Another Bahraini has died due to inhaling tear gas fired by Saudi-backed regime forces as the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty continues its violent suppression of peaceful pro-democracy rallies in the country.
Locals said they had witnessed extensive use of tear gas and poisonous fumes when Bahraini forces sought to disperse protesters during an anti-regime demonstration in the Wadiyan area of the northeastern island of Sitra on Monday, al-Manar television network reported.
The victim, identified as Jawad al-Hawi, died due to asphyxia after inhaling poisonous tear gas fired by regime forces. His funeral is due to be held later on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a Bahraini court handed jail terms of 5 to 15 years to eight anti-regime protesters on charges of possessing weapons and explosive devices in the eastern village of Tubli.
Bahraini uprising started in mid-February 2011. On March 13 that year, forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were dispatched to the country at Manama’s request to quell nationwide protests.
Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds injured and jailed by regime forces since the uprising broke out.
Last month, Amnesty International denounced the “relentless repression” of anti-regime protesters in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, blaming Bahraini security forces for their repeated use of “excessive force to quash anti-government protests.”
On February 14, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the Bahraini regime to respect its “international human rights obligations” in dealing with peaceful protests in the country. …source
March 22, 2014 No Comments
Bahrain Watch Files Complaint against S. Korea for Tear Gas Sales
11 December, 2013 – Tasnim News Agency
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Bahrain Watch, a rights advocacy group, filed a complaint with the United Nations against South Korea for providing Bahrain’s Al Khalifa regime with huge numbers of tear gas canisters.
In the complaint field on Tuesday, the UN officials are requested to act immediately to block the path for shipment of the gas canisters to Bahrain, arguing that they can be used in suppressing anti-government demonstrations in the country.
Also, a large number of Korean activists gathered in front the South Korean foreign ministry to show their opposition to sending tear gas to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey , and announced their support for the complaint against the sales of tear gas to Al Khalifa regime.
Bahrain Watch is leading a campaign called “Stop the Shipment” amid fears a South Korean company, DaeKwang Chemical, is considering supplying some 1.5 million rounds of tear gas to Bahrain.
In late November, a legal team of British and American human rights lawyers, solicitors and barristers, assembled by advocacy organization Bahrain Watch, announced that it was taking legal action to prevent a Korean company from supplying the Bahraini government with more than 1.6 million rounds of tear gas.
The team filed a formal complaint with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) National Contact Point (NCP) in Korea against Dae Kwang Chemical Corporation, the company believed to be originating the shipment.
Dae Kwang has admitted to supplying approximately 1 million tear gas canisters to Bahrain in 2011-2012, and the Korean National Police Agency told Amnesty Korea that over 1.5 million tear gas units have been exported to Bahrain since 2011.
Last year, the New York-based rights group Physicians for Human Rights documented reports of women miscarrying after frequently being exposed to tear gas, as well as cases of deaths from respiratory illnesses.
Human Rights Watch said in October that Bahraini security forces had “repeatedly used tear gas disproportionately and sometimes unlawfully in suppressing antigovernment demonstrations” since 2011, when protests against Bahrain’s monarchy erupted as part of the wave of uprisings sweeping the Middle East.
Tear gas misuse “has been implicated in more than a dozen deaths and serious injuries,” the group said.
The warning came after Bahrain Watch released documents showing what the group said was a public tender for 1.6 million tear gas shells, 90,000 tear gas grenades and 145,000 sound and flash grenades. The tender, dated June 16, was issued by Bahrain’s ministry of interior, which oversees the riot police. …source
December 12, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain’s Continued Weaponizing of Tear Gas
by Samirah Majumdar and Hadley Griffin – 25 October, 2013 – PHR
In August 2012, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) reported on the extensive, persistent, and disproportionate use of toxic chemical agents by anti-riot police against civilians in Bahrain. Police weaponized tear gas in order to crush protests, leading to at least 39 confirmed deaths since 2011 and causing long-term deleterious consequences for those repeatedly exposed to the toxic chemicals in enclosed spaces. PHR is once again concerned about an escalation of violence and the use of toxic chemical agents against protesters as latest developments point to continued instability in Bahrain.
Security forces in Bahrain have regularly cracked down on demonstrators since pro-democracy protests began in February 2011. Police continue to use force to disperse protesters, with recent reports in early October indicating that anti-riot police used buckshot, sound grenades, and tear gas against demonstrators following the death of a political detainee. There have been other sources of tension as well – in the past month, scores of activists have been sentenced in unfair trials, with allegations that authorities used torture to extract confessions. On September 29, 50 Shiite activists received sentences of up to 15 years in prison for their involvement in the 14 February Coalition, a youth-led opposition movement. Al-Wefaq, a political opposition party, has accused the government of escalatory security methods and pulled out of a national dialogue in September because of the arrest of one of its leaders. The United States has voiced concerns over both the recent unrest and lack of progress in the national dialogue that was agreed upon following the violent demonstrations in 2011.
A leaked document, released on October 16, 2013 and publicized by Bahrain Watch, has renewed concerns that the Bahraini government is stockpiling tear gas to crackdown on protesters. The document is a Ministry of Interior tender that shows the country’s plans to import 1.6 million tear gas canisters, 90,000 tear gas grenades, and 145,000 sound and flash grenades, totaling more than the entire Bahraini population of 1.3 million people. Given regular protests in the country and the authorities’ sustained inappropriate and excessive use of force against them, there is little doubt that this new purchase order will target protesters. And based on Bahrain’s aforementioned abuse of tear gas, PHR is seriously concerned that Bahraini forces will again use tear gas to punish protesters, inflict suffering, and suppress dissent.
PHR reiterates its call to the government of Bahrain to cease the use of tear gas in the country until the government conducts a full and impartial investigation into tear gas abuse, re-trains security forces in its proper application, and holds perpetrators of excessive or improper use of force accountable. Given the recent history of rampant tear gas abuse in the country, PHR strongly urges a suspension of the shipment of toxic chemical agents to Bahrain until these basic benchmarks are met, after which the government of Bahrain must adhere to United Nations guidelines on the use of force regarding any future use of tear gas or related substances.
October 29, 2013 No Comments
South Korea rapped for selling arms to Bahrain
19 October, 2013 – PressTV
Protesters outside the South Korean Embassy in London have called on Seoul to stop shipments of tear gas to Bahrain.
The demonstration by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and free Bahrainis was held at South Korea’s diplomatic mission in the British capital on Friday, October 18.
Protesters carrying Bahraini flags and photograph of tear gas injuries, condemned South Korea’s export of riot control equipment to Bahrain’s Al Khalifa regime while it faces accusations of human rights violations.
Some demonstrators were wearing gas masks and others held tear gas canisters. They were also carrying banners reading, “Tear gas kills” and “Stop the shipment.”
Earlier this week, Bahrain Watch, an independent human rights group, published a document dating back to July and allegedly showing Bahrain’s Interior Ministry plans to import 1.6 million tear gas canisters and some 90,000 tear gas grenades.
“I think if you look at the scale and frequency of the use of tear gas in Bahrain, it’s unprecedented anywhere in the world,” said Alaa Shehabi, a founding member of Bahrain Watch.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power. The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown.
Physicians for Human Rights say doctors and nurses have been detained, tortured, or disappeared because they have “evidence of atrocities committed by the authorities, security forces, and riot police” in the crackdown on anti-government protesters. …source
October 22, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain: Imported chemical and tear gases twice the population
By davidswanson – 18 October, 2013 – warisacrime.org
Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior is planning to import 1.6 million tear gas canisters and 90,000 tear gas grenades, according to a leaked document, published Wednesday 17th October by research and advocacy group Bahrain Watch. The document — apparently a tender issued by the Ministry of Interior’s Purchasing Directorate — shows that Bahrain’s security forces are stockpiling massive amounts of tear gas, despite serious concerns of international NGOs and the United Nations Human Rights Council. These groups have called Bahrain’s use of tear gas “unnecessary and indiscriminate”, and “lethal”. This planned new shipment will supply Bahrain with more tear gas canisters than the entire population of the country. Efforts are underway to challenge this massive deal which has confirmed what the opposition had claimed; the Alkalifa are there to kill, maim and torture as many Bahrainis as possible.
The ferocity of repression was laid bare in recent days. Yesterday regime’s security forces attacked peaceful protests in many areas causing serious injuries. The intensification of repressive attacks by those forces are desperate measures to stem the deepening political and humanitarian crisis engulfing the country. At the end of the three-days mourning of last weeks’ martyr, Yousuf Al Nashmi, 31, at Al Musalla Town, the funeral service was attacked by regime’s forces using chemical and tear gases and shotguns against participants. A young man from Karzakkan Town received a direct hit fired by the police using shotguns. He has been admitted to intensive care as his condition remains critical. He suffers broken skull and severe internal bleeding.
Many Bahraini youth have been detained in the past week. Among them is Mohammad Al Nashaba, 21 who was snatched from his house in the early hours of the Eid Day, Tuesday 15th October. Another youth, Jaffar Al Wada’ei, 19, was also snatched from his home and taken to Alkhalifa torture dungeons.
On 14th October, Foreign Policy website has published an article titled “Ignoring Bahrain’s iron fist”. It was written by Sarah Margon, acting Washington director at Human Rights Watch and Mary Laurie, a fellow in the Human Rights Watch Washington office. It said: “For two years, as the United States has condemned massive abuses of protesters throughout the Middle East, it has largely turned a blind eye to equally horrific treatment in Bahrain, a small but significant ally. As the situation in Manama shows no sign of abating, the United States needs to step up its game — before it’s too late.” After detailing America’s stands on Bahrain in the past two years including what President Obama said in his address at the UN recently, it concluded: “If the United States is trying to gain leverage with Bahrain’s rulers by limiting its criticism, there is no evidence that this app roach is making a difference. In fact, it appears to be making a bad situation worse.”
Although the regime’s forces are committing atrocious crimes against Bahrainis every day, only a portion of those crimes are documented. The link below shows how those forces are waging war against Bahraini natives. The crime which has been recorded took place at Al Ekr Town. Those forces prefer to commit their crimes on the secluded roofs of houses they raid without legal permission. A similar video was broadcast about a similar crime at Alaker Town last year.
Meanwhile, the protests have continued in most parts of the country under different mottos. The regime’s failure to contain the situation or defeat the Revolution has taken the struggle steps ahead and created more pressure on Alkhalifa’s allies especially Washington. The protest on Tuesday to mark the end of the commemoration service of Martyr Yousuf Al Nashmi, has proven beyond doubt that the people are clear in their minds about what they want, and possess power and carriage to counter the regime’s mouthpieces. …source
October 22, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior is planning to import 1.6 million tear gas canisters and 90,000 tear gas grenades, according to a leaked document, published today by research and advocacy group Bahrain Watch. The document — apparently a tender issued by the Ministry of Interior’s Purchasing Directorate — shows that Bahrain’s security forces are stockpiling massive amounts of tear gas, despite serious concerns of international NGOs and the United Nations Human Rights Council. These groups have called Bahrain’s use of tear gas “unnecessary and indiscriminate”, and “lethal”. This planned new shipment will supply Bahrain with more tear gas canisters than the entire population of the country. …more
October 22, 2013 No Comments
October 18, 2013 No Comments
October 18, 2013 No Comments
A hundred years of toxic humanitarianism
Anna Feigenbaum – 24 July, 2013 – Open Democracy
The history of tear gas traces a metamorphosis from chemical weapon of warfare to ‘legitimate’ crowd control technology. Whilst casualties are persistently blamed on ‘misuse’ by police and security forces, history reveals tear gas to be an inherently dangerous weapon.
In August 2012, eighteen months into protests in Bahrain, Physicians for Human Rights released a report documenting 34 tear gas-related deaths. These included deaths arising from tear gas fired into enclosed locations such as cars, homes and mosques, as well as from canister strikes to the head. Lost eyes, miscarriages, and respiratory failures also filled the list of causalities.
Human rights campaign groups put pressure on governments to stop shipments by describing injuries as a result of the misuse of tear gas. Amnesty International stated that tear gas in Bahrain was “being used inappropriately,” while Physicians for Human Rights titled their report ‘Weaponizing Tear Gas’.
Last week this language of ‘incorrect use’ appeared again. Human Rights Watch sent out a press release calling on Turkey to “End Incorrect, Unlawful Use of Teargas.” But what does it mean to ‘misuse’ a weapon like tear gas? How did tear gas become an acceptable weapon for public order policing in the first place? And why, as so many commentators point out, is tear gas banned in war but permitted for ‘keeping the peace’?
Tear gas: a chemical weapon of warfare
News stories on tear gas tend to cite the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibited the use of most chemical weapons, as the foundation of these anomalies. It was here that nations signed on to an exception, permitting the use of tear gases for “law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes.” Yet the origins of this exception date back much farther than 1997. To understand how tear gas came to be considered a humanitarian weapon for public order policing we must return to the trenches.
Although primitive forms of tear gas existed prior to World War I, it was during the war that research and resources were heavily invested to develop lachrymatory agents—what we commonly refer to as ‘tear gases’ (though they aren’t actually a gas). These chemical substances were used in efforts to lure the enemy out from trenches so as to ‘weaken his defences’. Designed for this purpose, tear gas was seen as a form of both physical and psychological attack.
It was precisely this aggressive use of tear gas that led to its initial ban under the Geneva Protocol of 1925—a ban the US had not signed on to. Having witnessed the ways tear gas was used as part of trench warfare, delegates in Geneva argued that it was inhumane. However, by the time the protocol was ratified, military and state officials were already busy promoting the benefits of such weapons for controlling the masses. …more
July 30, 2013 No Comments
Facing Tear Gas – Campaign to End the Global War on Democracy
War Resisters League
Since February 14th, 2011, Bahrain has been witness to a mass uprising. Inspired by the several neighboring uprisings in the Arab world, protesters have been demanding political and economic reform, and often the downfall of the regime. These demands include constitutional reformation, the formation of an elected, representative government, and an end to corruption, which is widespread in the kingdom.
Bahrain maintains a monarchical system ruled by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and and elite political class often closely tied to the al-Khalifa family. The monarchy has a history of silencing the dissident voices of the population through methods of torture, detention, and in the phrasing of a comprehensive Physicians for Human Rights report “weaponizing tear gas.” These actions have led to an increase in global attention, along with increased inquiry into Bahrain’s excessive use of force and human rights violations.
After the protest in the capital city of Manama and across Bahrain, King Hamad declared a State of Emergency for 3 months, effectively removing the protesters from their camp at the centre. The declaration was supported by the foreign military intervention of Saudi troops on March 14th. This crackdown however, did not crush the uprising, but rather decentralized it, breaking it up to myriad village-based movements, such as in Sitra and Durz. Once the State of Emergency was lifted, various political groupings, most prominently the Coalition of February 14th Youth, began to organize weekly protests of tens of thousands of opposition activists. The police response to these peaceful and unarmed protesters has been brutal. (In a campaign of intimidation ran by the police, there have been several house raids in Shi’a neighborhoods, beatings at checkpoints, denial of medical care, as well as detention and torture. Oppostion figures though, cross Bahrain’s geographical and sectarian communities, as the diversity of the movement has consistenly shown.)
A report released by a commission of inquiry established by King Hamad in June 2011 has confirmed the Bahraini government’s various violations of human rights and have silenced government claims that the protests were instigated by Shi’a Iran. Around the time of the report Bahrain sentenced several prominent movement figures to life in prison, including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, there have been sporadic movements demanding economic, social, and political rights. Since 1783, Bahrain has been ruled by the Al Khalifas. Bahrain became an independent state apart from the British protectorate in 1971. The first parliamentary election took place in 1973. The constitution and the assembly were dissolved two years later. The year 1992 saw a popular uprising demanding the return of Parliament and constitution. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa muted the uprising in 2001 with reforms that were supported by an overwhelming majority of the Bahraini population. However, the following year, the government issued a new constitution appointing the majority of power to the upper half of Parliament as opposed to the popularly elected lower half. This led to the boycott of the 2002 parliamentary elections by many opposition parties, yet in 2006 Al Wefaq won a majority vote. This created a split in opposition associations, with organizations such as the Haq Movement seeking change outside of that brought about within Parliament. Since then, tensions and repression have increased dramatically, culminating in the ongoing mainly decentralized revolt. The Bahraini revolution continues . . . …source
April 24, 2013 No Comments
An international campaign against the use of lethal gases and shotguns by the Alkhalifa regime against people has been launched.
No country has abused chemical gases like Bahrain
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – It started after an Irish University established that the gases used by police against Bahraini demonstrators were ten times the acceptable international level of concentration. To mark the second anniversary of the February 14 Bahraini uprising, Prof Damian McCormack, Prof David Grayson and Tara O’Grady call for a ban on CS gas, 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile.
Also, Avaaz, the online campaign group has launched a petition calling on two companies who had supplied the Alkhalifa with these lethal gases to stop the process.
Experts say that Bahrain is using a poisonous form of tear gas against civilians that Bahrain wouldn’t even be permitted to use in a war against armed soldiers! Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) report that in 100 years of tear gas being used against civilians, no country has ever abused it like Bahrain. Police “routinely violated every UN principle governing police use of force.” There is no excuse for using this brutality which claimed victims from a boy as young as 8 to an elderly man of 88. Activists are taking their campaign to Europe and America in order to achieve the required ban on the use of lethal gases and shotguns. More than 100 people have died as a direct result of the use of those two weapons.
A big controversy is flaring up after a controversial decision to rename a Royal Military Academy (RMA) sports hall. The decision has come under attack from politicians but has been defended by Army officers. Mons Hall, a top quality sports hall at the RMA in Sandhurst and home to the British modern pentathlon team, is said to be named after The Battle of Mons, where thousands of British and German soldiers died in 1914. However, Lieutenant Colonel Roy Parkinson from the RMA said: “Mons Hall was actually named after Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot. Bahrain’s dictator, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa who has been plundering Bahrain’s wealth had given £3 million. “To change the name of something which commemorates a very tragic episode in British military history, simply because they’re getting a sum of money from a rather dubious source, is appalling,” said Labour MP Andy Slaughter.
Meanwhile jailed doctors have called for 17th February to be named “Day to Defend Medical Neutrality”. They issued a statement signed by: Dr Saeed Al Samaheeji, Dr Ali Al Ekri and senior nurse, Ibrahim Al Demstani. The statement said that in proposing this we “remember the violations against the medics when the Revolution was launched on this day in 2011; the banning of the medics from attending the injured that led to cases of death that could have been prevented”. Also 65 prisoners staged a five day hunger strike to mark the second anniversary of the 14th February Revolution.
There is also grave concern for the life of Mahmood Isa, of Nabih Saleh island, who had been shot on 14th February at close range, smashing his skull. He is still in the danger zone. Also Hassan Jassim who was shot on that day, is suffering blood haemorrhage resulting from a direct hit to the head. Many others are suffering away from hospitals which are still under military control.
On Wednesday 21st February, The Independent newspaper published a report about the rifts within the Alkahlifa clique. It said: “In a highly unusual step, members of the Royal Family are now beginning to speak out against their rivals – the first clear admission that the family has indeed become divided. In an anonymous interview with the Wall Street Journal newspaper this week, a “senior royal” hit out at his cousins bemoaning the fact that “surrounding the king are all powerful Khawalids”. It further added: “Khawalid is a term used in Bahrain to describe an ultraconservative faction within the Royal Family who trace their lineage back to Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa, who in the 1920s was the powerful younger brother of the then Emir. He led a brutal crackdown against a Shi’a uprising and was imprisoned by the British. His supporters were known for their intense dislike of the island’s majority Shi’a population and spent much of the late twentieth century outside the corridors of power. But key Khawalid figures have managed to get into senior positions within the Royal Family and in recent years appear to have sidelined figures who are more sympathetic to economic and political reform such as the Crown Prince Salman bin Hamed al-Khalifa. “ …source
February 27, 2013 No Comments
February 21, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain Regime engaged in systematic widespread use of CS Gas in lethal assaults against Children and Elderly
February 14, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain’s Police Use South African Tear Gas From German-Controlled Company
29 January, 2013 – by Bill Marczak – Bahrain Watch
This type of canister is manufactured by Rheinmetall Denel Munition (Pty) Ltd, or one of its predecessor companies. Rheinmetall Denel is 51%-owned by Germany company Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH, and 49%-owned by South African company Denel (Pty) Ltd. Despite the joint ownership, all of Rheinmetall Denel’s operations seem to be located in South Africa. Rheinmetall Denel was formed in 2008 when Rheinmetall acquired a 51% stake in Denel Munitions, a Denel subsidiary. Before Rheinmetall Denel, Bahrain Watch understands that this type of canister was manufactured by Swartklip Products, part of Denel Munitions. Rheinmetall Denel now operates the Swartklip plant. A division of Rheinmetall is also the manufacturer of the MK-13 flashbangs used by police.
Protesters claim that police fire this type of tear gas canister from their six-shot semiautomatic tear gas launchers (referred to as “C4″ or “Y2 MK1″ weapons by protesters). Visual evidence also appears to support this claim. The weapon appears to be visually identical to the 40mm Multiple Anti Riot (MAR), manufactured by South African-based Milkor. …source
January 29, 2013 No Comments
January 3, 2013 No Comments
January 3, 2013 No Comments
November 1, 2012 No Comments
Rioting Automobile attacked by Bahrain Security Forces with CS Gas – A little excessive Timoney – you think?
August 30, 2012 No Comments
As alarms raised over lethal misuse of Chemical Gas in Bahrain – regime intensifes abuse by attacking homes in intimidation bid
Bahraini Regime Attacks Homes of Opposition Forces with Toxic Gasses
23 August, 2012 – FARS
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Bahraini security forces have started spraying toxic gasses in areas where members of opposition groups reside and in those areas and districts which witness daily popular protests against the Al-Khalifa regime, reports said.
Several Bahraini news websites reported on Thursday that large groups of al-Khalifa forces attacked a large number of districts in the Bahraini cities and villages to suppress and arrest those who had attended the protest rallies against the ruling system.
They also sprayed toxic gasses at residential districts and people’s houses.
Earlier reports from the Arab country said that as protests continue in Bahrain, the police keep bombarding dissenters with tear gas, which local residents say is now getting both stronger and thicker. It’s not only affecting just protesters, either – tear gas is getting into people’s homes. For many, it’s now becoming part of everyday life.
Bahraini human rights groups have cried out against the widespread use of tear gas, which they say is being spread haphazardly in areas where the authorities believe protesters live, notably lower-income Shiite neighborhoods. Several cases of death by suffocation have been reported, including of people inside their homes.
Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty’s over-40-year rule.
Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar – were dispatched to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom on March 13, 2011, to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors.
So far, tens of protesters have been killed, hundreds have gone missing and thousands of others have been injured.
Police clampdown on protesters continues daily. Authorities have tried to stop organized protests by opposition parties over the past month by refusing to license them and using tear gas on those who turn up.
The opposition coalition wants full powers for the elected parliament and a cabinet fully answerable to parliament. …source
August 23, 2012 No Comments
August 20, 2012 No Comments
August 20, 2012 No Comments
Bahrain finds an off-label use for tear gas as chemical warfare.
Bahrain: the Tear Gas Regime
By Steve Fake, August 9, 2012
Physicians for Human Rights just released a report on the Bahraini government’s pervasive use of tear gas to repress its restive civilian population. Bahrain has raised the global bar on the usage of tear gas to unprecedented heights. It has become the Tear Gas Regime.
Consider this excerpt from the PHR report:
“PHR investigators visited one home in which residents provided “guest gas masks” to visitors exposed to toxic chemical agents in and around the home. “We’ve been exposed to tear gases almost every day,” said one resident of a Shi’a neighborhood. “We’ve had canisters shot in the house, on the doorstep, and on the roof. We’ve had so many attacks, I can’t count the number of times. You don’t need to go outside to smell the ‘tear gas.’”
The report continues:
“Preliminary analysis of data suggests that the majority of Shi’a neighborhoods (comprising 80% of all neighborhoods in Bahrain) have been exposed to toxic chemical agent attacks at least once per week since February 2011.”
That is a remarkable record of sustained gassing. What does this mean for the neighborhoods and villages affected? As PHR details:
“Symptoms of CS [the most commonly used chemical agent in contemporary ‘tear gas’ worldwide] exposure include severe tearing, burning in the nose and throat, eye spasms, chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing among other signs of oral and respiratory distress.”
Imagine encountering that on a daily or weekly basis as many Shia neighborhoods in Bahrain now are.
There is plenty of reason to question the legitimacy of tear gas usage in virtually any context. PHR medical investigators noted in a report published the AMA’s journal in 1989 that:
“[T]he evidence already assembled regarding the pattern of use of tear gas, as well as its toxicology, raises the question of whether its further use can be condoned under any circumstances… [T]here is an important role for the independent [health] professional: to study, document, analyze, and report on such hazards and to advise government on what does and does not carry an acceptable risk. If a weapon is found to present too serious a risk, it is then the responsibility of those in charge of public safety to decide on alternatives.”
Note the ‘pattern of use’ analysis from even the late ‘80s. When is ‘tear gas’ used in an appropriate and proportionate manner? Can a protestor or bystander among us think of an instance? International law permits its use under the category of ‘riot control’. Thus, it is properly deployed to disperse ‘riots’, not nonviolent gatherings, and not some scattered projectile throwing and minor property destruction.
The very label ‘tear gas’ is a euphemism which obscures that its use on humans: “poses serious health risks and even causes death.” The proper term for ‘tear gas’ is ‘toxic chemical agent’ as PHR employs. As PHR notes, ““Tear gas,” implying that these chemical agents merely cause tearing, is a misnomer.“
Perhaps the roots of the crowd control method should give us pause. The origin of tear gas derives from chemical weapons that became so infamous in WW1.
Lest anyone continue to regard ‘tear gas’ as a mere inconvenience, it has also been implicated as a carcinogen, and may even damage DNA, thus impacting one’s future children and family lineage.
August 9, 2012 No Comments
Bahrain riot police fire tear gas, stun grenades on protesters
3 August, 2012 – RT
Published: 03 August, 2012, 14:58
Bahraini policemen arrest protestors during an anti-government demonstration in the village of Bani Jamrah, West of Manama, on August 2, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mohammed Al-Shaikh)
Bahraini policemen arrest protestors during an anti-government demonstration in the village of Bani Jamrah, West of Manama, on August 2, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mohammed Al-Shaikh)
TAGS: Arms, Conflict, Middle East, Protest, Politics, Human rights, Opposition, Police
Bahraini riot police have fired tear gas and stun grenades at hundreds of demonstrators attempting to block a highway. Frequent antigovernment protests have wracked the country since February 2011.
Protesters and police clashed in several Shiite villages late Thursday and early Friday, witnesses told AFP. The recent protests are a move by Bahrain’s opposition to spark further street demonstrations in the country.
The ongoing uprising by the country’s Shiite majority, which claims systematic discrimination on the part of Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy, has weakened after multiple mass arrests. At least 50 people have been killed and many more detained since protests began 18 months ago.
Advocacy group Physicians for Human Rights released a new report this month titled ‘Weaponizing Tear Gas,’ which accused Bahraini authorities of badly injuring and even killing protesters with tear gas by flooding enclosed spaces like cars and houses with the toxic chemicals.
The report stated that government officials misused tear gas against Shiite Muslim civilians, and that the attacks caused severe suffering amounting to torture. The report concluded that Bahraini authorities had “routinely violated every UN principle governing police use of force.”
The EU and US have made few statements and taken no direct action against the Bahraini government’s crackdown on the uprisings.
Richard Sollom, Deputy Director of Physicians for Human Rights and author of the report, noted that the report would likely not be well-received by the Obama administration, which has refrained from criticizing the Bahraini government, he said in an interview with New York Times.
Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which patrols the Persian Gulf and is a strategic check against Iran.
The Bahraini government did not respond to the group’s request for an account of the exact types of tear gas used by the police, Sollom said. It also refused to reveal where it is obtaining the tear gas, although canisters recovered on the street by activists suggest that they were manufactured in the US, France and Brazil. …more
August 3, 2012 No Comments
Bahrain Regime Uses Chemical Gas against Villagers as they Sleep – President Obama is “okay” with that…
July 24, 2012 No Comments
Bahrain: Investigation Reveals Indiscriminate Use of Tear Gas
PHR concerned about possible increase in miscarriages due to prolonged tear gas exposure
PHR – Cambridge, Mass. – 19 April, 2012
Upon returning from an investigation in Bahrain, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today criticized the Government’s indiscriminate and systematic use of tear gas against civilian protesters and densely populated Shia neighborhoods. PHR calls for the immediate suspension of the use of this toxic gas because of its suspected severe health impact on the population.
“Despite promises of reform since our investigation to the Kingdom last year, the Government’s excessive use of force has only increased. Security forces now strategically use tear gas –its innocuous-sounding name belies its deadliness – as a potentially lethal weapon against men, women, children, and the elderly alike,” said Richard Sollom, Deputy Director of PHR. “More troubling is the Government’s pattern of attack. Not only do security forces target street protesters, they go out of their way to shoot or throw tear gas into civilian homes. We may be beginning to see serious longer-term health consequences among people routinely exposed to high doses of this toxic gas. Based on our findings, PHR is concerned about possible increased rates of miscarriage and birth defects in Bahrain.”
According to recent reports, the Government of Bahrain has arrested about 60 leading democracy activists in an attempt to contain anti-government protests ahead of this weekend’s Formula One Grand Prix race.
“When all eyes turn to Bahrain this weekend to watch the Formula One race, we cannot forget the protesters who are being constantly attacked by their own government,” said Dr. Holly Atkinson, PHR’s Immediate Past President and co-investigator. “Last week, I saw young children regularly exposed to tear gas and spoke with women who had suffered miscarriages, which might be due to prolonged tear gas exposure. Even worse, many of these vulnerable people are afraid to go to a hospital for care.”
PHR investigators found continued militarization of Bahrain’s healthcare system, including systematic interrogation of suspected protesters arriving at Salmaniya Hospital. In April 2011, PHR released the report Do No Harm, [pdf] which detailed Bahrain’s attacks on physicians, medical staff, and patients.
“By militarizing the country’s medical system, the Government of Bahrain has succeeded in intimidating and subduing a vulnerable population—the sick and wounded. Many patients are afraid to seek care and instead are utilizing private hospitals or an ad hoc community network of care provided by medics and civilians,” said Dr. Atkinson.
Patients and medical staff alike are protected under the principles of medical neutrality, and PHR calls on the Government of Bahrain to respect these principles and cease intimidation of the medical community and those who seek care. …more
April 20, 2012 No Comments