VIDEO: U.S.-Backed Bahrain Arrests & Deports 2 U.S. Human Rights Observers As 1st Anniversary Of Democracy Protests Nears
Two American peace activists, Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath, were arrested and detained this Saturday, while acting as Human Rights Observers in U.S.-backed Bahrain. Both are members of the Witness Bahrain initiative.
The Bahraini monarchy deported the two on Sunday, and they were flown — handcuffed behind their backs, and prohibited from using the bathroom, and from eating or drinking for the entire seven hour flight — to London.
According to Arraf, Bahrain appears to be removing all human rights activists and observers in the run-up to the one-year anniversary of the democratic uprising against the ruling monarchy:
[We] also were getting reports of journalists and human rights organization representatives being denied entry into the country in the lead-up to the first anniversary of the Bahrain revolution, and this caused great alarm, that the government was planning to escalate its oppression of the people.
A November 2011 report, conducted by an independent commission, and authorized by the Bahraini monarchy in an attempt to ease tensions, concluded that grave violations of human rights had been committed by government troops. These violations included disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force and firearms to repress the protests, and a systematic and deliberate policy of torture.
The panel confirmed that government forces murdered dozens of people during the protests, and five reform activists had been tortured to death while in custody. Other detainees were tortured by electric shock and by beatings with wires and hoses. Additionally, the panel found that activists were later targeted and fired from their jobs and universities and caused to lose their homes.
Just weeks ago, the Obama Administration was reported to be quietly selling arms to the Bahraini monarchy, in spite of these documented human rights abuses against its people.
In the following video, Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow! interviews the two American peace activists just deported from Bahrain, Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath. They discuss their arrests, what is happening now in Bahrain, and the level of assistance they received by the U.S. embassy during their detention.
The Bahraini monarchy has blocked the above footage of Arraf being arrested by security forces from being shown in Bahrain.
Robert Naiman, Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy, recently arrived at Bahrain Int’l Airport as an observer — there to witness the gov’t response to peaceful protests — and he is reporting that he too has been prohibited from entering the country:
… the Bahrain authorities would not let me enter the country. At this writing, it’s 5 p.m. local time. My flight got in at 2:15 AM. I have been informed that the Director of Immigration has decided that I shall not have a visa to enter Bahrain — although in the past it was the practice of the Bahrain authorities to give visas to Americans in the airport pretty much automatically — so the authorities are saying that the only way I am leaving the airport is on a plane out of the country. At this writing, it looks like I could be in the airport for another 36 hours.
I won’t be able to contribute to [the Witness Bahrain] reports, since, sitting in the airport, I won’t be able to observe the protests and the government response.
Tucson Shooting Survivor Arrested At Taping Of ABC’s ‘This Week’ For Threatening Tea Party Founder
ABC’s ‘This Week’ with Christiane Amanpour shot a ‘Town Hall’ meeting today called “Tragedy in Tucson: An American Conversation Continued” (to be aired Sunday Morning) where survivors, witnesses and first responders of the massacre were reunited. Towards the end of the otherwise sad and emotional event, as was described by AZ Central, Amanpour brought up the touchy issue of gun control.
ABC – Channel 9 reported that the topic brought a well known Tucson Tea Partier to his feet which stirred up tensions with survivor Eric Fuller:
When Tucson Tea Party founder Trent Humphries rose to suggest that any conversation about gun control should be put off until after the funerals for all the victims, witnesses say Fuller became agitated. Two told KGUN9 News that finally, Fuller took a picture of Humphries, and said, “You’re dead.”
When State Rep. Terri Proud (R-Tucson) rose to explain and clarify current and proposed gun legislation in the state, several people groaned or booed her. One of those booing, according to several witnesses, was Fuller. Witnesses sitting near Fuller told KGUN9 News that Fuller was making them feel very uncomfortable.
The police escorted Fuller outside, and he screamed at the audience, “You whores!” Capt. Byron Gwaltney of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department said that Fuller was arrested and charged with one count of threats and intimidation, as well as with disorderly conduct.
So Fuller, a 63 year old shooting victim, who is obviously burdened with unimaginable grief and anger after having barely survived a massacre, gets arrested for merely flipping his lid on the topic of gun control? He’d just been shot by a psychopath for Christ’s sake! — AND for saying something “inappropriate” to a Tea Party founder? The Tea Partiers’ inappropriate rhetoric likely helped to incite this killing spree!
Yesterday, Eric Fuller described the shooting in vivid detail to Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow! He created some controversy during that interview, when he stated:
“How many other demented people are out there?
It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target. Their wish for Second Amendment activism has been fulfilled. Senseless hatred leading to murder. Lunatic fringe anarchism subscribed to by John Boehner …”
WATCH the DemocracyNow! interview here:
US Government Threatens Employees and College Students On WikiLeaks
Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow is reporting that the State Department has been warning University students about accessing or commenting on WikiLeaks documents. They recently contacted Columbia University to pass on the following message to students who may hope to one day work for the government:
From: Office of Career Services <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:26 PM
Subject: Wikileaks – Advice from an alum
We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.
The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.
Office of Career Services
Additionally, Goodman revealed that the United States Agency For International Development (USAID) issued the following memo to its thousands of employees:
“Any classified information that may have been unlawfully disclosed and released on the Wikileaks web site was not ‘declassified’ by an appopriate authority and therefore requires continued classification and protection as such from government personnel… Accessing the Wikileaks web site from any computer may be viewed as a violation of the SF-312 agreement… Any discussions concerning the legitimacy of any documents or whether or not they are classified must be conducted within controlled access areas (overseas) or within restricted areas (USAID/Washington)… The documents should not be viewed, downloaded, or stored on your USAID unclassified network computer or home computer; they should not be printed or retransmitted in any fashion.“
Sounds like the US Government believes it can put this 250k genie nicely and neatly back into the bottle. Can information that has been put in the public domain — viewed by perhaps millions, written about in the international press — still be considered classified?
The Guardian is now reporting:
The Obama administration is banning hundreds of thousands of federal employees from calling up the WikiLeaks site on government computers because the leaked material is still formally regarded as classified.
The Library of Congress tonight joined the education department, the commerce department and other government agencies in confirming that the ban is in place.
Although thousands of leaked cables are freely available on the Guardian, New York Times and other newspaper websites, as well as the WikiLeaks site, the Obama administration insists they are still classified and, as such, have to be protected.
The move comes at a time when civil rights and other liberal groups are becoming increasingly critical, inviting parallels with the kind of bans on information imposed by China and other oppressive governments.