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Thu, 27 Jan 2022
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Egyptian Military Tries to Create Buffer Zone

A little while ago in Tahrir Square a rumor swept through the crowd that President Hosni Mubarak had resigned.

The people went crazy, shouting, "he resigned, he resigned." The Square erupted in a kind of euphoria for 30 seconds. But it quickly became clear the rumor was not true and the crowd is once again calm.

This was the day the anti-government protesters had called "The Day of Departure." Those calling upon President Mubarak to resign immediately had hoped this would be the day.

But yesterday in my exclusive interview with him, President Mubarak told me he had no intention of leaving Egypt.

"I would never run away," he said, "I will die on this soil." So far it seems he is sticking with his resolve.


WikiLeaks Cables: US Agrees to Tell Russia Britain's Nuclear Secrets

© Tam MacDonald
HMS Vanguard is Britain's lead Trident-armed submarine. The US, under a nuclear deal, has agreed to give the Kremlin the serial numbers of the missiles it gives Britain.
The US secretly agreed to give the Russians sensitive information on Britain's nuclear deterrent to persuade them to sign a key treaty, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week.

Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain's policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.

The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called "special relationship", which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications obtained by the WikiLeaks website.

Details of the behind-the-scenes talks are contained in more than 1,400 US embassy cables published to date by The Telegraph, including almost 800 sent from the London Embassy, which are published online today.

Eye 2

Rumsfeld: I should have quit after Abu Ghraib

Donald Rumsfeld
© unknown
Donald Rumsfeld
Former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld says in a new memoir that his biggest regret was not stepping down after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, US media reported Thursday.

In his book, Rumsfeld -- a lightning rod for criticism during his long tenure at the Pentagon -- defends his handling of the Iraq war and makes no apologies for his major policy decisions, according to advance copies obtained by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

But he said he should have forced then president George W. Bush to accept his resignation over the revelations of abuse by US military guards at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

"Abu Ghraib and its follow-on effects, including the continued drum-beat of 'torture' maintained by partisan critics of the war and the president, became a damaging distraction," Rumsfeld writes.

"More than anything else I have failed to do, and even amid my pride in the many important things we did accomplish, I regret that I did not leave at that point."

War Whore

Rumsfeld: Bush ordered invasion of Iraq war just 15 days after 9/11

Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says in his memoirs that ex-President George W. Bush ordered the Iraq war just two weeks after September 11.

In his autobiography scheduled to be released on February 8, Rumsfeld writes that 15 days after 9/11, when Pentagon's focus was on Afghan war, Bush called him to his office and ordered a review plans for Iraq war.

"Two weeks after the worst terror attacks in our nation's history, those of us in the Department of Defense were full occupied," but Bush called for a "creative" option for invading Iraq, The Huffington Post reported on Thursday.

However, Rumsfeld says Iraq war has been worth the costs and offers no apology for the way he handled the conflict.

He says if former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime was not ousted, the Middle East would be "far more perilous than it is today."


Mubarak Resigns...As Head of National 'Democratic' Party

© AP Photo
Out-of favor Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his son Gemal have stepped down from the positions they held in the ruling party as anti-government protests intensify.

Hosni Mubarak resigned as the head of National Democratic Party (NDP) along with the party's secretary general Safwat el-Sherif on Saturday, DPA reported. Moreover, Gemal stepped down from a position he held in the party.

Hossam Badrawi, a member of the Upper Chamber of the Egyptian Parliament, is expected to take over as secretary general, state media reported.

The developments come as millions of people gathered in Cairo's Liberation Square for the 12th straight day, calling on Mubarak to immediately step down.

Egyptians also continued massive anti-government rallies on Saturday across major cities of the country. Large rallies were also held in other cities including Alexandria and Suez.


Obama resists calls to cut military aid to Mubarak regime

© Jim Young/Reuters
Hosni Mubarak with Barack Obama in 2009. The White House sees Egypt's military as the key to removing its beleaguered president.
White House says suspension of $1.3bn in annual aid to Egypt would undermine push towards a post-Mubarak system

The Obama administration today resisted calls to cut its massive military aid to Egypt and is instead working behind the scenes with the commanders of the country's armed forces on how to oust President Hosni Mubarak.

The White House sees the Egyptian military as the key to removing Mubarak, regarded as a necessary first step towards implementing substantive political and economic reforms. Cutting aid would risk alienating them.

The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, the chair of the joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and other senior Pentagon figures have been in regular contact with their Egyptian counterparts all week.

Mullen, in an interview with ABC television today, said the US should wait to see what happens next before suspending aid, which amounts to more than $1.3bn (£800m) a year.


Mubarak Family Fortune Could Reach $70 Billion

© Cris Bouroncle/AFP/Getty Images
Gamal and Hosni Mubarak are reported to have built up huge fortunes, including properties in London.
Egyptian president has cash in British and Swiss banks plus UK and US property

President Hosni Mubarak's family fortune could be as much as $70bn (£43.5bn) according to analysis by Middle East experts, with much of his wealth in British and Swiss banks or tied up in real estate in London, New York, Los Angeles and along expensive tracts of the Red Sea coast.

After 30 years as president and many more as a senior military official, Mubarak has had access to investment deals that have generated hundreds of millions of pounds in profits. Most of those gains have been taken offshore and deposited in secret bank accounts or invested in upmarket homes and hotels.

According to a report last year in the Arabic newspaper Al Khabar, Mubarak has properties in Manhattan and exclusive Beverly Hills addresses on Rodeo Drive.

Bad Guys

BP, Vodafone, British Gas and British banks play crucial role supporting Mubarak regime

Firms such as BP criticised for being too close to government of president Hosni Mubarak

© Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
An anti-government demonstrator in Tahrir Square wears a hat made from a newspaper carrying an advert for Vodafone. Vodafone has flown 25 people and their families back to the UK in recent days.
British companies are flying out staff and halting operations as the civil disorder escalates in Egypt but they have also found themselves under verbal attack for being too close to the government of president Hosni Mubarak.

BP has also been accused of working "hand in glove with dictatorship" while Vodafone is under fire for bowing to presidential pressure to shut the mobile telephone network down.

BP, which has sunk $14bn into oil operations and is hoping to double production there, said "hundreds" of employees or their dependents were being evacuated from Cairo and some drilling operations had been halted.

BG, formerly part of British Gas, said it had closed its Cairo office and flown home all non-essential expatriate staff from Egypt, but its production of liquefied natural gas goes on.


Chomsky: It's not radical Islam that worries the US - it's independence

© Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
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.

Observers compared it to the toppling of Russian domains in 1989, but there are important differences. Crucially, no Mikhail Gorbachev exists among the great powers that support the Arab dictators. Rather, Washington and its allies keep to the well-established principle that democracy is acceptable only insofar as it conforms to strategic and economic objectives: fine in enemy territory (up to a point), but not in our backyard, please, unless properly tamed.

One 1989 comparison has some validity: Romania, where Washington maintained its support for Nicolae Ceausescu, the most vicious of the east European dictators, until the allegiance became untenable. Then Washington hailed his overthrow while the past was erased. That is a standard pattern: Ferdinand Marcos, Jean-Claude Duvalier, Chun Doo-hwan, Suharto and many other useful gangsters. It may be under way in the case of Hosni Mubarak, along with routine efforts to try to ensure a successor regime will not veer far from the approved path. The current hope appears to be Mubarak loyalist General Omar Suleiman, just named Egypt's vice-president. Suleiman, the longtime head of the intelligence services, is despised by the rebelling public almost as much as the dictator himself.

Bad Guys

What's Wrong With a Psychopath?

Ian Fleming
© Express Newspapers / Getty Images
The British author Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, might have been a psychopath.

Psychopath: the very word conjures up the image of a deranged killer. Yet the Hollywood portrayal of psychopaths has only served to conceal a disturbing truth: that many of us share our workplace or even our home with cunning psychopaths adept at masking their malevolence. They may never have committed a crime or resorted to violence, yet they share the same cold, manipulative and chillingly self-centred mindset of a serial killer.

Such corrosive personalities have been with us for millennia. According to the American psychiatrist Dr Hervey Cleckley, who pioneered research into the subject in the 1940s, the Athenian statesman and general Alcibiades shows all the classic traits, from childhood delinquency and dishonesty to a complete lack of scruples or remorse. Latter-day candidates for the label of "socialised" psychopath range from Josef Stalin and Saddam Hussein to the author Ian Fleming - perhaps not coincidentally, the creator of the famously ruthless fictional hero James Bond.

Given their malign impact on those around them, from workplace bullying to marital violence and even murder, psychopaths have long been a focus of psychiatric research. To date the results have largely left unresolved the enigma of this destructive personality disorder. But now researchers are uncovering important new clues about its causes.

Psychiatrists are clear that, whatever else they might be, psychopaths are not insane. Indeed, they appear to have an all too effective grasp of reality, being able to manipulate those around them to fit their self-centred grand plan.