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Western Asia ("Middle East")

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

Bahrain: Two martyrs as UK Government is criticised for pro-Alkhalifa stands

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

New Book for Ages 6 to 10: Tube World

Tube World is the first children's book by David Swanson, author of several nonfiction adult books. The illustrations for Tube World are by Shane Burke.

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.

Buy the PDF, EPUB (iPad, Nook, etc.), or MOBI (Kindle) from Ebookit.

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

Bahrain: Two martyrs executed by police as country wide protests continue

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.

Bahrain: HRW’s Targets of Retribution focuses on Alkhalifa crimes

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'.

Terror and Teargas on the Streets of Bahrain

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.




Bahrain: Eight year old girl summoned, US admits role in Rajab’s detention and torture.

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: Revolution continues unabated as HR defenders jailed

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.

Pentagon Chief Rallies Arab, Israeli Allies Against Syria, Iran

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.

Bahrain: Repression intensifies as Revolution re-invigorated

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.

Bahrain: Regional turmoil following killings and arrests by Saudi regime

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.

Bahrain: One martyr as UK, USA refuse to sign document signed by 27 countries

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.

Bahrain: Campaign to arrest dictator’s torturer son as repression intensifies

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."

Bahrain: Two martyrs as medics jailed again, children tortured and injured

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.

Bahrain: After UPR Geneva session, Alkhalifa lost legitimacy to remain

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


No Investigation into Past Misuse of US-origin Helicopters, Armored Vehicles, and Rifles

U.S. Drone Helps Turkey Kill 38 Civilians: Only the Latest Technology Will Do - We're Number One!

ULUDERE, Turkey—After winding along a narrow mountain ridge, a caravan of 38 men and mules paused on the Turkish-Iraqi border. Then they heard the propellers overhead. Minutes later, Turkish military aircraft dropped bombs that killed all but four of the men.

The strike in late December was meant to knock out Kurdish separatist fighters. Instead it killed civilians smuggling gasoline, a tragic blunder in Turkey's nearly three-decade campaign against the guerrillas. The killings ignited protests across the country and prompted wide-ranging official inquiries.

The civilian toll also set off alarms at the Pentagon: It was a U.S. Predator drone that ...


U.S. Hosts Bahraini Prince as Monarchy Vows Harsher Crackdown

Institute for Public Accuracy 

The Obama administration is hosting Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa in Washington just as the Bahraini regime is vowing a harsher crackdown on anti-government protesters. Democracy Now reported this morning, "Appearing with al-Khalifa at the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to directly mention the repression of protests, referring only to Bahrain’s 'internal issues.'"

Secretary Clinton stated: "Bahrain is a valued ally of the United States. We partner on many important issues of mutual concern to each of our nations and to the regional and global concerns as well. I’m looking forward to a chance to talk over with His Royal Highness a number of the issues both internally and externally that Bahrain is dealing with and have some better understanding of the ongoing efforts that the government of Bahrain is undertaking. So again, His Royal Highness, welcome to the United States." See video:

Clinton’s comments came one day after the Bahraini government vowed to escalate its crackdown on anti-government demonstrators. Speaking to Reuters, a Bahraini government spokesman said: "We are looking into the perpetrators and people who use print, broadcast and social media to encourage illegal protest and violence around the country. If applying the law means tougher action, then so be it." The warning came days after the arrest of the prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, who has been featured on IPA news releases. In a statement, Amnesty International declared Rajab a "prisoner of conscience" and called for his immediate release. Another prominent activist, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, has been on a hunger strike for three months protesting his life imprisonment. 

Carpet Gassing of Bahrainis by Timoney and Yate’s Forces

Repression has been greatly intensified in the past week, especially after the end of the most controversial F1 race last weekend. The use of what is now termed “Carpet Gassing” of residential areas is causing alarm on international level after more than 30 people were killed as a result of excessive inhalation of chemical gases fired by security forces. In addition to this people are routinely stopped, checked and intimidated at cheque points along the main roads and at entrances of towns and villages. Reports have suggested that the hated duel; John Timony and John Yates have decided to create a blood bath in the country after they had been accused of failure to stem the protests or bring the situation under control. Demonstrations have been taking place on daily and nightly basis with men and women taking to the streets amid rising tension following the fiasco of the Formula 1 racing.


Ala’a was Accompanying Journalists in a Car on Budaiya Highway at Time of Arrest

[Manama] Bahrain Watch expresses its deep concern about activist Ala’a al-Shehabi, who was arrested in the evening hours of 22 April 2012 while driving on Budaiya Highway with several international journalists.

Ala’a reported her arrest via Twitter by tweeting the apparently incomplete statement “Under arrest. Surrounded by.”  According to witnesses reporting via Twitter, her car was suddenly approached and surrounded by up to eleven police vehicles.  Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, told Bahrain Watch that she was taken to the Budaiya police station.  Bahrain Watch is unaware at this time of whether Ala’a is being charged.

Timoney and Yates threaten to kill Bahrainis to facilitate F1

The race between human values and evil is intensifying as the F1 prepares for its most controversial race in what has now become widely known as “Bloody Bahrain”. The anger of the people has never been greater as scores of activists are swiftly rounded up, tortured and locked up by the forces of John Timoney and John Yates. Their aim is to forestall serious protests, disturbances or any kind of revolutionary act. In the past week more than seventy people have been arrested, tortured and detained for indefinite periods. The people, however, have become more defiant. On Wednesday many people protested in Manama calling for the unconditional release of the political prisoners especially Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja and Hassan Mushaima. They were severely attacked by Alkhalifa thugs with many casualties reported. The 14th February Alliance has called for a week-long political strife under the slogan “No to Formula1” and the revolution appears to be re-invigorated in many places. Today, thousands upon thousands marched against the regime as Yates killers waged relentless campaign against them.

As for the F1 cracks are appearing everyday in the wall of the race. In addition to numerous sports channels which have decided not to go to “Bloody Bahrain” the Porsche Supercup Squad MRS has decided to withdraw from the race. India team limited its participation in the races that began the preparatory phase today.

The people of Bahrain have decided to remove the Alkhalifa dictatorship at any cost. No power on earth will be able to defend the decaying regime any longer. Almost all major international newspapers and networks have taken stands against holding F1 race in Bahrain. On Wednesday, The Times published an article by David Mepham, the Director of Human Rights Watch London office titled: “Don’t fool yourselves; Bahrain hasn’t changed” in which he obliterated the argument presented by Bernie Ecclestone that Bahrain is quiet and peaceful. More consciencious objectors are likely to boycott the event which will has now become one of the most controversial in the race’s history. The ruling family has prevented foreign journalists from entering the country such as those of Reuters and Associated Press.

For the first time in the history of the Al Khalifa the London Embassy of Bahrain became the centre of attention as two Bahraini protesters took position at its roof for 24 hours. At 1.30 pm Monday 16th April Ali Mushaima and Moosa Abd Ali climbed a scaffolding on a nearby building and walked their way to the two prominent jailed leaders; Hassan Mushaima, who has cancer and Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja who is on his 70th day of hunger strke. The lives of both are under threat while the Alkhalifa regime continues to ignore international calls to release them. The two Bahraini activists have been on hunger strike for two weeks, spent five nights outside the US Embassy in London before occupying the roof of the Embassy. Their action was a sign of determination to achieve the release of Bahraini prisoners whose imprisonment and ill-treatment have only solidified the people’s resolve to remove the Alkhalifa from power. Their antiquated regime has become a liability even to their ow n allies whose support is the determining factor for their survival.

An Early Day Motion (EDM) has been signed by more than twenty Members of Parliament calling for the cancellation of the Grand Prix scheduled to be held in Bahrain over the weekend. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain sponsored the EDM which “believes that the Formula One race will be used by the Bahrain government as an endorsement of its policies of suppression of dissent”. At the same time as that news was filtering through to teams out here, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain published an open letter which it has sent to some of Formula One’s biggest sponsors, urging them to boycott this race.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
20th April 2012


Culture of Impunity within Security Forces Prevails

[Manama] A new video showing Bahrain police officers assisting in the looting of a supermarket demonstrates the continuing culture of impunity among the country’s security forces despite claims of reform by the government, said activist group Bahrain Watch on Friday.

The video (, posted on the YouTube account of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was recorded on the evening of Tuesday, April 10 by closed-circuit surveillance cameras inside a supermarket in the neigbourhood of Nuwaidrat.  The video shows a mob enter, vandalize, and loot the store, which belongs to the “24 Hour Market” chain.  Several minutes into the video, uniformed police enter the market and motion to looters to leave before filming the destruction with their own cameras.

Human Rights Groups Ask Bahrain to Free Prisoner

April 9, 2012
Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
We write to urge you to publicly call on the Government of Bahrain to immediately and uncon-
ditionally release from prison Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.  Al-Khawaja is a Bahraini human rights
defender and democracy activist who may soon die, as he has been on a hunger strike for more
than two months.
Al-Khawaja was arrested one year ago in the wake of popular protests against the Bahraini
government, and sentenced to life in prison. While in detention, al-Khawaja suffered from
torture and severe ill-treatment.  As a result, he was admitted to the Bahrain Defence Force
Hospital in April last year with a cracked jaw and skull requiring several operations on his
head and face. 
To protest his ongoing detention and mistreatment, al-Khawaja began a hunger strike on Feb-
ruary 8. In an open letter to the King of Bahrain, al-Khawaja pledged to stay on hunger strike
until “freedom or death.”  
After being arrested in April 2011, al-Khawaja was sentenced to life in prison in June 2011 as
part of a group trial of 21 activists and human rights defenders.  This group was charged with
a range of offenses related to their role in peaceful demonstrations in Bahrain in February and
March 2011. International human rights organizations and the Bahrain Independent Commis-
sion of Inquiry (BICI) have stated that the trials did not comply with international standards of
due process, nor even Bahrain’s own criminal code, because the 21 civilians were tried before
National Safety Courts, which are military courts.
The evidence is clear that al-Khawaja and others were sentenced in violation of their rights to
freedom of expression, assembly and association, which are protected under international law.
We are deeply concerned about the health of human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja,
and respectfully request that the United States urge the Government of Bahrain to release al-
Khawaja immediately and allow him to travel abroad, including for medical treatment, if he
wishes to do so.
Thank you for your consideration.
3P Human Security
AFL-CIO Solidarity
Open Society
Physicians for
Human Rights
Project on Middle
East Democracy
Universal Muslim
Association of America
Freedom House
Human Rights First
Human Rights Watch
Just Foreign Policy
Amnesty International
Citizens for
Global Solutions
Foreign Policy
Americans for Democracy and
Human Rights in Bahrain

Bahrain's Government Must Stop Killing Its People, and Listen to Them

We in al-Wefaq want only a genuinely democratic constitutional monarchy built on dialogue, not weapons

When 100,000 or more people take to the streets in protest, governments in most parts of the world would see it as a sign that they need to change course – especially in a country with only about 600,000 citizens.

An anti-government protester confronts police in Salmabad, south of Manama, Bahrain, on 2 April 2012. (Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters)

But Bahrain is no ordinary country. Its prime minister, Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, has been in office for more than 40 years and his nephew, King Hamad, insists there is no opposition as such: "We only have people with different views… and now they are talking with their brothers."

So far, though, there has been no move towards serious dialogue, instead just a campaign of repression that has claimed at least 80 lives and created hundreds of political prisoners.

We in the opposition have reiterated time and again our calls for "meaningful dialogue", as President Obama put it. We stand ready to move the country forward towards a democratic future, but the only engagement from the authorities has been violence, not discussion.


Researchers Launch ‘Government Inaction’ Website to Track Govt’s Implementation of BICI Recommendations

[Manama] The Bahraini government has failed to fully implement any of the recommendations made by a prominent rights commission last year, said a team of independent activists on Thursday.

The group, calling itself Bahrain Watch, made the statement on the launch of their new website Government Inaction ( The website tracks and scrutinizes the government’s progress in implementing reforms set out in the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), also known as the Bassiouni Commission.

Released in November 2011, the BICI report found that government personnel had committed a wide range of human rights abuses, including torture, in the crackdown against anti-government protesters last year.  As of today, the Bahraini government claims on its website that it has completely implemented 13 of the 26 recommendations made by the BICI, and a government spokesperson recently told the Wall Street Journal: “over 75% of the Bassiouni report's recommendations have been implemented and the rest of the proposals are being put into effect.” The Commission’s recommendations can broadly be summarized as:

  • Reforms to the police sector, judiciary, and state media
  • Redress for victims of human rights violations including prisoners and mosque demolitions
  • A process of national reconciliation

“By claiming to implement the recommendations, the Bahraini government has tried to portray that it has made amends for all of the human rights violations detailed in the BICI report,” said Bahrain Watch founding member Bill Marczak. “However, we are unaware of a single recommendation that has been fully addressed by the Government yet, hence the name Government Inaction for our website.”

"As an example," Marczak said, "the BICI called for the prosecution of those responsible for deaths and torture at all levels, however in the four months since the release of the report the government has only charged nine low level police officers in relation to six such cases."  Marczak added that this failure to prosecute human rights abuses uncovered by the Bassiouni Commission, as well as the failure to seriously address police reform, are directly responsible for ongoing cases of death, torture, and abuse.

The Government Inaction project consists of a new website, which has a breakdown of the recommendations, the government’s claims of what it has done to implement each recommendation, and an independent assessment of the extent to which the recommendations have been implemented. The site is continually updated to monitor the government’s progress.

About Bahrain Watch:

Bahrain Watch aims to promote effective, transparent, and accountable governance in Bahrain.  Through research and advocacy, the organization seeks to help Bahrain realize the development benefits of its limited resources by monitoring the state and its policies.

Bahrain Watch is an ambitious long-term work-in-progress project by independent researchers both inside and outside Bahrain that is focused on factual, evidence-based advocacy in the areas of political reform, economic development and security. Bahrain Watch assesses government polices from constitutional change, police reform, revenue management, to policies for spending and their impact on the lives of citizens or lack thereof. The project is collaborative and aims to serve as a catalyst for bringing diverse parties together, and to harness the power of social media and cyberactivists in order to improve governance and accountability. Its founders are online and on the ground, and share a common vision of speaking truth unto power through a digital platform and digital tools that can lead and aggregate on important issues that affect people's lives.


Twitter: @bhwatch

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