Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 16th, 2011

Occupy Wall Street movement: What happened in San Francisco?

Occupy Wall Street movement is covering almost all the US States and has vigorously spread to every European States.  This movement is unstoppable and will feed from the experience of the hundreds of sit-ins and marches around the developed States where liberal capitalism has impoverished the people for the benefit of 1% of the elite classes in every State.

I am disseminating this story of what happened in San Francisco:

“Last night, San Francisco Police officers showed up at Occupy San Francisco for the first hostile altercation that the SF movement has had with cops, and among the first police crackdowns on the larger Occupy Wall Street movement. The encampment was cleared of tents and supplies, but protesters remained at the site and the incident could serve to broaden the movement and strengthen its resolve.

Around 9:30 pm, a police officer pulled up in an unmarked car and, with little comment, distributed fliers amongst the approximately 200 protesters, camped out in front of the Federal Reserve building at 101 Market Street, where I was camping with the protesters and reporting a story for next week’s The Guardian.

The fliers stated that we were in “violation of one or more of the following local ordinances or State laws,” and listed six laws, including open flames on a city street without a permit, lodging in a public place, preparing or serving food without a permit, and violating the city’s sit/lie ordinance. The order did not look legitimate, as it did not include an author, a timeline for the police action, or any dates. The atmosphere turned tense as protesters tried to decide how to react.

The camp had substantial infrastructure at this point, with a kitchen area, medical tent, supplies tent, tech area, and about 20 other tents for meeting and for lodging. The kitchen was largely set up by Food Not Bombs and had a propane-powered stove. Kitchen committee members immediately turned off the stove and closed the kitchen upon receipt of the notice, eliminating any open flames and serving of food.

A general assembly was called and emotions ran high as protesters fleshed out the intricacies of nonviolent protest, resistance, and the consensus-based decision-making system, which had served them so well in past weeks, when faced with a more urgent and high-stakes situation. Despite anger and disagreements, the group vowed to remain nonviolent.

A call was put out via Twitter, Facebook, email, and phone for supporters to come to the scene. Within a half hour, at least 100 more people had come, including members of Occupy Oakland, which just began this week.

Around 11 pm, about 60 cops showed up as well as four Department of Public Works trucks. The cops stood on the far side of Main Street, seemingly awaiting orders. Thirty minutes later, one protester, Alexandra List, told the General Assembly that she had spoken to the commanding officer, Captain Charlie Orkes. Orkes told her that if the camp and all the food, equipment, and other items that the camp had amassed were not completely removed in 30 minutes, they would arrest everyone.

Some protesters sprang to action taking down tents, while others discussed the possibility of risking arrest. It was unclear what would happen to confiscated items and for many travelers and homeless individuals currently living and organizing at the camp: They risked losing most or all of their personal belongings. All the tents were taken down, but the stuff was not removed. The camp had been receiving truckloads of donations per day, and finding a vehicle and destination to transport it all was difficult.

Fear and anticipation mingled with the excitement of having so much support and interest, locally and around the country. One protester, Zaigham Kabir of Oakland, said “There’s been a lot of confusion. It looks like a couple hundred people just came here. I also heard that there’s 10,000 people watching on livestream right now.”

Sup. John Avalos – the only mayoral candidate to take part in last week’s rally and march – came to the site around 12:40 am. He spoke several times with Capt. Orkes and also reportedly called Police Chief Greg Suhr in an attempt to mediate the situation and protect the protesters. He was the only supervisor or mayoral candidate to arrive on the scene.

Around 1 am, protesters saw cops put on riot gear and bring out batons. They then marched up Main to Market and formed a line around the remainder of the physical encampment, blocking protesters from their belongings. As protesters sat on the ground, imploring the cops to leave their things alone and chanting “Join Us! You’re the 99 percent too!” DPW workers loaded everything into five trucks. Tubs of food were spilled on the ground as they dismantled the kitchen, taking donated food, water. and supplies (there was so much food in the kitchen that only hours before, protesters had begun turning away food donations).

It was 1:45 am when protesters began taking to the streets to block the trucks. About 20 ran in front of the line of trucks to link arms and stacked wooden pellets, which had been used to elevate the camp during the rain, to form a barricade. One man lay down in front of the truck, smiling with his banjo in hand. They yelled, “That’s not trash! Don’t throw it away!”

Soon, about 250 protesters were linking arms, surrounding the line of trucks. A few brought over municipal trash cans and road blocks to form a barricade around the perimeter.

Throughout the night, many protesters reported conflicted expressions on officers’ faces. One such officer stood now in front of a truck with an American flag that had flown in the camp, still valiantly flying from its post in the DWP truck-bed garbage heap.

Eventually, the trucks backed out of the circle and began driving down Main Street, as protesters ran to try to stand, sit, and lie in front of them. While trying to remove the protesters, one woman was hit and pushed and another man was beaten down and reportedly kneed in the stomach. There was one arrest. It has been reported that the officer responsible for most of this behavior was Officer Pascua, who apparently said to several protesters, including Dylan Brignon of Fremont, “I can’t wait til I get the chance to beat your faces in.

The Guardian has called Chief Suhr, Mayor Ed Lee, and the SFPD and is awaiting a statement on the tactics and decision to raid the camp.

The trucks made it out of there by about 2:30 am. About 50 cops and 100 protesters remained in a standoff on Main and Market, and protesters chanted, sang, and held a large sign reading “We love you” and police stayed in a silent line, batons in hand.

By 3 am, protesters had regrouped. All of the structure was gone, but the occupation was still there. Protesters pledged to remain indefinitely despite the night’s events, and to continue to grow. Around 4 am, some cops returned to the site, and throughout the night there were seven or eight police cars circling the block at all times.

Protesters awoke this morning to a dozen or so police officers guarding the Federal Reserve building. There had already been donations of money, blankets and sleeping bags at 3 am in response to the events, and at 7 am the first food donation since raid came in and the protesters ate a free breakfast.

Said Kabir, “The fact is, we’re all here in solidarity. We’re still here. And we’re not leaving.”

Note: You may read the Official statement on

Colorless and insipid Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas PM: Speech at UN gained rainbow spectrum of colors

British veteran journalist correspondent Robert Fisk wrote: “The colorless leader of the Palestinian Authority, who wrote a 600-page book on his people’s conflict with Israel without once mentioning the word “occupation”, should have no trouble this evening in besting Barack Hussein Obama’s pathetic, humiliating UN speech on Wednesday, in which he handed US policy in the Middle East over to Israel’s gimmick government.

For the American President who called for an end to the Israeli occupation of Arab lands, an end to the theft of Arab land in the West Bank – Israeli “settlements” is what he used to call it – and a Palestinian state by 2011, Obama’s performance was pathetic.” End of quote

I tried hard to locate the entire speech through various dailies, in vain. Dailies want to publish their version of “what the speech means”, as if readers of dailies are stupid.  Andrew Bossone managed to find me a link from source WAFA on internet. The following is the entire speech of Mahmoud Abbas (words and sentences in parentheses are mine):

“At the outset, I wish to extend my congratulations to H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser  (Qatar?)on his assumption of the Presidency of the Assembly for this session, and wish him all success.

I reaffirm today my sincere congratulations, on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian people, to the government and people of South Sudan for its deserved admission as a full member of the United Nations, wishing them progress and prosperity.

I also congratulate the Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, on his election for a new term at the helm of the United Nations. This renewal of confidence reflects the world appreciation for his efforts, which have strengthened the role of the United Nations. ( I am not sure of that)

The Question of Palestine is intricately linked with the United Nations via the resolutions adopted by its various organs and agencies, and via the essential and lauded role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which embodies the international responsibility towards the plight of Palestine refugees: They are the victims of Al-Nakba (Catastrophe) that occurred in 1948. We aspire for and seek a greater and more effective role for the United Nations in working to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in our region that ensures the inalienable, legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people as defined by the resolutions of international legitimacy of the United Nations.

A year ago, at this same time, distinguished leaders in this hall addressed the stalled peace efforts in our region. Everyone had high hopes for a new round of final status negotiations, which had begun in early September in Washington under the direct auspices of President Barack Obama and with the participation of the Quartet (representatives of US, Russia, EU, and UN), and with Egyptian and Jordanian participation, to reach a peace agreement within one year.

We entered those negotiations with open hearts and attentive ears and sincere intentions, and we were ready with our documents, papers and proposals. But the negotiations broke down just weeks after their launch.

After this, we did not give up and did not cease our efforts for initiatives and contacts. Over the past year, we did not leave a door to be knocked or channel to be tested or path to be taken and we did not ignore any formal or informal party of influence and stature to be addressed.

We positively considered the various ideas and proposals and initiatives presented from many countries and parties. But all of these sincere efforts and endeavors undertaken by international parties were repeatedly wrecked by the positions of the Israeli government, which quickly dashed the hopes raised by the launch of negotiations last September.

The core issue here is that the Israeli government refuses to commit to terms of reference for the negotiations that are based on international law and United Nations resolutions, and that it frantically continues to intensify building of settlements on the territory of the State of Palestine.

Settlement activities embody the core of the policy of colonial military occupation of the land of the Palestinian people and all of the brutality of aggression, and racial discrimination against our people that this policy entails. This policy, which constitutes a breach of international humanitarian law and United Nations resolutions, is the primary cause for the failure of the peace process, the collapse of dozens of opportunities, and the burial of the great hopes that arose from the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993 between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel to achieve a just peace that would begin a new era for our region.

The reports of United Nations missions, as well as by several Israeli institutions and civil societies, convey a horrific picture about the size of the settlement campaign, which the Israeli government does not hesitate to boast about, and which it continues to execute through the systematic confiscation of the Palestinian lands and the construction of thousands of new settlement units in various areas of the West Bank, particularly in East Jerusalem. Israel accelerated construction of the annexation Wall (Wall of Shame condemned by the UN and appreciated by GW. Bush). This Wall is eating up large tracts of our land, dividing it into separate and isolated islands and cantons, destroying family life and communities and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of families.

The occupying Power also continues to refuse permits for our people to build in Occupied East Jerusalem, at the same time that it intensifies its decades-long campaign of demolition and confiscation of homes, displacing Palestinian owners and residents under a multi-pronged policy of ethnic cleansing aimed at pushing them away from their ancestral homeland.

In addition, orders have been issued to deport elected representatives from the city of Jerusalem. The occupying Power also continues to undertake excavations that threaten our holy places, and its military checkpoints (over 300) prevent our citizens from getting access to their mosques and churches, and it continues to besiege the Holy City with a ring of settlements imposed to separate the Holy City from the rest of the Palestinian cities.

The occupation is racing against time to redraw the borders on our land according to what it wants and to impose a fait accompli on the ground that changes the realities and that is undermining the realistic potential for the existence of the State of Palestine.

The occupying Power continues to impose its blockade on the Gaza Strip and to target Palestinian civilians by assassinations, air strikes (drones), and artillery shelling, persisting with its war of aggression of three years ago on Gaza, which resulted in massive destruction of homes, schools, hospitals, and mosques, and the thousands of martyrs and wounded.

The occupying Power also continues its incursions in areas of the Palestinian National Authority through raids, arrests and killings at the checkpoints. In recent years, the criminal actions of armed settler militias, who enjoy the special protection of the occupation army, has intensified with the perpetration of frequent attacks against our people, targeting their homes, schools, universities, mosques, fields, crops and trees.

Despite our repeated warnings, the occupying Power has not acted to curb these attacks and we hold them fully responsible for the crimes of the settlers. These are just a few examples of the policy of the Israeli colonial settlement occupation, and this policy is responsible for the continued failure of the successive international attempts to salvage the peace process.

This (occupation) policy will destroy the chances of achieving a two-State solution upon which there is an international consensus, and here I caution aloud: This settlement policy threatens to undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its existence.

We now face the imposition of new conditions not previously raised, conditions that will transform the raging conflict in our inflamed region into a religious conflict, and a threat to the future of a million and a half Christian and Muslim Palestinians, citizens of Israel, a matter which we reject and which is impossible for us to accept being dragged into.

All of these actions taken by Israel in our country are unilateral actions, and are not based on any earlier agreements. Indeed, what we witness is a selective application of the agreements aimed at perpetuating the occupation. Israel reoccupied the cities of the West Bank by a unilateral action, and reestablished the civil and military occupation by a unilateral action, and it is the one that determines whether or not a Palestinian citizen has the right to reside in any part of the Palestinian Territory.

Israel (occupation forces) are confiscating our land, our water, and obstructing our movement as well as the movement of goods. And it is the one obstructing our whole destiny. All of this is unilateral.

In 1974, our deceased leader Yasser Arafat came to this hall and assured the Members of the General Assembly of our affirmative pursuit for peace, urging the United Nations to realize the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, stating: “Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand”.

In 1988, President Arafat again addressed the General Assembly, which convened in Geneva to hear him, where he submitted the Palestinian peace program adopted by the Palestine National Council at its session held that year in Algeria.

When we adopted this program, we were taking a painful and very difficult step for all of us, especially those, including myself, who were forced to leave their homes and their towns and villages, carrying only some of our belongings and our grief and our memories and the keys of our homes to the camps of exile and the Diaspora in the 1948 Al-Nakba.  The Nakba is one of the worst operations of uprooting, destruction and removal of a vibrant and cohesive society that had been contributing in a pioneering and leading way in the cultural, educational and economic renaissance of the Arab Middle East.

Yet, because we believe in peace and because of our conviction in international legitimacy, and because we had the courage to make difficult decisions for our people, and in the absence of absolute justice, we decided to adopt the path of relative justice that is possible and could correct part of the grave historical injustice committed against our people. Thus, we agreed to establish the State of Palestine on only 22% of the territory of historical Palestine (see note) on all the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967.

We, by taking that historic step, which was welcomed by the States of the world, made a major concession in order to achieve a historic compromise that would allow peace to be made in the land of peace.

In the years that followed the Madrid Conference and the Washington negotiations leading to the Oslo agreement, which was signed 18 years ago in the garden of the White House, and was linked with the letters of mutual recognition between the PLO and Israel, we persevered and dealt positively and responsibly with all efforts aimed at the achievement of a lasting peace agreement. Yet, as we said earlier, every initiative and every conference and every new round of negotiations and every movement was shattered on the rock of the Israeli settlement expansion project.

I confirm, on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, which will remain so until the end of the conflict in all its aspects and until the resolution of all final status issues, the following:

1. The goal of the Palestinian people is the realization of their inalienable national rights in their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the land of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, which Israel occupied in the June 1967 war, in conformity with the resolutions of international legitimacy and with the achievement of a just and agreed upon solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194, as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative which presented the consensus Arab vision to resolve the core the Arab-Israeli conflict and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace. To this we adhere and this is what we are working to achieve. Achieving this desired peace also requires the release of political prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons without delay.

2. The PLO and the Palestinian people adhere to the renouncement of violence and rejection and condemning of terrorism in all its forms, especially State terrorism, and adhere to all agreements signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel.

3. We adhere to the option of negotiating a lasting solution to the conflict in accordance with resolutions of international legitimacy. Here, I declare that the Palestine Liberation Organization is ready to return immediately to the negotiating table on the basis of the adopted terms of reference based on international legitimacy and a complete cessation of settlement activities.

4. Our people will continue their popular peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation and its settlement and apartheid policies and its construction of the racist annexation Wall, and they receive support for their resistance, which is consistent with international humanitarian law and international conventions and has the support of peace activists from Israel and around the world, reflecting an impressive, inspiring and courageous example of the strength of this defenseless people, armed only with their dreams, courage, hope and slogans in the face of bullets, tanks, tear gas and bulldozers.

5. When we bring our plight and our case to this international podium, it is a confirmation of our reliance on the political and diplomatic option and is a confirmation that we do not undertake unilateral steps. Our efforts are not aimed at isolating Israel or de-legitimizing it; rather we want to gain legitimacy for the cause of the people of Palestine. We only aim to de-legitimize the settlement activities and the occupation and apartheid and the logic of ruthless force, and we believe that all the countries of the world stand with us in this regard.

I say on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organization: We extend our hands to the Israeli government and the Israeli people for peace-making. I say to them: Let us urgently build together a future for our children where they can enjoy freedom, security and prosperity. Let us build the bridges of dialogue instead of checkpoints and walls of separation, and build cooperative relations based on parity and equity between two neighboring States, Palestine and Israel, instead of policies of occupation, settlement, war and eliminating the other.

Despite the unquestionable right of our people to self-determination and to the independence of our State as stipulated in international resolutions, we have accepted in the past few years to engage in what appeared to be a test of our worthiness, entitlement and eligibility. During the last two years our national authority has implemented a program to build our State institutions.

Despite the extraordinary situation and the Israeli obstacles imposed, a serious extensive project was launched that has included the implementation of plans to enhance and advance the judiciary and the apparatus for maintenance of order and security, to develop the administrative, financial, and oversight systems, to upgrade the performance of institutions, and to enhance self-reliance to reduce the need for foreign aid. With the thankful support of Arab countries and donors from friendly countries, a number of large infrastructure projects have been implemented, focused on various aspects of service, with special attention to rural and marginalized areas.

In the midst of this massive national project, we have been strengthening the features of our State: From the preservation of security for the citizen and public order; to the promotion of judicial authority and rule of law; to strengthening the role of women via legislation, laws and participation; to ensuring the protection of public freedoms and strengthening the role of civil society institutions; to institutionalizing rules and regulations for ensuring accountability and transparency in the work of our Ministries and departments; to entrenching the pillars of democracy as the basis for the Palestinian political life.

When division struck the unity of our homeland, people and institutions, we were determined to adopt dialogue for restoration of our unity. We succeeded months ago in achieving national reconciliation and we hope that its implementation will be accelerated in the coming weeks. The core pillar of this reconciliation was to turn to the people through legislative and presidential elections within a year, because the State we want will be a State characterized by the rule of law, democratic exercise and protection of the freedoms and equality of all citizens without any discrimination and the transfer of power through the ballot box.

The reports issued recently by the United Nations, the World Bank, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) and the International Monetary Fund confirm and laud what has been accomplished, considering it a remarkable and unprecedented model. The consensus conclusion by the AHLC a few days ago here described what has been accomplished as a “remarkable international success story” and confirmed the readiness of the Palestinian people and their institutions for the immediate independence of the State of Palestine.

It is no longer possible to redress the issue of the blockage of the horizon of the peace talks with the same means and methods that have been repeatedly tried and proven unsuccessful over the past years. The crisis is far too deep to be neglected, and what is more dangerous are attempts to simply circumvent it or postpone its explosion.

It is neither possible, nor practical, nor acceptable to return to conducting business as usual, as if everything is fine. It is futile to go into negotiations without clear parameters and in the absence of credibility and a specific timetable. Negotiations will be meaningless as long as the occupation army on the ground continues to entrench its occupation, instead of rolling it back, and continues to change the demography of our country in order to create a new basis on which to alter the borders.

It is a moment of truth and my people are waiting to hear the answer of the world. Will it allow Israel to continue its occupation, the only occupation in the world? Will it allow Israel to remain a State above the law and accountability? Will it allow Israel to continue rejecting the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice and the positions of the overwhelming majority of countries in the world?

I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.

The time has come to end the suffering and the plight of millions of Palestine refugees in the homeland and the Diaspora, to end their displacement and to realize their rights, some of them forced to take refuge more than once in different places of the world.

At a time when the Arab peoples affirm their quest for democracy in the Arab Spring uprising, the time is now for the Palestinian Spring, the time for independence. The time has come for our men, women and children to live normal lives, for them to be able to sleep without waiting for the worst that the next day will bring; for mothers to be assured that their children will return home without fear of suffering killing, arrest or humiliation; for students to be able to go to their schools and universities without checkpoints obstructing them.

The time has come for sick people to be able to reach hospitals normally, and for our farmers to be able to take care of their good land without fear of the occupation seizing the land and its water, which the wall prevents access to, or fear of the settlers, for whom settlements are being built on our land and who are uprooting and burning the olive trees that have existed for hundreds of years. The time has come for the thousands of prisoners to be released from the prisons to return to their families and their children to become a part of building their homeland, for the freedom of which they have sacrificed.

My people desire to exercise their right to enjoy a normal life like the rest of humanity. They believe what the great poet Mahmoud Darwish said: Standing here, staying here, permanent here, eternal here, and we have one goal, one, one: to be.

We profoundly appreciate and value the positions of all States that have supported our struggle and our rights and recognized the State of Palestine following the Declaration of Independence in 1988, as well as the countries that have recently recognized the State of Palestine and those that have upgraded the level of Palestine representation in their capitals. I also salute the Secretary-General, who said a few days ago that the Palestinian State should have been established years ago.

Be assured that this support for our people is more valuable to them than you can imagine, for it makes them feel that someone is listening to their narrative and that their tragedy and the horrors of Al-Nakba and the occupation, from which they have so suffered, are not being ignored. And, it reinforces their hope that stems from the belief that justice is possible in this in this world. The loss of hope is the most ferocious enemy of peace and despair is the strongest ally of extremism.

I say: The time has come for my courageous and proud people, after decades of displacement and colonial occupation and ceaseless suffering, to live like other peoples of the earth, free in a sovereign and independent homeland.

I would like to inform you that, before delivering this statement, I submitted, in my capacity as the President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, an application for the admission of Palestine on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, as a full member of the United Nations.

I call upon Mr. Secretary-General to expedite transmittal of our request to the Security Council, and I call upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to vote in favor of our full membership. I also call upon the States that did not recognized the State of Palestine as yet to do so.

The support of the countries of the world for our endeavor is a victory for truth,freedom, justice, law and international legitimacy, and it provides tremendous support for the peace option and enhances the chances of success of the negotiations.

Your support for the establishment of the State of Palestine and for its admission to the United Nations as a full member is the greatest contribution to peacemaking in the Holy Land.” End of speech

Note 1: I am interested in finding the integral speech of Israel in 1949 asking the UN for recognition as a State. I am curious how the process changed and how different the letter was…

Note 2: In 1947, the UN partitioned Palestine (22,000 square kilometer) into Zionist Jew immigrants and the original people of Palestine.  The UN gave the minority Zionist colons 53% of the land.  In 1967, Israel achieved its total occupation of Palestine by absorbing the land under Jordanian mandate (the West Bank) and Egyptian mandate (Gaza).  Shimon Peres (current President of Israel) could not believe his luck that Yasser Arafat agreed to settle on the 1967 borders in the Oslo agreement: That restitution of lands to Israel was opposed by many Palestinian resistance forces.

Bahrain: Western PR firms to the rescue of this absolute monarchy

The Bahrain government has being wasting public money on protecting the absolute monarchic regime’s reputation by hiring western PR firms to trying to sanitize and salvage its awfully tarnished international image, since Feb 2011 uprising.  Most of the presidents of these firms have been serving US governments in various public positions.

A couple of days ago, the Bahrain government acknowledged using activities contrary to human rights laws. It seems that Western States have been too embarrassed singling out Syria regime when Bahrain has been executing physicians and surgeons who tended to injured peaceful demonstrators. You may read this post for knowing “what’s going in Bahrain”

Many Western PR firms/individuals were hired by the Bahrain government.  For example, you have this small sample of the Potomac Square Group, Sorini, Samet & Associates, Qorvis, Joe Trippi & Associates, Sanitas International, Bell Pottinger, Gardant Communications, BCB Group, Olton, Tom Squitieri (TS Navigations LLC)
I received a link detailing the names and bio of these PR men:
Four on the list come from US politics. Christopher Harvin (@cmharvin) worked for the White House and several other US government departments. Joe Trippi, (@JoeTrippi) managed Howard Dean’s 2004 U.S. presidential election campaign. Andrew Samet of Sorini, Samet & Associates previously served as Deputy Undersecretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration. Matt Lauer (@MattJLauer), of Qorvis, is a former State Department official. Additionally, Gardant’s Lord Paddy Gillford, or Earl of Clanwilliam, was a former advisor to the UK Conservative Party.
The Bahrain Ministry of Interior came out with a press statements like “Ministry urges families to keep women out of illegal activities“.  Here is an expanded record of those PR firms:

Potomac Square Group

Bahrain’s embassy in Washington DC signed a contract with the DC-based Potomac Square Group on the 17th of February, three days after the start of the uprising. The firm is run by a Chris Cooper, a former Wall Street Journalist reporter. He writes on his LinkedIn profile: “Clients include a foreign government seeking help in dealing with an internal crisis”.

According to the US registration documents the embassy was to pay him $20,000 (plus expenses) for a month’s worth of services (renewable). You can view the full document here.

Sorini, Samet & Associates

In April, the AFL-CIO filed a complaint with the US Department of Labor calling on it to terminate the Bahrain-US Free Trade Agreement in light of the mass sackings of workers in Bahrain following the protests. To formulate the response to this, Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hired the services of Sorini, Samet & Associates LLC, a government relations firm specializing in international trade legislation.

The point man at the firm is Andrew Samet, who has previously served as Deputy Undersecretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration. The Bahrain government was to pay the firm an hourly fee ranging between $100 and $550 with an initial non-returnable retainer of $25,000. See the US registration documents here.

One would imagine these guys helped arrange the July meetings of Bahrain’s ministers of labor and industry with US officials and policy wonks in Washington DC (after Samet visited Bahrain in May).


Qorvis is a well-known D.C.-based PR firms, notorious for being hired by Saudi Arabia to improve its image after 9/11. The firm was hired by Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in April/May 2011 for a monthly fee of $40,000 (plus out of pocket expenses). The US registration documents are here.

The firm’s point man for the contract is Matt Lauer (@MattJLauer), a former State Department official. It seems that Qorvis is likely to be the source of the press statements on behalf of the Bahrain government regularly posted on PR Newswire. (See Brian Whitaker’s blog post ‘Spinning Bahrain, the Qorvis way‘).

Joe Trippi & Associates

Joe Trippi & Associates is a D.C.-based media firm headed by Democratic political strategist Joe Trippi, (@JoeTrippi) who managed Howard Dean’s 2004 U.S. presidential election campaign. He was hired some time before August by Dr. Saqer Al Khalifa, Ph.D. on behalf of Bahrain’s ministry of information.

According to the registration documents, Trippi is tasked with providing “strategic counsel” and assisting “with outreach to members of the media and non-governmental organizations.” The documents don’t mention how much the Bahrain government is paying for the services.

Sanitas International

Joe Trippi hired the services of a D.C.-based PR firm Sanitas International on behalf of the Bahrain ministry of information in July. Sanitas’ stated job is to once again “provide strategic council, public affairs and other media communications services” for the Bahrain government. The registration documents do not state the fee that Sanitas receives for its services.

The point-man for the contract is partner Christopher Harvin (@cmharvin), who has formally worked for the White House and several other US government departments. Earlier this year Harvin said in an interview that one of the trends that excites him the most is the wave of democratic reform in the Middle East:

In Egypt, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube facilitated the removal of Hosni Mubarak. Even as the Egyptian government shut down certain channels of communication, the opposition continued to influence, organize and connect through alternative forms of communication. In Syria, social media is fueling mass demonstrations and revolt. In Iran, the Green Revolution began on Twitter.

And yet this guy has no problems about being hired to whitewash the image of the regime in Bahrain that has used Facebook and Twitter in its brutal crackdown against the democratic movement and has arrested bloggers.

Bell Pottinger

Bell Pottinger is a major London-based PR agency that had a number of contracts with the Bahraini government, including one for the Economic Development Board since 2009, believed to be worth a seven-figure sum in pounds annually. The firm came under pressure in February for holding the contracts even after seven protesters had been killed in Bahrain, and in April BP suspended some of its contracts including the EDB one.

The chairman of the agency said “most” — not all — of the Bahrain contracts had been suspended, and stressed that it was not necessarily a permanent disengagement.

Gardant Communications

It’s not clear whether Bahrain still has a contract with Gardant, but it is still listed on the UK Public Affairs Council website for now.

Gardant is a London-based PR firm that seems to have been working for the Bahrain government since before the Feb 2011 uprising. It acts as the secretariat for the UK-Bahrain All-Party Parliamentary Group, arranging their paid visit to Bahrain in October 2010.

The point man for this contract is Lord Paddy Gillford, Earl of Clanwilliam, a former adviser to the Conservative Party. In June, Gillford got into a public spat with Anwar Abdulrahman, the editor-in-chief of the Gulf Daily News, a pro-regime Bahraini newspaper, who is regarded as very close to Bahrain’s prime minister. Abdulrahman lashed out at him in the newspaper for failing to do enough to protect the regime’s international reputation. It’s hard to imagine that Abdulrahman’s public criticism of a Gillford could have happened without a nod from the government. So unless they kissed and made up afterwards, its quite possible that the contract has been terminated now.

BCB Group

BCB is a marketing and PR firm based in Connecticut, USA. Its not clear exactly what their work is in Bahrain, but I do know that they had representatives at the “National Dialogue” back in July.


Olton is a UK-based intelligence gathering firm (that also offers “reputation management”) run by ex-military men and founded by a Paul Manister (@H4Hkiliclimb). Again, its not exactly clear what their work is in Bahrain, but they do have an office in the Bahrain Financial Harbour, and I have reason to believe that they have a contract with the government.

The group was promoting its ‘web-trawling’ technology named ORA at the International Defense Exhibition (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi this February. An editor at the UAE’s The National newspaper who visited the IDEX conference tweeted:

At #Idex2011 A western comp is pitching software to monitor soc media to identify ringleaders, saying it could head off unrest in ME #Fail

Note 1:  Matt Lauer and Qorvis are also currently on the payroll of the Yemeni government receiving $30,000 per month, and of Hosni Mubarak’s close associate Ahmed Ezz receiving $92,000 per month;




October 2011

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