change by force – no matter how well-intended it may be.

But in Libya, we saw the prospect of imminent massacre, had a mandate for action, and heard the Libyan people’s call for help. Had we not acted along with our NATO allies and regional coalition partners, thousands would have been killed. The message would have been clear: keep power by killing as many people as it takes. Now, time is working against Gaddafi. He does not have control over his country. The opposition has organized a legitimate and credible Interim Council. And when Gaddafi inevitably leaves or is forced from power, decades of provocation will come to an end, and the transition to a democratic Libya can proceed.

While Libya has faced violence on the greatest scale, it is not the only place where leaders have turned to repression to remain in power. Most recently, the Syrian regime has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens. The United States has condemned these actions, and working with the international community we have stepped up our sanctions on the Syrian regime – including sanctions announced yesterday on President Assad and those around him.

The Syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition to democracy. President Assad now has a choice: he can lead that transition, or get out of the way. The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests; release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests; allow human rights monitors to have access to cities like Dara’a; and start a serious dialogue to advance a democratic transition. Otherwise, President Assad and his regime will continue to be challenged from within and isolated abroad

Thus far, Syria has followed its Iranian ally, seeking assistance from Tehran in the tactics of suppression. This speaks to the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime, which says it stand for the rights of protesters abroad, yet suppresses its people at home. Let us remember that the first peaceful protests were in the streets of Tehran, where the government brutalized women and men, and threw innocent people into jail. We still hear the chants echo from the rooftops of Tehran. The image of a young woman dying in the streets is still seared in our memory. And we will continue to insist that the Iranian people deserve their universal rights, and a government that does not smother their aspirations.

Our opposition to Iran’s intolerance – as well as its illicit nuclear program, and its sponsorship of terror – is well known. But if America is to be credible, we must acknowledge that our friends in the region have not all reacted to the demands for change consistent with the principles that I have outlined today. That is true in Yemen, where President Saleh needs to follow through on his commitment to transfer power. And that is true, today, in Bahrain.

Bahrain is a long-standing partner, and we are committed to its security. We recognize that Iran has tried to take advantage of the turmoil there, and that the Bahraini government has a legitimate interest in the rule of law. Nevertheless, we have insisted publically and privately 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. The only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail. The government must create the conditions for dialogue, and the opposition must participate to forge a just future for all Bahrainis.

Indeed, one of the broader lessons to be drawn from this period is that sectarian divides need not lead to conflict. In Iraq, we see the promise of a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian democracy. There, the Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence for a democratic process, even as they have taken full responsibility for their own security. Like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. But Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. As they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner.

So in the months ahead, America must use all our influence to encourage reform in the region. Even as we acknowledge that each country is different, we will need to speak honestly about the principles that we believe in, with friend and foe alike. Our message is simple: if you take the risks that reform entails, you will have the full support of the United States. We must also build on our efforts to broaden our engagement beyond elites, so that we reach the people who will shape the future – particularly young people.

We will continue to make good on the commitments that I made in Cairo – to build networks of entrepreneurs, and expand exchanges in education; to foster cooperation in science and technology, and combat disease. Across the region, we intend to provide assistance to civil society, including those that may not be officially sanctioned, and who speak uncomfortable truths. And we will use the technology to connect with – and listen to – the voices of the people.

In fact, real reform will not come at the ballot box alone. Through our efforts we must support those basic rights to speak your mind and access information. We will support open access to the Internet, and the right of journalists to be heard – whether it’s a big news organization or a blogger. In the 21st century, information is power; the truth cannot be hidden; and the legitimacy of governments will ultimately depend on active and informed citizens.

Such open discourse is important even if what is said does not square with our worldview. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard, even if we disagree with them. We look forward to working with all who embrace genuine and inclusive democracy. What we will oppose is an attempt by any group to restrict the rights of others, and to hold power through coercion – not consent. Because democracy depends not only on elections, but also strong and accountable institutions, and respect for the rights of minorities.

Such tolerance is particularly important when it comes to religion. In Tahrir Square, we heard Egyptians from all walks of life chant, “Muslims, Christians, we are one.” America will work to see that this spirit prevails – that all faiths are respected, and that bridges are built among them. In a region that was the birthplace of three world religions, intolerance can lead only to suffering and stagnation. And for this season of change to succeed, Coptic Christians must have the right to worship freely in Cairo, just as Shia must never have their mosques destroyed in Bahrain.

What is true for religious minorities is also true when it comes to the rights of women. History shows that countries are more prosperous and peaceful when women are empowered. That is why we will continue to insist that universal rights apply to women as well as men – by focusing assistance on child and maternal health; by helping women to teach, or start a business; by standing up for the right of women to have their voices heard, and to run for office. For the region will never reach its potential when more than half its population is prevented from achieving their potential.

Even as we promote political reform and human rights in the region, our efforts cannot stop there. So the second way that we must support positive change in the region is through our efforts to advance economic development for nations that transition to democracy.

After all, politics alone has not put protesters into the streets. The tipping point for so many people is the more constant concern of putting food on the table and providing for a family. Too many in the region wake up with few expectations other than making it through the day, and perhaps the hope that their luck will change. Throughout the region, many young people have a solid education, but closed economies leave them unable to find a job. Entrepreneurs are brimming with ideas, but corruption leaves them unable to profit from them.

The greatest untapped resource in the Middle East and North Africa is the talent of its people. In the recent protests, we see that talent on display, as people harness technology to move the world. It’s no coincidence that one of the leaders of Tahrir Square was an executive for Google. That energy now needs to be channeled, in country after country, so that economic growth can solidify the accomplishments of the street. Just as democratic revolutions can be triggered by a lack of individual opportunity, successful democratic transitions depend upon an expansion of growth and broad-based prosperity.

Drawing from what we’ve learned around the world, we think it’s important to focus on trade, not just aid; and investment, not just assistance. The goal must be a model in which protectionism gives way to openness; the reigns of commerce pass from the few to the many, and the economy generates jobs for the young. America’s support for democracy will therefore be based on ensuring financial stability; promoting reform; and integrating competitive markets with each other and the global economy – starting with Tunisia and Egypt.

First, we have asked the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to present a plan at next week’s G-8 summit for what needs to be done to stabilize and modernize the economies of Tunisia and Egypt. Together, we must help them recover from the disruption of their democratic upheaval, and support the governments that will be elected later this year. And we are urging other countries to help Egypt and Tunisia meet its near-term financial needs.

Second, we do not want a democratic Egypt to be saddled by the debts of its past. So we will relieve a democratic Egypt of up to $1 billion in debt, and work with our Egyptian partners to invest these resources to foster growth and entrepreneurship. We will help Egypt regain access to markets by guaranteeing $1 billion in borrowing that is needed to finance infrastructure and job creation. And we will help newly democratic governments recover assets that were stolen.

Third, we are working with Congress to create Enterprise Funds to invest in Tunisia and Egypt. These will be modeled on funds that supported the transitions in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. OPIC will soon launch a $2 billion facility to support private investment across the region. And we will work with allies to refocus the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development so that it provides the same support for democratic transitions and economic modernization in the Middle East and North Africa as it has in Europe.

Fourth, the United States will launch a comprehensive Trade and Investment Partnership Initiative in the Middle East and North Africa. If you take out oil exports, this region of over 400 million people exports roughly the same amount as Switzerland. So we will work with the EU to facilitate more trade within the region, build on existing agreements to promote integration with U.S. and European markets, and open the door for those countries who adopt high standards of reform and trade liberalization to construct a regional trade arrangement. Just as EU membership served as an incentive for reform in Europe, so should the vision of a modern and prosperous economy create a powerful force for reform in the Middle East and North Africa.

Prosperity also requires tearing down walls that stand in the way of progress – the corruption of elites who steal from their people; the red tape that stops an idea from becoming a business; the patronage that distributes wealth based on tribe or sect. We will help governments meet international obligations, and invest efforts anti-corruption; by working with parliamentarians who are developing reforms, and activists who use technology to hold government accountable.

Let me conclude by talking about another cornerstone of our approach to the region, and that relates to the pursuit of peace.

For decades, the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region. For Israelis, it has meant living with the fear that their children could get blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes, as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them. For Palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of occupation, and never living in a nation of their own. Moreover, this conflict has come with a larger cost the Middle East, as it impedes partnerships that could bring greater security, prosperity, and empowerment to ordinary people.

My Administration has worked with the parties and the international community for over two years to end this conflict, yet expectations have gone unmet. Israeli settlement activity continues. Palestinians have walked away from talks. The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on for decades, and sees a stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward.

I disagree. At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever.

For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.

As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums. But precisely because of our friendship, it is important that we tell the truth: the status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.

The fact is, a growing number of Palestinians live west of the Jordan River. Technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself. A region undergoing profound change will lead to populism in which millions of people – not just a few leaders – must believe peace is possible. The international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome. The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation.

Ultimately, it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them, nor can endless delay make the problem go away. But what America and the international community can do is state frankly what everyone knows: a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.

So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. The duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.

These principles provide a foundation for negotiations. Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I know that these steps alone will not resolve this conflict. Two wrenching and emotional issues remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians.

Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table. In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel – how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist. In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. Meanwhile, the United States, our Quartet partners, and the Arab states will need to continue every effort to get beyond the current impasse.

I recognize how hard this will be. Suspicion and hostility has been passed on for generations, and at times it has hardened. But I’m convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past. We see that spirit in the Israeli father whose son was killed by Hamas, who helped start an organization that brought together Israelis and Palestinians who had lost loved ones. He said, “I gradually realized that the only hope for progress was to recognize the face of the conflict.” And we see it in the actions of a Palestinian who lost three daughters to Israeli shells in Gaza. “I have the right to feel angry,” he said. “So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate…Let us hope,” he said, “for tomorrow”

That is the choice that must be made – not simply in this conflict, but across the entire region – a choice between hate and hope; between the shackles of the past, and the promise of the future. It’s a choice that must be made by leaders and by people, and it’s a choice that will define the future of a region that served as the cradle of civilization and a crucible of strife.

For all the challenges that lie ahead, we see many reasons to be hopeful. In Egypt, we see it in the efforts of young people who led protests. In Syria, we see it in the courage of those who brave bullets while chanting, ‘peaceful,’ ‘peaceful.’ In Benghazi, a city threatened with destruction, we see it in the courthouse square where people gather to celebrate the freedoms that they had never known. Across the region, those rights that we take for granted are being claimed with joy by those who are prying lose the grip of an iron fist.

For the American people, the scenes of upheaval in the region may be unsettling, but the forces driving it are not unfamiliar. Our own nation was founded through a rebellion against an empire. Our people fought a painful civil war that extended freedom and dignity to those who were enslaved. And I would not be standing here today unless past generations turned to the moral force of non-violence as a way to perfect our union – organizing, marching, and protesting peacefully together to make real those words that declared our nation: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.”

Those words must guide our response to the change that is transforming the Middle East and North Africa – words which tell us that repression will fail, that tyrants will fall, and that every man and woman is endowed with certain inalienable rights. It will not be easy. There is no straight line to progress, and hardship always accompanies a season of hope. But the United States of America was founded on the belief that people should govern themselves. Now, we cannot hesitate to stand squarely on the side of those who are reaching for their rights, knowing that their success will bring about a world that is more peaceful, more stable, and more just.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Thu, May 19, 2011 at 2:19 PM
Subject: Bahrain to expand bases for GCC

Bahrain wants to expand military bases


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: thepearlroundabout.org <thepearlroundabout@gmail.com>

Date: Wed, May 18, 2011 at 6:10 PM
Subject: thepearlroundabout.org
To: ccavell@gmail.com

thepearlroundabout.org

Link to thepearlroundabout.org

Bahrain ex-editors plead not guilty in press trial

Posted: 18 May 2011 09:22 AM PDT

(AP) Three former top editors of Bahrain's main opposition newspaper pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of unethical coverage of Shiite-led opposition protests against the kingdom's Sunni rulers.

Five Bahraini journalists detained

Posted: 18 May 2011 09:20 AM PDT

(Committee to Protect Journalists) Bahrain's crackdown against journalists continues unabated with five new detentions in less than a week, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

First woman imprisoned

Posted: 18 May 2011 07:45 AM PDT

(BCHR) Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) is deeply concerned about sentence of the first woman participated in the protests.

Bahrain: Speaking softly

Posted: 18 May 2011 06:43 AM PDT

(Human Rights First)

BAHRAIN: Report alleges torture, calls for Obama, U.S. leaders to help

Posted: 18 May 2011 06:41 AM PDT

(LA Times) More than 800 people have been arrested in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain since mid-February. Most of the detainees have been Shiite Muslims who protested against the Sunni monarchy of King Hamed ibn Isa Khalifa. According to a report Tuesday by New York based nonprofit Human Rights First, most of those detained since anti-government demonstrations began in Bahrain have been arrested without warrants and held at unknown locations, without access to lawyers or relatives.

3 former editors of Bahrain opposition paper plead not guilty to unethical coverage of unrest

Posted: 18 May 2011 06:40 AM PDT

(Washington Post) Three former top editors of Bahrain’s main opposition newspaper pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of unethical coverage of Shiite-led opposition protests against the kingdom’s Sunni rulers.

Bahraini activist said threatened with rape – report

Posted: 18 May 2011 06:38 AM PDT

(Reuters) A prominent Bahraini human rights activist said he had been threatened with rape while in custody after he refused to apologise to the king over his role in anti-government protests.

Nine Bahraini policemen injured in protests

Posted: 18 May 2011 06:36 AM PDT

(FT.com) Please respect FT.com's ts&cs and copyright policy which allow you to: share links; copy content for personal use; & redistribute limited extracts. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights or use this link to reference the article – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c94f0eb6-8123-11e0-9360-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1Mi8ZeQ5o Nine Bahraini policemen were injured when the brother of a wounded protester drove a car into security forces, the official news agency said.

Uncertainty Reigns in Bahrain Amid Mix of Normalcy, State of Siege

Posted: 18 May 2011 06:30 AM PDT

(PBS) Margaret Warner reports on how events there have widened the divide between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Bahrain Center for Human Rights <Bahrain_Center_for_Human_Rights@mail.vresp.com>

Date: Wed, May 18, 2011 at 7:30 AM
Subject: Bahrain: Activist Threatened with Rape & photographers among crackdown’s latest targets
To: ccavell@gmail.com

bchr

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

For the Latest updates please follow BCHR on twitter: http://twitter.com/BahrainRights/bchr-7

URGENT Appeal: Prominent Human Rights Activist Threatened with Rape

16 May 2011

After refusing to apologize on camera to the King:
Prominent Human Rights Activist Threatened with Rape

Joint Statement of the BCHR and BYSHR

Today at the 3rd hearing of the 21 defendants standing trial for charges including attempting to topple the government, former MENA Coordinator of Frontline Defenders and Former President of the Bahrain Centre of Human Rights, Mr. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja was removed from court. This happened immediately after he spoke at the beginning of the trial saying that he was threatened with rape after he refused to apologize to the King on Camera. He also told the judge that he had complained to the court in the previous session that he had been threatened and that the court had not done anything to secure his safety. The court judge refused to listen to these statements and Mr. Alkhawaja was ordered out of the court room even though he said that was all he wanted to say.

Bahrain: Front Line fears for life of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja amid credible allegations of torture and sexual assault

17 May 2011
Following reports of torture including an attempted rape against former Front Line Protection Coordinator Abdulhadi Alkhawaja there are grave concerns that his health and even his life may be in danger.

Abdulhadi Alkhawaja has been held in detention in Bahrain since 9th April and has reportedly been subjected to torture which resulted in his requiring a 4 hour operation in a military hospital following injuries to his head.

CPJ: Five Bahraini journalists detained

New York, May 17, 2011–Bahrain's crackdown against journalists continues unabated with five new detentions in less than a week, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. [..]

In Bahrain, freelance journalist and commentator Abbas al-Murshid was summoned to appear at a police station on Sunday, according to Arabic-language blogs, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), and a Facebook page calling for his release. Al-Murshid is a frequent contributor to the Bahraini daily Al-Waqt as well as numerous online publications, where he has written about Bahrain's social unrest, corruption, institutional discrimination and other topics considered sensitive by the government.

Bahrain: The first woman imprisoned 4 years because she participated in the protests

May 18th, 2011

Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) is deeply concerned about sentence of the first woman participated in the protests.

On 17 May 2011:

1- Mohammed Qassim Ghalloum was accused of taking part in illegal assemblies in public areas, committing a number of crimes and disrupting public security in front of Al Safriya Palace “king’s Palace” and the GCC Roundabout “Pearl Roundabout” ( 2 years imprisonment and will be deported as soon as his sentence is over, because according to authorities, he is Iranian)

Top U.S. diplomat presses Bahrain on rights

17 May 2011 14:41
Source: reuters // Reuters

WASHINGTON, May 17 (Reuters) – A senior U.S. diplomat urged Bahrain's rulers on Tuesday to pursue political dialogue with the opposition and stressed "the importance of full respect for universal human rights," the State Department said.

RSF: News photographers among crackdown’s latest targets

Published on Tuesday 17 May 2011.

Many photographers who have been covering the pro-democracy protests taking place in Bahrain since mid-February have been arrested in the past few days. By carrying out these targeted arrests, the Bahraini authorities are trying to limit media coverage of their crackdown on the protests, especially coverage in the international media.

Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediately release of these photojournalists and all the other people who have been arrested for circulating information about the demonstrations and the ensuing government crackdown.

Human Rights First: NEW REPORT: Human Rights Defenders Criticize U.S. Government’s Response to Bahraini Crackdown

May 17, 2011

Washington, D.C. — Following a fact-finding mission to Bahrain earlier this week, Human Rights First is calling on President Obama to stand up for human rights defenders in Bahrain. In his Middle East speech on Thursday, President Obama can send a clear signal that the United States supports human rights and democracy in the Middle East by supporting vulnerable Bahraini activists. In its report released today, Human Rights First publishes first-hand testimonies of the Bahraini government’s crackdown from the perspectives of human rights defenders currently in Bahrain, and provides recommendations for the U.S. and Bahraini governments to end human rights abuses.

Amnesty International Annual Report 2011: The state of the world's human rights – Bahrain Report

Scores of anti-government activists were arrested. Twenty-five leading opposition activists were on trial, two in their absence, accused of plotting to overthrow the government; the 23 were initially denied access to lawyers after their arrest and some said they were tortured. Other unfair trials took place. The authorities restricted freedom of expression, including by shutting down several websites and political newsletters. The government suspended board members of an independent human rights organization. One person was executed.

POMED Notes: “Human Rights in Bahrain”

On Friday, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hosted a hearing on the human rights situation in Bahrain. The commission – chaired by James McGovern (D-MA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) – requested the testimony of the following individuals: Joe Stork, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa programs at Human Rights Watch (HRW); Maryam Al-Khawaja, Head of Foreign Relations Office at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR); and Richard Sollom, Deputy Director of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). The commission had also requested the testimony of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns and Under Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffery Feltman who declined the invitation.

Robert Fisk: Why no outcry over these torturing tyrants?

Saturday, 14 May 2011
by: Robert Fisk
independent.co.uk

Christopher Hill, a former US secretary of state for east Asia who was ambassador to Iraq – and usually a very obedient and un-eloquent American diplomat – wrote the other day that "the notion that a dictator can claim the sovereign right to abuse his people has become unacceptable".



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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: NYTimes.com <newstracker@nytimes.com>
Date: Tue, May 17, 2011 at 11:33 PM
Subject: My Alerts: Bahrain Alerts (1 article)
To: ccavell@gmail.com

The New York Times

May 18, 2011

My Alerts

ADVERTISEMENT

Alert Name: Bahrain Alerts
May 18, 2011 Compiled: 1:49 AM

WORLD / MIDDLE EAST

By REUTERS (NYT)

The Iranian government told the convoy, which included 120 students, clerics and activists, to abandon its plan to sail to Bahrain to support Shiite protesters.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: thepearlroundabout.org <thepearlroundabout@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, May 17, 2011 at 6:19 PM
Subject: thepearlroundabout.org
To: ccavell@gmail.com

thepearlroundabout.org

Link to thepearlroundabout.org

Bahrain’s assualt on medical professionals

Posted: 17 May 2011 08:56 AM PDT

(Foreign Policy) The United States may not be able to propose solutions for all the Middle East, but it can prescribe the course of events unfolding in some Arab Spring countries. Case in point: Bahrain. After thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets in the small Gulf kingdom earlier this year, the Bahraini government's response was brutal and systematic: shoot civilian protesters, detain and torture them, and erase all evidence. On the frontline, treating hundreds of these wounded civilians, doctors gained firsthand knowledge of these abuses.

Top U.S. diplomat presses Bahrain on rights

Posted: 17 May 2011 08:39 AM PDT

(Reuters) A senior U.S. diplomat urged Bahrain's rulers on Tuesday to pursue political dialogue with the opposition and stressed "the importance of full respect for universal human rights," the State Department said.

BAHRAIN: Seven protesters sentenced; defendant details alleged rape threats in custody

Posted: 17 May 2011 08:37 AM PDT

(LA Times) even anti-government protesters on trial before a military court received sentences ranging from one to three years Monday in connection with their participation in anti-government protests in the Persian Gulf kingdom earlier this year, activists said.

Bahrain’s parliament accepts resignations of 7 more Shiite opposition lawmakers

Posted: 17 May 2011 08:35 AM PDT

(Washington Post) Bahrain’s parliament accepted the resignations Tuesday of the last seven lawmakers of the Shiite opposition in a move that could exacerbate sectarian tensions in the strategic Gulf island kingdom.

Witness: Expelled from Bahrain, a nation now in fear

Posted: 17 May 2011 08:30 AM PDT

(Reuters) When I got the usual call to visit Bahrain's Information Ministry, I braced myself for complaints about my coverage of the crackdown on Bahraini Shi'ites protesting against the kingdom's Sunni-led government…

Iranian aid ships turned back from Bahrain

Posted: 17 May 2011 08:27 AM PDT

(Al Jazeera) Two ships carrying Iranian activists return to docks after facing "threats" from warships en route to Bahrain.

Bahrain accepts resignation of opposition MPs

Posted: 17 May 2011 08:22 AM PDT

(Al Jazeera) Resignations over crackdown leave lower house with just 22 members as more accusations of torture are levelled.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Thu, May 17, 2011 at 6:15 PM
Subject: Tomgram: Nick Turse, Obama and the Mideast Arms Trade


TomDispatch

Tomgram: Nick Turse, Obama and the Mideast Arms Trade

By Nick Turse
Posted on May 17, 2011

Obama’s Reset: Arab Spring or Same Old Thing?
How the President and the Pentagon Prop Up Both Middle Eastern Despots and American Arms Dealers

By Nick Turse

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Hussein Ibish <hussein.ibish@gmail.com>

Date: Tue, May 17, 2011 at 8:34 AM
Subject: New Ibish article: Can Obama's Mideast speech fit the square peg of interests in the round role of values?
To: halafoundationnetwork <halafoundationnetwork@googlegroups.com>

http://hd.im.sl.pt

Can Obama's Mideast speech fit the square peg of interests in the
round role of values?

On Thursday US President Barack Obama will give what will probably be
the most difficult foreign policy speech of his presidency thus far.
Obama will seek to define an overall US approach to the Arab Spring.
However, given the extreme complications facing US policy, it will be
extremely difficult for him to articulate clear principles that can be

consistently implemented.

Obama is likely to begin by focusing on the welcome death of terrorist
leader Osama bin Laden. In spite of the undoubted importance of this
achievement and the ongoing threat posed by his small but deadly group
of followers, Al Qaeda is playing almost no role in the emergence of
the new Middle East.

Instead, the regional order and the Arab state system are being
challenged by pro-democracy protests that threaten American friends
and foes alike. In his well-calibrated speech on the Libyan
intervention, Obama focused on what he identified as a convergence
between “values” and “interests.”

In other instances, these imperatives are at odds, creating what are
likely to be ongoing policy conundrums into the foreseeable future.
The most obvious example is Bahrain, where the United States
disapproved of the government crackdown and Gulf Cooperation Council
intervention, but has been ignored. Because it is the home of the US

Fifth Fleet, and concerns about Iranian designs on the island, the
United States cannot walk away from Bahrain and is left with few
options other than muted protests.

The administration quickly came to the correct approach in Egypt,
urging the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and a managed transition
toward greater democracy. But this exacerbated situations in which
American allies elsewhere staunchly refused to consider reform and
began to look upon Washington as unreliable, thereby placing values
and interests in a tension that was difficult to reconcile.

The perception that the Americans abandoned a loyal ally in Mubarak
has deeply shaken some long-standing US partners, especially Saudi
Arabia. The Saudis have reacted in part by moving to expand the GCC to
include Jordan and Morocco, potentially creating a broader status
quo-oriented alliance of Sunni monarchies. A striking commentary by
Nawaf Obaid in The Washington Post suggests the development of a much
more independent Saudi foreign policy that finds itself increasingly

at odds with American perceptions.

An opposite but related conundrum has emerged in Syria, where the
United States has been deeply reluctant to clearly call for the
removal of President Bashar al-Assad, a long-time foe. Concerns about
chaos and civil war, the anxieties of US allies – particularly Israel
– and strong suspicions that the Syrian regime will survive the
uprising have prompted a noticeably muted American response.

The United States is a status quo power in a Middle East wracked by
the forces of change, but whose regional influence and power is
perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be waning. No doubt the Americans
would prefer orderly transitions to greater democracy without
upsetting the regional system, but few, if any, Arab governments, pro-
or anti-American, are willing to engage in serious reform. This makes
a clear American statement that it will unequivocally support
pro-democracy demands by Arab citizens difficult to fulfill, and
highlights the extent to which US values and interests will frequently

be difficult to reconcile in the coming months.

Obama will also have to deal with the Palestinian issue under
conditions of extreme uncertainty. The all-important details of the
Hamas-Fatah agreement remain entirely unclear, as does the Israeli
vision for the future. The resignation of the American special envoy,
George Mitchell, indicates the extent to which negotiations are on
hold for the foreseeable future. Moreover, last weekend’s violent
suppression of protesters in numerous border areas by Israel, in which
at least a dozen unarmed Palestinians were killed, reinforces the
issue’s volatility and regional significance.

Obama is likely to reaffirm the US commitment to a two-state solution,
but more detailed comments are unlikely. It would appear a stronger
intervention is being tabled until at least the summer and that
another major diplomatic initiative will probably not emerge until
after the next American election.

This decoupling may be forced, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

There can be no questioning the importance of the Palestinian issue to
the Arab uprisings, but there is also a clear logic to treating the
two as parallel but distinct tracks. There are at least as many risks
in lumping them together as dealing with them separately.

For Obama to resolve the clear tension between American interests and
values regarding demands for radical change in Washington’s relations
with allied Arab states is an extraordinary challenge. Coming up with
an actionable formula that can place the US on the side of the
aspirations of the Arab people, which is essential, without further
antagonizing and alarming its already skittish – and, in some
important cases, alienated – allies will be the greatest foreign
policy challenge this young president has yet faced.


Hussein Ibish, PhD
Senior Research Fellow, American Task Force on Palestine
1634 Eye Street NW, Suite 725

Washington, DC 20006
Mobile:
(202) 438 7297
hussein.ibish@gmail.com


———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Mon, May 16, 2011 at 7:59 PM
Subject: How radical are Bahrain's Shia?
To: "Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D. @ GMail" <ccavell@gmail.com>

How radical are Bahrain's Shia?

Editor's Note: Justin Gengler is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at the University of Michigan. This essay is adapted from data from his 2009 nationally-representative survey of political attitudes in Bahrain. For more from Gengler, visit Foreign Affairs.

By Justin Gengler

In an April 19 op-ed in The Washington Times, Bahrain’s king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, wrote that his regime was forced into its ongoing brutal crackdown on political protest and dissent when “the legitimate demands of the opposition were hijacked by extremist elements with ties to foreign governments in the region” – that is, when the movement was hijacked by Shia revolutionaries with ties to Iran.

Such accusations first arose soon after protests began in Bahrain in mid-February. But they took on new momentum on March 7, when several hard-line Shia opposition groups formed an alliance called the Coalition for a Republic, which rejected any political solution short of the wholesale ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family.

The very name of the coalition evoked the specter of Iran’s Islamic Republic, and seemed to leave Bahrain’s rulers with no choice but to act firmly if they wished to avoid a Shia revolution of their own.

Yet King Hamad’s argument implies that there is a significant proportion of the Bahraini Shia population that would favor an Iranian-style religious regime in Bahrain and would be willing to take up arms to achieve it.

At least as of early 2009, when I undertook the first-ever mass political survey of the country, this was not the case: the vast majority of ordinary Bahraini Shia joined Sunnis in rejecting a system of governance based on or limited to religion.

In my nationally-representative, 435-household study, which employed the widely used Arab Democracy Barometer survey instrument, citizens were asked to evaluate the appropriateness of various systems of government as ways of ruling Bahrain.

About a quarter of all Shia and Sunni respondents deemed a parliamentary system in which only Islamist parties could compete “suitable” or “very suitable.” Over half of each group rejected the option outright, declaring it “not at all suitable.”

A sharia-based system fared even worse among Shia, of which only a quarter felt it was “suitable” or “very suitable,” while 63 percent deemed it “not at all suitable.” Among Sunni respondents, just under half rejected a Bahraini state based on Islamic law, but almost 40 percent felt it would be “very suitable” or “suitable.” Contrary to King Hamad’s implications, then, Shia are no more likely – and, in fact, are somewhat less likely – than Sunnis to favor a religious state.

Even Bahrain’s most extremist Shia elements rejected Islamic-based government. For example, those who indicated that their political views most closely correspond to the al-Haqq Movement, the underground Shia group that is the main sponsor of the Coalition for a Republic, were no more likely to support an Islamist-only parliamentary system or a sharia-based system than were those who identified with the more moderate Al-Wifaq society, which, until a few weeks ago, occupied 18 of 40 seats in Bahrain’s parliament.

Far from supporting the idea of Islamic government, the vast majority of Bahrain’s Shia expressed their desire for an open parliamentary system – that is to say, democracy. Almost three-quarters of Shia responded that a parliamentary system in which leftist, rightist, Islamic, and nationalist parties all compete in elections would be either “very suitable” or “suitable” for Bahrain. Shia support for parliamentary democracy was some 15 percentage points higher, even, than that among Sunnis.

Thus, if Bahrain’s king was correct that the opposition movement had been overtaken by Iranian-backed “extremists,” then the political orientations of Shia would have moved appreciably toward more support for an Islamic-based regime in Bahrain in just two years. In 2009, a little more than half of Shia respondents who identified with a political society named Al-Wifaq as the one most closely representing their own views, while less than 20 percent identified with Al-Haqq. But survey responses also revealed mounting disillusionment with Al-Wifaq’s experiment with political participation, which critics say has achieved little in its five years and comes at the price of government co-optation.

The growing sentiment seized upon by such groups as the Coalition for a Republic, is that if working for reform from within the existing system has proved a dead end, then perhaps the entire regime must change before Shia can achieve political and social influence in Bahrain commensurate with their demographic majority.

Rather than looking to Iran, Bahrain’s rulers should look to themselves to explain Shia radicalization. Indeed, the more telling half of King Hamad’s statement is not the second half – “hijacked by extremist elements with ties to foreign governments in the region” – but the first: “the legitimate demands of the opposition.” The problem in Bahrain is not Iranian-inspired extremism, it is that the Bahraini government’s definition of “legitimate demands” excludes the most basic grievances of ordinary Shia.

Bahraini Shia have long sought an end to religious-based discrimination in public-sector employment, particularly their wholesale exclusion from the police, the armed forces, and the power ministries such as Defense, Interior, and Foreign Affairs. Shia (as well as some Sunnis) decry the state’s decade-old program of naturalizing Arab and non-Arab Sunnis for work in the security services as tantamount to demographic engineering.

Opposition figures in both religious communities complain that the country’s parliamentary districts are gerrymandered around ethnic lines to limit the influence of Al-Wifaq and secular Sunni societies. Bahraini authorities, of course, dismiss all of these accusations.

It is unclear, then, what exactly King Hamad would have been willing to offer the opposition in recognition of its “legitimate demands.” To be sure, it was not resolution of any of the fundamental grievances articulated by Shia. From the ruling family’s perspective, it was precisely the measures that caused these grievances which had limited the extent of the present crisis.

Although the opposition could draw hundreds of thousands to the streets, it had no legal avenue to initiate political reform, and it had utterly no access to weapons with which to fight for it. The authorities, meanwhile, enjoyed a manufactured pro-government majority in parliament and a ready-made force of largely non-Bahraini servicemen with loyalties to none but the state. Clearly, any revision of this status quo is a nonstarter.

In lieu of substantive political concessions, King Hamad followed the lead of other Gulf Cooperation Council countries and offered opponents (and would-be opponents) one thing: money. Shortly after the onset of protests, the government announced generous social welfare packages including increased salaries and benefits, cost-of-living stipends, and plans for new subsidized housing.

The GCC even kicked in a $10 billion aid package of its own, dubbed a “Gulf Marshall Plan” for Bahrain. But this overt attempt at political buy-off only enraged protesters further. As aptly summarized by Ebrahim Sharif, the imprisoned head of Wa’ad, a now-dissolved secular political society, “This is about dignity and freedom – it’s not about filling our stomachs.”

By blaming political opposition on foreign meddling, religious extremism, and socio-economic frustration, Bahrain like other Arab Gulf regimes has sought to obscure and delegitimize elementary sources of discontent, namely targeted political exclusion.

King Hamad’s “extremists,” then, are not Shia Islamists but simply those who refuse to accept the material wealth-for-political silence bargain upon which Bahrain’s ruling regime and those of other Gulf states rest. But in refusing to address the most fundamental demands of mainstream Shia – or indeed to acknowledge the legitimacy of their complaints – Bahrain’s rulers have created a class of citizen every bit as dangerous as the Iranian-backed revolutionaries they seem to fear.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Justin Gengler. For more from Gengler and excellent long-form analyses, visit Foreign Affairs.

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Mon, May 16, 2011 at 7:44 PM
Subject: Closed Kingdom
To: "Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D. @ GMail" <ccavell@gmail.com>


Closed Kingdom

“There are no two ways about it, the regime has waged war on its own people”

Closed Kingdom

by Soraya Esfahani
14-May-2011

As night falls in villages around Bahrain’s capital Manama, candlelight flickers in the dusty streets. Small groups of locals hold peaceful protests. There is an air of fear given what has taken place. Sometimes, the vigils are targeted by police, dispersed with tear gas. But worse, the night time also brings security force raids where people are ripped out of their beds and dragged away in front of screaming wives and children.

This is Bahrain since the Government imposed Martial Law on March 15. A month prior, hundreds of Bahrainis set up camp at Pearl Roundabout in Manama. They were mostly Shia youth, inspired by events in Egypt and Tunisia, who had had enough of unemployment and perceived discrimination by their Sunni rulers. Riding a wave of optimism and hope, tens of thousands more were swept out into the street to join the pro reform demonstrations. What they wanted was a constitutional monarchy, a real one. Instead, the demonstrations were brutally suppressed, 31 people were killed and many more wounded.

It’s now May. Peal Roundabout is no more, destroyed in the final assault by Bahrain’s forces to push protesters from the iconic site as if that would also destroy the hope and optimism of those it attracted.

Since that time, four men have been condemned to death for allegedly running over a policeman during the protests. Many more activists have been charged and are awaiting trial. Bahrain’s Centre for Human Rights says more than 800 people have been arrested. The fear of what happens when someone is arrested is real. It’s not just a fear of arrest, doctored evidence and a show trial. It’s fear of the unknown, of torture, of death. Human Rights Watch says four detainees have died in detention since April 2. The Bahrain Defence Force Hospital says one died of ‘hypovolimic shock,’ which is caused by excessive blood loss. Another died of ‘kidney failure’ and another two died of a pre existing condition, ‘sickle cell anaemia.’

Human Rights Watch, like a handful of other rights organisations, has had a presence in Bahrain since violence erupted. It has been investigating alleged abuses. The US based organisation doesn’t buy the official line about deaths in detention, "Four detainee deaths in nine days is a crime, not a coincidence," said Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director. "The government tells families of detainees nothing about their whereabouts or well-being while they are alive or about the circumstances of their deaths."

Maryam Al Khawaja, a human rights activist, says the deaths are clear evidence torture is taking place. Her own father, Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, a prominent human rights activist, and two other family members are detained. The family says Abdulhadi was beaten, choked and arrested on April 9. It took two weeks before they received any news of his fate. Finally, he called, saying he was going to stand trial in a military court the next morning. No one was allowed into proceedings, not even lawyers. “We had no idea if he was going to stand trial, if he already had… we didn’t even know what the charges are,” Maryam says from New York. Her father has since been charged with anti regime activities and put on trial with 20 others. Since the arrests began, she has been unable to return home, fearing a similar fate.

There are few activists and protesters still willing to talk openly about what is happening. On the phone, their voices are hushed, they say little. We’re being monitored, they’re listening. On Facebook and email, depending on how you’ve come to their attention, they say the situation is slightly better but only slightly. Many of those who screamed the loudest on February 17 are silent. Eerily so. Some have been forced to contain their views – arbitrarily detained, beaten and released to live in fear.

People too afraid to speak over the phone will meet face to face as the next best option. But even that presents challenges. Taxis draw attention in the villages. One man who won’t share his name, says in a whisper over the phone, ‘Security forces can spot outsiders heading into the villages. Private cars are safer, but even then, who’s safe really?’

Checkpoints have been set up. Residents say they are humiliating and offensive. It’s forced some residents to cease going out into the street, lest they are stopped. Another man, an amateur photographer, is in constant fear of arrest. His tone has changed since February when he openly challenged the government. His brother was arrested praying at a mosque on April 14 he says and his neighbour was dragged away days later. He has heard nothing about either man since: “They gave us no reason, we don’t know where he is and if we ask, no one tells us. We’re not allowed to ask.”

Being in the wrong place and the wrong time is enough to be arrested, “In the morning it’s okay, but after 3 pm if the police see us out in Shia areas, near the shops or houses, sometimes they shoot at us with tear gas or arrest us.” He finishes, “they’ve gone mad.”

In the past few weeks, since arrests have intensified, he has left his camera at home rather than be caught and accused of working against the Government. Or even working as a spy, part of a so called ‘external threat,’ which Bahrain officials have used constantly to justify the crackdown and the continuing presence of Saudi Arabian troops in the country. The threat, according to the Government, is Iran. Protesters reject the suggestion they were backed by Iran or foreign group two months ago. And they reject it still.

Women detained

“Look around you, at all the women, we feel safe. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have come here with our children,” said one young woman, as she sat in Pearl roundabout on February 19. The protests brought thousands of them onto the street. Dozens are now in prison. BCHR says at least three are pregnant.

One of the youngest detainees is 20 year old Ayat Hassan Yousef Qurmezi, a poet. Her family has not heard from her since she was arrested. They say she is being held in a prison with common criminals and drug dealers.

The arrested cover a wide section of society; activists, athletes, journalists, nurses, doctors and a large number of teachers and students. Hundreds went on strike during the unrest. Reports surface daily of threats, intimidation and abuse in schools, at the hands of security forces.

One account released by human rights campaigners details the harrowing experience at a girls school in Hamad Town two weeks ago. “Police stormed the school without any prior notice… they went to my cousin`s class at 12 pm; they had two girls names… one of them was my cousin,” says the statement.

It’s alleged female police officers took the girls, aged 16 and 17, out of class, into another room to interrogate them, accusing them of anti government activities. Inside, teachers and other students were lined against a wall. The students were ordered to repeatedly slap their teacher in the face, when they refused, the police officers did it for them. They were then taken to the police station.

“A female and then two men… videotaped them and afterwards started calling them names; branded them whores and prostitutes,” says the statement.

It continues, “The police brought a thick plastic hose and lashed and beat the girls on different parts of their bodies (legs, arms, stomach, chest, etc..). My cousin`s head was smashed against the station cell wall several times until she bled; her nose bled, forehead and cheeks were all bleeding from the hard continuous smashing… Now my cousin`s body is all bruised… but worse, she is now psychologically traumatized, mentally withdrawn and too scared to go back to school… for fear of repeated assault.” Furthermore, reports this week that security forces are threatening school girls with rape has unnerved many.

Nabeel Rajab, head of Bahrain’s Centre for Human Rights, who himself was arrested, beaten and released, says there are fears for all detainees, particularly female detainees, “we have not yet seen widespread rape used in prison under this King, we saw a lot of it in the 1990’s, under the previous King… but the problem is the security institute, people working there are from different countries. They’re not afraid of being sued or taken to court. It’s a very worrying situation.”

At least 34 detainees are nurses and doctors from the country’s largest hospital, Salmaniya.

Physicians for Human Rights, a US based watchdog alleges “systematic and targeted attacks against medical personnel, as a result of their efforts to provide unbiased care for wounded protesters.”

The deputy director of PHR, Richard Sollow, says “unfortunately, these incidents aren’t isolated. They seem to be part of a systematic attack on doctors in Bahrain.”

Bahrain’s Government rejects the allegations, arguing many doctors and nurses failed in their duties and impeded patients from getting medical help during the unrest. Government supporters go further, saying these medical professionals ought to be arrested for politicising the hospital and allowing it to become a rallying point for anti government protesters. They even accuse nurses and doctors of refusing to treat Sunni patients.

Receiving medical help in Bahrain is now too dangerous if you have wounds or the tell tale signs of anti riot fire. Free medical advice is now being offered on the internet, through Skype.

Changing Society

Unable to produce reform, the state of fear is pushing moderate Shia Bahraini’s away from political parties like the secular Waad or the Shia al Wefaq and towards more extreme groups, such as the banned Shia party Al Haq.

“Wefaq lost popularity and legitimacy with the Shia, they see it as too willing to compromise with the regime, to accept. Now people are looking elsewhere for options and al Haq is the most obvious choice,” says Shadi Hamid, the director of research at the Brookings Doha Centre.

Rajab agrees the turmoil is causing a shift, “it won’t take long to see extremism born, because we’ve been peaceful and yet we are losing our lives. While the whole world was silent, kids were detained and killed in the street. Peaceful means are not functioning.”

The call throughout Bahrain’s protest movement was ‘No Shia, no Sunni, only Bahraini.’ They were adamant reform would help all. The Island’s Shia’s majority complained they were prevented access to high ranking posts and discriminated against in Government jobs. They were also angry about the Government’s policy of recruiting foreign nationals, from mostly Sunni countries to serve in the police force and military, while they remained unemployed. Their anger was not directed at their Sunni country men, but at the Government. Aside from arrest, many Shia activists are now subject to death threats, intimidation and barrages of vile abuse. An unknown number of Shia mosques have been destroyed too, apparently symbols of the enemy.

“There is no hope for reform in the system, so they have to look outside the system. There is serious polarization now, the Shia and Sunni are at opposite ends of the debate,” says Hamid.

The consequence, one man says, is a torn society. Others are more optimistic about the fate of the Island kingdom.

“It’s been a dark time in Bahrain, but with time I think it will be back to normal. There is a bit of tension between Sunni and Shia, but the majority are living with peace between them,” says Mohammed Janahi a radio DJ, who fully supports the Monarchy. His father is Sunni, his mother is Shia.

Janahi says everybody supported reform, but the movement was hijacked by people with hidden agendas.

“The King and the Crown Prince tried to politically solve the issue and offered unconditional dialogue to the so called pro-reformists and even released prisoners… so what happened after that? Did the opposition accept the dialogue? No, they didn’t, they changed all the reform slogans to death chants against the leadership, slogans of hate and sectarianism .”

Janahi says the voices of people like him were drowned out, replaced by more radical ones, “We were part of the National Unity gathering, we demanded reform but not like they did, we said yes to dialogue, but not to an Islamic Republic.” And that is what many Sunni Bahrainis fear the Shia really want.

Politics

Bahraini’s have been looking for moral support from the international community. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton has condemned the crackdown on numerous occasions, including during a meeting with Bahrain’s King Hamad in Abu Dhabi in April. Ashton told reporters, "We discussed the importance of meaningful dialogue, meeting the aspirations of the people of Bahrain and… the respect of human rights.”

There are mixed messages out of Britain – the Crown Prince was invited to the Royal Wedding, but uninvited. All the while, British Foreign Secretary William Hague raised red flags over the Government’s crackdown “…there continue to be many credible reports of human rights abuses. The arrests of opposition figures, the reports of deaths in custody, allegations of torture and the denial of medical treatment, are extremely troubling.”

But the signal out of Washington has infuriated activists. The Obama administration, while sending out the occasional message of ‘concern’ for the situation there, has been virtually silent, particularly as arrests and allegations of torture intensified.

“The US’s reaction has been very disappointing. The US doesn’t want to see the regime fall, it doesn’t support full democracy in Bahrain, because that would mean Bahrain would have a Shia Prime Minister, who would probably open up ties with Iran. Not because the Shia are pro Iran, but in terms of development and interest, that’s what countries do,” says Hamid.

The US’s interests in Bahrain are well known, it’s home to the US Naval Fifth fleet, part of a tool to counter Iran’s regional influence. It receives millions of dollars in US funding each year to buy military hardware and services. It’s a key post for Saudi Arabia too.

“US officials talk of Iranian meddling, but there is much more meddling happening and that is Saudi meddling,” says Hamid.

Rajab and others like him, say human rights abuses will continue as long as the US continues to support the government, “The US has proven to be an obstacle, they are complicit. Bahrain’s Government doesn’t need to change as long as its allies continue to support it.”

And where is all this heading? Neither analysts nor activists see a solution as long as reform is not instituted quickly.

“There are no two ways about it, the regime has waged war on its own people,” says Hamid, “it’s a temporary solution to quell the protests but it does not address the grievances of the Shia. Ultimately, this policy is unsustainable.”

http://www.iranian.com/main/2011/may/closed-kingdom

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: thepearlroundabout.org <thepearlroundabout@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, May 16, 2011 at 6:22 PM
Subject: thepearlroundabout.org
To: ccavell@gmail.com

thepearlroundabout.org

Link to thepearlroundabout.org

How radical are Bahrain’s Shia?

Posted: 16 May 2011 01:36 PM PDT

(CNN World) In an April 19 op-ed in The Washington Times, Bahrain’s king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, wrote that his regime was forced into its ongoing brutal crackdown on political protest and dissent when “the legitimate demands of the opposition were hijacked by extremist elements with ties to foreign governments in the region” – that is, when the movement was hijacked by Shia revolutionaries with ties to Iran.

Monarchies seek strength in unlikely alliance

Posted: 16 May 2011 01:31 PM PDT

(FT.com) Wild rumours about Gulf states’ plans to contain Arab uprisings have been circulating for weeks. There was talk of the Gulf Co-operation Council becoming a proper federation of states. There were whispers that Saudi Arabia might even integrate Bahrain.

Iran Sends Solidarity Flotilla Towards Bahrain

Posted: 16 May 2011 01:29 PM PDT

(VOA News) Iran is sending a solidarity flotilla to Bahrain, a move that could escalate regional tensions around the island kingdom's crackdown on mostly Shi'ite protesters.

Bahrain students forced to pledge loyalty

Posted: 16 May 2011 01:28 PM PDT

(Press TV) Bahraini authorities have forced university students to sign a pledge of loyalty to the government or face expulsion, human rights activists say.

Iranian ships carrying aid to Bahrain turned back in Persian Gulf

Posted: 16 May 2011 01:25 PM PDT

(Washington Post) In an action that could increase the tensions between Iran and Arab monarchies, two Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf trying to carry Shiite activists to Bahrain were turned back Monday by warships belonging to the Gulf states coalition that is aiding the island kingdom in its crackdown on anti-government protesters, according to the activists’ Web site.

Bahrain court adjourns trial of protest activists

Posted: 16 May 2011 01:23 PM PDT

(AP) Bahrain's special security court on Monday adjourned until next week the trial of 21 opposition leaders and political activists, mostly Shiites, accused of plotting against the state.

Closed Kingdom

Posted: 16 May 2011 01:19 PM PDT

(Iranian.com) “There are no two ways about it, the regime has waged war on its own people”

Bahrain rights activist’s wife details torture, unfair trial

Posted: 16 May 2011 01:13 PM PDT

(Christian Science Monitor) Bahrain's crackdown on the pro-democracy uprising has shifted from the streets to courtrooms, workplaces, and schools. One prisoner's wife describes sexual assault and psychological abuse.

Students required to sign pledge of allegiance to government

Posted: 16 May 2011 12:47 PM PDT

(LA Times) The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights released a statement Sunday saying it was “deeply concerned” the country’s leading university had started requiring students to sign a pledge to support the embattled government of King Hamed ibn Isa Khalifa.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Mon, May 16, 2011 at 4:19 PM
Subject: Loyalty Pledge Required of Students at the University of Bahrain
To: "Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D. @ GMail" <ccavell@gmail.com>


Loyalty Pledge Required of Students at the University of Bahrain
May 2011

http://thegrumpyowl.com/2011/05/16/loyalty-pledge-of-university-of-bahrain/

TRANSLATION

Document of pledge and assurance of loyalty

Under this document, I the undersigned assure, As a full-time student studying at the University of Bahrain, my complete loyalty to the leadership of the Kingdom of Bahrain, represented by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, governor of this country may God protect him, and to the rational government.

I also undertake to respect the laws and regulations of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the laws and regulations of the University of Bahrain, which I have seen in the (Regulations of Professional Conduct Violations for University of Bahrain students), and not to organize or participate in any activity within the campus or outside that is irrelevant to student and academic affairs and authorized research. Or that would harm the reputation of the Kingdom of Bahrain inside and outside.

I am also fully aware that I pay only 6% of the total cost of my tuition, which is approximately 200 BD (523 $) per year, while the State bears 94% of the total cost of my tuition which is estimated to be about 4000 BD (10638.3 $) per year.


Accordingly, I acknowledge that not signing this document means I do not want to pursue my studies at the University of Bahrain, and in the case of signing, I understand that any act committed contrary to policies included in the terms of this document, gives the administration of the University of Bahrain the right to take appropriate actions against me and implement penalties that may reach a maximum of final and immediate expelling from the University of Bahrain.

Full Name:

Student ID:

College:

Department:

Date:

Signature:

The person who sent this to me and translated it also says that on the back of this document, which the signatories were not allowed to leave with, there were another series of points.

Just points about not protesting inside campus and not doing anything against the government, not discussing politics with colleagues and instructors.. etc

This was also related to me:

A heart breaking story I feel like sharing, is that my friend saw brother of martyr Ali mo’men who was brutally murdered by riot police on feb 17th [during the first raid on the Lulu Roundabout] while he was leaving the hall we were signing the pledges at, and carrying the guidelines leaflet that is given to us after we sign. He had to sign on complete loyalty to the king while the regime recently murdered his brother just so he could complete his education.

By forcing its students sign this drivel, The University of Bahrain is not only making a mockery of academic freedom but of loyalty itself.

Loyalty is a feeling that must be inspired in the hearts of people. It cannot be demanded at gunpoint. That’s not loyalty. That’s terror. And terror is a rope that frays quickly and breaks easily. A rope that often ends up wrapped around the neck of the people wielding it.

But I expect nothing better from the brutal despots who rule Bahrain.

How would they know the first thing about dignity or human decency? They have none.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, May 16, 2011 at 11:15 AM
Subject: Attempted rape of Alkhawaja in prison and updates
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>

Dear Friends,

Today was the third session in the trial of the 21 prominent Bahraini figures.

The lawyers said today that this case being tried at court is unconstitutional as they are being tried on charges that occurred previous to when this court was instituted (by State of National Safety).

Mohammed Jawad Parweez’s lawyer asked that he be released due to his age and health, but the judge refused. Parweez then took his shirt off to show the judge the torture marks on his body but he was forced to sit down by the security forces in the court room.

At the end of the trial, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja tried to address the court saying that security forces had tried to force him to make a videotaped apology to the king. He refused saying he would apologize if they can prove he did something illegal. As he tried to explain how they attempted to rape him, the security forces forcefully removed him from the court room. He later on told his wife that they took him into another room in which four men came and took their pants off. They then proceeded to touch him and tried to take his pants off saying they were going to rape him. He was unable to defend himself as his hands were handcuffed behind his back, so he threw himself on the ground and hit his head against the floor repeatedly until he lost consciousness. He also told her that he was to have a head scan as there may be damage to his head. He added that they repeatedly told him that they are going to find me (his daughter) and rape me. As a human rights defender this puts me in danger as well.

Ali Salman's (President of AlWefaq Society) step brother, Abbas AlMurshed who is a journalist in AlWaqt newspaper was arrested today.

Students at the University of Bahrain is are being made to sign loyalty pledges: http://thegrumpyowl.com/2011/05/16/loyalty-pledge-of-university-of-bahrain/


Maryam Al-Khawaja
Contact:
+44-7587303080 / +1(401)572-6597
Head of Foreign Relations Office
Bahrain Center for Human Rights

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: thepearlroundabout.org <thepearlroundabout@gmail.com>

Date: Sun, May 15, 2011 at 6:25 PM
Subject: thepearlroundabout.org
To: ccavell@gmail.com

thepearlroundabout.org

Link to thepearlroundabout.org

For Americans, Bahrain is all about the Iranians

Posted: 15 May 2011 01:49 PM PDT

(Troy Media) Rumour has it that U.S. President Barack Obama will address the Muslim World this week – a second instalment of his famous Cairo speech of 2009. In light of the current NATO effort in Libya, and the ongoing violence as Syria struggles to silence protest, not to mention the recent re-alignment of Palestinian politics. there is certainly a lot to talk about. What is unlikely to make the agenda is the disturbing pattern of repression and abuse in Bahrain.

Patrick Cockburn: Bahrain is trying to drown the protests in Shia blood

Posted: 15 May 2011 10:26 AM PDT

(The Independent) World View: Claiming that the opposition is being orchestrated by Iran, the al-Khalifa regime has unleashed a vicious sectarian clampdown

‘Hundreds held’ in Bahrain crackdown (video)

Posted: 15 May 2011 10:25 AM PDT

(Al Jazeera) Wife tells Al Jazeera how her husband was arrested by masked man in a wave of arrests targeting Shias.

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Mon, May 9, 2011 at 7:46 PM
Subject: I was just deported from Bahrain
To: "Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D. @ GMail" <ccavell@gmail.com>


I was just deported from Bahrain

"You’re a security risk"

I was just deported from Bahrain

by Soraya Esfahani
29-Apr-2011

I was just deported from Bahrain. Not really something to tell my Mum about, but she’ll find out anyway. With what’s going on one could presume it was because I am a journalist. But alas, that is so cliché. I have no proof, other than soviet style silence and sour expressions, but I think Bahrain’s airport Gestapo suspect I am an agent of Iran. Wow. Me? I’ve waited all my life to be an agent of something. Mostly an agent of chaos because that sounds cool. But of Iran?

I was heading there to see some people I met during the turning point in the pro reform uprising (and I say pro-reform because initially, reform was all people wanted). That day, February 17, Bahrani forces opened fire on peaceful protesters at Pearl Roundabout, in the capital Manama. Four died. In all, Bahrain’s Centre for Human Rights says 31 people have been killed since the uprising began and more than 800 arrested and detained, including more than 80 women.

People are living in fear. Communication lines, phone and email, are allegedly tapped and people are being monitored. All this with Saudi Arabia’s army keeping a watchful eye on and in the country.

With this in mind I headed back to Bahrain. It had been difficult for journalists to enter the country after the first shooting, inside many were working illegally because the Government stopped processing press visas. It has become much worse in the past few weeks and security forces continue to drag protesters, activists, doctors and nurses from their homes at all hours of the night.

But it was not my occupation that caused problems. The grumpy man at the counter didn’t even ask. Unfortunate really, because I had done some serious preparation work… I wasn’t going to offer up my occupation unless they figured it out…But why so shifty you ask? Well when a Government is arbitrarily detaining its citizens, torturing them to death in prisons and kicking the crap out of human rights activists in front of their children, it’s not something you want to publicise. And they don’t permit journalists to work legally so in trying to get the story out, there are little options left.

But I digress.. back to the airport.

Bahrain had lost its sense of humour and sense of reality. I knew it as soon as I stepped into Arrivals. I was hoping for a kind looking young man, the type I might be able to convince. But, the crowd of people parted like Moses did the Red Sea and it was not the promised land that awaited, but the fiery legions of Pharaoh. The immigration official waved me towards him. Yes, you will not be lenient nor fair I thought.

I handed over my little blue book, with the Emu and Kangaroo on its cover, hoping they would give me protection. His face didn’t change. He was not a nature lover.

Our exchange was brief, something like the following:

Grumpy Man: Where are you from?

Doe eyed pessimist: Australia (I think the Emu, Kangaroo and word Australia emblazoned across my passport said it all, but I refrained from sarcasm. I’m told its the lowest form of humour.)

Grumpy Man: (studying my picture and passport details intently.) Are you here for a meeting?

Doe eyed pessimist: No (feigning shock), not at all. I’m here for a break.

Grumpy Man: To do?

Doe eye pessimist: To enjoy two days here, you know, I want to sit by the pool, maybe go to the beach, relax (I knew it was stupid as soon as the words left my mouth).

Grumpy Man continues flipping: The beach? (yes that’s what us filthy heathens do in our spare time, lather ourselves in oil, lay about with sand creeping into our nether regions and pray for damaged yet glowing skin).

As he continues flipping I see several of my Qatar visas flash by, as well as two Iranian ones. Including, unfortunately, the one that was stuck in my passport yesterday. He paused on that page, my black and white visa photo, (necessary) hijab covering my hair, stared back at me like a traitor. He’d seen enough. Abruptly, he snapped my passport shut and told me to go wait on a maroon bench next to some South Asian labourers, caught in bureaucratic limbo.

It was then I realised this was not the Bahrain I knew.

I sat and waited as half a dozen men, coming and going, pushed my little blue passport around on a table, in a little white room. Pictures of the King adorned its windows and door. Eventually I asked what was going on. They told me they were sending me back. The Immigration official said it with a half smirk on his face and as though he was doing me a grand favour, shunting me back to the glitz and fake glamour of Doha. Not even pretending to misunderstand garnered any sympathy. Why? I asked. ‘You’re a security risk,’ he replies seriously. I protests, ‘Me?’ I can’t help but laugh, ‘You can’t be serious?’ Another man, dressed in a white uniform, chimes in, ‘Don’t ask us, we’re passport control you must talk to security.’ I then tried to talk to security, the boss dressed in a white robe and headdress, he just looked at me with disgust and mumbled something. He either didn’t understand English or didn’t want to. ‘You must call the Immigration Department to find out,’ said the uniformed (or uninformed) man.

A businessman from Doha introduced himself, hearing my conundrum. His name was Reza, worked in finance and was being deported too. Apparently, Iran has agents in banking who wear purple ties as well as Jim Morrison shirts (me). Poor Reza was born with an unfortunate name, a Shia very Iranian sounding one (he was British of Pakistani decent fyi and had an Iraqi visa in his passport). We were not alone in having the great Persian Cat shed fur on our clothes. Nearby, a women chimed in, her friend's husband was Iranian. They were supposed to drive from Manama to Saudi Arabia that day together. Immigration had given them one hour to get over the border or else. Or else, she emphasized.

I would have understood if they took issue with my occupation. Persecution is the safe house of dictatorships and the press is the first to feel the guillotine. And sometimes that’s fair enough, the press is mostly full of rubbish anyway. But to see a visa in a passport and raise the national guard?

Bahrain’s Saudi backers (puppet masters as many say) are waging both an ideological and influential war with Iran, unfortunately Bahrain is the battleground. In Iran’s defence (and I can’t get into too much detail because I’m just a rookie agent without the proper security clearance) they didn’t start it. Even Julian Assange and Wikileaks said Bahrain’s government uses the threat of Iran as a reason to snatch billions in US military funding and that there is no evidence of any such threat.

My little debacle, which I’m sure has been mirrored countless times at Bahrain’s International Airport over the past two months, is just one example of the spiral out of control. Bahrain is a secular economic playground in the Persian Gulf, where Gulf Arabs, including Saudi’s, mix with ex pat – red as beetroot Brits at bars. Now it’s unrecognizable. Even from the chilly cold interior of the airport.

Just a last note of irony. The headline of the Gulf Daily Mail that day (April 21), ‘the voice of Bahrain’: ‘Bahrain’s door open to business, says King.’ Could someone please tell him I’m at the airport and the roller doors have just come down?

AUTHOR
Soraya Esfahani is a journalist based in the Middle East.

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May 24, 2011   Add Comments

Bahrain Updates #14: Monarchy and Submission

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The consequence of the utilization of “free labor” undermined the entire feudal social formation throughout Europe and laid the material basis for the modern liberal constitutional state. As the noted political economist C.B. MacPherson argued in his The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke (1962/1988), the idea of free labor conceptualizes the individual “as essentially the proprietor of his own person or capacities, owing nothing to society for them.” Freedom, as “the” human essence is portrayed in a negative sense as “freedom from dependence on the will of others,” with freedom being a function of possession. From this origin, owing to the necessity of the capitalist mode of production, society begins to be seen as constituted on a contractual basis, consisting of relations of exchange between proprietors. Consequently, MacPherson concludes, political society “became a calculated device for the protection of this property and for the maintenance of an orderly relation of exchange” (MacPherson, 1962/1988, p. 3). (Cavell, October 1, 2006, “Liberalism & Its Implications for the Middle East and North Africa,” <http://userspages.uob.edu.bh/cscpo/bcsr_paper_10_1_06_revised_pdf.pdf>).

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Folks,
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One of the most bizarre and pitiful articles to appear this past week was one which appeared in the Thursday, May 5th issue of Bahrain's Gulf Daily News entitled
"We were not involved…" (http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=305331). The article highlights the case of Mr. Faisal Jawad, CEO of the Jawad Group in Bahrain, a substantial capitalist enterprise which owns the Bahrain franchises of several well-known international chains including Costa Coffee, Burger King, Monsoon, Accessorize, French Connection UK, BHS, Travelex, Avis, Mango, Shoe Citi, Chili's, Dairy Queen, Hush Puppies and Papa John's, etc. It is being alleged that Mr. Jawad supplied pro-democracy protesters with free food while they were camped out at the Pearl Roundabout in late February and early March, before regime forces attacked, dispersed protesters, and then, on March 18th, tore down the Pearl Monument. A regime-inspired boycott is now underway against the Jawad Group's affiliates.
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For his part, Mr. Faisal Jawad denied the charges as being untrue. However, Mr. Jawad had written a letter in early March which was published in the Gulf Daily News newspaper, in which he criticized local media saying he perceived their role in the Middle East was to protect "corrupt governments and not to say the truth and expose unlimited ill-gotten wealth". As GDN reporter Tom Hanratty notes: "The letter, published on March 1, also expressed support for the international media's reporting of events in Bahrain – angering many who felt foreign journalists had been guilty of distorting the facts." Mr. Jawad's response is worth noting:  "I studied in the UK for about four or five years," he said. "In the UK I was among people and a society in which, if you have an opinion, you can say it without fearing any repercussion because, regardless of what that opinion is, it is an opinion. When I wrote the note to the GDN, I thought that in 2011 we lived in a society that would allow people to share their opinion and that's why I wrote it. Maybe, though, people here are not ready for others to air their opinion and maybe in retrospect I regret writing that letter."
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Despite Mr. Jawad's uncategorical denials of involvement in supporting the protesters, he, like all Bahrainis, is now called upon to kowtow to the autocratic monarchical power that rules the island kingdom of Bahrain. As The Republic Newspaper out of Columbus, Indiana reports: "While Bahrain's justice minister was making the latest accusations against alleged enemies of the state — this time medical staff — other officials were busy organizing a patriotic blitz that encourages pledges of loyalty on Facebook and Twitter" (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/9460204e82fc46528f920aa9e8551b0a/ML–Bahrain-Loyalty-Online/?sms_ss=twitter&at_xt=4dc4e6d35bd29f46%2C0).
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Indeed, the state-run media in Bahrain has, following the commencement of the brutal crackdown in mid-March, been promoting a regime-run so-called "Loyalty Campaign" which has government agents show up in various areas of the country, mostly shopping malls, etc., and entreat passersby to sign a loyalty oath to the monarchy. As one pro-government website states: "In what started last week as signing an allegiance pledge and Loyalty swords campaign is now turned into a movement of masses from all spectrums, turning up in numbers signing their initials supporting the wise leadership" ("Organisers aim to collect over 500,000 signatures for Loyalty Campaign" <http://www.peacebahrain.com/2011/04/organisers-aim-to-collect-over-500000-signatures-for-loyalty-campaign/>. In fact, the extreme measures being taken by the regime to show that citizens are loyal have spread fear and paranoia thoughout the kingdom. As one blogger writes: "People speak in code on the phone and constantly declare their loyalty to the government just in case" ("No Tears for Bahrain," April 7, 2011, http://middleeastrealitycheck.blogspot.com/2011/04/no-tears-for-bahrain.html).
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Americans should remember the most influential pamphlet of the revolution of 1776 was Thomas Paine's Common Sense where, in the section headed "Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession," Paine stated:

But it is not so much the absurdity as the evil of hereditary succession which concerns mankind. Did it ensure a race of good and wise men it would have the seal of divine authority, but as it opens a door to the FOOLISH, the WICKED, and the IMPROPER, it hath in it the nature of oppression. Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent. Selected from the rest of mankind, their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed in the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.

Anyone who has lived in any of the world's few remaining monarchies (only about 44 countries still present themselves as headed by a monarch, with only a handful claiming to be absolute monarchies) has likely experienced the daily acts of servility and slavish deference demanded of the citizenry. Fawning obedience to the point of obsequiousness is characteristic of what state media in such countries broadcasts and print, and oftentimes this "instruction in proper citizenship" takes of the form of citizens et al. kissing the hand of the monarch as he or she parades in front of them or, alternatively, subjects are depicted as falling on their knees or prostrating themselves in front of these self-proclaimed pooh-bahs. It involves pathetic and usually obnoxious displays of ready-compliance and sycophantic behavior. Such crawling before and submitting to and bootlicking of another human being was possible when education was reserved only for the elite, but once people realized, as Ben Franklin once said that, "The greatest monarch on the proudest throne is obliged to sit upon his own arse,"–in other words, monarchs are not naturally different from anyone else–then the aura and mystique of monarchy died. Hence, the only method for maintaining monarchical power in today's world is through coercion and brute force.
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Free people despise such spineless subservient behavior and dismiss such claims with contempt. Just as Roger Williams wrote in 1670 that "Forced worship stinks in God's nostrils," so too does forced loyalty to monarchs elicit a very foul odor in the form of an unwelcomed stench.
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Readers this week called my attention to a blog article entitled "Bahrain: Are You Confused?" and dated March 25, 2011 and written by a former Fulbright recipient, a Dr. Martin Scott Catino, who briefly taught at the University of Bahrain in the American Studies Center during the second Bush era, and who now claims to be "a Senior Military Adviser in Afghanistan, a specialist in US Foreign and Security policy". In his blog article, Dr. Catino blames radical Shia extremists for Bahrain's present chaos. He asserts that these clever insurgents are utilizing guerrilla warfare tactics in an attempt to realize "their violent dreams." Catino writes: "Radical Shia Imams parading as caring pastors mixed with Shia malcontents, human rights activists, the intelligentsia, and the young and the restless who moved about in abayas and dishdashas at schools like the University of Bahrain, where Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah and Iran’s Ali Khamenei were deemed champions of the world’s oppressed, and of course, of the Shia of Bahrain. These very people and groups are now key players of the insurgency taking place in Bahrain" (http://www.thoughts.com/martinscottcatino/the-insurgency-in-bahrain).
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Dr. Catino, of course, is entitled to his opinion about the democratic opposition and, indeed, we should welcome his contribution, for it provides us with a clear articulation of present US policy towards the six Gulf Kingdoms and, in particular, of US policy towards Bahrain, for it displays not only a disdain for the majority Shia population of Bahrain but, as well, it further evinces the same servility towards monarchy that the pro-Bush crowd exhibited during W's time in office.   Catino writes of Bahrain's King as follows:

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the ruler of Bahrain, is a powerful man, whose whit and ability to maintain control is admired, envied, and despised by the various sectarian and racial groups that walk the streets of places like Manama, the capital of Bahrain. The King is brilliant, and holds the reins of power with an ease and finesse that baffles his opponents. His ability to manage easily the diverse interests of the Sunni Arab world, the shifting sands of international economics, and the many South and Southeast Asian migrants that inhabit his island involves subtle skills that he uses confidently, grasping intangible power structures as easily as one could grasp the steering wheel of the family car. He understands every Middle Eastern leader’s most cherished secret: the most important fight is the one to stay in power. So he offers much more than crackdowns: free schooling, subsidies to the poor of his country (Shia included), and business freedoms in the local markets. In fact, the Ajam, the enterprising Persian business class of Bahrain, embrace this freedom. But more importantly they embrace the freedom to stay out of politics, which dampens the delights of the dinar.

It is all-too-often that some self-professed conservatives in the USA proclaim their love of liberty in one moment while in the next subjugating themselves to monied interests who are determined to crush the very liberty by which they speak. This, of course, is compounded when such persons claim to be supportive of republican governments (i.e. representative governments where power arises from the people) and yet grovel before unelected monarchs. And, as long as US foreign policy leaders follow such a submissive course, America will remain obedient to kings, emirs, shahs, shoguns, czars, sultans, etc.

regards,Â

csc
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Latest Updates
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For those following developments in Bahrain closely, I refer you all to The Crooked Bough website for timely updates on the political situation in the Kingdom, as it is beating most outlets at critical reportage coming out of Bahrain.
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About the author:

   Â

Until February 15th of this year, I was an Assistant Professor teaching in the American Studies Center at the University of Bahrain. I submitted my resignation following the Fall semester at the end of January, as my wife, a Moroccan national, was granted an immigrant visa to the US by the State Department with the proviso that we be residing within the USA by April 1, 2011. Little did we know in January, when I submitted my resignation, that we would be in a race for time before we could leave, as the Arab rebellions were sweeping from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen and into Bahrain and beyond. We left Bahrain on February 25th, the day of the largest demonstrations in Bahraini history, and have since been residing in Seattle, Washington.
   Â
Background on Bahrain:

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On February 14, 2011, the citizenry of Bahrain rose up in opposition to the Al Khalifa monarchy and demanded democratic reforms. Their voices were met with stiff resistance from the autocratic regime which has been in power for over 200 years now. Unbowed, the citizenry took to the Pearl Roundabout in downtown Manama with some advocating for a constitutional monarchy and others a democratic republic. In response, the regime unleashed a reign of terror down on the protesters. Meanwhile, the US was directing its focus on Libya and getting through the United Nations a resolution for a no-fly zone over that country, which passed on Thursday, March 17th. One week prior, on Friday, March 11th, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates flew to Bahrain and met with the King and the Crown Prince, and on Monday, March 14th, approximately 2000 to 3000 Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) tanks and troops rolled across the causeway from Saudi Arabia into Bahrain to crush the opposition. The next day, March 15th, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued Royal Decree No. 18 for the year 2011, declaring a three-month "State of National Safety". The Bahrain Defence Forces (BDF) subsequently began a systematic crackdown on anyone who was suspected of opposing the monarchy and calling for democracy. On March 18th, the BDF tore down the Pearl Monument, known to locals as either "Lulu" or "the GCC Monument" and to the international press as "Pearl Square" due to its similarity to Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt where protesters had gathered. The regime's crackdown is an attempt to wipe away the memory of the 2011 Bahraini Democratic Spring from the popular mindset, and they are sparing nothing to root out and crush, using force and intimidation including torture and murder, any further resistance. The silence from most of the mainstream media in America is deafening.
   Â
The fact that the US Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain and the fact that the US is completely dependent on and addicted to Saudi-monarchy oil–i.e. oil doled out by a corrupt and sclerotic regime, and that both regimes (i.e. the Al Sauds and the Al Khalifas)–indeed all GCC regimes–in turn, are kept in power by US guns, makes all the difference–for now at least. The US is clearly supporting the Al-Khalifa monarchy, putting its oil interests ahead of its avowed democratic principles. From all accounts, the beating into submission as well as the subsequent bloodbath continues in earnest. For US citizens, it is another lost opportunity… But with your help and voices, we can eventually rectify our country's policy in this regard and realign it with our country's stated principles.
   Â
US interests in the long term will ultimately be served by supporting democratic elements and, eventually, democratic regimes in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. Does that mean we should overthrow existing governments? No, but it does mean that we should not be arming, financially supporting, and enabling corrupt regimes to slaughter opposition forces advocating for democratic rights in their countries, and then remaining silent while it happens. Sycophancy in the service of autocratic rulers with decidedly undemocratic ethos is degrading and demeaning. Such a stance is an affront to humanity. Putting off the goal of aligning ourselves with democratic elements for short-term advantage will have negative repercussions not only on current US foreign policy but, as well, on US domestic policy, as millions of petro-dollars will find their way back into US politics attempting to undermine our democracy here at home. While countering theocratic influence in the region is understandable and necessary, this will require a strategy with quite a bit more sophistication than is presently being demonstrated. As well, implementing such a strategy will necessitate experienced hands who are neither intimidated by the apparent chaos often associated with democratic movements nor infatuated with monarchical tendencies and supportive of elite rule.
   Â
NOTE:

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Names and other identifying information have been removed and/or redacted in order to protect the safety of the sender[s], unless the person(s) is (are) a reporter or a public activist(s) and want their names to be known, as publicity sometimes gives them some protection from regime retaliation. If you are not a known public activist and/or reporter, please inform me if you would like your name to appear along with your report; otherwise, I will redactit to maintain your anonymity.
   Â
regards,
    Â
csc
__________________
Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D.

P.O. Box 9087
Seattle, WA 98109

———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: 2011/5/8
Subject: Bahrain updates: May 2-8
To: "Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D." ccavell@gmail.com
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[redacted]

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The past week has been a very long one. People assume every week that the government will be satisfied with the retribution acts and destructive behavior they’ve been carrying out for the past three months and for the past month and a half in particular, but the government just keeps on exceeding everybody’s expectations in their stubborn, indifferent approach, which can only express the extreme arrogance and narcissism of monarchs.

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Their “loyal” parrots are celebrating the death sentence rule, demanding more of it, and continuing their hate campaigns on the streets, at work places, and on the web. Many people are harmed at work or in their personal life because of pictures, videos, or mere allegations by “loyal citizens” online or in real life. It’s taking a toll and starting to be really dangerous.

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The degrading investigations at workplaces are still continuing. Staff are being interrogated, then punished by being fired or suspended, for “crimes” of participation at demonstrations, speaking to media channels, or merely setting foot on the roundabout.

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Several people have gone through these investigations; they are humiliating and outrageous to any free person on this world. Putting people on witch trials, telling them they are guilty of speaking an opinion or having a wish that did not sit right with the “wise leadership”.

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Believe me, you don’t appreciate freedom of speech, until you live in Bahrain these days. Many of the freedoms and basic given rights that are taken for granted all around the world every day are being horribly violated and infringed upon today in Bahrain.Â

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Today, opposition leaders went on trial in the morning. It's not over yet; they have another hearing on May 12. It's unclear, as usual, how things went inside the court. Later in the day, however, the king announces that the "State of National Safety" will be lifted on June 1, 2011, which came as a shock to pro-government crowds, especially after Parliament voted last week for the extension of the "state of national safety" for 3 more months. I guess now, both the opposition and the "loyalists", know how the parliament is structured in a manner which makes it purely a facade and not a real, effective, functional institution. The Minister of Foreign Affairs tweeted that elections will follow this. I have no idea how that will go.

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I don't believe the government is intending to implement any improvements to the situation or at all address the major issues that brought the uprising into being or the ones that caused the crackdown. I honestly think they are only announcing that they will lift the martial laws because it's hurting their pocket. We all know that the investment companies in Bahrain Financial Harbor and the twin towers in Manama have threatened to leave in June if martial laws are not lifted. Bahrain has already lost so many credits and points internationally. The Crown Prince's baby, the Formula 1, will only have a shot at taking place if the martial laws are lifted, as he was given an extension till 3 June, 2011 to confirm Bahrain's readiness to receive F1 this year in compensation of hosting the first stage as previously planned in March. The revenues and profits made in these and many other institutions/ projects/ functions all around Bahrain all go into the "good hands" of the royal family. I don't think justice will be served by June or afterwards if it were up to the royal family. Things will stay the same; only the surface will be changed, i.e. removing check points and military vehicles from the streets.

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I’m so sickened by the folly and evil surrounding me. Read my updates and you’ll get my sentiments:

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This week they include:

  • ·        Bahraini Voices;
  • ·        Media Reports;
  • ·        Video Reports;
  • ·        Picture Reports;
  • ·        History of the Monarchy in Bahrain; and
  • ·        Bahrain’s Uprising Archive.

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·        Bahraini voices:

o  Very important summary and inclusive analysis: Getting Facts Right: Who Refused Dialogue?: http://lazacode.com/net-citizen/getting-facts-right-who-refused-dialogue?utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lazacode+%28lazacode.com%29&utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedburner  The opposition did indeed refuse "unstructured dialogue", but it is the regime and the Gathering of National Unity who refused "structured dialogue".

o  Readings about the labor movement in Bahrain: http://chanad.posterous.com/

o  Several doctors were arrested last week; then, on Thursday, several female doctors were released. Many more still reside in the regime torture-full jails.

§ Physicians for Human Rights: Bahraini doctors webpage: http://bahrain.phrblog.org/

§ Missing doctors: http://bahrain.phrblog.org/the-missing/

§ Bahrain charges medics http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13267040

§ Medical Professionals Again Targeted with Arrest of President of Bahrain Medical Society and Charges Against 47 Others http://bit.ly/iW42AX

o  Amal Society (Islamic Action Society) targetted heavily by regime:

§ 2nd May: Arrest of Khalil AlHalwachi, one of the few remaining members of Amal “Islamic Action Society” left outside prison. What Fatima AlHalwachi said about her father’a arrest http://on.fb.me/kFdPHR

§ The authorities have been on a witch hunt, arresting staff and members of Amal, until they arrested Secretary General of Amal: Sheikh Mohammed Ali AlMahfoodh early on the 2nd of May as well.

·        Amal’s press release on the detention of their Secretary General and members of staff and board. http://www.amal-islami.net/index.php?plugin=news&act=news_read&id=3306Â

o  or https://www.facebook.com/notes/%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D9%85%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%8A-%D8%A3%D9%85%D9%84/arrest-of-sheikh-mohamed-ali-almahfoodh/219734108042248

o  and http://twitpic.com/4t9dpo

·        Hajar AlMahfoodh writes a letter to Obama http://www.pressenza.com/npermalink/letter-from-the-daughter-of-sheik-almahfoodh-to-obama

·        Crooked Bough:

o  Breaking news on arrest: http://www.crookedbough.com/?p=1176

o  Free Mahfoodh http://www.crookedbough.com/?p=1214

o  Arrest of Wefaq resigned Parliament Members: Mattar Ebrahim Mattar and Jawad Fairouz late night on Monday the 2nd of May:

§ AlJazeera English: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/201152205239385476.html

§ Human Rights Watch: http://www.hrw.org/node/98637

§ http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/bahrain-arrests-two-former-shiite-mps-source

§ Bahrain: Detained opposition MP Mattar Mattar interview on BBC a few weeks ago. Watch: http://bit.ly/kGfkWM

§ Mattar on AlJazeera English: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuggIgm1PfI&feature=youtu.be

§ [Arabic] BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/arabic/middleeast/2011/05/110502_bahrain_arrests.shtml

§ [Arabic] Reuters  http://ara.reuters.com/article/topNews/idARACAE7411GN20110502

o  May 3rd: Press Freedom Day: this must be a very special year for press freedom in Bahrain. We have marked a year since the closure of the independent newspaper AlWaqt, and AlWasat (the only other remaining independent newspaper) had intended to close as well, after all the drama they’ve been through last month. Press laws and prohibitions currently are as ridiculous as the laws enforced in our streets and courts these days. A very interesting year for "press freedom" in Bahrain indeed.

§ Fate of Bahraini journalists today: http://bit.ly/k3WxK5

§ Reporters Without Borders: Bahrain king is press predator: Watchdog http://bit.ly/l4CaG4

§ 2 headlines on the same GDN front page: "Press Pillar of Democracy" http://bit.ly/kjnLpz and "Newspaper to close down" http://bit.ly/jxrSJZ

§ Alwasat announces backing off decision to close down: http://www.alwasatnews.com/3165/news/read/559843/1.html

§ the Irony of all ironies: King reassures that no one will be harmed for peaceful expression of their opinion through the media within the constitution and government laws! [Arabic] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3160/news/read/553992/1.html

§ BCHR: Bahraini journalists call for a helping hand and for the adoption of measures to insure their safety: http://goo.gl/j4Thk

o  Huge trend amongst young people these days in Bahrain is reading Orwell’s 1984. Many are reading it and quoting it on their social network web pages. Definitely a healthy phenomenon.

o  Sheikh Mohammed Habib AlMeqdad, who has been a prominent leader in the recent uprising in Bahrain, called his family from jail to bring him clothes. AlMeqdad had been in hiding, and no news were heard from him or of his arrest since the 16th of March when he went into hiding. It was a great shock to many who still had faith in his safety.

o  Freedom House: Bahrain medical professionals unfairly charged: http://freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=581&alert=55

o  Bahrain: Human Rights Defender Mr.Naji Fateel at risk http://byshr.org/?p=423

o  The series of job losses continue. Last Monday, it reached Mrs Abdulhadi AlKhawaja, who was fired from Kanoo School, by order from the Ministry of Interior, along with other teachers. Many other institutions witnessed similar acts, based solely on sect, last name, political affiliation or family members’ involvement in politics!

o  Attacking and burning down of Saeed Ayyad's home, torture of Alkhawaja, activist at high risk http://ow.ly/4PgMh

o  Spying case adjourned: THE trial of a Bahraini and two Iranians accused of spying for Iran's Revolutionary Guard… http://bit.ly/lZX40w

o  Lower National Safety Court Adjourns Four Cases http://goo.gl/fb/UtWMj

o  3rd of May 2011: Bahrain house of representatives (all pro-govt now) call for 3-month extension of martial law and boycotting of Iranian products [Arabic] http://bit.ly/jzXPxy

o  8th of May 2011: King announces that the State of National Safety will be lifted as of 1st of June, 2011 on the same day that opposition leaders (including Wa’ad’s Ebrahim Sharif, Haq’s Hassan Mushaimae, and Wafa’s AbdulWahhab Hussain) are put on trial:

§ Important information on detainees put on trial http://bahraincenter.blogspot.com/2011/05/important-information-about-trial-of.html

§ http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/08/us-bahrain-trial-idUSTRE7470Q220110508

§ http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/bahrain-puts-opposition-leaders-activists-on-trial/

§ http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/bahrain-postpones-high-profile-trial-to-may-12-1.804811

§ http://akrockefeller.com/blog/bahrain-pro-democracy-activists-will-stand-trial/

§ http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110508/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_bahrain_5

§ Nabeel Rajab of Bahrain Center for Human Rights tweeted:

·        “both Mr. Abdul Wahab Hussain and Mr. Hassan Mushema were limping while entering the military court #Bahrain”

·        “الكثير من المعتقلين الذين قدموا اليوم للمحكمة كانت عيونهم حمراء مثل الدم وينتابهم ضعف في التركيز وبقوا مقيدين طوال فترة سجنهم” translation “lots of the detainees that were brought to court today had bloodshot eyes and had low concentration and were handcuffed the entire time they’ve been in prison”

·        “سمح للاهالي بالجلوس مع المعتقلين حوالي ربع ساعة بحضور الامن واغلبهم تحدث عن حسن المعاملة حتى لو ان وجوههم واجسادهم لا تبدوا كذلك” translation “families were allowed to have 15 minutes with their detained family member(s) in security forces presence. Most spoke of being treated well, even though their faces and bodies showed otherwise”

·        Media reports:

o  US Labor urges trade pact with Bahrain be suspended: Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/06/us-bahrain-usa-trade-idUSTRE7456AP20110506

o  'Bahrain rights situation frightening' – Interview with Nabeel Rajab http://ow.ly/4KGcn – I can’t see this interview because the Press TV website is blocked in Bahrain.

o  US Silent: Bahrain Authorities Putting Doctors and Nurses on Trial for Caring for the Wounded http://bit.ly/kHywpI

o  Human Rights Now: Will Bahrain Carry Out Four Executions? http://bit.ly/mO4j0p

o  BD1,000 paid to crossfire victim's relatives: RELATIVES of an Indian man, who was killed in crossfire during cla… http://bit.ly/lGRCAs (NOTE: there was no crossfire!  Riot police were attacking citizens on Budiya highway with fire; that’s what it was. Firearms that they claim they never used against people.)

o  After spending weeks celebrating the Prime Minister, now they remember to praise the king: Capital Governorate organises line-up of festivities to show allegiance to the leadership http://goo.gl/fb/AdjU3

o  WLCentral: 2011-05-01 Reports of Shia mosques and matams being destroyed or vandalized in #Bahrain http://wlcentral.org/node/1725

o  Obama urges Bahrain's monarch http://skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=607506&vId

o  Obama urges Bahrain king to respect 'universal rights' http://cot.ag/kogwe7

o  After crushed protests, Bahrain is accused of deepened oppression of Shiites http://goo.gl/3NRVs

o  Bahrain's rulers press crackdown and widen loyalty drive to the web http://fb.me/WoQXaY94

o  Bahrain doctors to be tried for helping protesters  http://bit.ly/kTvc8a

o  Bahraini authorities announced charges against the medical staff http://byshr.org/?p=410

o  We all know the purpose of these offices and who the passports will go to: Bahrain to open more passport offices http://www.tradearabia.com/news/LAW_197804.html

o  ARTICLE19 calling on Bahraini government to put immediate stop to the violent crackdown on the protests & on the press http://ow.ly/4LVYf

o  Statement from Bahrain state news agency regarding arrest and charges against 47 doctors and medics http://bit.ly/iQAXSV

o  Bahrain king orders end to emergency rule as opposition leaders go on trial: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/bahrain-accuses-21-opposition-figures-of-seeking-to-topple-monarchy/2011/05/07/AFiY5QMG_story.html

o  Bahrain king orders end of emergency law: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/2011581342480276.html

o  Reuters: Bahrain loses allure as offshore money haven http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/04/bahrain-assets-idUSLDE7430H920110504

o  UN urges Bahrain to free detained activists – http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/201155155822502904.html

o  UN human rights chief voices deep concern about Bahrain crackdown http://ow.ly/1cxaaE

o  Counterrevolution in the Gulf in Foreign Policy http://tinyurl.com/6grkue9

·        Video reports:

o  The brave men of Bahrain, ganging up on the weak: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pi1o0_pSDZY&feature=share

o  Al Jazeera English: Relatives fearful over Bahrain trials http://english.aljazeera.net/video/middleeast/2011/05/201151145514937193.html ; Dr Farida AlDallal, Dr Ali AlEkri’s wife, who was also arrested & beaten under custody, says that he has had no access to lawyers.

o  I’m not usually a fan of turbans talking, but this one is making a direct, simple point worth hearing by western communities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a1o6lxFp-4&feature=youtu.be

o  Bahriani Unions May Day Message http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArmwGVTF6Jk

o  Common Bahraini government answers:

§ 1: Minister of Health:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrTTdjH3BWc&feature=youtu.be

§ 2: Minister of Foreign Affairs:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vwKa2IYaHY&feature=related

o  Outrageous video: pro-government crowd arms children and lectures them on defending themselves (against?). Man lecturing says you must sacrifice your blood; remember your loyalty is to Allah, Land, the King. The situation requires this from you as youth. We are sending you to a dangerous position, but you must do this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtTJ2OQlwTI These are the same people who accused the opposition of abusing children for letting them participate in peaceful protests and “contaminating their minds with politics”.

o  Shia mosque spray painted with words cursing opposition and hailing the king: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgKMPmVewiM

o  [Arabic] Very interesting response from Egypt by Dr Mohammed Salim AlAwwa on Bahrain’s uprising: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzCwo2J1wXo&feature=share

o  Candle vigil in Sanabis against the execution court rule: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBJ_6GAAnfU

o  The Stream: On OBL death and Bahrain http://stream.aljazeera.com/episode/episode-2566

·        Picture reports:

o  Bin Laden lamented by the pro-government crowds https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.199192853455883.44617.191271114248057

·        History of the monarchy in Bahrain:

o  Belgrave Diaries: http://www.scribd.com/doc/54167454/AlKhalifa-Scandals-from-Belgrave-s-Diaries

·        Bahrain’s uprising Archive:

o   March 2011 events:

§ Bahrain Opposition VS State Sponsored Terrorism http://www.scribd.com/doc/54088179/Bahrain-Opposition-vs-State-Sponsored-Terrorism

§ Students waiting outside UoB shot at by government agents: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgwRGR9cbFQ (the only front with such weapons in Bahrain)

o  February 18th, 2011: One of the most iconic videos of the Bahraini uprising: Bahrain army shoots protesters with automatic guns; the protesters rescue the wounded and continue to march slowly and eventually do a peaceful sitting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEw3E3POc7Y&skipcontrinter=1

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Date: Sun, May 8, 2011 at 6:10 PM
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Twenty one trial defendents named

Posted: 08 May 2011 02:46 PM PDT

Britons named in Bahrain ‘terror trial’

Posted: 08 May 2011 02:30 PM PDT

Bahraini state television announces that twenty one anti-government activists are being put on trial for crimes including collaborating with terrorist groups and trying to overthrow the government.

While Bahrain demolishes mosques, U.S. stays silent

Posted: 08 May 2011 02:25 PM PDT

In the ancient Bahraini village of Aali, where some graves date to 2000 B.C., the Amir Mohammed Braighi mosque had stood for more than 400 years – one of the handsomest Shiite Muslim mosques in this small island nation in the Persian Gulf. Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/05/08/2858559/while-bahrain-demolishes-mosques.html#ixzz1LnZXYsuq

Bahrain to end emergency, tries opposition heads

Posted: 08 May 2011 02:18 PM PDT

King Hamad on Sunday ordered an early end to Bahrain's state of emergency declared in mid-March to tackle Shiite-led protests, as leading opposition figures went on trial in a court set up under the law.

Ruling Sunnis in Bahrain detain Shiite teachers, students

Posted: 08 May 2011 02:17 PM PDT

Empowered by a six-week-old state of emergency, the Sunni minority government of Bahrain has arrested scores of Shiite women teachers and schoolgirls, held them for days in prison and subjected them to physical and verbal abuse, according to victims, human rights advocates and a former member of parliament. Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/08/2207527/ruling-sunnis-in-bahrain-detain.html#ixzz1LnXNAdOT

Bahrain’s king: state of emergency will end in June

Posted: 08 May 2011 10:50 AM PDT

The king of Bahrain has decreed that the country's state of emergency will end June 1, state media reported Sunday.

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———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, May 8, 2011 at 4:13 PM
Subject: Updates on the trial, National Safety to be lifted on June 1
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
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Dear Friends,

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To update you on the outcome of today’s trial, the hearing was adjourned until Thursday, 12th May. The detainees were brought in all wearing the same outfit, grey clothes that covered the arms and legs despite the increasingly warm weather in Bahrain. They all appeared to have lost weight during their time in detention. Mr. Mohammed Hassan Jawad Parweez had lost all hearing ability. At the time of his detention he was hard of hearing and used a device to hear. At the hearing he could not hear at all and did not respond when his name was called by the judge until he was nudged by the detainee standing next to him. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja had the most obvious wounds and injuries on him. He had stitches under his left eye and the left side of his face was swollen. At the end of the hearing as the judge was bringing the hearing to a close the detainees demanded they be given a chance to speak as they said they were being kept in solitary confinement and wanted a guarantee that the ongoing and continuous torture would be stopped. The security forces started shouting at them and removed them from the court room.

Â

The families of the detainees were able to speak to them for approximately 10 minutes. Some of the families were not present as they had not been informed of the hearing. Despite it being broadcasted in local newspapers that families had been informed of the trial, all families at the hearing confirmed they knew only because they were following the news the night before.

Â

Ebrahim Sharif told his family that he was not aware of the charges against him until the time of the hearing.He seemed to have lost approximately 15 kilos due to ill treatment.

Â

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Mr. Alkhawaja's family were able to confirm today, after meeting with him briefly after the court session, that he had sustained 4 fractures to the left side of his face, including one in his jaw. He consequently had to undergo a major 4 hour surgery where they had to take bone from his skull to replace the broken bones in his face. He also had stitches above his left eye. They say that as a result of this he can barely eat and cannot smile due to the pain. The healing process has been slow because he had been on a hunger strike because he did not have a lawyer.Again, I urge all parties to send international observers to the next hearing on Thursday.

Â

In other news, the King of Bahrain has announced that State of National Safety is to be lifted on the 1st of June. http://www.bna.bh/portal/en/news/455725

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The Bahrain petroleum company today fired 55 of it’s Shia’a employees, making the number now 350 employees fired.

Â

Regards,

Â

Â

Maryam Al-Khawaja

Contact:

+44-7587303080 / +1(401)572-6597

Head of Foreign Relations Office

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

Â

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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Sun, May 8, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Subject: maryam tweets – good update bits
To: Colin Cavell <ccavell@gmail.com>
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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Sun, May 8, 2011 at 4:21 PM
Subject: While Bahrain Demolishes Mosques, US Stays Silent
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While Bahrain Demolishes Mosques, US Stays Silent

Sunday 8 May 2011
by: Roy Gutman, McClatchy Newspapers

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(Photo: daoro [3])

Manama, Bahrain – In the ancient Bahraini village of Aali, where some graves date to 2000 B.C., the Amir Mohammed Braighi mosque had stood for more than 400 years — one of the handsomest Shiite Muslim mosques in this small island nation in the Persian Gulf.

Today, only bulldozer tracks remain.

In Nwaidrat, where anti-government protests began Feb. 14, the Mo'men mosque had long been a center for the town's Shiite population — photos show it as a handsome, square building neatly painted in ochre, with white and green trim, and a short portico in dark gray forming the main entrance.

Today, only the portico remains.

"When I was a child, I used to go and pray with my grandfather," said a 52-year-old local resident, who asked to be called only "Abu Hadi. "The area used to be totally green, with tiers of sweet water wells."

"Why did they destroy this mosque?" Abu Hadi wailed. "Muslims have prayed there for decades."

In Shiite villages across this island kingdom of 1.2 million, the Sunni Muslim government has bulldozed dozens of mosques as part of a crackdown on Shiite dissidents, an assault on human rights that is breathtaking in its expansiveness.

Authorities have held secret trials where protesters have been sentenced to death, arrested prominent mainstream opposition politicians, jailed nurses and doctors who treated injured protesters, seized the health care system that had been run primarily by Shiites, fired 1,000 Shiite professionals and canceled their pensions, detained students and teachers who took part in the protests, beat and arrested journalists, and forced the closure of the only opposition newspaper.

Nothing, however, has struck harder at the fabric of this nation, where Shiites outnumber Sunnis nearly 4 to 1, than the destruction of Shiite worship centers.

The Obama administration has said nothing in public about the destruction.

Bahrain — and its patron, Saudi Arabia — are longtime U.S. allies, and Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.

Members of the Shiite opposition assembled a list of 27 mosques and other religious structures demolished or damaged in the crackdown. A tour by McClatchy of several townships suggests the number of buildings destroyed is far greater.

The demolitions are carried out daily, Shiite leaders say, with work crews often arriving in the dead of night, accompanied by police and military escorts. In many cases, the workers have hauled away the rubble, leaving no trace, before townspeople awake.

Bahrain's minister of justice and Islamic affairs, Sheikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdulla al Khalifa, defended the demolitions in an interview, claiming that any mosque demolished had been built illegally, recently, and without permission.

"These are not mosques. These are illegal buildings," he said.

That claim, however, is easily challenged. In Aali, for example, the government rerouted a planned highway some years back so as to preserve the Amir Mohammed Braighi mosque, residents say.

McClatchy visited three other sites where "before" photos of the destroyed mosques showed they were well maintained, decades-old structures.

Some sites had a wistful air. At the Sheikh Aabed Mosque in the village of Sitra, once a ramshackle building that residents said was more than a century old, prayer rugs and other religious paraphernalia covered the ground.

On Wednesday, the State Department told McClatchy that it's "concerned by the destruction of religious sites." The statement noted that the Bahraini government had international obligations to preserve the common cultural heritage.

In private, U.S. officials are harsher. One, who's not in Bahrain, said that by bulldozing Shiite mosques and persecuting the political opposition, the government was treating its people like a "captive population."

Another U.S. official visiting the area described the Sunni leadership as "vindictive" and indicated the Obama administration was deeply worried about Bahrain's rapid downward spiral. Both officials asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Shiites have long complained of bias and discrimination here, despite massively outnumbering the entrenched Khalifa dynasty, whose prime minister, Sheikh Khalifa ibn Salman al Khalifa, 75, has held the office for the past 40 years — a current world record.

In mid-March, the government, after a month of protests, abandoned dialogue with moderate Shiites and Sunnis and invited Saudi Arabia to dispatch some 1,500 troops to help quell the unrest. The government imposed a state of emergency and began a crackdown on dissent. Among the first government acts after Saudi troops arrived was the destruction of the iconic Pearl Square, the traffic circle where demonstrators had camped out for weeks.

The government even recalled the half-dinar coins that featured the roundabout.

Most ominous is that hate speech of the sort that preceded the 1994 Rwandan genocide is now allowed in public. The pro-government English language Gulf Daily News last Sunday gave prominence to a reader's letter that compared Shiites to "termites" that should be exterminated.

"The moral is: to get rid of the white ants so they don't come back . . . " said the letter, signed only, "Sana P S."

Bahrain television has carried the canard that the Shiite sect allows its followers to lie, implying that what they say can't be trusted.

The crackdown also threatens to turn what had been an internal conflict into an international one.

Shiite led-Iran, which lies across the Gulf, is actively vying for influence in this predominantly Shiite state and has condemned the organized destruction of Shiite culture. The upheaval also has stirred passions in Shiite-ruled Iraq.

But Arab language television channels, including Al Jazeera, which is owned by the emir of Qatar, and Al Arabiya, which is Saudi owned, have been mostly silent about the wanton destruction.

Interviewed Monday, Sheikh Khalid, the justice minister, brought Arabic language spreadsheets stating the reasons for destruction as well as a book of records of the demolition program, complete with photographs. But he couldn't locate a reference to or photographs of Nwaidrat's Mo'men mosque in his briefing book, which listed all structures by number, not name.

He declined to provide a copy of the briefing book or the spreadsheet to McClatchy, saying they were "internal correspondence," and asked that no photograph be taken of him holding the briefing book.

Asked whether tearing down a long-standing, functioning place of worship would be viewed as a criminal offense in Bahrain, Sheikh Khalid appeared taken aback.

"If there is a fault or a mistake and (they) can prove it, the same place will be rebuilt in a much, much better shape," he later said.

And if they were operating under the law, why did the state demolition crews destroy the building after dark, when residents couldn't photograph the action?

"It is very difficult to do it in the morning. It is a kind of respect for people's psychology," Sheikh Khalid replied. "We were trying to put it in a way that it will not hurt he people. At least they do not see it while it is being demolished."

Because the material he was provided didn't list mosques by name, the justice minister also couldn't say for sure whether other religious structures visited by McClatchy were old construction, new construction, legal or illegal, or on private or public land.

He said there'd been 41 "procedures" against religious structures in Bahrain's capital, Manama, but in many instances, those taken down were just temporary structures. He could only point to two Sunni religious structures that had been taken down.

Sheikh Khalid himself had earlier stated publicly that Bahrain had approximately 600 religious structures, and only 10 percent had been demolished. But he declined to confirm that figure.

Every foreign resident and most Bahrainis contacted by McClatchy seemed deeply discouraged about the future of communal relations on this once-promising island, but Justice Minister Khalid disagreed.

"I think we've reached the maximum bottom we can reach," he said. "My conviction is that things will not get much worse." One day later, he chaired a press conference where he announced plans for the trial of 47 doctors and other medical personnel.

Asked Monday if the trial might not remind many abroad of the show-trials that dictators such as Joseph Stalin had held, Sheikh Khalid said quietly, "There were also trials of doctors at Nuremberg."

He was referring to the trials of 21 physicians who took part in the Nazi program to euthanize the mentally ill, retarded and physically disabled or in medical experiments on patients without their permission.Â

(Hannah Allam in Cairo contributed to this story.)


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Date: Sat, May 7, 2011 at 6:09 PM
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Detainees appearing in military court on Sunday are named

Posted: 07 May 2011 03:13 PM PDT

Emergency UK briefing on the human rights situation in Bahrain

Posted: 07 May 2011 10:44 AM PDT

Islamic Human Rights Commission and the Lord Avebury hold an emergency briefing on the human rights situation in Bahrain.

Campaign to try Bahrain Royal Family for War Crimes

Posted: 07 May 2011 09:35 AM PDT

Bahraini’s take torture evidence to UN

Posted: 07 May 2011 09:32 AM PDT

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will decide this week as to whether it plans to accept a case of war crimes against Bahrain’s government. A group of Bahrainis living in Britain, with a team of international lawyers, travelled to The Hague last week to present their report to the prosecutor.

U.S. labor urges trade pact with Bahrain be suspended

Posted: 07 May 2011 09:31 AM PDT

The largest U.S. labor group wants President Barack Obama's administration to suspend a free trade pact with Bahrain over human rights abuses in the kingdom's crackdown on anti-government protests.

Bahrain’s rulers cast net for loyalty oaths online

Posted: 07 May 2011 09:30 AM PDT

While Bahrain's justice minister was making the latest accusations against alleged enemies of the state – this time medical staff – other officials were busy organizing a patriotic blitz that encourages pledges of loyalty on Facebook and Twitter. Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/05/06/3609239/bahrains-rulers-cast-net-for-loyalty.html#ixzz1LgWQBYgH

Free Ebrahim Sharif, a Political Prisoner in Bahrain

Posted: 07 May 2011 05:49 AM PDT

Ebrahim Sharif is a 53-year-old Bahraini politician, businessman, husband, father — and now, a political prisoner. He serves as the secretary general of the National Democratic Action Society (also known as Waad), a secular, moderate, and peaceful political opposition group in Bahrain.

University of Bahrain and attacks on the university students – Chronology of events

Posted: 07 May 2011 04:32 AM PDT

Ongoing incommunicado and arbitrary detention of Mr. Abdulhadi Al Khawaja

Posted: 07 May 2011 04:30 AM PDT

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing incommunicado and arbitrary detention of Mr. Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, former MENA Director at Front Line and former President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR).

Shooting from passing car at university (video)

Posted: 07 May 2011 04:28 AM PDT

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———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, May 7, 2011 at 5:24 PM
Subject: Important information about the trial of prominent Bahraini's on Sunday (today)
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
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Dear Friends,
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To give you a quick overview on tomorrows case:

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There are several things worth mentioning. The people going on trial are of very diverse backgrounds and from different political societies and/or organizations. Some of these detainees were in detention during the beginning of the mass pro-democracy protests after they were arrested during the previous crackdown in August and then released in late February with amnesty from the King.
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The way in which these arrests and detentions have been carried out have lacked the most basic of legal and human rights. The detainees were not allowed conversations with their lawyers, and those allowed to call their families, were allowed one phone call which would always be less than a minute after approximately 10 days of arrest. During those 10 days they were not allowed any type of contact with anyone. None were allowed to meet their families. Most of the arrests took place in night raids between 1 and 4am. No warrants were provided at the time of the arrest, many were beaten during the arrest, and we have received information from reliable sources that many were subjected to severe torture during their detention. None of the detention locations of these detainees were known.
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The detainees:

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Abdulwahab Hussain Ali is the official spokesman of AlWafa' society. He is well known and respected in Bahrain as a philosopher and a writer. He spoke to international media about the situation in Bahrain.
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Ibrahim Sharif Abdulraheem Mossa is the president of the National Action Democrat Society (Waad). He is a liberal Sunni and Waad was the first society to be shut down by the government after the protests. He spoke to international media about the situation in Bahrain.
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Hassan Ali Mushaima is the president of the Haq movement and is also a respected religious scholar. He was tried in absentia during the crackdown that started last August. Mushaima reported to the UN and also spoke at the House of Lords in the United Kingdom about violations in Bahrain. His son Mohammed Mushaima was sentenced during the August crackdown to one year imprisonment for taking pictures of unrest in Bahrain and broadcasting them internationally.
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Abdulhadi Al Khawaja is an internationally prominent human rights defender. He was one of the founders of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and recently worked as the Middle East and North Africa Region regional director at Frontline Defenders. He has been arrested several times previously and beaten by security forces when participating in peaceful protests. He is also a Danish citizen. His two sons-in-law were arrested during the raid in which he was arrested. They remain in detention today.
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Abduljalil Abdullah Al Singace is head of the human rights office at Haq movement. He was arrested in mid-august during the previous crackdown and released in late February after the mass protests. He has been a prominent figure in speaking internationally about human rights violations in Bahrain. He is also a blogger. He suffers from child's paralysis and relies on his wheelchair for movement. His eldest son Hussain Al Singace is in detention and his other son Hassan is in hiding as they are looking for him. His daughter Zahra was arrested and interrogated for several hours then released.
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Mohammed Habib Al Safaf (AlMuqdad) is a prominent religious figure in Bahrain, head AlZahraa Society for Orphans and is also an activist. He has been known to speak out and criticize the government on human rights violations. He was arrested during the crackdown last August, and when released in late February, the centre was able to document the severity of the torture he had been subjected to. He previously had filed a case against the Minister of Interior for the use of the illegal bird shotgun against civilians. He is also a Swedish citizen. AlMuqdad spoke at the House of Lords in the United Kingdom about violations in Bahrain.
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Saeed Mirza Ahmed AlNouri is a prominent religious figure in Bahrain as well as an active member of AlWafa'. He has been known to speak out and criticize the government on human rights violations. He was arrested during the crackdown last August, and when released in late February, the centre was able to document the severity of the torture he had been subjected to. His brother was also arrested, Maytham AlNouri.
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Abduljalil Mansoor Makki AlMuqdad: is a prominent religious figure and head of AlWafa'. He is known to speak about violations in Bahrain during Friday prayer sermons. He is Mohammed Habib AlMuqdad's cousin. His brother was also arrested, Ahmed Radhi AlMuqdad. He spoke in international media outlets about violations in Bahrain.
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AlHurr Yousif Mohammed AlSumaikh is a member of the Haq movement. He was arrested during the crackdown last August and subjected to torture then released in late February.
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Abdullah Isa Al Mahroos is a prominent religious figure in Bahrain. He is the vice president of the AlZahraa Scoeity for Orphans. He has been known to speak out and criticize the government on human rights violations. He was arrested during the crackdown last August, and when released in late February, the centre was able to document the severity of the torture he had been subjected to.
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Salah Hubail Al Khawaja is a former member of the Amal Society. During the recent mass pro-democracy protests he documented human rights violations and reported them through the international media. He is also Abdulhadi's younger brother. His wife was subjected to sexual harassment during the arrest.
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Mohammed Hassan Jawad Parweez is a human rights defender who was also arrested then released during the crackdown last August. He is well known for speaking out against violations in Bahrain and he was the oldest detainee during the previous crackdown.
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Mohammed Ali Ismael is a social activist.
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Being tried in absentia:

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Aqeel Ahmed Al Mafoodh is an independent political activist. He was arrested during the crackdown in August and was subjected to the most severe forms of torture. He headed the media tent during the mass pro-democracy protests at the Pearl Roundabout and spoke to the international media about violations in Bahrain. His two sons, Ahmed AlMahfoodh and Mahmood AlMahfoodh, as well as his brother, Fadhel AlMahfoodh, were arrested to force him to hand himself in.
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Ali Hassan Abdullah AbdulEmam is a prominent blogger and founder of popular BahrainOnline Forum. He was arrested during the previous crackdown in August and he spoke about the torture he had been subjected to after his release in late February. He did interviews with international media and participated in international conferences for bloggers.
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Abdulghani Ali Khanjar is the head of the Anti-Torture committee and is an activist who was arrested during the crackdown in August and subjected to severe torture. AlKhanjar participated in public events internationally about the human rights violations in Bahrain. AlKhanjar spoke at the House of Lords and to international media about violations in Bahrain.
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Saeed Abdulnabi AlShehabi is the president of the Bahrain Freedom Movement and has lived most of his life in the United Kingdom. He is known to be vocal about human rights abuses in Bahrain and was tried in absentia during the crackdown last August.
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Abdulraoof Al Shayeb is the head of AlKhalas Movement in the United Kingdom and he had moved to the UK to seek political asylum a few years back after being tortured by Bahraini authorities. He was also an active member of the Torture Victims Committee. Al Shayeb spoke to the international media about violations in Bahrain. Last night security forces raided his wife's kindergarten and vandalized it. They also arrested his son, Taleb AlShayeb, then released him a few hours later.
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Abbas Al Omran is an active member of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and moved to the United Kingdom seeking political asylum after he was arrested and tortured a few years back. AlOmran speaks to international media about violations in Bahrain.
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Ali Hassan Mushaima is outspoken critic of the Bahraini government and a member of the Committee for the Unemployed. He sought political asylum in the United Kingdom after being arrested and tortured by the Bahraini Authorities. He is above mentioned Hassan Mushaima's son. He speaks to international media about violations in Bahrain.
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The announcement of the trial on the Bahrain News Agency: http://www.bna.bh/portal/en/news/455661.
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The Charges:
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In regards to the charges brought against the detainees that are based upon articles of Bahrain Penal Code 1976, the law no. 58 for 2006 related to the protection of society against terrorist acts, law related to money laundering and financing terrorism for the year 2001 and the law related to meetings and processions for 2006, all of the accusations are expressed in a very vague and imprecise manner. In fact, the law that the allegations derive from is of a very ambiguous nature itself. This in practice allows the prosecution to decide its extensive interpretation and application. In accordance with the international standards, the prosecution would have to provide a very strong and unequivocal evidence in order to be successful as most of the alleged charges carry the sentence of life imprisonment. Moreover, one of the allegations based upon article 122 of the Penal Code 1976, that alleges spying and communicating on behalf of a foreign country against the State of Bahrain, if proven, will mandate a penalty as extreme as capital punishment. The lightest possible sentence for the detainees in this case is a prison sentence of no less than five years. This can only be in the situation if the accused is proven to be only guilty of one of the twelve of the allegations; namely joining any society which actions are deemed to be of a „terrorist” nature as defined in Article 1 of the law no. 58 for 2006 related to the protection of society against terrorist acts.
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Regards,
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Maryam Al-Khawaja

Contact:

+44-7587303080 / +1(401)572-6597

Head of Foreign Relations Office

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

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———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, May 7, 2011 at 3:13 PM
Subject: URGENT: 21 prominent Bahraini's to go on trial tomorrow morning.
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
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Dear Friends,

Bahraini authorities have announced that 21 one people are to be put on trial tomorrow at 8am (Bahrain time). Lawyers were informed less than 12 hours before the trial. This is an urgent call to send international observers, lawyers and human rights defenders as well as country officials to attend the hearing.

As taken from the Bahrain News Agency:

Twenty-one suspects referred to National Safety Court
Manama, May 7 (BNA) Military Public Prosecutor at the BDF stated that the military prosecution had referred 21 suspects to the National Safety Court involved in the case of the terrorist organization related to the attempt to overthrow the government by force and in liaison with a terrorist organization working for a foreign country. The military public prosecutor had formed an investigation team for the case comprising several public prosecutors and 14 suspects were questioned.

Those questioned included Abdulwahab Hussain Ali, Ibrahim Sharif Abdulraheem Mossa, Hassan Ali Mushaima, Abdulhadi Al Khawaj, Abduljalil Abdullah Al Singas, Mohammed Habib Al Safaf, Saeed Mirza Ahmed, Abduljalil Mansoor Makki, Al Hurra Yousif Mohammed, Abdullah Isa Al Mahroos, Salah Hubail Al Khawaj, Mohammed Hassan Jawad and Mohammed Ali Ismael.

Meanwhile, the rest of the suspects were referred to the court in the same case in absentia due to them not being arrested yet warrants were sent for their arrest via the Interpol for those abroad. These included Akeel Ahmed Al Mafoodh, Ali Hassan Abdullah, Abdulghani Ali Khanjar, Saeed Abdulnabi Shehab, Abdulraoof Al Shayeb, Abbas Al Umran and Ali Hassan Mushaima.

Meanwhile, the military public prosecutor affirmed that the suspects are accused of the following:

1. Organising and managing a terrorist group for the overthrow and the change of the country’s constitution and the royal rule in accordance with article (1,6) of the law no. 58 for 2006 related to the protection of society against terrorist acts.

2. The seeking and correspondence with a terrorist organization abroad working for a foreign country to conduct heinous acts against the Kingdom of Bahrain in accordance with article (122) of the criminal law for the 1976.

3. An attempt to overthrow and change the country’s constitution and Royal rule by force in accordance with article (148) of the criminal law for 1976.

4. An attempt to incite and solicit the overthrow and change the country’s constitution and Royal rule by force in accordance with article (160) of the criminal law for 1976.

5. The collection and providing of money for the terrorist group with the knowledge of its practices and terrorist activities in accordance with law related to money laundering and financing terrorism for the year 2001.

6. The obtaining of publications that contain content inciting the overthrow of the governing law in the country by force in accordance with article (161) of the same law.

7. Insult the army according to the article (216) of the same law.

8. Inciting publicly towards the hatred of the governing law of the country in accordance to article no (165) of the same law.

9. Broadcasting false news and rumours that caused the threatening of public security and inflecting damage to public interest in accordance to article (168) of the same law.

10. Inciting the hatred of a certain sect of people in accordance to article (172) of the same law.

11. Inciting incompliance with the law that is considered a crime in accordance with article (173) of the same law.

12. Organising and participating in rallies without the permission of the specialized body according to article (1,2,3,9,13) of the law related to meetings and processions for 2006.

The military public prosecutor affirmed that the military prosecution had maintained all the judiciary assurances for suspects arrested in accordance to the laws especially that related to contacting their relatives and enabling their attorneys to attend the questioning sessions.

h.s

BNA 2113 GMT 2011/05/07
I will update you about the trial tomorrow as soon as any information is provided.

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Maryam Al-Khawaja

Contact:

+44-7587303080 / +1(401)572-6597

Head of Foreign Relations Office

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Sat, May 7, 2011 at 2:33 PM
Subject: Arab Spring Comes in Western Arms
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Published on Truthout (http://www.truthout.org)

Home > Arab Spring Comes in Western Arms

Arab Spring Comes in Western Arms

By Yana
Created 2011-05-07 06:33

Arab Spring Comes in Western Arms

Saturday 7 May 2011
by: Simba Russeau, Inter Press Service [3]

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Tear gas is fired on Egyptian protesters marching during demonstrations in Cairo on Jan. 28, 2011. (Photo: Scott Nelson / The New York Times)

Cairo – Global spending on arms in 2010 were an estimated 1.6 trillion dollars, with governments in the Middle East dishing out more than 111 billion for weapons – raising questions as to whether Western arms suppliers circumvented international treaties by exporting to repressive regimes.

Last year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt accounted for over 75 percent of U.S. arms sales – with Saudi Arabia ordering more than 60 billion dollars in weaponry, making it the leading buyer.Â

"There is no doubt that the intersection of arms sales and human rights is a sticky one, and late last year the [Government Accountability Office] GAO reported that the U.S. Defence and State Departments haven’t always documented their reasons for such sales consistently," Laicie Olson, senior policy analyst with the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington told IPS.Â

According to reports, the U.S. is the leading supplier of conventional arms to the Middle East, surpassing Russia – which is the world’s second largest arms supplier – by nearly 20 percent.Â

Large defence contractors such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin are some of the major profiteers – these companies and their employees depend on arms sales for a significant portion of their revenue.Â

However, in a region that is said to be one of the most militarised in the world, human rights advocates claim that the U.S. continues to circumvent legislation like the Leahy Amendment, which prohibits U.S. arms sales to governments that fail to curb grave human rights violations.Â

Countries like Saudi Arabia whose human rights record in regards to migrant domestic worker abuse, women’s rights and upholding a juvenile death penalty have come under particular scrutiny.Â

"There does seem to be a level of reform there that needs to be undertaken. However, there are also cases in which U.S. arms sales have provided an inroad for upholding human rights," Olson said.Â

"In Egypt, the U.S. was able to exert a fair amount influence due to its long-time support of the military. There were a few small breaks in this trend but, ultimately, Egypt did not go the way of so many other countries in the Middle East who seem to have decided the only way to quell a revolution is to [literally] kill it."Â

Critics argue that the Egyptian military was right in line with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen in their use of U.S.-made tear gas, tanks and other types of equipment to brutally crack down on anti-regime rebellions.Â

"In the Middle East you’re seeing tear gas, water cannons, shotguns, firearms and armoured vehicles being used to disperse protests and for law enforcement or internal security operations that in some cases have involved lethal force," Helen Hughes, a researcher with the UK-based Amnesty International told IPS.Â

Arms export licences from European Union (EU) member states such as France, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Malta, Bulgaria, Spain, Belgium and Poland to Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia doubled from 985 million euros in 2008 to 2 billion euros in 2009.Â

In February of this year, the UK government revoked 52 licences for Bahrain and Libya due to their brutal crackdown on dissent. They also implemented an arms embargo on Libya in response to U.N. Resolution 1973. A fourth quarter listing in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Strategic Export Control Reports revealed that in 2010 combat aircraft and small arms totalling 3.76 million pounds were licensed by the UK to Libya.Â

"With the EU, which actually already has an export control regime that is called the EU Common Position on Export Controls you have a criteria on human rights that relates to internal repression and serious human rights violations as well as also international humanitarian law," explained Hughes.Â

"But it seems that from the transfers that we’ve been monitoring over the last five years – in relation to say for example Libya, Bahrain or elsewhere in the region – that the governments haven’t been rigorously complying with that criteria."Â

The hope is that "with the international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) there would be a much clearer and stricter obligation on states to prohibit arms transfers where a potential risk exists and also a methodology to assist in regulating this international law," Hughes added.Â

According to Olson, the ATT – which was created to curb the irresponsible trade and transfer of arms – raises some important questions about the limitations of arms sales, what they currently are, and maybe what they should be.Â

But there are problems. "Under the ATT the U.S. and UK would be able to arm Muammar Gaddafi, but not Libya’s rebels, since Gaddafi is still the head of an internationally recognised government and the rebels, well… are not," Olson said.Â

Some analysts are arguing that the NATO intervention in Libya is a platform for arms dealers to showcase their weaponry to potential buyers.Â

"For example, even to get membership into NATO some countries have to in effect upgrade their military to a certain level," Anup Shah, creator of the website Global Issues told IPS. "So for some Eastern European countries who are joining NATO from a pure economic perspective it’s like a boom to the military industrial complex as they’ll have a new source of nations to sell arms to."


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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Sat, May 7, 2011 at 1:50 AM
Subject: Updates from Bahrain
To: "Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D." ccavell@gmail.com
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[redacted]
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Things are almost the same in Bahrain, The tension is still on and people just refuse to put what happened behind them. They actually started boycotting each other in order to show how much they hate each other, it is going out of hand, socially.

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[redacted]
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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Fri, May 6, 2011 at 2:48 PM
Subject: hello
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This is a short video that shows live bullets shot on UOB students on 13/3/2011; In Bahrain, civilians are not allowed to have any kind of arms; only people from the royal family and security have access to arms.
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———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, May 6, 2011 at 2:32 PM
Subject: Attacking and burning down of Saeed Ayyad's home, torture of Alkhawaja, activist at high risk
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Dear Friends,

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In an alarming update, Saeed Ayyad’s house was fired upon by security forces using teargas which carries a flame. As a result his home caught on fire and you can see the fire and the result in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkEKPsI1Dzk. Saeed fled his room as the shot was directed at his bedroom window and he managed to get out of the house..

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Saeed Ayyad is an activist who has been taking international visitors around to speak to witnesses and document violations. We have reason to believe that his house was targeted due to his activism. Â

In regards to Alkhawaja’s case, Abdulhadi was seen at the Bahrain Defense Force hospital. According to sources his face was unrecognizable due to the severity of the torture he had been subjected to, as he had several fractures to the jaw and to the skull. His arms and legs were black and it is believed to be the result of hanging for long periods of time. Parts of his face and head had to be stitched due to the injuries. Abdulhadi is a Danish citizen and was arrested on the 8th of April after being beaten unconscious along with his two sons-in-law. His wife, Khadija AlMousawi was fired from her job as Head of Guidance and Administrative Manager at Kanoo International School after working there for 10 years by order of the Ministry of Interior.
All detainees remain at very high risk of torture and their lives may be at risk.

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Naji Fateel, member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights is at high risk as security forces raided his house again in search for him, but he has already gone into hiding. Fateel was previously arrested and tortured.

Regards,
Â

Â

Maryam Al-Khawaja

Contact:

+44-7587303080 / +1(401)572-6597

Head of Foreign Relations Office

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

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———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Randy Martin <rmartin@mysticmule.net>
Date: Fri, May 6, 2011 at 1:52 PM
Subject: this one got farther than some of the others I've sent…
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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Thu, May 5, 2011 at 4:28 AM
Subject: from Bahrain
To: "Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D." <ccavell@gmail.com>
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Thought you might find the attached from today's GDN of interest. My highlighting and color comments.

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[redacted]
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We were not involved… Â

      By TOM HANRATTY ,  Posted on » Thursday, May 05, 2011

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A PROMINENT businessman has come forward to deny allegations that his company supplied anti-government protesters with free food during a month-long occupation of the GCC (Pearl) Roundabout. Jawad Group chief executive officer Faisal Jawad claimed the rumour was baseless and said his company was in no way involved with demonstrators. His group is now being boycotted by Bahrainis who disagreed with the protest movement, while some of his shops were vandalised during the height of unrest.

Mr Jawad said seven of his group's convenience stores were damaged and four had still not reopened (including the convenience store opposite the West Gate and the one at the petrol station next to the Awali Roundabout).

"We had seven convenience stores damaged at the height of the crisis," Mr Jawad told the GDN.

"I think that when human temperature is high, people feel angry and maybe (for sure!) some people's anger was reflected in the damage to our stores.

"There were quite a few stories going around – rumours that somehow we, as a company, were involved in what was going on near the Central Market (in Manama).

"I can solemnly and categorically say with absolute confidence that we were not involved in any way in helping or supporting anyone who was there (at the GCC Roundabout)."

The businessman said he believed rumours of his company supplying free goods to protesters at the GCC Roundabout started because of the close proximity of one of the group's 24 Hours Market convenience stores, which he admitted enjoyed bumper sales in February and March.

However, he said he did not resent those now boycotting his company.

"We are not feeling bitter about it," he said.

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Rumours

"There's no point reacting against these kind of rumours because, at the end of the day, we are a Bahrain-based company, we belong to this land and we're going to remain here forever."

While Mr Jawad's 24 Hours Market near the GCC Roundabout enjoyed impressive sales during the protests, other companies were not so lucky.

Anti-government protests caused massive disruption and left dozens of firms facing bankruptcy, according to the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).

Hotels, restaurants and other businesses that rely on tourism were among the most affected, as expats were advised to leave Bahrain and visitors from Saudi Arabia were prevented from entering the country across the King Fahad Causeway.

Businesses in Manama were also hit as shoppers stayed away from the capital.

The GDN reported on Tuesday that 120 companies had complained to the BCCI about their "critical situation", while the chamber said dozens were facing bankruptcy.

Mr Jawad said his group had seen business drop by around a quarter compared to normal.

"At the moment in Bahrain, we are operating about 25 per cent down on what we usually would be at this time," he said.

"Maybe in the next couple of months, things will start getting back to normal."

Rumours of the Jawad Group's support of protesters has prompted an e-mail campaign calling for people to boycott the firm and asking its international partners to sever ties with the company, accusing it of supporting "terrorists".

The group owns the Bahrain franchises of several well-known international chains including Costa Coffee, Burger King, Monsoon, Accessorize, French Connection UK, BHS, Travelex, Avis, Mango, Shoe Citi, Chili's, Dairy Queen, Hush Puppies and Papa John's, among others.

Mr Jawad said he was aware of the campaign and admitted the company was taking it seriously.

"We took this e-mail very seriously because we are dealing with reputable companies worldwide and we did send a response to our principals, specifying that the content of this e-mail is false," he said.

"It is important for us to refute such allegations because the allegations in this e-mail and others were, as far as we're concerned, untrue.

"The good thing is that these reputable companies worldwide know who they're dealing with and they know that we are innocent until proven guilty."

Mr Jawad said his company, like others, had been hit hard – but added business was now improving.

"Speaking from our group's point of view, business has been affected to a great extent," he said.

In addition to his company being boycotted, Mr Jawad has also come in for criticism for a letter he wrote to the GDN, in which he attacked local media – saying its role in the Middle East was to protect "corrupt governments and not to say the truth and expose unlimited ill-gotten wealth" (no, you’re kidding!).

The letter, published on March 1, also expressed support for the international media's reporting of events in Bahrain (big mistake) – angering many who felt foreign journalists had been guilty of distorting the facts (didn’t you realize that all foreign journalists are basically liars when it comes to Bahrain?).

Looking back, Mr Jawad admitted to feeling a certain amount of regret for airing his views.

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Opinion

"I studied in the UK for about four or five years," he said.

"In the UK I was among people and a society in which, if you have an opinion, you can say it without fearing any repercussion because, regardless of what that opinion is, it is an opinion.

"When I wrote the note to the GDN, I thought that in 2011 we lived in a society that would allow people to share their opinion and that's why I wrote it (but you didn’t notice you’re no longer in the UK? You’re in Bahrain, which Reporters Without Borders ranked in the bottom 20% regarding freedom of the press in 2010. No doubt that ranking will go even lower in 2011).

"Maybe, though, people (you mean the government?) here are not ready for others to air their opinion and maybe in retrospect I regret writing that letter" (I can hardly blame you).

Meanwhile, Mr Jawad said he remained upbeat and predicted it could take as little as six months for Bahrain's business community to recover.

"I don't have a crystal ball in front of me so I could be wrong," he said.

"Like I said, I am very positively minded. Maybe it will take six months. I hope it won't even take that long, but it may take longer.

"I am a Bahraini and I am always confident about Bahrain. Bahrain is a great country and I'm sure it will bounce back."

He also revealed his company was already in talks with a French firm to launch a new venture in Bahrain, despite the current climate.

"We had a meeting with people from Paris with a view to starting up a new franchise in Bahrain," he explained.

"Obviously, if business does not improve over the next few weeks, it's not going to happen.

"But we are confident we have a good environment around us now and we have explained this to the client."

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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 6:06 PM
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thepearlroundabout.org

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Link to thepearlroundabout.org

Bahrain renews emergency law as repression persists

Posted: 04 May 2011 02:09 PM PDT

The Bahraini government must end its relentless crackdown on human rights, Amnesty International said today after the country's parliament voted to extend a repressive state of emergency amid continued arrests of dissidents.

Bahrain charging doctors over protest deaths

Posted: 04 May 2011 01:53 PM PDT

Bahrain says it will charge a number of medical workers with causing the death of two demonstrators, broadening a crackdown on the opposition in the wake of protests that shook the Gulf island kingdom.

Bahrain charges 50 medical staff with anti-state conspiracy

Posted: 04 May 2011 01:52 PM PDT

Up to 50 doctors and nurses who treated anti-government protesters injured during the recent demonstrations in Bahrain were charged yesterday with acts against the state.

Bahraini activist ‘severely tortured’ (video)

Posted: 04 May 2011 01:48 PM PDT

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) says prominent human rights activist Abdul-Hadi al-Khawaja has been tortured beyond recognition by Saudi-backed regime forces.

Bahrain refers 47 medics to military court

Posted: 04 May 2011 01:47 PM PDT

Bahraini authorities have referred 47 medics to a military court after accusing them of abusing their posts to take part in anti-regime protests that were crushed in March.

Bahrain loses allure as offshore money haven

Posted: 04 May 2011 07:42 AM PDT

Bahrain lost more of its appeal as a haven for offshore money during March after a period of social unrest in the island kingdom came on top of stiff regional banking competition from Dubai.

Bahraini opposition figure speaks to Al Jazeera (video)

Posted: 04 May 2011 07:40 AM PDT

Mattar Ibrahim Mattar is one of two members of Bahrain's opposition Al Wefaq party who have been arrested by authorities in the Gulf country.

BAHRAIN: Medical staff face prosecution, alleged torture after aiding anti-government protesters

Posted: 04 May 2011 07:36 AM PDT

Nearly 50 doctors, nurses and other medical staff have been detained in Bahrain in connection with treating anti-government protesters, human-rights officials said Wednesday.

The West’s Schizophrenia in a Transforming Middle East

Posted: 04 May 2011 03:54 AM PDT

Journalists in Bahrain: The Murder of Free Speech and the Siege of Freedom

Posted: 03 May 2011 01:51 PM PDT

More than 68 journalists have been subjected to lay-off, arrest and threats because of their work Bahraini journalists call for a helping hand and for the adoption of measures to insure their safety.

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———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Bahrain Center for Human Rights <Bahrain_Center_for_Human_Rights@mail.vresp.com>
Date: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 2:12 AM
Subject: Four protesters sentenced to death and three given life imprisonment
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bchr

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

For the Latest updates please follow BCHR on twitter: http://twitter.com/BahrainRights/bchr-7

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Four protesters sentenced to death and three given life imprisonment

Bahrain resorting to martial law against protesters

On the left: A banner placed on the road calling the government to apply the maximum punishment and no forgiveness.
On the Right: The Military Court

May 2, 2011

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights condemns any acts of violence against any human being, and calls for holding anyone responsible for these acts of violence. The Center also stresses the importance of giving any and every person charged with any crime access to a fully independent and fair trial according to international standards in civilian courts.

In a case made against 7 protesters charged with killing Kashef Ahmed Mandhoor and Mohammed Farooq Abdulsamad, Bahraini Authorities announced today after a closed military trial that four were sentenced to death while three were given life imprisonment.

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BYSHR: A man died in custody confesed on television that he had killed a police men

Today ( 28 April , 2011 ) , Bahrain T.V showed the “confessions” of the accused who killed two police men and who were sentenced today ( 4 death penalties and 3 life sentences). One of the those, the first to be shown making a confession, is Mr. Ali Isa Saqer, who had died in custody on the 9th of April, 2011. (attached a video of the confessions as shown on Bahrain T.V. with his photo).

Statement by the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on death sentences in Bahrain

EUROPEAN UNION

Brussels, 3 May 2011
A 171/11

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, made today the following statement:

“I am deeply concerned about the imminent risk of execution of four Bahraini nationals sentenced to death by a military court on 28 April for the alleged murder of two police officers during antigovernment protests in March. The charges are serious, but the fact that civilians were tried before a military court behind closed doors, is a further cause for concern.

European Parliament: Death sentences in Bahrain: joint statement by EP committee chairs

External relations − 03-05-2011 – 17:15

Committee: Foreign Affairs

The death sentences passed on four anti-government protesters in Bahrain on 28 April prompted thousands of appeals, posted by Bahrainis on the European Parliament's Facebook page, for help to get them revoked. Moved by these appeals, committee chairs Gabriele Albertini (Foreign Affairs), Heidi Hautala (Human Rights Sub-Committee) and Angelika Niebler (Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula) issued the following joint statement on Tuesday.

HRW: Bahrain: Set Aside Martial Law Death Sentences

4 Civilians Condemned to Death, 3 to Life in Prison in Unfair Military Trial

May 2, 2011

(Washington, DC) – Bahraini authorities should set aside a military court ruling on April 28, 2011, sentencing four defendants to death and three others to life in prison for their alleged involvement in the murder of two police officers, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch understands that the seven defendants, ages 19 to 24, whose trial and sentencing lasted less than two weeks, are the first civilians to be convicted in special military courts set up after King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa declared martial law on March 15.

Obama urges Bahrain king to respect 'universal rights'

1 May 2011

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama urged Bahrain's monarch to respect "universal rights of the people" on Saturday, two days after the tiny Gulf state sentenced several protesters to death.

US officials have 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.

UK concern over death sentence for Bahrain protestors

30 April 2011

Four Bahrainis protestors sentenced to death for killing of two policemen.

Commenting on the death sentence given to four Bahrainis for the killing of two policemen during the recent protests in Bahrain, a Foreign Office spokesperson said:

"The UK is concerned by the death sentences given to four Bahrainis. We support Bahrain’s right to bring to justice those responsible for the death of two policemen. But it is our longstanding policy to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances.

AFP: US raps Bahrain over speed of trial

30 April 2011

WASHINGTON — 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.

Germany calls on Bahrain to rescind death sentences

BERLIN, April 29 (Reuters) – Germany urged Bahrain's ruling

monarchy on Friday to rescind death sentences handed down to a
group of men accused of killing policemen in recent protests.

A Bahraini military court on Thursday ordered the death

penalty for four Shi'ite men over the killing of two policemen.
The turmoil began with Shi'ite-led protests in February
demanding greater political liberties.

France calls on the Bahraini authorities not to apply the death penalty

Death sentences in Bahrain (April 29, 2011)

Four people were sentenced to death April 28 for the murder of two police officers during the events of recent weeks, which have shocked and saddened Bahrain.

France, like its European partners, is resolutely opposed to the death penalty everywhere and under all circumstances.

We call on the Bahraini authorities not to apply the death penalty.

Amnesty International: Bahrain urged to halt execution of protesters

28 April 2011

Authorities in Bahrain must not allow the execution of four protesters sentenced to death by a military court over the killing of two police officers in anti-government demonstrations last month, Amnesty International said today.

“The Bahraini authorities have a responsibility to bring to justice those who commit violent crimes. But when doing so, they must uphold the right to fair trial and they must not use the death penalty under any circumstances,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

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The President of the European Parliament Buzek on the sentencing to death of Bahrainis

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Condemnation for the crackdown on protestors in Bahrain (Strasbourg ).

The President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek strongly condemns the death sentence passed against four Bahraini protestors.

EP President Buzek said: "I condemn the sentencing to death of the four protestors in Bahrain and I call for their sentences to be reviewed. The fact that the trial took place behind closed doors is deplorable. The EU is opposed to the death penalty in all cases and under all circumstances.

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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Tue, May 3, 2011 at 1:02 PM
Subject: Re: Bahrain Updates #13: Workers of the World Celebrate May 1, International Labor Day…though not in Bahrain this year….
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[redacted]
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Yes, I am still in Manama.
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[redacted]

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Your contacts are giving you reliable information, compared with my contacts and what I am seeing and hearing.
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Yes, the siege is tighter than ever as is the repression and violations. Grim situation here. But pro-democracy protest still continuing despite the awful persecution: arrests, torture, killing. Meanwhile, the economy is suffering big time from the so-called state of emergency. Protesters feel that time is on their side, by continuing to force the regime to maintain this crippling, self-defeating state of emergency.
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Some people among the pro-democracy movement are saying that a threshold is nearing when people will be so humiliated, desperate that counter violence will happen, out of self-defence. But given that there are, as far as I can [tell], no weapons available to oppositionists (despite baseless and breathless official claims of Iranian involvement), I personally can't see how counter violence would lead to a resolution, perhaps indeed to make the situation worse for the populace.
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But you are so right in your commentary, and [redacted] the repression is only sowing more seeds for future conflict.
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[redacted]

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———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, May 3, 2011 at 5:26 PM
Subject: Concern about fate of medical staff as authorities build numerous charges against them…
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
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Dear Friends,
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As taken from the Bahrain News Agency:
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"The number of defendants who have been questioned is now 47, including 24 doctors and 23 nurses and paramedics. The military prosecution has leveled the following charges against them:
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Refusal to extend assistance to a person in need, embezzlement of public funds, assault that resulted in death, unauthorized possession of weapons and ammunition, refusal to perform duties and putting people's lives and health at risk, illegal detention, abuse of authority to suspend and stall laws and regulations, attempt to occupy buildings by force, incitement to the forceful overthrow of a political regime, incitement to the hatred of a regime, incitement to the hatred of a segment of society, dissemination of false news and malicious rumors that could harm public interest and participation in unauthorized rallies and meetings. The investigations are continuing."
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There is concern that the aforementioned were tortured to stage "confessions" and that they may face severe sentences.
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Maryam Al-Khawaja

Contact:

+44-7587303080 / +1(401)572-6597

Head of Foreign Relations Office

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

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———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Bahrain Center for Human Rights <Bahrain_Center_for_Human_Rights@mail.vresp.com>
Date: Tue, May 3, 2011 at 8:51 AM
Subject: Journalists in Bahrain: The Murder of Free Speech and the Siege of Freedom
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bchr

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

For the Latest updates please follow BCHR on twitter: http://twitter.com/BahrainRights/bchr-7

More than 68 journalists have been subjected to lay-off, arrest and threats because of their work

Bahraini journalists call for a helping hand and for the adoption of measures to insure their safety.

3 May 2011

Since the 14th of February 2011, Bahrain has seen a political movement demanding freedom, democracy, and the revival of communal partnership in the framework of the civil movements seeking freedom which are currently overrunning Arab countries. This was followed by brutal security crackdowns and the entry of the Peninsula Shield forces (Military units of 6 Gulf countries) into Bahrain. Journalists engaged in this event with daily coverage through both their jobs at local newspapers, through their announcements on satellite television stations, by writing to Arabic newspapers in the framework of their presence at the site of action, and via effective action through online social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter. Because of that, journalists have been subjected to a campaign of lay-offs and collective arrests affecting more than 68 journalists, while many have received different threats originating from the Bahraini authorities,

RSF: Bahrain king is press 'predator'

3 May 2011

AFP: Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) added Bahrain's King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa to its latest blacklist of "predators" against press freedom on Tuesday.

The king entered the watchdog's list of 38 state "predators" that "sow terror among journalists", which included three Arab countries hit by recent protests — Syria, Bahrain, Yemen — and Libya, where conflict has broken out.

Freedom of the Press 2011: Bahrain is NOT FREE

Freedom of the Press 2011 identifies the greatest threats to independent media in 196 countries and territories. Released on May 2 as part of the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day celebration in Washington, D.C., the report shows that global media freedom has reached a new low point, contributing to an environment in which only one in every six people live in countries with a Free press.

MENA Journalists & Cyber Activists: In the Line of Fire

by Dr Agnes Callamard, executive director at ARTICLE 19

April 27, 2011

From Morocco to Bahrain, everyday people have taken on the cast iron hold of dictatorships and absolute monarchies resulting in an extraordinary collective awakening that has paved the way for epochal change in the region. The youth movement, which lies at the core of the uprisings, continues to play a prominent role in the pro-democracy and pro-reform demonstrations, which have swept through the region, unabated by government clampdowns or concessions.

Freedom on the Net 2011: Bahrain is NOT FREE

On April 18, 2011, Freedom House released its latest Freedom on the Net report assessing the degree of internet freedom around the world. The new edition includes detailed country reports and a first-of-its-kind numerical index covering 37 countries in six geographical regions. In addition, an analytical overview essay and accompanying graphics will highlight key findings and emerging threats to global digital media freedom.

2 Media Professionals die in detention

12 April 2011- Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns netizen Zakariya Rashid Hassan’s death in detention on 9 April, six days after his arrest on charges of inciting hatred, disseminating false news, promoting sectarianism and calling for the regime’s overthrow in online forums. He moderated a now-closed forum providing information about his village of origin, Al-Dair.

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His family has rejected the interior ministry’s claim that he died as a result of sickle cell anemia complications.

April 13, 2011- (Manama) – The death of businessman and activist Kareem Fakhrawi on April 12, 2011, shows the urgent need for thorough and impartial investigations into allegations of torture, Human Rights Watch said today. It was the fourth detainee death reported by the Bahrain government in nine days.

–Click on the photo to view a large version on Facebook–

At Fakhrawi's funeral on April 13 in Manama's Hoora district, a crowd of mourners demanded to see his corpse because of concerns he had been tortured.

Bahrain: UN official urges probe after media professionals die in detention

21 April 2011 – A senior United Nations official today called for an investigation into the deaths of two media professionals in Bahrain who died earlier this month while held in detention.

Karim Fakhrawi, the co-founder of the country’s only independent newspaper Al-Wasat, died in custody on 12 April, one week after he was arrested.

CPJ: Bahrain detains columnist

New York, April 25, 2011–The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Bahraini authorities to disclose the whereabouts of Haidar Mohammed al-Nuaimi, a columnist for daily newspaper Al-Wasat. Roughly 30 uniformed and plainclothes police raided al-Nuaimi's family home in Manama today, dragging him into the street and beating him, local journalists told CPJ.

Al-Nuaimi was then taken to an unknown location, according to the same accounts.

Read more

AIPS: Bahraini sports journalist among hundreds arrested in government crackdown

MANAMA, April 15, 2011 – The human rights organisation, The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has reported the arrest of a local sports journalist to AIPS.

An email received today says Faisal Hayat, a journalist who worked for the local newspaper Albilad and who was "known for analysing football matches on popular sport shows on Arabic satellite channels" was detained on April 8 for participating in the Athletes' and Journalists' March during the protests on February 14.

The communique states that Faisal Hayat's photograph appeared on a show on the official Bahrain television station which attacked public figures who had participated in the protest.

A serious development and forthright turnover on the international conventions and agreements signed on public freedom.

Bahrain’s authorities target the president of Bahrain Center for Human Rights and its members.

17th of April 2011

Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern at the continuing crackdown launched by the authorities in Bahrain on activists and human rights defenders by targeting, prosecuting and raiding homes of the members of Bahrain Center for Human Rights in particular, and the exploitation of media owned by the government to discredit and question their credibility. Security forces, the army and armed civilian militia recently raided the home of a prominent human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab – the President of Bahrain Center for Human Rights as well as Yousif Al-Mahafdhah – a blogger and a senior member in Bahrain Center for Human Rights – in addition to the raid and arrest of Mr. Mohammed Ahmed Sultan, a member in the Media Center at Bahrain Center for Human Rights and who’s fate remains unknown since the arrest.

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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Tue, May 3, 2011 at 7:36 AM
Subject: More Bahrain opposition arrests and extra-legal executions
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———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, May 3, 2011 at 3:55 AM
Subject: Arrest of two resigned members of parliament, two Swedish citizens and president of Medical Society. AlKhawajas wife fired from her job.
To: Maryam Al-Khawaja <maryam.alkhawaja@gmail.com>
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Dear Friends,
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In recent developments, Bahraini authorities arrested two former members of Parliament from AlWefaq political party: Matar Matar and Jawad Fairouz. MP Jawad Fairuz is known for highlighting government corruption and unfair distribution of lands as he attempted to bring the case to parliament. Matar Matar has been documenting violations and cases of disappearances and arrests through the AlWefaq office and you can watch an interview he did with the BBC here: http://bit.ly/kGfkWM
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Journalists in Bahrain: The Murder of Free Speech and the Siege of Freedom (click to read)


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Four protesters sentenced to death and three given life imprisonment (click to read)


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Bahraini authorities announce charges against the medical staff

Defendants:

23 Doctors.

24 Nurses.

The following list of accusations has been made against the medical staff:

1. The inexcusable refrain from aiding people.

2. The embezzlement of public funds.
3. Physical assault on civilians.
4. Assault leading to death.
5. The possession of unlicensed weapons and ammunition.
6. Refraining from carrying out their employment duties, in aims of hindering medical work, consequently endangering people’s health and lives.
7. The attempt of forcefully occupying a public building.
8. Promotion to bring down and change the regime by illegal means.
9. Inciting hatred against the governing regime.

10.Promoting sectarian hate.
11.Spreading false news and rumors that harm public interest.
12.Participating in unlicensed protests and rallies.

Note: These charges have been translated from Arabic to English and may not be in legal terms.

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In other developments, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja's wife, Khadija AlMousawi was fired from her job on Sunday 2nd May. AlMousawi was Head of Guidance and Administrative Manager at Abdulrahman Kanoo International School where she has worked for the past 10 years. According to family members, AlMousawi was informed that the order for her layoff came from the Ministry of Interior. Five other employees at the same school were also fired.
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Shaikh Mohammed Habib AlMuqdad (Swedish citizen) called his family yesterday asking for clothes. This is the first time his family know that he is being held by the authorities. AlMuqdad was recently released from prison (late February) after being accused of being part of a terrorist cell. After his release AlMuqdad spoke about the torture that he had been subjected to and showed marks left on his body due to electric shocks and other types of torture.
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Dr. Ahmed Jamal, president of the Bahrain Medical Society was arrested from his clinic yesterday.
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Swedish citizen, Khalil AlHalwachi, has gone missing after his daughter found their home vandalized (pictures attached)
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Tunisian award winning blog, Nawaat, declines the Arab eContent Award 2011 awarded by Bahraini government: http://nawaat.org/portail/2011/05/02/nawaat-declines-the-arab-econtent-award-2011/#comment-30964.
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US union group: End trade pact with Bahrain: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/05/02/general-ml-bahrain-us-trade_8444701.html


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Maryam Al-Khawaja

Head of Foreign Relations Office
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Mon, May 2, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Subject: Al Jazeera: Bahrain arrests opposition politicians
To: "Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D. @ GMail" <ccavell@gmail.com>
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Bahrain arrests opposition politicians
Two prominent members of the Al Wefaq party held after one of them criticised the government publically.
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Last Modified: 02 May 2011 22:50
The Bahraini government has arrested two prominent politicians belonging to the mainly Shia opposition Al Wefaq party, Al Jazeera has learnt.
Both Jawad Ferooz, the vice-president of the party, and Mattar Ibrahim Mattar, who recently resigned as a member of parliament, were detained on Monday evening, sources said.
The arrests came a day after Mattar spoke to Al Jazeera about the threats to opposition politicians, as well as the presence, if any, of a sectarian divide amongst protesters.
"As an example of the threats … a brother of a member of parliament had been killed in custody, and also some of the activists in Wefaq, they already started to attack them, and to arrest them. In fact, yes they didn't close Al Wefaq, but Al Wefaq is a vacuum currently," he said.
"It is difficult for us to move and to communicate with people. [There is] no space any more for political movement, and political activities that we can do. No space for movement and freedom of speech and the basic humanitarian issues, such as medical services."
Mattar told Al Jazeera that Sunnis and Shias alike had been arrested, which indicated that there was not a strong sectarian divide amongst anti-government protesters.
A witness told Al Jazeera that Mattar was ambushed in the street by a group of armed, masked men wearing civilian clothes and travelling in civilian cars.
He was surrounded and forced from his car at gunpoint, then driven away for what family members were told would be "investigation" and "confession", the witness said.
Sources told the Reuters news agency that Ferooz had been taken away by plainclothes policemen from his house.
Mattar is considered a moderate critic of the Sunni-led Bahraini government. He has worked closely with human rights organisations and journalists to uncover the daily violations occurring since the government declared martial law on March 15, and he believed it was likely he would be arrested.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Joe Stork, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch, said his organisation was concerned about the whereabouts of the two politicians, and that their disappearances "fit a pattern" of recent abductions.
"These latest arrests of the two Al Wefaq parliamentarians fit a pattern of masked men abducting Bahraini citizens who happen to have opinions critical of the government. They are taken away, their loved ones have no idea where they are or how to get in touch with them, and they have no access to legal counsel. We know of several cases where people have turned up dead after a week in detention. We have reason to be concerned about the whereabouts and well-being of Mattar Ibrahim and Jawad Ferooz, and the hundreds of other Bahrainis who have been detained, in some cases for more than a month by the authorities."Â
Bahrain's state television recently aired a documentary in which a now-dead protester claimed Mattar ordered him to kill policemen by running them over with his car.
The protester who made this claim on camera subsequently died in prison, his corpse bearing signs of torture.
The Bahraini interior ministry released a statement saying the protester was killed because he "created chaos at the detention centre, prompting the security forces to interfere to bring the situation under control".
Source:
Al Jazeera
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———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Randy Martin <rmartin@mysticmule.net>
Date: Mon, May 2, 2011 at 2:08 PM
Subject: Re: A letter to Mr President
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[redacted]
Dear Mr. President,
Â
I have enclosed a letter to you from my friend Hajar Almahfood, daughter
of Bahrain's Amal Islamic Society Chairman, Sheikh Moahmmed Ali
Almahfoodh. Â Chairman Almahfoodh and his sons were detained early this
morning, apparently by authorities of the ruling al Khalifa regime, for
their apparent participation in recent protests and demonstrations in
pursuit of basic democratic freedom and protection of their human
rights.
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Any help that you might provide in obtaining their freedom and release
of all political prisoners would be a welcome signal that my government,
the USA, is committed to these most basic rights and freedoms.
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I am deeply troubled by the support you and our government continues to
give to the al Khalifa regime. Â It demonstrates a failed and
contradictory policy regarding basic human and democratic rights of the
Bahrainis. Â The US wields enormous influence over the affairs of
Bahrain, perhaps more so than over any other government in the Middle
East and N. Africa. Â Yet you choose to bomb Libya in enmity rather than
assert influence on a "friend". Â Very troubling and disheartening
indeed.
Â
warm regards,
Randy Martin
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Letter from Hajar Almahfoodh daughter of Bahrain's Amal Islamic Society
Chairman, Sheikh Moahmmed Ali Almahfoodh.
Â
Dear Mr President,
Â
I am writing to you from Bahrain. First, I would like to congratulate
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you concerning Bin Ladin. Â However, I am writing to you concerning my

country Bahrain. I am the daughter of Sheikh Moahmmed Ali Almahfoodh,
the chairman of Amal Islamic Society. Â I would like to tell you that
yesterday he was detained with my two brothers to an unknown
destination. A month ago, my husband was arrested as a hostage.
Â
Mr President, This action is your full responsibility, since your policy

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is to spread democracy. Â Your administration condemned the dissolve of

the societies, and therefore, you have the upper hand to release my
father and brothers, and husband. Â My mother has collapsed as to the
news. Â I beseech your help and protection, and whatever happens to my
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detained family is under your responsibility.

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Finally, I strongly urge your administration to prove to the world that
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the US respects their values and morals, and not double standards as

many people are pointing out currently. Â I always looked at the US
constitution as my aspiration to a better world.
Â
I want to thank you for your time, and I hope something happens to
reunite my family again.
Â
Best wishes,
Hajar Mahfoodh
Â
Â
thank you for taking the time to process this letter and I do hope it

actually made it to someone who can get it in front of you Mr.
President. Â This is an urgent plea which I feel only you can effect the
intervention to prevent an ever going calamity in Bahrain.
Sincerely,

Randy Martin

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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Mon, May 2, 2011 at 6:56 AM
Subject: A letter to Mr President
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Dear friends,
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Can you please help me spread this letter to Mr Obama to help my father, two brothers and husbands:)
Â
————-
Dear Mr President,
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I am writing to you from Bahrain. First, I would like to congratualte you concerning Bin Ladin. However, I am writing to you concerning my country Bahrain. I am the daughter of Sheikh Moahmmed Ali Almahfoodh, the chairman of Amal Islamic Society. I would like to tell you that yesterday he was detained with my two brothers to an unknown destination. A month ago, my husband was arrested as a hostage.
Mr President,
This action is your fuull responisbility, since your poilscy is to spread democracy. Your administration condemned the dissolve of the societies, and therefore, you have the upper hand to release my father and brothers, and husband. My mother has collapsed as to the news.
I beseech your help and protection, and whatever happens to my detained family is under your responsibilty.
Fianlly, I strongly urge your administaration to prove to the world that the US respects their values and morals, and not double standards as many people are pointing out currently. I always looked at the US constitution as my aspiration to a better world.
I want to thank you for your time, and I hope something happens to reunite my family again.
Â
Best wishes,
Â
Hajar Mahfoodh
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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Mon, May 2, 2011 at 1:56 PM
Subject: Bahrain terminology, circa 1984
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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Mon, May 2, 2011 at 5:03 AM
Subject: Breaking news
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Dear friends,
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My father and two brothers are detained since early morning today. My father is the chairman of Amal Islamic society, the second after Alwefaq. Please spread it soon.
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Best,
Â
Â
Â
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May 18, 2011   Add Comments

Bahrain Updates #13 [Monday, May 2, 2011]: Workers of the World Celebrate May 1, International Labor Day…though not in Bahrain this year..

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D. <ccavell@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, May 2, 2011 at 1:33 AM
Subject: Bahrain Updates #13: Workers of the World Celebrate May 1, International Labor Day…though not in Bahrain this year…
To: "Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D. @ GMail" <ccavell@gmail.com>

"[T]he whole of human servitude is involved in the relation of the worker to production, and all relations of servitude are but modifications and consequences of this relation" (Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844).
Folks,
History time and again proves that capitalists enjoy stability and growth when their workers are satiated and feel free. Impose harsh restrictions on your labor force and you will reap dissension, rebellion, and shoddy production. As the old Scott Tissue Towel commercial put it in the 1930s: "Is your washroom breeding Bolsheviks? Employees lose respect for a company that fails to provide decent facilities for their comfort." Of course workers want more than just good hand towels. Like all human beings, workers want, at the very least, freedom of expression and freedom of association, rights guaranteed to all Americans by our Bill of Rights in the US Constitution.
Each year on May 1–that is International Labor Day–workers around the world march to renew their solidarity and advocate for their rights. Each year, for the past eight years at least, Bahraini workers marched by the thousands calling attention to their needs and advocating reform. I know these were joyous marches, as I participated in every one of them. However, this year in Bahrain the workers are silenced. Due to the imprisonment, beatings, torture, and deaths of anyone perceived as and/or suspected of supporting the democratic opposition in Bahrain, any attempt to participate in an annual Labor Day march this May first would be futile. Consequently, the annual Labor Day festivities have been cancelled.
We will likely not hear much about this silencing of workers in Bahrain; indeed, of late we are not hearing much at all about the crackdown of oppositional democratic forces in Bahrain. It appears as if a memo has been sent out warning the international media that this issue about Bahrain is just too hot to handle. One can imagine that it reads: "Don't you see: Bahrain is too hot to handle. The Al-Khalifa monarchy are our friends. They let us park our Navy boats in Bahrain. And, since we are still dependent on cheap and accessible Saudi Arabian oil, we need to keep the House of Saud intact in Riyadh, and if the other Gulf monarchs begin to crumble, then we'd have to deal with a democracy in Saudi Arabia, and who knows where oil prices will go then. As it is, all of the Gulf monarchs are totally dependent upon us currently for their survival, as their populations are adamantly opposed to their rule. So, you see, siding with the Gulf monarchs is good for the USA at the present time. So, SHUT UP and QUIT REPORTING on the absence of democracy in our Gulf ally countries."
Well, we all know that the subtleties of setting the media agenda in the west are not so clear-cut as the imagined memo above. Nonetheless, reporters are cognizant of the forces that exists, as well as their idiosyncracies and, hence, often self-censor what they report on, and this self-censorship is repeated on down the line. Chomsky and Herman described how this self-censorship works in their book Manufacturing Consent (1988), for those of you who are doubtful. Indeed, this self-censorship is what oppressive governments count on to maintain their control. But oftentimes with such silences, they blow up in our faces when the facts contradict the illusion of peace or stability. Such is the case with Bahrain.
Civil society has been fundamentally altered in Bahrain with the brutal crackdown by the regime forces since late February and especially following the "Declaration of National Safety" by the monarch on the Ides of March (yes, March 15th!). Arrests, beatings, torture, disappearances, killings are only some of the humiliations being faced by Bahrainis on a daily basis. In addition, we see the dismissal from their jobs of anyone suspected of supporting the opposition, the suspension of political parties–like the National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad or "promise"), the destruction of Shia religious symbols, mosques, and ma'tams, and the theft, sexual abuse, and thuggery by regime forces against those deemed to be opponents of the King or, as the Bahraini media deem the monarchy: "the wise leadership". And, if you don't believe me, check it for yourself:
"Manama, March 22. (BNA) — The Representatives Council today expressed its full-fledged support for the measures taken by the wise leadership in order to ensure the security of the nation and the citizens, hailing Royal Decree 18/2011 issued by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on the declaration of a three-month State of National Safety" (http://www.bna.bh/portal/en/news/450559).
Americans led the way in turning against monarchy in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, setting up instead a republican (or representative) form of government, where ultimate power rose up from the people and not–as monarchs argue–from on high. "Divine right of kings" was replaced by the principle of "one person, one vote". A federal system was established with three co-equal branches of government with checks and balances at both the national level and in each individual state.
Today, the vast majority of governments around the world herald themselves as democracies and republics. Why? Because it is a recognized universal absurdity for anyone to set themselves up as the sole sovereign in a country and, moreover, it is the ultimate absurdity for anyone to actually believe in such a farce. There are only three ways to maintain such a fiction: either through bestowing riches upon selected followers–which leads to sycophancy, or through enforced ignorance, or through the imposition of the threat of force. [And, yes, all the media hype these past few weeks over the "royal wedding" between two pampered Brits was indeed an exercise in "enforced ignorance".]
Today in Bahrain, the populace is no longer ignorant. Indeed, much of the population is highly educated, and most Bahrainis have a great deal of respect for their educated peers. Consequently, the Al Khalifa monarchy has to buy off a segment of the population with unearned riches and to utilize force against the vast majority of the population to maintain their rule. Indeed, I am currently receiving reports from those in the know in Bahrain indicating that the imposition of the current "state of national safety" with tanks in the streets will last at least a year.
I have stated previously that Bahraini civil society has been fundamentally altered by the democratic spring of 2011 and that US policymakers need to adjust their assumptions; otherwise, the facts will come back to blow up in their faces. To maintain that a few months of severe repression, gruesome torture, and selective killings will calm things over is highly optimistic and fantastic in a theoretical sense, i.e. it is imaginary. And so I repeat for a third week in a row, as the following nursery rhyme is so germane to the present situation in Bahrain:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
American diplomats, security analysts, politicians, et al. who do not realize this truth are misleading themselves and the American public.
And, again, I refer all readers to The Crooked Bough website for timely updates on the political situation in Bahrain, as it is beating most outlets at critical reportage coming out of Bahrain.
regards,
csc
About the author:
Until February 15th of this year, I was an Assistant Professor teaching in the American Studies Center at the University of Bahrain. I submitted my resignation following the Fall semester at the end of January, as my wife, a Moroccan national, was granted an immigrant visa to the US by the State Department with the proviso that we be residing within the USA by April 1, 2011. Little did we know in January, when I submitted my resignation, that we would be in a race for time before we could leave, as the Arab rebellions were sweeping from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen and into Bahrain and beyond. We left Bahrain on February 25th, the day of the largest demonstrations in Bahraini history and have since been residing in Seattle, Washington.
Background on Bahrain:
On February 14, 2011, the citizenry of Bahrain rose up in opposition to the Al Khalifa monarchy and demanded democratic reforms. Their voices were met with stiff resistance from the autocratic regime which has been in power for over 200 years now. Unbowed, the citizenry took to the Pearl Roundabout in downtown Manama with some advocating for a constitutional monarchy and others a democratic republic. In response, the regime unleashed a reign of terror down on the protesters. Meanwhile, the US was directing its focus on Libya and getting through the United Nations a resolution for a no-fly zone over that country, which passed on Thursday, March 17th. One week prior, on Friday, March 11th, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates flew to Bahrain and met with the King and the Crown Prince, and on Monday, March 14th, approximately 2000 to 3000 Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) tanks and troops rolled across the causeway from Saudi Arabia into Bahrain to crush the opposition. The next day, March 15th, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued Royal Decree No. 18 for the year 2011, declaring a three-month "State of National Safety". The Bahrain Defence Forces (BDF) subsequently began a systematic crackdown on anyone who was suspected of opposing the monarchy and calling for democracy. On March 18th, the BDF tore down the Pearl Monument, known to locals as either "Lulu" or "the GCC Monument" and to the international press as "Pearl Square" due to its similarity to Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt where protesters had gathered. The regime's crackdown is an attempt to wipe away the memory of the 2011 Bahraini Democratic Spring from the popular mindset, and they are sparing nothing to root out and crush, using force and intimidation including torture and murder, any further resistance. The silence from most of the mainstream media in America is deafening.
The fact that the US Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain and the fact that the US is completely dependent on and addicted to Saudi-monarchy oil–i.e. oil doled out by a corrupt and sclerotic regime, and that both regimes (i.e. the Al Sauds and the Al Khalifas)–indeed all GCC regimes–in turn, are kept in power by US guns, makes all the difference–for now at least. The US is clearly supporting the Al-Khalifa monarchy, putting its oil interests ahead of its avowed democratic principles. From all accounts, the beating into submission as well as the subsequent bloodbath continues in earnest. For US citizens, it is another lost opportunity… But with your help and voices, we can eventually rectify our country's policy in this regard and realign it with our country's stated principles.
US interests in the long term will ultimately be served by supporting democratic elements and, eventually, democratic regimes in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. Does that mean we should overthrow existing governments? No, but it does mean that we should not be arming, financially supporting, and enabling corrupt regimes to slaughter opposition forces advocating for democratic rights in their countries, and then remaining silent while it happens. Sycophancy in the service of autocratic rulers with decidedly undemocratic ethos is degrading and demeaning. Such a stance is an affront to humanity. Putting off the goal of aligning ourselves with democratic elements for short-term advantage will have negative repercussions not only on current US foreign policy but, as well, on US domestic policy, as millions of petro-dollars will find their way back into US politics attempting to undermine our democracy here at home. While countering theocratic influence in the region is understandable and necessary, this will require a strategy with quite a bit more sophistication than is presently being demonstrated. As well, implementing such a strategy will necessitate experienced hands who are neither intimidated by the apparent chaos often associated with democratic movements nor infatuated with monarchical tendencies and supportive of elite rule.
NOTE:
Names and other identifying information have been removed and/or redacted in order to protect the safety of the sender[s], unless the person(s) is (are) a reporter or a public activist(s) and want their names to be known, as publicity sometimes gives them some protection from regime retaliation. If you are not a known public activist and/or reporter, please inform me if you would like your name to appear along with your report; otherwise, I will redact them to maintain your anonymity.
regards,
csc
__________________
Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 9087
Seattle, WA 98109

———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Sun, May 1, 2011 at 10:40 PM
Subject: May Day message from Bahrain Trade Unions

To: "Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D." ccavell@gmail.com

Statement from the trades unions in Bahrain

As we celebrate this international day of workers, workers in Bahrain are undergoing difficult and testing times. Every year we march through the streets of Manama in solidarity with workers everywhere on the globe. However, this year we are unable to do so, most of the leaders of the unions are either in prison or under investigation.

The government of Bahrain is on a witch hunt and their methods resemble those used by the inquisitions in the medieval times. Political affiliation and ideologies are rigorously questioned and personal opinion are condemned and punished. Court appearances and sentences are rushed. This is all under the pretext of participating in the wider political process and the supporting of the movements calling for democracy and change in Bahrain.

This is not a new phenomenon in Bahrain, but things have taken a very ugly turn in the last two months, especially after the crackdown by the regime and invasion by the GCC armies. The human rights situation in Bahrain has deteriorated and the rule of the law has been suspended, as the country is now ruled by martial law.

Hundreds if not thousands of workers and professionals have been dismissed. Sectarianism is the order of the day and the majority of the people are baring the brunt.

We are a part of the main opposition in Bahrain, ours is the legitimate voice of the people. We declare our unwavering support and solidarity with all those who are affected by the illegal and immoral actions of the authorities in Bahrain. Security and military solutions can only serve to divide the communities and the country and will cause long lasting alienation between the ruling family and the people. We advise that only a political solution can remedy the current mayhem in Bahrain.

Workers are the backbone of the Bahraini economy and their contributions are evident in all industries and trades. They are a dynamic and vibrant force for good and their role in nation building cannot be overestimated.

So today with you and in the great city of Manchester we honor your struggles and our struggle and sacrifices for a free, fair, and democratic Bahrain, and we ask for your full support and backing of these demands.

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———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Sun, May 1, 2011 at 2:40 PM
Subject: Bahrain update Apr 25 – May 1
To: "Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D." ccavell@gmail.com
[redacted]

Many people are speculating these days about the situation in Bahrain, and if things are changing or shifting back to normal, mostly because they feel that the people are silent. Truth is, people are not silent, and they just feel like a broken record. The bloggers, twitter or facebook users are quieter, some for security reasons, but many more because the same things are happening over and over again.

Much fewer people broadcast when their areas are attacked, news of arrests circulate slower, names of missing are less widespread amongst people, accounts of daily violations and assaults on people in their homes and at their work places are less reported, and the volume of the news flow that these and other news pieces created in previous weeks is lessening.

This is happening not because any of these horrors have stopped or lessened, but because they are repeated so often on a daily basis that people don’t feel the urge to report them anymore, because it’s the same story every day.

The upside is that all of this is not stopping people internally from persisting in their small-scale protests, or rooftop shouts or vigils, whatever gets them to go on and keep up their fight. The weekly protests are still continuing every Friday despite the police forces instant attacks on them and, sometimes, they even attack or surround areas before it’s time for these protests, preventing them from formulating. It’s not putting people down though, because at the end of the day, the people feel like they sent the intended message nonetheless.

During this weekend, two families I deeply care about were attacked in their homes in two of the many pre-dawn raids that took place. The infamous pre-dawn raids are one of the most famous techniques of our regime, attacking people at hours where they are least prepared to fight back and when neighbors are least likely to witness what took place.

One of those homes was the last destination on a series of attacks on 20 homes in one night of the same family. Looking for one of the family members, regime forces continued terrorizing people until the person being sought was found in the house of one his nieces. They had raided the homes of her uncles, aunts, and parents. They used electric shocks on her family members inside their homes, in front of their parents. They beat up the men and forbid the women to cover themselves. They forced the parents out of their bedroom, and stole the mother’s gold. Her own house was robbed as well: her gold, expensive camera, and over BD700 were taken by the corrupt forces. They do this because they know people will be too scared to report it, and if they do report it, they won’t be taken seriously; they will get a statement of the robbery in worst cases and wait indefinitely for their things to return. She didn’t care for this though; she was mortified with the abuse she and her family faced at her home. Her husband was away; her three kids were there. They directed bright lights on the kids in their room and shouted and screamed at them; they shouted at her 2-year-old daughter and held her less-than-one-year-old son in their hands, telling her they would take him away and she would not be able to see him till she turns in her uncle. Eventually, they found her uncle, and arrested them both. She was released 5 hours later; her uncle’s fate is unknown. When I met her yesterday, she was still in angry disbelief. She says her two-year-old daughter’s whole body was shaking nonstop, even 5 hours later when she returned to her. This person is one of the most cheerful people I know in my life; I have never seen her cry before or even talk in a negative manner. All she did was receive her uncle in her home, and all his crime consisted of was that he belonged to a political party!

The other home I was referring to wasn’t very different. I have known this family my whole life; their father passed away 7 years ago or so. The eldest two brothers take care of the family. They were looking for one of those brothers. Their doors were broken with iron bars, glass shattered, front and inside doors vandalized and pierced with the iron bars. The same iron bars were used to tear and break any frame or picture of a political leader that hung on the walls of the house, like pictures of the late Shaikh Abdul Ameer AlJamri, Godfather of the 90s uprising. Those iron bars were also used to terrify the children, and threaten the women when they screamed, and they forbade them from moving to cover themselves. When the brother was found, he requested to drink water before being escorted, but they refused. The person accompanying the forces was definitely a very good intelligence agent, definitely close to the family; he knew the young man had a heart problem, and so he instructed the forces to take his pills because he takes them daily. After taking him and his laptop, they went to the neighbor's house, put a gun to the neighbor’s head as she watched them break her garage door and take the young man’s car; their agent knew he parked it there. I spoke to a family member; I learned he has a heart operation scheduled this month! They are very worried.

These two events took place within 24 hours of each other. I am one person in Bahrain having this as my daily life. There are many many more that I know and hear of every day, people from my area, other areas, all around Bahrain.

Yesterday, Saturday morning, a 6-year-old boy (Mohamed Abdul Hussain Farhan) passed away affected by suffocation which he experienced on Friday after the riot police excessively attacked his area in Sitra with tear gas bombs. He spent the night in ICU and passed away Saturday morning.

And this evening, the Ministry of Interior announces another dead body found in Hoora (Manama) http://www.policemc.gov.bh/en/news_details.aspx?type=1&articleId=6987 ; people are anxious now. The last time this happened was April 6th, when a missing 57-year-old man was announced to be found dead in a very similar manner by MoI. Later his body was found to be bruised and tortured [graphic] http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=167186086669977&set=a.166318410090078.46482.159852480736671&type=1

Below are my compiled updates for this week:

This week they include:

  • Protesters News
  • Wikileaks
  • Media reports
  • Video reports
  • Picture reports

· Protesters News:

o Thursday 28th Apr 2011: Military Justice rules lifetime in prison to three and death sentence to four protesters who they accuse of running over two policemen. The four sentenced to death penalty are Ali AlSingaise, Abdulaziz Hussain, Qassim Mattar and Saeed Abduljalil http://www.2bb.me/0427-1303948936.jpg (their pictures are #1, #3, #5 and #6)

o Inconsistencies in Televised Confession of Bahraini Protesters Who Were Sentenced to Death/ and illegality of Death Penalty rule according to Bahrain law! http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/04/bahrains_sentences_four_protes.html

o Google map showing some of the registered demolished/ vandalized/ burnt mosques belonging to Shia around Bahrain http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=201183833019020787911.0004a17a0fd2cb6e24158

o Friday 29th April 2011, 6-year-old Mohamed Farhan fell due to tear gas suffocation. He passed away early morning on Saturday. [Archive photos of the boy http://www.no-mercy.me/0429-816713040965422448.jpg , http://www.no-mercy.me/0429-781213040965428513.jpg.]

o Pearl revolution website established, I don’t personally know the front behind this website, but it reflects a lot of the rhetoric and thought of youth on social websites and blogs http://www.thepearlroundabout.org/

o Monday 25th April: Arrest of journalist Haidar Mohamed from AlWasat newspaper http://bit.ly/gSZ3wZ

o Tuesday 26th April: Doctors Fareeda Aldallal, Sadeq AlAali, Enas Al-ekri arrested amongst other medical staff. On Friday 29th April, consultant Dr Hassan Al-Tooblani head of ICU department was arrested in the morning from his home. Other doctors and medical staff have been arrested over two weeks ago from Ibn Sina Health Center in the capitol and their families haven’t heard any news of them until today.

o List of sportspeople and sports clubs targeted by government for their involvement in protests: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/BCHR/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/sports.pdf

o List of reported martyrs: http://almosawi.blogetery.com/?p=196#comment-7 – list hasn’t been yet updated with the latest 6-year-old from Sitra, passed away after suffocating with tear gas shot in his home area. He was in ICU all night on 29th April and passed away early in the day on 30th April, 2011.

o Interview with Aseel Ebrahim Sharif, on her missing father: http://www.peacexpeace.org/2011/04/bahrain-made-personal-one-woman-story-of-her-missing-father/

o Hunger and Hope: Interview with hunger striker Mohammed AlDa’aysi http://theleadpress.com/column_daaysi.html

o Protestor blog: Lulu Phobia: http://almosawi.blogetery.com/?p=202

o Wefaq municipal members fired for participating at municipals march and signing municipals petition to UN

o Sign petition to United Nations for the people of Bahrain http://www.petitiononline.com/ssi2011/petition.html

o Aljazeera Arabic has dedicated page to Bahrain. This is a concession to people who have been complaining of AlJazeera’s silence and negativity towards Bahrain’s revolution because of their Qatari funding http://goo.gl/cz8Bs or http://fb.me/GDLJaIFv

· Wikileaks:

o Cable on Bahrain’s youth “worried about jobs, skeptical of political authority and open to America” Classified By: Ambassador Adam Ereli http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2009/12/09MANAMA737.html

· Media reports:

o Bahrain seeks death sentence for protesters on trial http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/25/us-bahrain-trial-idUSTRE73O39A20110425?WT.tsrc=Social%20Media&WT.z_smid=twtr-reuters_%20com&WT.z_smid_dest=Twitter

o Arab Spring: the Hidden Tragedy of Bahrain http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amir-madani/bahrain-arab-spring_b_854191.html

o 30 medical staff to be investigated: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-26/bahrain-to-investigate-30-medical-staff-for-violations-bna-says.html

o Global Union Movement Calls for End to Repression in Bahrain http://bit.ly/eTBDps

o Turkish weekly: Bahraini Regime Strangling Dissent http://bit.ly/kG4hac

o Another article sympathizing with the Crown Prince: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/bahrain/8472420/Crown-Prince-of-Bahrain-politically-sidelined-by-senior-royal-advisers.html

o Royal Wedding’s Dirty Secret http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24493

o Democracy advocates face challenges as Arab spring turns violent http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471904576230573350388868.html?mod=wsj_share_twitter

o Gulf Allies: A record of repression and torture: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/apr2011/righ-a25.shtml

o CNN: Bahrain government accuses Hezbollah of aiding opposition groups http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/04/25/bahrain.hezbollah/index.html

o CNN: Bahrain in the shadow of Iran, Saudi Arabia and United States http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/04/25/bahrain.saudi.iran.arshin/index.html

o Worshipers condemn death penalty in Bahrain: http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=73125

o GDN News:

§ Laughable GDN piece on the doctors who “answered the call of duty” by not treating protesters, as opposed to those who treated protesters against government instructions! http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=304729&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

§ And they admit sacking sportspeople for being involved in protests: http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=304739&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

§ That’s the way up the ladder now in Bahrain: http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=304670&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

o [Arabic] 320 Kuwaiti students (from Shia sect) denied entry to Bahrain and their embassy not answering their call, while students travelling with them that are Sunni entered normally. http://ow.ly/4JL0X

o [Arabic] BAPCO put their foot down and refuse the interference of the investigation committee http://www.alwasatnews.com/3153/news/read/552880/1.html you may use google translate to get an overview of the piece.

o [Arabic] Municipality Council of Central Governorate fires four Wefaq representatives http://www.alwasatnews.com/3153/news/read/552875/1.html

o [Arabic] Qatar and Bahrain royal family members visit Egypt http://www.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=399741&SecID=97&IssueID=0 this is not the first visit. These visits I bet have helped as well with turning some of the Egyptian popular opinion (at least amongst muslim brotherhood Qaradhawi followers) against Bahrain’s revolution.

· Video reports:

o CNN live with Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0veQfrjrwa4&feature=share to watch the complete report with better quality http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=458St6IdAm4

o Press TV report on Shia demolished mosques: http://vimeo.com/22836415

o Revolution in Bahrain cracking media blackout http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noaw_T3JjpU&feature=share

o CNN: Clampdown in Bahrain http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2011/04/26/jamjoom.gcc.arab.uprising.cnn.html

o One of the many lies of Bahrain TV. They used excerpts from this video to say protesters faked their wounds http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__EAWsKr6G4&feature=youtu.be

o Video report: summary of mosques destroyed & burning Quran in Bahrain http://youtu.be/DbR8AtS1huQ

§ Another video of some of the Shia mosques demolished by the government in their sectarian retribution http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g68XAuw-_g&feature=youtu.be

o Nausea alert: Bahrain TV launches a program called “We are all Khalifa”, right when you think they can’t top themselves http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAn8oohO3ts&feature=youtu.be

o Against BTV http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VanyPe2rzY8

o Video of citizens being pulled out of their cars at checkpoints. Video uploader claims the driver was beaten then arrested, apologizes for the shaky footage because too many forces were around and he was afraid to get caught http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMi_J5EiaRY

· Picture reports:

o The “loyal citizens” of Bahrain signing on the book of allegiance stand at Bahrain City Center shopping mall https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/222750_222791824402903_216607041688048_1079991_3855164_n.jpg — Do I dare point out the obvious?

o Pictures of the destruction of Shia religious buildings in Bani Jamrah, and graffiti reading “Long Live Khalifa”, “Long Live Bu Met’eb” (Bu Met’eb is King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia) and other writings cursing opposition figures.

o The mess left behind at the home of Hussain Marzooq after his arrest (the second story in my introduction)

§ http://bb.ta7a.com/upfiles/ta7a-CBE16401.jpg

§ http://bb.ta7a.com/upfiles/ta7a-xYK16734.jpg

§ http://bb.ta7a.com/upfiles/ta7a-CLz17345.jpg

§ http://bb.ta7a.com/upfiles/ta7a-CGp17487.jpg

§ http://bb.ta7a.com/upfiles/ta7a-3k817787.jpg

§ http://bb.ta7a.com/upfiles/ta7a-ySC18042.jpg

§ http://bb.ta7a.com/upfiles/ta7a-xCQ18296.jpg

§ http://bb.ta7a.com/upfiles/ta7a-FTZ18509.jpg

§ http://bb.ta7a.com/upfiles/ta7a-hDh19731.jpg

§ http://bb.ta7a.com/upfiles/ta7a-bCk20021.jpg

§ http://bb.ta7a.com/upfiles/ta7a-uQ720353.jpg

§ http://bb.ta7a.com/upfiles/ta7a-eVF20629.jpg

———- Forwarded message ———-

Date: Sun, May 1, 2011 at 9:21 PM
Subject: [From: c s] The west's silence over Bahrain smacks of double standards
The west's silence over Bahrain smacks of double standards

The absence of pressure on Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will only deepen the gulf of distrust between Iran and the west

Hooshang Amirahmadi and Kaveh Afrasiabi
Thursday April 28 2011
The European Union and the Obama administration have made a splendid art of double standards by imposing sanctions on Tehran's rulers for their human rights violations and taking military action against the Libyan dictator while failing to address the appalling repression [http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/22/bahrain-counter-revolution-televised-athletes" title="Guardian: In Bahrain, first, they came for the athletes] of the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain.
For the US and the EU, which claim to uphold principles over interests, this contradictory policy and their silence over the Saudi intervention [http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/17/bahrain-saudi-intervention-sectarian-conflict-protests" title="Cif: Bahrainis cannot be subdued for ever] in Bahrain is particularly harmful.
Indeed, it is hypocrisy for the history books ? to be interpreted by future historians as a reflection of the dominance of western realpolitik over values. How else can one interpret the fact that so far EU-US officials have paid minimal attention to the brutal crackdown in Bahrain, which according to various human rights organisations has resulted in dozens of deaths and incarceration of several hundred protesters?
Instead of condemning the Bahraini government's oppression of its citizens and backing the protesters' legitimate demand for a constitutional monarchy, the EU and the US have confined themselves to vacuous statements without taking any action proportionate to the gravity of the political crisis in Bahrain. The only exception is the rare show of bravado by Zsolt Nemeth, the Hungarian deputy foreign minister (also an EU official) who has advocated [http://www.examiner.com/christianity-politics-in-national/e