Western companies help Bahrain spy on democracy activists

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By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
While Western governments preach to the world about the benefits of democracy, Western companies supply some of the most detestable dictatorial regimes with surveillance technologies for use against pro-democracy activists. One example in point is the repressive government of Bahrain, which, according to Amnesty International, is responsible for some of the most extensive human rights violations anywhere in the Middle East. Bahrain is the kind of place where even medical professionals who treat people wounded by police or soldiers in demonstrations are charged with “incitement”. Despite the fervor of the pro-democracy movement that has risen as part of the Arab Spring, the oil-rich royal clique that rules the nation has managed a series of debilitating hits against the reformists. The success of the crackdown is largely due the use of sophisticated telecommunications surveillance systems that allow Bahraini authorities to spy on cell phones and social networking platforms used by members of the pro-democracy opposition. Who supplied the Bahraini dictators with this equipment? Step forward German engineering conglomerate Siemens AG, and Finnish multinational Nokia. An article published this week in Bloomberg’s Markets magazine, fingers the German company as the primary supplier of telecommunications surveillance systems to the Bahraini royals. The latter rely on contracts with Nokia’s Trovicor GmbH subsidiary to maintain the sophisticated software and hardware. Bloomberg says it was notified of the Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) partnership by two unnamed insiders, “whose positions at the companies gave them direct knowledge of the installations and the sale and maintenance contracts”. The allegations were later confirmed by UK-based NSN spokesman Ben Roome. Wondering where you’ve heard all this before? Look no further than the Islamic Republic of Iran. IntelNews reported over two years ago that Nokia Siemens Networks was among a consortium of Western companies that routinely supply Tehran with advanced means to spy on its own people.

2 Responses to Western companies help Bahrain spy on democracy activists

  1. rec says:

    Democracy is a prerequisite for all countries in their own interests or in the main

  2. Ishabaka says:

    Every American who drives a truck or SUV who doesn’t need it for work has a hand in this kind of activity, and knows it.

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