March, 2014

 

The 21st Century Propaganda Machine – New context for old tricks

gable

After training in Kearney, Nebraska, Clark Gable was stationed in Europe. In May, 1943, he flew this mission to Antwerp, Belgium. Gable flew as photographer/observer on this mission. William R. Calhoun was the pilot and Lt. Col. William A. Hatcher was copilot. …source

delta
“Delta”, a former Israeli army officer commanding a Jewish-led militia force during the “Ukraining revolution.”

His nom de guerre is Delta. He is one of the military leaders of the “Ukrainian revolution” even if, as he himself says, he does not consider himself Ukrainian. Under the helmet he wears a kippa. The story was released by the Jewish press agency JTA (headquartered in New York), after doing an anonymous interview and photographing him in camouflage with a bulletproof vest, his face hidden behind sunglasses and a black scarf. …source


Sami Mira Ahmed Mushaymaa – A travesty of Justice

Sami Mira Ahmed Mushaymaa. A travesty of Justice.
An illiterate young man, 25 will be executed unless we take action. What can you do to help him and the other detainees? The Bahrain F.I. will take place on April 6th. Please condemn running this sports event in a country where the human rights are terrible. Pressure needs to be brought on the Khalifa regime to release to over 3500 detainees, a third, children. 
Sami Mira Ahmed Mushaymaa, Abbas Jamil Tahir Alsamee, Ali Mohamed Taher Alsamee and Yousuf Ahmed Mohamed Taher Alsamee were “pronounced guilty” of killing 3 policemen BEFORE their trial started. Only the dead UAE policeman has been identified, not the 2 Bahrain victims. The Prime Minister called for the trial to be “expedited” and death sentences to follow.
The Prosecutor said on 4th March that four men  had admitted to being influenced by “foreign agents”, Iran. Sami was soaked in cold water, chilled with an air conditioner, beaten on his genitals and forced to stand for long periods. Bader Ebrahim Ghaith, his torturer said the C.I.D. would tell the Judge to sentence him to at least 15 years.
The police dumped weapons and incriminating evidence at Sami’s house and photographed the evidence. His family saw him on 23rd March with teeth broken, burn marks and heavily clothed to hide torture marks. His family’s home has been attacked twenty times and they are terrified.
His co-defendant Abbas Alsamee was electrocuted on his genitals and faced the same freezing treatment. He is still at the Criminal Investigation Directorate, three weeks after his arrest. This raises great fears for his safety under constant interrogation.
The twenty five men are mainly from the Alsamee and Mushaymaa families. Are they known troublemakers or easy to pick up when the police want to make quick arrests in night raids after a colleague has been killed? Sami Mushaymaa is a relative of Hasan Mushaima, Secretary General of Haq, The Movement of Liberty and Democracy. Hasan is one of the thirteen Leaders of the Opposition, jailed for life. Sami has been questioned about the Haq leaders but knows nothing.
Sami was targeted by the Intelligence Department in 2010 and had all his teeth smashed. He was arrested as part of a “terrorist cell” in 2010 but released after eight months.
He was picked up at the Pearl Roundabout in 2011 and charged with illegal gathering and making molotov cocktails, never found. He was released again due to lack of evidence. He has recently returned home. Why would he put himself and his family at risk again?
The Mushaima family have battled to get medical treatment for Hasan who suffers from cancer. Every time they raise this issue they are intimidated or a member of the family is arrested. Ahmed Mushaima, Hasan’s son was picked up at the airport returning from Iraq on 28th December 2013. He was jailed for thirty days for congregating and missed important college exams. Ahmed was severely beaten on his previously injured knees and could not sit down when his family visited him. He goes to court on 27th March 2014.
The families of important leaders are continuously harassed and having the same surname is a liability. What can the international legal and political community do about this?

Sami Mira Ahmed Mushaymaa – A travesty of Justice

Sami Mira Ahmed Mushaymaa. A travesty of Justice.
26 March, 2014

An illiterate young man, 25 will be executed unless we take action. What can you do to help him and the other detainees? The Bahrain F.I. will take place on April 6th. Please condemn running this sports event in a
country where the human rights are terrible. Pressure needs to be brought on the Khalifa regime to release to over 3500 detainees, a third, children.

Sami Mira Ahmed Mushaymaa, Abbas Jamil Tahir Alsamee, Ali Mohamed Taher Alsamee and Yousuf Ahmed Mohamed Taher Alsamee were “pronounced guilty” of killing 3 policemen BEFORE their trial started. Only the dead UAE
policeman has been identified, not the 2 Bahrain victims. The Prime Minister called for the trial to be “expedited” and death sentences to follow.

The Prosecutor said on 4th March that four men had admitted to being influenced by “foreign agents”, Iran. Sami was soaked in cold water, chilled with an air conditioner, beaten on his genitals and forced to stand for long periods. Bader Ebrahim Ghaith, his torturer said the C.I.D. would tell the Judge to sentence him to at least 15 years.

The police dumped weapons and incriminating evidence at Sami’s house and photographed the evidence. His family saw him on 23rd March with teeth broken, burn marks and heavily clothed to hide torture marks. His family’s home has been attacked twenty times and they are terrified.

His co-defendant Abbas Alsamee was electrocuted on his genitals and faced the same freezing treatment. He is still at the Criminal Investigation Directorate, three weeks after his arrest. This raises great fears for his safety under constant interrogation.

The twenty five men are mainly from the Alsamee and Mushaymaa families. Are they known troublemakers or easy to pick up when the police want to make quick arrests in night raids after a colleague has been killed? Sami Mushaymaa is a relative of Hasan Mushaima, Secretary General of Haq, The Movement of Liberty and Democracy. Hasan is one of the thirteen Leaders of the Opposition, jailed for life. Sami has been questioned about the Haq leaders but knows nothing.

Sami was targeted by the Intelligence Department in 2010 and had all his teeth smashed. He was arrested as part of a “terrorist cell” in 2010 but released after eight months. He was picked up at the Pearl Roundabout in 2011 and charged with illegal gathering and making molotov cocktails, never found. He was released again due to lack of evidence. He has recently returned home. Why would he put himself and his family at risk again?

The Mushaima family have battled to get medical treatment for Hasan who suffers from cancer. Every time they raise this issue they are intimidated or a member of the family is arrested. Ahmed Mushaima, Hasan’s son was picked up at the airport returning from Iraq on 28th December 2013. He was jailed for thirty days for congregating and missed
important college exams. Ahmed was severely beaten on his previously injured knees and could not sit down when his family visited him. He goes to court on 27th March 2014.

The families of important leaders are continuously harassed and having the same surname is a liability. What can the international legal and political community do about this?

“when compassion acts beyond reason humanity is redeemed”


Fascism Rising – Between the Nuremberg Trials and the “Glorious” Egyptian Judiciary

nofascism

Between the Nuremberg Trials and the “Glorious” Egyptian Judiciary
by ESAM AL-AMIN – 25 March, 2014 – Counter Punch

“We are proud of Egypt’s glorious judiciary system.” Field Marshal Abdelfattah Sisi, leader of Egypt’s Military Coup

The Nuremberg Trials (in Nuremberg, Germany)

Charges: Wars of Aggression, War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity.

Number of Victims Declared by the Prosecution at Trial: At least 40 million in Europe alone.

Judges (4): British, American, French, Soviet

Trial Period: November 20, 1945 – October 1, 1946 (316 days)

Number of Court Sessions:
38 full days

Number of People Accused:
23 (Over 200 Nazi leaders were later tried at Nuremberg.)

Number of Accused Convicted: 20

Number of Accused Condemned to Death:
12

The Minya Trials (in el-Minya, Egypt)

Charges: Storming a police station, killing a police officer, rioting, and mass protests in el-Minya (75 miles south of Cairo) in the aftermath of the massacres at Raba’a Al-Adawiyya Mosque and Al-Nahdha Square in Cairo on August 14, 2013, that killed over 1,000 protesters by the army and security officers.

Number of Victims Declared by the Prosecution at Trial:
1 (A police officer.)

Judges (3):
Led by presiding judge Said Youssef Sabri. [Sabri is the same judge that acquitted all officials and police officers accused of killing about two-dozen protesters in the Bani Swaif region in Upper Egypt during the 18 revolutionary days after the January 25, 2011 mass protests.]

Trial Period: March 22-24, 2014 (2 days)

Number of Court Sessions:
2 (totaling 100 minutes)
[The first session on Mar. 22 lasted for 45 minutes where the indictment was officially presented. The second session was on Mar. 24, where the accused were sentenced. It lasted less than one hour.]

Number of People Accused: 545

Number of the Accused Identified as Members of the MB: 122

Number of the Accused Not Identified as Members of the MB: 423

Number of Pages of Police Investigations turned over by the Prosecution to the Judge and Defense Teams on the first day of trial on Mar. 22:
Over 14,000.

Number of Government Witnesses Heard by the Judges: 1 (A police officer was the only government witness to offer testimony at trial but was not allowed to be cross-examined.)

Number of Defendants Attending the Trial: 128

Number of Defendants Arraigned by the Presiding Judge: 51 (The remaining 77 were at trial with the other defendants in a cage but were not even acknowledged by the presiding judge.)

Number of Defense Lawyers for all defendants allowed to Attend the Trial by the Presiding Judge: Less than three dozen (many others not allowed)

Number of Witnesses Offered by the Defense Teams:
Hundreds

Number of Defense Witnesses Allowed by the Presiding Judge to Testify: None

Number of the Accused Condemned to Death: 529 (including all the defendants attending the trial)

Number of the Accused Condemned to Death but Identified by Defense Lawyers as already Dead before the August Protests:
At least 3

Number of the Accused Condemned to Death but Identified by Defense Lawyers as Being Outside Egypt during the August Protests: At least 5

Number of the Accused Condemned to Death but Identified by Defense Lawyers as Minors during the August Protests (it’s unconstitutional to sentence a minor to death in Egypt):
At least 2

_____________________________________

But what have been the reactions over the death sentences?

(Note the weak reaction and lack of condemnation or outrage by the US and EU.)

Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
The death sentences were “only the first verdict in the trial process…It was reached after careful study of the case.”

Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman: “It simply does not seem possible that a fair review of evidence and testimony, consistent with international standards, could be accomplished. [I]t’s an important relationship [with Egypt]…so we don’t want to completely cut off the relationship…”

Catherine Ashton, Foreign Policy Chief of the European Union: “It was with utmost concern that I learnt that the court in Minya in southern Egypt sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death. Notwithstanding the serious nature of the crimes for which they were convicted, capital punishment can never be justified.”

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch: “It’s shocking even amid Egypt’s deep political repression that a court has sentenced 529 people to death without giving them any meaningful opportunity to defend themselves. The Minya court failed to carry out its most fundamental duty to assess the individual guilt of each defendant, violating the most basic fair trial right. These death sentences should be immediately quashed.”

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International: “This is the largest single batch of simultaneous death sentences we’ve seen in recent years, not just in Egypt but anywhere in the world. Egypt’s courts are quick to punish Mohamed Morsi’s supporters but ignore gross human rights violations by the security forces. While thousands of Morsi’s supporters languish in jail, there has not been an adequate investigation into the deaths of hundreds of protesters. Just one police officer is facing a prison sentence, for the deaths of 37 detainees.”

Sahraoui was referring to the deliberate killing of 37 anti-coup protesters while in government’s custody last August. They were arrested after the Raba’a massacre and were left in handcuffs and shackles for six hours under 110 heat (43) inside a prison vehicle that could only hold twenty people. When they started to shout in protest, the prisoners were gassed by police officers and their corpses burned. After 11 officers were put on trial earlier this month for this massacre, 10 were either acquitted or received suspended sentences.

Meanwhile another mass trial against those opposing the military coup, including senior MB leaders, will open today in the same Minya court before the same presiding judge, with 683 defendants facing similar charges.

While the military coup regime flexes its muscles and shows contempt for any notion of justice or human rights, the world is looking the other way. For many governments it’s back to business as usual with authoritarian regimes. President Barack Obama is rewarding King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia with a state visit this week.

Long gone are the days when Obama declared in 2009 in Cairo that “the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose are not just American ideas, [but] they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.” Given his administration’s timid response to the gross human rights violations in Egypt and its open support for authoritarian regimes such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have bankrolled Egypt’s military coup, President Obama’s words now ring hollow. …source


Obama this generation’s ‘greatest enemy of press freedom’

obama-hope

Risen: Obama administration is this generation’s ‘greatest enemy of press freedom’
by Andrew Beaujon – 24 March, 2014 – Poynter.org

“It won’t take me long to alienate everyone in the room,” Jeffrey Toobin told an audience in New York Friday. “For better or worse, it has been clear there is no journalistic privilege under the First Amendment.”

The New Yorker staff writer and CNN commentator was appearing on a panel as part of a George Polk Awards conference called Sources and Secrets at the Times Center. A lot has already been written about the conference (links below), so I’m going to pull out a theme that appears again and again in my notes: How much protection do reporters really have with regard to sources, and how much, if any, protection would a federal shield law give them?

New York Times reporter James Risen, who is fighting an order that he testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him, opened the conference earlier by saying the Obama administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” The administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” Risen said, to “create a path for accepted reporting.” Anyone journalist who exceeds those parameters, Risen said, “will be punished.”

The administration’s aggressive prosecutions have created “a de facto Official Secrets Act,” Risen said, and the media has been “too timid” in responding.

Toobin appeared on a panel that followed, moderated by Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak, who announced that if he weren’t a paragon of journalistic detachment, he’d say “the persecution of James Risen is a scandal.” The attorney Laura Handman noted that the U.S. Department of Justice’s new guidelines for accessing journalists’ records carve out a big space for the government to decide what constitutes “ordinary newsgathering.” …more


Bahrain racing in circles – A Time for Social Media Action

One way to support Bahrain;s imprisoned photographers will be through a F1 campaign we just launched with Reporters Without Borders. We’re using a tool called Thunderclap, which helps create a social media flash mob at a predetermined time – in this case, for the starting gun of the race on April 6. We want to make sure the government cannot hide its press and human rights violations behind F1. Thunderclap will help us get thousands of tweets to be posted simultaneously about press freedom right when the race begins. Please sign up on “thunder-clap” to make your voice heard via twitter. https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/10068-bahrain-racing-in-circles

burnout

Bahrain racing in circles
By Jason Stern – CPJ – 22 March, 2014

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 arrests also come as at least four journalists were injured in street violence, with political tensions simmering around the third anniversary of the February 14, 2011, opposition protests.

On March 3, a photographer for the English-language Gulf Daily News was injured in an explosion targeting three policemen in Daih village, the paper reported. Ebrahim Al Sinan, who was standing 10 meters from the blast, sustained a lung injury and shrapnel wounds. The journalist was taken to Bahrain Defence Force Hospital for treatment. Gulf Daily News’s Deputy Editor Robert Smith told CPJ that Al Sinan was released from the hospital on March 4.

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. …more


Urgent Medical Care Arranged for Hussain Hubail – Contact Your MP or Congress Person

hubail

Hussain Hubail’s Health: Update.
22 March, 2014

Hussain Hubail, 21, has pains in his chest and severe palpitations, low sugar levels and high blood pressure. Was unconscious for twelve hours on 13 Feb 2014 when rushed to hospital. Rushed to hospital 5 times in last eight months.

Increased frequency of collapses since January 2014. Salmanya Hospital consultant thinks he may have Beams contraction of the heart muscles and could need an angioplasty. He has heart spasms and faints.

Abhi (Professor Prasad) intends to do a full series of tests on him to see whether he needs an operation. If the latter he will be operated on at St George’s Hospital Tooting where Abhi is Head of the Cardiology Unit.

The Government said he could have an operation at the military hospital but there would be months of delay as only two surgeons Although the surgeon is fine, Hussain’s parents see the hospital as part of the military/prison regime that have almost killed their son. His grandfather went to the military hospital for the same operation two years ago and died. There is no heart surgery unit at Salmanya Hospital.

Every time Hubail collapses he is stabilised and then send back within a day to the terrible prison conditions: overcrowding (twelve detainees in cells for five), no beds, no clean water to drink, little water to wash, poor food, cold in winter and no winter clothes allowed. There would be no after care and he will not get the correct medication. Therefore he is unlikely to benefit from having the operation in Bahrain.

He needs daily medication but gets it intermittently, or once a week which is hopeless. This has contributed to his deterioration. I and the Bahraini campaigners feel his only chance of survival is to come to the U.K. where he can be properly treated, operated on, and given the correct after care and medication.

Hubail’s case is urgent and he was back at the hospital clinic this week. Please contact your, MP, Congressperson or Senator and bring influence to bear. This young man has done nothing except take photographs which is his job. He needs your help before he dies in prison.


Verdict In Hussain Hubail's Trial Imminent – In need of immediate health care

freehubail
URGENT ACTION

VERDICT IN HUSSAIN HUBAIL’S TRIAL IMMINENT
14 March, 2014 – Amnesty International

Photographer Hussain Hubail is about to receive his verdict. He is on trial together with eight other men on charges arising from their exercise of their right to freedom of expression. He has been denied adequate medical treatment.

Hussain Hubail’s trial, which began on 28 November 2013, will have its fifth hearing on 16 March: the court will hear final pleas, and is expected to announce its verdict shortly afterwards. Hussain Hubail is on trial together with eight other men, including Mohammad Hassan Sudayf, on charges that include using social media networks to incite hatred of the regime, calling on people to ignore the law and calling for illegal demonstrations.

During one of the hearings, on 27 January, he is understood to have told the court he had been tortured and threatened with rape during his interrogation. He had told his family when they visited him in prison that he had been threatened and beaten while being interrogated at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). Hussain Hubail has a heart condition, and fears he is not receiving adequate medical treatment. He has to wait before he receives the medicine he needs. His family said his health had deteriorated: he suffers from shortness of breath and frequently loses consciousness. He was transferred to hospital on 13 March following severe breathing difficulties, but security officers prevented his family from staying with him as he received treatment.

Please write immediately in English, Arabic or your own language:

Calling on the authorities to release Hussain Hubail immediately and unconditionally if he is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;

Urging them to drop charges against the other defendants if they are being targeted solely for peacefully expressing their opinion;

Urging them to ensure that Hussain Hubail receives adequate medical care, including any specialist treatment needed for his heart condition;

Calling on them to order an independent investigation into Hussain Hubail’s allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, and bring those responsible to justice. …more


Break The Shame, Break The Silence, Break The Chains, NO Bloody F1 Race in Bahrain


MP, Kath Clark, Questions ‘FORMULA ONE: IMPLICATIONS IN BAHRAIN’

bahf1

BRITISH MP CHAIRS ‘FORMULA ONE: IMPLICATIONS IN BAHRAIN’ EVENT AT PORTCULLIS HOUSE
21 March, 2014 – BCHR

Labour MP, Katy Clark, today chaired and hosted the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy event at Portcullis House. The panel included Maryam Al-Khawaja, the acting president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Daniel Carey, a civil and human rights solicitor, and Nicholas McGeehan from Human Rights Watch.

Katy Clark took the opportunity to introduce a Early Day Motion 1194 which calls on the UK government to oppose the 2014 Formula One race in Bahrain “due to ongoing human rights violations.” The EDM also recalls concerns over the sexual abuse in custody of Rihanna al-Mousawi who was detained at the Bahrain Formula One track in 2013. It also recalls concerns over the extrajudicial killing of protester Salah Abbas during the race in 2012 by security forces. 25 MPs have signed the EDM to date.

http://youtu.be/l_Lw_WiQGj0

Human Rights Violations in Bahrain

Acting President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Maryam al-Khawaja, began the discussion by highlighting the ongoing grave human rights violations in the country. She highlighted the dangers of the new Gulf Cooperation Council Security Agreement that “infringes upon the basic rights of all GCC citizens.” Ms. Khawaja furthermore highlighted the stringent environment and reprisals faced by human rights defenders in Bahrain and refuted the speech made by the Bahrain Foreign Minister in Geneva earlier this month noting:

“Bahrain uses terrorism as an explanation to justify the crackdown against individuals in the country, whilst attempting to convince F1 that it is safe to race in the country. Why are they hosting the F1 if there is terrorism in Bahrain? F1 would not go to Bahrain if that was the case.”

OECD Complaint Launched Against Formula One

Daniel Carey, who headed a legal team to file an OECD complaint to stop a 3 million shipment of tear gas canisters to Bahrain, took the opportunity to announce that an OECD complaint has been filed by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain against Formula One Management, sponsors and teams in the UK. The complaint alleges that the defendant organisations have not mitigated the human rights impact caused by their actions in the country. The complaint has been filed with the United Kingdom Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills in London, which is the UK’s National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines.

According to the 2011 OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, organisations have a responsibility to “… avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts and address such impacts when they occur.” Organizations falling under OECD jurisdiction additionally must “seek ways to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their business operations…” and “carry out human rights due diligence…” as appropriate to their involvement with abuses.

Mr. Carey also highlighted ’irresponsible statements’ made by Bernie Ecclestone in the past regarding the staging of the race in Bahrain. …more