Bahrain regime bans US observer from witch trial


This video says abouty itself:

Julian Assange‘s The World Tomorrow: Nabeel Rajab & Alaa Abd El-Fattah

8 May 2012

In the fourth episode of The World Tomorrow, Julian Assange speaks with two leading Arab revolutionaries in the middle of conflict, Alaa Abd El-Fattah from Egypt and Nabeel Rajab from Bahrain.

Alaa Abd El-Fattah is a long time Egyptian blogger, programmer and political activist. His parents were human rights campaigners under Anwar Sadat; his sister Mona Seif became a Twitter star during the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and is a founder of the No Military Trials for Civilians group formed under the post-Mubarak military junta.

El-Fattah was imprisoned for 45 days in 2006 for protesting under the Mubarak regime, and released after “Free Alaa” solidarity protests in Egypt and around the world. In 2011, from abroad, El-Fattah helped route around Mubarak’s internet blockade.

Nabeel Rajab is a lifelong Bahraini activist and critic of the Al Khalifa regime. … Rajab has agitated for reform in Bahrain since his return from university in 1988.

Along with the Bahraini-Danish human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, he helped establish the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights in 2002.

Rajab is reasonably new to the limelight — becoming a face for the Bahrain uprising of February 14 2011, after the sit-in at Pearl Roundabout. Since then, he has been a public face for the revolution, waging a social media war on Twitter with PR companies working for the regime.

After al-Khawaja was imprisoned, he led protests for his release. He has endured beatings, arrests and legal harrassment for engaging in pro-democracy demonstrations. On Saturday 5th of May, he was arrested at Manama airport, and charged the next day with encouraging and engaging in “illegal protests.” Nabeel Rajab remains in detention at the time of broadcast.

From AFP news agency today:

Bahrain Court Bars U.S. Observer from Activist’s Tria

The United States was Tuesday seeking an explanation from Bahraini authorities after a US embassy observer was expelled from the trial of a prominent rights activist.

A representative of the U.S. embassy was asked to leave Monday’s court hearing for Shiite activist Nabeel Rajab, a State Department official confirmed.

“We are seeking additional clarification from the Bahraini government as to why she was not allowed to observe the proceedings,” deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

“We believe that an essential element of promoting national reconciliation is ensuring the confidence of all Bahrain’s citizens and our government’s commitment to due process and the rule of law.”

The U.S. has already expressed concern that the Bahraini court refused to free Rajab even though he was eligible for early release after serving two-thirds of a two-year sentence.

Rajab was arrested in the wake of the Sunni monarchy’s crackdown on a month of Shiite-led protests in 2011 demanding political reforms and jailed for taking part in “unauthorized” protests.

His sentence was later reduced on appeal to two years from an initial three and according lawyers and right groups he had been eligible for early release late last month.

Bahrain Spotlight: Leading Activist Said Yousif “I’ve Been Forced Into Exile”: here. And here.

Bahrain’s violent repression of its people confirms that authoritarian regimes are more than capable of dealing with political unrest. But don’t be fooled, says Quinn Mecham. The Kingdom’s tenuous ‘ruling bargain’ has been rocked like never before: here.

Assange Australian elections candidate


This video is called Collateral Murder – Wikileaks – Iraq.

Australia: WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has confirmed his intention to run as a Senate candidate in the 2013 federal election and will announce the formation of a WikiLeaks political party early next year: here.

Free Bahraini human rights activist now


This video says about itself:

May 8, 2012

In the fourth episode of The World Tomorrow Julian Assange speaks with two leading Arab revolutionaries in the middle of conflict, Alaa Abd El-Fattah from Egypt and Nabeel Rajab from Bahrain.

Alaa Abd El-Fattah is a long time Egyptian blogger, programmer and political activist. His parents were human rights campaigners under Anwar Sadat; his sister Mona Seif became a Twitter star during the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and is a founder of the No Military Trials for Civilians group formed under the post-Mubarak military junta.

El-Fattah was imprisoned for 45 days in 2006 for protesting under the Mubarak regime, and released after “Free Alaa” solidarity protests in Egypt and around the world. In 2011, from abroad, El-Fattah helped route around Mubarak’s internet blockade.

Nabeel Rajab is a lifelong Bahraini activist and critic of the Al Khalifa regime. A member of a staunch pro-regime family, Rajab has agitated for reform in Bahrain since his return from university in 1988. Along with the Bahraini-Danish human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, he helped establish the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights in 2002.

Rajab is reasonably new to the limelight — becoming a face for the Bahrain uprising of February 14 2011, after the sit-in at Pearl Roundabout. Since then, he has been a public face for the revolution, waging a social media war on Twitter with PR companies working for the regime.

After al-Khawaja was imprisoned, he led protests for his release. He has endured beatings, arrests and legal harrassment for engaging in pro-democracy demonstrations. On Saturday 5th of May, he was arrested at Manama airport, and charged the next day with encouraging and engaging in “illegal protests.” Nabeel Rajab remains in detention at the time of broadcast.

From the Bahrain Center for Human Rights:

Julian Assange: Nabeel Rajab is a prisoner of conscience and he must be released

London – December 12th, 2012

Julian Assange released a statement today calling for the immediate release of BCHR President Nabeel Rajab.

Statement from Julian Assange on Nabeel Rajab:

“I last saw Nabeel Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, in March 2012. Nabeel flew to the United Kingdom, where I interviewed him for my television programme The World Tomorrow. While he had been on the plane, his house had been surrounded by armed police.

I asked him what he was going to do now. Wasn’t he fearful about returning home? He was adamant. He would return to Bahrain.

“[T]his is the struggle, this is the freedom, this is democracy that we are fighting for. It has a cost and we have to pay the cost, and the cost might be very expensive as we have paid a high cost in Bahrain, and we are willing to pay that for the changes that we are fighting for.”

Once he was back in Bahrain, a campaign of judicial harassment began. He was charged with illegal assembly and insulting the Prime Minister on Twitter. He was sentenced to three years in jail, for daring to claim his right to freedom of expression and association.

On December 11, after a long campaign of resistance, his sentence was reduced to two years.

This is not enough.

Nabeel Rajab is a prisoner of conscience. He should not be in jail at all. He should never have been put in jail. He must be released.

Immediately before his imprisonment, Nabeel Rajab was the leading voice of the Bahrain Spring. He has carried the banner, raised around the Islamic world in 2011, which cried out for ‘Huriyyah, Adalah Ijtima’iyah, Karamah’ – for Freedom, Social Justice, Dignity. What we know as the Arab Spring is, in Arabic, the ‘Thawraat l-Karamah’ – the ‘Revolutions of Dignity.’

Nabeel’s commitment to the moral importance of this movement cannot be doubted. Along with many other Bahrainis, he has given over his life and freedom for the reform of his country. Together, they have given everything. It is the regime that must now give ground.

The Bahraini regime has repeatedly promised reform, even commissioning a report on its own human rights abuses which found it guilty of practicing torture and the excessive use of force. It has failed to implement all but the most superficial of this report’s recommendations.

In particular, Recommendation 1722 (h) of this report called on the government, “To review convictions and commute sentences of all persons charged with offences involving political expression, not consisting of advocacy of violence, or, as the case may be, to drop outstanding charges against them.”

The regime has instead continued to imprison activists like Nabeel, for crimes solely related to their freedom of expression and assembly. Thirteen leading activists and opposition leaders remain in jail, despite international recognition of their status as political prisoners.

Originally slow to comment, even the President of the United States has asserted that “The only real way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail.”

Words do not match actions, however. Neither the US, which has a large military base in Bahrain, or the UK have applied any real pressure for the release of political prisoners, despite acknowledging this to be central to the reform process.

This is not a sophisticated issue. Our obligations are clear. The political prisoners of Bahrain must be freed as a necessary step towards peaceful reform. There will be no dignity in Bahrain until Nabeel Rajab is released.”

WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning on torture


This video from the USA says about itself:

Manning Testifies About His Torture; Was it Aimed at Turning Him on Assange?

Michael Ratner: Manning describes cruel and unusual punishment; offers to plea to lesser charges.

Bradley Manning Takes the Stand: here. And here.

Why Ecuadorean asylum for WikiLeaks’ Assange?


This video, recorded in London, England says about itself:

“Why is it that an Australian, facing prosecution from a European country, decides to appeal for asylum to a South American republic?” Tariq Ali posed and eloquently answered this important question when he spoke outside the Embassy of Ecuador in London on August 19, 2012, before Wikileaks founder Julian Assange spoke from the balcony of the embassy where he has been granted political asylum by the progressive Rafael Correa government of Ecuador.

The British media has played a venal role throughout the ongoing efforts to witch-hunt and silence WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. But it has plumbed new depths following the decision by Ecuador to grant his request for political asylum: here.

The Pursuit of Julian Assange Is an Assault on Freedom and a Mockery of Journalism: here.

Ecuador President Rafael Correa said yesterday that Britain has “given up its threat” to enter his country’s London embassy to arrest Wikileaks founder Julian Assange: here.

Ecuador court rejects extradition request from Belarus: here.

Julian Assange to receive Aboriginal Passport: here.

WikiLeaks’ Assange speech in London, England


This video is called Julian Assange Speech from Ecuador’s London Embassy 19th July 2012.

By Rory MacKinnon in Britain:

End the war on WikiLeaks, demands Julian Assange in embassy speech

Sunday 19 August 2012

The West must end its war on whistleblowers, Julian Assange demanded today as the diplomatic crisis over his extradition continued.

Supporters and news crews gathered outside as the WikiLeaks founder appeared on the balcony of Ecuador’s central London embassy – with dozens of Met officers watching and waiting just metres away.

The brief speech marked his first public appearance since taking refuge there over two months ago after exhausting legal efforts to appeal an extradition order to Sweden, where authorities want to question him about alleged sex crimes.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa granted him “diplomatic asylum” earlier this month but Foreign Secretary William Hague vowed last week to arrest Mr Assange should he leave the embassy.

But Mr Assange was defiant, demanding the US government end its persecution of WikiLeaks and its associates.

He said that was driving Britain’s zealous pursuit of him.

“As WikiLeaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all of our societies,” he said.

“I ask President Obama to do the right thing – the United States must renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks.”

He also paid tribute to US political prisoner Bradley Manning, a US army private and allegedly the source of a huge cache of US diplomatic cables and military files on Afghanistan and Iraq.

“If Bradley Manning did what he is accused of he is a hero and an example to all of us,” he said.

Pvt Manning has been held for two years in military brigs under appalling conditions and now faces a court martial on 22 charges, including “aiding the enemy.”

Earlier Mr Assange’s newly appointed lawyer Baltasar Garzon told reporters his client had never shied away from questioning by Swedish investigators.

But he insisted on “reasonable assurance” that Sweden would not extradite him in turn to the US, where he is believed to be the subject of a sealed indictment.

Ecuador Comes Out Winner as UK Overreaches with Assange Threats on Likely Behalf of US: here.

US ‘held back Bradley Manning emails’: here.

Ellsberg support Ecuador’s asylum for Wikileaks’ Assange


This video from the USA says about itself:

Daniel Ellsberg, the most famous whistleblower in the United States, praises Ecuador for granting political asylum to Julian Assange to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over sex crime accusations. “I congratulate Ecuador of course for standing up to the British Empire here, for insisting that they are not a British colony, and acting as a sovereign state ought to act,” said Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, the secret history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. On Thursday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Assange would be arrested if he left the embassy, saying Britain is “under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden. “[Assange] has every reason to be wary that the real intent here is to whisk him away to America where it really hasn’t been made clear what might be waiting for him.”

See also here.

‘US intends to chase Assange, cables show’: here.

Julian Assange row: Americas ministers to meet: here.

Freedom loving people say thanks to #Ecuador! New posters for embassies here.

Ecuador received powerful backing from regional allies at the weekend as they warned Britain of “grave consequences” if it breached diplomatic security at Ecuador’s embassy in London: here.

US veterans demand fair trial for WikiLeaks’ Bradley Manning


This video from the USA says about itself:

Veterans sit-in / occupy Oakland Obama campaign office for [a fair trial for Bradley Manning of WikiLeaks].

Veterans and their supporters read their demands for a fair trial for accused WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning.

Spread the word on twitter, #vets4brad

UK threatens to storm Ecuadorean embassy to seize Assange: here.

Ecuador Grants Assange Asylum, Respecting Human Rights, Despite Threats From UK: here.

HAGUE MUST RESIGN – calls WikiLeaks after UK threat to storm Ecuadorian Embassy: here.

Australian government lines up behind British threats against Assange: here.

Ecuador’s asylum for Wikileaks’ Assange


This video is called WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs: Torture, civilian death toll revealed in latest leak.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Ecuador had no choice

Thursday 16 August 2012

Ecuador‘s decision to grant political asylum to Julian Assange was the only one possible in the circumstances.

This is not just because of Quito’s values of “human rights, democracy and peace,” as Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino stressed, but as a response to Britain’s attempt to bludgeon Ecuador into submission.

Foreign Secretary William Hague‘s attempt to put pressure on President Rafael Correa‘s government by “reminding” it of a 1987 law allowing the British government to revoke the diplomatic status of foreign embassies was an act of ham-fisted arrogance.

Patino’s response of bringing the threat into the open and telling the Foreign Office: “We are not a British colony” was entirely appropriate.

The Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act of 1987 was passed in very specific circumstances.

It followed the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher by a bullet fired from the Libyan embassy or people’s bureau, as it was called.

Under the Vienna convention on consular relations, police could not enter the people’s bureau to investigate the crime.

The key section of the Act opening the way to revoking diplomatic status stipulates that this can happen if a state “ceases to use land for the purposes of its mission or exclusively for the purposes of a consular post.”

There is no way that Ecuador’s granting of political asylum to Assange fits that definition. It is a right that all states have.

If, for any reason, the US embassy in London were to allow someone to take up residence pending consideration of a political asylum application, does anyone imagine that Hague and his officials would be whispering to Washington that its embassy’s status might be revoked?

Merely asking the question lays bare the unattractive nature of the British government’s conduct.

It feels that it has the right to throw its weight around against countries it views as less powerful or influential and, by so doing, it confirms the negative image so many Latin American states have of Britain.

Ecuador has not granted political asylum as a knee-jerk reaction. Its diplomats have been consulting British, Swedish and US officials over how best to resolve this matter.

Two Swedish women have accused Assange of unspecified sexual offences, although no charges have yet been proferred.

Assange and his supporters insist that these allegations are politically motivated, but the women’s right to have their complaints taken seriously and to see the man they accuse face due legal process merits respect.

The complicating factor in this scenario is that the US will not confirm or deny that it will apply for Assange’s extradition once he is removed to Sweden and Stockholm refuses to rule out handing him over to Washington for a show trial over his leaking of US diplomatic messages.

Swedish police could have interviewed Assange in London over the sexual assault claims but chose not to, which raises fears that Sweden, Britain and the US may be engaged in a deceitful charade to use one legal process as the pretext to set in train another related to WikiLeaks.

Sweden already has form in handing over asylum-seekers designated as terrorist suspects to the CIA, which set them up to be tortured in Egypt.

Assange has little chance of justice in a US court, which makes a diplomatic solution of this legal maze crucial.

British government threats and pomposity are unhelpful and ultimately self-defeating.

Britain Threatens To Storm Ecuador Embassy To Seize Assange: here.

‘Assange will not get safe passage out of UK’: here.