Bolivian President Blames ‘North American Empire’ for Blocking His Flight
NATO Surveillance of European Union
Amnesty International: USA Must Not Prosecute Whistleblower Ed Snowden
Julian Assange Turns 42
Michael Ratner Updates on Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Bay Prison
Attorney and Radio Host Jim Lafferty on the Militarization of Local Policing
Two years since the Arab Spring demonstrations erupted in Bahrain, human rights abuses continue to this day. In 2011, an independent report exposed these abuses that compelled the Kingdom of Bahrain to hire former NYPD police chief John Timoney to whitewash acts of political repression. Who is John Timoney and why was he outsourced to Bahrain? We ask legal worker and journalist Kris Hermes, who recently penned the article “John Timoney and the Kingdom of Bahrain: Whitewashing Human Rights Abuses and Suppressing a Popular Revolution”.
- Shortly after the Arab Spring began in 2011, Bahrain followed in the footsteps of Tunisia and Egypt by demonstrating against the ruling monarchy that’s been in power for more than 200 years.
- Those protests were met with intense repression by King Hamad.
- The protests mainly involved the Shiite population who argue they’ve been systematically discriminated against in employment, housing, education.
- The Ministry of Interior hired John Timoney, as well as John Yates who is from Britain’s Metropolitan Police Department.
- John Timoney had a long career in the New York City Police Department. He was probably most well known for his handling of the Tomkins Square Park riots in 1988.
- Regardless of what he did to clean up the Philadelphia Police Department, his handling of the Republican National Convention protests was abysmal. He came down very hard on protesters in 2000, essentially establishing a new form of policing in the United States, that for the most part was intolerant of political demonstrations.
- He became the police chief of Miami in 2002 and oversaw one of the most violent police reactions in modern history. He used what he learned in Philadelphia, conducting preemptive raids, using infiltration and heavy surveillance, brutalizing protesters on the street, and wrongfully arresting hundreds of people.
- In Miami he used a whole panoply of weapons against protesters, including tear gas, pepper spray, rubber and wooden bullets, bean bag rounds, Tasers and electric shields.
- He gained a reputation both in Philly and Miami.
- He’s been in Bahrain for a year and a half now and has a two-year contract that’s just about up.
- That’s the reason why the article was done, as an assessment on how Timoney has done in Bahrain in terms of his crown control measures.
- Andrews International: Part of a security apparatus that is increasingly private in terms of policing and security personnel that are deployed around the world.
- It allows the US to expand its militia around the world as well.
- The death toll for political demonstrators has only increased since Timoney arrived on the scene. One of his favorite tools to suppress demonstrations in the United States is tear gas.
- Things are pretty dire for political dissidents in Bahrain.
Guest – Kris Hermes, an activist who provides legal support work on cases involving political dissidents.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi Ousted Following Days of Massive Anti-Government Protests
Last week, democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi was ousted following historic demonstrations by Egyptian protesters. Morsi and his advisors have been held under house arrest in the Egyptian Republican Guard Club. The highest Brotherhood leader, Mohammed Badie, and some associates of his, have been arrested. Protesters accused Morsi of supporting Obama’s anti-Syrian agenda, ignoring critical economic problems and betraying his support for Palestinians. However, what are the some of the economic issues involved that led up to these massive protests?
- We’re going through a real historic process. You had at least 20 million people in the streets expressing their anger in different Egyptian cities.
- This is a continuation of the process that started in January 2011, not just an Egyptian but an Arab phenomenon.
- I think it’s a complete anger, bitterness and disillusionment of the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.
- We have to remember that the Muslim Brotherhood has been the largest opposition force during the last decade of the Mubarak dictatorship.
- After one year in power they managed to alienate everybody. They were essentially ruling as a continuation of the old regime, and pro-imperialist foreign policy.
The dominant image of the Arab Spring is purely political, middle class, youthful mobilization aiming at democratizing despotic regimes.
- The Mubarak dictatorship for years and sometimes decades have applied neoliberal economic policy that tremendously increased the class divide, so the social element of this revolution was vital.
- In the case of Egypt, the revolution in 2011 came after five years of the biggest wave of workers’ struggle in the history of the country since the 1940s.
- The continuation of the revolution is in large part based around worker mobilization. Before the revolution we didn’t have independent trade unions; they were incorporated into the state.
- More like the agent of the state against the liberal movement.
- Since then we’ve witnessed an emergence of thousands of trade unions and they are playing an important part in the revolution in terms of social demands.
- The message from below, even when it is apparently limited demands, it has the potential of raising people’s confidence and enhancing a process of radicalization that can link these demands to a wider vision of a transformation of society.
- What happened in Turkey a few weeks ago and Brazil more recently has very much has inspired the Egyptian struggle.
- What we are witnessing is a huge mobilization against the Muslim Brotherhood. The military prefers to remain in the background.
- We are in a prolonged revolutionary process and I think that the people are learning from their own experience.
Guest – Omar el-Shafei, political activist and independent researcher currently living in NYC. He is a doctoral candidate in International Law at Paris VII University in France. Omar is a founding member of the Committee of Solidarity with the Struggle of the Egyptian People in Paris, France, and author of Workers, Trade Unions, and the State in Egypt, 1984-1989, Cairo Papers in Social Science, American University in Cairo Press (Volume 18, Monograph 2, Summer 1995).