War on Qatif: Demolishing Al-Thawra Neighborhood, The Cradle of Peaceful Protests…

By Latifa al-Husseini

The Saudi authorities are escalating their arbitrary measures against the people of al-Qatif eastern province and its towns. Random detentions, executions and raids in the eastern province contradict all humanitarian, ethical, rights and internationally-recognized legal standards.

The Saudi security apparatuses are implementing the royal orders they are receiving, imposing the rulings militarily and violently against safe civilians at their homes, those civilians who don’t enjoy the freedom of objecting to those tyrannical rulings.

The regime’s scheme goes beyond oppressing the opposition members or those trying to voice objection to the Al Saud’s family. The issue is way more dangerous as the information obtained from inside Saudi Arabia suggest a sectarian proposal the Saudi regime tends to apply in al-Qatif against its people’s will.

An insider source told al-Ahed News that the “security sources are on the brink of razing hundreds of houses inside Qatif, namely those located in al-Thawra Street to displace thousands of residents like the issue of razing the al-Mosawara neighborhood back in 2017.”

Apparently, the Saudi authorities claim implementing a developmental plan that includes charitable projects, in an attempt to gain some popular support, but what is hidden is worse. The source stresses to al-Ahed that in this context, “the Saudi regime seeks to change the Shia demographic formation in the region to weaken the biggest portion of the people; the original landowners, by nationalizing foreigners and intruders.”

The source further links the anticipated plan with the popular movement of 2012. What is meant here is to eliminate the symbolism it used to represent, especially that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman seeks to muzzle people and silence any voice of opposition by detaining or killing them afar from the judicial system.”

“The goal behind destroying houses and displacing their people is way beyond the Saudi media claims of chasing terrorist groups, according to them. The issue, as simple as it is, is that the Saudi regime is waging a sectarian war under the strategy of dominating people by dividing them, in which it is distracting the people with “reformative” religious instructions, although it is manipulating the governance as well as the people’s resources and wealth,” the source tells al-Ahed.

According to the source, the direct responsible for the scheme of razing the houses is the King and his heir. “The scheme is managed, under their order, by their affiliated spies and tradesmen in al-Qatif. They want to harm all walks of the people living inside those houses, including the youths who long for obtaining the simplest aspects of a dignified life Al Saud has stolen from them by force someday; the families of the activists who took to the al-Thawra street in 2011.”

While people were informed about the scheme, the source explains that “there were reports on those malicious intents, but the people refused to leave their houses for many reasons, including that the compensations supposed to be paid for them are not convenient with the inflation as well as hiking house prices. Hence, the family that leaves its home cannot buy another one with the amount of money it will receive in exchange of the razing; they can only rent a house.”

The source affirms that the “Saudi regime doesn’t care for those issues, it only continue its oppression by destroying and razing houses against their owners’ wills.”

The provided information signal a scheme similar to previous ones in other neighborhoods and streets. The historic al-Mosawara neighborhood is a good evidence to remember.

 

To read the Arabic version click here

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UN Saudi Kingdom of Execution

AI: Saudi’s Mass Execution is a Chilling Demonstration of the Authorities’ Callous Disregard for Human Life

By Staff, Agencies

United Nations human rights Chief Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday strongly condemned the executions of 37 Saudi men beheaded in six cities across the kingdom a day before, a statement said.

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said on Tuesday it executed 37 people, all Saudi nationals, state media reported.

Bachelet voiced concern about a lack of due process and fair trial guarantees amid allegations that confessions were obtained through torture.

She further appealed to Saudi authorities to review ‘counter-terrorism’ legislation and to halt pending executions, including of three men on death row.

Hezbollah Condemns Saudi Regime’s Heinous Crime of Executing Innocent Civilians

Hezbollah Media Relations- Translated by Staff

Hezbollah strongly condemns the heinous crime committed by the Saudi regime against dozens of innocent civilians, who have committed no offense except to demand the right to freedom and freedom of expression.

Hezbollah further expresses its solidarity and sympathy with the families of the martyrs and asked God to grant them patience and tranquility.

In parallel, Hezbollah believes that this innocent blood will remain a beacon to the oppressed people, enlightening their path and paving their way towards salvation.

It further confirms that God’s pledge to the oppressed is victory and that oppressors are to demise.

The United States is a key partner of this regime in its responsibility for the heinous crimes it has committed since its establishment by the force of sword, brutality, murder and mass massacres everywhere.

It is responsible for protecting and sponsoring the regime as well as for pushing the international community to disregard its evil crimes in order to preserve its [the US] interests in money and oil.

We urge the people of the world as well as international and human rights organizations to raise their voices and pressure their governments, especially the United States, to expose this brutal and tyrant regime and unveil its relations and role in the establishment, support and sponsorship of the terrorist organizations.

Hezbollah deplores the dubious international silence on the crimes committed by the Saudi regime and its Wahhabi tools throughout the world, including the recent executions. It also considers that silence on all these crimes is what drives this regime to continue its terrorism and crimes that make no respect to borders or values.

 

 

Each Saudi Martyr Had a Tragic Story, Some Were Forced to Sign Their Organ Donation Papers

By Staff

Of the executed detainees, 12 were falsely accused of forming an alleged “espionage cell”. The 12 tortured detainees, all respected academics, religious scholars, and bankers, were executed on Tuesday. Reports said they were previously forced to consent to the donation of their organs!

Sheikh Mohamed AlAttiya [MA in Islamic Jurisprudence] worked at the Jeddah College of Technology. He was one the 12 professionals falsely accused of forming the alleged “espionage cell”, and he was executed in cold blood by Saudi authorities today.

Banker Abbas AlHassan, a father of 4, was implicated in the “espionage cell” and brutally tortured until he suffered hypertension-induced cardiac hypertrophy. Saudi executed him today after threatening to arrest his wife & children unless he signed false confessions.

Martyr Mujtaba AlSwaiket earned a scholarship to study at Western Michigan University. Even though he was a 17yo MINOR, Saudi forces arrested him at the airport. Mujtaba endured horrific torture and suffered a broken shoulder, but he was sentenced to death and executed today.

Executed martyr Munir AlAdam suffered a visual/hearing impairment. In 2012, he was arrested, kicked, his fingers smashed, & was tortured until he was practically blind/dead. Saudi accused him of organizing protests using a cellphone, when he was too poor to own one!

Martyr Abdul Kareem AlHawwaj was reportedly a 16yo MINOR when he was arbitrarily arrested by Saudi forces. He was kicked, beaten with rods, lashed with wires, and tortured with electric shocks to “confess”. He was sentenced to death, and was unjustly executed today!

Brothers Hussain and Ahmad AlRabie came from an impoverished family living in a dilapidated house made of tin & plywood. Ahmad had been detained since 2013 and every organ of his body was tortured until he became very thin and couldn’t stand and walk any more. The brothers protested for equal rights, but were arrested, tortured, and executed today. Their 13YO brother Thamer was also killed by Saudi forces in 2014.

Salman Qureish was arrested shortly after his 18th birthday, accused of crimes that took place when he was a juvenile. He was denied basic legal rights and sentenced to death in a mass trial, despite repeated interventions on his behalf by the United Nations.

Martyr Abdul Aziz AlSahwi is the eldest among his orphaned siblings. He took it upon himself to look after them despite his very young age. After filing the alleged accusations against him by the court’s judge, he confirmed that he was obliged to make confessions while under the effect of treatment and that he was beaten while in hospital.

Abdullah al-Zaher was only 15 years-old when he participated in the protests, then he lost his hearing under torture.

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Saudi Brutality: Execution of 37 Young Men

 

Al-Ahed-Saudi Arabia    

Amid international silence and in a world that praises the slaughterer and never cries the victim, the Wahhabi Saudi rulers blatantly executed 37 Saudi youth for being opponents.

Giving empty pretexts and neglecting any talk of human rights, the Saudi interior ministry announced Tuesday the execution of 37 Saudi men.

“The death penalty was implemented… on a number of culprits for adopting extremist “terrorist” ideologies and forming “terrorist” cells to corrupt and disrupt security as well as spread chaos and provoke sectarian strife,” the state news agency said in a tweet.

Al-Ahed learned that all the executed men were opponents of Al-Saud rule.

The name of the martyrs are:

  1. Ahmed Hassan Ali Al Rabee.
  2.  Ahmed Hussein Ali Al-Aradi.
  3. Ahmed Faisal Hassan Al-Darwish.
  4. 4. Jaber Zuhair Jaber Al-Marhoon.
  5. Hussein Hassan Ali Al Rabee.
  6.  Hussein Ali Jassim Al-Humaidi.
  7. Hussein Qassem Ali Al-Abboud.
  8. Hussein Mohammed Ali Al-Musallam.
  9. Haidar Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Leif.
  10. Khaled Hamoud Jawir Al-Faraj.
  11. Khaled Abdul Karim Saleh Al-Tuwaijri.
  12.  Salem Abdullah Awad Al-Amri Al-Harbi.
  13. Saeed Mohammed Saeed Al-Scafi.
  14. Salman Amin Salman Al-Quraish.
  15. Muslim student Suleiman Al-Harbi.
  16. Tahir Muslim Sulaiman Al-Harbi.
  17. Abbas Haji Ahmed Al-Hassan.
  18. Abdulaziz Hassan Ali Al-Sahawi.
  19. Abdul Karim Mohammed Al-Hawaj.
  20. Abdullah Salman Saleh Al-Asrij.
  21. Abdullah Adel Hassan Aujan.
  22. Abdullah Hani Abdullah Al Tarif.
  23. Aziz Mahdi Abdullah Al-Rafi Al-Amri.
  24. Ali Hussein Ali Al-Ashour.
  25. Ali Hussein Ali Al-Muhanna.
  26. Fadel Hassan Abdul Karim Badad.
  27. Mujtaba Nader Abdullah Al-Sweikt.
  28. Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Ashour.
  29. Mohammed Saeed Abdul-Rasool Al-Khatam.
  30. Mohammed Ayed Mohammed Al-Namlan Al-Qahtani.
  31. Mohammed Abdul Ghani Mohammed Attieh.
  32. Mohammed Mansour Ahmed Al Nasser.
  33. Mustafa Ahmed Abdullatif Darwish.
  34. Muntader Ali Saleh Al-Sobaiti.
  35. Munir Abdullah Ahmed Al Adam.
  36. Hadi Yousef Reda Al-Hazim.
  37. Yousef Abdullah Awad Al Amri.

Related  News

 

Bahraini Activist Najah Yusuf Details Her Imprisonment for Facebook Posts Protesting Bahrain Formula 1 Race

By Phillip Bupp – Awful Announcing

Najah Yusuf is an activist from Bahrain and is currently serving a three-year sentence for what the Bahrain government claimed was “defaming the state, hurting its interests and distorting the image of the kingdom abroad.”

In reality, Yusuf was jailed over Facebook posts advocating for the cancellation of Formula 1’s Bahrain Grand Prix, calling it a form of propaganda by the country and a tool to mask Bahrain’s brutal human rights record. In a special piece for the Guardian, Yusuf claimed that criticizing Formula 1 is considered a “threat to national security” in Bahrain.

In her report, Yusuf detailed some of the terrible things she has had to go through since she was arrested in 2017. Before being coerced into signing a confession, Yusuf claimed she was threatened, beaten and raped, eventually signing the confession after five days of abuse.

“For four days, I was relentlessly interrogated because of Facebook posts, including those that called for the race to be cancelled and for the release of others imprisoned for criticizing Formula One. I was lured to the Muharraq police station, under the pretense of signing a statement on behalf of my son.”

“When I arrived, the questions began. They forcibly took my phone away from me, threatening to kill my son when I refused to unlock it. They asked me about my relationships with various human rights defenders, activists and opposition groups.”

“They threatened to kill me, they tried to bribe me, they beat me. But worst of all, officers tore off my hijab and attempted to strip me of my clothes, before an officer sexually assaulted me in custody. The pain and humiliation of that week will haunt me for the rest of my life. All this because I took a stand against state repression and the grand prix.”

“On the fifth day, I could take it no more. I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I wanted it to end. Officers presented me with a prepared confession to sign. While I was reading it, the officers beat me again and threatened to rape me. So I signed it.”

Yusuf’s account is very believable when you compare it to Bahrain’s overall human rights record. Yusuf explained how things didn’t stop for her and those around her when she was put in prison:

“Since I arrived at Isa Town prison, my suffering has only continued. Prison authorities regularly discriminate against me on account of my status as a political prisoner. Last September, my cellmate and fellow political prisoner Hajer Mansoor was hospitalized following an assault by prison guards. An early day motion in the British parliament identified this assault as being led by the head of Isa Town prison, Lieutenant Colonel Mariam Albardoli. This occurred days after Hajer Mansoor’s son-in-law, Sayed Alwadaei, briefed MPs about our cases. We were subsequently cited by an MP in the British parliament, along with our cellmate Medina Ali.”

“Since then, all inmates have been punished collectively because I had the temerity to speak out, with restrictions on our family visits, phone calls and time outside the cell. The prison authorities want to silence us, but we will not stop protesting at the appalling conditions at Isa Town prison, which were recently condemned by the UN.”

“I am a mother of four, but I have not seen my children for the past six months. The same punishment has been inflicted on my cellmates, Hajer and Medina. The situation breaks my heart, but I count myself lucky compared to others.”

Formula 1 has a history of being on the side of horrible people. Despite international sanctions from many other countries, as well as many sponsors and drivers opposing South Africa in the time of apartheid, Formula 1 kept racing in Kyalami until 1985, being one of the final international sports organizations to operate in South Africa at that time. Apartheid would be abolished in 1991 and Formula 1 raced in South Africa one more time in 1992.

Formula 1 did cancel the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix due to pro-democracy protests taking place, but that was more about the safety of those going to the race and not so much making a statement supporting the protestors or the safety of the protestors themselves. Yusuf finished her piece calling for F1 fans to not forget what is going on in Bahrain, even if they may be watching this weekend’s race in Sakhir.

“Although I am still paying for my decision to take a stand against the grand prix, my stance has not changed. For years, the ruling family has used the race to clean up its international reputation and whitewash its disregard for human rights. During this period, Formula One has consistently ignored the abuses that occur.”

“In 2017, I backed the calls for “freedom for Formula detainees”. I never thought I would become one of them. Every moment I spend in prison stains the reputation of Formula One, who have abandoned their commitment to freedom of expression and allowed injustice to be perpetrated in their name.”

“Despite the fervor of excitement, I implore all fans of Formula 1 to remember my story and the suffering of thousands of Bahraini citizens. Don’t allow the race to be stained by Bahrain’s human rights abuses.”

Formula 1 has been dragging their feet in reacting to Yusuf’s imprisonment. The organization said they were “concerned” but efforts to resolve things with the Bahrain government have been poor at best. Human rights groups have tried to reach Formula 1 and the FIA, and they have also attempted to contact five-time defending World Champion Lewis Hamilton and other drivers to inform them about what is happening.

It’s unknown what will happen to Yusuf after her report, considering she’s still in prison. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that while Bahrain is trying to treat a Formula 1 race as propaganda, they can’t hide everything.

KIRILL VYSHINSKY, IMPRISONED IN UKRAINE FOR PRACTICING JOURNALISM (RADIO INTERVIEW)

Very grateful to Phil Taylor of The Taylor Report for having me on the show yesterday to speak about the case of Kirill Vyshinsky, imprisoned without trial in Ukraine since May 2018. [LISTEN HERE]
The Taylor Report writes:
“Feat. Eva Bartlett, independent journalist and rights activist, author of ingaza.wordpress.com

Phil interviews Eva Bartlett concerning her interviews with broadcaster/journalist, Kirill Vyshinsky, and his lawyer, Andriy Domanskyy.

Vyshinsky has been in custody in Kiev, Ukraine, since May 2018 without trial. Human rights groups have had little to say about Vyshinsky, since they practice a double-standard when journalists are perceived as political adversaries of the West.

Vyshinsky has been charged with high treason by Ukrainian security forces though the news agency he leads, RIA Novosti Ukraine, publishes a wide range of articles by journalists both for and against the current government of Ukraine, which was installed by a US-supported coup in 2014.

Bartlett discusses the many irregularities of Ukrainian justice in Vyshinsky’s case. She also investigates the possibility that his continuing incarceration might be connected with the upcoming Ukrainian election, and the scheme to try to swap Vyshinsky for a Ukrainian charged with espionage in Russia.”

Note: My interview with Andriy Domansky will be published on Mint Press News in the next day or two.

Please see the following related links:

“They Just Want Me in Prison”: MintPress Interviews Jailed Ukrainian Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky

Media Ignores the Plight of Kirill Vyshinsky: A Russian Journalist Imprisoned Without Trial in Ukraine   Eva Bartlett speaks with journalist Vladimir Rodzianko (Владимир Pодзянко) Rodzianko on the detention of Кирилл Вышинский by Ukraine since May 2018.

Release Imprisoned Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky (petition)

France’s Yellow Vests: Proving cops are indeed part of the 1%

Source

France’s Yellow Vests: Proving cops are indeed part of the 1%

March 04, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The demonstration for “Acte 16”, on March 2nd, was designed as a sight-seeing tour which passed by bastions of rich, traitorous criminals (the OECD, a school of luxury marketing, etc.) and so it concluded at a small roundabout in a ritzy area, Denfert-Rochereau.

As protesters amassed and cops loaded up, and with time in between my on-air interviews for PressTV, I headed for a florist shop. I needed some poles to train my sagging office plant, George W. Bouchra, named after a former boss who departed ignominiously (she was never employed by PressTV nor my boss – it’s a shared office).

As I began talking to the female shopkeeper, who seemed to be deciding whether or not to lock up and flee, a member of France’s riot police barged in and interrupted our conversation. He was thirsty. I can see why – French riot cops wear more armour than an American football player, and carry more attacking equipment than Batman. With his huge size thus rendered even huger, he quite intimidated the petite young florist.

The florist, of course, expected to pass her day among delicate flowers. She probably had no idea the Yellow Vest demonstration was designed to combust literally at her doorstep.

My hand to God, he asked her for bottled water not once, but 6 to 9 times. Was he convinced that florists also sell bottled water? More likely is: because he was a cop he knew that all he had to do was apply pressure to this lady/citizen, and she would hand over her own bottled water. Of course, because he was a French cop, he also knew that there would be zero repercussions if what he was doing was not forthright.

The intimidated young lady kept insisting she had no bottled water to give, and the cop finally gave up. When she turned to back to me I asked, “And do you have anything for me to eat?”

With the same look of fear still in her eyes, she answered quite earnestly, “No, I don’t. I’m sorry.” She honestly believed me, poor lady! It was only after I smiled and pressed her again, in the manner of the cop, that she finally relaxed back to her former self. She gave me the plant poles for free.

What this story relates is just how elitist Western cops are in 2019. Truly, only 1% of society feels they can act so above-the-law and so humiliatingly disrespectful to others.

“The 1%” can be only economic, but not necessarily. The slogan of the US Occupy Movement was, “We are the 99%.” Whether we say that, “Cops are part of the 1%”, or, “Cops aren’t part of the 99%”, the effect is the same – and it’s time to start saying it openly.

Everybody, in every Western country, hates the police

Here’s something never reported in any Mainstream Media: at any French demonstration where riot cops are deployed one will hear the chant, “Everybody hates the cops” (Tout… le monde… déteste la police!).

Now because the Yellow Vests are totally composed of White Power, anti-Semitic fascists such a chant would never be heard, right? The Yellow Vests – because they are a class-ignorant, intolerant, Islamophobia-focused movement calling for Joan of Arc’s exhumed skeleton to replace Emmanuel Macron as president – obviously love the cops. That’s also why leftist-rightish French intellectuals like Alain Soral are convinced that the cops are secretly wearing Yellow Vests under their blue uniforms, and are breathlessly waiting for the moment when France’s cops do what is never, ever done in any political revolution – join the protesters. Cops never switch sides – they have too much to lose.

Oh wait – the Yellow Vests were chanting it as well! The reason for that is, well, everybody hates the cops in France. They hate them with same force as they hate the 1% because cops are part of the 1%.

Let’s look at history: the rude demands for provisions and quarter (if not bottled water) was always made by soldiers and cops in ancient times. The banning of quartering soldiers – i.e., theft and parasitism – is the 3rd amendment in the US Bill of Rights for good reason. From the point of view of citizens: the idea that the Praetorian Guard, or anyone with a sword and a license to stab, was not part of the 1% could only be made by an absurd dogmatist.

Let’s look at 2019: go to any blue-collar community in the US and talk to women – they view cops and firemen as the biggest catches. Why? Because they have everything a conservative woman could want: social status, guaranteed jobs, early retirement and great pensions.

Social status: For those who have not lived in a small town – and I have lived in multiple and reported from them, as well – cops absolutely are social stars. Everybody knows who they are and the power they have; everybody kisses up to them, because they fear them and their power.

Guaranteed jobs: Ah, but our boys in blue are such heroes for working such dangerous jobs, right? Wrong. It’s not even in the top 10 of most dangerous professions – being a baseball umpire is almost as deadly. And check that list of the top 25 – cops are among the highest-paid on the list (median salary: $59,680).

It is almost unheard of for French policemen to go to jail, and certainly not if they commit a crime against a Muslim or Black person. In French law the testimony of a cop is always valid and cannot be questioned, only disproved via evidence. This is why so many innocent protesters are going to prison – because the cops say so.

Early retirement and great pensions: Indeed, the only time I have seen a French protest lead to immediate capitulation by the government is when cops marched – reforms were promised that very day. Politicians know how vital Praetorian Guards are. The usual method for cop pensions in the US is retirement after just 20 years with half your pay… that’s not just spectacular for those in small towns – who wouldn’t want that?

Add all these things up: Cops are not part of the 99%.

Yellow Vests throwing excrement on cops via ‘poo bombs’ – it’s the ultimate form of rejection

As someone who sides with non-dog cultures, I find it tremendously degrading for a person to fill a plastic bag (or a “projectile”) with excrement, but getting hit by it – wow. That’s disrespect on an almost unthinkable level. (I assume it was dog excrement, LOL!)

The policemen were deeply humiliated,” reads the report. Well, turnabout is fair play, no? That’s what cops do to regular citizens day in and day out; that’s what the cop did to the florist.

Yellow Vests are doing what their American cousins in New Orleans did during the US Civil War – they are dumping their chamber pots on the heads of an army they have no connection with and whom they despise.

Westerners should, but do not, make a clear distinction between police and the army. Soldiers deserve infinitely more respect than cops, who in capitalist-imperialist societies are drawn from the most reactionary parts of the population. Cops in the West are not at all like the Revolutionary Guards in Cuba or Iran – Western cops violently guard against any progressive revolution, and their citizens all know that but can do nothing about it.

Nor can they stop the appalling deification of police in Western societies since 9/11. Despite all the bullets in the backs of minorities, all the secret torture sites and all the smartphone videos of shootings, cops are culturally, legally and fiscally untouchable because they ARE part of the 1%. The Western Mainstream Media defies cops, and Western mainstream politicians protect their salaries and pensions while cutting those of other public servants, because they are all in it together against the 99%.

Westerners know that I could go on and on with examples of glorification of cops which have become so extreme as to become disgustingly servile. The treatment of cops in capitalist-imperialist societies is, just like most Western problems, so ingrained that it can only be labelled as “total socio-political dysfunction”, and could only be remedied by something like a Chinese or Iranian Cultural Revolution. And that is what the Yellow Vests are essentially calling for.

Until that occurs, I will continue to report honestly: mass arrests, mass trials and mass jailings are an everyday part of French life now.

More blunt language, which is rarely heard in the Mainstream Media: Every Saturday the numbers of people hurtand arrested simply for protesting governmental policies rises by the scores or the hundreds.

Numbers: 8,000+ arrested, 500 major injuries, 2,000+ imprisoned (as of Feb. 14), 1,500+ awaiting trials (Feb. 14), 12 deaths, 20+ blindings, 6 hands lost, 10,000+ rubber bullets fired. If Venezuela reaches 1% of these figures the UN will authorise military intervention.

Rather than make concessions, change policy, or reflect the popular will, the government is using legal repression on top of physical repression to scare people from joining the Yellow Vests – every day newspapers big and small have stories of sentenced Yellow Vesters.

What’s sad is that the majority of those arrested are first-time protesters – they simply didn’t know how to deal with cops, how to avoid cops, and how to demand their rights from bullying cops. It’s not the longtime activists who are in prison, but truly the most innocent and the most desperate. Normally in France a sentence of less than 2 years leads to no prison time – a “suspended sentence” – but not for Yellow Vesters.

France is not a modern democratic nation but a “rubber bullet republic” led by a “liberal strongman”; it’s not new – Yellow Vests are experiencing what Muslims did during the 2-year State of Emergency.

I have only barely discussed the appalling violence, arrests, mass trails and and mass imprisonment of France’s Yellow Vests – these are inflicted by the very cops who Western media repeatedly insist are the greatest heroes of the nation. But only a reactionary believes that – everyone hates the police; only a reactionary hates the Yellow Vests.

The media is to blame: rubber bullets are euphemistically called “flash balls”. They are fired from “defense ball launchers”, which automatically makes protesters the aggressors. Injuries to cops are treated as being equivalent to the injuries of protesters, even though I have never read of a blinded cop, a cop in a coma, a cop killed, 200+ cops with serious head injuries – surely the media would have relayed such stories on a loop. Of course, the protesters are rampaging berserkers, who commit violence with no rhyme or reason, with demands “so varied” that it’s not even worth examining them, and who are not the victims of 8 years of austerity but the “losers” of neoliberal globalisation who lost in a 100% fair fight. Every poll is dissected in a way to show that the Yellow Vests are actually dwindling in popularity, and not that they actually (still) have unprecedented popularity for a protest movement in France. Every defense of the Yellow Vests must begin with a condemnation of “their” violence. Etc.

Act 16 was the tamest one yet… in Paris, that is. Rubber bullets, water cannons, tear gas, mass arrests were still used in the smaller cities more accessible to rural inhabitants. The florist had no cause for alarm that day – except from the riot police.

An article like this will be gleefully put in front of me by border cops the next time I fly into the United States, perhaps. Such an article is not just career suicide for a Mainstream journalist, but it would never get past any editor. However, it’s not like Western cops ever needed justification for their acts of intimidation, humiliation and violence. And maybe the 1% will get me before then – either via a rich person’s decree or their heavily-armed proxies.

This was an article about the horrific police and judicial violence against the Yellow Vests, but it barely touched on it – France’s problems run much deeper than just the past 3+ months.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

“THEY JUST WANT ME IN PRISON”: MINT PRESS CONTRIBUTOR EVA BARTLETT INTERVIEWS JAILED UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST KIRILL VYSHINSKY

Russian-journalist-Ukraine_edited-1

The Ukraine courts are still dependent on political authorities, and the special service is used to carry out political schemes and to fight inconvenient points of view and dissent, rather than to protect national security.” — Imprisoned Ukrainian-Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky tells Eva Bartlett.

 –by Eva Bartlett, February 25th, 2019, Mint Press News

KHERSON, UKRAINE (Interview) — Ukrainian-Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky has been imprisoned by Ukraine since his May 2018 arrest on yet unproven allegations of “high treason” and of conducting an “information war” against Ukraine in his role as chief editor of RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency.

To date, Vyshinsky has not been allowed a trial, the Ukrainian authorities instead repeatedly prolonging his pre-trial detention and delaying his right to justice.

In November, 2018, I spoke with journalist Vladimir Rodzianko about the case of Kirill Vyshinsky. In our interview, Rodzianko explained Vyshinsky’s May 2018 arrest, Vyshinsky’s work as an editor, the absurdities of Ukraine’s accusations against Vyshinsky, and the lack of outcry on his imprisonment.

Through intermediaries, I was later able to interview the imprisoned journalist, via email. While his replies came at the end of 2018, my intermediaries just recently were able to provide a translated transcript of Vyshinsky’s words.

More recently, I went to Kiev to interview Vyshinsky’s defense lawyer, Mr. Andriy Domanskyy. That interview will be published in the near future. While conducting the interview with Mr. Domanskyy on February 19, he received a phone call from the Kherson Court informing him that during the February 21 pleading, the court would limit the time during which Vyshinsky and Domanskyy could read the case files–case files amounting to 31 volumes.

Below is my correspondence with Kirill Vyshinsky.

EB: What do you believe was the motivation for the Ukrainian authorities to arrest and detain you?

KV: My detention and arrest represent an attempt by the Ukrainian authorities to bolster the declining popularity of President [Petro] Poroshenko in this election year. How? First, my arrest was used to stoke another scandal involving a story about “terrible Russian propaganda.” I’m a journalist, a citizen of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, and my arrest can be explained as part of the fight against “Russian propaganda.”

Second, from the very first hours of my detention, without a trial and even before pre-trial restrictions were set for me, high-ranking Ukrainian politicians started talking about the need to swap me for a Ukrainian convicted in the Russian Federation. Swaps are a favorite PR topic of the current Ukrainian government, which, in the past five years, has been unable to accomplish anything to benefit the country’s economy, achieve peace in Ukraine, or resolve the civil conflict in Donbass. This government did nothing to improve the well-being and safety of its citizens, so it was looking for other ways to score electoral points. Anti-Russian hysteria and PR around a prisoner swap is one such way.

EB: Had the Ukrainian authorities harassed you prior to May 2018?

KV: Nothing happened before May 2018, this is what amazes me! Accusations
against me in the case investigated by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) are connected with posts on the website that I run dating back to the spring of 2014.
The posts were made in the spring of 2014. According to the SBU, they represented a threat to the national security of Ukraine, but they remembered them only in 2018! And this is despite the fact that the SBU and Ukraine’s Ministry of Press and Information (another supervisory authority) have been regularly publishing lists of websites that were a “threat to national information security,” while my website was never listed!!

And then, in May 2018, I was arrested.

EB: The authorities accuse you of “treason”. How would you counter this? What had you been covering in Ukraine?

KV: I believe that accusing me of treason is false and absurd. None of the posts they are using to incriminate me are under my byline. These texts were submitted by our contributors, who shared their point of view on the developments in Ukraine in the spring of 2014, when the referendum was held in Crimea, and everything was just getting started in Donbass. All these materials are from the Opinion and Point of View sections, and each of them is followed by a disclaimer that “the author’s views do not necessarily represent those of the editorial board.”

From the vast number of texts that were published in the spring of 2014, the SBU picked only about 15 that they deemed “treasonous.” They simply ignored other texts with other views posted on our website and accuse me of conducting “special operations.” Again, they accuse me of conducting an “information war” for the mere fact that we posted a variety of opinions on our website. What does the fact that I impartially let people speak in support of Maidan or against it have to do with special operations?

As for the events that I covered, ours is a news website, and we post many texts on social and political issues. None of the texts that are included in the SBU files were written by me. I’m accused of providing an opportunity to speak about the situation in the country to people whose opinion is inconvenient for official Kiev. That’s all there is to it.

EB: How did your coverage of the proposed autocephaly for a ‘national Ukrainian church’ influence your detention?

KV: This is the most absurd accusation! This is the only episode from 2018. We posted a news piece on our website, in which Ukrainian political scientist Dmitry Korneychuk expressed skepticism about the possibility of granting autocephaly [a form of self-governance exceeding basic autonomy] to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The same news piece included the point of view of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has argued for the need for autocephaly!! It was a classic piece of journalism providing two points of view, for and against, where the reader has to decide which one is more credible.

However, the SBU believed that posting this material was part of my personal war against the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church!! I read this text out more than once in court. In it, the view “against” autocephaly takes up 11 lines, whereas the case “for” autocephaly is laid out in 17 lines, and I’m being accused of conducting a special operation against Ukrainian autocephaly!

EB: How have you been treated in prison? Do you have access to doctors? How has your health been since in detention? Are you allowed visitors and if so, under what conditions?

KV: I consider the prison conditions to be tolerable by Ukrainian standards, although access to medical care is quite limited. The prison medical unit was downsized, and I had to wait for a specialist doctor appointment for months. To alleviate acute neuralgia pain, I was given …diphenhydramine! It’s like treating acute heart pain with vitamin C. It won’t make things worse, but it doesn’t do much to help, either.

I feel pretty good right now, but this is definitely not due to the prison medicine but to the efforts of my lawyers and the medications they passed me. Once a month, my father comes to see me. We talk through a phone, separated by a glass partition.

EB: How many times has your trial been delayed? What were the reasons given for the delay? Do you feel that you will be given a fair trial?

KV: The issue is not about adjourned hearings, but the fact that the SBU keeps extending the investigation all the time, citing the need to conduct some kind of expert analysis in addition to the one that is already filed in the case. That is why I have been in jail for seven months now. The charges are absurd, the evidence does not include any text that was written by me, but the SBU is acting upon a political order issued by the Ukrainian authorities, which is to keep me in prison while the authorities try to net some political dividends from my arrest. It has nothing to do with justice. They just want me in prison.

EB: Have any international bodies supporting journalists, or any international human rights organizations, been in contact with you about your imprisonment?

KV: Yes, the UN Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and the Red Cross office in Ukraine visited me. Representatives of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] mission regularly attend my court hearings in order to stay up to date on my case. Several international journalism organizations — such as the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Press Club Brussels Europe — my colleagues from Russia, and many friends spoke in my support, and I thank everyone so much! I am counting, primarily, on moral support and the ability to get as much information out about my actual case as possible, as opposed to what is published in the Ukrainian media at the behest of the SBU.

EB: Do you have any message you’d like to convey about this entire ordeal?

KV: My main takeaway from the past six months is huge disappointment in the level of political power in Ukraine and the state of its judicial system. Despite declarations about Ukraine’s “European choice,” the courts are still dependent on political authorities, and the special service is used to carry out political schemes and to fight inconvenient points of view and dissent, rather than to protect national security.

Kirill Vyshinsky
December 26, 2018, Kherson Detention Center
See also:

Vladimir Rodzianko On Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, Detained in Ukraine

Media Ignores the Plight of Kirill Vyshinsky: A Russian Journalist Imprisoned Without Trial in Ukraine

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