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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for May 4th, 2011

Bahrain: Medical Professionals On Trial.

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The Bahraini government has broken so many international conventions in terms of attacking civilians, putting down legitimate protests and quashing freedom of speech, now they are putting doctors and other medical professionals on trial, CNN reports:

“The justice ministry in Bahrain said 47 medical professionals will be tried for crimes that include incitement to overthrow the regime, deadly assault and refusal to help persons in need.

Twenty-four doctors and 23 nurses and paramedics have been charged.

During the protests in the Gulf kingdom, witnesses say security forces in Bahrain stormed the Salmaniya Medical Complex in Manama beating doctors and demonstrators. Bahraini officials deny those accounts.

Activists and human rights groups have alleged that medical personnel have been targeted by Bahraini officials for treating protestors. “

The Physicians for Human Rights report on Bahrain goes into greater detail:

“Thousands of protesters in the small island Kingdom of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf took to the streets calling for government reform in February and March 2011. The Government’s response was brutal and systematic: shoot civilian protesters, detain and torture them, and erase all evidence. On the frontline, treating hundreds of these wounded civilians, doctors had first-hand knowledge of government atrocities.

This report details systematic and targeted attacks against medical personnel, as a result of their efforts to provide unbiased care for wounded protestors. The assault on healthcare workers and their patients constitutes extreme violations of the principle of medical neutrality and are grave breaches of international law. Medical neutrality ensures

1. the protection of medical personnel, patients, facilities, and transport from attack or interference;
2. unhindered access to medical care and treatment;
3. the humane treatment of all civilians; and
4. nondiscriminatory treatment of the injured and sick.

While in Bahrain, PHR investigators spoke with several eyewitnesses of abducted physicians, some of whom were ripped from their homes in the middle of the night by masked security forces. For each doctor, nurse, or medic that the government disappears, many more civilians’ lives are impacted as patients go untreated.

Armed security forces abducted Dr. Ali El-Ekri from the operating room while he was performing surgery at Salmaniya Hospital on 17 March. Another doctor was abducted in the middle of the night from his home in front of his wife and three children. Police and masked men in civilian clothes stormed the home of Dr. Abdul Khaliq al-Oraibi on 1 April. The security forces dragged him out of bed, handcuffed, and then blindfolded him. They did not say where or why they were taking him. His family has not heard from him since.

Physicians for Human Rights uncovered egregious abuses against patients and detainees including torture, beating, verbal abuse, humiliation, and threats of rape and killing. For example, security forces shot Ali in the face and head at close range with birdshot. He woke up later in Salmaniya Hospital where he was held for five days. On his second day, three armed security forces handcuffed Ali and a dozen other wounded men behind their backs with plastic wrist ties and began to beat them. Then the security forces threw Ali and the other patients face first onto the floor and dragged them out into the hallway, leaving trails of blood on the floor. Interrogation, torture, and forced confessions followed. “

[My emphasis.]

Censorship Or Stupidity, Wikipedia And The Promise.

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Zkharya has a post on Engage concerning Wikipedia and the TV series, The Promise.

Anyone familiar with Zkharya will know he is a serious fellow, highly educated and exceedingly well read on these topics.

The gist of the post at Engage is that he tried to improve the quality of an article on The Promise and his helpful additions were removed.

Further, he was warned that he was committing vandalism.

You can read the history of the entry’s here and the talk.

Now anyone familiar with Wikipedia and the exodus of contributors will recognise Zkharya’s criticisms. These have been going on for years, that basically a small coterie of Wikipedia editors patrol and enforce their own diktats on articles.

Should someone find a particularly egregious entry and correct it then their work may be disposed of, unless it pleases those Wikipedia honchos, who don’t like admitting they’re wrong or that they don’t know something terribly well.

I think Zkharya and other Wikipedia contributors need to remember Lord Acton’s quote, updated for the 21st century:

“Power corrupts, absolute virtual power corrupts absolutely, particularly on the Internet.”

Readers might remember how previously Bob had similar issues with Wikipedia on its CounterPunch entry.

Written by modernityblog

04/05/2011 at 17:10

A Grumpy Stop the War Coalition And Bin Laden.

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StWC Tweets

StWC Tweets on bin Laden

I am not the only one to notice that the Stop the War Coalition were not too happy at bin Laden’s death.

StWC’s latest tweet suggests they are decidedly grumpy on this issue.

Carl Packman, at Though Cowards Flinch, ably analyses the problem with the StWC’s approach:

“However many of us are quietly pleased that Bin Laden is history.

That is, of course, with the exception of the Stop the War Coalition, who today put out a statement which had the following to say (authored by Lindsey German):

The US and Britain should remind themselves of the grievances which bin Laden claimed in 2001: the presence of US troops in the Middle East; the treatment of the Palestinians; and the continued sanctions against Iraq. All of these grievances have worsened in the last ten years. There are now western troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, US bases all over the region, and an intervention including troops and airstrikes in Libya. The Palestinians suffer even more, and have been subject to aerial attack by Israel. Iraq suffers full scale occupation as a result of the war in 2003.

Why have they chosen to dignify the grievances of Bin Laden? Granted these include worthy grievances, but to put Bin Laden’s name next them, on this day of all days, comes dangerously close to saying “Bin Laden was right” – in the same way the National Front would say Enoch Powell was right.

The way they’ve juxtaposed the name of an evil terrorist with legitimate concerns is tasteless – and should be retracted, and reworded. “

Read more.

Update 1: Ken Livinstone doesn’t seem too pleased at bin Laden’s demise either:

““I just looked at [the scenes of jubilation in the US] and realised that it would increase the likelihood of a terror attack on London… That’s very much the American style but I don’t think I’ve ever felt pleased at the death of anybody.

“The real problem for London is that after America we’re a big target so it’s a very dangerous time at the moment…

“We should have captured him and put him on trial. It’s a simple point – are we gangsters or a Western democracy based on the rule of law? This undermines any commitment to democracy and trial by jury and makes Obama look like some sort of mobster.

Update 2: Eamonn Mcdonagh has a funny take on it.

BNP & Business, A Warning.

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A word of warning to any gullible company that wishes to do business with the neofascists in the BNP, they don’t pay, as the Belfast Telegraph relates:

“The British National Party owes companies in Northern Ireland hundreds of thousands of pounds in unpaid bills, it is claimed.

The Belfast Telegraph can reveal that a number of firms here could take the party to court for monies outstanding.

One former supporter of the party has warned that small family-run firms could go bankrupt because of the shortfall, thought to total over £500,000, UK-wide.

A case has already been heard in the High Court in March involving the non-payment of election expenses relating to the Barking constituency in London, where party leader Nick Griffin was the candidate.

A company called Newton Press has taken legal action over an outstanding bill of more than £10,000 for printing services.

Last week the BNP pledged to pay off all the money it owed by the end of the year, adding that the debts were a result of spending during the last European and general election campaigns.

A former BNP supporter in Northern Ireland, who is also owed money, said he is not confident of being repaid soon.

Jim Dowson is a fundraiser who helped set up BNP offices all over the UK, including in Northern Ireland.

His firm Adlorries, which provides promotional and marketing services, claims he is owed around £160,000.

He said he has already had to dip into his own cash to pay off smaller companies related to his firm who were left out of pocket.

“The BNP claim to be the saviours of British industry and British workers, but I am afraid that around half a dozen small, family-run businesses, including some in Northern Ireland, could go to the wall because the BNP have not paid them,” he said.

“We are in a recession and times are hard enough as it is. People have been treated disgracefully.”

Mr Dowson also expressed anger that party boss Mr Griffin was spotted walking around east Belfast last week, just yards from a firm the BNP allegedly owes more than £40,000.”

(H/T: Lancaster Unity)

Written by modernityblog

04/05/2011 at 01:02