Archive for December, 2013

News and Analysis (12/30/13)

Monday, December 30th, 2013

With thousands in jail and up to a million Muslim Brotherhood supporters targeted by the Egyptian junta, Hagel expresses concern …

… Egypt lowers the hammer on journalists who won’t toe the line …

…  while Al-Sisi vows genocide: “There’s no reason to fear or worry, the Egyptian army will sacrifice itself for Egypt and Egyptians, and those who harm you will vanish from the face of the earth” …

… as election rules are changed to pave the way for his coronation …

… and with Orwellian logic a “Fatah representative in the PLO executive committee” calls Hamas’s survival of Fatah’s failed attempt to overthrow the elected government in Gaza “a military coup”  …

“Last week, Erdogan’s top political adviser, Yalcin Akdogan, suggested those officers had been framed by groups within the judiciary who are now allegedly orchestrating a widespread corruption probe against Erdogan’s allies. Many believe the groups Akdogan was referring to are followers of Pennsylvania-based spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen”:

A NY Times investigation finds “no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi”:

Al-Qaeda’s obsession with meticulous accounting “suggests that far from being a fly-by-night, fragmented terror organization, al-Qaida is attempting to behave like a multinational corporation, with what amounts to a company-wide financial policy across its different chapters”:

A joke inspired by the diversity of Iranian women, the video demonstrating the same point about Muslim women in NYC triggers a conversation:

“The witnesses said eight victims died when extremists attacked a wedding reception at Tashan-Alede village in Borno state late Saturday night, and four in neighboring Kwajffa village on Sunday…. Village attacks have become common with many more Muslims than Christians killed this year”:

After reading the redacted portions two congressmen are calling for the declassification of the full Joint Congressional Report on 9/11 that “implicates one or more foreign intelligence agencies in the planning and execution of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon”:

“The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and its allies had planned a mass gathering in Dhaka on Sunday, but police barred Zia from leaving her home while cordoning off the venue in front of the party’s headquarters. Zia’s home remained blocked Monday”:

 “It seems to me all these orders were designed to ensure that a fair trial was not prejudiced in Asha Khan and Kashif Khan’s case. Now proceedings have concluded I can’t see there’s any justification for continuing these orders” — Judge Stephen Ashurst:

News and Analysis (12/28/13)

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

“There were indications that the government had taken on more than it could handle by outlawing the Brotherhood and anyone associated with it, including a network of social service organizations and charities that provide services to millions of Egyptians” …

…and now “one student has been killed and dozens injured after police in Cairo opened fire on students protesting against the military government”:

“Parliament President Mustapha Ben Jaafar said Saturday the ruling Islamist party, which had wanted a pure parliamentary system, agreed instead to give more powers to a president, including the power to dissolve the legislature”:

With divisions apparent within the population and within the police over the corruption scandal, the army says it will stay out while the EU calls for more transparency:

“Chatah was the latest of more than a dozen Hariri allies to be assassinated since 2005. But given that he was a moderate politician rather than a security official, his killing sends a far more potent message to the region at large”:

“The war had been brought to life in the US by broadcast evangelicals such as Billy Graham, who cast it as a heroic battle by Christian and African underdogs against a more powerful Muslim and Arab foe. The fact that religious and geographical lines were never remotely this clear and clean-cut was routinely ignored”:

With the U.S. courts split over the constitutionality of the mass government surveillance program, a Supreme Court hearing seems increasingly likely:

Signs of the continuing deterioration of the situation in Libya since the murder of Gaddafi now include government detention of American military personnel and the drive-by shooting of a Libyan major:

Sectarian persecution continues to accelerate as Arab governments crackdown on the opposition:

“Former cricket hero turned politician Imran Khan has called for the clinic attacks to stop as he battles to halt the spread of the disease”, but the ghost of the American abuse of the program in its hunt for Usama bin Ladin continues to give credibility to those who “consider such campaigns a cover for spying”:

News and Analysis (12/26/13)

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Egypt kicks off its new campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood by formally naming it a terrorist organization …

… and by arresting 16 men suspected of “”promoting the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood group, distributing its leaflets, and inciting violence against the army and police” in connection with a bombing the Brotherhood has condemned:

“Three ministers had resigned after learning their sons were among dozens of people detained on December 17 as part of the investigation into corrupt procurement practices…. Erdogan responded by replacing half his cabinet with loyalists on Wednesday while investors took fright, and the lira currency fell further … to an all-time low”:

“Many Muslims point to the significance of Jesus’ life in the Quran and in their faith for why they celebrate Christmas.” Writes one Egyptian-American woman, “Christmas, like Ramadan, is the perfect interfaith footbridge for Muslim-Christian fellowship”:

A “Palestinian official called the finding ‘politicized’ and said an investigation would continue”:

“At least 34 people were killed in three bombings in Christian areas of Baghdad on Wednesday, including a car bomb that exploded as worshipers were leaving a Christmas service, Iraqi police and medics said. Elsewhere in Iraq, at least 10 people were killed in three attacks that targeted police and Shi’ite pilgrims, police said”

“It said they were attacked by a Christian militia known as anti-balaka in the capital Bangui on Wednesday”:

“The wife of a UK businessman who went missing in Dubai has accused the Serious Fraud Office of providing Iranian prosecutors with detailed personal information about her husband, including the address from which she believes he was abducted”:

In the video Weinstein seems to criticize the U.S. government for refusing to negotiate his release, but it is “impossible to tell how much Weinstein’s statement, made under the duress of captivity, was scripted by his captors”:

News and Analysis (12/24/13)

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

The Muslim Brotherhood has condemned the lethal attack, which in any case was not aimed at civilians, that doesn’t stop Cabinet spokesman Sherif Shawki from using the incident as an excuse to brand the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization:

In retaliation for the killing of a “man … shot in the chest while working on the border fence near Nahal Oz”, the Israelis kill a three-year-old Palestinian girl:

As the regime arrests yet another election winner, this one for the “crime” of “failing to implement a court ruling to renationalise a textile firm” …

… others imprisoned by the regime “who include senior aides to deposed President Mohammed Morsi, say they have been denied family visits and access to medical care”:

Suu Kyi explains her defense of the persecution of  Muslims by saying she is a politician, and that the depiction of her as a human rights icon for which she was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize “was a depiction that was imposed on me by other people”:

Is Iran turning its back on the free markets of Muhammad (saws) and ibn Khaldun to embrace the crony capitalism of Washington, or is it the victim of a disinformation campaign by Reuters?

“The United Nations envoy to Yemen says that the country’s political representatives have signed an agreement that draws a new political map for Yemen, giving its regions self-rule. Jamal Benomar said the new agreement “paves the way for establishing a unified state, on the basis of federalism and democracy”:

“I am willing to go to court and do whatever it takes, because I am confident that this is merely a charade” — Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi, “one of two men listed as global terrorists by the U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday, in a step that puts Qatar, a U.S. ally, in an awkward position:

“African Union (AU) troops have opened fire on protesters in the Central African Republic (CAR), killing one person, witnesses said. About 40 people were also wounded, mostly in a stampede, caused by the shooting near the airport in the capital”:

“The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy. That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that Keith Alexander and James Clapper did not” — Edward Snowden, American patriot:

News and Analysis (12/23/13)

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

The protesters complaint was simple. If Maher or any other Egyptian could be charged with a crime for peacefully demonstrating, then Egypt was not free, the uprising against Mubarak had not succeeded…. Their convictions signal a military-government crackdown on political dissent that is expanding far beyond the Muslim Brotherhood” …

… and “the stunning failure of Westerners who claim to love democracy to condemn the … coup … and the new regime’s subsequent brutal repression of his supporters … has granted the Muslim Brotherhood moral authority on all matters relating to democracy and freedom”:

The U.S. opposes Iran’s participation in the Syrian peace talks because of the latter’s support for Iran. By that logic they should ban themselves from the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations as well …

… speaking of which, Israel says American spying is unacceptable because “there is an intelligence alliance between (the United States and Israel) at an unprecedented level, and we are sharing the most sensitive (intelligence) material.” Hmm. Then why does Israel spy on America?

Confounding the stereotypes, Muslims in America in a new Gallup poll have greater racial & ethic diversity, better gender income parity, and greater youth voter registration than Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, or Jews. Conforming to stereotypes, they are second in religiosity only to the Mormons:

“A member of the White House review panel on NSA surveillance said he was “absolutely” surprised when he discovered the agency’s lack of evidence that the bulk collection of telephone call records had thwarted any terrorist attacks”:

“Musawah operates on the belief that Islam is not inherently biased toward men: patriarchy within Muslim countries is a result of the way male interpreters have read Islamic texts” and this “empowers women to shape the interpretations, norms and laws that affect their lives, then push for legal reform in their respective countries”:

As thousands protest the French intervention in the CAR, a Nazi slogan displayed by one of the French soldiers adds fuel to the fire:

“The disaster that befell Egypt on June 30 … could have been avoided had the Muslim Brotherhood taken a lesson from their Muslim brothers 5,000 miles away, in Indonesia. In 1998, that country’s strongman, Suharto, who had ruled since 1967, was forced to step down by protests remarkably similar to those that brought down Mubarak”:

“The security situation in and around Benghazi has been worsening in recent months, with extremist militia blamed for almost daily attacks”:

As he leaves Harvard to prepare “for his ‘legitimization case’ on behalf of the last remaining 19th century colonial enterprise,” Israel, expect Alan Dershowitz to follow his advice to his law students: “forget about claims of human rights based on international law and universal standards of morality. You’ll never win s— with that malarkey”:

News and Analysis (12/20/13)

Friday, December 20th, 2013

The judge says the Guantanamo detainee needs a mental evaluation before the trial can proceed; but was it torture that drive him crazy? …

… yet in England a “prominent Libyan dissident cannot pursue his ‘well-founded’ claim that he was unlawfully abducted in a joint MI6-CIA operation, and later tortured, because to do so would damage Britain’s relations with the US”:

Having gone after the Islamists and the liberals, the regime now turns on the leftists, while clearing Shafiq and Mubarak’s family members and prime minister …

… while news leaks about Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s megalomaniacal dreams only add to his popularity among the masses yearning for a new Pharaoh:

The jurors did not buy the assassins’ claims that the were soldiers of war …

… and ditto for “two ex-soldiers who firebombed a mosque four days after the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby”:

“Iranian experts [are] concerned Congress could sabotage final deal”:

“The corruption investigation has targeted people close to the administration of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, including three sons of cabinet ministers. Mr Erdogan has denounced the inquiry as a ‘dirty operation’ against his government”:

LSE’s pro-director for teaching and learning, Prof Paul Kelly, said, “If somebody is wearing a racist or violent or gory T-shirt, that would be a totally different situation. But [it’s different] when you are wearing an innocuous T-shirt that does not offend or harass anyone, not even by the most stringent standards”:

“’You want to transfer an entire population,’ MK Hanna Swaid (Hadash) said. Committee chairwoman MK Miri Regev (Likud) responded, ‘Yes, as the Americans did to the Indians’”:

Syrian activists are victimized by both the state and the rebels:

Muslims in Myanmar remain “stateless because the country’s 1982 Citizenship Act deprives them of citizenship rights further exasperating their struggle for survival. To be sure, the human rights violations committed against the Rohingya and other Muslims are widespread and systematic with no accountability” …

… and other facts you need to know abut the persecution of the Rohingya:

News and Analysis (12/18/13)

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

“Most political observers attribute the raids to a deepening feud between Erdogan and the Gulen Movement, a powerful Islamic organization whose leader, Fethullah Gulen, lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.” Gulen accuses Erdogan of an increasing authoritarianism and refers to him as “The Pharaoh”:

Three members of the NYPD appointed advisory board resigned in protest, but the award is just a symptom of immigrant Muslims’ misconception that the way to influence policy in America is to cozy up to the powerful as they did in their home countries rather than to organize the grass roots:

“The accusations seem to be in connection with Morsy’s escape from prison during the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak”:

With pro-regime TV stations augmenting their smears of the Muslim Brotherhood with gratuitous attacks on Jews …

… “The Pulse of Freedom” will be the slogan of a new Muslim Brotherhood television channel with an Istanbul HQ, to be “called Rabaa TV – named after the location in Cairo of the massive sit in by pro-Mursi supporters eventually dispersed with serious loss of life by security forces”:

Belhaj denies that the anti-Gaddafi dissidents whom he was tortured into fingering by the MI6/CIA operation had any connection to terrorism:

The lawyer for the accused in the Woolwich murder trial told the jury that the accused planned their act as “a military operation … and their target in that operation was a British soldier, and only a British soldier, no one else”:

A setback for Jonathan Goodluck, “accused of condoning massive corruption and fueling divisions in the party and the country as it confronts a bloody Islamic uprising …, ongoing deadly ethno-religious clashes … and renewed militancy in the oil-rich south along with crippling oil thefts by armed gangs believed to benefit politicians”:

The American Academic Studies Association cites “Israel’s violation of international law and UN resolutions; the documented impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students; [and] the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights”:

“A team representing this militia contacted our authorities to say that they no longer want to stay in their camps, and that they’ve run out of food. They want to come out. Are they being sincere or not, no one can say for sure” — government spokesman Guy Simplice …

… but do negotiations stand a chance? “At each meeting the Muslims put forward their wounds and the Christians put forward their wounds. And when you put those wounds side by side, there is just blood that flows” — Bishop Nongo Aziagbia:

News and Analysis (12/16/13)

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Her husband was the “kind of guy most girls dream about and pray for: good-looking, fun-loving, and well-educated”, but now he is serving 23 years in a dreaded CMU, and she considers her husband “a political prisoner of pre-emptive prosecution”, and feels abandoned by her own Muslim community:

Against the background of the agreement on a technocratic interim government, Rachid Ghannouchi grants an interview to the Washington Post:

“[F]or all the supposed determination of the United States and its allies since 9/11 to fight “the war on terror”, they have showed astonishing restraint when it comes to pressuring Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies to turn off the financial tap that keeps the jihadists in business”:

“Ahmad was arrested in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore last month when two men posing as patients questioned him about his faith and used mobile phones to secretly record him reading a verse from the Holy Quran. ‘He (the patient) said you are like a father to me, please help me with some questions,’ and when he “answered, they began beating him and dragged him outside”:

A “lawyer and relative of some of the defendants, said he would appeal the verdict. He described it as the “continuation of a series of sectarian rulings,” adding that few Muslims are ever held responsible for violence against Christians” …

… and a Muslim boy, charged with possession a subversive ruler,  has spent three weeks “in an adult jail while he awaits the start of legal proceedings – even though Egyptian legislation sets criminal penalties for officials who detain children with adult prisoners” and two of his teachers have also now been placed under investigation” …

… but although both secularist and Islamist groups “have dared to publicly challenge what they say are growing abuses by the country’s military and government[, they] … do not work together”:

“Two Guantanamo Bay prisoners [who were never charged with anything] have been transferred to Saudi Arabia as part of a renewed effort to close the offshore U.S. prison”:

“How a possible thaw with the West is viewed in Iran – on the factory floor, at Friday prayers, and in government suites”:

The French display their gall by demanding the EU pay for their new imperialist adventures:

New and Analysis (12/14/13)

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

“The US government has been lying for years about Robert Levinson, a man kidnapped in Iran after being sent there as part of a rogue CIA operation. Some media have been playing along”:

We can believe that Gen. Sisi aspires to be a dictator in the same class as Time’s 1938 (Adolf Hitler) or 1939 (Joseph Stalin) “Man of of the year” choices, but he’s got a long way to go:

Here are sources on the history of the Christian-Muslim violence in the Central African Republic and the latest developments:

“The wave of violence will further worry observers already concerned by the prospect of chaos in the unstable south Asian state ahead of elections in early January”:

“Demonstrators gathered on Friday despite heavy rains and unprecedented low temperatures to support dozens of students arrested by authorities in recent weeks. Some of them made a four-finger hand gesture used to remember the violent breakup of an Islamist sit-in by security forces in mid-August that left hundreds dead”:

“While much of the public has supported tough security measures against the group, societal norms in the majority-Muslim country may cause some to chafe at action against women and girls, even those protesting against the revered army”:

It reflects “the extent to which the Islamic Front alliance [IF] has eclipsed the more moderate Free Syrian Army brigades – which Western and Arab powers tried in vain to build into a force able to topple President Bashar al-Assad. The talks could also decide the future direction of the [IF], which is engaged in a standoff with yet more” extreme al-Qaida linked forces:

Americans “threaten” to withdraw from Afghanistan, but Karzai will believe that when he sees it:

“The Iran-Pakistan pipeline is designed to help Pakistan overcome its mushrooming energy needs. Pakistanis experience frequent blackouts” but the “U.S. has opposed the project but leaders of both Iran and Pakistan have vowed to implement what they refer to as the ‘peace pipeline'”:

 

News and Analysis (12/12/13)

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

“Judge Mustafa Salama said the case of the Brotherhood’s General Guide Mohamed Badie and fellow defendants, who are charged with inciting the killing of protesters, would be transferred to the Cairo appeals court”:

As the Egyptian regime turns away desperate Syrian refugees, the U.S. and its European allies worry that Turkey isn’t doing enough to crack down on the forces they themselves have inadvertently armed:

“In Islamic teaching you shouldn’t drink alcohol but you can’t impose Islamic law on other people. This is a democracy. To try to impose sharia by force, which is their stated aim, is completely stupid and against Islamic teaching” — Dr Usama Hasan of the anti-extremist group Quilliam:

“The prime minister cited finances and security, but some Israelis say the decision gives fodder to those who say Israel runs an apartheid state” …

… but even the Palestiians, whose cause Mandella championed, reserve their “praise … for how Mandela pushed back against an apartheid regime, rather than on how he embraced the language, literature, and leaders of that regime in a search for national reconciliation”:

The peaceful “demonstrators demanded affirmative action for Dalits (formerly “untouchables”) who have converted to Christianity or Islam”:

“Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the way for the execution of an Islamist opposition leader, sparking violent protests by his supporters less than a month before elections are due to be held”:

Human Rights Watch “warns Islamic militants waging an uprising in northeast Nigeria have invoked the lack of justice for attacks on Muslims to justify killing Christians”:

“One particular cookie called Google PREF, which is almost ubiquitous in the online world” acts “as a kind of digital homing beacon for agency operatives to target individual computers and implant spyware inside them, according to the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to The Washington Post”: