Saturday, January 29, 2011

Massive Protests in Egypt Against American Supported Mubarak's Brutal Ant-Democratic Regime

UPDATE: 6:23 11:00 PM.Jan.29, 2011.

Egyptian Protests -For updates and live streaming video/audio see:

Al Jazeera English: Live Streaming
Watch the broadcast here. Last Modified: 28 Jan 2011 17:08 GMT

Aljazeera might be blocked in some countries including the USA- Americans are FREE not to watch AlJazeera. Canada by the way has also at times blocked AlJazeera TV news.

Otherwise check out BBC & The Guardian.
Live streaming from BBC:As it happened: Egypt unrest day five

The Guardian Live Updates/Streaming

First a rather hypocritical statement by Hillay Clinto saying that what happens next is up to the Egyptian people-she doesn't bother to mention US involvement in foreign and domestic affairs of Egypt over the last few decades in which the US gave military aid of 1.3 billion a year and that the US stood by and did nothing as the authoritarian Regime crushed all dissent- -Egypt has had a dismal human rights record
The USA has used Egypt for renditioning of prisoners (detainees)used as a stop-over
and has handed over prisoners to be tortured by Egyptian police and or military on the behalf of the US government and the American people.
Egypt has also been used in various ways to enforce the Israeli blockade of Gaza

The common folk of Egypt are demanding an end to the Mubarak regime and want to install a government which is more democratic and which respects the human rights and freedoms of the citizens of Egypt and not just the elites of the well to do, the well connected, the rich and powerful . Meanwhile the USA is sending mixed messages about the crisis because as we have seen in America the rule of law , human rights etc, are being ignored in its bogus war on terror.
The US administration will have one less country to rendition prisoners to to be tortured if the uprising is successful.
If the Obama and the American government were interested in reform they would have cut off all military aid to Egypt years ago instead of being Mubarak's enabler.  Now they are discussing the issues of aid to Egypt while secretly hoping the Egyptian people come to their senses and realize they will be beaten down once again by Mubarak or whomever replaces him as the new strong man of Egypt.

So the people of Egypt if they want to really bring about change in how they are governed they should in my humble opinion realize the US government is not on their side as such but is on the side of America's corporate , strategic and military interests.

Obama Neocons Neoliberals all for democracy and reform in countries that do not protect the citizens basic human rights and freedom except in countries led by American backed proxies or puppet regimes all in the name of American interests.
Odd how American's corporate and strategic interests always come before the interests of the citizens of other nations.

America was all for Saddam until they decided they were against him. As it appears now the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has more to with American and Israeli interests than with "bringing freedom and democracy" to the people of Iraq or of Afghanistan etc.

Is Obama condemning the use of violence by both sides or just those protesting. It seems the Mubarak government has been all too willing to use violence killing over 40 people this week.

Hundreds held in Egypt protestsFrom AlJazeera Jan. 26, 2011

Fresh protests erupt in Egypt

And from America more BS about reform
American 1. 3 billion aid being used to beat up and kill protesters and America approves
The interviewer mentions social media and yet in the past week we discover Obama claims the right to shut down the entire internet if he wishes to.
So what's to prevent leaders such as Mubarak or those in Iran, North Korea or China etc.

Why should the Mubarak opposition agree to a cease fire - so that the government of Egypt can have time to round up all of the leaders and spokespersons who are leading the opposition or for the government to invent some sort "Terrorist conspiracy theory which would help keep America on Mubarak's side. In the past this is what such governments have done in other nations when faced with a popular uprising.

"Shameful: Egyptian Protesters Pelted With US-Made Tear Gas Canisters" by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd , via, Jan. 29, 2011

It's a familiar tale -- US supplies military aid to regimes with spotty histories. Regime uses aid against its own people. Suppressed find remnants of military gear stamped with US insignia.

Yesterday, Egyptian riot cops in Cairo let off countless canisters of tear gas into crowds in an attempt to disperse the massive protests against Mubarak's regime. When citizens picked them up to throw them back, they saw they were clearly labeled with directions and warning in English, and stamped with the words 'MADE IN THE USA.' To see a picture from the ground in Cairo of one of these canisters captured by Reuters, go here, and scroll down to photo 80.

The canister reads, 'FOR USE ONLY BY QUALIFIED PERSONNEL TRAINED IN THE USE OF THIS PRODUCT.' The man holding it is covering his mouth and nose with a protective scarf, one way to avoid breathing in tear gas' toxic fumes.

ABC reported the canisters were discovered in downtown Cairo in Tahir Square, a hub of yesterday's protests. The tear gas was manufactured by Combined Systems International of Jamestown, Pennsylvania. The US provides $1.3 billion dollars a year in military financing to Egypt. Aly Eltayeb, a 26-year-old graduate student from Boston who was protesting in Cairo for days, told ABC News, "The way I see it the U.S. administration supports dictators. U.S. political institution as a whole supports dictators in the Middle East as long as they do the torturing for them."

In Obama's Egypt speech last night, he called on Mubarak and the military to 'refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters':

Violence will not address the grievances of the Egyptian people. And suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. What's needed right now are concrete steps that advance the rights of the Egyptian people, a meaningful dialogue between the government and its citizens and a path of political change that leads to a future of greater freedom and greater opportunity and justice for the Egyptian people.

Meanwhile Bolton and Neocons as expected defend Mubarak and are against those demanding political and social reforms in Egypt.

No Longer Caring About Democracy, Bolton Disparages Egypt Protests And Defends Mubarak by Zaid Jilani Via Think, Jan. 29, 2011

During the Bush years, one of the justifications the administration most relied on for many of its policies in the world was that it was engaging in “democracy promotion.” One of the most vocal members about this supposed cause was Bush administration U.N. ambassador John Bolton.

Throughout his tenure as a high-level administration official, Bolton repeatedly insisted that one of his top priorities was helping spread freedom, respect for human rights, and democracy throughout he world. He was instrumental in the Bush administration’s refusal to join the U.N. Human Rights Council, supposedly out of his objection to the poor human rights records of several of the council’s members.

Yet during an interview with right-wing radio host Mark Levine yesterday, Bolton used his time on the show to attack and undermine the pro-democracy protest movement currently underway in Egypt. The former U.N. ambassador claimed that the “real alternative” to the Mubarak government is not “Jeffersonian democracy” but rather the opposition Muslim Brotherhood. After Levine postulated that “every Jihadi nutjob is probably pouring into Egypt right now,” Bolton followed up by saying this is the “big opportunity” for jihadists and mocked the calls of the international community to restore internet services, saying that the “Muslim Brotherhood knows how to use Twitter just like naive college students do”:

LEVINE: So what do you make with what’s going on in Egypt right now?

BOLTON: Well, I think it’s a real crisis for the regime. I think the outpourings in the street that have now been joined by the Muslim Brotherhood really do put the issue squarely on the table [...] My take is that they are digging in for a fight, they intend to resist, and that the real alternative is not Jefferson democracy versus the Mubarak regime, but that it’s the Muslim Brotherhood versus the Mubarak regime, and that has enormous implications for the U.S., for Israel, and our other friends in the region.

LEVINE: See, that’s my take on it too. I’m not aware of these spontaneous Jeffersonian democracy drives in the Arab world. Maybe I could be missing something. Mike Ledeen makes the point, I think he’s right, that every Jihadi nutjob is probably pouring into Egypt right now.

BOLTON: Oh, this is the big opportunity. That’s why so much of the Obama administration opposition to it has been feckless. [...] And the Muslim Brotherhood knows how to use Twitter just like naive college students do. So I don’t disagree. There are a lot of people in the streets who have legitimate grievances, they want more open government, so even if Mubarak were to fall, those idealistic people aren’t going to create the new government, the Brotherhood is.

For starters, Bolton is conflating a much wider movement for democracy with the Egyptian Islamist political movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood. The current demonstrations started on January 25, a date which had no religious significance but rather marked the date of an anticolonial police revolt against the British. The protests, largely lead by Egypt’s more progressive younger generation, went on for days before the Brotherhood even became involved.

Second of all, while there are many legitimate concerns about the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood’s politics, they are not equivalent to anti-American jihadists. The Egyptian brotherhood “renounced violence years ago, but its relative moderation has made it the target of extreme vilification by more radical Islamists. Al Qaeda’s leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, started their political lives affiliated with the Brotherhood but both have denounced it for decades as too soft and a cat’s paw of Mubarak and America.” In other words, Bolton is attacking a mostly nonviolent Islamist movement that has acted as a bulwark against violent extremism. Following brutal attacks against Coptic Christians late last year, the Muslim Brotherhood unequivocally condemned the terrorism, calling for peace.

Lastly, and most importantly of all, as former CIA officer and chair of the Obama administration’s 2009 Afghanistan and Pakistan strategic policy review Bruce Reidel writes, “Egyptians will decide the outcome, not Washington. We should not try to pick Egyptians’ rulers. Every time we have done so, from Vietnam’s generals to Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai, we have had buyer’s remorse. … [We] should not be afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood. Living with it won’t be easy but it should not be seen as inevitably our enemy. We need not demonize it nor endorse it. In any case, Egyptians now will decide their fate.” In other words, supporting democracy overseas does not mean supporting only leaders who we have no disagreements with.

If Bolton is siding with Mubarak against the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people — which include but are far from limited to nonviolent Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood — he should no longer pretend to be a friend of democracy (something he admitted in 2010 when he said that democracy is “not always the answer“).

"How did the U.S. get in bed with Mubarak?"A historian explains how the U.S. became closely tied to the Mideast dictatorship by justin elliott, jan. 29, 2011

Much of the media coverage of the protests in Egypt has noted that President Obama is in a tough position because the regime of Hosni Mubarak is an important ally of the United States.

So it's natural to ask: How and why did the United States become allies with Egypt in the first place? And how has the alliance, which includes an annual military aid package worth $1.3 billion, been sustained over the years?

To get some answers, I spoke with Joel Beinin, a Middle East history professor at Stanford who studies Egypt and who spent several years at the American University in Cairo in the 2000s

And it is no surprise that Bolton's friend Right-wing conservative anti-Islam Ayn Rand disciple Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs is pro-Mubarak and against the average citizens of Egypt.

The blogger who still loves Mubarak
Pamela Geller cheers for mass arrests, worries that Obama will throw our "ally" under the bus by Alex Pareene via Jan. 28, 2011

While some conservatives fancifully imagine that George W. Bush's foreign policy misadventures led to these demonstrations in the Arab world, and while others acknowledge that Mubarak is awful but the rest of those Muslims are even worse, one prominent conservative blogger is openly rooting for the repressive Mubarak regime to survive: Pamela "Atlas Shrugs" Geller.

Last night, a classic Geller headline: "GOOD NEWS: EGYPT ARRESTS MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD LEADERS."

In other words, members of the opposition were swept up and jailed in preparation for a day of demonstrations against the authoritatian government. And this opposition group was not even involved in the initial protests, though they joined in the ongoing demonstrations that began on Friday. "It's a good preventative measure no matter who wins this power struggle," Geller wrote.

But as the world became transfixed by the images out of Egypt today, Geller worried that Barack Obama might abandon our wonderful ally, Hosni Mubarak.

Mubarak has been a US ally for decades. We send three billion dollars a year to Egypt. And Egypt made a peace deal with Israel. But knowing Obama, he will throw another ally under the bus.

Geller continued to demonstrate the limits of her simplistic, binary understanding of the world. "I am all for political freedom," she wrote, except that she prefers Mubarak to, uh, political freedom.

Meanwhile Tea Party Republicans are pushing their own agenda to make America into a more Christianized state by backing legislation to promote Creationism /Intelligent Design in the public schools. And of course they are still warning their base that the "Homosexual Agenda" is more dangerous to America than are the real terrorists.

Oklahoma Lawmaker Sally Kern Proposes Bill That Forces Teachers To Question Evolution" by Paul Breer via Think Progress Jan. 28, 2011

State Rep. Sally Kern (R) has proposed the second anti-evolution bill this year in Oklahoma. Entitled the “Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act,” the bill, which will be first considered next month, would require the state and local authorities to “assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies” and permit teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review” the scientific strengths and weaknesses of “existing theories.” But the only topics mentioned in the bill as contestable are “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

In an attempt to legitimize the bill, Kern said, “It’s a simple fact that the presentation of some issues in science classes can lead to controversy, which can discourage teachers from engaging students in an open discussion of the issues.”

Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education previously released a critique against a similar bill, SB 320 — which died in committee in February 2009 and only differs slightly from Kern’s bill — that said, “promoting the notion that there is some scientific controversy is just plain dishonest”:

‘Promoting the notion that there is some scientific controversy is just plain dishonest… Evolution as a process is supported by an enormous and continually growing body of evidence. Evolutionary theory has advanced substantially since Darwin’s time and, despite 150 years of direct research, no evidence in conflict with evolution has ever been found.’ With respect to the supposed ‘weaknesses’ of evolution, OESE added, ‘they are phony fabrications, invented and promoted by people who don’t like evolution.’

Kern is a relentless advocate for anti-evolution legislation in Oklahoma, so the newest bill comes as no surprise. Kern was the head sponsor of HB 2107, which would have called for “academic freedom” in connection to “biological or chemical origins of life.” The bill passed the House by a vote of 77-10 in March 2006, but then came to its demise when the legislature adjourned in May. Kern was also the lead sponsor for the House Concurrent Resolution 1043, which mandated the state board of education amend

Kern has frequently used Oklahoma’s education system as a prop for her grandstanding. As the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo points out, Kern fought vehemently against educational reforms to bolster Oklahoma’s chances in winning grants through the Race to the Top program, saying, “these are standards that are not American standards…Race to the Top is Obama’s baby.”

Kern also proclaimed that homosexuality is comparable to “toe-cancer” and that “it’s the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam. Studies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than, you know, a few decades. So it’s the death knell of this country.”

and once again for all the right -wing's clamor about the need to support the troops they want to cut Veterans benefits.
But of course she and her Taliban Tea Party Republicans wouldn't dare make cuts to spending on new weapons systems or on salaries and contracts to American mercenaries such as Blackwater/XE Services or even call for more oversight of corporations employed by the US military and Pentagon.

Veterans Slam Rep. Bachmann’s Plan To Cut Vet Benefits: ‘Heartless,’ ‘Shows Contempt’ For Troops’ Sacrifice by Alex Seitz-Wald via, Jan. 28, 2011

In her tea party-fueled quest to cut government spending and social programs, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has unveiled a plan to cut $400 billion in federal spending that includes freezing the Veterans Affairs Department’s health care spending and cuts veterans’ disability benefits. The Air Force Times reports her plan would slice $4.5 billion from the VA, including reducing 150,000 veterans’ disability compensation and the amount they receive in Social Security Disability Income.

A host of veterans groups slammed Bachmann’s plan:

–Veterans of Foreign War national commander Richard L. Eubank said, “The only discussion the VFW wants is to tell the congresswoman that her plan is totally out of step with America’s commitment to our veterans.” “No way, no how, will we let this proposal get any traction in Congress,” said Eubank. “There are certain things you do not do when our nation is at war, and at the top of that list is not caring for our wounded and disabled servicemen and women when they return home,” he said. “I want her to look those disabled veterans in the eye and tell them their service and sacrifice is too expensive for the nation to bear.”

–The National Veterans Foundation’s Rich Rudnick told ThinkProgress that Bachmann’s plan is “terribly misguided,” saying, “veterans benefits are minimal to begin with” and that Bachmann’s scheme would be a “real step backwards.” “Cutting back on the VA right now would be showing contempt for American servicemembers’ sacrifices,” Rudnick said in a phone interview this afternoon.

–Disabled American Veterans Washington Headquarters Executive Director David Gorman said Bachmann’s plan is “[s]uch an ill-advised proposal [it] is nothing short of heartless.” “It is unconscionable that while our nation is at war someone would even think of forcing our wounded warriors to sacrifice even more than they already have,” Gorman said. “Their injuries and disabilities were the result of their service to the nation, and our nation must not shirk its responsibilities toward them. How do you tell a veteran who has lost a limb that he or she has not sacrificed enough? Yet Rep. Bachmann wants to do just that.”

–Veterans for Common Sense executive director Paul Sullivan “said cutting veterans’ health care spending is an ill-advised move at a time when the number of veterans continues to grow as troops return from Iraq and Afghanistan.” “It is really astonishing to see this,” he said.

– Chairman Ashwin Madia said, “Michelle Bachmann’s plan would turn veterans away from the care they’ve earned and deserve. Congress voted for two wars that have created many veterans that now need help, and we cannot – and will not – turn our backs to them. That’s bad policy that I think even a majority of Republican voters will stand squarely against.”

In a statement to the Air Force Times, Bachmann “said her plan is intended for discussion purposes as an example of ways to cut federal spending.”

and so it goes,

No comments: