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Australian Deported From Bahrain Over Facebook Posts 188

Posted by timothy
from the bah-humbug dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Australian English instructor Tony Mitchell recently moved to Bahrain where he was offered a job at the state-run Polytechnic University. He described himself as a witness of the various horrifying events in the struggling country (see The Atlantic's four-part series). Mitchell was eventually fired, evicted, and forced to flee because of posts he made on Facebook."
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Australian Deported From Bahrain Over Facebook Posts

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  • When in Rome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @04:59PM (#38603496)

    It's probably best not to write bad things about the Emperor.

    Seriously, when you're in somebody elses country you need to be really mindful about what you say or do that's likely to upset the government.

    • Re:When in Rome (Score:4, Insightful)

      by inzy (1095415) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:10PM (#38603684)

      on the other hand, some would say he had balls for standing up to the oppressors. he stands up for what he thinks is right, and you say "well, it's your own fault" when he gets deported? perhaps if more people stood up, not less, we wouldn't have these problems, regardless of having crossed some arbitrary boundary like a nation-state border. we're all humans, irrespective of where we are. show some backbone and stop being so subservient to power

      • by hedwards (940851)

        If one feels that strongly about it, one probably shouldn't be taking a job there. Pissing off the government in somebody elses country then accepting deportation as punishment is hardly something that's going to do much for the quality of life of the people living there.

      • Re:When in Rome (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Dhalka226 (559740) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:40PM (#38604114)

        on the other hand, some would say he had balls for standing up to the oppressors.

        He does.

        he stands up for what he thinks is right, and you say "well, it's your own fault" when he gets deported?

        It is. They are not mutually exclusive.

        I support people standing up for whatever they believe in, and I certainly support this guy's cause. At the same time, I have no idea where this notion that one should be free from consequences if they are doing what they feel is right has come from. It is not a thing to be proud of, but it is a reality. Black people were arrested and beaten constantly standing up for their rights in the civil rights area. I'm sure none of them wanted to be, and but I also don't remember them going on about how they were in disbelief that they were arrested for breaking the law. They expected it. That was their way of standing up and drawing attention to how bad things were.

        So yes, he is welcome to stand up to oppressors, but he has to also be willing to accept the consequences of doing so. That's pretty much the crux of the whole "taking a stand" thing; if you're only doing it with the expectation there will never be consequences, you're not exactly going out on a limb are you? Frankly he should be quite happy with the results. Things aren't too bad for him and he has made the news nationally and internationally. That's damn close to a best case scenario for people hoping to effect change.

      • by Aighearach (97333)

        He didn't stand up to oppressors, he posted video on facebook that got a bunch of protesters arrested and some of his colleges at the University killed (presumably, they've been disappeared)

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      It's probably best not to write bad things about the Emperor.

      And if you do, you had better be the mad Jester in the court. Otherwise don't get too attached to that whole "breathing" thing.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      It's probably best not to write bad things about the Emperor.

      Seriously, when you're in somebody elses country you need to be really mindful about what you say or do that's likely to upset the government.

      Or the people that run the government.

    • The navy needs them, so they can do what they like.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ClintJCL (264898)
      And yet, checking the immigration status of people arrested is somehow racist...
    • Some of us walk on eggshells, some of us throw eggs. If the worst that could happen is deportation, I could egg a tyrant.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:00PM (#38603518)
    When a tyrannical government buys you a ticket out of their country, you take it.
  • He is lucky (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stanlyb (1839382) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:02PM (#38603548)
    Under the new NDAA bill, he would simply "disappear" without due process. God bless democratic Bahrain.
    • Re:He is lucky (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pecisk (688001) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @06:05PM (#38604452)

      For a love of.... We are talking about Bahrain, not US. It is getting old. Push your message about evil NDAA and POSA in other forums. This one already knows that.

    • by fusiongyro (55524)

      Why do you think all his friends and co-expatriates nervously suggested he leave sooner rather than later?

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      sung to the tune of Hampsterdance by Hampton the Hamster

    • Bahraini officials gave Mr. Mitchell a ticket out of the country because he is a professional from an Anglophone nation. He could have disappeared into the Bahrani justice system as easily as a Bahrani citizen, but dealing with the cleanup would have been more a PITA than the responsible officials thought it was worth. Being a First World passport holder frequently has its benefits.

  • Derp? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tyr07 (2300912) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:03PM (#38603566)

    I'm not saying what happened to him is right. There's a lot of wrong in this world, but a lot of this wrong is fact.

    If you go to a country, with a government who performs these acts, while in a public position that's easily identified and, well, damn it's public man.

    You're out there easy to see, you're visiting on the basis of the job, and you draw attention to yourself in a country where police damage property and people disappear all the time?

    Did you think your justice shield would protect you? It doesn't matter if you're right, it's still not in your best interest to do it.

    Wait until you leave the country and don't ever plan / intend to go back (They might be waiting for you) before you start commenting and throwing around any ego (Specifically his comment about wait till after the 30th and I'll tell you)

    When you say something like that, it's a slap in the face to the people you're protesting. They told you they want you out, and you know they're watching facebook, so you tell them even tho I promised not to say anything, I'm going to do it as soon as I leave?

    Bad idea to show your cards there.

    I'm just glad you took the chance to get out and your family is safe. Places like that can get scary very, very fast.

    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      Yep, from the article sounds like they black hood people over there, v for vendetta type shit. Dunno, not much we can do, the people over there have to take action somehow. The government is trying its best to prevent this by going as far as monitoring social media.

  • You'd think... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by owlnation (858981) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:04PM (#38603580)
    ...that, as an Australian, he'd be used to censorship on the internet.

    If you are willing to go to an oppressive country. And in so doing contribute to their economy and success, then... it's just crocodile tears when you find out that that oppressive country is oppressive to you too.
    • Re:You'd think... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SpazmodeusG (1334705) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:32PM (#38603986)

      To be fair we never allowed that censorship law to pass. There are still forces at work to get the internet censored but currently it's uncensored here in Australia.

      • not as unsenosred as you think

        Labor Senator Kate Lundy said in January 2010 that she is lobbying within the party for an "opt-out" filter, describing it as the "least worst" option.[41] In February 2010 she said she would propose the opt-out option when the filtering legislation goes before caucus.[42]
        Stephen Conroy has stated that 85% of Internet Service Providers, including Telstra, Optus, iPrimus and iiNet, welcome the Internet filter.[43] In response, Steve Dalby, iiNet's chief regulatory officer, stated that iiNet as a company does not support the Internet filter, and never has.[44]
        On 9 July 2010, Stephen Conroy announced that any mandatory filtering would be delayed until at least 2011.[45]
        In June 2011 two Australian ISPs, Telstra and Optus, confirmed they would voluntary block access to a list of child abuse websites provided by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and more websites on a list compiled by unnamed international organizations from mid-year.[46]

        there is some minor filtering at the moment, but that won't last long, major filtering will be implemented soon.

  • This is unfortunate. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:08PM (#38603622)

    This is unfortunate--there is a great deal that is quite wrong in the world, that is in effect only available on a pull-basis. I met a guy at a panel discussion a few months ago who had been personally tortured by Kaderov, the governor of Chechneya for Moscow. Why the hell do we waste so much time on what they put on the news, when you could actually be reporting that kind of thing on the news? Five to ten minutes a week that isn't a sound-byte, but is someone talking about an issue, would be a massive increase to the information most Americans receive.

    • by Ltap (1572175)
      Because that would be too reasonable. One thing I've noticed about modern journalism is that, when dealing with a controversial story, the actual text is almost all paraphrased or written by the journalist, with any involved parties being quotemined for a simple black-white answer: agreement or disagreement. Uncontroversial stories tend to be press releases which are published verbatim. The fundamental idea is that in "important" stories, the journalist needs to "craft" the "narrative" of what happens -- an
    • by whm (67844)

      Five to ten minutes a week that isn't a sound-byte, but is someone talking about an issue, would be a massive increase to the information most Americans receive.

      We have that, it's called NPR.

  • The lovely lovely democratic freedom loving state of Bahrain is on the US good guy list! (Along with Saudi Arabia)

    The US even has troops in these countries so that their own troops can focus on upholding liberty and justice for all!

    That Australian chap must have said something really really nasty! Nasty nasty! Must have deserved what he got!

    • by Nutria (679911)

      The US even has troops in these countries so that their own troops can focus on upholding liberty and justice for all!

      Don't be stupid. The only reason we give a rat's ass about them is that precious fluid which powers the world's economy.

  • As a general rule, you do NOT criticize a foreign nation while you are in it. This is even true if you are visiting a country with a strong respect for freedom and due process. The reason is simple enough: even though you are expected to obey their laws, you are almost never given the same legal protection as a citizen.

    So yes, bring your issues up. Yet you should demonstrate enough patience to protect yourself and the people who you associated with in that country.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Well...this is pretty much true, unless you're in a western country. Then it's perfectly okay. Try it sometime and see what happens, because in a "western nation" you'll be treated with kid gloves. Anywhere else, they'll put the kid gloves on you before they take a hand, or start lashing you, then deport you.

  • by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:35PM (#38604024)

    Bahrain beat and killed its own citizens because they dared to demand rights. The rulers are evil tyrants along the lines of Gaddafi, Assad, et al. Kicking an Australian out of the country for what he posted on Facebook is nothing compared to the far more vile atrocities they have committed.

  • Welcome to Bahrain International Airport. Please set your watches back Five Hundred Years.

  • by jklovanc (1603149) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:44PM (#38604198)

    Mr. Mitchell was not;
    1. "deported" His job ended so he probably no longer had a valid work visa
    2. "forced to flee". He was advides by his ex-boss to leave as soon as possible. He could have refused and stayed until he something happened.

    How about a little truth in reporting. The issue is bad enough as it is without throwing falsehoods on top.

    • by idontgno (624372)

      "Reading between the lines" and "recognizing subtext" isn't quite the same as "throwing falsehoods."

      A threat's a threat, even if they don't wave the electrodes in your face.

    • Mr. Mitchell was not;
      1. "deported" His job ended so he probably no longer had a valid work visa

      His job didn't just end. He was fired (and wasn't allowed to finish the month).

      And yes, that's what "deported" means, that your visa suddenly gets invalidated and that your'e no longer welcome in the country. I'm not sure why your'e even bringing up this circular argument.

      And yes, you can still be "deported", even if you have to drive yourself unescored to the airport. Just like you can still go to a prison you were sentenced to, even if you have to drive yourself (or have a friend drive you) unescorted to

  • All that US prosecutors have to do now is torture the facts until they reveal that your unpopular opinions constitute "material support for terrorism":

    http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/12/i-guess-posting-videos-online-can-make-you-terrorist [motherjones.com] ...you can easily see the Bahrain prosecutors turning "activism" into "terrorism" with a stroke of the pen and a few sad stories of injured policemen at the protests, and the "value of the advertising" of the Facebook page turned into "material support", the way the Bosto

  • by Maow (620678) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:02PM (#38605438) Journal

    Perish the thought, I think I'm gonna faint.

    I've been there; they barely even speak English.

    (joking, just joking)

  • Not all of the world is run like a European/American-style Democracy. Just because you can get away with this sort of thing in a western-style Democracy doesn't mean that you should think you can get away with it anywhere.

    Not that I think Bahrain's government is right here, but he had to know that these guys play by these rules.

    LK

  • by IonOtter (629215) on Friday January 06, 2012 @01:54AM (#38607264) Homepage

    1. Make huge gobs of money.
    2. If you are not there to make money yourself, you better be making money for someone else. (Spending it or being a slave.)
    3. If you do ANYTHING that is not 1 or 2, you will soon be dead, deported, or being exploited as a slave to make someone else money.

    Bahrain is a cross between "Brave New World", "Atlas Shrugged" and "Lord of the Flies".

    Act accordingly.

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