Unjustly convicted boxer ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies


This music video is called Bob Dylan – Hurricane (original). The lyrics are here.

From the Canadian Press:

‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76

April 20, 2014 / 8:04 am

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former American boxer imprisoned nearly 20 years for three murders before the convictions were overturned, has died at his home in Toronto.

Media reports say he was battling prostate cancer.

The Hurricane‘s autobiography, “The Sixteenth Round,” was published in 1975 it helped raise awareness for his case. Also in 1975 Bob Dylan wrote the song ‘Hurricane’ based on the book.

According to CTV, Carter was arrested in 1966, along with acquaintance John Artis, for a triple shooting in New Jersey. His conviction was quashed in 1985, with the help of a group of Canadians who fought to keep his case in the spotlight.

Eventually, Carter moved to Toronto, where he helped to form the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. He served as the association’s executive director from 1993 to 2004.

in 1999 Norman Jewison made the movie ‘The Hurricane’, Denzel Washington played the lead role.

See also here. And here. And here.

On race, the US is not as improved as some would have us believe. Despite the legacy of civil rights, some doors remain firmly closed. And across the US, schools are resegregating: here.

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Bahraini dictatorship and Formula One racing


Bahraini pro-democracy demonstrators. A Bahraini protester raises a sign against the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix during a protest in Saar, Bahrain, Friday, April 4, 2014. Tens of thousands of Bahraini anti-government protesters carrying signs and images of political prisoners waved national flags and signs against the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix, which is being held Sunday in the Gulf island kingdom. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

From Associated Press:

Thousands rally in Bahrain ahead of auto race

April 4, 2014 2:59 PM EDT

MANAMA, Bahrain — Thousands have marched in the streets of Bahrain to voice their opposition to this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix auto race.

Witnesses say protesters Friday carried banners and chanted slogans against the government and the Formula One race, the tiny island kingdom’s biggest international event of the year. Practice runs for Sunday’s race went ahead amid tight security.

Groups of anti-government activists clashed with police following the largely peaceful rally outside the capital, Manama, hurling gasoline bombs and blocking roadways with tires.

Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. The country has witnessed more than three years of unrest following a Shiite-led uprising calling for reforms and greater political freedoms from the Sunni monarchy.

Journalism in Bahrain

From the Bahrain Center for Human Rights:

4 April, 2014

Joint Statement – Bahrain: Bahrain Racing in Circles

Press freedom campaign launch timed to Formula One race in Bahrain

New York and Paris, April 3[tk], 2014—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have launched a joint social media campaign calling on the Bahraini government to allow journalists to work freely during the Formula One Grand Prix race in Bahrain on April 6, 2014. Using the social media tool Thunderclap, the “Bahrain Racing in Circles” campaign participants will call for press freedom in Bahrain at the exact start of the Formula One race. As of April 2, the campaign had gained a potential audience of 2.6 million people, twice the population of Bahrain.

“It’s clear that it’s not only F1 cars that are racing circles in Bahrain, as we see the same cycle of protests, repression, and censorship every year,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Every year, the Bahraini government hopes the roar of Formula One cars will drown out criticism of the regime’s human rights violations,” said Soazig Dollet, head of RSF’s Middle East and North Africa desk. “This year, we’re calling on everyone to join our F1 campaign to make sure that does not happen.”

CPJ and RSF have documented a consistent attempt by the Bahraini government to censor the press since the launch of a mass protest movement on February 14, 2011. Most recently, on March 26, freelance photographer Ahmed Humaidan was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on charges of attacking a police station in 2012. Humaidan was at the station to document the incident as part of his coverage of unrest in the country.

To get more information and to join the campaign, please visit the campaign website here.

### CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.
Reporters Without Borders promotes and defends the freedom to be informed and to inform others throughout the world

Media contacts:

New York, USA:
Samantha Libby
Communications Associate
Committee to Protect Journalists
slibby@cpj.org
212-300-9032. Ext 124

Paris, France:
Soazig Dollet
Head of Middle East and North Africa Desk
Reporters Without Borders
Tel: 33 1 44 83 84 78
Email: moyen-orient@rsf.org

On the morning of the Grand Prix race which will take place today at 6pm in Sakhir; BCHR (Bahrain Center for Human Rights), BIRD (Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy) and BYSHR (Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights), note their concern for the growing violations against civilians in Bahrain: here.

Thousands Protest for Democracy in Bahrain: here.

Bahrain: Shooting Victim Sentenced to 15 Years; Attacker Enjoys Impunity: here.

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Bahrain, Formula One racing and human rights violations


This video is called Former CNN journalist Amber Lyon & Joe Rogan talk about Bahrain dictatorship.

From the Committee to Protect Journalists:

Bahrain racing in circles

By Jason Stern/CPJ Middle East and North Africa Research Associate

Thursday, the official Bahrain News Agency announced the “final 30-day countdown [to] the Formula One extravaganza” to take place the first week of April. Every year the race acts as a lightning rod for criticism of the Bahraini government, which seeks to use high-profile international events like the F1 to gloss over human rights violations in the country.

So perhaps it’s all too predictable that another journalist was arrested in Bahrain only a few hours before the BNA article went to press. Freelance photojournalist Sayed Baqer Al-Kamil was arrested at a checkpoint west of Manama sometime in the early morning hours, according to news reports and his colleagues. It is not clear why he was arrested, but Al-Kamil has meticulously documented the protest movement in Bahrain.

In another recent case, Bahraini security forces arrested photographer Sayed Ahmed Al-Mosawi and his brother in a house raid the morning of February 10, according to news reports.  Al-Mosawi was transferred to the Dry Dock prison after several days of interrogation about his work. The journalist, who has won international recognition for his photographs, told his family in a phone call from prison that he had been tortured through beatings and electrocution, according to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

Al-Kamil and Al-Mosawi join at least three other journalists behind bars in Bahrain, the second worst country in the world for journalists imprisoned per capita, according to CPJ research.

The blast came as Al Sinan was covering clashes between riot police and protesters from a funeral procession of a Bahraini inmate who died last month in custody. The government said the inmate, Jaffar Al-Durazi, died from complications of sickle cell anemia, but opposition groups said he was subjected to torture and medical negligence.

It is not clear who carried out the attack on the security forces, with at least two groups claiming responsibility on Facebook, according to Bahrain scholar Marc Owen Jones. Bahrain’s major opposition and human rights groups condemned the attack and urged Bahrainis to end the cycle of violence.

In a photograph of the attack captured by EPA photojournalist Mazen Mahdi, riot police grimace from tear gas as one of their comrades lay wounded in the street. A few days prior, on February 26, Mahdi accused the police of aiming deliberately at journalists after he had been shot in the leg by a teargas canister while covering protests in Daih. He was not seriously injured.

Mahdi and other journalists have faced consistent harassment from security forces attempting to limit coverage of opposition demonstrations, according to CPJ research. The independent Bahrain Press Association reported that Associated Press photographer Hassan Jamali has been unable to cover protests since his press credentials were confiscated by security forces on February 12.

None of this is new for Bahrain. In the past three years, CPJ has documented the arrest, torture, assault and sadly even death of journalists. …

Yet the pace of violations seem to be accelerating, especially as the Bahrain government collects more local freelance journalists in its prisons and frustration on the street grows stronger. As Gulf expert Christopher Davidson recently tweeted, “Bahrain looking more tense now than for a long time.” With a political solution no closer, despite repeated rounds of political dialogue since 2011, I fear those tensions will lead to even greater restrictions on the press.

It appears not only F1 cars are racing in circles in Bahrain.

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No Formula 1 in dictatorial Bahrain, activists say


This video is called Bahrain capital of torture.

From ANSA news agency in Italy:

Suspend Bahrain Formula 1 say human rights NGOs

NGOs call for urgent visit by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

05 March, 16:14

ROME, MARCH 5 – Human rights NGOs on January 14 urged the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to suspend the 2014 Formula One Grand Prix scheduled from April 4-6 in Bahrain, where a Sunni minority rules a Shiite majority with an iron fist.

The decision to hold the Formula One Grand Prix in the monarchy has provided the Bahraini government with ”the pretext to increase its systematic crackdown on protesters, journalists and human rights defenders.

As such, FIA bears “a unique ethical and moral responsibility to safeguard the integrity and reputation of motor sport worldwide by cancelling the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix until such abuses cease to exist”, human rights activists said.

Activists pointed to the direct correlation between intensified crackdowns on civilians and protesters during previous Formula One events in the country, with restrictive measures such as enclosing entire villages in barbed wire, setting up an excessive amount of police checkpoints, firing tear gas into residential areas, and jailing protesters.

In 2012, security forces killed protester Salah Abbas Habib on the first day of the Bahrain Grand Prix. There are currently more than 3,000 political prisoners behind bars in Bahrain, and there is no indication that such measures will not be used again during the 2014 Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, according to the NGOs.

The letter to FIA President Jean Todt was signed by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the Bahrain Institutes for Rights and Democracy, Bahrain Watch, the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, and the European Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights.

FIA has yet to reply, human rights activists said, adding that in addition to targeting protesters, the Bahraini government’s restriction on free speech has led to the ongoing practice of denying journalists access to the country.

Journalists denied access to or deported from Bahrain during the Grand Prix include a news crew from UK Channel 4, who were deported in 2012, and an ITN news team, who were deported in 2013.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is presided by Nabeel Rajab, who has been in prison since July 9, 2012. He is serving a two-year sentence for protesting the government’s human rights violations, according to the NGO’s website.

It is also presided by Maryam al-Khawaja, whose father Abdulhadi al-Khawaja has been sentenced to life in prison and who carried out a long hunger strike during the 2012 Formula One.

The 2011 Formula One was cancelled due to Arab Spring protests in Bahrain, which saw the Shiite majority demand more democratic rights, and which was quelled in blood with the help of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) troops.

Three years after that bloody crackdown and the repression of dissent that followed, the same NGOs on March 4 called on the international community to pressure Bahrain to grant the right to self-determination, the right to protest peacefully, and freedom of expression.

The human rights activists also asked for a UN-supervised independent commission of inquiry into suspicious deaths that have occurred since 2011, and called on the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to urgently visit the country. The call follows on the death in police custody of a protester, Jaffar al-Durazi, in the village of Daih, on the outskirts of Manama, which was followed by a March 3 bomb attack that killed an Emirati officer and two policemen during clashes between security forces and Shiite protesters, according to media reports.

The government responded by arresting 25 people and announcing it will give no quarter in its fight against terrorism. ”We do not justify violence under any circumstance, but we believe no form of violence justifies further violations of human rights”, the NGOs said in their appeal.

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Racism and homophobia in British football


This video from Britain says about itself:

Footballer Jason Roberts: I’ve had monkey chants in the past few years

2 March 2014

The former Premier League striker Jason Roberts says he has been a victim of racism throughout his career. In an interview for Channel 4′s Dispatches, he says he has had monkey chants directed at him in the last two or three years. Dispatches: Hate on the Terraces airs on Monday at 8pm on Channel 4.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Secret filming shows abuse at football grounds

Racist, homophobic and antisemitic abuse recorded at grounds, and many black players subjected to racist remarks on Twitter

Matthew Taylor

Sunday 2 March 2014 19.33 GMT

Racist, homophobic and antisemitic abuse is commonplace among supporters at some of the biggest football clubs in England, according to an undercover investigation.

Researchers for Channel 4′s Dispatches programme recorded secret footage showing that despite repeated attempts by the authorities to clamp down, offensive chants and abuse are still a regular feature on the terraces.

The programme to be aired on Monday shows West Ham fans chanting antisemitic and racist slogans before a game against Tottenham Hotspur in December as well as several incidents of homophobic chanting at games involving Brighton.

It also reveals that at least 40% of the 150 black Premiership players have been subjected to some racist remarks on Twitter over the last two years.

The findings follow Sol Campbell‘s allegations on Sunday that the Football Association is “institutionally racist”.

In Dispatches, Jason Roberts, who has played for a number of Premier League and Championship clubs, says he regularly encounters racist abuse.

Roberts says: “I’ve had it from people in the street, I’ve had it from teammates, I’ve had it from managers, I’ve had it from coaches, I’ve had it from crowds. I have had monkey chants in the last two, three years.”

He said people were aware of which clubs were the worst but not enough was being done. “I can tell you at certain clubs, certain places … exactly where in a crowd you’re going to get racial abuse from. It’s been the same when I started and it’ll be the same now.”

Last year the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, backed by the Football Association, promised to tackle “… all forms of abuse in football, be it in the stands, or on our computer screens”.

But the undercover reporters exposed a catalogue of abuse, including antisemitic chanting by Chelsea fans targeting Tottenham’s Jewish links, antisemitic chanting at fixtures between West Ham and Tottenham, several incidents of racist and Islamophobic chanting by Millwall fans at an away match at Leicester, and homophobic chanting at games involving Brighton.

Andy Holt, of South Yorkshire police, acknowledged that part of the problem was a failure to report or act on abuse by police and stewards. “I think it’s a more common problem, because of under-reporting, than the statistics would indicate … I think there’s potentially under-reporting by police officers and by clubs.”

A spokesman for the Football League said it, along with the clubs, was “fully committed to tackling discrimination, in whatever form it may occur”. He added: “We will continue to work with the police to prevent football being used as a platform by those holding views that are completely unacceptable.”

The Premier League says it is committed to eradicating discrimination. Darren Bailey, FA director of governance and regulation, said: “They [the football clubs] understand that this affects their business, they understand that it affects their brand, they understand it affects their club and they want to do something about it.”

He added: “We have to continue to squeeze out those … incidents wherever we’re able to do so. We can only do this collectively. So we need the work of the police, we need the work of the Crown Prosecution Service, we need the work of the judiciary.”

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