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Western Asia ("Middle East")
Obama’s Reset: Arab Spring or Same Old Thing?
How the President and the Pentagon Prop Up Both Middle Eastern Despots and American Arms Dealers
By Nick Turse
If you follow the words, one Middle East comes into view; if you follow the weapons, quite another.
On Feb. 13, 2011, inspired by the forced resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, peaceful democratic protests erupted in Bahrain. Protests grew and, in response, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa invited other Gulf states to send security forces into the country to assist in violently suppressing the demonstrators. The March 15 invasion by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates brought an intensification of torture, secret trials, demolition of Shia mosques, and repression against human rights activists, journalists, labor, lawyers, medical professionals, students, political figures, and others. On March 18 the regime destroyed the Pearl Monument that had served as the protest center.
URGENT ACTION: Human Rights Activist in Danger as Court Looks the other Way
After refusing to apologize on camera to the King:
Prominent Human Rights Activist Threatened with Rape
Joint Statement of the BCHR and BYSHR
Today at the 3rd hearing of the 21 defendants standing trial for charges including attempting to topple the government, former MENA Coordinator of Frontline Defenders and Former President of the Bahrain Centre of Human Rights, Mr. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja was removed from court. This happened immediately after he spoke at the beginning of the trial saying that he was threatened with rape after he refused to apologize to the King on Camera. He also told the judge that he had complained to the court in the previous session that he had been threatened and that the court had not done anything to secure his safety. The court judge refused to listen to these statements and Mr. Alkhawaja was ordered out of the court room even though he said that was all he wanted to say.
By BEN HARTMAN, 07/05/2011
Mordechai Vanunu tells 'Post' no country has offered him asylum but that if he is allowed to leave "I will get on first flight anywhere out of here."
Nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu on Saturday demanded that Israel rescind his citizenship in keeping with a new law that strips Israelis convicted of treason of their citizenship.
In a letter written to Interior Minister Eli Yishai and released to the media on Saturday Vanunu, a Beersheba native, says "I have no interest in Israeli citizenship, I don't want to go on living here." Rest of the article at the Jerusalem Post
May 5TH 2011
MK Mr. Eli Yishai
Minister of Interior
The State of Israel
Re: Revoking my Israeli Citizenship
I am Mordechai Vanunu that was kidnapped from Rome on September 30, 1986 by The Israeli Secret Services.
I was tried by The Jerusalem District Court and convicted of Aggravated Espionage, High Treason and Assisting the Enemy and I was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. This followed an interview I gave to The London Sunday Times regarding the secret production of nuclear weapons materials in Israel.
I fulfilled the democratic principal of the right of the public to know.
I have served 18 years in Ashkelon Prison, mostly in solitary confinement.
I was released on 21 April 2004 with severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli Government.
Seven years past and the restrictions had been renewed again and again relying on The Emergency Laws from 1945.
Since my release I have lived 6 years in East Jerusalem and since September 2010 I live in Tel Aviv.
This letter is from SAID YOUSIF ALMUHAFDAH, a blogger and human rights activist from Bahrain.
Thanks in Advance
journalist arrested in Bahrain
Please not that the police arrested the well known bloger and journalist in alwasatnewspaper mr haidar alnayme two days ago on 24-04-2011 , and we dont knwo his place , his family didnt get the chance to visit him or call him he is disapear
please find the below details from Committee to Protect Journalists
if you need any information about him or family contact let me know
Bahrain center for human rights
From: SAID YOUSIF ALMUHAFDAH
Subject: Death of fourth person in ten days in Bahrain detention centers
The fourth death in detention in 10 days yesterday, source: AlWefaq. Kareem Fakhrawi was a businessman who disappeared after he went to the police station to file a complaint. He was one of the founders of AlWasat Newspaper and was on the board of directors. You can see the footage of his body which shows torture marks here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z3hoDO_Lfg The only official statement was on the Bahrain News Agency twitter account he died from liver failure complications: https://twitter.com/#!/bna_ar/status/57938447310131200.
19 Human Rights Organizations Severely Condemn The Continuous Crackdown on Human Rights Defenders in Bahrain: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/3913.
Middle Eastern and North African Diaspora Rally to Demonstrate Solidarity with All Pro-Democracy and Human Rights Movements across the Middle East and North Africa
(WASHINGTON DC, 04/23/11) – Hundreds of members of the Middle Eastern and North African diapora and human rights activists will rally to support the efforts of pro-democracy movements across the Middle East and North Africa.
WHAT: Solidarity with All Pro-Democracy and Human Rights Movements across the Middle East and North Africa Rally
WHEN: Saturday, April 23, 1:00 P.M.
WHERE: Dupont Circle (traffic circle), Washington, DC
WHO: The Middle Eastern and North African Diaspora Coalition
Are the U.S. Wars on the Middle East Wrong Because They Cost so Much?
Or are they just wrong, immoral, unjust, and against humanity's interests?
U.S. occupations, bombs, and secret operations have wreaked havoc in the Middle East since 2001, sold to the public on the basis of being in the “United States' national interest.”
Rolling Stone reported that in 2010 the 5th Stryker Brigade’s “Kill Team” went on a shooting spree, killing unarmed Afghan civilians and mutilating corpses for fun, while US NATO bombing raids kill even more civilians this year than last. The U.S. detains hundreds of Afghans in Bagram, without charges, lawyers, or rights...and Guantanamo remains open, in spite of Obama’s declaration over two years ago that he would close it as a stain on America’s conscience.
DUBAI, UAE -- I was on my way to Afghanistan and have delayed the final leg of the trip a day to see whether being American is compatible with not getting blown up. The problem seems to be that, in addition to the U.S. military occupying the country for almost a decade and routinely murdering random innocent people, some bigoted jerk in Florida is creating a big stink about how much he hates Islam and enjoys burning copies of the Koran.
The Koran-burning preacher claims that he's just burned a book, not killed anyone. Of course, nothing excuses those who actually engage in killing, no matter what inspired their rage. But the preacher hasn't just burned a book. He's preached hatred. He's added deep insult to injury. The results were predictable, or at the very least are predictable now, while he shows no sign of relenting.
March 23, 2011 - The number of people around the world uprooted by conflict or violence and displaced within their country has increased to 27.5 million, the highest figure in the last decade, according to a new report released Wednesday.
The report by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, established by the Norwegian Refugee Council in 1998 at the U.N.'s request, said close to three million people in 20 countries were newly displaced by conflict or violence in 2010 including 1.2 million in Africa.
From the Bahrain Freedom Movement
Save Bahrain from Saudi occupation
The use of the American-made and supplied Apache helicopter gunships, the British-made and supplied tear gas canisters and guns and various other weapons has exposed the catastrophic moral and ethical downfall of all involved in the attack on the unarmed civilians of Bahrain. The Saudi invasion that started on Monday 14th March is a replica of the invasion of Saddam Hussain’s invasion of Kuwait on 2nd August 1990. If that invasion was wrong, how could the Saudi occupation of Bahrain be right? The world community is thus duty bound to end this occupation. The latest episode of the all out war started at around 4.00 am GMT Sunday 13th March with massive attacks from the air and land at the peaceful protesters at the Pearl Square, many of whom were asleep. They were hit with salvo of tear and nerve gases, live ammunition and rubber bullets. Hundreds have so far been injured and many killed.
High Stakes, ElectricPolitics
The Obama administration has yet to explain, apart from vague humanitarian concerns, whether a direct U.S. national security interest is at stake in Libya's internal strife. Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton is waffling her way toward war. What this could ultimately entail remains unknown but given yesterday's affirmative vote in the UN Security Council some sort of intervention is bound to materialize. To talk about a no fly zone and related issues I turned to Lt. Gen. Tad J. Oelstrom (USAF, Ret.), a veteran combat pilot and prominent national security expert. Before our conversation I had no advance knowledge whatsoever of the General's views — I was pleased, then, to find we see things very much in the same way. Total runtime forty four minutes. War is not for amateurs.
The problem with bombing Libya is not hypocrisy. Better a good thing once than consistent bad performance, after all. The problem is that war is uncontrollable, usually spreads, always kills, rarely achieves its objective, creates blowback (al Qaeda wants the US in Libya for its recruitment purposes), costs a fortune, and maintains imperial interests.
While the US props up all the nearby dictators and arms them, including in Bahrain, and was doing the same for Gadaffi until about 5 mins ago, it's switched sides in Libya. This doesn't just look bad. It is bad: the US wants to control someone else's country.
When the Iraqi govt murders and tortures after years of US involvement, who cries out for the solution of US involvement? When the Afghan govt or Bahraini govt does so, what then? No fly zones were themselves genocidal in Iraq and Yugoslavia.
Saudi Arabia is helping out Bahrain, by the way. Nations joining in each other's violence or spreading around the weapons we've provided them is not good news.
There is not a well-intentioned world police force at work here, and the bad intentions will lead to very bad places and are not the only option. Other options include humanitarian aid, nonviolence training, and communicating to Libya the seriousness of US support for local rule and democracy by cutting off the dictators we're backing all over the region.
"In a war that's being fought for the benefit of the Iraqi (read Libyan) people, you can't afford to kill any of them. But you can't drop bombs and not kill people. There's a real dichotomy in all of this."
- Rob Hewson, Editor of Jane's Air Launched Weapons, April 1st 2003.
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Larry Korb told the BBC today that Libya has about 50 air defense sites and that most of them are located in populated areas. If U.S. planes dropped only two "precision-guided" bombs on each of them, the chances are that at least 20 of those bombs would miss their targets and hit something or somebody else.
By Ali Lari
March 16, Bahrain -- In a serious escalation of matters in Bahrain, the government sends tanks into the streets, clears Martyrs Roundabout (formerly Pearl Roundabout), kills 5 more (according to AP) and injures hundreds. It has announced curfew on the area surrounding Martrys Roundabout and has barred people from accessing certain areas. Not only so, but people from many areas around Bahrain, especially Sitra, Ma'ameer and villages in the Northern Governorate could hear live rounds being used outside of their houses and people running with handguns or bean bag guns.
by Debra Sweet, National Director of World Can't Wait
I find a number of perplexing contrasts between the US war from 1961 to 1975 (to the Vietnamese people it was the “American” war, and to us the “Vietnam war”) and the wars the U.S. is fighting now in the Middle East.
One is the quality of news coverage. Starting in the mid 1960s, though there was much less news coverage, you could reliably get some coverage of the war. Even though L.B.J. saw “light at the end of the tunnel” and Nixon could lie well too, reporters on U.S. networks often said enough that you could learn to read between the lines. The images of Vietnamese civilians’ suffering and of American casualties were seared into our consciousness. 45 years later, with constant “news” generated, you can find hardly any mention of the most extensive occupation carried out since 1945 – the American war against Iraq.
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Stand With Brad, We Are All Bradley Manning
WikiLeaks threatens corporate media control over information, the government’s need to mislead to the public
The article below is from a speech given by Kevin Zeese in support of Bradley Manning at Bus Boys and Poets in Washington, DC on March 13, 2011.
His cell is six feet wide and twelve feet in length.
It has a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet.
At 5:00 a.m. he is woken up. He will not be allowed to sleep again until 8:00 p.m. If he attempts to sleep at any time from 5 AM to 8 PM he will be made to sit up or stand by the guards.
He will not be allowed to exercise in his cell, not even pushups – for his own protection, too dangerous, say his jailers. If he tries guards stop him.
He’s Accused of Telling the Truth in a Time of Lies
By Kevin Zeese
Reports that Bradley Manning is being held nude every night at the Quantico Brig, then forced to stand naked in the hallway while he waits for his clothes, shows the inconsistency of the treatment of Manning with basic American values of due process, fair trial and human dignity.
Here is how his lawyer David Coombs describes his treatment:
America's War on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
Since WW II alone, America waged direct and proxy wars against Korea, Southeast Asia, Central and South American countries, African ones, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and now Egypt and Libya. One down, one to go, besides dozens of attempted and successful coups, as well as numerous other interventions to control world markets, resources and people. Imperial America doesn't sleep. It plots, deciding where next to strike.
Despite popular passion for democratic change, uprisings in Egypt and Libya were externally orchestrated, funded and armed by Washington to replace one despot with another. Democracy won't be tolerated. It's never been at home.
America's media go along, especially when Washington goes to war or plans one. In the lead: The New York Times, the nation's equivalent of an official information and propaganda ministry, posing as independent journalism.
(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia warned potential protesters on Saturday that a ban on marches would be enforced, signaling the small protests by the Shi'ite minority in the oil-producing east would no longer be tolerated.
"The kingdom's regulations totally ban all sorts of demonstrations, marches, sit-ins," the interior ministry said in a statement, adding security forces would stop all attempts to disrupt public order.
Inspired by protests in other Arab countries there have been Shi'ite marches in the past few days in the east and unconfirmed activist reports of a small protest at a mosque in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Friday.
The U.S. ally has not faced protests of the scale that hit Egypt and Tunisia that toppled veteran leaders, but dissent has built up as unrest has spread in Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya and Oman.
by Missy Comley Beattie
My hands are curved, poised above the keyboard. I’m staring at a document, blank except for the cursor that’s blinking to the rhythm of an Annie Lennox song, “Love is a Stranger.” My eyes are focused on this small vertical mark that, at other times, could be a soporific. Just not now. Because the Lennox lyrics are bitter.
It’s savage and it’s cruel
It shines like destruction
Comes in like a flood
And it seems like religion
It’s noble and it’s brutal
It distorts and deranges
And it wrenches you up
And you’re left like a zombie
This describes love but it could be the tune of our times, as harsh as the world in which we live.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) made an embarrassing error just two days before the start of the Libyan people's revolution on February 17. This quote from an IMF country study appeared in a previous article: "The outlook for Libya’s economy remains favorable." IMF Feb 15 This advice was 180 degrees off target. The Libyan economy has ceased functioning as protests and popular demands imploded the Gaddafi regime. (Image)
Major Media Promote War on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
When imperial America wants war, peace advocates are shut out by official rhetoric and hawkish media reports supporting militarism, not diplomatic efforts to achieve peace. Those for it aren't heard. Hugo Chavez's government is one. On February 28, Venezuela's Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro, warned against belligerence saying:
"We would be against any military intervention against the Arabic people of Libya, and I'm sure that all peoples of the world would support a struggle against any interventionism that some powerful countries would commit against it....Arabic people who are in a process of rebellion, seeking a better destiny, (can) find their way to peace. (Venezuelans understand) very difficult times, (but have) gone about finding our ways to independence, democracy, and freedom, which in our case" is Bolarivarianism.