Bahrain dictatorship and F1 fat cat Ecclestone


Red light: anti-government protesters do not want the Formula One grand prix to be staged in Bahrain Photo: EPA

From the (Conservative) Daily Telegraph in England of 15 April 2013:

Bahrain protesters are just like those ‘complaining about Mrs Thatcher’, says F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone

Formula One auto racing chief Bernie Ecclestone is very much an admirer of the late Baroness Thatcher. So, equating the opponents of the bloody royal dictatorship in Bahrain with opponents of Mrs Thatcher means Ecclestone is taking sides for oppression in the Gulf monarchy.

Attending his first race of the season in China, Ecclestone urged reporters to “tell the truth” about Bahrain as he continued to insist he had no concerns about hosting the event in the strife-torn country this weekend.

The Daily Telegraph does not mention that Bernie Ecclestone is not only an admirer of Margaret Thatcher, but an admirer of Adolf Hitler as well. Which helps to put his ideas about Bahrain into perspective.

Ecclestone is not the only big cheese in the Formula One world with errr … strange ideas.

Former F1 President Max Mosley was an election candidate for his father Sir Oswald Mosley’s fascist party. He was nearly kicked out as sports boss because of a prostitution scandal with nazi undertones.

And, also from the Daily Telegraph of 15 April 2013:

British racing legend Sir Stirling Moss has provoked outrage by suggesting women are not mentally tough enough to compete in Formula One.

The Daily Telegraph Ecclestone article continues:

Villagers in poorer Shi’ite areas away from the Sakhir circuit are also alleging that King Hamad’s regime is using the money from F1 to enforce further repression. …

His [Ecclestone’s] view appeared at odds with an account from Bahrain on Monday reporting tense skirmishes in the village of Al-Ahli. Amani Ali, a 22-year-old female student, was quoted as saying of the grand prix: “Of course we are against it. The race brings money to the regime, which they use to buy weapons and attack us.”

Although Sunday’s race is almost certain to go ahead, two years after it was cancelled at the height of Bahrain’s violently-suppressed revolution, political momentum in Britain is also gathering against the event.

On Tuesday Andy Slaughter MP and Lord Avebury will host a briefing at the House of Lords on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain.

The group said that Bahrain had descended “deeper into a political crisis” and “any remaining principles or values of human rights are being trampled upon by Formula One as they prepare to take the sport, yet again, to a country which at present is a controversial and unsuitable location for any competition”.

The group highlighted allegations that in 2011 Bahrainis employed for this leg of the championship experienced torture at the circuit.

They said on Monday: “F1 insisted on holding last year’s grand prix and Bahrainis were killed, tortured and detained when they protested.” And they asked: “Is a country that at present is suppressing the rights of its people, and using sheer brute force to intimidate them, a place for sport of any kind?”

Damon Hill, the former world champion, has expressed grave worry about F1 being “hijacked” by Bahraini authorities and implicitly endorsing ruthless police tactics by travelling there. Extra barbed wire and security fencing have been introduced this year around the Sakhir track.

From The Atlantic in the USA:

Bahrain Is Becoming Even More Repressive Because of the F1 Race

Reports that police are arresting and intimidating those living closest to the race tracks add to the kingdom’s already worrying situation.

Bahrain: New move to crush dissent ahead of Grand Prix: here.

Bahrain on fire but race goes ahead – No grand prix on our blood, protestors tell Ecclestone: here.

Jean Todt, the head of motor sport‘s world governing body who has condemned hundreds of Formula One personnel to a potentially hazardous and harrowing week in Bahrain, will not be attending this Sunday’s race himself: here.

A group of British MPs have called for the Bahrain Grand Prix to be cancelled amid unrest in the Gulf state: here.

Bahrain: Police ‘fire tear gas’ at boys’ school: here. And here.

Bahrain Grand Prix: calls to cancel F1 race amid threats to jail anyone who ‘insults the king’: here.

The Bahraini government on Monday approved proposals to impose jail terms of up to 5 years for insulting the country’s king and national symbols. It comes amid protests against the coming F1 race in Manama, as Anonymous warns a new OpBahrain is on: here.

13 thoughts on “Bahrain dictatorship and F1 fat cat Ecclestone

  1. Human rights group sues British govt over export of spying technology used in Bahrain

    By Associated Press, Tuesday, April 16, 4:24 AM

    LONDON — A human rights group is suing the British government over the export of sophisticated surveillance technology that has been used to spy on dissidents in Bahrain and elsewhere.

    Privacy International said Tuesday it had filed a lawsuit before London’s High Court over the government’s refusal to say whether it was investigating U.K.-based Gamma International, whose FinFisher software has been linked to use in more than two dozen countries, including Bahrain, Egypt, Ethiopia, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.

    The export of Western surveillance software to repressive regimes has drawn increasing attention in the wake of the pro-democracy uprisings in the Arab world that laid bare the high-tech methods used by domestic spying agencies to stifle dissent.

    Privacy International argues that the export of FinFisher software may be illegal under U.K. law and has demanded that British officials investigate.

    Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs authority has so far refused to say whether it has opened an inquiry into the matter. The agency said it could not comment on the lawsuit for legal reasons.

    Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

    See also here.

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