Feb 06 2011
Feb 01 2011
This is day eight of the protest in Egypt demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down.
After a day of protest that drew more than a million peaceful demonstrators to Tahrir Square in Cairo and around other cities in Egypt, there are still tens of thousands of protesters in the streets, many having vowed to remain until Pres. Hosni Mubarak leaves office. News agencies are reporting that Mubarak will make a televised address possibly announcing that he will not run for office in September. Whether that will satisfy the protesters and the opposition parties is in doubt. President Obama is also urging Mubarak not to run:
The message was conveyed to Mr. Mubarak by Frank G. Wisner, a seasoned former diplomat with deep ties to Egypt, these officials said. Mr. Wisner’s message, they said, was not a blunt demand for Mr. Mubarak to step aside now, but firm counsel that he should make way for a reform process that would culminate in free and fair elections in September to elect a new Egyptian leader.
This back channel message, authorized directly by Mr. Obama, would appear to tip the administration beyond the delicate balancing act it has performed in the last week – resisting calls for Mr. Mubarak to step down, even as it has called for an “orderly transition” to a more politically open Egypt.
In a late night appearance on state television, President Hosni Mubarak has said he would not run for reelection in September and would oversee an orderly transition. In his refusal to step down, Mubarak said:
“I never intended to run for re-election,” Mubarak said in his address. “I will use the remaining months of my term in office to fill the peoples’ demands.”
That would leave Mubarak in charge of overseeing a transitional government until the next presidential election, currently scheduled for September. He promised reforms to the constitution, particularly article 76, which makes it virtually impossible for independent candidates to run for office. And he said his government would focus on improving the economy and providing jobs.
“My new government will be responsive to the needs of young people,” he said. “It will fulfil those legitimate demands and help the return of stability and security.”
Mubarak also made a point of saying that he would “die in this land” – a message to protesters that he did not plan to flee into exile like recently deposed Tunisian president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Mubarak also said the protests were “manipulated and controlled by political forces” and the people must chose between “chaos and stability”.
This did not satisfy many of the protesters in the streets who could be heard yelling “Erhal! Erhal!”, or “Leave! Leave!”. Many left the square where earlier over one million people had gathered. Calls to march on the presidential palace and new of “we wont leave until Mubarak is gone” were echoed through the square.
Al Jazeera correspondent in the midst of Tahrir Square in Cairo, says that protesters are “furious after Mubarak’s ‘audacious’ speech.” He adds that the protesters are insisting that the army remove Mubarak from power.
There have also been reports of shots being fired over the heads of crowds in the port city of Alexandria where there have been clashes between anti-government and pro-Mubarak protesters.
President Obama in a live address said the he spoke with Mubarak after he spoke and told him that only Egyptian people can determine their leaders, need orderly transition that’s meaningful, peaceful and must begin now.
Jan 30 2011
|So here I sit to face
That same old fire place
Gettin’ ready for the same old explosion
Goin’ through my mind
And soon enough time will tell,
About the circus in the wishing well
And someone who will buy and sell for me
Someone to toll my bell
— Jimi Hendrix, Burning of the Midnight Lamp
In 1991 Sheldon L. Richman at The CATO Institute virtually gave away the US Foreign Policy game for anyone who hadn’t already seen through the long years of the “spreading freedom and democracy” smoke and mirror show emanating from every US administration since Eisenhower’s warning about the Military Industrial Complex, in a long and very detailed policy analysis article titled “Ancient History”: U.S. Conduct in the Middle East Since World War II and the Folly of Intervention:
After 70 years of broken Western promises regarding Arab independence, it should not be surprising that the West is viewed with suspicion and hostility by the populations (as opposed to some of the political regimes) of the Middle East. The United States, as the heir to British imperialism in the region, has been a frequent object of suspicion. Since the end of World War II, the United States, like the European colonial powers before it, has been unable to resist becoming entangled in the region’s political conflicts. Driven by a desire to keep the vast oil reserves in hands friendly to the United States, a wish to keep out potential rivals (such as the Soviet Union), opposition to neutrality in the cold war, and domestic political considerations, the United States has compiled a record of tragedy in the Middle East.
If the chief natural resource of the Middle East were bananas, the region would not have attracted the attention of U.S. policymakers as it has for decades. Americans became interested in the oil riches of the region in the 1920s, and two U.S. companies, Standard Oil of California and Texaco, won the first concession to explore for oil in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. They discovered oil there in 1938, just after Standard Oil of California found it in Bahrain. The same year Gulf Oil (along with its British partner Anglo-Persian Oil) found oil in Kuwait. During and after World War II, the region became a primary object of U.S. foreign policy. It was then that policymakers realized that the Middle East was “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.“
Subsequently, as a result of cooperation between the U.S. government and several American oil companies, the United States replaced Great Britain as the chief Western power in the region. In Iran and Saudi Arabia, American gains were British (and French) losses. Originally, the dominant American oil interests had had limited access to Iraqi oil only (through the Iraq Petroleum Company, under the 1928 Red Line Agreement). In 1946, however, Standard Oil of New Jersey and Mobil Oil Corp., seeing the irresistible opportunities in Saudi Arabia, had the agreement voided. When the awakening countries of the Middle East asserted control over their oil resources, the United States found ways to protect its access to the oil. Nearly everything the United States has done in the Middle East can be understood as contributing to the protection of its long-term access to Middle Eastern oil and, through that control, Washington’s claim to world leadership. The U.S. build-up of Israel and Iran as powerful gendarmeries beholden to the United States, and U.S. aid given to “moderate,” pro-Western Arab regimes, such as those in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan, were intended to keep the region in friendly hands. That was always the meaning of the term “regional stability.“
Apr 04 2010
From the ACLU’s A Ponzi Scheme of Torture
Chapter 4, Part 3 3/20/2010
(this same link in a form which does not jump all over the page when the mouse attempts to scroll over it here: http://www.thetorturereport.or… )
Timeline Summary of Binyam Mohamed and Abu Zubaydah:
April 2002. Binyam Mohamed arrested in Pakistan. Interrogated by the British Secret Service MI6. Tortured in Moroccan secret prisons.
Sept 2004 Binyam Mohamed sent to Guantanamo, from Bagram, Afghanistan. Although declared an
“enemy combatant” Nov 2004, Binyam Mohamed decides not to participate in the military Tribunal created by President Bush in Oct 2001.
2005 Binyam Mohamed charged with conspiring against the U.S., with “Usama Bin Laden (a/k/a Abu Abdullah), Saif al Adel, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri (a/k/a “the Doctor”), Mohammad Atef (a/k/a Abu Hafs al Masri), Abd al Hadi al Iraq, Zayn al Abidin Muammad Husayn (a/k/a Abu Zubayda hereinafter “Abu Zubayda”), Jose Padilla, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad” to commit acts of terrorism.
Zubaydah, the vanishing man-
(Binyam)Mohamed was formally recharged with conspiracy on May 28, 2008. The charge sheet is virtually identical to the one issued on November 4, 2005, except that Richard Reid’s name has been removed from paragraph (e) and every reference to Abu Zubaydah has been purged from the document. Where before “Binyam Mohammad then traveled to Birmel, Afghanistan and was introduced to Abu Zubayda” and “Abu Zubayda promised him training in Pakistan building remote control devices for explosives,” for example, now “Binyam Mohamed then traveled to Birmel Afghanistan, and trained on building remote control devices.” “After arriving in Lahore, Binyam Mohammad and Jose Padilla met with Abu Zubayda in private and discussed plans for attacks against the United States” and “Abu Zubayda stated he preferred Binyam Mohamed conduct an ‘overseas’ operation instead of going back to Afghanistan” became “After arriving in Lahore, Binyam Mohamed and Jose Padilla plotted attacks against the United States. After these discussions, Mohamed and Padilla agreed to be sent to the United States to conduct these operations rather than returning to Afghanistan.”23 
Sept 22, 2008. Lt Col Darrel Vandeveld, US military Tribunal prosecutor, requests to resign his military commission, stating he had ethical qualms about continuing to prosecute Guantanamo detainees without evidence being made available for the defense.
Oct 20, 2008. Pentagon dropped all charges against Binyam Mohamed and four other detainees whose original charge sheets had linked them to Abu Zubaydah.
Oct 21, 2008. The United Kingdom notifies the Foreign Office they are about to hand down notice on releasing CIA documents for Binyam Mohamed’s attorneys.
Oct 22, 2008. The British courts rule. A British – US diplomatic tug of war over who goes first, releasing what classified documents, trying to hide the torture evidence, results. This year, a few paragraphs were released, showing that the British govt. secret services did know of Binyam Mohamed’s incarceration.
Jan 22, 2009. President Obama orders Guantanamo closed, bans torture, forms task force to review all cases.
Feb 23, 2010. Binyam Mohamed finally freed and returned to the UK.
from Binyam Mohamed’s Statement the day he was released:
….For myself, the very worst moment came when I realised in Morocco that the people who were torturing me were receiving questions and materials from British intelligence. I had met with British intelligence in Pakistan. I had been open with them. Yet the very people who I hoped would come to my rescue, I later realised, had allied themselves with my abusers.
I am not asking for vengeance; only that the truth should be made known, so that nobody in the future should have to endure what I have endured.
Mar 31 2010
On March 28, 2002, Abu Zubaydah was captured in Faisalabad, Pakistan by the FBI, “identified” as a high-ranking operative of al Qaeda, and subsequently tortured by American agents at Guantanamo and elsewhere.
Abu Zubaydah’s treatment at the hands of the CIA has been called torture by Ali Soufan, the FBI interrogator who witnessed part of Abu Zubaydah’s CIA interrogation, multiple U.S. officials including President Obama, and by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Media and DOJ reports about torturing Mr. Zubaydah were always careful to mention his connection to al Qaeda.
The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. Abu Zubaydah has been described as a Qaeda operative.
Jun 25 2009
h/t David Swanson
A large coalition of human rights groups has planned rallies and marches in major U.S. cities, including a rally in Washington, D.C.’s John Marshall Park at 11 a.m. followed by a noon march to the Justice Department where some participants will risk arrest in nonviolent protest if a special prosecutor for torture is not appointed. Torture Accountability
For those who are not able to go to Washington, D.C., rallies are also planned for San Francisco, CA; Pasadena, CA; Thousand Oaks, CA; Boston, MA; Salt Lake City, UT; Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; Las Vegas, NV; Honolulu, HI; Tampa, FL; Philadelphia, PA; and Anchorage, AK, with details available online: Events Across the U.S. Hopefully, some of you will be able to attend one of these very important rallies.
Of interest, in San Francisco and Pasadena, citizens will submit a formal judicial misconduct complaint against 9th Circuit Court Judge, Jay Bybee, former Assistant Attorney General. I can only think of this as a positive move in this maze of affiliates of considered, acted upon, carried out TORTURE!
Dec 30 2008
This is my last Water News diary for the year and I’d like to take the opportunity to remind the fighting I/P posters that the Middle East, where a few great waterways are the major source of water for a large area of dry lands spanning a number of national borders, the scarcity of water has played a central role in defining the political relationships in the region for thousands of years. Its ideological, religious, and geographical disputes go hand in hand with water-related tensions and it is becoming abundantly clear that the incoming administration of Barack Obama will have to deal swiftly with the powers of the region as the water crisis is not limited to the Jordan basin, but extends throughout the Middle East, encompassing also the watersheds of the Nile and the Tigris-Euphrates. Because of water’s preeminent role in survival (Israel depends on fresh water resources originating in the occupied territories for about one-third of its total supply) the parched and volatile Middle East must be dealt with because the fact is that the region is running out of water. The people who have built their lives on what was once a reliable source of fresh water are now seeing a shortage of this vital resource impinge on all aspects of their increasingly fragile relations.
Cross-posted on La Vida Locavore and DKos.
Mar 06 2008
Another surreal day in America. Everyone is talking about the “math” in the race for the Democratic nomination for president. Our war criminal in chief endorsed McCain to carry on his proud tradition of violence for profit. The corporate media laps up the most expensive presidential campaign in history. Meanwhile, halfway across the world, the Iraqi people continue to suffer because of our actions and inactions.
Here is a story that every news outlet in America managed to ignore. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) just published a study of the mental health problems of Iraqi refugees living in Jordan and Lebanon. More than half of the refugees interviewed reported high levels of clinically significant emotional distress. What’s a few million traumatized people forced to flee their homes, jobs, schools, extended families, and country? Their suffering does not fit our narrative about the war.
Our presidential candidates have already spent more money on this election than our country has spent over the past five years to help the victims of our foreign policy in Iraq. That’s right. Our presidential candidates have spent more than 300 million dollars, more than four times what has been spent to help refugees in a country we destroyed. Even with the proposed 125 million dollars for FY08/09, it will still be a drop in the bucket compared to the money spent on the presidential race.
Feb 22 2008
In Baghdad, this troupe of five clowns called themselves the “Happy Family Group.” Their purpose was to bring some entertainment and relief to children whose lives had been scarred by violence and fear. They called their show, “A Child Is Just As Sacred As A Country.” By every account, the show was popular among children, an oasis of laughter in the desert of violence. Their story over the past six months is tragic and inspiring. It also highlights the plight of Iraqi refugees.