Archive | February 7th, 2011

Explaining IsraHl’s Booming Economy



‘Israel is doing better than other countries because it runs one of the dirtiest- non -ethical economies in the world’

By Gilad Atzmon

We learn from the press and political analysts that, against all odds and in spite of the global financial turmoil, Israel’s economy is booming. Some even suggest that Israel is one of the strongest economies around.

‘How come?’ you may ask; besides maybe avocado, oranges, and some Dead Sea beauty products, none of us has actually ever seen an Israeli product on the shelves. They don’t make cars; nor do they make electric or electronic appliances, and they hardly manufacture any consumer goods. Israel claims to be advanced in high-tech technologies but somehow, the only Israeli advanced software ever to settle within our computers have been their Sabra Trojan Horses. In the land they grabbed by force from the indigenous Palestinians, they are yet to find any lucrative minerals or oil.

So what is it? How is it that Israel is impervious to the global financial disaster? How can Israel be so rich?

Israel may be rich because, according to the Guardian, “out of the seven oligarchs who controlled 50% of Russia’s economy during the 1990s, six were Jewish.” During the last two decades, many Russian oligarchs have acquired Israeli citizenship. They also secured their dirty money by investing in the kosher financial haven; Wikileaks has revealed lately that “sources in the (Israeli) police estimate that Russian organised crime (Russian Mafia) has laundered as much as US $10 billion through Israeli holdings.”[1]

Israel’s economy is booming because mega swindlers such as Bernie Madoff have been channeling their money via Zionists and Israeli institutions for decades.[2]

Israel is ‘doing well’ because it is the leading trader in blood diamonds. Far from being surprising, Israel is also the fourth biggest weapon dealer on this planet. Clearly, blood diamonds and guns are proving to be a great match.

As if this is not enough, Israel is also prosperous because, every so often, it is caught engaged in organ trafficking and organ harvesting.

In short, Israel is doing better than other countries because it runs one of the dirtiest- non -ethical economies in the world. In spite of the Zionists’ initial promise to bring about a civilised ethical Jew, Israel has, instead, managed to develop an outstanding level of institutional dismissal of international law and universal values. It operates as a safe haven for money made in some horrendous global criminal activities. And it employs one of the world’s strongest armies to defend the wealth of just a few of the wealthiest Jews around.

Increasingly, Israel seems to be nothing more than a humongous money laundering haven for Jewish oligarchs, swindlers, weapons dealers, organ traffickers, organised crime and blood diamond traders.

Such a realization can certainly explain why Israel is totally impervious to social equality within its borders.

Poor Israelis

Since Israel defines itself as the Jewish state, one may expect the Jewish people to be the first to benefit from their country’s booming economy. This seems to be not at all the case. In spite of the economy’s strength, Israel’s record on social justice is appalling. In the Jewish state 18 families control 60% of the equity value of all companies in the land. The Jewish State is shockingly cruel to its poor. As far as the gap between rich and poor is concerned, Israel is listed right at the top of the scale.

The meaning of all of that is pretty devastating; though Israel operates as an ethno-centric racially orientated, tribal setting, it is proving to be totally careless of the members of its own tribe — In fact, in the Jewish state, a few million Jews are serving the darkest possible interests, the fruits of which, are to be enjoyed by just a very few rich villains.

Smoke Screen

But there is a deeper and far more devastating meaning implicit within it all. If my reading of the Israeli economy is correct, and Israel is indeed a monstrous cash haven for the dirtiest money around, then the Israeli Palestinian conflict is , at least, from the Israeli-elite’s perspective , nothing but a smoke screen. 

I hope that my readers and friends will forgive me for saying it — I hope that I will forgive myself for saying it — But it seems to me that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Israel’s horrendous crimes against the Palestinian people, actually serves to divert attention away from Israel’s complicity in some colossal and global crimes against vast populations around the world. Instead of addressing the above relentless greed-driven attempt to grab wealth on the expense of the rest of humanity, we are all focusing on a single territorial conflict, that actually brings to light just one devastating criminal side of the Jewish national project.

It is more than likely that the vast majority of Israelis also fail to detect the deceitful role of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The Israelis are indoctrinated to look at every possible issue from a national security perspective. They have failed to realise that along the intensive militarization of their society, their Jewish state has become a money laundering haven and a refuge for villains from all over the world.

But here is some bad news for Israel and its corrupted elite. It is just a question of time before the Russians, Americans, Africans, Europeans, all of humanity, begin to grasp it all — We are all Palestinians and we all share one enemy.

I would even take it further, and argue that it is possible that, not before too long — some deprived Jews and Israelis will also begin to realise how deceptive and sinister Israel and Zionism truly are.

[1] For more information about global organized crime connections with Likud or other major Israeli political parties. Please follow this link

[2] Also, it is rumoured that, prior to its collapse, Lehman Brothers transferred 400 billion dollars to Israeli banks. I am not in a position to substantiate any of these theories — but I would strongly suggest that it is of some urgency to find out how truthful these accusations are.

Article Source: Gilad Atzmon 



Posted in Middle East1 Comment

All the President’s Men in Egypt



Only a criminal regime could allow such criminal acts to dominate and terrorize innocent people with impunity.


By Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

Hosni Mubarak


“I talk to you during critical times that are testing Egypt and its people which could sweep them into the unknown.

“The country is passing through difficult times and tough experiences which began with noble youths and citizens who have practiced their rights to peaceful demonstrations and protests, expressing their concerns and aspirations but they were quickly exploited by those who sought to spread chaos and violence, confrontation and to violate the constitutional legitimacy and to attack it”

“Those protests were transformed from a noble and civilized phenomenon of practicing freedom of expression to unfortunate clashes, mobilized and controlled by political forces that wanted to escalate and worsen the situation”

.. Those were the opening lines of President Mubarak’s speech to the Egyptian people on Tuesday night … but the unfortunate clashes he mentioned in the speech hadn’t taken place until Wednesday noon. That leaves us with two options; either the president enjoys a clear and rare foresight or he had already known that this was going to happen

I believe that this speech has been written to President Mubarak to be delivered – and according to plan- after the clashes had occurred between the masses of peaceful demonstrators and the so called pro- Mubarak protesters in the Tahrir square in the capitol Cairo.

But because the drama of the Egyptian uprising is unfolding in a never accustomed to- pace for the Egyptian regime blunders were inevitable. The regime has actually made quite a few since this uprising started like the deliberate and shameful security absence across the country and the suspicious jail breaks but what the whole world witnessed on Wednesday morning in Tahrir – liberty- square is really unimaginable.

Throughout the last week anti-Mubarak protesters have been demonstrating peacefully on daily basis in Tahrir square. And on Tuesday when their numbers have exceeded one million protesters and despite the prior fear of loss of control over the crowds the whole day went by smoothly and with a displayed sense of jubilation and solidarity.

Seeing is believing, what everybody has been following on TV during the last week reflected a genuine and spontaneous grassroots movement that was making a strong and obvious statement in the most admirable and peaceful way.

Armed thugs riding horses and storming into the peaceful protesters at Tahrir Square

But what we saw on Wednesday morning, thugs riding horses and camels holding whips and waving samurai swords storming into the peaceful crowds in what seemed like the most obnoxious and vulgar display of terrorizing people is by no means something that any average Egyptian could easily identify as another government orchestrated raid by the Egyptian police militia of thugs.

I hate to elaborate on this ugly incident but I’m afraid there is more to it than just the 7 killed and 800 wounded innocent protesters. what the whole world witnessed taking place was not just mere clashes between protesters, it was the brutal force of the regime stepping in -and in disguise- to terrorize and humiliate the protesters,  it was a demonstration of how dictatorships reacted to opposition, it was the ultimate display of disrespect for human rights, it showed to the whole world what the protests fell short to express, it showed how the regime looked  down at the people of Egypt, it showed how dispensable the man on the street was in the eyes of the regime.

I’m not talking about the violence that took place; rather I’m talking about who allowed this violence to erupt in the first place and even more who is to benefit from it? Who facilitated and organized the transport, the supplying of weaponry and the admittance to the heart of the square.

But most importantly where are the security forces in that entire chaotic situation? Where is the government? Where is the army? Why hasn’t any one stopped these criminal and violent accidents? Why are they being allowed to take place and proceed under the disgraceful surveillance of all around -the square military forces?

… The deafening silence of the Egyptian government and the complete absence of the Egyptian police forces will only pave the way for the violence to sweep across the whole country.

Militias of thugs deployed by Mubarak’s regime are already erupting violence in many cities around Egypt. I wonder what happened to the emergency law implemented in Egypt or is this not an emergency according to all the men of the president in the interior and military ministry.

Only a criminal regime could allow such criminal acts to dominate and terrorize innocent people with impunity.

It is becoming obvious now that all parties involved or affected by this uprising are buying more time to sort out their private agendas in an attempt to come out of this without losing much.

The American administration wants to make sure that whoever succeeds Mubarak would follow his steps in regard to the interests of the United States and on top of which come the assurances that the peace agreement with Israel would be respected and that the options for any Islamists rising to power would be limited to the minimum in Egypt. In this sense the American administration might have approved or turned a blind eye to the criminal counter attack of Mubarak’s loyalists.

The Mubarak regime is also buying time to wear down a nation on the verge of widespread violence that this regime has been inciting with the help of traitors and conspirators of the interior ministry and the ruling party.

The only party who wants to see this dilemma come to an end is the average Egyptian who doesn’t have the luxury of buying more time … or bread for that matter.

Most revolts are finally settled not by the crowds but by the words coming out of those who are controlling the security and military power in the country.

In the case of the Egyptian revolt, the crowds have been let down by conspirator security and impotent military men whom are obviously still siding with the president.

Any military unit could have easily controlled these ugly riots that are still taking place -which are being reported to the whole world to see- and prevent it from spreading across Egypt and save the country before the advent of another Friday of rage.

Isn’t there anyone with a patriotic conscience to issue such an order and save Egypt from an impending disaster?

Aren`t there any patriotic men left in the world, or are they outbraved and outnumbered by all the president’s men?

For more articles by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat visit his website:

YouTube – Veterans Today -Thugs of the Egyptian regime storming into the Tahrir square

Posted in EgyptComments Off on All the President’s Men in Egypt



Dear All 

The email below was sent to me by an Egyptian friend. Urge Vodaphone now to join with the people of Egypt. Click on the link below:

Hi there,

What is with Vodafone? First they shut off the internet and mobile phone service to the Egyptian people as they peacefully protested for true democracy and an end to decade of tyranny, and now they’re sending out text messages in support of their oppressor to their Egyptian customers. They say that they were forced to take both actions and are claiming innocence – but surely they knew of the terms of the contractual arrangement when they started doing business with the regime.

Billions of dollars in profit later, and a PR machine in overdrive, they are now trying to convince the world that they had no choice. Sorry Vodafone – you’ve crossed the line! Will you join me in urging them to stand with the people of Egypt?

Here’s the link:


Posted in CampaignsComments Off on BLOOD ON VODAFONE HANDSETS!

Dorothy Online Newsletter



Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland PSC


Dear Friends,

Tonight Israel’s leaders are gloating—Obama has changed course.  If at the outset of the Egyptian revolt Obama was with the protesters and insisted that transition must begin immediately, now he says that Mubarak should not leave too soon.  He must first see to the transition—as if Mubarak could or would, and as if America really wanted a transition!  So now again American and Israeli policy march lockstep to keep things in Egypt as they were.  Disgusting!

Tonight’s 7 items begin with one on more colonization on Israel’s part.  Palestinians will be evicted to make way for Jews in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah.  Israel is running helter skelter to show Palestinians that they have no future here—that their lives will never be normal human lives, that they will never be able to be sure that their home today and of the past 50 years will be their home tomorrow, that their children won’t be jailed and tortured, that they will never have a voice in governing their destinies. Never!  If some other country treated Jews as Israel treats Palestinians the whole world might shout.  But who cares about Palestinians!!!

In item 2 Merav Michaeli argues that we have to get over our fear of Arabs as human beings.  This so-called fear is undoubtedly a characteristic that creates racism, and might be true of much of the population.  But leaders here and elsewhere have motives for stirring fear.  Israel’s leaders do not “fear Arabs as human beings.”  They might detest Arabs, feel superior to them.  But if they fear anything respecting Arabs it is the so-called ‘demographic threat.’  The Israeli Jew’s sense of superiority comes in part from propaganda and faulty education and in part from inbreeding.

In item 3 Akiva Eldar furnishes statistics to show that ‘unlike Egyptians, Israelis support restricting expression.’  Yep. Some people have told me when I have pointed out that Israel is not a democracy, that it is “an imperfect democracy, but a democracy nonetheless.”  Well, if freedom of speech is a key trait of democracy, Eldar’s stats throw that argument into question.

Item 4 is an interview of Diana Buttu.  I haven’t seen or spoken to Diana in a number of years.  But back then, when the Oslo Accords were born, and when she and Michael Tarazi, and other Palestinians did speaking tours in Israel trying to convince Israelis that the Accords would bring peace, I saw her quite frequently, and arranged as many speaking engagements as I could for Diana and Michael.  They, I thought, with their Western appearance, with their perfect English, and with their excellent speaking abilities, their capacity to respond to even ugly and demeaning questions intelligently and temperately would surely convince the majority of the people who heard them.

After all, they were just like us.   I was wrong.  Except for people like myself and others who leaned towards the Zionist left (as I did in those days, before I had learned to look and listen and think more carefully) and the other left (to which I now belong), they did not seem to convince other Israelis, not because of any failings on Diana’s and Michael’s parts, but because of Israeli fear and ignorance.  I look back at those days as naive ones on my part.  They were my baby steps into realizing that Zionism was never good for Jews (and of course horrid for Palestinians), that a country for people of a given religion, skin color, or culture was an idea that not only was wrong, but also had no footing in the West to which Israel so wanted to belong, though being situated in the Middle East.

While Western countries were going multicultural, Israel wanted to close itself off to any culture but the Jewish one—as if that were a single entity!

Seeing this interview with Diana below suddenly made me realize the huge distance that I have traversed since those days—days of innocence and hope.

Item 5 is a statement from the protesters in Tahrir square.  It is in English followed in Arabic (I reversed the order, which in the original had Arabic first).  It is a brave statement.  I can only wish with all my heart that the protesters will see their dreams fulfilled.  At the present stage the likelihood of this happening does not seem very promising.

Item 6 is by Sam Bahour, who is always worth listening to.  Sam was born and raised in Ohio, but came to Palestine about the time of the Oslo Accords hoping to play a part in rebuilding Palestine.  In the essay below he argues that “Palestine is the key to Arab democracy.”

Item 7 is merely good news: Wael Ghonim, a leader of the revolt, has been released after having disappeared over a week ago.

Am  hoping that all the detainees will soon be released, that there will be no more bloodshed, and that in the end the protests will gain their goals not only of deposing Mubarak but also of building a democratic society.  How anyone can argue that Mubarak must be there to manage the transition I cannot fathom.  Mubarak has no more an idea of what democracy should be than I have of what is going through Obama’s mind right now.

All the best,



1. Haaretz,

February 7, 2011

Jerusalem council set to approve Jewish housing in Arab neighborhood

Several Palestinian families in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah will be evicted to pave way for two new buildings meant to comprise 13 apartments.

By Nir Hasson

The Jerusalem Municipal Committee for Planning and Building is expected to approve Monday the construction of two buildings that will include 13 apartments for Jewish residents in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

Backing the plan are settler organizations who currently occupy three homes in the neighborhood. Following the plan’s approval, it will be necessary to evict a number of Palestinian families living on the site in order for construction to commence.

The planning committee is also expected to approve a new access road south of Har Homa, which will enable the expansion of the neighborhood.

According to the plan to be brought today for approval, two buildings will be razed in the western part of the neighborhood where, until now, nearly no Jews live. In its place, two new buildings will be built. One will have 10 apartments and the other, three.

In both cases Chaim Silverstein, a well known figure in right-wing circles in Jerusalem, is proposing the plans to the municipality. The companies behind the project are registered in the United States, and are probably front companies set up by right-wing activists in order to transfer funds for the purchase of real estate in Israel.

Silverstein has power of attorney rights in both companies, Debril and Velpin.

For the past 18 months there has been a struggle between Arabs and Jews over the activities of settlers in Sheikh Jarrah and against efforts to evict Palestinian families from the neighborhood.

The settlers have been able to expand their hold in the neighborhood because prior to 1948 there was a Jewish neighborhood in Sheikh Jarrah. The court recognized the right of Jews who inherited properties to reclaim their properties. Since then, the settlers are working hard to convince the owners of the properties to sell them the rights so that they could evict the Palestinians and populate the area with Jewish families.

A Supreme Court ruling in 2001 included the possibility of applying for Jewish property rights in the western portion of the neighborhood, and right-wing activists announced that they intended to expand their activities in the area over that portion of Sheikh Jarrah.

“Continuing Jewish settlement in Sheikh Jarrah will seriously harm relations with the Palestinians and will break all agreements that Jewish neighborhoods will remain under Israeli sovereignty and Arab neighborhoods will be under Palestinian sovereignty,” says Yosef Alalu, a Meretz city councillor.


2.  Haaretz,

February 7, 2011

Overcoming the primitive fear of Arabs as humans

It seems that British Prime Minister David Cameron and other white Westerners have a primeval fear of the Arab mob.

By Merav Michaeli

Overcoming our primitive fear of Arabs as humans

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the other day that multiculturalism in his country has failed. It did not succeed in promoting a uniform identity, based on the principles of democracy. Cameron – exactly like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the same thing in October – doesn’t really mean multiculturalism in the sense of many and varied cultures, but is rather talking about the “existence of the ideology of extremist Islam.” This despite the findings of a poll by the Open Society Institute that found that an overwhelming majority of 86 percent of Muslims living in Britain (who constitute only 3 million out of 62 million residents ), define themselves as British, and only after that as Muslims.

Thus, without any relation to the facts, what Cameron is basically saying is that “this swarthy Islam doesn’t fit in so well in our nice white country.” It seems that the white Westerner’s primeval fear of the Arab mob is uncontrollable, and is sparked even if the mob is in Egypt and demanding freedom. Many Israelis who travel to London and return astounded by the fact that “the streets are full of Arabs,” can probably relate. Indeed, this white, Western fear exists here to the same extent, and here too it is reinforced by the masses demonstrating in Egypt. So there’s a good chance that we’ll soon hear the prime minister or one of his ministers taking a page from Cameron in justifying more measures against the Arab community in Israel.

Yet, there is a difference between Cameron – who, like Nicolas Sarkozy, is addressing anyone who is Western, Christian and white, and excluding everything that is black and Muslim – and Merkel, who in her remarks recognized Islam as part of Germany, and took responsibility for her country’s failure to integrate immigrants. Actually, she spoke a truth that is not uttered here: “We lied to ourselves, we thought they wouldn’t stay long, that they would disappear one day. But that’s not the reality.”

Merkel insists that her immigrants and Muslim citizens speak the local language, obey the law and find jobs. In Germany, Britain and Israel, the Muslim and Arab minority speaks the local language and obeys the law, but when it comes to finding employment, the true meaning of multiculturalism emerges.

The demand for multiculturalism arises only when a minority is excluded and discriminated against. When a private individual of any religion or origin achieves equality, when the job market is open to him, when he leads a dignified life, when his personal and civil rights, including freedom of religion and culture, are maintained – there is no need for multiculturalism. The demand by a particular group or nationality for multiculturalism arises when a minority suffers from rejection in a society or state that does not want to include that religious, ethnic or national minority.

The problem is not multiculturalism, but discrimination, racism and deprivation. When members of such a minority suffer from inequality, poverty, unemployment and violence, they segregate in their group, with its religious and cultural values, because society at large does not allow them to integrate and adopt its values.

For a long time Arab society in Israel had no demands regarding nationality or identity. But after many years of discrimination and deprivation directed at Arab society as a whole, and racism and exclusion aimed at Arabs as individuals, in addition to the protracted occupation of the Palestinian people – Israeli Arab society has gradually developed into a national minority with demands. Nevertheless, its overwhelming majority is eager to integrate. Israel knows in principle that economically this integration is in its best interest. The question is, can it overcome the primitive fear of Arabs as human beings.


3.  Haaretz,

February 7, 2011

Unlike Egyptians, Israelis support restricting expression

Nearly 40 percent of Israelis believe there is too much freedom of expression in Israel.

By Akiva Eldar

While the newspaper headlines the world over excitedly told of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians, most of them young, demonstrating day and night at Tahrir Square in favor of democratic reforms, a small report appeared in Israeli newspapers. It recounted that in a new survey held among Israeli Jews, 52 percent of those asked agreed to the need to restrict freedom of expression where a report threatens the image of the state. The survey, carried out by the Geocartography firm for the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, shows that 64 percent of those surveyed are willing to see the state limit the freedom of expression in conditions of a security threat. Similar results were shown on limiting academic freedom.

The Israeli Democracy Index for 2010, published recently by the Israel Democracy Institute, shows that nearly 40 percent of Israelis believe there is too much freedom of expression in Israel. 59 percent of Jews who identify with the right, 49 percent of those who say they are center, and 39 percent of those who believe they are left, think that human and civil rights groups such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and B’Tselem cause damage to the country. Avigdor Lieberman knew what he was doing when he declared war on them.

President Hosni Mubarak must be jealous of his Jewish neighbor who heads the “only democracy in the Middle East.” The subjects of Benjamin Netanyahu applaud as they watch television (unless they are absorbed by the show Big Brother ). The Democracy Index has shown for some years now that 80 percent of Israelis do not believe they can influence government policy. In the eyes of a large portion of citizens, civil order precedes the right to protest and demonstrate; moreover, six out of 10 Jews believe that the police must disperse demonstrations, even if they do not threaten human lives or property and only disrupt traffic.

Indeed, there is no room to compare the Egyptian worker, who lives on humus and pita and has the price of his flour raised, to the Israeli clerk who is required to pay a few more shekels for a tank of gasoline. True, in Israel they do not arrest bloggers for insulting the president’s honor. On the other hand, Egypt does not hold for more than 43 years millions of people under military occupation, at an enormous cost to its security, political standing and economy. Even the prime minister of the right, Benjamin Netanyahu, said at Bar-Ilan University that this cannot go on, and announced his support for a two-state solution.

So he said. Did anyone hear about any protest against the fact that Israeli governments have ignored the Arab Peace Initiative of March 2002, which offers Israel normalization with all the Arab states in return for withdrawing to the 1967 borders (the Arab League is supporting an exchange of territory ) and an agreed solution to the refugee problem? “Israeli society prefers conformity, self-censorship and willing obedience,” notes political psychologist Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal of Tel Aviv University. “This attitude is a recipe for arrested thought, blindness and deafness.”

Bar-Tal, who researched the obstructions to peace, says that the authorities and the army have, for years, flooded the public, with the help of conscripted media, with information that fits the narrative they want to pass on (“there is no partner,” “unified Jerusalem,” “the fate of Ariel is that of Tel Aviv” ). He says that from this point of view our situation is much worse than that in “closed societies” like the eastern bloc of the 1970s. In those countries the citizens knew that the regime was giving them false information, sought other sources of information and worked for reforms that would bring change.

The Israeli public believes the authorities and worships “security sources.” It shuts its ears to different voices and prefers to shut the mouths of those few who dampen the joy and warn of isolation and bloodshed.

According to the Democracy Index, 60 percent of Israelis (Jews and Arabs ) support the view that “a number of powerful leaders will be more useful to the country than all the discussions and the laws.” It is not surprising that many Israelis, perhaps most of them, including senior analysts, share the sorrow of President Mubarak and are disappointed with President Barack Obama, who abandoned him.

Netanyahu should offer his Egyptian friend political asylum. Mubarak will feel here like his better days at home.


4.  [from Mondoweiss February 5, 2011; forwarded by Ofer]

Only serious dissent on the Palestinian street will change the game: Former PLO negotiator Diana Buttu on the ‘Palestine Papers’ and the Egyptian uprising

Feb 04, 2011

Alex Kane

The publication of nearly 1,700 leaked files by Al Jazeera on negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority has been largely overshadowed by the uprising in Egypt. But that doesn’t mean they don’t matter for the future of Israel/Palestine.

I recently caught up with Diana Buttu, a former spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Negotiations Support Unit, a team that is mentioned throughout the “Palestine Papers” and where it is suspected the leak came from. Buttu discussed the meaning of the “Palestine Papers,” what they say about the “peace process,” and the current Egyptian uprising and what it may mean on the Palestinian street.

Alex Kane: Could you talk about your overall take on the leaked documents that have been published by Al Jazeera?

Diana Buttu: Having now gone through a lot of the documents—of course, not all of the documents, but many of them—the overall impression that I’m left with is that of a very powerful party, which is Israel, trying to continue their control and authority over a very weak party being the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). But the story doesn’t just stop there.

I think that it’s become, at least clear to me and perhaps to others, that this mantra we’ve been hearing for many, many years—that we all know what a solution is going to look like, we all know what a settlement is going to look like—is actually not the case, particularly when you read the transcripts of the Israeli officials. That’s one major thing that I come away with.

The second major conclusion that I walk away with is that of a PLO leadership stubbornly sticking to one strategy, and only one strategy: negotiations, and only negotiations, despite the fact that there are so many other options out there. It’s as though they’ve cornered themselves by demanding negotiations, and then when they actually happen, they didn’t have any other strategy to get out of negotiations in the event that Israel was going to be stubborn.

AK: What would you say these revelations mean for the entire “peace process”?

DB: I don’t think there really is a “peace process.” There’s been a lot of process, but not a whole lot of peace, and I just don’t think that things are going to change. It hasn’t changed over the course of the past 17 years. I don’t think this is going to make the United States wake up, and it’s certainly not going to make the Israelis wake up, and in fact I don’t think the PLO will wake up, unless there’s some very serious dissent, and I just don’t see that happening right now, even though diaspora Palestinians are quite upset about what’s going on. But we haven’t seen that translate into anything on the streets of Palestine. I don’t think this is going to change anything in the “peace process.” They’re going to continue doing this over and over again because this is the way they’ve done it for the past 17 years, and unless there is a sea change of opinion that makes the PLO stand up and take notice or makes any of the other parties stand up and take notice, I’m afraid that it’s just going to be the same old, same old.

AK: Given that there’s been a muted reaction on the Palestinian street at the same time that there’s an uprising going on in Egypt, do you see any possible connection between these events in the future?

DB: Right now I don’t see that there’s going to be a connection. It’s important to step back: part of the reason why we’re seeing a muted reaction in Palestine is because of the way the documents were presented. Whether you believe the documents or you don’t believe the documents—and I have no reason to question the documents, particularly after members of the PLO have come out and verified the authenticity of the documents—the main problem is that they were presented in somewhat of a sensationalist way.

One example that I can give is that Al Jazeera tied the assassination of al-Madhoun, who is a member of Fatah, of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, to the Palestinian Authority (PA), and they tried to claim that because the Israelis made a request for this man to be assassinated, that somehow the PA acquiesced or condoned his killing. That’s a bit of a stretch. There is a lot of security cooperation that takes place between the PA and Israel—and it’s outrageous, it includes torture and mass arrest—but there was really no proof to bring it to the level that the PA was actually collaborating with Israel over this man’s killing.

And so, in the way that the documents were presented, the debate in Palestine now has not turned into a debate over the main issues, which are accountability, transparency, red lines, whether we should believe in this negotiations process, and whether the PLO has adopted alternative strategies. None of that is going to take place because instead the debate is currently over whether Al Jazeera crossed the line. And until we see something different, where it’s not a question of shooting the messenger, but we have the message that’s presented in a coherent way without the sensationalism, then I don’t think we’re going to have any real debate any time soon, unfortunately.

AK: Would you say that there’s been a marked shift in the negotiating posture of Palestinians since you last were part of a team involved in negotiations, is that shift represented in the “Palestine Papers,” and lastly, if so, what does that shift represent?

DB: Yes, there’s definitely a shift, and the reason why there was a shift is twofold. One is that the second intifada took place, and the PLO was suddenly stuck. Rather than capitalizing on the intifada, and the people power that it brought them, they ended up somehow being apologetic for the intifada and therefore backtracked on some positions. What were the positions they backtracked from? At the time that I was there, there was still a claim for the right of return.

It’s interesting, if you look at the documents from roughly 2000-2004, the positions that are taken are actually quite principled in some instances. For example, there is a demand for the right of return. There is the notion that all of the settlements are illegal. There is then a little bit of a backtrack by saying “land swaps,” but on a one-to-one basis. And so you see this kind of principled position, but then there’s a backtracking, and one of the reasons was the intifada and the complete failure on the part of the PA to use the intifada to their advantage, to actually harness popular support and alter their negotiating position.

The second reason, and I think this is the much more dangerous reason, is that during the period that I was there and a little bit after, you saw initiative after initiative come forward, and all of these initiatives, while never accepted by the PLO directly, were tacitly accepted by the PLO. For example, the Geneva Initiative was something that was never adopted by the PLO, and yet, you see a couple of things that are interesting. The first is those commercials you saw with Erekat and others in which they come forward and say “I need a partner”—those were all sponsored by the Geneva Initiative. And if you see, for example, the statements that American officials have come forward and said, they’ve all been saying the same thing, which is that “this reflects what happened during the negotiations.” But it didn’t. It reflects what happened after the negotiations fell apart. It was their own initiatives that they were putting forward—the Nusseibeh-Ayalon initiative, the Geneva Initiative—and this is where it becomes dangerous, because the Americans and others seem to assume that silence equals acquiescence. And unfortunately, the PLO falls into the trap of de facto acquiescing to these initiatives, when they align themselves with these things, such as they did with the various commercials, and when they don’t come out and completely reject them. I think this is why we’re now seeing a shift. While there were principled positions, if you believe in a two-state solution, the PLO has consistently undermined its own position because they didn’t really know how to deal with the intifada and because they never really objected to these major initiatives that were put on the table.

AK: And lastly: I know that you don’t think the papers will have a huge impact on the ground, but with the combination of what the “Palestine Papers” revealed and the unrest and uprising in Egypt, do you think that any of this popular anger in Egypt might be translated onto the street in Palestine and directed at either the PA or Israel?

DB: Optimism is one thing, but if I’m to speculate, I think the answer is going to be no. And I think it’s important to keep in mind that what’s going on in Egypt is a little bit different than what’s happening in Palestine, and there’s a lot of issues mitigating against another uprising.

The first is that the government of Salam Fayyad has tried to do a good job, using donor funds, to create a middle-class, and to give credit, and all of these sorts of things, and they’ve largely managed to silence a lot of dissent.

The second major factor is that there is a very repressive police regime that is now in place. It hasn’t been in place for as long as the Mubarak regime was in place, but nonetheless this is something new for Palestinians.

A third factor is that people aren’t really examining the merits of the papers, but rather in the way they were presented.

And the fourth thing is that the Palestinian street is already very divided, and if there’s one message that people are calling for, it’s that of national unity. And I think that people fear that going against the authority will somehow serve to undermine any attempts at national unity, even though there really are none right now. There also may be a fear factor of not wanting Hamas to take over.

It’s not ripe in the same way that Egypt was ripe. Again, not to say that it won’t happen. I just don’t think it’s going to happen in the short term.

Alex Kane blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia at  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.


5.  [forwarded by Sarah Hawes]


Arabic follows the English

A Statement from the protesters at Cairo’s Tahrir square

to the Egyptian people

The President’s promises and the bloody events of Wednesday February 2

We the protesters who are currently on sit-in at Tahrir (liberation) square in Cairo since January 25, 2011 strongly condemn the brutal attack carried out by the governing National Democratic Party’s (NDP) mercenaries at our location on Wednesday February 2, under the guise of “rally” in support of President Mubarak. This attack continues on Thursday February 3. We regret that some young people have joined these thugs and criminals, whom the NDP is accustomed to hire during elections, to march them off after spreading several falsehoods circulated by the regime media about us and our goals. These goals that aim at changing the political system to a one that guarantees freedom, dignity and social justice to all citizens are also the goals of the youth. Therefore we want to clarify the following.

Firstly, we are a group of Muslim and Christian Egyptians; the overwhelming majority of us does not belong to political parties and have no previous political activism. Our movement involves elderly and children, peasants, workers, professionals, students and pensioners. Our movement cannot be classified as “paid for” or “directed by” a limited few because it attracted millions who responded to its emblem of removing the regime. People joined us last Tuesday in Cairo and other governorates in a scene that witnessed no one case of violence, property assault or harassment to anyone.

Secondly, our movement is accused of being funded from abroad, supported by the United States, as being instigated by Hamas, as under the leadership of the president of the National Assembly for change (Mohamed El-Baradie) and last but not least, as directed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Many accusations like these prove to be false. Protesters are all Egyptians who have clear and specific national objectives. Protesters have no weapons or foreign equipment as claimed by instigators. The broad positive response by the people to our movement’s goals reveals that these are the goals of the Egyptian masses in general, not any internal or external faction or entity.

Thirdly, the regime and its paid media falsely blame us, demonstrators, for the tension and instability in the streets of Egypt in recent days and therefore for damaging our nation’s interests and security. Our answer to them is: It is not the peaceful protesters who released the criminal offenders from prison to the unguarded streets to practice looting and plundering. It is not the peaceful protesters who have imposed a curfew starting at 3 o’clock PM. It is not the peaceful protesters who have stopped the work in banks, bakeries and gas stations. When protesters organized its one-million demonstration it came up in the most magnificent and organized form and ended peacefully. It is not the protestors who killed 300 people some with live ammunition, and wounding more than 2,000 people in the last few days.

Fourthly, President Mubarak came out on Tuesday to announce that he will not be nominated in the upcoming presidential election and that he will modify two articles in the Constitution, and engage in dialogue with the opposition. However the State media has attacked us when we refused his “concession” and decided to go on with our movement. Our demand that Mubark steps down immediately is not a personal matter, but we have clear reasons for it which include:

* His promise of not to run again is not new. He has promised when he came to power in 1981 that he will not run for more than two periods but he continued for more than 30 years.

* His speech did not put any collateral for not nominating his son “Gamal”, who remains until the moment a member of the ruling party, and can stand for election that will not be under judicial supervision since he ignored any referring to the amendment of article 88 of the Constitution.

* He also considered our movement a “plot directed by a force” that works against the interests of the nation as if responding to the demands of the public is a “shame” or “humiliation”.

* As regards to his promise of conducting a dialogue with the opposition, we know how many times over the past years the regime claimed this and ended up with enforcing the narrow interests of the Mubarak State and the few people who control it.

And the events of Wednesday proved our stand is vindicated. While the President was giving his promises, the leaders of his regime were organizing (along with paid thugs and wanted criminals equipped with swords, knives and Molotov bombs) a brutal attack plot against us in Tahrir square. Those thugs and criminals were accompanied by the NDP members who fired machine guns on unarmed protesters who were trapped on the square ground, killing at least 7 and wounding hundreds of us critically. This was done in order to end our peaceful national popular movement and preserve the status quo.

Our movement is Egyptian – Our movement is legitimate- Our movement is continuing

The youth of Tahrir Square sit-in

February 3, 2011


بيان للشعب من معتصمين بالتحرير – الرجاء النشر والتوزيع

بيان للشعب

أول القصيد: وعود الرئيس وأحداث الأربعاء 2 فبراير

نحن محتجون منذ 25 يناير الماضي، ومعتصمون في ميدان التحرير، ندين  بشدة الاعتداء الغاشم الذي نفذته مرتزقة الحزب الوطني علينا في مقر اعتصامنا يوم الأربعاء  2 فبراير تحت غطاء المظاهرة المؤيدة للرئيس لمبارك ويستمر العدوان يوم الخميس 3 فبراير. ونأسف لدخول البعض من شباب مصر مع البلطجية والمجرمين ممن اعتاد الوطني تأجيرهم في الانتخابات، وساقوهم علينا بعد أن أشاعوا اكاذيب عديدة يروجها النظام وإعلامه بخصوصنا وبخصوص اهدافنا المنادية بتغيير للنظام السياسي يكفل لنا ولجموع المواطنين الحرية وكرامة العيش والعدالة الاجتماعية، والتي هي ايضا من اهداف هذا الشباب، ولذلك نريد توضيح الاتي:

أولا، نحن مجموعة من شباب مصر مسلمين ومسيحيين، أغلبيتنا الكاسحة لا تنتمي لأحزاب سياسية ولا لها نشاط سياسي من قبل. حركتنا ضمت شيوخا وأطفالا، فلاحين وعمال ومهنيين، طلبة وموظفين على المعاش. حركتنا لا يمكن تصنيفها على أنها مدفوعة أو محركة من قلة بحكم الملايين الذين استجابوا لشعاراتها باسقاط النظام، وانضموا اليها يوم الثلاثاء الماضي في القاهرة والمحافظات، في حدث لم يشهد حالة عنف واحدة أو اعتداء على الممتلكات أو تحرش من أحد بأحد.

ثانيا، حركتنا متهمة بأنها ممولة من الخارج، وتمدها الولايات المتحدة، وأنها قامت بتحريض من حماس، وبأنها تحت قيادة وبتنظيم رئيس الجمعية الوطنية للتغيير محمد البرادعي، وأخيرا وليس آخرا، بأنها موجهة من قبل الاخوان المسلمين. وتعدد الاتهامات بهذا الشكل في حد ذاته يثبت زيفها. المحتجون كلهم مصريون أهدافهم أهدافا وطنية واضحة ومحددة. المحتجون ليس لديهم لا سلاح ولا معدات أجنبية كما يدعي المحرضين. واستجابة الناس الواسعة لها تكشف أنها هي ذاتها أهداف جموع المصريين عموما، وليس أي فصيل أو كيان داخلي وخارجي.

ثالثا، يلقي النظام وإعلامه المأجور زورا وبهتانا بالمسئولية عن التوتر وعدم الاستقرار الذي شهدته شوارع مصر في الأيام الماضية، وبالتالي عما يسببه ذلك من أضرار لمصالحنا ومصالح أمتنا ولأمننا جميعا، على الشباب المتظاهر. فليس المتظاهرون سلميا هم الذين أخرجوا المجرمين من السجون ليخلقوا حالة السلب والنهب في شوارع المحروسة. ليس المتظاهرون هم الذين فرضوا حظر تجول يبدأ من الثالثة وأوقفوا العمل في البنوك والمخابز ومحطات الوقود. وحين نظم المتظاهرون مظاهرتهم المليونية خرجت في أحلى حلة وأفضل تنظيم، وانتهت سلميا. المتظاهرون ليسوا هم من قتلوا 300 شخص بعضهم بالرصاص الحي، وجرحوا أكثر من ألفي شخص في الأيام الماضية.

رابعا، خرج الرئيس مبارك علينا مساء الثلاثاء ليعلن عدم ترشحه في الانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة وتعديله لمادتين في الدستور، وخوض حوار مع المعارضة. وقد هاجمنا الاعلام الرسمي عندما رفضنا “تنازلاته” وقررنا المضي في حركتنا. إن مطلب التنحي الفوري لمبارك ليس مسألة شخصية. لكننا نستند في ذلك على أسباب واضحة من بينها:

الوعد بعدم الترشح ليس جديدا. فقد وعد مبارك عندما جاء رئيسا في 1981 بعدم الترشح لأكثر من فترتين، ليستمر بعدها لأكثر من 30 عاما. كما أن الخطاب لم يضع أي ضمانات لعدم ترشح ابنه جمال، الذي يظل حتى هذه اللحظة عضوا في الحزب الحاكم، ويستطيع ترشيح نفسه في انتخابات لن تتم تحت اشراف قضائي، إذ تجاهل الخطاب الاشارة الى تعديل المادة 88 في الدستور. كما اعتبر الخطاب حركتنا مؤامرة من قوى تعمل ضد مصالح الوطن، وكأن الاستجابة لمطالب الجماهير عار وعيب. وأما فيما يتعلق بالحوار مع المعارضة فكم من حوارات ادعى النظام انه سيقوم بها خلال السنوات الماضية وانتهت بمضي دولة مبارك في طريق المصالح الضيقة لمن يسيطرون عليها.

وجاءت أحداث الأربعاء لتثبت صحة موقفنا. فبينما كان خطاب الرئيس يوعد، كانت قيادات نظامه ترتب مع البلطجية والمسجلين خطر من المأجورين مؤامرة الاعتداء الوحشي في التحرير بالسنج والمطاوي وقنابل المولوتوف، يصاحبهم أعضاء الحزب الوطني بإطلاق الأعيرة النارية بالبنادق الآلية على المتظاهرين العزل المحاصرين في الميدان، الذي أدى إلى مقتل سبعة على الأقل وإصابة المئات، منهم بإصابات بالغة، وذلك لإنهاء حركتنا الشعبية الوطنية والتمهيد لبقاء الحال على ماهو عليه.

حركتنا مصرية – حركتنا مشروعة – حركتنا مستمرة

شباب معتصم بالتحرير


6.  The Guardian,

February 07, 2011

Palestine is the key to Arab democracy

Protesters in Egypt and Tunisia can learn from events in Palestine, the region’s barometer for reform

Sam Bahour

Civil uprisings in the Arab world ‘were coined in the Palestinian context’. Photograph: David Furst/AFP/Getty Images Current events in Egypt and Tunisia have the entire region and beyond glued to their television sets. The all-too-spoken-about Arab street has risen, seemingly from the dead. But while it is satisfying to see a dictatorial head of state being ousted by his own people, it is far too early to rejoice.

What we are witnessing is the removal and replacement of leaders, not an upgrading of the political systems that allowed someone like the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to remain in power for 30 years and then have the audacity to position his son to succeed him, while the Egyptian people sank into deepening poverty. Unrest across the region will force these reactionary regimes to make some minimal changes, such as introducing term limits, which should have been done decades ago. But these knee-jerk legislative changes are solely aimed at persuading the demonstrators to go home.

Likewise, no one should belittle the fact that hundreds of thousands of average citizens are challenging their governments in the streets. This is not like demonstrations as we know them in western countries. It is the real thing. Serious conviction – and sustained repression – is the prerequisite to get many people to challenge a police state that ignores even the most basic human rights.

In the Arab world, civil uprisings – or intifadas, as they are frequently called – were coined in the Palestinian context. However, the context of the first Palestinian intifada was very different to what we are seeing today. Back in 1987 Palestinians genuinely became fed up with the foreign military occupation that Israel maintains to this day. Communities across the West Bank and Gaza took to the streets and sustained their efforts for nearly six years. Demonstrations were only part of the story. The real ingredient to the Palestinians’ ability to remain steadfast was much more complicated. Palestinians are highly political, and they organised themselves in a decentralised fashion and knew how to operate out of Israel’s sight.

But the first intifada was aimed solely at a foreign entity, Israel, and ended with the signing of the infamous Oslo peace accords, which have failed multiple times over the past two decades. The Palestinian leadership tried to pick the fruits of their intifada prematurely and paid a dear price in human, political, economic and social loss.

Egyptians would be well advised to learn from the Palestinians that the window of opportunity for real change comes all too infrequently. They should therefore be very clear on what they desire from this historic episode. I’d guess that the US state department already has more than a few scenarios in place and dealing with these is what the Egyptian people will really be up against in the coming weeks.

The second Palestinian intifada in 2000 had many more similar elements to today’s upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt. Following the collapse of the Camp David II talks and continuing Israeli provocations, the Palestinian street erupted. Although this second uprising was quickly steered to target Israel, the undercurrent at the time was boiling against a Palestinian leadership that was seriously corrupt and refused to shift gear politically, opting instead for a never-ending US-sponsored peace process.

The Palestinian president at the time, Yasser Arafat, knew that the second intifada had the potential to turn on him and the house of cards that he had created, the Palestinian Authority. Arafat knew how to shrewdly get his people to vent their anger elsewhere – towards Israel, the foreign occupier. Arafat thought, like today’s Mubarak and the many other leaders of his generation, that the US would come to his rescue and make things happen. He was wrong. Every major Palestinian political crisis witnessed the traditional Palestinian leadership taking minute steps forward to keep the masses at a distance. Often these steps meant rearranging the cabinet while paying lip service to the demanded structural reforms. Expect the same in Egypt and Tunisia.

Over the years, Palestinians have been able to maintain pressure on their occupier and keep their own quasi-government in check because they were organised at the grassroots level for many years beforehand. This level of deep, sustained organising has been weak to non-existent in most of the Arab world. The police-state governments in Egypt, Tunisia and across the Middle East made sure civil society remained obedient – as the media and the private sector were made to be.

The obvious question is: if Palestinians are so experienced in taking to the streets, why then are there so few serious demonstrations in Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem or Gaza in solidarity with the Egyptian people? The reason is that the Palestinian Authority has been co-opted by a US-dominated and foreign-funded agenda which, in times of crisis, understands a single tool: force. The same applies to the Palestinian government in Gaza, for different reasons. Since the last Palestinian elections, which ended in infighting, the US has equipped, trained and led a new generation of Palestinian security services to serve their old model of Arab world governance – police states and banana republics. Expect the US not to embrace real democracy in the Arab world, but rather to put a new, younger facade on an old and corrupt system of governance.

If you want a barometer for today’s Middle East political temperature, follow Egypt; however, if you want a barometer for tomorrow’s possibilities for serious, sustainable reform, keep your eye on the Palestinian people who are in a dual struggle – one to shed themselves from 43 years of a brutal Israeli occupation and one to create the first Arab model of truly representative and accountable governance. The main factor preventing the Palestinians from continuing on their path to structural reform, following their first genuine elections in 2006, is the refusal of the US to accept the results of those elections. Expect a similar US veto on any forthcoming Egyptian move towards electoral reform that encompasses true representation.

Until the people of the Middle East take reforms seriously and transform their mass demonstrations into sustained, organised efforts that address all aspects of society – political, legislative, economic and social – then the blood and tears invested in this latest round of civil outcry will be wasted.


7.  New York Times,

February 07, 2011

Egypt Releases Google Executive, Company Says


Wael Ghonim, the Google marketing executive and Egypt revolt hero who disappeared there more than a week ago, was released on Monday by Egyptian authorities, according to Google.

“Freedom is a bless that deserves fighting for it,” was posted to Mr. Ghonim’s @ghonim’s Twitter account at 8:05 p.m. local time in Cairo.

The company confirmed his release in an email statement and on Twitter. “It is a huge relief that Wael Ghonim has been released,” the company said in an email. “We send our best wishes to him and his family.”

Before his family lost contact with him on Jan. 28, Mr. Ghonim had written an ominous post on his @ghonim Twitter page that troubled friends and family, raising concerns about his whereabouts: “Pray for #Egypt. Very worried as it seems that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people. We are all ready to die #Jan25.”

His friends and family initially searched area hospitals for him, while human rights activists became convinced that he was being held by the government authorities for inspiring some of the young digital-savvy Egyptian political organizers to use technology, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to help promote the protests on Jan. 25. For the last eight months, human rights advocates in Egypt have been able to build an online community of more than 470,000 people on the We are all Khaled Said Facebook page and thousands more on YouTube after they focused their social media efforts on police abuse and the case of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old Egyptian man who was beaten to death at the hands of police in Alexandria last June.

Last Friday, members of the April 6 Youth Movement, , a group of young advocates known for first using Facebook in early 2008 to raise awareness about labor strikes and human rights abuses, announced that they had designated Mr. Ghonim their spokesman.

Habib Haddad, a Boston-based businessman and a good friend of Mr. Ghonim, said he spoke to Mr. Ghonim after his release on Monday. “Not sure I ever heard someone that happy and emotional,” Mr. Haddad posted on his Twitter account.

Mr. Ghonim was among many in Egypt who have gone missing in the two-week-old revolt there. A Google spreadsheet has been set up here with the names and information about other people reported missing on or about the Jan. 25 protests. Also, a couple of new Facebook pages were created, Help us Locate Wael Ghonim, in recent days.

Mr. Ghonim, the head of marketing for Google in the Middle East and North Africa, is based in Dubai. On his Twitter bio, he describes himself as “Constantly changing. Serious Joker. Internet Addict. Love challenging status quo. “ There has been much speculation about what role Mr. Ghonim played behind the scenes in helping human rights activists to harness the power of technology with the Facebook and YouTube campaigns against police abuses.

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Dorothy Online Newsletter

From Birmingham to Egypt



Sammi Ibrahem  with Satnam Rana Midlands Masala Asian Communities On BBC WM 95.6 fm in support of the people of Egypt in their REVOLUTION against the Pro-Zionist regime of Mu-Barak. (06.02.2011).


Listen Here:

Start @ 23 Minuts

Posted in EgyptComments Off on From Birmingham to Egypt

The French Philosopher




By Gilad Atzmon STAFF WRITER

What makes one a philosopher? Probably, the capacity to aim at the essence of things, while celebrating the love of wisdom (philo-sophos).Though Bernard-Henri Lévy presents himself as a French philosopher, he seems to lack that elementary capacity. Unlike a true philosopher, Levy engages in an endless spin, typical to a Hasbara agent.

A few days ago the Huffington Post gave a platform to the alleged ‘philosopher’ Levy.

Levy doesn’t approve of the BDS (Boycott, Disinventment, Sanctions) campaign. He claims it is “anti democratic”.  I was expecting Levy to eloquently advocate ‘freedom of speech’ and human rights, but the Zionist ‘intellectual’ failed miserably. Levy followed the well-trodden Judeo centric Zionist template and spread half-baked ideas that hardly form an argument. Pathetically, in most cases, Levy’s ranting proves counter effective to his cause.

“First of all” he said, “one boycotts totalitarian regimes, not democracies… One can boycott Sudan, guilty of the extermination of part of the population of Darfur. One can boycott China, guilty of massive violations of human rights in Tibet and elsewhere. “

For some bizarre reason, Levy seems to be convinced that his beloved Jews-only state is an ‘exemplary democracy’.  “One does not boycott the only society in the Middle East where Arabs read a free press, demonstrate when they wish to do so, send freely elected representatives to parliament, and enjoy their rights as citizens.” says Levy.

I guess that Levy either, doesn’t know or just pretends not to know that in the ‘Jews only democracy’ laws are racially orientated. The Law of Return, for instance, favours Jews and Jews only. Levy should also learn about the case of MK Azmi Bishara who had to run for his life for suggesting that Israel be better transformed into ‘state of its citizens’ based on equality.

But it actually goes much further; Levy’s argument is totally flawed and counterproductive to his Zionist cause. It is actually democracies, rather than dictatorships, that should be subject to humanitarian boycotts; it is in democracies where people are complicit in their government crimes. We must boycott Israel because in the Jewish state every citizen is culpable in the war crimes committed by the democratically elected government. We must boycott Israel because 94% of its Jewish population supported the IDF’s genocidal tactics during Operation Cast Lead. We must boycott Israel because its State-terror policies are a reflection of the public’s true will as proven in polls and democratic elections.

According to Levy, in a democracy the voters have the power to sanction, modify, and reverse the position of their government. It would be fabulous if Levy could enlighten us and suggest how exactly the Jews only Democracy is progressing towards an acceptance of universal rights for all.

Like all Hasbara agents, Levy is outraged by the attempt to de-legitimise Israel, yet, the philosopher in him fails to tell us what is exactly so wrong in de-legitimising a racially driven murderous collective. I also wonder what is so unacceptable about de-legitimising a state that was illegitimate to start with.

Levy doesn’t approve of the ‘one state’ enthusiasts.  He far prefers to divide the land into two states. Someone better remind the lame mind that Israel is currently one state that is located between the river and the sea. Those who support one state are actually far from being radical. They have their feet on the ground. They accept Israel being one state, with one international dialling code, one electric grid and one sewage system. However, the supporters of one state also realise that one state Israel is dominated by Jewish Talmudic racism that is far more vicious than Nazi ideology. The one staters also realise that by the time Jewish racist ideology will be defeated this one state between the river and the sea, will be Palestine.

Levy is furious with one state advocate Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada who according to him “does not hesitate to compare Israel to Nazi Germany.”  It would be slightly useful, if  ‘philosopher’ Levy would be kind enough to suggest to us once and for all, what is so wrong about comparing the Jews only State with the Aryan only State also known as Nazi Germany.

Towards the end of his Huffington Post article, Levy comes with something that could almost pass for an argument.  For Levy, the Western world should have hoped to be “cured of its worst criminal past”.  It would be helpful and productive if Levy and other Zionists grasp that it’s actually the West’s problematic past that shapes our criticism of the Israeli murderous present. It is our troubled past that makes us into enemies of racist Israel.

I was looking forward to read a Zionist ‘thinker’ advocating Israel. Levy obviously failed. However, I’ll admit, that like Levy, I also have reservations regarding the BDS movement; for instance I believe that if the demand to boycott Israeli academics is valid, we should also boycott academics and intellectuals who advocate Israeli policies and Zionism worldwide, because Israel is racist to the bone and racism must be opposed. If the BDS movement is taking itself seriously, it should also move forward and demand to boycott Levy, Alan DershowitzDavid Hirsh and many others.

On one hand, a move like this would prove the BDS movement’s integrity. On the other hand, as an advocate of freedom of speech, I actually want Dershowitz, Hirsh and Levy to speak their minds. I believe that together with Mark Regev, they are the best promoters of Zionist tribal morbidity.

Watch Hasbara Levy in action:

YouTube – Veterans Today –

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on The French Philosopher

US Media & Egypt Coverage: Dodging the Real issues & Fudging the Real Culprits




$60 Billion US Aid to Egypt=$60 Billion Current Net-worth of Mubarak Family

With all eyes and attention on Egypt, the unsavory ‘US Foreign Policy’ has become the topic of choice among the intelligentsia, journalists, and the overly populated US analyst colony. There are scores of analyses out there; thousands of articles, millions of blog threads and unending ‘update’ headlines on TV screens. Yet, at least in ‘popular’ outlets, reality appears to be the missing link. Don’t worry, I am not about to hit you with a long-winded article on Egypt. If you are masochistic enough to actually want my take (pages and pages of history/analyses) you can revisit a few of our pieces on the topic of nefarious US foreign policy practices herehere and here; timeless and equally applicable to what we are witnessing with Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia today. Instead, I want to share with you a few select points and coverage that got my attention:

Let’s start with the tongue and cheek protest sign in the above picture: “USA Why You Support Dectatour” Of course, these demonstrators, in fact almost the entire population in that part of the world, know the answer to this rhetorical question. I think they are trying to get Americans to ask this question and seek ‘real’ answers, no matter how unsavory, nauseating, awful…You see, this is what the US media is selling the majority as to why we support and maintain (pay for, defend…you name it) corrupt ruthless dictators:

Alliance with new governments to protect U.S. interests: security for Israel, sustainability of world energy supply and the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

That’s right: the above, instead of: dictators who will purchase our arms from our mega corporations, serve Israel’s interests, give us cheap oil, and become our official or semi-official base (aka: colony), and that at any price (that is, the price to the population and human rights there). Think Saudi Arabia, think Turkmenistan, Think Uzbekistan…Think about all the dictator allies we support, maintain and sustain. While we are at the topic of ‘sustaining,’ let me illustrate what I mean:

The same article source above, Bloomberg, lightly mentions the following:

Egypt is the fourth-largest recipient of U.S. aid, after AfghanistanPakistan and Israel, according to the State Department’s 2011 budget, receiving more than $1.5 billion a year.

Another semi alternative publication (alternative in name only) goes only half a step further and actually adds it up, the US taxpayers’ dollars that is:

American support for the Egyptian government — to the tune of $60 billion in aid over the last 30 years — garnered virtually no regular attention before the protests began.

But here is one article, written by a true alternative journalist (an independent one), where American taxpayer dollars spent on this Dictatorship ally for the last 30 years come together, and actually add up nicely:

According to a mix of United States, Syrian and Algerian sources his personal fortune amounts to no less than US$40 billion – stolen from the public treasury in the form of “commissions”, on weapons sales, for instance. The Pharaoh controls loads of real estate, especially in the US; accounts in US, German, British and Swiss banks; and has “links” with corporations such as MacDonald’s, Vodafone, Hyundai and Hermes. Suzanne, the British-Irish Pharaoh’s wife, is worth at least $5 billion. And son Gamal – the one that may have fled to London, now stripped of his role as dynastic heir – also boasts a personal fortune of $17 billion.

Mubarak’s fortune, including his wife’s and son’s, is estimated to be …$40 Billion + $5 Billion + $17 Billion= $62 Billion. We Americans have been paying this man for 30 years, for a total of $60 Billion. Was it for infrastructure, job creation…you know, all those vital ingredients? Or was it to create another king, a dictator, or as Escobar puts it, a Pharaoh with a $Billions fortune?

Here is more by another true alternative reporter:

Now, if through some incredible circumstance Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak decides to flee the country, à la Ben Ali, there’s a good chance his first-class flight would come courtesy of the American taxpayer.

Pentagon contracts show that the US government has spent at least $111,160,328 to purchase and maintain Mubarak’s fleet of nine Gulfstream business jets. (For those keeping score, Gulfstream is a subsidiary of General Dynamics.)

And this:

Hounshell also noticed a report that Egyptian First Lady Suzanne Mubarak once “commandeered a bus that had been bought with money from the United States Agency for International Development and that had been meant to carry children to school.”

But wait a minute; let’s not forget another involved party these tax dollars happen to benefit. You know who I’m talking about, right? This is where our government takes our dollars, gives it to dictator allies, and then asks them to turn around, give that money (minus the personal share for personal wealth) to our military industrial complex corporations. Then, we have those CEO’s with $$$$$$$ salaries, and $$$$$$$ to the lobbyists and $$$$$$ to our elected representatives, who then in turn, sanction giving more money, aid, tax payers’ dollars, to these dictators; and the cycle repeats, repeats, repeats…well, it’s been repeating nonstop for more than half a century.

As for this great ally for ‘regional security’ my favorite site has the following on a recent Robert Gates-Egypt Defence Minister meeting involving the so-called partnership for ‘regional security’:

When the two military leaders met in May 2009 to discuss “a wide range of security issues,” Egyptian Defence Minister Hussein Tantawi presented US Defense Secretary Robert Gates with a set of gifts. They included a shotgun (with five bullets), a decorative rug and a gilded photo album.

With a confidence that, in retrospect, seems dubious, Gates said “he looks forward to expanding the two countries’ military-to-military relationships in ways that promote regional stability.”

Five months after that meeting, the Pentagon announced it would sell a new batch of two dozen F-16 fighter aircraft to Egypt—a $3.2 billion deal that is among the most recent of a long string of arms deliveries from America to its North African ally. These F-16s, according to the Pentagon announcement (pdf) would support “Egypt’s legitimate need for its own self-defense.”

Today the Egyptian Air Force buzzed a crowd of demonstrators in Cairo with fighter jets much like those supplied, over a period of decades, by the US. It was a tactical decision that bore little relation to “legitimate” national “self-defense,” although it can be construed as a desperate attempt to defend Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade hold on the presidency.

Rest assured the American mainstream media won’t delve into these ‘real’ issues, because that would get into the real disease, our hypocrisy-ridden sick imperialistic foreign policy, where American taxpayers and the people of these nations are among the victims-losers, and a handful of corporations have been reaping the benefits. The media’s neocons have been twisting and intentionally misinterpreting the recent developments in Egypt. Please don’t think of only the Neocons of the Right, because the neocons of the left have been equally if not more involved in this deception game, and here is a recent example provided by Antiwar.Com, with excellent questions directed at the Israel lobby’s outspoken Maddow:

So you thought it was only the wackos on the neocon right who support Mubarak? Wrong! I’m listening right now to Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s resident ultra-liberal, attack Rand Paul for being “offshore” because he calls for ending the $1.5 billion in “aid” to the Egyptian military.

What I’d like to know is this, though: why does Maddow think funding the Egyptian torture machine, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine, is good for America? How does it serve our legitimate interests? Is it “stimulus” money? Does she just support any and all government spending as a matter of high principle? Or does she really think it’s a good idea for us to be subsidizing a regime so brutal that even the US State Department characterizes it as “repressive”?

I am going to leave you with the following quotes from Escobar’s article:

Since the start of the protests, the Repulsive Ideology Trophy has got to go to former British prime minister and Iraq invader Tony Blair in his interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan. For Blair, democracy for the Middle East may be a good thing; but “we” have to manage it; and that means compromising with Mubarakism. Blair simply can’t understand that if Mubarakism survives with a facelift, blowback will be cosmic. And it will come from all sectors of Egyptian society, the young, the apolitical, secular and Islamists alike, and from the whole Arab world.

Slovenian Slavoj Zizek, the Elvis of philosophy, is right on the monstrous hypocrisy of Western liberals (or so-called liberals); “They publicly supported democracy, and now, when the people revolt against the tyrants on behalf of secular freedom and justice, not on behalf of religion, they are all deeply concerned.”

Real democracy can only be a dynamic grassroots process, from the bottom to the top. It’s not a fixed formula, it’s constantly reshaping itself. That’s bound to scare Western global elites – from “liberals” to the fear/warmonger set – because real democracy implies a huge loss of privilege for the “stable”, developing world comprador classes that are slaves to these haughty Western elites. No wonder they’re all as scared – and scary – as dead men walking.

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Neocons’ Tepid Reaction to the Egyptian Democratic Revolution



In a situation where Israeli interests would be harmed by democratic revolution,the neocons’ ardor for this development has cooled dramatically.

By Dr. Stephen Sniegoski via My Catbird Seat



Egyptian uprising

THE  uprisings currently taking place against the autocratic regimes in the Middle East would seem to be in line with the neoconservatives’ advocacy of  radical democratic change in the region.  But there is one significant difference.  The neocons had sought to use democratic revolutions to overthrow the enemies of Israel, even applying it, much less successfully, to countries such as Saudi Arabia, which were client states of the United States; but now democratic revolution is engulfing the Mubarak regime in Egypt, which maintained friendly relations with Israel.  As Israeli writer Aluf Benn points out in Ha’aretz, “[t]he fading power of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s government leaves Israel in a state of strategic distress. Without Mubarak, Israel is left with almost no friends in the Middle East.”  [“Without Egypt, Israel will be left with no friends in Mideast,” January 29, 2010, ]  In a situation where Israeli interests would be harmed by democratic revolution,  the neocons’ ardor for this development  has  cooled dramatically.

Daniel Luban on Lobelog points out that in the first days of the Egyptian revolution the neocons were  largely silent on this development and those who commented tended  to express some skepticism as to its likelihood to bring about positive results.   He quotes The  Weekly Standard’s Lee Smith cautioning U.S. activists not to become too fond of the Egyptian demonstrators:  “It is not always a good thing when people go to the streets; indeed the history of revolutionary action shows that people go to the streets to shed blood more often than they do to demand democratic reforms.”  Luban predicts that “[i]f the protests are ultimately unsuccessful, the neocons will attack Obama for letting the protesters twist in the wind; if the protests are ultimately successful, they will claim the events in Egypt as vindication for the Bush democracy promotion agenda.”

[ “More Silence from America’s ‘Democracy Promoters’,”  January 27, 2011, ]

While my own brief research confirms Luban’s point that the neocons have not championed radical  democratic transformation in the current situation, I also found  a number of commonalities and differences among the views of the neocons who voiced their opinions as the events in Egypt have become a featured topic in  the mainstream media.    In line with what Luban has written, I also did not find any neoconservatives who have explicitly abandoned their professed faith in their democratic agenda.  For example, they maintain that the revolts validate their democratic prescription for American Middle East policy during the past decades—that had the U.S. actually fostered democracy in the region,  the current revolutionary turmoil would not have ensued.

The neocons differ among themselves, however, in their assessment of the current situation and in their prescriptions for U.S. actions.  Where they express skepticism of the positive nature of the ongoing revolution, they try to demonstrate how this does not conflict with their fundamental faith in democracy.  In short, they profess to identify with the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian demonstrators but question whether democracy will result from their actions.  It should be emphasized that it is essential for the neocons to praise the democratic aim of the uprising since they could not  do otherwise if they intend to maintain their image as  champions of democracy at a time when most of the world wholeheartedly identifies with the Egyptian pro-democratic protestors.  Moreover, since most observers agree that the Mubarak regime cannot survive,  it is strategically necessary for the neocons  to jump on the bandwagon and encourage the U.S. government to guide the revolution in directions beneficial to American–and, of course, Israeli—interests, under the guise of preventing it from leading to an alleged greater tyranny of the radical Islamists.

The neocon whose views seem to have changed the least is long-time neocon operative Elliott Abrams, the son-in-law of neocon godfather Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter.  In assessing the current situation, Abramsheaped blame on America’s traditional Middle East foreign policy that had ignored the domestic policies of  autocratic regimes in its focus on U.S. geostrategic interest and regional stability.

[“Egypt protests show George W. Bush was right about freedom in the Arab world,” Washington Post, January 28, 2011, ]

Abrams writes that Egyptian President Mubarak, along with Tunisia’s recently deposed leader, Ben Ali, had “proffered the same line to Washington: It’s us or the Islamists.” He contends that “[r]uling under an endless emergency law, he [Mubarak] has crushed the moderate opposition while the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood has thrived underground and in the mosques.”  Mubarak’s tyrannical policies, in effect, made the Islamist Brotherhood his major opposition, which then enabled him to justify “the lack of democracy by saying a free election would bring the Islamists to power.”  Abrams acknowledges that while radical Islamists might win free elections, “the regimes that make moderate politics impossible make extremism far more likely.  Rule by emergency decree long enough, and you end up creating a genuine emergency.  And Egypt has one now.”

Abrams asserts that George W. Bush’s democracy agenda (inspired, of course, by the neocons) had it completely right about the Middle East, quoting from a Bush 2003 speech which read:  “Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe – because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.  As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready for export.”

Abrams points out that there was considerable resistance to the “democracy” agenda as unrealistic from within the Bush administration and that the Obama administration abandoned it.  He stresses that it has now become essential for Obama to emulate Bush:  “Now is the time to say that the peoples of the Middle East are not ‘beyond the reach of liberty’ and that we will assist any peaceful effort to achieve it – and oppose and condemn efforts to suppress it.”

Bill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, and perhaps the most prominent neoconservative active today,expresses somewhat belated  support for  the revolutionary cause in Egypt but wants  to make sure that the United States will guide  it in the proper direction. “Mubarak,” he contends, “is now part of the problem, not part of the solution.  His attempt to hang on to power is now an obstacle to stability in Egypt, to say nothing of considerations of freedom for the Egyptian people and the long-term interests of the United States. Surely, I would say, it’s time for the U.S. government to take an active role (much but not all of it behind the scenes), working with the army and civil and political organizations to bring about a South Korea/Philippines/Chile-like transition in Egypt, from an American-supported dictatorship to an American-supported and popularly legitimate liberal democracy.”

[“Working Group on Egypt Calls for Suspension of U.S. Aid,” July 29, 2011,]

Writing in his blog “Neocon Corner,” Joshua Muravchik, a long-time neocon stalwart of a more leftist, social democratic, persuasion, views the crisis in Egypt as having great potential ramifications.  “The uprising in the streets of Egypt could remake our world,” Muravchik contends. “Turmoil is contagious. . . . If the flames are not smothered fast in Egypt, which is still the most influential country of the Arab world, the conflagration will spread across the region.”

Muravchik posits three possible outcomes.  The first, which he describes as “less than momentous,” would see Egypt becoming “more of a military dictatorship and less of a party-ruled state.  And it might muddle along that way, as it has already for generations.  The consequences would be sad for Egyptians, not so major for the rest of the world.”

[“What Egypt Portends: Three Scenarios,” January 28, 2011,]

Muravchik next offers a “hopeful scenario” that would involve “an agreement between the regime and leading opponents on some kind of redistribution of power which could be meaningful only through honest elections.  This would create a model that would be hard for the region’s other autocrats to withstand.  A wave of democratization would spread over the Middle East like the one that hit Eastern and Central Europe in 1989.”

Finally, Muravchik sets forth the “frightening scenario” in which “the army crumbles . . . the revolution triumphs, and that the only organized force capable of picking up power from the streets . . . is the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The “best bet” for Egypt, Muravchik contends, is to have a fair election this year, and he emphasizes that it is essential for the U.S. “to throw its weight into the demand” that this be done.  “If Obama makes such a call, many Egyptian voices will echo it,” Muravchik opines. “The current chaos could make things much better for Egypt and the region — or much worse. The time for Obama to find his silver tongue is now.”

David Frum, who crafted George W. Bush’s notorious “Axis-of-Evil” speech, provides more qualified support for the political upheaval  in Egypt. Like Abrams, he agrees that dictatorships are ultimately fragile and that the U.S. should have actively pushed for democracy there long ago.  “This week’s protests remind us that dictatorships do not deliver stability,” Frum asserts.  “Dictatorships do not make reliable allies over the long term. Egypt’s friends should be planning — should have planned long ago — for a transition to a more representative form of government.”  But Frum does not see the fall of the Mubarak regime as certain.  And instead of supporting immediate revolutionary change, as sought by the street demonstrators, he argues for a slow transition to democracy, which “means gradually bringing more and more of the population into politics.” [“David Frum: Egypt’s small steps towards true democracy,” January 29, 2011,]

When directed against what essentially were the enemies of Israel (a category in which he included Saudi Arabia),Michael Ledeen championed radical democratic revolution, expressing such extreme views as:  “Creative destruction is our middle name.  . . . It is time once again to export the democratic revolution, ”and  “One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today.” (The Transparent Cabal, p. 209).  But now confronted with an actual revolutionary upheaval, the ultra-radical  Ledeen has metamorphosed into veritable paragon of caution, maintainingthat “[i]n Egypt, which is by far the most important of the Arab countries affected by the tumult, there are genuine democrats and also members of organizations (from the Muslim Brotherhood to Islamic Jihad, Hamas, et al.) who would transform Egypt from an authoritarian to a totalitarian regime.”  Allegedly quoting his grandmother, Ledeen observes: “Things are never so bad they can’t get worse.”

[ “Egypt: Revolution? By Whom? For What?,” January 28, 2011, ]

Ledeen puts forth considerable effort to show how his current cautious stance does not conflict with his overall support for democracy.  “We are supposed to be the revolutionaries, and we must support democratic revolution against tyranny,” he solemnly avers.  “But we must not support phony democrats, and for the president to say ‘Egypt’s destiny will be determined by the Egyptian people,’ or ‘everyone wants to be free’ is silly and dangerous.  Egypt’s destiny will be determined by a fight among Egyptian people, some of whom wish to be free and others who wish to install a tyranny worse than Mubarak’s.  That’s the opposite of freedom.  Think about the free elections in Gaza that brought the Hamas killers to power.”

Ledeen agrees with the other neocons that the traditional U.S. Middle East policy of all-out support for authoritarian leaders was bound to fail.  “We should have been pressuring the friendly tyrants in the Middle East to liberalize their polities lo these many years,” he opines.  “We should have done it in the shah’s Iran, and in Mubarak’s Egypt, and in Ben Ali’s Tunisia.  It is possible to move peacefully from dictatorship to democracy . . . But we didn’t.”

Ledeen, however, sees a silver lining in the current crisis since, he maintains, it offers the ideal opportunity for the U.S. to come out in support of the Green Movement revolutionaries in Iran, stating that “if we’re going to praise the Tunisian and Egyptian freedom fighters, all the more reason to hail the true martyrs in Iran.”  He emphasizes that it is necessary to “support democratic revolution.  But not false revolutionaries.”  And of course, he actually means that a “democratic revolution” is one that advances the interests of Israel, while “false revolutionaries” are those who act against Israeli interests.

John Bolton, a long-time member of the neoconservative nexus, who currently is making noises about running for the Republican presidential nomination, did not even pay lip service to democracy in his negative portrayal of the political upheaval in Egypt. It should be said that this complete slighting of democracy makes Bolton something of an outlier among the neocons.  Instead, he focuses solely on the Muslim Brotherhood bogeyman.  He went so far as to say that he did not “think we have evidence yet that these demonstrations are necessarily about democracy.  You know the old saying, ‘one person, one vote, one time.’  The Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t care about democracy, if they get into power you’re not going to have free and fair elections either.”  To Bolton, the issue was one revolving fundamentally around American geostrategic interests. “Let’s be clear what the stakes are for the United States,” Bolton asserts.  “We have an authoritarian regime in power that has been our ally.”  He believes, and seems to hope, that the Egyptian army, which he describes as the real power in the country, could take actions to suppress this revolutionary development.

[Bolton, AMB. JOHN BOLTON: Is Democracy Coming to Egypt at Last? ]

From the neocons’ less-than-enthusiastic reaction to the ongoing democratic revolutionary wave in the Middle East, it is apparent that they are far from being democratic ideologues, as has often been claimed.  And this has been apparent for some time.  In The Transparent Cabal, I cite many instances where the neocons take positions that are contrary to supporting democracy–their opposition to democratic rights for Palestinians being the most egregious, but far from the only example.  In fact, I point out that the “Neoconservatives have not always even claimed to be exponents of democracy as a policy goal; in fact, it was the rejection of pushing democracy as a foreign policy goal that loomed large in their early years. During the Cold War, the neoconservatives emphasized that it was essential to support dictatorships, if they were pro-United States, as part of the overall war on Soviet Communism.  They were especially critical of President Jimmy Carter’s emphasis on human rights in foreign policy, which they held had served to undermine anti-Communist pro-American dictatorships, such as the Shah’s Iran and Somoza’s Nicaragua, and facilitated their transformation into anti-American dictatorships that might align with the Soviet Union.” [The Transparent Cabal, pp. 227-228]  In short, instead of being ideologues of democracy, the neocons largely use “democracy” as a rhetorical weapon to advance their own particular agenda, which currently involves advancing the interests of the state of Israel, which they claim to be identical to the interests of the United States.

Thus it would be expected that the interests of Israel would loom large in their assessment of the current political upheaval in Egypt.  The neoconservatives thus express their support for democracy in general  in Egypt, but then raise the specter of a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt, and the concomitant emergence of an undemocratic theocratic state, if a free democratic election should actually take place.  But why should the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the oldest and largest Islamic political organization,  be prohibited from participating  in the politics of Egypt?  This trans-national organization renounces the use of force and expresses its commitment to democracy—a commitment which it has demonstrated in practice.  The Brotherhood’s announced support for Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei to negotiate with the Mubarak regime would seem to dispel any anti-democratic intent.  Moreover, political parties comprised of its members take part in other democratic governments, including that of Iraq, where the Islamic Party represents the religious Arab Sunni population.  And the activist secular leaders of the revolution for democracy in Egypt (who would have the most to lose) do not express any grave fear that the Muslim Brotherhood would subvert a nascent Egyptian democracy.  [“What’s So Scary About Egypt’s Islamists?,” Time, November 29, 2010,]

It is quite apparent that Muslim Brotherhood  is considered dangerous because it has long been hostile to Israel, and its impact on Egyptian policy would likely be to move the country away from its current friendly relationship with Israel.  The Brotherhood’s prescription for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to support  the  Palestinian armed resistance, especially that of Hamas.  Although this certainly goes  against the goals of Israeli and American foreign policy, it is no more a violation of democracy than the militant foreign policy positions expressed by various Israeli, or for that matter, U.S. politicians.  For a true believer in democracy, Egyptian foreign policy should be something for the Egyptian people to determine, not the United States or Israel.

As I bring out in The Transparent Cabal,  the fundamental goal of the neocons, as with the Israeli Right, is the destabilization and fragmentation of the Israel’s enemies, for which the rhetoric of democracy provides an ideal façade.  Since Mubarak’s Egypt has maintained relatively friendly relations with Israel, it has not been targeted for destabilization and fragmentation.  Instead the neocons have targeted  Saddam’s Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran, which are enemies of the U.S. (in part, at least, due to the efforts of the Israel lobby), as well as of Israel.  And, as described in The Transparent Cabal, the neocons have developed less-publicized plans to destabilize Saudi Arabia, a crucial friend of the U.S. but in various ways hostile to Israel.

It should be emphasized, however, that the neocon position toward Egypt could definitely change in the future, when it too could become a target for democratic destabilization.  This view actually was mentioned in a controversial presentation in July 2002 by  Laurent Murawiec, a senior fellow at the neoconservative Hudson Institute, before the Defense Policy Board (the advisory panel for the U.S. Department of Defense),  at the behest of the board chairman, neocon guru Richard Perle.  At a time, when the Bush administration was gearing up to make war on Iraq, Murawiec’s  target for U.S. military intervention was ironically  Saudi Arabia, which he described as the principal supporter of anti-American terrorism – “the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent.”  Murawiec concluded his briefing with a summary of what he called a “Grand Strategy for the Middle East,” in which he stated that “Iraq is the tactical pivot. Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot. Egypt the prize.”  In short, neocons are willing to consider destabilizing Egypt sometime in the future.  Should a regime that is hostile to Israel emerge from the current turmoil, a plan to destabilize the country could move to the forefront. [The Transparent Cabal, pp. 203-204]

Stephen J. Sniegoski, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in American history,with a focus on American foreign policy, at the University of Maryland. His focus on the neoconservative involvement in American foreign policy antedates September 11,and his first major work on the subject, “The War on Iraq: Conceived in Israel” was published February 10, 2003, more than a month before the American attack. He is the author of “The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel”. Read more articles byStephen J. Sniegoski

Susan Modaress in her Press TV program “Autograph“,- sits to talk with Dr. Stephen Sniegoski, author of The Transparent Cabalon 01-04 2010 :

Posted in EgyptComments Off on Neocons’ Tepid Reaction to the Egyptian Democratic Revolution





By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

Right off the bat, I want to make myself clear, this is about American military veterans, the “heroes” that got all that “flag waving” when they were marched off to Afghanistan and Iraq, and 25 other countries we don’t admit to, for the past decade.

Americans, after the last election, found their “conservative” center again, part “Tea Party” and part Zionist/Neocon humbug.  The victims, as always, are America’s veterans, no longer heroes but, as we are now being told by our new Republican legislature, through its filth spewing cabal of neocon/nutcase “think tanks,” in this case, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, that America’s veterans are a pack of “losers, whiners and welfare cheats.”

Helping our “right thinking” members of congress every step of the way are the major service organizations , organizations now screaming that they have been betrayed by the chiseling psychopaths that they put into office.  You know who you are, the American Legion, the VFW and, worst of all, the National Rifle Association, not a veterans group but a group of carnival clowns who “shill” for Wall Street by subjecting dull witted gun owners to childish scare tactics.  Shame on all of you!

Americas debt stands at 15 trillion dollars, all but less than one trillion run up during the “Reaganomic” years of tax cuts to the rich, giveaways to the bankers and America’s decline into third world debtor status, a petty police state with phony elections, a controlled press and a military of economic hostages fighting wars for Israel while doped up on anti-depressants and mood stabilizers.  Why mince words.  This is the simple truth, deal with it.

We couldn’t pour trillions of our counterfeit Federal Reserve dollars into the hands of this pack of thieves quickly enough and we aren’t done, not by a long shot. They get billions more each day.

To pay for it, our good friends, our super-patriotic good friends, advised by their “right thinking” experts and backed by Israel’s control of our media, is planning to cut and eventually eliminate entirely all services to the 25 million families in the United States that make up our veterans community.

It is bad enough that they, and there really is a “they,” have bankrupted America and killed thousands here, 9/11  our butchered troops, the millions around the world starved, displaced or “Playstationed” to death, now, as we predicted before the election, it is time to turn on America’s veterans.

“They” have shifted in high gear and have the full and total support of, of all things, many of the new “tame” veterans who have been elected to office.  We warned you about that too.  We told you most of them were spineless opportunists who sold out for a quick buck.

I don’t enjoy being right, not when it means there is going to be so much suffering.  Being right is worthless, at least in America it is.


When President Obama was elected, by a large enough margin that the Supreme Court couldn’t step in and overthrow the election, though they have discussed it many times, political opponents declared his election “illegitimate.”

Wild stories spread by conspiracy theorists working for the media, OK, we can really call it Zionist controlled and accept a truth that is inexorable, we are talking Fox, Murdoch, Hannity and the gang, pushed an agenda to convince our military to rebel against the government.

Some tried, claiming they didn’t have to serve because “TV commentators” told them the President was an illegal alien.  Does this sound like sedition or maybe treason? Funny how patriots can change hats when orders from above arrive.

Now America is in the process of breaking every promise it has ever made to those who have, maybe not always defended America, not a country whose government is a slave to special interest, organized crime and “other” foreign loyalties, but have given and sacrificed more than anyone can imagine.  We have allowed another generation of Americans to be destroyed and now, now that they are down, we are going to help the rich and powerful kick them to death because a few “right thinking” TV commentators were ordered to tell us…tell us to COMPLY.

Our new crop of Americans seems to love to “comply” when it involves hating and blaming, especially if the victims are veterans.  Americans love to blame vets, “baby killers, rapists and torturers.” Been watching the news?

When Congressman Ron Paul, a little over a week ago, gave evidence into the Congressional Record proving, finally and for all, that the Gulf War, yes, that first Gulf War, the “clean war,” was a scam…

…a scam…now supported by real proof that Bush authorized Saddam to invade Kuwait, one of the few decent pieces of information confirmed by a leaked cable from Mr. Julian Assange, all moral authority America has to send men and women to their deaths came into doubt. (link to testimony and secret State Department cable)


This has nothing to do with liberal and conservative.  It certainly has nothing to do with the ‘Tea Party.”  It dissolved the second it reached Washington and committee assignments and payoffs were negotiated.  “Keep your mouth shut, do what you are told, and “corporate payoffs,” in reality, laundered drug money from Afghanistan, will keep you and your family safe and warm for a lifetime.

“Welcome  to the family.”

The first move, put into play by Michelle Bachmann, a notorious flake and “know nothing,” partner to Sarah Palin, her virtual shadow without the “attack dog” jaws, is to gut payments to America’s disabled veterans.

When President Obama came into office, there were 1 million veterans whose disability applications were in processing, many, not some, but many for as long as 25 years.

Think “kafka.”

Send mail to the Department of Veterans Affairs and they shred it, burn it or hide it and then blame you for not having responded.  If you complain enough, they investigate you.  Complaining too loudly has sent many veterans to prison on trumped up charges.

Most veterans who file for disability have never been able to survive processing.  They died first.  With medical appointments for serious illnesses taking between 1 and 3 years, claims processing, all initial denials and a hopeless appeals procedure, usually took over 5 years.

Few disabled veterans could handle the stress of the claims process and most simply gave up.  Veterans are easy targets, like shooting fish in a barrel.

Medical care in many facilities goes the same way.  Taking into account the wonderful employees at the VA, something I actually believe and am not just saying to sound like I am being “fair,” there are many, very many, a proud “many,” who are clearly tasked with, not only denying care but abusing veterans and convincing them to avoid all medical care entirely.

The number of veterans who have left VA medical facilities because of unpleasant treatment by VA employees is incalculable.

Incidents of abuse of veterans at government facilities run by the Department of Veterans Affairs run into the millions.  Good employees are terrorized and forced to work in an environment often akin to a concentration camp.

Bad as things are, and despite some improvements under Secretary Shinseki, congress is now planning to gut funding for medical care, gut payments for disability compensation for the few who survived the process and throw the savings into a fund for wild parties, drugs and prostitutes.

OK, was this last statement a bit too far?  Haven’t you been reading the papers for the past decade?  This is exactly where the money is going, why not tell the truth for a change.



Mondoweiss Online Newsletter




‘My friend, Mahmoud Maher, a doctor, was killed at Tahrir Square’

Feb 05, 2011

Parvez Sharma


At 1:15 am Cairo time on Saturday morning I spoke to my friend Ghassen. His friend was killed at Tahrir Square during the 24 hours of horrific violence we all saw on Feb 1st and 2nd. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time someone has been able to put a name and back-story to a person killed by the regime during this unfolding revolution. English is not Ghassen’s first language so I have taken the liberty of creating complete sentences from our fragmented conversation, partially in Arabic, to enable easy reading. I have no way to confirm the details of this death, but I know Ghassen revealed his friend’s name after some hesitation. (With confirmed reports I have from friends now that the regime is “trolling” the internet, I am also changing his name. Ghassen is not his real name)

Me: How are you feeling?

G: I am OK but my country NOT OK, Parvez…I hope people are getting this message about Mubarak Dictator. Mubarak is corrupt and his people are corrupt. I am sad.

Me: Did you go to Tahrir today as well like other days?

G: Yes I did. Of course yaani. Today started after salat elgom3a [Friday prayers]. It was very powerful. Even the sheikh was crying when he were praying. I prayed too. But I am Muslim, but my Islam are free. Many of my friends are Coptic. They not pray but they protect us.

Me: Every time the praying times end, people seem to feel new energy and start chanting again, right?

G: Yes. Parvez, 2 million people say this word in Arabic. ارحـــــــل

Me: Erhal, Leave?

G: Yes. I felt so strong when I pray there today. But also very sad because I remember how friends I lost through this revolution.

Me: Wait! One of your friends died?

G: Yes one of my friends-he is doctor. He was in Tahrir. He was treated patients. His name Mahmoud. People from Mubarak system going to our place, where we standing with horses and gamal [camels]..holding weapons…they hit him on his head many times. He died. But we are peaceful revolution. We did not have any weapons. And through that night also they came from Mubarak system…they want to put us out of Square Tahrir…The fuckin bad system. We lost this night I think 10 people and there were 1000 patients, who hurt. It was night of February 2nd. Night was Magzara. It was massacre night. I donn know if u understand me or not maybe have bad english

Me: I understand. Tell me more about Mahmoud please. It is also important to know his full name because he is already gone, what can they do to him anymore. No one has been able to name people who died you know. Did you go to his funeral? I know this is difficult to talk about. Please forgive me. But it is important.

Me: Are you there? Silence…Can you please tell me his full name…this is important Habibi…

G: His name Mahmoud Maher. I was not there at the moment he killed. I was on my way home. My friends called me to tell. Yes I went to his funeral. It is at Masjed Rabba. It was Mubarak people of course that kill him. They are paid a lot of money to kill us that day.

Me: How are you feeling about all this.

G: I am shock Parvez. I just wake up and go Tahrir and I am shock.

Me: You still live near Heliopolis? Near Mubarak palace?

G: Yes I live in Nozha. You know Masr el Gadida. Near Hosni Mubarak home.Masr el gadida. Why you asking this question?

Me: Because cameras have been so focused on Tahrir. We have seen no images from that area really. That is all, trust me…

G: OK..yes it is calm place. People have good life so you can see nice car. Calm place, not crowded. No police but you know Mubarak live there so they must save by a lot of Egyptian armys.

Me: Its far from Tahrir. How do you get to downtown everyday?

G: I take taxi. There are taxi when no curfew is happening. I think Parvez we doing the right thing. The Mubarak system are loses. Mubarak should leave now and then in six months we move our system to another in calm way.

Me: Do u think people will give up fighting? Feel exhausted? Tired?

G: Nooooo! There is a lack of confidence in the system lost its legitimacy and Hosni…we have to save our requests, if Mubrak will do that or not we dont know yet

Me: How does your heart feel my friend?

G: I feel Square Tahrer is here, if he lie or something happen wrong we will going there again …but for now feel we have to start work

Me: Wait so you are saying you want to go back to work and not protest?

G: No …. Mubarak know our requests ….and he get the lesson…if he lie or bad thing happen we will back again to square…dont know yet really am so confused…mubarak he lost his legitimacy from 25-1…why he donn leave egypt

why he still…no one support him…no one like him…no one want him…

people talk here he want to save his money till going out …but I do want to go to work…I go to work and then I join people in Tahrir…tomorrow…

Me: I know. My other friends say they also want to go back to work but also don’t know if they should leave Tahrir to go back to work. Listen how did Tahrir feel like today?

G: Tahrir? Heart of Egypt. Really, Heart of Egypt.

Me: That is true. You said it in three words my friend 😉

G: No, it true…Lawyers of Egypt and Dr. workers, professors, judges, Muslims and Christians adults and children…Imagine 2 million people say leave Mubarak at one voice…2 million voice Parvez …I have lived one year in one week…No…I feel I am born again…I donn know why media from all the world donn send our voice

Me: No they are. They are sending everyone’s voice. You have no idea how much they are sending the voice.

G: Anyhow it is late. I am so tired. I will go to work and will back after work to square…My work in Zamalk near Tahrer square…and Parvez so much happening in rest of country too—even women were raped in villages on that night…and from Alex there is  2 million going out too…in Aswan there’s like 200000

Me: Go to sleep now…Yalla…shukran Habibi…stay safe ;-))

G: Yes. I go now. Please send me interview when they publish on my email. I want to see and show my friends.

Me: Promise.



O hear Tahrir break into song!!

Feb 05, 2011




Protesters in Tahrir Square break into song
We are all one hand, and we have one demand: Leave! leave!
Down down Husni Mubarak! Down down Husni Mubarak!
The people want to overthrow the regime! The people want to overthrow the regime!
He should leave! We’re not leaving!

and other news from the Egyptian revolution:

and lead picture 
Christians Protecting Muslims During Friday Prayers

Protests/Attacks & Arrests/Eyewitness Account
Images from Egypt’s protests 

‘I will not leave’ 
Ahmed, a pro-democracy protester in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, speaks to Al Jazeera about the injuries that he has recieved while demonstrating, and who he wants to see in government.

A tense calm grips Egypt
After 11 days of unrest – some days violent, others jubilant – Egyptian protesters are determined to stay the course.

Egypt protesters hold their ground
With protests demanding end to Mubarak’s rule entering the 12th day, people in Tahrir Square prepared to wait him out.

Egypt protesters consolidate gains
Pro-democracy protesters remain in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after pitched battle with Mubarak supporters.

Google Exec Who Went Missing In Egypt Now A Spokesman For Opposition Group (GOOG)
A Google executive who has gone missing in Egypt has been “symbolically” named the spokesman for an opposition group, in an attempt to free him from being held by Egyptian authorities, CBS News reports. Wael Ghonim, Google’s head of marketing for the middle east, flew into Egypt last week to participate in the demonstrations against the government. At some point he went missing, and one of his last tweets ominously read, “we are all ready to die.” 

Egypt Protests: Mubarak Security Forces Drive Through Crowd, Hit Protesters (VIDEO)
A pack of Egyptian protesters were terrified when a vehicle, believed to be part of President Hosni Mubarak’s security team, drove through the crowd at a shocking speed. A shocking new video has made its way onto YouTubeshowing the purported incident in Cairo. Unseen protesters are heard shouting, “Yasqot Yasqot, Hosni Mubarak!” (or “Down down, Hosni Mubarak!”)  Users have since been hotly debating the clip’s legitimacy. One user writes: “Are they too clueless to realize that they’re being filmed, or do they just not care what the people think of them?”

Egypt’s ‘day of departure’ protests – in pictures
Anti-Mubarak protesters have gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Egypt on the ‘day of departure’, a reference to demands that the Egyptian president step down immediately 

Egypt holds ‘Day of Departure’
Hundreds of thousands flood Tahrir Square for largely peaceful ‘Day of Departure’ protest against President Mubarak.

2011, بالصور: مظاهرات جمعة الرحيل في طنطا “Departure Friday” protests in Tanta 

Mass protests in city of Alexandria
Tens of thousands of people are protesting against President Hosni Mubarak in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria.

Report: 50,000 protest in Egyptian Rafah
Al-Jazeera network reports tens of thousands join nationwide protests against Egyptian President Mubarak near Gaza border. EU leaders issue statement saying ‘transition process must start now’,7340,L-4023992,00.html

Video Report on the Battle For Tahrir: An Inside Look at How Pro-Democracy Activists Reclaimed Tahrir Square After Attacks by Mubarak Forces
On Thursday, pro-democracy activists ventured back to Tahrir Square, to reclaim the downtown Cairo public space, which had become a battleground in the effort to oust President Hosni Mubarak. Democracy Now! producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Hany Massoud walked through the streets, talking with Cairo residents—many who were injured from the attacks the day before—and witnesses the efforts to cleaning up the trash and rock-filled square while also organizing a system of grassroots resistance and community care programs to defend the square from pro-Mubarak forces who threatened to return. 

Day of Departure: Massive Demonstrations Across Egypt Aim to Oust Mubarak. Sharif Abdel Kouddous Reports Live from Cairo
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian pro-democracy protesters have returned to Cairo’s Tahrir Square in defiance of violent attacks from supporters of President Hosni Mubarak in the last two days. The New York Times reports the Obama administration has opened talks with Egyptian officials on Mubarak’s immediate resignation. The proposal under discussion would see Vice President Omar Suleiman lead a transitional government before elections later this year; however, Suleiman remains deeply unpopular in Egypt. Pro-democracy organizers have labeled today the “Day of Departure,” a final push for Mubarak’s immediate resignation. The demonstrations immediately swelled at the end of Friday prayers. We speak to Democracy Now! senior producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who reports live from Tahrir Square. 

Asmaa Mahfouz: The girl who kicked Egypt’s hornet’s nest!, Helena Cobban
A friend sent me this vlog, which was recorded on January 18 by Asmaa Mahfouz, a young Egyptian woman who describes on it how earlier in the month she had responded to the self-immolations then taking place in Egypt by deciding to go down to Tahrir Square and undertake a regular public vigil there “For dignity! Against hunger!” … And she invited her friends to join her. And the first time “We were only three people– along with three armored cars full of police, and the baltagiyeh thugs were also there… ” But they carried on doing their vigils regularly, and in this video, she’s asking people to join her there on January 25, and…. the rest is history. 

Egyptian Riot Grrls: Finding the Feminine Face of Fury
by Beenish Ahmed Much has been aflutter on twitter about the very visible presence of women among the protests that have taken Egypt by storm over the last few weeks, but images of them have remained sparse amid the digital slideshows strung together by major media outlets, portraying mainly dense crowds of the manly. 

Ahmed Moor: There is a sense in Tahrir now that democracy is coming– and medics and journalists are granted respect 

Stronger sense of Egyptian identity emerges among protesters
Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters flooded Egypt’s Tahrir Square today to press for the departure of President Mubarak. ‘I’m here for Egypt,’ said one middle-aged man. 

Egypt protests are peaceful; throngs insist that Mubarak leave
‘We are not leaving. You are leaving,’ demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square yell. Top government officials appear to be positioning themselves for a transition of power. Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators rallied peacefully in the center of Egypt’s capital Friday, demanding their president step down after days of protest and violence that have shaken the Arab world.,0,5969696.story 

Medea Benjamin: Mubarak Mobs and Street Vendors: Welcome to Egypt
I was in the middle of buying some mints from a street vendor on Cairo’s Talat Harb Street when the rocks started flying. He gave me one pack of mints, and all hell broke loose. “Run, run,” people yelled at me. 

Defying violence, Egyptian protesters find unity – and pride – at peaceful mass rally
Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters flooded Egypt’s Tahrir Square today to press for the departure of President Mubarak. ‘I’m here for Egypt,’ said one middle-aged man.

Robert Fisk: Exhausted, scared and trapped, protesters put forward plan for future
Caged yesterday inside a new army cordon of riot-visored troops and coils of barbed wire – the very protection which Washington had demanded for the protesters of Tahrir Square – the tens of thousands of young Egyptians demanding Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow have taken the first concrete political steps to create a new nation to replace the corrupt government which has ruled them for 30 years. 

‘Thanks to the young people … we are free’
A town near Cairo, Kerdasa, revels in a newfound freedom from the hated police, though witnesses say five people were killed in the protests. Residents take responsibility for their own security. Even the elders of this small Egyptian city in the shadow of the great pyramids of Giza could not remember weekly prayers like this one.,0,6349062.story 

Egypt Protests Grow Larger As Pressure On Mubarak Mounts
CAIRO — Protesters demanding President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster packed Cairo’s central square by the tens of thousands Friday, waving Egyptian flags, singing the national anthem and cheering, appearing undaunted and determined after their camp withstood two days of street battles with regime supporters trying to dislodge them. 

#Jan25 Egypt Revolution مشهد رائع لميدان التحرير في جمعة الرحيل 

#Jan25 Singing for the Revolution الغناء للثورة 

Tahrir protesters consolidate their gains 

“Bravest girl in Egypt” translated into English 

Day of Departure
Protesters shout slogans and sing the national anthem during a demonstration in Egypt’s capital. 


Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk, “Cairo Intifada” (Video)
“This is an American shell, an American shell. Mubarak is a collaborator funded by foreigners. Mubarak is a spy. We don’t want’ him. Enough. The people are suffocating. The people are hungry.”

Media Repression and Intimidation
Egypt must release detained activists and journalists
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch call on the authorities to reveal the whereabouts of over 30 people arrested during a raid on law center in Cairo. The Egyptian authorities should immediately reveal the whereabouts of Egyptian and international human rights activists, lawyers and journalists arrested during a raid on the Hisham Mubarak Law Center in Cairo on the afternoon of February 3, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. 

Egypt Protests: Egyptian Journalist Ahmed Mahmoud Dies Of Gunshot Wounds; First Reported Journalist Death In Uprising
CAIRO — An Egyptian reporter who was shot during clashes a week ago died of his wounds Friday, his employer said, in the first reported death of a journalist in the chaos surrounding Egypt’s anti-government protests. Ahmed Mohammed Mahmoud, 36, was taking photographs of fighting between protesters and security forces from the balcony of his home when he was shot Jan. 28, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram said on its website.

Eliminate the Witnesses: Committee to Protect Journalists Criticizes Mubarak’s Policy of Attacking and Silencing Journalists in Egypt
The Mubarak regime’s violent crackdown has included deliberate targeting of journalists covering the protests across Egypt. News outlets including Al Jazeera, CBS News, ABC News, Fox News, CNN, BBC, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Australian Broadcasting, Danish TV2 News and Swiss television have reported assaults, intimidation or arrests of their workers. We speak to Frank Smyth with the Committee to Protect Journalists, who reports there has been a record of 100 attacks on journalists, 30 detentions, 26 assaults, and eight cases of media equipment seized. “This is worst case of the most blatant violence against the press I have seen in my 24 years reporting and my 10 years at CPJ,” Smyth says. “Clearly the Mubarak regime is responsible. They are implementing a policy to eliminate witnesses to what is occurring. It seems that the Mubarak regime is attempting to literally unplug Egypt from the world.” 

`You Will Be Lynched,’ Says Egyptian Policeman: First Person
Having a policeman say he wanted to kill me wasn’t my most frightening moment yesterday in Cairo. That came when police and civilians smashed our car windows — with the five of us inside it — jumped up and down on the roof, spat on us, pulled my hair, beat my friends and dragged us into a police van. 

Al Jazeera’s Cairo office burned down by pro-Mubarak ‘thugs’
Al Jazeera’s office in Cairo was stormed by a “gang of thugs” and set on fire along with all the equipment inside it, the Arab news network said Friday.  “It appears to be the latest attempt by the Egyptian regime or its supporters to hinder Al Jazeera’s coverage of events in the country,” the news network said in a statement. 

Mubarak thugs force Anderson Cooper into hiding
CNN reporter Anderson Cooper admitted Thursday he was “a little bit scared” for his safety after being repeatedly attacked by supporters of embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Cooper and his crew were violently attacked by pro-Mubarak forces Wednesday as they tried to make their way through the streets of Cairo 

2 Detained Reporters Saw Secret Police’s Methods Firsthand
WE had been detained by Egyptian authorities, handed over to the country’s dreaded Mukhabarat, the secret police, and interrogated. They left us all night in a cold room, on hard orange plastic stools, under fluorescent lights.

Amid crackdown, al-Jazeera endures
BAGHDAD – Though few foreign news organizations have escaped the onslaught of attacks against journalists in Cairo by supporters of Egypt’s regime, none has faced quite so many challenges as the pan-Arab al-Jazeera satellite network. 

Failed assassination attempt on Egyptian VP leaves two dead, FoxNews alleges
An alleged attempt on the life of the newly named vice president of Egypt left two of his bodyguards dead the day after his appointment, a recent report said. “It’s so organized that it’s been classified an assassination attempt,” Fox News reported Friday. 

WITNESS-Egypt police keep firm grip in Cairo’s slums
* Police, unidentified armed men, patrol Cairo slums
* Authorities deny intimidation

Egypt’s army: On the sidelines
What is the army’s role in Egypt’s crisis and for how long will it stand aside? 

Obama urges Mubarak to ‘listen’
US president says Egyptian leader should hear concerns of protesters and focus on creating legitimate transition.

Is the White House using Congress to send tough messages to Mubarak?
Congress is out ahead of the administration in calling for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down and for the United States to cut off military aid to his regime. But while some believe the White House is using Congress to send Mubarak tough messages they don’t want to — or can’t — send themselves, it appears that Congress is reacting to events independently from the administration.

Egypt’s Mubarak Likely to Retain Vast Wealth
Mubarak Family May Have as Much as $70 Billion Stashed Away, Experts Estimate.  President Hosni Mubarak’s power may have visibly crumbled before the world on Jan. 25 when protesters took to the streets of Cairo, but his personal wealth will likely be intact when he leaves office as pledged at the end of the year, or sooner if the crowds have their way.

Egypt’s ex-fin min Boutros-Ghali quits IMF panel
* Boutros-Ghali resigns with immediate effect
* Resignation follows replacement as Egyptian finance min
* Helped modernize IMF in time of financial crisis (Adds quotes, background)

(OFFICIAL)-ElBaradei says sees himself as change agent
(Corrects headline, first, third and fourth paragraph after newspaper amends interview text to omit quote from ElBaradei saying that he will not take part in presidential elections)  VIENNA, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Egyptian opposition activist Mohamed ElBaradei could run for president in future elections if asked by the people, an Austrian newspaper reported on Friday. 

In Egypt, a former Mubarak loyalist emerges as presidential possibility
CAIRO – The charismatic chief of the Arab League on Friday joined the throngs of protesters in downtown Cairo who have been clamoring for President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation and hinted that he would consider running for the post. 

Egypt demonstrations costing $310 million per day: report
CAIRO: Egypt’s economy has lost at least $3.1 billion as a result of the political crisis in the country, investment bank Credit Agricole said in a report released Friday, as tens of thousands of protesters massed in Downtown Cairo demanding the president’s ouster. 
Solidarity with the Egyptian People
Palestinians demonstrate in from the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv 

Sheikh Jarrah protesters in solidarity with Egyptian protesters

‘Mubarak must go,’ protesters in New York City chant
Mubarak must go, protesters in New York City chantNEW YORK – Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of New York’s famed Times Square and downtown Chicago Friday, calling for the immediate departure of embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Protesters chanted “Mubarak must go” while waving Egyptian flags and holding placards that read “End US aid to the Mubarak regime” and “Egyptians united will never be defeated.” 

Not Your Prisoner (Arabian Knightz feat Shadia Mansour, Fredwreck) EGYPTS REVOLUTION SONG 

Gaza feeds hungry Egyptian troops in role reversal
Underground tunnels generally used to smuggle goods into Gaza are moving traffic in the opposite direction in the wake of the popular uprising in Egypt. 

Protesters in Europe demand “Mubarak must go”
LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Protesters in London and Paris rallied on Friday in support of hundreds of thousands of Egyptian demonstrators demanding an immediate end to President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule.  On the 11th day of unprecedented mass protests in Egypt, 200,000 people rallied in Cairo on Friday following demonstrations and bloody clashes with Mubarak supporters. 

Lebanese show solidarity with Egyptian uprising
BEIRUT: Over 1,000 protesters ascended on the Egyptian Embassy Friday for the seventh consecutive day of protests in solidarity with the Egyptian people. Masked youths appeared in the crowd shortly before 5 p.m., when they began throwing sticks at riot police, but scenes failed to descend into large-scale rioting after protest organizers took a firm stance against the violence. 

Lebanese leaders voice support for Egyptian protesters’ demands
BEIRUT: Leading politicians voiced their support Friday for the Egyptian people’s demands to oust embattled President Hosni Mubarak and called for keeping demonstrations peaceful and democratic, whether at the Egyptian Embassy in Beirut or in Cairo’s Tahrir square. 

Guilt and grief at Sydney Egyptian rally
Hundreds of demonstrators have staged an emotion-charged rally in Sydney demanding that beleaguered Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stand down., In a passionate outpouring of guilt, anger and grief, about 200 people, mainly members of the Egyptian community, braved soaring temperatures in the city on Saturday., Waving flags and protest banners, they listened intently to rousing speeches in Martin Place, occasionally breaking out in chants of “Down, down Mubarak” and “Free, free Egypt”.

WorldWide Tahrir 

Tunisian cyber activists take on Egyptian cause
Social media played in organising the uprising in Tunisia, and now, activists there are focusing their technical skills on helping anti-government protesters in Egypt. Tunisian hackers say they will attack website belonging to the Egyptian government in solidarity with the pro-democracy activists protesting there.

Amid mass protests, ‘Anonymous’ topples Egyptian gov’t websites
Tunisian members of an online group of hacktivists known as “Anonymous” received attention Friday when Al Jazeera English profiled their efforts to attack Egyptian government Web sites. “Anonymous” first attacked Tunisian government websites after the country blocked access to secrets outlet WikiLeaks.

Best Protest Signs From Around The World

Victor Jara Manifiesto

Friends of the Dictator
Berlusconi calls Mubarak ‘wise man’
Italian president praises Egyptian counterpart, calls for ‘transition toward a more democratic system’.,7340,L-4023982,00.html 

PA envoy in Egypt refuses to help stranded Palestinians in Cairo airport
Dozens of Palestinian citizens stranded in Cairo airport have accused the PA ambassador in Cairo of ignoring their appeals to help them return back to the Gaza Strip by air.

Israel’s government raises alarm at events in Egypt
Jerusalem Post editor warns Israel’s ‘concrete strategic assumptions liquefied almost overnight’

Israelis Discover a New Love for Mubarak
JERUSALEM – Around the world, peoples revel in anticipation of the fall of a regime that has denied its citizens their basic rights. But most Israelis are haunted by nightmare scenarios of ‘the day after’, as if their country’s stability was anchored in the continuity of the rule of Hosni Mubarak – not in peace.

Chris Matthews Rips Obama’s Handling of Egypt Crisis: ‘I Feel Ashamed As an American’
MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews appeared on Morning Joe, Friday, to slam President Obama’s handling of the escalating crisis in Egypt, saying it made him ” ashamed as an American .” Matthews, who famously declared Obama gave him a “thrill” up his leg, excoriated what he perceived to be the President’s disloyalty to Egypt’s leader, Hosni Mubarak. The Hardball host berated, ” And Barack Obama, as much I support him in many ways, there is a transitional quality to the guy that is chilling.” He added, “I believe in relationships…You treat your friends a certain way. You’re loyal to them.” Matthews has previously lauded the authoritarian Mubarak.. Pointing out Mubarak’s stand against Hezbollah and other extremist elements in the region, the anchor on January 31 wondered, “How can you say he’ll easily be replaced? This guy’s the George Washington of peace over there.” [See video below.] Deriding immediate calls for Mubarak to step down, Matthews lamented, “Character and planning…I feel shame about this. I feel ashamed as an American, the way we’re doing this. I know he has to change. I know we’re for democracy, but the way we’ve handled it is not the way a friend handles a matter.” Matthews even attacked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s performance: “I watched Secretary Clinton today. I don’t get anything. I don’t see anything other than two and two are four. I keep waiting for five. Show me you’ve done your jobs over there.” A transcript of his answer to Joe Scarborough’s question, which aired at 8:22am EST, follows: JOE SCARBOROUGH: Chris, a statement yesterday from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, real concern among Arab states, if this is how we treat our ally of 30 years and I know it’s tough to bring these facts up to people who want to call for his immediate lynching, but if we treat an ally of 30 years this way, demanding that he leaves quote “now,” Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, are other allies in the region start questioning America’s character [sic]? 

As`ad Abukhalil’s Commentary
The clerics of the dictator
The Mufti of Al-Azhar–the religious institution that has only produced misogyny, repression, intolerance, fanaticism, and obscurantism–called Mubarak and expressed support for dictatorship.  What do you expect from a bunch of unlearned clerics who produce fatwas for a fee? 

American officials don’t disguise their preference for a military dicatorship
“U.S. officials in Washington noted with approval the positive response by the demonstrators to an appearance in the square by Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the Egyptian defense minister. Ostensibly there to talk with the troops, Tantawi stopped to chat with a group of protesters.”

Look how some foreign correspondents don’t do their homework
“The Obama administration hopes that respected figures whom one administration official referred to as Egypt’s “wise men””.  No, dude. It is not the official who named them the “wise men”.  That is how they refer to themselves–rather immodestly.

The head of Mubarak’s secret police as the Obama’s choice for democratic Egypt
“But, the officials said, Suleiman was increasingly aware that his own credibility was diminishing the longer he remained tethered to Mubarak, as was the likelihood that he could serve as an acceptable alternative.”  This betrays how protective the US administration is of the image of Sulayman.  But Sulayman, with five heart attacks on his resume, can’t be a long term choice for the US.

The Muslim Brotherhood
Now, I don’t believe that it is up to the White Man to tell Arabs and Muslims who should lead them.  And it is not up to past and present colonial powers to issue certificates of legitimacy to leaders of Arabs and Muslims.  Frankly my dear, as Clark Gable said in Gone with the Winds, we don’t give a damn.  And, we have seen your choices of preferable Middle East leaders and–to put it politely–they are despicable: those puppets, kings and presidents in our region.  But I don’t trust the Muslim Brotherhood and its variations, one bit.  It is up to the Egyptian people to decide, but I won’t rust that lousy organization given its opportunistic history.  It was a too of US/Saudi Arabia during the Arab cold war, and sided consistently with the Zionist camp.  It is the organization that welcomed the advent of the Sadat regime.  Not to mention its archaic views on women and minorities.  I don’t even trust them on Palestine: they have been allies of the friends of Israel throughout the region.  And they are now pretending to have found a new courage: they con’t come close to the Egyptian and Tunisian secular protesters.  In Lebanon, the branch of the Muslim Brotherhood  there (Al-Jama`ah Al-Islamiyyah) marched in support of the the Egyptian Uprising.  This organization has been bought off in full by Hariri family and is part of an alliance that was aligned solidly with Mubarak.  Who are you fooling.  And the most cowardly branch of the brotherhood in Jordan, heaped praise on King `Abdullah of Jordan, simply because he agreed to shake their hands.  And they there demonstrate against Mubarak, and yet it would be much more impressive if they demonstrate against their own tyrant.  The Muslim Brotherhood deserves another century: maybe ten centuries ago, or even earlier.

Dictatorship for Beginners
By the Egyptian cartoonist, Bahjat.

Former Minister of Trade: real reforms in Egypt
So the Mubarak government today wants to fight corruption.  They issued a ban against travel by the former Minister of Trade.  Only the guy is already in Dubai.  Upon hearing the news, Hillary praised reform in the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty–sorry, I meant Egypt.


An important trend
There is a trend that can be discerned in Arab political culture–especially since the uprising in Tunisia.  There is an increasing resort to Arab national identity and Arabism.  This is true even by Islamists.  We may be witnessing a grassroots resurgence of Arab identities in the region.  I listened today to a speech by Tunisian Islamist, Rashid Ghannushi, and it was striking how much he made references to Arabism and Arab identity.

Egyptian prisoners who broke out of jail
Some of those who were arrested spoke to Egyptian Mubarak state tv. It is hilarious TV.  One prisoner said that he really did not want to leave the prison but saw that everyone was leaving, so he just went along with them. Another one said: he really did not break out of prison, but that he briefly left to say hi to his his friends and relatives.  He was asked why he was apprehended with weapons, he said: these are tense time, u know.

The Jordanian royal schmuck is now a man of the people
“He has been paying surprise visits in recent days to poor areas and villages and ordering assistance to the families he has encountered.”

Angry Arab correspondent on Bahrain
R. sent me this:  “Apparently, in anticipation of Feb 14 (a national holiday in bahrain – there is no mention of the movement), the Bahraini King just announced that he will be injecting the national budget with 100 million bahraini dinars with money going mostly to the poor for subsidies etc (see copy and pasted newspaper articles below).  What he doesn’t get is that money for the poor isn’t really the issue.  The Feb 14 movement is changing its tone – they have removed the silly clause about banning alcohol and changed it to decreasing prostitution, alcohol etc. (unfortunately I can’t access facebook right now at work to check  for the exact arabic phrase).  The english facebook page doesn’t contain the clause at all which is interesting.  The setting up of the english facebook page is important by the way – not only for the west – but for (unfortunately) those bahrainis who are more comfortable writing in english. I am getting a much more positive vibe from this movement from the people I know and it seems like the secular opposition youth will be participating after all!  The big question mark is on the “private school kids” as well call them.  I talked to a friend a few days ago and she was really angry saying that she supported their demands but was against the way and if we continue using these messages us shia will be hated everywhere.  She was referring to a really stupid poster that had a little paragraph on how Al Khalifa will all go to hell and their are the epitomy of what haram means. continued.

Turkish model for Egypt?
Egypt’s transition toward a post-Hosni Mubarak era, as incremental and painful as it might be, has sparked interest in the “Turkish model” of democracy-craft, i.e. the art of conducting democratic affairs, which in Turkey involves the military playing a stabilizing role during the transition process while Islamist parties moderate through political participation. Can Turkey’s experience be repeated in Egypt? 

Egypt’s military-industrial complex | Pratap Chatterjee
With US-made tear gas canisters fired on protesters in Cairo, Washington’s role in arming Egypt is under the spotlight. In early January 2010, Bob Livingston, a former chairman of the appropriations committee in the US House of Representatives, flew to Cairo accompanied by William Miner, one of his staff. The two men were granted meetings with US Ambassador Margaret Scobey, as well as Major General FC “Pink” Williams, the defence attaché and director of the US Office of Military Cooperation in Egypt. Livingston and Miner were lobbyists employed by the government of Egypt, helping them to open doors to senior officers in the US government. Records of their meetings, required under law, were recently published by the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington, DC watchdog group. 

At the core
Egypt’s military lies at the heart of the country’s state apparatus.

Egypt’s military holds the key but continues to play the sphinx
CAIRO: The wait-and-see stance of the Egyptian military is raising many questions, but underlining one fact: its role will be decisive regardless of how the ongoing turmoil will end.  Political analysts are scrambling to decipher its sphinx-like conduct. Is it complicit in police brutality? Prudent in the face of a fluid situation? Split at the top of its command structure? Just biding its time? 

Does the Obama administration have any sway over Egypt’s military?
Top Obama administration officials pressed the Egyptian military on Thursday to intervene on behalf of the activists, journalists, and protesters being attacked by groups of thugs supporting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, as concerns grew in Washington about the military’s role and agenda.  Vice President Joseph Biden placed responsibility for restoring calm in the streets of Cairo squarely in the hands of Vice President Omar Suleiman, who is also chief of the country’s intelligence apparatus, when the two leaders spoke over the phone on Thursday afternoon. 

Egypt Officials Seek to Nudge Mubarak Out
Egypt’s new vice president and other military leaders were discussing steps to limit President Hosni Mubarak’s decision-making authority, officials said.

Stephen Soldz, “The Torture Career of Egypt’s New Vice President”
Katherine Hawkins, an expert on the US’s rendition to torture program, in an email, has sent some critical texts where Suleiman pops up. Thus, Jane Mayer, in The Dark Side, pointed to Suleiman’s role in the rendition program: “Each rendition was authorized at the very top levels of both governments. . . . The long-serving chief of the Egyptian central intelligence agency, Omar Suleiman, negotiated directly with top Agency officials. [Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt] Walker described the Egyptian counterpart, Suleiman, as ‘very bright, very realistic,’ adding that he was cognizant that there was a downside to ‘some of the negative things that the Egyptians engaged in, of torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way'” (pp. 113). . . . However, Suleiman wasn’t just the go-to bureaucrat for when the Americans wanted to arrange a little torture. This “urbane and sophisticated man” apparently enjoyed a little rough stuff himself. . . . “To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib — and he did, with a vicious karate kick.”

It’s not radical Islam that worries the US – it’s independence | Noam Chomsky
The nature of any regime it backs in the Arab world is secondary to control. Subjects are ignored until they break their chains ‘The Arab world is on fire,” al-Jazeera reported last week, while throughout the region, western allies “are quickly losing their influence”. The shock wave was set in motion by the dramatic uprising in Tunisia that drove out a western-backed dictator, with reverberations especially in Egypt, where demonstrators overwhelmed a dictator’s brutal police. 

Discontented Within Egypt Face Power of Old Elites, ANTHONY SHADID
The rebellion pits those disenfranchised by Egypt’s government against the military and security apparatus and a fabulously wealthy clique. 

Obama administration contemplates legal nightmare in Egypt after Mubarak, Josh Rogin
As the Obama administration works to encourage the Egyptian government and opposition groups to sit down together and chart a path forward, they are grappling with problem of what to do about a legal system in Egypt that is inherently unfair but that remains the law of the land.  The Obama administration’s message is that the path forward in Egypt must be negotiated between all of the stakeholders in Egypt rather than imposed from abroad. However, the administration also has concrete ideals and standards its wants to see included in that process and officials are involved in discussing those details with the Egyptian government.

Impromptu: The Cairo Commune
They fought tooth and nail Wednesday night and defended al-Tahrir Square after a long day during which the last Pharao played his last card by unleashing his hired dogs to attack unarmed protesters who shook the earth in Egypt under his throne. When darkness fell, those heroes persevered despite a rain of rocks, Molotov cocktails and sniper bullets. They barricaded themselves and sealed the entrances to al-Tahrir. Their real barricades, however, were their hearts and spirit and those supporting them. Hundreds were wounded and some lost their lives. Their spirits were hovering over al-Tahrir, waiting and looking down at their comrades who were determined to defend the popular revolution and its legitimate demands. 

Mistaken notions about the Egyptian uprising
One of the most devious claims doing the rounds in the media is that the crisis in Egypt is about food; this is only partly true. There is another side to the picture. Egypt’s abject poverty and pervasive hunger did not spring out of a vacuum. It came about from the plunder and squandering of the country’s national wealth and its franchise to foreign interests. In addition, there are other major causes of this unprecedented popular uprising which have to do with the sense of national humiliation and indignity to which the people of Egypt have been subjected by a western-backed dictatorship masquerading as democracy. 

Looking to Egypt, Again
I grew up hearing about Egypt.  The Egypt of those stories, woven inextricably into the memories of my father and his brothers and sisters, was always one of strength, inspiration, beauty and steadfastness. It was the Egypt of Nasser and Um Kulthoum, of Arab Nationalism and of the Bandung Conference. It was the Egypt of solidarity with Palestine. As a child in Beirut, that place seemed as close as the catch in my father’s voice when he would talk about hearing Nasser on the radio. As I grew older, I noticed the bitterness that always laced those stories, the slight shake of my aunt’s head at the end of a sentence, the drop in of my uncle’s shoulders as he described the year he was 30, 1967. I always envied them these memories.  I wanted to live in a time of magic, possibility, and pride. A time far away from civil wars, foreign invasions, Arab dictators, the slow aging of refugee camps, and the refashioning of Arab capitals into crude and expensive museums of what they once were. By the time I was 20, my envy had turned into something harder as I could clearly hear the defeat in their stories, their naiveté as to the machinations of politics, and the growing abyss between their memories and their, and my, realities. 

Day of departure: What’s next for Egypt?, Stephen M. Walt
Egyptians have returned to the streets for what anti-government forces have dubbed a “day of departure.” The early reports I’ve seen are heartening: the demonstrations are peaceful, more and more members of the elite appear to be embracing change, and key institutions like the army continue to behave with restraint and to enjoy respect from the crowds. If it holds up, this augurs well for a transition that avoids most of the worst-case scenarios. 

Egypt – The Peoples’ Voices
Arguably never has a momentous event, its triumphs and blood soaked tragedies, been so instantly transmitted across the globe, panicking governments, bent on quelling it, inspiring millions with similar aspirations to Egypt’s populus, into “can do” and unstinting support mode, with, literally, a vengeance.  The first act of Egypt’s regime was to put an end to this extraordinary avalanche of people to people’s freedom of information – and pull the plug. It failed. The internet generation is a young people’s domain. Like wildfire, instructions instantly flew around the net, informing those with contacts in Egypt, the prefixes which would circumvent the cut off. “Anonymous”, a “hacktivist” group, promptly brought down systems still working in Egypt – those of government offices. 

Egyptians seek light at end of tunnel
Hundreds of thousands of defiant Egyptians marched peacefully in Cairo and other Egyptian cities Friday to demand an end to Hosni Mubarak’s rule while varying scenarios were being put forward for the first time in the 11-day-old wave of protests. 

Magda Abu-Fadil: Media Coverage of Egyptian Events Draws Fire, Praise
A sign carried by a demonstrator in Cairo’s Tahrir Square read: “Egyptian media don’t see, don’t hear, they just talk.” It was right on the mark.

How Can Egypt Get From Tahrir Square to Democracy? Lessons from Poland in 1989
“To Husni Mubarak: leave already. Arabs around the world are trying to sleep,” read a tweet. “Leave already, my hand hurts,” read a sign held up by a man on Cairo’s streets. From Tahrir Square, we hear that protesters are facing a new pressure possibly more strong than the pro-Mubarak thugs set lose on them in recent days. Family members, neighbors and merchants in the Tahrir area are pleading with them to go home already and let life get “back to normal.” The White House has heard the message that Mubarak must go, and must go now. But what next? 

We Are All Egypt!, Susan Abulhawa
Rightly proud of their history, Egyptians like to announce, especially to other Arabs, that Egypt is the world’s mother. The Arabic version is far more tender and poetic ‘Misr Um el Dounia’! Light-hearted banter will often ensue between Egyptian and non-Egyptian friends when that statement is brought into the conversation. 

We Are All Egyptians Now, Dennis Rahkonen
The powerfully inspirational uprising of impassioned, freedom-seeking masses in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Port Said and other Egyptian locales has captured the world’s imagination, and hearts, to a historically unprecedented degree. Is there a decent, fair-minded person on this planet who doesn’t extend immense solidarity toward those brave souls standing their ground in Tahrir Square and elsewhere, in the face of the most cruelly brutal violence that dictator Hosni Mubarak’s mercenary thugs can sadistically muster? 

How the Egyptian revolt will recast the Middle East
Three scenarios for the way the uprising might end and what it all means for the US, Israel, and Iran.

Mubarak, save Egypt and leave
Although hundreds of thousands of protesters reportedly filed Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square for Friday’s so-called “Day of Departure,” President Hosni Mubarak still refuses to depart. Mubarak is under intense pressure at home, and numerous foreign nations also say they are pushing him to go – and yet he continues to procrastinate. 

Egypt’s Revolt: How Democracy Can Work In The Middle East
Whatever happens in the next few days will not change the central narrative of Egypt’s revolution. Historians will note that Jan. 25 marked the start of the end of Mubarak’s 30-year reign. And now we’ll test the theory that politicians and scholars have long debated. Will a more democratic Egypt become a radical Islamic state? Can democracy work in the Arab world? 

In Cairo, trudging to the work of revolution
Anti-Mubarak Egyptians pour in to Tahrir Square determined to do their own small part — forever, they say, if necessary. Emad Mohammed’s morning commute these days is a five-mile trudge through the streets at dawn.,0,1523490.story

Obama Pressed to Pressurise Egypt’s Military, Jim Lobe, February 05, 2011
On the eve of massive planned protests dubbed “Day of Departure” in Egypt, continuing attacks by pro-government conspirators on anti-government protestors and roundups of human rights activists and foreign journalists are contributing to pressures on the administration of President Barack Obama to take a tougher line, including withholding military aid, toward the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt’s Fate Lies in a Square, Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani, February 05, 2011
CAIRO – Demonstrators who turned up in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday in even larger numbers than on earlier days are from all walks of life: old men wearing traditional galibiyas, young people in jeans and T-shirts, and women of all ages wearing Islamic head scarves. The protesters, whose numbers across the nation are now estimated at more than one million and growing, shout variations of one slogan: “The people want the fall of the regime!”

Ripple Effects of Tunisia and Egypt
Amid Egypt-inspired unrest, Iraqi prime minister cuts salary in half
Baghdad (CNN) — Amid growing unrest about poor public services and water shortages, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Friday agreed to cut his salary in half.  Protesters around Iraq have said recent popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia inspired their weeklong demonstrations for improvements in government services and their quality of life. 

Egypt sends shockwaves across Middle East
The upheaval in Egypt has had repercussions across the entire Middle East, and created concern in Israel about the stability of the region.

Egyptian turmoil complicates Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
The uprising in Egypt threatens to further derail the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, with the United States and other key actors distracted and no one sure whether President Hosni Mubarak’s successor will maintain Egypt’s mediating role, diplomats and analysts said. 

Rallies for reform held in Jordan
Hundreds of protesters demand reform in Amman while a “day of rage” planned for Damascus fails to get underway.

France rocked by news of aid to Tunisia and Egypt
France trained Egyptian police officers in crowd control and sent tear gas to Tunis. And its foreign minister vacationed in Tunisia after the uprising, using the jet of a man linked to the ousted president. As French officials continue to grapple with the fallout of their African foreign policy, they have been rocked by new disclosures about aid to security forces in Tunisia and Egypt, and calls for the foreign minister’s resignation over her holiday in Tunisia during the uprising there.,0,3337828.story 


Moor: Television fails to capture the wider experience of Tahrir

Feb 05, 2011

Ahmed Moor


I just wanted to write a quick note about media coverage of what’s been going on here in Cairo. 

I haven’t had much access to outside media over the past eleven days, but I managed to watch a few hours of BBC and CNN coverage last night. Most of the coverage highlighted the ongoing clashes between demonstrators and Mubarak’s goons. The footage, the commentary, the anchor’s questions to correspondents on the ground all seemed focused on the violence. But what wasn’t communicated on either network while I watched was that there were more than one hundred thousand people in Tahrir Square at the time.

It’s a huge space, and I went back and forth between the front line and the center of the square where there was a relative measure of safety several times throughout the day. The distance between where the front developed and the center of the square is about five hundred meters. Unsurprisingly, all of the journalists were cloistered at front.

There has been real violence here over the past twelve days; I’ve witnessed a great deal of it especially on the first few days of the revolution and on Wed of this week. But a whole lot of other things have been going on. And a group of several hundred men throwing stones is always going to be more newsworthy than the thousands standing behind them. 

My point is just that journalism skews towards sensationalism and narrow story lines -and I’m as guilty of that as anyone else. But that’s why my experience on the ground yesterday was so different from the scenes I witnessed on television (of course, it doesn’t help that footage is looped). The scope of events – and geography – is much larger a single camera lens. 

They’re dancing in Palestine, too

Feb 05, 2011

Philip Weiss


Pro-Egypt demonstration in Ramallah. One arrested, reportedly.


‘NYT’ pulls back the curtain (For U.S., Egypt is about Israel)

Feb 05, 2011

Ira Glunts


In an extraordinary report which appeared today both on the Internet and in the print edition of The New York Times, writers Helene Cooper and Mark Landler make plain the huge importance of Israel and the Israel lobby in all American government decisions regarding the ongoing crisis in Egypt.

Among those quoted in the article, which is innocuously titled “Crisis In Egypt Tests US Ties With Israel,” are some of the usual players in the lobby game, such as Daniel Shapiro, a White House adviser, Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Josh Block, the former AIPAC spokesperson, Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive Vice President of the Conference of Presidents, and the ubiquitous pro-Israel writer Jeffrey Goldberg.  Some of their comments, such as Honlein’s characterization of Mohamed ElBaradei as “a stooge of Iran” are incendiary.

But the most prominent and sane voice is that of Daniel Levy, the former Israeli negotiator who is presently a so-called pro-Israel critic of the occupation and Israeli militarism.  Levy declares,

…the core of what is the American interest in this [Egypt]. It’s Israel. It’s not worry about whether the Egyptians are going to close down the Suez Canal, or even the narrower terror issue. It really can be distilled down to one thing, and that’s Israel.

The problem for America is, you can balance being the carrier for the Israeli agenda with Arab autocrats, but with Arab democracies, you can’t do that.

It occurs to me that in the revised and updated edition of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer will have to add a new chapter on the role of the lobby in the new U.S. relationship with Egypt.



America is about to begin a love affair with the Arab world

Feb 05, 2011

Philip Weiss


Photos from Tahrir Square (c) Christina Rizk. See her album here.

Like you I have spent the last ten days glued to the screen, and the only way to convey my joy and excitement is: these are the greatest public events of my adult life. I wasn’t around for the civil rights movement, the counter-culture had its hedonistic side, and I was too walled in by maleness and straightness to understand feminism and Stonewall for what they were. Eastern Europe seemed inevitable. Obama’s election was 8 on the Richter scale. This is 11, this is Pompei, it’s buried the old world.

Is there anything more noble in human conduct than people with their bare hands taking on a dictator and a superpower so as to lead their children to a more enlightened future? Nothing. And when you combine that ravishing spectacle with the thoroughgoing prejudice against Arabs to which I have also been prey– they are lesser, uneducated, clannish, violent, fundamentalist, sexist, etc– well this has been shattering and transformative, as great as any revolution we read about in our schoolbooks.

And I’m not alone. All Americans have been swept up in this glory. You see this in the attitude of our reporters, Brian Williams and Anderson Cooper, and in Barack Obama himself. His statement yesterday was his best yet. He is being led by the Egyptian street.


Historic revolutions go well beyond their borders. The Russian revolution affected world discourse for two generations, the American and French revolution transformed the west, the Soviet Union’s collapse led the way to the application of international law. The Egyptian revolution will also sweep the world, arm in arm with the internet.

And while no one can be sure how this one will play out, this much I am sure of: America is about to begin a love affair with the Arab world. The romance of this revolution will soon come to our shores. Americans will come to regard Arabs with not just respect but prestige. Arab culture will become hip. Hookahs and humus will be the rage. Arab artists and performers will come to the White House. New York networks and theaters and museums will celebrate Arab magnificence. And more and more people will wear kuffiyehs.

This is inevitable because the pleasure, eloquence and beauty of Arab culture have been dammed up too long in the American psyche, and this is a dam break. The neoconservatives who infected us with racist ideas are on the run, it has been more than 30 years since Edward Said published Orientalism, enough time to bear fruit. But most of all the love affair is a necessary response to the incredible policy errors of our government. We are far enough away from 9/11 and the Iraq war to understand that the U.S. made grave errors in its conduct.

Also, we can finally say that we are on the right side, and take pride in that. I believe that the Obama administration will play a positive role in carrying this revolution forward peacefully, and we had a role in fomenting the revolution; as the new prime minister of Tunisia told Piers Morgan on CNN last night, This is a revolution made by facebook and twitter.

How shocking to see America in such a good light in the Arab world. It can’t be long before the revolution will bring a tidal wave of American tourism to Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo, Tunis, and yes, walled Jerusalem. 


I have traveled in many Arab countries and always struggled to make out that world through the fearful screen of American prejudice. Even my travels in Palestine, meeting noble people forged by nonviolent resistance– I have seen Arabs as other. And I looked for the revolution to come inside American life, Jewish life, even Israel; and I was wrong (and Pamela Olson, Annie, and Susan Johnson and Rachel Corrie and Emily Henochowicz were way ahead of me) The Egyptians have shown greater bravery and vision. So they will lead Americans and American Jews too. I see it in Wolf Blitzer and Martin Indyk’s awe at these events– two powerful Jews who once worked for AIPAC and its offshoot; I see them deferring to the power of the Egyptian imagination. I see it in the prevalence of hijab-covered women on television, civil rights leaders for once, not signifiers of difference.

Is the Israel lobby still around to try and block this awareness? Of course. The reactionary are talking about sharia law and the Muslim brotherhood. That is the definition of reactionary. The intelligent are waking up. Today on the NPR show On the Media, they had segment after segment about Arab opinion, Arab attitudes. As I have said before, Mona Eltahawy and Tarek Masoud have become stars because we so crave their understanding. Intelligent reasonable Americans all share something of my joy, and now have deep curiosity about a world they have been lied to about again and again. The awakening that so many of us have had in the Palestinian solidarity community will occur across the U.S. discourse, and we will begin to see the beautiful diversity of Arab life.

Will it change the Israel/Palestine conflict? Of course it will. I’m not going to predict just how but that conflict has been a dam against human understanding, for over 60 years, way too long, but now a huge flood of understanding and sympathy will break the dam. Pro-Arab feeling will rival pro-Israel feeling. Jews in the power structure will begin to question their Zionism, or they will be forced to. Yes there is tremendous resistance. This Times piece today shows the hand-in-glove relationship of the US and Israel. (“Daniel Shapiro, a White House Middle East adviser, met on Tuesday with American Jewish leaders, and Mr. Obama talked to Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Sunday.”) Or last night Eliot Spitzer showed a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman stating that Palestinians had a right to resist Israel and imperialism in such a way as to make the man out to be a jihadist. But the dam will break over Spitzer too, as Americans demand to know more about the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas too, and learn about the steady racist dispossession of the Palestinians.

All the neocon lies about Arabs wanting to restore the Caliphate and smoldering Arab resentment over civilizational decline contained a shadow truth, of Arab greatness as members of the human family. They have been outcast too long. They are home at last. Let the Angry Arab stop being angry, let Abunimah into the NY Review of Books, break out the tabbouleh and the oud.


Even the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli cells are following the news from Egypt

Feb 05, 2011



and other news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers

Concrete clashes / Aviva Lori
Israel’s newest urban center, Tzur Yitzhak, is just up the hill from Taibeh, built on lands that once belonged to the Arab town. It’s not clear what motivated some of the decisions that went into planning it … If you continue to the end of Nahal Poleg Street, you reach Taibeh. Without the separation fence built around Tzur Yitzhak, it would have been possible to roll down the hill straight into the two mosques at the bottom, or into one of the industrial plants at its foot. From Nahal Poleg Street, Taibeh is just a stone’s throw away.

Netanyahu commits to promoting Arab construction in East Jerusalem
Commitments comes as Israel plans gestures to Palestinians in bid to deflect Quartet criticism over settlement construction.

Violence continues in Silwan
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) — Sporadic clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinian residents of Silwan yesterday. Israeli troops fired tear gas grenades at Palestinian homes in Bir Ayyub and Baten al-Hawa, and were also stationed in Ein Silwan area on the outskirts of Wadi Hilweh. Daily clashes have been taking place throughout Silwan as Israeli troops continue to subject Palestinian residents to the violence of tear gas and sound grenades. A large number of residents, including many children and several pregnant women have suffered from severe suffocation as a result of gas inhalation, in some cases even losing their unborn babies to the toxic fumes. A vast number of gas grenades have also been fired directly inside Palestinian homes, sparking fires in two homes in Baten al-Hawa.

AIC Video: Protest El Araqib demolitions
3 Feb – 200 Palestinians and Israelis attended a protest on Tuesday 1 February at the Jewish National Fund (JNF) office in Jerusalem against Israel’s 12 demolitions of the El Araqib village since last summer. The JNF is planning to plant a “peace forest” on the El Araqib resident’s land, thus uprooting people in order to plant trees. This is part of a wider Israeli attack against the Bedouin community in the Negev Desert and traditional ownership of the area’s land.

Incursions / Violence

PCHR: Israeli attacks left three Palestinians killed this week
Israeli military attacks left three Palestinians dead; troops arrested 23 civilians this week, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said in its weekly report. The report, which documents daily human rights violations in the occupied territories, covers the period of Thursday, January 27, to Wednesday, February 2, 2011 … During the reporting period, the Israeli army conducted at least 31 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they arrested 23 Palestinian civilians, including a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and 7 children.

IOF troops raid Jenin villages
JENIN, (PIC)– …Local sources said that a number of army vehicles rolled into the village of Qabatya, set up a road block near the vegetable market and searched some of the farmers. IOF troops also raided the village of Kafr Raiand combed the area between this village and the neighbouring village of Fahma. They fired sound bombs disturbing the peace of the early dawn hours.Local residents also said that that IOF troops raided the village ofMaraka to the south of Jenin and roamed the streets of the village until late morning hours.

Family of Amr Qawasme, murdered in his bed, seeks accountability
“I sleep one night and then I don’t sleep because I am afraid something will happen. They killed him in front of me,” Subhya Qawasme explained, while fixing her intensely green eyes on me, and gesturing with her large, muscular hands. On 7 January, five Israeli soldiers invaded Subhya’s home in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Her husband, Amr, was shot to death while he was sleeping in their bed as Subhya prayed beside him. Amr Qawasme was 66 years old. He was a former construction worker, a father of 12 and a grandfather of 37. The Israeli military quickly admitted that Amr’s murder was “a mistake,” that his killing was a botched attempted extra-judicial execution mission.

Activism / Solidarity

The popular struggle in solidarity with the Egyptian people
Throughout the West Bank, demonstrations will call for the safety of Egyptian protesters engaged in legitimate political protest. The villages of Bil’in, Ni’ilin, Nabi Saleh, and Al Ma’asara will stand in solidarity with the Egyptian people. WHEN: Friday, 4 February 2011, 12:30 WHAT: Demonstrations Against the Israeli Occupation and Separation Barrier in Solidarity with the Egyptian People

Israeli troops attack anti-Wall protesters marching in solidarity with Egypt
[roundup] 4 Feb – Scores of Palestinians joined Israeli and international supporters to march against the Israeli wall in different locations in the West Bank on Friday. This week, protests were held in solidarity with the pro-democracy Egyptian demonstrators …In Wadi Rahal, many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation after Israeli troops attacked protesters … In the nearby village of Bil’in, Israeli troops attacked the weekly protest as soon as people and their international and Israeli supporters reached the gate of the wall separating local farmers form their lands. Troops used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against the unarmed civilians. Local journalist Haytham al-Khateeb was injured in the hand and many others suffered from tear gas inhalation.

The importance of countering Canada’s National Security Agenda for justice in Palestine
From February 4th to the 6th the peoples commission network will be holding a popular forum called Whose security? Our Security!, to bring activists, social justice organizers and communities together, in order to broaden the movement against Canada’s National Security Agenda. n terms of the ongoing work towards solidarity with Palestine through the growing Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign to end Israeli apartheid. It is critical for those who work on the question of Palestine to also build an analysis and a challenge to the way in which national security has been used by the Conservative government as a means to show its continued support for Israeli Apartheid, through the discourse of the war on terror and to delegitimise both the Palestine solidarity here and the struggle for self-determination and justice in Palestine.


Witnesses: Army detains 3 Beit Ummar residents
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained three Palestinians on Thursday near the illegal settlement of Karmi Tzur in Hebron, witnesses said. Palestinian Solidarity Project spokesman Mohammad Awad said soldiers detained Belal Hamdan Abu Maria, 25, Issa Mohammad Issa Baher, 20, and Abdallah Samir Abdallah, 20. All three are residents ofBeit Ummar, he said. Awad added that soldiers attacked him and destroyed his camera.

Israel authorities deprive family visits to prisoner for seven years

JENIN, February 3, 2011 (WAFA) – A prisoner’s wife from Jenin, north of the West Bank, called on international legal and human rights organizations Thursday to pressure the Israeli authorities to allow her and her daughter to visit her husband, after her husband had been denied visits for the last seven years. The husband, Anas Hithnawi, 27, from Jenin was sentenced to eight years of imprisonment, and has been prohibited from seeing his wife and child for the last seven years.

Palestinian captives are following the Egyptian people’s revolution
RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Palestinian captives in the Negev desert prison are following closely the progress of the Egyptian people’s revolution and the news emanating from the Tahrir Square in Cairo through whatever media means available to them in jail. In a letter leaked out of prison the captives said that despite the very cold weather at night captives of different political persuasions are following closely events taking place in Egypt and pray for the success of the people’s revolution … The captives said that most of them, even Fatah’s captives, support the demands of the Egyptian protesters.


Gaza facing fuel crisis as tunnel trade stops
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Gaza Strip is facing a fuel crisis since political unrest in Egypt led to the closure of smuggling tunnels, fuel company officials warned Thursday. Deputy head of fuel companies in the Strip Mahmoud Al-Khazendar said gas stations have completely run out of fuel.

Gaza crossings closed
Israeli authorities decided to close both crossings into the Gaza Strip on Friday and Saturday, Palestinian liaison officials said. On Thursday, between 170 and 180 truckloads of commercial and humanitarian goods were allowed into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, crossings official Raed Fattouh said.

Gaza bloggers build bridges to outside world
(CNN) 4 Feb — In Gaza, bloggers say they are using the internet to share the realities of their daily lives with the wider world. Mona El-Farra, a 56-year-old doctor and human rights activist, began writing her blog From Gaza, with Love in 2006.She said she started distributing her diary by email after her parents’ home was demolished by the Israeli army in 2000, and later the diary became a blog … Sharif Al Sharif, a 27-year-old media co-coordinator for a Palestinian youth organization, began blogging in 2006.


Army: Gaza projectile hits Israel
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — A projectile fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel on Friday morning, causing no damage or injuries, the Israeli military said. A military spokeswoman said the rocket hit the Sdot Negev district, just east of the coastal enclave. As yet no faction has claimed the launch.

Egyptian uprising and Palestine

Anti, pro-Mubarak protests feared in Jerusalem
Following information Fatah and Hamas planning to protest in favor and against Egyptian regime’s downfall, Jerusalem Police restrict worshippers’ entry to Temple Mount for Friday prayers. Any attempt to cause disturbances will be dealt with firmly, officials say,7340,L-4023884,00.html

Report: 50,000 protest in Egyptian Rafah
4 Feb – Al-Jazeera network reports tens of thousands join nationwide protests against Egyptian President Mubarak near Gaza border. EU leaders issue statement saying ‘transition process must start now’

Gaza feeds hungry Egyptian troops in role reversal
(Reuters) 4 Feb – Underground tunnels generally used to smuggle goods into Gaza are moving traffic in the opposite direction in the wake of the popular uprising in Egypt… Egyptian soldiers isolated on the Gaza border by 10 days of internal upheaval are getting bread, canned goods and other food supplies from the enclave, which is usually on the receiving end of food aid.

PA bans ‘unlicensed assembly’
4 Feb 13:26 The Palestinian Authority has banned “unlicensed gatherings” in order to preserve order in the West Bank, security spokesman Adnan Ad-Dmeiri announced Thursday. The PA official said the ruling was in response to demonstrations in solidarity with uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. In a statement, Ad-Dmeiri said the PA affirmed the right of expression but that the demonstrations would create chaos.

Human Rights Watch: PA must end violence against demonstrators
3 Feb 21:11 RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority should end police violence against peaceful demonstrators, the latest instance being Wednesday evening in Ramallah, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. Police punched, kicked, and detained participants in the demonstration, as well as at least two journalists and a Human Rights Watch research assistant, the New York-based group said.

Hundreds in Gaza rally in solidarity with Egypt
Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip rallied Thursday in solidarity with the uprising in Egypt. Marchers carried banners reading “People want the regime out” and “Down with Hosni Mubarak”. A student group distributed a statement calling on the UN to take action against the regime.

VIDEO: Thousands support ‘day of rage’ against Hamas
Inspired by the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, a Facebook group called “The Revolution of Honor – Gaza” has called for a “day of rage” next Friday to protest against the Hamas government which rules the coastal enclave. The group has grown to some 10,000 members just three days after it was launched … Tawfiq Tirawi, a former intelligence chief in the Palestinian Authority and a current member of Fatah’s Central Committee, supported the group’s cause. “We are a nation which fights with all means at its disposal to gain freedom and independence from the Israeli occupation, so how can we accept Hamas’ despotic regime?” he said.,7340,L-4023806,00.html

Palestine’s Egypt ambassador defends response
CAIRO (Ma’an) — The Palestinian ambassador to Cairo said Thursday the embassy was following up with all Palestinians stranded in Egypt, after his response came under criticism. Barakat Al-Farra denounced the “media campaign” on Hamas websites about the embassy’s response to the crisis. Palestinians stranded at the airport or Rafah crossing are receiving all possible assistance, Al-Farra said … Staff distributed blankets, medication and 100 Egyptian pounds to every Palestinian stranded at the airport, he said, and embassy staff remain in constant communication. “Everything is being handled responsibly.”

Politics / Diplomacy

Israel, Palestinians float Gaza gas rapprochement
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 4 Feb – Israel and the Palestinians are eyeing talks to develop a gas field off the Gaza coast and other initiatives for an independent Palestinian infrastructure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday. The announcement anticipated a meeting on Saturday of world powers trying to revive peace talks mired by long-running Israeli-Palestinian disputes about West Bank boundaries as well as the inflexibility of Gaza’s Islamist Hamas rulers.

Palestinian PM: Palestinian issues sparking unrest
3 Feb (AP) – PARIS—Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Thursday that the failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has helped fuel unrest in Egypt and elsewhere in the Mideast. During a visit to Paris, Fayyad said protesters’ complaints stem not only from internal problems in their own societies, but also from “a frustration, a desperation because of the failure of efforts to solve the Palestinian problem.”

Palestinian Authority to seek less aid in 2011
PARIS (Reuters) 4 Feb — The Palestinian Authority will ask for substantially less foreign aid from a donor conference this year than in the past and hopes to wean itself off budget assistance by 2013, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Friday. Fayyad also said he wanted June’s donor meeting to be accompanied by progress in the process of establishing statehood for the Palestinian entity by the end of 2011.

UN rights chief to visit Israel, Palestinian areas
GENEVA (AFP) – UN human rights chief Navi Pillay will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories, including Gaza, starting on Sunday where she will meet leaders from both sides, her office announced … Her office told AFP that the visit was requested by both governments. Israel has traditionally been sharply critical of UN human rights bodies and their criticism of violations in the Palestinian territories, and has refused to cooperate with some of the world body’s rights experts.


Love the convert / Tamar Rotem
Alina Roise and Maxim Sardikov are confronting the rabbinic authorities in court, in the hope that no other converted couple will go through the bitter experience they had … About 30 percent of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who have come to Israel under the Law of Return are not Jews under rabbinical law, because only their father is Jewish … “It was only when they arrived here that a few of the immigrants realized they cannot marry because the rabbinate doesn’t accept that people with only a Jewish father are Jews.”

Analysis / Opinion

Israel and Palestine: Breaking the silence / David Shulman
Feb 24 issue – A few weeks ago I was in al-Nabi Salih, a Palestinian village northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. It wasn’t so easy to get there; the Israeli army had closed off the area on every side, and we literally had to crawl through the olive groves, just beneath one of the army’s roadblocks, before we managed to reach the village. Al-Nabi Salih is a troubled place. The large Israeli settlement of Halamish nearby has taken over nearly half of the village lands, including a precious freshwater spring. Most Fridays there are dramatic confrontations between the soldiers and the villagers protesting this land grab and the other difficulties of life under occupation. Yet the first thing I saw in al-Nabi Salih was a huge sign in Arabic and English: “We Believe in Non-Violence. Do You?” It was World Peace Day, and speaker after speaker reaffirmed a commitment to peace and to nonviolent resistance to the occupation … Particularly eloquent was Ali Abu Awwad, a young activist who runs a new organization, the Palestinian Movement for Non-Violent Resistance, with its offices in Bethlehem and growing influence throughout the occupied territories. “Peace itself is the way to peace,” he said, “and there is no peace without freedom.” All of this is, in some ways, rather new in Palestine, although in his latest book the philosopher Sari Nusseibeh, the president of al-Quds University in Jerusalem, traces an earlier stage of organized Palestinian civil disobedience in the popular struggle of the first intifada in 1988 and 1989, in which he had a significant part.

Twilight Zone: A tale of love and darkness / Gideon Levy
This week it was impossible for Israeli journalists who do not hold a foreign passport to enter Egypt to fulfill a journalist’s passionate desire to be there now, especially now … That first trip, in December 1977, with the first Israelis who ever visited Egypt, was certainly the most electrifying journalistic mission of my life; nothing will ever compare to it. Nothing can compare to the first visit to an Arab country after all those years of darkness; nothing will ever be like that misty morning at the Mena House hotel, when I opened the curtain in my room and my unbelieving eyes saw the pyramids looming in all their glory. Nothing will compare to the night when we stole out of the hotel, away from our security guards, and went to see the marvels of Cairo night life. Nothing will ever compare to the shattering of all the myths and the disinformation with which our brains had been washed, as we encountered Egypt and its inhabitants for ourselves.

A second chance / Aluf Benn
The turmoil in the region may prove to be a blessing in disguise for Netanyahu: Now maybe he’ll have an excuse to push through a peace deal with the Palestinians.

When it comes to Arabs, Israel knows only what it wants to / Sayed Kashua
After listening to our Arab affairs analysts, I reached the conclusion that the Knesset should pass a law banning Jews from learning Arabic … most of our analysts have already decided that contrary to what the demonstrators in Cairo’s streets are demanding, there is no chance for democracy in the Islamic world. “That’s not right,” argued Dr. Uriya Shavit on Reshet’s morning program. “Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, and it has a real democracy.” “Yes,” countered Eli Shaked, “but Indonesia is not an Arab country. And there’s a difference.” According to the former Israeli ambassador to Cairo, whose employment history proves he must know Egypt like the back of his hand, Arabness is the problem that’s preventing democracy.

Book: Israeli Rejectionism, Zalman Amit & Daphna Levit
Zalman Amit and Daphna Levit find overwhelming evidence of Israeli rejectionism as the main cause for the failure of peace. They demonstrate that the Israeli leadership has always been against a fairly negotiated peace and have deliberately stalled negotiations for the last 80 years. The motivations behind this rejectionist position have changed, as have the circumstances of the conflict, but the conclusion has remained consistent – peace has not been in the interest of the state of Israel.


Thursday: 17 Iraqis killed, 47 wounded
At least 20 Iraqis were killed and 62 more were wounded in the latest violence. Although these figures appear to be closer to a daily average, there were no reports from Ninewa or Diyala, which are two of the more violent provinces in Iraq. While it is possible these two areas have suddenly become very peaceful, it is more likely that attacks are going unreported or the information is not reaching the West. Also, protests against a lack of vital services took place in Baghdad and Hamza, but Madia al Rawai, a member of the Iraqi Women’s Association, warns that Iraq’s million war widows are ready to protest their poverty as well.

Iraqi boy killed by gunmen aiming for his father
4 Feb BAGHDAD (AP) — A police chief in northern Iraq says the 8-year-old son of a local anti-terrorism chief was killed in a food market by gunmen aiming for his father. Tuz Khormato police chief Col. Hussein Rasheed said Friday that the target of the shooting was the chief of the city’s anti-terrorism security squads. The father and two of his other children were wounded in the Thursday night shooting.

Iraq not immune from Arab anger: clerics
KARBALA, Iraq (AFP) 4 Feb — Iraq is not immune to protests elsewhere in the Arab world because it is a democracy, and its leaders must work to fight corruption and promote social justice, clerics said in Friday sermons.

Iraqi refugees trapped in Egypt appeal to UN
London, Asharq Al-Awsat  (4 Feb) — A number of Iraqis who are living in Egypt and who have applied for refugee status with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees [UNHCR] have expressed fears for their lives in light of the deteriorating security situation in the country. The Iraqi embassy in Egypt has offered to return any Iraqi citizens trapped in Egypt to Baghdad; however these Iraqi refugees are unable to return to Iraq for fear of what could happen to them there, whilst also fearing to remain in Egypt during this difficult stage. 

Other Mideast / Arab world

Change in Egypt throws dark shadow over Jordan / Salameh Nematt
3 Feb – The stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process has heightened tension in Jordan over the past several months, deepening local fears that a worsening situation in the occupied Palestinian territories may spill over to the kingdom, where nearly half of the population is of Palestinian origin.

Jordan’s king admits reforms had floundered
4 Feb (AP) AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdullah II Thursday acknowledged reforms in the kingdom have “slowed and stumbled,” and urged the nation’s Islamist opposition to work with the new cabinet to give the people a greater say in politics. The appeal came a day after the powerful Muslim Brotherhood rejected an offer from the newly appointed prime minister to join his Cabinet, saying the new premier was the wrong person to introduce reforms.

Rallies held in Jordan and Syria
Hundreds of protesters demand reform in Amman while Damascus prepares for a “day of rage” inspired by events in Egypt … Meanwhile, security is being beefed up in Syria ahead of planned anti-government demonstrations in Damascus, the capital. Campaigns on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter have called for a “day of rage” on Friday and Saturday, following similar actions in Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia.Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president, has resisted calls for political freedoms and jailed many critics of his regime.

Regional instability could spread to Syria
DAMASCUS (AFP) — The wave of pro-democracy protests engulfing the Arab world could spread to Syria, where the Baath party has been in power for almost half a century, according to analysts. “No Arab country is immune. These unprecedented opposition movements have demands. They feel aggrieved by absolute power and lack of democracy,” said Riad Qahwaji of the Institute for the Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

Syria’s policies may save it from a ‘dignity revolution’ / John Bell
Beyond its ruthlessness, Syria’s politics of Arab dignity and support for resistance against Israel may provide a measure of immunity from popular revolt. Its refusal to “fold” to Israeli and American demands make it that much less susceptible to the Dignity Revolution sweeping the Arab world.

Jordanians in fresh protest at PM’s office
AMMAN (AFP) 4 Feb — Around 1,000 protesters gathered on Friday outside the Jordanian prime minister’s office to demand reforms, before staging a sit-in near Cairo’s embassy in support of anti-regime protests in Egypt. The demonstrators, answering calls by the powerful Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood, chanted: “The people demand reform and change.”

Tunisia replaces regional governors
3 Feb – Interim government continues efforts to dismantle Ben Ali’s legacy while struggling to restore order and stability.

Lebanon economy to weather political storm: analysts
BEIRUT (AFP) 3 Feb — Lebanon’s economy should be able to survive the political turmoil that has seen the appointment of a Hezbollah-backed premier due to the strength of the country’s banking system and replete foreign currency reserves, analysts say.

Yemen gov’t supporters tighten grip on Sanaa square
[with map] SANAA (AFP) — Supporters of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh tightened their control of Sanaa’s central square on Friday, after crowding out a planned opposition rally there the previous day. Tents, national flags and portraits of Saleh were erected across Al-Tahrir Square, which was occupied by hundreds of supporters of the ruling Popular Congress General and patrolled by members of the security forces.

Bouteflika criticizes ‘excesses’ during Algerian riots
ALGIERS (AFP) — Algeria’s president denounced on Thursday “regrettable excesses” during deadly January riots while announcing measures demanded by the opposition including shortly lifting the state of emergency.


WikiLeaks: Prince Philip claims he owns part of Jerusalem
Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II’s consort, claimed in the 1980s ownership of a famous piece of property in downtown Jerusalem … Marriages among European royal stock were once common, and so it is not surprising to find that the only living descendant of the 19th-century Russian prince who gave his name to the Jerusalem building is the 21st-century husband of Britain’s queen.


‘Outrageous’: Guantanamo prisoner dies after being held for nine years without charge or trial / Andy Worthington
4 Feb – The Second World War lasted for six years, and at the end of it prisoners of war were released to resume their lives. At Guantánamo, on the other hand, the prison has just marked the ninth anniversary of its opening, and on Thursday the Pentagon announced that Awal Gul, a 48-year old Afghan prisoner, who had been held for nine years without charge or trial and was scheduled to be held forever, died in a shower after suffering a heart attack. Gul had never been held as a prisoner of war, and despite the US government’s assertions that he could be held forever, no one in a position of authority — neither President Bush nor President Obama — had never adequately demonstrated that he constituted a threat to the United States.

US intelligence agencies in the crossfire amid ‘surprising’ Mideast unrest
(AP) Obama reportedly chides intel chief for failure to predict Tunisia protests; senior Democratic Senator: Events should not have surprised like they did.

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Cardin, Democratic Senator, vows that Muslim Brotherhood should play ‘no part in governance of Egypt’
Feb 05, 2011 07:47 am | Philip Weiss


The other night on Jon Stewart they made fun of the Texas Christians who are against a Jew, Joe Straus, being speaker of the House down there. They quoted a leader of the Texas Pastors’ Council who said that a Muslim should not hold public office in Texas. Intolerance.

Well, on the Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU in Washington yesterday, a powerful politician expressed similar intolerance with respect to a religious group in Egypt. The reporter is Tom Sherwood. Politician is Ben Cardin. By the way, he’s Jewish. Is he a Zionist? I can only guess. (thanks to Ali Gharib for all facts in this post)

SHERWOOD 12:14:47 What are the — what is the role and what is the Muslim Brotherhood, which some people are just hearing for the first time, as a participant in whatever happens next?

CARDIN 12:14:58 Well, the Muslim Brotherhood is probably the best organized of the opposition. It’s a very small group within Egypt, but it’s a group that has supported terrorists. It’s a group that is opposed to the peace process, and it’s a group that the United States — I think, the region and the international community has a legitimate right to say should it be — should have no part in the governance of Egypt.



Neocons get their talking points down: Sharia bogeyman

Feb 05, 2011

Philip Weiss


Yesterday Josh Block formerly of AIPAC, formerly of Ted Kennedy’s staff, now of the Progressive Policy Institute, (and this resume shows what a hash Zionism has made of Democratic politics) sent out a memo to editors warning that the Muslim Brotherhood is taking over Egypt with Sharia law. Some of his questions:

1. Can the Muslim Brotherhood participate in a government, where Egypt continues to fulfill Egypt’s obligations to Israel under the Camp David Accords?

2. Can the Muslim Brotherhood lead or even be part of a government that continues extensive counter-terrorism cooperation with Israel and the United States, as conducted by the last government?

4. Can the Muslim Brotherhood participate in an Egyptian government that maintains the Western-backed closure of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip?

5. Would the party sit in a coalition government with female cabinet ministers? 

7. Does the Muslim Brotherhood intend to push Egyptian lawmakers to adopt Koran-based law for Egyptian Muslims and former Muslims, including mandating death for apostasy?

Also, this is from Ali Gharib:

Here’s Eli Lake’s article on a Muslim Brotherhood higher-up calling for ending the peace treaty with Israel, without ever mentioning that Egyptians just might view the peace treaty with Israel as the primary means of enabling Mubarak’s brutal repression of their country. And then there’s this little nasty bit:

“In the last week some al Qaeda affiliated websites have released messages praising the demonstrations against Mr. Mubarak.”

Right, and so have the leaders of the Islamic Republic and the Green Movement. And a whole lot of other people.


Colonialist misgivings (we should have put Jewish state in Missouri)

Feb 05, 2011

Philip Weiss


Now they tell us. David Rothkopf, a big Israel-supporter, at Foreign Policy:

Bibi faces a potentially seismic shift in Israel’s strategic position unequaled in nearly a half-century. As one worried, smart, well-known Israel-watcher said to me the other day, “They shouldn’t have located Israel in the Middle East. Too dangerous. They should have put it in the Middle … West.” For sure, if Kansas and Nebraska were his neighbors, Bibi Netanyahu would be a much more relaxed man today.

But as any student of Zionism can tell you, the Zionists knew at the turn of the last century, when Herzl was describing Zionism as a colonialist project, that the bride already had a husband, as one of them put it; Arabs lived in Palestine. The Zionists considered Argentina and Uganda too. I believe it was Noam Chomsky who said, Better they got New Jersey.

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