Police Chief Timoney, Meet Bahraini Mothers

February 21, 2012 § 1 Comment

by Medea Benjamin

14-year-old Ali Jawad died when a tear gas canister fired at close range smashed his face.

John Timoney is the controversial former Miami police chief well known for orchestrating brutal crackdowns on protests in Miami and Philadelphia- instances with rampant police abuse, violence, and blatant disregard for freedom of expression. It should be of great concern that the Kingdom of Bahrain has brought Timoney and John Yates, former assistant commissioner of Britain’s Metropolitan Police, to “reform” Bahrain’s security forces.

Since assuming his new position, Timoney has claimed that Bahrain has been reforming it brutal police tactics in response to recommendations issued by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. He says that there is less tear gas being used and that while tear gas might be “distasteful,” it’s not really harmful.

I have no idea what country Chief Timoney is talking about, because it’s certainly not the Bahrain I saw this past week, a week that marked the one-year anniversary since the February 14, 2011 uprising.

I was in Bahrain for five days before being deported for joining a peaceful women’s march. During my stay, I accompanied local human rights activists to the villages where protests were raging and police cracking down. Every day, I inhaled a potent dose of tear gas, and came close to being hit in the head with tear gas canisters. Every evening I saw the fireworks and smelled the noxious fumes as hundreds of tear gas canisters were lobbed into the village of Bani Jamrah, next door to where I was staying. The villagers would get on their roofs yelling “Down, Down Hamad” (referring to the King). In exchange, as a form of collective punishment, the whole village would be doused in tear gas. I went to bed coughing, eyes burning, wondering how in the world the Bahrainis can stand this.

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Silence as Bahraini children are stabbed and gassed

February 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

by Tighe Barry

As part of an observer delegation in Bahrain with the peace group Code Pink, I visited the village of Bani Jamrah with local Bahraini human rights activists.

In one of the many horrific cases we heard, a 17-year-old boy Hasan, his friend and his 8-year-old brother left their home to go to the grocery store. As they were entering the store they noticed some other youngsters running. Fearing the police would be following them, they decided to wait in the store. The 8 year old hid behind a refrigerator. The police entered the store with face masks on. They grabbed the older boys, pulling them out of the store and into the street.

Once outside the shop the police began to beat them with their sticks and hit them on the head, shouting obscenities and accusations. The police were accusing them of having been involved with throwing Molotov cocktails, asking over and over “Where are the Molotov cocktails?”

The four policemen, all masked and wearing regulation police uniforms, took turns beating the boys while one was instructed to keep watch to make sure no one was video taping. They seemed to be very concerned that there be no witnesses. Quickly, they forced the boys into the waiting police car. Inside the police vehicle was another youth about 18 who appeared to be “Muhabharat,” or plain-clothes police thugs associated with many dictatorships in the Middle East.

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US Arms Deal with Bahrain as Crackdown Continues

February 8, 2012 § 1 Comment

Robert Naiman: US plans $53 million arms sale as suppression of democracy movement gets a “seal of approval”.

Bahrain: Shouting in the dark

August 14, 2011 § 2 Comments

A must see documentary which the Bahraini and Saudi regimes have tried to suppress.

Bahrain: An island kingdom in the Arabian Gulf where the Shia Muslim majority are ruled by a family from the Sunni minority. Where people fighting for democratic rights broke the barriers of fear, only to find themselves alone and crushed.

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The US and the New Middle East: The Gulf

July 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Al Jazeera’s excellent Fault Lines on the US role in the Gulf, particularly its deliberate support for the repressive Bahraini monarchy.

Fault Lines’ Seb Walker travels to the Gulf to look at US policy in the region, and to explore why the United States has taken an interventionist policy in Libya, but not in Bahrain, where there has been a brutal crackdown on protesters. Why does the White House strongly back democracy in one Arab country, but not another?

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Bahrain’s brutal regime targets medics and schoolgirls

May 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

The second part of Al Jazeera’s exclusive report on Bahrain looks at the abuse of medical workers as part of the government’s crackdown on dissent.

In first of five exclusive reports, Al Jazeera has unearthed evidence that sheds light on kingdom’s brutal crackdown.

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Saudi-backed Bahraini regime continues to torture and kill

May 6, 2011 § 2 Comments

Bahrain’s totalitarian regime continues to kill, torture and harass and yet coverage in the international media remains rare.

Also see Physicians for Human Rights report on Bahraini persecution of doctors.

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Bahrain Detaining Over 1,000 Pro-Democracy Activists‎

April 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

Saudi-backed Bahraini forces injured a woman who was part of a group of women trying to prevent the destruction of a religious site. In addition, two female student and four female medics have been detained. Bahrain’s Human Rights Center reports that 1,041 people have been detained since protest began, including 64 women. As part of the crackdown on anti-government protests, the Saudi-backed forces are also raiding hospitals and schools and have destroyed many mosques and holy sites.

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The US, Gulf Kings and Brutal Repression in Bahrain

April 17, 2011 § 4 Comments

The brutal repression of demonstrators by the US-backed monarchies continues.

Adam Hanieh: US policy in region based on Gulf Cooperation Council ability to suppress opposition

Violence continues across Bahrain

March 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

Also see this article by Marc Lynch on the Bahraini government use of sectarianism as a counterinsurgency tool.

Bahrain’s largest opposition group has urged Saudi Arabia to withdraw its forces and called for a UN inquiry into the the government’s on-going crackdown.

Clashes between security forces and anti goverment protesters continue, spilling into villages across the country.

Our special correspondent, whom we are not naming for security reasons, filed this report.

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