GAZA IS DROWNING AS ISRAEL AND EGYPT WATCH

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

gaza-disaster

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Related Post from In Gaza

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Gaza drowning …and under power and media blackout

Photo

Photos and updates from Gaza paint one of the most dire scenarios the Palestinians locked in the Strip have faced, Israeli bombing campaigns aside.

ISRAEL BLOCKS YET ANOTHER FLOTILLA FROM GAZA

Israel tightened its land blockade on Gaza after the Hamas seized control of the enclave in 2007, a blockade which is also being enforced by Egypt on its side of the Gaza border.
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Siezed control??? Is that what we are calling free and democratic elections these days????
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En route to Israel (Photo: EPA)
En route to Israel (Photo: EPA)
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Hundreds of Gazans launch flotilla over naval blockade

Hundreds of Palestinians launched protest flotilla in protests of Israel-Egyptian blockade of Gaza but fail to make it to Israel

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Hundreds of Palestinian youth activists sailed from the shores of the Gaza Strip on Monday to protest at Israel’s restrictions on fishing in the seas off the Islamist-ruled enclave.Around 20 Gaza fishing boats carrying several dozen activists claimed to have broken the naval blockade on the territory in a move denied by the Israeli military. The “resistance flotilla” was at sea for several hours before returning with the claim it had “broken” the blockade which bars fishing vessels from sailing six nautical miles from the shoreline.

Israel eased the blockade somewhat in 2010 after an Israeli commando raid on a ship in an activist flotilla bent on reaching Gaza left nine Turks dead and raised an international uproar, but Palestinians say the gestures were not enough.

On Monday, Gaza’s Coalition Intifada group said about 200 youths boarded fishing boats heading out of Gaza City toward the fishing zone boundary, before returning to shore. Organizers said some boats crossed the six-mile maritime limit.

Palestinian fishermen say they cannot meet demand in Gaza due to Israeli-Egyptian naval blockade on the territory and limit of six nautical miles (11 km) in which they can take out their boats off shore.

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Photo: EPA

Photo: EPA
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“We have sent a message of solidarity with the fishermen and a message to the world that they must act to end the Gaza blockade,” said Shorouq Mahmoud, the group’s spokeswoman.

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Palestinian activist (Photo: Facebook)
Palestinian activist (Photo: Facebook)

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An Israeli military spokeswoman said none of the boats breached the fishing zone limit.

Israeli forces have regularly shot at Gaza boats seen as trying to breach the blockade.

Israel tightened its land blockade on Gaza after the Hamas seized control of the enclave in 2007, a blockade which is also being enforced by Egypt on its side of the Gaza border.

Source

EGYPT’S STRANGE POLITICAL BEDFELLOWS

Yesterday I said that ‘politics makes for strange bedfellows’. This week it was proven in Egypt …. just look and see who is being paid to cover up the crimes of the junta there …. pretty sickening!
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Egypt’s military regime, which overthrew elected President Muhammad Morsi on 3 July, has hired a Washington, DC, public relations firm with close ties to the Israel lobby and President Obama’s Democratic Party.
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Egypt coup regime hires Israel-linked Washington lobby firm

 Ali Abunimah 
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Days before Egyptian forces stormed it on 14 August killing hundreds of people, a man held a sign protesting the military coup in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya square.

 (Ahmed Asad / APA images)

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Egypt’s military regime, which overthrew elected President Muhammad Morsi on 3 July, has hired a Washington, DC, public relations firm with close ties to the Israel lobby and President Obama’s Democratic Party.

Last week, the Glover Park Group (GPG) filed lobbying registration forms with the US Department of Justice, stating that the firm will “provide public diplomacy, strategic communications counsel and government relations services” for the Egyptian regime headed by General Abdulfattah al-Sisi, The Hill reported.

As Middle East Monitor points out, a managing director of GPG is Arik Ben-Zvi.

“Ben-Zvi served in the Israeli Defense Forces and received his degree in History and Political Science from Tel Aviv University,” according to GPG’s website.

He also served as the “chief communications consultant on national and local elections in Israel, Bulgaria and the British Virgin Islands.”

But Ben-Zvi is not the only senior GPG person with close professional ties to Israel. Other members of the leadership team include senior vice president Jason Boxt who is former national deputy political director at the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Matt Mandel, now vice president at GPG, previously worked in the AIPAC legislative department.

Mandel also served as a legislative assistant to current US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Republican of Virginia).

As one of the largest and most “experienced” lobby firms, according to the Hill, GPG currently represents Apple, Coca-Cola and arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

Colombia, another US-allied government with an atrocious human rights record, has also previously turned to GPG.

Ties to Democratic Party

GPG also employs several former senior government officials including Clinton administration alumni Susan Brophy and DeeDee Myers.

The firm’s founding partners include top Democratic Party operatives Carter Eskew and former Clinton advisor and spokesman Joe Lockhart.

Good fit for coup regime

GPG is a natural fit for the Egyptian military regime, given the close ties and cooperation it maintains with Israel, and the fact that a Democratic president is in the White House.

AIPAC itself has worked hard to lobby the US government to not designate the Egyptian military takeover as a coup, thus avoiding a legally-mandated cutoff of US military aid to Egypt.

A “suspension” of some US military aid to Egypt announced by the Obama administration last week was purely symbolic and exempted aid required to help Egypt assure Israeli security and maintain the siege of Gaza.

When announcing the measures, US officials were at pains to emphasize they would maintain their close, high-level relations with Egyptian army top brass.

Precise execution

One of the services GPG offers its clients is “crisis management.”

“When a client faces a crisis – from a product recall, to litigation, to activist attacks,”GPG’s website proclaims, “we strive to be a resource, helping drive fast, thoughtful decision making, tight internal coordination and precise execution.”

Since the July coup, activists have been under attack by the military regime and more than 2,000 people arrested.

More than 1,000 people have been shot in cold-blood, killings that amount to summary and precise execution.

Though that is not what GPG meant by “activist attacks” and “precise execution,” it is what they will now be paid to defend.

 

 

Written FOR

STILL HOPING FOR CHANGE IN EGYPT

We can only hope that the Egyptian people will wake up sooner rather than later in order to save their country from the worst possible scenarios. For sure, no one would want Egypt to morph into another Somalia or another Syria.
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fascism-2 (1)
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Prosperity and fascism are oxymoron
By Khalid Amayreh
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According to the latest reports from Cairo, Egypt’s ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum has fallen for the 4th consecutive year.

The fall reportedly became more pronounced and more acute especially since the bloody military coup in July, carried out by Abdul Fattah Sisis, in collusion with secular and anti-Islamic elements, against the democratically elected President Muhammed Mursi.

In the 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), the country slid to 118th position from 107 last year, falling from 3.7 to 3.63 points, to be placed in the lowest quartile of 148 countries included in the report.

The report pointed out that Egypt’s competitiveness was compromised due to deteriorating security circumstances and the consequent instability besetting the country.

“The deteriorating security situation and tenacious political instability are undermining the country’s competitiveness and its potential for growth,” according to the authors of the report.

The report defines competitiveness by the institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country.

Fascism could ruin Egypt

The latest reports from Egypt should not raise the eyebrows of observers following up Egyptian affair. The present military junta simply doesn’t have the ability and necessary skills to run the country and efficiently manage its already shaky economy.

The military leadership may well be able to murder peaceful protesters at will at Rab’a and shut down non-conformist media outlets. It can also round up political opponents and incarcerate elected officials on concocted charges leveled against the Islamists by a notoriously corrupt justice system utilized as a rubber stamp by the fascist-minded ruling junta.

But the military can’t really do what should be done to revive the economy, create jobs for millions of unemployed Egyptians, create social peace and harmony among Egyptians and heal the wounds and scars of the catastrophic coup. Yes, it can kill, maim and incarcerate, but it can’t heal. It can destroy, but it can’t build. It can bully, but it can not reconcile.

It is really difficult to pin any real hopes on the military junta to stop Egypt’s slide to the unknown. That is because the fate of the country is being entrusted to an ignorant junta that thinks, behaves and acts like Third World coup makers did during the cold war between the West and the Soviet Union especially in the 1950s and 1960s.

What really makes things look even worse is the scandalous utilization of Egyptian courts to give the fascist junta a thin façade of legitimacy and legality.

But then, what are we to expect from a “justice system” that keeps a democratically elected president in captivity while setting free a vicious dictator who utterly ruined Egypt morally, politically and economically for more than 30 years?

Didn’t the same justice system abruptly cancel all parliamentary and other elections in Egypt for the purpose of depriving the Islamists of their victories, as the infamous Judge Tahani Jabali of the Constitutional Court told the New York Times in 2012?

Clearly, these are the hallmarks of fascism, pure and simple.

Indeed, with the Egyptian army effectively morphing into a full-fledged repressive police force, murdering and terrorizing its own people, it is hard to expect the occurrence of any economic improvement in the county.

This is why bankruptcy will become more rampant, foreign investors will flee Egypt and millions of Egyptian will lose the impetus to rebuild their country, given the depressive atmosphere overwhelming the country as a result of the usurpation of the Egyptian people’s will by a group of ignorant military officers, devoid of any morality.

To be sure, Egypt doesn’t lack the brain power to transform itself from a wretched, poor country into a modern state where the rule of law is respected and human rights and civil liberties are observed and upheld. But in order to reach this point, the right people ought to be in the driver’s seat.

The democratically-elected Islamists tried their best to rescue Egypt from a hopeless situation brought about thanks to decades of failed management, political tyranny and secular fascism.

They may not have succeeded in solving all Egypt’s problems, especially in light of the monumental conspiracies to thwart their efforts at the hands of a virulent clique of conspirers, including the despotic-minded armed forces, a notoriously dishonest and vehemently anti-Islamic media, and a vindictive Coptic Church that is hell-bent on de-Islamizing a country where Muslims constitute about 95% of the population.

But the Islamists tried despite the paucity of resources and the rampant conspiracies devised by the “deep state” and Mubarak’s supporters who were hell-bent on aborting the “Islamic experiment.”

None the less, Egypt and its great people will pay the price for the perfidy and treason of the military junta. To be sure, Egypt is already paying the price for the criminal vagaries of its armed forces which, we are told, are trying to rebuild democracy by decapitating it.

We can only hope that the Egyptian people will wake up sooner rather than later in order to save their country from the worst possible scenarios. For sure, no one would want Egypt to morph into another Somalia or another Syria.

However, even the unthinkable could happen if this ignorant and stupid military junta remains at the helm.

 

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CANADIANS WALKING LIKE EGYPTIANS IN CAIRO PRISON

 John Greyson and Tarek Loubani supporters
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PRESS RELEASE
Impending Charges? Tarek and John in their own words

 

We have held on to this statement out of fear that the Egyptian authorities would harm Tarek and John if we released it. But given the announcement of impending charges in the Toronto Star today, we think that their own words can explain what the “evidence” the Egyptian authorities claim to have is. We believe that the impending charges have much more to do with what Tarek and John witnessed on August 16th, rather than what the Egyptian authorities claim they did.

Statement:

“We are on the 12th day of our hunger strike at Tora, Cairo’s main prison, located on the banks of the Nile. We’ve been held here since August 16 in ridiculous conditions: no phone calls, little to no exercise, sharing a 3m x 10m cell with 36 other political prisoners, sleeping like sardines on concrete with the cockroaches; sharing a single tap of earthy Nile water.

“We never planned to stay in Egypt longer than overnight. We arrived in Cairo on the 15th with transit visas and all the necessary paperwork to proceed to our destination: Gaza. Tarek volunteers at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, and brings people with him each time. John intended to shoot a short film about Tarek’s work.

“Because of the coup, the official Rafah border was opening and closing randomly, and we were stuck in Cairo for the day. We were carrying portable camera gear (one light, one microphone, John’s HD Canon, two Go-Pros) and gear for the hospital (routers for a much-needed wifi network and two disassembled toy-sized helicopters for testing the transportation of medical samples).

“Because of the protests in Ramses Square and around the country on the 16th, our car couldn’t proceed to Gaza. We decided to check out the Square, five blocks from our hotel, carrying our passports and John’s HD camera. The protest was just starting – peaceful chanting, the faint odour of tear gas, a helicopter lazily circling overhead – when suddenly calls of “doctor”. A young man carried by others from God-knows-where, bleeding from a bullet wound. Tarek snapped into doctor mode…and started to work doing emergency response, trying to save lives, while John did video documentation, shooting a record of the carnage that was unfolding. The wounded and dying never stopped coming. Between us, we saw over fifty Egyptians die: students, workers, professionals, professors, all shapes, all ages, unarmed. We later learned the body count for the day was 102.

“We left in the evening when it was safe, trying to get back to our hotel on the Nile. We stopped for ice cream. We couldn’t find a way through the police cordon though, and finally asked for help at a check point.

“That’s when we were: arrested, searched, caged, questioned, interrogated, videotaped with a ‘Syrian terrorist’, slapped, beaten, ridiculed, hot-boxed, refused phone calls, stripped, shaved bald, accused of being foreign mercenaries. Was it our Canadian passports, or the footage of Tarek performing CPR, or our ice cream wrappers that set them off? They screamed ‘Canadian’ as they kicked and hit us. John had a precisely etched bootprint bruise on his back for a week.

“We were two of 602 arrested that night, all 602 potentially facing the same grab-bag of ludicrous charges: arson, conspiracy, terrorism, possession of weapons, firearms, explosives, attacking a police station. The arrest stories of our Egyptian cellmates are remarkably similar to ours: Egyptians who were picked up on dark streets after the protest, by thugs or cops, blocks or miles from the police station that is the alleged site of our alleged crimes.

“We’ve been here in Tora prison for six weeks, and are now in a new cell (3.5m x 5.5m) that we share with ‘only’ six others. We’re still sleeping on concrete with the cockroaches, and still share a single tap of Nile water, but now we get (almost) daily exercise and showers. Still no phone calls. The prosecutor won’t say if there’s some outstanding issue that’s holding things up. The routers, the film equipment, or the footage of Tarek treating bullet wounds through that long bloody afternoon? Indeed, we would welcome our day in a real court with the real evidence, because then this footage would provide us with our alibi and serve as a witness to the massacre.

“We deserve due process, not cockroaches on concrete. We demand to be released.

“Peace, John & Tarek”

CONTACT: Cecilia Greyson, cgreysonATgmail.com, Justin Podur, justinATpodur.org 

‘ISRAELI-ARAB SPRING’ HITS GAZA’S WATERS

Since the 3 July military coup that overthrew Morsi, Palestinian fishermen from Gaza have come under unprecedented attack by Egyptian naval forces and at least three have been injured.

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Video: Along with Israeli attacks, Gaza fishermen face new danger from Egyptian navy

 Ali Abunimah
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In this video report for The Real News Network, Yousef Al-Helou speaks to Gaza fishermen, including survivors of recent Egyptian naval attacks, and the father of two fishermen who were arrested.

Many Palestinians in Gaza depend on the sea for their livelihood, but fishing has become increasingly difficult and dangerous as Israeli attacks on fishermen have reduced the zone where they can fish to just six nautical miles from Gaza’s shore.

This is a violation of the Oslo agreement which sets the fishing zone at 20 nautical miles.

For the past few years, Gaza fisherman were allowed to cross into Egyptian waters under the supervision of Egyptian forces, according to Nizar Ayyash, head of the Gaza fishermen’s syndicate.

This helped relieve the pressure as catches shrunk.

But since the 3 July military coup that overthrew Morsi, Palestinian fishermen from Gaza have come under unprecedented attack by Egyptian naval forces and at least three have been injured.

Ayyash said the attacks came without any warning. “We never expected from our Egyptian brothers to open fire on us,” Ayyash said.

Five others were arrested and an Egyptian military court sentenced them to a year in jail, allegedly for fishing in Egyptian waters.

In a new attempt to break Israel’s tight blockade, activists in Gaza are working to transform a fishing boat into “Gaza’s Ark” which will attempt to set sail from Gaza to export goods.

Due to the Israeli siege, virtually no Palestinian-produced goods are allowed out of Gaza.

 

 

Written FOR

TODAY’S TOON ~~ EGYPT’S REVOLVING REVOLUTION

Image By Bendib

8-26-Revolution

PLACARD OF THE DAY

Sisi1

 

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On August 22, several hundred Egyptians and Egyptian-Americans hit the streets of Washington DC to show their support for General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi and the regime that overthrew the elected President Mohamed Morsi in a military coup on July 3.

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From THIS report

TODAY’S TOON ~~ THE HARDSHIPS AWAITING MUBARAK

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

mubarak-home-detention

EGYPT: WAR OF WORDS ….

war-of-words
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First see yesterday’s post
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Tuesday, the White House said media reports that suggest the US cut off aid to Egypt are not accurate, adding that the Obama administration is still reviewing its options.
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BUT
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The White House will hold a Cabinet-level meeting to discuss cutting some of $1.5 billion in US aid to Egypt.
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WTF???
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US condemns Erdogan’s comments on Israel, Egypt

White House spokesman says Turkish leader’s comments suggesting Israel is responsible for Egypt unrest are ‘offensive and wrong’; says reports that US is cutting military aid to Egypt ‘inaccurate’

News agencies

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The United States condemned comments by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accusing Israel of having a hand in the Egyptian military’s overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi, a White House spokesman said on Tuesday.

“We strongly condemn the statements that were made by Prime Minister Erdogan today. Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated, and wrong,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing.

In Israel, an official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office told AFP: “These comments by the Turkish prime minister are nonsense.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Erdogan told provincial leaders of his AK Party: “What do they say in Egypt? Democracy is not the ballot box. What is behind it? Israel. We have in our hands documentation.”

Also Tuesday, the White House said media reports that suggest the US cut off aid to Egypt are not accurate, adding that the Obama administration is still reviewing its options.

“That review has not concluded and … published reports to the contrary that assistance to Egypt has been cut off are not accurate,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing.

Earnest also said that Egypt’s detention of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie was not in line with the standard that the United States would hope to uphold in protecting basic human rights.

The White House will hold a Cabinet-level meeting to discuss cutting some of $1.5 billion in US aid to Egypt.

Earnest confirmed that a National Security Council meeting of top officials will take place Tuesday. Cabinet members such as Secretary of State John Kerry will participate.

Up to now, the administration has insisted that it has taken no final decision on halting aid to Egypt since the military’s July overthrow of Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood-led government and an intensifying crackdown on Islamist opponents.

Both officials said Egypt aid would be the focus of the meeting. One official said a decision was likely on cutting some elements of US economic and military support.

Reuters, AFP and AP contributed to this report

 

 

Source


CAN YOU GUESS WHO MASTERMINDED THE COUP IN EGYPT? …. ONE GUESS ONLY

“Israel is behind the coup in Egypt, we have evidence,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told members of his party meeting in Ankara on Tuesday.
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Surprised? Surely not …
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Erdoğan: Israel is behind Egypt coup, has evidence

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Photo: İHA, Abdullah Cıbır)
The Turkish prime minister has suggested that Israel is behind the military intervention in Egypt that removed President Mohammed Morsi.

“Israel is behind the coup in Egypt, we have evidence,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told members of his party meeting in Ankara on Tuesday. He cited a French intellectual, without mentioning his name, who, according to Erdoğan, said in 2011 that the Muslim Brotherhood won’t be in power even if they are elected because “democracy is not the ballot box.” Erdoğan stressed the Jewish identity of the French intellectual.

Source

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Related From HaAretz

ISRAEL URGING SUPPORT FOR EGYPTIAN TERRORISM

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
egypt-massacre (1)
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On Sunday, 38 Muslim Brotherhood detainees were suffocated to death by tear gas fired at them as they tried to escape trucks that drove them to a detention facility. According to reports, the detainees held a security officer hostage. Security forces rescued him and said he sustained serious injuries.
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Report: Israel urges West to back Egypt’s military

Jerusalem launching campaign to urge Europe, United States to support military-backed government in Egypt, New York Times reports. ‘What’s the alternative? it’s army or anarchy,’ says Israeli official

Israel is planning to intensify its diplomatic campaign urging Europe and the United States to support the military-backed government in Egypt, a senior Israeli official involved in the effort told the New York Times Sunday.

According to the official, Israeli ambassadors in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels and other capitals would lobby foreign ministers. At the same time, leaders here will press the case with diplomats from abroad that the military is the only hope to prevent further chaos in Cairo.

“We’re trying to talk to key actors, key countries, and share our view that you may not like what you see, but what’s the alternative?” the official explained. “If you insist on big principles, then you will miss the essential — the essential being putting Egypt back on track at whatever cost. First, save what you can, and then deal with democracy and freedom and so on.

“At this point,” the official added, “it’s army or anarchy.”

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Ruin in Cairo (Photo: EPA)

Ruin in Cairo (Photo: EPA)
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On Saturday, the New York Times quoted diplomatic sources as saying that Israel and Egyptian Defense Minister General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi have been in close contact.

These same diplomats say that Israel assured Egypt it did not have to worry about the US threat to cut its enormous aid package to that country.

The US is in no hurry to stop its aid to Egypt, which would severely damage its relations with the Egyptian army, the report said. The Egyptians allow the Americans to move their military forces, quickly and almost without warning, over Egyptian skies and the Suez Canal, which is a necessity for its activities in the war on terror in the Horn of Africa, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and the area of Israel and the Gaza Strip.

On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the arms supply to Egypt may be compromised in the course of pressure on the interim leadership in Cairo to stop the violence in the country.

“Exporting arms to Egypt may be influenced by steps we may take. Soon the EU foreign ministers will meet to discuss the situation,” Merkel announced in an interview for a German TV channel.

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Muslim Brotherhood supporter (Photo: Reuters)
Muslim Brotherhood supporter (Photo: Reuters)
Soldiers take down barrier (Photo: EPA)
Soldiers take down barrier (Photo: EPA)
 

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Also Saturday, the European Union said it was reexamining its relations with Egypt. France and Britain called for Europe to send a strong message on the escalating crisis in Egypt, urging the EU to review its relations with Cairo.

The French presidency said in a statement that after talks by telephone, President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister David Cameron agreed “on the seriousness of the violence of recent days and on the need for a strong European message.”

On Sunday, 38 Muslim Brotherhood detainees were suffocated to death by tear gas fired at them as they tried to escape trucks that drove them to a detention facility. According to reports, the detainees held a security officer hostage. Security forces rescued him and said he sustained serious injuries.

Source

TODAY’S TOON ~~ REAPING THE FRUITS OF EGYPTIAN ‘DEMOCRACY’

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

egypt-massacre

TODAY’S TOON ~~ SLAUGHTERHOUSE DEMOCRACY IN EGYPT

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

rabaa-massacre-egypt

AN OLD JOKE REVISITED

6a00d83451ba8c69e20134824fc163970c

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The old joke goes as follows ….

A Russian and an American were having a heated argument during the Cold War days….
The American said that he could call the US President a bastard and nothing would happen to him ….
The Russian said that he too could call the US President a bastard and nothing would happen to him either.
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Today the joke came to mind as Egypt became the ‘Second Democracy in the Middle East’ …. a joke in itself 😉
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A decree issued by Egypt’s interim head of state on Monday means people no longer face jail for insulting the president, after a surge in such cases under deposed leader Mohamed Mursi including that of a popular comedian dubbed “Egypt’s Jon Stewart.”*
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Egyptians no longer face jail for insulting president

 By Shadia Nasralla

(Reuters) – A decree issued by Egypt’s interim head of state on Monday means people no longer face jail for insulting the president, after a surge in such cases under deposed leader Mohamed Mursi including that of a popular comedian dubbed “Egypt’s Jon Stewart.”

The legal change by interim President Adli Mansour was welcomed by activists who had voiced concern over the high number of investigations during the one-year rule of ousted Islamist Mursi, who was toppled on July 3.

But Human Rights Watch Egypt said the decree did not go far enough, arguing that insulting the president “should not be an offence in the first place.”

Several Egyptians were investigated for insulting Mursi during his brief term in office, fuelling fears that the Muslim Brotherhood politician was trying to crush freedoms won in the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The most high profile case was that of Bassem Youssef, a popular comedian likened to U.S. satirist Stewart, who regularly poked fun at Mursi.

The prosecutor general ordered Youssef’s arrest in March, drawing criticism from Washington, but the cardiologist was released on bail.

Youssef hosted Stewart on his show in Cairo in June, and Stewart took aim at Mursi and his government, saying: “A joke has never shot teargas at a group of people in a park. It’s just talk.”

The army removed Mursi from power following mass protests against his rule and replaced him with Mansour, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court.

Under the decree, those found guilty of insulting the president face a fine of up to 30,000 Egyptian pounds ($4,300). Under the previous law, they could be jailed for up to three years.

“We were hoping (such cases could be dealt with) through civil litigation and compensation, not fines, but it is still a good step,” rights lawyer Gamal Eid said.

“We are against imprisonment and we prefer no criminal courts forpublishing crimes,” he said.

He added the 28 cases of “insulting the president” brought during Mursi’s year in office compared with a total of 24 cases over the 115 years that preceded his election win last June.

Many of the cases were brought by private citizens sympathetic to Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood.

But Egypt director at Human Rights Watch, Heba Morayef, called on the interim leadership to go further.

“This amendment, while a general step in the right direction, doesn’t go anywhere near far enough, because it doesn’t address the multiple provisions in the penal code that limit freedom of expression,” she told Reuters.

Under the amended law, anyone found guilty of insulting the president would face a minimum fine of 10,000 pounds.

($1 = 6.9949 Egyptian pounds)

(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Tom Perry and Mike Collett-White)

Source

PALESTINIAN REFUGEES ~~ BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

2011-09-21T163234Z_783637630_GM1E79M01OR01_RTRMADP_3_BELGIUM
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Half of the almost 500,000 registered Palestine refugees have now been displaced from their homes as shelling and fighting continue to encroach on their areas in Syria, and 44,000 refugee homes have been damaged, UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, said this week.
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“We have become refugees again,” say Palestinians from Syria now in Gaza

 Ali Abunimah
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As Palestine refugees face an increasingly dire situation in Syria, some have made their way to the Gaza Strip, as Yousef Al-Helou finds in this video report for The Real News.

This route to safety is closed off, at least for now, amid the turmoil in Egypt.

Half of the almost 500,000 registered Palestine refugees have now been displaced from their homes as shelling and fighting continue to encroach on their areas in Syria, and 44,000 refugee homes have been damaged, UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, said this week.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed, including six in Yarmouk camp near Damascus over the last week, one of whom was the son of an UNRWA staff member.

From Damascus to Gaza, via Egypt

The number of Palestinians who have made it to Gaza is unknown, but Al-Helou cites estimates of around 800 persons.

“We Palestinian refugees have become refugees another time,” Muhammad al-Sheikh, a Palestinian who lived in Syria for 41 years, told Al-Helou. “We were forced to leave our homes due to the destruction and killing in Syria.”

“We know that Gaza often comes under Israeli attacks, so we know that for us the danger is not yet over. But at least we are in our homeland,” al-Sheikh added.

Though all facing the same dangers and dire situation that caused them to flee, Palestinians have strongly divergent views on the situation in Syria, with some opposing and others supporting the uprising against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Al-Helou reported.

Route to Gaza closed off by Egypt upheaval

Al-Sheikh said that refugees typically fly from Damascus to Cairo and then travel by taxi to the Rafah crossing border with Gaza.

But this route appears to be closed off at least for the time being amid the political turmoil in Egypt following the army’s removal of President Muhammad Morsi last week.

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza has been closed since the military takeover.

Egypt deports Palestinians

Egyptian authorities have begun deporting and denying entry to even long-time Palestinian residents of Gaza.

Contributor to The Electronic Intifada Yousef Aljamaldeported to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, is among dozens of Palestinians refused entry to Egypt as they tried to return home.

Egypt has also instructed international airlines not to allow Palestinian Authority passport holders to board flights for Cairo leaving many Palestinians stranded abroad.

Dozens more Palestinians are reported stranded at Cairo airport in deplorable conditions as efforts are made to persuade Egypt to reopen Rafah.

New measures restricting entry of Syrians

Today, Egypt expanded the tough restrictions to include Syrians, announcing that Syrian citizens would require advance visas in order to enter Egypt.

The measures came to light last night when Egyptian authorities deported 276 Syrians who had arrived at Cairo airport on scheduled flights from Beirut and Damascus, according to Egypt’s Ahram Online.

Rumors targeting Palestinians and Syrians

These measures come amid rumors and unsubstantiated accusations by Egyptian military brassin the media and on social media, that Hamas specifically and Palestinians generally – and now Syrians – are interfering in Egypt or assisting the Muslim Brotherhood movement of the deposed president.

In recent days, Egyptian officials have again claimed, without evidence, that Palestinians are responsible for attacks on Egyptian security forces in Sinai attributed to militant groups in the area.

Palestinians and Syrians in Egypt are particularly vulnerable populations who need safety and protection. Instead, in this atmosphere, many will now be feeling a heightened sense of danger.

Report: Rafah crossing may partially re-open on Wednesday

Breaking reports say that Egypt has agreed to partially re-open on the Rafah crossing on Wednesday. The main land exit from Gaza has been closed by Egyptian authorities for five days.

Gaza residents will be allowed to return, but only those with medical permits will be allowed by Egypt to leave Gaza, Palestinian authorities in Gaza have said.

Ban on entry remains for Palestinians

Notwithstanding the news about Rafah, Egyptian authorities issued a decree on 9 July announcing that no holders of Palestinian Authority passports or Jordanian passports that lack a national number will be allowed to enter Egypt without prior clearance from the security services. This means that Egypt remains effectively closed to Palestinians who fit those categories.

 

 

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PALESTINIANS ARE THE FIRST TO SUFFER UNDER EGYPT’S NEW GOVERNMENT

 Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff  (Freedom for whom???) 
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The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, which is a six hour drive from Cairo airport, has been closed indefinitely, ever since the Egyptian army overthrew elected PresidentMuhammad Morsi on 3 July after days of street protests.
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Egypt deporting Palestinians trying to return to Gaza

by Ali Abunimah 

A Palestinian woman waits at the closed Rafah crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on 5 July.

 (Eyad Al Baba)

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Palestinians trying to return home to the Gaza Strip via Cairo airport are being deported by Egyptian authorities to the countries they flew in from, at their own expense.

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, which is a six hour drive from Cairo airport, has been closed indefinitely, ever since the Egyptian army overthrew elected PresidentMuhammad Morsi on 3 July after days of street protests.

In recent days, militant groups in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula have repeatedly attacked Egyptian army posts and checkpoints.

Yousef M. Aljamal, a writer and occasional Electronic Intifada contributor, was among those deported. Aljamal was returning home to Gaza from New Zealand, where heparticipated in the recent Conference on Palestine in Auckland.

Aljamal tweeted about his deportation from Cairo, back to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, where he had stopped in order to obtain an Egyptian visa.

He reported seeing other Palestinians sent back to Algeria, Jordan, Tunisia and Canada, among other countries.

on Twitter

The Palestinian government in Gaza has appealed to Egyptian authorities to re-open Rafah, citing thousands of Palestinians, including many pilgrims, stranded away from home.

Even before the latest crisis in Egypt, conditions at the crossing have remained difficult and unpredictable, with “Mubarak-era cruelty” remaining the norm.

Anti-Palestinian campaign intensifies in Egypt

The deportation of Palestinians comes as campaigns against Palestinians are intensifying in Egypt.

Anti-Palestinian campaigns in the Egyptian media are not new, as Joseph Massad wrote last August. They have included outlandish claims that shortages of basic supplies including fuel and medicines for Egypt’s 83 million people are caused by supplies being sent to Gaza’s 1.7 million Palestinians.

The volume has however increased amid the ongoing crisis. Rumors circulated by Egyptian media and social media accuse Hamas – without evidence – of sending operatives to support the deposed Muslim Brotherhood government.

Such rumors have led to false accusations and deportations of Palestinians living in Egypt,as the Egyptian journalist Fahmy Howeidy reported in a 7 July article in Egypt’s Shorouk News.

Howeidy concludes his powerful piece with these observations:

Who is the party that is keen to terrorize and humiliate Palestinians and fabricate charges against them in Egypt? And what is its interest in doing this? And why is there no clear political stance to stop these humiliations? My information is that there are elements within the Palestinian security apparatus still working against the government in the Gaza Strip and trying to malign it and bring it down.

There are also elements within the Egyptian security services – whose arms reach into the media – who despise Palestinians and sneer at resistance, and who cannot bear to hear the name of Hamas because of their relations with the Muslim Brotherhood. And these parties have rebounded lately, for well-known reasons. This leads to ask who they represent and to what extent they are connected with the deep state whose elements do not cease for even a day from spreading hatred between Egyptians and Palestinians in violation of all national and ethical norms.

Syrians, as well as Palestinians, have also been targeted by such rumors and campaigns.

As Egypt slips further into political chaos, Palestinians stranded abroad are hoping they can get home without falling victim to the increasingly poisonous atmosphere.

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TOONS OF MEMORY AND HOPE IN EGYPT

Both images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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(Click Here) …. SCAF; Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
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CAN OBAMA SAVE MORSI’S ARSE? ~~ PHOTO ESSAY FROM TAHRIR SQUARE

 Or …. The Second Coming of The Arab Spring? …. See THIS report.
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A massive wave of anti-Obama sentiment in Egypt has been utterly ignored by vintage media, even though the protests may be the largest in all of human history.
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Photos FROM (more at source)
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‘And the people in the streets below were dancing round and round’
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Fireworks over Cairo! Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi are gathering in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as a deadline set by the army for the leadership to find a solution to the country’s political crisis has expired. The mass rallies are the culmination of frustrations over what the demonstrators say is Morsi’s failure to tackle the serious economic situation and continuing security problems in the country since assuming office a year ago.
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JON STEWART HOSTS THE NEW ARAB SPRING DIRECT FROM CAIRO

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Stewart also appeared to take a gentle dig at the opposition, who hope demonstrations planned for June 30 can force Mursi from power after just a year in office. It took Americans 100 years before a president was impeached for the first time, Stewart said, “For you guys to do it in one year, it’s very impressive.”
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‘Egypt’s Jon Stewart’ Hosts the Real Thing

Funny Man Says Cairo Regime Should ‘Handle a Joke’

By Reuters

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Jon Stewart took his politically engaged American satire to Cairo on Friday, appearing on a show hosted by the man known as “Egypt’s Jon Stewart”, who has faced investigation for insulting the president and Islam.

Among barbs aimed at Egypt’s ruling Islamists and others, Stewart praised host Bassem Youssef for taking risks to poke fun. “If your regime is not strong enough to handle a joke,” he said, “then you don’t have a regime.”

Youssef is a cardiologist whose online comedy clips inspired by Stewart’s “Daily Show” won him wild popularity and a prime-time TV show after the 2011 revolution that ended military rule. He paid tribute to his guest as a personal inspiration as the pair traded gags over Stewart’s impressions of a visit to Cairo.

Stewart in turn played down any difficulties his wit created for him in the United States, telling Youssef: “I tell you this, it doesn’t get me into the kind of trouble it gets you into. I get in trouble, but nowhere near what happens to you.”

With Egypt still in ferment and elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi facing off against liberals who fear he plans to smother personal freedoms, Youssef was released on bail after being questioned in March over alleged insults to Mursi and the channel he appears on was threatened with losing its licence.

Criticising such moves, which have also drawn reproaches for Egypt from the U.S. government, Stewart said: “A joke has never shot teargas at a group of people in a park. It’s just talk.

“What Bassem is doing … is showing that satire can still be relevant, that it can carve out space in a country for people to express themselves. Because that’s all democracy is.”

He took aim at Mursi’s controversial decision this week to name a member of a hardline Islamist movement blamed for a massacre of tourists at Luxor in the 1990s as governor of that city. Having been brought into the studio hooded and presented as a “spy”, he spoke a few words in Arabic before saying Egypt’s president had honoured him: “I am now the mayor of Luxor.”

Stewart also appeared to take a gentle dig at the opposition, who hope demonstrations planned for June 30 can force Mursi from power after just a year in office. It took Americans 100 years before a president was impeached for the first time, Stewart said, “For you guys to do it in one year, it’s very impressive.”

Perhaps the biggest laugh in the studio, though, was for a simple crack at Egypt’s perennial traffic chaos: “I know this is an ancient civilisation,” he said. “Have you thought about traffic lights?”

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