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.

Advertisements

“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

Saudi Crackdown: Mother of 4 Detained from Shia Town since Two Weeks So Far

By Zeinab Daher

While the entire world decries Saudi Arabia’s notorious human rights record, the tyrant kingdom doesn’t make any effort to prove the opposite.

Two weeks ago, and still counting, the Saudi regime forces stormed the house of the Abdullah Abu Abdallah family in the town of Awamia, in the Shia-populated Qatif eastern province.

Without any earlier notice, Saudi forces broke through the house on February 7, 2019, and detained Ms. Mariam Ali Al-Qaysoum after damaging everything inside the house. They insulted residents of the house and hit them with rifle heels, then directed the rifles to the heads of children and women there.

Meanwhile, nothing has been heard so far from Ms. Mariam since the moment she was detained without charge. She just called her family a couple of days after being held, informing them that he was at the jail of the Saudi Secret Police Agency in Dammam.

Mariam is a mother of three boys and a girl. She is the sister-in-law of detained Saudi activists Mohammaed, Salem and Abbas, as well as martyr Ali Abu Abdallah.

We’ve seen the west’s approach to Venezuela before – in Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, need I go on?

Instead of pleading with those who will not support him, the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela might want to take a closer look at who his foreign friends are

By Robert Fisk

February 13, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –    The closest I ever came to Venezuela, many years ago, was a transit connection at Caracas airport. I noticed a lot of soldiers in red berets and a clutch of goons, and it reminded me, vaguely, of the Middle East.

Now, sitting in the rain squalls of the wintry Levant, I flick through my newspaper clippings of our recent local autocrats – Saddam, Assad, al-Sisi, Erdogan, Mohammed bin Salman (you can fill in the rest for yourself) – and I think of Nicolas Maduro.

The comparisons are by no means precise. Indeed, it’s not the nature of the “strongmen” I’m thinking about. It’s our reaction to all these chaps. And there are two obvious parallels: the way in which we sanction and isolate the hated dictator – or love him, as the case may be – and the manner in which we not only name the opposition as the rightful heir to the nation, but demand that democracy be delivered to the people whose torture and struggle for freedom we have suddenly discovered.

And before I forget it, there’s one other common thread in this story. If you suggest that those who want presidential change in Venezuela may be a little too hasty, and our support for – let us say – Juan Guaido might be a bit premature if we don’t want to start a civil war, this means you are “pro-Maduro”

Just as those who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq were “pro-Saddam”, or those who thought the west might pause before it supported the increasingly violent opposition in Syria were labelled “pro-Assad”.

And those who defended Yasser Arafat – over a long period a super-terrorist, a super-diplomat and then a super-terrorist again – against those who would oust him as leader of the Palestinians, were abused as “pro-Arafat”, “pro-Palestinian”, “pro-terrorist” and, inevitably, “anti-Semitic”. I recall how George W Bush warned us after 9/11, that “you are either with us or against us”. The same threat was made to us about Assad.

Erdogan has used it in Turkey (less than three years ago) and it was a common line in the forgotten 1930s used by none other than Mussolini. And now I quote Trump’s US secretary of state Michael Pompeo on Maduro: “Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side … either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”

You get the point. Now is the time for all good people to stand alongside the United States, the EU, the nations of Latin America – or do you support the Russkies, Chinese, Iranian headbangers, the perfidious Corbyn and (of all people) the Greeks? Talking of the Greeks, European pressure on Alexis Tsipras to conform to the EU’s support for Guaido – proving that the EU can indeed bully its smaller members – is a good argument for Brexiteers (though far too complex for them to understand).

But first, let’s take a look at our favourite tyrant, in the words of all who oppose him. He’s a powerful dictator, surrounded by generals, suppressing his people, using torture, mass arrests, secret police murders, rigged elections, political prisoners – so no wonder we gave our support to those who wish to overthrow this brutal man and stage democratic elections.

Not a bad precis of our current policy towards the Maduro regime. But I am referring, of course, word-for-word, to the west’s policy towards the Assad regime in Syria. And our support for opposition democracy there wasn’t terribly successful.

We were not solely responsible for the Syrian civil war – but we were not guiltless since we sent an awful lot of weapons to those trying to overthrow Assad. And last month the notepad of US national security advisor John Bolton appeared to boast a plan to send 5,000 US troops to Colombia

And now let’s tick the box on another Maduro-lookalike – at least from the west’s simplistic point of view: the military-backed elected field marshal-president al-Sisi of Egypt, whom we love, admire and protect. Powerful dictator? Yup. Surrounded and supported by generals? You bet, not least because he locked up a rival general before the last election. Suppression? Absolutely – all in the interest of crushing “terrorism”, of course.

Mass arrests? Happily yes, for all the inmates of Egypt’s savage prison system are “terrorists”, at least according to the field marshal-president himself. Secret police murders? Well, even forgetting the young Italian student suspected by his government to have been allegedly tortured and bumped off by one of Sisi’s top Egyptian cops, there’s a roll call of disappeared activists.

Rigged elections? No doubt about it, although al-Sisi still maintains that his last triumph at the polls – a cracking 97 per cent – was a free and fair election.

President Trump sent his “sincere congratulations”. Political prisoners? Well, the total is 60,000 and rising. Oh yes, and Maduro’s last victory – a rigged election if ever there was one, of course – was a mere 67.84 per cent.

As the late sage of the Sunday Express, John Gordon, might have said: it makes you sit up a bit. So, too, I suppose, when we glance a bit further eastwards to Afghanistan, whose Taliban rulers were routed in 2001 by the US, whose post-9/11 troops and statesmen ushered in a new life of democracy, then corruption, warlordism and civil war.

The “democracy” bit quickly came unstuck when “loya jurgas”, grand councils, turned into tribal playpens and the Americans announced that it would be an exaggeration to think that we could achieve “Jeffersonian democracy” in Afghanistan. Too true.

Now the Americans are negotiating with the “terrorist” Taliban in Qatar so they can get the hell out of the Graveyard of Empires after 17 years of military setbacks, scandals and defeats – not to mention running a few torture camps which even Maduro would cough to look at.

Now all this may not encourage you to walk down memory lane. And I haven’t even listed the sins of Saddam, let alone our continuing and cosy relationship – amazing as it still seems – with that Gulf state whose lads strangled, chopped up and secretly buried a US-resident journalist in Turkey.

Now just imagine if Maduro, tired of a journalist critic slandering him in Miami, decided to lure him to the Venezuelan embassy in Washington and top the poor guy, slice him up and bury him secretly in Foggy Bottom. Well now, I have a feeling that sanctions might have been applied to Maduro a long time ago. But not to Saudi Arabia, of course, where we are very definitely not advocating democracy.

“Now is the time for democracy and prosperity in Venezuela,” quoth John Bolton this week. Oh, yes indeed. Maduro runs an oil-soaked nation yet its people starve. He is an unworthy, foolish and vain man, even if he’s not Saddamite in his crimes. He was rightly described by a colleague as a dreary tyrant. He even looks like the kind of guy who tied ladies to railway lines in silent movies.

So good luck to Guaido. Palpably a nice guy, speaks eloquently, wise to stick to aid for the poor and fresh elections rather than dwell on just how exactly Maduro and his military chums are going to be booted out.

In other words, good luck – but watch out. Instead of pleading with those who will not support him – the Greeks, for example – he might take a closer look at who his foreign friends are. And do a quick track record on their more recent crusades for freedom, democracy and the right to life. And by the way, I haven’t even mentioned Libya.

This article was originally published by The Independent“-

Do you agree or disagree? Post your comment here

 The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

The Bahraini Revolution in the Words of its Elite

By Zeinab Daher

With every anniversary of an uprising against oppression, a person recalls a glimpse of hope that the winds of change are blowing again.

Bahrain, the country of Shia-majority ruled by Sunni-minority, was a platform for peaceful popular demands back on February 14 of 2011. Today, there is nothing more honest than the words of those who lived the revolution, its early days, and the impressions they made as such time has passed over the first day since its birth.

In an exclusive interview with al-Ahed News, Sheikh Abo Yasser Abdullah al-Saleh, Deputy Chief of Bahrain’s Islamic Work Association (Amal), listed the many achievements of the revolution atop of which is the clear popular alignment against the oppressive and dictatorial authorities that is a major achievement in Bahrain.

 

“The opposition in Bahrain is deep-rooted, it is nothing new, but the current impression is that the opposition is something new.”

In the 1980s, before and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, demanding to topple the Al Khalifah regime was a fantasy. Now, however, there is a sort of popular agreement that this family should be changed because it doesn’t deserve to rule the Bahraini people, and that the Bahraini people deserve more just government, that is finer, more aware of the demands of peoples and more independent, afar from any foreign and western alliances.

Additionally, in Bahrain, there became a clear orientation and understanding by all parties that it is necessary to establish a just democracy through inclusive elections that get rid of all kinds of tyranny and appropriation as well as ties to the foreign colonialism practiced by Al Khalifah.

The revolution was able over 8 years to draw attention that there is a major determination by the Bahraini people to reach their rightful and legitimate demands and that it is never possible to play the minds of people and deceive them just like what happened during the 1990s uprising.

“There is total agreement that this authority in untrustworthy and can’t be dealt with by any means, even if it still controls the country.”

Another achievement is uniting the local lines and tending to a true change which wasn’t clear in the past era. This revolution has serious tendency to change the country’s status and make a true shift that suits the Bahraini people.

The Al Khalifah authority treat the opposition as if it is a zero. It is oppressive and try to kill any activism before it is born.

“The glow of revolution didn’t change.”

It is true that the protests in which the majority of people used to participate are not happening now. The figures and major symbols who used to participate in the protests are not there, but the movement itself didn’t stop, even if the momentum has decreased. There are still protests and demands in some places. There are also detentions, since the beginning of the revolutions, detentions didn’t stop. If the authority claims that it has got rid of the revolution, then why it is still carrying out the non-stopping arbitrary detention campaigns.

There are some 930 people, including clerics, symbols, academics, youth and citizens, whose citizenships have been revoked. More than 7824 people are detained by the authority, and the number is still climbing. We sacrificed more than 200 martyrs, scores of victims and thousands of displaced people. But the Al Khalifah authority couldn’t, through all this, to prove that it has got rid of the February 14 revolution. The revolution is being renewed in different ways and remains with the same slogans and demands.

The most important among all is that the Bahraini people didn’t retreat any of its legitimate demands. And the latest statement made by His Eminence Sheikh Isa Qassim was a clear evidence that this people didn’t and will not compromise.

Why remaining peaceful?

The Bahraini people is not a violent one. The people of Bahrain are known for love, peace, mercy, generosity, containing others and coexisting with them.

The rightful demands the Bahraini people are asking for are not new for any people, they are rather part of their basic due rights whether by understanding or another mean. When the Al Khalifah denies the people their rights, it must expect that the people won’t remain silent. And now, they insist to fulfill their demands.

For our people, we would like to stress that the international situation in this particular anniversary is on our side and it is not on Al Khalifah’s and Al Saud’s. They were previously more arrogant and stronger, but the situation in the entire region now carries the promises of a near victory, by God’s willing. It carries the promises of a change in the regional map. The Bahraini people tolerated over many years, but the less has remained. The Al Khalifah authorities are in a bad situation while the morale, practices and rights of our people are way stronger than ever before. The legendary endurance presented by the Bahraini people over the past years is able to drive them towards fulfilling their demands. It is matter of a little patience and we will reach our goals.

We are demanding democracy and inclusive elections in which the source of authority and sovereignty should be the Bahraini people. We only need to be a free people in an independent state.

Normalization

Normalization is nothing new. It has existed since before, at least all Gulf states, most Arab and Muslim countries related to the west, whether the US or the UK, have sorts of ties with the “Israeli” entity. However, ties today became public. What has been under cover, became today public.

Exchanged visits weren’t born recently, they are since the 1950s but they were low. The King Saud’s condition for the UK was that ties with the Zionists should be secret. Today, however, the Zionists set their condition that any price should be paid in exchange of public relations. This is the reason why we notice today public relations whether with the Al Saud or the Al Khalifah governments or others. Zionists now insist on publicized ties, this is why we are witnessing them on the surface.

In the past, the colonial scheme tried to indirectly run its issues in the region. But now, it is being faced by the peoples of the region, which are looking for their interests and trying to build their future the way they want. This is why the government now cannot fulfill the task and this explains with the Americans and the British are coming to the region repeatedly, weighing more and intervening much than before in the country’s internal affairs which is exposing those governments’ betrayal.

To Al Khalifah, the Bahraini people would never accept dealing with Zionists and would never be part of any alliance against its Arab and Muslim state. You can do whatever you want because the decision is in your hands, but the Bahraini people will breach any agreement that would be made with the Zionist entity.

For his part, Bahraini Journalist Hussein Youssef recalled some painful and emotional spots from the time of the revolution’s first days:

Among the most significant of the scenes of the February 14 revolution I recall is the youths’ advance as they were topless against the Bahraini army’s tanks that were supposed to protect the protesters and civilians, however, they were directed towards them and killed martyr Abdul Rida Bou Hmayyed. This scene would never be erased from the Bahrainis’ memory.

Another scene that I could never forget over seven years of the revolution is that of revoking the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmad Qassim and the Imam Hussein-inspired speech delivered by Sayyed Maji al-Mashaal.

In between the two scenes, there is the very important event when Sheikh Ali Salman addressed the Bahraini people as the ‘Peninsula Shield forces’ entered the country. He referred to their behavior as defeatist and called the Bahraini people for sticking to peaceful activism until achieving its fair demands.

“Regarding the presence of the Bahraini issue in media, the activism is actually peaceful, political and rightful. There is no direct presence on which media can feed as it wants.”

However, there are other media outlets that are trying to turn a blind eye to the reality of the Bahraini people for certain political goals and reasons. They want to blind what is happening in Bahrain, and most of them are pushed by Saudi and American motives. This is something constant for us. An evidence is that many political and rights events, major protests, political speeches and stances issued by the Bahraini opposition are blinded by such paid outlets.

I don’t believe the regime has succeeded in silencing the opposition. Now, everybody confesses that there is a political crisis in Bahrain. The important evidence on this is that the leader of the opposition His Eminence Sheikh Ali Salman is in prison and sentenced to life. This firstly means that the political crisis in Bahrain will remain as long as such symbols and figures, atop of them is Sheikh Ali Salman, stay in jail. Hence, the opposition movement is non-stopping in different forms and during different circumstances. It is sometimes in Australia, another time in Bahrain… the movement is represented by the rights and political conferences held by the opposition at home and abroad. In conclusion, even if the regime had security-wise tightened the grip on the opposition movement, this doesn’t mean that it will be able to cancel the presence of the opposition and the popular demands.

There are huge numbers over the 8 years of revolution. There has been more than 40.000 protests, in addition to more than 5000 prisoners in Bahraini jails. This number makes Bahrain the most crowded country with political prisoners in the Arab world as per comparison to its population. There are also violations against journalists. Over 8 years of revolution, there is more than 25 years of imprisonment sentences against activists and journalists and even politicians who expressed their opinions. The law is very ‘flexible’ since whoever express their opinion via Twitter are subject to ‘anti-terror’ crimes for opposing the authority.

The international community raises the slogans of human rights in the area of political abuse and not in the place where people do believe in it… the international community is disabled in front of the Saudi-American decision; hence, the political cover baking the Bahraini regime is due to weighing political interests and Gulf oil heavier than human rights and the people’s rights to self-determination.

“All what happened over the previous period (8 years) is a motive for Bahrain to continue.”

The words of Sheikh Ali Salman and Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmad Qassem say there is no way for retreat, and it is necessary to continue with strength and determination to fulfill this people’s demand for reform.

“I do believe that what is waiting the Bahraini people is way better than what the authorities are practicing.”

There is no room for political settlement and fulfilling the national demands without democracy and respecting citizenship in Bahrain, he concluded.

Related Videos

Related News

Bahrain opposition begins armed resistance against ‘Saudi occupation’ – English Subs

February 08, 2019

Note: this is the first time I am posting a video by the Middle-East Observer which has now joined the Saker Community (translations) and who will be providing us Arab-language videos translated and subtitled in English.  Please see under this video how to support the Middle-East Observer and stay in contact.  Please support this work generously!

The Saker

Original description:  A prominent Bahraini opposition leader says his al-Wefaq movement has begun carrying out increasingly sophisticated armed resistance operations against the ruling al-Khalifa government and the “Saudi occupation”. Sayyed Murtada al-Sanadi said that the ruling al-Khalifa monarchy and its Saudi backers gave no opportunity for dialogue or negotiations despite eight years of peaceful protests by the opposition. Source: Etejah TV (YouTube) Date: 24 January, 2019 ———————————————————————————————————–

Support us on Patreon: Help our work continue and grow with as little as $1/month: https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver
Subscribe – YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2PtSAPyEgn0cnYzJZKHKiw
Subscribe – Website Mailing Listhttp://middleeastobserver.net/subscribe/
Like – Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MEO.Translation/
Follow – Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MEO_Translation

Israa Al-Ghomgham Escapes Death Penalty amid Outrage

By Staff, Newsweek

Saudi authorities confirmed that its public prosecutor is no longer recommending the death penalty for female activist Israa al-Ghomgham.

The rights campaigner has been held since 2015 after participating in peaceful anti-government protests.

In further details, the Saudi embassy in London confirmed the shift in approach to Newsweek on Thursday in response to a request for information about al-Ghomgham’s case.

The 29-year-old was arrested in 2015 for her role in protests in the eastern region of Qatif.

Al-Ghomgham became well-known for demanding an end to persecution of the country’s Shiite minority.

She was one of six people, including her husband, arrested in connection with the demonstrations.

Their alleged crimes included ‘traveling abroad to attend courses on organizing rallies and protests, using social media to promote and document events, and using Facebook groups to disseminate videos.’

Initially, the Saudi public prosecutor called for death sentences for five of the accused, including al-Ghomgham. This was seen by international observers as a striking recommendation given the nonviolent nature of their offenses.

Until Thursday, al-Ghomgham was believed to be the first woman facing beheading for nonviolent activism. As such, her case received significant international attention from media and human rights organizations.

RELATED ARTICLES

%d bloggers like this: