Bahraini photographer gets ten years jail for photography


This video says about itself:

France 24: Bahrain Juveniles Under Crossfire & Toxic Gas

23 April 2013

Program produced by France 24 Arabic Channel about what minors in Bahrain suffer from, it shows how security forces storm schools and arrest students. It also highlights the story of a 5-years-old boy who had been shot with a shotgun which struck his eye. Ahmed Al-Nahham’s eye was removed, his testimony about what happeded to him.

From the Bahrain Center for Human Rights:

15 April, 2014

Bahrain: 10 Years in Prison for Photojournalist Ahmed Humaidan after an Unfair Trial

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern about the Bahraini authorities’ continued practice of arbitrary arrests and excessive use of force against journalists, photographers, and human rights activists. On Wednesday, 26 March 2014, the Third High Court issued a 10-year prison sentence against photographer Ahmed Humaidan [1] in a trial that lacked due process.

A reputed freelance photographer, Humaidan has won 163 awards internationally for his contributions to the field. After his arrest for alleged arson in December 2012, he stated that he suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the torture he was reportedly subjected to by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) [2]. Humaidan was reportedly subjected to various methods of torture, including being forced to stand in a cold room for hours whilst handcuffed and blindfolded. Humaidan informed his family that while he was blindfolded and handcuffed at the CID, he was reportedly forced to carry an object that his interrogators told him was a live bomb. He was made to hold the object for several hours under duress and strict surveillance. Additionally, Humaidan stated that he was psychologically intimidated during questioning in order to extract a false confession. Interrogators reportedly threatened to bring charges against his siblings on fabricated crimes if he refused to confess.

Fadhel Al-Sawad, Humaidan’s lawyer, stated that no incriminating evidence was presented in court against Humaidan, except for the confessions that were reportedly extracted under torture and reports from anonymous sources from within the CID. Humaidan was subjected to an unjustified delay in his trial that continued for more than a year because key witnesses from the Ministry of Interior evaded and declined to attend the court proceedings for six months. There were numerous inconsistencies in witness testimony throughout the trial, particularly in regards to the location of the alleged crime [3]. Although Al-Sawad submitted substantial evidence in support of Humaidan’s innocence during the year-long trial, the court delivered the maximum sentence against Humaidan, whilst simultaneously acquitting two fugitive defendants that lacked defense and proof of innocence [4]. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights considers the decisions of this court to be arbitrary, and politically motivated.

The BCHR has documented attacks on photographers and journalists since the beginning of the pro-democracy movement in 2011. More than ten members of the media have been sentenced to prison [5]; some of them were reportedly subjected to torture. The blogger Zakariya Al-Ashairi [6] was documented in the BICI report as having been tortured to death. Others have faced extrajudicial killings, including photographer Ahmed Ismail Hasan [7]. During the three-month state of emergency in 2011, several photographers and members of the media were documented to have been summarily dismissed from their jobs and arrested during house raids; their families were reportedly intimidated, and some of their personal photography equipment was reportedly stolen. The government has failed to independently investigate these incidents, and has failed to hold the perpetrators of these acts accountable. On the contrary, in a recent case, the police officer Sara Al-Moussa [8] was acquitted of all charges in which she reportedly tortured the journalist Nazeeha Saeed (see: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/6260).

The authorities in Bahrain continue similar practices today. Many members of the media, including photographers such as Ahmed Fardan and Jaffar Madhoon, are subjected to enforced disappearance and reportedly tortured in order to extract false confessions [9]. Others, such as photographer Hussein Hubail and blogger Jassim Al-Noaimi, are reportedly subjected to torture, and then denied access to adequate medical attention [10]. The Bahraini authorities also target specific members of the press, such as journalist Mazen Mahdi and photographer Mohammed Al-Sheikh. On 26 February 2014, Mahdi was shot directly in the leg with a tear gas canister while filming a protest. The angle at which the shot was fired and the deliberate aiming of teargas directly at photojournalists confirms that the targeting was specific and intentional [11].

International human rights institutions and organizations have condemned the practice of targeting photographers and members of the media and subjecting them to enforced disappearance and torture. Reporters Without Borders has condemned the government’s practice of using arbitrary arrests as a means of intimidation to restrict the flow of information out of Bahrain [12].

Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, United Nations and all close allies to the government of Bahrain to pressure Bahraini authorities to:

Immediately release Ahmed Humaidan and all other arbitrarily arrested members of the media and photographers;
Uphold Article 19 concerning the freedom of expression as a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
End the systematic targeting of photographers, journalists, and bloggers, and allow all members of the media to carry on their work free from restrictions and harassment;
Commission an independent investigation into the allegations against those implicated in human rights violations and acts of torture against imprisoned photographers, journalists, and bloggers.

—-

[1] http://www.alwasatnews.com/4219/news/read/870181/1.html

[2] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/5608

[3] http://manamavoice.com/news-news_read-19338-0.html

[4] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3803/news/read/735384/1.html

[5] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/6771

[6] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/5737

[7] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/5143

[8] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3943/news/read/787380/1.html

[9] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/6683

[10] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/6609

[11] http://www.bahrainpa.org/?p=199

[12] http://en.rsf.org/bahrain-news-photographer-gets-10-years-in-26-03-2014,46046.html

[13] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3773/news/read/728056/1.html

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Peace and Justice Award, thanks Marlyn!


Peace and Justice Award

My dear blogging friend Marlyn of the blog Kintal has been so kind to nominate Dear Kitty. Some blog for the Peace and Justice Award.

According to idealisticrebel, founder of this award::

“I am creating this award to honor WordPress bloggers who support Peace and Justice throughout the world and who are against Racism, Bigotry, Anger and Hatred. It is for the Heroes and the Sheroes who believe in One World and All People of all Races, Sexes, Religions, Creeds and Cultures Living in Harmony.”

Here are the rules for the award:

Recipients should frequently write about Peace, Justice, Love — the goodness in the world, or putting goodness in the world.
Recipients may also frequently call attention to the bigotry or racism that happens in the world.
Link back to whomever nominated you and, since this is about goodness, politely thank them.
Spread the love to whomever and however many you believe deserve it!

My nominees are:

1. stopwarca

2. baarbaarathesheep

3. Central Oregon Coast NOW

4. Leicester WILPF

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Nazi murders in Kansas, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

14 April 2014

Frazier Glenn Cross, the man charged with gunning down three people at Jewish centers in Overland Park, Kan., gave an interview in 2010 as he was making a bid for U.S. Senate. The former Ku Klux Klan member discusses a series of provocative ads his campaign was running over Missouri airwaves.

By Thomas Gaist in the USA:

Killer at Kansas Jewish centers a prominent right-wing extremist

15 April 2014

Sunday saw the brutal killing of three people at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement home in the suburb of Overland Park, near Kansas City, on the eve of the Jewish Passover holiday.

The shooter, 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller aka Frazier Glenn Cross of Aurora, Missouri, was arrested and taken into the Johnson County jail Sunday on suspicion of first-degree murder. Miller had been out drinking at a casino in Missouri the previous night, according to reports.

Witnesses said Miller shouted “Heil Hitler” at bystanders after the shooting, and had asked people what their religious views were before opening fire. Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, together with his grandfather, William Lewis Corporon, 69, were shot dead by Miller as they pulled into the parking lot. The third victim was 53-year-old Teresa Lamanno. Miller fired at two others but they escaped unharmed.

Miller has had a long career in white supremacist and neo-Nazi circles. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Miller began reading a racist newspaper called the Thunderbolt back in the 1970s. He soon entered into right-wing politics by joining the National States’ Rights Party and the National Socialist Party of America.

A former US Army special forces soldier who was deployed twice during the Vietnam War, he was discharged from the Army after being caught distributing racist political material. According to the Raleigh, North Carolina News Observer, “Miller was present at one of the most notorious incidents in modern North Carolina history, the 1979 ‘Death to the Klan’ rally in Greensboro in which five members of the Communist Workers Party died in a shootout with Klan supporters. But he wasn’t charged in relation to that case, and the Klansmen and Nazis who were charged won acquittal.”

Miller eventually founded the White Patriot Party (WPP), a KKK group and white supremacist paramilitary party operating in North Carolina, and was “grand dragon” of the Carolina Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The WPP evolved from the Carolina Knights of the KKK, and later became the Confederate Knights of the KKK before taking the name WPP in 1985.

Miller propagated the familiar ideologies of the extreme right, referring to the US federal government as the “Zionist Occupation Government,” for instance. When Miller ran in elections for Missouri seats for the US House of Representatives in 2006 and US Senate in 2010, he paid for ads that urged Americans to “take the country back” from Jews and “mud people.” Miller has regularly posted articles on right-wing sites such as Stormfront.org.

In 1984, Miller ran in the Democratic primary for governor of North Carolina. In 1986, he ran in the Republican primary for North Carolina seat in the US Senate. In a letter dated April 6, 1987, Miller wrote, “Dear White Patriots, I warned those SOBs. Since December 20, 1980 when I formed the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, I have pleaded with the federal dogs to leave me alone and to allow me to work peacefully and legally within the system for my Race … I always said that once we had 1,000 White men in uniform marching in the streets on a regular basis, that the masses of our People would flood into our ranks and join with us. The federal dogs and their Jew masters knew this too and refused to allow it.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center sued Miller in 1984 for carrying out illegal paramilitary operations and intimidations against blacks, leading to Miller’s imprisonment during the late 1980s. During its investigation, the SPLC accessed WPP computer systems and found evidence that Miller’s organization was plotting an attack on SPLC co-founder Morris Dees. Dees had previously won a lawsuit against KKK Grand Wizard Robert Shelton’s United Klans of America over the 1981 killing of 19-year-old black teenager Michael Donald by Klan members in Mobile, Alabama. The lawsuit had a crushing impact on the Klan, causing Dees to become a hated figure among right-wing, supremacist circles.

Miller violated a subsequent court injunction forbidding the WPP from engaging in paramilitary training. When he was arrested in 1987, he was hiding in a mobile home in the Ozarks filled with automatic weapons and large stores of ammo.

Miller joined the witness protection program and testified against other white supremacist during a 1988 sedition trial. Miller testified that the WPP had working relations with another right-wing extremist group, called the Order or Silent Brotherhood, which helped to finance his party. The Brotherhood, a “white nationalist revolutionary organization,” gained notoriety for its involvement in the 1984 murder of Alan Berg, a Denver liberal talk show host who was Jewish.

In a radio interview from 2010, Miller expressed his support for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Texas Republican congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, and for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. “Hitler would have created a paradise on Earth, particularly for white people. But he would have been fair to other people as well,” Miller said, when asked what a Nazi victory in World War II would have produced.

Speaking to Missouri State University students in 2012, Miller expressed hope that a “young Hitler” was among the students. When challenged by a Jewish student, Miller said, “You should be one of the first to go.”

The Oklahoma City-based Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism’s Knowledge Base’s entry on Miller, states that “WPP was extremely racist: they supported apartheid, and set up hotlines featuring telephone recordings of a black man being lynched. WPP won considerable support in North Carolina by blaming the bad economic climate for farmers on international Jewish bankers.”

Miller’s goal, as quoted in the Terrorism Knowledge Base, was “southern independence. The creation of an all-white nation within the one million square miles of mother Dixie. We have no hope for Jew York City or San Fran-sissy-co and other areas that are dominated by Jews, perverts, and communists and non-white minorities and rectum-loving queers.”

Law enforcement representatives said on Monday that Miller will be charged with hate crimes.

However, Miller’s long public career as a right-wing extremist and the fact that he had been an informant in the government’s Federal Witness Protection Program for an extended period raises the question of how closely his activities were being monitored by the FBI and other federal, state and local agencies. The US government expends unlimited resources in spying on and infiltrating anti-war and other protest organizations, and has repeatedly used informants and provocateurs to entrap Muslim immigrants in so-called terrorist cases. Right-wing extremists, however, have been able to operate with virtual immunity.

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Snowden’s spying revelations win Pulitzer Prize


This video from the USA is called Journalists Awarded Pulitzer for Snowden Reports.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Pulitzer Prize awarded for Snowden exposures of NSA spying

15 April 2014

Columbia University has given the most prestigious award in journalism, the Pulitzer Prize gold medal for public service, to the newspapers that published articles based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The Washington Post won for articles written by Barton Gellman and filmmaker Laura Poitras, while the British Guardian won for articles written by Glenn Greenwald, Ewan MacAskill and Poitras. All four journalists made extensive use of the material provided by Snowden, and Greenwald, Poitras and MacAskill met with Snowden in Hong Kong to begin the process of exposing illegal and unconstitutional spying by the NSA.

The citation from Columbia is a political slap in the face to the Obama administration and the US and British intelligence apparatuses. The US government is seeking to extradite Snowden for trial, imprisonment and possible execution as a traitor. Both it and the British government have harassed and sought to intimidate the journalists honored by the awards.

The public service medal is awarded “for a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site.” It went to the Washington Post “for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security,” and to the Guardian US “for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”

A similar gold medal was awarded to the New York Times in 1972 for its publication of the Pentagon Papers, leaked by another whistleblower from within the national security apparatus, former Pentagon official Daniel Ellsberg.

Edward Snowden issued a statement Monday, through the Freedom of the Press Foundation, congratulating the two newspapers and calling the award a “vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government.”

He continued: “We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognizes was work of vital public importance.

“This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can. My efforts would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers, and they have my gratitude and respect for their extraordinary service to our society. Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy.”

The same four journalists received the George Polk Award for national security reporting, awarded last Friday at a Manhattan hotel. Greenwald and Poitras, both US citizens, returned to the United States to receive the Polk Award, their first visit home since they co-authored the reports on NSA spying and surveillance. Greenwald now lives in Brazil and Poitras in Berlin, to avoid US government interference in their journalistic work.

Both said they had not been stopped entering the country, and both spoke at the Polk Award ceremonies paying tribute to Snowden. “This award is really for Edward Snowden,” said Poitras. Greenwald added that “what he did, coming forward, was absolutely the right thing to do and merits gratitude and not indictments and decades of imprisonment.”

In his Polk acceptance speech, MacAskill pointed out that the Guardian has faced much harsher government attack in Britain than the Guardian US or Post have yet faced in the United States. At one point, British intelligence agents visited the Guardian offices to supervise the destruction of computer hard drives in a heavy-handed effort at intimidation.

Greenwald has not yet made a public comment on the Pulitzer prize, but Poitras said of the award, “I think this is amazing news. It’s a testament to Snowden’s courage, a vindication of his courage and his desire to let the public know what the government is doing.”

Poitras and Snowden also received the Ridenhour prize, named after the Vietnam veteran who worked with Seymour Hersh to expose the My Lai massacre.

Editors of the two newspapers issued statements praising both the journalists and Edward Snowden.

Alan Rusbridger, the editor-in-chief of the Guardian, said, “We are particularly grateful for our colleagues across the world who supported the Guardian in circumstances which threatened to stifle our reporting. And we share this honor, not only with our colleagues at the Washington Post, but also with Edward Snowden, who risked so much in the cause of the public service which has today been acknowledged by the award of this prestigious prize.”

Janine Gibson, the editor of Guardian US, said winning in the public service category was important. Referring to the Columbia citation, she added, “I think those words say something about what Edward Snowden did, and what the reporters and editors did, in the face of a lot of rhetoric and opposition.”

Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said the reporting exposed a national policy “with profound implications for American citizens’ constitutional rights” and the rights of individuals around the world. “Disclosing the massive expansion of the NSA’s surveillance network absolutely was a public service,” he said. “In constructing a surveillance system of breathtaking scope and intrusiveness, our government also sharply eroded individual privacy. All of this was done in secret, without public debate, and with clear weaknesses in oversight.”

He added that without Snowden’s disclosures, “we never would have known how far this country had shifted away from the rights of the individual in favor of state power.”

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Graffiti artist Banksy against spying on citizens


This video from England says about itself:

14 April 2014

Banksy linked to new street artwork in Cheltenham

Mysterious street artist Banksy appears to have unveiled his latest creation – targeting the issue of government surveillance. The artwork shows three 1950s-style agents, wearing brown trench coats and trilby hats, using devices to tap into conversations at a telephone box. It appeared overnight on a street in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, just a few miles from GCHQ, where the UK’s surveillance network is based.

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Torture in United Arab Emirates


This video is called CIA is destroying evidence of their torture tape recordings.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Brother of Dubai police torture victim calls for his release

Tuesday 15th April 2014

Hasnain Ali beaten and threatened with rape after arrest for ‘trumped-up’ drugs charges

The brother of a British man tortured at gunpoint and threatened with rape by Dubai police spoke out for the first time yesterday about the case.

Hasnain Ali, a former bodyguard to members of the Abu Dhabi royal family, will be sentenced today on allegedly trumped-up charges of possessing and selling drugs.

He was on holiday in Dubai in May 2013 when he was arrested, beaten and threatened with Tasers, firearms and rape by police.

Following the ordeal he was made to sign a “confession” in Arabic, which he did not understand, relating to the charges.

This “confession” is being used against him at trial.

“There has been no proper investigation into his torture and we have felt that the authorities have shown more interest in saving face than ensuring that any kind of justice is done,” his brother Jed said.

Legal charity Reprieve is fighting for Hasnain to be acquitted and returned home to Britain to his family.

Breaking news from Reprieve:

A British man arrested and tortured by Dubai police has today been acquitted.

Hasnain Ali (32), from London, was on holiday in Dubai in May 2013 when he was arrested and held for three days without access to a lawyer or his family. While detained he was beaten and threatened with tasers, firearms, and the prospect of sexual assault. Following his torture he was forced to sign a ‘confession’ in Arabic, a language he doesn’t understand, and charged with drugs offences for which he could have been given a death sentence.

See also here.

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