We have discovered a shocking page on Facebook set up for identifying Bahraini doctors and nurses and their families, calling them traitors, and getting them arrested simply for treating the injured pro-democracy protesters and for protesting the regime’s brutality. The page is in Arabic but we have used Google to translate it into English and taken a screenshot of it for those who can’t read Arabic. Names and faces have been blurred.
Please help get this dangerous page shut down. We have been reporting the page to facebook but it seems facebook staff are either on holidays or don’t care. If there are enough reports they might hurry up and close it down.
Al Jazeera’s Beirut Bureau Chief, Ghassan Ben Jeddo, Resigns
by Yoshie Furuhashi
As-Safir, a left-wing Lebanese newspaper, first reported on Saturday that Al Jazeera’s Beirut bureau chief Ghassan Ben Jeddo resigned. The news has now been confirmed by Al-Manar, which has interviewed Ben Jeddo.
According to As-Safir, Ben Jeddo resigned first and foremost because “Al Jazeera abandoned an ideal of objectivity and professionalism and resorted to gutter journalism, which has turned Al Jazeera from a media source to the operations room for incitement and mobilization,” unacceptable especially in light of the historic turning point facing the region.
Moreover, As-Safir says that Ben Jeddo was particularly angered by Al Jazeera’s scant coverage of the bloodshed in Bahrain, in sharp contrast to the intensive coverage that it has given to Libya, Yemen, and now Syria.
Regarding Ben Jeddo’s view of Syria, As-Safir notes in passing that he supports the right of Syrians to protest in the streets for reform and freedom, but that he also champions the national project and regional role of Syria.
Ben Jeddo, the former host of the Hiwar Maftuh [Open Dialogue] program on Al Jazeera, was “one of the most visible personalities of the network,” and his resignation “will bring further embarrassment to the network,” in the words of As’ad AbuKhalil, a professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. AbuKhalil adds in his blog The Angry Arab News Service: “I have heard from a number of people who work in Aljazeera Arabic and English and I am hearing that the majority are quite irate at the coverage of the network especially in relation to the Bahrain issue.”Yoshie Furuhashi is Editor of MRZine. Comments (1) | Print
MANAMA, Bahrain — Bahrain’s streets were mostly empty after bloody clampdown, but thousands defied authorities by marching in cities in Libya and Yemen as the wave of political unrest continued in the wake of uprisings that toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.
The willingness to resort to violence against largely peaceful demonstrators was a sign of how deeply the monarchy fears the repercussions of a prolonged wave of protests.
U.S. officials taken by surprise at the crackdown urged government leaders to show restraint in the country that is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet and a strategic ally on oil supply lines from the Gulf.
As anti-government protests rock the Middle East, the White House, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Pentagon all urged Bahrain’s leaders to pull back after police attacked demonstrators in the Gulf kingdom’s worst violence in decades.
Clinton said she expressed her “deep concern” in a telephone call with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa and emphasized that violence should not occur on Friday, when many in Bahrain may attend funerals of those killed or prayer services.Story: Egypt, Bahrain protests differ in key ways
People had been gathering in Pearl Square since Monday in an attempt to emulate the successful protest camp on Cairo’s Tahrir Square, but police cracked down in predawn hours Thursday.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who is in Bahrain, said that more than 600 people had been treated for their injuries and an opposition lawmaker, Ibrahim Mattar, told Reuters that 60 people were missing.U.S. officials: Yemen, Bahrain, Iran could be next Egypt
"Bahrain is a friend and an ally and has been for many years," Clinton told reporters. "We call on restraint from the government, (and) to keep its commitment to hold accountable those who have utilized excessive force."
Clinton, who has called on Arab leaders to heed the complaints of their citizens, said Bahrain’s leaders should do the same and implement promised democratic reforms.
"We urge a return to a process that will result in real, meaningful changes for the people there," she said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke by phone Thursday morning with Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain, according to Pentagon officials quoted by NBC News. “He discussed the current security situation with the Deputy Supreme Commander of the Bahraini Defense Force,” they said, without further elaboration.
Pentagon and U.S. military officials told NBC News they were “surprised” by the violent Bahraini police crackdown.
"We’re concerned over the crackdown," and "watching events very closely" one senior official said.
Military personnel at 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain are not on a “heightened” state of alert, although they have all been instructed to exercise caution and prudence when off base, officials told NBC News.
Ban Ki-Moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, said the reports from Bahrain overnight were “deeply troubling” and also urged nonviolence.
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Police firing teargas and buckshot moved in at around 3 a.m. local time Thursday (7 p.m. Wednesday ET), dispersing some 2,000 people, including women and children. “They are killing us!” one man said after the operation began.
"This is real terrorism," said Abdul Jalil Khalil, of Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition party Wefaq. "Whoever took the decision to attack the protest was aiming to kill." Mattar said that Wefaq’s lawmakers had decided to resign from parliament in protest.
Government: Get off the streets
Bahrain’s leaders banned public gatherings and sent tanks into the streets Thursday, intensifying a crackdown that killed five anti-government protesters, wounded more than 200 and turned a hospital into a cauldron of anguish and rage against the monarchy. Along with two who died in clashes with police Monday, the new killings brought the death toll this week in Bahrain to seven.
Barbed wire was in place on streets leading to the square Thursday morning, where police cleaned up flattened protest tents and trampled banners.
The Interior Ministry declared the protest camp “illegal” and warned Bahrainis to stay off the streets.
"The security forces have stressed that they will take every strict measure and deterrent necessary to preserve security and general order," an Interior Ministry spokesman said on Bahraini television Thursday afternoon local time.
Police action was necessary to pull Bahrain back from the “brink of a sectarian abyss,” the Gulf Arab state’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said on Thursday. “It was a very important step that had to happen, police took every care possible,” Sheikh Khaled said at a news conference also attended by the United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister and the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a loose economic and political bloc of Gulf Arab states.
Gulf Arab foreign ministers meeting in the Bahrain capital on Thursday evening planned to discuss the unrest in the Gulf island kingdom, state news agencies said earlier on Thursday.
A statement from Bahrain’s defense forces, quoted by the Qatar news agency, said about 50 security force members had been wounded by demonstrators using “swords, knives and daggers.”
"Security forces had to fire teargas and stun grenades to avoid losses," the statement said, adding the military had deployed in Manama "under orders to take all necessary measure to preserve peace and stability for citizens and residents."
A prominent Bahraini human rights activist has gone on military trial, his family said on Thursday.
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was arrested with two of his sons-in-law earlier this month as part of a government crackdown on protests the tiny Gulf island country.
Police have been arresting opposition activists at checkpoints set up across Manama, the capital, and in certain villages.
So far, hundreds of people, many of them opposition activists and politicians, have been arrested.
Khawaja was reportedly seized from his home by masked men after being beaten unconscious on April 9.
"The trial against [Khawaja] started today but we family members were not allowed to enter the court. I don’t know what charges are brought against him," said Zainab al-Khawaja, the activist’s daughter.
"My father called last night. He didn’t sound fine. I think he has a mouth injury because he could barely speak," she said.
"He kept saying oppression is great," said Zainab, who on Thursday stopped a week-long hunger strike to demand the release of her family members.
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja had lived in exile for 12 years before he was allowed to return to the country under a general amnesty several years ago.
The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has said that he was severely beaten upon his arrest.
He had earlier been imprisoned in 2004 for political dissent, but was later pardoned by the king.
The government has come down hard in recent weeks on Bahrainis who took part in weeks of street protests, starting February 14, demanding more freedoms and political reforms. In particular, the protesters demanded an end to discrimination against the island nation’s majority Shia population and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.
Click here for more of Al Jazeera’s special coverage
Weeks of protests prompted the Bahraini king to impose martial law and invite troops from neighbouring countries on March 14 to help impose order.
The United States and other countries have expressed muted criticism of the government, which has used live ammunition against protesters and been accused of beating prisoners belonging to the political opposition.
The uprising in the country has unnerved neighbouring countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, which fears that protests could embolden its own Shias in the Eastern Province, home to the country’s massive oil resources.
Bahrain is ruled by a Sunni monarchy, though the majority of its 600,000 population is Shia. It is also home to the US Fifth Fleet, and a key regional ally for the country.
Gulf Arab rulers have accused Iran of interfering in Bahrain, after the country condemned the Bahraini crackdown and accused Saudi Arabia of “playing with fire” in the region.
On Wednesday, a Bahraini man was put on trial in Manama for alleged links to Iran.
Ibrahim Ghuloom Abdulwahab is suspected of passing on classified military information and sensitive economic data to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard over a period of nine years, starting in 2002, the state news agency reported.
Media is banned at the trial.
The police forces attacked three young men in Daih village on 25 March 2011 then they stole them and arrested them.
In two decades of conducting human rights investigations in more than 20 countries, I have never seen such widespread and systematic violations of medical neutrality as I did in Bahrain.
Bahrain’s ambulances, hospitals and medical clinics as well as its physicians, nurses, and medical staff are all being targeted. It’s pervasive and ongoing. These attacks violate the principle of medical neutrality and are grave breaches of international law.
These are the words of my friend -he requested that I share this chilling information.
//An eye-witness account.
According to a source who pleads anonymity for security reasons, today (19 April 2011) at about 11 AM (local time) the Bahrani police arrested two young students named Rehab and Bayan aged about 16 and 15 respectively of one of the Girls Secondary Schools of Isa Town.
It is learned that a teacher having links with the ruling khalifa regime called the police alleging that Rehab tore a portrait of the king inside the school. The school authorities had expelled the student and the police were informed. She was then arrested from her home. The students of the school see this arrest as a case of selective harassment.
The other student named Bayan had an argument with another girl student belonging to a community largely seen in Bahrain supporting the ruling Khalifa regime. This argument, her classmates say, was not political but over some very mundane day-to-day issue. But this girl just walked to the above mentioned teacher and cooked up a story. The teacher in turn called the police to arrest the young students.
After this incident a pall of gloom and fear has descended on the entire premises of the school and the students are petrified but a small group of students including the girl who went to the said teacher was seen singing and dancing in the school. //
(The music in the background is from the venue not added to the video)
As copied from Twitter from @sandmonkey: Awesome Bahraini activist @maryamalkhawaja wanted to confront hillary over bahrain, so me & another arab girl egged her on to do it. So the moment Hillary finished & started heading out @maryamalkhawaja , stood up, moved towards her & started calling her name. Next thing u know, @maryamalkhawaja is running towards hillary, secret service people moving towards her, & it’s not looking good. Hillary ended up coming back & speaking to @maryamalkhawaja . Secret service interrogated her afterwards for 15 minutes. She’s fine!
You can follow Maryam Alkhawaja on twitter: @maryamalkhawaja
CNN crew detained while filming in Bahrain; human rights organizer who spoke to CNN now under investigation
In the past three weeks, more than 460 people have been detained
CNN filmed crackdown in villlages surrounding the capital, Manama
The wounded are too scared to go to hospital where security forces may identify them