Horrifying evidence sheds light on brutality of state crackdown on medical staff. Jeremy Laurance reports
Harrowing testimony of torture, intimidation and humiliation from a doctor arrested in the crackdown on medical staff in Bahrain has revealed the lengths to which the regime's security forces are prepared to go to quash pro-democracy protests.
Interviews obtained by The Independent from inside Bahrain tell of ransacked hospitals and of terrified medical staff beaten, interrogated and forced into signing false confessions. Many have been detained, their fate unknown.
Inspired by the pro-democracy protests which swept Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year, Bahrainis took to the streets in their thousands in February, demanding greater political rights and more equality for the Shia Muslim majority, ruled over for decades by a Sunni monarchy.
The state launched a fierce counter-offensive in mid-March, swiftly and brutally crushing the uprising with the backing of Saudi security forces.
The campaign of intimidation against the doctors and nurses who bore witness to the bloody crackdown began two months ago at Salmaniya Medical Complex, the main hospital in the capital Manama. It has since been extended to at least nine health centres which have been systematically attacked by the security forces over the past month, an activist cataloguing the abuses says.
A ship carrying up to 600 migrants has sunk off the coast of Libya, witnesses have reported, in what would be one of the worst accidents to have befallen refugees fleeing recent unrest in North Africa, if confirmed.
Accounts of the accident, at the end of last week, are only now beginning to emerge. At least 16 bodies, including those of two babies, were recovered from the stricken ship after they washed ashore, the United Nations Refugee Agency has said. It is feared hundreds more could be dead.
Thousands of refugees have attempted to escape fierce fighting in Libya and ongoing unrest in Tunisia for Europe in recent months, leading to overcrowding on boats that are often unsafe.
دستگاه قضایی ایران اعلام کرده است 9 نفر را به اتهام قتل ماموران نیروی انتظامی و ارتکاب عمل منافی با عفت عمومی اعدام کرده است.
سایت خبری اهواز نیوز روز شنبه 8 – 5 – 2011 نام 8 تن از این افراد را منتشرکرده و تاکید کرده است سه تن از اعدام شدگان برادربودند و در ملاعام در سه راه حمیدیه در غرب اهواز به دار آویخته شدند.
نام اين سه برادرعلی حیدری ( 25 ساله ) ، جاسم حیدری ( 23 ساله ) و ناصرحیدری ( 21 ساله ) اعلام شده است.
بر اساس این گزارش 6 شهروند عرب دیگر نیز در زندان کارون اهواز به دار آویخته شدند که نام های آنها امیرمعاوی ، علی نعامی ، امیر بدوی ، احمد ناصری ( 22 ساله ) وهاشم حمیدی ( 16 عاما ) است ومتهم اخیر هنگام اعدام تن وی از بدن جدا شد.
The U.S. has an obligation to try to help a kidnapped opposition leader.
While the world was gripped by last weekend’s revelation that U.S. forces had secretly taken down Osama bin Laden, another covert operation was being carried out by armed security personnel — in the service of a key Middle Eastern ally of the United States.
Just after 8 p.m. on May 1, 35-year-old Bahraini opposition politician Matar Ebrahim Ali Matar was home with his wife when the phone rang. A woman who would not identify herself said that she had important documents she urgently needed to give him.
Matar is one of 18 members of the al-Wefaq political party who recently resigned from parliament in protest of the Sunni regime’s crackdown on predominantly Shiite protesters. Constant regime surveillance had become the norm and party leaders feared for their safety, according to one of Matar’s colleagues. Matar suggested the caller meet him at al-Wefaq’s bustling office. She demurred, suggesting an alternative location close to his home.
Matar eventually agreed and drove with his wife to the appointed place. When they arrived, armed, masked men pulled Matar into their car and sped off, according to Matar’s colleague, who is in touch with his wife. Matar has not been heard from since, but a government spokesperson confirmed to one of us that he “has been called in for investigation.”
When most major international news networks finally caught up with the final climactic moments of the Tunisian revolution, it seemed as though, between racing to get last-minute flights to Tunis and playing catch-up with other news agencies that had been reporting on Tunisia since December, the world's major media players made a collective 'never again' resolution to never or try not to ignore any developing story again. Having gotten over the failure to cover the fall of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from day one, Algeria, Libya and Egypt all jostling to take centre stage in popular uprisings were brilliant opportunities for a media that had missed out to cover up. In the end, Egypt proved ripe for revolution and so for 18 days, in spite or in remembrance of 800 civilian casualties, the Egyptian people successfully toppled the Mubarak regime.
As hundreds of thousands gathered in communal points all over Egypt chanting down Mubarak, to a far lesser extent similar popular protests went down in Cameroon, Angola, Gabon and Burkina Faso. All of these received marginal coverage. Even Côte d'Ivoire was at one point was rightly dubbed 'the forgotten war'. It did not fit the media template of a sexy, tech-savvy, populist revolution, as that which had been constructed of Egypt. Instead Côte d'Ivoire had the uncomfortable but familiar look and feel of a Rwanda genocide-lite. It was a messy, bloody struggle for power between rebel and patriot factions in a country most educated people outside of Africa would struggle to find on a map. Côte d'Ivoire, the world's largest cocoa producer and native home of soccer stars Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Yaya Touré has the misfortune of being a country with little global influence and of lesser strategic importance than Egypt or Libya to the (mostly anglophone) countries that have historically determined which international news stories are to be prioritised.
And now that the French troops have assisted Alassane Ouattara in deposing the resistant Laurent Gbagbo from the presidency, most of the TV crews and cameras have gone. Field correspondents and NGOs continue to file dispatches of fighting in the streets of Abidjan and ongoing atrocities committed in the forests in the western side of the country, but the world's eyes have moved on. Not to Burkina Faso next door, but elsewhere, where more thrilling stories of revolution beckon.
But what makes Burkina Faso's crisis so un-newsworthy that it is easily swept under the news pile?
AllAfrica.comCongo-Kinshasa: Africa In The Age of Obama - Why Libya and Not CongoAllAfrica.comOn March 28, 2011, United States President Barack Obama spoke to the American people about Libya and why the United States must engage militarily as...
BEIRUT—More than 750 civilians have been killed in Syria since an uprising against President Bashar Assads regime began in mid-March, a human rights group said Tuesday as the government pressed its efforts to end the nationwide unrest.
At least 30 people have died in Bahrain, protesters and medical workers are being put on trial, and prominent opposition politicians are being arrested—but the U.S. has yet to toughen its talk or impose sanctions on its Gulf ally.
Bahrain, a predominantly Shiite country ruled by a Sunni monarchy, plays host to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. McClatchy reports today that the government has bulldozed dozens of Shiite mosques. Shiite women and girls have also been detained and abused, according to McClatchy. The State Department has said little about these matters publicly, except to tell McClatchy it’s “concerned by the destruction of religious sites” and is “extremely troubled by reports of ongoing human rights abuses” in Bahrain.
Evidence is piling up against acquisitions of farmland in poor countries
THE farmers of Makeni, in central Sierra Leone, signed the contract with their thumbs. In exchange for promises of 2,000 jobs, and reassurances that the bolis (swamps where rice is grown) would not be drained, they approved a deal granting a Swiss company a 50-year lease on 40,000 hectares of land to grow biofuels for Europe. Three years later 50 new jobs exist, irrigation has damaged the bolis and such development as there has been has come “at the social, environmental and economic expense of local communities”, says Elisa Da Vià of Cornell University.
When deals like this first came to international attention in 2009, it was unclear whether they were “land grabs or development opportunities”, to quote a study published that year. Supporters claimed they would bring seeds, technology and capital to some of the world’s poorest lands. Critics, such as the director of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, dubbed them “neo-colonialist”. But no one had hard evidence to back up their claims. Now they do. Two years on, a conference at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) of the University of Sussex, the biggest of its kind so far, examined over 100 land deals. Most judgments are damning.*
The country — the first to throw off its dictator in the season of Arab uprisings this year — faces challenges before elections on July 24. It's now a bubbling cauldron of excitement and ideas, but elements of distrust still linger.
By Eleanor Beardsley
In this season of uprisings in the Arab world, Tunisia was the first country to throw off its dictator. That event inspired similar revolts across the region. Four months later, with the country's first democratic elections approaching, Tunisians are both hopeful and fearful.
Tunisia, and especially its capital, Tunis, is a bubbling cauldron of excitement and ideas. More than 70 new political parties have sprung into existence and hundreds of citizens' organizations have formed. Fares Mabrouk, head of the Arab Policy Institute, was finally able to create a think-tank — something inconceivable under the former regime.
Mabrouk says Tunisia is a laboratory for democracy in the Arab world.
"Is democracy possible in the Arab world?" Mabrouk asks. "The question will be answered here in Tunisia."
headiness over the killing of Osama bin Laden ebbs, three nettlesome issues have resurfaced in public debate—how to resolve long strained relations with Pakistan, the use of torture to gain information from terror suspects, and Islamophobia.
The US assault on Bin Laden’s compound about 40 miles from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad was an embarrassment for the Pakistani government and military, which said it was a breach of Pakistani sovereignty. The US, on the other hand, had no confidence that bin Laden would not have been warned of the attack if permission to carry it out had sought. How, US officials have wondered out loud, could bin Laden go unnoticed in a military town that close to the capital.
President Obama put it diplomatically: “We think that there had to be some sort of support network for Bin Laden inside of Pakistan. But we don’t know who or what that support network was. We don’t know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government, and that’s something that we have to investigate, and more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate.”
How did a young man of such promise wind up in a brig? And how was he in a position to potentially access sensitive material given what the Army knew — or should have known — about him?
By Ellen Nakashima
In January 2010, more than 130 people gathered to celebrate the opening of Room B-28, a “hacker space” in the basement of the computer science building at Boston University. The room had two rows of computers running open-source software, and, in conformity to the hacker ethic, its walls were painted with wildly colored murals, extensions of the free expression to be practiced there. That was the reason for the power tools, too — in case someone wanted to build something amazing and beautiful, such as the musical staircase, under construction now, that chimes when you step on it.
One of the visitors was a young Army specialist named Bradley Manning, on leave from duty in Iraq. He had been working with computers, modifying code, since he was a kid. David House, founder of the hacker space, said he immediately sensed that Manning “was in the community,” someone who understood how technology could be empowering. This was the sort of world Manning hoped to inhabit one day, friends said. He had joined the Army so the GI Bill would finance his education. He had his eye on a PhD in physics.
Days later, he would be on a plane back to Baghdad and a culture where rule-breaking was not celebrated. And eight months after that, House — who had chatted with the man for barely 15 minutes — went to visit him in the brig at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, where Manning was being held as the prime suspect inthe largest national security leak in U.S. history.
He is accused of violating military computer security and leaking classified information to the insurgent Web site WikiLeaks. He faces 22 charges, including “aiding the enemy,” a capital crime. The material includes a video of an Apache helicopter firing on civilians in Baghdad, daily field reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a quarter-million cables from U.S. diplomats around the world. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has called the cable leaks “an attack on America’s foreign policy interests.”
For most of the past year, Manning spent 23 hours a day alone in a 6-by-12-foot jail cell. His case has become a rallying point for free-information activists, who say the leaked information belongs to the American people. They compare the 23-year-old former intelligence analyst to Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Vietnam War-era Pentagon Papers, and decry excessive government secrecy. “What is happening to our government when Bradley Manning is charged with aiding the enemy?” asked Pete Perry, an organizer with the Bradley Manning Support Network. “Who is the enemy? Information? The American people?”
The case raises troubling issues. Placing information in the public domain has never before been construed as aiding the enemy. Manning had a history of emotional outbursts throughout his youth, and they continued during his Army service, culminating in a breakdown in Baghdad.
How did a young man of such promise wind up in a brig? And how was he in a position to potentially access sensitive material given what the Army knew — or should have known — about him? Who is Bradley Manning, and what made him the way he is?
The general prosecutor of the International Criminal Court plans to request that ICC pre-trial judges issue arrest warrants against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and his son Saif Al Islam for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Similar charges are being lodged against Libya’s head of intelligence, Abdullah Al Senussi
ICC prosecutors are currently preparing evidence and will disclose the list of all those to be indicted next week and maybe as early as Monday, May 16. It is highly unlikely that Mr. Qaddafi will accept ICC summons, let alone allow himself to be arrested.
For its part, the Libyan opposition has sent a list of names to Portugal’s Ambassador Jose Morales Cabral, head of sanctions committee against Libya in the UN. The list includes 88 Libyan officials to be included in the Security Council Resolution 1970 sanctions list.
UN Security Council Resolution 1970 passed on February 26, referred the Libyan government’s violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrators to the ICC, imposed an arms embargo on Libya, and ordered a global travel ban on Colonel Qaddafi, and members of his family and inner circle.
SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico – Some 20,000 masked Indians took to the streets of San Cristobal de Las Casas, a city in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, for a march organized by the Zapatista National Liberation Army, or EZLN, to show support for poet Javier Sicilia’s national march for peace.
The demonstration, the largest organized by the Zapatistas in a decade, was not attended by guerrilla leader Subcomandante Marcos.
The Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Chol and Tojolabal Indians who took part wore traditional clothing during Saturday’s march.
The silent marchers, who carried Mexican and EZLN flags, were addressed by EZLN commander David, who said the guerrilla movement backed Sicilia because it was committed to preserving life.
Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Yemeni security forces opened fire on protesters in Taiz on Monday, killing at least six and injuring hundreds, a medical official in the southwestern city said.
Security forces moved in to disperse the marchers with batons and tear gas before opening fire with live ammunition, witnesses said. The marchers were teachers -- accompanied by opponents of the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh -- who were protesting salary cuts. Clashes occurred in five locations in Taiz, the witnesses added.