Bahraini dictatorship considers human rights activism ‘terrorism’

This video says about itself:

Suspected ISIS leader in Pakistan admits receiving funds via US – report

28 January 2015

A suspected Islamic State operative in Pakistan, Yousaf al Salafi, confesses to recruiting jihadists to fight in Syria, and says he received funds, wired through the U.S.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

We are human rights defenders, but Bahrain says we’re terrorists

Sayed Alwadaei

I am among 72 people stripped of their citizenship under terror laws. My crime? To fight for democracy and human rights in Bahrain

Monday 9 February 2015 10.34 GMT

The barbaric killing of Muadh al-Kasasbeh by Isis will haunt us for a long time to come as an example of the cruelty of today’s Jihadi terrorists. Kasasbeh was burned alive in a cage a month ago, his murder hidden from the world as Jordan demanded his safe return, the truth only coming to light last week when a video of his murder appeared online.

As Jordan mourns its hero, we in Bahrain reflect in fear and disgust: the Bahraini government names human rights defenders, journalists and political activists terrorists, and in doing so they liken us to Kasasbeh’s killers. The prospect of what it means for us is utterly terrifying.

This video says about itself:

Is ISIS A Tool of the Saudi State?

1 October 2014

Ali Al-Ahmed says ISIS is a key part of Saudi Arabia’s strategy in the Middle East.

The Guardian article continues:

At the beginning of the month the ministry of interior published a list of 72 persons whose citizenship was to be revoked. No trial, no appeal, no legal process – if your name is on that list, you are no longer a Bahraini. Recent amendments to the nationality law allow the state to revoke citizenship for those guilty of terrorism. About 50 of the named persons, myself included, are human rights defenders, political activists, journalists, doctors, religious scholars – peaceful activists. Most of us are now stateless. Among the reasons given for revoking our citizenship: “defaming the image of the regime, inciting against the regime and spreading false news to hinder the rules of the constitution” and “defaming brotherly countries”.

Mixed in with our names were 20 real terrorists, people known to have gone to fight for Isis in Iraq and Syria, including notorious Bahraini jihadist preacher Turki Albinali. The message has never been clearer: the government of Bahrain views us, who advocate for democracy, human rights and change in Bahrain, as equals to the Jihadi-terrorists of Isis. We, who call for parliamentary reform and an end to torture, who call for the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings to be brought to justice, and who report on these events to the world – we are put on par with the barbaric murderers of Muadh al-Kasasbeh.

Next week will be the anniversary of the uprising which shook Bahrain. When we took to the streets on 14 February 2011 and called for democratic reform, we never imagined the repression that would follow: a brutal crackdown on protests and the establishment of martial law. Many died, shot by police, or beaten to death. Many more were imprisoned and sentenced on trumped-up charges. Doctors were arrested and tortured for treating protesters. One journalist, Karim al-Fakhrawi, died in police custody. One wonders how the world would have reacted if that murder was filmed and spread online, like the murders of Isis.

We could not have imagined that 2015 would be worse, and yet it is. Though we haven’t seen the same extreme violence that characterised martial law four years ago, today the repressive measures have become institutional. Anti-terrorism laws are now used against protesters and are used systematically to keep people off the streets. Police continue to treat protesters with excessive force. Red lines have been crossed with the detention of major political opposition figures, who were never touched even during the dark days of martial law.

This video says about itself:

Bahrain police attack young women 23-9-2011.

The Guardian article continues:

Bahrain’s government has not only succeeded in defining the work of human rights defenders, journalists and political activists as terrorism under the law, it has done so with little opposition from its allies – particularly the UK. It was bizarre when, on 20 January, foreign secretary Philip Hammond praised Bahrain’s human rights record and called it “a country which is travelling in the right direction”. On the same day, only hours later, a court convened to hear Nabeel Rajab’s case and sentenced the human rights defender to six months’ imprisonment.

The reprisals against human rights defenders, political activists and journalists I’ve described are not nearly a complete list. Yet they are the major feature of Bahrain in 2015. When the government of Bahrain equates the work of journalists and human rights defenders to the most brutal murder of innocents, I must ask: is this what Philip Hammond considers the “right direction”?

Hundreds of people protested in London on Saturday against the UK’s support for Bahrain’s repressive government: here.

9/11 atrocities and Saudi Arabia

This video says about itself:

David Rovics, The Dying Firefighter

A few days after the attacks on the World Trade Towers in New York, singer songwriter David Rovics came into the studios of WERU Community Radio, in East Orland Maine, where I recorded his performance of this live version, perhaps the first time the song was performed in public, certainly the first time it was recorded. Meanwhile the world watched and waited to see what the United States would do- take the high road toward peace or follow the drumbeat to war.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Saudi Arabia, 9/11 and the “war on terror

6 February 2015

More than 13 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, evidence in a federal lawsuit brought by relatives of the victims is a devastating exposure of events and relations long covered up and obscured by the media and political establishment: that Al Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers were financed by the Saudi monarchy, a top US ally with extensive ties to US intelligence agencies.

Affidavits filed with Federal District Judge George P. Daniels substantiate claims that leading figures in the Saudi monarchy, including its longtime ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a nephew of the current Saudi monarch, King Salman, financially supported Al Qaeda.

The documents include a deposition from Zacarias Moussaoui, the only individual convicted of direct participation in the plot to hijack airplanes and fly them into the World Trade Center and other US targets on September 11, 2001.

Moussaoui testified that while working for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1990s he prepared a digital database of the group’s financial backers that included Prince Bandar and two other high-ranking Saudi princes: Prince Turki al-Faisal, the longtime head of Saudi intelligence, and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company and the wealthiest member of the royal family.

He also described working as a courier for bin Laden, bringing messages to members of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Salman, then the governor of Riyadh, who today is King Salman after succeeding to the throne last month.

The New York Times published lead articles Wednesday and Thursday highlighting the new allegations of Saudi backing for the 9/11 attacks. These had less the character of an exposé, however, than of a semi-official attempt to contain the impact of the material being released as a consequence of the 9/11 families’ lawsuit.

This is the apparent reason for the articles’ near-exclusive focus on Moussaoui, a witness whose testimony can be more easily dismissed by the political establishment. The legal papers filed with the federal district court included Moussaoui’s deposition, but much more, including allegations of Saudi complicity in 9/11 from such pillars of the Washington establishment as former senator Robert Graham of Florida. He wrote, “I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia.”

Graham is in a position to know. He chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2002 when it produced a lengthy report on the 9/11 attacks. This included a 28-page section on Saudi support to the 9/11 hijackers that was classified and suppressed by the Bush administration, an act of censorship that was endorsed and continued by the Obama administration. Senator Graham, who favors the release of this material, wrote, “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.”

The evidence of Saudi complicity in the 9/11 attacks is a devastating exposure of the fraudulent nature of the “war on terror,” the axis of US national security policy for more than 13 years.

The Bush administration used the 9/11 attacks as the pretext for wars against Afghanistan, whose government had provided shelter to Osama bin Laden, but had no involvement in 9/11, and against Iraq, which had no connection to either 9/11 or Al Qaeda. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia, the country that supplied Al Qaeda’s funds, its principal leader, and 15 of the 19 hijackers, was deemed a key US ally.

Every official investigation into the 9/11 attacks had to whitewash the Saudi connection—or be censored, like the Senate Intelligence Committee report. The issue was not just the reactionary role of the Saudi monarchy in financing and supporting Al Qaeda, but the close ties between US intelligence agencies and the supposedly anti-American terrorist group—connections on which the latest Times articles are completely silent. …

The crimes committed on 9/11 took nearly 3,000 lives. The crimes committed using 9/11 as a justification have taken hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya and a dozen other countries. And 9/11 has served as the all-purpose justification for the wholesale destruction of democratic rights in the United States and other imperialist countries, which have created the framework for police states in the name of preventing “another 9/11.”

… This was signaled last month in Obama’s trip to Riyadh to pay homage to the new king, Salman—one of those named as a financial supporter of Osama bin Laden.

The Saudi connection has been critical to the continuing relations of American imperialism with Al Qaeda and other Islamic fundamentalist groups. These forces were first mobilized in the 1980s as part of the campaign by the Carter and Reagan administrations to subvert the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan and foster the disintegration of the USSR. The mujahedddin —including Osama bin Laden—were armed and trained by the CIA and financed by Saudi Arabia. They have more recently been used to overthrow the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi and to undermine the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

ISIS itself is a product of this insidious relationship. It originates in the Sunni fundamentalist backlash to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003—prior to the US invasion, there was no Al Qaeda presence in Iraq. Al Qaeda in Iraq reemerged as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, one of the strongest Islamist groups fighting against the Assad government in Syria, with the aid and training of the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It was only when ISIS fighters crossed back over into Iraq and began attacking the US-backed puppet regime in Baghdad that the group became the target of US bombs and propaganda.

Yet at the center of the entire “war on terror” is a monumental and brazen lie, the claim that 19 hijackers plotted and carried out a major attack on New York City and Washington, D.C., without anyone in the vast US military-intelligence apparatus being aware of what they were preparing. The latest revelations about the Saudi role in 9/11 are another blow against this web of fabrication and cover-up.

The White House may declassify still-secret sections of an official inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks which refer to possible Saudi Arabian support: here.

How the legal punishments handed out in Saudi Arabia compare to those of Isis: here.

US and Saudi Arabia: Dysfunctional partners depend on each other for survival: here.

Jordanian monarchy’s eye for an eye ‘helps’ making the whole world blind

This video from the USA says about itself:

Jordan executes ISIS prisoners in retaliation for pilot burning

4 February 2015

Jordan executed two prisoners, including a female Iraqi militant whom it had sought to trade with ISIS, on Wednesday morning in retaliation for the death of a Jordanian pilot who was reportedly burned alive in an ISIS video, Jordanian state media and police said.

The title of this video is misleading. These two prisoners had not been arrested for being ISIS members. ISIS did not exist yet when they were arrested.

As we know, the self-styled ‘Islamic State’ ISIS are criminals, committing rape, torture, beheadings and other atrocities.

One of their more recent crimes is murdering Jordanian prisoner of war Muath Al-Kaseasbeh.

ISIS’ evil actions did not arise suddenly, out of thin air.

Their ill-treatment and torture of prisoners is derived from the ill-treatment and torture of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and other secret and not so secret prisons of the government of the USA, close allies of the absolute monarchy Jordan. The CIA used Jordanian territory for torturing its prisoners.

The US Bush administration’s Iraq war is at the origin of ISIS. ISIS was greatly helped by the CIA’s and US NATO allies’ undeclared war against the Syrian regime in Damascus. An undeclared war which in 2013 almost escalated into an official war, in which ISIS would have been allies of the self-styled ‘free world’. Anti-war demonstrations in many countries and a vote in the British Parliament against warmonger David Cameron’s plans stopped that then.

Some of the ISIS torturers learned their trade of abuse while serving in the police force of the absolute monarchy Bahrain, also close allies of the absolute monarchy Jordan (and of the United States Pentagon).

The ISIS beheadings are imitations of the beheadings in Saudi Arabia, the only government in the world practicing the death penalty in this way.

The ISIS ideology of fanatical salafism, a perversion of Sunni Islam, is derived from the state religion of the Saudi absolute monarchy; again, close allies of the absolute monarchy Jordan.

How did the absolute monarchy Jordan react to ISIS killing Jordanian prisoner of war Muath Al-Kaseasbeh? According to the ‘logic’ of ‘An eye for an eye’, as the Bible calls it. Mahatma Gandhi replied, correctly, to that maxim, saying ‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’.

From Associated Press:

Jordan Executes 2 Prisoners After ISIS Killing Of Pilot, Official Says


AMMAN, Jordan — Islamic State group militants burned a captured Jordanian pilot to death in a cage, according to a purported video of the violence released Tuesday. The kingdom, which had vowed a swift and lethal response, executed two al-Qaida prisoners by hanging early Wednesday. …

The Jordanian military confirmed the death of 26-year-old Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, who was captured by the extremists in December when his F-16 crashed while he was flying a mission as part of the U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State group. …

In a first response to the killing of the pilot, Jordan executed Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouly, two Iraqis linked to al-Qaida, government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani said. Another official said they were executed by hanging.

The executions took place at Swaqa prison about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of the Jordanian capital of Amman. At sunrise, two ambulances carrying the bodies of al-Rishawi and al-Karbouly drove away from the prison with security escorts.

Over the past week, Jordan had offered to trade al-Rishawi, a failed suicide bomber, for the pilot, but froze any swap after failing to receive any proof that the pilot was still alive.

The man and the woman killed today by Jordanian state violence did not kill prisoner Muath Al-Kaseasbeh. They did not plan the death of Muath Al-Kaseasbeh. They had not been arrested for membership of ISIS. ISIS did not exist then yet. This was revenge. Which may lead to more revenge killings by ISIS, very probably of people not connected to the hangings of the two people in Jordan today. And so on. And so on.

Another example of this clueless ‘eye for an eye’ mentality: Isis militants should be crucified for the burning of Jordanian hostage, says Sunni academic.

Meanwhile, the bombing campaign against ISIS controlled areas, a campaign in which the late air force Lieutenant Muath Al-Kaseasbeh participated, continues. The Pentagon has confirmed that civilians are being killed in this campaign. Which may lead to civilians, whose friends or family are killed by coalition bombing, joining ISIS as fighters. Which they may have never wanted to do before, but which they may want to do now. In blind rage. As revenge. Which will lead to more revenge. Etc.

Read the story of a Sudanese family forced to flee Mosul following airstrikes against ISIS: here.

There is an anti-war movement in Jordan. One should hope pro-peace in Jordan, and everywhere in the world, will help to stop this escalation to a completely blind world.

The release of a video showing the immolation of captured Jordanian pilot First Lt. Moaz al-Kasabeh by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been followed by a wave of hypocritical moralizing, combined with threats of more violence, from the imperialist powers and their regional allies. The killing of al-Kasabeh, which apparently took place in early January, not long after the fighter jet he was piloting crashed in Syria, has evoked revulsion among ordinary people around the world. It is a reflection of the backward and reactionary character of ISIS. However, this act did not occur in a political vacuum. Both ISIS and the disaster unfolding in Iraq and Syria are the direct products of the criminal policies of the governments that now proclaim their moral indignation: here.

The latest ISIS atrocity – releasing a video of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot being burned alive – prompted substantial discussion yesterday about this particular form of savagery. It is thus worth noting that deliberately burning people to death is achievable – and deliberately achieved – in all sorts of other ways: here.

BRITISH TROOPS FOR JORDAN! – Stop the War demands issue be put before parliament: here.

USA: Code Pink Leader Gives Fox News Sound Advice On Nonviolent Ways To Fight ISIS: here.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has seized on the brutal murder of two citizens—Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa—by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to press for new legislation to further extend the government’s powers to dispatch military forces overseas. A video of Goto’s execution was released by ISIS last weekend, and followed the Islamist organisation’s beheading of Yukawa a week before: here.

ISIS terror, product of Bush’s Iraq war

This 17 June 2014 video from the USA about ISIS is called Bush’s toxic legacy in IRAQ to continue.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Human Rights Watch hits out at all sides of Iraqi and Syrian wars

Thursday 29th January 2015

Human Rights Watch lambasted Islamic State (Isis) militants for their atrocities yesterday and linked the group’s foundation and fanaticism directly to the US-driven war in Iraq.

The criticism came in the HRW annual report, which reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries.

The Islamic State group spreading terror in the Middle East was a product of the US-led war and military occupation of Iraq, the report said, coupled with the abuse of detainees in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and other US-run detention centres.

HRW also criticised the Syrian and Iraqi governments over what it described as “sectarian and abusive” policies that fuel extremism.

The funding of extremist groups by Gulf states and their citizens also played a role in fuelling militancy across the volatile region, the group warned.

“Rarely has an armed force engendered such widespread revulsion and opposition,” the report said. “Yet Isis did not emerge in a vacuum,” it added.

It also accused the Iraqi government of relying primarily on Shi’ite militias in the fight against Isis. They are, HRW alleged, killing and cleansing Iraqi areas of Sunni civilians with impunity.

HRW also accused the international community of indifference to violations by both governments.

“If the conditions that led to Isis are left to fester, the group could deepen its hold on the two countries and expand into Lebanon, Jordan, Libya and beyond.”

Bahraini dictatorship and ISIS

This video says about itself:

Jailed for a Tweet: Interview with Nabeel Rajab

21 October 2014

Nabeel Rajab is a human rights activist awaiting trial in Bahrain, one of the West’s favorite dictatorships. Three years after the Arab Spring, protests there are still being violently repressed, and Rajab now faces up to three years in jail — for a tweet. VICE News spoke to him a few weeks before his latest arrest.

Read More: Bahrain’s Human Rights Activist Faces Jail Time — for a Tweet: here.

From Deutsche Welle in Germany:

Bahrain, human rights and the ‘Islamic State

Rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been accused of vilifying Bahrain’s institutions. His trial highlights the challenges faced by the country – and shows that it’s ill prepared to face the threat from the “Islamic State.”

Nabeel Rajab has already spent two years in prison, and now a further term is imminent. On Tuesday, a Bahraini court will pronounce its verdict in the case of human rights activist Nabeel Rajab.

Rajab has been charged with insulting government institutions after tweeting that Bahraini security forces had joined the “Islamic State” terror militias in Iraq and Syria. He now faces a three-year jail sentence.

Rajab is one of the leading Shiite human rights activists, and he has been championing the rights of Bahrain’s religious minority for years. He pointed out that the conflict affecting his country was not religious, but political. “It’s about democracy, justice, equality, freedom. The people want democracy. They want a parliament which has actual power, they want an elected government,” he told DW in an earlier interview.

Indeed, the ruling family in Bahrain has traditionally cracked down hard on the opposition: In November, Shiite politician Sheikh Ali Salman was detained, accused of instigating the overthrow of the government using “violence, threats and illegal means.”

Bahrain faces the ‘Islamic State

Rajab’s trial concerns an existential challenge for Bahrain, namely the threat of terrorist organization “Islamic State” (IS). The government has rejected accusations that Bahraini special forces have joined IS’ fight. This might be justified to some extent; after all, they’re not fighting on behalf of the government. Bahrain is a partner in the international coalition which, under US leadership, has been combating IS in Syria and in Iraq.

An IS video released in September shows four young jihadists in the desert, armed with Kalashnikovs. Footage of this type is quite common by now, but the jihadists’ nationality is worthy of note: All the militants shown in the video are Bahrainis.

Among them was Mohamed Isa al-Binali, a former officer with Bahrain’s Interior Ministry. Some weeks earlier, he had been dismissed from the security service due to “unauthorized absences.” But more importantly, al-Binali had joined the ranks of IS several months earlier. …

IS gains foothold in Bahrain

According to information gathered by Internet magazine Middle East Eye, IS ideology has been spreading in Bahrain for some time. It’s believed that it was imported by the so-called new Bahrainis – police and security forces recruited by Bahrain from other countries, usually Yemen, Syria, Jordan and Pakistan.

In Bahrain, these people receive a much higher salary than in their respective home countries. The royal family had hoped this would buy a particular loyalty to their job – to provide the ruling family with protection. In fact, at least a proportion of the new Bahrainis have been cultivating and spreading IS ideas.

In the meantime, those ideas have begun to be picked up by ethnic Bahrainis. “The threat is very serious,” a Bahraini government official told Middle East Eye, speaking on condition of anonymity. “These are people from within the security services, from the police and the military. …”

The source’s wish for anonymity indicates that the royal family wants to keep the IS presence in Bahrain under wraps. If the news were to be widely publicized, more Bahrainis could be tempted to join IS. Nabeel Rajab’s tweet has effectively thwarted the government’s strategy, and now he must stand trial as a result.

Reforms? No, thanks!

However, a harsh judgment imposed on the human rights activist is likely to put the Shiite population even further at odds with the royal family. When the Arab uprisings began in 2011, Bahrain saw continued protests against the al Khailfa family. These were instigated, predominantly, by Shiite Bahrainis, who feel marginalized by the Sunni ruling family.

Even so, the royal family has been unwilling to accept reforms, according to Bahraini politician Ali Alaswad. Alaswad renounced his political mandate in February 2011, in an act of protest against the suppression of the peaceful democracy movement.

“When you talk about power-sharing you also talk about the monarchy,” said Alaswad in an interview with DW. “In our understanding in Bahrain there is an absolute monarchy, there isn’t a constitutional monarchy, which we agreed upon. Instead, all power belongs to the ruling family, and it controls the whole land.”

See also here.

Today, if you carry a red-and-white Bahraini national flag (seen very often in opposition demonstrations), police may attack, arrest, torture or kill you. While, if you have a black ISIS flag on your car, police will do nothing against you.

But while Rajab finds sympathy with the international human rights community and some Western governments, he enjoys little support from Bahrain’s two main political allies in the West. Outside of limited calls to release Rajab from prison, the US and UK have applied no actual pressure on the Bahraini government to secure his release. Such inaction from two heavyweights on the side of democracy and human rights stands in direct contradiction with their purported human rights agendas: here.