Bahrain absolute monarchy keeps violating human rights


This video is called ‘People were tortured in front of my eyes': Bahrain top human rights activist Nabeel Rajab released.

By Human Rights Watch:

Citizenship Rights Stripped Away

Authorities Take New Powers to Arbitrarily Revoke Nationality

(Beirut, August 21, 2014) – Ten people whose Bahraini citizenship was withdrawn without due process are facing deportation or jail, Human Rights Watch said today. They are among 31 people declared stateless in November 2012, allegedly for damaging state security. The others have left the country.

July 2014 amendments to Bahrain’s citizenship laws will grant the Interior Ministry additional authority to revoke citizenship of people who fail in their “duty of loyalty” to the state, a vaguely worded provision that could be used against government critics, Human Rights Watch said. Recent amendments to Bahrain’s counterterrorism law, in tandem with the recent failure of Bahrain’s criminal justice system to provide fair trials and deliver impartial verdicts, provide a further legal pretext for the arbitrary stripping of citizenship, in clear violation of international law.

“The Bahraini authorities’ latest repressive tactic is to invest themselves with further powers to arbitrarily strip critics of their citizenship,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Bahrainis who dare speak out for change now risk not only arbitrary detention and torture but statelessness and deportation to an uncertain future.”

Bahrain should repeal laws that will allow authorities to strip Bahrainis of their nationality on grounds so vague as to be arbitrary, Human Rights Watch said. Bahrain should immediately restore the citizenship rights of the 10 people who face deportation and of the 21 others whose citizenship rights were removed without due process.

Bahraini authorities have either obstructed the right of appeal or refused to justify the decision to revoke the citizenship of the nine men and one woman who remain in the country. They have no residence permits and face charges of violating asylum and immigration law.

Twelve news and information providers are currently detained in Bahrain. Many of them are photographers or cameramen, who have been repeatedly targeted by the authorities since the start of the unrest in Bahrain in 2011 because their visual coverage of the protests and the government’s crackdown threaten the kingdom’s image: here.

Red Cross accuses Ukrainian government of stopping humanitarian aid


Luhansk near Russian-Ukrainian border

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Red Cross: Kiev slows down transport

Update: Thursday August 21 2014, 12:09

According to the Red Cross, Ukraine slows down the relief transport of Russian supplies to the inhabitants of the besieged city Luhansk. The inspection of the cargo of the trucks by the Red Cross, about which agreements are made with Ukraine, still has not been possible.

The Red Cross hopes that the inspection will take place later today. According to a spokesperson the delay is caused by “Ukrainian decisions adopted at the last minute.”

The safety of the convoy is now guaranteed. On that condition, the Red Cross wanted to accompany the trucks.

Michael Brown killed, Kajieme Powell killed, police telling the truth?


This video about the killing of Kajieme Powell was released by police in St. Louis, Missouri, USA on Wednesday.

Warning: The video includes graphic content.

From Huffington Post in the USA:

St. Louis Police Release Video Of Kajieme Powell Killing That Appears At Odds With Their Story

08/20/2014 8:08 pm EDT

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released cell phone footage Wednesday of the police shooting of Kajieme Powell, a 25-year-old black man killed on Tuesday in St. Louis, according to St. Louis Public Radio.

A convenience store owner called 911 on Tuesday when he suspected Powell stole drinks and donuts from his shop, according to a recording of the call. …

Two officers in a police SUV responded to the calls, the cell phone video shows. When the officers got out of their vehicle, Powell walked in their direction, yelling and telling them to shoot him already.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Tuesday that both of the officers opened fire on Powell when he came within a three or four feet of them holding a knife “in an overhand grip.”

But the newly released cell phone footage undermines the statement, showing Powell approaching the cops, but not coming as close as was reported, with his hands at his side. The officers began shooting within 15 seconds of their arrival, hitting Powell with a barrage of bullets.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released the video and 911 calls, telling St. Louis Public Radio that it plans to act transparently.

The shooting death occurred less than four miles from where Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer in the suburb of Ferguson on Aug. 9.

The St. Louis Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.

By Tom Carter in the USA:

Federal judge refuses to halt “keep moving” order in Ferguson

21 August 2014

On Monday, a federal judge refused to order a halt to the arbitrary “keep moving” rule imposed by the police on residents and journalists on public sidewalks in Ferguson, Missouri.

As part of the police-military crackdown on protests in Ferguson over the police murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown, the police have adopted the tactic of patrolling the sidewalks in groups and shouting “keep moving” at those standing in their way. Anyone who does not move quickly enough is tackled and arrested.

Standing still for as little as five seconds is sufficient to be taken to the ground and handcuffed by a swarm of police. Hundreds of arrests, including of journalists, have been carried out for “failure to disperse.”

The purpose of this tactic is to menace and intimidate the population and obstruct the exercise of basic constitutional rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. It goes hand-in-hand with a de facto state of martial law that has been imposed on the largely working-class suburb of St. Louis.

Over the past week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) initiated a number of emergency legal proceedings against municipalities involved in the Ferguson repression as well as their leading personnel, challenging the police activities as unconstitutional.

Ferguson: Protests last night were much calmer. The cop who threatened to kill protesters on Tuesday has been put on indefinite leave. And while the name of Darren Wilson has been released, the lack of public information about the officer leaves him “an enigma.” [HuffPost]

Injustice in Ferguson, Long Before Michael Brown: here.

Cleveland, Ohio residents denounce repression in Ferguson: here.

Ferguson solidarity protests spread to dozens of cities nationwide. Demonstrations from Los Angeles to New York protest killing of Michael Brown and other recent cases of police shootings: here.

Ferguson is not just about systemic racism — it’s about class warfare and how America’s poor are held back, says Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: here.

Germany: Workers and youth in Berlin: “What is taking place in Ferguson is war”: here.

Ferguson, Missouri fight for justice continues


This video from the USA says about itself:

Anger mounts in Ferguson, Missouri: “We have the right to protest!”

19 August 2014

The National Guard expanded its presence in Ferguson, Missouri Wednesday, as police killed a 23-year old man in St. Louis only a few miles away. In this video, Ferguson and St. Louis residents voice their anger at police violence and repression.

By Wolfgang Weber:

German journalists arrested in Ferguson

20 August 2014

On Monday, two German journalists were arrested in Ferguson, Missouri, by the police and taken to prison while trying to research and report for their newspapers on the shooting of Michael Brown and the sustained anti-police protests which have followed.

Ansgar Graw, who worked for years as the US correspondent for the major daily Die Welt, and Frank Hermann, who has also reported for many years for newspapers like the Stuttgarter Zeitung in Germany and Der Standard in Austria, were held in a prison cell for three hours without justification and subsequently released without comment.

A few hours later on Monday night, 26-year-old Bild reporter Lukas Hermsmeier was arrested as he sought to report on a demonstration in Ferguson. According to his newspaper’s editors, he was only released on Tuesday.

A photographer for Getty Images was also taken away in handcuffs during a demonstration on Monday, and last week, two reporters from the Washington Post and Huffington Post were arrested and held for several hours.

De facto martial law in Ferguson, Missouri: here.

The Pentagon defended the program that has armed police departments across the country with military gear. [HuffPost]

For Many Politicians, Ferguson Isn’t Happening: here.

“Tear gas has not been used this wantonly in an American city in modern times”: here.

Iraq, from 2003 war to 2014 ISIS


This video from the USA says about itself:

Journalists: U.S. Failures in Iraq Helped Fuel Current Sectarian Crisis

12 June 2014

http://www.democracynow.org -Iraq is on the brink of disintegration as Sunni militants seize more towns and now set their sights on the capital Baghdad. In the past few days Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have seized control of Mosul, Iraq‘s second largest city, as well as Tikrit and Dhuluiya. Meanwhile Iraqi Kurds have seized control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk. The Sunni militants now control a territory that stretches from the eastern edge of Aleppo, Syria, to Falluja in western Iraq and now the northern city of Mosul. Their advance has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, displacing some 500,000 people in Mosul alone. Mosul fell in part because U.S.-trained Iraqi forces abandoned their posts. …

We are joined by two guests: Ned Parker, Reuters Bureau Chief in Baghdad; and Mohammed al Dulaimy, an Iraqi journalist with McClatchy Newspapers who reported from Iraq for years and is now seeking U.S. asylum out of fear for his safety if he returns. This is Dulaimy’s first TV interview after years of maintaining a low-profile to protect his safety.

By Ian Sinclair in Britain:

The Iraq crisis: The lies of the media and political elite

Wednesday 20th August 2014

The Establishment is resolutely in denial about the truth over the rise of Isis, says IAN SINCLAIR

By authorising airstrikes against the Islamic State (Isis) President Barack Obama became the fourth US commander-in-chief since Ronald Reagan to initiate a bombing campaign on Iraq.

As always, the BBC quickly fell in line. Reporting on the announcement for the Today Programme, the BBC’s Tom Esslemont stated: “Doing nothing here was not an option.”

Like much BBC output it was unclear whether Esslemont was telling us the US government’s view or his own.

There was no confusion about his concluding remark.

“To critics it is too limited an operation that will do little to diminish the power of the Islamic State jihadists.”

BBC diplomatic editor Mark Urban was also far from objective and neutral when he tweeted: “France is considering joining humanitarian intervention in northern Iraq. (US Secretary of State John) Kerry is talking ab[ou]t ‘genocide.’ Time for Downing St to rethink?”

In addition, the Guardian has come out in support of the air strikes — “The Americans have a special responsibility here” — as has the Labour Party.

Often missing from the depressingly narrow debate in the media and political mainstream is expert opinion.

Noting that the rise of the Islamic State is a symptom of the failure of the Iraqi and Western political elites, Jane Kinninmont, deputy head of Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, argues: “The air strikes could propagate rather than solve the problem.”

Institute for Policy Studies fellow Phyllis Bennis says: “It should be eminently clear that we cannot bomb Islamist extremists into submission or disappearance. Every bomb recruits more supporters.”

Robert Pape, professor of political science at the University of Chicago and director of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, agrees.

Writing in June, he argued: “Far from hurting the terrorists, re-engaging Iraq (and/or engaging Syria) would put us back on the path of a rising terrorist threat that has taken us over a decade to escape,” before concluding: “US military involvement can only hurt, not help.”

Even former Obama administration insiders have been critical of the bombing.

Writing for Foreign Affairs magazine, Steven Simon, who served as senior director for Middle Eastern and north African affairs at the White House from 2011-12, argues that US air strikes “will almost certainly unite Sunnis against other sects and boost support for Isis while fuelling disdain for the United States.”

So if US military attacks are not the solution, what is?

With the Islamic State feeding off the support given to it by significant sections of the Sunni community in Iraq, there is a broad consensus among Middle East observers that the answer lies in Baghdad.

In short, the threat from the Islamic State will only be solved when there is a broad-based, non-sectarian Iraqi government that Sunnis feel they have a stake in.

Nouri al-Maliki’s decision to step down as Iraq’s prime minister is therefore an important step towards this goal, although questions remain over whether his replacement, Haidar al-Abadi — from the same political party as Maliki — will make the changes that are necessary for national reconciliation.

Second, pressure needs to be applied to those, mainly in the Gulf, who support the Islamic State.

The recently announced United Nations resolution threatening sanctions against those who finance, recruit or supply weapons to the jihadist group is therefore welcome.

More broadly, rather than external states arming one side or another, all arms deliveries to the region need to be stopped.

It is common knowledge the Islamic State has captured large amounts of the US-supplied Iraqi army’s armoury.

Less well known is the fact the Islamic State has been seen using Croatian-made weapons — which the CIA helped to send in to Syria, according to the New York Times.

These are medium and long-term solutions. However, contrary to the media’s framing of the crisis, the US is not the only global actor who is able to respond quickly to an immediate crisis.

As Diane Abbott MP noted on BBC Newsnight, if there is to be external intervention in Iraq, it should be conducted by the United Nations — exactly what it was set up to do.

“We’ve forgotten the role of international institutions,” she noted.

Media commentators unable to comprehend anyone but the US acting should take note.

They would do well to also take note of the recent New York Times report about the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: “At every turn, Mr Baghdadi’s rise has been shaped by the United States’s involvement in Iraq.”

Quoting the research of Iraqi scholar Hisham al-Hashimi, the article noted that Baghdadi had spent five years in a US prison “where, like many Isis fighters now on the battlefield, he became more radicalised.”

As Abbott sardonically noted on Newsnight about the West’s violent relationship with Iraq, the definition of madness is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

Ian Sinclair is the author of The March that Shook Blair: An Oral History of 15 February 2003, published by Peace News Press.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND IN IRAQ? “American fighter jets and drones continued to pound Islamic State militants in Iraq Wednesday, and military planners weighed the possibility of sending a small number of additional U.S. troops to Baghdad, U.S. officials said, even as the insurgents threatened to kill a second American captive in retribution for any continued attacks.” [AP]

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are: here.

The barbaric murder of American journalist James Foley, who was abducted in Syria nearly two years ago, is being seized upon by Washington as a means of justifying its deepening military intervention in Iraq and its pursuit of the predatory interests of US imperialism throughout the region. … Foley, 40, had worked as a freelance journalist covering the wars in both Libya and Syria for news outlets such as the web site GlobalPost and the AFP news agency. In remarks delivered to journalism students in Chicago in 2011, weeks after he had been held captive for 44 days in Libya, he described himself as “basically a war protester” who at age 35 decided to become a journalist to tell the stories of people affected by war.: here.

Bahrain dictatorship violating children’s rights


This video is called Bahrain police throw stun grenades at women and child.

From ANSA news agency in Italy:

Bahrain violating children’s rights, human rights center

Minors arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment, BCHR

19 August, 17:54

ROME – Bahraini authorities continue to violate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child including by sentencing minors to life in prison, according to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR). The BCHR is led by activist Nabeel Rajab and Maryam Al-Khawaja, daughter of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, a Bahraini activist serving a life sentence and who staged a much-publicized hunger strike during the 2012 Formula One races in the small Gulf-region island.

A statement released by the center reports that a criminal court sentenced 14 youth to life imprisonment on August 13 under a counter-terrorism law for the murder of a policeman in Sitra, including two under age 18: one is 16 years old and the other was 17 at the time of the arrest. The BCHR noted that last week three minors were arrested, including one that had been hit by a police vehicle. The youngest of those arrested is 13 years old. The center said that about 30 people had been subjected to arbitrary arrest over the past week, and that about 3,000 people were in arbitrary detention in the country. Security forces in Bahrain – whose Shia-majority population is ruled by a Sunni monarchy – continue to make excessive use of force, tear gas and firearms, according to the organization.

This video, Bahrain – The Clouds Of Death, is about lethal teargas in Bahrain.