Woman injured by ‘terrorist blast’ in Bahrain


Bahraini security forces

Tiny Gulf state has been rocked by spate of bombings the authorities blame on ‘terrorist’ elements 
MANAMA, Bahrain, Feb. 24, 2017 - A Bahraini woman was injured late Thursday by a “terrorist blast” in northern Bahrain, according to the country’s Interior Ministry.
“The blast in the village of Sanabis slightly injured a female passerby,” the ministry tweeted.
The authorities have since launched an investigation into the incident.
Thursday’s blast was not the first such incident of its kind.
On Feb. 14, a man and his wife were slightly injured by a “terrorist” bombing in eastern Bahrain’s Sirta area. Ten days earlier, a bomb blast shook Bahraini capital Manama without causing casualties.
On Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said the authorities had arrested 20 people suspected of involvement in “terrorist” activity, including eight who had allegedly received military training in Iran and Iraq. 
Bahrain was rocked by revolt in 2011, when protests erupted in the tiny Gulf state as part of the 'Arab Spring' uprisings. 
The country’s Sunni-led government blames Al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest opposition movement, for the upheaval, accusing the Shia party of pursuing an “Iranian agenda”. 


A tale of two bigots...

Iran requests 950 tons of uranium from Kazakhstan


AFP, TehranSaturday, 25 February 2017

Iran’s nuclear chief said on Saturday that the country had requested to buy 950 tons of uranium concentrate from Kazakhstan over the next three years to help develop its civil reactor program.|
The request has been made to the body that oversees the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in 2015.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told the ISNA news agency that the purchase was supposed to happen “within three years”. 

“650 tons will enter the country in two consignments and 300 tons will enter Iran in the third year,” he said.
Salehi said the final shipment of concentrate, known as yellow cake, would be turned into uranium hexafluoride gas and sold back to Kazakhstan -- its first international sale of the compound which is used in the uranium enrichment process. 

Under the nuclear deal, many of Iran’s centrifuges were mothballed but it has the right to enrich uranium to a level of 3.5 percent and sell it abroad.

Nuclear weapons require uranium enriched to 80 percent or more.
Salehi said Iran has already received around 382 tons of yellow cake, primarily from Russia, since the nuclear deal came into force in January last year.
Under the deal, Iran is allowed to run around 5,000 “IR-1” centrifuges and has been testing more advanced models that can produce greater quantities of enriched uranium -- all under the strict supervision of the UN atomic agency.

Last Update: Saturday, 25 February 2017 KSA 15:52 - GMT 12:52



الاصلاحات في البحرين

20 terror suspects, including 4 women, arreste

09 : 55 PM - 21/02/2017
Manama, Feb.21 (BNA): As part of the search and investigation that led to the foiling of the attempt by fugitives to flee the country via the sea to Iran on February 9, a number of terror cells that were about to carry out terrorist plots have been dismantled through a comprehensive security plan.

Proactive operations were successfully carried out from February 9 to 19, and 20 individuals who were wanted in security cases were arrested. Four women were among those who were arrested and were charged with aiding and abetting fugitives.

One of the arrestees admitted to killing First-Lt Hisham Al Hamadi who was shot dead in Bilad Al Qadeem on January 29. Two others were involved in setting up secret bomb-making warehouses. An investigation revealed that eight of those arrested had received military training on arms and the use of explosives in Iran and Iraq.

The arrestees who were involved in executing the jailbreak and sheltering fugitives are:

1- Sadiq Ahmed Mansoor Ahmed, 27
2- Amira Mohammed Saleh Abduljalil, 35
3- Faten Abdulhussain Ali Nasser, 41
4- Hameeda Juma Ali Abdullah, 40
5- Mona Habib Adrees Saleh, 46
6- Mohammed Saleh Abduljalil Ahmed, 65
7- Abdulshaheed Ahmed Ali Al Shaikh, 37
8- Ahmed Hassan Redhi, 23
9- Abulfadhel Mohammed Saleh Abduljalil, 24

Al Dair group, involved in various terrorist crimes:

1- Jaffar Naji Ramadhan Ali Humaidan, 22
2- Yousif Hassan Mohammed Hassan, 22
3- Ali Hassan Abdulali Hamaad, 30
4- Mohsen Ahmed Ali Al Naham, 24 years
5- Mohammed Hassan Abdali Al Naham, 46

Arrestees involved in various terrorist cases:

1- Ahmed Isa Ahmed Isa Al Mulali, 23, confessed to murdering officer Hisham Al Hamadi, saying he was assigned to do so by Hussain Dawood who escaped to Iraq.
2- Ahmed Ali Ahmed Yousif, 20, set up secret warehouse of explosive in his house
3- Salman Mohammed Salman Mansoor, 31, provided satellite phones to assist the escape of fugitives
4- Hussain Mohammed Salman Mansoor, 36, provided satellite phones to assist the escape of fugitives
5- Hussain Isa Ahmed Ali Al Shaer, 34, received military training in Iran
6- Hani Younis Yousif Ali, 21, assisted with another suspect in setting up a secret warehouse of explosives.

The General Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Forensic Science has taken legal steps and referred the suspects to the Public Prosecution.



Iranian Revolution's 38th Anniversary, 38 Years of Media Repression


Iran is one of the world’s biggest prisons for media personnel
Reporters Without Borders February 9, 2017
Media freedom was one of the key demands of the revolution that toppled the Shah and swept Ayatollah Khomeini to power 38 years ago, in February 1979, but it is a promise that has never been kept and Iran is now one of the world’s biggest prisons for media personnel, with a total of 29 journalists and citizen-journalists detained.
The Islamic Revolution has seen a succession of leaders during the past 38 years but the persecution of journalists has never stopped. Only the methods used to silence them have evolved.
The revolution’s first ten years were marked by massive arrests and the execution of several journalists who supported the Shah’s regime, including Ali Asgar Amirani, Simon Farzami and Nasrollah Arman. The deaths of left-wing journalists Said Soltanpour and Rahman Hatefi-Monfared followed.
After the official executions of the “dark years,” extra-judicial executions were used to eliminate journalists. Late 1998 saw a series of murders. Journalist and editor Ebtekar Ebrahim Zalzadeh’s body was found with 15 stab wounds. Potassium was used to murder Majid Charif, a journalist with the magazine Iran-e-Farda. Journalists and writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohamad Jafar Pouyandeh were strangled to death. No one ever found the body of Pirouz Pirouz Davani, a newspaper editor who had been abducted in 1997.
Letting journalists die slowly
The revolution has adopted a different strategy during the past 15 years, one that is less visible but no less effective in throttling freedom of information. By holding journalists for years in prison, where they are subjected to torture, mistreatment and denial of medical care, the regime lets them die slowly.
The blogger Sattar Beheshti was tortured to death at the headquarters of the FTA (Iran’s cyber-police) in 2012 for daring to criticize the regime on Facebook.
The photojournalist Zahra Kazemi and the young blogger Omidreza Mirsayafi also died as a result of being mistreated while in detention. Detained journalists have often put their lives at risk by going on hunger strike in protest again prison conditions or the deaths of fellow journalists in detention. They include Hoda Saber, an Iran-e-Farda writer who died in detention in 2011.
Arbitrary arrests
The run-up to the revolution’s anniversary brought no relief for journalists this year. In fact, the persecution has clearly intensified because of the presidential election due to be held in May. The past two months have been marked by another series of arbitrary arrests under procedures that deny journalists the right to due process, have no basis in Iranian law and constitute a flagrant violation of the Universal Declaration of Human rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The blogger Baran Mehdi Khazali was arrested for the eighth time since 2009 on 5 February, after openly criticizing the regime in interviews for Voice of America and DorTV. He was one of the first to question the official reason for former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s death and to suggest he might have been murdered by drowning. Now held in Tehran’s Evin prison, Khazali was given a 14-year jail sentence in 2011.
Zeniab Karimian, a woman journalist who hosts a programme on Iran’s 3rd TV channel, and Saleh Deldam, a young filmmaker, were arrested at their home on 23 January by plainclothesmen and were taken to an unknown location. Since then, their families have been told nothing of their fate.
Borna News social affairs editor Tahereh Riahi was arrested at her workplace on 27 December and was placed in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Evin prison. According to the information obtained by RSF, she is now in very poor physical and psychological health.
Prison or flogging
Prison is not the only method used to silence journalists. Under the Islamic penal code, corporal punishment can often be applied. The various penalties available to judges include flogging in addition ot stoning, torture and death. Under articles 609 and 698, criticizing government officials or publishing false news is punishable by 74 lashes. Although inhuman, degrading and primitive, this punishment has often been used during the past ten years.
Five journalists were sentenced to be flogged from 2000 to 2005. And since 2009 (and the protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial reelection in June of that year), no fewer than 40 journalists and citizen-journalists have been sentenced to a total of 2,000 lashes.
The tendency to use this cruel and humiliating punishment has increased of late. In 2016, journalist and documentary filmmaker Kaivan Karimi was sentenced to 223 lashes, the journalist Mohammad Reza Fathi was sentenced to 459 lashes and Shahrood News website editor Mostafa Sharif was sentenced to 40 lashes.
Gilan Novin and Gilan Noo news website editors Mostafa Brari and Arash Shoa Shargh were sentenced at the end of last month to 114 lashes and 40 lashes respectively. In their case, the sentences have yet to be carried out. But Najafabad News website journalist Hossein Movahedi was administered 40 lashes on 4 January – his sentence for allegedly publishing false information.
Iran is ranked 169th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

MOI’s Killing of Three Bahrainis Leaves Lots of Unanswered Questions


Marc Owen Jones

Irreverence and analysis on Bahrain, Bots, and the History of the Persian Gulf…

WhatsApp Image 2017-02-09 at 18.36.34.jpeg
Image from the MOI saying “planned route of the boat during the smuggling operation to Iran of the wanted men”
Today saw the shooting and killing of three Bahrainis on a boat. They were alleged by the Ministry of the Interior to be escaping to Iran. The three killed were part of a group of ten people who had reportedly escaped from Jaw prison in January 2017. The Ministry of the Interior wrote a lengthy account of events here. While it is possible that the MOI version of events was accurate, this post contends that there is little reason to believe that the information released to the public is adequate in allowing anyone to determine accurately the true nature of events.
Firstly, the pertinent information regarding this operation is as follows (from the MOI website).
The Ministry of Interior has named the deceased as Redha Abdulla Isa Al Ghasra, 29, a fugitive sentenced to 79 years and life imprisonment, Mahmood Yousif Habib Hasan Yahya, 22, and Mustafa Yousif Yousif Abd Ali, 35.
Those arrested have been named as Mohamed Jassim Mohamed Jassim Al Abid, 28, Hamid Jassim Mohamed Jassim Al Abid, 28, and Hasan Ali Mohamed Fardan Al Shakar, 22, all of whom were involved in the terrorist attack on Jau Prison and/or aiding and abetting fugitives. Others arrested included Hani Younis Yousif Ali, 21, Ahmed Ali Ahmed Yousif, 20, Ali Hasan Ali Saleh, 38, and Ahmed Isa Ahmed Isa Al Malali, 23, who were named as being involved in the aiding and abetting of fugitives and the concealment and movement of firearms and explosives.
The Coastguard authority said that items found on the vessel included a Kalashnikov assault rifle which was used to attack the coastguard vessels, a GPS system and satellite phone, ID cards, money and personal items.  The authority also noted that those arrested confirmed they were in contact with, and due to meet, accomplices in Iranian waters.
Importantly, a bizarre leaked video of the operation was posted by @Alwatan_live. This can be found below (I would suggest you watch it before continuing)...More...two video more...



Sitra arrests: Mohammed Jassim Zakaria Jassim Hussain Abduljabbar Ammar Ahmed Hubail Jaber Khalil AlKattab

British MPs question 'slush fund' aid spending in Bahrain


Report into $1.24bn aid programme raises questions over funding for Gulf state which critics say is being used to 'whitewash' rights abuses
Protesters clash with Bahraini security forces in May 2016 (AFP)
Simon Hooper's picture
Last update: 
Tuesday 7 February 2017 17:11 UTC

British parliamentarians have questioned the use of money from a £1bn ($1.24bn) annual aid programme to fund projects in Bahrain despite continuing human rights concerns in the Gulf kingdom.
report published on Tuesday by the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy found that management of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) was “opaque” and that most funded projects were hidden from public scrutiny.
The committee also highlighted concerns raised by Bahraini human rights activists and the human rights advocacy group Reprieve about projects funded by CSSF money in Bahrain.
Middle East Eye last month revealed that the programme was being used to fund Bahrain's parliament even as the country's government faced complaints over the banning of opposition parties, the reverse of human rights reforms and the executions of political activists amid a continuing crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners.

UK funds parliament of Bahrain as it halts reforms and backs executions

Other projects facilitated by the CSSF included the funding of an ombudsman for the Bahraini prison system which Reprieve and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said had “repeatedly failed to investigate torture allegations” including in cases where allegedly forced confessions had resulted in death sentences.
Addressing those concerns, the committee questioned whether Bahrain was a suitable recipient for aid money that was intended for countries that are considered unstable or affected by conflict.
“Bahrain is a trusted ally of the UK. It poses no threat to the UK, and it is a source of neither refugees nor terrorists. The money allocated to the ombudsman of the Bahraini prison system is small, but it is questionable whether this is a good use of CSSF funding,” the report said.
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, BIRD's director of advocacy, called on the government to give serious consideration to the committee's findings.
“The funding to Bahrain is unaccountable, opaque and a waste of taxpayer money. Despite the millions spent in Bahrain, the human rights situation has degenerated, and the most vulnerable people in Bahrain - torture victims on death row - have been utterly failed by the FCO's policies, while Bahrain has used it to whitewash their sustained abuses,” he said.
“As it stands today, this training programme is a sham, and it is time for the UK to suspend its unconditional funding to Bahrain until real guarantees are in place."

'Slush fund'

The CSSF is a cross-government fund that was launched in April 2015 to fund projects tackling the causes and effects of conflict and instability in regions and countries of strategic importance to the UK.
But the committee concluded that it had not been given enough information about the nature of the projects that the CSSF was being used to fund to assess whether it had proven successful, and raised concerns that it was effectively being used as a “slush fund”.
“The lack of a clear framework by which to evaluate country-level investment decisions means that the NSC is in effect marking its own homework in relation to the CSSF,” it said.
“There is a risk that the CSSF is being used as a ‘slush fund’ for projects that may be worthy, but which do not collectively meet the needs of UK national security.”
Margaret Beckett, the chair of the committee and a Labour MP, said there was no central source of information explaining how the fund was managed and no published list of programmes and projects which have been funded, nor published measures of the impact of CSSF-funded projects.
No single minister is responsible – or accountable. The jury is still out,” said Beckett.
“This Fund has great potential. At the very least, Government must appoint a Cabinet Office minister to take responsibility for this £1 billion fund. If not, a lack of collective responsibility risks degenerating into no responsibility at all.
“While we appreciate the need to maintain security, Government must bring forward plans to make the Fund more transparent.

'Lack of oversight'

Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve, said: “The Committee is right to raise serious concerns over the secrecy surrounding the CSSF.
“This lack of oversight is deeply worrying, given the risk of complicity in terrible abuses – including torture and the death penalty – in countries like Bahrain and Ethiopia. Such substantial, high-risk security assistance surely deserves proper scrutiny by MPs, and by the public.”
Reprieve discovered in February 2016 via Freedom of Information requests that more than £1m in CSSF funding had been allocated to Ethiopia despite previous aid funding being halted in 2014 amid concerns raised about the involvement of Ethiopian security forces in the kidnapping and rendering of a British man, Andargachew Tsege, who is still being held on death row in the East African country.
Tsege is believed to have been detained in 2014 in Yemen during a stopover while flying from Dubai to Eritrea and subsequently handed over to Ethiopian authorities.
Tsege, known as Andy, had fled to the UK in the 1970s having previously been a senior member in an opposition party calling for democracy and civil rights.
Evidence submitted by the UK government included details of CSSF-funded work in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan
According to evidence submitted to the inquiry by the government, more than £188m ($233m) was allocated from the CSSF for projects in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2016-17.
One case study submitted by the government was an ongoing project to equip, train and mentor Lebanon's armed forces to prepare them to defend the country's border with Syria.
“We aim to have trained over 11,000 Lebanese soldiers in the specialist techniques of urban counterterrorism by 2019,” the government said.
The report also cited projects in Jordan involving training the military and working in Syrian refugee camps, while evidence submitted by CSSF suppliers and contractors also revealed details of civil society-building projects in Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Israel and Palestine.