Tag Archives bandargate

Wefaq boycotting inaugural parliamentary session

I’ve just learned from a reliable source that Al-Wefaq has boycotted the inaugural session of parliament. This means that the largest political society in Bahrain, the one which won 17 clear seats out of 40, and gained 62% of the electoral vote is not participating in their first every parliamentary session to be opened by the king this afternoon, and they will also boycott the first session of parliament to be held immediately after in which it is supposed to elect all the leading positions for the next 4 years.

I heard that the “higher ups” have offered Al-Wefaq the chairmanship of parliament if they dropped their demands for a Bandargate investigation and the removal of Ahmed Attiyatallah and everyone else who was implicated in the report.

Al-Wefaq refused.

They said that the Bandargate investigation and the chairmanship of the parliament are mutually exclusive and should be evaluated individually. As the government refused to entertain that vision, Al-Wefaq walked out.

I don’t know about you, but I smell the 90s coming back. And I can hear helicopters outside.


Foulath’s buttons pressed again

Shura Council members are to call for the creation of a human rights committee within the chamber.

The request will be made by Faisal Fulad and Houda Nonoo, who are both Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) board members.

“We think Al Wefaq will try to establish a human rights committee in parliament and these committees will have co-operation if we establish them in both chambers,” Mr Fulad told a Press conference at the society, in Manama, yesterday.
GDN :: 15 Dec, ’06

My emphasis, and believe me you don’t need to read the whole “report” of Foulath and Nonoo wanting to establish a BHRWS style committee in the Shura to find their true motives behind it, as I’ll save you the trouble and time. They’ve been told to do so to counter a suggested Human Rights committee in the Council of Representatives by Al-Wefaq.

It is a mark of dishonour to have these two selected as our representatives. As far as I am concerned they do not exist and they are not worthy of carrying on in any position in my name.


Bahrain reaches another low…

Is there no end in sight for these useless machinations which serves nothing more than excluding the indigenous population of Bahrain of both sects, that the puppet master now has the temerity to install yet another Voldemort apprentice into another sensitive position?

Why? Does the country suffer that much from a dearth of good men and women to rise up to challenges?

This is just sick. And to continue blatantly and without any consideration to the sensitivity of the people of Bahrain tells a lot about the direction that we – as a country – is going; directly to civil war.

Link in Arabic, and welcome to Khalil Buhaza’a to the Bahraini blogsophere!


Al-Watan hacked?

Someone sent me this picture (thanks mate!) which shows Al-Watan Newspaper‘s website hacked today. The website is back to normal now. This is how it allegedly was earlier:

Al-Watan Newspaper website was hacked today
click for larger view
click to view a picture of the restored site

Can anyone confirm this?

Why would anyone do this and why was Al-Watan targeted? Because it was implicated rather heavily in the Bandargate scandal as being created exclusively to sow sectarian poison in the society, allegedly of course. So some people have some beef with it, which lends credence to the hack. Not that I condone such a thing of course. People should always deffer to the law to solve their grievances.


Bahrain re-introduces arrests of political activists

Dr. Mohammed Saeed Mattar - detained by Bahraini security due to his political activism in Nov 06Everybody’s hope, the king’s reform program’s success, is hanging in the balance due to various issues shaking Bahrain. What has started in 2001 with king Hamad releasing all prisoners of conscience, and his affirmation that this will never happen again in Bahrain, one which will hold the rule of law and its fair application at the head of its priorities, is about to come crashing around us, signaling the end of the belief in such reforms.

The various things happening here are not helping this country and its people in the slightest; the parliamentary elections gerrymandering attempts, the direct and indirect support extremist Salafis and other Islamists are getting from the government against national figures, the iniquitous distribution of land, wealth, opportunities and electoral districts, the marginalisation of the Shi’a, the abject refusal of the government and the ruling family to face the consequences of the Bandargate scandal or even honestly initiate a thorough and impartial investigation into its claims, the continuation of those implicated in the scandal to continue to roam the Earth with impunity and their continuing employment in sensitive government positions unmolested, the restrictions exerted by law on freedoms of speech and assembly, the closure and/or blockage of websites, and various other ills which have surfaced over the last four years.

Now we get to know that not one, but two Bahrainis have been detained (Arabic) by the security forces under the guise of “incitement and distribution of illegal pamphlets calling for an unauthorised demonstration.” Both appear to belong to the Haqq splinter opposition movement who are boycotting the forthcoming elections.

The demonstration refers of course to the one announced by political activists a few days ago to demonstrate against the government not opening an investigation into the Bandargate scandal this afternoon in Manama.

This further strengthens my belief that the government is trying to hide facts, or rather, acknowledges the fact that it has been caught with its pants down and are desperate now to cover up by using force, threats of force, coercion and that infamous Press & Publications Law of 2002 to do so.

Gentlemen, this is not how things are resolved.

Release Dr. Mohammed Saeed Mattar and his compatriot immediately!

update [email protected]: a Free Mohammed site has been started. Go there please for latest info. The site doesn’t work very well in FireFox, but should work ok with IE. That’s stupid “Jeeran” for you. The other person detained is one Hussain Abdul Aziz Al Habshi.


Possible fine souvenirs to be given away in Manama tomorrow

Bahrain police brutality effectsBut don’t hold me to the promise, you need to go there and find out yourself, who knows, you might be lucky to get a few lasting souvenirs like those shown in the picture… and that is due to what exactly?

Fear and reprisal for holding a demonstration demanding action into the Bandargate affair.

Rally for investigation into Bandargate scandal

Fear of violent attack by anti-riot police

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)

A group of Political and human rights activists as well as religious figures issued a public call yesterday for Bahrainis to participate in a demonstration calling for an investigation into the Bandargate scandal. Two months have passed since a former advisor to the Bahraini government issued a 214-page report revealing allegations that some high government officials have been conspiring to rig next week’s parliamentary elections. Yet the government has remained silent on the issue, refusing to launch an investigation or even comment on the validity of the allegations. Therefore, many figures and activists are organizing a public demonstration to insist that the government investigate the scandal. There are fears that the government may use violence to prevent it from going ahead, so we request local and international media and rights organizations to monitor the demonstration.

The rally will commence at 3pm on Friday, November 17th near Ras Al-Rumman mosque in the Capital Manama, heading towards the Financial Harbour.


Two things

The government is apparently using two things to prosecute websites:

Ok, fine. I wonder how the authorities will react if ALL blogs based in or concerned with Bahrain started writing about bandargate! Will they go ahead and prosecute us all?

How about it guys?

Do you want to register with them?
Will you write about the Bandargate report?

It would be fun to have 10s if not 100s of anonymous websites done by Bahrainis in or out of Bahrain doing that!

Just a thought.


Step 2: Take Mahmood Al-Yousif to court


And now you know what value it is to be an anonymous coward in this country, you will always be safe. But call a spade a spade, let people know your name, your address, your contact details, and criticize in the open and what do you get? You get dragged to court.

This is the value of being a concerned citizen.

This is the value of being courageous enough to stand behind your words and your criticisms.

In this country, it seems that the good old ’90s and underground political activism, or activism of any kind, is the only thing to do.

But come out in the open and you get this thrown at you.

Will YOU let this happen?


Bahrain blocks Web sites over election case

MANAMA, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Bahrain has blocked several Web sites for violating a reporting ban in the case of a government adviser who was deported after alleging election irregularities.

Authorities imposed a ban on publishing information about the case of the adviser, British citizen Salah al-Bander, who was sacked and deported to Britain in September for what a minister said was an attempt to foment civil strife in the Gulf state.

The case, known as Bandergate, initially made headlines in the country which is due to hold parliamentary and municipal elections on Nov. 25. Officials say the reporting ban was imposed to ensure an impartial investigation.

“The information ministry has decided to close a number of Bahraini and foreign Web sites … These sites transgressed a legal decision prohibiting the discussion of the case of the accused Salah al-Bander,” Hassan Oun, director of press and publications at the ministry, said in a statement.

“The information ministry will refer the owners of these sites to the judges for not cooperating and complying with the law,” said the statement obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.

Among the blocked Web sites was popular Bahraini blog www.mahmood.tv which is often a forum for political debate and government criticism. It re-opened under www.alyousif.tv, with a photograph of site owner Mahmood al-Yousif wearing a gag.

“It’s unreasonable. Whether you like it or not, everybody is discussing the Bandergate issue,” Yousif told Reuters. “The main issue here is much bigger than Bandergate or registering Web sites. They’re trying to get us to rescind our public freedoms.”

An Information Ministry official, who declined to be named, said some sites were blocked because they did not register with the government. The official said the law requiring registration aimed to prevent misinformation and insults against the state.

Sectarian tensions often cast a shadow over politics in Bahrain, a U.S. ally which is ruled by Sunni Muslims but has a Shi’ite majority.

((Reporting by Mohammed Abbas; editing by Robert Woodward; +973-1752 4430; Fax + 973 17536194; Email: [email protected]))

The story is now on the wires, that means by tomorrow morning hundreds of papers will pick it up…

and I have just been informed that the Ministry of Information has submitted cases against “websites” with the Public Prosecutor who, in turn, started its investigation over the Ministry’s claims.

I fervently hope that the Public Prosecutor will show its independence by throwing the cases out, as they should be.


Woman wins parliament seat by default

The candidate applications are in for the 40 constituencies which make up Bahrain last night, and the surprise/non-surprise is that the constituency 6 of the Southern Governate had only one candidate running, and it happened to be the same lady who ran in the Riffa constituency in 2002 against our beloved Deputy Dawg. She took him to the second round, but then the voters there allowed DD to win by a narrow margin.

Latifa Al-Gaoud, first woman MP in the GCC, Southern governate, 6th district, hawar islandsShe somehow changed her residence to the islands of Hawar, those strips of land rich in bird life (it’s supposed to be a natural reserve with even osprey nesting there habitually) and very rich sea life around it too with the dugong making their home in the deep water channels around the islands. But in that constituency there are only 1,000 voters, and I’m not sure if the dugong and the shags are actually counted too, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say she won fair and square. However, before doing that completely, I must confess my confusion that in an election that every single seat is fought and every single constituency fielding at least 2 candidates, how come the political societies didn’t wake up to the fact that Hawar was up for the taking? Weird. Ah, I know, the very credible CIO refused to give the candidates the voter rolls! I smell shenanigans, but I’ll shut up for now for the sake of making history, and the seat went to someone who I hope will be making not only history (she’s the first in Bahrain and the Gulf to go to an elected parliament, of course saying the Gulf here is pretty generous as only Bahrain and Kuwait have elected chambers, but if count Iran in it then they’ve had women in their parliament for a while now, and so does Iraq. Okay, let me rephrase that to the GCC then.)

So she won now, and I am very happy for her as she an able lady, with a host of credentials and experience to make a difference especially in the Financial Affairs Committee as she held a position within the Ministry of Finance prior to her winning the seat by default. The “Ministry of Finance” bit worries me too… with all due respect to the lady, I do hope that she will be impartial to her previous employers when the time comes for her to scrutinize the budget and be partial to questioning her erstwhile masters with courage and alacrity.

Onward we go to the “proper” elections where we await the welcoming of 39 persons into the chamber, and I do sincerely hope that that dickhead Dhahrani doesn’t get in again, but rather than Salman bin Sager there instead. The former proved his complete and utter uselessness not only in the past parliament, but in the full 16 years he has been with the Shura council previously.

Nov 25th, pray what will you give us?