Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 30 Mar 2020
The World for People who Think

Society's Child
Map

Stormtrooper

Updated: Libyan Fighter Jets Arrive in Malta - Pilots Request Asylum

Image

The pilots of two Libyan Air Force Mirage jet fighters who unexpectedly flew to Malta this afternoon have sought political asylum in Malta, informed sources said.

The pilots told the Maltese authorities that they left from a base near Tripoli and flew to Malta after being ordered to bomb protesters who had occupied the Libyan second city of Benghazi.

The pilots are being questioned by the police,

The pilots initially asked for emergency clearance to land and for refuelling.

Chess

This Isn't All About Mubarak

"The revolution in Egypt is an expression of the will of the people, the determination of the people, the commitment of the people....Muslims and Christians have worked together in this revolution, as have the Islamic groups, secular parties, nationalist parties, and intellectuals....In fact every sector has played part in this revolution: the young, the old, women, men, clerics, artists, intellectuals, workers, and farmers."

-- Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hezbollah
Image
© Hussein Malla/Associated Press
Freed by Egypt's Workers Revolt Workers Press Demands
The real story about what's going on in Egypt is being suppressed in the US because it doesn't jibe with the "ain't capitalism great" theme that the media loves to reiterate ad nauseam. The truth is that the main economic policies that Washington exports through bribery and coercion have ignited massive labor unrest which has set the Middle East ablaze. Mubarak is the first casualty in this war against neoliberalism, but there will be many more to come. In fact, Mubarak's resignation is probably just a sop to Egyptian workers, hoping that they'll follow the military's advice and sheepishly return to their sweatshops so fatcat CEOs in Berlin and Chicago can extract a few more farthings from their labor. But that probably won't happen, because the 18 days in Tahrir Square has had a transformative affect on the consciousness of 80 million Egyptians who've suddenly "had enough". The people have awaken from their slumber and now they're ready to rumble.

The revolution started long before the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, and it will continue for a long time to come. Workers everywhere are rebelling against the miserable conditions, slave wages and "privatization", the crown jewel of neoliberalism. The privatization of state industries in Egypt is the proximate cause of the current uprising. It's led to a general slide in living standards to the point where people would rather face a policeman's truncheon than endure more-of-the-same. Here's an excerpt from Foreign Policy which helps to explain what's going on:

Vader

Malta: Two Libyan fighter jets seen landing

Two Libyan fighter jets landed unexpectedly in Malta on Monday, witnesses told Reuters.

Local newspaper reporters saw the single-seater Mirage jets land at Malta's international airport on Monday afternoon, Reuters reported. The Maltese Foreign Ministry said it was trying to establish why the planes had landed.

The Al Jazeera satellite network reported the Libyan fighter jets were seen landing in Malta with two civilian helicopters. At least seven passengers were aboard, only one reported to be carrying a passport, according to Al Jazeera. All of the passengers were being held by immigration officials, the network reported. Al Jazeera's Karl Stagno-Novarra, reporting from Malta, said officials on the Mediterranean island were preparing for it to be used as a base for evacuating European citizens from Libya, an hour's flight away.

The four-decade-old rule of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi has been shaken by days of violent protests which reached the capital Tripoli for the first time on Monday, according to Reuters.

Butterfly

Egyptians Order Pizza for Wisconsin Protesters

Image
© Associated Press
In an act of intercontinental solidarity, an Egyptian has ordered a pizza for Wisconsin protesters, reports Politico. The call from Africa is just one of many streaming into the Madison, Wisconsin, pizza parlor Ian's from all over the world. So far, people from 12 countries and 38 states have rung up looking to help get free pizza to the Wisconsin protesters clustered in the Capitol. On Saturday, Ian's distributed more than 1,000 free slices and sent 300 pizzas to the Capitol. The trend continued on Sunday, as staff member fielded calls from as far away as Turkey, Korea, Finland, China, and Australia. The trend began when a mother of a University of Wisconsin student called in offering to donate $200 to feed the people occupying the Capitol. The pizza chain's postings on Twitter and Facebook soon led to so many donations that they had to shut down on Saturday night.

Che Guevara

Bahrain: The Social Roots of Revolt Against Another US Ally

Image
Bahrain - "Have you ever seen an island with no beaches?" The question posed by the young Bahraini taxi man standing among thousands of chanting anti-government protesters seemed at first to be a bit off the wall. But his explanation soon got to the heart of the grievances that have brought tens of thousands of Bahrainis on to the streets over the past week - protests which have seen at least seven civilians killed amid scenes of excessive violence by state security forces. Unconfirmed reports put the death toll much higher.

Many Bahrainis, like the young taxi man, have witnessed huge wealth sloshing around their diminutive country of less than 600,000 indigenous people (perhaps another 300,000 are expatriates, official figures are vague). But so little of that wealth - especially in the last seven years of high oil prices when Bahrain's national revenue tripled - has found its way into creating jobs and decent accommodation. More than 50,000 Bahraini families are estimated to be on waiting lists for homes. Some families have been waiting for over 20 years to be housed, with several generations sharing the one roof, in cramp conditions with poor sanitation.

All the while, these people have come to feel like strangers in their own land, with their squalid conditions in inner-city areas and villages being in sharp contrast to the mega shopping malls and multi-storey buildings that have sprung up to attract US and European investors, financiers, companies and rich tourists.

The Gulf island's oil wealth has been channeled into diversifying the economy away from dependence on oil and gas revenues into other sectors such as property development and international banking. The self-styled kingdom, which is sandwiched less than 30 kilometers on either side between the oil and gas giants of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has leveraged its hydrocarbon wealth to earn a reputation as a finance and trade hub in the Middle East on a par with Dubai located further south along the Arabian Peninsula in the United Arab Emirates.

Pistol

Texas poised to pass bill allowing guns on campus

Image
© Associated Press/Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rodger Mallison
FILE - In this April 15, 2010 file photo, Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry fires a six shooter filled with blanks as NASCAR driver Colin Braun looks on at an event in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. Texas is preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns into their classrooms, adding momentum to a national campaign to open up another prominent part of society to firearms

Austin, Texas - Texas is preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus, adding momentum to a national campaign to open this part of society to firearms.

More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns. The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he's in favor of the idea.

Texas has become a prime battleground for the issue because of its gun culture and its size, with 38 public universities and more than 500,000 students. It would become the second state, following Utah, to pass such a broad-based law. Colorado gives colleges the option and several have allowed handguns.

Supporters of the legislation argue that gun violence on campuses, such as the mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Northern Illinois in 2008, show that the best defense against a gunman is students who can shoot back.

Comment: Warped thinking by the Texas legislators. Using their logic, we will only be safe when everyone packs a gun.


Che Guevara

Anger on the streets: unrest in Iran, Algeria, Yemen, Morocco and China

Image
© Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP
Protesters march in Rabat, Morocco to demand a new constitution that would bring greater democracy and an end to corruption.
Peaceful demonstrations staged in Morocco but violence breaks out elsewhere in the Middle East and Chinese police crackdown on planned unrest

Morocco: Peaceful protests against prime minister

Thousands took to the streets of Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier and Marrakech in peaceful protests demanding a new constitution, a change in government and an end to corruption.

Sunday's protests were a test for King Mohamed VI's regime, which boasts that it is more liberal and tolerant than other countries in the region that have seen violence and revolution.

Despite a heavy secret police presence, uniformed police stayed in the background as demonstrators carefully avoided overt criticism of the king or Islamist chanting. "Where has the money gone?", "The people of Morocco want change" and "We need a new constitution" were among the cries of 5,000 marchers in the capital, Rabat.

"The atmosphere today is peaceful, as it is in our Moroccan nature to be peaceful," a 50-year-old doctor, Mohamed Bebakri, said.

Said Benjibli, the creator of Facebook protest group and one of the few prepared to complain about the monarch, said: "The king has too much power and he needs to distribute more money to the people." Much of the rage was directed against prime minister Abbas El Fassi and his many family members in government posts.

USA

The battle of the US-Mexico frontier

Image
© David Mcnew
Mexican migrants try to illegally cross border fence into California.
The United States has built a huge fence to keep Mexican immigrants out. It has cost billions, split communities - but does it work?

Charlie Bruce was a Texas police chief of the old school. In more than four decades on the force he gave homegrown criminals good reason to steer clear of Del Rio, his small town on the United States's southern border, but held no grudge against the steady flow of Mexicans across the frontier in search of opportunity. He admired them for their hard work and the chances they took to better themselves. Besides, some of them built his house.

What happened on the other side of the border, in Mexico, was another matter. There, Bruce unashamedly admits that for years he used his authority as a Texan police officer to run a lucrative smuggling racket. Mostly he dealt in duty-free whisky and cigarettes shipped in to Mexico, bribing officials with tens of thousands of dollars a time to avoid taxes, and then promptly selling the contraband on to Americans who brought it back across the border.

Occasionally Bruce branched out. He laughs when he recalls the handsome profit made from exploiting a sugar shortage in the 70s by paying off an official to illegally sell him a stock of subsidised sugar sitting in a Mexican government warehouse, which he shipped to a pie-maker in Philadelphia.

Now 75 and retired to a new house a stone's throw from the border, he recounts his years as a smuggler with undisguised pride and admits that it was all made possible by being a police officer. "That's exactly why I got by with it, because I was well known over there. My shield was law enforcement. I got by with murder more than other people," he says. "Other people may think it's wrong but the border's its own world."

Che Guevara

Libyans sack state TV HQ and public buildings

Image

Demonstrators protest Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi outside the country's embassy in London, England, on Sunday.
Libyan protesters have raided the country's state TV headquarters and torched the central government building as well as police stations in the capital Tripoli.

"The headquarters of Al-Jamahiriya Two television and Al-Shababia radio have been sacked," AFP quoted a witness as saying on Monday.

Other witnesses are quoted to have said that the protesters set the People's Committee offices and police stations ablaze.

In Benghazi, Libya, thousands of people have taken to the streets since last week, calling for the ouster of the 68-year-old Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, who has been in office since September 1969.

The Libyan regime has brutally cracked down on protesters, and has opened fire with machine guns, as well as sniper fire, killing at least 233 people according to the Human Rights Watch.

Eye 2

Gaddafi's son warns his family will unleash bloodbath in Libya if protesters don't go home

Image

Son of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi
The son of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, Seif al-Islam, has warned against an ominous civil war in the North African country amidst Libya's popular uprising.

"Libya is at a crossroads. If we do not agree today on reforms, we will not be mourning 84 people, but thousands of deaths, and rivers of blood will run through Libya," Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said in a televised speech on Sunday.

He accused the factions of attempting to stir chaos in the country and offered dialog and the establishment of local governments in a bid to quell the nationwide uprising.

He also warned that the situation has become extremely dangerous in Libya, emphasizing that his country is not Tunisia or Egypt.