Archive | January 9th, 2012


 Saudi hackers released the credit card information of hundreds of thousands of Israelis online.

Members of the Saudi hacking ring Group-XP took credit for the release of the information on Monday. The information, including credit card details, the holders’ names, addresses, phone numbers and national identification numbers, were posted on a popular Israeli sports website.

Calling the posting of the information a “gift to the world for the new year,” the hackers said they hoped it “would hurt the Zionist pocket,” according to Ynet.

The information reportedly came from Jewish websites from which Israelis made purchases, as well as a website for making donations.

The Bank of Israel released a statement saying that the approximately 15,000 credit card holders affected by the hacking will not be responsible for fraudulent charges based on the incident.





 A hacker temporarily took over the website of Zio-Nazi deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon.

The hacking attempt came after Zio-Nazi Ayalon had spoken out over the weekend against ”cyber terrorism” after suspected Saudi HERO hackers released the details of thousands of Zionist credit card holders in three files over several days.

Zio-Nazi Ayalon’s website was down for about a half-hour. “They will not be able to stop my activities and work on behalf of Israel,” Ayalon said in a statement. “Certainly not in cyberspace, where we have had recent successes on YouTube and Facebook. Cyberspace appears to be the new battlefield, and our opponents will not be able to defeat us on this plane either.”

On Monday, Zionist hackers told Ynet that they are in possession of the details of thousands of credit cards used on Saudi shopping websites and will release them at “the right moment” in retaliation for the Saudi hackers’ attacks on Zionist citizens.

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Obama to name Zionist to top White House slot


President Obama reportedly will name Zionist Jack Lew to be his chief of staff. Zionist Lew, an Orthodox Jew, will replace William Daley, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.

Zionist Lew is currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget, a Cabinet-level position and a post he also filled during the Clinton administration.

He was previously Obama’s deputy secretary of state.

Daley is leaving after just over a year on the job; he replaced Zionist Rahm Emanuel, who left the White House to run for Chicago’s mayor.

Zionist Lew, like Zionist Emanuel, has close Jewish community ties.

There had been speculation in the organized Jewish community about whether Obama would fill a top spot with someone close to the Jewish community after the departure last month of Zionist Dennis Ross, who had been Obama’s top Iran policy adviser.

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The actually Jewish-controlled media tries to make its mark


By Dan Klein 

Steven I. Weiss interview with Republican primary candidate Newt Gingrich on The Jewish Channel stirred a media buzz and some criticism from GOP rivals over Gingrich's remarks, Dec. 9, 2011. (The Jewish Channel)

Steven I. Weiss interview with Republican primary candidate Newt Gingrich on The Jewish Channel stirred a media buzz and some criticism from GOP rivals over Gingrich’s remarks, Dec. 9, 2011. (The Jewish Channel)

NEW YORK (JTA) — It is a strange irony: Jews have been successful in the television business — but Jewish TV, not so much.

It’s not for lack of trying. Right now, no fewer than three Jewish-focused national cable channels are trying to carve out a viable niche within the already small niche for Jewish TV.

It’s a road others have taken in the past, only to reach a dead end.

Jay Sanderson, who served for 21 years as CEO of the Jewish Television Network, knows better than most.

“There’s been dozens of attempts and dozens of failures,” said Sanderson, now the president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. “It’s a cycle that’s been happening for 30-plus years. People want it to happen.”

The current Jewish television channels — The Jewish Channel, Shalom TV and Jewish Life Television — have scored some successes. They all launched in the past five years.

The Jewish Channel garnered national attention twice in the last two months with news broadcasts that ended up metastasizing into international stories.

Launched in 2007 as a subscription video on-demand channel, TJC has been touted as “a Jewish film festival in your living room.” But it has been the channel’s news coverage, which makes up a small fraction of TJC’s overall programming and mostly is not original content — that has thrust the channel into the public eye.

A November news report on an Israeli government-sponsored ad campaign urging Israeli expatriates in the United States to return home sparked an uproar in the United States, with many suggesting that the ads were dismissive of American Judaism. The Israeli government ultimately apologized and ended the campaign.

And in December, TJC landed a sit-down interview with Newt Gingrich in which the Republican presidential candidate suggested that the Palestinians are an “invented” people. Gingrich’s remarks drew headlines and criticism from GOP rivals, including Mitt Romney.

Steven I. Weiss, the director of original programming and new media at TJC as well as its news anchor, credited the channel’s success to “hard work and good luck, and doing the hard work until you get lucky.”

While TJC officials describe their channel as a Jewish HBO, Shalom TV — a free on-demand channel launched in 2006 — describes itself as a Jewish version of C-SPAN and PBS. Shalom TV features educational programming, including Hebrew lessons, as well as videos of Jewish events, lectures, debates and speeches.

This month, the network will begin operating as a linear cable channel, with programming throughout the day, according to Mark Golub, Shalom TV’s founder and CEO. Golub said that five small cable systems across the country will carry the linear channel initially, while three larger cable systems have committed to picking it up once it is up and running. The programming also will be streamed online.

Jewish Life Television, which launched in 2007, already is operating as a 24/7 linear channel. It airs a variety of programming, from music videos and cooking shows to religious services and entertainment news. JLTV appears on cable systems across the country, and recently joined DIRECTV to be broadcast in all 50 states. In December, JLTV broadcast and streamed online President Obama’s speech at the Union for Reform Judaism’s biennial conference.

Officials at all three channels say there are distinct challenges in creating a television network aimed at a broader American Jewish audience.

“If you’re reaching Russian, Chinese audiences, you can rely on language barrier to make people have to watch your material,” TJC’s Weiss said. “With the Jewish audience, everyone speaks English.”

Golub said it was an uphill fight to sell cable companies on Shalom TV and the concept of a Jewish channel.

“No one had ever been able to convince a major cable system to launch a Jewish network. There was every kind of ethnic, Haitian, Russian, Spanish television. There was Christian, but no Jewish,” Golub said. “No cable system would say that we’re going to devote server space to feature a Jewish channel in its own lineup of channels alongside MSNBC, the Cooking Channel. We convinced them.”

In addition to Shalom TV, Golub is president of the Russian Media Group, which produces two of its own Russian-language channels and also distributes a package of satellite channels aimed at Russian speakers. Golub is a co-creator of the company’s flagship Russian Television Network of America, a 20-year-old cable and satellite channel that targets immigrants from the former Soviet Union, most of whom are Jewish.

Representatives of all three English-language channels cast their projects not as luxuries but as necessities in the Jewish community.

“If the Jewish culture was not a rich culture, you could say there’s no place for Jewish television,” Weiss said. “But in a community that produces as many cultural pieces as we produce, as much fascinating political news discussion and as much fascination with Israel — that culture needs a TV channel, it wants a TV channel and it deserves one.”

Weiss told JTA that TJC has 50,000 subscribers who pay $5 to $7 a month. He said the channel expects to begin turning a profit sometime this year.

Phil Blazer, the founder of JLTV, says his channel’s audience has grown on DIRECTV to nearly 2 million households monthly. Based on that figure, he estimates that an additional 1 million viewers are watching on other cable affiliates. Blazer attributed the relatively large viewership to the channel’s appeal to Christian audiences interested in Judaism and Jewish culture.

Shalom TV says that its on-demand programming is accessed by 40,000 to 50,000 households monthly.

Shalom TV says it tracks audience using the media organization RenTrak; JLTV uses Kantar Media. TJC declined to say how it tracks its numbers.

None of the channels provided original tracking documents, and JTA was unable to independently verify their viewership claims.

Blazer says that JLTV, which is a for-profit company, generated $2 million in gross advertising revenue in 2010. He also is the president of the Jewish Life Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supplies some of JLTV’s original content. According to IRS filings, Blazer draws no pay from the foundation. Blazer told JTA that he also does not receive a salary from the channel itself.

Golub, Shalom TV’s CEO, also does not receive a salary, according to the channel’s IRS filings. The channel, Golub added, is a nonprofit that has been funded by him and his brother to the tune of “seven figures” over the past four years. Shalom TV raises additional funds through outside donations and by selling DVDs of its programming. Golub said he is starting to seek additional funding.

“We wanted to prove that a Jewish television network was viable and could have an impact before we talked to the foundations about funding,” Golub said.

Sanderson, however, was less optimistic.

“I’m sure some of the programming has redeeming value,” he said. “The question is — is it worth the cost and will it succeed and will it make an impact and will it penetrate the Jewish American community in ways that are successful? I think history doesn’t lie in this particular world.”

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The IMF and US African Command (AFRICOM) Join Hands in the Plunder of the African Continent

By Nile Bowie

Lagos Dissents Under IMF Hegemony

Nigeria: The Next Front for AFRICOM

On a recent trip to West Africa, the newly appointed managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde ordered the governments of Nigeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Ghana and Chad to relinquish vital fuel subsidies.Much to the dismay of the population of these nations, the prices of fuel and transport have near tripled over night without notice, causing widespread violence on the streets of the Nigerian capital of Abuja and its economic center, Lagos. Much like the IMF induced riots in Indonesia during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, public discontent in Nigeria is channelled towards an incompetent and self-serving domestic elite, compliant to the interests of fraudulent foreign institutions. 

Although Nigeria holds the most proven oil reserves in Africa behind Libya, it’s people are now expected to pay a fee closer to what the average American pays for the cost of fuel, an exorbitant sum in contrast to its regional neighbours. Alternatively, other oil producing nations such as Venezuela, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia offer their populations fuel for as little as $0.12 USD per gallon. While Lagos has one of Africa’s highest concentration of billionaires, the vast majority of the population struggle daily on less than $2.00 USD. Amid a staggering 47% youth unemployment rate and thousands of annual deaths related to preventable diseases, the IMF has pulled the rug out from under a nation where safe drinking water is a luxury to around 80% of it’s populace.  

Although Nigeria produces 2.4 million barrels of crude oil a day intended for export use, the country struggles with generating sufficient electrical power and maintaining its infrastructure. Ironically enough, less than 6% of bank depositors own 88% of all bank deposits in Nigeria. Goldman Sachs employees line its domestic government, in addition to the former Vice President of the World Bank, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is widely considered by many to be the de facto Prime Minister. Even after decades of producing lucrative oil exports, Nigeria has failed to maintain it’s own refineries, forcing it to illogically purchase oil imports from other nations. Society at large has not benefited from Nigeria’s natural riches, so it comes as no surprise that a severe level of distrust is held towards the government, who claims the fuel subsidy needs to be lifted in order to divert funds towards improving the quality of life within the country.

Like so many other nations, Nigerian people have suffered from a systematically reduced living standard after being subjected to the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Policies (SAP). Before a loan can be taken from the World Bank or IMF, a country must first follow strict economic policies, which include currency devaluation, lifting of trade tariffs, the removal of subsidies and detrimental budget cuts to critical public sector health and education services.

SAPs encourage borrower countries to focus on the production and export of domestic commodities and resources to increase foreign exchange, which can often be subject to dramatic fluctuations in value. Without the protection of price controls and an authentic currency rate, extreme inflation and poverty subsist to the point of civil unrest, as seen in a wide array of countries around the world (usually in former colonial protectorates). The people of Nigeria have been one of the world’s most vocal against IMF-induced austerity measures, student protests have been met with heavy handed repression since 1986 and several times since then, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths. As a testament to the success of the loan, the average laborer in Nigeria earned 35% more in the 1970’s than he would of in 2012.

Working through the direct representation of Western Financial Institutions and the IMF in Nigeria’s Government, a new IMF conditionality calls for the creation of a Sovereign Wealth Fund. Olusegun Aganga, the former Nigerian Minister of Finance commented on how the SWF was hastily pushed through and enacted prior to the countries national elections. If huge savings are amassed from oil exports and austerity measures, one cannot realistically expect that these funds will be invested towards infrastructure development based on the current track record of the Nigerian Government. Further more, it is increasingly more likely that any proceeds from a SWF would be beneficial to Western institutions and markets, which initially demanded its creation. Nigerian philanthropist Bukar Usmanprophetically writes “I have genuine fears that the SWF would serve us no better than other foreign-recommended “remedies” which we had implemented to our own detriment in the past or are being pushed to implement today.”

The abrupt simultaneous removal of fuel subsidies in several West African nations is a clear indication of who is really in charge of things in post-colonial Africa. The timing of its cushion-less implementation could not be any worse, Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan recently declared a state of emergency after forty people were killed in a church bombing on Christmas day, an act allegedly committed by the Islamist separatist group, Boko Haram. The group advocates dividing the predominately Muslim northern states from the Christian southern states, a similar predicament to the recent division of Sudan. 

As the United States African Command (AFRICOM) begins to gain a foothold into the continent with its troops officially present in Eritrea and Uganda in an effort to maintain security and remove other theocratic religious groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army, the sectarian violence in Nigeria provides a convenient pretext for military intervention in the continuing resource war. For further insight into this theory, it is interesting to note that United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania conducted a series of African war game scenarios in preparation for the Pentagon’s expansion of AFRICOM under the Obama Administration.

In the presence of US State Department Officials, employees from The Rand Corporation and Israeli military personnel, a military exercise was undertaken which tested how AFRICOM would respond to a disintegrating Nigeria on the verge of collapse amidst civil war. The scenario envisioned rebel factions vying for control of the Niger Delta oil fields (the source of one of America’s top oil imports), which would potentially be secured by some 20,000 U.S. troops if a US-friendly coup failed to take place At a press conference at the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2008, AFRICOM Commander, General William Ward then went on to brazenly state the priority issue of America’s growing dependence on African oil would be furthered by AFRICOM operating under the principle theatre-goal of “combating terrorism”.

At an AFRICOM Conference held at Fort McNair on February 18, 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller openly declaredthe guiding principle of AFRICOM was to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”, before citing China’s increasing presence in the region as challenging to American interests. After the unwarranted snatch-and-grab regime change conducted in Libya, nurturing economic destabilization, civil unrest and sectarian conflict in Nigeria is an ultimately tangible effort to secure Africa’s second largest oil reserves. During the pillage of Libya, its SFW accounts worth over 1.2 billion USD were frozen and essentially absorbed by Franco-Anglo-American powers; it would realistic to assume that much the same would occur if Nigeria failed to comply with Western interests. While agents of foreign capital have already infiltrated its government, there is little doubt that Nigeria will become a new front in the War on Terror. 

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IsraHell: “Wiped off The Map”. The Rumor of the Century, Fabricated by the US Media to Justify An All out War on Iran

By Arash Norouzi


The following text by Arash Norouzi first published by the Mossadegh Project and Global Research in January 2007 confirms that the alleged “Wiped Off the Map” statement  by Iran’s president was never made.

The rumor was fabricated by the American media with a view to discrediting Iran’s head of state and providing a justification for waging an all out war on Iran. the article provides of media manipulation and “propaganda in action”.

Iran is blamed for refusing to abide by the “reasonable demands” of “the international community”. 

Realities are twisted and turned upside down. Iran is being accused of wanting to start a war. Inherent in US military doctrine, the victims of war are heralded as the aggressor.

The threat to global security comes from the US-NATO-Israel military alliance, which is now threatening Iran with a pre-emptive attack with nuclear warheads.

If Iran is attacked, we are potentially in a World War III scenario.

It is essential to dispel the fabrications of the Western media.

Iran does not constitute a threat to to Global Security.

Iran does not possess a nuclear weapons program. Iran does not constitute a threat to Israel. 

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Why does David Cameron think he has any say on Scottish independence?


by jodymcintyre


“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Sometimes, you have to wonder which planet David Cameron is living on. For me, the question of Scottish independence has always been a simple one. In 2011, the Scottish National Party won the parliamentary elections by a landslide, becoming the first ever majority government since the Scottish Parliament was set up, in an electoral system designed to prevent precisely that from happening. The SNP, whose main campaign policy is for Scottish independence, won 69 out of 129 seats. The Scottish Labour Party, in comparison, suffered their worst electoral defeat since 1931. The leaders of the Scottish Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative Parties were all forced to resign after such atrocious results. You would think that figures like this give a fairly clear image of public opinion in Scotland.

Nevertheless, David Cameron seems confused, and he thinks that the people of Scotland might be confused too. When the SNP were elected last year, First Minister Alex Salmond said that a referendum on independence would be held in the second half of their term in government. Again, a clear proposal and time frame, and one that they certainly had a mandate to put forward after such a large electoral victory. However, self-proclaimed Master of Scottish Interests Mr. Cameron says:

“It’s very unfair on the Scottish people themselves, who don’t really know when this question is going to be asked, what the question is going to be, who’s responsible for asking it. We owe the Scottish people something that is fair, legal and decisive. So in the coming days we’ll be setting out clearly what the legal situation is…”

Yes, it is really unfair on those poor Scots, isn’t it, Mr. Cameron? I’m sure they can’t wait for you to set out that legal situation for them, because they clearly can’t be trusted to deal with it on their own. If only Cameron knew how universally despised the Conservative Party are in Scotland, perhaps he would realise that the only thing he “owe[s] the Scottish people” is to stay out of their internal affairs.

It is nothing new for Cameron to speak with this kind of arrogance. However, even I was surprised by the stupidity of some of his comments.

“I think what Alex Salmond is trying to do…” Cameron continued, “I think he knows the Scottish people, at heart, don’t want a full separation from the United Kingdom – and so he’s trying to sort of create a situation where that bubbles up and happens.”

This is where the ‘what planet is he living on’ thought popped into my mind. Ummmm… “bubbles up and happens”? I don’t think that is quite how a national referendum on independence happens, Mr. Cameron.

It is looking increasingly likely that when a referendum on Scottish independence is held, it will be successful. There would be no “United Kingdom” in the form that we know it. But instead of facing the reality of Scottish independence, David Cameron, his supporters, and the entire English political spectrum would rather ignore, laugh and fight against it till the end. The delusions of a dying empire are still alive and well.

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Saudi Arabia: Renewed Protests Defy Ban


Release Imprisoned Advocates of Peaceful Reform

Saudi Arabia is not immune to the Arab Spring. The basic human right to protest peacefully is all the more important in a place like Saudi Arabia, where there are almost no other means of participating in public affairs.

Christoph Wilcke, Senior Middle East Researcher at Human Rights Watch

(Beirut) – Saudi reform advocates have staged several protests since mid-December, 2011, despite a categorical ban on protests issued last March, Human Rights Watch said today. In Riyadh, Buraida, and Qatif, security forces immediately arrested the protesters, who were peacefully protesting the detention without trial of hundreds of people held for long periods in intelligence prisons.

Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry should immediately release scores of detained and convicted peaceful advocates of reform, Human Rights Watch said.

“Saudi Arabia is not immune to the Arab Spring,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The basic human right to protest peacefully is all the more important in a place like Saudi Arabia, where there are almost no other means of participating in public affairs.”

Since the Arab protest movements began in January, hundreds of Saudis have voiced specific grievances or called for political reform. The Saudi government banned all public protests on March 5, after public protests in the capital, Riyadh, and in Qatif in the Eastern Province. However, the Qatif protests have continued and Riyadh protests began again in mid-December.

On December 23, Saudi security forces arrested about 30 women and 30 men who participated in a silent protest in Riyadh, a participant told Human Rights Watch. The protesters called in particular for the release of Dr. Yusuf al-Ahmad, a controversial cleric arrested in July after he tweeted support for the relatives of long-term detainees. By December 28, all but four or five of those arrested had been released.

On December 16, more than 100 women and several dozen men demonstrated in Riyadh and in Buraida, capital of Qasim Province north of Riyadh, calling for long-term detainees to be released or brought to trial. In Riyadh, security forces arrested about 34 men and several women from al-Rajhi mosque after one man shouted “Freedom for the detainees,” a participant told Human Rights Watch. Security forces also briefly detained dozens at Buraida’s al-Rajhi mosque. Most of the women and at least 13 men arrested in Riyadh were released by December 23. Several men remain in detention, activists told Human Rights Watch.

Between November 20 and 23, security forces shot dead four people who were participating in demonstrations in Qatif and al-‘Awwamiyya. The circumstances are unclear, but on at least one past occasion the security forces have used unnecessary lethal force against protesters, in violation of international law. The government announced an investigation on November 24, but no details have been made public.

The Interior Ministry’s March 5 statement prohibiting public protest stated that “The kingdom categorically prohibits all forms of demonstrations, marches, or protests, and calls for them, because that contradicts the principles of the Islamic Sharia, the values and traditions of Saudi society, and results in disturbing public order and harming public and private interests.” The next day, the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, the highest body for interpretation of Islamic law, endorsed this position.

Because Saudi Arabia has no written criminal law, defining the offenses of participating in or calling for a public protest is within the discretion of the judge, who also decides what, if any, punishment should apply.

Saudi Arabia is a state party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights, which states in article 24 that “every citizen has the right… to freely pursue a political activity [and] to freedom of association and peaceful assembly.”

On December 14, a group of political reformers best known for their activism in 2003 and 2004 released a statement, “Twenty Recommendations for Doubling the Success of Demonstrations.” The document offers practical advice about organizing and says that, “demonstrations are among the most powerful means of holy struggle,” which the authors said in the document is aimed at reforming the monarchy, not toppling it.

On December 12, more than 100 women who are relatives of long-term detainees had signed a declaration stating that, “After today, no prison can terrorize us and no false religious rulings deter us.” One activist told Human Rights Watch that the authorities have not arrested the authors or signers of these statements “because it is so public they think the price is too high.”

Saudi courts are currently trying three activists who were peacefully participating in or calling for demonstrations. In July, a court sentenced five protesters to one year in prison merely for participating in a demonstration.

In November, Egypt’s al-Azhar, one of Sunni Islam’s most renowned institutions of learning and interpretation, addressing the issue of peaceful demonstrations, said that: “Peaceful national opposition movements are truly among human rights in Islam that all international treaties have affirmed, and they are the duty of citizens for reforming their society and strengthening their rulers, who, together with all those in power, are obliged to respond to them without inconsistency or intransigence.”

In addition to the kingdom’s ban on public protest, the government routinely represses expression critical of the government. The three activists currently on trial also face charges of distorting the reputation of the kingdom abroad and causing divisions among people, people familiar with the trials told Human Rights Watch. In January, the kingdom issued a law subjecting virtually all online expression to the kingdom’s restrictive Press and Publications Law, and in April it tightened that law further to criminalize, among other things, harming “the reputation [or] dignity” of religious officials.

The Ministry of Culture and Information holds tribunals for violations of the Press and Publication Law. In September, this ministry announced an investigation into a local newspaper for writing about a court sentencing a woman to 10 strokes of the cane for driving a car. The ministry charged the paper with “causing chitchat among citizens.” In October, the minister of higher education sent a secret cable instructing university professors not to criticize government policies.

“In 2011, the Saudi government shed all pretense of reform and become the kingdom of silence,” Wilcke said.

Recent Saudi Government Violations of the Rights to Freedom of Expression and Peaceful Assembly

Lethal force against protesters

Saudi activists in and near Qatif have held regular protests since March. The Qatif protests have in particular called for the release of nine people detained without trial since 1998 on suspicion of involvement in the bombing of a US military facility in nearby al-Khobar, in which 19 people died.

On November 20, Saudi security forces shot dead Nasir al-Muhaishi at a checkpoint in Qatif. During clashes following his funeral procession on November 21, security forces shot Ali al-Filfil to death. Avideo circulated on the internet by local activists shows the body of a man identified as al-Filfil lying on the side of a street.

On November 23, during angry protests over the deaths of al-Muhaishi and al-Filfil, security forces shot dead two more protesters, Munib Al ‘Adnan, and Ali al-Qarairis. Activists circulated an edited video on the internet purporting to show the moment in which Al ‘Adnan and al-Qarairis were shot. The video depicts a group of about 30 people standing on one side of a busy street at night, with two security force vehicles the size of small trucks on the other side of the street, not more than 30 meters away, with their front lights on and one vehicle’s emergency lights flashing. The group does not appear to be engaging in hostile actions against the security vehicles or carrying arms. Then single shots ring out, and some people in the crowd hurriedly carry a body away while others follow.

Another video, which a local activist sent privately to Human Rights Watch, purports to show Al ‘Adnan’s head with a bullet wound that allegedly killed him. His death certificate notes “gunshot” as cause of death, without giving further details.

The Associated Press, on November 24, reported that the Interior Ministry had said that “unknown criminals” who “fired on security checkpoints and vehicles from houses and alleyways” were responsible for the deaths.

Activists told Human Rights Watch that nine people have been wounded by gunfire since October, mostly in Qatif or Shia towns in the province. One told Human Rights Watch that he was shot from behind as he walked past the local police station. A medical report stated that a bullet had entered him from the side. Human Rights Watch is withholding further information to avoid identifying the person.

The nine people injured are: Abdullah Muhammad Abu Abdullah, 22, shot on October 13, Ali Ja’far al-Alwan, 17, Salih Mahdi al-Marar, 13, Mamduh Ja’far al-‘Ulwan, 20, and Muhsin Ali Al Mughais, 21, all shot on October 16; Husain Salman al-Nazhar, 24, shot on October 18; Muhammad Abd al-Wahid Al ‘Abbas, 20, shot on October 26; Muhammad Fu’ad al-Banawi, 23, shot on November 10; and Ahmad al-‘Aradi, 19, shot on November 22. There are few reliable details available concerning the circumstances of the shootings.

Arbitrary Detention

Security forces have arrested hundreds of protesters since March, most in the Qatif area. The latest releases, of seven protesters, were on December 27, but others remain in detention, including Fadhil al-Manasif, a local human rights activist. Police arrested him on October 2 as he tried to keep them from arresting two elderly men whose sons were wanted for participating in a demonstration. Al-Manasif remains in the intelligence prison, but Human Rights Watch has found no evidence that charges have been brought against him.

In late February, Muhammad al-Wadh’ani, in an internet video posted in late February, called for peaceful public protests to bring down the absolute monarchy of the Sa’ud family and for the release of political prisoners. Men in civilian clothes arrested him during a small protest in Riyadh on March 4. An activist said he was taken to a hospital soon after his arrest. Relatives who have since seen him said his body appeared to bear signs of torture. It is not known if he faces any charges.

Charges for Exercising Basic Rights

While many protesters have been detained without charges, prosecutors have pressed charges and courts have heard cases against other peaceful protesters and reform advocates.

In March, security forces arrested the human rights activist Muhammad al-Bajadi; Dr. Mubarak Zu’air, a lawyer for the families of long-term detainees; and two lone protesters, Muhammad al-Wad’ani and Khalid al-Juhani, for engaging in peaceful public protests. All four remain in detention.

Al-Wad’ani was arrested on March 4. Intelligence agents arrested al-Juhani, a teacher who was the sole protester on a public square in Riyadh on March 11, the day activists posting on Facebook had declared to be Saudi Day of Anger. Speaking to some international journalists gathered there, al-Juhani gave an interview to the BBC calling for freedom of expression and democracy. After spending months incommunicado in the intelligence prison, he faces charges of participating in a public demonstration and speaking to foreign media.

In July, a Riyadh court sentenced five protesters who had peacefully demanded the release or trial of their long-term detained relatives to a year in prison for “encumbering the affairs of the ruler,” and “disobeying” the ruler by demonstrating and causing chaos.

Judges of the Specialized Criminal Court, established in 2008 for terrorism suspects, are trying Zu’air on similar charges: encumbering the affairs of the ruler, not complying with rules and regulations, attending an unlicensed gathering, spreading sedition, and not obeying religious scholars. His first court hearing was on December 22, over nine months after his arrest. Zu’air had no notice of the trial, he told Human Rights Watch, and so his lawyers could not attend.

He related the details of his arrest to Human Rights Watch: On March 13, he led several hundred relatives of long-term detainees held by the domestic intelligence service, the mabahith, to the Interior Ministry in Riyadh to seek a meeting with officials.

Zu’air said that a security official called him over and handed him his mobile phone, saying the deputy minister of interior for security affairs, Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, wanted to speak to him. Bin Nayef offered a meeting on March 18, and asked Zu’air to disperse the crowd, which Zu’air said he did. The prince’s office postponed the meeting to March 19. He and the prince discussed the long-term detentions in violation of the kingdom’s laws, Zu’air said. The prince asked Zu’air to convey to the relatives that 800 detainees would be freed soon, while others, some of whom would be released on bail, would face trial. However, police arrested Zu’air on March 20 as he was on his way to the Interior Ministry to convey the prince’s message to the relatives again gathered there.

In a similar case the Specialized Criminal Court in September sentenced Abd al-Aziz al-Wuhaibi, an Islamic scholar, to seven years in prison following his arrest in February together with at least four others who intended to establish the kingdom’s first political party. The court considered this act a criminal offense, lawyers and family members familiar with the case told Human Rights Watch. They added that the court did not allow lawyers for al-Wuhaibi to attend the trial and that he has not yet received the written verdict.

Al-Bajadi was arrested by domestic intelligence agents on March 21 and charged with instigating demonstrations, membership in an unlicensed association, supporting the protests in Bahrain, and possession of prohibited books. Bajadi is a founding member of the Association for Civil and Political Rights (ACPRA), which the government has refused to license. Fellow activists told Human Rights Watch that the books in question came from that year’s international book fair in Riyadh. The judge has not allowed al-Bajadi’s lawyers to attend the trial, the latest session of which took place on December 9.

In May and June, over 50 women defied an informal ban on women driving in the kingdom. In Jeddah, police arrested 34-year-old Shaima al-Jastania as she drove to a hospital on May 19 to receive an injection. On September 27 Judge Abd al-Majid al-Luhaidan of the Summary Court sentenced her to 10 lashes for violating public order. According to the verdict, he based his opinion on the Qur’anic verse obliging believers to obey God, His messenger, and their rulers, and noting that the Interior Ministry had banned driving, although no such law exists in writing in the kingdom. Al-Jastania appealed the verdict.

Human Rights Watch opposes lashing and other forms of corporal punishment as torture and ill-treatment in violation of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Saudi Arabia is party.

Government Gag Orders

When Al-Watan, a Saudi daily newspaper, on September 28 printed news of the 10 lashes imposed on al-Jastaina, the deputy assistant minister of culture and information for domestic media wrote a letter to the paper’s editor announcing an investigation for “encroaching upon the national bond and causing chitchat among citizens.”

On October 22, the higher education minister sent a telegram marked secret to universities complaining about the “plethora of comments… by public employees that reprimand and criticize the policies and programs of the state.” Dr. Fahd al-Harbi, dean of the faculty of dentistry of the University of Dammam, a public institution under the Higher Education Ministry, on November 19 wrote to all teaching staff, technicians, and administrative employees to relay the minister’s message and to instruct them “not to publish, issue, or sign statements or letters that oppose the policy of the state or that contradict the basic laws.”

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Egypt: National and International Human Rights Organizations are Under Attack

Joint Urgent AppeaL
  • © 2010 Human Rights Watch

The undersigned organizations are deeply concerned about reports of attacks against NGOs in Egypt. Egyptian security forces, in uniform and in civilian clothes, as well as public prosecutors, are reported to have stormed the offices of six NGOs this Thursday 29 December 2011: the Arab Center for Independence of Justice and Legal Professions (ACIJP) the Budgetary and Human Rights Observatory, Future Centre for Judicial Studies, the Cairo and Assuit offices of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republic Institute (IRI), and Freedom House. Egyptian public TV and radio stations announced later on the same day that security forces have raided the offices of 17 organizations, mostly human rights organizations. However, none of the news sources have identified these organizations or the reasons behind storming their offices.

The staff members of the six national and international organizations were investigated by public prosecutors inside their offices. Police forces searched through their papers, laptops and computers. Staff members of the six organizations were warned against using their cell phones, laptops, and computers, and were prevented from contact with the outside world. Additionally, authorities restricted access to the entire buildings where they are located, preventing people from entering or exiting. ACIJP offices have been closed and sealed by red wax by police forces.

Ahmed Ali Al Salakawi, researcher in the Budgetary and Human Rights Observatory, was arrested following the storming of the office. No further information is available with regards to the reasons of his arrest.

These attacks are taking place in the context of the larger campaign lead by the Supreme Council for Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Egyptian government starting in June 2011 against civil society organizations, and more specifically human rights groups, in Egypt. The NDI, IRI, and Freedom House have previously been investigated by the ministry of justice on charges of receiving foreign funding, while the Arab Center for the Independence of Justice and Legal Professions has not yet been investigated.

Investigation of the Budgetary and Human Rights Observatory was due to start next Sunday, January 1, 2012. In this context, it is important to note that on December 21, and following the attack on the Cabinet sit-in on December 16, where the military used excessive violence to disperse protesters resulting in the killing of 18 protesters and the detention and torture of hundreds, the Minister of Justice declared that there is a link between the events and the civil society NGOs allegedly receiving foreign funds. The Minister implied that the “third party” responsible for the attacks on protesters during the events of Maspero, Mohamed Mahmoud Street, and the Cabinet Sit-In, are the human rights NGOs currently facing a smear campaign and being labeled as foreign agents.

We strongly condemn the ongoing crackdown on NGOs in Egypt and view it as a way in which these organizations might face trumped-up charges linked with criminal offenses, in an attempt to provide a scapegoat to provide impunity for the SCAF and Egyptian authorities and to silence voices critical of ongoing human rights violations.

These attacks constitute a severe violation of the right to Freedom of Association, as provided in Article 22 of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and fall within the general policies of the government of Egypt and the SCAF to undermine public freedoms in the Country. During the past 10 months of military rule, the SCAF has been accused of conducting activities hostile to human rights and fundamental freedoms: the SCAF has been accused of using life ammunition against peaceful protestors, torturing political detainees, and referring more than 12000 civilians to military trials. We call on the SCAF and the Egyptian government to immediately halt its attacks on the above-mentioned NGOs and to refrain from attacking additional NGOs in Egypt.

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP)

Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR)

Asian Legal Resource Centre 

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US: Harsh Conditions for Young Lifers


Sexual Violence, Solitary Confinement, Depression

  • The Ryan Correctional Facility in Detroit. Michigan is among the states that sentence offenders under age 18 to life without the possibility of parole.
    © 2007 Associated Press

Children who commit serious crimes and who inflict harm on others should be held accountable. But neither youth offenders, nor any other prisoner, should endure any form of physical abuse.
Alison Parker, director of the US program

(New York) – The approximately 2,570 youth offenders serving life without parole sentences in adult US prisons experience conditions that violate fundamental human rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The United States is the only country in the world with youth offenders (below the age of 18 at the time of offense) serving life without parole sentences. The US Supreme Court will consider arguments about the constitutionality of the practice in March 2012.

The 47-page report,Against All Odds: Prison Conditions for Youth Offenders Serving Life without Parole Sentences in the United States,” draws on six years of research, and interviews and correspondence with correctional officials and hundreds of youth offenders serving life without parole. Human Rights Watch found that nearly every youth offender serving life without parole reported physical violence or sexual abuse by other inmates or corrections officers. Nationwide statistics indicate that young prisoners serving any type of sentence in adult prison, as well as those with a slight build and low body weight, are most vulnerable to attack.

“Children who commit serious crimes and who inflict harm on others should be held accountable,” said Alison Parker, director of the US program at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. “But neither youth offenders, nor any other prisoner, should endure any form of physical abuse.”

This new research sheds light on the severity of prison conditions for those serving this sentence, Human Rights Watch said.

“[I was] scared to death,” said a youth offender serving life without parole in California. “I was all of 5’6”, 130 pounds and they sent me to PBSP [Pelican Bay State Prison]. I tried to kill myself because I couldn’t stand what the voices in my head was saying…. ‘You’re gonna get raped.’ ‘You won’t ever see your family again.’”

Youth offenders are serving life without parole sentences in 38 states and in federal prisons. They often enter adult prison while still children, although some have reached young adulthood by the time their trials end and they begin serving their sentences. Prison policies that channel resources to inmates who are expected to be released often result in denying youth serving life without parole opportunities for education, development, and rehabilitation, Human Rights Watch found.

Youth offenders commonly reported having thoughts of suicide, feelings of intense loneliness, or depression. Isolation was frequently compounded by solitary confinement. In the past five years, at least three youth offenders serving life without parole sentences in the United States have committed suicide.

While the report found numerous examples in which prison conditions had caused harm to youth offenders, there were also several examples of youth who had been able to continue their education, and showed evidence of rehabilitation and a desire to contribute to society if ever released.

The federal government and the states should abolish the sentence of life without parole for crimes committed by children, Human Rights Watch said. Government officials responsible for youth offenders should reform confinement conditions to accommodate their particular vulnerabilities, needs, and capacities to mature, reflect upon the harm they have caused, and change.

“Because children are different, shutting the door to growth, development, and rehabilitation turns a sentence of life without parole into a punishment of excessive cruelty,” said Parker. “Youth offenders should be given a path to rehabilitation while in prison – not forced to forfeit their future.”

Accounts from the report:

Sexual and physical violence

“When I was young, it was disorienting and scary, like a fish thrown in water not knowing how to swim. Everyone seemed big and dangerous and threatening, I was challenged and intimidated a lot. Canines [sexual predators] stalked me, and at all times I expected to be attacked.”
– Tyler Y. (pseudonym), serving life without parole in Colorado

Lack of educational opportunities
“LWOPs cannot participate in many rehabilitative, educational, vocational training or other assignments available to other inmates with parole dates…. The supposed rationality is that LWOPs are beyond salvagability and would just be taking a spot away from someone who will actually return to society someday.”
– Darryl T. (pseudonym), youth offender serving life without parole in California

Desire to contribute to society
“I would be ever grateful… for the chance to spend my life now for some good reason. I would go to the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan…or jump on the first manned mission to Mars…. [I]f the state were to offer me some opportunity to end my life doing some good, rather than a slow-wasting plague to the world, it would be a great mercy to me.”
– Troy L. (pseudonym), youth offender serving life without parole in Arkansas

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