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Egypt: US-Backed Repression is Insight for American Public

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© Phil Disley
As thousands more Egyptian citizens take to the streets in anti-government protests, the country is in danger of witnessing a bloodbath - at the behest of Washington.

Defying a ban on public demonstrations by the government of President Hosni Mubarak, tens of thousands of Egyptians have for the fourth consecutive day rallied on the streets of the capital Cairo and other major cities calling for his abdication. Inspired by the mass uprising in neigbouring Tunisia earlier this month, which forced its president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali into exile, the protesters in Egypt are likewise demanding Mubarak and his government to quit.

Mubarak's military apparatus has so far shown brutal determination to suppress the uprising. As many as seven civilians have been killed by heavily armed riot police, hundreds are reported injured and more than 1,000 arrests have been made by secret security agents who were videoed bundling protesters into unmarked vehicles. Now the country's formidable military forces are reported to have taken up positions in public places in Cairo and elsewhere.

But it is Washington's latest intervention that could trigger an escalation of Egyptian state violence against its people. Speaking to media, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs described the Mubarak government as an "important ally" and that the US "expects" the 30-year-old regime to remain intact. Forget the hollow and cynical plea by Gibbs to the Egyptian government and protesters to refrain from violence, the key message is continuing US support for the regime. In other words, the US is assuring Mubarak that it stands full-square behind his bid to stay in power. Given that the already-lethal response of the Egyptian state did not draw a word of condemnation from the White House nor that the population's demands for democracy and social justice were unequivocally endorsed can only send the following code to Mubarak: do whatever you must to get these people off the streets.

Meanwhile, an Israeli cabinet minister probably voiced the unvarnished essence of the US position when he was quoted in Israeli media as urging the Mubarak to use lethal force to quell the protests. "They will have to use force, power in the streets..." the unnamed minister said.

Chess

One in, one out: Tunisian exiled leader Rachid Ghannouchi returns home from London

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© Unknown
Leader of Tunisia's main Islamic party Rachid Ghannouchi
Leader of Tunisia's main Islamic party Rachid Ghannouchi has returned to his homeland after more than 20 years in exile, following the departure of the ousted Tunisian ruler Zine El Abidin Ben Ali.

His return comes after Tunisia's interim government issued an amnesty for all the country's banned political activists. The amnesty is yet to be approved by the parliament.

Ghannouchi, who left Tunisia shortly after Ben Ali came to power in a 1987 coup, is not expecting to return "triumphantly" and wants to return simply as "a free man," AFP quoted his spokesmen as saying.

The 69-year-old leader earlier said that he plans to let younger people take over his once outlawed Ennahda (Awakening) movement.

Meanwhile, the new government installed after Ben Ali's fall has unveiled unprecedented democratic freedoms, including lifting media restrictions, releasing political prisoners and registering banned parties.

Binoculars

Sex Tapes! Blackmail & More! F.B.I. Misconduct Revealed!

Years of government investigations of agents and supervisors reveal sex tapes, misuse of government computers, blackmail and security violations.


Bad Guys

US embassy official in Pakistan accused of being Blackwater agent

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© Unknown
People look at the blood stains in a Lahore street after the American consular killed two Pakistanis on January 27, 2011.
Pakistani media say the US embassy official charged with the murder of two Pakistani citizens is an agent for the notorious security firm, Blackwater.

The US official identified by police as Raymond Davis shot dead two men riding on a motorcycle in Lahore on Thursday in what he claimed was self-defense during an attempted robbery.

A third Pakistani was run over and killed in the incident after being hit by a US consulate vehicle rushing to the scene to the American's aid.

The US embassy in Islamabad has confirmed the man involved was a consular official and says it is carrying out an investigation.

Telephone

Who Is Dan Jester And Why Did Tim Geithner Call Him 103 Times During The Financial Meltdown Of 2008?

Editor's Note: In light of the Goldman theft detailed yesterday, we are reposting this story as part of our look back at the Goldman AIG taxpayer heist.
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Geithner smiles but won't talk about mystery man, former Goldman Sachs executive turned lead Treasury AIG negotiator Dan Jester.

The Hank Paulson stories from earlier got me thinking again about Dan Jester. This piece by William Cohan is a good starting point. More coming.

Gear

A police force that has lost public trust

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© unk
It is time that the phone-hacking inquiry was handed over to an entirely different force

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the still unfolding phone-hacking scandal is the behaviour of the Metropolitan Police. Scotland Yard has pursued its investigations in a most lethargic and blinkered manner.

After the News of the World reporter Clive Goodman was jailed in 2007 for hacking into Prince William's mobile phone messages, Scotland Yard accepted, apparently without question, the assertion of the newspaper that Goodman was a single "rogue" operative. When allegations were made last September that the scale of the eavesdropping operation at the News of the World went considerably further, the police returned to their files and again concluded that there was no reason to re-open the case.

Newspaper

British Intelligence Reports: Mossad ran 9/11 Arab "hijacker" terrorist operation

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British intelligence reported in February 2002 that the Israeli Mossad ran the Arab hijacker cells that were later blamed by the U.S. government's 9/11 Commission for carrying out the aerial attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. WMR has received details of the British intelligence report which was suppressed by the government of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair.

A Mossad unit consisting of six Egyptian- and Yemeni-born Jews infiltrated "Al Qaeda" cells in Hamburg (the Atta-Mamoun Darkanzali cell), south Florida, and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates in the months before 9/11. The Mossad not only infiltrated cells but began to run them and give them specific orders that would eventually culminate in their being on board four regularly-scheduled flights originating in Boston, Washington Dulles, and Newark, New Jersey on 9/11.

The Mossad infiltration team comprised six Israelis, comprising two cells of three agents, who all received special training at a Mossad base in the Negev Desert in their future control and handling of the "Al Qaeda" cells. One Mossad cell traveled to Amsterdam where they submitted to the operational control of the Mossad's Europe Station, which operates from the El Al complex at Schiphol International Airport. The three-man Mossad unit then traveled to Hamburg where it made contact with Mohammed Atta, who believed they were sent by Osama Bin Laden. In fact, they were sent by Ephraim Halevy, the chief of Mossad.

Radar

US Rabbis warn Rupert Murdoch: Fox News and Glenn Beck 'using' Holocaust

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© Lucas Jackson/Reuters
The Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, who uses frequent references to the Holocaust and Nazis
Open letter signed by 400 rabbis tells media magnate his news channel uses Holocaust to discredit people it disagrees with

Four hundred rabbis, including the leaders of all the main branches of Judaism in the US, have signed an open letter calling on Rupert Murdoch to sanction the head of Fox News and one of the channel's most famous hosts for frequent inappropriate references to the Nazis and the Holocaust.

The rabbis chose a poignant place to make their protest: they took out an advert costing at least $100,000 in one of Murdoch's own newspapers, the Wall Street Journal. The advert was printed today - the UN-designated Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Briefcase

Hogwash, Mr. President

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© White House / Chuck Kennedy
What is the state of the union? You certainly couldn't tell from that platitudinous hogwash that the president dished out Tuesday evening. I had expected Barack Obama to be his eloquent self, appealing to our better nature, but instead he was mealy-mouthed in avoiding the tough choices that a leader should delineate in a time of trouble. He embraced clean air and a faster Internet while ignoring the depth of our economic pain and the Wall Street scoundrels who were responsible - understandably so, since they so prominently populate the highest reaches of his administration. He had the effrontery to condemn "a parade of lobbyists" for rigging government after he appointed the top Washington representative of JPMorgan Chase to be his new chief of staff.

The speech was a distraction from what seriously ails us: an unabated mortgage crisis, stubbornly high unemployment and a debt that spiraled out of control while the government wasted trillions making the bankers whole. Instead the president conveyed the insular optimism of his fat-cat associates: "We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again." How convenient to ignore the fact that this bubble of prosperity, which has failed the tens of millions losing their homes and jobs, was floated by enormous government indebtedness now forcing deep cuts in social services including state financial aid for those better-educated students the president claims to be so concerned about.

Sherlock

US Ambassador's Bid to Get Falk Sacked from UN Opens a Can of Worms

Richard Falk
© unknown
Oral presentation made by Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestine Territories to the United Nations General Assembly on 20 October 2010
Mention Richard Falk and you think of an honourable man who cares deeply about injustice, particularly the trampled rights of Palestinians under the evil jackboot.

The BBC reported in December 2008: "During her stint in the Clinton White House, she was described as 'brilliant' but also 'authoritarian' and 'brash'. According to the New York Times, she acknowledges 'a certain impatience at times'."

She is also said to be "unwilling to consider opinions that differ from her own".

Ambassador Rice has just demanded that Falk, the UN Human Rights Council's special rapporteur in the Palestinian territories, step down from his UN position. "In my view, Mr. Falk's latest commentary [an entry in his blog about the media and 9/11] is so noxious that it should finally be plain to all that he should no longer continue in his position on behalf of the UN."