SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- The video, which was released by Bahrain’s opposition activists, shows a protester being run over by a vehicle of the militiamen. The vehicle suddenly speeds up and hits the young man, dragging him along.
The incident occurred in a street in the village of Dar Kulaib, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of the capital city of Manama, where protesters were trying to block a road with burning tires.
There was another amateur video going viral on the web, showing a person firing at anti-regime demonstrators with a pistol.
Earlier, Bahrain’s main opposition group al-Wefaq said that a group of pro-regime militiamen shot and seriously wounded two children during a demonstration in the Boori district of Manama.
Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011, demanding political reform and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.
Protesters say they will continue holding demonstrations until their demands for the establishment of a democratically-elected government and an end to rights violations are met.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – UK officials plan to monitor Britons' online activities by placing surveillance devices on the country's telecom networks, a Parliamentary report says. The program would keep tabs on which websites were visited as well as who contacted whom.
On Tuesday the British Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee published the report outlining a massive, national surveillance program based in the country's very electronic infrastructure. The report does not specify the number of so-called "probes" to be installed across Britain's telecommunications networks, but says it would be part of a regime stockpiling information on nearly every move Britons make online.
The government says the installation of the probes will be critical in the online fight against terrorism and other crime, and that the content of emails or Skype calls would not necessarily be collected. Instead, they say, the program would keep track of so-called "outside the envelope" information – such as a message's origin and recipient. An email’s contents would be accessible with a court order, though time and date of sending and receipt would be available with the authorization of a senior law enforcement or intelligence officer.
Which online services the probes would monitor were not identified in the report. However, Facebook, Twitter, Hotmail, and Google Chat are all widely used in the UK and are mentioned in other sections of the report.
The report said the surveillance regime would function on deep packet inspection, a monitoring method that lets an individual who intercepts data to search its contents. Though the project is still in draft form, the committee generally rejected critics' claims that it would constitute an oppressive domestic spying program, saying that without such new security measures, rapidly developing technologies would soon "have a serious impact on the intelligence and security agencies."
"Under current European data retention laws, deep packet inspection is not only legal, but also widely used by the private sector," the report notes. "Whilst legislation is not a perfect solution," it states elsewhere, "we believe it is the best available option."-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Former premier and intelligence chief Ahmad Obeidat joined thousands of Jordanians on Friday to protest fuel price hikes, demanding regime reform and the resignation of Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur.
"The people want to reform the regime. We demand reform and change. Nsur, out before the people revolt," chanted the protesters led by Obeidat's National Reform Front which includes opposition Islamists.
"The people want the downfall of the (fuel) prices. Together, let's reject the decision to raise the prices," read a banner carried by the demonstrators, gathered near Gamal Abdel Nasser Circle, close to the city centre.
Police said 3,000 people took part in the protest, while Islamists put the number at around 20,000. According to an AFP estimate, the demonstrators numbered around 10,000.
Demonstrators gave police flowers, but a limited number called for "the fall of regime," which is punishable by imprisonment under Jordanian law.
Obeidat however stopped them.
"We did not come here today to flex muscle. We came here to defend our constitutional rights. We will stick to our demand of reforming the regime," he told the crowds.
"We want comprehensive reform. We insist on rejecting the general election and any polls under this current bad electoral law."
The National Reform Front and Muslim Brotherhood have said they will boycott Jordan's January 23 vote.
Earlier in November, the government raised fuel prices by up to 53 percent, sparking a series of nationwide protests, rioting and clashes that killed one person and wounded dozens.
Nsur, who formed his government on October 11, has defended the price hike as "unavoidable" given Jordan's $5-billion (3.9-billion-euro) budget deficit and said the measures would save $42 million by year end.
Jordanians have held Arab Spring-inspired protests since last year, demanding reforms and a tough anti-corruption fight.- www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – US President Barack Obama says Washington supports the Israeli regime’s “right to self-defense” amid ongoing deadly airstrikes by the Tel Aviv regime on the besieged Gaza Strip.
The US president “reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense” in a telephone conversation with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday, the White House said in a statement.
Obama took the same stance in a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Over the past 24 hours, at least 13 Palestinians, including senior Hamas commander Ahmed al-Ja’abari, have been killed in the Israeli airstrikes. Two children and a woman are also among the victims.
Prior to the phone conversation with Obama, the Egyptian president condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza and called for an immediate end to the airstrikes.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice also defended the Israeli offensive against Palestinians at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday.
The Israeli regime conducts airstrikes and ground attacks against the besieged Palestinian territory on an almost regular basis.
On June 13, Israeli President Shimon Peres was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.
The 88-year-old Israeli criminal, who has overseen the killing of women and children by Israeli forces in Palestine for decades, received the highest civilian honor in the United States.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — An international lawyer says Iran should lodge a complaint against the United States, the “Israeli” regime and their allies with the International Criminal Court in The Hague about their military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf, Press TV reports.
“It would be my advice to the Islamic Republic that we sue at the world court immediately the United States, Britain, France, “Israel” for a temporary restraining order against these governments and to stop these maneuvers (military drills in the Persian Gulf),” said Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, in a recent Press TV interview.
Condemning the military drills by the US and the NATO states near the Strait of Hormuz, Boyle maintained that Tehran has every right to defend its territorial sovereignty.
“Iran has rightly said we are prepared to defend our territorial waters and they have the right to do this.”
“The Strait of Hormuz is not an international strait or waterway that anyone can just sail through Iranian territorial waters… if Iran wants to shut that (the channel that goes through Iranian territorial waters) down they can,” Boyle said.
Washington claims that the military exercises are purely defensive and not directed at any country.
Boyle said the US, along with NATO states and the Tel Aviv regime are all using the Strait of Hormuz as “a pretext to budge in Iran to do their will and my concern… [is that] when you have these massive naval maneuvers on both sides something could get out of hand or there could be a deliberate provocation by the United States and Britain which has happened before.”
Boyle also stated that his “best advice is we follow them right away and try to restrain these hostile provocative military maneuvers right off the Strait of Hormuz.”— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A prominent political analyst says the US-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic are “jeopardizing the lives of millions of patients” in Iran by trying to achieve the “grand delusion” of installing a pro-West regime in the country.
“The US-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic which directly and painfully target the population have created an inconceivable situation for those whose very lives depend on the medicine adversely affected by these barbaric sanctions,” Iranian author and Middle East expert Dr. Ismail Salami wrote on the Press TV website.
“The sheer idea of imposing illegal sanctions against the Islamic Republic and jeopardizing the lives of millions of patients is indeed an act of brutality which runs counter to the very true spirit of humanity as well as to international humanitarian laws,” he added.
Citing a recent article published in a leading US daily, Salami said the West is “sharply aware of the devastating inhuman effects” of the sanctions on the sick people in Iran.
The Washington Post article, titled ‘Iran, Sanctions Take Toll on the Sick’, details how drug shortages are particularly affecting “cancer patients and those being treated for complex disorders such as hemophilia, multiple sclerosis and thalassemia, as well as transplant and kidney dialysis patients."
In a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in August, Fatemeh Hashemi, head of Iran's Charity Foundation for Special Diseases, called for UN action to prevent the sanction-induced damages to six million Iranian patients suffering from such intractable diseases as thalassemia, hemophilia, kidney conditions, multiple sclerosis (MS), cancer, etc.
“Although medicine is not included in the list of the sanctions, the aftermaths of the sanctions, the impossibility of transferring money through the banks as well as the appalling atmosphere created thus has cast its cumbersome shadow upon medicine and healthcare in Iran and has austerely affected the import of medicines in the country. As the head of an institute dealing with the lives of six million patients, I hereby implore you to exert all your endeavors to champion human rights in lifting the sanctions as they are political in nature and prove to the inexcusable detriment of the patients in Iran,” Hashemi said.
"We feel the shortage mainly for cancer and MS drugs. Of course, thalassemia and dialysis patients are also the targets of these hardships. All these problems stem from the sanctions the US has imposed on the banking sector and the difficulties in transferring foreign currency," she added.
In an October report to the UN General Assembly, Ban warned that the Western embargoes against Iran have mainly targeted the livelihood of the ordinary Iranian population.
“The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran have had significant effects on the general population, including an escalation in inflation, a rise in commodities and energy costs, an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of necessary items, including medicine," the UN chief said on October 6.
In a recent speech, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei blasted the illogical Western sanctions as “barbaric” and described them as a war against a nation.
“The West is angry and they have used Iran’s nuclear energy program as a pretext [to impose sanctions]. They claim that they will lift the sanctions if Iran backs down on its right to nuclear energy. They are lying. Out of spite and revenge, they decide to impose illogical sanctions against Iran,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The illegal US-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic are based on the unfounded allegation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegations and argues that as a committed signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
“The West is well aware that Iran has never sought a nuclear weapons program, nor does it ever wish to do so. However, they appear to be incapable of finding a better excuse than Iran’s nuclear energy program to go ahead with their barbaric sanctions with the ultimate goal of installing a US-friendly regime in the country,” Salami said.
He added that the “grand delusion entertained by the US officials [for regime change in Iran] indicates how very removed from reality the Washington officials are and how infernally adamant they are on bringing about this change at whatever cost, even the lives of millions of people.”
“In cahoots with the US, the West is willingly or unwillingly exterminating the Iranian patients through these illegal sanctions. Indeed, they will be held accountable for the human loss they are inflicting upon the Iranian nation: surely, the eyes of God are watching them and they are held in divine abhorrence.”— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — “Call me George,” says the bespectacled 21-year-old medical student who stood with a Free Syrian flag draped over his shoulders. As one of the few Christians at a weekly Friday protest in the rebel-controlled Bustan al-Qasr district of Aleppo, he is cautious about revealing too much of his identity—the regime of president Bashar al-Assad still controls the city’s Christian neighborhoods. But among the city’s roughly 100,000 Christians, “there are a thousand Georges.” Amid chants of “One, one, one, the people of Syria are one,” George holds an anti-sectarianism poster framed as a no-smoking sign: “Sectarianism is highly addictive, don’t start.”
George has been attending protests in Bustan al-Qasr, a Sunni Muslim district and activist hub, since August of last year, when the demonstrations drew thousands of Syrians out to the streets. Back then, participants risked being hit by live ammo or captured by the Shabiha, pro-Assad militiamen. But now, people feel safe enough to come with children (one father even brought his wheelchair-bound 15-year-old daughter). On this Friday, several hundred people have turned out in the neighborhood. Protests have eased since the Free Syrian Army (FSA) steadily took over the district, and now the neighborhood bustles with open shops and lively residents. In turn, the regime pursues its malicious strategy of punishing civiliansin rebel-held areas with heavy long-distance artillery and airstrikes.
For George, even the journey to the protest, in the southern part of the city, poses obstacles. Nearly all Aleppo’s Christians live in just two districts and both are still controlled by the Assad regime. “There’s a security checkpoint just under my house,” he says, “and the road to get here is very dangerous.”
But attending anti-regime protests allows him to speak his mind freely, as few other Christians have been able to do during the last 18 months. “We live in a totalitarian state. There’s no free expression, no hope, no future,” George says. Seeing the Arab Spring revolutions in nearby countries like Tunisia and Egypt inspired him and his friends to start Facebook profiles to kick-start a similar movement in Syria.
"At the beginning of the revolution, Christians were afraid because they didn’t want the same scenario of Iraq and Lebanon,” he says, referring to the years of sectarian violence that drove Lebanese Christians to self-segregate in the north of the country, and forced most Iraqi Christians to flee the country. Assad has fostered the notion that his secular regime offers religious minorities a protection that rebels will not.
"The Assad regime offers stability, and gave Christians the idea that most rebels were Islamists and Salafists. But then [Christians] saw the regime kill people at demonstrations, so now they take the middle path,” George says. “Many travel abroad, because they are afraid—there is no safety here. The future is unknown.” He estimates that every Christian family has at least one member living abroad; half of his own family lives in Europe.
Most Christians in Aleppo are middle-class small business owners, says George, and they just want “a peaceful, normal life, to go out to restaurants, for example.” Now, many Christians fear the increasing power of the Gulf States, which are arming the rebel fighters. “They have an agenda,” George says. “They support the Islamists like Jabhat al-Nusra.”
While George believes that reports of FSA fighters massacring Christians are rumors planted by the regime to keep Christians fearful of the opposition, he has also seen violence against Christians with his own eyes. Three weeks ago, he says, FSA fighters aimed mortars at the security building in Suleimaniya, one of the Christian districts—but the attack lacked precision and hit several Christian homes, he says. As a medical student, George was working at the hospital there and saw many injuries from the attacks, and heard that seven or eight people died. “This made them more afraid. Now you don’t see anyone walking in the streets after 7 p.m. in the Christian areas.”
The regime uses such happenings to its advantage, and has made a standing offer to provide arms to any Christian who wants them. George says that Aleppo’s Armenians, poorer and less educated than other Christians, have been quick to take the regime up on its offer. For the most part, they fled Turkey after the Armenian genocide during the First World War, and Assad has planted the idea that the FSA could commit a similar atrocity. George estimates that some 500 to 600 families of the 60,000–70,000 Armenians in Aleppo are now armed and prepared to fight.
Barely 15 minutes after the protest in Bustan al-Qasr winds down, the first mortar lands, about three streets away. We dart into an alleyway and continue talking about secularism and nationhood as dust from the fresh rubble blows through the empty street. When the fourth shell comes down, nervous onlookers usher us across the street into another alleyway.
When the seventh strikes, we decide to leave. By the time the eighth hits, we are in a taxi with a savvy driver who carves a twisting path through the city, avoiding regime-controlled roads and a sniper whose bullet we hear whizzing by.
After ditching his rebel flag, George is probably on a similarly meandering route through this patchwork city. But his will lead him through regime security checkpoints to a neighborhood where Assad’s face still graces the buildings rather than lying, burnt or shredded, on the sidewalk for people to trample on—a neighborhood spared regime shelling, but where the dwindling population lives in uncertainty, hoarding weapons and fear.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Tens of thousands of Saudi protesters have held a massive anti-regime rally in the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province, Press TV reports.
Chanting slogans against the Saudi authorities, the demonstrators turned out in Qatif late on Sunday to condemn the regime’s suppression of dissent.
Late last month, Saudi forces killed three people and wounded several others while searching for an activist wanted by the regime.
The kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province has been rocked by anti-regime protests since last year.
Since February 2011, protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in Qatif and Awamiyah in Eastern Province, primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, as well as an end to widespread discrimination.
However, the demonstrations have turned into protests against the repressive Al Saud regime, especially since November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the province.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A senior Iranian lawmaker says the European Union imposed embargoes directed at Iran’s nuclear energy program in order to curry favor with the United States and Zionistregime.
According to ISNA, MP Mansour Haqiqatpour said on Saturday “The European Union is dancing to the tune of the United States and the Zionists through imposing sanctions on Iran.”
The legislator, who is also the deputy chairman of Iran's Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, criticized European and Western countries for putting Tehran under pressure to take what they call confidence-building measures with regard to its nuclear energy program, while there has been no goodwill gesture by the West.
He stated “They themselves are betraying the world by possessing nuclear arsenals. Therefore, they are obligated to create confidence.”
Haqiqatpour criticized the West’s reluctance to set out a framework for the negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 group -- the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany -- and pointed out that Western countries have refused to recognize Iran's nuclear rights due to certain political considerations, such as the upcoming US election.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Bahrain’s Al Khalifa regime is a protégé of the British intelligence agencies and an agent to serve the US interests in the region, A Jordanian lawyer says.
Interviewing with the Al-Alam news channel, Jawad Younis, the Jordanian attorney, accused the ruling regime of the tiny Persian Gulf island state of being anti-human rights, stressing that the country’s despotic government is trained by the UK intelligence agencies in repression, terrorism and rights violations.
He also added that the Al Khalifa regime’s existence is fundamentally wrong and illegitimate, insisting that the the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) countries are attempting to handle affairs with the aim of supporting the US’s conspiracy in the region.
Bahrain, the home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, has been the scene of anti-regime demonstrations since February 2011, in which scores of people have been killed and many others arrested in the brutal Saudi-backed crackdown.
Earlier in September, Katy Clark, the British Labour MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, called on the UK government to review its relationship with the Bahraini regime, condemning Britain’s failure to support pro-democracy campaigns that are demanding the downfall of the ruling Al Khalifa family.— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV