British government’s Libyan torture scandal


This video is called Tony Blair meets Colonel Gaddafi in Libya.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Libya rendition victims demand disclosure of UK surveillance policy

The government’s refusal to reveal when lawyers’ and journalists’ communications can be intercepted is central to claim brought on behalf of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi

Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent

Friday 17 October 2014 10.05 BST

Secret government policies which set out when lawyers’ or journalists’ phones and emails can be intercepted should be published, a court has been told.

In an open hearing of the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT), which examines complaints against the intelligence services and government use of surveillance, lawyers for two Libyan victims of rendition have called for the documents to be released.

The government’s refusal to reveal the policy papers has emerged as a key issue in the claim brought on behalf of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi who, along with members of their families, were kidnapped and sent to face punishment in Libya in 2004.

The case before the IPT alleges that the intelligence agencies or government spied on their communications with their lawyers, damaging their right to a fair trial in their claim for compensation for kidnap and torture.

Communication between lawyers and their clients are deemed to be “privileged” under longstanding rules. Similar protection applies to the communications between journalists and their sources and other protected groups.

In a hearing at the IPT, Dinah Rose QC, representing the Libyans, said: “We don’t understand why it’s being said that disclosure of policy will cause harm to national security. None of this information ought to be secret. Procedures for ensuring that privileged material is properly protected ought to be open to public scrutiny.”

The government has declined to disclose policies regulating the circumstances in which these communications are intercepted and any safeguards in place to avoid abuse. It says they are secret.

At Thursday evening’s hearing, lawyers for the government did not explain why the policies could not be released. Further preliminary hearings will be held before the case is tried in November. One issue is whether the tribunal has the power to order the government to disclose documents, a principle that could turn into a major confrontation between civil rights groups and the government.

The IPT complaint is one of a series of cases after revelations by the CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden about monitoring of the internet and telephone calls by Britain’s eavesdropping agency, GCHQ, through its Tempora programme.

Eight Libyans, members of the two families, say they were victims of rendition. They claim they were kidnapped by MI6 and US intelligence agencies, forcibly returned to Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and tortured. At that time, in 2004, when Gaddafi relinquished his nuclear weapons programme, intelligence relations between Tripoli, London and Washington were close.

A separate legal action between Belhaj and the UK government is due to be heard at the high court to resolve compensation for the kidnap and torture allegations. The human rights group Reprieve, which is supporting the claim, fears its ability to fight the case will be undermined because staff’s legal correspondence may be surreptitiously monitored.

Saadi, another Libyan dissident, and his family have settled their claim against the government for a payment of £2.2m. The Foreign Office did not, however, admit liability.

The “notice of complaint” by solicitors at Leigh Day on behalf of Reprieve and the Libyans lists the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, the home secretary and the foreign secretary as respondents. It calls for the case to be heard in open court. Most of the IPT’s hearings are in secret.

The claims states: “There is a strong likelihood that the respondents have intercepted and are intercepting the applicants’ legally privileged communications in respect of the [cases].”

Belhaj and Saadi were prominent military leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group during the revolution, the document points out, and are, therefore, “likely to be of interest” to UK intelligence agencies.

Bahrain government, allies of NATO and ISIS


This is a video of United States comedian Jon Stewart about the participation of the Bahraini absolute monarchy in the supposedly anti-ISIS military coalition.

Since the 1970s, Bahrain and the U.S. have maintained a close military partnership. Following 9/11, the Bush Administration elevated Bahrain to “major non-NATO ally” status, making it the first GCC state to join this elite 15-member club: here.

From Global Voices:

Bahrain Joins US Air Strikes, but Still Tortures Americans and Silences ISIS Critics

9 October 2014 16:42 GMT

“He was ordered to stand on one leg for four hours. He says he was beaten repeatedly, as threats were made to rape his mother and sisters.” This sounds like the actions of ISIS, the Al Qaeda offshoot that has brutally taken control of large parts of Iraq and Syria. But it is actually a description of what the Bahrain government, an ally in the coalition against the ISIS, has done to an American citizen and thousands of its own citizens.

Bahrain and four other Arab countries have joined the coalition against the militant group, which is killing Muslims and minorities and spreading horror, in order to grab land for its self-declared caliphate. It goes without saying that Bahrain didn’t even pretend to hold a parliamentary session to approve the decision to go to war. Bahrain’s contribution to the coalition has also drawn laughs on American comedian Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” [see video at top of this blog post].

This comes shortly after Bahrain deported an American diplomat. Also recently, Shaikh Khalid Al Khalifa, the head of the national committee for defence and national security at the Shura Council, brushed off the danger of the ISIS.

Allegations of torture

Bahrain is now in the third year of its crackdown on a popular uprising. Tagi Al-Maidan, a US-born citizen, found himself caught in the struggle after he returned with his mother to Bahrain following her divorce. There, he was arrested and tortured into signing a false confession that he is an attempted murderer. He is now serving a 10-year sentence in Bahrain’s infamous prison system.

Al-Maidan was arrested at his house and put on trial for charges that included illegal gathering and assaulting armed forces. In an interview with an Arabic-language daily, his mother denied all the accusations, saying her son was home at the time of the alleged incident, adhering to the American embassy’s travel advisory.

The mother says there is no physical evidence to support the claims against her son. She demands that any supposedly incriminating evidence must be presented in open court, where, she is confident, it would be quickly refuted. According to Human Rights Watch, courts in Bahrain “fail to deliver basic accountability and impartial justice“.

According to prominent Bahraini human rights activist Said Yousif Almuhafada, Al-Maidan is being mistreated in prison. Almuhafada described the bad conditions in a tweet earlier this summer:

Tagi Al-Maidan, a US citizen, is on a hunger strike in block 3 [of Jaw Prison] due to his mistreatment, lack of medical attention, and deprivation of food that is necessary for his medical condition.

After several prisoner deaths in Bahrain last year, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights said in its 2013 report:

The continuation of the current violations against all prisoners in Bahrain may lead to future loss of lives.

Four deaths were attributed to the lack of medical treatment in prison in 2013.

According to his mother, Al-Maidan has lost 16 kilos (about 35 pounds) since his arrest, his hair is falling out, he’s developed a stomach ulcer, and he is experiencing back pains. Without medical attention or enough diplomatic pressure to release him, Taqi’s psychological condition is also expected to deteriorate.

The arrest of Nabeel Rajab

Bahrain is also silencing those who speak against the ISIS, while turning a blind eye to defectors from its own armed forces, who have climbed the ranks of ISIS and call on Bahrainis to join the organisation.

Bahraini authorities have again arrested Nabeel Rajab, a prominent human rights activist who was released from prison in May 2014 after spending two years in prison for advocating peaceful protests. This time, he was held for criticizing police defectors who joined ISIS. Indeed, Rajab has commented on acts committed by ISIS many times. After American journalist Steven Sotloff was beheaded by ISIS, he wrote on his Instagram account:

The American journalist Steven Sotloff who was killed by ISIS is one of the journalists and researchers who visited Bahrain many times and wrote many articles and investigations that support the struggle of Bahrainis and I have met him several times. The cruelty that radical Islamist movements have inflicted on Islam and Muslims is more than the enemies of Islam [have dispensed]. I offer all my condolences to the family of this journalist, who was killed at the hands of the enemies of humanity.

Rajab also criticized the inaction of the political forces in the Gulf region to crack down on ISIS. He tweeted to his 240,000 followers:

The highest Saudi cleric describes ISIS and Al Qaeda as the greatest danger facing Islam, but there are politicians in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf who consider ISIS’s occupation of Mosul a popular revolution.

He was arrested after he tweeted in reply to an ISIS YouTube message calling Bahrainis to arms:

many #Bahrain men who joined #terrorism & #ISIS came from security institutions and those institutions were the first ideological incubator

12:55 PM – 28 Sep 2014

The authorities in Bahrain considered this message offensive to national institutions, and decided to keep him in custody, until he is brought to trial on October 19 for “denigrating an official institution”. This has sparked a discussion about the government’s hypocrisy in its fight against ISIS. Ex-MP Ali Alasheeri tweeted:

The state authorities, who don’t raise a finger when a high-ranking official tweets about how over half of Bahrain is made up of infidels, is an incubator of the ISIS ideology.

Journalist Adel Marzooq asked his 35,900 followers:

Aside from the financial and military support, how can the international alliance, in the first place, deal with the cultural and theological support of ISIS?!

Bahraini authorities demolished about 40 Shia mosques across the country as part of its crackdown on protests against the Sunni regime. ISIS is doing the same to historic mosques, shrines, and places of worship throughout Syria and Iraq. Activist Abdulelah Almahoozi made a comparison between two acts, asking if we aren’t witnessing the same phenomenon in essence:

Isn’t the act of demolishing mosques, as the police and military forces have done, the same act that ISIS is performing? Therefore, aren’t the security institutions inspired by an ISIS-like ideology?

Meanwhile, the Bahrain-born-and-raised preacher Turki Al Binali, who pledged allegiance to ISIS, has issued a new statement on why allegiance to the Caliphate Abu-Baker Albaghdaddi is the duty of every Muslim.

The Bahrain Ministry of Interior, which customarily publishes pictures of political dissidents and their charges before they go to court, hasn’t posted anything yet about the identity of the three unnamed Bahraini men in the YouTube message calling on Bahrainis to join ISIS. The government hasn’t announced a public investigation into the matter, either.

Update: Bahrain – Court orders continued detention of Mr Nabeel Rajab as he awaits trial: here.

Bahraini prince may be prosecuted for torture


This video says about itself:

7 October 2014

Prince Nasser of Bahrain is not immune from prosecution over allegations of torture, the UK’s High Court has ruled.

Prince Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa has been accused of being involved in the torture of prisoners during a pro-democracy uprising in Bahrain in 2011.

Judges overturned a ruling by UK prosecutors that the prince had state immunity from prosecution.

From Reuters news agency:

Bahrain prince does not enjoy immunity over torture claims, UK court rules

Tue, Oct 7, 2014

LONDON – A British court ruled on Tuesday that Bahraini Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who has been accused of torturing detainees in Bahrain, does not enjoy immunity from prosecution in Britain.

A Bahraini citizen, known only as FF, had sought the arrest of the son of Bahrain’s king following allegations that he was directly involved in the torture of three prisoners in Bahrain during a pro-democracy uprising in 2011.

FF, who says he himself was tortured, was granted refugee status and now lives in Britain. He was challenging a 2012 ruling by Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that the prince enjoys immunity from prosecution in Britain because of his royal status.

Prince Nasser is a regular visitor to England and has met members of the British royal family. FF had instructed a firm of London lawyers to write to the CPS asking for him to be arrested whilst on a visit to the UK.

After Tuesday’s High Court ruling, lawyers for FF said they would provide evidence against the prince to London’s Metropolitan Police Service. …

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Stephen Addison)

See also here. And here.

Americans for Democracy and Human Rights and Bahrain (ADHRB) and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) welcome the decision by the UK High Court to lift the immunity from Bahrain’s Prince Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa for prosecution against torture allegations: here.

Potential torture investigation of Bahraini prince puts IOC and AFC on the spot: here.

Since the 1970s, Bahrain and the U.S. have maintained a close military partnership. Following 9/11, the Bush Administration elevated Bahrain to “major non-NATO ally” status, making it the first GCC state to join this elite 15-member club: here.

Moazam Begg, ex-Guantanamo prisoner, freed after ‘anti-terrorist’ witchhunt


This video is called Ex-Gitmo detainee Moazzam Begg released after terror charges dropped.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Moazzam Begg freed after terrorism case against him collapses

Secret intelligence material handed to prosecutors demolished case against former Guantánamo Bay detainee

Ian Cobain

Wednesday 1 October 2014 17.22 BST

The prosecution of the former Guantánamo inmate Moazzam Begg has dramatically collapsed after the police and crown prosecutors were handed secret intelligence material that undermined the terrorism case against him.

Five days before Begg was due to go on trial on a string of terrorism charges, which carried prison terms of up to 15 years, prosecutors announced at the Old Bailey that they had “recently become aware of relevant material” that obliged them to offer no evidence.

He was released from Belmarsh high-security prison in south London after the judge entered a formal verdict of not guilty. Speaking to reporters at the gates of the prison, Begg said he had wanted his “day in court” but was happy to be a free man.

“I need to reconnect with my family again,” he said. “I need to understand what it’s like to be a free man and I think that it’s important to point out some of the government’s failures in its foreign policy and its internal policy: its clear demonising of the Muslim community.”

Police sources said the decision to halt the prosecution was taken following the receipt of intelligence material two months ago, while the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement: “If we had been made aware of all of this information at the time of charging, we would not have charged.”

Asked whether the information had been handed over by MI5 and, if so, how long the agency had possessed the material, the Home Office said it would be inappropriate to comment, on the grounds that the decision to halt the prosecution had been taken by the police and CPS.

There was speculation that the newly disclosed material detailed the way in which Begg had informed British authorities of his plans to travel to Syria.

Begg spent more than seven months in custody after being arrested and questioned over a number of trips he had made to Syria a year earlier. His friends say that the experience had been deeply traumatic.

The 46-year-old from Birmingham was facing seven charges of possessing a document for the purposes of terrorism funding and training, and attending a terrorism training camp. He denied all the charges.

Christopher Hehir, prosecuting, told the Old Bailey that the CPS had previously been satisfied that they possessed sufficient evidence to secure Begg’s prosecution. He added, however: “The prosecution have recently become aware of relevant material, in the light of which, after careful and anxious consideration, the conclusion has been reached that there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction in this case. The prosecution therefore offers no evidence.”

Begg’s solicitor, Gareth Peirce, said he should never have been charged as his activities did not amount to terrorism. “This is a good man trying to do the right thing in a very difficult world,” she said.

“He is a rare individual who will talk to everyone and listen to everyone, even those with whom he profoundly disagrees. He has spent the near decade since he was released from the torture of Bagram and Guantánamo in attempting to wake the world up to injustice and to comprehend its causes and effects. There is nothing new that can have been discovered now that was not always crystal clear – that this is an innocent man.”

Begg had made no secret of trips he had made to Syria, at one point writing about his experiences in an internet post. He was taken aback by his arrest, protesting that he had not been engaged in terrorism.

On appearing in court, he denied attending a terrorist training camp “knowing or believing instruction or training was provided there for the purposes of terrorism” between 9 October 2012 and 9 April 2013.

He had also denied five charges of possessing articles for purposes connected with terrorism between 31 December 2012 and 26 February 2014. Those counts related to electronic documents found on a laptop computer in his possession.

Begg had further denied being involved in a funding arrangement between 14 July 2013 and 26 February 2014 by making available a Honda generator.

Had the case gone to trial, Begg was planning to argue before the jury that his actions – several months before the British government tried, and failed, to persuade parliament to sanction air strikes against Syrian government forces – were not the actions of a terrorist.

At an earlier hearing, his counsel, Ben Emmerson QC, told the court that his client’s stance on Syria was not at odds with the British government’s position. …

“This is not some sort of political defence. This is a serious point about the lethal and physical limits of the definition of terrorism because if the defence says the occasions concerned were defensive actions, in much the same way the UK was itself providing non-lethal aid, then we submit that would not be defined as an act of terrorism.”

Emmerson also said Begg had “never made any secret of his visits to Syria and on two occasions informed authorities of his travel plans in advance”.

Begg spent three years detained without charge after the al-Qaida attacks of 2001. In February 2002 he was arrested in Pakistan, handed over to US forces, and detained first at Bagram prison, north of Kabul, and then Guantánamo Bay. During his detention he was interrogated by British as well as US intelligence officers.

He was eventually released in January 2005. Working with the London-based rights group Cage, he became a prominent campaigner on behalf of terrorism suspects who were being denied basic legal rights.

Asim Qureshi, Cage’s research director, said on the collapse of Begg’s prosecution: “This has been a testing time for Moazzam, his family and the Muslim community. The criminalisation of virtually any Muslim who has been to Syria has only increased in intensity, while Cage has been attacked from every angle by a host of government agencies.

“We hope that Moazzam’s release is a sign that the government are now willing to adopt a more measured strategy in relation to anti-terrorism policy and avoid the attempt to criminalise all dissent and crush any organisation like Cage that stands up for the rule of law and justice.”

The Islamic Human Rights Commission chairman, Massoud Shadjareh, added: “As was widely suspected there seems to have been no basis for his arrest and it does seem that as a high-profile member of the Muslim community, Mr Begg was being made an example of in order to silence activists campaigning against draconian anti-terrorism laws.”

While West Midlands police and the CPS were not disclosing the exact nature of the new information, detectives and prosecutors were dismayed that it had not been made available to them earlier.

A CPS spokesperson said: “At the time that the charges against Mr Begg were authorised the CPS was satisfied, in accordance with the code for crown prosecutors, that there was sufficient evidence available to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction and that it was in the public interest to prosecute. However, in accordance with our continuing duty to review and working closely with the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit, we have been made aware of material previously not known to the police investigation that means that there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction. If we had been made aware of all of this information at the time of charging, we would not have charged.”

West Midlands Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said: “New material has recently been disclosed to police and CPS, which has a significant impact on key pieces of evidence that underpinned the prosecution’s case. Our criminal justice system – quite rightly – demands a very high standard of proof.

“I understand this is going to raise many questions. However, explaining what this newly revealed information is would mean discussing other aspects of the case which would be unfair and inappropriate as they are no longer going to be tested in court.

“From the beginning this case has challenged the relationship between West Midlands police and some of the communities we serve. I would like to reassure them and Mr Begg that at every stage of this investigation my officers acted in the best interests of the public and of justice.”

Moazzam Begg complains of ‘malicious’ and ‘vindictive’ detention. Former Guantánamo inmate says it is inevitable he will bring proceedings against MI5 after terror case collapses: here.

Ruling on a request filed by the Obama administration, US District Court Judge Gladys Kessler agreed Thursday to grant a one-month delay on the release of videotapes showing the barbaric force-feeding of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp: here.

‘Abu Ghraib’ for refugees in Germany


This video is called Photos show abuse of asylum seekers by security guards in Germany.

By Christoph Dreier in Germany:

Abu-Ghraib-like” torture of refugees exposed in Germany

1 October 2014

Reports from various German refugee facilities have revealed that residents are subjected to systematic torture and humiliation. Last weekend, videos and pictures emerged showing the serious mistreatment of refugees by security staff at one facility. One short video shows a refugee lying on a mat covered with vomit. The refugee asks someone off camera why they are hitting him.

“Do you want another? Should I kick you in the face, or what?” responds the security guard. “Then I do not need to beat you.” His colleague orders the victim to lie down in the vomit.

The video was shot in the refugee camp in Burbach in North Rhine Westphalia, and was leaked to a journalist, who then alerted the police. During a search of the security guards’ day room, police discovered a baton and a knuckleduster.

Police officers also found more images on the mobile phone of a security guard. In one picture, disseminated via WhatsApp, a security guard can be seen pushing his boot into the neck of a refugee lying on the ground, handcuffed.

The images revealed “A touch of Abu Ghraib,” a headline in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper acknowledged, while Bild stated: “These images remind us of Abu Ghraib.”

The police are investigating six security guards for aggravated assault in Burbach. Two of them have previous convictions. In addition, the police have said an employee at a refugee camp in Essen and another in Bad Berleburg are being investigated for assaulting and beating residents. A total of eleven investigations are currently underway.

The WDR news programme Westpol showed a doctor’s certificate regarding the injuries of a resident at the Essen home. “They mistreat us here”, a refugee told the programme. “The security staff have transformed this home into a prison. They hit us. And especially if you complain. They do what they want with us. They treat us as if we had no rights.”

On Tuesday, the regional newspaper Siegerland Kurier published excerpts from an anonymous interview conducted with one of the guards from Burbach, who can be heard in the video. The employee, whose name was changed by the editors to S., leaves no doubt that the abuse of refugees is systematic in the refugee system. Attacks, as documented on the video, have always taken place, he told the newspaper.

This could be for violations of the ban on cigarettes and alcohol. His colleagues were really keen to catch residents for such infringements, he said. “They walked round the hallways sniffing at doors. If they smelled cigarette smoke, the room was stormed,” explains S. The guards doing this described themselves as “SS-troops;” i.e., Nazi storm troopers. Many of his co-workers had a “clearly visible right-wing background,” he said.

The scenes shown in the video took place in the so-called “problem room”. This is where residents were taken if they “made trouble” or asked questions. They were locked in the room for up to eight hours. In some cases they were denied the use of the toilet, and had to urinate out the window.

According to S., at least some police officers who were called about disputes between residents welcomed the abuse. “One once said: The next time, we’ll pick them up after you’ve worked them over for five hours,” S. recalled. The officer had been called to arrest a resident detained by the security staff.

The Siegerland Kurier also published photos from the camp at Burbach. They show sanitary facilities smeared with feces and menstrual blood, rubbish-strewn corridors and injured residents. S. reported that it often took days until defects were rectified. Medical care was often not provided.

The refugee camp in Burbach was established last year at an old barracks. It was meant to provide accommodation for 500 people, but is now home to 700 refugees. Acuh, the Essen camp, is seriously overcrowded, with 650 residents in a facility meant for 300.

Both camps are run by the for-profit company “European Homecare”, which operates a total of 40 camps and is considered the market leader in the sector. The security service at Burbach was first outsourced by “European Homecare” to the firm “ESS”, and then to “SKI Security”.

The terrible conditions in the refugee camps and their systematic character have shocked people throughout Germany. At the same time, politicians of all parties have cynically tried to downplay the events.

The North Rhine Westphalia state Interior Minister Ralf Jäger (SPD, Social Democratic Party) described the torture by security guards as “mistakes by individual criminals”. Criminals had infiltrated the security company, he told broadcaster ZDF. This was “reprehensible, but sometimes not preventable, despite all the checks, despite all the supervision”. Nevertheless, he declared, “we need more controls” and “our partners have not complied with all contractual conditions”.

Federal Interior Minister Thomas De Maizière (CDU, Christian Democratic Union) also tried to downplay the scandal. He was sure that “the state of North Rhine Westphalia would correct these deficiencies without delay”. On Monday, government spokesman Steffen Seibert announced a rapid investigation and stressed that Germany was “a philanthropic country”.

Opposition representatives mainly criticised the lack of finance for the refugee accommodations, without making any serious criticism of Germany’s brutal asylum regime. The parliamentary leader of the Greens, Kathrin Göring-Eckardt, demanded that the government “consider as soon as possible” which buildings it could provide for the initial reception of refugees. In addition, “it must provide financial relief for the federal states and municipalities”.

The Left Party domestic political spokesperson Ulla Jelpke, and Özlem Demirel, the state spokeswoman for the party in North Rhine Westphalia, both provided statements. Jelpke called for better financial support for the local authorities. “Local authorities must be able to provide care for asylum seekers, instead of placing this task in the hands of profit-oriented companies,” she said.

Demirel added, “I expect that not only the security guards responsible will be punished quickly, but that there will be major improvements in the standards of accommodation and the security staff. It must be excluded that right-wing extremists can work in refugee shelters with or without a uniform”.

In reality, the brutal acts of the security staff are not simply due to the poor financing of the accommodations or the result of a lack of control. Since the change to the asylum law in 1993, the situation of asylum seekers in Germany has systematically deteriorated. The use of inhumane treatment was part of a deliberate plan to deter further refugees and curb immigration.

Late last year, 350 refugees who were originally stranded on the Italian island of Lampedusa were seriously harassed by the Hamburg Senate (city/state government). The refugees were denied basic care, and even the Church was prohibited from providing this. At the same time, the Hamburg police organized a large-scale operation in the city, subjecting all dark-skinned people to ID controls.

There were several cases of police brutality against refugees in Berlin over the summer. …

The barbaric conditions in the refugee camps have been known for some time and are deliberate. Earlier reports revealed mass epidemics, the placing of refugees in dilapidated facilities and a lack of basic hygienic conditions. A UNICEF study severely criticised the German authorities for massive violations of the UN Children’s Convention in dealing with refugee children.

Bahraini torture police officer now in ISIS


This video is called Bahrain capital of torture.

The absolute monarchy Bahrain is now officially an ally in the Pentagon’s ‘war on terror’.

How about Bahrain and ISIS?

From Global Voices online today, about one Bahraini, Lieutenant Mohamed Isa Al-Binali:

Mohamed (abu-Isa) graduated from the Police Academy in 2013 and was supposed to be a prison guard in Bahrain’s infamous prisons, which have practiced systematic torture since 2011. Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior issued a statement saying that he was sacked from his job because of his absence earlier this month. According to Arabic-language news reports, he had been in the ranks of ISIS for over four months.

Mohamed comes from a famous family in Bahrain, the Binali clan, which is closely affiliated to the Al Khalifa ruling regime. His cousin, Turki Al-Binali, who goes by the alias Abu-Sufyan Al-Salami (Al-Salami refers to the tribe of Sulaim in Arabia), is a high ranking preacher in ISIS. Prior to holding this public position in the terror organisation, he was arrested and released many times before in Bahrain.

In the video that follows, you can see him leading a protest in front of the American Embassy in Bahrain; that protest was not attacked by the authorities like the opposition protests usually are. His books can also still be found in libraries and bookshops around Bahrain in a country which bans hundreds of websites which oppose the government.

The BinAli affiliation with ISIS is longstanding. In May, Turki published information of yet another of his cousins dying while fighting within ISIS. …

Many feel that the Bahrain government has turned a blind eye on the rise of ISIS sympathizers in the country. Prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab doesn’t mince his words. His message is clear:

Nabeel Rajab @NABEELRAJAB

many #Bahrain men who joined #terrorism & #ISIS came from security institutions and those institutions were the first ideological incubator

12:55 PM – 28 Sep 2014

Bahrain consists of a Shia majority who have been complaining of marginalization for decades under the ruling Sunni royal family. In a response to a popular uprising in February 2011, “the Bahraini regime responded not only with violent force, but also by encouraging a nasty sectarianism in order to divide the popular movement and to build domestic and regional support for a crackdown,” wrote Mark Lynch at Foreign Policy.

While Bahrain has joined the coalition in its airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the environment of discrimination at home couldn’t be any worse. As Mr. Rajab explains:

Nabeel Rajab @NABEELRAJAB

Terrorism laws in #Bahrain & #Gulf were not used against #terrorists or #ISIS but against #human_rights defenders & prisoners of conscience

12:31 PM – 27 Sep 2014

… The ISIS threat against Bahrain coincides with similar messages to neighbouring countries, which too have turned a blind eye to the group, allowing it to fester and grow in ranks on their own soil.

On 1 October 2014, human rights defender and Co-Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) Maryam Al-Khawaja will appear before the High Criminal Court on trumped up charges relating to an alleged assault on a lieutenant and policewoman at the Bahrain International Airport. Read Maryam Al-Khawaja’s testimony here. See also here.

On the day of her arrest at Bahrain International Airport, human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja tweeted: “Overheard guards saying they are going to deport me. They keep saying I am not a citizen.” Khawaja had travelled to Bahrain from Denmark on August 30 to support her imprisoned father, who’d just started a second round of hunger strike five days earlier. Her case highlights the threat now confronting some Bahraini opposition activists: The removal of their citizenship and subsequent deportation: here.

‘West silent on Bahraini rights abuse to retain military bases’: here.

It is the irony of ironies. A cadre of repressive monarchies is chosen to liberate the captive peoples of Iraq and Syria from the tyranny of ISIS. Combating a group known for its violent sectarianism, the five Arab allies ordered by the United States to participate in the bombing campaign against ISIS are themselves the region’s worst sectarian agitators. Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are now at the vanguard of efforts to dismantle an organization that is essentially of their own creation: here.

The governments of both Australia and Canada Friday formally joined the new war that Washington has launched in the Middle East, ostensibly for the purpose of crushing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS): here.

British-US torture scandal in Iraq, Afghanistan


This video about Iraq war torture is the film Ghosts of Abu Ghraib.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Diplomat tells court US links not a bar to hearing torture case

Friday 26th September 2014

CLAIMS by the British government that a case brought by a Pakistani national alleging Britain’s involvement in his rendition and torture would damage US relations have been called into question.

Lawyers for the government had argued that a case brought by Yunus Rahmatullah, who was detained and mistreated by British personnel in Iraq before being handed over to the US for “rendition” to Afghanistan, should not be heard for fear of damaging British-US relations.

But in a statement yesterday presented to the High Court in London a former senior US ambassador and State Department official described the claims as “highly unlikely.”

The statement provided to the court by Thomas R Pickering, a former US under-secretary of state who served for four decades as a diplomat, said that the British government’s claims “misunderstand the value the United States places on the rule of law.”

Mr Pickering stressed that “I firmly believe that adjudicating Mr Rahmatullah’s case in UK courts is highly unlikely to cause damage to the relations or national security cooperation between the US and UK.”

After his 2004 capture Mr Rahmatullah maintains he was subjected to simulated drowning and beatings which rendered him unconscious.

He was later transferred to US custody in Bagdhad’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison, after which he was extra judicially transferred to Bagram in Afghanistan where he was held for more than years before being released without charge last June.

Mr Rahmatullah is now challenging the British government’s refusal to investigate his allegations of torture and rendition, and is also asking the court to determine that the government’s actions were unlawful.

Reprieve legal director Kat Craig, who is representing Mr Rahmatullah in conjunction with Leigh Day solicitors, said: “The British government knows that it is in the wrong, yet instead of coming clean on its part in Mr Rahmatullah’s rendition and torture, it is doing everything it can to make sure this case never sees the light of day.

“Now a former senior US ambassador with decades of experience at the highest levels of American diplomacy has blown the British government’s case out of the water. It is time they dropped this shameful attempt to deny justice to a victim of brutal torture and years of mistreatment.”

The case is expected to continue today.

New Afghan puppet regime accepts deal to keep 10,000 US troops: here.

CIA-Backed Warlord Behind 2001 Taliban POW Massacre Sworn-In Vice President of Afghanistan: here.