Monday, February 14, 2011

After Egypt Which Arab State Is Next? & U.S. Still Supports Brutal Regimes & US Gov't & Banks Attacking Wikileaks

Pro-Democracy Uprisings spreading to other Arab nations
Yemen and Algeria
America's support for brutal oppressive regimes
The War On Terror gives permission to states to terrorize their own citizens
Egyptians may get back billions stolen and hidden in Swiss bank accounts by Mubarak Regime
Obama takes the side of the Egyptian people once it became too embarrassing and difficult to give further support for Hosni Mubarak
Obama defends democracy and civil liberties in Egypt while undermining them in America

After the successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt this pro-democracy movement is spreading to other Arab countries which are under brutal authoritarian tyrannical regimes .
What should be noted is that as in the case of Egypt and Tunisia these other brutal antidemocratic regimes are supported by the USA and other Western powers.
Yet the USA and these same Western powers disingenuously claim they are in favor of democracy and the defense of human rights .
And still the USA and other Western Nations wonder why these people hate the West well because the West props up and finances these regimes which then oppress their own citizens.
If the US really wanted to undermine the so called Terrorists it would be more openly critical of these regimes and would take action against them by taking away their foreign aid and place trade embargoes on such countries.

Spontaneous protests erupt in Yemen and move through the capital's streets to Tahreer Square.
Feb. 11, 2011

And from Aljazeera :
So will governments in both Algeria and Yemen face the same sort of uprising as in Tunisia and Egypt?

Michael Binyon, a foreign affairs specialist for The Times newspaper in London, tells Al Jazeera that while Yemen's government may face pressure, the situation in Algeria is different.

Question of the day: Does the US Government and the Corporate Elite Fear The Egyptian pro-democracy movement Will Spread to USA

Obama's great speech defending the right of the Egyptian people to rise up against Hosni Mubarak rings a bit hollow given the fact that for some 30 years the USA supported the brutal Mubarak Regime. And that Obama while in office did little or nothing to encourage the Mubarak Regime to end its corruption and oppression of its own citizens.
The US government was well aware of the repression, corruption and brutality of the Mubarak Regime and did nothing about it.
What bothers the US government is that the demonstrations in Egypt became the focus of the world's media and of course the Internet . Such attention meant that the whole world became aware of America's support of this brutal regime.
The US also used Egypt as a dumping ground for captured alleged terrorists where they could be tortured without the US being actively involved.
So with a wink and a nod the US sent a number of terrorists suspects to Egypt to be interrogated without any legal or ethical restraints.

Five Arab Countries That the "Jasmine Revolution" May Spread to Next" by: Zaid Jilani at ThinkProgress via Feb. 12, 2011

...Now, many are wondering if this pro-democracy movement that swept Tunisia and Egypt will spread throughout the rest of the Arab world. ThinkProgress has assembled a short list of other autocratic regimes in the region that are facing protests, particularly today, and which may soon be the next to go in the Middle East’s next “Jasmine Revolution”:

ALGERIA: Algeria has been in the iron grip of a military government since 1991, when the regime cancelled elections after an Islamist party won the first round. This set off a bloody civil war in the country, which peaked in violence between 1993 and 1997. In recent days, Algerians, inspired by their Tunisian and Egyptian neighbors, have organized large protest marches demanding democratic reforms. Saturday, despite officials outlawing the protest, nearly 10,000 people marched in Algiers anyway, facing off with three times as many riot police. Perhaps fearing that they will be the targets of the next revolution, Algerian officials recently announced that they will be lifting the country’s own emergency law — which has been in place for decades — in the “very near future.”

BAHRAIN: Bahrain’s Sunni leader, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, has long oppressed his country’s Shi’a-majority population. Last August, his ruling party arrested hundreds of Shi’a activists and shut down the main opposition party’s websites right before the parliamentary election, fearing that it may lose its grip on power. Yet recent events in the Middle East have the king fearing for his rule, too. He has ordered “a hike in food subsidies and reinstated welfare support for low-income families to compensate for inflation,” and plans to deliver a speech today where he will offer further concessions. Additionally, Bahrain’s government announced that it will be giving $2,650 to each Bahraini family yesterday. Yet pro-democracy activists plan to march Monday anyway, demanding real reforms in the country.

JORDAN: Likely also fearing a Tunisian-style revolution, Jordan’s King Abdullah sacked his government and appointed a new Prime Minister at the beginning of this month. Yet some of the largest protests in modern history have rocked the nation in recent weeks, indicating that Jordanians do not see the concessions as enough. In perhaps a sign of the regime’s weakness, President Obama dispatched Adm. Mike Mullen, the head of Joint Chiefs of Staff, to meet with Abdullah this weekend.

SYRIA: Earlier this month, protesters planned a “day of rage” where they would protest their grievances against the unelected president Basher al-Assad. While the protesters ended up being few in number, the regime did deploy its security services in increased numbers across the country, visibly fearful of a protest movement like the ones in Egypt and Tunisia. The government also lifted a five-year ban on Facebook, in a move widely seen as appeasing a nascent protest movement.

YEMEN: The president of Yemen, “one of America’s foremost allies” in the region, promised to step down in 2013, as his people began to demonstrate against the ruling elite. Today, thousands of pro-regime demonstrators attacked anti-government demonstrators with clubs and knives, an eery parallel to an Egyptian tactic that failed to quell protests and destroyed the regime’s public reputation and international support.

This list is far from comprehensive, as movements are being organized in a number of other countries such as Saudi Arabia and Oman. Whether these movements will ultimately be successful is unknown, but they symbolize a growing grassroots call for democracy that has been virtually unseen in the region. Given that the United States is a sponsor of many of the intelligence and military apparatuses of these countries and a close ally to their governments, we have not just an opportunity but a responsibility to work with the people towards a more democratic future.

The possibly good news for the Egyptian people is that they may be able to convince Swiss Banks to recover money stolen or misappropriated by the Mubarak Regime and its inner circle of friends.

Egyptians Can Claim Mubarak's Stolen Billions by: Julio Godoy | Inter Press Service | Report Feb. 13, 2011

Geneva - For decades, European bank accounts and trusts and the real estate market were havens for dictators seeking safe places to deposit billions of dollars they were stealing from their countries of origin.

The pressure exerted upon European private banks and justice departments by anti-corruption watchdog groups and associations of lawyers has at last made changes to one of these notorious havens for embezzled fortunes.

In Switzerland, the government just approved a law that eases the historical secrecy of Swiss private banks. The law allows for money deposited here by Third World dictators to be reimbursed to the legitimate governments of the dictators’ countries of origin.

The law, which came into effect on Feb 1, and dubbed "lex Duvalier", in reference to the infamous former Haitian dictator Jean Claude Duvalier, is being used to revise the bank accounts and trusts maintained in Switzerland by Arab dictators such as Tunisian Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian Hosni Mubarak.

"The new law allows the Swiss government to return money to their legitimate owners in cases of proven embezzlement," Valentin Zellweger, head of the department for international law at the Swiss government, told IPS.

According to official Swiss figures, the Egyptian government keeps accounts and trusts in local banks for some 3,800 billion dollars. At least one third of this amount is held in so-called custodial accounts, the typical bank instrument used to conceal wealth obtained through embezzlement of public funds.

Zellweger refused to comment on the Egyptian accounts and whether the stockpiled money would be returned to a democratically elected Egyptian government.

"But, if a given government holding banks accounts in Switzerland is ousted and there is evidence of corruption, we will react swiftly to see whether there are chances of returning the property to its rightful owners," Zellweger said.

Zellweger told IPS that banks accounts held in Switzerland under the name of Laurent Gbagbo, of Côte d’Ivoire, or his relatives and collaborators, have been frozen. According to international observers, Gbagbo lost the presidential elections last December.
Obama's claim to be in favor of real democracy and the rights and freedoms of the average citizen ring hollow given the revelations over the government's ongoing attacks on Wikileaks and its supporters.
Obama has also defended the U.S. government's widespread illegal, unconstitutional or unethical wiretappings and surveilance of the Internet .
Obama has taken no action against those accused of torture and abuse of detainees under the Bush Regime which leaves many to believe that such criminal activities have continued under the Obama Regime.
Obama was forced into a corner when it came to the Egyptian popular uprising and so defended it but we don't see his administration putting pressure on other American backed regimes in other nations to ensure freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech , freedom of association or the right not to be abused or tortured when incarcerated or the right to a fair trial or that the accused is seen as innocent until proven guilty

Freedom of the press Freedom of Information Freedom of Association are supposed to be ideals entrenched we are told in the American psyche but in fact this is not true . The U.S. government and the political and corporate and quisling Mainstream Media are adverse to the revealing of information which in any way shape or form may embarass or prove criminal wrong doing on the part of the government or the corporate and media elite which at the highest levels are indistinguishable.

Freedom of the press is acceptable unless it targets the government and the rich and powerful then those revealing such information are considered fair game.
President Obama when it comes to these issues reveals himself to be in partnership with the corporate elite to squash the voices of the opposition and dissidents.

Glenn Greenwald reveals how the Obama administration works with the corporate elite to squash dissent including the release of information and documents by Wikileaks. They use various mthods from cyber attacks to personal smear campaigns against those working for Wikileaks and those who publicly support the work of Wikileaks.

The leaked campaign to attack WikiLeaks and its supporters" by Glenn Greenwald , Feb.11, 2011

For one thing, it turns out that the firms involved here are large, legitimate and serious, and do substantial amounts of work for both the U.S. Government and the nation's largest private corporations (as but one example, see this email from a Stanford computer science student about Palantir). Moreover, these kinds of smear campaigns are far from unusual; in other leaked HB Gary emails, ThinkProgress discovered that similar proposals were prepared for the Chamber of Commerce to attack progressive groups and other activists (including ThinkProgress). And perhaps most disturbing of all, Hunton & Williams was recommended to Bank of America's General Counsel by the Justice Department -- meaning the U.S. Government is aiding Bank of America in its defense against/attacks on WikiLeaks.

...As creepy and odious as this is, there's nothing unusual about these kinds of smear campaigns. The only unusual aspect here is that we happened to learn about it this time because of Anonymous' hacking. That a similar scheme was quickly discovered by ThinkProgress demonstrates how common this behavior is. The very idea of trying to threaten the careers of journalists and activists to punish and deter their advocacy is self-evidently pernicious; that it's being so freely and casually proposed to groups as powerful as the Bank of America, the Chamber of Commerce, and the DOJ-recommended Hunton & Williams demonstrates how common this is. These highly experienced firms included such proposals because they assumed those deep-pocket organizations would approve and it would make their hiring more likely.

But the real issue highlighted by this episode is just how lawless and unrestrained is the unified axis of government and corporate power. I've written many times about this issue -- the full-scale merger between public and private spheres -- because it's easily one of the most critical yet under-discussed political topics. Especially (though by no means only) in the worlds of the Surveillance and National Security State, the powers of the state have become largely privatized. There is very little separation between government power and corporate power. Those who wield the latter intrinsically wield the former. The revolving door between the highest levels of government and corporate offices rotates so fast and continuously that it has basically flown off its track and no longer provides even the minimal barrier it once did. It's not merely that corporate power is unrestrained; it's worse than that: corporations actively exploit the power of the state to further entrench and enhance their power.

That's what this anti-WikiLeaks campaign is generally: it's a concerted, unified effort between government and the most powerful entities in the private sector (Bank of America is the largest bank in the nation). The firms the Bank has hired (such as Booz Allen) are suffused with the highest level former defense and intelligence officials, while these other outside firms (including Hunton & Williams and Palantir) are extremely well-connected to the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government's obsession with destroying WikiLeaks has been well-documented. And because the U.S. Government is free to break the law without any constraints, oversight or accountability, so, too, are its "private partners" able to act lawlessly. That was the lesson of the Congressional vesting of full retroactive immunity in lawbreaking telecoms, of the refusal to prosecute any of the important Wall Street criminals who caused the 2008 financial crisis, and of the instinctive efforts of the political class to protect defrauding mortgage banks.

...The same mindset drives the Government to shield high-level political officials who commit the most serious crimes, while relentlessly pursuing whistle-blowers who expose their wrongdoing. Those with proximity to government power and who serve and/or control it are free from the constraints of law; those who threaten or subvert it have the full weight of law come crashing down upon them.

...There are supposed to be institutions which limit what can be done in pursuit of those private-sector goals. They're called "government" and "law." But those institutions are so annexed by the most powerful private-sector elites, and so corrupted by the public officials who run them, that nobody -- least of all those elites -- has any expectation that they will limit anything. To the contrary, the full force of government and law will be unleashed against anyone who undermines Bank of America and Wall Street executives and telecoms and government and the like (such as WikiLeaks and supporters), and will be further exploited to advance the interests of those entities, but will never be used to constrain what they do. These firms vying for Bank of America's anti-WikiLeaks business know all of this full well, which is why they concluded that proposing such pernicious and possibly illegal attacks would be deemed not just acceptable but commendable.

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