Saturday, October 1, 2011

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Egypt: Reclaiming the revolution

Real News Video: The Trouble with Billionaires

Linda McQuaig: Concentration of wealth in North America growing and dragging down economy

More at The Real News

Real News Video: The US, Oil and the Middle East Uprisings

Media Education Foundation - Michael Klare: The primary US objective in the region is to support authoritarian regimes that guarantee the flow of oil

More at The Real News

Syria’s Coordination Committees: A Brief History

Syria’s coordination committees began as local networks of anti-regime activists. They have now grown into a web of commissions, councils and unions that take different forms and names but are striving for unity.

By: Asi Abu Najm

"Interrogators at Syria’s General Intelligence building and other security agencies are interested in detainees’ knowledge of opposition coordinating committees. These committees are an important network of activists who have helped sustain the seven-month old uprising. Each committee takes a different form and name. There are the Local Coordination Committees of Syria (LCC), the Federation of the Coordination Committees of the Syrian Revolution (FCC), the Free Committees, and the National Action Committees (NAC), among others. Syrian authorities are expressly interested in these committees’ organizational and hierarchical structures, as well as their membership....

Building from Scratch

From the moment the uprising began in mid-March, it became clear that the protest movement needed to move beyond spontaneous action to a more organized campaign able to withstand the regime’s repression. Modern technology and Internet use offered new ways of peaceful struggle, especially in light of the government-imposed blackout.

The earliest manifestations of the ‘coordinating committees’ were neighborhood gatherings in locations across the country. Representatives of active anti-regime groups would meet in neighborhoods and residential areas to get to know each other better and build trust. These gatherings slowly developed internal structures through a long process of trial and error.....

Attempts to unify forces active on the ground are ongoing in Syria. This process is facilitated by modern communication technology, which has opened up new political spaces. The last of these attempts was the agreement between the LCC and the Federation announcing the founding of the Syrian National Council, whose aim, according to its founding statement, is to support the just cause of the Syrian people in all its components until the regime is toppled and a civil, pluralistic, and democratic state is established."

Whose “National Security” is being threatened here—and on behalf of which “foreign power”?

By Justin Raimondo

"When I first saw the memo from the FBI’s counterterrorism center in Newark, declaring that I’m “a threat to National Security,” not to mention an “agent of a foreign power,” I was incredulous. These can’t be real FBI documents, I thought to myself. Someone is pulling my leg.

Sadly, no. As I discovered upon further investigation, the memo is all too real. The provenance of the documents, which indicate that the feds launched a “preliminary investigation” of, myself, and our webmaster, Eric Garris, is as follows....

Whose “National Security” is being threatened here—and on behalf of which “foreign power”?

My alleged “crime” is to have written in too much detail about the possibility that agents of a foreign power (Israel) had some degree of foreknowledge of what happened on September 11, 2001. This is clearly what upset the FBI—because, if that is true, then where were our intrepid G-men while Israeli agents were crawling all over the place as the Twin Towers burned? They did indeed arrest five of them and interrogate them for months before quietly deporting them; and I, apparently, became a “threat to National Security” by noticing this inconvenient fact.

I suppose I should be flattered by all of this: The mighty American Empire has turned its Evil Eye on me and reckons me a “threat.” Yet I can’t muster the least bit of self-satisfaction, and indeed find this more than a little depressing. As much as one might expect a self-professed libertarian to be contemptuous of his own government, I find it monumentally disheartening. For all the denunciations of American imperialism and incipient authoritarianism I’ve written over the years, I actually thought my government was better than this. That it turns out they’re no better than the rulers of some pathetic little banana republic strips me of the very last of my youthful illusions."

The Syrian 'opposition' does not have to prove itself

Syrian political society will show its real face only after the regime is gone – and it needs support to get to that place

Nadim Shehadi
(Associate fellow of Chatham House's Middle East and north Africa programme), Saturday 1 October 2011

"We do not do justice to the Syrian people when we use the term "opposition" to describe those who are in revolt against the Assad regime. What is now being called the opposition is in reality Syrian political society that has been hijacked for decades – and it is from this society with all its rich diversity that a new government and its opposition will emerge after the fall of the regime.

Using the terminology of a regime in power and an "opposition" against it ultimately legitimises the regime itself and puts the onus on that opposition to prove its own legitimacy....

Moreover, we cannot require protesters to confirm their unity; it is natural that they are not united. Diversity is their strength, not their weakness. Nor can we expect them to prove that they are a viable alternative; the Syrian regime has survived by allowing no such alternatives to emerge or to seem viable. It is precisely because of this that the regime is being opposed. If it had allowed for a credible opposition to be visible, there would be no need to change it.

The simple fact is that any person who had the potential to constitute a challenge to the power of the regime has been eliminated, is out of the country, in jail, or dead.....

The real drivers of the revolts are the local co-ordination committees (LCCs) led by courageous youth with very little means and who operate in secrecy using social media. It is not uncommon for western policymakers to be heard asking for a list of the leaders of the LCCs, wanting to know who they are and if they constitute again a viable "opposition" to the regime. If these names were to be known, these local leaders would be already dead and indeed many have paid with their lives when they can be identified and others have taken great risks to participate in meetings. For these youth, the success of the revolt is a matter of life and death and they know very well that there is no turning back....."

Solidarity exhibit with Farzat reflects violence as resolution

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"Ali Farzat is a hero. He has been criticizing – through his cartoons – the Assad governments since the mid-1960s. But when protests began to intensify against second-generation-despot Bashar al-Assad, something about the scale of government disregard and popular discontent made Farzat take a more direct and antagonistic stance against the ruling government, and specifically Assad.

Cairo Atelier’s current exhibition is a glimpse into the life of Farzat: a collection of his work vilifying the Syrian Regime, as well as the consequences of it. In the adjoining room, a photograph of Farzat brutalized, lying in a hospital bed, eyes bruised and swollen shut, hands bandaged and limply folded across his stomach, stands as a testament to the power of criticism and expression. Neon pink kisses are scattered around his limp figure. Adjacent to the photograph is a compilation of artistic responses to his attack. Cartoonists use the medium to consider both Bashar and Farzat in the images, condemning the former’s brutality and expressing support and solidarity with Farzat....."

Video: Watch the Great Haneen Zou'bi

Courtesy of

Friday, September 30, 2011

Saudi Arabia and the Arab spring: absolute monarchy holds the line

To imagine it can immunise itself from the political change that has ousted three dictators is folly, but this is what it is trying to do

Editorial, Friday 30 September 2011

"....Saudi Arabia comes first to mind. To imagine it can immunise itself from the political change that has toppled three dictators is folly, but this is what it is trying to do. The 87-year-old King Abdullah made two moves this week to present a more liberal face. He revoked a sentence to lash a woman 10 times for driving her car, and decreed that women could take part in council elections in 2015. Neither will make more than surface ripples. Only half of the council seats are up for election, and the councils themselves have no real powers. All the important posts in the provinces are chaired by members of the royal family. And as for free speech in a country where the government already controls the print and television media, online publishers and bloggers will require a licence. Short of banning internet access, it will not work, but the intent is clear.

In foreign policy the Saudis are leading other monarchies in the region in the counterattack against political change. They backed the Tunisian and Egyptian dictators until the last minute. They gave Jordan $1.4bn in aid and took both it and Morocco into the Saudi-dominated Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC). Along with other Gulf states, Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain to quash the Shia-dominated protest.

Saudi attentions have lately been aimed at reining the Qataris in. The resignation of Wadah Khanfar, the director general of al-Jazeera – which played a leading role in the coverage of events in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya – and his replacement by a member of the Qatari royal family was preceded by a week of exchange visits between Qatari and Saudi officials. It remains to be seen whether the satellite network's reputation for fearless and independent coverage, in a region where that still remains a novelty, suffers as a result.

In countering the uprisings, Saudi Arabia is doing no more and no less than what it has traditionally done when a major state threatens to upset the apple cart. That includes Nasser's Egypt, Saddam's Iraq, revolutionary Iran. Its leading challenger in this enterprise is the rising influence of Turkey. But the vulnerability of the Saudi kingdom remains a domestic one. Saudis, whether they be women drivers or anyone else yearning for more freedom, are part of the region and watch what is going on around them. The worm is turning in Saudi Arabia as decisively as it is elsewhere in the region."

Bahrain doctors await the call that will send them to prison

Global outcry as 20 medics prepare to go to jail for helping protesters during the Arab spring's forgotten uprising

Martin Chulov, Friday 30 September 2011

"Dr Ali al-Akri sits at home in Bahrain waiting for the jailer to call. When it happens, probably within days, the veteran physician will pack his bag, kiss his family goodbye and go to the prison that he will probably call home for the next 15 years.

"I'll do what I have to do," he says, "if that means that Bahrain will be a better place. And all of the doctors convicted with me will do the same."

The 20 Bahraini medics who were sentenced on Thursday to prison terms of between five and 15 years remain on bail in Manama, but all are sure that their fate has been sealed by the military court that convicted them of a range of subversive crimes, some of which the government claims amount to acts of terrorism.

The sentences have drawn widespread international condemnation and refocused attention on the uprising in the tiny Gulf state that faded away as the rest of the region boiled. When nobody was looking, Bahrain's revolution died.....

The doctors say they had no role in stopping ambulances, but admitted joining political rallies.

"It was the security forces who [stopped the ambulances] and that was proven during the trial," said al-Akri. "There was evidence from the dispatchers and statements from the security forces themeselves. "We were outraged when the ambulances were stopped and we led protests calling for the removal of the health minister. When he was sacked, we stopped."

"We witnessed the atrocities. And because we did not obey [the government] we are being punished."...."

From 'hero' to 'criminal' for Bahrain surgeon

Dr Tammam (second from left) and Dr Al-Ekri (third from left) are greeted by the Palestinian ambassador to Bahrain upon their return home from treating people wounded in Gaza.

Dr Ali al-Ekri, dubbed a hero when volunteering to help Gaza's injured, was jailed after pro-democracy protests.



"On Thursday a military court sentenced orthopaedic surgeon and Bahraini "local hero", Dr Ali al-Ekri, to 15 years in prison on more than a dozen charges. Nineteen other doctors who, like Dr al-Ekri, had also treated injured protesters - or who themselves took part in pro-democracy protests earlier this year - also received jail sentences of between five and 15 years.

Before protests began in February this year, Dr al-Ekri was a well known figure in Bahrain. In January 2009, the surgeon travelled to the occupied Gaza Strip to volunteer amid Israel's devastating land, air and sea assault on the territory. In less than three weeks, more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed and 5,000 wounded, the overwhelming majority of which were civilians. After 11 days of volunteering to treat the wounded at the al-Najjar hospital in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Dr al-Ekri returned to his native Bahrain, hailed as a hero.

When Israel attacked Gaza, a territory that had already been under a tight Israeli-Egyptian blockade for more than two years, Arab cities exploded in protest. From Rabat to Beirut to Sanaa to Manama, massive street demonstrations took place, condemning the attacks that began just two days after Christmas Day in 2008.

"When we first saw the atrocities against the Palestinian people in Gaza ... and the images and suffering, it ignited a [flame] in me and my colleagues to do something [to support them] here in Bahrain," Dr al-Ekri explained.

"Through the Bahrain Medical Society we started to collect aid to be sent to Gaza. We raised hundreds of thousands of dinars and we decided to deliver two ambulances.".....

Being used

Dr al-Ekri says he and other doctors are "playing cards" in the political games of the regime. "For us they know we witnessed all the crimes of the regime and we stood strong by injured people and we talked to the media," he said. "Anywhere, like in Gaza and in Yemen now, doctors speak about what they see. When you journalists need to know what happened who do you go to?"

Dr al-Ekri, who is being treated as the "leader" of the group of doctors, was found guilty of the most charges, including possession of weapons, occupying a public building, promoting the downfall of the regime and inciting sectarian hatred. In total, there were more than a dozen charges.

The one-time hero of Bahrain for braving Israeli bombs and treating the injured in Gaza maintained his innocence and said that he and other doctors were only doing their job. "Doctors sign [an oath] to treat people regardless of their race, colour or religion," he said, passionately denying that he would not have treated his "beloved Sunni patients" - or anyone else, like the government claimed....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf reports on the Syria latest

Al-Jazeera Video: A witness speaks to Al Jazeera from the Syrian capital

Al-Jazeera Video: Rawya Rageh updates from Egypt's Tahrir Square

"Our Correspondent Rawya Rageh reports on the latest from Egypt's Tahrir Square, as thousands of Egyptians are back to protest changes to an electoral law that reserves a third of parliamentary seats for independent candidates amongst other demands including the emergency law."

Real News Video: Mullen Pakistan Critique Shows US AF/PAK Policy Unraveling

Gareth Porter​: Admiral Mullen's comments on Pakistan show exit strategy from Afghanistan failing

More at The Real News

Inside Occupy Wall Street: A Tour of Activist Encampment at the Heart of Growing Protest

Democracy Now!

"Hundreds continue to camp out in a park in Manhattan’s Financial District for the "Occupy Wall Street" protest. The encampment got a boost this week when one of New York City’s largest unions, the Transit Workers Union, announced its backing. In this report ,Democracy Now! producer Mike Burke gets a tour of the private park, open to the public, that people have occupied, and and speaks with demonstrators, including a woman who was pepper sprayed by New York City Police Department Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna last Saturday. Special thanks to Hany Massoud...."

Palestinian officials who decry Gilo colony in public, offered it to Israel in negotiations

By Ali Abunimah

"Palestinian officials in Ramallah have condemned Israel’s recently announced decision to expand by 1,100 Jewish-only housing units the illegal settlement of Gilo built on land stolen from the occupied West Bank villages of Beit Jala, Beit Safafa and Sharafat.

But what they say in public is at odds with their private willingless to hand the settlement over to Israel in its entirety.....

Gilo was offered to Israel in 2008

...On 15 June 2008, top Palestinian officials, led by Ahmad Qureia, met in Jerusalem with an Israeli team headed by then Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and an American team led by then US Secretary of State Condolozeea Rice.

Palestinian minutes of the 15 June 2008 meeting and others in which the settlements were discussed were leaked by Al Jazeera as part of the Palestine Papers.

During the meeting, Qureia stated, according to the minutes:

As for settlements, we proposed the following: Removal of some settlements, annexation of others, and keeping others under Palestinian sovereignty. This last proposition could help in the swap process. We proposed that Israel annexes all settlements in Jerusalem except Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa). This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition; we refused to do so n [sic] Camp David.

Later in the same meeting, Erekat himself explains that under the Palestinian proposal, Israel would annex 310,000 settlers, or 70 percent of the settlers living illegally on occupied land at that time.

Yet Livni rejected the Palestinian offer as insufficient because it did not include the settlements of Maaleh Adumim, Efrat, Ariel, Giv’at Ze’ev or Hara Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim) which all ring Jerusalem.

Responding to Livni’s complaint, Erekat affirmed what the proposal did include:

Why do I not say the opposite, that there are Zakhron Ya’cov [sic], the French Hill, Ramat Eshkol, Ramot Alon, Ramat Shlomo, Gilo, Tal Piot, and the Jewish Quarter in the old city of Jerusalem.....

When confronted with the specific documents detailing the Palestinian proposals to Israel and his own quoted words, Erekat asserted that any proposals made were not “official” or binding because of the principle that “until everything is agreed, nothing is agreed.”

Accepting that principle, however, does not change the fact that the Palestinian negotiators already told Israel, back in 2008, that Gilo would be theirs forever, and did so at repeated meetings and in the presence of the US Secretary of State. If that is not “official” then nothing is.

As Erekat notoriously put it, using Israel’s Hebrew name for Jerusalem and the vast colonies outside it, he and his colleagues had offered Israel “the biggest Yerushalayim in Jewish history.”"

The role of the army in Egypt's new politics

Egypt's army played a vital part in ousting Mubarak, but in the landscape now emerging, their role is more complex.

Soumaya Ghannoushi

"Had the Egyptian army not pulled the rug from under Mubarak's feet, siding with protesters in Tahrir Square, the story of its revolution may have more closely resembled the uprisings of Syria, Yemen, and perhaps even Libya. The bitter confrontation that would have erupted would have cost hundreds - if not thousands - of lives, and, at the very least, prolonged the conflict, significantly delaying the old president's fall. The chant that reverberated around Egypt's squares in the early days of the post-Mubarak era, as euphoric Egyptians jumped atop tanks and embraced soldiers, was "The people and the army are one hand". The army had a claim in the revolution's inheritance. This was not only the people's revolution, but its revolution too. But as weeks and months have elapsed, it is becoming increasingly clear that the army does not only perceive itself as a partner in the revolution, but as its representative, guardian, and the sole bearer of its legitimacy......"

Syria's symphony of scorn

Criticism of the Assad regime spreads wider, as families grieve for protesters who have been killed in the crackdown.

Nir Rosen

This is the second of a three-part feature by Al Jazeera journalist Nir Rosen. You can read the first part here.

"On August 3, I visited the old Waer neighbourhood on the western side of the Syrian city of Homs. Most of its residents were originally Bedouin from the Egeidat tribe. Although its lower class apartment blocks certainly looked urban, the people maintained many of their older traditions and could often be found sitting on carpets on the street outside their homes at night, while children roamed freely about.

The Rawda mosque was the main place of worship for old Waer. "The West thinks we are Islamists because we come out of mosques," a friend there told me, "but it's the only place people can gather."

At 9:40pm children ran down the streets, chanting anti-regime slogans. More than one thousand people gathered on the road in front of the fire department by the mosque that night. The fire department was covered in anti-regime graffiti....

Becoming a statistic.....

The parable of Moses....

Breakfast in Ramel....

Ghost towns.....

Thug life....

Mosques close up shop....

Mourning the dead.....

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you agree with speculations that the protests in Syria may become armed?

With about 900 responding so far, 78% said yes.

Bahrain regime jails doctors who dared to treat protesters

Medics say they were tortured after arrest as they receive sentences of up to 15 years

By Patrick Cockburn
Friday, 30 September 2011

"Bahrain's military court has sentenced 20 doctors, nurses and paramedics who treated protesters injured during pro-democracy rallies earlier in the year to up to 15 years in prison. The defendants say they were tortured during interrogation to extract false confessions.

The harsh sentences, handed down by a military judge, are likely to anger Bahrain's Shia Muslim majority and torpedo hopes of dialogue between them and the reigning Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty. The court's action may be a sign that hardliners within the royal family have taken control, since King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has made a number of conciliatory statements which have been followed by intensified repression....."

Egypt must suspend security forces involved in ‘torture’ video

29 September 2011

"The Egyptian authorities should suspend members of the army and the security forces responsible for abusing detainees, Amnesty International said today after a video was published showing officers beating and torturing detainees.

The video, which was allegedly filmed at a police station in the El-Daqahliya governorate north of Cairo and published on YouTube, shows three handcuffed men in a room surrounded by uniformed army and police officers. Officers laugh and mock two of the detainees while repeatedly beating and giving them electric shocks with tasers.

Judging by this deeply unsettling video, suspects are still being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in Egypt, despite the security forces’ official pledge to uphold human rights,” said Amnesty International....."

Ghosts in the mosques

Opposition to the Syrian regime runs deep, as women, children, and the elderly take part in the resistance.

Nir Rosen

"The uprising in Syria, as in elsewhere in the Arab world, has relied mainly on peaceful demonstrations; although also like Egypt, Yemen and even Bahrain, there has been an underreported violent side to the opposition as well.

Unlike other countries, protesters have not succeeded in establishing any sit-ins in public squares. Early attempts to establish sit-ins, such as in Homs' Clock Square in April were violently dispersed by government security forces. The regime took to posting security forces by main squares to prevent any future sit-ins.

Lately since the beginning of the school year, some protests have rekindled on campuses after a brutal crackdown on university activity over the summer, but almost all demonstrations have emerged from mosques.

Mosques remain the only public spaces that have sometimes escaped the government's crackdown.
There have even been cases of Christians, Alawites or secular Sunnis standing outside mosques waiting for prayers to finish so they could join demonstrations....."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tony Blair: Time to go?

As point-man for the International Quartet, the former UK PM should not be defending Israel at Palestine's expense.

Marwan Bishara

From selling war to peddling peace

Many demanded that he be put on trial for war crimes. But in the age of empire, he was appointed as the point man for the Middle East peace process.

He went on to defend Israel's policy in the West Bank. He promoted its 'humane occupation' each time Israel lifted a check point out of its several hundred roadblocks that choke off life and the living in Palestine.

Tony Blair was nowhere to be seen during the first nine days of Israeli's 2008 war on Gaza. He was on holiday! Even British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was irritated: "People in the Middle East are entitled to ask themselves, 'Where is Tony Blair?" When 500 people were getting killed in the impoverished Gaza strip, Blair - according to his aid - was working tirelessly (at the private opening of an Armani store in London) to mediate a ceasefire!

Arguably, Blair's part time job as Quartet special envoy says as much about his capacity to rebound as it does about Washington's disrespect for the Arabs; about a humiliated and divided Middle East, or about the nature of the 'peace process' itself.

It also says much about the so-called International Quartet, that the Bush administration appointed the body to prelaunch its sponsored negotiations in 2002, which were, of course, an utter failure.

Why would the Secretary General of the United Nations that represents the whole community of nations accept to be a junior partner in a geopolitical configuration? It is beyond me! Or for that matter why should Europe or Russia have their own seats at the negotiating table? Who says these hypocritical or cynical entities can deliver peace in the Middle East!

Be that as it may, the Arabs can't fire President Obama or Russian Prime Minister Putin. They cannot ask Ban Ki Moon to step aside. They could, however, end the Quartet's mission.

They could at least tell the Quartet to fire its special envoy before he becomes persona non grata. He is already unwelcome in Palestine.

In retrospect, Palestinians reckon it's unfair to call Tony a poodle. Poodles are harmless. "

Bahrain: Breathing in the dark

The village of Sanabis on the outskirts of Manama have become a battleground against government forces.

Reporter in Bahrain

"These images were taken by Al Jazeera's reporter in Bahrain, who we're not naming for his safety. You can read "48 hours in Sanabis," his report on the protests, by clicking here."

Dozens of police march through the streets in Sanabis, searching for protesters and launching tear gas onto roofs and into houses.

A tear gas grenade used against protesters in Sanabis - made in USA

Ahhhh....The "Democracy" US Occupation and Iranian Domination Produced!

The Latest Crackdown in Iraq


"The Iraqi government is seeking to silence critics who accuse it of rampant corruption by removing officials who try to prosecute racketeers and intimidating politicians and journalists who support them.

This month alone it has forced the head of its anti-corruption watchdog to resign. And a prominent Iraqi journalist, who had been threatened for leading anti-government protests, was shot dead in his home in Baghdad.

There is growing anger that the ruling elite is stealing or embezzling much of the country’s $2bn (£1.3bn) a week in oil revenues, depleting funding for electricity, water, health care, housing, education and even rubbish collection. Transparency International says that last year Iraq was the fourth most corrupt country in the world, out of 178 countries surveyed....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Bahrain medical staff sentenced over protests

"Thirteen doctors and nurses who treated anti-government protesters during major demonstrations in Bahrain earlier this year have also been jailed for 15 years for crimes against the state.

Seven other medics also received sentences of between 5 and 10 years.

Al Jazeera's Zein Basravi reports."

Real News Video: US Afghan Kill/Capture Campaign Targeted Civilians

Gareth Porter​: US used cell phones to track targets, but knowingly killed and captured civilians

More at The Real News

ماذا بعد معركة أيلول التاريخية؟


هنا يقرع أسماعنا من جديد سؤال (ماذا بعد؟). وبدورنا نصرخ به ملء أفواهنا في مواجهة من صدّعوا رؤوسنا بقصة الدولة، سواء كانت عضوا كامل العضوية في الأمم المتحدة، أو بصيغة الفاتيكان، أو أي شيء آخر، ونتساءل من جديد عن الحل في رأيهم، وهل أن جواب محمود عباس التقليدي لهم بأن فشل التفاوض يستدعي المزيد من التفاوض، وأن بديل المفاوضات هو المفاوضات، هل يبدو هذا الجواب مقنعا لهم؟!

وإذا لم يكن كذلك، فهل يعتقدون أن النضال السلمي الذي يتحدث عنه عباس بين حين وآخر على استحياء سيكون حلا بالطريقة التي يجري ترتيبها في الضفة الغربية؟! وإذا كان الجواب المتعلق باستمرار المفاوضات غير مقنع بحال من الأحوال، حتى لو وقع استئنافها من جديد، فهل يبدو الجواب الآخر مقنعا؟!

من وجهة نظرنا التي يشاركنا فيها قطاع عريض من أبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني في الداخل والخارج، فإن المقاومة السلمية التي يتحدث عنها الرئيس الفلسطيني لا تعدو أن تكون ضحكا وتهدئة للجماهير وهروبا من سؤال البديل الذي يلاحقه أينما حل وارتحل، بينما الحقيقة أن بديله الوحيد هو التفاوض واستمرار التفاوض، وصولا إلى تكريس حل الدولة المؤقتة (في حدود الجدار) ذات النزاع الحدودي مع جارتها (هي ذاتها المرحلة الثانية من خريطة الطريق)، ولعل ذلك التوقيت سيكون الأنسب في حينه لحصول الدولة على الاعتراف الدولي الكامل، إذا لم يحدث قبل ذلك، وسيكون النزاع الحدودي بينها وبين جارتها محض نزاع عادي مثل كثير من النزاعات الأخرى، في حين يأمل الإسرائيليون أن يؤدي ذلك إلى إقناع قيادتها بمرور الوقت بحل نهائي يقترب من رؤيتهم فيما يخص قضايا القدس والأرض والسيادة (موضوع اللاجئين خارج التداول).

لا نقول ذلك لأننا ضد المقاومة السلمية، بل لأننا نشكك في أن الرجل يريد مقاومة سلمية حقيقية من اللون الذي يفرض التنازلات على المحتل، بل إننا نرى أن بوسع تلك المقاومة لو كانت جادة أن تفرض الانسحاب من الأراضي المحتلة عام 67 من دون قيد أو شرط، ومن دون الاعتراف للعدو بما تبقى من أرض فلسطين التاريخية (هو فقط 78% منها كما تعلمون!!).

كيف يقنعنا القوم بأنهم جادون في مقاومة الاحتلال (سلميا) وهم ينسقون معه أمنيا آناء الليل وأطراف النهار، ويواصلون اعتقال المجاهدين وضرب أية أسس فكرية أو اجتماعية أو ثقافية أو دينية أو اقتصادية للمقاومة في الضفة الغربية؟!

من المدارس إلى الجامعات إلى المساجد ومؤسسات المجتمع المدني، وضمن رؤية هدفها إعادة تشكيل الوعي الجمعي للناس، تدور رحى معركة شرسة من أجل ضرب أسس المقاومة في الضفة الغربية، ومع ذلك يتبجح القوم بالحديث عن المقاومة السلمية.

المقاومة السلمية الناجعة ضد الاحتلال ليست استعراضا في ميدان المنارة في رام الله أو مظاهرة أسبوعية في بلعين ونعلين وسواها، بل هي اشتباك دائم مع حواجز الاحتلال وجنوده ومستوطناته ودماء وتضحيات، ورفض للتنسيق الأمني وإعادة تشكيل لوعي المجتمع في اتجاه الاكتفاء الذاتي ورفض المعونات المشروطة وحشد جماهير الأمة في الصراع، مع حث الشتات الفلسطيني على التحرك بكل الوسائل من خلال الحدود المجاورة.

هذه هي المقاومة السلمية، فهل لدى القوم نوايا من هذا النوع؟ كلا بالتأكيد، أقله حتى الآن. ونحن نعرف أن قيادة تريد السير في هذا المضمار ينبغي أن تضع روحها على كفها وتشرع في المواجهة. أما الذين يعملون على توفير أجواء "البزنس" الناجح لأبنائهم وأقاربهم، ومن ينتظرون بطاقات "الفي آي بي" من المحتل، فليست لديهم نوايا مقاومة، وهم ليسوا مؤهلين لذلك بأي حال.

نستأذن القراء الأعزاء في أخذ هذا الاقتباس الطويل للتسلية والفائدة، وهو جزء من مقال للكاتب الإسرائيلي والمحلل الأمني والعسكري المعروف إليكس فيشمان نشرته صحيفة يديعوت أحرونوت بتاريخ 16/9/2011، وكان بعنوان "خطة ضبط النفس".

America’s Foreign Policy Fiasco

Barack Obama’s once promising foreign policy has been undermined by short-sighted support for Israel and muddled objectives in Afghanistan.

By Patrick Seale

September 29, 2011

"US President Barack Obama is piling up the foreign policy disasters. In at least three areas crucial for world peace and US interests – Arab-Israel tensions, Afghanistan-Pakistan and Yemen-Somalia – he’s pursuing a course that can only be described as foolhardy. Indeed, the anger and hate towards the United States that he’s generating could take a generation to dispel.

Obama’s abject surrender to Israel on the Palestine question has shocked much of the world and gravely damaged the United States’ standing among Arabs and Muslims...."

Canada: Intelligence Service Accused of Libya Interrogations

Libya’s Abuse of Detainees Well-Documented at Time

September 28, 2011

"(New York) – A Libyan-Canadian citizen who was imprisoned for eight years by the Muammar Gaddafi government says that agents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) were among foreign agents who interrogated him while he was in Libyan custody for suspected terrorist ties, Human Rights Watch said today.

The former prisoner, Mustafa Krer, 46, was detained in Libya from 2002 to 2010 for alleged ties to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. He told Human Rights Watch that Canadian interrogators visited him about three times between 2003 and 2005, although he could not recall the exact number of Canadian interrogations or the dates. Once, he said, CSIS agents interrogated him jointly with a team of Libyans in the room....."

Bahrain protester convictions upheld at sham military trial

28 September 2011

"The decision today by a Bahrain military court to uphold the guilty verdicts against a group of prominent opposition activists exposes yet again the inherent unfairness of the trial process, Amnesty International said today.

In proceedings that lasted less than five minutes, the military-run National Safety Court of Appeal in Manama confirmed life sentences for seven of the defendants and shorter jail sentences for 14 others – seven of whom were tried in absentia.....

“By upholding this verdict, Bahrain’s military justice system has once again shown it has no intention of meeting international fair trial standards for anyone the authorities perceive as a political foe,” said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“These men should never have been brought before a military court.”...."

Bahrain medical staff sentenced over protests

Thirteen doctors and nurses who treated anti-government protesters given 15-year jail terms for crimes against state.


"Thirteen doctors and nurses who treated anti-government protesters during demonstrations in Bahrain earlier this year have been jailed for 15 years for crimes against the state.

Seven other medical professionals were given sentences of between five and 10 years by a special tribunal that was set up during the emergency rule that followed the demonstrations.

Most of the medics worked at the Salmaniya Medical Centre in Manama, which was stormed by security forces after they drove protesters on March 16 out of the nearby Pearl Square - the focal point of Bahrain's protest movement.

The Bahrain News Agency said that the medics were tried for "forcefully occupying Salmaniya Medical Centre... possessing unlicensed arms (AK-47s) and knives, incitement to overthrow the regime, seizing medical equipment, detaining policemen, and spreading false news".

They were also accused of "inciting hatred to the regime and insulting it, instigating hatred against another sect and obstructing the implementation of law, destroying public property and taking part in gatherings aimed at jeopardising the general security and committing crimes," BNA said.

"All these acts were done with a terrorist aim [Treating wounded peaceful protesters is terrorism; makes sense to me!]."

The doctors have repeatedly denied the charges, which they say were cooked up by the authorities to punish medical staff for treating people who took part in anti-government protests......"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Dangerous Cult of the Guardian

A Thought Police for the Internet Age



"....The Guardian, like other mainstream media, is heavily invested – both financially and ideologically – in supporting the current global order. It was once able to exclude and now, in the internet age, must vilify those elements of the left whose ideas risk questioning a system of corporate power and control of which the Guardian is a key institution.

The paper’s role, like that of its rightwing cousins, is to limit the imaginative horizons of readers. While there is just enough leftwing debate to make readers believe their paper is pluralistic, the kind of radical perspectives needed to question the very foundations on which the system of Western dominance rests is either unavailable or is ridiculed.

Reading the Guardian, it is possible to believe that one of the biggest problems facing our societies – comparable to our compromised political elites, corrupt police authorities, and depraved financial system – is an array of mainly isolated dissidents and intellectuals on the left.

Is Atzmon and his presumed anti-semitism more significant than AIPAC? Is Herman more of a danger than the military-industrial corporations killing millions of peoples around the globe? And is Assange more of a menace to the planet’s future than US President Barack Obama?

Reading the Guardian, you might well think so

"Something Has Started": Michael Moore on the Occupy Wall St. Protests That Could Spark a Movement

"Oscar-winning filmmaker, best-selling author,and provocateur laureate Michael Moore joins us for the hour. One of the world’s most acclaimed — and notorious — independent filmmakers and rabble-rousers, his documentary films include Roger and Me; Bowling for Columbine for which he won the Academy Award, Fahrenheit 9/11, SICKO; and Capitalism: A Love Story. In the first part of our interview, Moore talks about the growing "Occupy Wall Street" protests in Lower Manhattan, which he visited on Monday night. "This is literally an uprising of people who have had it," Moore says. "It has already started to spread across the country in other cities. It will continue to spread. ... It will be tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people ... Their work ahead is not as difficult as other movements in the past ... The majority of Americans are really upset at Wall Street ... So you have already got an army of Americans who are just waiting for somebody to do something, and something has started."...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Saudi woman driver to be lashed

"Amnesty International says a court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a woman to 10 lashes for challenging a ban on women driving in the conservative kingdom.

The sentence comes two days after Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud announced women would be allowed to vote and run in municipal elections for the first time in 2015.

Al Jazeera's Erica Woods reports."

The Irvine 11, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Syria: Investigate Possible State Role in Decapitating Woman

Kidnappings, Deaths of Detainees, Including Woman’s Brother, Widespread in Homs

Human Rights Watch

September 27, 2011

"(New York) – The killing and mutilation of Zaynab al-Hosni, 18, by unknown persons highlights the urgent need for the UN Security Council to demand access to Syria for an international investigation into rampant killings and torture in Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. Zaynab, whose brothers are active in anti-government protests, had vanished in late July after going out to buy medication for her mother. Syrian authorities returned al-Hosni’s dismembered body to her family on September 17, 2011, without providing any information on the circumstances surrounding her killing, and forced her mother to sign a paper stating that “armed gangs” had killed her....

Syrian security forces either killed and mutilated Zaynab al-Hosni or are turning a blind eye to gangs committing gruesome murders against anti-government activists and their families,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “In either case, the government of Bashar al-Assad is perpetuating a climate of terror in Syria and fanning the flames of sectarian mistrust.”

The deaths in the al-Hosni family are part of a troubling trend of assailants, sometimes unidentified and other times belonging to the security forces, kidnapping people from areas known for their opposition to the government and “disappearing” them until the day their family receives a call, usually from a local public hospital, asking them to pick up the person’s body....."

Flogging sentence for Saudi Arabian woman after driving 'beggars belief'

27 September 2011

"The sentencing of a Saudi Arabian woman to 10 lashes after she drove a car demonstrates the scale of discrimination against women in the Kingdom, Amnesty International said today.

Flogging is a cruel punishment in all circumstances but it beggars belief that the authorities in Saudi Arabia have imposed lashes on a woman apparently for merely driving a car,” said Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Philip Luther.

“Belatedly allowing women to vote in council elections is all well and good, but if they are still going to face being flogged for trying to exercise their right to freedom of movement then the King’s much-trumpeted ‘reforms’ actually amount to very little.”

“Saudi Arabia needs to go much further. The whole system of women’s subordination to men in Saudi Arabia needs to be dismantled.”....."

How revolution turned sour in the birthplace of the Arab Spring

Kim Sengupta returns to the Tunisian city where a street trader's self-immolation changed the course of history

The Independent

"....When I visited Sidi Bouzid in the aftermath of the dictator Zine Al Abedine Ben Ali's flight from Tunis, I found residents exulting in their home's status as the cradle of the revolution. They chanted the name of Mohammed Bouazizi; the family home had become a place of homage with a steady stream of visitors. A female municipal official accused of slapping him – a final act of humiliation which led to him setting himself on fire – was vilified, her relations facing daily abuse.

Eight months on there are now deep doubts among many about the course of the Jasmine Revolution and the story of Mohammed Bouazizi, its iconic sacrificial hero, is enmeshed in accusations and recriminations. His family has left Sidi Bouzid amid the animosity of neighbours; a plaque put up in his name in the town has disappeared and graffiti praising him painted over. The municipal official allegedly responsible for "the slap which rang around the world", Fedya Hamdi, has claimed that the slap never happened and that she was made a scapegoat. She has since been freed from prison, with all charges dropped, to cheers from a crowd gathered outside the courtroom.

As the elections in Tunisia, the first among the newly democratic states of North Africa and the Middle East, approach next month, Bouazizi is increasingly seen as a footnote rather than the catalyst of the uprising. And Sidi Bouzid, for its part, now has new martyrs – a 14-year-old boy shot dead during a demonstration, a man killed at a police station after threatening to expose official corruption......"

Saudi Democracy in Action: Saudi woman to be lashed for defying driving ban

Shaima Jastaina sentenced to 10 lashes after being found guilty of driving without permission, Wednesday 28 September 2011

"A Saudi woman has been sentenced to be lashed 10 times with a whip for defying the kingdom's prohibition on female drivers.

It is the first time a legal punishment has been handed down for a violation of the longtime ban in the ultraconservative Muslim nation.

Police usually stop female drivers, question them and let them go after they sign a pledge not to drive again. But dozens of women have continued to take to the roads since June in a campaign to break the taboo....."

The "New" Egypt?? Egyptian police destroy 3 tunnels at Gaza border

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"Police destroyed on Wednesday three tunnels at the border between Egypt and Gaza, a security source told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Wednesday.

Police filled two of the tunnels with sand and rock and blasted the other, as it was far from people's homes.

Authorities coordinated with Gaza's government to make sure there weren't smugglers at the tunnels, which were discovered last week, the source said.

Police launched security campaigns at the tunnels following an explosion at an Arish gas station Tuesday, fearing that the perpetrators would escape through the tunnels to Gaza."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

في العمق - فلسطين في قلب ربيع الثورات العربية 26/09/2011

في العمق - فلسطين في قلب ربيع الثورات العربية 26/09/2011


The revolution belongs to all Libyans, secular or not

Politicians' dangerous attempts to exclude some participants in the revolution risk alienating Libya's Islamists

Abdel Hakim Belhaj, Tuesday 27 September 2011

"...One of the most serious challenges facing us is how to repair the rifts Gaddafi created within Libyan society. Only a transparent political system can establish a democratic government that will ensure the participation of all Libyans. We must resist attempts by some Libyan politicians to exclude some of the participants in the revolution. They are unable to see the huge risks of such exclusion, or the serious nature of the reaction of the excluded parties.

After what we have suffered under Gaddafi, we are determined not to allow any individual or entity to monopolise the management of the country lest it lead to a rebirth of a new dictatorship.....

...However, the future of Libya is for the Libyans alone to decide. We cannot compromise on sovereignty or allow others to interfere in our internal affairs, position themselves as guardians of our revolution or impose leaders who do not represent a national consensus...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian musician's family beaten

"A Syrian American musician's family has been beaten by government forces, in response to the musician having performed at a protest rally against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

Malek Jandali, an internationally renowned pianist, played at a protest held outside the White House in Washington DC. Several days later, his mother and father were brutally beaten in their living room in Homs, Syria.

Al Jazeera's Rosalind Jordan reports from Washington DC."

Al-Jazeera Video: Cracks appear in the Syrian military

"Cracks seem to be appearing in the Syrian military, this video is said to show a soldier dressed in uniform saying he has quit.

"I am captain Youssef Hammoud from the ranks of the 5th Unit, Brigade 15.

I announce my defection from the Syrian Arab Army, which has transformed its mission from protector of the country to saboteur of the country, and has killed innocent people, children, the elderly and women and put innocent people in prison and violated religious sanctities and imposed a suffocating siege.

We promise them that the town of Rastan will be their graveyard, and we promise the regime that there will be large defections if it continues with its oppression.

We promise them big surprises. We will shake Assad's entity and his gang when the army enters Rastan.""

Abdel-Bari Atwan (Al-Quds Al-'Arabi) Sues The Libyan Karzai for Lying and Defamation.

رئيس تحرير صحيفة "القدس العربي" يقاضي مصطفى عبد الجليل بتهمة التشهير

"لندن ـ اكد ناطق باسم صحيفة "القدس العربي" الصادرة في لندن ان الاستاذ عبد الباري عطوان رئيس تحرير الصحيفة وناشرها قرر مقاضاة السيد مصطفى عبد الجليل رئيس المجلس الانتقالي الليبي، بتهمة السب والقذف والتشهير، بسبب ما اطلقه من مزاعم في مؤتمر صحافي عقده يوم السبت، الثالث من ايلول (سبتمبر) الحالي، تضمنت الادعاء بان الاستاذ عطوان تلقى مكرمة مالية شهرية من العقيد معمر القذافي، وان صحيفة "القدس العربي" تتبنى اجندة نظام القذافي.
وقال الناطق انه لهذا الغرض، كلف الاستاذ عطوان شركة محاماة بريطانية كبرى متخصصة في قضايا التشهير (شركة كولير بريستو) لتولي كل اوجه المقاضاة امام المحكمة البريطانية العليا في لندن. وقد امهلت الشركة السيد عبد الجليل سبعة ايام للتراجع عن هذه الادعاءات، ونشر اعتذار للاستاذ عطوان، وتقديم تعويضات مالية ومعنوية، جراء الضرر الذي لحق به وبسمعته بسبب هذه المزاعم.

وبهذه المناسبة يؤكد المتحدث باسم الاستاذ عطوان ان المزاعم التي اطلقها السيد عبد الجليل ونشرتها بعض الصحف والمواقع الالكترونية لا اساس لها من الصحة جملة وتفصيلاً. وقال انه سيحتفظ بحقه في مقاضاة اي شخصية معنوية، اومؤسسة، تكرر مثل هذه المزاعم الكاذبة ضد رجل معروف بسجله النظيف، والمعروف كذلك بالوقوف في خندق الشعوب ومحاربة الفساد، ودعم قيم الحرية والعدالة في مواجهة انظمة ديكتاتورية مستبدة.
للمزيد من التفاصيل يرجى الاتصال:
Collyer Bristow LLP Solicitor
Tel: 0044207 4687251
4 Bedford Row,
London WC1R 4DF

Americans Express Historic Negativity Toward U.S. Government

Several long-term Gallup trends at or near historical lows


"PRINCETON, NJ -- A record-high 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed, adding to negativity that has been building over the past 10 years....The findings are from Gallup's annual Governance survey, updated Sept. 8-11, 2011. The same poll shows record or near-record criticism of Congress, elected officials, government handling of domestic problems, the scope of government power, and government waste of tax dollars.

Key Findings:

* 82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.
* 69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010....."

U.S. Continues to Back Afghan Warlord Linked to 2006 Massacre and Torture of Prisoners

Democracy Now!

"New revelations about a U.S.-backed warlord in Afghanistan are raising questions about whether the United States has violated its own laws in its aim to defeat the Taliban. The Atlantic magazine reports the United States, under both former President George W. Bush and President Obama, has actively supported the police commander in Kandahar — General Abdul Raziq — despite knowing of his involvement not just in corruption and drug smuggling, but also in major human rights abuses including killings and torture. Razik has been a key figure in the U.S. strategy of supporting Afghan warlords in order to weaken the Taliban, working closely with U.S. special forces. He was promoted to head the police in Kandahar earlier this year after playing a key role in the U.S.-backed assault on the Taliban one year ago. The allegations against Raziq include responsibility for the torture of two teenage boys and the killing of 15 people in 2006. According to an investigation by Matthieu Aikins for The Atlantic, the United States has continued supporting Raziq despite having been aware "of credible allegations that Raziq and his men participated in a cold-blooded massacre of civilians."...."

Video Report From Libya: “I Never Expected We Would Be Free”

Democracy Now!

"In Libya where a brigade commander of Libyan revolutionary fighters says his forces are communicating with families stuck inside of Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s besieged hometown to try to secure a way out. More than one month after seizing Tripoli and effectively ending Gaddafi’s rule, revolutionary forces still face fierce resistance from Gaddafi loyalists in the towns of Sirte, Bani Walid and in pockets in the country’s desert south. Meanwhile, the National Transitional Council has delayed announcing an expanded interim cabinet of up to 36 members that is supposed to be more representative. Even as the fighting continues and questions remain over Libya’s political future, inside the recently liberated capital city of Tripoli, the mood is largely upbeat. Democracy Now! correspondent Anjali Kamat and Jacquie Soohen of Big Noise Films were in Tripoli last week and filed and this report....."

Armed defenders of Syria's revolution

Nir Rosen discusses instances of armed clashes between Syrian army defectors and pro-Assad security forces.

Nir Rosen

"While outsiders debate when or if the Syrian opposition will turn to arms, on the ground it is clear that elements of the opposition have used violence against the security forces from early in the uprising in response to the regime's harsh crackdown.

Over a period of seven weeks, from July to September, I spent time among the many factions in the strugle for Syria. It is a conflict fought on the streets and in the media. For the most part, unarmed opposition activists seeking the overthrow of the regime have used demonstrations as their guerrilla tactic. The regime has succeeded in containing or suppressing the opposition, limiting the times and places they can demonstrate. The opposition has failed to expand its constituency outside the Sunni majority or even to win over the Sunni bourgeois of Damascus and Aleppo. Sectarian hatred grows on both sides, leading to early signs of communal violence. At the same time, a more professional and organised armed opposition movement has emerged.....

The effectiveness of such small scale hit-and-run attacks is not clear. Opposition members feel they have been pushed to violence by a brutal regime that shows itself incapable of or unwilling to fulfill its promises of reform. However, this level of opposition violence cannot overthrow the regime. It does allow the regime to justify its narrative of fighting armed groups. In addition, it allows foreign backers of the regime, such as Russia, to justify their intransigent support for it. Insiders in the Russian foreign ministry maintain that Syria is in a civil war, with two sides fighting, and not just a government killing unarmed demonstrators. Instead the Russians maintain that both sides provoke each other and respond with violence.....

What may have also provoked security forces was a significant victory for the defecting officers. In late September, opposition fighters from Homs captured a Syrian Army colonel. The colonel is an Alawite originally from the area of Qardaha, the town in Latakia from where the Assad family originates, and indeed is a distant relative of the president. The opposition fighters hoped to exchange him for their own captured officers, including Hussein Harmoush. The capture was also confirmed by a source in the security forces."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Does the return of the Yemeni president to San'a contribute to solving or to complicating the existing crisis?

With about 400 responding, 90% said it complicates the crisis.

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaza shipbuilders adapt to blockade

Hamas to Abbas: UN Bid Another Illusion of Statehood


Palestinian Authority Head Mahmoud Abbas returned from New York to much fanfare in the West Bank. In Gaza, Hamas officials cast serious doubts on Abbas’s performance in the UN and warned against a return to another round of negotiations.

"Gaza — Hamas officials say that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the UN was emotional and reflected despair over the failed progress of negotiations with the US and Israel. Hamas views the UN speech as Abbas’s political farewell from Palestinian politics.

Hamas Legislative Council MP Yehya Mousa called for deliberation among Palestinian factions to determine an alternative to the PA after its dissolution. In his opinion, the PA has been a divisive force among Palestinians. “The PA led by Mahmoud Abbas has taken a wrong course in dealing with the Palestinian cause. It has demonstrated its failure in maintaining the Palestinian home and preserving the right of return,” says Mousa. “The PA also contributed to the resistance’s marginalization and elimination in occupied cities of the West Bank,” he adds.

Mousa believes that Abbas’s speech at the UN aimed to cast Abbas as a hero in the media. Moreover, the statehood bid “was an indirect attempt to return to negotiations with Israel.”...."

Egypt blogger on hunger strike must be released as health fails

26 September 2011

"The Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release a detained blogger who has been on hunger strike for over a month, Amnesty International said today.

The health of twenty-five year-old Maikel Nabil Sanad, who began a hunger strike on 23 August, has greatly deteriorated since prison authorities took away vital heart medication, his family says.

It is deeply worrying that Egypt’s treatment of dissenters seems to have changed little since President Mubarak was in charge,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Maikel Nabil Sanad must be released immediately and unconditionally. In the meantime, he must be given the medical attention he requires,” she said.

The blogger was arrested on 28 March at his home in Cairo, tried in a military court on 10 April and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment over comments he made on Facebook, and for allegedly spreading lies and rumours about the armed forces on his blog...."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Egypt: Assailants blow up Sinai gas pipeline to Israel

ISMAILIYA, Egypt - Unknown assailants blew up an Egyptian pipeline in Sinai on Tuesday that supplies Israel and Jordan with gas, security sources and witnesses said.

A witness told investigators he saw three men jump out of a small truck at a pumping station in an area known as al-Maidan, southwest of the city of el-Arish, and open fire on the pipeline, the security sources said.

اليمن.. حافة الثورة

مقدم الحلقة: علي الظفيري
ضيفا الحلقة:
- حمود الهتار/ وزير الأوقاف اليمني الأسبق
- توكل كرمان/ قيادية في الثورة الشبابية الشعبية اليمنية
تاريخ الحلقة: 19/9/2011

The Egyptian people's revolution is being hijacked by the army

Torture, emergency laws, mass arrests and delayed elections: this is what Egypt's generals mean by protecting democracy

Soumaya Ghannoushi, Monday 26 September 2011

"...Between 28 January and 29 August, almost 12,000 civilians were tried in military tribunals – far more than Mubarak managed in 30 years of dictatorship. Torture by police and military personnel remains widespread, with hundreds of reports of beatings, electrocution, and even sexual assault.

Days after assuming power, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) began to talk tough, declaring that it would not tolerate strikes, pickets "or any action that disrupts the country's security", and imposing prison sentences on those who defied the ban. The army has since gone further, introducing a ban on public protest and curfews. This seems to have only strengthened activists' resolve, as the frequent demonstrations held in Tahrir Square testify.

Recently, exploiting the climate of tension heightened by the storming of the Israeli embassy, the army reactivated the state of emergency, announcing that it will remain in force until next June – dashing popular demands for a swift end to the draconian code that formed the constitutional underpinning for Mubarak's dictatorship, and served as his chief means of stifling dissent for three decades....

The backdrop for all the army's decisions over the past eight months is its concern over its position in the emerging political system. The generals realise that there can be no return to 1952, when the "Free Officers" seized power and controlled the political arena for more than two decades. But they seem unwilling to retreat to their barracks without first securing the upper hand in internal and foreign policy matters. It is not the day-to-day running of the country that the army is interested in. Rather, it wants to have a tight grip on key issues: strategic decisions, budgetary distribution, and above all keeping the military itself free from public scrutiny. That is the reason why the army has moved to lay down its "declaration of basic principles", which would grant it sweeping authority and enable it to intercede in civilian politics.

In a telling statement, Major General Mamdouh Shaheen, a council member, declared: "We want a model similar to that found in Turkey … Egypt, as a country, needs to protect democracy from the Islamists, because we know that these people do not think democratically" – the same justification used by Arab dictators to legitimise despotism for decades. What this top officer means by the "Turkish model" is not its latest version, but the model that crippled political life for most of the past century.

His statement may be greeted warmly in London, Washington, Paris or Tel Aviv, by those anxious to prevent any meaningful change from taking place. Whether in suits or uniforms, the interests of the region's autocrats seem destined to converge with those of the great western powers. And in this unholy marriage of internal and external obstructors of genuine reform lies the tragic plight of democracy and democrats in Arab lands."

The story of Martyr Zainab Al Husni (Warning : Extremely Graphic Videos)

The Irvine 11: Giving voice to the voiceless

The sentencing of the Irvine 11 demonstrates how voicing Palestinian solidarity is becoming more risky for activists.

Nora Barrows Friedman

"...The Irvine 11, as they have come to be known, acted in the finest tradition of civil rights leaders when they non-violently spoke out in opposition to Israeli policies during a speech delivered by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren in February 2010. Oren had come to UC Irvine as a guest of the university administration, on a speaking tour planned by the Israeli government to boost Israel's image in response to global criticism of its wanton attacks on Gaza in the winter of 2008-09, and the apartheid policies on the ground in occupied Palestine.

The sentencing followed a jury's decision to convict the students on two misdemeanour counts of "conspiracy to disrupt a public meeting" and "disruption of a public meeting" after weeks of aggressive courtroom theatrics by the District Attorney's prosecution team, which intended to criminalise the student's acts of dissent and protest....

In an increasingly cynical world, where Palestinians continue to lose so much and those who speak or act on their behalf face criminalisation, it should give us hope that these students have not traded their courage for fear. Instead, they have pledged to keep giving voice to those who have been silenced, and to inspire countless others to do the same."

Al-Jazeera Video: Activists deface Syrian official websites

"Hackers have launched another attack on Syrian government websites, replacing the content with parodies of President Bashar al-Assad.

They say it is an attempt to show solidarity with the people of Syria, and the victims of a crackdown on anti-government protests there.

Al Jazeera's Will Jordan reports."

Real News Video: Libyans Debate Who Will Benefit from their Oil

Reed Lindsay reports Oil Minister denies secret French deal as Libyans question NTC and NATO interest

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The Third Intifada

Targeting the US / Israeli Relationship


"....The most important new development that future historians will record is that this last week in September represented the moment when the Arab-Israeli conflict structurally transformed into the Arab-Israeli/American conflict, because of the profound and explicit manner in which the U.S. government has come down on the side of Israel. The United States historically has tried, without much success but with visible endeavor nevertheless, to express its support for Israel’s survival and security while also trying to mediate a resolution of the conflict that sees the birth of a Palestinian state in much of the 1967 occupied lands. That balancing act, unconvincing as it was, is formally dead for now — repeatedly shot in the heart by a firing squad of American politicians who have unleashed volleys of shotguns at the weak and doomed phenomenon that was once called “American mediation”.....

These are historic days in the Middle East, on every front:

1. within Arab countries,

2. in Turkish relations in the region,

3. in the Arab-Israeli conflict,

4. in Arab interactions with the United States,

5. and perhaps also soon in new roles for Europe or Russia in some form.

The synthesis of these five domains will take some years to become clear. When that happens, we will probably look back on this month of September 2011 as the critical turning point in the behavior of the key actors."