50-year in prison for tribesmen who rejected expulsion for MBS’ Neom

14 Sep 2022 19:52

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The sentence comes amid reports that officials shut off water and electricity and used surveillance drones to evict the Howeitat tribe to make way for MBS’ $500 million dream city.

Artist view of the ‘Mirror Line’, a 120-kilometer horizontal skyscraper, a landmark in Neom, north of Saudi Arabia (Reuters)

Two members of the Howeitat tribe in Saudi Arabia who were forcibly expelled to make room for the $500 billion Neom megacity received harsh jail sentences for the mere reason of demonstrating against the project, according to a UK-based rights organization.

Just for supporting their family’s refusal to be forcibly evicted from their houses in the Tabuk area of northwest Saudi Arabia, Abdulilah Al-Howeiti and his relative, Abdullah Dukhail Al-Howeiti, both received a 50-year prison sentence and a 50-year travel ban, according to Alqst.

The Specialized Criminal Court of Appeal’s decisions in their cases were just the latest in a slew of lengthy sentences imposed by Saudi courts this summer.

Salma Al-Shehab, a student at Leeds University and mother of two, and Nourah bint Saeed Al-Qahtani, a mother of five, received sentences of 34 and 45 years respectively in response to tweets that were critical of the Saudi government. Alqst reported last week that writer, translator, and computer programmer Osama Khaled received a 32-year sentence for “allegations relating to the right of free speech.”

Read next: Neom: MBS’ personal dystopia

According to unverified reports, a third member of the Howeitat was also sentenced at a Saudi court. “The lengthy prison sentence handed [out] against members of the Howeitat tribe follow a dangerous pattern we are seeing unfold in Saudi Arabia,” Ramzi Kaiss, legal and policy officer at MENA Rights Group, told Middle East Eye.

Since US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July, Kaiss said there had been a “more repressive approach by the Saudi state security and judicial authorities against individuals exercising their right to freedom of speech.”

Alqst‘s head of monitoring and communications, Lina Al-Hathlou, said, “This is becoming a new trend. No one will be saved from this. I think that anyone who gets arrested now will be handed a lengthy sentence.” 

‘They are being watched’

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman originally revealed the plans for Neom in 2017, when he claimed a futuristic city would be constructed on Saudi Arabia’s northwest coast.

Little has been built as of yet, but huge sums have been paid to experts, and increasingly bizarre plans have been made public. Nevertheless, the Saudi government has made efforts to rid the province of Tabuk’s 170 km of its inhabitants, many of whom are Howeitat.

According to reports, compensation for displaced tribespeople who owned large properties ranged up to 1 million riyals ($266,000) and 100,000 riyals ($27,000) for those who owned smaller dwellings. But according to information previously provided to MEE, relocated Tabuk households are often given payments of roughly $3,000.

Howeitat tribespeople have reported since December that the Saudi authorities’ campaign to drive them from their land has escalated. New measures include cutting water and electricity supplies and deploying surveillance drones above residences, MEE has been told.

According to Alya Al-Howeiti, a UK-based activist and a member of the tribe, 150 Howeitat have been jailed for opposing the Neom project, including the recently condemned tribesmen.

Western consultancies condemned

Saudi’s new megacity will include a 170km straight line city, an eight-sided city that floats on water, and a ski resort with a folded vertical village, among other grandiose and architecturally challenging projects.

Prior to Abdul Rahim’s killing, the tribe and human rights organizations wrote an open letter to three consulting firms urging them to end their work on Neom “unless and until” negative effects on human rights were addressed.

MEE asked the same consultancies – Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey, and Oliver Wyman – about the continuous allegations of human rights violations facing the Howeitat. 

Read next: Saudi Arabia Whitewashes Its Human Rights Abuses with Entertainment – HRW

A Boston Consulting Group spokesperson said, “We do not comment about specific clients and projects to protect client confidentiality.” The other two companies did not respond. 

“These companies should condemn the violations being committed and consider reassessing their involvement in projects that promote wide-scale human rights violations,” said Kaiss. 

“If violations are not addressed or mitigated, then these companies should responsibly halt their engagement in these projects and with the authorities promoting abuses, instead of causing further harm.”

Saudi Arabia’s government and Neom also did not respond to requests for comment. 

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Rights Group Warns of Imminent Mass Executions of Political Prisoners in Saudi Arabia

September 9, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

A Europe-based human rights organization expressed concerns over the imminent execution of dozens of political prisoners in Saudi Arabia, as Saudi courts continue to hand heavy punishment to human rights activists for expressing their opinion.

The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights [ESOHR] said in a statement that 34 people are currently on the verge of execution in the oil-rich Gulf country, noting that Saudi authorities have put at least 120 people to death since the beginning of January until the end of May this year.

ESOHR said that Bahraini nationals Jaafar Mohammad Sultan and Sadeq Majeed Thamer, who have been accused of ‘terrorism’-related crimes, face imminent “arbitrary” execution and could be killed at any moment.

“Due to the escalation of repressive measures in Saudi Arabia, the lives of these two Bahraini youths are in danger. Many other political detainees are at the risk of execution as well,” the human rights organization said.

Back in May, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentences of Thamer and Sultan after finding them guilty of “smuggling explosives” into the kingdom and involvement in ‘terrorist’ activities.

The two Bahraini nationals were arrested in May 2015 along the King Fahd Causeway, which connects Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

They were held incommunicado for months after their arrest while being subjected to systematic and fatal torture with the aim of extracting false confessions from them.

In January, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions called on Saudi Arabia to halt the men’s execution and investigate their allegations of torture and ill-treatment.

International human rights organizations have called upon Saudi authorities to stop the imminent execution of the two Bahraini men.

The organizations have urged the officials not to ratify the death sentences, but rather, quash their convictions and re-try them in line with international fair trial standards.

According to the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, Abdullah al-Howaiti, Jalal al-Bad, Yusuf al-Manasif, Sajjad al-Yasin, Hassan Zaki al-Faraj, Mehdi al-Moshen and Abdullah al-Razi are among the Saudi teenagers sentenced to death.

Saudi courts, ESOHR went on, have recently imposed heavy punishment and decades-long prison sentences against human rights activists and democracy advocates for expressing their opinion.

It noted that Saudi officials have sentenced Nourah al-Qahtani to 45 years in prison for her social media posts.

According to Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Qahtani received the heavy sentence on appeal after she was convicted of “using the internet to tear [Saudi Arabia’s] social fabric” and “violating public order” via social media.

The Washington-based group added that she was convicted under the kingdom’s so-called counter-‘terrorism’ and anti-cybercrime law.

Earlier, Saudi officials had sentenced women’s rights activist Salma al-Shehab to 34 years in prison.

The United Nations Human Rights Council said in a statement that the jail term handed down to Shehab, a mother of two young children and a doctoral student at the United Kingdom’s Leeds University, is the longest sentence ever given to a women’s rights defender in Saudi Arabia.

The statement, nevertheless, came a week before Qahtani’s 45-year imprisonment was revealed.

The UN rights council noted that Saudi authorities have taken advantage of the return to the international fold, following the savage killing of Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, to deepen their crackdown on political opponents.

Last month, ESOHR expressed grave concern over the alarming surge in executions in Saudi Arabia in the first half of the current year, saying the figure is almost twice the number during all of last year.

The new statistics fly in the face of commitments given by Saudi authorities to curb the use of capital punishments.

Last year, 65 people were executed in the kingdom, a slight drop from the previous year that ESOHR attributed partially to coronavirus restrictions.

“If Saudi Arabia continues to execute people at the same rate during the second half of 2022, then it will exceed the record of 186 executions in 2019,” ESOHR said.

Since bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested hundreds of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others for their political activities, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnation of the crackdown.

Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied by the kingdom’s authorities.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-‘terrorism’ laws to target activism.

Will the Global South break free from dollarized debt?

In his latest book, economist Michael Hudson pits socialism against finance capitalism and tears apart the ‘dream civilization’ imposed by the 1 percent.

June 09, 2022

By Pepe Escobar

Let’s jump straight into the fray. Hudson begins with an analysis of the “take the money and run” ethos, complete with de-industrialization, as 90 percent of US corporate revenue is “used to share buybacks and dividend payouts to support company stock prices.”

Michael Hudson’s new book on the world’s urgent global economic re-set is sure to ruffle some Atlanticist feathers.Photo Credit: The Cradle

With The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism, Michael Hudson, one of the world’s leading independent economists, has given us arguably the ultimate handbook on where we’re at, who’s in charge, and whether we can bypass them.

That represents the apex of “Finance Capitalism’s” political strategy: to “capture the public sector and shift monetary and banking power” to Wall Street, the City of London and other western financial centers.

The whole Global South will easily recognize the imperial modus operandi: “The strategy of US military and financial imperialism is to install client oligarchies and dictatorships, and arm-twist allies to join the fight against designated adversaries by subsidizing not only the empire’s costs of war-making (“defense”) but even the imperial nation’s domestic spending programs.” This is the antithesis of the multipolar world advocated by Russia and China.

In short, our current Cold War 2.0 “is basically being waged by US-centered finance capitalism backing rentier oligarchies against nations seeking to build up more widespread self-reliance and domestic prosperity.”

Hudson presciently reminds us of Aristotle, who would say that it is in the interest of financiers to wield their power against society at large: “The financial class historically has been the major beneficiary of empires by acting as collection agents.”

So inevitably the major imperial leverage over the world, a true “strategy of underdevelopment,” had to be financial: instrumentalizing IMF pressure to “turn public infrastructure into privatized monopolies, and reversing 20th century pro-labor reforms” via those notorious ‘conditionalities’ for loans.

No wonder the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), established in Belgrade in 1961 with 120 nations and 27 observers, became such a threat to US global strategy. The latter predictably fought back with a slew of ethnic wars and the earliest incarnations of color revolution – fabricating dictatorships on an industrial scale, from Suharto to Pinochet.

The culmination was a cataclysmic Houston get-together in December 19, 1990 “celebrating” the dissolution of the USSR, as Hudson reminds us how the IMF and the World Bank “laid out a blueprint for Russia’s leaders to impose austerity and give away its assets – it didn’t matter to whom – in a wave of ‘shock therapy’ to let the alleged magic of free enterprise create a neoliberal free-for-all.”

Lost in a Roman wilderness of debt

To a large extent, nostalgia for the rape-and-pillaging of 1990s-era Russia fuels what Hudson defines as the New Cold War, where Dollar Diplomacy must assert its control over every foreign economy. The New Cold War is not waged only against Russia and China, “but against any countries resisting privatization and financialization under US sponsorship.”

Hudson reminds us how China’s policy “followed almost the same path that American protectionism did from 1865 though 1914 – state subsidy for industry, heavy public-sector capital investment…and social spending on education and health care to upgrade the quality and productivity of labor. This was not called Marxism in the United States; it was simply the logical way to look at industrialization, as part of a broad economic and social system.”

But then, finance – or casino – capitalism gained steam, and left the US economy mainly with “agribusiness farm surpluses, and monopolies in information technology (largely developed as a by-product of military research), military hardware, and pharmaceutical patents (based on public seed-money to fund research) able to extract monopoly rent while making themselves largely tax-exempt by using offshore banking centers.”

That’s the current State of Empire: relying only “on its rentier class and Dollar Diplomacy,” with prosperity concentrated in the top one percent of establishment elites. The inevitable corollary is US diplomacy imposing illegal, unilateral sanctions on Russia, China and anyone else who defies its diktats.

The US economy is indeed a lame post-modern remake of the late Roman empire: “dependent on foreign tribute for its survival in today’s global rentier economy.” Enter the correlation between a dwindling free lunch and utter fear: “That is why the United States has surrounded Eurasia with 750 military bases.”

Delightfully, Hudson goes back to Lactantius, in the late 3rd century, describing the Roman empire on Divine Institutes, to stress the parallels with the American version:

“In order to enslave the many, the greedy began to appropriate and accumulate the necessities of life and keep them tightly closed up, so that they might keep these bounties for themselves. They did this not for humanity’s sake (which was not in them at all), but to rake up all things as products of their greed and avarice. In the name of justice they made unfair and unjust laws to sanction their thefts and avarice against the power of the multitude. In this way they availed as much by authority as by strength of arms or overt evil.”

Socialism or barbarism

Hudson succinctly frames the central issue facing the world today: whether “money and credit, land, natural resources and monopolies will be privatized and concentrated in the hands of a rentier oligarchy or used to promote general prosperity and growth. This is basically a conflict between finance capitalism vs. socialism as economic systems.”

To advance the struggle, Hudson proposes a counter-rentier program which should be the Global South’s ultimate Blueprint for responsible development: public ownership of natural monopolies; key basic infrastructure in public hands; national self-sufficiency – crucially, in money and credit creation; consumer and labor protection; capital controls – to prevent borrowing or denominating debts in foreign currency; taxes on unearned income such as economic rent; progressive taxation; a land tax (“will prevent land’s rising rental value from being pledged to banks for credit to bid up real estate prices”); use of the economic surplus for tangible capital investment; and national self-sufficiency in food.

As Hudson seems to have covered all the bases, at the end of the book I was left with only one overarching question. I asked him how he analyzed the current discussions between the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and the Chinese – and between Russia and China, further on down the road – as being able to deliver an alternative financial/monetary system. Can they sell the alternative system to most of the planet, all while dodging imperial financial harassment?

Hudson was gracious enough to reply with what could be regarded as the summary of a whole book chapter: “To be successful, any reform has to be system-wide, not merely a single part. Today’s western economies have become financialized, leaving credit creation in private hands – to be used to make financial gains at the expense of the industrial economy… This aim has spread like leprosy throughout entire economies – their trade patterns (dependency on US agricultural and oil exports, and IT technology), labor relations (anti-unionism and austerity), land tenure (foreign-owned plantation agriculture instead of domestic self-reliance and self-sufficiency in food grains), and economic theory itself (treating finance as part of GDP, not as an overhead siphoning off income from labor and industry alike).”

Hudson cautions that “in order to break free of the dynamic of predatory finance-capitalism sponsored by the United States and its satellites, foreign countries need to be self-sufficient in food production, energy, technology and other basic needs. This requires an alternative to US ‘free trade’ and its even more nationalistic ‘fair trade’ (deeming any foreign competition to US-owned industry ‘unfair’). That requires an alternative to the IMF, World Bank and ITO (from which Russia has just withdrawn). And alas, an alternative also requires military coordination such as the SCO [the Shanghai Cooperation Organization] to defend against the militarization of US-centered finance capitalism.”

Hudson does see some sunlight ahead: “As to your question of whether Russia and China can ‘sell’ this vision of the future to the Global South and Eurasian countries, that should become much easier by the end of this summer. A major byproduct (not unintended) of the NATO war in Ukraine is to sharply raise energy and food prices (and shipping prices). This will throw the balance of payments of many Global South and other countries into sharp deficit, creating a crisis as their dollar-denominated debt to bondholders and banks falls due.”

The key challenge for most of the Global South is to avoid default:

“The US raise in interest rates has increased the dollar’s exchange rate not only against the euro and Japanese yen, but against the Global South and other countries. This means that much more of their income and export revenue must be paid to service their foreign debt – and they can avoid default only by going without food and oil. So what will they choose? The IMF may offer to create SDRs to enable them to pay – by running even further into dollarized debt, subject to IMF austerity plans and demands that they sell off even more of their natural resources, forests and water.”

So how to break free from dollarized debt? “They need a critical mass. That was not available in the 1970s when a New International Economic Order was first discussed. But today it is becoming a viable alternative, thanks to the power of China, the resources of Russia and those of allied countries such as Iran, India and other East Asian and Central Asian countries. So I suspect that a new world economic system is emerging. If it succeeds, the last century – since the end of World War I and the mess it left – will seem like a long detour of history, now returning to what seemed to be the basic social ideals of classical economics – a market free from rent-seeking landlords, monopolies and predatory finance.”

Hudson concludes by reiterating what the New Cold War is really all about:

“In short, it is a conflict between two different social systems, each with their own philosophy of how societies work. Will they be planned by neoliberal financial centers centered in New York, supported by Washington’s neo-cons, or will they be the kind of socialism that the late 19th century and early 20th century envisioned – a ‘market’ and, indeed, society free from rentiers? Will natural monopolies such as land and natural resources be socialized and used to finance domestic growth and housing, or left to financial interests to turn rent into interest payments eating into consumer and business income? And most of all, will governments create their own money and steer banking to promote domestic prosperity, or will they let private banks (whose financial interests are represented by central banks) take control away from national treasuries?”

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Amnesty urges UAE to free 10 inmates kept beyond sentences

 May 30, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The ten UAE citizens were among 69 nationals arrested in 2012 and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison in 2013.

The ten UAE citizens were among 94 defendants, including 13 women.

Amnesty International called on the UAE, on Monday, to “immediately” release ten men who it said were being arbitrarily detained after serving their sentences.

They were detained “under the guise of counter-extremism counseling,” according to Amnesty.

The ten UAE citizens were among 69 nationals arrested in 2012 and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison in 2013.

They were also among 94 defendants, including 13 women.

In a statement, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Lynn Maalouf said, “These men have already spent a decade behind bars for daring to speak out against the Emirati authorities or being perceived as political opposition, and now this injustice is being prolonged past their long-awaited release dates.” 

“UAE authorities must immediately release anyone detained beyond the completion of their prison sentence, and cease the unlawful practice of arbitrarily extending prison terms,” Maalouf stressed.

The sentence was based on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, which Amnesty International criticized as “grossly unfair”, slamming the charges as “bogus”.

According to the official WAM news agency at the time, the Federal Supreme Court sentenced 56 of the 94 defendants to ten years in prison each.

Five defendants were sentenced to seven years in prison each, while eight others who were tried in absentia were sentenced to 15 years, according to the report.

A total of 25 people, including all 13 women arrested during the crackdown, were acquitted.

Their trial was considered the largest in the UAE’s history.

This is clear proof that the UAE continues to violate serious human rights, including arbitrary detention, cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees, repression of free expression, and violation of the right to privacy. 

Go deeper: The Pegasus Project: UAE as a Model

Furthermore, UAE has continued to deny stateless people the right to nationality, limiting their access to a variety of basic services. Death sentences were handed down by courts, and executions were reported.

After a 6-year enforced ban, Bahrain’s Shiites congregate for Friday central prayers

May 23, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Sondoss Al Asaad 

The pulpit of Bahrain’s oppressed and deprived people, for decades, used to firmly appeal for stolen rights, reforms, rapprochement, and reconciliation.

After a 6-year enforced ban, Bahrain’s Shiites congregate for Friday central prayers

With the resume of Bahrain’s central Friday congregational prayer for Shiite citizens in the Imam Al-Sadiq mosque in the village of Duraz, the popular and political concerns have again been brought to the pulpit of Ayatollah Sheikh Issa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s Shia community. That pulpit for long has been used to address the people’s dilemmas resulting from the wrong policies pursued by the regime that controls their wealth and fate. 

The pulpit of Bahrain’s oppressed and deprived people, both Sunnis and Shiites, for decades, used to firmly appeal for stolen rights, reforms, rapprochement, and reconciliation, and call for a comprehensive, sound, and a realistic approach to the political and rights reality.

Henceforth, this perturbed the government and its security services, which assiduously tried to deviate its moderate sermons and those of the Bahraini clerics. Indeed, those religious leaders have positively contributed to controlling the masses, adjusting their discourse, and preventing attempts to divert them into violence. 

The auspicious resume of the central prayer coincides with the anniversary of the 23rd of May, known as the anniversary of the five martyrs of redemption, who fell in defense of the religious and national leadership of Ayatollah Qassem in 2017, a year after the arbitrary revocation of his citizenship due to his keenness to renounce atonement and combat corruption, and his repeated calls for fairness to all citizens.

His Eminence is the most senior cleric of Bahrain’s Shiites, who constitute an estimated 65% of the country’s citizen population. In 1972, he was elected as a member of the historic Constitutional Assembly, which wrote Bahrain’s first constitution. 

On June 20, 2016, Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior arbitrarily stripped the citizenship of Ayatollah Qassim, rendering him stateless. In a statement, it claimed that Ayatollah Qassim, through sermons and religious edicts, had “fomented sectarianism, collected funds unlawfully, and exploited the religious pulpit for political purposes to serve foreign interests.”

In response, hundreds of followers began a peaceful sit-in around his home on Duraz. For their part, the authorities subjected the village to an unprecedented lockdown, in what is a form of collective retribution. All major and minor entrances were sealed off with concrete slabs, sandbags, police cars, and barbed wire. Besides, all major Internet Service Providers enforced an internet blackout for long hours.

One year later, on May 21, 2017, and just a day after former US President Trump met Bahrain’s King in Riyadh and told him there would be “no strain” between their two countries, Ayatollah Qassim was sentenced to a one-year suspended sentence on fabricated charges of “money laundering”, solely linked to the religious practice of Khums – a religious donation to senior clerics, who, in turn, distribute it for religious and charitable purposes. 

Two days later, on 23 May 2017, police stormed into Duraz and, using excessive force, arrested over 280 armless protesters and brutally murdered 5 (aka martyrs of redemption). 

Due to the culture of impunity, no one has been held accountableو and Duraz remained under a police blockade with a permanent police presence outside Ayatollah Qassim’s house, which led to the deterioration of his health, for which he later left Bahrain to receive medical treatment abroad.

For those interested in understanding Bahrain’s politics, it is essential indeed to study and reflect on the sermons of Imam Al-Sadiq mosque to comprehend the ongoing crisis, as it approaches not only religious but also political and rights appalling issues.

Through this platform, various unifying national stances were expressed, reflecting the visions of the moderate opposition seeking to build a robust state that does justice to all its citizens and preserves their national identity, rejecting sectarianism, denouncing global arrogance and imperialism, supporting the Palestinian cause, and rejecting the temporary occupying entity.

Decades of systematic persecution arrests and displacements of political and religious figures, stifling inalienable freedoms, and silencing the opposition have all failed to curb this national, religious, ideological, political, and pro-rights platform, and to intimidate the people who are getting more and more insistent on their legitimate, non-negotiable rights.

On the other hand, there were pulpits in Bahrain that incite blasphemy and hatred, call for takfir, send aid to the terrorists in Syria, and encourage the futile aggressive war on Yemen.

Accordingly, the large crowds this week have reflected, as the International Quds Day rallies and despite the escalating political circumstance, the failure of the repressive security policy.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Tortured Death Row Bahraini Prisoners at Risk of Execution by Saudi Regime

May 23, 2022

By Sondos al-Assad

Lebanon – Two Bahraini nationals Sadeq Thamer [33] and Jaafar Sultan [30], who have exhausted all their appeals, are at imminent risk of execution by Saudi regime, on the basis of his torture-tainted “confessions”. The young men have been arrested, without a warrant, on May 8, 2015, while crossing King Fahd Causeway.

They have been subjected to enforced disappearance [for 115 days], severely tortured and accused of “transporting explosive materials”. According to rights groups, 25 days after their arrest, they were supposed to be transferred to Bahrain. However, while they were on the bus, a Bahraini officer received a call and began to insult and threaten them with reprisal. Then, they were returned to the Saudi territories.

On the same day, their houses in Bahrain were violently stormed by individuals belonging to the Bahraini Criminal Investigations Directorate in civilian clothes. The policemen confiscated a laptop, computer, and phones, and their families were not informed about their whereabouts.

Sadeq and Jaafar were then taken to the Saudi General Investigation Prison in Dammam, where they were placed in solitary confinement for nearly 115 days [4 months].

After their families reached out to various Bahraini and Saudi governmental bodies, Sadeq and Jaafar were allowed to call but mentioned nothing about the condition of their detention and investigations.

During the first family visit, on 13 October 2015, Sadeq and Jaafar informed their parents that they were forcibly pressured to confess under severe and inhumane physical and psychological torture. In court, Jaafar told the lawyer that he was transferred to the hospital for 10 days because of torture and that he was threatened too with torturing his family members. Likewise, Sadeq was mal-treated, beaten, and threatened to be tortured and held incommunicado when refusing to sign the fabricated charges.

The Saudi Public Prosecution charged Sadeq and Jaafar with allegedly joining a terrorist cell, smuggling explosive materials, and misleading the Saudi investigation authorities. Then a Saudi Specialized Criminal Court sentenced them to death on 7 October 2021. Noting that also Bahrain’s 4th High Criminal Court sentenced them on 31 May 2016 to life imprisonment and a fine of 200000 BHD dinars for the same charges.

Sadeq and Jaafar are prominent religious and social activists and apparently, their arbitrary conviction is politically-motivated.

The use of the death penalty has dramatically escalated over the past decade in Bahrain, specifically rising by more than 600%, with at least 5 citizens being executed for political reasons. Despite pledges for human rights reform, some 26 men in Bahrain are currently facing imminent execution, 12 of whose convictions were based on false torture and were convicted of “terrorism” charges.

For its part, the Saudi authorities executed last March 81 individuals, marking a sharp rise in the number of recorded executions. This appalling death toll is likely to be an underestimate, as Saudi authorities do not publish statistics on executions or the number of prisoners on death row; nor do they inform families or lawyers in advance of executions.

Torture is rampant in Saudi Arabia, and courts regularly admit torture-tainted “confessions” as evidence. Thus, sentencing torture survivors to death for their peaceful activism is a heinous crime. While Sadeq and Jaafar’s helpless families await the news in anguish, the uncertainty of knowing that they could be murdered at any moment is an unspeakable strain!

Sheikh Ali Salman: A Leader Who Does Not Lose Sight Of His People

April 19, 2022 

By Latifa Al-Husseini

Life imprisonment is only fueling the resolve of the Secretary General of Bahrain’s opposition Al-Wefaq movement Sheikh Ali Salman. Being confined to a cell hasn’t changed his convictions. He remains steadfast, and unshaken by the many years behind bars.

Sheikh Salman knows the cost of standing up to the Bahraini authorities. Since the 1990s, he has worked to have the voice of the people reach the ears of the rulers.

Whoever communicates with His Eminence today sees exceptional determination that no political prisoner had exhibited before. His persistence is apparent and so is the strength of logic and adherence to certain positions. His experience is something that the free people and comrades of the movement learn from at all stages.

The popularity of the leader, as the Bahrainis call him, did not decline, but rather increased. Despite his unjust punishment, Sheikh Salman proceeds resolutely and valiantly, armed with certainty that shades his jihad, turning into a solid fortress from which the sons of the country derive steadfastness on principles and valor in adversity.

How is Sheikh Salman spending his days? How can he be reassured about the conditions of his family, friends, and comrades? What about the affairs of the country? Can he keep up with them? What’s his advice?

Eight years after his arrest, the wife of Al-Wefaq’s Secretary General, Ms. Alia Radhi, talks to Al-Ahed News about his obsessions and interests and how he goes about his days.

The Freedom of the Detainees Is His Freedom

Radhi tells Al-Ahed, “Since the first day of his arrest, I have seen nothing but steadfastness and insistence on his position to support his people and work to achieve their demands. I have felt his satisfaction and happiness because he is experiencing the ordeal of being imprisoned as the sons of the country. Being incarcerated, he is sharing their pain, concerns, and plight. He often confided in me about his pain and sadness because he was free and the brothers, including [key] figures, are in detention.”

She notes that His Eminence “recommends from his detention to prioritize the demand to release all detainees over his release in every movement and gathering because he is one of them and his freedom is their freedom.”

A Teacher of Patience

Radhi describes Sheikh Salman as “a teacher of patience, steadfastness, and resoluteness.”

She talks about the morale that he spreads among his companions and points out that “he is the one who instills patience in everything that happens to us and erases our pain with his smile and confident and faithful words.”

“He paints with his steadfastness the highest meanings and implications of freedom while behind rusty bars. That narrow space does not bother him, as his heart is spacious and accommodates everyone.”

Communication Continues Despite Being Behind Bars

In February 2020, family visits to His Eminence were forbidden under the pretext of Corona, according to his wife, but audio and video communications are still ongoing. However, Sheikh Salman and his companions [other opposition figures] refrained from receiving visitors before this date because visitations were held through a glass barrier.

Prison conditions are not ideal. According to Radhi, Sheikh Salman is being subjected to harassment, but he absorbs it with patience, reassuring his family and friends during calls.

He Dedicate Himself to the People

The way Sheikh Salman goes about his days in prison indicate his toughness. In this context, Radhi points out that she never felt his frustration or remorse for the sacrifice and imprisonment throughout this period.

“He dedicated himself to the people, this country, and its just cause and demands,” she explains.

“He has made himself accustomed to the consequences of this struggle and jihad for more than 25 years, during which he did not fear blame, imprisonment, or threats, especially as he went through the experience of exile during the crisis in the 1990s. This did not deter him from demanding the right and freedom of this people no matter the costs.”

His Time Is Not Wasted

Sheikh Salman’s time is not wasted. Reading various religious texts is his refuge, and this gives him a feeling of reassurance. As for the homeland and its affairs, they are constantly monitored by Sheikh Salman. Radhi explains to Al-Ahed that His Eminence is following up on developments. She also reveals that “his family and friends convey to him the latest developments, situations, statements, the movements of organizations for the cause of Bahrain, and any statements related to Bahrain. He also reads daily newspapers and follows news from certain channels only.”

The political Crisis Continues

The positions of Al-Wefaq’s Secretary General towards the situation in Bahrain are clear. Sheikh Salman knows that as long as he is imprisoned, the political crisis will continue. The situation of the sons of the country pains him, and he thinks of them more than he thinks about his condition. He always calls for action to demand their release before he asks for work to be done on his case. He considers the pain and causes of the people his priority and his greatest obsession.

Radhi says that “the main concern for Sheikh Salman is that the people enjoy all their rights, including political rights to freedom, equality, social justice, and a just distribution of wealth, for every detainee and expatriate to return to their homeland, for mothers to sleep peacefully every night without fear of their homes being raided at any moment and their children taken from their arms, and for our children to live in safety, not crying every night longing for their absent fathers.”

Palestine in the mind of the Secretary General

Palestine is always on Sheikh Salman’s mind. His wife says that like the majority of the people of Bahrain, “Palestine is in his heart and mind. He stands in solidarity with its people, is against normalization with the ‘Israeli’ enemy, and refuses to desecrate our pure land with the Zionists, especially that there is a history of struggle against normalization. The people took part in solidarity rallies with Palestine despite the oppression and siege. On April 7, 2002, martyr Muhammad Juma al-Shakhouri was killed by the Bahraini regime forces near the American embassy during the demonstrations against the Zionist entity and in defense of Gaza. Before his arrest, he used to mark International Quds Day every year by participating in events, speeches, and marches in solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

Ayatollah Qassem Is His Role Model

The Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassem is Sheikh Salman’s role model. His wife says that he “feels great pain because of the injustice that has befallen His Eminence, and he always prays for the cleric’s return to his land, the land of his ancestors, and his hometown in Bahrain, because he has the right to be on his land and among his family and people who long for him.”

Bahrain: The Regime Is Being Bullheaded, While the Opposition Is Determined

April 13, 2022

By Latifa al-Husseini

Those who have kept pace with Bahrain’s pro-democracy uprising, which started in February 2011, may be under the mistaken impression that the movement is letting up or perhaps that it died out. And while it’s true that its leading figures are unjustly and arbitrarily imprisoned, the demands remain unchanged.

These demands are yet to be achieved. Political rights, social justice, and economic transparency are what Bahrainis are calling for. But these calls are falling on the regime’s deaf ears as the struggle continues.

Eleven years of domestic and international appeals demonstrate that the passage of time didn’t turn the page on the conflict. The Al Khalifa regime is proving that it is resistant to change and development. Despite all the changes in the world, the regime maintains its arrogance. It does not think about development and taking the initiative to solve the severe crisis. The people lack confidence in the government, and there is no solution looming on the horizon. Talking today about a positive step toward a comprehensive political solution is unrealistic, as common ground on key issues is inexistent. The people have not yet obtained guarantees that reassure them that tomorrow will indeed be better.

The former deputy for Bahrain’s Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society and prominent opposition leader Ali Al-Aswad tackles the details of the deepening crisis in a comprehensive interview with al-Ahed News.

Al-Aswad argues that the main reason for the crisis is the authorities’ lack of awareness regarding the unmet demands of the people, who want to be part of the political and economic decision-making process.

Meanwhile, the ongoing imprisonment of Al-Wefaq’s Secretary General Sheikh Ali Salman, remains a key focus for the opposition group. Al-Aswad claims that Al-Wefaq has options that might help close this file.

Regarding Manama’s normalization with “Israel”, Al-Aswad offers assurances that the move won’t be embraced in Bahrain, as the people completely reject the idea of occupation.

Below is the full text of Al-Aswad’s interview:

* Can the opposition abroad relate to the concerns of the citizens at home?

The opposition abroad has become a fait accompli. After Al-Wefaq was dissolved in Bahrain, it had to work abroad. We started working in London in 2011, and this has continued in many Arab capitals, Europe, and America. All the efforts made by the opposition, whether political or in the field of human rights, are in the interest of our people at home, and we are their voice after they had their voices stifled.

* In light of the growing tyranny: suppressing opposition voices and imprisoning their leaders, citizenship revocations, rising unemployment and the hiring of foreigners, and normalization, how will reform be achieved? How is the regime responding to the demands of the people?

I do not think that the authorities in Bahrain are aware of the nature of these demands. They believe that these demands are directed against the survival of the ruling family, while the people of Bahrain see that they are in the interest and future of the country. There is a misunderstanding between the two sides. There is concern on the part of the ruling family that if these demands were fulfilled, their existence will weaken or disappear. The main idea of these demands is for us to be partners in the homeland.

* The opposition today is completely absent from the political and economic decision-making process. Is its presence, at the very least, in the legislative authority necessary, or should it remain outside this system?

The presence of the opposition in the legislative authority without any political project or any dialogue or settlements does not serve the political process. Rather, it will be a sham or a silent role, as is the case with the current parliament or the Shura Council.

* The budget deficit in Bahrain is substantial, and there is constant talk of corruption and unconvincing state revenues. To what extent can we say that the regime is corrupt? What is the extent of this corruption?

The public debt is 15 billion dinars [$40 billion], which is too huge for oil imports or revenues. A country that depends mainly on more than 80% on oil cannot achieve sustainable development or a free and fair economy without transparency. The stealing is ongoing and being done in one way or another. The money is going to influential figures in the state. The issue of the stolen lands that the opposition talked about in the 2006 parliament remains unresolved and the lands have not been returned to their owners. All the state property mentioned in the famous report in parliament has not been recovered. Rather, there are more lands that are being seized by those in power. The country’s resources are also being taken and the Bahraini environment is being destroyed, without any deterrent to these actions. The presence of a strong parliament and an effective opposition on the ground may open such files.

* On the opposite side of deficit, we often hear about percentages of non-oil revenues. For example, the growth rate of the non-oil economy reached 2.8%. Are these numbers really correct?

Non-oil growth does not depend on taxes imposed by the state on citizens, but the Bahraini regime calculates this growth from tax revenues on citizens. There is no clear economic plan in Bahrain that pushes the wheel of development forward and increases the rate of growth that can only be achieved in a fair and free economy, in parallel with transparency, accountability, political stability, and human rights that make this country a haven for investors. This increases the internal growth rates. There is no external money being pumped into the country now. Bahrain depends on oil money and aid. We have not heard of any major investors who brought billions to Bahrain for a number of reasons, the most important of which is the political instability and the country’s exposure to many shocks. Not achieving this is in the interest of the authorities in terms of obtaining Gulf aid without any trouble, aid for armaments, and others relating to the royal court. Everything is under the pretext that we are exposed to dangers from neighboring countries.

* Does Al-Wefaq affect in some way the decisions taken by the authorities?

We have no doubts about this. There is a very clear effect of Al-Wefaq. Even if the association, registered and licensed by the Ministry of Justice, was absent, the authorities know that the majority of the Bahraini people who voted in the 2006 and 2011 elections are from Al-Wefaq.

Even at the present stage, if Al-Wefaq is not represented in Parliament, it has wide support that has influence on the ground, whether it rejects the state’s internal or external policies.

* After the former Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim’s statement regarding the issue of Al-Wefaq’s Secretary General Sheikh Ali Salman, did you sense any intention to move this file and free His Eminence?

We are trying to get Sheikh Ali out of prison. The case is malicious, and it is being proven everyday through the emergence of new evidence, the latest of which is the statement of the former Qatari foreign minister. He confirmed that what he discussed with Al-Wefaq’s Secretary General on the phone was done in the presence of the King. This is the most important point on which the authorities relied to say that Sheikh Salman and the two deputies, Sheikh Hassan Sultan and Ali Al-Aswad, were plotting against the authorities. The accusation has been discredited. From the beginning, it was not true. It was an idea within a Gulf initiative announced by Al-Wefaq and international and Gulf parties concerned with this matter at the request of Saudi Arabia.

Al-Wefaq welcomes any international or local effort, and it has been working since the announcement of the last interview in order to find correct, legal and political ways to help solve this file and close it.

* In your opinion, does the recent request of US President Joe Biden from the State Department to provide a report on political detainees in Bahrain have a serious impact in your opinion?

The media influence is perhaps stronger. There is a request from the US administration. We want more action than what the US administration, which is selling weapons to Bahrain at the same time, is saying.

It stopped punishing the Bahraini authorities for their human rights violations by allowing an arms deal recently! Bahrain does not need that. Perhaps the authorities are doing this as a price to buy America’s silence about the dire political and legal reality.

* Here, we are asking about the goal of Manama’s permanent armament, sometimes through “Israeli” military systems and sometimes through American launchers?

There are no military benefits to Bahrain. The United States views the Gulf states as a market for selling weapons, and this is what former US President Donald Trump said in his talk about Bahrain’s abundant money.

* What about the recent positions of the great national authority, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassem, and him stressing on the importance of the opposition’s unity and the Islamic mentality’s rejection of the ongoing normalization? According to your assessment, is there a plan to breach the opposition’s ranks?

The opposition really needs to organize its relations, and I think it is capable of that. The division is not in its favor, and it is now in a much better situation than before. The demand Al-Wefaq and Waad are calling for is constitutional monarchy, while the unregistered political organizations are calling for other demands.

There are those who are talking about overthrowing the regime, about a republic, and other options. Some see them as unrealistic demands that cannot mature or be correct. It is the right of all the people to think about the form of the system, but we are talking about realistic matters. Bahrain, as a constitutional monarchy from the Al-Wefaq perspective, can serve as a successful model.

For us, implementing a constitutional monarchy is possible, but for the authority, it takes from its powers. The models that were promoted after the National Action Charter were European and far from logical. Perhaps, the authorities wanted to say we have a constitutional monarchy with an authoritarian regime above it. This problem that we objected to. We have repeatedly called for an amendment that would allow the people of Bahrain to implement the real articles of the constitution and that the people are the source of the authorities. This is what Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassem is talking about. As for the idea of splitting the ranks, there is no doubt that the authorities are trying to do so.

The real people of Bahrain have had a worry throughout history that the authorities are buying time and wasting it without any results. This is why we find different and high ceilings. Accordingly, we say that the opportunity for the authorities today is better than tomorrow to achieve the demand for a constitutional monarchy.

* The last attempt by the regime, at least in the media, was the meeting that brought together His Eminence Sayyed Abdullah Al-Ghuraifi with King Hamad bin Isa. Can we say that the political dialogue is completely frozen?

Undoubtedly, a number of local files and issues were discussed during this meeting. His Eminence Sayyed Abdullah Al-Ghuraifi’s desire for the authority to solve local political and humanitarian issues was very clear, but we did not see any positive development after the meeting or any initiatives to resolve the political crisis or even the human rights file.

* Will the upcoming parliamentary and municipal elections in October be a formalism or is it possible for Al-Wefaq to support candidates in some way?

Elections in the presence of a political isolation law do not mean anything. This law prevents associations that were dissolved by the authorities after the 2011 movement, such as Amal, Waad, and Al-Wefaq, from taking part. When the opposition is not represented in Parliament, the latter will be a formality. There is no opposition in the current parliament. It is completely silent and agrees with everything the authority is doing. It was unable to open a basic file after the Manama authorities decided to normalize with the Zionist entity. The Bahraini parliament was not allowed to speak as the “Israeli” Knesset did. Bahrain, basically, did not endorse the Abraham Accords through the councils. Rather, the authority made the decision unilaterally and warned those who would talk about the matter by questioning them. It limited the matter to the state and its higher authorities. The authority did not even allow any member of Parliament to wear anything that symbolizes Palestine or reminds people of the cause. It even took the initiative two days ago to condemn the heroic Tel Aviv operation, ignoring the right of the Palestinian people and all the violations they are subjected to.

* How does normalization affect the daily lives of Bahrainis?

Normalization did not enter any Bahraini home. The people completely reject the idea of normalization and the existence of the occupation. They cannot stand talking about “Israel”. They take part in night rallies that have consistently rejected the authority’s projects since the first Manama conference in 2019, which was a prelude to the normalization project. Normalization is clear between the authorities and the occupation. Bahrainis, Sunnis and Shiites, will not agree to normalization, and if there is an opportunity to express their opinion today, even if the demonstrations are unauthorized, they will be widely expressed. The people of Bahrain have been reviving the International Quds Day every year on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, and they continue to mark it. We call on the people of the country to commemorate this great occasion that honors and expresses their mentality rejecting this Zionist occupation.

Modern political history makes no sense if Napoleon is not a leftist revolutionary

April 02, 2022

Source

By Ramin Mazaheri

“The peasant was a Bonapartist because the Great Revolution, with all its benefits to him, was, in his eyes, personified in Napoleon.” – Karl Marx

(This is the third chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

To be against Napoleon Bonaparte in the 19th century was to totally reject grassroots, democratic French opinion, and thus to be against the French Revolution itself. It was to cede the view of Napoleon Bonaparte to his enemies: the English snob, an in-bred Austrian king, a colluding and traitorous Italian noble, a Hungarian aristocrat, etc.

Modern Western political history simply makes no sense – it loses the thread of expanding power away from the absolute ruler – if we do not take the view that Napoleon Bonaparte was a leftist, as his citizen contemporaries did. Making Napoleon a demon of bloodlust and ambition, just another fascistic military man, a secret reactionary, etc. – all is designed to obscure the importance of 1789 and to reverse it.

The willing desire to lose the thread of progressive history was especially evident in the awful reporting surrounding the 200th anniversary of his death, in 2021. The coverage in France was surprising sparse and can be summed up with three words: “tyrant” and “controversial legacy”. A fake-leftist, and thus totally deluded, view was routinely proffered, typified by state media France24’s article: “Napoleon: Military genius or sexist, slaving autocrat?”

The official anti-Napoleon smokescreen was personified by President Emmanuel Macron’s speech on the bicentenary, which ended with: “I have no intention to say if Napoleon realised or instead betrayed revolutionary values. I will of course steer clear of such territory.” Of course he will steer clear – Western Liberal Democrats always do, because they are the ones who work to ensure that the revolutionary values of 1789 are never realised.

Here is your simplest retort to those who accuse “tyrant”: Napoleon was voted First Consul for life and then emperor by millions of people, and the “voted” part is what made it these appointments spectacular political advances for its era. The other monarchs of this era were merely more unelected dictators. Secondly, his constitutions were also ratified by many millions – another spectacular leftist advance. These things simply cannot be dismissed because it would be more than a century before they would be emulated in most of Europe. The number of referendums on monarchy in global history only total a few dozen, and nearly all were after 1950.

Simply ask if the king of Saudi Arabia, Morocco or the behind-the-scenes monarchs of Europe would ever put themselves to a public vote? When it comes to the schism between the Muslim and Western worlds perhaps the single largest problem is that the latter totally forgets the violent threat, the crude insult, the perpetual crime which is hereditary monarchy. Because the West forgets this they also fatally misunderstand their own European history since 1789, and they fail to see Napoleon Bonaparte as a leftist hero.

Making Napoleon Bonaparte worse than his absolute monarch peers is a preposterous revision of history and totally excludes the political view of the European peasant and working class. Ask a subject who never voted for his monarch: There is no “controversial legacy”.

Yellow Vest: “We are here to protest against the abusive government and this kingship-presidency of Emmanuel Macron. The Yellow Vests are here to promote a true vision of democracy and to redistribute our nation’s wealth. Every election there is more and more abstention because people don’t believe in mainstream politics anymore.”

(Note: this book intersperses over 100 quotations taken from actual, marching Yellow Vests which were originally published in news reports on PressTV.)

What an objective view reveals is this: Revolutionary France saw not just one but seven “Coalition Wars” to restore monarchy, privilege, feudalism, torture, inequality, racism and the oppression of an aristocratic elite. From 1792-1815 Europe’s elite refused to make peace with the socio-political advances of the French Revolution, which the French people democratically chose again and again and again. England was the only nation which participated in every war, and it repeatedly paid off other nations to join them.

The simplest retort to those who call the French Revolution “imperialist” is this: The French Revolutionary Empire at its greatest height – in 1808 – was the result of defensive wars which it won. All the Empire’s territory was gained as punishment for aggressive wars against France or lost by rebelling populaces choosing to side with France, with the sole exception of Portugal. All seven Coalition Wars were attacks on France, all to prevent democracy from spreading across autocratic Europe.

The “Napoleonic Wars” have absolutely no reason to be set off from the more accurate “European Wars Against the French Revolution” unless that reason is obfuscation. This 23-year period must be looked at as a whole, because it wouldn’t have mattered if it was Napoleon in charge or not as long as the ideals of the French Revolution were being employed – the Revolution would have always been aggressed. Like Iran, Cuba and the USSR know, 23 years of military invention by royalists or Western Liberal Democrats to stifle progressive, anti-elite political systems is simply de rigeur.

This chapter is not a whitewashing of Napoleon Bonaparte, but a refusal to say that his entire revolutionary career from 1789 to 1815 should be judged on the basis of the last few years. Napoleon’s primary leftist and anti-revolutionary failure was his development of dynastic intentions. However, we are not taking about this turn to personal gain until 1810, when he married Marie-Louise, a princess of the Austrian Hapsburgs, the corrupt and wasteful absolute monarch ruler of most of the continent. In Napoleon: The Myth of the Savior, Jean Tulard, perhaps the pre-eminent French historian of this era (and not a pro-Napoleon one in my estimation) wrote, “On St. Helena, Napoleon, ‘brutally awakened from his dream of monarchic legitimacy’ confided that he should have married a French woman and, above all, not a princess. He saw clearly, but too late.” Napoleon’s error was in forgetting that he already enjoyed more leftist legitimacy than any monarch ever – he was the first to be voted in. The counter-revolutionary monarchs of everywhere else would never accept that because the French Revolution was – above all – against unsanctioned autocracy. Similarly, putting his brothers in charge of countries which willingly joined France was another leftist error in line with dynastic intentions, but this wasn’t really unpopular until the imposition of Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain, who replaced the feudal Bourbons, in 1808. Napoleon himself said that one of his greatest mistakes was reintroducing the ranks of the nobility, also in 1808. The three criticisms here are all related – the restoration of elite privilege and hereditary oligarchy – but we would be inaccurate and unfair to not emphasise that this trend occurred two decades into Napoleon’s spectacularly successful revolutionary career!

Was Napoleon’s vision of the French Revolution that of the left of the Revolution, epitomised by Robespierre and the Jacobins? No, but calling a lifelong revolutionary soldier like Napoleon Bonaparte a “non-revolutionary” because he was not completely on the left side of the revolutionary spectrum is to absurdly say there is no “revolutionary political spectrum”. It is to say that the “revolutionary political spectrum” is the same as the non-revolutionary, typical “political spectrum”, in a total falsehood. It is to undemocratically excise the revolutionary viewpoints of his millions of comrades, and also of the democratic majority of his time. What is certain is that it is to reveal essentially no first-hand experience with any real revolution at all, as such a view of revolution is a fool’s fairy tale of pure idealism.

By distorting Napoleon – by saying that Elvis was always “fat Elvis” and never the king of rock and roll who shook the world – today’s 1% can keep 1789 totally dead. Napoleon is the key to keeping 1789 alive and continuing to implement its most progressive, leftist ideals.

It is simply astounding that the left doesn’t find so much to embrace in Napoleon Bonaparte. As much as I would like to write 10,000 words about Napoleon’s career in order to give a modern leftist appraisal, I simply do not want to alienate readers (and translators, LOL). I promise that I could. What I list before the conclusion section is only the absolutely critical facts of his political career which demonstrate his leftism.

The 1790s: Napoleon’s leftism was vetted over and over by the revolution

Prior to the Revolution Napoleon was born a minor noble in Corsica, putting him in the top 2% of France. However, being a minor noble in poor Corsica was to have title and little property – it’s not Burgundy. When half of France’s nobles exiled themselves over the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen Napoleon was already in the 1%. Napoleon Bonaparte – like Mao, Castro and others – was another leftist hero who defied the dominant view of his elite class.

Napoleon grew up in the aftermath of the repression of Corsica’s independence movement. The incredibly progressive Corsican Republic (1755-69) included a liberal constitution, the first implementation of female suffrage and was the first-ever practical application of the modern political ideas of people like Voltaire and Rousseau. France took control of the island, and they were a big improvement from the previous landlord, Genoa. When the French Revolution began Napoleon saw it as capable of bringing even more progress to Corsica. Thus Napoleon was one of the very first of many “foreigners” (he was born shortly after France took control of the island, and thus was truly French) to seek domination not by France but by the ideals of the French Revolution.

As the 1790s went by Napoleon was obviously vetted over and over by the Revolution. In 1793, Napoleon was friendly with none other than Augustin Robespierre, Maximilien “The Irreproachable” Robespierre’s brother, who surely would have sniffed out someone not committed to the ideals of 1789. When the brothers were executed in 1794, marking the end of the leftist Jacobin era and the start of the Directorate era (1794-99), the Directorate tried to get him to quit by downgrading him to the infantry.

Lucky for them Napoleon refused to leave: in Paris on October 5, 1795, he would save the Revolution from a major royalist revolt using what was the undoubted foundation of his military genius – his knowledge of new artillery technology.

He became a national hero, and thus the Directorate spied on him to check for dangerous traits. Their spying general wrote back to the Directorate: “It is a mistake to think he is a party man. He belongs neither to the royalists, who slander him, nor to the anarchists, whom he dislikes. He has only one guide – the Constitution.” Facts: Robespierre was anything but an anarchist, and being a constitutionalist in Europe in 1796 made one a revolutionary. Failure to accept this will create misperceptions which will extend to misunderstandings of our present day.

Confidence renewed, the Directorate gave Napoleon command of the Army of the Alps. He started by immediately court-martialling two of his soldiers for shouting “long live the king”.

Of course the Italians and others embraced the revolution being offered by France’s peasant army! In liberated lands we find the same actions of the French Revolutionaries: feudal dues and tithes abolished, Jews not forced to wear the star of David and Muslims no longer second-class citizens, the first uncensored newspapers allowed to open, slavery abolished, the first constitutions legalised. Keep all that in mind the next time you read of how Napoleon “enslaved Europe” – such total reversals of reality are only used for the truly great leftist leaders. It was so popular ex-Papal states petitioned to join the new Cisalpine Republic. “In annexed countries teaching was allowed to keep its own identity; French did not become an obligatory second language, there was no attempt to destroy the soul of conquered provinces,” writes Tulard. The French Revolution, itself intensely patriotic, fostered patriotism elsewhere – this would be called “nationalism” and is part of the reason the French were eventually forced out in annexed countries, ironically.

The great man-ism inherent in Western Liberal Democracy wants to talk about Napoleon’s military genius in things such as issuing bold flanking orders. It’s foolish: We can credit Napoleon’s military genius for doing something without precedent – storming a bridge under heavy fire – or we can credit the revolutionary inspiration of the actual troops that did the storming. Napoleon’s ability to inspire (well-known, and real) is still not at all the same as the zeal inspired by revolutionary principles.

Napoleon biographer Vincent Cronin writes in Napoleon Bonaparte: An Intimate Biography“In analysing why Napoleon won battles in Italy, one is also analysing why he always – or nearly always – emerged successful from a battlefield. The first quality was discipline. Napoleon, with his legal forbears, was a great person for law and order. He insisted that officers issue a receipt for everything requisitioned, be it a box of candles or a sack of flour. … In letter after angry letter he condemned sharp practice by army suppliers…. Napoleon was merciless towards these men and when one of them made him a gift of fine saddle horses, hoping that would close his eyes to embezzlement, Napoleon snapped: ‘Have him arrested. Imprison him for six months. He owes us 500,000 ecus in taxes.’” Here we see the moral legitimacy which won him followers in the army, and that is better than issuing bold flanking orders.

Egypt: After examining and giving up the idea of invading England, invasion of Egypt was

the best way of striking always counter-revolutionary England, and not mere adventurism. Napoleon read the Koran on the way to Egypt and declared it “sublime”. He was inspired enough to say in his first declaration, “Cadis, sheiks, imams – tell the people that we too are true Muslims.” The French Revolution was universal in scope, like Islam, and Napoleon did not believe in the Trinitarianism of Roman Catholicism, like Islam. The muftis found Napoleon sincere as a person but not actually willing to become a Muslim – they proclaimed Napoleon’s God messenger and a friend of the Prophet. With humanitarian ideals and actions, and replete with the famed scientific corps, it is thus totally different from France’s imperialist invasion of Algeria in 1830.

In August 1799 he got his first news from Europe (due to the British blockade) that the 2nd European War Against the French Revolution had begun and that France was collapsing: Russian-Anglo forces in the Netherlands (which had joined the Revolution willingly), Austro-Russian forces in Switzerland (joined willingly as well) and Italy (joined willingly as well), Turco-Russian force in Corfu, Greece. Napoleon waded into that for personal glory, some say – to save the Revolution, say the less cynical.

As First Consul: Good leaders get elected and then re-elected – this truly all started with Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon made a political alliance with none other than Abbot Emmanuel Sieyès, the same “abbé Sieyès” whose 1789 manifesto What is the Third Estate became the manifesto of the French Revolution and the literal groundwork for the entry of the lower class into politics. (The pamphlet begins, famously: “What is the Third Estate? Everything. What has it been hitherto in the political order? Nothing. What does it desire to be? Something.”) Still not leftist enough for some, though…?

The undoubtedly revolutionary principle of constitutionalism upon which Napoleon rested is reflected in the poster put up after his participation in the coup of 1799 (Coup of 18 Brumaire) and the start of the Consulate era (1799-1804): “THEY HAVE ACTED IN SUCH A WAY that there is no longer a Constitution.

Was constitutionalism the only demand of the French Revolution from 1789-1799? No, it was simultaneously revolutionary and “middle-of-the-road”. Napoleon never did side with the royalists – that would have been undeniable betrayal of the Revolution – nor with the Jacobins, nor with their executors the less-leftist Thermidorians who ran the 5-man Directorate (one of whom was currently asking for 12 million francs to restore the Bourbons). Instead, Napoleon placed himself above party politics and alongside the concept of constitutionalism which, along with his repeated military defences of France and the Revolution, won him popular acclaim. Of course Napoleon embraced many other primary political ideals of the Revolution: an end to feudalism, an end to absolute monarchy, the division of common land, civil equality, the suppression of tithes and seigniorial rights, and nationalisation of the property of the Roman Catholic Church. What’s vital to recognise is that the social aspects of the revolution – free education, health care, food – weren’t even much discussed until 1796, via leftist hero Gracchus Babeuf, the continuer of the Robespierreian left. Faulting Napoleon for not holding out for free education for the masses is to critically forget that these social questions were in the infancy of political expression, and certainly were limited to the progressive vanguard of an already unprecedentedly progressive revolution.

In 1800 his coup and his constitution were both overwhelmingly approved by millions in a vote – a vote totally unprecedented in scope, reach and political progress. People who wish to ignore these votes are simply baffling, and biased. The coup was bloodless, as well. Napoleon – the alleged new dictator – is credited with giving the new constitution the idea of universal male suffrage and not just for property owners.

France won the Second European War Against the French Revolution – a bit of peace, finally. Napoleon the general became Napoleon the elected public servant. His administrative energy was as amazing as his martial energy: “The ox has been harnessed – now it must plow,” he said.

Napoleon took great interest in consolidating the best of Roman, custom/precedent and Revolutionary laws into the new Code Civil: equality before the law, end to feudal rights and duties, right to choose one’s work, inviolability of property, right to divorce and freedom of conscience. All were unprecedented leftist advances. The Code Civil is not at all the “Napoleonic Code” but more accurately the “French Revolutionary Code”. It was “an instrument of war against feudalism,” to quote Tulard, and its influence is inestimable and global.

Napoleon curbed widespread brigandage and pacified rebellions which had lasted years. He brought peace to France after a decade of civil war, and yet he did not give the army a privileged position. He even forbade them from getting involved in civil matters, something he considered “madness”.

He declared an amnesty for those living abroad, which anyone personally familiar with revolution knows has an inestimable positive effect, but also some negative ones.

Napoleon ended yet another war in 1801, when French churches finally reopened after the signing of the Concordat. The agreement okayed French nationalisation of Church lands (the sales of which did the most to effectuate the economic revolution downwards), maintained religious freedom, did not declare Roman Catholicism the official religion of the state, allowed the French state to pay clerical salaries (giving them a decent standard of living), had the clergy swear an oath of allegiance to the state, and banned nearly all the monasteries (viewed as parasitical and useless in France, whereas the useful teaching nun orders would soon be doubled). Of course, this recently-installed Pope would ultimately side with the monarchists against the Revolution, but there’s no doubt that Napoleon secured the Revolution’s aim in neutering the Church’s power in France, a major goal.

On only two occasions did he involve himself in local governance of the prefects: one of them was to stop a prefect from forcing vaccinations. Draw your own inference regarding the coronavirus epidemic of 2020-22.

The currency never had to be devalued, the cost of living became stable, he spent more on education than anything else, built three great roads, canals and ports each, attained full employment, stable prices, positive trade balance, increasing population, and presided over a 180-degree shift in public spirit after a decade of civil violence.

So of course he was popular – he was making the principles of the French Revolution law, which broke with the absolute monarchy which reigned essentially everywhere else.

Elected emperor: Democracy combines old forms with new ideas – conservatives are overdramatic

By 1802 Napoleon had committed the crime of making the Revolution workable, peaceful and – worst of all – attractive. A Third Coalition was declared; at home royalists keep trying to assassinate him.

Thus the need to establish monarchical power in France for the sake of permanent peace was put forward. The word ‘form’ was essential. The spirit of the Revolution would be respected but the outwards appearances of executive power would need changing; it required a a title which would fit in with those of other European countries,” writes Tulard.

In 1802 he was was voted Consul-for-life by 3.5 million people (against 0.008 million opposed), a staggeringly progressive occurrence for the time – ignoring this is to lose the entire thread and principles of the French Revolution! However, it’s easy to lose this thread when one ignores the constant attacks on your country’s revolution, which is not allowed to evolve in peace.

It was in fact precipitated by the renewal of conflict with England (in 1803). … Rather, there was a tendency to increase his power in order to ensure the defence of the land. A dictatorship of public safety was needed. How could it be entrusted to anyone other than Bonaparte? At this moment the Royalists inopportunely chose to renew their plotting…. The revolutionaries saw in the consolidation of the First Consul’s power… the only bulwark against attempts to restore the monarchy.”

It is with this lifetime appointment in 1802 that many Republicans were dismayed and many leftists say the Revolution ended. If one wants to call it “despotism”, it’s false: it’s “elected despotism”. It’s a paradox, it’s revolutionary, it’s provoked by foreign aggression, it’s better than anyone else’s around, it’s an emperor and empire but it’s still leftist! “It seemed, above all, to be the surest means of maintaining a stable government putting an end to intrigue and plotting. This in no way represented the acceptance of a Bourbon-style dynasty. The Empire was first and foremost a dictatorship of public safety, designed to preserve the achievements of the Revolution.” Again, that’s from an author who is not strongly pro-Napoleon – he is, however, a Frenchman who understands his country’s history.

Napoleon has still not betrayed the revolution at this point in any serious way! In a move which was preceded by much discussion, he took the crown of Emperor from the Pope’s hands in a public coronation (another first) not because of the bosh about how it was his own arrogant and usurping personal power which won the crown, but because it was the people which had crowned him, and no one else. This is all a huge difference from the divine, theocratic right of kings, which Prussia, Russia, Austria and countless other local kings would insist on in total autocratic form until 1914.

If the French Revolutionary Emperorship was a typical emperorship – and thus no ideological threat – why did it not cause the European Wars Against the French Revolution to stop? The answer is obvious to those who are objective.

In 1806 the Fourth Coalition saw Prussia and Russia attack – France wins again and Prussia is compelled to finally renounce serfdom.

In 1808, popular revolt against the Spanish king in the “Tumult of Aranjuez”, which is still celebrated today, ended the Bourbon dynasty. The overthrow of the Bourbons, and the sheltering of the new ideals of the French Revolution, allowed Latin America to win their independence.

The French Revolution has spread to the New World. It had already spread to the oldest of the Old World: Mohammad Ali founded modern Egypt in 1805 after France had defeated the Mamluks.

The French Revolution starts to topple – revolutionary zeal starts to wane following decades of foreign attacks

This is where things start to turn badly: 1808 Spain is not yet at the point of 1789 France. Proof? After 1815 Spain is the only place where feudalism would actually be restored. The guerrilla war saps France, which is supported by Spain’s progressives, abolished the Inquisition and ended feudal rights – hardly a terrible legacy.

The war in Spain coincides with when Napoleon starts to let the emperorship go to his head and thinks more of preserving his dynasty than of the Revolution – he is always thinking of France, however. His Continental Blockade against England would have bankrupted them… if France didn’t also have to fight in Spain and Russia, too. The French Revolution is always attacked from all autocratic sides – this must be remembered because it so greatly shapes their possible choices. After a few years the Continental Blockade turns into pro-French economic imperialism, in a non-leftist mistake. Spain, the Blockade, dynasty – these are the three key mistakes Napoleon made. However, he does not deserve a permanent “Ogre” caricature for these three because two of them are fights against autocracy.

The Fifth Coalition of 1809 saw the awful Hapsburgs’ last stand, the arrival of huge modern wars of attrition, conscripted armies, and the growth of nationalist movements which Revolutionary France had expressly fostered.

Tsar Alexander refuses to allow Napoleon to marry into the royal family, so he marries into the Hapsburgs instead. The marriage did not cement an alliance for peace – which was entirely the aim – because Austrian royalty, like the simply awful Metternich, were not only Teutonic racists but completely aware that France represented revolutionary change which was incompatible with autocracy. It was Metternich (who takes the mantle from France’s Talleyrand as the most dreadful and shameless politician of his generation) who is credited with the propaganda theme of “Napoleon as mere personal ambition”.

France invades Russia because Moscow refused to end their threats to the revolution – first Russia, then England, then peace, finally, was the plan.

Why didn’t the French Revolution free the serfs? Certainly leftists today would have acclaimed Napoleon more. He said: “They wanted me to free the serfs. I refused. They would have massacred everyone; it would have been frightful. I warred against Tsar Alexander according to the ruleswho would have thought they’d ever burn Moscow?” Such objections miss the entire point of the French invasion of Russia – to force the Tsar to accept peace towards the French Revolution, and there would have been no peace if the serfs had been freed. France was already trying to administer the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and other places – how could they administer huge Russia as well?

Indeed, who could have guessed that the Tsar would defeat his own peoples in order to defeat Napoleon, i.e. the scorched earth tactic, which Clausewitz proved “were only applied accidentally by headquarters,” per Tulard. Say slaver monarchs defeated Napoleon – it makes fools of Russian serfs to say that their sacrifices were correct instead of manipulated; they would get their revenge against such misguided, brutal managers a century later.

Napoleon was keeping 250,000 seasoned troops in Spain at this time, let’s recall. He said his two main mistakes were not wintering in Vitebsk, Belarus, and and instead going to Poland. He ignores the original option – staying in Moscow – which had plenty of noble-abandoned supplies to live off of. The second was in trying to get peace from the Russian monarchists, who never wanted peace, like all monarchists. “I thought that I should be able to make peace, and that the Russians were anxious for it. I was deceived and I deceived myself.” The Tsars liked their autocracy, old Nap!

After the disastrous retreat the monarchs of Europe jumped on Revolutionary France in 1813 with the immediate Sixth Coalition, the first knockdown blow to the French Revolution after 20 years of trying. Not far from Paris Napoleon resolved to die in battle – to pass the throne on to his son – and though he went where fire was thickest and his uniform was tattered by shot he was not killed.

The fall of Paris was shocking: Paris, which hadn’t seen a foreign invader since Joan of Arc 400 years earlier, spectacularly fell without even a full day of fighting because the re-propertied nobles had spread defeatism, paid for subversion and colluded to reverse the French Revolution, which of course they still hated. The elitist concept of royalism would still play a major role in French politics for another 65 years, keep in mind.

After decades of fighting not only were his marshals old and worn out, but so was the original revolutionary generation. What Napoleon needed was a Cultural Revolution to refresh the ideals of the French Revolution, but of course such a thing had not been invented yet. Such a leftist idea would have led to more civil war in France, which was only able to end its civil war with the moderate Napoleon adopting many of the forms of monarchism, after all.

Banished to Elba, he famously returned. When France saw that the Bourbons wanted to push the clock back to 1788 this did have the immediate effect of a Cultural Revolution, restoring the vitality of the ideals of the French Revolution. Napoleon landed and dared people to fire on him all alone, ever the anti-civil war patriot. He was literally pushed all the way to Paris by the peasants and urban proletariat – the army would only rally to him later. He entered like a hero and totally avoided bloodshed – all it took was the sight of him in his overcoat and bicorne hat. It’s really rather stunning, and something only a leftist – a man of the people – could have ever done.

The Bourbons fled, of course. The “Additional Act” was added on to the Constitution, which added checks to the power of Napoleon, granted total freedom of expression, an enlarged electoral college (Napoleon again oversees a broadening of democracy), the right to elect mayors in towns less than 5,000 inhabitants, trial by jury and was approved by 1.6 million voters. It wouldn’t be until 1867 that Britain’s electorate would reach that size.

The vote enraged royalist autocrats continent-wide, and they resolved to immediately overturn the progressive democratic will of France, again. Metternich spread the fiction of Napoleon as ambition personified and rejecting peace.

Above all, what France needed was a period of peace to consolidate these changes – Napoleon’s aura was not the same, liberal ideas were taking further root and France had been awakened to the fact that their revolution was powerful but not invincible. They almost had it: Wellington declared Waterloo “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life”, but instead of wiping out Wellington the next day Napoleon spent the morning visiting the wounded – Napoleon the quick had become a sentimental old soldier. The Coalition refused to make peace – of course. Instead of dissolving the National Assembly, as a dictator would, he trusted it and asked for full powers: they told Napoleon to abdicate or be deposed.

Now the French Revolution was truly over. It would be 33 years until there would be another vote.

The defeat of Napoleon – tyrant, slaver, sexist – heralds not a left-wing renaissance, but a right-wing one, really?

Just as Napoleon and the French had warned for decades, the clock was wound back across Europe: Poland was re-wiped off the map by Russia and Prussia, Hapsburgs in north Italy, Bourbons in Naples and Spain, Pope Pius VII restored the Inquisition and the Jewish ghettoes, England responded to calls for parliamentary reform with the massacre at Peterloo – vicious counter-revolution everywhere. The censorship imposed by Metternich is total, with spies everywhere – Europe is a true police state for the benefits of monarchs and aristocrats… again. The French Revolution was truly over because a monarchical oligarchy conspired to stop it.

In 1821, living in cruel imprisonment imposed by Britain on the island of St. Helena, Napoleon died of stomach cancer, like his father, at the age of 51. His last words: “France – army – head of the army – Josephine”.

They act as if Napoleon waged wars on the peoples of Europe, instead of on the autocrats of Europe?

They act as if he won his royalty by birth, marriage or violence, instead of by vote?

They act as if his administration was marked by corruption instead of revolutionary ideas, progress and domestic unity?

Bah… the haters of Napoleon – what can be done? He deserves the longest chapter in this book, because to smear Napoleon Bonaparte is to smear the French Revolution. The two are not synonymous, as Napoleon once claimed – but now, I think, you know what he meant.

In 1823 his memoirs, The Memorial of Saint Helena, would become the 19th century’s best-selling book, moulding the worldview of several generations.

It is truly amazing how relatively few things there are in France named after Napoleon. However, his stunning tomb at Invalides is – thankfully – not a military shrine but a monument to his 10 greatest achievements as a domestic revolutionary politician. It’s truly amazing: comparing the negative view which so many have Napoleon, and the 10 progressive political advances etched in marble at Invalides.

The common leftist criticism that Napoleon Bonaparte used foreign war to liquidate the revolution, domestic conflict and class conflict completely ignores the fact that the Seven European Wars Against the French Revolution were defensive and not initiated by France.

The criticism which equates Bonaparte with Bourbon – calling them two absolutist systems, with the former merely being more allied with the nouveau riche bourgeois class – completely ignores the historic votes, constitutions, and the quality of governance. It also totally ignores the peasant gains stemming from the French Revolution’s ending of feudalism.

The claim that the French Revolution was “imperialist” totally ignores the fact that the French Revolution wasn’t even “French”: Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium – these are just the countries where the people were able to join the Revolution, and certainly many more wanted to.

All great revolutions are always externalised – ideas do not know national boundaries. The 1979 Iranian Revolution, for example, both spread and was a part of an idea that spread: in 1978 the Saur Revolution in Afghanistan established the socialist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan; in 1979 the Grand Mosque of Mecca was under siege for two months to oppose the House of Saud monarchy; in 1982 Saddam Hussein committed the massacre of the Islamic Dawa Party, the crime for which he would be ultimately sentenced to death. Where does Iran 1979 fit in this, who can say with total precision? France, Haiti, the Cisalpine Republic, the Batavian Republic (Netherlands 1795-1806) even the USA and League of Iroquois – where does 1789 France fit, precisely? What makes France and Iran different is that their revolutions succeeded and lasted, and thus they must be celebrated and learned from.

In a quote of Trotsky’s which sounded the death knell of capitalism entirely too early, Napoleon Bonaparte represented “the bourgeoisie’s impetuous youth”. We must, therefore, look at the “impetuous youth” of Bonaparte’s bourgeois victory as a victory for the people precisely because it was the only victory which could be permanently extracted in that awful autocratic era – the liberal rights which 1789 fought for were advancements; bourgeois rights were advancements; peasants, not nobles, getting land should not be derided as a “bourgeois revolution” but were advancements. It is the West’s total blind spot regarding the social evil of monarchy – which is the only accurate standard of comparison Napoleon and the French Revolution can be compared to: their peers – which blinds them to the obvious historical truth.

We can expect the right to paint Napoleon poorly, but what the left seems to ignore is that what every historian eventually admits is that the peasants and the working class – the mass of the people – wanted, trusted, elected and re-elected Napoleon Bonaparte as the French Revolution’s chief. This makes Napoleon Bonaparte just like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Khomeini, etc.

Now we grasp the Western Liberal Democratic campaign against Napoleon’s legacy: he was a true, beloved leftist.

Napoleon truly must be reclassed with those figures along the left. We cannot allow reactionaries to say that Napoleon, the dominant personage of that 26-year era – somehow did not embody it, but rather embodied its negation. What an absurdity!

Perhaps the whole point of this chapter – to fellow leftists – is to prove: We can admire Robespierre, Danton, Marat and Babeuf while also admiring Napoleon. Napoleon certainly must be reclaimed from today’s aristocratic bourgeoisie – this chapter should make it clear why they would never even want a leftist like him.

Gaining the trust of the democratic mass explains – more than any other factor – how Napoleon was able to lead France to stability in 1799 and beyond. Western Liberal Democrats haven’t been able to do either – gain the trust of the masses or provide stability for them – from its very conception. As de Tocqueville observed:

On coming to power Bonaparte imposed an additional 25 centimes of tax and nothing is said. The people do not turn against him; on the whole what he did was popular. The Provisional Government was to take the same measures in 1848 and was to be cursed immediately. The former was making a much-desired revolution, the second was making an unwanted one.”

What was unwanted across Europe in 1848 was the success of the counter-revolutions, which successfully refused to implement the ideals of 1789. In France, however, what was quickly unwanted was the first implementation of Western Liberal Democracy.

<—>

Upcoming chapter list of the brand-new content in France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. The book will also include previous writings from 2018 through the 2022 election in order to provide the most complete historical record of the Yellow Vests anywhere. What value! Publication date: June 1, 2022.

Pre-orders of the paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the Kindle version may be made here.

Pre-orders of the French paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the French Kindle version may be made here.

Chapter List of the new content

  • New book announcement – ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s best values’ – March 15, 2022
  • Introduction: A Yellow Vests’ history must rewrite both recent & past French history – March 20, 2022
  • The UK’s endless reaction: 1789 & feudalism’s end creates modern conservatism – March 25, 2022
  • Glorious Revolution of 1688: England declares ‘death to all other revolutions’ – March 29, 2022
  • Modern political history makes no sense if Napoleon is not a leftist revolutionary
  • The Revolutions of 1848: Because Liberalism can’t say the ‘Counter-Revolutions of 1848’
  • Louis-Napoleon: The revolutionary differences between Bonapartism & Western Liberal Democracy
  • The Paris Commune: The true birth of neoliberalism and EU neo-imperialism
  • Where the West is stuck: The fascism of the 1930s and the ‘fascism’ of the 2020s
  • On ‘Leon Trotsky on France’ in order to reclaim Trotsky from Trotskyists
  • The Yellow Vests’ childhood: Seeing French elites, only, swayed by neoliberalism
  • No one here is actually in charge: How the EU empire forced the Yellow Vests
  • The radicalisation by Europe’s ongoing Lost Decade: the Great Recession changes France
  • To Yellow Vests he’s the radical: Macron and ‘Neither Right nor Left but the Bourgeois Bloc’
  • Yellow Vests: At worst, the most important French movement for a century
  • Who are they, really? Ask a reporter whose seen a million Yellow Vest faces
  • Yellow Vest Win: Ending the West’s slandering of all popular movements as far-right xenophobes
  • Yellow Vest Win: The end of Western anarcho-syndicalism & unions as leftism’s hereditary kings
  • Yellow Vest Win: The end of Western parliamentarianism as the most progressive government
  • Yellow Vest Win: Reminding us of the link between fascist violence & Western democracy
  • What the Yellow Vests can be: a group which can protect liberalism’s rights, at least
  • The 2022 vote: The approach needed for ‘Before’- what came ‘After’ polls closed

Saudi Arabia Mass Executions: How MBS is Thumbing his Nose at The West

March 19, 2022 

Madawi Al-Rasheed, MEE

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrived in Riyadh in the middle of a state massacre. On Saturday, Saudi Arabia broke its record for mass executions when official media announced that 81 people had been put to death. Three others were executed the day before the prime minister arrived.

With the whole world occupied by the Ukraine crisis and rising energy prices, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman apparently felt it was the right moment for such large-scale executions. He knows that the future of many western leaders, notably Johnson and US President Joe Biden, along with global economic recovery after two years of Covid-19 inflation, depend on securing cheap oil and gas.

For now, bin Salman is reaping profits from a western crisis that refuses to be resolved: namely, dependence on dictators’ cheap oil

This was the crown prince’s historical moment to flex his muscles and demand that the West treat him with respect, after three years of being considered a pariah. He is impatiently waiting for rehabilitation in Washington, which Biden could seal with a handshake.

Did Johnson deliver Biden’s message – that all this is dependent on the crown prince increasing oil production in order to lower prices and save the world from further economic turmoil?

In a recent interview with the Atlantic, asked whether the US misunderstood something about him, bin Salman replied: “Simply, I do not care.” He maintained that no other country has the right to interfere in how he handles his own subjects. Apparently, executions, detentions, unlawful treatment of prisoners, and various other human rights violations are all matters of national sovereignty.

In short, if the West wants cheap oil, they must tolerate his excesses and executions, rather than bringing such matters to the negotiating table. Other powers, namely Russia and China, do exactly that. 

Flexing muscles

Beyond his rhetoric, the crown prince is desperate to be recognized in Washington as the future king and to have Biden deal with him directly, rather than addressing his aging father, King Salman (who recently came out of hospital after “successful medical tests”). 

Indeed, bin Salman knows very well that his future depends on Washington engaging with him directly. He can flex his muscles at home and carry out as many executions as he wishes, but to secure the throne, he ultimately needs Washington, with Britain serving as a facilitator and provider of military technology. While the US continues to be number one in arming Saudi Arabia, Britain comes second on the list.

Protesters hold up placards as they demonstrate against UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia during the visit of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, outside Downing Street, in central London on March 7, 2018

The crown prince also wants both the US and Britain, in addition to other western countries, to stop lecturing him on climate change and clean energy. Oil wells that bring in billions of dollars, sovereign wealth, global political status, and the acquiescence of subjects cannot be replaced by solar panels.

Another factor is the ill-fated, Saudi-led war in Yemen, made possible because both the US and Britain have provided arms and shielded the country from international criticism at the United Nations and other forums. While this help has not secured the victory that bin Salman hoped for, it has exposed western hypocrisy when it comes to authoritarian rulers they need. Yemenis, who have neither blonde hair nor blue eyes, are not high on the list of concerns in the West at the moment.

Cherishing defiance

Like other dictators, bin Salman does not care about his reputation. But in so-called democracies, a certain level of consistency and decency should be expected, especially when western countries frequently lecture the world about human rights and moral foreign policy.

Bin Salman surely has a long list of executions to carry out in the future, and he will continue to do so. His suppressed subjects might even cherish the momentary defiance that the crown prince has exhibited in recent weeks by not fully backing the US and Europe in condemning Russia, and in carrying out executions that are considered matters of national sovereignty.

In addition, he didn’t meet Johnson’s visit with too much pomp; the British leader was met at the airport by the deputy governor of Riyadh rather than a higher-ranking official, despite the UK’s role in continuing to prop up Saudi Arabia’s archaic political configuration.

For now, bin Salman is reaping profits from a western crisis that refuses to be resolved: namely, dependence on dictators’ cheap oil.

In the short term, other oil producers may be rehabilitated, such as Iran and Venezuela. In the long term, alternative sources of clean energy may become an affordable reality. Only then can we expect a different scenario, in which bin Salman may think twice before boasting about mass murder in an effort to defy the West and please his most loyal subjects. 

The Bahraini Battle for Rights Refuses To Be Broken

February 15, 202

By Latifa Al-Husseini

The revolution in Bahrain isn’t over. The struggle never subsided. Every moment is plagued by repression, imprisonment, torture, and executions. The momentum is the same. If anything, it increased. The level of persecution is at its climax, and every revelation of oppression leads to the same conclusion: the regime never intended to listen to the demands of its people. The divide is obvious. The Al Khalifa clan is in one valley, and the people of Bahrain are on a totally different valley.

Whoever keeps pace with the widespread human rights crisis in the tiny Gulf kingdom, realizes that what is happening there is injustice. Every individual the authority does not like will either be arrested or martyred.

The Democracy Index published by the British newspaper, The Economist, for the year 2021 included Bahrain in the list of authoritarian countries, based on a study of the electoral process, partisan pluralism, the way the government works, political participation, and civil liberties.

Delving deeper shows staggering numbers that indicate the exclusionary and abolitionist approach of the Al Khalifa clan. Since the February 14 revolution, authorities dissolved more than 30 political, religious, cultural, and educational associations, in parallel with imposing comprehensive restrictions on the activities of civil society.

The number of martyred children surpassed 49, including 32 fetuses, while there are more than 1,700 children in detention. As for abuses against women, the regime has killed more than 34 women since 2011, arrested more than 345, and summoned more than 1,600. Executions are ever-present in the Bahraini approach. Since the revolution, Ali al-Singace, Sami Mushaima, martyr Abbas al-Samea, Ahmed al-Malali, and Ali al-Arab have been executed, while 12 others are facing imminent execution.

Things don’t stop there. The authorities also revoked the citizenship of 815 people for malicious political reasons. Among those stripped of their citizenship is Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassem. Authorities even demolished 38 mosques, 11 of which are still in ruins.

Al-Ahed News website interviewed the head of the Monitoring and Documentation Department at SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights and former detainee Ebtisam Al-Saegh, who told us that the humanitarian crisis in Bahrain has only worsened in recent years.

Al-Saegh, the relentless human rights activist, says that after all these years, repression is a constant, in light of the frequent and increasing violations and arbitrary arrests. The variable is the introduction of disinformation used by the authorities to distort and tear apart the peaceful movement.

What rights were the people able to obtain amid the extensive repression?

“The rights that the people are seeking have not been met, and they are far from being met, despite the continuity of the movement and the number of sacrifices that were made – in every home and family, there is a victim,” Al-Saegh says.

The unending abuse does not discourage resolve, even if the scene is tragic. Al-Saegh points out to Al-Ahed that “the human rights movement continues to monitor and follow up on the affairs of victims, document violations, and assist the oppressed in order to achieve justice for them.”

“There is an uninterrupted communication through human rights channels including contacts with the United Nations special rapporteurs to register and monitor them, urging the Manama government to bring about change, stop violations, abide by international conventions, and allow special rapporteurs to enter the country to investigate the human rights reality on the ground.”

The Bahraini regime, according to Al-Saegh, used repression by rendering Bahraini citizens stateless. Nearly 900 had their citizenship revoked. It reinstated the citizenship of 551 following widespread criticism from the United Nations, international human rights organizations, and the European Union.

This weapon, which also targeted Ayatollah Isa Qassem, does not negate his position among the general public. According to the member of SALAM, the cleric is the symbol and leader of the peaceful movement and is still playing this part abroad despite attempts to undermine him.

Al-Saegh asserts that the Bahraini regime has not adopted a single reform over the years, but rather it intensified its violations and penalties against the people despite the conclusions from fact-finding missions and international calls to implement the recommendations of the United Nations in the universal periodic report of the Human Rights Council.

Al-Saegh dismissed announced reforms by the authorities as “not serious. These will not result in a political solution that ends the crises.”

In Al-Saegh’s opinion, justice cannot be achieved amid violations and a policy of impunity. As such, the first steps of reform should involve the clearing of prisons, but this does not mean that the perpetrators should not be held accountable. The government still deals with cases of torture as individual actions and not systematic practices. Hence, it does not address them, but rather aggravates the situation and gives way to an intensification of violations due to the absence of accountability.

Al-Saegh does not put a lot of stock in the so-called alternative punishment system that the authorities launched. Based on her data, there is no seriousness in dealing with the people’s demands. Although the alternative punishment system appears to be a positive step, it deviated from the intended path and became a new restriction and a kind of political isolation. The person released under this law cannot integrate back into society and cannot practice his rights to freedom of opinion and expression or enjoy the life of a regular citizen.

Al-Saegh explains that prisons in Bahrain house detainees from most age groups and categories. She reveals that Jaw Prison has more than 3000 prisoners over the age of 21, while in Dry Dock Prison and its juvenile and so-called health isolation sections, there are hundreds of detainees, including 80 minors.

Some of these minors were released under the Restorative Justice Law issued by the Bahraini monarch at the beginning of last year. However, some of them were re-arrested after they turned 18 and were charged with more serious offenses.

Al-Saegh states that there are about 500 prisoners under the age of 18. Some of the minors became adults while in prison and have been transferred out of the juvenile section to serve harsh sentences.

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Bahrain Crackdown: Six Teens Held in Detention, HRW Warns

February 9, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The Bahraini regime has been holding six boys in detention for several weeks, the rights group Human Rights Watch said.

It said the Manama regime has presented no justification for their detention.

In a joint report with the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy [BIRD], HRW noted that the six teenagers are aged 14 to 15.

The boys, from the Sitra area, are being held on the orders of the public prosecutor’s office at the Beit Batelco facility in Seef district, which a government website describes as an “institution … for children of unknown parentage, orphans and children of broken families up to the age of 15.” The children’s alleged offenses appear to have occurred in December 2020 or January 2021, when they were 13 and 14, based on the boys’ recollections of their interrogations. A statement by the Office of the Public Prosecution alleges they threw Molotov cocktails that damaged a car near a police station.

“Last year Bahrain touted its legal reforms for children, but locking up children in an orphanage instead of a jail is hardly an improvement when their detention is arbitrary in the first place,” said Bill Van Esveld, associate children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch. “The treatment of these boys is a test of Bahrain’s respect for children’s rights, and so far the authorities are failing.”

Their family’s request for attending interrogation sessions has been rejected by the authorities, according to the report.

Rights groups slammed the ruling Al Khalifa regime for failing to respect the rights of children, adding that keeping kids in child care centers instead of prisons does not justify their arbitrary detention.

Ever since 2011, Bahraini people have been holding peaceful protest rallies on an almost daily basis, demanding that the Al Khalifa family relinquish power and let a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.

Manama has responded to the protests with lethal force, drawing international criticism. In March 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were also deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Assisted ‘genocide’: How allied weapons embolden Saudi crimes in Yemen

January 25, 2022

By Farah Hajj Hassan

How the Saudi coalition’s crimes began with weapons from allied nations and why they are determined to remain silent.

Assisted Assassinations: How allied weapons enable Saudi crimes in Yemen

As it turns out, the real-life monsters behind the Saudi-led coalition war on Yemen and the massacre of its people are the same champions and cheerleaders of human rights around the world oozing with hypocrisy and double standards. UNICEF has called the situation in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and the UK, France, Canada, and the US are among the countries responsible for making that nightmare a reality.

The US Department of State reports that human rights abuses of Saudi Arabia include, but are not limited to, “unlawful killings, executions for nonviolent offenses, torture, and cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of prisoners, serious restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, severe restrictions of religious freedom,” and many many more. As of 2020, Saudi Arabia remains the world’s largest arms importer. Arms sales from the US alone amounted to $3 billion from 2015-2020, agreeing to sell $64.1 billion worth of weapons to Riyadh. 

In what universe does that sound like a government worth funding with weapons? Why then do we not hear the same cries of human rights resounding in the West? Because the west and its previous administrations have long ago sold their soul to the Saudi regime before any of their current administrations can even remember. 

A permanent [bloody] record

US President Joe Biden made foreign policy commitments to end the selling of “offensive” weapons to the kingdom and “end all support” for a war that created a humanitarian catastrophe. 

How did Biden deliver? A major arms sale two months ago, including 280 air-to-air missiles valued at $650 million.

At the time, the Pentagon’s statement said the sale would help to “improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East.”

Does the US consider economic progress to be the complete destruction and demolishment of a country along with 3,825 murdered children? 

The former administration under Donald Trump shamelessly embraced arms sales to Saudi Arabia that in no doubt helped prolong the war that has killed thousands in what is considered the Arab region’s poorest nation, further destabilizing the already volatile region. 

Unlike Biden, Trump was very public about the economic and diplomatic benefits that would follow the sale, with no regard to the thousands being killed and maimed as a result of the US-designed and manufactured weapons. 

Entesaf Organization for Women and Child Rights in Yemen reported the data, adding that more than 400,000 Yemeni children are suffering from severe malnutrition, 80,000 of whom are at risk of facing death. The number of displaced families as of November has reached 670, 343 in 15 governorates.  Where exactly does Saudi Arabia intend to implement its economic progress in Yemen to allow those families to prosper? 

Britain has been under increased scrutiny over its arms deals to Saudi Arabia and remains silent on the crimes it repeatedly commits. 

The mind-boggling hypocrisy of the west almost has no end. The frenzy that surrounds the defense of Saudi Arabia by its allies can be mirrored with the hysteric defense of “Israel” while it commits its crimes against the Palestinians on a regular basis.

In numerous TV interviews, British and American officials can be shown echoing the same formula we have heard countless times in the last twenty years. Begin with a dictator or lack thereof, blame the people for overthrowing said dictator or supporting him, blame Iran for “emboldening” and training militias, and bam! Claim your get-out-of-jail-free card in international law.

Clean smiles, dirty hands

Other Saudi allies have had their fair share of arms deals that enabled Saudi aggression.

Canada for instance has long been an arms exporter to Saudi Arabia. In 2020, Canada sent close to $2.9 billion of arms hardware to Saudi Arabia. The exports included light-armored vehicles, 31 large-caliber artillery systems, and 152 heavy machine guns

Justin Trudeau, a man who has repeatedly come out and condemned and apologized about residential schools, remains silent regarding the Yemeni children whose schools have been rendered to piles of dust.

In August, Amnesty International Canada and Project Ploughshares urged Canada to end their sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia as a report surfaced accusing the Prime Minister of violating the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) by exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia. The report detailed evidence that weapons from Canada to the Kingdom were used in the war, including LAVs (light-armored vehicles) and sniper rifles. Under the previous Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada inked a $12 billion deal to ship Canadian-made LAVs to Saudi Arabia.

France and the UAE: A match made in hell

In December 2021, France signed a deal with the UAE worth $19.20 billion to supply 80 Rafale fighter planes by Dassault Aviation, the largest single purchase of the Dassault-made Rafale outside of the French Army. Human Rights Watch criticized the sale, saying the UAE has played “a prominent role” in the atrocity-ridden war on Yemen. The statement also said that Riyadh was in 2020 the largest buyer of French weapons.

In a report titled “Arms sales: France and the United Arab Emirates, partners in the crimes committed in Yemen,” numerous organizations list how France failed to respect its human rights commitments according to the UN Arms Trade Treaty which “regulates the international trade in conventional arms.” The report details that the UAE is a strategic ally of France and describes the former as a “repressive dictatorship”, where all dissenting voices risk imprisonment or torture, recalling the unjust sentences issued against 69 human rights activists in 2013 after an unfair trial. 

The investigative French website Disclose revealed that France delivered tens of thousands of arms to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar during President Francois Hollande’s reign in 2016, despite knowing that they would be used in the war on Yemen.

The website quoted “secret defense documents” that “since 2016, France has allowed the delivery of about 150,000 shells” to its two Gulf allies.

The French President met with Mohammed Bin Salman as one of the first western leaders to visit the kingdom since the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

The hypocrisy with France, in particular, is that it prides itself in its secular mantra, and its policies have mostly targeted Muslims and adopted highly anti-Islamic rhetoric. Macron’s cozying up to MBS tells a different story, with the Secretary-General of Amnesty International commenting on the move by suggesting that it is part of a “rehabilitation” policy of the Saudi Prince. She expressed, “It grieves me that it is France, a country of human rights, which is used as the tool of this policy.” 

Typhoons of misery for Yemen

Over half of Saudi’s combat aircraft deployed in bombing operations in Yemen are provided by none other than the UK.

The United Kingdom signed off on arms exports worth nearly $1.9 billion to Saudi Arabia between July and September 2020 following the lifting of a ban on weapons sales to the Gulf country. “UK-made weapons have played a devastating role in the Saudi-led attacks on Yemen, and the humanitarian crisis they have created, yet the UK government has done everything it can to keep the arms sales flowing,” said Sarah Waldron, a spokesperson for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT). 

The published value of UK arms export to the Saudi-led coalition since the beginning of the war is £6.9 billion, and CAAT estimates that the real value is over £20 billion.

Between January 2015 and December 2019, the British government approved 385 licenses for the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. The UK Government has confirmed that the Saudi-led coalition attacked Yemen with weaponry that was manufactured in the UK, including Typhoon and Tornado fighter planes, Paveway bombs, and Brimstone and Stormshadow missiles. 

The British government has also admitted that precision-guided weapons have also been used in the war on Yemen. 

The Mwatana’s 2019 report “Day of Judgement: the role of the US and Europe in civilian death, destruction, and trauma in Yemen,” dissects the details of UK weapons and attacks on civilians in Yemen including an attack on a community college, warehouse, and multiple factories. 

Raining missiles 

Days ago, the Yemeni Armed Forces announced “carrying out a qualitative military operation, Yemen Hurricane, in response to the escalation of aggression against the country.” The operation targeted Abu Dhabi’s airport, the oil refinery in Mussafah in Abu Dhabi, and several other sites in the UAE.

Ali Al-Qahoum, a member of Ansar Allah Political Bureau, blessed the Yemeni operation in the UAE depth, saying that “this operation and others will continue as long as the aggression and siege continue with strategic goals further ahead.”

Yemeni victims of the Saudi-led war filed a complaint against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for financing terrorism.

The complaint was submitted on behalf of the Yemeni NGO, the Legal Center for Rights and Development, which is based in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

The war on Yemen in numbers

Nowhere to run

The megaphones of human rights campaigns and global petitions against the war on Yemen must be amplified, keeping in mind that the enemy is not Ansar Allah, neither is it the Palestinians, nor is it the Lebanese, or the Chinese, or the Russians. The true enemy of the West is the Axis of Resistance. Time has proven that a refusal to kneel to the demands of the West is all it takes to become an enemy. 

If the cries of the virtuous remain unheard and the coalition and governments complicit in the massacres refuse to listen, then the Yemeni people surely will be left with the only other alternative. It was, is, and will always be the only key that unlocks the shackles of oppression and brutality; Resistance. 

And one thing will certainly never change. The Saudi royals, no matter how enshrined in gold, can never cleanse themselves of the crimes they have committed against humanity, for conscience is the one thing they cannot buy. 

A nation imprisoned: A record number of 68 new prisons have been opened in Turkey in 2021.

January 3, 2022

Erkan’s Field Diary

https://ift.tt/3JyLjyRPenal labor in Turkey: Prisoners build prisons

Bianet :: English

A record number of 68 new prisons have been opened in Turkey this year, according to the Ministry of Justice.


Case of killed HDP worker Deniz Poyraz: ?Treat the murderer like a murderer?

Bianet :: English

An armed assailant stormed the HDP?s provincial office in İzmir and killed party worker Deniz Poyraz. He is facing an aggravated life sentence. The hearing has been adjourned to January 24.

Attack on HDP office in İstanbul leaves two injured

Party members said that the assailant ran away after they took away his weapons in what was the third armed attack targeting the party in six months.

?Seeking justice, not begging?: Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk in prison despite severe illness

Bianet :: English

Tuğluk?s brother says, ?We are trying to find justice, if there is any. We are not begging anyone. However, they can?t prevent my sister?s…

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2021 in its Last Quarter, the End of the Erdogan Miracle 2021 في ربعه الأخير.. نهاية المعجزة الإردوغانية

Turkish Erdogan Economy – the End of the Development Miracle

ARABI SOURI 

The “remarkable successes” achieved by Turkey during the first years of the “Justice and Development” rule turned out to be just myths that are expected to turn into hurricanes at the beginning of the new year.

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

When the West marketed the Justice and Development Party as an “Islamic party that democratically took power in a secular Muslim country” in the countries and peoples of the Arab region, it, also, had to prove to them the impressive successes of its “experience” in economic development that made Turkey the focus of everyone’s attention.

The leader of this “Islamist” experiment, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, achieved wide popularity, not only in the region, but among all Muslims in the world, and together they praised these successes, which they wished to bring them back the memories of the Caliphate and the Ottoman Sultanate that ruled large areas of the world.

The policies of openness to the countries of the region under the slogan “zero problems with neighboring countries”, which Erdogan pursued in the first eight years of his rule (2003-2011), contributed to gaining more popularity for him, his party, and Turkey, and achieved great economic gains thanks to this openness and positive relations with everyone, this will have repercussions on Ankara’s international relations, particularly with Europe, America, and Russia.

And the ‘bloody spring’ (Arab Spring) came to reveal what was hidden in Erdogan’s calculations, who believed that the time was right to impose his experience on the countries of the region, especially after the Muslim Brotherhood took power in Tunisia, Egypt, and Morocco, and partly in Yemen and Libya, so that neighboring Syria would be Erdogan’s main target in all his calculations, ideologically, nationally and strategically.

This was the beginning of the decline in the Erdogan project with its repercussions on the internal reality, especially after the failed coup attempt carried out by the followers of Fethullah Gulen (a former strategic ally of Erdogan) on July 15, 2016. Erdogan took advantage of this attempt, which, at the time, was said that “America, Israel, and the UAE stand behind it,” so he changed the political system from parliamentary to presidential, and took control of all state institutions, facilities, and apparatuses, the most important of which were the army, intelligence, security, judiciary, media, and even the central bank.

This was the beginning of revealing the mysteries and secrets of “the economic development”, which the Turkish opposition proved to be a lie after having had dire consequences for the economic and financial situation a year after Erdogan declared himself absolute ruler of the country, after the rigged referendum of April 2017, according to the words of Kilicdaroglu, leader of the opposition People’s Party.

Erdogan became president in June 2018, and appointed himself as chairman of the board of directors of the sovereign fund, and appointed his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, as minister of finance and treasury and his deputy on the board of directors of the fund, this would be the beginning of the economic and financial collapse. The opposition accused Erdogan of privatizing $70 billion of public sector institutions, including airports, ports, dams, factories, military industries, forests, and highways, without anyone knowing where these billions went. The opposition also proved the involvement of Erdogan and those around him in serious corruption cases worth tens of billions of dollars, during the construction of bridges, tunnels, and airports by foreign companies that implemented their projects in hard currencies, and obtained their guarantees in hard currencies for long years as well.

All of this caused severe damage to the Turkish treasury, estimated at hundreds of billions of Turkish liras, which no longer has any notional value in foreign transactions. The opposition also proved the disappearance of 128 billion dollars (some say 150 billion) from the reserves of the Central Bank, without there being any logical explanation from Erdogan about the fate of these sums, because the state has not executed any strategic projects. The opposition said that Erdogan has spent some of these billions on his foreign adventures, especially in Syria, Libya, and other regions in which Erdogan wanted to promote his ideological, political and historical ideas, “while he lives in a fantasy world,” a quote by opposition leader Kilicdaroglu.

As for the volume of external debts, which exceeded 460 billion dollars, with larger amounts of internal debts, they, in turn, proved the collapse of development slogans that finally collided with the lira crisis that Turkey has been suffering since the past three months after it suffered from similar crises last year, and in 2018, albeit with less powerful tremors.

The value of the lira depreciated within only one month by thirty percent (60% since the beginning of the year, and it may reach 65% before the end of the year) and this was reflected in the prices, which increased by between 50 and 100%, which thwarted the government’s efforts to control inflation, which statistics indicate that it will not be less than 60%, to bring President Erdogan and his economic miracles to the end of the dark tunnel, and there is no escape from it for many reasons.

Experts, led by the former Minister of Economy and the current leader of the Democratic and Progress Party, Ali Babacan, all blamed President Erdogan for this economic and financial disaster, with its repercussions on Turkish society, which is experiencing its most difficult and darkest days. Babacan, who was one of the builders of “the development”, considered Erdogan’s foreign and domestic policies the main reasons for all that Turkey suffers from, accusing him of ignoring the simplest laws and rules of the economy and money. Babacan says that Erdogan is acting unilaterally, far from any legal and constitutional oversight or accountability, which has made Turkey lose the confidence of foreign capital after Erdogan took control of the judiciary and eliminated the independence of the central bank.

CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and former Prime Minister and Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoglu supported Babacan’s words, and together they refuted the statements issued by the State Institute of Statistics regarding development rates, which were always according to the mood of Erdogan and his media and all those who were and still are admired about “the brilliant successes” Turkey achieved during the first years of the “Justice and Development” rule, finally, it turned out that they are just myths that did not withstand the bitter winds of truth that some expect to turn with the beginnings of the new year into storms and hurricanes, and no one knows how Erdogan will deal with them before they are accompanied by earthquakes that destroy all his “successes” before the so-called “Arab Spring,” when his experience, at the time, was a successful model that many praised, and some of them are now setting an example of its abject failure.

Others, at home and abroad, remain in their sentimental opinion of Erdogan’s miracles, either for self-interest or an ideological consensus that will not benefit any of them, as long as the truth has become completely exposed. The last three months of 2021 demonstrated the fragility of the Turkish economy and the “developmental miracles” that it has achieved, which “Islamists” have emotionally drummed and trumpeted about, as they are now emotionally defending them, they say that “Turkey’s economy is strong and its development is great, and it is exposed to a global war waged by imperialist, colonial, Zionist and Arab hostile countries and powers,” ignoring that Erdogan is courting all of these (countries and powers) in order to help him save Turkey, which will be very difficult by all standards and measures because Erdogan is absolutely indifferent to them, otherwise he would not have emphasized more than once his commitment to “religious texts” during his handling of the current crisis because “what matters to him is staying in power no matter what it costs him,” his former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says.

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2021 في ربعه الأخير.. نهاية المعجزة الإردوغانية

الاثنين 20 كانون الأول 2021

المصدر: الميادين نت

حسني محلي

“النجاحات الباهرة” التي حققتها تركيا خلال السنوات الأولى من حكم “العدالة والتنمية” تبيّن أنها مجرد أساطير يتوقع أن تتحول مع بدايات العام الجديد إلى أعاصير.

أصبح إردوغان رئيساً للجمهورية في حزيران/ يونيو 2018

عندما قام الغرب بتسويق حزب العدالة والتنمية “كحزب إسلامي تسلّم السلطة بشكل ديمقراطي في بلد مسلم علماني” في دول المنطقة العربية وشعوبها، كان عليه أن يثبت لها أيضاً النجاحات الباهرة “لتجربته” في التنمية الاقتصادية التي جعلت من تركيا محط أنظار الجميع. 

وحقّق زعيم هذه التجربة “الإسلامي” رجب طيب إردوغان شعبية واسعة، ليس فقط في المنطقة، بل بين جميع المسلمين في العالم، وتغنّوا معاً بهذه النجاحات التي تمنّوا لها أن تعيد إليهم ذكريات الخلافة والسلطنة العثمانيتين اللتين حكمتا مساحات واسعة من العالم. 

وأسهمت سياسات الانفتاح على دول المنطقة تحت شعار “صفر مشاكل مع دول الجوار”، والتي انتهجها إردوغان في السنوات الثماني الأولى من حكمه (2003-2011)، في كسب المزيد من الشعبية، له ولحزبه ولتركيا، وحققت مكاسب اقتصادية عظيمة بفضل هذا الانفتاح والعلاقات الإيجابية مع الجميع، بانعكاسات ذلك على علاقات أنقرة الدولية، وفي مقدمتها مع أوروبا وأميركا وروسيا. 

وجاء الربيع الدموي ليكشف المستور في حسابات إردوغان، الذي اعتقد أن الوقت بات ملائماً لفرض تجربته على دول المنطقة، وخاصة بعد تسلّم الإخوان المسلمين السلطة في تونس ومصر والمغرب، وجزئياً في اليمن وليبيا، لتكون الجارة سوريا هدف إردوغان الرئيسي في مجمل حساباته، عقائدياً وقومياً واستراتيجياً. 

وكان ذلك بداية التقهقر في المشروع الإردوغاني بانعكاساته على الواقع الداخلي، وخاصة بعد محاولة الانقلاب الفاشل الذي قام به أتباع فتح الله غولن (وهو الحليف الاستراتيجي السابق لإردوغان) في الـ 15 من تموز/يوليو 2016. واستغلّ إردوغان هذه المحاولة التي قيل آنذاك “إن أميركا وإسرائيل والإمارات تقف خلفها”، فقام بتغيير النظام السياسي من برلماني إلى رئاسي، وسيطر على جميع مؤسّسات الدولة ومرافقها وأجهزتها، وأهمها الجيش والاستخبارات والأمن والقضاء والإعلام، بل حتى البنك المركزي. 

وكان ذلك بداية الكشف عن خفايا “التنمية الاقتصادية” وأسرارها، والتي أثبتت المعارضة التركية كذبها بعد أن انعكست بنتائجها الوخيمة على الوضع الاقتصادي والمالي بعد عام من إعلان إردوغان نفسه حاكماً مطلقاً للبلاد، بعد استفتاء نيسان/أبريل 2017 المزوّر بحسب كلام كليجدار أوغلو زعيم حزب الشعب المعارض.

وأصبح إردوغان رئيساً للجمهورية في حزيران/ يونيو 2018، وقام بتعيين نفسه رئيساً لمجلس إدارة الصندوق السيادي، وتعيين صهره برات البايراك وزيراً للمالية والخزانة ونائباً له في  مجلس إدارة الصندوق، ليكون ذلك بداية الانهيار الاقتصادي والمالي. واتهمت المعارضة إردوغان بخصخصة ما قيمته 70 مليار دولار من مؤسسات القطاع العام، بما فيها المطارات والموانئ والسدود والمعامل والمصانع العسكرية والغابات والطرقات السريعة، من دون أن يعرف أحد أين ذهبت هذه المليارات. كما أثبتت المعارضة تورّط إردوغان ومَن حوله في قضايا فساد خطيرة بعشرات المليارات من الدولارات، خلال بناء الجسور والأنفاق والمطارات من قبل شركات أجنبية نفّذت مشاريعها بالعملات الصعبة، وحصلت على ضماناتها بالعملات الصعبة أيضاً ولسنوات طويلة. 

وألحق كل ذلك أضراراً جسيمة بالخزانة التركية تُقدّر بمئات المليارات من الليرات التركية التي لم يعد لها أي قيمة اعتبارية في التعاملات الخارجية. كما أثبتت المعارضة اختفاء 128 مليار دولار (البعض يقول 150 ملياراً) من احتياطي المصرف المركزي، من دون أن يكون هناك أي توضيح منطقي من إردوغان حول مصير هذه المبالغ، لأن الدولة لم تنفّذ أي مشاريع استراتيجية. وقالت المعارضة إن إردوغان قد صرف البعض من هذه المليارات في مغامراته الخارجية، وخاصة في سوريا وليبيا ومناطق أخرى أراد إردوغان أن يسوّق فيها أفكاره العقائدية والسياسية والتاريخية، “وهو يعيش في عالم الخيال”، والقول لزعيم المعارضة كليجدار أوغلو. 

وأما حجم الديون الخارجية التي زادت على 460 مليار دولار مع مبالغ  أكبر من الديون الداخلية، فقد أثبتت بدورها انهيار شعارات التنمية التي اصطدمت أخيراً بأزمة الليرة التي تعاني منها تركيا منذ ثلاثة أشهر، بعد أن عانت من أزمات مماثلة في العام الماضي، وفي عام 2018، ولو بهزّات أقل قوة. 

فتراجعت قيمة الليرة خلال شهر واحد فقط بنسبة ثلاثين في المئة (منذ بداية العام 60% وقد تصل إلى 65% قبل نهاية العام) وانعكس ذلك على الأسعار التي زادت بنسبة تراوح بين 50 و100%، وهو ما أفشل مساعي الحكومة في السيطرة على التضخم الذي تبيّن الإحصاءات أنه لن يكون أقل من 60%،  ليوصل الرئيس إردوغان ومعجزاته الاقتصادية إلى نهاية النفق المظلم، ولا نجاة منه لأسباب عديدة. 

فالخبراء، وفي مقدمتهم وزير الاقتصاد الأسبق والزعيم الحالي لحزب الديمقراطية والتقدم علي باباجان، حمّلوا جميعاً الرئيس إردوغان مسؤولية هذه الكارثة الاقتصادية والمالية بانعكاساتها على المجتمع التركي، الذي بات يعيش أصعب أيامه وأحلكها. واعتبر باباجان، وكان من بُناة “التنمية”، سياسات إردوغان الخارجية والداخلية سبباً رئيسياً لكل ما تعاني منه تركيا، متّهِماً إياه بجهل أبسط قوانين وقواعد الاقتصاد والمال. ويقول باباجان إن إردوغان يتصرف بشكل فردي، بعيداً عن أي رقابة أو محاسبة قانونية ودستورية، وهو ما أفقدَ تركيا ثقة الرساميل الأجنبية، بعد أن سيطر إردوغان على الجهاز القضائي، وقضى على استقلالية المصرف المركزي. 

وأيّد زعيم حزب الشعب الجمهوري كمال كليجدار أوغلو ورئيس الوزراء السابق وزعيم حزب المستقبل أحمد داود أوغلو كلام باباجان، وكذّبا معاً البيانات التي تصدر عن المعهد الحكومي للإحصاء في ما يتعلّق بنسب التنمية، وكانت دائماً وفق مزاج إردوغان وإعلامه وكل الذين كانوا وما زالوا يتغنّون “بالنجاحات الباهرة” التي حققتها تركيا خلال السنوات الأولى من حكم “العدالة والتنمية”، وتبيّن أخيراً أنها مجرد أساطير لم تصمد أمام رياح الحقيقة المرّة التي يتوقع لها البعض أن تتحول مع بدايات العام الجديد إلى عواصف وأعاصير، ولا يدري أحد كيف سيتصدّى لها إردوغان قبل أن ترافقها زلازل تدمّر كل ما حققه من “نجاحات” قبل ما يُسمّى “الربيع العربي”، حيث كانت تجربته آنذاك نموذجاً ناجحاً يتغنّى به الكثيرون، وبدأ البعض منهم الآن يضرب المثل بفشله الذريع. 

ويبقى آخرون في الداخل والخارج عند حسن ظنهم العاطفي بمعجزات إردوغان، إما لحسابات مصلحية أو لتوافق عقائدي لن ينفع أحداً منهم، ما دامت الحقيقة قد أصبحت مكشوفة تماماً. فقد أثبتت الأشهر الثلاثة الأخيرة من 2021 هشاشة الاقتصاد التركي وما حققه من “معجزات تنموية” طبّل وزمّر لها “الإسلاميون” عاطفياً كما يدافعون عنها الآن عاطفياً وهم يقولون إن “اقتصاد تركيا قوي وتنميتها عظيمة وهي تتعرض لحرب كونية تشنها دول وقوى أمبريالية واستعمارية وصهيونية وعربية معادية”، غافلين عن أن إردوغان يتودد إليها جميعاً كي تساعده لإنقاذ تركيا وهو ما سيكون صعباً جداً بكل المعايير والمقاييس، ذلك لأن إردوغان غير مبال بها على الإطلاق، وإلا لما أكد أكثر من مرة على التزامه “بالنصوص الدينية” خلال معالجته للأزمة الحالية لأن “ما يهمه هو البقاء في السلطة مهما كلفه ذلك” والقول لرئيس وزرائه السابق أحمد داود أوغلو.  

On par with Saudi Arabia: Manama launches an attack on Lebanon

22 Dec 2021

On par with Saudi Arabia: Manama launches an attack on Lebanon

Source: Al Mayadeen

Sondoss Al Asaad

Manama is accused by International organizations of committing torture against political prisoners. Not only does it revoke citizenship from its citizens, now it continues to chase them in their exile.

During a press conference held in Beirut on Thursday, Dec, 9th, Bahrain’s top opposition bloc, Al-Wefaq, launched its annual report monitoring the alarming human rights situation in the country, entitled ‘The Epidemic of Violations’. The report accused the Bahraini government of arbitrarily arresting thousands, including hundreds of women and children, issuing hundreds of politicized sentences, and torturing hundreds of political detainees.

Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted a strongly worded protest to the Lebanese government, labeling the Al-Wefaq’s activists as “hostile personnel designated on supporting and sponsoring terrorism lists, with the purpose of broadcasting and promoting abusive and malicious allegations against the Kingdom of Bahrain”.

The statement considered that hosting the press conference is an “unacceptable act, which is a flagrant violation of the principles of respect for the sovereignty of states and non-interference in their internal affairs, in contravention of international charters and the charter of the League of Arab States”.

A court in Bahrain arbitrarily dissolved Al-Wefaq in July 2016, accusing it of helping to foster violence and “terrorism” in the island kingdom. The ruling came amid the escalating crackdown on the peaceful opposition in the aftermath of the 2011 pro-democracy protests. Then, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplored the dissolution,  dubbing it “the latest in a series of restrictions of the rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of expression in Bahrain”.

Bahraini Human rights activist Sayed Youssef Al-Mohafada  tweeted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement was marred by inaccuracies, saying, “No person participated in the human rights conference is, internationally or locally, classified on the terrorism lists,” adding that “holding conferences does not violate international conventions, as the statement claims.” Sayed Al-Mohafada noted that “those who wrote the statement are not familiar with international law, human rights law, humanitarian law, and Lebanon’s domestic laws that guarantee freedom of expression”.

Al-Wefaq’s report states that it has observed 20,068 arbitrary arrests of citizens between the onset of the popular movement in February 2011 and mid-2021 this year, among them 1,716 children and more than 300 women. It adds that 1941 politicized judicial rulings were issued during the past two years, including 198 life imprisonment sentences and 309 cases of citizenship revocation, while the number of violations of detainees has reached 1,320, most notably medical negligence, torture, electric shocks, or enforced disappearance.

Returning to Beirut, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s media office issued a  statement requesting an immediate investigation. The Prime Minister “affirms his refusal that Lebanon be used as a platform to offend and insult the Kingdom of Bahrain”, stressing his “keenness on maintaining the strong historical relations”.

Activists on social media got frustrated with Mikati’s statement saying he has given up Lebanon’s minimum level of sovereignty making it a vassal of the monarchies of oppression, injustice, and dictatorship. It once again highlights one of Bahrain’s most blatant systemic policy of citizen revocation, which coincides with the systematic policy of political naturalization, which has led into serious political, social and economic implications in the country.

Bahraini opponent Ali Al-Fayez tweeted, “The [Bahraini] opposition has held tens or even hundreds of press conferences, seminars, and vigils (including the ongoing strike of Ali Mushaima in front of the [UK] embassy in London), and it has political relations in the eastern and western world. This media intimidation against Lebanon is based only on a cheap failed policy led by Saudi Arabia.”

Bouthayna Ollaik, the Lebanese Radio talk-show host, commented, “Some people in Lebanon want to be leaders of a farm, not of a state, and they invented the saying ‘Lebanon’s strength is in its weakness,’ so that they would not bear the responsibility of protecting and defending it, and to remain subject to the foreign tutelage”.

Since 2011, the Bahraini authorities have revoked the citizenship of at least 700 nationals, 232 in 2018 alone, in a process that lacks adequate legal safeguards. This includes many human rights defenders, political activists, journalists, and religious scholars, etc. leaving many stateless, and some have been deported.

In his book “Stateless”, a book about his citizenship revocation in Bahrain, Dr. Ali Ahmed Al-Dairi, a Bahraini critic, academic, and researcher specializing in speech analysis, states that “the state of revoking your nationality plunges you into an existential ordeal that has no treatment or cure”.

“Bahrain seems intent on earning the dubious honor of leading the region in stripping citizenship,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “While authorities claim that these acts are linked to national security, they are in fact punishing many people merely for peacefully voicing dissent”.

Last May, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights, an independent Bahraini NGO that endeavors to preserve universal principles of dignity and respect by shielding democracy, launched during a webinar, a  report entitled ‘Arbitrary Revocation of Nationality in Bahrain: a Tool of Oppression.’ According to SALAM, “This arbitrary practice affects not only the victims, but also their families and future generations. Bahrain should reinstate full citizenship to those who were impacted, provide them with an effective remedy and reparation, and dismantle the arbitrary laws which enable citizenship revocations.”

Just today, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Manama to release its political prisoners ahead of the National Day celebrations. HRW urged the regime “to free everyone imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of association, peaceful assembly, and expression, including rights defenders, opposition activists, and journalists.” HRW said those who remain confined to “degrading prison conditions, are in part because Bahrain’s powerful allies, like the United States and the United Kingdom, do not speak out against Bahrain’s serious human rights violations”. HRW’s Michael Page noted that Bahrain has one of the highest incarceration rates per capita in the Middle East, adding that the authorities arrested and prosecuted 58 online activists between June 2020 and May 2021 alone. 

Beirut, indeed, has always been a safe refuge for a large gathering of Arab opponents, revolutionaries, and nationalists. Of course, a human rights conference like Al-Wefaq’s was and will not be the first nor the last for the Bahraini opposition in an Arab capital, which has once warmly hosted Ghassan Kanafani, Nasser Al-Saeed, George Habash, and others.

Consequently, we ask: Are the Lebanese officials, the servants of the reactionary Gulf regimes, aware that, by their shameful statements, are compromising Lebanon’s sovereignty and making it a subjugated vassal of their tyranny? Have they ever heard that these activists have been forcibly exiled by Manama after they were unjustly and aggressively deported to be placed by terrorist mercenaries? Then, how has the concept of freedom of expression got to have double standards? What about the shameful Syrian opposition conferences, which have been held in Beirut for years, to ward off blasphemy, terrorism, and systematic atrocities against the Syrian people? Shall Beirut turn into a new ward of the notorious Jaw prison, in which Manama commits the most heinous human rights violations as documented by major international human rights organizations?

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Manama to Beirut: Persecute our Exiled Dissidents

17 Dec 2021

موقع درج | قرر وزير الداخلية اللبناني بسام المولوي المحسوب على فريق رئيس  الحكومة نجيب ميقاتي ترحيل ناشطين بحرينيين من جمعية "الوفاق" المعارضة بعد أن  شاركوا في نشاطات تنتقد الممارسات القمعية في

By Sondoss Al-Asaad

Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a strongly-worded protest to the Lebanese Government regarding Beirut’s hosting of a conference allegedly “for hostile persons designated as supporters and sponsors of terrorism, with the purpose of disseminating and promoting abusive and malicious allegations against the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

The Bahraini al-Wefaq’s press conference was held to launch a human rights report entitled “An Epidemic of Violations,” which covers a far narrower period between the start of 2019 and the mid of this year [2021].

Undoubtedly, the ministry knows that those activists have been forcibly and illegally banished from their own land, after arbitrarily stripping their citizenship.

Al-Wefaq’s report has documented a staggering 20,068 arbitrary arrests of Bahraini men, women and children, since the onset of pro-democracy protests on Feb, 14th, 2011. According to the findings, most of the 1320 violations against Bahraini detainees involve severe torture, whereby two torture victims were even executed. It further reveals that there were 1941 politically-motivated court rulings, with hundreds of those resulting in citizenship revocations and life sentences.

Al-Wefaq believes the findings are serious enough to warrant the formation of an international commission of inquiry to look into these grave violations, calling for an international pressure on Manama over its refusal to grant visit requests to the UN’s special rapporteurs.

Commenting on the ministry’s allegations, Jawad Fairooz, al-Wefaq’s former MP, said that “after systematic and ongoing oppression by all means against freedom of expression inside Bahrain, the government wants to restrict this freedom abroad,” asking: “Isn’t this a clear proof that Bahrain is a police state?”

Besides, Bahraini human rights advocate, Sayed Yousif al-Muhafda, said that the statement is marred by fallacies, pointing out that “None of the participants in the human rights conference are internationally or locally listed in the terror lists,” adding that “holding conferences does not violate international conventions as the statement claims.”

Sayed al-Muhafda revealed that those who had wrote the statement are “not familiar with international law, human rights law, humanitarian law and Lebanon’s domestic laws that guarantee freedom of expression.”

The Bahraini government’s comments come amid the Saudi-led hostile campaign against Lebanon.

Today [Thursday], Bahraini London-based activists will organize a press conference in front of the Bahrain Embassy, with the participation of members of the British Parliament and human rights organizations, to condemn the ongoing flagrant violations against human rights in the country.

Meanwhile, a growing number of British lawmakers is rallying around Bahraini exiled activist Ali Mushaima’s campaign calling on Manama to release the detained opposition leader Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace, along other political prisoners, including his own father, Shiekh Hassan Mushaima.

Al-Singace has been on hunger strike since more than 150 days, demanding the return of his confiscated academic research. Meanwhile, Mushaima has been on hunger strike outside Bahrain’s London embassy for 16 days so far where he receives near-daily visits from British MPs.

Thus, the questions that pop up are: “Will the Bahrain government send a letter of protest to the UK?” Then, “Does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs know why are these Bahraini activists practicing their freedoms in Beirut and not in Manama?”

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Bahraini Activist: Lebanon’s Deportation of Al-Wefaq Members Is Politically Motivated, Instigated by Saudi Blackmail

December 16, 2021

By Fatima Haydar  

Beirut – Lebanon’s Interior Ministry on Wednesday ordered the Lebanese General Security to deport non-Lebanese members of Bahrain’s opposition party, Al-Wefaq.

The ministry’s order came after a press conference that was held in Beirut on December 11, 2021, in which the Bahraini opposition group presented a documented report on human rights breaches in the kingdom.

Commenting on the incident, Mr. Ali al-Fayyez, a Bahraini political activist told Al-Ahed News, “We believe that the decision, which was issued today [Wednesday] by the Lebanese Minister of Interior, is a political decision and is not based on a legal case – at least this is our basic understanding of the issue”.

Al-Fayyez explained that the conference which was held in Beirut is a “normal situation” and that such activities are held in the West more than in other countries.

He said that the conference was “A peaceful activity guaranteed by international laws and treaties regarding freedom of opinion and expression,” adding that “even the US Department of State, the British Foreign Office and the Human Rights Council” have all issued similar reports to the one presented by Al-Wefaq in the press conference.

The Bahraini activist pointed to the familiarity of the Lebanese capital with holding such conferences saying, “In fact, Beirut, also hosted several press conferences, whether political or human rights”, all the while emphasizing the “timing and the circumstance that Lebanon is going through”.

Moreover, he underscored that “Saudi blackmail with a Bahraini façade – i.e. the ruling authority in Bahrain” – is behind the deportation incident.

“We believe that this step is inconsistent with the history of Lebanon; with what the Arab, the Islamic world or the entire world knows about Lebanon that it embraces different opinions and pluralism, as well as freedom of opinion and expression,” the activist stated.

He further said that the ministry’s decision is “inconsistent with this history and this Lebanese cultural heritage” since “we have known historically that Lebanon embraces opposition groups”.

However, Al-Fayyez noted the Lebanese’s refusal of the decision by citing popular dismay he witnessed on social media.

This being said, the activist commented on the repercussions of such a decision saying, “This political decision is not in anyone’s interest: neither the Lebanese people nor certainly the Bahraini people. It serves only one side: the tyrannical and dictatorship regimes in the Arab and Islamic world”.

He also denounced measures taken by the Al Khalifa regime in an attempt to put an end to the activities of the Bahraini opposition group in London or wherever it is present in the Arab and Islamic world.

“The Bahraini government was unable to send a letter to the British government regarding the activities of the Bahraini opposition,” Al-Fayyez explained.

“We believe that what the regime in Bahraini has done is a cheap blackmail attempt and the export of authoritarian policies, repression, and persecution,” he said.

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Erdogan’s Democracy… Tension in a Dangerous Direction! ديمقراطية إردوغان.. التوتر في اتجاه خطِر!

Erdogan’s Democracy… Tension in a Dangerous Direction!

ARABI SOURI 

Opinion polls rule out that Erdogan will win the upcoming elections, which leads him to more tension and hostility towards opposition parties.

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

The Turkish political and media scene is witnessing an exciting debate after some media professionals loyal to Erdogan spoke about the possibility of banning the CHP’s activity, prosecuting its leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and some of the party’s leaders, and placing them in prisons.

This media talk was accompanied by a very violent attack by the Turkish president on the leader of the Republican People’s Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and his ally in the ‘Nation’s Alliance,’ the leader of the Good Party, Maral Aksanar. Erdogan does not miss any occasion, whether internal or external, without attacking Kılıçdaroğlu and Aksanar, with the most violent words, descriptions, and phrases, including those targeting their dignity and honor.

In all of his speeches, Erdogan accuses Kılıçdaroğlu (Kilitchdar-oglu) and Aksanar of allying with the Peoples’ Democratic Party, the political wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, in an attempt to win the sympathy, solidarity, and support of the popular street, arguing that “Kurdistan Party” is a terrorist organization and the enemy of the Turkish nation and state. This has failed, at least so far, as all independent opinion polls have proven the decline in the popularity of the Justice and Development Party (Erdogan’s AKP) and its ally the National Movement, in return for a noticeable increase in the popularity of the Good Party and the Republican People’s Party and the Democratic People’s Party.

All polls also ruled out a victory for President Erdogan in the upcoming elections and expected his rivals, including Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu and Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas, to receive at least 58% of the vote compared to Erdogan’s 40-42%.

Such possibilities push Erdogan to increase tension and hostility towards opposition parties and all opponents, with all their political and social affiliations and alignments, and they are all subjected to a very violent attack by Erdogan and his ally, the leader of the nationalist movement Devlet Bakhchali and the media loyal to them together. The media attack acquires a frenzied character without limits, as long as the judiciary does not move a finger against these, and unlike everyone who utters even one word against Erdogan, the judiciary is prosecuting him for insulting the President of the Republic.

The judiciary is also prosecuting Erdogan’s opponents, including journalists, academics, intellectuals, artists, and others, and without this attack being sufficient for Erdogan and his media to limit the activity of the opposition parties and their forces, which are taking advantage of Erdogan’s failure in the foreign and domestic policies, the most important of them is the serious economic and financial crisis that the opposition leaders expect to bring the country to the brink of complete bankruptcy with the continued depreciation of the Turkish lira by at least 15% in just one month, which was reflected very dangerously on the high prices of all services and basic materials and the cost of living, then unemployment, poverty, and hunger which have become a daily phenomenon.

The opposition expects Erdogan and his government to impose a new series of taxes to cover the budget deficit, which will burden the citizen who will take revenge on Erdogan in the first upcoming elections. Such a possibility prompts Erdogan to seek “hellish” plans, as characterized by the opposition, to ensure that he remains in power, no matter what it costs him. Within these endeavors, Erdogan seeks and will seek to divide the ranks of the nation’s coalition parties, which includes the Republican People’s Party – CHP (28%) and the Good Party (14%), and indirectly the HDP – People’s Democratic Party (10%).

The polls expect Ali Babacan’s Progress and Democracy Party (3%) and Davutoğlu’s Future Party (2%), along with the Democratic and Happiness Party, to agree with the Nation’s Alliance against the Public Alliance, which includes the Justice and Development Party – AKP (30%) and the National Movement (8%), in addition to the Great Unity Party.

The opposition also expects Erdogan to impose strict control over the media and social media networks, while working to change the election law at the last moment, with the possibility of postponing or canceling the elections with security justifications, both internal and external, which is Erdogan’s prerogative according to the constitution. The opposition also talks about the possibility of electoral fraud, as was the case in the April 16, 2017 referendum. On the basis of this referendum, Erdogan changed the political system to become a presidential one, taking control of all state agencies, facilities, and institutions, and becoming the absolute ruler of the country. The leader of the Republican People’s Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, accused the Supreme Electoral Commission, at the time, of falsifying the results by agreeing, after the polls were closed, to adopt the more than two million unsealed ballot papers.

Talking about the possibility of banning the activity of the Republican People’s Party and prosecuting its leaders remains the most dangerous scenario for Turkey’s future, because Ataturk was the one who founded this party that ruled the country alone until the end of World War II. This concern may not be enough to deter Erdogan from thinking in this way, after he put the two co-leaders of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Selahattin Demirtaş and Vikan Yoksakdag, and a number of party leaders in prison, five years ago, and joined them with about forty of the mayors elected in 2019, which was not enough for the party’s supporters and followers to take to the streets, because they know that the authorities will not spare them, even though 5.86 million voted for the party in the June 2018 elections.

In all cases, and with the exclusion of any possibility of holding early elections in light of the difficult internal and external conditions that the country is going through, everyone knows that Erdogan does not and will not, in any way, accept defeat and hand over power to his enemies. He knows that they will pursue him on many charges, the most important of which is serious corruption and his involvement in foreign files, the most important of which is his relations with armed groups in Syria and Libya.

Washington’s position is not clear, at least until now, on the overall developments inside Turkey, recalling that President Biden had spoken at the end of 2019 “about the need to get rid of Erdogan democratically”, after describing him as “authoritarian.”

The media presents many future scenarios, not only regarding Washington’s possible position, but also the position of Western capitals, and even Moscow, all of which are said to turn a blind eye to Erdogan’s staying in power, whatever his negatives, as long as it benefits directly or indirectly of him. Defenders of this view say that the mentioned capitals are more likely to deal with the absolute ruler Erdogan instead of a new president or a new coalition government with several contradictory parties, and their agreement even on crucial issues will never be easy.

Some see in such a scenario a sufficient reason for Erdogan to continue his current policies internally and externally, as long as the aforementioned capitals content themselves with denunciation and condemnation, without taking any practical action against Ankara.

Everyone knows that Erdogan plans to stay in power, drawing lessons from the experiences of regimes in Arab and Islamic countries, and whether they remain in power or fall from it was in most cases subject to American indication.

This is the case for Adnan Menderes, who made Turkey (1950-1960) an “American state.” The military overthrew him and executed him, while Washington did nothing, which it did with the Shah of Iran, Hosni Mubarak, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and others in other countries in which America has accounts and accounts!

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ديمقراطية إردوغان.. التوتر في اتجاه خطِر!

2021 18 تشرين ثاني

المصدر: الحسني محلي

استطلاعات الرأي تستبعد أن يفوز إردوغان في الانتخابات المقبلة ما يدفعه إلى مزيد من التوتر والعداء تجاه أحزاب المعارضة.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is recep-tayyip-erdogan-turkey.jpg
يبقى الحديث عن احتمالات حظر نشاط حزب الشعب الجمهوري وملاحقة قياداته قضائياً السيناريو الأخطر بالنسبة إلى مستقبل تركيا.

تشهد الساحة السياسية والإعلامية التركية نقاشاً مثيراً بعد أن تحدث البعض من الإعلاميين الموالين لإردوغان عن احتمالات حظر نشاط حزب الشعب الجمهوري، وملاحقة زعيمه كمال كليجدار أوغلو والبعض من قيادات الحزب قضائياً، ووضعهم في السجون. 

حديث الإعلاميين هذا رافقه هجوم عنيف جداً من الرئيس التركي على زعيم حزب الشعب الجمهوري كمال كليجدار أوغلو وحليفته في تحالف الأمة، زعيمة الحزب الجيد مارال أكشانار. فلا يفوّت إردوغان أي مناسبة، داخلية كانت أو خارجية، من دون أن يهاجم كليجدار أوغلو وأكشانار، وبأعنف الكلمات والأوصاف والألفاظ والعبارات، بما فيها تلك التي تستهدف كرامتيهما وشرفيهما. 

ويتهم إردوغان في كل أحاديثه كليجدار أوغلو وأكشانار بالتحالف مع حزب الشعوب الديمقراطي، الجناح السياسي لحزب العمال الكردستاني، في محاولة منه لكسب تعاطف الشارع الشعبي وتضامنه ودعمه، بحجة أن” الكردستاني” تنظيم إرهابي وعدو الأمة والدولة التركيّتين. هذا الأمر فشل فيه، على الأقل حتى الآن، حيث أثبتت جميع استطلاعات الرأي المستقلة تراجع شعبية حزب العدالة والتنمية وحليفه الحركة القومية، مقابل زيادة ملحوظة في شعبية الحزب الجيد وحزبي الشعب الجمهوري والشعوب الديمقراطي. 

واستبعدت كل الاستطلاعات أيضاً الفوز للرئيس إردوغان في الانتخابات المقبلة، وتوقعت لمنافسيه، ومنهم رئيس بلدية إسطنبول أكرم إمام أوغلو، ورئيس بلدية أنقرة منصور ياواش، أن يحصلوا على ما لا يقل عن 58٪ من الأصوات مقابل 40-42٪ لإردوغان. 

وتدفع مثل هذه الاحتمالات إردوغان إلى مزيد من التوتر والعداء تجاه أحزاب المعارضة وكل المعارضين، بميولهم وانتماءاتهم السياسية والاجتماعية كافة، ويتعرّضون جميعاً لهجوم عنيف جداً من إردوغان وحليفه زعيم الحركة القومية دولت باخشالي والإعلام الموالي لهما معاً. ويكتسب الهجوم الإعلامي طابعاً مسعوراً من دون حدود، ما دام القضاء لا يحرك ساكناً ضد هؤلاء، وخلافاً لكل من يتفوّه ولو بكلمة واحدة ضد إردوغان، حيث يلاحقه القضاء بتهمة الإساءة إلى رئيس الجمهورية، كما يلاحق القضاء معارضي إردوغان من الصحافيين والأكاديميين والمثقفين والفنانين وغيرهم، ومن دون أن يكون هذا الهجوم كافياً بالنسبة إلى إردوغان وإعلامه للحدّ من نشاطِ أحزاب المعارضة وقواها، والتي تستغل فشل إردوغان في السياستين الخارجية والداخلية، وأهمهما الأزمة الاقتصادية والمالية الخطيرة التي تتوقع لها قيادات المعارضة أن توصل البلاد الى حافة الإفلاس التام مع استمرار تراجع قيمة الليرة التركية بما لا يقل عن 15٪ خلال شهر واحد فقط، وهو ما انعكس بشكلٍ خطير جداً على ارتفاع أسعار كل الخدمات والمواد الأساسية وغلاء المعيشة ثم البطالة والفقر والجوع الذي تحول الى ظاهرة يومية. 

وتتوقع المعارضة لإردوغان وحكومته أن يفرضا سلسلة جديدة من الضرائب لتغطية العجز في الموازنة، وهو ما سيثقل كاهل المواطن الذي سينتقم من إردوغان في أول انتخابات مقبلة. ويدفع مثل هذا الاحتمال إردوغان إلى السعي من أجل خطط “جهنمية”، بتوصيف المعارضة، لضمان بقائه في السلطة، ومهما كلفه ذلك. وضمن هذه المساعي، يسعى وسيسعى إردوغان لشق وحدة الصف بين أطراف تحالف الأمة الذي يضم حزب الشعب الجمهوري (28٪) والحزب الجيد (14٪)، وبشكل غير مباشر حزب الشعوب الديمقراطي (10٪) . 

وتتوقع الاستطلاعات لحزب التقدم والديمقراطية بزعامة علي باباجان (3٪) وحزب المستقبل بزعامة داود أوغلو (2٪)، ومعهما الحزب الديمقراطي والسعادة، أن تتفق مع تحالف الأمة ضد تحالف الجمهور الذي يضم حزب العدالة والتنمية (30٪) والحركة القومية (8٪) إضافة إلى حزب الوحدة الكبرى. 

كما تتوقع المعارضة لإردوغان أن يفرض رقابة صارمة على الإعلام وشبكات التواصل الاجتماعي، مع العمل على تغيير قانون الانتخابات في آخر لحظة، مع احتمالات تأجيل أو إلغاء الانتخابات بمبررات أمنية، داخلية وخارجية، وهو من صلاحيات إردوغان وفق الدستور. كما تتحدث المعارضة عن احتمالات تزوير الانتخابات، كما جرى في استفتاء 16 نيسان/أبريل 2017. وقام إردوغان بناء على هذا الاستفتاء بتغيير النظام السياسي ليصبح رئاسياً، فسيطر على كل أجهزة الدولة ومرافقها ومؤسساتها، وأصبح الحاكم المطلق للبلاد. واتهم زعيم حزب الشعب الجمهوري كمال كليجدار أوغلو آنذاك الهيئة العليا للانتخابات بتزوير النتائج عبر موافقتها، بعد إغلاق صناديق الاقتراع، على اعتماد بطاقات الاقتراع غير المختومة، وعددها أكثر من مليوني بطاقة.   

ويبقى الحديث عن احتمالات حظر نشاط حزب الشعب الجمهوري وملاحقة قياداته قضائياً السيناريو الأخطر بالنسبة إلى مستقبل تركيا، لأن أتاتورك هو الذي أسّس هذا الحزب الذي حكم البلاد حتى نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية بمفرده. وقد لا يكون هذا القلق كافياً لردع إردوغان عن التفكير بهذا الأسلوب، بعد أن وضع الزعيمين المشتركين لحزب الشعوب الديمقراطي صلاح الدين دميرطاش وفيكان يوكساكداغ وعدداً من قادة الحزب في السجون، قبل خمس سنوات، وضمَّ إليهم نحو أربعين من رؤساء البلديات المنتخبين عام 2019، من دون أن يكون ذلك كافياً بالنسبة إلى أنصار وأتباع الحزب للخروج الى الشوارع، لأنهم يعرفون أن السلطات لن ترحمهم، مع أن عددهم كان 5.86 ملايين صوّتوا للحزب في انتخابات حزيران/يونيو 2018. 

وفي جميع الحالات، ومع استبعاد أي احتمال لإجراء الانتخابات المبكرة في ظل الظروف الداخلية والخارجية الصعبة التي تعيشها البلاد، يعرف الجميع أن إردوغان لا ولن يقبل بأي شكل من الأشكال بالهزيمة وتسليم السلطة لأعدائه. فهو يعرف أنهم سيلاحقونه بتهم كثيرة، أهمها الفساد الخطير، وتورطه في ملفات خارجية، وأهمها علاقاته مع المجموعات المسلحة في سوريا وليبيا.  

ومن دون أن يكون واضحاً، على الأقل حتى الآن، موقف واشنطن من مجمل تطورات الداخل التركي، مع التذكير بأن الرئيس بايدن كان قد تحدث نهاية 2019 “عن ضرورة التخلص من إردوغان ديمقراطياً”، بعد أن وصفه “بالاستبدادي”. 

ويطرح الإعلام العديد من السيناريوهات المستقبلية، ليس فقط بالنسبة إلى موقف واشنطن المحتمل، بل أيضاً موقف العواصم الغربية، وحتى موسكو، والتي يقال إنها جميعاً قد تغض النظر عن بقاء إردوغان في السلطة، ومهما كانت سلبياته، ما دامت المستفيدة منه بشكل مباشر أو غير مباشر. ويقول المدافعون عن هذا الرأي إن العواصم المذكورة ترجّح التعامل مع الحاكم المطلق إردوغان بدلاً من رئيس جديد أو حكومة ائتلافية جديدة بعدة أحزاب متناقضة، واتفاقها حتى في القضايا المصيرية لن يكن سهلاً أبداً. 

ويرى البعض في مثل هذا السيناريو سبباً كافياً لاستمرار إردوغان في سياساته الحاليةِ داخلياً وخارجياً، ما دامت العواصم المذكورة تكتفي بالاستنكار والتنديد، من دون أن تتَّخذَ أي إجراء عمليّ ضدّ أنقرة.

ويعرف الجميع أن إردوغان يخطط للبقاء في السلطة، مستخلصاً الدروس من تجارب الأنظمة في الدول العربية والإسلامية، وبقاؤها في الحكم أو سقوطها منه كان في معظم الحالات رهن الإشارة الأميركية. 

وهذه هي الحال بالنسبة إلى عدنان مندرس الذي جعل من تركيا (1950-1960) “ولاية أميركية”، فأطاحه العسكر وأعدموه، فيما لم تحرّك واشنطن ساكناً، وهو ما فعلته مع شاه إيران وحسني مبارك وزين العابدين بن علي وآخرين في دول أخرى، ما زال لأميركا فيها حسابات وحسابات!

Gaslighting: The Psychology of Shaping Another’s Reality

Gaslighting: The Psychology of Shaping Another’s Reality

August 08, 2021

By Cynthia Chung for The Saker Blog

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

– Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

We are living in a world where the degree of disinformation and outright lying has reached such a state of affairs that, possibly for the first time ever, we see the majority of the western world starting to question their own and surrounding level of sanity. The increasing frenzied distrust in everything “authoritative” mixed with the desperate incredulity that “everybody couldn’t possibly be in on it!” is slowly rocking many back and forth into a tighter and tighter straight jacket. “Question everything” has become the new motto, but are we capable of answering those questions?

Presently the answer is a resounding no.

The social behaviourist sick joke of having made everyone obsessed with toilet paper of all things during the start of what was believed to be a time of crisis, is an example of how much control they have over that red button labelled “commence initiation of level 4 mass panic”.

And can the people be blamed? After all, if we are being lied to, how can we possibly rally together and point the finger at the root of this tyranny, aren’t we at the point where it is everywhere?

As Goebbels infamously stated,

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State [under fascism].”

And here we find ourselves today, at the brink of fascism. However, we have to first agree to forfeit our civil rights as a collective before fascism can completely dominate. That is, the big lie can only succeed if the majority fails to call it out, for if the majority were to recognise it for what it is, it would truly hold no power.

The Battle for Your Mind

Politicians, Priests, and psychiatrists often face the same problem: how to find the most rapid and permanent means of changing a man’s belief…The problem of the doctor and his nervously ill patient, and that of the religious leader who sets out to gain and hold new converts, has now become the problem of whole groups of nations, who wish not only to confirm certain political beliefs within their boundaries, but to proselytize the outside world.

– William Sargant “Battle of the Mind

It had been commonly thought in the past, and not without basis, that tyranny could only exist on the condition that the people were kept illiterate and ignorant of their oppression. To recognise that one was “oppressed” meant they must first have an idea of what was “freedom”, and if one were allowed the “privilege” to learn how to read, this discovery was inevitable.

If education of the masses could turn the majority of a population literate, it was thought that the higher ideas, the sort of “dangerous ideas” that Mustapha Mond for instance expresses in “The Brave New World”, would quickly organise the masses and revolution against their “controllers” would be inevitable. In other words, knowledge is freedom, and you cannot enslave those who learn how to “think”.

However, it hasn’t exactly played out that way has it?

The greater majority of us are free to read whatever we wish to, in terms of the once “forbidden books”, such as those listed by The Index Librorum Prohibitorum[1]. We can read any of the writings that were banned in “The Brave New World”, notably the works of Shakespeare which were named as absolutely dangerous forms of “knowledge”.

We are now very much free to “educate” ourselves on the very “ideas” that were recognised by tyrants of the past as the “antidote” to a life of slavery. And yet, today, the majority choose not to…

It is recognised, albeit superficially, that who controls the past, controls the present and thereby the future. George Orwell’s book “1984”, hammers this as the essential feature that allows the Big Brother apparatus to maintain absolute control over fear, perception and loyalty to the Party cause, and yet despite its popularity, there still remains a lack of interest in actually informing oneself about the past.

What does it matter anyway, if the past is controlled and rewritten to suit the present? As the Big Brother interrogator O’Brien states to Winston, “We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not? [And thus, are free to rewrite it as we choose…]”

Of course, we are not in the same situation as Winston…we are much better off. We can study and learn about the “past” if we so desire, unfortunately, it is a choice that many take for granted.

In fact, many are probably not fully aware that presently there is a battle waging for who will “control the past” in a manner that is closely resembling a form of “memory wipe”.

***

William Sargant was a British psychiatrist and, one could say, effectively the Father of “mind control” in the West, with connections to British Intelligence and the Tavistock Institute, which would influence the CIA and American military via the program MK Ultra. Sargant was also an advisor for Ewen Cameron’s LSD “blank slate” work at McGill University, funded by the CIA.

Sargant accounts for his reason in studying and using forms of “mind control” on his patients, which were primarily British soldiers that were sent back from the battlefield during WWII with various forms of “psychosis”, as the only way to rehabilitate extreme forms of PTSD.

The other reason, was because the Soviets had apparently become “experts” in the field, and out of a need for national security, the British would thus in turn have to become experts as well…as a matter of self-defence of course.

The work of Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, had succeeded in producing some disturbingly interesting insights into four primary forms of nervous systems in dogs, that were combinations of inhibitory and excitatory temperaments; “strong excitatory”, “balanced”, “passive” and “calm imperturbable”. Pavlov found that depending on the category of nervous system temperament the dog had, this in turn would dictate the form of “conditioning” that would work best to “reprogram behaviour”. The relevance to “human conditioning” was not lost on anyone.

It was feared in the West, that such techniques would not only be used against their soldiers to invoke free-flowing uninhibited confessions to the enemy but that these soldiers could be sent back to their home countries, as zombified assassins and spies that could be set off with a simple code word. At least, these were the thriller stories and movies that were pumped into the population. How horrific indeed! That the enemy could apparently enter what was thought the only sacred ground to be our own…our very “minds”!

However, for those who were actually leading the field in mind control research, such as William Sargant, it was understood that this was not exactly how mind control worked.

For one thing, the issue of “free will” was getting in the way.

No matter the length or degree of electro-shock, insulin “therapy”, tranquilizer cocktails, induced comas, sleep deprivation, starvation etc induced, it was discovered that if the subject had a “strong conviction” and “strong belief” in something, this could not be simply erased, it could not be written over with any arbitrary thing. Rather, the subject would have to have the illusion that their “conditioning” was in fact a “choice”. This was an extremely challenging task, and long term conversions (months to years) were rare.

However, Sargant saw an opening. It was understood that one could not create a new individual from scratch, however, with the right conditioning that was meant to lead to a physical breakdown using abnormal stress (effectively a reboot of the nervous system), one could increase the “suggestibility” markedly in their subjects.

Sargant wrote in his “Battle of the Mind”: “Pavlov’s clinical descriptions of the ‘experimental neuroses’ which he could induce in dogs proved, in fact, to have a close correspondence with those war-neuroses which we were investigating at the time.”

In addition, Sargant found that a falsely implanted memory could help induce abnormal stress leading to emotional exhaustion and physical breakdown to invoke “suggestibility”. That is, one didn’t even need to have a “real stress” but an “imagined stress” would work just as effectively.

Sargant goes on to state in his book:

“It is not surprising that the ordinary person, in general, is much more easily indoctrinated than the abnormal…A person is considered ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ by the community simply because he accepts most of its social standards and behavioural patterns; which means, in fact, that he is susceptible to suggestion and has been persuaded to go with the majority on most ordinary or extraordinary occasions.”

Sargant then goes over the phenomenon of the London Blitz, which was an eight month period of heavy bombing of London during WWII. During this period, in order to cope and stay “sane”, people rapidly became accustomed to the idea that their neighbours could be and were buried alive in bombed houses around them. The thought was “If I can’t do anything about it what use is it that I trouble myself over it?” The best “coping” was thus found to be those who accepted the new “environment” and just focused on “surviving”, and did not try to resist it.

Sargant remarks that it is this “adaptability” to a changing environment which is part of the “survival” instinct and is very strong in the “healthy” and “normal” individual who can learn to cope and thus continues to be “functional” despite an ever changing environment.

It was thus our deeply programmed “survival instinct” that was found to be the key to the suggestibility of our minds. That the best “survivors” made for the best “brain-washing” in a sense.

Sargant quotes Hecker’s work, who was studying the dancing mania phenomenon that occurred during the Black Death, where Hecker observed that heightened suggestibility had the capability to cause a person to “embrace with equal force, reason and folly, good and evil, diminish the praise of virtue as well as the criminality of vice.”

And that such a state of mind was likened to the first efforts of the infant mind “this instinct of imitation when it exists in its highest degree, is also united a loss of all power over the will, which occurs as soon as the impression on the senses has become firmly established, producing a condition like that of small animals when they are fascinated by the look of a serpent.

I wonder if Sargant imagined himself the serpent…

Sargant does finally admit: “This does not mean that all persons can be genuinely indoctrinated by such means. Some will give only temporary submission to the demands made on them, and fight again when strength of body and mind returns. Others are saved by the supervention of madness. Or the will to resist may give way, but not the intellect itself.”

But he comforts himself as a response to this stubborn resistance that “As mentioned in a previous context, the stake, the gallows, the firing squad, the prison, or the madhouse, are usually available for the failures.”

How to Resist the Deconstruction of Your Mind

He whom the gods wish to destroy, they first of all drive mad.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow “The Masque of Pandora”

For those who have not seen the 1944 psychological thriller “Gaslight” directed by George Cukor, I would highly recommend you do so since there is an invaluable lesson contained within, that is especially applicable to what I suspect many of us are experiencing nowadays.

The story starts with a 14 year old Paula (played by Ingrid Bergman) who is being taken to Italy after her Aunt Alice Alquist, a famous opera singer and caretaker of Paula, is found murdered in her home in London. Paula is the one who found the body, and horror stricken is never her old self again. Her Aunt was the only family Paula had left in her life. The decision is made to send her away from London to Italy to continue her studies to become a world-renowned opera singer like her Aunt Alice.

Years go by, Paula lives a very sheltered life and a heavy somberness is always present within her, she can never seem to feel any kind of happiness. During her singing studies she meets a mysterious man (her piano accompanist during her lessons) and falls deeply in love with him. However, she knows hardly anything about the man named Gregory.

Paula agrees to marry Gregory after a two week romance and is quickly convinced to move back into her Aunt’s house in London that was left abandoned all these years. As soon as she enters the house, the haunting of the night of the murder revisits her and she is consumed with panic and fear. Gregory tries to calm her and talks about the house needing just a little bit of air and sun, and then Paula comes across a letter written to her Aunt from a Sergis Bauer which confirms that he was in contact with Alice just a few days before her murder. At this finding, Gregory becomes bizarrely agitated and grabs the letter from Paula. He quickly tries to justify his anger blaming the letter for upsetting her. Gregory then decides to lock all of her Aunt’s belongings in the attic, to apparently spare Paula any further anguish.

It is at this point that Gregory starts to change his behaviour dramatically. Always under the pretext for “Paula’s sake”, everything that is considered “upsetting” to Paula must be removed from her presence. And thus quickly the house is turned into a form of prison. Paula is told it is for her best not to leave the house unaccompanied, not to have visitors and that self-isolation is the best remedy for her “anxieties” which are getting worst. Paula is never strictly forbidden at the beginning but rather is told that she should obey these restrictions for her own good.

Before a walk, he gives as a gift a beautiful heirloom brooch that belonged to his mother. Because the pin needs replacing, he instructs Paula to keep it in her handbag, and then says rather out of context, “Don’t forget where you put it now Paula, I don’t want you losing it.” Paula remarks thinking the warning absurd, “Of course I won’t forget!” When they return from their walk, Gregory asks for the brooch, Paula searches in her handbag but it is not there.

It continues on like this, with Gregory giving warnings and reminders, seemingly to help Paula with her “forgetfulness” and “anxieties”. Paula starts to question her own judgement and sanity as these events become more and more frequent. She has no one else to talk to but Gregory, who is the only witness to these apparent mishaps. It gets to a point where completely nonsensical behaviour is being attributed to Paula by Gregory. A painting is found missing on the wall one night. Gregory talks to Paula like she is a 5 year child and asks her to put it back. Paula insists she does not know who took it down. After her persistent passionate insistence that it was not her, she walks up the stairs almost like she were in a dream state and pulls the painting from behind a statue. Gregory asks why she lied, but Paula insists that she only thought to look there because that is where it was found the last two times this occurred.

For weeks now, Paula thinks she has been seeing things, the gas lights of the house dimming for no reason, she also hears footsteps above her bedroom. No one else seems to take notice. Paula is also told by Gregory that he found out that her mother, who passed away when she was very young, had actually gone insane and died in an asylum.

Despite Paula being reduced to a condition of an ongoing stupor, she decides one night to make a stand and regain control over her life. Paula is invited, by one of her Aunt Alice’s close friends Lady Dalroy, to attend a high society evening with musical performances. Recall that Paula’s life gravitated around music before her encounter with Gregory. Music was her life. Paula gets magnificently dressed up for the evening and on her way out tells Gregory that she is going to this event. Gregory tries to convince her that she is not well enough to attend such a social gathering, when Paula calmly insists that she is going and that this woman was a dear friend of her Aunt, Gregory answers that he refuses to accompany her (in those days that was a big deal). Paula accepts this and walks with a solid dignity, undeterred towards the horse carriage. In a very telling scene, Gregory is left momentarily by himself and panic stricken, his eyes bulging he snaps his cigar case shut and runs after Paula. He laughingly calls to her, “Paula, you did not think I was serious? I had no idea that this party meant so much to you. Wait, I will get ready.” As he is getting ready in front of the mirror, a devilish smirk appears.

Paula and Gregory show up to Lady Dalroy’s house late, the pianist is in the middle of the 1st movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata #8 in C minor. They quickly are escorted to two empty seats. Paula is immediately immersed in the piece, and Gregory can see his control is slipping. After only a few minutes, he goes to look at his pocket watch but it is not in his pocket. He whispers into Paula’s ear, “My watch is missing”. Immediately, Paula looks like she is going to be sick. Gregory takes her handbag and Paula looks in horror as he pulls out his pocket watch, insinuating that Paula had put it there. She immediately starts losing control and has a very public emotional breakdown. Gregory takes her away, as he remarks to Lady Dalroy that this is why he didn’t want Paula coming in the first place.

When they arrive home, Paula has by now completely succumbed to the thought that she is indeed completely insane. Gregory says that it would be best if they go away somewhere for an indefinite period of time. We later find out that Gregory is intending on committing her to an asylum. Paula agrees to leave London with Gregory and leaves her fate entirely in his hands.

In the case of Paula it is clear. She has been suspecting that Gregory has something to do with her “situation” but he has very artfully created an environment where Paula herself doubts whether this is a matter of unfathomable villainy or whether she is indeed going mad.

It is rather because she is not mad that she doubts herself, because there is seemingly no reason for why Gregory would put so much time and energy into making it look like she were mad, or at least so it first appears. But what if the purpose to her believing in her madness was simply a matter of who is in control?

Paula almost succeeds in gaining the upper-hand in this power-struggle, the evening she decided to go out on her own no matter what Gregory insisted was in her best interest. If she would have held her ground at Lady Dalroy’s house and simply replied, “I have no idea why your stupid watch ended up in my handbag and I could care less. Now stop interrupting this performance, you are making a scene!” Gregory’s spell would have been broken as simple as that. If he were to complain to others about the situation, they would also respond, “Who cares man, why are you so obsessed about your damn watch?”

We find ourselves today in a very similar situation to Paula. And the voice of Gregory is represented by the narrative of false news and the apocalyptic social behaviourist programming in our forms of entertainment. The things most people voluntarily subject themselves to on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Socially conditioning them, like a pack of salivating Pavlovian dogs, to think it is just a matter of time before the world ends and with a ring of their master’s bell…be at each other’s throats.

Paula ends up being saved in the end by a man named Joseph Cotten (a detective), who took notice and quickly discerned that something was amiss. In the end Gregory is arrested. It is revealed that Gregory is in fact Sergis Bauer. That he killed Alice Alquist and that he has returned to the scene of the crime after all these years in search for the famous jewels of the opera singer. The jewels were in fact rather worthless from the standpoint that they were too famous to be sold, however, Gregory never intended on selling these jewels but rather had become obsessed with the desire to merely possess them.

That is, it is Gregory who has been entirely mad all this time.

A Gregory is absolutely dangerous. He would have been the end of Paula if nothing had intervened. However, the power that Gregory held was conditional to the degree that Paula allowed it to control her. Paula’s extreme deconstruction was thus entirely dependent on her choice to let the voice of Gregory in. That is, a Gregory is only dangerous if we allow ourselves to sleep walk into the nightmare he has constructed for us.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone,
“it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – – that’s all.”

– Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass

The author can be reached at https://cynthiachung.substack.com/

  1. The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was a list of forbidden books, which were judged to be dangerous to the faith and morals of Roman Catholics, and had a suspicious gravitation towards works by platonic humanists. Among the banned works would include those of Dante, Erasmus and all of Machiavelli’s books. For more refer to my paper on this subject
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