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Number of posts: 8,821

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"It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have." James A. Baldwin

Journal Archives

Egypt cabinet orders end to sit-in protest.

Source: Al Jazeera.

Egypt's cabinet has tasked police to take "all necessary measures" to end protests by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, warning that their demonstrations pose a national security threat. "The continuation of the dangerous situation in Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares, and consequent terrorism and road blockages are no longer acceptable given the threat to national security," it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Morsi's supporters have been camped out in both squares demanding his reinstatement. "The government has decided to take all necessary measures to confront and end these dangers, and tasks the interior minister to do all that is necessary in this regard, in accordance with the constitution and law," the statement read.

Minutes before the statement, authorities said they had referred the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, and two other senior movement officials to a court on charges of inciting violence. The move is certain to deepen tensions between Islamists and the military, who removed Egypt's Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, from power on July 3.

Read more: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/07/2013731144419285305.html

Looks like this could be the end game for peaceful protests against the Egyptian generals who overthrew that nation's democratically elected government. The Coup leaders should be far more afraid of what will follow should peaceful protests become impossible.
Posted by another_liberal | Wed Jul 31, 2013, 01:06 PM (6 replies)

Egypt crisis: 'we didn't have space in the fridges for all the bodies'

Source: The Guardian.

The sand-filled forecourt outside the Zeinhom morgue, Cairo's main mortuary, was a carousel of coffins. From the left-hand door, out came families carrying dead relatives to their funerals, stray dogs sniffing at their heels. Through the door on the right, in went still more bodies for their autopsies. By the end of Sunday, officials had assessed 82 corpses, as the death toll from Saturday's police massacre of pro-Morsi supporters kept rising. So too did the mourners' feelings of isolation. "If this was animals being killed, people would care," said one of those outside the morgue, lawyer Islam Taher, alluding to the indifference of mainstream Egyptian opinion to the death of Morsi supporters. "But because it's us, they don't."

On Friday 28 June, Taher had pitched camp with his childhood friend Mohamed Fahmy, a 28-year-old unemployed commerce graduate from a small village in eastern Egypt, at the Rabaa Adawiya sit-in in east Cairo, near where Saturday's massacre took place. On Sunday, exactly a month later, both arrived together at the the Zeinhom morgue – but this time Fahmy was dead in a battered brown coffin, shot through his right temple by a police marksman, after a night-time pro-Morsi march on Saturday morning turned into a massacre. "Suddenly, he had a bullet through the front of his head, and a hole out the other side," said Taher, holding out a picture taken on his phone of a brain-dead Fahmy breathing his last hours earlier. "He didn't have any weapons. He just had his bare chest."

State officials said Saturday's deaths took place after pro-Morsi protesters fired first – and even claimed that police only used teargas to disperse them. But protesters told of a state-initiated bloodbath and a subsequent cover-up. "We asked them to record his death as a murder by police," said Ashraf Mamdouh, loading the body of his brother-in-law, Hegazy Zakaria, into a van that would take him to his funeral in a village outside Cairo. "But they forced us to accuse anonymous sources."

Inside the morgue, the scene had been one of mayhem. "We didn't have enough places in the fridges to fit all the bodies," said Dr Hazem Hossam, an official at Zeinhom. "We had to do autopsies on the floor. At some points we had to ask families to help us with the process. It was chaos."

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/28/egypt-crisis-cairo-massacre-morsi

"But they forced us to accuse anonymous sources."

Ah yes, the ever deadly, and oh so convenient, "anonymous sources." Funny how they never seem to shoot anyone but protestors. Such good shots too, almost always right through the head.
Posted by another_liberal | Mon Jul 29, 2013, 07:42 AM (12 replies)

Egypt official warns Brotherhood again.

Source: Al Jazeera.

Egypt's interior minister has pledged to deal decisively with any attempts to destabilise the country, a thinly veiled warning to supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi occupying two squares in Cairo in a month-long stand-off with the security forces. Sunday's warning came as authorities said that the death toll in weekend clashes between Morsi's backers and security forces near one of the sit-ins had reached 72, in the deadliest single outbreak of violence since the July 3 military coup.

"I assure the people of Egypt that the police are determined to maintain security and safety to their nation and are capable of doing so," Mohamed Ibrahim told a graduation ceremony at the national police academy. "We will very decisively deal with any attempt to undermine stability," said Ibrahim, who is in charge of the police. In an apparent show of support for the police, a smiling military chief, Abdel Fatah el Sisi, turned up at a graduation ceremony on Sunday broadcast live on state television, receiving a standing ovation from the recruits. Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim hailed him as "Egypt's devoted son".

Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel Hamid, reporting from Cairo, said his comments come off the back of events over the past week, beginning with the "popular mandate" given to the army to "fight terrorism". "By association, the police also got the same mandate. We've already seen them co-operating on the ground, and we've already heard they will be co-operating together in the coming days."

However, in one of the first signs of doubt from within the interim cabinet installed after the military takeover, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Ziad Bahaa El-Din said the government must not copy the "oppressive and exclusionary policies" of its foes. "Our position must remain fixed on the need to provide legal guarantees not only for the members of the Brotherhood, but for every Egyptian citizen. Excessive force is not permitted," El-Din wrote on Facebook. And in another sign of unease, the Tamarud youth protest movement, which mobilised millions of people against Morsi and has fully backed the army, expressed alarm at an announcement that the interior minister was reviving the feared secret political police shut down after Mubarak was toppled.

Read more: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/07/201372812425783294.html

"We will very decisively deal with any attempt to undermine stability."

After all, there are few things more "stable" than a crowded graveyard full of murdered protesters.
Posted by another_liberal | Sun Jul 28, 2013, 07:05 PM (10 replies)

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks' resumption put in doubt by both sides.

Source: The Guardian

Moves towards a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were mired in rumours, rebuttals, criticism and confusion on Sunday in an indication of the political and diplomatic swamp facing key negotiators and their mediator, the US secretary of state, John Kerry. In a high-profile dismissal of the embryonic process, Israel's former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, wrote on Facebook that there was "no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at least not in the coming years, and what's possible and important to do is conflict-management". Naftali Bennett, economics minister, insisted construction on Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would continue, regardless of talks.

The comments by two crucial partners in the Israeli coalition are a sign of deep hostility within the government over the agreement for preliminary talks forged by Kerry on Friday. Meanwhile, a veteran Palestinian negotiator, Yasser Abed Rabbo, denied that a firm decision had been taken to enter talks, saying further clarification was needed on a framework and the Palestinians were still discussing terms with Kerry. According to a Palestinian source, Kerry had written a letter giving a US assurance that the basis of territorial talks would be the pre-1967 border, but it was not clear whether the letter had been delivered. "If we have well-defined terms of reference and a clear time frame – by which we mean the end of the year – we will go into talks," the source said.

Among the few formal statements of the day, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, told cabinet colleagues that resuming the diplomatic process was "a vital strategic interest of the State of Israel, first of all because we want peace". However, any agreement would be put to a referendum of the Israeli public, he added. The Israeli president, Shimon Peres, congratulated his Palestinian counterpart on "a brave and historic decision to return to negotiations". He added: "Don't listen to the sceptics, you did the right thing."

Among the sceptics were Hamas, the Islamist rulers of Gaza, which described any engagement in talks by the Palestinian leadership as a "betrayal". There was no firm indication of when preliminary talks in Washington might begin. Kerry said in his statement on Friday that if everything went "as expected" the first meeting would take place "within a week or so". The main sticking point continues to be the Palestinian demand that the pre-1967 borders form the baseline for territorial negotiations, a guarantee which Israel refuses to give. If Kerry fails to persuade the Palestinians they have firm US backing on the issue, talks may fail to get off the ground. There is also disagreement over the timeframe. Israel is pushing for negotiations to last up to a year, fuelling concern among critics who believe Netanyahu is seeking to give the appearance of diplomatic co-operation while stalling for as long as possible on any outcome.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/21/israel-palestinian-peace-talks-doubt

Tzipi Livni is representing Israel's government at the talks? How serious can Netanyahu be if he chooses a negotiator who not long ago had to cancel a trip to London for fear (reportedly) of being arrested on war crimes charges?
Posted by another_liberal | Mon Jul 22, 2013, 07:20 AM (19 replies)

Israeli-Palestinian talks: speculation mounts on possible breakthrough

I'm beginning to feel a little like a child's yo yo. Maybe this is really good news, so I'm very happy! Maybe this is baloney and hot air, so I feel let down and used. Who knows at this point? Anyway, here's part of the article and a link:

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has convened a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah amid mounting speculation about an imminent breakthrough in US efforts to persuade both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to return to the negotiating table. Abbas will report on his latest meetings with the US secretary of state, John Kerry, in Amman this week and confer with leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the main political factions on proposals for the resumption of talks.

Israel's president Shimon Peres further raised expectations in a statement which said: "From the latest information at my disposal, Secretary Kerry has succeeded in progressing the chance for opening peace talks.... The coming days are crucial and we are within touching distance." Both parties, he added, were "making an effort to overcome the final obstacles". Thursday's meeting of the Palestinian leadership follows a statement issued by Arab League diplomats in Amman on Wednesday endorsing new negotiations, and an assessment by Kerry that the gaps between the two sides had significantly narrowed.

"Through hard and deliberate work, we have been able to narrow those gaps very significantly," Kerry told a press conference. "We continue to get closer and I continue to be hopeful that the two sides will come to sit at the same table." However, he added: "There is still some language that needs to be worked out".

An Arab League statement said: "The Arab delegates believe Kerry's ideas ... constitute a good ground and suitable environment for restarting the negotiations." It added that "any future deal must be based on a two-state solution and through establishing an independent Palestinian state on the 4 June 1967 borders with a limited exchange of lands in the same value and size."


The remainder can be found here:


Posted by another_liberal | Thu Jul 18, 2013, 01:04 PM (0 replies)

Netanyahu spokesman denies Israel agreed to 1967 border formula

Source: Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied on Tuesday an official's remarks that Israel had agreed to resume peace talks based on the borders of a Palestinian state being drawn along lines from before a 1967 Middle East war, and agreed land swaps. Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu, said "the report is untrue," calling Reuters with the statement after initially declining to comment on what the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official had said that, were the Palestinians to accept the formula, it would be announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry now in Jordan, who would also describe the future Palestine as existing alongside a "Jewish state" of Israel.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/18/us-palestinians-israel-formula-idUSBRE96H0CN20130718

It was a wonderful dream, while it lasted.
Posted by another_liberal | Thu Jul 18, 2013, 07:46 AM (8 replies)

Fighting new "Nakba" in the Negev.

Israel's foremost defenders bristle at the suggestion she is an "Apartheid State" or even that she practices policies like those of the former apartheid government in South Africa. How then should we characterize the program profiled in this article? It appears to me that any differences between those earlier, clearly racist policies and Israel's soon to be implemented "Prawer Plan" are rather minor at best.

From the refugees in 1949 looking over the Lebanese border at the land from which they were expelled, to the students in the Gaza banned by the Israeli Supreme Court from studying in the West Bank, Israeli colonisation has fragmented the Palestinian people over the decades with walls, fences, guns, bureaucracy and propaganda. Overcoming that fragmentation has become further complicated in recent times on account of the moribund state of representative bodies like the Palestine Liberation Organisation, as well as the long-running split between Fatah and Hamas.

In the last few years, however, there have been moments when particular circumstances have prompted coordinated resistance, at least on a grassroots level, amongst Palestinians wherever they may be. One such example was the widespread protests prompted by the massacre in Gaza in 2008-9 (otherwise known as Operation Cast Lead). Another example is when Palestinians coalesced around the prisoners’ hunger strikes to launch solidarity activities from Haifa to Ramallah. Now, Palestinians have united around opposition to a pending Israeli government plan to expel tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouin from communities in the Negev that await destruction in the name of ‘development’.

The Prawer plan, some years in the making, is part of a historical drive by the Israeli government to prioritise and privilege Jewish settlement in the Negev while forcing Bedouin citizens - those who weren’t expelled in the first decade of the state’s existence - to live in approved zones and shanty towns. On Monday, protests took place all across historic Palestine - in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and inside Israel – after the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab citizens of Israel called for a general strike and protests against Prawer. As plans for demonstrations were made from Nazareth to Hebron, Palestinians also hit social media to raise awareness and link up their actions, using hashtags like #AngerStrike and #StopPrawerPlan.

In Beersheva, to the south, a city ethnically cleansed in the Nakba and not far from many of the villages the Israeli government will seek to uproot under Prawer, a demonstration was targeted by the police and a number of protesters were violently arrested. In the north, some 400 people took part in a protest near Sakhnin in the Western Galilee, where another dozen participants were arrested. There were further demonstrations by Palestinians at Umm al-Fahm and many other towns and villages. Meanwhile, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship were joined by those under military rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where demonstrators rallied in solidarity with the ‘Anger Strike’ in Ramallah, Hebron, and Nablus. Even in a small village like Hussan, near Bethlehem, Israeli forces broke up a peaceful demonstration against the Prawer plan. The coordinated day of action also reached prisoners, with Palestinians in Gilboa jail announcing their participation and support.


Read the remainder of this article at the link below:

Posted by another_liberal | Wed Jul 17, 2013, 01:03 PM (18 replies)

Critics denounce Al Jazeera exclusive

Source: Al Jazeera

Doha, Qatar - An exclusive story published on Al Jazeera's website has been criticised for being inaccurate and disingenuous after it detailed US government funds earmarked for opponents of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. Emad Mekay's "Exclusive: US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists” published Wednesday created a firestorm of controversy, with supporters praising its investigative reportage, while critics denounced it as irresponsible journalism. Regardless of what side readers fall on, Mekay's story has skyrocketed online as one of the most viewed on Aljazeera.com since publication, especially on social media with more than 17,000 Facebook Likes, 3,700 Tweets, and 820 comments - and counting.

Based on US government documents obtained by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, Mekay's story describes how US funds were given to some organisations led by Egyptian politicians and political activists, who had called for the ouster of Morsi's democratically elected government before last week's military coup did just that. The article suggests it may have been illegal in both Egypt and the United States for funds to be disbursed to political operators, particularly those involved in subversive activities targeting democratically elected governments. "We are raising questions as to whether those payments violated Egyptian law and the US regulations and contributed to the unrest in Egypt,” Mekay told Al Jazeera. But some commentators have described the article as poor, misleading journalism.

"Al Jazeera English's publication of a frankly brain dead feature article purporting to show US support for anti-Morsi political forces is sheer conspiracy theory and very bad, unbalanced journalism,” wrote Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan, on his blog Informed Consent. "All the piece shows is that the US State Department program in ‘democracy assistance' granted small amounts of funding to … Suprise! democracy activists in Egypt.”

One of the quasi-US government organisations involved in promoting democracy abroad and highlighted in the story is the National Endowment for Democracy. It issued a statement that challenged some of the story's facts, adding "Al Jazeera's readers deserve better.” Emad Mekay makes a number of allegations about the assistance program of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Egypt, asserting that our funding was used to conduct partisan political activity and even to foment violence. The facts are otherwise,” NED said. "Mekay cites recent inflammatory remarks made by an individual associated with NED funding which ended long ago. The NED supported this group's project to inform Egyptian citizens of their legal rights. The NED categorically rejects violence and incitement and would terminate funding to any grantee that engaged in such activity.” The individual cited above is a former Egyptian policeman, Colonel Omar Afifi Soliman, who now lives in exile near Washington, DC. Soliman posted violent instructions to his 83,000 Facebook followers, calling on them to target Morsi's government. Soliman told Mekay he still receives money from the National Endowment for Democracy.

Read more: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/07/201371315254181476.html

There's an old saying:

"Once you have the official denial, then you know it's true."
Posted by another_liberal | Sat Jul 13, 2013, 06:21 PM (7 replies)

Exclusive: US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists

Source: Al Jazeera

Berkeley, United States - President Barack Obama recently stated the United States was not taking sides as Egypt's crisis came to a head with the military overthrow of the democratically elected president. But a review of dozens of US federal government documents shows Washington has quietly funded senior Egyptian opposition figures who called for toppling of the country's now-deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

Documents obtained by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley show the US channeled funding through a State Department programme to promote democracy in the Middle East region. This programme vigorously supported activists and politicians who have fomented unrest in Egypt, after autocratic president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February 2011. The State Department's programme, dubbed by US officials as a "democracy assistance" initiative, is part of a wider Obama administration effort to try to stop the retreat of pro-Washington secularists, and to win back influence in Arab Spring countries that saw the rise of Islamists, who largely oppose US interests in the Middle East.

Activists bankrolled by the programme include an exiled Egyptian police officer who plotted the violent overthrow of the Morsi government, an anti-Islamist politician who advocated closing mosques and dragging preachers out by force, as well as a coterie of opposition politicians who pushed for the ouster of the country's first democratically elected leader, government documents show. Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, interviews, and public records reveal Washington's "democracy assistance" may have violated Egyptian law, which prohibits foreign political funding. It may also have broken US government regulations that ban the use of taxpayers' money to fund foreign politicians, or finance subversive activities that target democratically elected governments.

Washington's democracy assistance programme for the Middle East is filtered through a pyramid of agencies within the State Department. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars is channeled through the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), USAID, as well as the Washington-based, quasi-governmental organisation the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). In turn, those groups re-route money to other organisations such as the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and Freedom House, among others. Federal documents show these groups have sent funds to certain organisations in Egypt, mostly run by senior members of anti-Morsi political parties who double as NGO activists. The Middle East Partnership Initiative - launched by the George W Bush administration in 2002 in a bid to influence politics in the Middle East in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks - has spent close to $900m on democracy projects across the region, a federal grants database shows.

Read more: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/07/2013710113522489801.html

If it looks like an American-sponsored coup, walks like and American sponsored coup and talks like an American-sponsored coup, it very likely is an American-sponsored coup. And now we have substantial proof of the fact.
Posted by another_liberal | Wed Jul 10, 2013, 01:47 PM (15 replies)
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