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Entries in Justin Elliott (6)


Bahrain Feature: UN-Linked Institute Sets Up in Kingdom...With Regime Funding (Elliott)

Bahrain's Foreign Minister, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalif, and International Peace Institute President Terje Rød-Larsen exchange copies of their agreement

As Bahrain enters the third year of a crisis sparked by Arab Spring protests in 2011, the government continues to bar many human rights advocates and journalists from entering the country.

But one non-profit group is not only being welcomed into the tiny Gulf kingdom, it’s opening an office there. And it’s doing so with funding from Bahrain’s ruling monarchy.

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Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The US Arms Sales to the Regime

Women march in Karzakan in Bahrain on Monday

See also Iraq Analysis: Protests, Politics, & A Prisoner Release --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
Bahrain Opinion: A Nobel Peace Prize for the AlKhawaja Family?
Syria Live Coverage: Scores Die in Mass Killings and Aleppo Blasts
Tuesday's Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Insurgents Counter-Attack, Move Closer to Capital

2003 GMT: Mali and Algeria. One of the attackers who seized 41 staff of energy companies, killing two others and injuring six, said they had come from northern Mali. He said, "We belong to the Khaled Abul Abbas brigade led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar," a veteran leader of smuggling and kidnap gangs in the Sahara.

The insurgents said their hostages included seven Americans and French, British, and Japanese citizens. A Norwegian and an Irish citizen are also thought to be among those held captive. The gas plant is jointly operated by BP, Statoil of Norway and Algeria's state-run energy company Sonatrach.

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Bahrain Video Discussion: The Conflict and the Regime's Public-Relations Effort

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin hosts a discussion on Huffington Post Live with guests Brian Dooley of Human Rights First; Fahad AlBinali of the Bahrain International Affairs Authority; Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists; Justin Elliott of ProPublica; Leah McElrath, a social media activist; Maryam Al-Khawaja, acting President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights; and Mohammed Al-Muharraqi, a surgeon who works for the Bahrain Defense Forces.


Bahrain Live Coverage: The Regime Loses A Friend in US Congress

When They Were Friends: US Congressional Delegate Eni Faleomavaega (left) with King Hamad's advisor (second from left)

See also Bahrain Propaganda Special: Introducing the Regime's Best Friends in the US Congress
Bahrain Feature: Polemic and "Analysis" --- Exorcising Ed Husain's Demons
Syria, Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Relative "Calm"?
Wednesday's Bahrain Live Coverage: Zainab Alkhawaja Appears in Court

2030 GMT: King Hamad has ratified constitutional changes that he said herald political reconcilation: "The door of dialogue is open and national accord is the goal of all dialogue. We hope at this important stage that all national forces and groups...will join in development and reform."

The amendments bolster the legislature's powers to question and remove ministers and withdraw confidence in the Cabinet. They came out of a national dialogue the king mandated after last year's uprising.

The leading opposition society Al Wefaq was not satisfied, however. "The amendments have not changed the core of the dispute and have not ended the crisis. They have not met the people's hopes and they have consecrated the constitution of 2002 which gives the authorities the keys of government," said Khalil Marzouq, a senior member. "There is no way these amendments can reflect popular will."

The opposition want changes that would give the elected parliament full powers to legislate and form cabinets.

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Bahrain Propaganda Special: Introducing the Regime's Best Friends in the US Congress

Owly Images

Members of Congress Jim Himes (second from left), Eni Faleomaveaga (third from left), and Marcia Fudge (third from right) with the President of Bahrain's Information Affairs Authority, Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa (fourth from right)

So four Representatives, two of them long-established supporters of the Bahraini regime, are currently visiting the Kingdom and providing photo opportunities and articles praising the "sweeping and broad" reforms of King Hamad.

Who's paying? Well, let's just say that if it is not the dime of the US taxpayers, let's just speculate that the regime's quarter and half-dollar might be involved, with a helping hand from the Bahrain American Council.

And what effect might this have on US foreign policy --- and the presentation of Bahrain in the US media --- as the political conflict continues?

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Bahrain Propaganda 101: Bringing the "Right" Youth Delegation to Washington

Ebtisam Khalifa Bahar of Bahrain's Information Affairs Authority --- ostensibly in an "independent" youth delegation, organised by American PR firm Qorvis and sent to Washingon --- challenges activist Maryam Al-Khawaja

Earlier this month, a group of three young Bahrainis arrived in Washington to talk about reform in the small Persian Gulf nation, which has been rocked by Arab Spring protests for the last year. The delegation, including an NGO worker and a tech entrepreneur, both Western-educated, represented "the leading voice for change and reform" in Bahrain, as an email message from one of the group's representatives put it.

But these weren't leaders of the protest movement that has challenged the country's ruling Sunni monarchy. They were members of a "youth delegation" put together by a top American public relations firm, Qorvis, which has been working with Bahrain to shore up the country's image in the United States.

The youth delegation's modestly pro-reform message was mixed with sharp criticism of the opposition in Bahrain and complaints about negative media coverage in the U.S.

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