Saturday, October 8, 2011

Syria's protesters turn to Facebook to expose 'citizen spies'

Activists use the internet to find and unmask those they suspect of reporting their neighbours to security forces

Annasofie Flamand and Hugh Macleod, Saturday 8 October 2011

"....They said the death of Shalhoub was one of an increasing number of cases in which citizen spies are playing a direct role in assisting the Assad regime's security forces to crack down on pro-democracy protesters.

During nearly half a century of one-party rule, Syria's Ba'ath regime has maintained its iron grip on a nation of 22 million people through a network of civilian informers known as the awainiyya – the watchers.

From the man at the next table listening in on café conversations to the local shopkeeper, taxi driver or estate agent, Syrian society is rife with those who will inform on their fellow citizens. They do it primarily for money, said activists and analysts, but also out of fear, or sometimes because they are true believers in the ideology of the regime that Assad inherited from his father.

With the Ba'ath Party estimated at two million members, and with at least 16 branches of the security services, the numbers of awainiyya at work in Syria could be in the tens of thousands....

As the attempted revolution in Syria transforms power relations in one of the world's last police states, protesters are using social media to fight back. Facebook now hosts dozens of sites run by Syrian activists on which the names, addresses and photos of suspected informers are posted.

Residents can use the sites to report a suspected awainiyya in their neighbourhood and site administrators say they then monitor the suspect's behaviour before outing them. One entry accused a resident of the city of Latakia of "co-operating with security and informing on the men of the revolution".

"He currently resides in al-Martqla, the street connecting the Omar ibn al-Khattab. mosque and Sheikh Dahir, in front of Maher's sandwich shop. He hides at home or in his car and records the names of young people."

The site gives precise details of the suspect's address...."

British justice is exposed as a sham .

Abdul Bari Atwan
Friday, 07 October 2011 16:45

Middle East Monitor

"Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague received Tzipi Livni in his office at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office this week. The former Israeli Foreign Minister was welcomed warmly even though she is now simply the leader of the opposition in Israel. It was a black day in the history of British justice and a huge insult to the memory of the 1,400 Palestinian victims of Israel's brutal military assault on the besieged Gaza Strip in 2008/9; more than a third of those killed were children and women; many were incinerated by white phosphorous bombs - which are prohibited internationally – dropped by Israeli soldiers; all were killed while Hague's guest, Tzipi Livni, was Foreign Minister and a key member of Israel's "war cabinet".

The UN's Goldstone Report claimed that Livni shares responsibility for war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity in Gaza; her hands have the blood of innocents on them. By giving her the red carpet treatment, the British government was basically giving official endorsement to those crimes and providing legal cover for the criminals....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrians mourn 'assassinated' activist

"Thousands of mourners in the northern town of Qamishli turned out on Saturday to bury Mesh'al Tammo, a Syrian-Kurdish politician.

Both government officials and anti-government activists say Tammo was assassinated by gunmen, but it is unclear as to who was responsible.

Al Jazeera' Khadija Magardie reports. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Empire: Palestine state ... of mind


The Lying Tyrant: Yemen president 'to step down'

Ali Abdullah Saleh has announced on state television that he plans to step down "in the coming days".


"Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh has announced that he will leave power in the coming days after the country has been largely paralysed by nearly nine months of mass protests against his 33-year rule.

"I reject power and I will continue to reject it, and I will be leaving power in the coming days," he said on Saturday in a speech on state television.

Tawakul Karman, Yemeni activist and recent Nobel Peace Prize laureate, told Al Jazeera that protesters are skeptical of Saleh's announcement.

"In general, we don't believe him," she said.

Karman vowed that protesters "will continue peaceful revolution" until he gives "the power he's stolen to the revolution people"....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Al Jazeera reporter describes clashes in Bahrain

"A funeral march outside the Bahraini capital turned violent on Friday night as young protesters took to the main Boudaia Highway and confronted security officers who fired tear gas, sound grenades and rubber bullets.

The march, estimated by Al Jazeera's reporter in Bahrain to number at least 10,000 at its height, memorialized Ahmed Jaber al-Qattan, a 16-year-old Shia protester killed by a bird shot blast on Thursday night.

Our correspondent said security forces used tear gas in continued confrontations with protesters in villages later at night."

Islamists and Secularists Draw Closer

Analysis by Emad Mekay

"CAIRO, Oct 8, 2011 (IPS) - Egypt, routinely the cradle for new Arab and Islamic ideologies, is now witnessing the birth of yet another line of thought - Islamic Liberalism. The term is touted now as a panacea for the eight-month impasse that has locked Islamists and their secularist rivals in bitter bickering over how this Arab nation should be governed after the fall of former dictator Hosni Mubarak earlier this year.

The new ideology involves Islamists toning down their designs of a puritanical Islamic state into a more subdued version of religious ideology laced with pragmatic liberal political positions, such as freedom of expression and belief, along with modern day governing practices such as Western-styled elections and institutions.

In return secularists will ease their attacks on Islam, show greater respect for the faith and recognise its history and potential of justice, social equality and spiritual elevation.....

Analysts of the political debate in Egypt say time will be needed for a true pragmatic Islamic trend to take root.

"This will take some more creativity," Hossam Maklad, an Egyptian researcher of Islamic movements tells IPS. "The incentives for the Islamists to move to the centre are there."

"What we call Islamic Liberalism needs to improvise a form of governing that rests on Islamic heritage and civilisation as a great foundation while at the same time enjoying all the good benefits of Western liberal structure," Maklad said. "If we can combine both then we’ll save ourselves all those fights and quarrels which may never end." "

Real News Video: Occupy DC Targets Wars and Economy

Occupy DC campaign begins with demands to end militarism and for economic justice

More at The Real News

The first Arab Bloggers Meeting was private and low key. Not this year's

New spheres of expression, long closed to us, are now open. We met in Tunis with a very different set of priorities to 2008

Yazan Badran, Saturday 8 October 2011

"....What you probably haven't read about though is the history of the painstaking online activism that paved the way for the revolutions that toppled dictators. To hear that story, you needed to be in Tunis this week, where a group of leading bloggers from more than 20 countries across the Middle East and beyond were gathering for the first time since the revolutions began.

There's no doubting the Third Arab Bloggers Meeting was a special event. This was not a conference about the revolutionaries; this was a conference for those very revolutionaries. And more notably, it was the first time we were able to speak publicly and freely in an Arab capital....

In 2008, nobody could anticipate these monumental changes that were to sweep across the region two years later. Back then these challenges and our role in overcoming them were very familiar. We had grown up with them; we struggled to organise, to co-ordinate across diverse groups, and to circumvent the dire conditions of censorship and persecution as the first steps to bring about needed changes. The discussions, general and mostly speculative in nature, were about possibilities rather than concrete plans.

But as we sit here and discuss the success stories from around the Arab world, and contemplate how we can contribute this expertise towards the benefit of others still struggling, we have also come to realise that this is only the beginning....."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Journalism and a world in transition: Wadah Khanfar's James Cameron memorial lecture

As the Arab spring demonstrates, news organisations must embrace new forms of people-centred media

Wadah Khanfar
(Wadah Khanfar was the director general of the al-Jazeera network), Friday 7 October 2011

"....The world is going through a period of major transformation particularly in the aftermath of the revolutions that swept across the Arab world and the successive economic crises. Despite the major challenges facing our media institutions, there are bright spots that need to be developed further.

Such a task requires full determination to rectify the media compass so as to be centred around the people. Collaboration among the various media institutions, including the sharing of resources and the exchange of expertise, will undoubtedly help us regain the initiative and revive respect for the media in the eyes of the public. The idea is to remain always loyal to the esteemed mission for which the late James Cameron and his colleagues of various languages, races and nations worked."

Sleep easy, war criminals

Britain's insulting new rules on arrest warrants will only encourage Israel's view of itself as above international law

Michael Mansfield, Friday 7 October 2011

"Israel has violated innumerable UN resolutions and international laws over the past 50 years without any sanction being incurred – whether legal, economic, political or military. Most blatant is its disregard for the overwhelming opinion of the international court of justice in The Hague, which in 2004 declared the erection of a wall through the occupied territories to be unlawful. If you add the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, continued extension of illegal settlements, forced evictions and house demolitions, requisition of water resources, Gaza blockade and illicit use of cloned passports to facilitate an assassination outside Israel, anyone might be think that this is a state that regards itself as above the law....

It is therefore highly unlikely that any prosecutions of consequence will ensue either at the instigation of the government itself or of an individual – as Livni's meeting with William Hague in London this week demonstrated. Given the British government's lacklustre performance in this field when it comes to nations or individuals who are seen to be unacceptable (eg Pinochet, where it took a Spanish magistrate to act), those in positions of command and responsibility at times when war crimes are committed can now rest easily in their beds."

Tawakkul Karman – profile

The human rights activist, joint winner of the Nobel peace prize, has emerged as a figurehead of the opposition in Yemen

Tom Finn, Friday 7 October 2011

"Known to some of Yemen's opposition movement as the "mother of the revolution", Tawakkul Karman has emerged as a crucial figure among the youth activists who began camping out at Change Square in central Sana'a in early February, demanding the end of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's three-decade rule.

In Yemen, a 32-year-old mother of three may seem an unlikely leader of the fight to overthrow the president, but Karman – a journalist and human rights activist – has long been a thorn in Saleh's side and has been jailed many times.

She was catapulted into the international spotlight this January after being seized from her car and slung into prison. Thousands of people poured on to the streets of Sana'a calling for her release. It was a key moment in Yemen's uprising when the tide began to turn against Saleh....

Many see Karman's award as recognition of the growing involvement of Yemen's women in the uprising. In a country where most women are neither seen nor heard, thousands have taken to the streets in recent months, defying authority and the weight of tradition to call for the fall of the regime, and the sight of 10,000 of them marching down a six-lane motorway in mid-April after Saleh accused them of "mingling with men" was too much for some to bear."

Police clash with funeral marchers in Bahrain

Thousands had joined procession for 16-year-old Shia boy killed by bird shot during a Thursday-night demonstration.


"Hundreds of mourners angry over the shooting death of a 16-year-old Shia Muslim protester clashed with security forces outside the capital Manama on Friday evening.

Security forces opened fire with tear gas, sound grenades and rubber bullets, injuring at least 11 protesters, activists said. More injuries were expected, though the chaotic scene around a makeshift clinic near the clashes made it impossible to verify the number, Al Jazeera's reporter in Bahrain said.

Our correspondent witnessed three men bearing bleeding wounds thought to have been caused by rubber bullets, while another man had suffered a severe facial injury after being hit by a sound grenade.

The clashes came after an afternoon funeral march on Friday to honor Ahmed Jaber al-Qattan, a Shia teenager who died after being hit by bird shot fired by security forces during a demonstration on Thursday, according to opposition activists. The demonstration took place in the village of Abu Saiba, west of Manama...."

Exclusive: War is only option to topple Syrian leader: colonel


ANTAKYA, Turkey Fri Oct 7, 2011 12:57pm EDT

"(Reuters) - The most senior officer to defect from Syria's armed forces has said there is no option but to topple President Bashar al-Assad by force and he was directing a military uprising against the Syrian leader from within Turkey.

Colonel Riad al-As'aad, who is now living under Turkish government protection in Hatay province on the Syrian border, said some 15,000 soldiers, including officers, had already deserted, and he was waiting to move his command inside Syria.

As'aad, A slim, softly-spoken man dressed in civilian clothes and open-collared shirt, said rebel soldiers were forming brigades around the country who were setting up ambushes against government forces to prevent them entering villages.

Morale in the Syrian army, he said, was low.

"Without a war, he will not fall. Whoever leads with force, cannot be removed except by force," As'aad told Reuters in a Syrian refugee camp in Hatay.

"The regime used a lot of oppressive and murderous tactics so I left, so that I will be the face outside for the command inside, because we have to be in a secure area and right now there is no safety in all of Syria," he said.....

The 50-year-old colonel, who served as an engineer in Syria's air force for 31 years, said the Syrian government had started to harass him and other officers when pro-democracy protests first started in Tunisia.

"During the revolution in Tunisia, the regime started getting ready. It felt there will be a revolution in Syria. So it (stepped up security), hired spies to harass us. We were always under surveillance," he said.....

As'aad says he commands the Syrian Free Army, which he helped form after his defection and that they had joined forces with another rebel force, the Free Officers movement, which activists have said is led by Lieutenant Abdelrahman Sheikh inside Syria.

"We're all one group, we're all one army. We're all waiting, the defecting brothers are working inside," he said.

As'aad said 10-15,000 soldiers, out of the roughly 200,000-strong military, had defected all over the country and that desertions were continuing every day.....

"The regime is weakening and the biggest proof, is that they're using air support in addition to tanks and artillery, that proves their weakness."....

"The regime depends on a sect ... and it is a sectarian and discriminatory regime. But our people are wiser than that. All Syrians are one people, whether Alawite, Druze or Christian or even the Kurds. We respect them we consider them our family," he said.

There had so far been no defections from Syria's political elite as happened in Libya, As'aad said, because they were tied too closely through economic interests or positions.

As'aad said he did not want to see any foreign soldiers in Syria but that the international community should provide the rebels with weapons and enforce a no-fly zone...."

Fed Up and Taking to the Streets, But What are the Demands?

From Tahrir to Wall Street


"People across the globe are angry. Fed up with their corrupt and inept governments, people have taken to the streets. The furious protesters have come from all walks of life: students, workers and farmers, men and women, young and old, urban and rural, the working poor and the struggling middle class.

Undoubtedly, the Arab Spring has inspired people around the globe to take matters into their own hands. In essence, the masses have given up on their elected officials, whom they see as selling out to the multinational corporations and the super rich in their societies.

From Chile to Greece and from England to India, people are standing up, demanding their rights, and denouncing corrupt policies and systems that favor the haves and stick it to the have-nots.....

If the anger and disgust of the American people with the status quo continues to grow and spread, the insistence on these demands will ultimately produce real changes and reforms. As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”"

Ahmad Chalabi: humiliated in Beirut

From Angry Arab

"So a group, most probably close to Hizbullah in Lebanon from what I heard, decided to hold a one day conference on repression in Bahrain. Many progressives were in attendance, including former prime minister Salim Huss. The event was being carried live by Al-Manar TV (which confirms that Hizbullah had a role in the event). And then, a panel started and there appeared at the podium none other than Ahmad Chalabi. Chalabi started to talk and blasted foreign powers and foreign occupation. An Egyptian in the audience started yelling at him: others joined in telling him that he was brought in to Iraq in US tanks. There was chaos and uproar in the room. People started leaving saying that they did not know that Chalabi was a guest--Salim Huss also left the room. People were chanting against Chalabi and against foreign occupation. Chalabi--thuggish himself--started chanting from the podium: Down with ignorance. Down with the ignorant. Down with agents of Saddam. Here is a view."

Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Trio of Women for Championing Gender Equality, Peace-Building

"The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to a trio of recipients: Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman; Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; and Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee. The three women were cited "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work." The trio of laureates follow only a dozen other women among 85 men to have won the prize over its 110-year history. We play an excerpt from this morning’s announcement by Nobel Prize Committee Chairperson Thorbjoern Jagland in Norway...."

Yemeni Activist Tawakkul Karman, First Female Arab Nobel Peace Laureate: A Nod for Arab Spring

"In an interview, Yemeni activist Tawakul Karman said her Nobel Peace prize is a victory for Yemen and for all of the uprisings of the Arab Spring. Kaman is a 32-year-old journalist and the head of the Yemeni non-profit group, Women Journalists Without Chains. She was detained for a time during the political unrest earlier this year. She is the first Arab female to win the Nobel Peace Prize and is believed to the youngest winner of the peace prize to date, slightly edging out the Irish activist Mairead Corrigan who won in 1976. We get reaction from British journalist Iona Craig, who has been closely following the uprising in Yemen. “This nobel peace prize will actually in some ways go towards protecting her. Now she will become an even greater international figure and certainly if the regime sought to detain her again, I think they would create a huge problem for themselves," Craig says...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Trio of women share prestigious Peace Prize

Al-Jazeera Video: Exclusive: Nobel Peace winner Tawakul Karman talks to Al Jazeera

"Tawakul Karman talks exclusively to Al Jazeera about her Nobel Peace Prize win. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Protesters converge on America's capital to 'Occupy DC'

Al-Jazeera Video: Aid cuts could impact Palestinian security

Watch the Palestinian collaborators with Israel whose main function is to ensure the security of Israel and its colonies in the West Bank.

Obama is concerned that these collaborators will not do their job of ensuring Israeli security if their funding is cut.

"The administration of US President Barack Obama is concerned that politicians may freeze about $140m in funding for the Palestinian Authority's Security Services.

The US congress has already blocked $200m in development aid, following the Palestinian campaign for UN recognition.

Co-operation between the Palestinian Authority Security Forces and the Israeli military is at an all-time high, but analysts say a funding freeze could impact the security in both Israel and Palestine.

Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reports from the occupied West Bank.

Real News Video: Occupy Wall St. to a Bank in the Public Interest

Michael Hudson: A public option in banking will be a structural answer to the power of finance

More at The Real News

Revealed: UK government plotted with Israel lobby to ban Salah

Asa Winstanley
The Electronic Intifada
6 October 2011

"As Palestinian leader Sheikh Raed Salah’s appeal against deportation concluded in a Birmingham court this week, new details of the UK government’s deep links to the Israel lobby have emerged.

This follows a separate High Court ruling in London on 30 September, when a judicial review into the government’s June imprisonment of Salah ruled he was entitled to damages for “wrongful detention.”

While a panel of two immigration judges is expected to deliver a verdict within 10 days of the hearing, internal government emails obtained by The Electronic Intifada show Home Secretary Theresa May moved quickly to ban Salah not long after the pro-Israel group Community Security Trust (CST) sent a secret report on him....

Conservative Party funder on board of group that pushed for Salah to be banned

The Electronic Intifada can reveal that Poju Zabludowicz, a billionaire real estate magnate who bankrolls the ruling Conservative Party (to which May belongs), is named as a CST board member in a report by an expert witnesses called by Salah’s lawyers. The emails obtained by The Electronic Intifada appear to show that CST played a key role in the banning of Salah.

As well as personally funding UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign for the Conservative Party leadership, Zabludowicz’s family used to own Israeli arms company Soltam (now part of Elbit). And he has owned a minority holding in British Israel, a company with several malls — including one in the illegal West Bank settlement Maaleh Adumim.....

Pro-Israel group CST pushed privately for Salah to be banned

In a 17 June email to the deputy director of the Special Cases Directorate (SCD) of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Michael Whine, a CST director, said he was writing following the request of an official from another government department. Whine attached a CST report on Salah “who plans a speaking tour of the UK from the end of next week.”....

Goverment’s only source was anti-Palestinian group

Salah’s barrister Raza Husain had asked why Salah’s hosts in the country had not been consulted by the government or their advice sought on Salah. He also asked why they had not consulted a group like Jews For Justice For Palestinians, who issued a statement in favor of Salah’s right to speak in the country.

Pressed by Husain on this point over the whole three days of hearings, the government was unable to point to a single outside group whose advice it had drawn on, apart from the CST and the Board of Deputies (taken in the context of the emails, it seems both were via Whine)...."

Tawakul Karman, Yemeni activist, and thorn in the side of Saleh

32-year-old mother of three has faced death threats and prison, but devotion to cause has earned international acclaim

Tom Finn in Sana'a
The Guardian, Friday 25 March 2011

"Tawakul Karman, a 32-year-old mother of three, may seem an unlikely leader of the fight to overthrow the president of Yemen.

But the outspoken journalist and human rights activist has long been a thorn in Ali Abdullah Saleh's side, agitating for press freedoms and staging weekly sit-ins to demand the release of political prisoners from jail – a place she has been several times herself.

Now inspired by the uprising in Tunisia and the resignation of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, she finds herself at the head of a popular protest movement which is shaking the Yemeni regime to its core....."

Syrian woman activist wins human rights award

Amnesty International

"Amnesty International has hailed the award of a prestigious human rights prize to a Syrian activist who was forced into hiding after defying the authorities' crackdown on dissent.

Razan Zaitouneh, 34, won the 2011 Anna Politkovskaya Award, which is given to a woman human rights defender standing up for victims in a conflict zone.

"Razan Zaitouneh’s bravery and commitment to human rights have been highlighted during the current crisis in Syria,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa of Amnesty International.

"We hope this award can shine a light on the brutal abuses taking place in Syria, particularly in China and Russia - countries who this week betrayed Syrians by blocking a UN resolution on the crisis."

Razan Zaitouneh, a lawyer and journalist, won the award for her extraordinary contribution to human rights over the past decade, and particularly for her role in the anti-government movement in Syria since protests began in March this year.

She has monitored and documented the human rights situation in the country for the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), a network responsible for planning and organizing peaceful protests.

In spite of relentless repression, Razan Zaitouneh has been defying a strict media blackout imposed by the Syrian authorities in their attempt to prevent the full horror of what is happening in the country to reach the outside world,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui....."

U.S. and Saudi Relations on Oil

by Alexander Cockburn

"Pose a threat to the stability of Saudi Arabia, as the Shiite upsurges are now doing in Qatif and al-Awamiyah in the country's oil-rich Eastern Province, and you're brandishing a scalpel over the very heart of the long-term U.S. policy in the Middle East. The fall of America's ally, the Shah of Iran, in 1979 only magnified the strategic importance of Saudi Arabia.
In 1945, the chief of the State Department's Division of Near Eastern Affairs wrote in a memo that the oil resources of Saudi Arabia are a "stupendous source of strategic power and one of the greatest material prizes in world history." The man who steered the Saudi princes towards America and away from Britain, was St. John Philby, Kim Philby's father, and with that one great stroke he wrought far more devastation on the Empire than his son ever did.....

Could the uprisings in Saudi Arabia spiral out of control? We're talking here about two different challenges. The first are the long-oppressed Shiite, making up just under a quarter of the population. The second is from the younger generation in the Sunni majority — youth under 30 accounts for two-thirds of the Saudi population—living in one of the most thoroughgoing tyrannies in the world.....

A few days ago, Abdullah offered Saudi women a privilege — to participate in certain entirely meaningless municipal elections (if approved by their husbands.) What municipal elections can be meaningful amid resolute repression under an absolutist monarchy?

The American Empire has effectively lost Iran and Iraq. What of Saudi Arabia? Suppose, fissures continue to open up in the Kingdom itself? I doubt, at such a juncture, that we would hear too much talk from Washington about "democracy" or orderly transitions. The Empire would send in the 101st Airborne."

Nobel Peace Prize Honors African, Arab Women



Recognizing Karman, a 32-year-old journalist and mother who was detained for a time during the unrest, was seen as a gesture of the Norwegian Nobel Committee's wider approval for the Arab Spring protest movements, which had been heavily tipped to win the prize for their young street campaigners.

"In the most trying circumstances, both before and during the Arab Spring, Tawakul Karman has played a leading part in the struggle for women's rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen," the Nobel citation read.

Egyptian activist Asmaa Mahfouz, who had been nominated, said: "Giving it to Yemen means giving it to the Arab Spring, and this is an honor to all of us and to all Arab states."....."

My Heroine Tawakkul Karman (A Leader in the Yemeni Uprising) is One of The Winners of The Nobel Peace Prize! Congratulations Tawakkul!

يمنية وليبيريتان يتقاسمن نوبل للسلام

ونوه البيان بالدور المتميز الذي لعبته الفائزات الثلاث بالجائزة، مشيرا إلى أن توكل كرمان كانت قبل وأثناء الربيع العربي عنصرا رئيسيا وفاعلا في نضال المرأة لتحقيق الديمقراطية والسلام في اليمن.

وفي مقابلة لها مع الجزيرة بعد الإعلان عن فوزها بالجائزة مشاركة مع سيرليف وغبوي، قالت توكل كرمان -رئيسة اتحاد الصحفيات اليمنيات بدون قيود- إنها فوجئت بالإعلان لكنها أبدت سعادة بهذا الفوز الذي أهدته إلى أسرتها وإلى شباب "الثورات العربية" لأنه يشكل اعترافا بأن مشروع الحرية في العالم العربي لم يكن أمرا طارئا بل حالة معترف بها في جميع أنحاء العالم.

وأكدت كرمان أنها ستوظف هذا الفوز في خدمة شباب الثورة اليمنية المصمم على إكمال مسيرته في تحقيق مبادئ الثورة كاملة دون أي نقصان أو تدخل من أحد أو محاولة جرهم إلى مربع العنف، لأن السلام يبقى -على حد قولها- المشروع الأمثل لمواجهة الدكتاتوريات في العالم.

وأضافت أن الجائزة تأتي مكافأة لشباب الثورات العربية والثورة اليمنية وحافزا لهم لخلق مرحلة جديدة لإقامة يمن ديمقراطي حر في طليعة دول العالم.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

This is what Zionism is all about

A Muslim family from Jaffa said Thursday it plans to file a lawsuit against the police, after officers allegedly used excessive force to evict it two days earlier from a south Tel Aviv house in which it was squatting.

In a video, a group of Yassam riot police can be seen wrestling with Sameer Kassem, 34, as he holds his four-year-old daughter.

Kassem was still nursing his wounds in Jaffa’s Hashtayim Park tent city on Thursday, where he is staying with his family. He sported two black eyes, and what he said was a broken nose and a bruised rib following the incident, which was filmed by an activist and uploaded to the Internet on Thursday.

Kassem said his family has been homeless since May, when his mother, who used to help him with his expenses, died and he could no longer pay rent. He said that he, his wife, and their five children moved to the vacant house on Salameh Street about two weeks ago after someone set their tent on fire at Hashtayim Park.

He said his children were having trouble sleeping at the tent city, especially after it rained recently. Kassem’s sister had been living at the vacant house for a few weeks and invited him to stay there with his children he added.

According to Kassem, on Tuesday they were informed by police that they would arrive in the afternoon to evict them and he decided to begin packing their belongings in the meantime.

When police finally arrived, he said he decided to take his infant and hole up in the house, hoping that maybe police would relent and allow them to stay.

Libyan dissident tortured by Gaddafi to sue Britain over rendition

Sami al-Saadi claims MI6 connived in his capture – and is also targeting MI5, Foreign Office and Home Office

Ian Cobain, Thursday 6 October 2011

"A Libyan dissident is launching legal action against the British government after a cache of secret documents discovered in Tripoli exposed the pivotal role played by MI6 in his rendition to one of Muammar Gaddafi's jails.

In a case that threatens to cause acute discomfort to some former ministers in the last Labour government as well as senior intelligence officers, Sami al-Saadi is claiming damages from the UK for the years of torture he subsequently suffered.

Saadi has hired the same teams of lawyers who represented Binyam Mohamed, the former Guantánamo inmate. They have lodged a claim which names as defendants not only MI6 but also MI5, the Foreign Office, the Home Office and the attorney general's office. They have also called on Scotland Yard to launch a criminal investigation...."

Egypt's ruling generals accused of buying time to stay in power

Military denies plan to shoehorn one of its own into presidency after unveiling 18-month timetable for transition to civilian rule

Jack Shenker, Thursday 6 October 2011

"Egypt's ruling military generals have unveiled plans that could see them retain power for another 18 months, increasing fears that the country's democratic transition process is under threat.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took control of Egypt after the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak in February, and initially promised to return to their barracks within six months. But since then the "roadmap" to an elected, civilian government has been beset by delays and controversies, fuelling speculation that the army could be buying time in an attempt to shoehorn one of their own senior commanders into the presidency....."

الثورات العربية وأوجه التشابه بينها .. د. عزمي بشاره

الثورات العربية وأوجه التشابه بينها .. د. عزمي بشاره


Part 1:

Part 2:

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Part 4:

Naomi Klein: Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Controversy Shows How Wall Street Is Occupying U.S. Gov’t

"Last month, award-winning journalist and author Naomi Klein was in Washington, D.C., where she was arrested along with more than 1,000 people in two-week campaign of civil disobedience outside the White House against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands field to Gulf Coast refineries. Now in New York City to support the Occupy Wall Street protest, Klein joins us to discuss the connections between the two struggles, and the cozy relationship between the White House, the U.S. State Department that is considering the proposed pipeline, and Keystone XL lobbyists...."

Naomi Klein: Protesters Are Seeking Change in the Streets Because It Won’t Come From the Ballot Box

"Among the thousands at last night’s Occupy Wall Street protest here in New York City was award-winning journalist and author Naomi Klein. She is the author of the bestselling book, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” She also wrote "No Logo," a book that has become a cultural manifesto for critics of unfettered capitalism worldwide. Klein joins us to discuss the Occupy Wall Street movement and why it is being belittled in the corporate media. “My biggest fear was that the Obama presidency was was going to lead this generation of young people into political cynicism and political apathy,” Klein says. “But instead, they are going to where the power is. They are realizing the change is not coming in Washington because politicians are so controlled by corporate interest, and that that is the fundamental crisis in this country.”....."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you see the dispute between the Transitional Council and the revolutionaries in Libya as real?

With about 200 responding so far, 50% said yes.

Al-Jazeera Video: Police confront barrier-storming protesters

"New York City police confronted a crowd of protesters on Broadway on Wednesday night, using batons and pepper spray to force them back from a row of metal barricades erected to protect Wall Street.

Video from the scene shows an officer firing pepper spray into a crowd of demonstrators and journalists while another swings his baton multiple times. The breakaway group of 100 to 200 protesters had reached the barricade with the intent of breaking through to Wall Street.

Earlier in the day, the growing Occupy Wall Street movement, whose range of grievances focuses on wealth inequality and corruption, staged a march of around 5,000 people in and around Zuccotti Park, where the protesters have made their camp.

Al Jazeera's Cath Turner reports from New York. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Amnesty International on sentenced Bahrain medics

Al-Jazeera Video: Bahrain medics to face civilian court retrial

Al-Jazeera Video: Donald Rumsfeld talks to Al Jazeera

Well Worth Watching

Al-Jazeera Video: 'Horrific aftermath' of Syria clashes

"Videos posted on YouTube apparently show the aftermath of recent fighting between Syrian troops loyal to the government and defectors in the Syrian city of Rastan.

At least 60 people were killed, thousands of others detained, and many homes destroyed after Syrian security forces laid siege to the city for several days

Residents say around 250 military defectors took up arms to protect pro-democracy protesters there.

Al Jazeera's Jamal El Shamayaal reports. "

Real News Video: Greek Worker: "Patriotism is to Fight Austerity with Actions"

EuroNews: In the centre of Athens youths broke up marble paving slabs and hurled them at police on Wednesday

More at The Real News

What Do They Want? Justice

By Robert Scheer

"How can anyone possessed of the faintest sense of social justice not thrill to the Occupy Wall Street movement now spreading throughout the country? One need not be religiously doctrinaire to recognize this as a “come to Jesus moment” when the money-changers stand exposed and the victims of their avarice are at long last offered succor.

Not that any of the protesters have gone so far as to overturn the tables of stockbrokers or whip them with cords in imitation of the cleansing of the temple, but the rhetoric of accountability is compelling. “I think a good deal of the bankers should be in jail,” one protester told New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin. That prospect has evidently aroused concern in an industry that has largely managed to escape judicial opprobrium.

“Is this Occupy Wall Street thing a big deal?” the CEO of a major bank asked Sorkin. “We’re trying to figure out how much we should be worried about all this. Is this going to turn into a personal safety problem?”

It should pose a threat, not because peaceful demonstrators will suddenly morph into vigilantes fatally damaging their cause with violent action, but rather because government prosecutors should fulfill their obligation to pursue justice and incarcerate some of the obvious perps. As Sorkin conceded, in one of the rare instances of the business press attempting to understand the protesters: “the message was clear: the demonstrators are seeking accountability for Wall Street and corporate America for the financial crisis and the growing economic inequality gap.”...."

US launches "civil rights" probe at Columbia University as Zionist censorship, smears intensify

By Ali Abunimah

"A complaint by a professor at Columbia University who co-founded the anti-Palestinian Zionist group “Scholars for Peace in the Middle East” has resulted in the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) opening an investigation into the university.

The civil rights complaint is part of a growing pattern of such actions by Zionist groups across the country to use civil rights laws to suppress campus criticism or even discussion of Israel’s human rights crimes, and to intimidate faculty and students and slander those who dare to teach or undertake activities about Palestinian rights as “anti-Semites.”

Recently, The Electronic Intifada discovered that Israeli officials had even played a direct role in a planned civil rights complaint against another US institution, Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where students had passed a resolution supporting divestment from Israel.

Columbia rejects attempt to smear Joseph Massad

The complaint also appears to be another attempt to smear Columbia University professor Joseph Massad even though it in fact has nothing to do with him. For years, Massad was the target of an organized campaign of slander and intimidation by Zionist groups who interfered in the university’s processes in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to deny him tenure....."

The smearing of a revolution

The Assange case demonstrates one thing – western claims to support democracy and the mainstream media’s defence of freedom of speech are entirely hypocritical.

By John Pilger

The New Statesman

"....However, it is not the Swedish judicial system that presents a "grave danger" to Assange, say his lawyers, but a legal device known as a temporary surrender, under which he can be sent on from Sweden to the United States secretly and quickly. The founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, who published the greatest leak of official documents in history, providing a unique insight into rapacious wars and the lies told by governments, is likely to find himself in a hell hole not dissimilar to the "torturous" dungeon that held Private Bradley Manning, the alleged whistleblower. Manning has not been tried, let alone convicted, yet on 21 April President Barack Obama declared him guilty with a dismissive "He broke the law".....

The Guardian's Hackgate exposures were a tour de force; the Murdoch empire may disintegrate as a result. But, with or without Murdoch, a media consensus endures that echoes, from the BBC to the Sun, a corrupt, warmongering political establishment. Assange's crime has been to threaten this consensus: those who fix the "parameters" of news and political ideas, and whose authority as media commissars is challenged by the revolution of the internet. The prize-winning former Guardian journalist Jonathan Cook has experience of both worlds.

“The media, at least the supposedly left-wing component," he writes, "should be cheering on this revolution . . . And yet, mostly they are trying to co-opt, tame or subvert it [even] to discredit and ridicule the harbingers of the new age . . . Some of [the campaign against Assange] clearly reflects a clash of personalities and egos, but it also looks suspiciously like the feud derives from a more profound ideological struggle [about] how information should be controlled a generation hence [and] the gatekeepers maintaining their control.""

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chomsky on “Occupy Wall Street” and Israel's Collapse

Bush Torturer, Obama Just Kills

By Noam Chomsky

"Pinning its hopes on the sole support of the US, Israel risks a collapse if it is ever withdrawn - much like apartheid-era South Africa, prominent scholar Professor Noam Chomsky warns. ­He recalls how South Africans felt safe to ignore a UN embargo and corporations pulling out of their country throughout the 1980s, as long as the Reagan administration continued to support them. As soon as the US withdrew its support, the apartheid regime collapsed.

"For 35 years, the US and Israel have been rejecting a political settlement that is supported virtually by the entire world. A couple of months ago, there was a meeting of the oligarchs -- people who pretty much run the economy [of Israel]," Chomsky says, "and they warned the government that it better accept something like this resolution, because otherwise, Israel will be, as they put it, South Africanized: even more isolated, with boycotts, refusal to load ships, and their economy will collapse.""

Syrian insurrection set to gather momentum

UN failure to pass sanctions resolution against Assad's regime has convinced some that diplomacy cannot protect them

Martin Chulov in Beirut and Ewen MacAskill in Washington, Wednesday 5 October 2011

"An armed insurrection inside Syria looks set to gather momentum after the failure to pass a UN resolution against president Bashar al-Assad's regime, according to dissidents in two key Syrian cities.

Activists from Homs and Hama, where mostly peaceful protests over the past six months have lately become more aggressive and armed, say the failure of the US effort to threaten sanctions against Syria has convinced some that diplomacy cannot protect them.

"There's no way out of this except to fight," said an activist from Homs. "For the people of Homs the international community are not with us and we know that for sure. Russia and China will continue to protect Assad and as long as that happens, he will hunt us down."....

In Homs, where government forces are routinely clashing with armed members of the opposition – many of them former soldiers who defected with their weapons – outgunned protesters are now openly seeking weapons from outside the country.

"We know that we will not see Nato jets above the skies of Damascus," said one Homs resident. "It is us against them. No one else will help us."

In Beirut, where aid supplies to Homs and Hama are co-ordinated, aid workers said they had been receiving more requests for weapons than for food or medicine. "Of course we can't help with this. But it shows how much their priorities have changed.""

Syria attacks 'media fabrications' by showing 'beheaded' woman alive on TV

Zainab al-Hosni went missing in July and her body was returned to her family and buried. Now Damascus says she is alive

Ian Black and Matthew Weaver, Wednesday 5 October 2011

"Syria's government has sought to score a propaganda coup with the mysterious TV appearance of a young woman who had been reported to have been beheaded and mutilated by state security agents.

The macabre story was revived on Tuesday when the main state TV channel screened a brief interview with a woman claiming to be Zainab al-Hosni.

International human rights groups and Syrian opposition activists said Hosni had been killed after being detained in July.

The station described the interview as intended to discredit foreign "media fabrications".

Hosni's family confirmed that it was her in the film, but they could not say whether she was alive or had in fact been killed after the interview. The episode thus ended up posing troubling new questions...."

Bahrain to retry medics jailed for treating protesters

Prosecutor orders civilian retrials for 20 medical personnel after global condemnation of sentences

Martin Chulov, Wednesday 5 October 2011

"A Bahrain prosecutor has ordered retrials in civilian courts for 20 medics sentenced under martial law for crimes they were accused of committing while treating victims from anti-government protests earlier this year.

The announcement followed condemnation from the US and European states as well as global medical bodies and rights groups at the sentences of 5-15 years handed down by a security court last week.

The plight of the medics – two paramedics and 18 doctors from Bahrain's biggest hospital, the Salmaniya Medical Centre (SMC) – had proven to be hugely damaging for Bahrain's rulers, who had launched a relentless crackdown on leaders of a civic rights push it insisted was a sectarian plot backed by Iran....."

Video: Unrest in Saudi Arabia reported

Amateur video footage purports to show anti-government protests and clashes in eastern Saudi Arabia, in which Riyadh acknowledged 14 people had been injured, Wednesday 5 October 2011

As Unions, Students Join Occupy Wall Street, Are We Witnessing Growth of a New Movement?

"As the Occupy Wall Street protest enters its twentieth day, New York City’s most powerful unions are set to march today from City Hall to the movement’s encampment in the Financial District. The demonstration will be bolstered by the walkout of potentially thousands of students at major public universities in New York City where tuition rates are on the rise. Meanwhile, similar "occupation" movements are springing up in cities around the country. On Tuesday, the Greater Boston Labor Council, representing 154 unions with 90,000 workers, supported the Occupy Boston encampment for shining "a spotlight on the imbalance of power in our nation and the role that Wall Street has played in devastating our economy." We host a discussion about whether the Occupy Wall Street movement is sparking a diverse, grassroots movement for economic change. We’re joined by Kai Wright, contributor to The Nation magazine and editorial director of, where he wrote "Here’s to Occupying Wall Street! (If Only That Were Actually Happening)." We also speak with Arun Gupta, an editor with of The Indypendent, and of “The Occupied Wall Street Journal,” a newspaper affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement, where he published an article titled, "The Revolution Begins at Home."...."

Somalia Blowback: After Deadly Mogadishu Bombing, A Look at How U.S. Fueled Militant Islamist Threat

"In Somalia, at least 70 people were killed yesterday in the capital of Mogadishu after a large truck bomb exploded near a government compound that housed the Somali cabinet and eight ministries, including the Ministry of Education. The militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, which maintains control of much of southern Somalia. Many in the country blame its refusal to accept Western aid for causing the deadly famine now accompanying a massive drought in the Horn of Africa. We’re joined by award-winning investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, who was recently in Somalia to report for The Nation magazine. His article "Blowback in Somalia,” examines how U.S. policy there has helped create a militant Islamist threat...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaza's baby boom generation

Policing the Prophets of Wall Street

By Amy Goodman

"The Occupy Wall Street protest grows daily, spreading to cities across the United States. “We are the 99 percent,” the protesters say, “that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.”

The response by the New York City Police Department has been brutal. Last Saturday, the police swept up more than 700 protesters in one of the largest mass arrests in U.S. history. The week before, innocent protesters were pepper-sprayed in the face without warning or reason.

That is why, after receiving a landmark settlement this week from the police departments of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as the U.S. Secret Service, my colleagues and I went to Liberty Square, the heart of the Wall Street occupation, to announce the legal victory.

On Labor Day 2008, the “Democracy Now!” news team and I were covering the first day of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Thousands protested outside. I was on the convention floor, interviewing delegates from what that week was the hottest state, Alaska. Blocks away, my colleagues Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar were covering a police assault on the dispersing crowd of marchers.....

Jump forward to today. The bailed-out Wall Street megabank JPMorgan Chase gave a tax-deductible $4.6 million donation to the New York City Police Foundation, which has protesters asking: Who is the NYPD paid to protect, the public or the corporations? The 99 percent or the 1 percent?

Marina Sitrin, part of Occupy Wall Street’s legal working group, told me that the protest was going to be based at Chase Plaza, but the NYPD pre-emptively closed it. The protesters moved to Zuccotti Park, which they renamed Liberty Square.

According to an undated press release on JPMorgan Chase’s website, in response to the $4.6 million donation: “New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon a note expressing ‘profound gratitude’ for the company’s donation.” Given the size of the donation, and the police harassment and violence against the protesters, we must question how Kelly shows his gratitude."

Real News Video: Egyptian Workers Denounce Military Regime

Jihan Hafiz: Egyptian workers say military trying to reconstitute old regime without Mubarak

More at The Real News

Real News Video: Egyptian Army Beating Protester

Video of Egyptian army separating and savagely beating protester

More at The Real News

Tahrir (Liberation) of Wall Street, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Why the UN must abolish the 'Quartet'

It was formed to assist in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, in reality, envoy Tony Blair uses it for personal profit.

Ali Abunimah


"Quartet envoy Tony Blair has been the target of stinging criticism of late from officials close to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. There have even been murmurs that Abbas' officials may formally request Blair's removal.

While Blair's Quartet role, which he took up the day he left office as UK prime minister in 2007, has undoubtedly been harmful to the Palestinian people and to any semblance of international law, it would not be enough to call for Blair to go.

It is the Quartet itself - an ad hoc committee of US, EU and Russian officials, and the UN Secretary General, that monopolises the so-called "peace process" - that has destroyed what little credibility the United Nations has left on the question of Palestine.

It functions as a front that launders Israeli and American demands as UN and "international" positions, sidelining international law and countless resolutions declaring myriad Israeli actions to be grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

To begin to restore UN credibility, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon should end UN membership, funding and support for the Quartet. If he doesn't, UN member states should demand that he do so....

The Arab League states, at least, should demand that the UN Secetary General withdraw from the Quartet and halt funding Tony Blair's office from money that is supposed to assist Palestinians whose lives have been devastated by the very Israeli policies Blair facilitates.

If the UN is to begin to play any useful role in restoring the Palestinians' usurped rights, it must begin by abolishing the obstructionist and irredeemably corrupted Quartet."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Egypt's military responsible for life of Egyptian blogger, says Amnesty

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"Egypt’s military rulers are responsible for the life of a jailed blogger on the 43rd day of a hunger strike, Amnesty International warned today after a Cairo military court adjourned his appeal hearing until 11 October.

Maikel Nabil Sanad, 26, was arrested in March and given a three-year jail sentence for publishing articles on his blog documenting human rights violations perpetrated by the Egyptian military, including the use of violence against pro-democracy activists.

Sanad has been on hunger strike since 23 August, protesting against his imprisonment. His health is deteriorating steadily and he is reported to have lost 15 kilograms since he stopped eating. He is also suffering from anemia, scabies and kidney problems, according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.

Negad al-Borey, Sanad’s lawyer, told Al-Masry Al-Youm earlier on Tuesday that the appeal hearing was adjourned because the judge said the official court documents were not in proper order.

Borey added that this is the court’s responsibility, not that of any lawyer.

“Maikel Nabil Sanad’s dire predicament highlights the ongoing abuses faced by prisoners of conscience in Egypt,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

It was the first trial of a blogger by a military court after the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) assumed control following the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February.

Civilians should never face trial before military courts, which are fundamentally unfair, as they deny defendants basic fair trial guarantees, including the right to proper appeal,” added Sahraoui.

It seems that little has changed since the 'January 25 Revolution’. The Egyptian authorities must urgently act to rectify the injustice done to this blogger, whose life is in danger after his wrongful imprisonment.”"

One-state solution goes mainstream? CBC interviews Ali Abunimah and Daniel Gavron

By Ali Abunimah

"Just a couple of years ago, virtually no one in mainstream media wanted to talk about a single democratic state – a one-state solution – in Palestine. That was true even though it was already widely a topic of discussion, debate and indeed acceptance among many Palestinians, within the solidarity movement and beyond.

Now things do seem to be changing. This morning the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) carried a 30 minute interview with me and Daniel Gavron, an Israeli supporter of a single democratic state, on its flagship radio news program The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti.

Listen to the interview via the CBC website .

Saudi police open fire on civilians as protests gain momentum

Insecure Saudis crack down on freedom protest

By Patrick Cockburn

"Pro-democracy protests which swept the Arab world earlier in the year have erupted in eastern Saudi Arabia over the past three days, with police opening fire with live rounds and many people injured, opposition activists say.

Saudi Arabia last night confirmed there had been fighting in the region and that 11 security personnel and three civilians had been injured in al-Qatif, a large Shia city on the coast of Saudi Arabia's oil-rich Eastern Province. The opposition say that 24 men and three women were wounded on Monday night and taken to al-Qatif hospital.

The Independent has been given exclusive details of how the protests developed by local activists. They say unrest began on Sunday in al-Awamiyah, a Shia town of about 25,000 people, when Saudi security forces arrested a 60-year-old man to force his son – an activist – to give himself up.....

The Saudi statement alleges that the recent protests were stirred up by an unnamed foreign power, by which it invariably means Iran. The interior ministry was quoted on Saudi television as saying that "a foreign country is trying to undermine national security by inciting strife in al-Qatif". Saudi Arabia and the Sunni monarchies of the western Gulf have traditionally blamed Iran for any unrest by local Shia, but have never produced any evidence other than to point at sympathetic treatment of the demonstrations on Iranian television.

The 20 doctors in Bahrain sentenced to up to 15 years in prison last week say their interrogators tortured them repeatedly to force them to make false confessions that Iran was behind the protests. The counter-revolution in Bahrain was heralded by the arrival of a 1,500-strong Saudi-led military force, which is still there.

Mr Rayah, who flew from Saudi Arabia to Beirut to be free to talk about the protests, said: "People want a change and a new way of living." He said that, in particular, they were demanding a constitution and a free assembly for the Eastern Province. He also wanted the Society for Development and Change legally registered.

Mr Hassan blamed the protests on the fact "that there has been no political breakthrough"....."

Only NATO Can Interfere in Libya, Others Butt Out! Qatar accused of interfering in Libyan affairs

Western diplomats say Arab state is bypassing international agreements, to pursue its own agenda

Peter Beaumont in Tripoli, Tuesday 4 October 2011

"The tiny Arab emirate of Qatar, a leading supporter of the revolution in Libya, has been accused by western diplomats of interfering in the country's sovereignty.

The claims come amid growing concern among Libyans in the National Transitional Council (NTC) [The Libyan Karzai is concerned! He wants a role for the Zionist Bernard-Henri Levy, but not for Qatar.] and western officials that Qatar, which supplied arms to Libyan revolutionaries, is pursuing its own postwar agenda at the cost of wider efforts to bring political stability [Euphemism for NATO occupation.] to the country.

Concern has been mounting over the last month that Qatar is bypassing an internationally agreed assistance strategy to Libya to throw its support behind individuals and factions contributing to the continuing political instability.....

At the centre of concerns are allegations that, rather than supporting the NTC, Qatar has chosen to back favoured key figures with financial and other resources. Most prominent among these would be the Islamist head of Tripoli's military council, Abdul-Aziz Belhaj....

Of particular concern over the last month has been how Qatar has chosen to throw its weight behind a group of Libyan individuals including Sheikh Ali Salabi, a Libyan cleric who resides in Doha and has close relations with Belhaj.

There has been the growing friction between Salabi and the NTC's interim prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril. Salabi has appeared on television to suggest Jibril is a "tyrant in waiting"....."

Protesters gather at Syrian embassy in London

Demonstrators express anger over reports that President Bashar al-Assad is torturing relatives of those protesting abroad

The Guardian

"Dozens of anti-government demonstrators gathered outside the Syrian embassy in London on Tuesday to show that they would not be silenced despite reports that President Bashar al-Assad's regime is trying to stifle international condemnation by torturing the relatives of those protesting abroad.

Many clutched placards on which they had written their names and home towns in Arabic and English as they chanted: "Down, down Assad!" and "One solution: revolution!"

The "I am not afraid" protest, which was co-ordinated by Amnesty International, attracted around 40 Syrians from around the UK.

In contrast to previous demonstrations, when protesters have reported being photographed by embassy employees, there was no sign of diplomatic staff or attempted interference with the hour-long event....."

Syrian rebel commander takes refuge in Turkey


"ISTANBUL — The highest-ranking officer to defect from Syria's armed forces said on Tuesday he had taken refuge in Turkey, denying claims that he had been arrested when Syrian troops overran a rebel stronghold, state-run Anatolian news agency said.

"We live in a safe place in Turkey, I am grateful to the government and people of Turkey. Turkish officials cared about us," Colonel Riad al-Asaad said in an interview datelined Hatay in southern Turkey.

Armed resistance to President Bashar al-Assad's rule has emerged in recent weeks, six months into a pro-democracy uprising that government forces have tried to crush with violent tactics.

"All of my needs are being met by Turkish officials," said Asaad, who has emerged as commander of the rebel Syrian Free Army. "The opposition forces in Syria must unite and strengthen their stand until the regime is demolished."

The rebel colonel's presence in Hatay, now home to several thousand Syrian refugees, will add to tensions between Ankara and Damascus....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Concern for Egyptian hunger-strike blogger

7 Months After Revolution Ousted Mubarak, Egyptian Military Maintains Control, Suppressing Dissent

Democracy Now!


"Over the weekend, Egyptian political parties dropped a threat to boycott upcoming parliamentary elections, the first multi-candidate vote since the ouster longtime president, Hosni Mubarak. The parties agreed to take part in the vote after Egypt’s ruling military council vowed to amend a voting law that would have made it easier for former Mubarak allies to return to government. But the military council’s shift fell short of ongoing demands by opposition activists for an end to the military trials of civilians and the lifting of 30-year-old emergency laws. Meanwhile, freedom of the press in Egypt is becoming increasingly limited and a massive strike is underway by teachers and other government workers. Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous has been reporting in Egypt since January, and he joins us in our New York studio just before he returns to Cairo...."