• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 29 juni 2013

Egypt 5


Egypt Prepares For Worst Ahead Of Sunday Protest


By BRIAN ROHAN 06/29/13 03:49 AM ET EDT AP
CAIRO -- As the streets once again fill with protesters eager to oust the president and Islamists determined to keep him in power, Egyptians are preparing for the worst: days or weeks of urban chaos that could turn their neighborhoods into battlegrounds.
Households already beset by power cuts, fuel shortages and rising prices are stocking up on goods in case the demonstrations drag on. Businesses near protest sites are closing until crowds subside. Fences, barricades and walls are going up near homes and key buildings. And local communities are organizing citizen patrols in case security breaks down.
For yet another time since President Mohammed Morsi took office last year, his palace in Cairo's upscale Heliopolis neighborhood is set to become the focus for popular frustration with his rule. Some protests outside the capital have already turned deadly, and weapons – including firearms – have been circulating more openly than in the past.
"We're worried like all Egyptians that a huge crowd will come, and it will get bloody," said Magdy Ezz, owner of a menswear shop across from the walled complex, a blend of Middle Eastern and neoclassical architecture. Besides ordinary roll-down storm shutters, storefronts on the street are sealed off with steel panels.
"We just hope it will be peaceful. But it could be a second revolution," he said. "If it lasts, we'll have to keep the store closed. But it's not like business has been booming here anyway, especially since the problems last year."
Last winter, the area saw some of Cairo's deadliest street violence since the 2011 uprising, with Islamists attacking a sit-in, anarchists throwing gasoline bombs, and police savagely beating protesters.
Morsi's opponents aim to bring out massive crowds starting Sunday, saying the country is fed up with Islamist misrule that has left the economy floundering and security in shambles. They say they have collected 15 million signatures – around 2 million more than the number of voters who elected Morsi – calling for him to step down, and they hope the turnout will push him to do just that.
Morsi's Islamist allies say they will defend the mandate of the country's first freely elected president, some with their "souls and blood" if necessary, while hard-liners have vowed to "smash" the protests.
On Friday, thousands of Morsi supporters launched a counterdemonstration, which some plan to continue as an open-ended sit-in at a mosque near the presidential palace – the endpoint of the main protest march two days later.
Both camps say they intend to be peaceful, but demonstrations could rapidly descend into violence – especially if the two sides meet. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group has said five of its members were killed in clashes with protesters in Nile Delta provinces over the past days. On Friday, two people were killed in clashes in the port city of Alexandria and at least five Brotherhood offices were torched, while the nation's highest religious authority, Al-Azhar, warned against "civil war."
At the Brotherhood's national headquarters in Cairo's Muqattam district, workers added a final layer of mortar to a brick wall topped with grating to reinforce the main gate. A bank on the corner was completely boarded up. Some fear protesters could descend on the neighborhood to attack the headquarters, as happened last spring when supporters and opponents of the president fought street battles that left 200 wounded.
"The police have to get this place secured. It's their job and I'm sure they will," said Hadi Saad, a designer who lives around the corner from the headquarters. "The demonstrations will be very big across the country, no matter if (Morsi) stays or goes, so we should be prepared here as well."
Other neighbors said they don't expect a repeat of violence in the area, a hill overlooking the rest of the city. Only a handful of police patrolled the neighborhood ahead of the weekend protests, corralling a 100-car queue to the main avenue's gas station.
Engineer Hasan Farag, also a neighbor, said residents were "hoping for the best." Some have begun to resent the Brotherhood's presence, however, and a petition to force the offices out has been circulating.
"The neighborhood is divided – some don't mind the headquarters being here, others do," Saad said.
Security has been redoubled at the presidential palace in Heliopolis. Walls set up last year still block some traffic access, and curved concrete slabs designed to prevent climbing now protect the main gates. Shipping containers also line much of the perimeter, and nearby apartment buildings have blocked off their parking lots and side streets with barbed wire. On Friday, authorities built a new wall of concrete blocks to surround the complex.
Peter Soliman, a communications student who lives in the neighborhood, said most residents don't know what to expect.
"Of course, parents are worried about their children going out to demonstrate by the palace, especially if the Brotherhood shows up," he said. "People fear things will turn bloody and divide the country."
Other Heliopolis residents and protest organizers say neighborhood watch groups are already being formed.
In the city center, concrete walls continue to block off the Interior Ministry and southern access routes to Tahrir Square, epicenter of the uprising that overthrew longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Protesters began gathering at the square ahead of the weekend, saying they plan to dig in for a protracted conflict.
The nearby Semiramis Hotel is taking no chances, even though Tahrir is expected to be a sideshow compared to Sunday's march to the palace. The site of repeated clashes between stone-throwing youths and riot police this past year, the luxury hotel has just finished fortifying itself with a spiked metal fence topped with razor-sharp blades.
To the south, in the leafy Garden City neighborhood – an area that has sometimes seen spillover violence from Tahrir – some residents were securing their homes.
Metalworker Sameh Haddad used an arc welder to put the final touches on an apartment building's new wrought iron gate before hurrying to other appointments. "For once, business has been great," he said.
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12 of 12

The Totalitarian State 8


Glenn Greenwald: NSA Can Store A Billion Cell Phone Calls Every Day

The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted: 
Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald says he has another big scoop about the National Security Agency's surveillance practices up his sleeve.
Speaking over Skype to the Socialism Conference in Chicago, Greenwald claimed that the NSA has the ability to store one billion phone calls each day.
Greenwald's reporting earlier this month sparked the scandal over NSA surveillance practices that is currently plaguing the Obama administration. The stories were based on classified documents leaked to him by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and Greenwald indicated Friday night that he's sitting on several more -- one of which he decided to talk about even though his story on it hasn't been published yet.
"It talks about a brand new technology that enables the national security agency to redirect into its own repositories one billion cell phone calls every single day. One billion cell phone calls every single day," he said.
"But what we're really talking about here is a localized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without its being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency," Greenwald continued. "It doesn't mean that they're listening to every call, it means they're storing every call and have the capability to listen to them at any time, and it does mean that they're collecting millions upon millions upon millions of our phone and email records."
Watch Greenwald's talk in full above.

Minister Asscher's Blindheid



Minister van Sociale Zaken, Lodewijk Asscher:

'Ik beschouw islamistische radicalisering als een ernstige vorm van individuele religieuze ontsporing. Ik deel de zorgen van de ouders die aangifte hebben gedaan van de verdwijning van hun kinderen richting Syrië. Het is in ons gezamenlijke belang deze zorgelijke ontwikkeling aan te pakken en te zorgen dat ronselaars vervolgd worden.'

http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2013/06/20/asscher-uit-zorgen-over-ronseling-in-nederland-voor-jihad/

Lodewijk Asscher's kwalificatie zal weinig indruk maken onder geradicaliseerde islamitische jongeren. Vooral ook niet omdat deze minister muisstil is over het feit dat de zionistische radicalisering onder Joods Israelische fundamentalisten door hem wordt gesteund door bijvoorbeeld akkoord te gaan met het besluit van PVDA minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Timmermans om mogelijke EU sancties tegen de zionistische terreur te saboteren. Waarom minister Asscher een onderscheid maakt tussen islamitische radicalisering en zionistische schendingen van het internationaal recht is onduidelijk. Het is niet ondenkbaar dat zijn eigen joodse achtergrond hem blind maakt voor de Joods Israelische terreur. Minister Asscher zal zich ook niet snel uitspreken tegen  joodse Nederlandse jongeren die in dienst gaan bij het Israelische leger dat in bezet gebied de Palestijnse bevolking onderdrukt en vervolgt, zoals die uitgebreid zijn gedocumenteerd.  Asscher's hypocrisie is des te absurder omdat de VS en de NAVO de zogeheten 'Syrische rebellen' traint en bewapent. Islamitische jongeren zijn veel minder naief en stupide dan minister Asscher kennelijk aanneemt.

NRC Propaganda



Let u op de propagandistische taal van de NRC:

AIVD BEZORGD OVER JIHADGANGERS DIE WEER TERUGKEREN
Er zijn inmiddels tientallen Nederlandse moslimjongeren naar Syrië gegaan om mee te vechten tegen de Syrische president Assad.
Ik citeer: 'om mee te vechten tegen de Syrische president Assad.' Vechten deze islamitische fundamentalisten tegen Assad? Ik dacht dat ze tegen het officiele leger van de staat Syrie vochten. Assad is slechts 1 man, die weliswaar een dictator is, maar die nog steeds door een aanzienlijk deel van de Syrische bevolking gesteund wordt, inclusief christelijke Syriers. De tendentieuze berichtgeving van de NRC  doet het voorkomen dat in deze burgeroorlog goed tegen kwaad strijdt. Assad als het vleesgeworden kwaad, de Duivel in mensenvorm, de hedendaagse Hitler. Het is een kinderlijke en manicheische manier van berichtgeving. 

vrijdag 28 juni 2013

The Totalitarian State 7


Ecuador breaks US trade pact to thwart 'blackmail' over Snowden asylum

Government renounces Andean Trade Preference Act even as Snowden's prospects of reaching Ecuador from Moscow dimmed
Ecuador's Foreign Minister Patino talks to reporters before a function at a hotel in Singapore
Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patino (centre left). Snowden's asylum request has yet to be processed. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters
Ecuador has ramped up its defiance of the US over Edward Snowden by waiving preferential trade rights with Washington even as the whistleblower's prospect of reaching Quito dimmed.
President Rafael Correa's government said on Thursday it was renouncing the Andean Trade Preference Act to thwart US "blackmail" of Ecuador in the former NSA contractor's asylum request.
Officials, speaking at an early morning press conference, also offered a $23m donation for human rights training in the US, a brash riposte to recent US criticism of Ecuador's own human rights record.
Edward SnowdenEdward Snowden. Photograph: Guardian
Betty Tola, the minister of political coordination, said the asylum request had not been processed because Snowden, who is believed to be at Moscow airport, was neither in Ecuador nor at an Ecuadorean embassy or consulate. "The petitioner is not in Ecuadorean territory as the law requires."
Tola also said Ecuador had not supplied any travel document or diplomatic letter to Snowden, who is reportedly marooned in Moscow airport's transit lounge because his US passport has been invalidated.
A document leaked to Univision on Wednesday showed that someone at Ecuador's consulate in London did issue a safe conduct pass for the fugitive on June 22, as he prepared to leave Hong Kong. The name of the consul general, Fidel Narvaez, was printed but not signed.
Tola said it was unauthorised: "Any document of this type has no validity and is the exclusive responsibility of the person who issued it."
The renunciation underlined divisions within Ecuador's government between leftists who have embraced Snowden as an anti-imperialist symbol and centrists who fear diplomatic and economic damage.
Some in the government are believed to be annoyed that Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has sheltered at Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition, has seized the limelight in the Snowden saga. Assange caught Quito by surprise last week when he announced Snowden had been given a safe conduct pass. Quito replaced its ambassador to London earlier this month in hope of better managing its famous guest.
The waiving of preferential trade rights followed threats from members of the US congress to drop the ATPA in July, when it is due for renewal, unless Ecuador toed the line on Snowden.
"Ecuador does not accept pressure or threats from anyone, nor does it trade with principles or submit them to mercantile interests, however important those may be," said Fernando Alvarado, the communications secretary.
"Ecuador gives up, unilaterally and irrevocably, the said customs benefits."
The announcement will enhance President Correa's reputation as a bold leader unafraid to defy the US, just like the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez.
Tactical calculation lay behind the decision. Even before the Snowden affair Quito feared losing the trade preferences, largely because of Republican antipathy to Ecuador's outspoken socialist leader.
"The Ecuadorans got word that renewal of ATPDEA was a long shot in any case, so instead of waiting for rejection, they took the initiative and the high road," said Michael Shifter, of the Inter-American Dialogue.
Correa loved a fight and was responding to perceived US hypocrisy and heavy-handedness, said Shifter. But the president had showed caution in refraining, so far, from granting Snowden asylum. "He appears to be weighing the political and public relations benefits against the real consequences for Ecuador's economy, should he grant the asylum request."
Juan Carlos Calderon, the editorial of Vanguardia, a weekly which has had its offices raided and staff threatened in disputes with the president, said Correa's firebrand image masked shrewd, pragmatic calculation.
Even before the Snowden affair the president tried to soothe Ecuadoreans that losing the trade preferences, which exclude thousands of products such as roses, tuna and broccoli from export duty, would have a small impact.
Not all are convinced. "This will have serious consequence for Ecuadorean producers," said Ramiro Crespo, director general of Analytica Investments, a Quito-based consultancy.
"These products which are exported to the United States have become major industries in Ecuador. If commerce is restricted there's going to be unemployment … This does not penalise the government, it penalises the people."
Additional reporting by Dan Collyns