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Entries in John Yates (4)


Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Deadline for a Cease-Fire

Analysts on Al Jazeera English's Inside Story discuss whether a peace plan can succeed in Syria

See also Bahrain Document: Activists Appeal to BBC and Sky Not to Broadcast Grand Prix
Turkey Live Coverage (12 April): Erdogan "If the UN Does Not Follow on Syria, What Will It Follow Through?"
Wednesday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Deadline? What Deadline?
Turkey Live Coverage (11 April): Erdogan Taking the Lead on Syria?

2005 GMT: A significant update from Bahraini photojournalist Mazen Mahdi:

The family of Ahmad Ismail Hassan, the citizen journalist killed two weeks ago as he filmed protests on Salmabad --- allegedly by a regime operative firing from a Land Cruiser --- had refused to accept the body from the hospital because "shooting" was not put as cause of death on the certificate.

Now that the family has taken Ismail Hassan for burial, the march promises to be one of the largest in recent months on the island.

1945 GMT: The Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria have issued a clarification about today's claimed death toll of 37:

The Local Coordination Committees would like to note that the martyrs of Deir Baalba's Massacre [in a section of Homs] that was discovered today have actually fallen on the 8th of April, 2012; and it was until today that their bodies were discovered.

This happened because of the heavy presence of the army and the lack of communications in the city during the last week. Therefore, the number of martyrs who were killed 22 martyrs, distributed as follows: 9 martyrs in Homs, 6 in Idlib, 5 in Damascus Suburbs and 2 martyrs in Aleppo.

An evening demonstration in Hama:

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Bahrain Feature: Meet "Yates of the Yard", The Policeman Supervising "Reform"

Claimed video of a young man who was allegedly thrown from a roof by security forces:

See also Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: "The Reasonable Reaction to Provocation"
Saudi Feature: Did Interpol Help With Deportation of Hamza Kashgari? (Bowcott)

I note a profile in The Daily Telegraph of John Yates, the former Assistant Commissioner of London's Metropolitian Police who was appointed late last year to supervise "reform" of Bahrain's security forces after the abuses documented by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry.

The extended puff piece is so unusual, even surreal, that I am not sure it has its intended effect. It begins by noting that "Yates of the Yard...resigned from the Met last year" without giving the reason --- the Assistant Commissioner left amidst the "Hackergate" scandal surrounding News International's tapping of phones.

Then the policeman takes over. Echoing King Hamad, who said in an interview this weekend that there was no opposition in Bahrain, Yates comments, "This isn’t organised protests, it's just vandalism, rioting on the streets. Acts of wanton damage that are destroying the economy.” He explains, "The only danger is the women, they come up and run off with your baby. It’s the Bahrain way, so warm and hospitable, but quite disconcerting at first.”

But the most notable aspect of the publicity may be its timing, coming a day before the anniversary of the first mass protests against the regime. Yates explains, “The concept of reasonable reaction to provocation has been reinforced. Unless [the forces] face extraordinary provocation like last year, it will be about allowing people to gather and containment. It’s about learning techniques from other places like kettling – that would work really well around here.”

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Bahrain Feature: Rubber Bullets --- Another "Non-Lethal" Weapon For The Police

American Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran, was shot in the head by rubber bullets, fracturing his skull, for filming police at the Occupy Oakland protest

The Bahraini Minister of Interior called yesterday for new legislation which ensured a harsh sentence of up to fifteen years for anybody who attacks a police officer or who incites violence against the police.

The announcement by Lieutenant-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalif also outlined the training and new equipment for police, after the declaration of "reforms" introduced by John Yates and John Timoney, the former US and British police chiefs brought in to advise Bahrain's forces. The training involves a one-year "rehabilitation" programmes, whilst the equipment involves a complete kitting-out of protective clothing and gear, communications systems, and weapons.

That list of weapons includes "guns that fire rubber bullets".

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Bahrain Special: The Steel Rods of the Police

Police in Bahrain caught on camera throwing metal rods

See also Bahrain Special: Nabeel Rajab's Speech "Our Problem is with the King"
Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Meaningless Amnesty, Cosmetic Speech?

It is not an understatement to say that an undisciplined police force who fail to adhere to a strict code of conduct are no more than a group of thugs themselves. After all, without such strict codes of behaviour, only a uniform separates the police from the plain clothed baltajiyya.

The regime is facing a crisis of legitimacy, and as Government legitimacy declines, the question "who are the security forces actually protecting?" becomes more pertinent.

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