Category Archives for Democracy

BAHRAIN: Allegations of Sexual Misconduct and Continued Human Rights Abuse


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BAHRAIN’S AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE DENIES “GROPE ALLEGATIONS” AND “SKIPS WORK” TO RECOVER:

ACCUSED AMBASSADOR’S SISTER SUDDENLY NO LONGER “HUMAN RIGHTS” MINISTER – I WONDER WHY?:

3 REASONS WHY THERE ARE NO HUMAN RIGHTS IN BAHRAIN:

TIMELINE – 7th JUNE 2012 12.55 GMT:

Bahrain’s Ambassador to France, Dr Nasser Mohammed Al Balooshi (EDITOR: English spelling of the surname confirmed by the Gulf Daily News today) yesterday denied “unfounded allegations” that he had groped a domestic worker at his up-market residence in the Paris suburb of Neuilly.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/eye-for-freedom

Ambassador Balooshi With Wary Embassy Staff

On Tuesday the French police had announced that they had opened an initial investigation into claims by a 44 year old domestic worker that the Ambassador had groped her and attempted rape on a number of occasions between July 2010 and October 2011.

The woman, whose husband has also lodged a complaint, was fired shortly afterwards.

The alleged victim also says that the Ambassador’s son threatened her with a gun in September 2010.

A statement released by the Bahrain embassy in Paris yesterday said, “His Excellency Nasser Al Balooshi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to France, forcefully refutes the inaccurate and unfounded allegations of assault that former domestic workers have made against him and his son,” and added that the ambassador was available to French investigators “to shed light on these false accusations.”

The initial inquiry is to determine the veracity of the allegations. It could lead to charges, the appointment of an investigating judge, or no further action.

Back in Bahrain, unable to completely ignore the international media reporting of the incident, both the official Bahrain Government News Agency (BNA) and the leading English language paper, Gulf Daily News (GDN), played down the report.

In 7 short lines the BNA reported  that his “Excellency … forcefully refutes the inaccurate and unfounded allegations” and without any investigation has already decided that these were “false allegations”.

The GDN rather naively headlined the report “Harassment Case Envoy Skips Work”, as though he had rather naughtily just decided to  take a day off without permission.

Again in a short 8 line report it repeated the outline of the alleged allegation and then said, “An embassy official told the GDN that Dr Balooshi did not show up for work yesterday, without commenting further” and , “Officials at Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry could not be reached for comment”.

(EDITOR: They had all obviously “skipped work” for the day as well suffering from an acute outbreak of “dire embarrassment”.)

The GDN also pointed out that Dr. Balooshi is Bahrain’s permanent delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

ACCUSED AMBASSADOR’S SISTER SUDDENLY NO LONGER “HUMAN RIGHTS” MINISTER – I WONDER WHY?:

What the state news agency or the GDN have not mentioned (neither being part of a free press) is that Dr. Nasser Ballooshi is the brother of Dr. Fatima Balooshi, who until Tuesday was Bahrain’s Minister of Human Rights and Social Development.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/eye-for-freedom

Dr Fatima Balooshi - Embarrassed Sister? - GDN

Since Tuesday, when the reports from Paris first surfaced, Dr. Fatima Balooshi is now only the “Minister of Social Development”, “Human Rights” having “gone out the window” and  hastily dropped by royal degree from both her official title and the name of the Ministry.

Co-incidence? Or has a family “human rights abuse” “accident” caused the Minister and the Bahrain Government acute embarrassment?

Any bets on how long before the “ambassador” is recalled to Manama?

Another Tweet received this morning comments on Dr Naser Balooshi’s former post as Director of Administration at the Bahrain Central Bank, where he is reported to have been reluctant to recruit Shia employees and to have “used the bank drivers to serve him and his family”. “He treated them bad”, says the Tweeter.

Nasser Al-Balooshi was also formally Bahrain’s ambassador to the United States. Apparently, the Balooshi family originates from Iranian Balochistan, a Sunni area in conflict with the Shia Government of Iran.

(EDITOR: And which is why the Al Khalifa Government employs Shia-hating mercenaries from the Balochistan area in Pakistan to work for them as policemen.)

3 REASONS WHY THERE ARE NO HUMAN RIGHTS IN BAHRAIN:

Talking of HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE (1), here is a picture of 11 year old Ali Hassan, now detained in Bahrain police custody for more than 3 weeks for “participating in an illegal gathering”.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/eye-for-freedom

Ali Hassan, 11 Year Old Detained for 3 Weeks

(EDITOR: Perhaps he and “Ambassdor Balooshi could swop places? I am sure Ali would be much better behaved.)

Yesterday, Ali is reported to have told his lawyer, “I just want to go home!”.

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE (2): According to reports, Nabeel Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was arrested in court again yesterday for Tweeting messages allegedly “insulting” the residents of the Sunni dominated neighbourhood of Muharraq.

In a complaint registered with the Public Prosecutor’s office, 24 retired police officers who live in Muharraq accused Nabeel Rajab of casting doubt on their patriotism and allegedly suggesting the people of Muharraq were “government stooges”.

(EDITOR: The retired policemen obviously have too much time on their hands!)

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE (3): It is reported from the Dry Docks Prison that 50 detainees have gone on hunger strike in protest at the continued refusal of the authorities to allow imprisoned demonstrator Ahmed Oun to have scheduled medical treatment for the removal of a shotgun pellet in his eye.

Ahmed Oun, a 17 year old student, was injured after being fired at with a police shotgun whilst taking part in a pro-democracy demonstration and was arrested shortly afterwards after seeking medical help at a private hospital.

Surgery was arranged for the 29th May but Ahmed has been prevented by the authorities from having that treatment. Every second counts. If the pellet is not removed shortly, doctors say he could well lose his sight permanently.

Ahmed is in severe pain, has bleeding from the eye and is reported to have fainted on several occasions.

Since the Formula 1 event in Bahrain in April the use of birdshot directly fired at protesters has increased significantly, causing loss of sight in a number of demonstrators and at least one death. You can read further details, HERE:

There is an #EYE4FREEDOM demonstration in Bahrain today, in support of all those who have lost an eye in the struggle for freedom in Bahrain and specifically to demand treatment for Ahmed Oun.

http;//www.petercliffordonline.com/eye-for-freedom

Ahmed Oun in Private hospital Shortly Before His Arrest. - BCHR

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Threats, Delusions and Sectarian Persecution in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia


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DESPITE RELEASE OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS BENEATH BAHRAIN’S “THIN VENEER OF REFORM” LITTLE HAS CHANGED:

BAHRAIN’S JUDICIAL SYSTEM USED AS “SLOW PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE” TO CAUSE AS MUCH DISTRESS AS POSSIBLE:

SAUDI ARABIA COLLUDES IN VINDICTIVE PERSECUTION OF MEDICAL STUDENTS, WRECKING THEIR STUDIES:

TIMELINE – 1st June 2012 11.15 GMT:

Following the release on bail on Monday of Nabeel Rajab, another 3 activists Zainab AlKhawaja, Masooma Sayyid Sharaf and Hassan Oun were released from detention on Tuesday of this week.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/sectarian-persecution

Zainab Alkhawaja Shortly After Her Release

Like Nabeel Rajab, Zainab and Masooma were released on bail and will have to return to court in June to answer further charges.

But as Amnesty International said on Tuesday in a statement, commenting on the ongoing trials of prisoners of conscience and the many political prisoners still held in detention on questionable charges, “behind Bahrain’s thin veneer of reform, little has changed in practice and the human rights crisis is far from over”.

This was highlighted last week at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, when following a “Universal Periodic Revue” (UPR), which all UN member states are subject to, Bahrain was severely criticised for its human rights record and landed with 176 recommendations which it says it is going to “consider”.

As well a some internationally known human rights organisations, some civic society members of the Opposition from Bahrain gave evidence at the hearing including Drs.Ala’a Shehabi and Nada Dhaif, Maryam AlKhawaja and Jalila al Salman.

Nabeel Rajab of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) was unable to attend as he was still being held in prison accused of “insulting a state institution” on his Twitter account.

At the end of the hearings last Friday and the issuing of the report on Bahrain, the President of the Human Rights Council Laura Dupuy Lasserre, issued an unprecedented statement saying she had been advised that some of those giving evidence against the Bahrain Government had been named and vilified in Bahrain’s media and threatened with interrogation and reprisals since appearing.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/sectarian-persecution

Laura Lasserre, President UN HR Council

The President of the Council went on to name all the civil society members from Bahrain who attended and called for their protection. A video of the President’s statement is HERE:

Despite vehement statements of denial from Bahraini officials at the UN and back home that they would “ever do such a thing”, reports from Manama confirmed that vilification of the activists who spoke in Geneva continued on Bahrain’s state TV on Tuesday evening and that since the beginning of the session on Monday 21st May, a number of columns have appeared in Bahrain media labeling the activists as “traitors” and making other derogatory statements against them.

Dr. Salah Ali, Minister of State at Bahrain’s “Human Rights” Ministry and leader of their UN delegation, called the allegations “unfounded” and said he would like to know who made such a complaint to the Human Rights Council?

The representatives from Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Kuwait and Yemen, all of whom had supported Bahrain’s shining human rights record”, condemned the President for her statement.

However, Laura Dupuy Lasserre stood by her comments and in her final remarks said that it was her duty to protect those who face attacks.

BAHRAIN’S JUDICIAL SYSTEM USED AS “SLOW PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE” TO CAUSE AS MUCH DISTRESS AS POSSIBLE:

Jalila Al Salman, Deputy Vice President of the Bahrain Teachers Union and who is currently still on trial for “attempting to overthrow the Government of Bahrain” along with Mahdi Abu Deeb, said “I was very uncomfortable about the daily reports in the loyal press.

It gives a bad feeling but I was very happy to hear our names in the UN room. It gave me the feeling that I am under the UN protection”.

Jalila and Mahdi’s case came before the courts again on Tuesday, but in the traditional warped style of Bahrain’s judicial system, the process was postponed again until 25th June. While Jalila remains free on bail, Mahdi, President of the Bahrain Teachers Union, continues to be held in prison where he has already spent more than 12 months.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/sectarian-persecution

Jalila Al Salman & Mahdi Abu Deeb

The judicial system used in this way is just another form of “slow psychological torture” to cause maximum distress, alternating with hope, and then more distress and maximum inconvenience to the prisoners and their families and supporters.

A video called “The Bleeding Pearl” documents both the recent and older history of the physical torture inflicted on Bahraini citizens. The victims speak eloquently of their dreadful experiences. 

More than one accuses Lieutenant Noora Al Khalifa, a member of the “royal family”, of directing and taking part in torture sessions. You can watch the video, HERE:

As yet, not one single person, senior or junior, has been held accountable for these gross acts of barbarity and in some cases, murder, and successfully prosecuted, though a number of trials of junior members of the security forces are in progress.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/sectarian-persecution

Protesters Show Pictures of Victims of Torture

Apart from everything else, sectarian abuse and targeting continues, despite the “protests of innocence” of the Government and frequent statements about what “huge strides towards democracy and freedom of expression” it is making, usually aimed at fooling the international community..

Good examples are statements in Istanbul made yesterday by Bahrain’s Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa at the “International Forum of the Alliance of Civilisations” held in Turkey and chaired by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In his speech to the forum Sheikh Ali said that Bahrain “is a country of law, institutions and people’s participation in building communities… the kingdom continues to implement its commitment to the freedom of thought and expression, justice and cultural and religious diversity through cultural dialogue between civilisations”.

Which is a complete load of twaddle  when you know that Nabeel Rajab was imprisoned for sending out Tweets mentioning the Ministry of the Interior.

To emphasise the absurdity of the point, his supporters rallied behind him at a demonstration in Manama yesterday at which they displayed in large format dozens of Nabeel’s Tweets transmitted before his recent arrest.

SAUDI ARABIA COLLUDES IN VINDICTIVE PERSECUTION OF MEDICAL STUDENTS, WRECKING THEIR STUDIES:

On top of the Government’s delusional deception is their sheer sectarian vindictiveness.

Just one example of this are their attacks on students. Zainab Maklooq (24), Alaa Sayed (24) and Zahraa Zabar (23) were all medical students studying and living until last year at the Al-Damam University (King Faisal University) in Saudi Arabia.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/sectarian-persecution

Entrance to King Faisal University, Damman

On March 21st 2011, shortly after the outbreak of democracy demonstrations in Bahrain, the 3 students were requested by the Director of Al Dammam University housing, apparently on orders from the Saudi “Higher National Security Council”, to collect their personal belongings because they were to be immediately deported.

After being driven to the King Fahd causeway they were handed over to 5o masked security personnel from Bahrain, driven away in a mini-bus and verbally abused on the journey.

After 23 days in prison for made-up charges of “criticizing government symbols”, “inciting hatred towards the regime”, “organizing protests at the university” and “contacting foreign TV channels and disseminating misleading information” and 3 court appearances they were acquitted for lack of evidence.

Despite this the 3 students are banned from returning to Saudi Arabia to complete their studies. Zainab and Alaa were in their sixth year of study and just a few months away from graduating and Zahraa was in her fifth year.

Applications to other universities have been meet with the information that they will have to repeat at least 3 years of study.

Mahmood Habib is another Bahraini medical student who had a scholarship to the University of King Faisal in Saudi Arabia where he was in his last year of study and was about to take his final exam.

Shortly before this was about to happen he was told that complaints had been made against him by colleagues concerning supposed comments on the situation in Bahrain. He was suspended and has since been expelled. No crime, no trial, years of study wasted. You can read more of this (and worse) HERE:

EDITOR: As long as vicious sectarian persecution, based on flimsy and in some cases no evidence at all, continues in Bahrain, the kingdom will be the laughing stock of the world as civilised people see straight through its ridiculous and hypocritical posturing and its acts of sheer vindictiveness.

Support the campaign to get another of Bahrain’s “royal”, sectarian persecutors and torturers, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa barred from this year’s London Olympic by signing this petition, HERE:

The petition is also now on AVAAZ’s Community Petitions Front Page:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/sectarian-persecution

Protesters March in Solidarity With Rajab's Right to Tweet - Courtesy of @anmarek


British Monarch Dines With Despots

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BRITISH MONARCH DINES WITH DESPOTS WHOSE PEOPLE ARE IMPRISONED, ABUSED AND IMPOVERISHED:

WHILE KING HAMAD TUCKS INTO CELEBRATORY ROYAL LUNCH HIS POLITICAL PRISONER ALKWAJA PASSES 100th DAY ON HUNGER STRIKE:

FEARFUL BAHRAIN GOVERNMENT AGENTS ATTACK SHEIKH NASSER OLYMPIC BAN PETITION:

TIMELINE – 18th MAY 2012 11.37 GMT:

Today, Friday, the UK’s Queen Elizabeth ll will host a luncheon at Windsor Castle (EDITOR: Where my Mother used to wind-up the clocks strangely!) as part of her 60th Diamond Jubilee celebrations and those invited to attend will be “fellow royalty” from all around the world.http://petercliffordonline.com/royal-lunch

As I have pointed out a number of times, this business of “royalty” is entirely meaningless.

If you are classified as “royal” it is a genetic accident of birth and has nothing to do with merit or ability and certainly nothing to do with the ballot box and a popular vote.

There is just as much chance of a “complete idiot” growing up in a “royal family” as there is in any other. The difference is that a “royal idiot” will automatically be given power, money and prestige, while “a normal idiot” is likely to be recognised for what he is – an complete idiot!

And I am not talking about mental health here, but general incompetence.

Nor for a moment am I suggesting Queen Elizabeth is idiotic. As monarchs go she is generally well liked, works hard for the national good and acts as a non-politicised head of state, something that has distinct advantages over the presidential system where political leaders come and go and whose statements are often seen as controversial.

She is also constitutional head of 13 other states besides the UK.

Yet Queen Elizabeth also has no political power. All Acts of Parliament are passed on a majority vote by MPs and her signature on them to pass into law is merely ceremonial and legal and she has never refused one or attempted to amend it (EDITOR: As far as we know!).

But I do question her judgement, and that of her advisers, in inviting to this “royal” luncheon despots like King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa whose family have controlled Bahrain for almost 230 years.

King Hamad’s family members head the majority of government ministries enabling them to manipulate the judiciary, police, army, parliament, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and media and the prison system among other institutions.

The systematic abuses by the King and his family as a result of that have been well-documented on this website and in the media worldwide. 

(EDITOR: There is also no truth, I am assured, that all the seats at Windsor Castle have been re-inforced to accommodate the bulk of the Gulf States’ royal monarchs, many of whom are also Al Khalifa related dictators.)

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/royal-lunch

Kinda Easy To Work Out What The Attraction of 14 Wives is Based On!

Another prize manipulator at this luncheon is King Mswati lll of Swaziland who I have written about extensively before (See “The Last Absolute Monarch in Africa” ).

King Mswati for a start has 14 wives (yes, 14 – that is not a misprint!) – and presumably also employs a domestic referee!

And while King Mswati’s net wealth is estimated at $100 million (peanuts compared with the estimated $3.2 billion of wealth attributed to King Hamad and the collective 100’s of $billions owned by all the monarchs at tomorrow’s luncheon), 80% of his population live on less that $2 dollars a day and at 25% of the population are infected with HIV, his country having the highest infection rate in the world.

King Mswati’s official annual allowance is in excess of $30 million dollars and his benign and sympathetic view on the large number of HIV victims in his country? They should be ““sterilised and branded” apparently, according to a view he expressed on the subject in a parliamentary debate in 2000.

So it begs the question, why is a supposedly intelligent woman such as Queen Elizabeth giving “house room” to humanitarian abusers of this magnitude?

Peter Tatchell, a long time UK based human rights campaigner, said the invitations were “a shocking misjudgement” that showed the Queen was “out of touch with the humanitarian values of most British people .

Inviting blood-stained despots brings shame to our monarchy and tarnishes the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It is a kick in the teeth to pro-democracy campaigners and political prisoners in these totalitarian royal regimes.” I agree. The BBC has 2 video reports, HERE:

WHILE KING HAMAD TUCKS INTO CELEBRATORY “ROYAL” LUNCH HIS POLITICAL PRISONER ALKHAWAJA PASSES 100th DAY ON HUNGER STRIKE:

So while King Hamad, King Mswati and their ilk will be tucking into their substantial lunch of several courses today at Windsor Castle, political prisoners in their countries will be sitting in their cells contemplating another lost day and the infringement of their basic human right of self-expression.http://www.petercliffordonline.com/royal-lunch

Currently, after a series of middle-of-the-night raids and mass arbitary arrests in villages around the capital Manama, an estimated 900 political prisoners now languish idly in King Hamad’s prisons in Bahrain, among them leading human rights campaigners Abdulhadi AlKhawaja and Nabeel Rajab, former and current presidents of the Bahrain Centre for Human RIghts (BCHR).

AlKhawaja’s lawyer, Mohammed Al-Jishi, was finally allowed to visit his client again yesterday, the first time in 45 days. Despite entering today the 100th day of his “Freedom or Death” hunger strike, the lawyer said AlKhawaja was “well” and “Abdelhadi can walk. He is conscious and moves around normally”.

Al Jishi. confirmed that, “He is pursuing his hunger strike and subsides on liquids for his survival,” but added, “His health has slightly improved because he was force fed”. Until recently AlKhawaja had been kept at the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital but on Tuesday was returned to Jaw prison, south of Manama.

Meanwhile, Nabeel Rajab appeared in court yesterday,Thursday, where he is charged with “insulting a statutory body via Twitter” and taking part in an “illegal” march 3 months ago.

Rajab told the judge at the Minor Criminal Court that, “The charge against me is vindictive and is due to my rights activism”, and insisted that the decision to arrest and try him was purely political.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/royal-lunch

In a demonstration of solidarity, more than 50 lawyers, both men and women, turned up at the court to defend Nabeel Rajab. The judge, playing the usual judicial games endemic to Bahrain, adjorned the session until Sunday and ordered that Rajab be kept in prison.

Joe Stork, the Middle East Director for Human Rights Watch, said, “The charges against Nabeel Rajab are nothing more than attempts to silence one of the Bahraini government’s most prominent critics. Authorities should immediately drop these charges and release him”.

For an extensive overview of the human rights abuse charges levelled against Bahrain, read this official UN document compiled for the General Assembly by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2012 with contributions from 19 of its human rights stakholders, HERE:

FEARFUL BAHRAIN GOVERNMENT AGENTS ATTACK SHEIKH NASSER PETITION:

EDITOR: Lastly, the petition I started to prevent Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, King Hamad of Bahrain’s son, from attending the 2012 London Olympics following extensive allegations of a sectarian campaign against Bahrain’s athletes and in some cases of personally torturing them, currently stands (11.00am, Friday 18th May – just 3 days after it started) at more than 7,500 signatures.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/royal-lunchPrevent Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa of Bahrain from attending the London Olympics 2012.
Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa is the President of the Bahrain Olympic Committee. As such he is entitled to attend all events …….

Interestingly, it is evident that the petition is being targeted by Bahrain Government agencies or supporters who are attempting to spoil it by automatically adding repeated names with multiple email addreses, over and over.

AVAAZ,org, the international campaigning group with more than 14 million members, who are hosting the petition and are well versed in these kind of anti-democratic cyber attacks, are monitoring the multiple signatures, identifying their source and removing them from the list.

You, as an individual, can give genuine support to this campaign by signing yourself, telling your friends on Facebook, forums, Twitter and other social media outlets and by sending an email to all your contacts.

An Email could read like this:

Subject: Prevent Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa of Bahrain from attending the London Olympics

“Hi, I just signed this petition — will you join me?

To: The UK’s Prime Minster, David Cameron and Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)

The petition is really important and could use our help. Click HERE to find out more and sign:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/To_Prevent_Sheikh_Nasser_bin_Hamad_alKhalifa_of_Bahrain_from_attending_the_London_Olympics_2012/?eNnUgbb

Thanks so much, …………………….”
[YOUR NAME WRITTEN ABOVE]

Many thanks to all those who have signed so far. We need many more. For further information go directly to the Petition Page, HERE:

BELOW, ANOTHER WICKEDLY FUNNY CARTOON BY @carloslatuff COMMENTING ON THE PROPOSED SAUDI/BAHRAIN UNION (TAKE-OVER) – ANYONE SEEN THE FILM “PINOCCHIO” LATELY?:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/royal-lunch

BAHRAIN – News: Nasser, “Prince of Torture”, to Attend London Olympics as VIP



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NASSER, “PRINCE OF TORTURE” AND PERSECUTOR OF ATHLETES DUE TO ATTEND LONDON OLYMPICS AS VIP:

AL KHALIFAS TURN SHAM AND CORRUPT LEGAL SYSTEM ON NABEEL RAJAB AS HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST HELD FOR LONGER IN PRISON:

TIMELINE – 13th MAY 2012 11.37 GMT:

This week the Olympic torch was lit once again using the sun’s rays in a ceremony at the site of the very first games at Olympia in Greece to begin its journey to the Olympic stadium in London. The flaming torch will be carried to Athens by foot before being flown to London.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/prince-of-torture

And on July 27th the torch will finally reach its destination at Stratford in East London where it will be used to ignite the Olympic flame to open the 2012 Olympic Games in the UK.

(EDITOR: I once carried a portable typwriter from Olympia to Athens in a 500 mile journey by foot across Greece. Not quite the same as a flaming torch I know – but a damn sight heavier and another [true] story for another day!)

Present at that ceromony will be the officials of the International Olympic Committee and all the presidents of the national olympic committees from countries around the world.

All of these officials will be given free access to every Olympic event, accomodation at a discounted rate at a luxury hotel in London and a chauffeur driven BMW to take them to and from the Olympic venue and around London.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/prince-of-torture

One official to enjoy all of these priviliges will be Bahrain’s “sports ambassador”, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, aged 24, son of King Hamad of Bahrain and President of the Bahrain Olympic Committee.

Sheikh Nasser is very familiar with the UK having trained at Sandhurst, Britain’s world renowned military academy, and is now, despite any real military experience, the commander of Bahrain’s Royal Guard.

Last year during the disturbances in Bahrain, Sheikh Nasser rang up a live broadcast on state TV and commenting on demonstrators said, “Anyone who called for the fall of the regime, may a wall fall on his head. Whether he is an athlete, socialite or politician — whatever he is — he will be held accountable . . . Bahrain is an island and there is nowhere to escape”.

You can see the video of the TV programme, with English sub-titles, HERE:

Just to show that this was no wild, hot -headed statement by an out-of-control young and inexperienced member of Bahrain’s “royal” family, the Government subsequently put Sheikh Nasser in charge of a committee that identified and targeted 150 Shi’ite sportsmen and officials, including international footballers and other well known sports stars.

The committee even went after disabled athletes, who were accused of opposing the regime.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/prince-of-torture

Two of the victims of this sectarian persecution (EDITOR: Because that is what it is) were A’ala and Mohammed Hubail, brothers who were both in the Bahrain national football team, one a goalkeeper and the other a leading scorer. Both the players were arrested last year, subjected to torture and removed from the team.

Mohammed, who was capped 52 times for Bahrain, was sentenced to 2 years in prison by a military court last year but was subsequently released after several months in jail.

At the time the United Nations Human Rights Commisssion said that the trials of the Hubail brothers ‘appear to bear the marks of political persecution’ and FIFA, the world football authority, sent officials to investigate.

The Hubail brothers were only 2 of 30 footballers arrested plus 26 basketball players, 27 Handball players, 22 Volleyball players, 2 bodybuilders, 1 special needs athlete, 12 sports administrators and referrees and 5 sports journalists all taken into custody and many imprisoned and abused for lengthy periods.

Picture: Many think Alaa Hubail was persecuted for helping the injured in Sitra:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/prince-of-torture

At the very least, most have had their lives completely disrupted and their sports careers wrecked. You can read further detail, HERE:

And their crime? Taking part in demonstrations calling for democracy – a human right in any civilised country.

When Mohammed Hubail received his 2 year sentence, Sheikh Nasser wrote on Twitter, “If it was up to me, I’d give them all life.”

To escape further embarassment, Sheikh Nasser has recently removed all his past Tweets from his Twitter Timeline.

Many others detained last year also report being tortured by Sheikh Nasser and other members of the “royal family”.

Specifically, Abdulla Isa Al-Mahroos, reported to the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) that Sheikh Nasser Bin hamad Alkhalifa, beat him while he was in detention and then forced him to open his mouth and spat in it.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/prince-of-torture

Mohammed Habib Al-Muqdad, a Islamic cleric who is also a Swedish citizen, described how when blindfolded and being tortured, suddenly everyone went silent and the words “your majesty” were heard.

A voice said, “Do you know who I am?”. When Al-Muqdad said “No”, his blindfold was removed and the man infront of him said “I’m Prince Nasser Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa. When you protested outside our castle in Safriya, only a wall separated us”.

Mohammed was asked what chants he had said at the protest that day. When Mohammed said “Down Down Hamad” Nasser slapped him and he fell to the ground. Sheikh Nasser then, it is reported, with the help of the other torturers, beat Mohammed severely.

Most of the torture sessions were said to have taken place in the underground cells of the Ministry of Interior (MOI) at Al Qala  in Manama.

Four other members of the “royal family”, including Sheikh Nasser’s brother Khalid and a female member, Shaikha Noura Al Khalifa, a MOI officer, are also accused of personal involvement in the torturing of detainees. For further information go to the BCHR site, HERE:

Andy Slaughter MP, chairman of the UK parliamentary group for democracy in Bahrain, has said, “Welcoming prominent members of the Khalifah regime accused of repression is a real blot on the Olympics”.

The UK’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, says the government won’t hesitate to use its powers to extend London 2012 travel bans to individuals and officials with connections to “undesirable regimes” and Sheikh Nasser “would be closely assessed before being granted entry to Britain to attend the Games this summer”.

EDITOR: However, don’t hold your breath, the UK’s history of supporting bloody suppression in Bahrain is long and complicated and I will cover this further in another blog post.

Some say that sport, and the Olympics in particular, should not be mixed up with politics. I say that is an excuse to allow brutal and repressive regimes to get away with murder, often literally, and to show a face to the world that says they are “acceptable” when they are clearly not.

The world has changed. Governments that make compromises for self-serving reasons with oppressive, undemocratic governments, as the UK and the US do in Bahrain, will be increasingly challenged by an articulate, technology savvy, electorate worldwide.

Countries like China and Russia (and Bahrain) will be more likely to move towards reform in my view if they are told they will be excluded from international football, sports, Olympics, other competitions and international realtionships in general. Only being able to play sports with North Korea, another pariah state, and their friends must be boring to say the least.

Insolation and sanctions eventually bring a result, of which Burma is the latest country to decide to open its borders and government to reform as a result of co-ordinated international action.

Not only is Sheikh Nasser likely to be let quietly into the country to view the Olympics but his Father, King Hamad, is due to take part in Queen Elizabeth ll’s 60th Jubilee lunch at Windsor Castle on May 18th.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/prince-of-torture

Unlike Bahrain, Queen Elizabeth has no political power whatsoever and acts as a useful constitutional monarch and non-politicised head of state.

Hopefully, Britain’s and Europe’s substantial human rights lobby will make their views loudly known when these two senior representatives of Bahrain’s torturing, repressive regime unfortunately show their faces in the UK.

AL KHALIFAS TURN SHAM AND CORRUPT LEGAL SYSTEM ON NABEEL RAJAB AS HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST HELD FOR LONGER IN PRISON:

While large demonstrations took place in Bahrain in support of Nabeel Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, on Friday and Saturday this week, the Al Khalifa regime took futher steps to consolidate his imprisonment.http://www.petercliffordonline.com/prince-of-torture

Yesterday he was remained in custody for a further 7 days and to the list of “charges” has been added an accusation that he “delivered a speech during a public gathering urging those present to stage a march, confront authorities and use violence against security forces.

He also allegedly incited them to escalate the situation to ensure that confrontations result in deaths”.

(EDITOR: Which is news to everyone else, including those organisations that have awarded him and the BCHR numerous prizes for their human rights work.)

According to the report, “an illegal rally was organised in Manama following his speech, on the same day, which resulted in disrupting public order, blocking roads and attacks against security personnel”. You can read the full report, HERE:

Nabeel is due in court again next Wednesday to answer charges “of insulting an official body” – “the MOI” apparently. Clearly, another series of sham trials and twisted, dishonest judicial proceedings is about to begin.

EDITOR: However how the Al Khalifa Governent hope to solve problems by doing this I do not know. Only at least another 397,000 members of the Shia community to arrest and prosecute on “prison island” left!

BAHRAIN’s Medieval Rulers Lurch Further to the Right:


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BAHRAIN’S MEDIEVAL RULERS  LURCH FURTHER TO THE RIGHT AND PROSECUTE FOR USING TWITTER:

BAHRAIN GOVERNMENT HARDLINERS ON THE ASCENDANT AS ALL OPPOSITION LEADERS TARGETED:

THE MORE THE AL KHALIFAS SUPPRESS, THE MORE RESISTANCE THEY WILL CREATE – SUMOOD:

TIMELINE – 7th MAY 2012 12.35 GMT:

In what appears to be another lurch further towards the right, Bahrain’s oligarchy (rule by the few) has charged Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), with “inciting illegal rallies and marches online by using social networking websites” and posting “defamatory and humiliating depictions of the public security forces”.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/sumood

Nabeel Rajab - BCHR

In other words, it is no longer safe to express your personal views on anything in Bahrain on Twitter unless you are a supporter of the government and opposed to the Opposition.

As Marc Owen Jones has pointed out in his recent blog post  the BICI report mentioned the Twitter account @7areghum which last year during the disturbances openly targeted Opposition supporters, naming them personally and even revealing their whereabouts, but of course nothing was done. Anything that damages the Opposition is fine by the Bahrain Government apparently.

But Nabeel Rajab is guilty, before trial, according to the Public Prosecutor of “cyber-incitement [which] proved detrimental as [it] fuelled rioting, road blocking, arsons, acts of sabotage targeting public and private properties, in addition to the use of Molotov cocktail incendiary bombs.

The inquiry has also revealed compelling evidence on the defendant’s role in instigating, online, acts targeting policemen whilst on duty, leaving some of them injured”.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/sumood

Rajab, Current Holder of Ion Ratiu Democracy Award

EDITOR: To the best of my knowledge, Nabeel Rajab, has never advocated violence as a solution to Bahrain’s problems but has only encouraged peaceful demonstration.

That others may have taken advantage of that is another matter.

Nor would Rajab and the BCHR have received numerous international awards if they were suspected of promoting violence or sectarian warfare.

I don’t see the Bahrain Government getting too many international awards for its “benign and enligtened” attitudes.

According to the Bahrain News Agency (BNA)  Nabeel Rajab “admitted posting the defamatory and humiliating material on his account” yet at the same time “refusing, however, to answer detailed questions”.

Nabeel has refused to answer further questions apparently as “he does not recognise the court” and has been remanded in custody until the next court appearance on May 22nd.

You can support Nabeel Rajab by signing this petition at Change.Org, HERE: and getting all your friends to sign to.

BAHRAIN GOVERNMENT HARDLINERS ON THE ASCENDANT AS ALL OPPOSITION LEADERS TARGETED:

Combine the above with a statement from the Prime Minister, Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, at his weekly Cabinet meeting that “the persistence of some speechmakers in exploiting religious platforms for political purposes and their adopting of techniques aimed at provocation of violence and sectarianism and their calls for breach of law, abuse of constitutional institutions …. etc”. –

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/sumood

A Cabinet of Hardliners Led By "Prince Grim" - BNA

EDITOR: (Yes, their pronouncements get tedious, I know)  – It is beginning to look like that all Opposition leaders are now clearly under attack.

Undoubtedly, leading cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim is in their sights.

Once again, Bahrain’s hardliners are on the ascendant.

Having isolated Adbulhadi AlKhawaja and 14 other Opposition leaders with imprisonment and prolonged and repeated trials, having ousted the well educated and articulate medics from their jobs and tied them up with weekly court appearances, having jailed internationally known high profile leaders like Zainab AlKhawaja and Nabeel Rajab and strictly controlled who is and isn’t allowed into the country, no doubt the Al Khalifas and their supporters are hoping that a “leaderless” Opposition will crumble.

EDITOR: I predict they are in for a big disappointment.

Over and over, Bahrain’s Opposition has made the point that this is not a sectarian struggle but a genuine one for human rights and democracy in Bahrain. With the F1 debacle, even the most sceptical Western observer must now be aware of what is really going on (well, perhaps not the delusional Bernie, but he’s a lost cause!).

Unless they release the imprisoned Opposition leaders and have a proper negotiation with them leading to democratic government, there is not a “cat in hell’s”  chance of peace in Bahrain.

THE MORE THE AL KHALIFAS SUPPRESS, THE MORE RESISTANCE THEY WILL CREATE – SUMOOD:

Frankly, the Saudis, the Al Khalifas and all the autocratic monarchies in the Gulf think that they can continue to control, manipulate and consolidate their power for their own sectarian and self-serving familial ends. But suppression and more suppression induces resistance and ultimately more resistance, that is natural law.

http://www.petercliffordonline/sumood

Bahrain Protests to Continue - Sumood

In the 21st century resistance is aided by 21st century technology and immediacy.

However long it takes, the Al Khalifas’ dictatorship is doomed to failure and for every Opposition leader they remove another half a dozen, media and technology savvy younger leaders will step into their shoes.

Take heart suppressed people of Bahrain and all those others across the Gulf, I and other human rights activists and organisations will continue to support you, however long it takes.”Sumood” (Endurance).

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/bahrain-news

Democracy in Bahrain "Hung Out to Dry" - Courtesy @CarlosLatuff

BAHRAIN – News: Constitutional Amendments: Al Khalifa Family 5 – Democracy 0



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BAHRAIN CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: AL KHALIFA FAMILY 5 – DEMOCRACY 0:

CULTURE MINISTER GUSHES ABOUT A “GOLDEN PHASE” AND “MR. SMIRKY” SAYS ITS A “QUANTUM LEAP”:

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS? MEANINGLESS WHILE BEATINGS, ABUSE AND TEAR-GASSING CONTINUE ON A DAILY BASIS:

TIMELINE – 13.35. GMT:

In another frenzy of self-congratulation the prominent members of Bahrain’s ruling Al-Khalifa family yesterday “hailed” and “lauded” the approval of “constitutional amendments” following a long-winded speech by king Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa at a ceremony in Manama, the capital, on Thursday.http://www.petercliffordonline.com/democracy-0

In the speech, which was big on meaningless rhetoric and short on meaningful content, the king burbled on about ” a qualitative leap” and the “National Action Charter, which garnered overwhelming popular support, and almost unanimous consensus”.          Picture: King Still Hiding From Democracy.

(Just one small problem in that almost 70% of the population does not support it! But we will overlook that, obviously maths is not the king’s strong point)

“As history has proven, citizenship, unity, and participation are the pillars of the reform and development march”, the king rambles on, “Thus, the doors for dialogue are wide open, and national consensus our ultimate aim”.

“These constitutional amendments, through the participation of the legislative power in consolidating its role to oversee the government’s performance, and …..” EDITOR: Actually I can’t repeat any more of this.  If you are into sado-masochistic torture you can read the full text, HERE:

In essence the “constitutional amendments” rule that the king now has to consult the heads of the elected parliament and the appointed Shura Council before dissolving the legislature. 

Additionally, the elected House of Representatives alone now has the right to vote to withhold its cooperation from the prime minister and refer its decision to the king – who then has the final choice on whether to dismiss the premier or keep him in post.

In other words, there is no significant change in the ultimate power of the king, who can still choose to ignore what everyone else says.

CULTURE MINISTER GUSHES ABOUT A “GOLDEN PHASE” AND “MR. SMIRKY” SAYS ITS A “QUANTUM LEAP”:

Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa, clearly having drunk vast quantities of the Government’s strangely contaminated water supply, gushed that “Bahrain witnesses a ‘golden phase’ of its history in the prosperous era of HM King Hamad”. and went on to describe the crisis over the last 12 months “as a catalyst to achieve greater success”.

While the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al-Khalifa (EDITOR: “Mr Smirky” to his “friends”) described the “new-look constitution” as representing a “quantum leap which will anchor reforms and bolster Bahrain’s fledgling democracy”.http://www.petercliffordonline.com/democracy-0

The Opposition parties were less impressed. “The king remains the one to appoint and dismiss the government,” said Abdul Jalil Khalil, a member of the main Opposition group Al-Wefaq.

The opposition wants he continued “a single-chamber parliament that is elected, just as the constitution of 1973 stipulated. These amendments do not abolish the consultative (Shura) council,” he added.

All the members of the Shura Council, or upper house, are appointed or approved by the King, consolidating his power in a chamber that has to sanction the decisions of the lower elected parliament.

The consultative council was introduced in 2002, as part of a new constitution which turned Bahrain from an emirate into a kingdom. It was dismissed by the Opposition as a manoeuvre by the king to control parliament.

Thousands of Opposition supporters took to the streets of Bahrain on Friday to demonstrate their lack of support for the amendments.

“I am Bahraini and dictatorship does not represent me,” said one banner summing up the continued lack of confidence in a system that claims to be “democratic” but remains firmly autocratic and suppressive.  There is a video of Friday’s protest march, Here:

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS? MEANINGLESS WHILE BEATINGS, ABUSE AND TEAR-GASSING CONTINUE ON A DAILY BASIS:

Anticipating the largely superficial reforms, Maryam AlKhawaja, Foreign Affairs spokeswoman for the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, said in an interview with Al Jazeera that as a human rights activist, stopping the nightly tear-gassing of families and their children in their homes is much more important than minor changes to the constitution.

Asked about the “retrial” of her Father, Abdulhadi AlKhawaja, now on the 87th day of his “Freedom or Death” hunger strike, and 19 other pro-democracy activists, Maryam said it was an “appeal” rather than a “retrial”, which made a huge difference, and given the lack of the judicial independence, with a result determined by members of the royal family, the outcome was unlikely to be fair.  You can see full video interview, HERE:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/democracy-0

Another Young Boy Riddled With Shotgun Pellets This Week

The irrelevance of the “constitutional amendments” is also illustrated by the police’s continued use of shotguns, injuring protesters seriously on a daily basis.  Most do not got to hospital for fear of arrest.

And meanwhile, as if to demonstrate the “fairness” of Bahrain’s judicial system, the Juvenile Court remanded two 13 year olds to stay in custody for a further 7 days after they were arrested last week accused of taking part in “an illegal assembly and riots”.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/democracy-0

Marks of Police Beating On 13 Year Old Yasin Sherber - BCHR

The 2 young boys,Yasin Abduljalil Sheber and Abdulkarim Hasan, appeared before judges for the second time yesterday since their arrest the previous Friday.

Defence lawyers said Sheber had been beaten after his arrest in Hamad Town following a protest and Hasan, who was arrested in the village of Shahrakkan, had been “beaten with batons” and constantly referred to in questioning as a “son of Iran”.

Hasan was also accused of “carrying a petrol bomb” and Sheber of “assaulting a policeman and tearing his shirt”, leading to the cartoon below depicting a burly policeman bawling his eyes out and the judge offering him tissues, after he was “roughed up” by a 13 year old!

http://www.petercliffordonline/democracy-0

Policeman Complains After "Assault" by 13 Year Old - Courtesy Ali Bazzaz

BAHRAIN – News: King Hamad Cracks Jokes About “Press Freedom” in Bahrain



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KING HAMAD CRACKS HYSTERICAL JOKES ABOUT PRESS FREEDOM IN BAHRAIN:

TIMELINE – 3rd MAY 2012 11.49 GMT:

EDITOR: For a moment I thought it was April 1st, April Fool’s Day, when I read the Bahrain News Agency (BNA) report of King Hamad’s speech on the eve of today’s International Press Freedom Day. But no, it is May 3rd.

Frankly, I don’t know how the leader of one of most repressive regimes in the world, especially in terms of freedom of expression, has the neck to publicly make the speech he has just given about Press Freedom in Bahrain.

http://www.petercliffordonlien.com/hamad-jokes

Gulf "Royalty" Having a Laugh About Press Freedom

On the 2012 Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index Bahrain ranks at 173 just ahead of such fine bed-fellows as China, Iran, Syria, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bottom placed Eritrea at 179!

Reporters Without Borders even lists King Hamad as a one of its more than 40 “Predators of Freedom of Information”.

Yet, says King Hamad, “We are delighted on the occasion of the international day for freedom of the press to convey our utmost compliment and appreciation to the press and media family in the Kingdom of Bahrain for their sincere efforts in developing the spirit of citizenship, conslidating (sic) the values of freedom, democracy and human rights and supporting reform plans and comprehensive susainable (sic) development”.

(BNA’s translators should be banished to the Arabian desert with a set of English Language books until they properly master the art if they are going to publish this stuff for international consumption – but that’s another story! I digress)

“We emphasize,” the King burbles on, “Our pride in pioneers of Bahraini journalism who took on their shoulders the task of construction of modern Bahraini media on foundations of diversity, mulitiplicity (sic) and credibility, and we appreciate objective free writers and honest genuine patriotic voices and creative media cadres who placed the Kingdom of Bahrain’s interest, progress and prosperity above any material, ideological or sectarian consideations (sic)”.

(I think the English dictionary they are using is the one they found when the Al Khalifa’s arrived in 1783! Sorry, the translation is so constipated it is not true!)

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/hamad-jokes

Press Freedom in Bahrain in Action 2011

And then comes the King’s best joke… “There should be no tampering with the right of Bahraini citizens in expressing their opinions, nor any celings (sic) put on their freedoms or creativity apart from professional consciousness, national and ethical responsbilitiies (sic) and observance of the people’s unity and national interest in compliance with the Constitution and the Law”.

In other words we will protect your right to say what ever you want as long as you agree with us!  That’s a pretty rotten basis for a “democracy”.

It gets worse …… “We are fully and constantly supportive of the rights of journalists, writers and media personnel and organizations as they carry out their noble mission without any threat or molestation. We do not and will not tolerate throughout our reign any insulting, arresting or jailing of a journalist as a result of exercising her/his legal and constitutional right of free expression”.

Well, your majesty, try telling that:

  • To the bloggers and journalists still held in your prisons…
  • To the families of the opposition newspaper publisher who mysteriously died in police custody and the family of the young citizen journalist recently killed while peaceful filming a protest…..
  • To the young poetess who was imprisoned for reading out a poem perceived as critical of yourself, the King ….
  • To the mother who was imprisoned for playing music the police did not like on her car CD player….
  • To all the journalists who lost their jobs as a result of your policies…
  • To the brave local photographers who get threatened by the police almost every time they take a picture ….
  • To the TV station employees whose satellite broadcasts to Bahrain were jammed by your Government…
    http://www.petercliffordonline.com/hamad-jokes

    Say Whatever You Want As Long As You Keep It To Yourself

    To all the people who would like to start a newspaper or radio or TV station that might be critical of the Government but will never get a licence …

  • To all the international journalists that have been refused entry into Bahrain when it suits you or deported because you were terrified that they might discover what is really going on ….
  • To all the citizens of Bahrain who would like a free, unencumbered platform in Bahrain to read, write or publish what the think about anything they choose ….
  • To all those who would like to access the more than 1,000 legitimate websites that you prevent your citizens viewing on the Internet ….
  • And, most of all, to all those who have been beaten, tortured and incarcerated for saying things that the paranoid Al Khalifa family does not want to hear.


Lastly, the King has the temerity to complain about “Bahrain’s unfair treatment in the media”.

“It is quite clear that the Kingdom of Bahrain has been targeted by purposefull (sic), willful campaigns through some foreign media which sought to distort true facts, instigate violence, sabotage, hatred and hostility among citizens in our united nation and this contravenes against all religious teachings, moral ethics and interntional (sic) treaties and conventions as these campaigns which propgated (sic) false opinions and relied on one-sided and biased sources devoid of any accuracy and credibility and which marginalized the rest of Bahraini public opinion”.

So the many PR companies that you employ at a cost of millions of dollars around the world are not charged with distorting “true facts” then? They independently only tell the truth, reflect the reality in Bahrain?http://www.petercliffordonline.com/hamad-jokes

If you did not have so much to hide, the international press would give you an easier time.

Your majesty, I offer you a challenge. If your “freedom of expression” policy is now so enlightened, publish this article on the BNA website or in the Gulf Daily News, uncensored and unabridged.

Until then, I for one will continue publishing comment on your distorted, badly written drivel to ensure that the world knows what is really happening in Bahrain and to prevent the truth being swept under the carpet.

If you can stand reading the full text of the King’s meaningless, badly translated burble, you can read it HERE: http://www.petercliffordonlien.com/hamad-jokes


BAHRAIN – News: Twisted Legal System Continues Courtroom Farce

BAHRAIN’S TWISTED LEGAL SYSTEM CONTINUES COURT FARCE WITH A “RETRIAL” OF ALKHAWAJA AND 20 OTHERS:

BAHRAIN GOVERNMENT CLAIM ALKHAWAJA “NOT FORCE-FED” – HOW COULD HE BE ALIVE AFTER FASTING 83 DAYS OTHERWISE?:

TORTURE, BEATINGS AND ABUSE BY THE AL KHALIFA POLICE CONTINUE IN “UNOFFICIAL LOCATIONS” SAYS HRW:

BAHRAIN FOREIGN MINISTER INCITES FOLLOWERS TO VOTE FOR TV FILM – APPARENTLY THOUGHT “BAFTA” WAS A FOOD EATING AWARD:

TIMELINE – 1st MAY 2012 12.25 GMT:

Following international pressure, particularly over the case of Abdulhadi AlKhawaja, Bahrain’s Al Khalifa family run Government yesterday announced via the Court of Cassation that all 21 defendants convicted last year in a military court of “plotting against the monarchy”, would be sent for retrial in a civilian court.

Eight of the defendants, including AlKhawaja, had previously been sentenced to life imprisonment and 7 of the defendants were given long sentences in absentia. The 14 who have been held in prison since their arrest in the Spring of 2011 will not be released pending  retrial.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/bafta-burp

Support for AlKhawaja Unrelenting

A entirely new trial with prosecution and defence witnesses will take place, meaning effectively that the Bahrain Government has found just another way of keeping them in prison while at the same time pretending to the world that it is “listening” and “reforming its legal system”.

However, the Al Khalifa Government has “pulled the wool” over the eyes of the international community too many times to be taken seriously and therefore any of its “good” actions in regards to the Opposition will be regarded skeptically.

Sayed Hadi al-Mousawi, a spokesman for the Opposition Wefaq Party, said, “This ruling is just a step in the right direction, but the street will not calm down until all the prisoners are freed. This is just a part of it”.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/bafta-burp

Khadija & Zainab AlKhawaja

Khadija al-Mousawi, AlKhawaja’s wife, said, “If they are serious they should set them free and then retry them.

My husband is going through the whole thing again, remembering the horrible episode of torture, attempt to rape and sexual abuse.

I think it is ridiculous, what sort of legal process is this? They are playing for time, and should have transferred his case to a civilian court at the first hearing not the third.”

The BBC has a video report, including an interview with Khadija, HERE:

BAHRAIN GOVERNMENT CLAIM ALKHAWAJA “NOT FORCE-FED” – HOW COULD HE BE ALIVE AFTER FASTING 83 DAYS OTHERWISE?:

AlKhawaja himself is now in the 83rd day of his “Freedom or Death” hunger strike. When his family were finally allowed to visit for an hour on Sunday, after being denied access for a week, AlKhawaja told them that he had been tied to the bed, sedated and force-fed through a nasoenteric tube.

Despite denials on their Government news agency website from the Bahraini Defence Force military hospital where he is being held, that this was the case, it is almost certainly the reason he is still alive. Almost all previous hunger strikers have not survived more than 73 days. He has vowed to continue his strike.http://www.petercliffordonline.com/bafta-burp

The family were also allowed to visit Zainab AlKhawaja, Abdulhadi’s daughter, who has now been held in custody for more than a week for staging a sit-down protest on the highway in support of her father.

Zainab told her family that she had been kicked and beaten on arrest.

Bahrain activist Frankie Dolan has started a Storify page in support of AlKhawaja and is asking people to leave their comments, thoughts and memories about him and the inspiration he has provided. 100,000 comments needed. You can add yours, HERE:

TORTURE, BEATINGS AND ABUSE BY THE AL KHALIFA POLICE CONTINUE IN “UNOFFICIAL LOCATIONS” SAYS HRW:

That abuse, torture, arbitrary arrests and distortion continue in Bahrain, despite its “commitment” to implementing the recommendations of the BICI report issued last November, was highlighted again on Sunday when Human Rights Watch (HRW) published another report titled “Bahrain: Police Brutality Despite Reform Pledges”.

In a visit from 15th – 19th March 2012, HRW interviewed 14 youngsters, including 7 children, who had been arrested and then taken to informal police facilities and isolated public places and beaten before being released or taken to police stations.

Interviews and formal proceedings at police stations are now supposed to be recorded on video.http://www.petercliffordonline.com/bafta-burp

One 20 year old described his treatment after being arrested on February 11th and taken to the former youth hostel in Sanabis, a place activists have identified as one used for abuse and torture.

“I had lost my shoes and could feel grass beneath my feet. With my hands cuffed behind my back, they made me kneel and bend over and they started kicking me and beating me with sticks. Someone said: “Finished.”

Another voice said: “Too early, continue.” They then removed all my clothes, apart from the tee shirt that they had turned on my head, and laughed at me. They then put my pants back on and asked me to pray.

As I leaned forward, I and the other prisoner were kicked from behind and we fell forward into a swimming pool, still with hands cuffed. The pool was shallow, so I was able to stand but the water was cold – it was a particularly chilly evening.

When I fell into the pool, my tee shirt hood came down and I could see policemen standing around the pool”.

HRW has confirmed with satellite imagery that the former Sanabis Youth Hostel grounds contains a swimming pool.

HRW raised “the issue of police brutality and torture during arrest and at informal facilities with Bahrain’s chief of public security, Major General Tariq al-Hasan, and his two senior international advisers, John Yates and John Timoney, on April 17.

Timoney and Yates said they had visited some of the facilities identified by Human Rights Watch but found no evidence at the time of their visits of detainees being taken there and mistreated.

Major General al-Hasan told Human Rights Watch that the police authorities were considering issuing instructions to order immediate transfer of detained protesters to police stations”.

As yet no senior police or security officer has been held accountable for abuse, torture or deaths in custody in Bahrain and not one single police officer has as yet tbeen convicted of such a crime. You can read the whole HRW report, HERE:

BAHRAIN FOREIGN MINISTER INCITES FOLLOWERS TO VOTE FOR TV FILM – APPARENTLY THOUGHT “BAFTA” WAS A FOOD EATING AWARD:

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, who describes himself on his Twitter profile as a “Bon Vivant” (EDITOR: But judging by his photographs has been clearly “Bon Vivanting” rather too much lately – see @khalidalkhalifa and below – and perhaps got the word “BAFTA” confused with the English word “BURP”), last weekend incited his 80,000 socila media followers to vote against the Al Jazeera award winning TV documentary “Shouting in the Dark”.

The Al Jazeera film, much of which was shot undercover, documents the Bahrain uprising of 2011 and the aftermath. It has already won numerous awards and is currently one of 4 nominees for the 2012 BAFTA (British Academy for Film and Television Arts) prize for Current Affairs.http://www.petercliffordonline.com/bafta/burp

Sheikh Khalid told his followers to vote for a Channel 4 film about Sri Lanka, one which probably few of them have watched, and, ironically, whose film makers Bahrain’s Government deported from their country recently (see below).

So far, his “call to action” has not helped much. As of this morning, Tuesday, “Shouting in the Dark” was ahead by around 7,000 votes, polling 52.25% of the vote. The other 2 programmes by Panorama have jointly polled less than 1% of the vote.

You can cast your vote, HERE:

You can also watch Al Jazeera’s excellent documentary, HERE:

The UK’s Channel 4, whose journalists were chased by police and deported from Bahrain for filming “illegally”, have had some of the footage that they lost at the time smuggled back to them. You can see their video report, filmed during the F1 Grand Prix week, HERE:

Ironically, the votes of Sheikh Khalid and his supporters are irrelevant anyway. The BAFTA Awards are decided by an independent jury and will be announced on the 27th May. The Radio Times poll was merely to gauge the views of its readers and it makes no difference to the end result. You can read the full BBC article, HERE:

EDITOR: As a satirical blogger I am so grateful to the Bahrain government for the endless ways it makes a fool of itself. Thank you.

BAHRAIN – News: Human Rights Activist “In High Spirits” Apparently – Can You Believe a Word They Say?

GOVERNMENT PRESS “SOURCE” SAYS “ALKHAWAJA IS IN HIGH SPIRITS” – (RUNNING AND SKIPPING NO DOUBT!):

AL-KHALIFA PRIME MINISTER’S TWO-FACED “HUMANITY”:

TIMELINE – 27th APRIL 2012 08.57 GMT:

According to a report in today’s Gulf Daily News, the main English language pro-government newspaper in Bahrain, they had been told by “sources” that Abdulhadi AlKhawaja was still at the Bahrain Defence Force hospital and was in “high spirits”

http://www.petercliffordonline.com

AlKhawaja in "High Spirits" After 79 days on Hunger Strike?

The report also claims that “he has never stopped receiving intravenous fluids, although nurses did say he tried to stop taking water two days ago” and that for the last 2 days he has been drinking the nutritional drink Ensure.

According to Google, “Ensure is a food supplement often recommended by nutritionists or dieticians to ‘ensure’ that patients are getting enough calories and vitamins when swallowing difficulties or arm weakness make eating whole foods difficult or no longer pleasurable”.

It is often used with sufferers of motor neurone disease who are no longer able to feed themselves normally.

The press source also went on to say that AlKhawaja “has lost at least 11kg to 12kg, but he is not skeletal. His muscle mass is still there, but his fat mass has definitely gone. His skin is very tight so it is difficult when searching for a vein for a needle, but for the last two days he has been taking the nutritional drink Ensure.

Reports that he has gone missing are not true – and I saw him coming out of the bathroom where he was in high spirits.”
You can read the full report HERE:

This report that AlKhawaja is “in good health” was compounded yesterday by a video interview by BBC’s Hardtalk programme with Bahrain’s Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs Khalid Bin Ali Al-Khalifa. He says that AlKhawaja is receiving “optimum health care”.

EDITOR: Whatever that is? If you can bear to watch this grinning, smirking  idiot, the video report is HERE:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com

AlKhawaja Remains Defiant - Courtesy of @CarlosLatuff

 

So after 79 days on a hunger strike then, AlKhawaja is “fine” the Bahraini Government would like us to believe.

That he is apparently still alive is a relief but why they refuse to allow anyone to see or talk with him is highly suspicious.  

The claim is that the “doctors” have said that visits and phone calls must stop.

Why? Just another collective punishment on his family and followers it seems to me – and once again a demonstration of the Al-Khalifa’s complete lack of humanity.

AlKhawaja’s appeal against his conviction comes to court again on Monday 30th April.  But don’t get your hopes up. On their past track record the Bahrain justice system will make it as difficult and awkward as possible, probably postponing the decision yet again.

AL-KHALIFA PRIME MINISTER’S TWO-FACED “HUMANITY”:

Meanwhile the ridiculous monarchy in Bahrain play out their games with the King sending a “cable” to the Prime Minister, thanking him for his “cable” thanking him for the “success” of  (the half full stands at) the F1 Grand Prix weekend.

(EDITOR: Someone should tell them about those new invention, emails and the telephone!).

There is also much made on the official Bahrain News Agency website of visits by the Prime Minister, and a string of other officials, to the bedsides of injured police officers and also to a mother and son injured in a gas cylinder explosion that severely damaged their home and showered them with glass.http://www.petercliffordonline.com

Speaking to the police officers, Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the antique Prime Minister, said, “To say “thank you” is not enough. We need to show love and respect to the security officers and translate that into deeds”.

“The Prime Minister lauded popular stances in support of the security officers which, he said, emanate from the Bahraini inherent humane characteristics”, says the report.

“He stressed rejection of all forms of intimidation and terrorization of citizens, asserting that Bahrain will always remain and oasis of security and stability under the wise leadership of His Majesty the King”.

(EDITOR: If you can face reading the full report without reaching for the sick bag, it is HERE:

Strange that we never noticed members of the Government visiting the families of those whose loved ones have died from police brutality or mysteriously in the Al-Khalifa prisons. I must have just missed the reports that day!

BAHRAIN – NEWS: WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ALKHAWAJA?

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FAMILY, LAWYER AND DIPLOMATS DENIED ACCESS TO ALKHAWAJA – IS HE STILL ALIVE?:

TIMELINE – 26th APRIL 2012 10.15 GMT:

Today, Thursday, would be the 78th day of Abdulhadi AlKhawaja’s “Freedom or Death” hunger strike – if he is still alive.  75 days is normally the limit for surviving without sustenance and AlKhawaja told his family he would even stop drinking water last Sunday.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/bahrain-news

Where is AlKhawaja?

The Al-Khalifa Government currently has a news blackout on information around AlKhawaja and his family, his lawyer and the Danish Ambassador have all been prevented this week from speaking with him or making visits.

AlKhawaja’s wife says that she phoned the Bahrain Defence Force medical ward where he was being held on Wednesday after he failed to make his regular Tuesday call to her. A nurse is reported to have told her that his room and bed were empty.

Until a few days ago the Ministry of Interior was saying that he is still “in good health” but activists have reported a large increase in police checkpoints around Bahrain in the last 24 hours, which may indicate that some announcement to the contrary is imminent.

There also seems to have been an escalation in night time police raids on houses in the Shia villages and random arrests to “neutralise” those most likely to demonstrate. The village of Duraz was particularly targeted after an explosion there on Tuesday night injured 4 policemen following a fire inside a shop.

Ban Ki Moon, the UN General Secretary, the US State Department and the EU have all once again this week called on the Bahraini Government to  use “every available option” to find resolution over the AlKhawaja case.  It may be too late or he is in a coma.

httP://www.petercliffordonline.com/bahrain-news

Zanaib AlKhawaja Protesting in the Road - byshr.org

Zainab AlKhawaja, his daughter, who was arrested last weekend for staging a protest sit-in in the middle of the road in the Financial Harbour district, has been remanded in custody for another 7 days.

Her sister, Maryam AlKhawaja, who acts as international spokeswoman for the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, yesterday addressed the EU Parliament in clear, forthright terms about the poor state of human rights, not just in Bahrain, but throughout the Gulf. 

You can hear hear her articulate testimony in this video report, HERE:

In response to requests to the Ministry of Interior for information about AlKhawaja by the media, the Ministry merely says that people should “watch its Twitter feed”. There was no relevant information from that source yesterday.

In the meantime, we can only wait and hope that somehow AlKhawaja is still alive. 

EDITOR: For the Ministry of Interior to deny his family information and access is beyond cruel – but then little surprises me from this lying and despicable regime.

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