Posts Tagged ‘EGYPT’

Lee sat through this shit storm so we don’t have to.

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Whoa – what’s going on here today???
Qatar is accused of backing terrorist groups and meddling in other countries’ affairs.
‘Terrorism, meddling in affairs’: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia & Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar

 

The coalition’s statement accused Doha of supporting the Al-Qaeda and Islamic State terrorist groups.

 

 

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U.S. Government Celebrates Its Arming of the Egyptian Regime With a YouTube Video

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Hollywood and the Whitewashing of History

Figure 13 El-Sisi is a Joke

Leaked Audio Shows Egypt’s Coup Leaders as a Criminal Syndicate

…they involve the highest-ranking military rulers in Egypt, including coup leader Gen. Abdelfattah Sisi, conspiring together, falsifying evidence, forging documents, and admitting to criminal behavior on tape, while acknowledging that the legal case concocted against Morsi was in danger of collapsing.

No surprises here…

US unlocks military aid to Egypt, backing President Sisi

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The Square: Documenting Egypt’s revolution

by Eric Wahlberg

The Square, a documentary about Egypt’s January 2011 uprising, provides glimpses of most of the players but gives short shrift to the Muslim Brotherhood, the main player that was then targeted by the deep state headed by the military.

The Square, the Academy Award-nominated Egyptian-American documentary film by Jehane Noujaim, depicts events in Egypt from January 2011 focusing on Tahrir Square. It is neither “Egyptian” nor “American” in any meaningful sense, as the Egyptian “government” has banned it, Noujaim’s mother is American, and she was raised more in Kuwait, has lived in Boston since 1990, and as such is far from typically American in outlook.

Furthermore, she financed and produced the film independently, raising funds from kickstarter.com, where supporters around the world can pledge funds to help finance such projects, and it premiered on Netflix, again for worldwide distribution (except, of course, Egypt). It is very much a film of the new international age, where nationalism is less and less meaningful, where forces of both repression and resistance are increasingly international.

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Given these handicaps/advantages, Noujaim has produced a remarkable documentary, which will surely stand as the most powerful and riveting expose of what lay behind the immediate upheavals that began in 2011 and which will continue into the foreseeable future in Egypt.

This is not to say that it is objective, since that is impossible anyway, as any journalism, any writing, any film inevitably reflects the standpoint of the author. So it is no surprise that the Muslim Brotherhood, though unavoidably prominent throughout the film (at least as a specter), is given short shrift. Or that the secular youth dominate the film and are portrayed as the main force and the most appealing protagonists of the revolution.

What astounds the viewer, whether secular or Islamic, is the military and police violence against the people, both Muslims and Christians. It is too easy to forget their overwhelming responsibility for the post-revolutionary violence—in league, of course, with the old guard and the openly criminal elements in Egyptian society.

By highlighting some of the worst episodes of violence in the past three years and winning prominence for her film, Noujaim has done a great service. She has made it impossible for thinking people to ignore the military’s bloody past and present actions. The film uses actual footage of security force atrocities to document the unceasing and unapologetic recourse to murder and torture by the military and police.

Interspersed with these horrible scenes are interviews with senior military figures, one of whom smugly admits that the so-called revolution was actually carried out by the military itself to prevent Mubarak from passing on the presidency to his son Jamal, and that when it is time, it will be cut short. His prophetic words were echoed by worried revolutionaries, who were constantly looking over their shoulders, expecting a coup, and in the end—unbelievably and to their shame—actually calling for one.

This plot was well-known even before the events of January–Feburary 2011. But the revolution seemed to take events out of the military’s control. Suddenly the military was faced with a mass uprising, not so easy to quell as they thought. How would it rein in these powerful forces that it had unleashed—to put the genie back in the bottle? Egyptians quickly matured politically, demanding genuine elections and, as soon became clear, an Islamic government. What was the poor military to do?

Here, The Square pleads “Not my job!” sticking to its human interest angle. Fair enough. We can fill in the blanks: in addition to its ongoing episodic violence, intended to intimidate everyone, the military hobbled Islamic activists at every step, disbanding the elected parliament and stripping the president of his powers, in hopes that they could cow them into accepting a subservient role in the new order.

When it became clear to all—Islamic groups, Christians, old guard, secuarlists—that Islamic groups were ready and able to chart a new course for Egypt based on the Quran, the military’s only weapon was … weapons. Up the violence! Kill, torture, terrorize, and then, when Egyptians of all stripes were pleading for “security”, take control. Very clever.

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This clear scenario is only hinted at by The Square. Most of the film’s protagonists spout the nonsense that the Brotherhood was in a cynical pact with the military, and the only Brotherhood actor featured in the film is Magdy Ashour, a dissident within the Brotherhood who disobeys his higher-ups defiantly at crucial moments, even disowning the Brotherhood at one point. No legitimate Brotherhood spokesman articulates the views held by most members—that the MB was pursuing a more patient, realistic, and less confrontational path to civilian democracy.

The film was originally released in January 2012 and immediately won the Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary at the Sundance film festival and the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. With the July 2013 coup, Noujaim returned to Tahrir to update the film, swallowing the secularist line about “the largest demonstration in history” precipitating the coup and actually celebrating the coup (through the joy of the film’s actors — excluding Ashour). The film ends with the naive secular hero, ex-street kid Ahmed Hassan, phoning Ashour, traumatized, tortured and in prison, to wish him well and say there is nothing personal in their disagreement over the coup. Crocodile tears.

Noujaim, as channeled by Ahmed and the other main protagonist, British-Egyptian actor Khalid Abdallah, while not happy with the coup in retrospect, rationalizes it as a step toward their goal of a nice, secular democratic Egypt, a lovely fantasy, which the cynical military and the Brotherhood both know to be a false goal.

The Pinochet of Egypt, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, overthrew the legitimate government headed by President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, ordered the slaughter of thousands, and has since been promoted to Field Marshal by his quisling interim President Adly Mansour. El-Sisi has never actually commanded troops in any “war,” except the war against his own people, making the title ludicrous. Yes, Pinochet became president of Chile and continued his reign of terror for 17 years, but he was eventually arrested and is remembered now as a cruel and unjust tyrant, not Chile’s savior. Read your history, Sisi.

Noujain did not make this logical conclusion, though we, the viewers, can. Like all cultural artifacts, The Square is a product of its environment, its maker, and demands an intelligent viewing. It is to be recommended as a surprisingly honest depiction of events. The fact that it raises the ire of just about everyone shows that it is not pulling any punches. Only the secular socialists can enthusiastically commend it, but then that is Noujain’s milieu. We can at least be thankful to her for providing a precious compilation of historic footage, interspersed with “the human stories of specific individuals caught up in the revolt”, but especially for revealing the military monster eating away at the heart of the revolution.

“This film is sort of a love letter to those ideas that were put forth at the start of the revolution. Some may say that what is happening now is a tragedy, but it is still an open-ended story.” With the deletion of “some may say that,” Noujain has the pulse of Egypt’s revolution. Good luck to Noujain at the Oscars.

A version of this appeared at Crescent International

 

 

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Real foreign policy: the anti-democratic military dictatorship that has murdered thousands of civilians in Egypt gets US military aid on the sly. The US always prefers military dictatorships that take orders, as they are neat and dependent on US arms and training. Obama et al. held onto Mubarak to the end until it was clear that they could retain power through the military and kick Mubarak to the dogs. Nothing has really changed with the marketing campaign, “Arab Spring,” except a lot of corpses piled up, especially in Libya and Syria and Egypt.

Egypt Receives 1st US-Built Missile Craft

WASHINGTON — While most military sales to Egypt remain on hold, the US is going ahead with the transfer of four new fast missile craft (FMCs) built in Mississippi.

RamziYousef
The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing: Decoys, Aliases and NeoConspiracy Theories
By Tom Secker
  • Ali Mohamed
  • The Blind Sheikh
  • Ramzi Yousef
  • Al-Kifah Mosque (Brooklyn)
  • Visas
  • Mujahadeen
  • ISI
  • Emad Salem

Anyone who gives half a damn about terrorism needs to investigate the participation and subsequent cover-ups involving United States intelligence. Here is one such eye-opening investigation, among many:

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The World Trade Center 1993 bombing document collection

 

President of Egypt, Mohammad Morsi

(Published at Counterpunch)

by Joe Giambrone

Freedom of speech is essentially dying by the day here in the modern world.  Threats are real and slippery slope test cases have been piling up to where we must seriously address this issue if we are to avoid slipping into Orwellian double-speak and mandated speech stripped of unacceptable ideas.  For it is about the ideas, not the words themselves.  The words spoken are merely a fixed form that represents the underlying thoughts to be communicated.  Censoring out speech means censoring out ideas that one finds objectionable for whatever reasons.

And that’s unconstitutional.

Amendment One: 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This bad movie trailer, “The Innocence of Muslims,” essentially 14 minutes of terrible acting and visual effects with deliberately offensive situations and dubbed dialogue, is now being used as evidence in order to change the law of the land in the United States.  More than a few commentators have suggested that the United States clamp down on such expressions, as it may offend people.

So what?

Yes.  So what?  As the line goes, “Maybe you need to be offended.”

The answer to speech you disagree with is … (drum roll) … MORE SPEECH.  If people are in disagreement with the historical situation portrayed in that film, they have an opportunity to present their own case, their own historical evidence, their own version of the matter.  By rendering this topic to the realm of sacred cows, it would eliminate all dissenting discussion and ideas.

Who gets to decide then what the actual historical record is?

Who gets to decide how much we can question this dogmatic interpretation?

We don’t rewrite the U.S. Constitution based on the possibility that someone somewhere might be offended by something.  Nor should we.  That truly is akin to religious fundamentalism, to Sharia Law.  These are bedrock principles of our nation that are not negotiable, despite the endless assaults on freedom of expression, which we should be well aware of and actively oppose.

I don’t agree with the messages of that movie trailer, but in America we have a right to put the ideas out into the world without fear of government crackdown (at least we used to; we’re supposed to).  Other less free regimes and societies respond that what is good for their citizens should be enforced here as well.  Examples will follow.

What has been proposed, since time immemorial, is to create sacred cow issues around religion and – of course – Israel, whereby American citizens, previously protected by the First Amendment, would face legal repercussions for uttering unacceptable speech.  And that’s just plain unacceptable.  As an American, raised from birth on this notion of “freedom” which is beamed from every transmitter, you should find wholesale assaults on First Amendment “freedoms” to be problematic at the very least.  Once the framework for establishing sacred cows is put into practice, it is only a matter of time before the list of unacceptable ideas grows into an abomination that warps the very fabric of our culture.  I could argue that it is already happening.

In my days hanging out on the ACLU forums, we debated a lot of free speech issues.  These were the days of the “Communications Decency Act,” (1996) a patently unconstitutional law that was passed by the house and senate and signed by none-other-than William Jefferson Clinton.  The Act was immediately struck down by federal courts for infringing on citizen’s First Amendment rights.  But first it passed the congress.  Then the president’s desk.  It was blatantly unlawful in this country, and yet it passed without reservation.  That was a frightening moment, a watershed moment that could have gone either way.  It was clear then that unconstitutional laws could pass the congress and the president’s desk (ie. PATRIOT ACT).  Our rights were under attack and would continue to be, into the foreseeable future.  Like today.

One of the popular articles currently circulating on this topic is by “peace activist”, “radio commentator” and “columnist” Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich.  She makes a quasi-legal case for quashing free speech in regard to Islam:

“There is a precedent to curbing free speech when deemed harmful.   In a landmark Supreme Court hearing — Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919) , the actions of Schenck, an anti-war individual who had printed and distributed leaflets in order to discourage enlisting servicemen, was not afforded protection under the First Amendment. The issue before the court was whether Schenck’s actions (words, expression) were protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment.”

Of course this is a mind-numbingly terrible Supreme Court decision.  Such an assault on freedom of expression has scarcely had such glaring cases as this to point at.  How much damage resulted from prohibiting military recruits from hearing the arguments against going off to fight wars?  This is a fascistic ruling, in contravention of the spirit of the First Amendment, and should clearly be struck down, not praised and regurgitated.

Notably president Wilson himself campaigned on the platform of keeping the United States out of the war in Europe.  A deceit, a Big Lie.  This period is a dark stain on America where propaganda was institutionalized, financed by the government; surveillance of citizens was instituted; mail was opened; people were arrested for political crimes.  That a self-professed peace activist would cite this case in a positive light is a bit baffling.

The ruling itself was a so-called violation of the recently passed “Espionage Act” (1917).  Mailing flyers was now considered the trumped-up act of “conspiracy to obstruct the recruiting and enlistment service.”  Telling the people who would go kill, die and be maimed the truth about the war could now be considered a “conspiracy.”  This is a clear eradication of ideas that the government decided should not be spread.  This sort of mind-control could lead to good things in the world?  Seriously?

Soraya continues with another monumentally terrible development that should have all of California on the phone to the capitol, screaming into their ears:

“August 2012, California passed a resolution (House Resolution 35) against criticism of Israel. What is perhaps more revealing than the Resolution itself, is the desire and the power to curb “free speech” (read Resolution).”

This corruption has not yet been tested in the courts, and could likely be struck down, like the Communications Decency Act before it.  This bill creates a specially selected group and grants exceptional, extraordinary rules in relation to this group.  The law attempts to regulate speech on the campuses of California, whereby criticism of Israel is equated with anti-Semitism and officially condemned.

“(2) speakers, films, and exhibits sponsored by student, faculty, and community groups that engage in anti-Semitic discourse or use anti-Semitic imagery and language to falsely describe Israel, Zionists, and Jews, including that Israel is a racist, apartheid, or Nazi state…”

Granted, it doesn’t seem to apply if the “racist” or “apartheid” charge isn’t “falsely” applied.  So, perhaps former president Jimmy Carter can still talk about his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid at the colleges of California. But then again, that isn’t particularly clear from this vague, broad wording that attempts to prohibit negative descriptions of the policies of a foreign country.  This is an example of the slippery slope continual chipping away at bedrock freedoms, here in the U.S.

What Soraya has revealed is the tendency to use bad precedents to enact more bad laws based on bad reasoning.

“Perhaps for the protestors [in the Middle East], it is hard to understand that the [American] President’s kill list allows the assassination of American individuals ” based merely on patterns of behavior ” yet he is not able to exercise power to curb speech denigrating Islam.  Why has there been no will to put a stop to these insults and the ensuing violence?”

Besides using Obama’s war crimes and felony murders as a legal precedent, Soraya brings up several other issues at once.  A little clarification is in order here.  Killing American citizens without due process is murder and an impeachable crime.  We should be clear on that, and not accept excuses to the contrary.  The constitution is very clear about due process, warrants, various amendments establishing the rights of the accused and the right to a fair trial.  Violating this is criminal.  We should not tolerate these abuses at all.

As for the “insults” and the “ensuing violence” these are obviously two different things.  Someone can insult without violence becoming the response.  Why is violence not the responsibility of the perpetrator of said violence? Why is the alleged culprit here only the one doing the insulting?  Standard legal norms place the blame for violence on those committing it.   Stretching such blame to others may work in an organized crime setting, where underlings are part of a conspiracy, a hierarchical organization that issues orders.  However, this linkage does not extend to such random connections as those who watch videos that someone else posted, the two having no personal connection whatsoever to one-another.  In no way is a movie trailer to be used as a causative factor in the perpetration of violence half a world away.  That has no basis in any law, as far as I am aware.

Further, there is quite a lot of evidence that the violence at the Benghazi, Libya embassy, and the murder of the American diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with the film trailer at all, and was a coordinated military attack in revenge for the killing of Al Qaeda’s “number two” commander in June of this year – a Libyan.  Benghazi has been a seething cauldron of radical Islamist violence since the days when Qaddafi quite rightly told us so. These were casualties in an ongoing war, and quite unrelated to this free speech debate over a “film.”

If it was just Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, I may have not been inspired to respond.  But, we see other more notable figures pressing for a U.S. government crackdown on speech.  Of course the Muslim Brotherhood’s new president of Egypt, Mohammad Morsi, has weighed in on the film.  Morsi personally told Barack Obama to impose, “legal measures which will discourage those seeking to damage relations … between the Egyptian and American people.”  Another report quotes Morsi demanding “assurances from the U.S. government to prevent any infringement on the sacred.”  Arrest warrants have been issued in Egypt for the filmmaker, as well as for the pastor Terry Jones.  Some reports claim that the “blasphemy” charges carry the death penalty there.

One might expect such a response from Egypt, but from the Russian parliament?  Aleksey Pushkov, the Russian chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs has also weighed in on U.S. freedom of speech:

“This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. The freedom of speech is not covering a lot of other things that are considered banned in the West. Otherwise they would not be so eager in attempts to put Julian Assange in jail … Attacks on Islam and its sacred things – this is not the freedom of speech but the freedom of hatred …”

In fact it is most certainly a freedom of speech case.  Freedom of speech protects unpopular ideas, the views we oppose.  It is not selectively restrictive.  Pushkov’s point about Julian Assange is well taken, and there is no U.S. case against him that should stand.  Rumors of secret grand juries and, of course, the covert manipulation to get him on the false Swedish charges of “rape” are in play.  Assange is another case entirely, in a league of his own.

As for the “freedom of hatred”, we actually retain that right in the United States.  You can hate whomever you want.  Don’t believe me?  Post a Youtube video about anything.  You will be hated on.  The inverse, the outlawing of “hate” carries more problems than it solves.  You have the right to express your hatred, thus exposing your arguments to scrutiny in the light of day.  They can then be countered.  The resulting synthesis is understanding. To eliminate the bad ideas through government repression is to attempt to circumvent the natural debates and discussions that ideas carry.  Bad ideas can be refuted, not by the guillotine, but by presenting their antitheses. We call this civilization, and I’m for it.

Violence has erupted across the Middle East this week, and that’s unfortunate.  Is the motivation for this violence confined to the “Innocence of Muslims” film trailer?  Or are there myriad other factors involved?  Are sections of the Middle East pissed off about a lot more than bad Youtube videos?  I think the evidence is unequivocally going to support that thesis.

Let’s not get muddy in our thinking and accept that people are burning U.S. embassies solely because of this movie. It was not produced by the U.S. government, nor even by an American director.  The creator is Egyptian!

The U.S. though has been a perpetrator of violence, coercion, covert support and numerous machinations for a long, long time.  Engaged in war after war, sometimes covertly supporting these same groups that wish to burn U.S. embassies today, the foreign policies of the U.S.A. should take center stage here.  They are conflicted, scattershot, always intrusive and often destructive of entire societies (sanctions, bombing campaigns, including NATO’s extensive bombardment of Libya).  Imperial meddling tends to make a lot of enemies, and this number has steadily increased since the escalations 11 years ago essentially declared war on Islam.  U.S. military personnel routinely referred to Middle Easterners as “Hadjis”, “ragheads”  and even “sand niggers” as they decimated Iraq and Afghanistan.  Even torture, rape and murder were broadcast across the globe, as Americans at home turned the channel to something more lighthearted.

People saw and felt how Islamic populations were treated as compared to other populations, even here in the U.S. itself, where people of south Asian descent were summarily rounded up after 9/11.  In a move reminiscent of the rounding up of Japanese Americans in World War Two, the federal government pointedly imposed a racist us versus them dichotomy that persists to this day.

It’s far easier to discuss bad movies and how we should punish the bad filmmakers than to attempt to reconcile massive war crimes that span numerous countries and several administrations, both Republicrat and Demogogue.  But isn’t that how it always plays out?  You can’t talk about the bipartisan rampage.  You can’t call out where both the Dems and the Repugs agree in their imperial ambitions.  It’s better to focus on other issues, side issues like bad filmmakers and too much free speech.

Joe Giambrone is a filmmaker and author of Hell of a Deal: A Supernatural Satire. He edits The Political Film Blog, which welcomes submissions. polfilmblog at gmail.

Now if the riots at American embassies were in response to hostilities, bombings, drones, the covert sponsorship of terrorists, etc., I’d have no qualms.  But, if the riots are about a piece a crap movie???

Seriously?

The Guardian has more on the people behind this travesty.

We already know “Bacile” is an Egyptian Coptic fraudster and drug dealer, who has moved to America.  Still haven’t heard about his immigration status or the legality thereof. Another partner in this hate film is named Morris Sadek:

Sadek has been banned from returning to his Egypt, where he is widely hated for his outrageous anti-Muslim displays. On the day of the Ground Zero rally, for instance, Sadek was seen parading around the streets of Washington, DC, on September 11, 2010, with a crucifix in one hand and a Bible implanted with the American flag in the other. “Islam is evil!” he shouted. “Islam is a cult religion!”

Apparently these two fraudsters have tried to smear both American Jews as well as Americans in general with having their personal brand of psychotic hatred of Islam.  This is misrepresentation, a false flag public-relations attack.

These two men are from Egypt.  So, you can stop blaming “America” for the production of this movie, which was done privately by two Egyptians.  It could have been done anywhere, and the production was of minimal cost or skill.

 

 

Apparently:

  1.  “Bacile” is not Israeli, but only pretended to be for the purpose of soliciting production funds.
  2.  The actors claim they didn’t know what the project was, and that the offensive lines were dubbed in later — really?

Number 2 is particularly interesting, as being ignorant of your art, its purpose and ultimate meaning may get you killed. Also I’m not sure if I believe the actors.

More on this story, and an argument for clamping down on “hate speech” is presented here. That said, I vehemently disagree about this bogus category of “hate speech,” and find such laws patently unconstitutional. What part of “… or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press … “ is ambiguous?

Such laws are used selectively against targeted defendants and tellingly NOT used against others who utter the same types of speech, decided on ideological grounds and on the sole discretion of prosecutors. That is a miscarriage of justice and quite frankly a sham.

The trailer and a good article on this insanity is linked through here. I did not post the trailer here directly for obvious reasons.

Steve Anthopoulos wrote:

Hi, My submission is more of a video article. It make an analogy between the story of Moses and the 10 plagues and the modern day palestinian conflict (among others), drawing parallels between talking points.