Bahrain dictatorship, oppression and public relations

This video says about itself:

A women in Bahrain explains how her house was burned by Police during the LuluReturn protests on Friday 23rd September.

From JURIST in the USA:

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Bahrain medics urge UN probe of protest convictions

Maureen Cosgrove at 2:02 PM ET

Bahraini doctors and nurses on Saturday urged the UN to investigate claims of abuse and due process violations in relation to their recent convictions for pro-democracy protests. Last week, the National Safety Court of Appeal, a court composed of military prosecutors and civilian and military judges, in Bahrain [JURIST news archive] sentenced [JURIST report] one anti-government protester to death for killing a police officer and gave lengthy prison sentences to medical personnel, including doctors, for providing treatment to injured protesters during the country’s uprising. In a statement [text] released shortly after the convictions, the medics denounced the charges and criticized the Bahraini government:

“During the times of unrest in Bahrain, we honored our medical oath to treat the wounded and save lives. And as a result, we are being rewarded with unjust and harsh sentences. … The charges that we have being accused of are absolutely ludicrous. We are highly professional and experienced medics and specialists, and we categorically deny all charges against us. This is the first time in the history of medicine that the medical profession has been attacked on such a large scale by any government.”

As one of 20 Bahraini doctors and nurses given up to 15 years in prison, Dr Roula al-Saffar recalls with outrage the tortures inflicted as police tried to force her and other medical specialists to confess to “a doctors’ plot” to overthrow the Bahraini government: here.

From EA WorldView blog:

Bahrain Feature: The Regime’s Public-Relations Army of US and British Consultants (Chan’ad Bahraini 2.0)

Monday, October 3, 2011 at 8:24 | Scott Lucas

UPDATE 0930 GMT: Chan’ad Bahraini 2.0, paralleling the information in EA’s LiveBlog this morning, has added a section on Tom Squitieri at the bottom of the article.

UPDATE 0745 GMT: EA has uncovered another PR consultant doing his best to put the case of the Bahraini regime and tarnish the protesters as puppets of foreign powers and sinister opposition leaders — meet Tom Squitieri in our LiveBlog.

See also Bahrain Propaganda 101: The Regime and Its US PR Firm Spin the Election [and]
Bahrain Propaganda 101: How a US PR Firm Puts “News” in American Newspapers.

The activist site “Chan’ad Bahraini 2.0” unveils the network of high-power public-relations consultants employed by the Bahraini regime in its effort to quell protests since February:

Since the start of the uprising in Bahrain this year, and the subsequent brutal Saudi-backed crackdown, the government has desperately been trying to sanitize and salvage its international reputation. To this end, it has been pouring the public’s money in to contracts with Western PR firms to do this dirty work.

From the looks of it, these PR firms are doing a fairly poor job for their clients. And it doesn’t help when the Ministry of Interior comes out with ridiculously offensive press statements like “Ministry urges families to keep women out of illegal activities“.

But I thought it was still worth listing some of these PR firms in one place so there is a record.

From Bloomberg:

Bahrain Sentences Two Protesters to Prison for Blocking Traffic

By Donna Abu-Nasr – Oct 3, 2011 9:52 AM GMT+0200

A Bahraini court sentenced two people to three months in prison and fined each 100 dinars ($265) for blocking traffic as part of an anti-government protest called by the mainly Shiite opposition.

US sells arms to Bahraini dictatorship as repression continues: here.

Bahrain military court sentences protesters, students: here.

6 thoughts on “Bahrain dictatorship, oppression and public relations

  1. Bahraini princess accused of torturing hospital medical staff

    by: Hugh Tomlinson, Dubai
    From: The Australian
    October 04, 2011 12:00AM

    A BAHRAINI princess has been accused of involvement in the torture of detainees during the country’s suppression of anti-government protesters this year.

    Some of the doctors who have been sentenced to lengthy jail terms for supporting the Shia-led protests against the ruling al-Khalifa family have alleged that Sheikha Noora bint Ibrahim al-Khalifa beat prisoners with sticks and a rubber hose, and gave electric shocks to the face with a cable.

    The case against the doctors has provoked international condemnation of the Bahrain government. The medical staff allege they were tortured in custody and forced to sign false confessions.

    The princess works as an undercover police detective in counter-narcotics. Born into the third tier of the royal family, she is believed to be a cousin of Queen Sabika bint Ibrahim al-Khalifa.

    A spokesman for Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority declined to comment on the doctors’ specific allegations, but said all claims of abuse by security forces during the unrest were under investigation by an independent human rights commission appointed in June by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. Attempts to contact the princess for comment have not been successful.

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    Ms Khalifa is accused of torturing several doctors, male and female. Nada Dhaif, 36, who received a 15-year sentence last week, alleged the princess had been involved in her interrogation in March. Dhaif claimed: “She slapped me, beat me and called me a Shia pig. She put a cable in my ears and gave me electric shocks.”

    Dhaif has alleged she was blindfolded during her torture, but said that there was only one other woman in the room, who was addressed as “sheikha” by the male guards.

    “At the end of the interrogation, she took the blindfold off me and I recognised her,” she said.

    Fatima Haji, 32, another detainee, has claimed that Ms Khalifa searched through her BlackBerry mobile phone and found an e-mail sent to Human Rights Watch about her suspension from work.

    “She shouted, ‘How dare you destroy the image of my country?’ Then she gave me electric shocks to my face,” claimed Haji, who received a five-year sentence for her alleged role in the anti-government protests.

    Haji claimed she briefly lost her sight after repeated electric shocks and was sexually assaulted by other guards. All the female doctors say they were threatened with rape by male guards during their interrogation.

    Bahraini rights groups have alleged that Ms -Khalifa tortured a young woman who had been jailed for reciting a poem criticising the king during the protests. Ayat al-Qurmuzi, 20, a poet and student, was sentenced to a year in jail by a military court for inciting hatred against the royal family by reading her work at a pro-democracy rally. She was released in July during an effort at reconciliation by King Hamad.

    Most of the convicted medical staff worked at Salmaniya Hospital in the centre of the Bahraini capital, Manama. The hospital was where most of the casualties were treated when security forces crushed the anti-government protests at the nearby Pearl roundabout, the focal point of the unrest. At least 35 people died.

    A UN commission investigating alleged human rights abuses is headed by Cherif Bassiouni, a UN war crimes expert. His team will issue a final report at the end of the month.


  2. Bahrain, F1 of insensitivity

    Gulf State shows contempt for medical profession

    Frankie D’Cruz

    Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 00:49:00

    The move to hold the Bahrain Grand Prix next April, after its cancellation following antigovernment protests in March this year, is the Formula 1 of arrogance.

    Bahrain is out of place in an event that brings the world together.

    The world disapproves of Bahrain’s jailing last week of 20 doctors who dared to treat protesters injured in those pro-democracy riots.

    Thirteen doctors were jailed for 15 years for crimes against the State while seven other medical professionals received sentences of between five and 10 years.

    A special tribunal, set up during the emergency rule that followed the protests, imprisoned the medics and it sparked worldwide condemnation.

    Their crime: treating the victims of the vicious attacks by the Saudi and Al Khalifa forces in March; and “forcibly” occupying a hospital.

    Formula 1 relies on the brilliance of medics across the world and race teams should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these professionals and snub Bahrain.

    One should be mortified of joining the motoring circus in a State that shows appalling contempt for the medical profession.

    Sadly, there are no howls of anger among Formula 1 drivers and teams over the imprisonment of the medics.

    Regrettably, there are no impassioned debates over the grotesque failures of an influential sport to boycott a vicious regime.

    Rather, the main talking point in the sport now is the worry that Formula 1 teams have to pay tax when they go to India for the first time next year.

    Truth is, countries need Formula 1 more than Formula 1 needs them and cancelling the event would be a huge blow to the Bahraini authorities.

    The Grand Prix matters to this Gulf State as the nation attempts to establish its importance and voice on the international stage. It’s part of foreign policy as well.

    Promoter Bernie Ecclestone (pic) is skilful at persuading people to dance at the click of a finger.

    Disappointingly, he appears unmoved. But that’s to be expected from a man who has been quick to exploit the desire for nations such as Bahrain to use sport to promote their international credentials.

    This year’s season-opener on March 13 in Bahrain was cancelled because the streets were bursting with thousands of pro-democracy protesters, 30 dead bodies, hundreds of wounded and 1,000 troops from Saudi Arabia drafted in to crush the rebellion.

    For Ecclestone, that was an easy decision to make. Now’s the real test.

    Personally, I feel Formula 1 should not go to Bahrain. The teams need to be audacious, show some courage — and say NO.


  3. Pingback: Bahrain dictatorship paying Kim Kardashian? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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