This 12 November video is about a flock of birds, invading a football pitch in Brazil, stopping the match.
The birds were southern lapwings.
This 12 November video is about a flock of birds, invading a football pitch in Brazil, stopping the match.
The birds were southern lapwings.
This video says about itself:
Otto the skateboarding bulldog – Guinness World Records
Otto does skimboarding as well.
This video says about itself:
19 May 2012
An activist demanding reform of the absolute Bahrain monarchy is shot directly while he raises his camera to film the brutal police who are cracking down against the popular uprising. The Bahrain monarchy appears to finally realise that its days are over, and has essentially given up most of its sovereignty to become a province of neighbouring Saudi Arabia in a new union between the two states.
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today called for the immediate release of Sheikh Ali Salman and Ebrahim Sharif, two of Bahrain’s most prominent peaceful political opposition leaders. Ali Salman, the leader of Bahrain’s main peaceful opposition group Al Wefaq, is appealing a conviction on political charges. Sharif, a leader of the opposition group Waad, is currently on trial in Bahrain for comments made during a speech calling for reform. Their next hearings are both scheduled for Thursday, November 12: here.
From the New York Times in the USA today:
FIFA Ethics Review Clears 5 Candidates to Succeed Sepp Blatter
By REBECCA R. RUIZNOV. 12, 2015
ZURICH — Five of the seven men hoping to succeed Sepp Blatter as president of FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, have passed an internal ethics review and have been formally cleared to run in a February election, the group’s electoral committee announced on Thursday. …
The seventh candidate, Michel Platini of France, the head of the European confederation UEFA, submitted paperwork to enter the race on Oct. 8, only hours before he was provisionally suspended by FIFA amid a corruption investigation by the Swiss authorities.
The chairman of the electoral committee, Domenico Scala, has said he will not consider the candidacy of Mr. Platini, who was once regarded as the favorite to replace Mr. Blatter, or perform an ethics review of him until the suspension is lifted. …
But the announcement regarding the remaining five candidates was also not without controversy.
The organization approved Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, president of the Asian soccer confederation and a member of Bahrain’s royal family. Rights activists have accused him of playing a part in the jailing and torture of soccer players from Bahrain who peacefully demonstrated against his family’s rule during the Arab Spring in 2011. …
Rights advocates have held firm. “If FIFA has any hope to move past corruption and scandal, it must begin by disqualifying Sheikh Salman from the presidential race,” Husain Abdulla, executive director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, said in an email. …
The activists specifically charged that Sheikh Salman had led a committee that studied pictures of pro-democracy demonstrations and identified athletes who had participated in them. At least three soccer players, the groups said, were later detained and tortured; upon their release, they were exiled from the Bahrain national team.
“Everything we have presented, from the testimonies of tortured soccer players to the Bahrain Football Association statements, are already on the public record,” Mr. Abdulla wrote in the email. “The crackdown is an incontestable fact.”
THE Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird) slammed Fifa yesterday for adding a “human rights abuser to their profile” after Sheik Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa passed their presidential candidacy integrity check. Khalifa has been accused of being complicit in the detention of footballers and other athletes while head of the Bahrain Football Association: here.
This video from the USA says about itself:
8 February 2011
–Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation, joins us to discuss militarism, corporatism, and sexism at the Super Bowl, then talking about the offensive GroupOn ads about Tibet and the Amazon rainforest.
By Eric London in the USA:
Report reveals massive pro-war propaganda campaign
Military spectacle and American sport
6 November 2015
Anyone who has attended a professional sporting event in the United States over the last fifteen years is accustomed to the uncomfortable ritual of militarism that precedes each first pitch, kickoff or puck drop.
Those looking to enjoy an afternoon at the ballpark are first made to suffer through the unfurling of field-sized American flags, the blaring of the national anthem, and the marching of the honor guard to present the colors between the pitcher’s mound and home plate.
During pre-game “fly-overs,” sports fans are exposed to the chilling sight of the underbellies of the same stealth bombers used to decimate entire cities and villages in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. Baseball fans must now endure the tired song “God Bless America” after singing along to the amusing traditional tune of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” National Guard and Army officers have booths set up next to snack venders in an attempt to recruit middle school and high school students with the lure of tuition grants.
A report published this week by Republican Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake revealed that these pageantries of patriotism are the product of a multimillion-dollar US government propaganda campaign carried out with the collusion of the corporate sports world.
The report, titled “Tackling Paid Patriotism,” shows that the Pentagon paid sports teams across the country millions of dollars for allowing the military-intelligence agencies to carry out hundreds of displays of pro-war, pro-military propaganda.
From 2012 to 2015 alone, the US government spent $53 million “on marketing and advertising contracts with sports teams,” the report notes. “The majority of the contracts—72 of the 122 contracts we analyzed—clearly show that DOD [Department of Defense] paid for patriotic tributes at professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer games. These paid tributes included on-field color guard, enlistment and reenlistment ceremonies, performances of the national anthem, full-field flag details, ceremonial first pitches… DOD even paid teams for the ‘opportunity’ to perform surprise welcome home promotions for troops returning from deployments.”
The list of propaganda tools employed by the military in the 146-page report goes on and on. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid for the military branding of “rally towels,” patriotic-themed in-game video presentations, “battle ceremonies,” “military appreciation days…”
One report from a Chicago Bears football team’s “designated Salute to Service home game” gives a sense of the pageantry: “A member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division sang the National Anthem while 100 members from various branches of the military unfurled a large American flags [sic]. A soldier led the team onto the field while carrying and American flag [sic] and military members were Honorary Captains. Halftime featured a re-enlistment ceremony and after, Bears partners Boeing and Chase created a video showcasing fan appreciation for the military community.”
This sick spectacle captures something about contemporary life in the United States: sports fans are forced to watch as the US military pays a sports team to enlist unsuspecting young people to fight in wars that have resulted in the deaths of over one million people. In the background, a video from a bank and a weapons manufacturer gives a big “thank you!” on the Jumbotron scoreboard. The playwright Harold Pinter captured something of this spectacle in his coarsely worded poem “American Football.”
The purpose of such rituals is part propaganda, part intimidation. On the one hand, the nauseating paeans to “our warriors” who “keep the homeland safe” is an attempt to justify the fact that the US has been in a state of permanent war for a quarter of a century, with trillions of dollars wasted on the wars of corporate plunder. On the other hand, the pro-war, pro-military hysteria is supposed to drown out, isolate and shame all oppositional antiwar sentiment. One dare not remain seated during the national anthem.
Of course, sport has long been fertile territory for mass distraction and used as a mechanism to release social pressure. Under the for-profit system, sport—for example, European football—has been employed to stoke the most right-wing national, regional and ethnic prejudices.
But the present militarist propaganda campaign in the US is almost without precedent, paralleling only the 1936 Berlin Olympics, held to glorify a rearmed German imperialism under fascist rule.
After the fall of the Roman Republic, the term “bread and circuses” was coined to describe the use of extravagant spectacle as an attempt by the bankrupt ruling class to pacify and distract the population while providing them with certain basic needs. A variation on the term—“guns and butter”—was employed in the 1960s to depict the attempts of the American ruling class to combine war abroad with social programs at home.
The present propaganda campaign combines the worst of both slogans. The ruling class today provides the working class with neither “bread” nor “butter.” As a result, their program is now one of “guns and circuses”!
Fifteen years after the beginning of the so-called “War on Terror,” no facet of life in the United States—political, legal or cultural—has escaped the dark shadow of the American military-intelligence apparatus. Everything is subordinated to the needs of the state. Personal communications are intercepted and stored, protests are monitored and school curricula are manipulated. Hollywood works with the CIA to produce films like “Zero Dark Thirty” to justify the government’s illegal torture program, and a worker can hardly take his or her family to the ballgame without being inundated with pro-war lies and propaganda.
Senators McCain and Flake are two pro-war politicians who are opposed not to pro-war propaganda displays but only to the fact that sports teams received payment for allowing the government to put on their shows. It is interesting, to say the least, that two senators whose campaigns are supported by the weapons manufacturing industry are taking the moral high ground in opposition to war profiteering.
Nevertheless, their report reveals the vast chasm that separates the vast majority of the population from government officialdom, expressed through the military, the corporate media, the Democratic and Republican Parties, the trade unions, and the professional sports industry.
Contrary to the official portrayal, the United States is not a country in which broad support exists for the military-intelligence apparatus and its wars of exploitation. After all, there would be no need for propaganda if opposition did not exist. In other words, the military rituals surrounding professional sports are not the product of popular support for war. To the contrary, the ruling class feels the need to stoke Potemkin patriotism with increased ferocity precisely because they fear that the poison pill of American nationalism is wearing off.
The football World Cup 2010 was in South Africa. South Africa had already been a candidate for the 2006 World Cup. However, they then lost the vote to Germany; because of corruption as looks probable now.
Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:
Police raid at German Football Association because of bribery affair
The German tax authorities this morning raided the headquarters of the German Football Federation (DFB) in Frankfurt. The homes of federation president Wolfgang Niersbach and his predecessor, Theo Zwanziger have been searched.
The raids are connected with the investigation into the payment of 6.7 million euros in 2002 to the world football association FIFA. The magazine Der Spiegel recently revealed that such payment was made to bring in the organization of the World Cup in 2006. …
The public prosecutor suspects the Football Association now of tax evasion. The payment of 6.7 million euros was not declared to the tax authorities. During the raids, eg computers, documents and hard drives were confiscated. If tax evasion is proven, then Niersbach and Zwanziger may face imprisonment.
This video says about itself:
E:60 – Taken / Athletes of Bahrain
8 November 2011
Produced by Yaron Deskalo of ESPN. Filmed and Edited by Evolve Digital Cinema.
What if a country’s biggest athlete, a legend, a hero, a player who brought the nation some of its biggest sporting moments, was at practice one day and was suddenly taken into custody by masked men? What if he was held for months, tortured, his career ended, banned from his team and for playing for his country, all because he expressed his political views? It’s not a storyline from a Hollywood script — that is what allegedly happened in Bahrain.
Specifically, it’s what Alaa Hubail says happened to him. Hubail is the most famous soccer player in Bahrain and says similar treatment was forced on his brother, Mohammad, also a member of Bahrain’s national soccer team; and to Anwar Al-Makki, Bahrain’s internationally ranked table-tennis champion. In a story largely ignored by the Western world, these athletes describe in detail the horrific torture they endured at the hands of their government — a government that is allied with the United States despite allegations of human rights abuses against pro-democracy protestors. E:60 goes to the Middle East for the first time to investigate how athletes were caught up in the clash of democracy, freedom, repression and politics. Jeremy Schaap reports.
From the Human Rights First site in the USA:
October 28, 2015
Bahraini Sheikh and FIFA Presidential Hopeful Continues to Dodge Allegations over Targeting Athletes
By Brian Dooley
FIFA Presidential hopeful Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of the Bahrain ruling family has failed to adequately answer questions about his part in the violent crackdown against pro-democracy protests in 2011. In a BBC interview last night, he dismissed the reports as “nasty lies” that he was involved in identifying footballers and other athletes who were targeted – and some jailed – during 2011.
Associated Press estimated that more than 150 athletes, coaches, and referees were targeted, and some jailed for their perceived part in the protests. There are several major issues he has failed to answer in connection to what happened four years ago:
First, it’s not clear if he is denying involvement in what happened or if he’s disputing that the targeting and jailing of athletes happened at all by the Bahraini government, which is headed by his family. There are numerous press reports that athletes were jailed, and their targeting was reported in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, a body set up by the Bahrain government itself to investigate what happened in early 2011. Is Sheikh Al Khalifa denying these things happened, or that he had no part in them?
Second, his response to his role in identifying those to be targeted is rhetorical and inadequate “[did] I need to get involved in this?” There has so far been no satisfying response to The Guardian‘s discovery a few days ago revealing that he was named in an official April 2011 media statement by Bahrain’s state news agency as the lead investigator on an official committee investigating the athletes who had joined the protests. Is Sheikh Al Khalifa denying he was part of this committee?
Third, Sheikh Al Khalifa says he should be judged by those in football who know him. “Ask anyone in football about myself,” he suggests. Will Sheikh Al Khalifa allow foreign journalists into Bahrain to ask footballers and other targeted athletes what they think of him and what role, if any, they believe he played in their identification?
Sheikh Al Khalifa says he offers FIFA “fresh blood.” It’s an unfortunate phrase given the context, and he needs to explain far better than he has what role he played in the targeting of footballers and other athletes in 2011.
If Uefa had any moral backbone it would consider withdrawing from Fifa, by Marina Hyde. The only way these seven Fifa presidential candidates could be considered new brooms is if they were placed next to a recently unearthed fossilised sweeping implement believed to date back to the early Iron Age: here.
The Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) stated that the Bahraini child Ali Abdullah Isa (15 years old) was recently arrested in a raid on his father’s house in Zayed city in the early hours of the morning by members of civilian security forces and was taken to the juvenile detention center. BFHR added that he “was harshly beaten and tortured, despite his medical condition as he suffers from sickle cell anemia and was born with a punctured heart,” calling for his immediate release: here.
October 30, 2015, 05:00 pm. US must push for reform in Bahrain. By Brian Dooley: here.
In June Bahrain’s king pardoned opposition politician Ebrahim Sharif only to throw him back in jail three weeks later. His wife, Farida Ghulam, writes about the surreal nature of living with a lack of free expression.
By Brian Dooley, Director, Human Rights First’s Human Rights Defenders Program:
10/27/2015 12:46 pm EDT
Al Khalifa of Bahrain’s ruling family has announced his candidacy for the post this week saying the job required “an experienced, competent and honest leadership capable of winning the confidence of the international football community.”
But then UK newspaper The Guardian uncovered what seems to be a smoking gun document linking him directly to the crackdown, suggesting he was a senior member of a special committee set up to identify athletes who took part in the demonstrations.
AP estimated that more than 150 athletes, coaches, and referees were targeted, and some jailed for their perceived part in the protests.
In May 2011 I was in Bahrain researching the crackdown and found other human rights violations related to football and specifically Manchester United.
I met the family of Ahmad Shams, a 15-year-old boy who was shot by the police, according to his family, while wearing a Man United shirt about six weeks before. He was playing football with his friends near his home in Sar on March 30, 2011, when his family says he was killed by security forces. Around 5:30 p.m. in a quiet area, two groups of security vehicles appeared, nine in all. When the boys playing saw them they ran, and the police started shooting rubber bullets at them.
They say Ahmed was hit by a “sound bomb” cartridge on the back of his head. He continued running, but was caught and beaten by the police. His father took him to a relative’s house and then to the American Mission hospital. While being examined by a doctor, his family says security troops came and took him to the main Salmaniya Hospital, where he died, still wearing a Manchester United shirt.
An international commission of inquiry into what happened during the crackdown on protestors ordered by the Bahraini government found that “No autopsy was conducted and no formal cause of death has been recorded,” and that “The MoI [Ministry of the Interior] has failed to conduct an effective investigation into the circumstances surrounding this death.”
Ahmed’s bedroom wall had posters of Wayne Rooney and others of the 2010-2011 United team. In the weeks after his death, some people in Bahrain wrote to Man United ambitiously asking if they might hold a minute’s silence before one of their games in tribute to Ahmed. People sent emails to the Man United account making the request. One of them was Dr. Fatima Haji, a rheumatologist in Bahrain’s Salmaniya Medical Complex, and a Ryan Giggs fan.
With dozens of other medics, she was arrested after treating injured protestors and tortured in custody. But her interrogation was a bit different; she had written the email asking for the minute’s silence and then deleted it, knowing it might be incriminating. When she was arrested on April 17 her laptop was taken too, and a few days later — with tragic efficiency — Man United responded to her email, which her interrogators then saw.
“I was blindfolded and handcuffed with my hands behind my back, and beaten,” she told me. “A man asked me ‘What is your relationship with Alex Ferguson?’ I was shocked and figured out they’d gone through my emails. A female officer hit me on the head on both sides at the same time — she was wearing what I later found out was a special electrical band on her hands and she electrocuted me a couple of times — I felt a shock wave through my head. It was very painful and the whole world was spinning. I was beaten again on the head.”
Haji says she was questioned over and over again about her connection to Manchester United: “because they’d responded to my email the police thought I somehow knew someone at Manchester United.” She spent several weeks in custody and was tried with 19 other medics in a military court. She was sentenced to five years in prison and finally acquitted on appeal in June 2012. One of her co-accused, Dr. Ali Alekry, is still in prison.
Man United has run football camps in Bahrain since then, and the regime is proud of its links with major international sporting brands — it hosts an annual Formula 1 grand prix. Winning the FIFA presidency would be a major coup for the monarchy.
But opposition to Al Khalifa’s bid is growing. Guardian sportswriter Marina Hyde described Sheikh Al Khalifa as a “monstrous arsehole… whose ascent to football primacy has been a classic riches-to-riches story.” Even FIFA — known for its tolerance of corruption and an embarrassing leadership — must realize having Sheikh Al Khalifa in charge would damage its reputation beyond repair.
Rights Groups Deplore Bahrain Royal’s Entry in Race to Lead FIFA: here.
Bahraini Sheikh Salman’s human rights record scrutinized ahead of FIFA election: here.