Paying The Price for Britian’s Silence on al Kahlifa’s Crimal Conduct and Murderous Reign in Bahrain
August 18, 2014 No Comments
America Needs Critical Thinking and Sense of Humanity
27 January, 2014 – Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD. – Cyrano’s Journal Today
On January 16, 2014, CNN moderator Don Lemon asked Professor William Pollack (Clinical Psychologist, Harvard University), why are we witnessing daily carnage of civilian bloodbaths – shootings in schools, shopping malls, movie theatres and street grocery stores? What has gone wrong with the American Society? The answer Professor Pollack offered tells a lot and perhaps not too many morally conscientious Americans could disagree with. America lives in a “disconnect” world being unaware of the surrounding real world. An imaginary world of self- indulgence in a prevalent culture of cell phones, text messages, footballs match shouting and excluded entirely from the mainstream of human realities. Another female commentator explains: we are waging wars on ourselves by disregarding the world around us. Once the cell phone is turned off, we are not sure, how to cope with the impinging real world except taking out guns, shooting at random and killing the innocent people. One wonders if this is what America has come to absorb – fair as foul and foul is fair – the traditional American moral and intellectual psyche wants practical and remedial answers which nobody seem to articulate. Are the American moral and intellectual values been replaced with self-generated violence, hatred of others and self- survival of the fittest? Questions and answers on the news media come and go but the societal reality remains the same.
A year earlier, Finian Cunningham (“Killing Children Is the All-American Way.” Dissident Voice: 12/22/2012) raised similar concerns on the growing diasporas of the US political culture:
“Americans need to look at how their society has increasingly become a psychopathic culture of death over many decades. Americans need to realize how their hallowed capitalist ideology of the putative American Dream is in practice nothing but the destruction of communities and millions of individuals on the altar of elite profit-making. Think about the glib, common parlance used to describe the process of human destruction. Investors “make a killing”; workforces are “liquidated”; society is facing a “fiscal cliff”.
In reality, the long waited Third World War was launched by George W. Bush in March 2003 against Iraq. After its failure in Afghanistan in 2001 to come to terms with Reason, Washington- based Industrial and Military Complex prepared the US politicians including the Congress for another global savagery without any reason. From George W. Bush to Barrack Obama, the global insanity of wars has not halted in any manner. Both betrayed the trust of the American masses that elected them to foster peace and harmony across the nations of the world. America cannot exclude itself from the consequences of what it does to others. Today is the memorial day of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had he lived longer to see how his dream was sabotaged – The Vision of a New America, his moral and intellectual spirit would have been more tormented: “He said, O Lord, we ought to be, what we are not.” Agreeably, we live in God’s created One World- One Planet. All and every things that happen affect us all. At human conscientious level, words depict a picture of virtual reality, The CNN moderator was worried and horrified as to what is next – the cost of political success of the few warmongers leading America to ruthlessness and bloody degeneration? Are we in a different time span than the political affairs, action-reaction of violence and threats of aggression and what oppressed the mankind prior to the imposed human insanity of the WW2? Both World Wars were fought by man against man. Leaders and nations complacent in making the Two World Wars are again coercing the mankind to animalistic thinking and behavior without realizing the consequences of their cruelty and ambitions to dominate the world. They failed to learn from the living history. Peace never grows out of war as wars kill people. Who else should know better than the Europeans and American who orchestrated the grand scheme of things to wage wars and control and manage the global herd as part of their economic development scenarios? Immanuel Kant’s spirit of the Perpetual Peace’ must have been disturbed and crying loud when the Europeans and American leaders are talking of more wars to show perversion from their own history. This week, the disclosures of pictures of burning of the dead bodies of Iraqi soldiers re-ignited the decadent American culture of morality and humanity. …more
February 2, 2014 No Comments
Bahrain said to sentence 50 Anti-Government Activists
29 September, 2013 – Al Jazeera America
A Bahrain court sentenced 50 people to prison Sunday after a mass trial for alleged links to a militant group blamed for bombings and other antigovernment attacks in the Gulf nation, a rights activist said.
“A group of Feb. 14 activists were sentenced to between five and 15 years in jail,” Yousif al-Muhafda of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights told Reuters.
The center said there were human-rights campaigners among those convicted “under the internationally criticized and vague terrorism law” and that the sentences added up to more than 400 years.
“This was a sham trial with a political verdict. They should be released immediately,” the center’s acting president, Maryam al-Khawaja, said in a statement.
The defendants are accused of forming an illegal group opposing the political system, “training elements to commit violence and vandalism” and “attacking security men,” according to the charge sheet.
The convictions mark the broadest blow yet to backers of the almost daily protests by the Feb. 14 movement, named after the date in 2011 when Bahrain’s Shia majority began an uprising seeking greater political rights from the country’s Sunni rulers and the deposal of the kingdom’s al-Khalifa dynasty.
Bahrain’s head of public prosecution described the Feb. 14 group as a terrorist organization.
The verdicts could stir more unrest in the nation, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.
The main Shia opposition party, Al Wefaq, called it a “black day for justice.”
Mohamed al-Maskati, head of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, said 20 suspects were convicted in absentia. Charges included seeking to topple the ruling system.
Thousands of people have been arrested in Bahrain’s crackdowns.
Asked for comment, an official told Reuters a government statement on the matter was being prepared.
September 30, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain Opposition Defies Ban on Meeting Diplomats
20 September, 2013 – ABC News
Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition group is defying a ban by the island’s Sunni government to have direct contacts with foreign diplomats.
Al Wefaq’s secretary-general, Sheik Ali Salman, met Norwegian political affairs envoy Hakon Smedsvig on Thursday in the Bahraini capital, Manama.
Bahrain’s Western-backed monarchy earlier this month banned all diplomatic contacts by political groups unless they receive official permission. The move was sharply criticized by Western governments, including the U.S.
This week, authorities detained a top Al Wefaq official on allegations of inciting violence. In return, the group announced a boycott of reconciliation talks with the government.
The strategic Gulf nation has been gripped by unrest since an uprising launched in early 2011 by majority seeking a greater political voice.
U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said in a statement that in the last two years the Bahraini government and oppositions groups have been involved in important dialogue but that recent developments have hindered the process.
“The Government of Bahrain has recently issued decrees restricting the rights and abilities of political groups to assemble, associate, and express themselves freely, including by regulating their communications with foreign governments and international organizations,” the statement said. …more
September 20, 2013 No Comments
September 17, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain protest condemns threats to deport cleric
17 Septemebr, 2013 – PressTV
People in Bahrain have held a fresh anti-regime demonstration south of the capital Manama to condemn the regime’s threats to send a senior cleric into exile.
The demonstration was held on the island of Sitra on Monday in response to the Al Khalifa regime’s threats to deport Ayatollah Hossein Nejati, who is Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani’s representative in Bahrain.
The protest turned violent after Saudi-backed Bahraini security forces fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.
Manama has recently revoked the citizenship of Ayatollah Nejati and his family members as well as 31 other Bahrainis in a move that has been widely described as unconstitutional.
The Bahraini regime began pressures on Ayatollah Nejati after some of the country’s distinguished religious scholars met him to pledge their allegiance.
Tension has heightened in the tiny Persian Gulf country over the past few days following the killing of Mohammed Abdul Jalil Yousif, a young activist, by the regime forces last week.
According to activists, the 20-year-old was run over by a vehicle belonging to the security forces.
The Bahraini uprising began in mid-February 2011.
Bahrainis primarily called for political reform and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests. …source
September 17, 2013 No Comments
Voices in Danger: “They said I shouldn’t report because I was ruining my country’s reputation.”
Helena Williams – 9 September, 2013 – The Independent
Amid the chaos of the 2011 protests in Bahrain, France 24 correspondent Nazeeha Saeed was tortured and humiliated by police – and she’s still awaiting justice.
Nazeeha Saeed expected the phone call from al-Rifaa’a police station in Bahrain’s capital Manama, which asked her to come in for questioning during the early days of the 2011 uprising. What she did not expect, when she arrived on 22 May 2011, was to be taken in to custody, tortured and humiliated by police officers for thirteen hours.
A correspondent for French channels France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, she had been covering the chaos as Shia protesters, unhappy with the ruling of the Sunni Al-Khalifa royal family, clashed with security forces.
“It was a messy time,” she says.
Reports of people being detained, injured and killed were rife, emotions were running high. Journalists had been mistaken for activists and caught up in the crackdown.
She decided not to contact her family, expecting no more than a couple hours’ interrogation before returning home. But she did call France 24, and told them where she was going.
“I was blindfolded and beaten with a hose all over my body. I was harassed, I got electrical shocks – it was humiliating,” she told The Independent.
The beatings on her face, back, shoulders and legs were so severe that she was unable to walk for days.
That was just the beginning. During her ordeal, Nazeeha, who is 32, says she was accused of participating in the protests, lying in her reports and was interrogated about possible links to the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah television station al-Manar and the Iranian Arabic station Al-AlamIranian – serious accusations, as Iran had been accused of fomenting the largely Shia-Muslim majority demonstrations against the Sunni-Muslim ruling family. She vehemently denies these claims.
“They kept saying that I didn’t respect my country, that I’m a traitor,” she says. “They said I shouldn’t report because I was ruining my country’s reputation.
“I would care if it was about the reputation of my country I was ruining, but it was not – it was the police force’s reputation.”
“I didn’t do the things I thought would really upset the government. I just did my job – OK, not the way they would like it, but it’s my job.”
She told The Independent she was forced to sign a confession she was not allowed to read, and she was made to bray like a donkey.
She said that one police officer forced her head into a toilet and flushed it, while another tried to make her drink an unknown liquid.
Somebody in the room said it was urine. Nazeeha refused, so the officer spilled it over her clothes and hair, to which she had an allergic reaction.
I don’t know to this moment what it was,” she says. “Even the medics who examined me later didn’t know what it was.”
“I thought at that moment, ‘I’m not going to get out of this place, ever’. The way they treat you, and when you are locked in a room and blindfolded – you don’t know how long you are going to be there. It was too long for me. I didn’t know I was only there for thirteen hours. I thought it was a few days.”
“Thank God I informed my channel that I was on my way to the police station,” she says. …more
September 16, 2013 No Comments
March 14, 2013 No Comments
February 27, 2013 No Comments
February 20, 2013 No Comments
Squelching the Voice for the Voiceless – The cowardly brutality of a Monarch without a moral compass
Bahrain: Silencing the voice of the voiceless
14 February, 2013 – Shafaqna
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Bahrain is a small country, often forgotten unless the Fifth Fleet of the US Navy, which it hosts, is in the news. A country where people continue to fight for democracy despite the high, sometimes deadly, price of speaking out. A country which, for the past two years, has been living to the beat of police crack-downs, arbitrary detentions and tear gas shootings.
I visited Bahrain twice since February 14, 2011, when the Arab Spring protests began. I first went, in April 2012, to meet my friend and colleague Nabeel Rajab, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Deputy Secretary General and President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, as well as other human rights defenders, victims of state violence, and government officials.
Rajab, one of Bahrain’s most prominent human rights defenders, was able to provide me with direct accounts of what had been happening in his country over the previous year. For years, he has been fighting to document and expose the abuses of the Bahraini authorities to the rest of the world, particularly the monarchy’s most influential ally, the United States.
My second trip, a couple of months later, was a difficult one as I returned to observe Rajab’s appeal in September. He had been arrested and convicted for supporting and participating in “illegal gatherings” – the regime’s euphemism for freedom of association. He was denied bail at the hearing I attended, and in December 2012, an appeals court sentenced him to two years in prison for participating in peaceful demonstrations and using his Twitter account to call on others to join. During his detention, Rajab was isolated from other prisoners of conscience and housed in a separate unit.
Rajab’s case is the norm rather than the exception for human rights defenders working in Bahrain.
Languishing in prison
Like Rajab, scores of Bahrainis are languishing in prison simply for having marched in the street to call for economic, social and political reforms. Human rights defenders have become a major target of the regime, with one leading human rights defender after another being arrested for documenting the ongoing abuses. It seems that in today’s Bahrain, the surest way to prison is human rights work.
In July 2011, after mounting pressure from the international community, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa empowered a group of international experts to investigate the events of 2011. The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) published its report in November 2011, clearly identifying the regime’s repressive practices: arbitrary arrests, torture, harassment, lack of access to independent courts respecting fundamental fair trial principles, unfair dismissals, and the list goes on.
Since the publication of this report, the disproportionate use of force by security forces has already resulted in the death of 24 individuals, mainly during protests and due to the excessive use of tear gas or rubber bullets.
Impunity remains the backdrop for these state-sponsored human rights violations. As of now, very few sentences have been rendered by courts for security officers accused of severe human rights violations and those convicted are low-ranking officers. Moreover, torture accusations by those unlawfully detained continue to be dismissed by the judicial system. …more
February 14, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain: Escalating state violence against peaceful protesters in lack of international accountability and using western arms
24 December, 2012
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its grave concern over the escalated use of excessive force by the authorities in Bahrain against peaceful protesters. The BCHR regularly documents a large number of injuries caused by shotgun pellets, tear gas canisters, rubber bullets and sound grenades. Despite the seriousness of these injuries, victims are most often treated in private homes out of fear of being arrested from the militarized hospitals. The following description of injuries was prepared in collaboration with doctors in Bahrain in order to present the most thorough and accurate description of these human rights violations as possible.
On the 17th of December, 2012, a peaceful, pro-democracy protest was held in Manama which was violently attacked by security forces and resulted in many severe injuries being reported that day (bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/5572). Among the injured was a young woman who was peacefuly protesting when she was hit by a direct shot to her foot with a 1kg tear gas canister. As a result, she sustained a 3-bone fracture in the foot that required immediate treatment. Fearing arrest she was treated and operated on in an undisclosed location. In regard to full recovery, the prognosis is poor and it is expected that she will suffer from long-term pain and deformity.
On the same day, a young man was directly shot at with a tear gas canister in his forearm which resulted in an open fracture in his forearm and a shattered bone. He too sought medical care and was operated on in secret out of fear of arrest. However, his recovery depends on the quality of care and follow-up treatment which is only available in the Salmaniya Medical Complex which is currently under military control.
This photo is of a protester who was shot by the security forces with shotgun pellets and is currently suffering from a very large number of pellets currently lodged in his body. Due to the severity of his injury and pain he is trying to seek medical help from multiple sources as the main hospital in Bahrain is under military control and he can expect to be arrested from this hospital.
Several teenagers were shot in the face with shotguns and are at risk of blindness in one or both eyes. One of those protesters is currently in very poor condition with the possibility of losing sight in both eyes; he is seeking private medical care. Also, three more protesters are suffering from eye injuries, they are in critical condition and the possibility of losing sight in is high. It is still unclear whether their condition will improve at the moment. …more
January 8, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain Regime should to stop its violence; Free Political Prisoners, Remove Police from Villages, Stop Attacks and Allow Peaceful Protests, Stop use of Chemical Gas and Birdshot
Bahrain: Shiite clerics must ‘prohibit’ violence
By REEM KHALIFA – 7 December, 2012 – AP
MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Bahrain’s Shiite religious leaders must more forcefully denounce violence as a key step to ease the kingdom’s 22-month uprising, the country’s crown prince said Friday at the opening of an international security conference.
The appeal by Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa underscores the view of Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy that Shiite clerics should be held partly responsible for rising violence in the strategic Gulf nation. It also suggests authorities could increase pressure on top Shiite clergymen, whom he referred to as ‘ayatollahs’ — a term more often associated with senior religious figures in rival Iran.
“I call on all those who disagree with the government, including the ayatollahs, to condemn violence on the street unequivocally . And more, to prohibit violence,” the crown prince told policymakers and political figures gathered for the annual two-day conference known as the Manama Dialogue. “Responsible leadership is called for and I believe dialogue is the only way forward,” he added.
More than 55 people have died in the unrest since February 2011, when Bahrain’s majority Shiites escalated a long-simmering drive for a greater political voice in the Sunni-ruled country.
The monarchy has offered some concessions, including giving the elected parliament expanded powers. But it falls far short of Shiite demands to loosen the Sunni rulers’ controls over key government appointments and policies.
Shiite religious leaders, including the most senior cleric Sheik Isa Qassim, have never publicly endorsed violence, but have encouraged peaceful anti-government protests to challenge authorities. Breakaway groups during demonstrations often clash with riot police.
The conference includes high-level envoys from Bahrain’s Western allies, which have so far stood behind the kingdom’s leadership but are increasingly troubled by rising violence and continued crackdowns on the opposition. The U.S. delegation is led by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and includes Arizona Sen. John McCain.
The crown prince thanked a host of nations for assistance during the crisis, but noticeably did not refer to the U.S. in his remarks — an omission that underlined the two countries’ increasingly strained ties. He criticized nations that “selectively” criticize Bahrain’s leadership, without citing specific countries. …more
January 8, 2013 No Comments
Look to the West – wonder where the al Khalfia’s get the ideas for repression – Canada Passess Law to Criminalize Protest
Bill S-7, also known as the ‘Combating Terrorism Act’, would allow persons to be detained for up to three days without charge (“preventive arrest”); strip individuals of their basic rights as accused under criminal proceedings to know and challenge evidence against them; threaten them with criminal punishment; and compel individuals to testify in secret before a judge in an “investigative hearing”. Further, the judge may impose imprisonment of up to 12 months if the person does not enter into recognizance. (enter into recognizance = imposed conditions to secure release, ie: avoid all contact with those engaged in, or participating in, pipeline protests)
British Columbia Civil Liberties Association BCCLA
Statement on Reintroduction of Anti-Terrorism Provisions
Nov. 29, 2012
Individuals subject to these provisions do not necessarily have to be suspected of committing any crime. It is enough that they are alleged to have information relating to a terrorism offence, or that they are alleged to be associated with another individual suspected of committing (or about to commit) a terrorism offence, or that they are otherwise suspected of potential future involvement with a terrorism offence. Furthermore, the scope of Bill S-7 extends beyond Canada’s borders, and could potentially result in a reliance on foreign intelligence. Without the ability to challenge evidence, there is no guarantee that the evidence is accurate, or was not obtained from a third country or source that conducts or condones torture as a method to elicit information. [It should be noted that the Canadian government has already given the green light to law enforcement agencies to accept information that may have been derived through torture, in violation of international agreements and standards].
In all such cases, individuals may find themselves caught up in these detention and interrogation provisions without any effective legal recourse.
Under these provisions, individuals could be forced to testify in a court of law, arrested, detained or made subject to bail conditions – all without charges being laid. Individuals have no right to know, and no opportunity to challenge, the basis on which they are being subjected to preventive arrest or required to attend investigate hearings.
While the proposed investigative hearings give the appearance of respecting due process, such as requiring judicial authorization, use and derivative use immunity, and the right to counsel, they still do not comply with the spirit of due process and the right against self-incrimination. …more
November 30, 2012 No Comments
Bahrainis have never felt less repressed..!
26 November, 2012 – Gulf Daily News
When Amnesty International describes a “worsening situation” in Bahrain in its latest report, most Bahrainis will wonder what it is talking about.
With celebrations of the Muslim New Year and the Shi’ite holy month of Muharram and Ashoora over the past couple of weeks, Bahrain has enjoyed some of the calmest days since trouble broke out in February 2011.
The streets have been mostly free of protests, Gulf tourists flooded in to enjoy Bahraini hospitality and many hard-pressed small businesses turned a decent profit for the first time in months.
Arguably, it is all a question of perspective. Sitting thousands of miles away in Geneva, ticking boxes on a clipboard, perhaps it’s not all that obvious how most Bahrainis are feeling about developments in their country.
And Amnesty’s concerns about the temporary halt to licensing protests and withdrawal of citizenship of certain people deserve serious consideration.
However, its report dangerously mixes together two separate issues – implementation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report it wrongly asserts has been shelved and measures to restore life to normal and use the judicial process against those who broke the law.
Let’s first look at the government’s record in implementing BICI recommendations, which Amnesty dismisses so cynically:
Abuses: About 17 police officers, including high-ranking ones, faced trial over torture or violence charges. Those found guilty face prison. A further 30 security personnel face charges and the new Special Investigation Unit is probing about 122 cases.
Unfair dismissal: About 98 per cent of protesters dismissed from jobs have been reinstated.
Compensation: About $6 million has been disbursed to 36 families of those who died and in 116 cases of injury.
Torture: The Penal Code has been amended to ensure the definition of torture is clear and rigorous and loopholes don’t allow violators to escape justice.
Retraining and reforming the security sector: Thousands of policemen have received human rights training and a robust new code of conduct has been put in place.
Retraining judges: Extensive training based on global standards has been provided to judges.
Reconciliation: Initiatives include $500,000 for non-governmental organisations for reconciliation programmes and legislation against inciting hatred, racism and religious intolerance.
Places of worship: Around 30 sites damaged are being rebuilt. In the remaining cases, issues related to planning status and title deeds are being resolved.
Freedom of expression: A new legislation protects journalists and stipulates civilians can’t be penalised for expressing their views. The Public Prosecution dropped all charges that overlapped with freedom of opinion in 334 cases.
Constitutional reform: A new legislation empowers MPs to interrogate and sack ministers and strike down government policies.
The government says it has implemented more than 140 of 176 BICI recommendations. Many awaiting full implementation require cultural change and will take time.
What Amnesty calls spiralling repression broadly refers to measures to restore calm and stability.
To the degree which they have succeeded, these measures have been popular amongst the majority of Bahrainis who want to get on with their lives after two years of disturbances, rioting and political and economic paralysis.
Amnesty is wrong in sweepingly paint anyone detained as a human rights defender. It refuses to consider the charges these people face, including inciting violence, organising illegal demonstrations and seeking to forcibly overthrow the government.
Several of the most notorious people publicly put their names to a plan to violently instal an Islamic republic.
Admittedly, Twitter-related charges against Nabeel Rajab were ridiculous, and thankfully, rejected by the courts. Likewise, due judicial process should be allowed to take its course to decide the innocence or guilt of others.
Amnesty cites case studies in its extensive report and makes recommendations, some of which deserve consideration by authorities.
‘Citizens for Bahrain’ agrees with it that the government here, like all governments, needs to continuously scrutinise and improve its human rights record and address shortcomings.
It shares Amnesty’s concerns over measures in recent months, such as the withdrawal of citizenship of 31 people. Any such step should only be considered if it is demonstrably in the public interest and taken against people proved to be a danger to the public.
By failing to produce evidence to justify such measures, the government only weakens its ability to argue that they are appropriate, proportionate and necessary.
Where we disagree with Amnesty is it is discussing BICI recommendations as if they exclusively relate to the handful of issues it is campaigning noisily.
By concentrating on the temporary protest ban and prisoners of conscience and giving an unfairly negative spin to ongoing trials of police officers accused of abuses, Amnesty presents an unfairly skewed picture of the situation.
Key BICI recommendations tackled the issues of unfair dismissals of protesters, destruction of holy sites, compensation and reforming the security and judiciary sectors.
Amnesty was rightly vocal about these issues 12 months ago. However, now they have been resolved.
Reforms are being conveniently ignored because they don’t fit the picture Amnesty wants to portray – of a nasty regime brutally repressing its citizens.
In fact, we citizens are reaping the benefits of these reforms and the much-maligned measures to restore order. We’ve never felt less repressed!
Human rights shortcomings here are infinitely less sensational and scandalous than catastrophic abuses in Syria, Myanmar and Iran.
While Amnesty understandably wants to keep Bahrain in the forefront of public attention, not necessarily a bad thing, it is wrong to grossly miscontextualise the situation to achieve the goal.
November 26, 2012 No Comments
Bahrain: Targeting Freedom of Belief in Order to Create a Sectarian Conflict to Control Public Protests
19 November, 2012 – Bahrain Center for Human Rights
The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) express their grave concern for the measures taken by the Bahraini Ministry of Interior against a group of Shiia clerics and a group of those responsible for Shiia religious places, after summoning and threatening them.
On the 12th of November, 2012, the Bahraini Minister of Interior met with the head of Shiia religious venues – called “Matam” in Arabic – where he issued a warning against addressing political issues that are related to local affairs during the month of Muharram. During this month, Muslims, and especially Shiia, hold events to mourn the martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandchildren – and the Minister warned the clerics against addressing any political issues in Bahrain. (Refer to the Ministry of Interior statement: http://www.bna.bh/portal/en/news/532957?date=2012-11-13)
On the 17th of November, 2012, the Bahraini authorities arrested the cleric Mr. Kamel Al-Hashimi, and the prosecutor ordered a seven-day imprisonment pending further investigation. The cleric Mr. Ahmed Al-Majed was also arrested because of speeches he gave in this religious place, Matam, after he addressed the political situation in Bahrain.
On 18th of November, 2012, the Bahraini Authorities summoned the clerics Mr. Elias Al-Marzooqi, Mr. Hasan Al-Aali, Mr. Mahmood Taheri, Mr. Jaffar Saegh, Mr. Kadhim Darwish, Mr. Hussein AlAmiri, the Islamic singer Mahdi Sahwan, the Islamic singer Abdul-ameer Al-Biladi, the Islamic singer Abather Al-Halwaji, the Islamic singer Hussein Ahmed, the Islamic singer Sayed Alawi Alalawi and others for interrogation.
The Bahraini Authorities also summoned those responsible for the Shiia religious places – Matam – in the following villages: Bani Jamra, Aali, Saar, Bilad-al-qadeem – Karzakan – Sanabis – Isa Town and others, and they warned the clerics against addressing the current state of political affairs of Bahrain.
The Security Forces removed religious signs and banners belonging to the Shiia sect from roads and buildings (especially religious places). The Security Forces also warned people not to re-install these signs and banners in more than 8 villages.
The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) believe that the Bahraini authorities, through these measures against the Shiia sect, intend to restrict the freedom of belief and to create a sectarian conflict between Shiia and Sunni muslims in order to distract the public debate away from the issues of corruption, racial discrimination and human rights violations that sparked the public public protests on the 14th of February 2011.
The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) call for the following actions:
1. Stop targeting freedom of belief and allow all sects in Bahrain to express their opinion.
2. The Bahraini Authorities must stop the frequent attempts of creating a sectarian conflict in order to confine the public protests.
3. Bring forth those responsible for targeting freedom of belief to justice. …source
November 21, 2012 No Comments
Excerpt – Press Briefing US Department of State
Mark C. Toner
Daily Press Briefing
October 31, 2012
1:34 p.m. EDT
MR. TONER: Good afternoon. Happy Halloween. I’d like to say the reason we’re late is because I was getting into my elaborate costume, but clearly, unless you count a middle-aged bureaucrat a costume –
QUESTION: I thought it was a little Dr. Evil. (Laughter.)
MR. TONER: In any case, welcome to the State Department. And it’s good to see you all. I hope everyone made it through the storm more or less intact and that your homes and your families are safe. Certainly it was a suspenseful couple of days, but welcome back.
Just at the top, I do want to note that the United States is deeply concerned by the Bahraini Government’s decision to ban all public gatherings. Freedoms of assembly, association, and expression are universal human rights. We urge the Government of Bahrain to uphold its international commitments and ensure that its citizens are able to exercise – are able to assemble peacefully and to express their views without fear of arrest or detention. We urge the Government of Bahrain to work with responsible protest leaders to find a way for peaceful and orderly demonstrations to take place. The decision to curb these rights is contrary to Bahrain’s professed commitment to reform, and it will not help advance the national reconciliation nor build trust among all parties.
We also urge the opposition to refrain from provocations and violence. Violence undermines efforts to reduce tensions, rebuild trust, and pursue meaningful reconciliation in Bahrain. Recent violent attacks, including fatal attacks, on security force personnel are a deeply troubling development. So we urge the Government of Bahrain to take steps to build confidence across Bahraini society and to begin a meaningful national dialogue with the political opposition.
With that, I’ll take your questions.
QUESTION: Just on that —
MR. TONER: Yeah, sure.
QUESTION: — before we move onto Syria. This has been made – this position, your views have been made clear to the Government of Bahrain directly? Is that correct?
MR. TONER: Matt, I’m not sure at what level we’ve communicated these to the Government of Bahrain.
QUESTION: They’re not just hearing this from you right now?
MR. TONER: They’re not just hearing this from me, no. But I’m not sure at what level – I’m not sure whether through our —
QUESTION: Well, was it there, here?
MR. TONER: — embassy or bilaterally. I’ll have to check on that.
November 1, 2012 No Comments
Statement by Leah-Lynn Plante for her Grand Jury appearance October 10th, 2012
On the morning of July 25th, 2012, my life was turned upside down in a matter of hours. FBI agents from around Washington and Oregon and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents from Washington busted down the front door of my house with a battering ram, handcuffed my house mates and me at gunpoint, and held us hostage in our backyard while they read us a search warrant and ransacked our home. They said it was in connection to May Day vandalism that occurred in Seattle, Washington earlier this year.
However, we suspected that this was not really about broken windows. As if they had taken pointers from Orwell’s 1984, they took books, artwork and other various literature as “evidence” as well as many other personal belongings even though they seemed to know that nobody there was even in Seattle on May Day. …more
An Appeal for Support for Leah-Lynne Plante and others
by Doug Brown – 13 October, 2012
As you may have heard by now, Leah-Lynne Plante was taken into custody following a contempt of court hearing on the morning of Wednesday, October 10th. She is the third person in the Pacific Northwest to be put in federal prison for refusing to testify before a grand jury. She may stay in prison until the end of the grand jury investigation which is scheduled to last until March 2014.
There are now 3 grand jury resisters sitting in federal prison. They all still need your support to keep up their strength and determination as they wait until they are released. We are asking for folks to support them in several ways:
1) Write Leah, Matt, and Kteeo in prison or sent them books. Visit and Support for Resisters HERE to find out details on their address and guidelines on writing and sending books.
2) Have a solidarity action in your community. This could be a letter writing night, a film showing, a march, or a fundraiser. If you need some ideas or support to make something happen, email us.
4) Stay updated and spread the word. Visit CAPR’s website: HERE , The grand jury resisters blogs and personal websites: HERE and HERE . Tell your friends, co-workers, and families about what is happening in the Pacific Northwest and encourage them to support the grand jury resisters.
Thank you for your continued support. It means a lot to Leah, Matt, and Kteeo and to those of us waiting for them to come home.
October 15, 2012 No Comments
Zainab Al-Khawaja To Jail, Bahrain Forces Raid Houses, Attack Protests
Local Editor – 26 Septemebr, 2012 – Moqawama.org
A Bahraini court on Wednesday sent the activist Zainab al-Khawaja to two months in jail under the pretext of finding her guilty of destroying property belonging to the Interior Ministry, a judicial source said.
Zainab, daughter of prominent jailed opposition activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja who is serving a life sentence after he was convicted, had been released in May after serving a one month jail term for allegedly attacking a policewoman at a demonstration.
She had also paid a 200 dinars ($530) fine for having insulted a police officer.
Zainab is also facing two other cases – obstructing traffic on a main road as well as taking part in a gathering and inciting hatred against the regime – for which she will be tried in November, the judicial source told AFP.
Al-Khawaja has been active in holding anti-government protests.
Meanwhile, the Bahraini regime series of attacking peaceful protests continue.
According to al-Wefaq opposition group, the security forces raided more than 8 houses, and vandalized private belongings.
“The number of vandalized cars by the forces totaled to 22,” the party said in its statement.
It further noted that “five citizens were arrested extra judicially amid the crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protests that took place in several areas around the country.”
In parallel, the forces used birdshot (internationally prohibited shotgun) against protesters, alongside the heavy use of toxic tear.
Al-Wefaq has documented a large number of asphyxiation cases due to the repeated attacks in densely populated areas.
A number of injuries caused by the direct targeting with tear gas canisters have also been documented.
However, despite the ongoing suppression of freedoms, the demonstrations went on in many areas across the country.
People demonstrated in solidarity with the prisoners of conscience and their families, and demanded that they be released immediately. …source
September 27, 2012 No Comments
Silencing Dissent: A Policy of Systematic Repression
19 September, 2012 – FIDH
On the eve of the UN Human Rights Council 21st session where the Bahraini government is expected to respond to the recommendations of the Council made on the 21st of May 2012, FIDH releases its report entitled “Silencing Dissent: A Policy of Systematic Repression”.
The report is the result of an investigation on the situation of human rights in Bahrain, a year and a half after the government’s violent response to the protest movement that started on 14 February 2011. It focuses in particular on the gap between the recommendations made by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI)  and their implementation by the government of Bahrain. Nearly a year after the release of the BICI report, one cannot but notice the reluctances of the government to definitely end with human rights violations. Despite the King’s promises, the reforms remain widely insufficient.
FIDH’s report takes into account both official declarations and actions, and accounts from the local civil society, notably reports of FIDH’s two member organizations in Bahrain, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS). Many of the accounts received were substantiated on the occasion of a field mission to Bahrain, which was conducted between April 1 to 5, 2012  . The mission met with victims of human rights violations, human rights defenders, civil society organizations, lawyers, medical workers, teachers, university students, families of individuals killed and injured, journalists, political opposition members, the Minister of Justice, the Public Prosecutor, the Deputy Minister of Human Rights and Social Development, and the ambassadors of the United States and France to Bahrain as well as representatives of the United Kingdom. The mission also observed three court hearings for the cases of the twenty medical workers, the Bahraini Teachers Association (BTA) and the case of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja and twenty other human rights defenders and political opponents.
“While certain efforts have been made by Bahraini authorities to address many of the BICI recommendations, the report concludes that the government continues to deny a majority of Bahraini’s fundamental rights on a daily basis and uses governmental structures to attack or control the population rather than protect it, creating an atmosphere of mistrust and fear among the population.” declared Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President. As an example, since 14 February 2011, 80 people have been killed; 34 of them have died after the release of the BICI report on 23 November 2011.
“As the government of Bahrain will attempt to convey to the Council its actions for democratic reforms tomorrow, we must remind the international community that human rights defenders such as Nabeel Rajab and Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, remain in prison today solely for exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of expression and assembly” said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH president.
Nabeel Rajab, FIDH Deputy Secretary-General, president of BCHR and former president of the Gulf Center for Human Rights, is currently imprisoned after he was sentenced to three years imprisonment on August 16th for his participation in peaceful protests .
“We call on the international community to support the establishment of an international monitoring mechanism to be set-up, through a resolution of the UN Human Rights Council, to monitor the implementation of the BICI recommendations and the overall resolution of the human rights crisis in Bahrain” added Belhassen.
Furthermore, FIDH calls upon the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally put an end to the ongoing repression against human rights defenders and for the immediate and unconditional release of all those imprisoned for exercising their fundamental rights. …source
September 21, 2012 No Comments
Unadulterated Hypocrisy: ‘UK forces oversee Bahrain repression’
11 September, 2012 – Hardons Blog
British and American military and security advisors are overseeing training to Bahraini forces involved in the crackdown on revolutionaries, a leader of Bahrain’s Amal Movement says.
Hisham al-Sabbagh told Al-Alam news network that the al-Khalifa regime in Bahrain is also receiving military hardware including tanks from a number of western countries and some members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council.
Al-Sabbagh’s comments come only weeks after Bahraini ruler Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to step up cooperation during Hamad’s visit to London in late August.
Hamad did point to security cooperation between the two sides after the meeting but disguised it as an attempt to “improve security and combat the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”
Cameron and Hamad also ironically called for cooperation to boost human rights and democracy while Bahraini forces continue to crush anti-regime protests.
The British government has been repeatedly blasted by human rights, anti-war and anti-arms trade activists for arming repressive regimes including Bahrain despite clear evidence of bloody suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations there.
Over the past months the British MPs have also joined the critics.
The MPs said in their 2012 Scrutiny of Arms Exports that the government’s arms exports decisions have been clearly flawed as known repressive regimes such as Bahrain were armed regardless.
The MPs also said the government paradoxically considers some of the countries on its own list of human right abusers as “priority markets” for arms sales. …source
September 11, 2012 No Comments
Bahrain Repression, Birdshot, Demands for Prisoner Freedom and a Resistence that will not be Quieted
September 10, 2012 No Comments
OP-ED: Bahraini Repression Amidst a Failing Strategy
6 September, 2012 ⋅ by Mauro Teodori – IPS
This week’s decision by the Bahraini court of appeals to uphold the prison terms against Bahraini opposition activists is a travesty of justice and an indication that Bahraini repression continues unabated.
Bahraini officials, when confronted with angry world reaction to the court’s decision, cynically hid behind the claim they would not interfere in the proceedings of their “independent judiciary”.
Despite the threat to U.S. national interests and the security of U.S. citizens in Bahrain and elsewhere in the Gulf, Washington remains oblivious to the ruling family’s violent crackdown against peaceful protesters in the name of fighting “foreign elements”. Pro-democracy Bahrainis are wondering what we are waiting for.
Because of our muted reaction to what’s happening in Bahrain, the ruling family and their Saudi benefactors have not taken seriously Western support for democratic transitions in the Middle East.
The United States and Britain maintain deep economic and security relations with these states but also enjoy strong leverage, including the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, which they must revisit in the face of continued egregious violations of basic human rights by some of these regimes. Bahraini civil rights organisations and activists are expecting the United States to use its leverage to end regime repression.
Despite their pro-Western stance, there is nothing exceptional about the autocratic Gulf Arab regimes. And they should no longer be given a pass on the importance of democratic reform.
Staying in power will require Bahrain’s Al Khalifas and other Gulf tribal family rulers to do more than push a vicious sectarian policy and employ slick public relations firms. Their cynical and deadly game might buy them some time, but, in the end, they will not be able to escape their peoples’ wrath.
In the absence of genuine reforms in the next three years, the Gulf’s autocratic regimes will be swept aside by their peoples. The “people power” that emerged from the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and now Syria, cannot be kept out of these tribal states. In reality, they all have been touched by peoples’ demands for dignity and justice.
While Iran might be exploiting the protest movement to discredit these regimes, the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain goes back to the 1960s and 1970s – way before the Islamic Republic came on the scene.
Even more troubling for U.S. national security are the continued efforts by Al Khalifa to whip up anti-American attitudes among Bahrain’s more rabidly anti-Shia and xenophobic Sunnis. Bahrain and some of their Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) allies perceive the growing rapprochement between the U.S. and the new Islamic democrats, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Tunisia, as a sign of tacit opposition to Gulf autocrats. …more
September 7, 2012 No Comments
Britain’s global legacy of conflict
4 September, 2012 – Finian Cunningham – PressTV
In each of these seemingly disparate conflicts, the seeds of violence were sown by one system – British colonialism and its malevolent engineering of sectarianism. It is an indictment of British rulers that decades on, and sometimes centuries on, people’s lives are still being blighted by the legacy of Britain’s predatory, criminal history.”
It’s been a busy news week for British colonialism, or more accurately, the violent legacy of British colonialism. A rash of ongoing or renewed conflicts across the globe speaks of the detriment that the once-powerful British bequeathed and for which people of today have to contend with through injustice and in some cases immense human suffering.
In Northern Ireland, Belfast city has seen resurgent riots between pro-British Protestant youths and Irish nationalist Catholics, with extensive injuries, property damage and a painful reminder of sectarian bloodletting in recent years.
Over in the South Atlantic, Argentines and their government are up in arms over the London government’s proposal to hold a referendum on the future status of the Malvinas Islands, the British colony off Argentina otherwise known as the Falklands.
In the Middle East, Israel has committed yet more crimes against the besieged Palestinian people when fighter jets bombed the coastal Gaza strip, adding to the daily abject misery and terror of inhabitants.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, the people of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia continue their street agitations for democratic freedom from despotic monarchial rulers. In Bahrain, the calls for democracy were given added impetus when a court upheld the sentences against 20 political leaders, some of whom have been imprisoned for life.
Further East on the atlas, in the military junta of Myanmar, formerly known as British Burma, the persecution of thousands of Rohingya Muslims continues unabated, with hundreds killed at the hands of Buddhist gangs after being burned out of their shanty homes.
In each of these seemingly disparate conflicts, the seeds of violence were sown by one system – British colonialism and its malevolent engineering of sectarianism. It is an indictment of British rulers that decades on, and sometimes centuries on, people’s lives are still being blighted by the legacy of Britain’s predatory, criminal history.
In Northern Ireland, a peace settlement was reached after nearly 30 years of an anti-imperialist war between the guerrilla Irish Republican Army and the British forces. More than 3,000 people were killed during that conflict, which British government counter-insurgency policy succeeded in distorting into a sectarian bloodbath between pro-British Protestant loyalists and the mainly Catholic Irish nationalist population. The origins of that conflict lay in the gerrymandering of Ireland by the British colonial rulers when they partitioned the island in 1920-21 – against international and democratic norms – into a pro-British northern statelet and a nominally independent southern state. …more
September 5, 2012 No Comments
Made for Show ‘torture arrests’ absurd – prosecution complicit in regimes bloody efforts to repress calls for democratic rule
Bahrain prosecution complicit in torture: rights group
6 August, 2012 – Al Akhbar
A leading Bahraini human rights group rejected on Monday an announcement by the country’s chief prosecutor that 15 police officers would be charged with torturing doctors.
Nawaf Hamza, chief investigator in the public prosecutor’s office, said in a statement he was officially making known that members of the forces of law and order would face torture charges for their role in a crackdown on pro-democracy protests last year.
He said the charges were being brought following an inquiry launched on the basis of a complaint by doctors at Salmaniya hospital, the main medical facility in the capital Manama.
“This procedure confirms the intention of the Bahrain government to bring to account all those found guilty of human rights violations and to recompense the victims,” Hamza said.
The complainants, also numbering 15, had said they were badly treated during their detention. Some of them underwent medical examination during the inquiry.
But Said Yousif, deputy head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, accused the public prosecution of being complicit in the suppression of the protests.
“The public prosecution are part of the torture, we have testimony of detainees who have been tortured inside their building,” he said.
“We also have testimonies of people who have told the public prosecution they have been tortured and they have been ignored. We don’t believe it is an independent institution, it is part of the problem.”
Yousif added that a number of ministers had been accused of being complicit in the torture but had not been investigated.
“Senior members of the ruling elite were involved in torture but they are only charging the low-level officers,” he said.
Bahrain came under strong criticism from international human rights organizations over its crackdown on a pro-democracy uprising which began in February 2011.
Saudi Arabia sent troops in March 2011 to help Bahraini authorities crush the protests.
An international panel commissioned by King Hamad to probe the government’s clampdown found out that excessive force and torture had been routinely used against protesters and detainees, leading to the deaths of a number of protesters. …more
August 6, 2012 No Comments