Pakistani, tortured in Iraq, sues British government


This rock music video from Brazil is called Torture Squad – Holiday in Abu Ghraib (Official Music Video HD). Lyrics are here.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

MoD and Foreign Office sued by Pakistani citizen in Iraq torture case

Yunus Rahmatullah accuses UK of complicity in torture and abuse after his capture by British special forces in Iraq in 2004

Richard Norton-Taylor

Tuesday 29 July 2014 09.56 BST

A Pakistani citizen is suing the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office, accusing them of responsibility for his subjection to torture and severe abuse over 10 years.

Yunus Rahmatullah was captured by British special forces in Iraq in 2004 and handed over to US troops soon afterwards. The incident was initially kept secret from ministers and only disclosed to MPs five years later, in 2009. Rahmatullah, now 31, was released by the US without charge in May.

He is believed to have been first held at Camp Nama, a secret detention facility at Baghdad airport that British troops helped to run. He was later transferred to Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib jail before being rendered to the Bagram “black prison” in Afghanistan.

The court of appeal ruled in 2011 that Rahmatullah was unlawfully detained and ordered a writ of habeas corpus – the ancient British legal right to be charged or released from arbitrary detention – to be issued.

However, lawyers acting for the government later successfully argued in the supreme court that British ministers had no power “to direct the US” to release Rahmatullah from Bagram.

He describes in detail his torture and abuse in a 60-page document drawn up by his lawyers and seen by the Guardian. He says when he was captured by British special forces in Iraq in early 2004 he was beaten unconscious. Soldiers cut his clothes with a pair of scissors until, he says, he was “completely naked”.

His lawyers’ statement of claim describes how a soldier poured water on to Rahmatullah’s face after placing a cloth over his mouth and nose causing “a sensation of drowning”.

He was shackled and hooded, and lapsed in and out of consciousness as he was beaten and thrown against a wall. He was suspended upside down and “repeatedly dunked into a tank of water”, says the court document.

At one point, he was taken to a room “where he was horrified to see six or seven naked detainees piled on top of each other”, according to the court statement. He was thrown on top of the detainees and kept in the room for more than two days.

Despite an agreement signed by Britain and the US that specifically referred to the rights of prisoners of war and detained civilians enshrined in the Geneva conventions and international humanitarian law, Rahmatullah was handed over to US forces who secretly took him to Afghanistan. His entire body, including his eyes and mouth, were “taped tightly with duct tape”, the court document says. He was locked in a solitary cell with rats and cockroaches. With other Bagram detainees, he was exposed to daylight in 2006, for the first time in two and half years.

After going on hunger strike, he was subjected to force-feeding on six separate occasions. Apart from limited communication with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) representatives, he had no contact with the outside world, including his family, until 2010.

British officials, their “servants and agents”, were “recklessly indifferent to the illegality of their actions”, Rahmatullah’s lawyers have told the high court.

Kat Craig, legal director at the human rights group Reprieve, who has recently visited Rahmatullah, said he had been “through 10 years of frankly unimaginable horror”.

She added: “Now that he has finally been able to speak freely to his lawyers, there is no longer any doubt that the British government bears responsibility for his torture and illegal rendition to Bagram.”

Craig continued: “Yunus was robbed of 10 years in the prime of his life; a time when he wanted to find a career, choose a partner and build a family.

“The government must now come clean about the full extent of British involvement in this disgraceful episode in our history – only then will Yunus be able to move on and try to rebuild his life.”

Reprieve legal directors says there is ‘no doubt’ of British responsibility for torture and rendition of Yunus Rahmatullah: here.

CIA torture in Poland


This video from the USA is called Secret CIA Black Site Prison In Poland.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Poland assisted US in torture, Europe’s rights court rules

Thursday 24th July 2014

THE European Court of Human Rights ruled today that the Polish government actively assisted a US “black site” programme, which saw detainees tortured in secret prisons.

The Strasbourg court ruled in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah — a Guantanamo detainee who the US has already admitted it mistakenly believed to be a senior member of Al Qaida.

Judges concluded that it was “established beyond reasonable doubt” that Mr Zubaydah had been flown from a secret site in Thailand to another CIA prison in northern Poland.

They described the evidence as “coherent, clear and categorical” and ruled that it was “inconceivable” that Poland had been unaware of his mistreatment.

The ruling means that Poland actively violated the European Convention on Human Rights in failing to stop the “torture and inhuman or degrading treatment” of Mr Nashiri and Mr Zubaydah, who were transported to Poland in 2002.

Poland was ordered to pay €100,000 (£79,000) to Mr Nashiri and €130,000 (£103,000) to Zubaydah.

The US has previously acknowledged the existence of its “extraordinary rendition” scheme in the years after the September 11 2001 attacks but has never revealed which of its allies hosted the secret jails.

But the ruling has implications for other European states alleged to have hosted CIA prisons — similar cases have been lodged with the court against Romania and Lithuania.

Mr Nashiri and Mr Zubaydah are still being held in Guantanamo Bay prison camp and the court stated that this ongoing imprisonment without charge amounted to a “flagrant denial of justice.”

British government helps Bahrain dictatorship persecuting dissidents


This video is called Systematic torture in Bahrain.

From Middle East Eye:

Has Britain become Bahrain’s lapdog?

Alastair Sloan

Tuesday 22 July 2014 19:31 BST

Bahraini human rights activists are speaking out about increasing persecution at the hands of the British authorities

Could it be possible that the British government is now acting as Bahrain’s political policeman? Yes, according to Bahraini exiles living in London – most of whom have fled persecution in their homeland and now claim the British government is giving them a hard time for it.

Suspicions were first raised to me earlier this year, when two fleeing activists were detained and nearly deported back by suspiciously over-zealous UKBA officials at Heathrow airport. Both had strong asylum cases, but the seeming prejudice against them may well point to a wider pattern of discrimination.

Mohammed Ahmed, a prominent blogger and media fixer had been arrested and tortured in August 2013. He had previously been arrested and beaten in April 2012, whilst working with a journalist from the Sunday Telegraph, and because of his pro-democracy activism had a history of nasty run-ins with Bahraini security services. In February of this year, he decided he’d had enough and ran for London.

His travelling companion, Hussain Jawad was chairman of the prominent rights group the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights. He too was arrest by Bahraini security agents in November 2013, shortly after he lodged a formal complaint against the government, claiming that they were harassing human rights defenders. Over 50 bloggers across the world demanded Hassan’s release during his arbitrary detention in Bahrain where he spent 46 days in prison before being bailed. Upon his release, Jawad too decided he’d been left no other option but to flee.

Amnesty International declared Jawad a prisoner of conscience, even setting up a publically available website to detail his case, as did Frontline Defenders, an international charity which supports the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders across the globe. Yet, on arriving at Heathrow in February, both men were taken aside by UKBA officials. They were taken to separate detention centres outside London and found themselves in medium security prisons, operated by UKBA for detaining and deporting illegal immigrants.

It quickly emerged that the pair had been placed on a special programme called DFT (Detained Fast Track), a process designed for uncomplicated cases where the applicant clearly has no right to asylum and needs to be returned as soon as possible. They were denied legal aid and had their case labelled all but hopeless, despite the fact they knew they had strong grounds for asylum and would face likely persecution, incarceration and the threat of torture upon their return.

Were it not for an 11th hour intervention by specialist solicitors, Jawad and Ahmed would have faced almost certain deportation. As it is, they were released a few days later and are currently proceeding forward with their applications.

Speaking to Bahraini leaders and activists living in London (there are perhaps five hundred exiles who have fled here), they clearly believe that the UKBA detention was politically motivated, and that the Bahraini community is being “systematically targeted,” by, they suspect, the British government acting on behalf of the Bahrainis.

The detention of Ahmed and Jawad, one exile told me, was a display by the UK and Bahraini governments to show the democracy movement who was in charge.

These are strong allegations, but when asked, the spin doctors in the Home Office dismissed the allegations, explaining that they couldn’t comment on individual cases.

This is odd as the Home Office is often very vocal about terrorists like Abu Hamza or Abu Qatada, or indeed hunger-striking Isa Muazu last year, leading one to conclude that they only respond when it suits them.

When you highlight this little discrepancy though, the Home Office does have an answer. It seems that they merely don’t comment routinely on cases – so a case of one rule for terrorists and another for human rights defenders.

In May, more evidence emerged that the British could be doing the bidding of the Bahrainis, and that what had happened to Ahmed and Jawad may well be routine.

On 30 April, two Bahraini exiles living in London were raided by a counter-terrorism unit from the Metropolitan Police. It was 6:00 am. Their families were also detained. Both were charged with terrorism-related offences, which, according to the human rights activists, were most likely fabricated by the Bahraini authorities.

Given the sensitive nature of the raid, it is suspicious that a Twitter account in Bahrain tweeted about the men’s arrest at 4:00 am, two full hours before Metropolitan Police kicked down their doors in London.

“Urgent: British authorities arrest Iranian agents (Safawi) and Karim Almahroos and Abdul Rauf Alshayeb is now being handed over to Bahrain,” tweeted @mnarfezhom.

The @mnarfezhom account is, according to the research and advocacy group, Bahrain Watch, most likely operated by a member of the ruling al-Khalifa family, and functions as a cyber-vigilante, mobilising die-hard royalists.

There have also been other signs that the relationship between Bahraini human rights defenders and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office have in their words become “hostile”.

Desk officers in the FCO are regularly briefed by global human rights defenders. Nearly all of these meetings invite a participatory mood in which organisations large and small can air their concerns in a receptive environment.

This vital lobbying opportunity has increasingly been choked off to Bahrainis. In a conversation with an official in May, an activist swears that UK authorities parroted Bahraini regime propaganda. When asked why the regime was tear-gassing so excessively each night, the UK officials allegedly said that “the attacks by the Bahraini police are just self-defence against the Molotov cocktail throwing youth.” This line is all too familiar to those reading the Bahraini state press.

When the activist retorted by saying that the youth throw Molotov cocktails because of the harsh police tactics that on occasion prove fatal, the officer allegedly replied: “Well, it’s always someone else’s fault isn’t it?”

But could it really be true that the British government is aiding and abetting the ruling al-Khalifa monarchy to perpetuate its oppression? This is incredibly hard to prove but it would not be the first time that British officials have got their hands dirty to keep the al-Khalifas in power.

Colonel Ian Henderson, a colonial era British policeman who worked for the al-Khalifa family for nearly thirty years, was investigated in 2000 by the Home Office for his alleged complicity in torture while in Manama. Eventually, no charges were filed, but UK journalist Robert Fisk wrote a scathing expose that unearthed widespread instances of abuse.

If this kind of behaviour has and is happening, it is likely a case of “I scratch yours, you scratch mine.” Bahrain itself is small and not that energy-rich, but it is a key part of the GCC which all but controls OPEC. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and to a lesser extent Kuwait, have sunk vast resources – from money and fuel to soldier and weapons – to prop up the al-Khalifas who they see as a bulwark against Iranian and Shia expansion in the region.

There are also large geo-political gains to be made by keeping the Khalifas on the throne. Bahrain is conveniently positioned in the Gulf and is seen as a vital base for protecting key shipping lanes. The British and American presence in the Middle East is generally based in and coordinated out of Manama harbour, and billions in expensive defence equipment is stationed there.

While these are underlying factors for the possible collusion between the British and the Bahrainis, a new large-scale defence contract was thrown into the mix at the start of the year, which could explain why we have seen this more hostile attitude.

Negotiations about the highly-prized British BAE Systems £4bn deal to supply Saudi Arabia with 72 Eurofighter Typhoons, had been unusually tense.

There have already been suggestions that this tension may have led to unusual and secretive government “favours” being introduced to buttress the deal. Defence sales by British companies are assisted by UK government operatives from the highest levels.

Speculation on what these “sweeteners” could have been, has so far centred on the Muslim Brotherhood investigation announced by No.10 shortly after the Saudi arms deal went through. The timing played nicely into the political aims of Saudi Arabia’s rulers, and there was subsequent outrage from ambassadors, newspaper columnists and MPs, who all denounced this as and shameful “favour” for the Saudis.

But the Muslim Brotherhood investigation might not have been the only unusual favour discussed and the timing of the first reports of Bahrain persecution would also help to explain the growing mistrust, bad blood, and of host of allegations that have started flying around.

Alastair Sloan  focuses on injustice and oppression in the west, Russia and the Middle East. He contributes regularly to The Guardian, Al Jazeera and Middle East Eye. Follow Alastair’s work at www.unequalmeasures.com.

U.S. Highlights Bahrain Sectarianism in New Religious Freedom Report: here.

CIA Diego Garcia torture flights and the British government


This video is called Emails shed new light on UK link to CIA ‘torture flights’.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Government challenged over ‘damaged’ Diego Garcia evidence

Friday 18th July 2014

GOVERNMENT claims that potential evidence of the extent of the CIA’s use of Diego Garcia as part of its rendition programme had been damaged were challenged yesterday.

Foreign Office ministers Mark Simmonds and Tobias Ellwood both told MPs this week that “extremely heavy weather in June 2014” had damaged flight records held in Diego Garcia, a British territory which the government has admitted was used by CIA aircraft carrying detainees as part of its programme of “extraordinary rendition.

However, records from a US commercial weather service obtained by legal action charity Reprieve show that the total rainfall for the month was well below average.

Legal charity Reprieve’s Cori Crider said: “Perhaps there is a microclimate over the hut on Diego Garcia where all the embarrassing files are kept? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office needs to hand the documents over to Parliament before some other invisible monsoon strikes.”

President Obama is allowing a dozen current and former CIA officials access to the still-classified Internal Panetta Review—a document which contains evidence of state torture of hitherto unknown proportions: here.

CIA torture flights to Diego Garcia update


This video from the USA is called CIA Lied About Torture To Justify Using It (Senate Report).

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

Emails shed new light on UK link to CIA ‘torture flights’

Police given crucial logs about Diego Garcia‘s role in rendition programme when it was allegedly used as a secret prison

Jamie Doward and Ian Cobain

Saturday 12 July 2014 21.36 BST

Crucial logs revealing flights to a British overseas territory when it was allegedly used as a secret US prison are in the possession of the police, the Observer has learned.

The revelation has raised concerns about why, despite repeated demands, details of the flights have not been shared with lawyers and MPs, who for years have been investigating the role played by Diego Garcia, an atoll in the Indian ocean, in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme.

A Whitehall official was photographed last week carrying documents marked “sensitive” confirming that the logs recording details of planes landing and taking off at the atoll have been handed to detectives. The documents, a series of printed emails and handwritten notes made by the official, reveal internal Foreign Office discussions about the line to take in response to questions about the British territory raised by lawyers and MPs.

The Foreign Office has repeatedly stressed there is no evidence Diego Garcia was used in the rendition programme, with the exception of two occasions in 2002 when two planes, each carrying a detainee, landed to refuel. But in April leaked classified CIA documents from a forthcoming US Senate intelligence committee report revealed that the US had held “high value” detainees on Diego Garcia, which has been leased by Britain to the US since 1966, with the “full co-operation” of the British government. The Metropolitan police are currently investigating allegations that an opponent of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was rendered via Diego Garcia.

Attempts to obtain the logs, which would allow lawyers to check them against planes known to have been used for rendition, have met with stonewalling from ministers. When Andrew Tyrie, the Tory MP who is chair of the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition, demanded to see the logs in 2008, he was told “a thorough review had been conducted which had found no such information”.

The Commons intelligence and security committee has also complained in its annual reports that a lack of access to such documents compromised its ability to carry out an effective investigation into rendition, resulting in the publication of an inaccurate and misleading report. Last week, in an astonishing new twist, the Foreign Office revealed in a parliamentary answer to Tyrie that the flight logs existed, but maintained some had been lost “due to water damage”. Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds said: “Daily occurrence logs, which record the flights landing and taking off, cover the period since 2003. Though there are some limited records from 2002, I understand they are incomplete due to water damage.”

However, blowups of the photographed emails reveal that both “monthly log showing flight details” and “daily records [obscured] month of alleged rendition” exist and are in the possession of the police.

“All relevant treaties, UN mandates and an ever-increasing body of authoritative court rulings demand that investigations into suspected state involvement in the mechanisms of torture, including rendition, be speedy, transparent and far-reaching,” said Gareth Peirce, a lawyer for several Guantánamo detainees.

“If answers to Andrew Tyrie’s direct questions have contained no mention of highly relevant logs seemingly at all times in the possession of police, then the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] has marched this country into clear violation of its most fundamental legal obligations.”

“The FCO should immediately release all documents, including the water-damaged ones, so a proper assessment can be made of this material and what it means,” said Cori Crider of human rights group Reprieve. “Only this can begin to address the decade-long whitewash of Diego Garcia‘s position in the CIA secret prison system.”

An FCO spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on internal documents.”

US Department of Justice whitewashes CIA spying on Senate


This March 2014 video from the United States Senate is called Senator Feinstein Accuses CIA Of HACKING Senate Intelligence Committee Computers.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Obama administration drops investigation into CIA spying on US Senate

12 July 2014

The US Department of Justice announced Thursday that it would not investigate charges that the CIA had spied on members of the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, whitewashing the brazenly illegal actions of the US intelligence apparatus. “The department carefully reviewed the matters referred to us and did not find sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal investigation,” read the Justice Department statement.

The department will also not investigate countercharges by the CIA that Senate staffers had gained unauthorized access to CIA documents, effectively equating the two and prompting the corporate-controlled media (which has largely buried the story) to portray the action as a neutral, “hands-off” position in a murky dispute between the Senate and the CIA.

The CIA surveillance of the activities of the Senate committee—which is charged by law with oversight of the CIA—was such a flagrant violation of the constitutional separation of powers that the panel’s chairman, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, took the extraordinary step of denouncing the agency in an hour-long speech on the Senate floor on March 11.

A longtime hardline defender of the intelligence apparatus, Feinstein was visibly disturbed by what she had learned of the CIA’s actions, which she said “may well have violated the separation-of-powers principle embodied in the United States Constitution,” and also “the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.”

The conflict arose over the four-year campaign by the CIA to stall the Senate committee’s inquiry into torture of prisoners at secret CIA-run prisons (“black sites”) between 2002 and 2006 under the Bush administration. Dozens of prisoners captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries were taken to these secret prisons in a half dozen countries—Thailand, Romania and Poland among them—and subjected to waterboarding and other forms of torture.

Bush ordered the “black sites” shut down and most of their prisoners transferred to Guantanamo in 2006, after the existence of the secret prisons became public knowledge. The Senate Intelligence Committee began an investigation in 2009 and has drafted a voluminous report, comprising more than 6,300 pages, including extensive details of both the torture operation and the efforts by the CIA to cover it up and lie to Congress and the American people.

The report was completed in 2012, but its publication has been repeatedly delayed by CIA stonewalling. At some point in 2013, staff members of the Senate committee became aware of an internal CIA document, dubbed the “Panetta review” after Leon Panetta, the CIA director who commissioned it, giving a summary of the evidence of torture. The review contradicted the official CIA position that the operations at the black sites conformed to international and US law.

When the Senate committee pressed for official release of the “Panetta review,” they were told that the document was privileged material for executive branch use only. CIA Director John Brennan told Feinstein in January 2014 that the CIA had conducted a search of the Senate committee’s computers in an effort to determine how the staff had obtained the document.

This search was a flagrant violation of the separation of powers set down in the US Constitution, which bars the executive branch from interfering in the internal operations and deliberations of the legislative branch.

Even more ominously, after the CIA inspector general filed a criminal referral to the Justice Department over the surveillance of the Senate committee staff, the CIA general counsel retaliated with its own criminal referral, seeking federal prosecution of the Senate staff members for alleged illegal access to classified documents. In other words, the CIA sought to criminalize any effort by Congress to supervise the CIA’s own operations.

Feinstein’s March 11 speech was a protest against this second referral, but it has been followed by four months of silence, both from congressional leaders, Democratic and Republican, and from the Obama administration. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify its torture report, but the White House handed over responsibility for declassification to the CIA itself—allowing the agency to decide what portions of the report criticizing its actions should be made public. No date has yet been set for final publication of what will be a severely redacted document.

Even the way the Justice Department announced its decision underscores the supremacy of the intelligence apparatus over the elected institutions that nominally hold sway in Washington. The department informed the CIA Wednesday that it would not investigate either criminal referral, but it waited to tell the Senate committee until Thursday.

The response of leading Senate Democrats was a further demonstration of their prostration before the intelligence agencies. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared, “I think what the CIA did to my senators is wrong. I’m going to drop it at that.”

Feinstein issued no official statement, but commented briefly to reporters, calling the Justice Department decision “good,” because it ended the possibility of prosecution of her staff: “We have a lot of young people, with families, and with this it’s a very hard thing to have hanging over your head. And they’ve done a very good job. It’s just a good day.”

The California senator said nothing about the whitewash of the constitutional issues involved in the CIA spying on the Senate committee, which she had made the axis of her Senate speech four months before.

The two leading “critics” of the CIA on the Senate panel did address that issue, although in terms that indicated they accepted the refusal of the Obama administration to investigate.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon said the CIA “still has some very serious questions to answer about the unauthorized search of Senate files and whether CIA officials believe they have the authority to do this again.”

Senator Mark Udall of Colorado said, “The Justice Department’s decision is troubling and draws a false equivalency between congressional staff fulfilling their constitutional obligations and an executive branch agency potentially breaking the law.”

However, Udall made it clear that his concern was to restore credibility to the CIA torturers, assassins and spymasters, not to hold them accountable for their crimes. “Independent oversight of our intelligence agencies is essential for the American people to trust what they’re doing to protect our national security,” he concluded.

The Justice Department action was greeted by most of the press with a yawn. There were perfunctory accounts published Friday by the New York Times (on page 8) and the Washington Post (a four-paragraph wire service story). The television networks ignored the issue.

When Feinstein made her speech on the Senate floor, the World Socialist Web Site pointed to the significance of the fundamental constitutional issues raised. We wrote: “The trajectory of this conflict is an ominous warning: the criminality of the military-intelligence apparatus is metastasizing into an open onslaught on constitutional principles, including such fundamental precepts as the separation of powers.”

But we warned, “Neither Feinstein nor any other capitalist politician in Washington, Democratic or Republican, is capable of serious resistance to the emergence of a police state in the United States… democratic rights are increasingly incompatible with the capitalist profit system, characterized by rampant social inequality and deepening economic crisis.”

This warning has been amply vindicated in the whitewash announced by the Obama administration, and the virtual silence that has followed it. The defense of democratic rights, abandoned by every representative and faction of big business politics, must be taken up by the working class, fighting in its own class and social interests.

The author also recommends:

Obama and the CIA—who runs Washington?
[11 July 2014]

CIA torture and the threat of dictatorship
[3 April 2014]

The CIA, the Senate and the breakdown of American democracy
[12 March 2014]

Last Thursday, the US Department of Justice quietly announced that it would not launch a criminal investigation following the revelation in March that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had spied on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee. News of this decision—which concerns one of the most significant constitutional breaches in modern American history—was barely reported in the establishment media and prompted no significant response from any section of the political establishment: here.

One law for Bahraini royals, another law for non-royal women


This video is called Government of Bahrain torturing detained in prison until death.

In Bahrain, there is one law for the royal family, and quite another law for commoners.

From eTurboNews:

Bahraini prince arrested for being drunk and disorderly on BA flight

July 29, 2012

So much for Ramadan… A drunk Arab prince was threatened with 50,000-volt Tasers by gun cops after trying to storm the flight deck of a British Airways jet.

The billionaire, 28 — who was sozzled by 10am — had jumped up from his £2,700 First Class seat to complain to the captain about “poor” service before the Boeing 777 took off from Heathrow to Bahrain.

Crew members called armed cops, who pointed stun guns at the prince after he refused to calm down.

The royal — said to be a close relative of Bahrain’s King Hamed bin Isa Al Khalifa — was hauled off Flight BA125 and taken to the West London airport’s police station. The prince had his DNA, mugshot and fingerprints taken before being released on bail.

A passenger said: “We were terrified when the armed police came on and started pointing Tasers at him.”

A BA spokesman confirmed a customer “was off-loaded from the London to Bahrain service” and appeared to be “intoxicated”. Scotland Yard said a man was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.

From Digital Journal:

The consumption of alcohol is allowed in Bahrain, but only for non-Muslims. In 2010 the Shura Council approved a ban on all Muslims drinking alcohol in the tiny Gulf state. Under Bahraini law the penalty for a Muslim drinking alcohol is a three-year jail sentence. However, Gulf royals often flout the Islamic rules they impose on their subjects, indulging in alcohol and other prohibited activities.

Now, about non-royals.

From International Business Times:

Bahrain: Woman Charged With Smoking in the Day During Ramadan

By Ludovica Iaccino

July 9, 2014 14:39 BST

A woman has been charged with insulting Ramadan as she smoked a cigarette during daylight hours while she was being questioned at Bahrain International Airport.

According to Gulf Daily News, the 32-year-old Egyptian woman, whose name was not disclosed, was stopped by the airport’s officers who wanted to search her luggage.

As she refused, the officers escorted her to the lieutenant’s office for questioning.

The woman allegedly insulted the lieutenant, knocked off his hat and then smoked a cigarette.

“I had a cigarette as I was not fasting because I was travelling,” the woman said in her statement to prosecutors.

“I needed to travel back to my home country for Ramadan and I was late to board my flight.

“I accidentally knocked off the policeman’s hat because I was waving my hands around trying to explain to him that I was late for my flight and that’s why I did not want a thorough examination of my luggage.”

As well as smoking a cigarette during daylight hours, the woman was also charged with insulting a police officer.

She was released on 500 Bahrain dinar (£775; $1326) bail by the Lower Criminal Court.

The trial was adjourned until 14 July.

Nabeel Rajab: ‘Bahrain Has Turned into Dictatorship Kingdom‘.

Britain: Home Office Poised to Deport Bahraini Teen Isa Haider Alaali Despite Torture and Imprisonment Risk.

Bahrain Strengthens Punishment for Insulting King Hamad: here.

A visiting American government official was ordered to leave Bahrain immediately after he met with a few prominent Shi’ite opposition leaders earlier this week: here.

Bahrain should immediately drop charges against two prominent opposition members for meeting with a US diplomat on July 6, 2014. Bahrain should repeal the law that bars leaders of political societies from meeting with foreign diplomats without government permission: here.

Amnesty International issued the following Urgent Action yesterday on behalf of Dr. Sa’eed Mothaher Habib Al-Samahiji, who is to serve a one-year sentence for “publicly insulting the King of Bahrain”. Dr. Sa’eed Al-Samahiji is a prisoner of conscience and jailed solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression: here.

Bahrain: Deteriorating Human Rights Situation: here.

Bahrain’s recent expulsion of a U.S. State Department official after visiting with a Shiite opposition leader was the result of pressure from Saudi Arabia, indicating relations between the U.S. and Riyadh are further deteriorating: here.

English PEN has joined a coalition of 29 NGOs to call on the newly appointed Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to reassess the Foreign Office position on Bahrain as a matter of urgency. Read the full text of the letter here.