Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July 13th, 2011

Egyptian kabuki

Posted by Charles II on July 13, 2011

As I predicted in February, the Egyptian military and the oligarchy behind it are not departing. The promised reforms increasingly look to have been a sham to buy time. Sharif Abdel Kouddous, DemocracyNow:

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, Amy, I really think the Egyptian revolution has reached a critical turning point, and we’re seeing—we’re bracing now for a showdown between the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, which has ruled the country since February 11th when Mubarak stepped down, and to the thousands, the tens of thousands of protesters that have taken to the streets across the country.

Tahrir has really—it’s entering the sixth day of a sit-in that’s reminiscent of the one that captured the world’s attention back in January and February. And there’s sit-ins being staged in Alexandria and Suez and Mansoura. And as you said, the heart of the matter really lies in the fact that the basic demands, the very basic demands, of the revolution have gone unfilled, with little indication that there’s a path for any real kind of change, that the calls for justice and accountability for members of the former regime have gone unanswered, that the revolutionary demands—one of the cries, the main cries, was “Bread, freedom and social justice”—have all but been abandoned. And on Friday, as you said, we saw this massive protest take place in Tahrir and across Egypt.

But what really happened since then is that this sit-in has continued to grow in Tahrir.
yesterday we saw an attack on the square. There was a group of armed men, some wielding swords, tried to attack the square. They were overcome. Two of them were detained, and one of them was handed over to police, although there was a lot of argument over whether to hand people over to the very institutions that they’re protesting against.

[Update: More detail from Marisa Holmes, truthout]

The Arab Spring is turning into Repression Summer. And I predict there will need to be many Winter Patriots if Egypt is to become a genuine democracy.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, freedom | 5 Comments »

US has secret prisons. It just doesn’t own or operate them.

Posted by Charles II on July 13, 2011

Jeremy Scahill of The Nation has an excellent article and interview on why we should be skeptical about the Administration’s claims to have ended torture. I should note that Scahill nowhere alleges torture–just ill-treatment and extreme isolation. But where there is no judicial oversight, abuses are sure to follow.

From the article:

Nestled in a back corner of Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport is a sprawling walled compound run by the Central Intelligence Agency. … The site… is guarded by Somali soldiers, but the Americans control access. At the facility, the CIA runs a counterterrorism training program for Somali intelligence agents and operatives aimed at building an indigenous strike force capable of snatch operations and targeted “combat” operations against members of Al Shabab, an Islamic militant group with close ties to Al Qaeda.

As part of its expanding counterterrorism program in Somalia, the CIA also uses a secret prison buried in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters, where prisoners suspected of being Shabab members or of having links to the group are held. Some of the prisoners have been snatched off the streets of Kenya and rendered by plane to Mogadishu. While the underground prison is officially run by the Somali NSA, US intelligence personnel pay the salaries of intelligence agents and also directly interrogate prisoners.

This is not what I voted for in November, 2008. It doesn’t matter whether this is part of the US government or whether the operations have been outsourced to Somali contractors for deniability. It’s wrong.

Posted in Africa, CIA, torture | 1 Comment »

GOP Sends O’Reilly to Battle Bachmann

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 13, 2011

Republican bigwigs fear a Michele Bachmann candidacy almost more than they fear taxing the rich.

This was shown yet again by FOX News mainstay Bill O’Reilly’s adversarial treatment of Bachmann when she was on his show Monday night:

Bachmann refused to directly address any of O’Reilly’s tough questions, prompting the visibly frustrated conservative host to role his eyes, audibly sigh, and finally laugh in Bachmann’s face when she invoked her “titanium spine.” Noting that the Republican leadership understands the need to raise the debt limit, O’Reilly chided Bachmann, saying, “You are the renegade here.”

Whoa! Not only is he ripping into Bachmann, he’s also telling FOX viewers that the debt ceiling must be raised. Guess Boehner and McConnell, on orders from the Wall Streeters who will be hurt first and worst in event of a default, have asked FOX to both try to explain fiscal reality to teabaggers thus far sheltered from it AND to try and hamstring Bachmann before she achieves her goal of becoming the next Tom DeLay: a powerbroker with access to the wallets of the religious right and thus the ability to run primary candidates against Republicans she doesn’t like.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

Posted in 2012, Michele Bachmann, Minnesota | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

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