A bad day for torturers

July 19, 2012 § Leave a comment


It has been a bad 24 hours for the world’s torturers. First it was Asef Shawkat who oversaw torture in Damascus, now Ayman Mohyeldin is reporting that the Egyptian head of intelligence, the notorious torturer Omer Suleiman has also died in the US. I hope the torturers of Bagram, Guantanamo, Ashkelon, and Chechnya also meet the same fate, not necessarily naturally.

A Scene from Pulp Fiction in Kashmir

May 2, 2012 § 3 Comments

"Pulp Fiction Bananas" by Banksy, once near Old Street Tube Station, London, now whitewashed.  From http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-images-by-street-artist-banksy.php

"Pulp Fiction Bananas" by Banksy, once near Old Street Tube Station, London, now whitewashed.

PUMPKIN: Everybody be cool, this is an occupation!
YOLANDA: Any of you fucking pricks move, and I’ll execute every motherfucking last one of you!
JULES: So, tell me again about those killing-for-promotions there…
VINCENT: What do you want to know?
JULES: Killing is legal there, right?
VINCENT: Yeah, it is legal but it ain’t 100% legal. I mean you can’t walk into a house and start shooting right away. You’re only supposed to take those fucking pricks to certain designated places and blast off their fucking brains? You have to give them some name…
JUKES: Those are encounter sites?
VINCENT: Yeah, it breaks down like this: it’s legal to kill them, it’s legal to own it and, if you’re the occupier of the encounter site, it’s legal to bury them there. It’s legal to carry their bodies, but that doesn’t really matter ’cause — even if you got a truckload of them — if the cops stop you, it’s illegal for them to search you. Searching you is a right that the cops in Kashmir don’t have. « Read the rest of this entry »

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.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Syria’s injured seek treatment in Jordan

February 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dozens of people have been killed in the ongoing military assault on the central Syrian city of Homs, according to activists. Opposition groups say at least 6,000 people have died since the anti-government uprising began 11 months ago. With Syria’s makeshift hospitals unable to keep up with the growing rate of casualties, many of the wounded are left with little choice other than to travel to Jordan.

Al Jazeera’s Nisreen el-Shamayleh reports from the Jordanian capital, Amman, on those Syrians seeking treatment across the border, including a one-time Olympian.

Brother Arab Republic of Syria

February 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has offered his unequivocal support to the leader of the ‘Brother Arab Republic of Syria’. Those unfamiliar with the anti-imperial record of this regime might find the following report instructive:

Military assault on Homs intensifies

February 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

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Torture inside Homs

February 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

Courageous reporting from inside Syria by Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson.

The Syrian government has been blamed by opposition groups for imprisoning tens of thousands of protesters calling for reform since the uprising began in March 2011.

Rights groups beleive many of the prisoners have been tortured, some until death. Outside the prisons, the government has continued its military crackdowns protests, killing thousands of people across the country.

In the third part of a series of exclusive reports, Jane Ferguson goes inside Homs, one of the main targets of President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces.

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