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Western Asia ("Middle East")
Bahrain and Syria: in one the United States supports a brutal dictatorship against a nonviolent movement for human rights. In the other the United States supports violent opposition to the government in the name of human rights. All is not as it appears. We speak with Reese Erlich.
Reese Erlich's history in journalism goes back 45 years. He first worked as a staff writer and research editor for Ramparts, an investigative reporting magazine published in San Francisco from 1963 to 1975. Today he works as a full-time print and broadcast, freelance reporter. He reports regularly for National Public Radio, CBC, ABC (Australia), Radio Deutsche Welle and Market Place Radio. His articles appear in the Global Post and Christian Science Monitor. His television documentaries have aired on PBS stations nationwide.
Erlich’s book, Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You, co-authored with Norman Solomon, became a best seller in 2003. The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of US Policy and the Middle East Crisis was published in 2007. Dateline Havana: The Real Story of US Policy and the Future of Cuba was published in 2009. Conversations with Terrorists: Middle East Leaders on Politics, Violence and Empire, was published in 2010.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
Syndicated by Pacifica Network.
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By Justin Elliott, ProPublica
Despite Bahrain’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, the U.S. has continued to provide weapons and maintenance to the small Mideast nation.
Defense Department documents released to ProPublica give the fullest picture yet of the arms sales: The list includes ammunition, combat vehicle parts, communications equipment, Blackhawk helicopters, and an unidentified missile system. (Read the documents.)
More Than 200 Journalists, Observers, Aid Workers Kept Out Since February 2011
[Manama] Bahrain’s government stands accused of serious and ongoing human rights violations, and has made many commitments to reform. However, the Government is keeping out journalists, members of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), researchers, politicians, activists, and other outside observers -- precisely the people who can report on the progress of reforms, or lack thereof. This is according to a new project called Access Denied <http://bahrainwatch.
The NGO conference entitled "The Middle East without Weapons of Mass Destruction - the Way Forward Civil Society Input" was held on December 14-16 in Helsinki, Finland. It was hosted by the Peace Union of Finland. Yayoi Tsuchida, assistant general secretary of the Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo) took part in it on behalf of the International Peace Bureau (IPB).
Roy Hange is a Mennonite pastor in Charlottesville, Va., who has spent 30 years studying Western Asia (the Middle East). He has lived for 3 years in Egypt, 6 in Syria, and 1 in Iran. Hange has taught peace building at Eastern Mennonite University and the University of Virginia. Hange discusses prospects for peace in Syria and Iran.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.
Syndicated by Pacifica Network.
Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!
Embed on your own site with this code:
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Qatari poet Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami’s crime consisted of reciting a poem extolling the courage and values of the popular uprisings in Tunisia. For that he's been sentenced to life in prison.
We have the opportunity to join with a remarkable list of prominent poets from around the world in urging the court in Qatar to reconsider.
Rather than making itself an instrument for cracking down on dissent, we believe that the Court should uphold Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami’s right to free speech. The poem he recited called for an end to intolerable conditions, a demand that for the past two years has been aired by millions throughout North Africa and the Arab world.
In this spirit, we poets and non-poets who perceive the need for worldwide change at the social, political and ecological level, call on the Court to review the appeal, stop siding with repression and lend its ear to the movements that have sprung up all over the world for dignity, social justice and freedom, virtues that poets all over the world are endeavoring to voice and deliver using the beauty and power of poetry.
Please sign the petition and share it with like-minded friends.
Michael Rothenberg, Terri Carrion cofounders 100 Thousand Poets for Change
Michael McClure, Poet/ Playwright, USA
Sam Hamill, Poets Against War, USA
Sarah Browning, Split This Rock, USA
PEN American Center
Abraham Entin-Move To Amend Sonoma County, founder
Susan Lamont-Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County, coordinator
Philip Levine, United States Poet Laureate (2011-2012)
Ron Silliman, Poet/Silliman's Blog
Alice Walker, USA
Pina Piccolo, 100 Thousand Poets for Change-Bologna
Roberto Malini, Genoa, Italy
Naomi Shihab Nye, USA
Sergio Rotino, Italy
Adam Vaccaro, Milanocosa, Italy
Steed Gamero, Peru/Italy
Rebeca Covaciu, Italy
Alessandro Brusa, Italy
Shailja Patel, USA/Kenya
El Habib Louai, Morocco
Natalia Molebatsi, Azania
raphael d’abdon, Azania/Italy
Jack Hirschman, San Francisco, USA
Agneta Falk-Hirschman, San Francisco, USA
Gabor Gyukics, Budapest, Hungary
Karam Youssef, Cairo, Egypt
Kristaq Shabani, President of the I.A.P.W.A "Pegasi" Albania
Robert Priest, Toronto, Canada
Eliot Katz, Hoboken, New York, USA
Lance Henson, Cheyenne/USA
Ipat Ciuraro, Italy
Fabio Petronelli, Italy
Alexéi Tellerías Díaz, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Betty Esperanza, Montreal, Canada
Alfredo Gonzalez-Baranquilla, Colombia
Nana Nestoros,Volos, Greece
Mariposa de la Rocio, Montevideo, Uruguay
Chapal Saha-Bogra, Bangladesh
Bart Plantenga, The Netherlands
Elliis Ebakor, Nigeria
Pilar Rodríguez Aranda, Mexico City, Mexico
Dean Johnson, Birkenhead, United Kingdom Songwriter/Playwright
Karim Metref, Italy
Antar Mohamed Marincola, 100 Thousand Poets for Change-Bologna, Italy
Mohamed Malih, Italy
Gassid Babilonia, 100 Thousand Poets for Change-Bologna, Italy
Paul Polansky, Serbia
Ed Warner-Poesia, Italy
Marina Mazzolani, 100 Thousand Poets for Change-Bologna, Italy
Patricia Quezada, 100 Thousand Poets for Change- Bologna, Italy
Andrea Garbin, poesiadalsottosuolo, Italy
Chris Abani, USA
Martín Espada, USA
Teresa Mei Chuc, USA
Marcia Lynx Qualey, Cairo, Egypt
Khaled Mattawa, poet USA/Libya
Fady Joudah, USA
Glenys Robinson, UK/Italy
Mitko Gogov, Strumica, Macedonia
Dennis Formento, New Orleans, LA, USA
Carolyn Forché, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., USA
Patricia Smith, USA
The Obama administration is quietly warning that Bahrain’s ongoing internal unrest could lead to the overthrow of the ruling monarchy. Protests have continued in Bahrain for nearly two years despite a U.S. backed-crackdown that has seen the use of military forces from neighboring Gulf regimes, the jailing and beating of opposition activists, and the recent ban of all public demonstrations. In a briefing to reporters last week, two State Department officials warned that Bahrain could "break apart" if the protests continue, an outcome they say would be beneficial to Iran while detrimental to the "enormous security interests" in Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. The officials gave the briefing on the condition they not be identified by name. The White House says it is calling on Bahrain to heed the calls of an independent commission that urged political reforms one year ago.
By Ann Wright
As a part of delegations over the past four years that have made their way to Gaza, we have stopped in Cairo to pick up needed authorizations. This week as a part of an “emergency” delegation to Gaza after the 8 day Israeli attack that killed 165 and wounded several thousands, we arrived in Cairo as Egyptians opposed to President Morsi’s massive assumption of powers took to the streets.
We’ve been in and out of Tahrir Square all day. It’s almost midnight and tens of thousands of Egyptians have been to the square in the middle of Cairo that was the center of the revolution against dictator Hosni Mubarak, to protest the new President’s decrees on the judiciary and legislative branches of government.
Egyptian Revolutionary Labor Leader, Asma Mohammed Who Said No to Tear Gas, to be honored with War Resisters League’s 2012 Peace Award
Her refusal exactly one year ago sparked the formation of port worker unions across Egypt
NEW YORK – Tomorrow, November 27th, War Resisters League, a US-based antimilitarist organization founded in 1923, recognizes Asma Mohammed and the Suez Port Workers with its 2012 Peace Award. Exactly one year ago, on November 27th, 2011, Asma Mohammed, customs officer at the Adabiya Port of Suez, Egypt, refused to process a 7-ton shipment of US-made tear gas coming in from the port of Wilmington, North Carolina.
This refusal came in the wake of unprecedented use of tear gas use against protesters around Tahrir Square during "the battle of Mohamed Mahmoud," where dozens died directly from inhalation of the gas. Mohammed's refusal triggered the formation of Egypt’s first post-revolution port worker union, the General Independent Union of Port Workers, starting in Suez but quickly spreading across Egypt as part of the skyrocketing of labor activism following the uprising that began in January 2011.
As Mohammed, member of the union’s women’s committee says: "I said 'No, I refuse—because I don’t want to be the cause of someone’s pain or death.’ So in solidarity with me, or with the cause, my co-workers said 'No, we’re not going to work on it either.’"
War Resisters League, while honoring the courageous spark of a new labor movement and co-founder of the independent port worker union, is building a campaign against tear gas, both internationally as well as within the US, where it is often used against activists, including prisoners. "This award, first given in 1958, is about recognizing the leadership in places affected by U.S. militarism and reflects WRL's legacy of supporting people coming together and taking matters into their own hands,” said Ali Issa, War Resisters League National Field Organizer. He added, "This is also directly connected to WRL's new effort to end the use of tear gas globally as protesters around the world—including every week or so in Egypt—continue to be gassed indiscriminately."
Mohammed also notes this took place during the moment of the ongoing Arab Spring, about which she comments: "The Arab people now want to be the decision makers. Just as the American people should be the decision makers and affect their government in the decisions it makes. We also want our rulers to know that we are the ones that are going to influence things. And they’re not going to understand that until governments of the world begin to act according to that logic."
Photo of Peace Award and the original shipment “cargo manifest”: http://warresisters.wordpress.
Concerns for the life of Mr Hassan Mushaima have been expressed by many senior activists as well as human rights bodies. The 65-years old leader of Haq Movement, has been constantly denied access to proper medical treatment for his Cancer remission. In 2010 he had been treated for the disease at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and was declared clear of it. But he was also prescribed a specific treatment for remission to stop the return of the disease. When he was arrested in March 2011 the treatment was intentionally stopped by the prison officials acting on orders from the dictator’s royal court. In recent months Mr Mushaima has been complaining to his family and doctors of symptoms similar to those he had had prior to the treatment. But his pleas for treatment were ignored. Under media pressure the Alkhalifa officials allowed a more thorough investigation which confirmed that the disease had returned.
Recent steps undertaken by the Alkhalifa regime to silence opposition has solidified the people’s determination to continue the struggle to achieve regime’s change in the country. The first of these policies is the harsh attacks on demonstrators and the total banning of freedom of expresson, congregation or religious beliefs. Most of the daily protests in over 30 in Manama, towns and villages have been attacked by regime’s forces using chemical and tear gases and shotguns. On Wednesday at least two young people were seriously injured with shoguns as they participated in peaceful demonstrations. Many others were attacked as they continued their political strife against the regime calling for regime change.
Video: Helena Cobban, Roy Hange, David Swanson, and W. Scott Harrop on Iran, Syria, and the U.S. at War or Peace
Propaganda in the U.S. media is very real. In an attempt to counteract its effects and to offer the Charlottesville public a deeper understanding of the situation in the Middle East, Random Row Books has invited several local experts to give their take on the continuing volatility in that region.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at Random Row Books
Helena Cobban is a British-American writer and researcher on international relations, with special interests in the Middle East, the international system, and transitional justice. In March 2010, she founded Just World Publishing.
Roy Hange pastors Charlottesville Mennonite Church and has worked with Mennonite Central Committee in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East. He has taught faith-based peacebuilding courses at EMU and UVA.
David Swanson is a local author and activist at the forefront of the peace movement in America. During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent visit to New York for the U.N. talks, David was one of several activists who had dinner with the Iranian president. His most recent books are War is a Lie and When the World Outlawed War. He also hosts Talk Nation Radio.
W. Scott Harrop currently teaches in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Culture at UVA, with Iran as his area of expertise.
Videos by Kathryn
Two martyrs fell during the week. First was Huda, eleven year-old girl who was suffocated by chemical gases that has become the main tool of repression against the people. She developed breathing difficulties leading to the deterioration of her health until she succumbed to painful death. The second was Hajji Mahdi Ali Al Marhoon, 60. Few months ago he was subjected to intense inhalation of chemical gases deployed by regime’s forces against the people of Ma’amir Town. He was hospitalised but his condition deteriorated until he passed away on Wednesday 17th October. His funeral yesterday was attended by thousands of people who chanted anti-regime slogans calling for an end to the Alkhalifa hereditary dictatorship.
New Book for Ages 6 to 10: Tube World
Parents: Have your kids been tired in the morning? Have you found wet bathing suits in their beds? Do they know things about far-away places that you didn’t teach them and they didn’t learn in school? Do children visiting your town from halfway around the world always seem to be friends with your kids, and to only be around during certain hours of the day? You won’t believe the explanation, but your kids might grin and wink at each other if you read it to them.
Kids: Did you know the center of the Earth was hollow? Do you know the words that can take you there, if you’re under the covers in your swimming suit and prepared for the trip? Can you imagine traveling anywhere in the world where there’s a swimming pool — and being home again in time for breakfast? If you haven’t been to Tube World yet, this book will tell you the secrets you need to know. And it will tell you about some children who discovered Tube World and used it to make the whole world a better place.
The paperback has been published in two versions, one with slightly better color, slightly better paper, and a dramatically higher price.
Buy the standard paperback from Amazon,
(If you order from Amazon it will ship right away even if Amazon says it won't ship for weeks; it is print-on-demand.)
Buy the premium paperback from Amazon,
Your local independent bookstore can order the book through Ingram.
Anyone can order the book in bulk at the lowest possible price right here.
Buy PDF, Audio, EPUB, or Kindle for $8 right here:
Advance Praise for Tube World:
“This book will make you laugh till water comes out your ears!”--Wesley
“This story is super flibba garibbidy schmibbadie libbidie awesome, mostly!”--Travis
“The best part is we saved 2,000 islands and pretty much the whole world in our swimming suits!”--Hallie
About Shane Burke:
Shane Burke lives in Denver Colorado and has been drawing and painting since he could hold a pencil. He took private art lessons when he was young and began winning awards and contests by the age of seven. His first big commission came at age nine when he created artwork for a billboard near his home town of Tracy California. His greatest influences came from his grandfather and elementary school teachers. He loved watching his grandfather paint landscapes and wanted to be just like him. Shane is a creative day dreamer and at complete peace when putting ink to paper. You can see more of Shane's work at www.beezink.com
By Bahrain Freedom Movement
Two martyrs have been killed in one week; many more detained. This is the pattern of events in occupied Bahrain. On Saturday 29th September the Saudi-backed Alkhalifa forces shot a young boy with a shotgun, causing him serious injuries, tortured him and executed him at the scene. Ali Hussain Yousuf Ni’ma, 17. was taking part in a peaceful demonstration at Sadad Town in the South of the country. His death led to country-wide protests that were attacked. Many others were injured and detained. The killing spree by the Alkhalifa dictators is continuing mainly because of the Saudi, American and British support. No word of condemnation of any state crime had ever been uttered by any those countries. His funeral was attacked with chemical gases, shotguns and tear gases.
From Bahrain Freedom Movement
The Washington-based Human Rights Watch has published a 56-pages report titled “Targets of Retribution, Attacks against Medics, Injured Protesters, and Health Facilities”. This report documents the key elements of what appears to be a systematic campaign by the Bahraini government aimed at punishing and intimidating medical professionals suspected of sympathies with protesters and hindering access to health care facilities for persons wounded by security forces. This is yet another addition to the countless reports of documented abuses committed by the Alkhalifa junta against Bahrainis who are subjected to dual and brutal occupation by the Al Khalifa and Al Saud clans.
On Wednesday 26th September the Alkhalifa clan decided to add two months prison sentence to a prominent human rights activist. Zainab Al Khawaja, who has been in jail for two months has been jailed for two more months with more sentences expected in the coming weeks. Bahrain’s judiciary has become another tool of repression in the hands of the repressive ruling family.
Yesterday Nabeel Rajab who has been in the torture dungeons for the past three months was brought to the court handcuffed for taking part in a peaceful demonstration. His case, as usual, has been adjourned until 16th October. In contrast a policeman who had shot Martyr Hani Abdul Aziz from a close range came to the court on his own, without even being detained. He was sentenced to seven years and is expected to be “pardoned” by the dictator within a shorter period. The killers of Ali Al Mo’men and Ali Mushaima was set free, while the most prominent human rights activist is languishing behind bars for peaceful expression of opinion.
Bahraini people were shocked yesterday by the news that two young men were killed by the Saudi forces at the town of Awwamiya. Khalid Abdul Karim Al Labbad, 25, was shot dead by the Saudi special forces who are trained to shoot-to-kill and liquidate enemies of the regime. Another younger boy, Mohammad Habib Al Manasef, 16, was also executed in the street by those evil forces. The Saudi regime claims that Martyr Al Labbad is on the wanted list that it had issued containing the names of 23 people it considered responsible for the massive protests that have wrecked the Eastern peninsula for more than a year. So far 17 people have been killed by the regime forces which are known for their total disregard to human rights or compassion. A day earlier a senior cleric was arrested for speaking against the Al Saud dictatorship. Sheikh Hussain Al Radhi was abducted and taken to unknown location. His whereabouts are unknown.
While the Shiite Eastern Province is being subjected to murderous attacks by the Saudi forces, hundreds of Sunni families in Riyadh, Al Jawf, Alqassim, Medina and Jedda have been protesting outside prisons and other offices of the interior ministry. These are the relatives of more than 10,000 political prisoners who have languished in torture cells for the good part of the past decade. None of them has been charged or tried. Few family visits are permitted under strict supervision. The lives of those families have been devastated as they parted with their loved ones who spend their youth behind bars. The Saudis and Alkhalifa are emboldened by American support under the unfounded claim of fighting terrorism. It is these repressive policies that nurture violence and cause polarisation of the situation.
On Tuesday 25th September two opposition members were in Rome for a meeting with the Italian Senate's human rights commission. Sayed Hadi Al mousawi and Dr Jassim Hussain said they are inspired by Gandhi, the late leader of the Indian independence movement. 'In Bahrain we have learnt very well the lesson of Mahatma Gandhi', said Jasim Hussein. 'Our protest is peaceful', said Hussein and Almossawi, who were invited to talk by Senator Marco Perduca. 'Our movement can be compared to the non-violent one of Gandhi. But the state has chosen since the beginning to respond with unprecedented violence'.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (in the U.S. at Least)
By Jen Marlowe
Jihan Kazerooni and I drove past scores of armed riot police on Budaiya highway as her iPhone buzzed non-stop: phone calls, Skype calls and, incessantly, Twitter. I had wondered what the phrase “Twitter revolution” really meant when I heard it used in connection with Iran in 2009 and Egypt in 2011. Here, in the small Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain, I was beginning to grasp the concept.
I was in that country for three weeks as a part of the Witness Bahrain initiative, a group of internationals seeking to document and expose human rights abuses perpetrated by the regime against protesters and activists. Aside from brief spurts of coverage, the crisis in Bahrain had largely been ignored by the U.S. media.
UNAC Statement on attacks on US Embassies in Libya and other Middle Eastern, North African and SW Asian Countries
Adding Insult to Injury
The massive, angry demonstrations and attacks on U.S. embassies sweeping through the Muslim world comes in the context of a campaign against Muslims carried out by the U.S. government in an attempt to justify their wars against Muslim countries. This campaign includes preemptive prosecutions where FBI agents create phony plots and encourage behavior that can be prosecuted and attacks on civil liberties at home; the Peter King hearings; NYPD spying on Muslims; raids and detentions; and states that have passed anti-Muslim laws. It includes the physical attacks on Muslims, on mosques and on people who racist whites think are Muslims, like Sikhs, and opposition to Muslim building projects like Park 51 and much more.
This atmosphere encourages the kind of hateful anti-Muslim video that was produced. At some point, it had to be expected that Muslims around the world would react. The U.S. will spin this by focusing on the film and implying that all Muslims are crazy and do not support freedom of speech. However, this is a self-serving lie and a diversion from the real root causes. Humiliation is a necessary component of the cycle of abuse. It should be noted that similar attacks on Judaism and the Holocaust are prosecuted as hate crimes and that artists and musicians who have created work offensive to many Christians have been vilified and threatened.
We need to put the blame squarely where it belongs -- on the U.S., which has been at war with the Muslim world in order to dominate and control resources and power. We have seen the utter destruction of Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan; drone attacks on Muslim countries we are not at war with, including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia; and the persistent economic starvation and political suffocation of the Muslim people in Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and other countries by US backed dictators enforcing Western dominance in the region. So-called “targeted assassinations” kill many innocent non-combatants and are viewed simply as “collateral damage” rather than murders, demonstrating how little the U.S. government values non-Western lives.
The fact that these protests came as a surprise to the U.S. State Department is a reflection of the arrogance and stupidity of a government that claims it is bringing freedom and democracy to the region through drone missiles, sanctions, assassinations, and occupations and expects the people to be grateful.
The unfortunate deaths of the American Ambassador in Libya and members of his security team are the direct result of violent, hypocritical, internally conflicted US policies in the region, whether the unanticipated result of the rioting triggered by the film or blowback for longstanding U.S. atrocities rooted in the ongoing wars. It is long past time to reject those policies and begin a new era based on respect for the dignity and humanity of every individual and of all the various cultures and religions of the world.
We must stand in solidarity with all the victims of U.S.-sponsored violence and repression.
END THE WARS & OCCUPATIONS! BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
NO DRONE ATTACKS! NO SANCTIONS! HANDS OFF SYRIA & IRAN!
END RACIST REPRESSION, RAIDS, FRAME-UPS & ISLAMOPHOBIA AT HOME!
The United Nations has singled out 16 nations for cracking down on critics, including Bahrain, saying most of those countries’ governments are going unpunished for their acts of reprisal. Yesterday U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told a special session of the Human Rights Council that the 16 nations detailed in a new report “have been far from sufficient” in preventing members of their own governments from resorting to intimidation and attacks on various activists.
The report to the Geneva-based council for its session this month details alleged cases of killings, beatings, torture, arrests, threats, harassment and smear campaigns against human rights defenders, some arising out of backlash from the Arab Spring last year. The report covers mid-June 2011 to mid-July 2012 and cites cases in Algeria, Bahrain, Belarus, China, Colombia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.
Bahrain’s dictator has ordered the imprisonment of the most prominent human rights activist for three years for tweeting anti-regime sentiments. The President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Nabeel Rajab was sentenced by Alkhalifa court after a summary trial to the long sentence despite appeals by international human rights bodies to release him. Amnesty International described the sentence as “a dark day for justice in Bahrain”, adding that the “verdict marks the end of the façade of reform” in the country. Nabeel Rajab was indicted for anti-regime tweets and taking part in anti-regime protests. His arrest and trial were conducted under the supervision of a Scotland Yard team who was dispatched to Bahrain to help the regime quell pro-democracy demonstrations. Last month Amnesty International considered him “Prisoner of Conscience.
By Rick Rozoff, Stop NATO
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has begun a five-day, four-nation tour of North Africa and the Middle East to consolidate military ties with traditional allies against the backdrop of mounting Western pressure aimed at the governments of Syria and Iran.
His first two stops are to Tunisia and Egypt, long-standing American military client states and members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue partnership program. The next two are to Israel and Jordan, also Mediterranean Dialogue members, the first the main and the second one of the largest recipients of American military aid.
When Are You Blackmailed with Video of Yourself Sleeping With Your Wife? When You Challenge the U.S.-Allied Bahraini Government
Bahraini authorities are targeting human rights activist and lawyer Mr. Mohamed Isa Al-Tajer due to his human rights activities and years of work on behalf of political detainees and prisoners of conscience.
Mohamed Isa Al-Tajer is an attorney, human rights activist, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Bahrain Rehabilitation and Anti-violence Organisation (BRAVO) and works with many international human rights organizations. Al-Tajer has defended many prisoners and participated in several defense firms formed to defend activists, political figures, and prominent human rights defenders in Bahrain since 2007.
In June 2012, Al-Tajer participated at the Bahrain UPR meeting in Geneva. Pro-Bahrain-government newspapers and state television led a smear campaign against Al-Tajer. Later video and private photos of him and his wife were published via pro-government forums and accounts on the social media.
Since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadhan the Bahraini Revolution has escalated dramatically. At least 25 demonstrations have taken place every day and night with one clear message: The people want regime change. Chanting like “Down with Hamad” has become the standard slogan uttered by the men and women participating in those protests. The regime’s brutality has also not diminished. The use of chemical gases has intensified dramatically in the past three weeks. While the zeal of the people has intensified, the regime’s repression knows no bounds. Makeshift clinics in towns and villages have offered first aid to the victims who fear for their life to go to the main hospital at Salmaniya which is run by the military. Many observers believe that the situation has reached the point of no-return. The Alkhalifa regime is doomed as the people unanimously refuse to accept to be ruled by tribal hereditary dictatorship.
The dramatic developments in the past few days in Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia have reverberated in all corners of Bahrain. The cold-blooded murder, by Saudi police, of two demonstrators on 8th July was a brutal crime by a regime intent on pursuing its evil goals at any cost. The martyrs were protesting against the arrest, earlier that night of a prominent religious scholar who had been outspoken in its criticism of the Al Saud policies and repression. Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr had predicted that he would either be killed or arrested. Shortly after leaving the mosque at Al Awwamiya Town in the Eastern Province of Arabia, he was stopped and shot in the thigh before his arrest. The amount of blood on the ground indicates that his wounds are severe. His condition or whereabouts are unknown. Like the Al Khalifa, Al Saud are also known for their policy of revenge from anyone who dares challenge their authority or question their crimes. Demonstrations have continued in the province i n subsequent days and the situation is expected to get worse. Sheikh Al Nimr is known for his strong support of the Bahraini people and revolution and has vowed to stand by the oppressed at any cost.
He is only 18 months old, but he had to pay the ultimate price for being born in a country riddled with hate, repression and criminality of a regime that has adopted revenge as the main weapon against its opponents. The 18-months old Sayyed Hussain Sayyed Isa, from the town of Nabih Saleh, died as a result of inhaling excessive chemical gases fired on his home by the Alkhalifa security forces. The child developed complications in his lungs that led to gradual deterioration of his health until he succumbed to death. His parents were devastated, so were all Bahrainis and freedom-loving people who curse a world that tolerates such criminal regime.
The arrest, torture and abuse of a young University girl student by the men of John Timoney and John Yates have shaken the country to the core. Zahra Al Shaikh, 21, from Karbabad, was arrested for taking part in an anti-regime peaceful protest. She was subjected to horrific treatment, stripped and indecent images of her taken by the security forces. She is accused of anti-regime activities and is threatened with long term prison sentence. Bahrainis have been horrified at the treatment of this young Bahraini girl and have vowed not to accept Alkhalifa rule and to resist it at any cost.
As the Alkhalifa regime intensified its crackdown against Bahrainis, Mohammad Al Buflasa has been arrested and taken to the torture chambers. Mr Al Buflasa is a young Bahraini who was the first to be imprisoned after the Revolution following a speech at the Pearl Roundabout in February 2011. He remained behind bars for ten months before being released. He comes from Sunni background and his participation in the people’s revolution has angered the Alkhalifa who have been trying to present a sectarian argument to explain the Revolution. Several NGOs have issued statements demanding Al Buflasa’s immediate release, but, to date, Mohammad is still in incarceration at the Alkhalifa torture dungeons.
One of the Alkhlaifa courts has issued ruling against re-building the mosques that had been destroyed by the Al Khalifa/Al Saud joint forces. The Alkhalifa’ ministry of Justice has considered their rebuilding at the h ands of the citizens as illegal. Thus a new War of the Mosques has thus developed and more Shia mosques may are being targeted for demolition. The Bissioni report was critical of destroying religious symbols of the native inhabitants.
The death of Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz has led to a political mayhem in Saudi Arabia which fears of political vacuum after his demise. While Bahrainis have not expressed any sign of sorrow arguing that Nayef had been responsible for the invasion of Bahrain by the Saudi troops, the general mood is against continuing attacks on Bahrainis by Saudi and Alkhalifa forces. The Saudi role in Bahrain has been disastrous and had led to many deaths and injuries.
The situation in the prisons has been described as becoming harsher following the threats by the dictator against Bahrainis. Kumail Al Manami, a 30 years old young Bahraini is languishing in underground dungeons of the Alkhalifa jails. His family has confirmed that his health is deteriorating and he is gradually losing his eye sight. Since his arrest on 31st March 2009, Mr Manami has been subjected to continuous torture, held in solitary confinement and denied access to daylight except for one hour each day. Several other Bahrainis have been languishing in Alkhalifa torture dungeons for years as Washington and London supplied the regime with men of torture and repression. This is one of the underpinning causes of the ongoing Revolution that has become impossible to defeat or contain. Native Bahrainis (Shia and Sunni) are determined to rid the country of minority rule (confined to Alkhalifa members who occupy more than half the cabinet posts).
Meanwhile the campaign against allowing Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the notorious torturer who is also the son of Bahrain’s dictator has started in earnest. On 14th June the Liberal Democrat MP Dan Rogerson (representing North Cornwall) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration he has given to the human rights records of members of the Bahraini government who plan to visit the UK during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games. Alistair Burt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; North East Bedfordshire, Conservative) said:
The Government has been clear that regardless of the country concerned where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individual has committed human rights abuses, the individual will not normally be permitted to enter the UK.
On 21st June the Guardian newspaper published an article titled: “Britain urged to ban royal head of Bahrain Olympic committee” in which it said: Son of Bahrain’s king set to visit London 2012 despite being accused of violating athletes”. There is now a campaign to arrest the Alkhalifa torturer upon his arrival in London.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
22nd June 2012
Which came first, the oil business or the war machine that protects it? Who started this madness, the military that consumes so much of the oil or the corporations that distribute and profit from the filthy stuff?
An answer of sorts can be found in Timothy Mitchell's book, "Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil."
Western oil corporations were never strong enough, Mitchell finds, to monopolize the flow or stoppage of Middle Eastern oil without major military and financial assistance. So, they began talking about their control of Middle Eastern oil as being an imperial interest. When "imperial" went out of fashion, the phrase shifted to "strategic interest."
Two people have been martyred as a result of using chemical gases against peaceful demonstrators. Maryam Nasir Abdullah, 80, was martyred last Saturday on 9th June. Last night excessive use of violence by regime’s forces caused many injuries. Shotguns were used against peaceful protesters in at least fifteen towns who were calling for regime change. The injured were treated at makeshift clinics run by volunteer doctors and nurses because the main hospitals are run by the military. Anyone who seeks treatment there will certainly be arrested.
The human rights world has been shocked by the Alkhalifa decision to continue the incarceration of the doctors and medics on trumpeted charges. Yesterday Alkhalifa rulers issued their verdict to jail Dr Ali Al Ekri to five years, Dr Ibrahim Al Demstani to three and Dr Ghassan Dhaif to one year. Several others were sentenced to six months although they had spent more than six months in Alkhalifa torture dungeons.
The week’s highlight has been the almost unanimous international verdict against the ruling Alkhalifa dynasty for its brutal violation of human rights. The regime was condemned by most of the EU countries at the Human Rights Council (HRC) meeting in Geneva on Monday 21st May when Bahrain’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was conducted. One of the ministers of the ruling Alkhalifa junta presented the report which failed to convince those present at the session. At least nine EU countries reacted with disgust at the dangerous abuse of human rights by the current dictator and his clique. Last year a commission funded by the regime confirmed that systematic torture and extra-judicial killings had taken place. The HRC then issued 176 recommendations, compared to nine in the earlier UPR session four years ago. The regime had dispatched scores of its mercenaries to lobby for support among HRC member states but it is clear that their mission has disastrously failed. Bahra inis are, however, unconvinced that the Alkhalifa would stop abuse of human rights, especially arbitrary detention, torture and attack on freedom of speech. None of the banned sites are expected to be allowed.
The inability of the regime to respond favourably to the HRC recommendations was immediately visible in the way human rights activists have been treated at Alkhalifa courts where the judge is the adversary. The four most prominent human rights activists remain the torture chambers for their peaceful expression of opinion; Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja, Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace, Zainab Al Khawaja and Nabeel Rajab. All of them have been tortured at one time or another. The first two have been languishing at the torture dungeons for fifteen months where most horrible forms of torture had been administered on them. Zainab has been charged with various “offences” for opposing the dictatorship and was sentenced yesterday to one month in jail. Nabeel Rajab has also been charged with trumpeted charges intended to keep him behind bars in an attempt to stop the demonstrations. The aim is to reduce the popular revolt and prepare for another round of meaningless and time-wasting one way “dialogue”. Yet Bahraini youth will ensure that the regime goes and that its deception fails to stall the revolution.
On Wednesday 22nd May, Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja, was brought to a court run by a member of the Al khalifa enemy. After the most senior opposition figure, Abdul Wahab Hussain delivered a damning testimony to his torture ordeal, Mr Al Khawaja presented hair-raising description of the abuse he had been subjected to since his arrest in March last year. His torture include breaking his jaws in four places, urinating in his mouth, beating, electric shocks, deprivation of sleep, sexual assault and threat of rape. If the court case continues next week more damning testimonies will come out and the onus will be on the world community to take immediate action against Alkhalifa dictatorship that has administered torture on Bahrainis on a systematic and regular basis since Ian Henderson restructured the Special Branch in 1966 during the British protection era. Many Bahrainis have died under torture since then. The failure of the world to take a stand has allowed the regime to commit t hese heinous crimes with impunity.
Meanwhile, people’s revolution has continued. Every day and night have seen demonstrations and protests in almost every corner of the country despite the vicious attacks by the forces of Timoney and Yates. Since Alkhalifa interior minister threatened two weeks ago to escalate violence against the people the use of shotguns against protesters has increased dramatically. Everyday tens of Bahrainis are injured, but they cannot seek treatment at hospitals which are under military management and instructions to report any injured Bahraini to the torture dungeons run by Timoney and Yates.
Hopes have been raised that Nasser bin Hamad Alkhalifa, one of the most notorious torturers will be arrested upon his arrival in London for the Olympics.UK’s Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne told MPs that leaders linked to such crimes (torture) will not be allowed into Britain to attend the summer Olympic Games. “Where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individual has committed human rights abuses, the individual will not normally be permitted to enter the UK,” Browne said. Attempts are being made to present this reliable evidence to UK courts in due course to indict this torturer.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
25th May 2012
US Sells More Humanitarian Helicopters, Tanks, Rifles, and Tear Gas to Bahrain to Fend of the Bahrainis
US PRESSES AHEAD WITH ARMS SALE DESPITE ONGOING VIOLATIONS
No Investigation into Past Misuse of US-origin Helicopters, Armored Vehicles, and Rifles