Who Is Funding "This Is Bahrain" Campaign?

2015-10-10 - 4:32 م

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Although Betsy Mathieson, secretary-general of the Bahrain Federation of Expatriate Associations and organizer of "This Is Bahrain" campaign, denied that she received any funds from the Bahraini government yet she didn't reveal the sources of the campaign's mysterious funding. There is no independent website for either the Federation nor the Group, according to Bahraini blogger Mahmoud Al-Yousif, who raised questions about who gave this group the authority to speak for and on behalf of the Bahraini people and government, stressing that the opaqueness surrounding this federation, its campaign and funding is one disturbing factor.

Who is paying the travel and accommodation expenses for these 200 people, and other expenses and activities, as they are jetting all over the world, offering presents, holding conferences and exhibitions (the Washington exhibition included over 50 pavilions), distributing publications and books, and even signing memorandums and agreements?

The campaign organizers were also planning to pay the Zionist MEMRI institution to agree to the memorandum of understanding and start working on whitewashing the Bahraini regime's image and tarnish the opposition's reputation abroad? How were they going to pay this money and who was going to pay it?

Expenses are likely estimated to have reached millions of Bahraini dinars after launching tours in five major countries.

It was obvious to many observers (including pro-government journalists) that the government is funding this campaign. Many parties (even on the international level) were dealing with this campaign as if it was speaking on behalf and representing the Bahraini government, for the delegation included representatives for all the ministries and government bodies. Did these officials have their expenses paid by "foreigners" living in Bahrain?

Besides the participation of senior government officials, as well as Shura council, parliament, Sunni and Shiite Endowments (Waqf), governorates, trade and industry chamber, Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) and even King Hamad Hospital representatives, the king himself received the organizers and participants of this campaign and publicly said during their visit that he declares his "appreciation and support" for this campaign.

هذه هي البحرين

The campaigns organizer had openly said in one of her statements that the event is an appreciation for the major support that Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa provided for the federation and its activities.

The federation also organized an event funded by Nasser bin Hamad, the Bahraini king's son.

The campaign even went as far as holding an exhibition during its tour in France "to showcase highlights of the king's son Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa"!

Why does the Federation of Expatriate Associations want to offer "a chance to promote the products and achievements of the government ministries and bodies and showcase the Kingdom of Bahrain abroad," and how can it reach the officials of world powers through these events and have all these facilitations in Bahrain and hosting countries, provided either by Bahraini diplomatic bodies or foreign officials?

Main Sponsor: Hotel Owner Accused of Establishing Prostitution Network

After prolonged silence about the sources of funding, Betsy Mathieson surprisingly spoke of a main sponsor for the campaign during the campaign's tour in Belgium in January 2015.

The name of Bahraini businessman Fadel Al-Bado was shown next to the campaign's name for the first time. The Bahraini king received him with the campaign's delegation last March, accepted his souvenir and praised him.

فاضل البدو

Who is Fadel Al-Bado?

Al-Bado is a Bahraini hotel investor, owner of Forsan Group, which owns a number of hotels in Bahrain. May be he is just a figure known for running for the last parliamentary election (2014) and losing, and fiercely rejecting the Bahraini Culture Minister Mai Bint Mohammed Al Khalifa's decision to close down three-star hotel facilities in Bahrain, meaning bars, discotheques and nightclubs, and his hotel was one of them.

However, Moroccan newspapers and media outlets had a different opinion about Fadel Al-Bado, the funder of some "This Is Bahrain" tours-as it seems-.

In 2012, Fadel Al-Bado's name was circulated in dozens of websites and newspapers, after a case that stirred up the media in Morocco, as some journalists published an investigation report about forcing moroccan women to practice prostitution in Bahrain. The testimonies that the investigation included were by Moroccan women who accused the owner of Forsan hotels group (Fadel Al-Bado) of forcing them into prostitution!

This case led to major consequences, as the two journalists were arrested, since it was revealed that senior Moroccan officials were involved in this prostitution network. The two journalists were supported by civil organizations in Morocco which held rallies and protests in solidarity with them, and one of the journalists (Abdul Wafi Al-Allam) raised his case to Amnesty International.

Al-Allam said that this network takes these Moroccan girls to Bahrain claiming that they will work there and then "they are shocked by the reality as they realise that they will practice prostitution against their will and in systematic and organized manner, by locking them in the hotel of corruption and prostitution known as "Al-Forsan hotels" in Bahrain which are owned by Fadel Hasan Al-Bado. This led to one of the girls escaping the aforementioned hotel nude and intoxicated and Bahraini news outlets had reported the incident at the time."

In fact, in the same year when Al-Allam was arrested, news spread about Al-Forsan hotels and investor Fadel Al-Bado and the Bahraini public prosecution stated that it ordered the arrest of 32 suspects and a female suspect over a prostitution case and arresting a fugitive suspect, who is the the owner of the hotel where prostitution was being practiced, and decided to shut down the hotel.

Al-Forsan hotels is still open in Bahrain and Fadel Al-Bado is still at large, but when typing on a search engine these keywords: Fadel Al-Bado + Prostitution, interesting results will show, clearly revealing how honorable "This Is Bahrain" campaign, its funders and supporters are.

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