A Report Presenting the Documents that Reveal the "GONGOs" Organizations in Bahrain, Their Role,
The Basic Branching of the Secret Network Revealed by Bandar in mid 2006
Fake Human Rights Organizations To Mislead Public Opinion and Trapping the Human Rights Organizations and Defenders
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern for the authority in Bahrain's continuity in the policy of creating a fictitious and fake civil society and a mock human rights work, in attempt to mislead public opinion and disrupt international organization, and harm and target the community and civil institutions and their active figures through the materialistic, logistic support and media facilities provided to them by the government. This is happening by creating and establishing an increasing number of human rights and political entities, institutions, organizations and societies, to appear as real civil society institutions, while in reality they are merely the arms of the ruling power or one of its institutions such as the Royal Court or the Prime Minister's Court, the National Security Apparatus, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs or the Interior ministry.
The Basic Branching of the Secret Network Revealed by Bandar in mid 2006
In September 2006, 100 human rights, political and professional figures sent a letter to the King of Bahrain expressing their concern regarding those institutions and especially what was included in the first report of The Gulf Center for Democratic Development , about the presence of a secret network infiltrating the State's apparatuses, headed and run by Ahmed bin Atyat-Allah Al-Khalifa – Minister of State for the Cabinet Affairs and a member of the Ruling Family. One of the aims of this network is smearing the reputation of the independent human rights defenders and opposition's political activists, and creating fictitious and fake civil society institutions and attempting to penetrate the independent ones. According to this report, there are higher-ranking government institutions, figures from the Shura and Representatives Councils, and political and media figures involved in this network, as well as a group of Jordanian intelligence, and an Egyptian media group. Large sums of money, estimated to be millions of dollars, were allocated to run this network, to execute the project which actually began since 2004. The second report of The Gulf Center for Democratic Development , and which was published in January 2006, came explaining in detail a practical program for the mechanisms and means to contain the society institutions and to reformulate them to guarantee their loyalty to the Authority and to contain the activities which demand civil, political, economic and social rights.
This policy of the Bahraini authorities came as a reaction to the ever-increasing activity of the human rights organizations which distinctly succeeded in observing and documenting violations of human rights, and submitting periodical reports to the international organizations and institutions which are concerned with human rights, including concerned committees and UN Rapporteurs. The frequency of observing, documenting and writing the reports accelerated as a result to the increased and hastened violations to human rights, after a period of improvement that had been witnessed in the country at the beginning of this century. Due to the escalating activity by these organizations or human rights defenders, and the consequences of revealing the true reality of the human rights situation, and instead of the authority treating and finding solutions to the distressing human rights files, such as the sectarian discrimination, the torture crimes, the violations of freedom of opinion and expression, the crimes of human trafficking, political naturalization, bringing and utilizing mercenaries and the continuous violations of rights to the migrant workers, the authority turned to forming fictitious or fake human rights organizations, which instead of observing and documenting human rights violations it harasses the credible human rights organizations and defenders and lays down obstacles to their work, and makes statements that smear the reputation of those organizations or human rights defenders, as well as the false statements that do not reflect the human rights reality, justly or impartially.
The "Fake" Human Rights Institutes in Bahrain - Who are They ?
The names of non-governmental "associations" appeared in the earlier mentioned report, and which is documented with photographs, copies of paid checks, remittances, balances and some letters related to executing this secret plot. Due to the growing concern of its danger in tricking the international organizations and international public opinion, this BCHR report will work on presenting documents that reveal the involvement of the official authorities in creating those associations and conspiring with them to destroy the civil society institutions, through the substantial financial resources, media and logistic facilities. There are also political societies who play the same role, however this report will only shed light on the human rights ones.
On top of these fake organizations are the "Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society", and the "Bahraini Society of Jurists", and the "Bahrain Human Rights Monitor".
1) Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society http://bhrws.org/index.php
It was established with a decree No. (52) of 2004, on 30 November 2004, and was registered under societies and social clubs No. 17/C/AC.D based on decree-law No. 21 of 1989 of the Law of Associations, Social and Cultural Clubs, Special Committees Working in the Field of Youth and Sports, and Private Institutions.
Photos of Faisal Fouladh – president of the Bahraini Human Rights Society – One of the Gongo Organizations in Bahrain
The name of the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society was brought forward after just several weeks of closing down the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and after the government faced a stream of severe criticism by the human rights organizations as a result of it closing the Center.
Although at that time it was headed by Mrs. Azra Nono, one of the founders of the Society, and who was recently appointed Ambassador of Bahrain in Washington , since its establishment it has been driven by Faisal Hasan Abdullah Fouladh, also its current president – an appointed member in the Shura Council for four previous sessions since 1996. Fouladh is considered one the most active members working in these associations and the most combating and harassing to human rights defenders and the most to obstruct the human rights institutions in their work. Fouladh took advantage of the media facilities provided to him by the authority and to the rest of the GONGOs in order to defame political activists and human rights defenders without any legal or judicial deterrence.
A sample of letters addressed to the president of the Royal Court written with hand of Fouladh on the papers of his official society clarifying the role of his society in its conspiracy against the civil society institutions meeting of the Forum of the Future
Fouladh, and through his role in his society, worked on repeatedly confronting the effective non-governmental organizations and institutions by issuing false or misleading reports and statements about the human rights conditions and then publishing them in the press and sending them to international organizations, in order to disrepute the independent human rights panels or to doubt what they publish.
The documents leaked by The Gulf Center for Democratic Development in its first report indicate that Fouladh received large sums of money and conspired to weaken the conference parallel to the Forum for the Future which was held in Bahrain in 2005, as well as playing the role of spying on the society organizations participating in that Forum by the reports which were hand-written by him on the official papers of the society , addressed to Ahmed Atyat-Allah Al-Khalifa – the Director of the secret network indicated by Bandar or The Gulf Center for Democratic Development.
Faisal Fouladh at the moment of being kicked out from the meeting of the Representatives of the Committee against Torture
As one of the members of this network, and with the help of government panels, Fouladh opened an office for his society in the British capital, London, in attempt to create amities with human rights figures affiliated with international organizations. Fouladh is usually used to pursue human rights defenders in their international tasks and visits, or their meetings with UN panels and international organizations. He always insists on attending the international meetings, despite being kicked out more than once from meetings held by non-governmental organizations with the committees and offices of UN Rapporteurs, especially after being exposed in an attempt to eavesdrop the non-governmental Bahraini delegation during their meeting with the UN Committee against Torture, and which as a result of it he was kicked out of the meeting room.
A copy of the monthly bonus received by Faisal Fouladh
Fouladh wears several human rights hats, which he changes deliberately according to the type of event, its timing and place. At times he impersonates the role of the secretary-general of the Human Rights Watch Society and at other times the head of Respect Movement, and sometimes he speaks for the National Alliance of Justice and Fairness, and at other times on behalf of the Committee on Employment of Foreigners, and he represents the International Center for Rights and Freedoms of Association, as well as the spokesman of Community Partnership to Combat Human Trafficking, and he is leading the Call for the Human Rights Studio, and he is the spokesman of the Youth Human Rights Center, and he speaks for the Bahraini Movement Against Corruption, and the Movement of Non-Violence. He is lately using the name of the General Coordinator of the Gulf European Center for Human Rights. Usually, these names suggest that there are many defenders or members behind them, however, these names and organizations are counterfeit and are represented in him personally and his wife Sameera Al-Sayed (her surname was recently changed to Al-Sada), who usually accompanies him in his trips and she also occupies positions with him in these institutions. What is surprising is that none of the authorities, apparatuses or ministries raised the issue that there are no records for these counterfeit institutions and which have not been registered in the Ministry of Social Affairs, as the Bahraini law of civil associations requires, and no ministerial decree, clarifying their bylaw or the name of its founders was issued. The authorities' disregard to this matter strengthens the belief that the authorities are supporting him, standing by his side and encouraging him in the roles he is playing and the activities he is carrying out to target the effective human rights institutions and defenders, and this has been reinforced by him being reappointed in the Shura Council for the second session and awarding him the Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa second degree medal in the opening ceremony of the eighth session of the Shura Council. Fouladh is always trying creating an impression that his Society is the Bahraini branch of the internationally known Human Rights Watch, based in New York.
It is believed that all the "counterfeit institutions" run by Fouladh are directly funded by the Royal Court, through the network that is run by Ahmed bin Atyat-Allah who ensures providing the financial resources and the required budget via a special account in the Shamil Bank by remittances from the Kuwait Finance House , and it is the same bank where the Royal Court money is managed. The Bandar report(The Gulf Center for Democratic Development) presents the receipt of 500 Dinar as a monthly reward received by Fouladh for his effort, and this amount does not include the trips he repeatedly travels with his wife in the name of human rights work, in addition to the monthly expenditures of the Society which reaches 1800 Dinar. The documents indicated spending BD 5000 to finance the establishment of this GONGO in November 2004.
2) The Bahraini Jurists Society of Yousif Isa Al-Hashimi
It was established in 2005 with 15 members, the number of them who are accounted for lawyers does not exceed two thirds, where several of them hold dual citizenships after granting them the Bahraini citizenship, and some of them hold official senior positions in the government. This society was declared with a decree by the Minister of Social Development No. 3 of 2006 on 28 January 2006. Yousif Isa Al-Hashimi heads the board of directors which is made up of seven members, and he is represented by Massoma Abdul-Rasool. Al-Hashimi shares a law office with the former member of the Shura Council Mohammed Al-Sayed, as well as working as an editor in Al-Watan newspaper – and which is an information interface of these counterfeit institutions. Al-Hashimi also works as a lawyer for Al-Watan newspaper and he is an appointed member in the Government Institution for Political Development. As to Massoma Abdul-Rasool, she works as a legal adviser and the vice-president of the Supreme Council of the Legal Department, and which is a Department affiliated with the Cabinet Affairs before announcing it being parted from it in 2006.
The names of the official delegates sent to the UN to attend the sessions of discussing the two UN committee reports on discrimination and torture in Bahrain show the presence of Massoma Abdul-Rasool, vice-president of the Society of Jurists and Hasan Mousa the president of the Bahrain Human Rights Monitor among the governmental delegations
Photograph of the governmental delegation in one of the UN sessions against Torture 2005 showing Massoma Abdul-Rasool among the governmental delegation
According to what was stated in the Bandar report (The Gulf Center for Democratic Development), Al-Hashimi was one of the ones who communicated officially and continuously with leading figures in executing the Bandar plot to gain the financial payments in return for the activity tasks he carries out inside and outside Bahrain, and an amount of BD. 2000 has been allocated monthly for it in addition to that. He was careful to continue spending the various expenses of the Society which includes: an amount of BD. 7842 for the expenditures of establishing the Society, the monthly rent of the Society's base in Um-Hassam area: BD. 600, the salary of the guard: BD. 150. This is in addition to the government shouldering all the costs and expenses of the Society. Al-Hashimi receives a monthly reward that amounts to 1000 B.D in return for his role in this Society. This association or its president and his wife were unknown before their names appeared as implicates in the former adviser's report Dr. Salah Al-Bandar(The Gulf Center for Democratic Development). The role of this Society is limited to adapting previously prepared issues and political campaigns against what the political societies present, or some of the statements that are issued to support the governmental institutions or figures .
3) Bahrain Human Rights Monitor Hassan Mussa Shafii http://www.bahrainmonitor.com/index.html
Besides the previously two institutions, the authority developed the quality of its work and established an electronic Magazine in both Arabic and English which it calls the Bahrain Human Rights Monitor, and which focuses on the promotional role or propaganda of the government's programs and activities, in addition to some articles and analysis in which political activists and human rights defenders are attacked, in an attempt to derogate the positions of the human rights organization or opposition societies. This magazine is run by Hasan Mousa Shafi'i and he is a former political opponent, his former movement name is "Ahmed Haidari".
Shafi'i works currently in the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the rank of adviser at the Bahraini Embassy in London, and it is the body that is responsible for financing and distributing this magazine secretly to the international organizations, the international news agencies, members of parliaments and diplomatic corps to make it seem like a just and independent human rights one. In order to mislead international public opinion, it is claimed that the magazine is independent and is issued by a human rights organizations that does not exist in reality on the ground.
The work of the Bahrain Human Rights Monitor began at the beginning 2009, and it is considered the last link which was set up by the network indicated by Dr. Salah Al-Bandar in his report, and among its targets it aims at confiscating the activity of the effective community institutions which defend human rights in Bahrain, seeking to throw it into confusion. In addition to issuing the monthly magazine, Hasan Mousa Shafi'i, on behalf of the Monitor, continuously visits international human rights organizations in an attempt to affect them, and dwells in taking memorial photos with the presidents of those organizations and its officials, and then makes use of those photos by publishing them in the Monitor's monthly magazine in order to give legitimacy and credibility to that it. So as to strengthen his career position in the authority as well, Shafi'i, through those promotional movements, aims at suggesting to his superiors at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs his wide and strong human rights relations and his ability to affect those organizations to become in favor of the government, however, most of the international institutions have become aware of his role.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights believes that the actual supervisor of this project is Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali Al-Khalifa, the Bahraini ambassador in London and the former head of the Bahraini Intelligence Apparatus (National Security Apparatus), and Hasan Mousa Shafi'i assists him in that. The last name "Shafi'i" of Hasan Mousa appeared in the first magazine of the Monitor, as he was not known in the past with this name. Hasan Mousa had always denied his connection with the Bahraini government throughout the past period, however, his name appearing on the job hierarchy of the Bahraini embassy and his photos among the Bahraini delegation to Geneva revealed the matter.
A picture of the website of the Bahrain embassy in the UK clarifying the administrative structure of the embassy and the name of Hasan Mousa Shafi'i appearing in it
Hasan Mousa has participated in the human rights panel sessions, and the committees, and meeting the offices of the UN Rapporteurs, as well as participating in the NGO meetings in Geneva as a representative of an independent human rights institution, however his connection with the government was revealed after the spread of photos of him being among the official delegation of the government of Bahrain in the meetings with the UN committees. This matter was reinforced by publishing an official document where his name was mentioned among the official delegation of the government of Bahrain in the meetings held by the human rights institutions with the two UN Committees Against all Forms of Racial Discrimination as well as the Committee Against Torture.
Hasan Mousa Shafi'i among the official delegation of the UN committee meeting against Torture, May 2005
Other Gongo Institutions
4) Society of Bahrain First:
It is not known when it was established or who the founders are, there is no record of it in the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the only known member is Mohammed Sa'ad Al-Maran who claims to head it. According to the Bandar report which mentions this figure and its connections, he receives a monthly reward that amounts to BD. 500 in order to make anti and provocative statements against the activists and rights defenders and leads events to face the public demonstrations organized by the four-party alliance since April 2005.
5) The Bahrain Political Society: The condition of this society is no different from the former one, as was stated in the Bandar report, Jabber Sultan Al-Sawaidi is its president. There is no record of it in the Ministry of Social Affairs, and it has no presence except for the participation of Al-Suwaidi in the statements against the activities of the political societies. Al-Suwaidi receives a monthly award of BD 500 for his activity, as well as receiving several amounts of money in July 2006 in the amount of BD 3000, which he spent to rally among the Jassim Al-Saidi campaign, and BD 2000 for the Khamis Al-Rumaihi campaign, and BD 3000 to prepare the Society's building in Riffa.
6) Only the Nation Movement In aim of responding to the public demand movements led by a number of human rights activists in Bahrain, Jassim Al-Saidi, Faisal Fouladh, Mohammed Saeed Al-Maran and Yousif Al-Hashimi formed a movement which they called "Only the Nation". This movement was not registered officially, and no ministerial decree clarifying its bylaw and the names of its founders has been issued, and they share more than one counterfeit organization that defends the authority and attacks the opposing human rights societies and active activists .
Establishing "Only the Nation" Movement from the right: Mohammed Al-Marran, Jassim Al-Saidi, Faisal Foualdh, Yousif Al-Hashimi
7) The Committee of Martyrs and Terrorism Victims
It was established in 2005, to face the National Committee of Martyrs and Torture Victims, and in response to its participation with the Bahrain Center for Human Rights in presenting the shadow report to the Committee against Torture that year. The Committee is headed by Jassim Al-Saidi – the MP who accuses people of infidelity and who is supported by the Royal Court – known for sectarian enlistment in the Friday speeches and his response, with an official support and cover, to raise issues with a sectarian and hateful spirit and by targeting the community institutions and human rights activists and defenders on forums. Al-Saidi is known for taking advantage of the area assigned for him through the newspapers to publish his statements which agitate disunion and foster sectarian hatred and enmity between the Shiites and Sunnis. He is also known for supporting the figures of authority by their visits to his council, and especially the Prime Minister and the Crown Prince in the Ramadan visit program, in which they announced their support for him and for what he does. This committee does not have any official record; no ministerial decree has been issued to clarify its bylaw and the names of its founders, except for its president and Mohammed Al-Maran and Faisal Fouladh.
8) The Kingdom Society:
It is a society that focuses on a certain age group, and was established with a decree by the Minister of Social Affairs NO. 14 of 2008 on 26 March 2008, and it aims at – according to the published bylaw – showing loyalty to the King of Bahrain and to participate in reviving national festivals and presenting rewards to those who serve the kingdom. The 12 founders are made up of the children of officials in the government and members of the appointed Shura Council in addition to Mohammed Baqer – its president – and he is a young figure who stirred up a lot of suspicion by being related to the National Security Apparatus, as his name was among the members of the National Security Apparatus for publishing the sentence of the young Hasan Salman to three years in prison . Facts show that Mohammed Al-Maran, who declares to be the adviser of the society, is the agitator and interface of this society, as is his role in the other fake Gongo organizations. He represented this society in December 2008 in his meeting with Dr. Salah Ali - doctor in family medicine and one of the figures of the Islamic Platform Society (Al-Minbar) that is accounted for the authority and he is one of the people mentioned in the Bandar report. The society called for a demonstration to declare loyalty to the authority on the occasion of the King's coronation day , in cooperation with Muharaq Governorate – one of the apparatuses of the Bahraini Ministry of Interior, and Al-Maran was one of the ones heading that demonstration next to the Crown Prince's son and Muharaq's governor and some officials in the country.
Mohammed Al-Maran's meeting – one of the leaders of the Kingdom Society (second from right) with Salah Ali from The Islamic Platform Society (Al-Minbar)
The Commonalities of these "False" organizations
1. Financial and logistic support
The mentioned GONGOs share opening funding to hold its events and activities, which involve promotional and propaganda movements inside and outside Bahrain. Facts and documents indicate obtaining openhanded support from the Royal Court, who is the only one capable of providing those funds without any accountability or estimations. Without the direct support of the authority, these "fake" institutions cannot, on their own or from the pockets of the known defending figures, afford the large expenses and travel expenditures, and staying for days in European and some Arabian countries, and holding conferences and inviting figures from the outside or traveling to meet them. Bandar revealed monthly reports to the activists in the GONGOs in addition to a monthly budget to support its activities.
2. Media support
All necessary media is harnessed to publish the statements of these organizations and to cover their activities and positions, where the reader really believes they exists. Al-Watan newspaper (whose name is mentioned in the former adviser's report Salah Al-Bandar as part of the conspiracy tools) is uniquely characterized in covering the statements and news of these institutions, yet this newspaper even creates the fake and misleading atmosphere to the reader in order to convince him or her of the seriousness and popularity of these organizations. Al-Watan newspaper works in coordination and accord with them in introducing issues that usually target the opposing human rights societies and pillars, and it even involves them in some of the newspaper dialogues and reports where usually one of the real human rights parties is taken part in it, in order to add credibility to them. Al-Watan newspaper is considered to be closely related to the Royal Court, and expresses its standpoints, and it is registered under the engineer Hisham Jaffar's name and who is a Bahraini businessman with a close relation with the authority. It is believed that the real owner is Sheikh Ahmed bin Atyat-Allah Al-Khalifa, Minister of Cabinet Affairs in the current government, whose names is connected to the Bandar scandal, by fully leading the dangerous and secret network which has penetrated the state institutes and which aims at eliminating and marginalizing the Shiite sect and diminishing them election wise, and drawing them into a sectarian conflict with the Sunni sect.
The list of institutions and activities that obtained support in the establishment and activities
Those GONGOs and their heads issue almost daily statements especially in Al-Watan newspaper, but they are not for observing and documenting human rights violations, but for falsely praising the authority's record in this field, directly and indirectly, as well as falsely questioning and challenging the work of the Bahraini civil society institutions which have gained credibility and good reputation in their proficient and professional work. Bahrain and Tunisia are considered today to be one of the highest countries in the Arab region in creating GONGOs or fake institutions. These fake institutions and their presidents have become known on the local and international level, and yet they have become bad examples and a negative growing phenomenon which the international institutions speak of.
3. Support and legal coverage
The relation between the authority and these fake institutions is apparent by the legal and judicial disregard to its various panels' required legal entitlements to form community institutions. Yet, what is suspicious is the repetition of certain faces in most of the institutions which indicates its lack of credibility and legitimacy for community work, and what is also worrying is these institutions facing up to and pursuing the active community organizations and harassing the human rights activists and defenders. The legal disregard which is used as a means to suppress and harass the active community organizations and especially the ones concerned with human rights and observing the violations and documentation cannot be compared to it restricting and prosecuting them and depriving them from the means that are provided for the GONGOs to facilitate their work.
Recommendations of the BCHR
1. Stop creating the "GONGOs" and the fake institutions to pursue human rights activists and defenders and to obstruct the active civil institutions. 2. Stop dealing with these institutions or giving them legitimacy and to boycott all the productions of the Bandar report of institutions. 3. Reveal the reality of those false figures and institutions and to consider the governmental funding that is spent on it part of the political, financial and administrative corruption. 4. Support the real and independent civil society institutions through the State's budget without any guardianship or intervention from the Executive Power, and to remove all barriers, and to open way for the human rights institutions to work in positive atmosphere according to the international conventions and especially the Universal Declaration related to the defenders of human rights. 5. The necessity of the government dealing honestly and positively and in partnership with the civil society institutions away from deception and fraud.
To contact the Bahrain Center for Human Rights:
Phone +973 39633399
www.bahrainrights.org www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=50727622539 www.twitter.com/bahrainrighs bahrainrights.blogspot.com