Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo for a huge rally Friday despite on offer by the army to ensure 30-year-old emergency laws are lifted and free and fair elections held.
The military’s comments were seen as a major push to end the worst crisis in Egypt’s modern history, but also contained a clear signal that it wanted demonstrators off the streets without achieving to their key demand that President Hosni Mubarak quit now.
NBC News reported Friday that Mubarak had left Cairo, citing a high-ranking official and a security source. Both sources said he left from Almaza military airport with his family.
There were unconfirmed reports that he had gone to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Israel’s Channel 10. Mubarak has a villa there and regularly stays there at weekends.
Protesters enraged at Mubarak’s refusal to quit immediately pledged to march from Tahrir (Liberation) Square to the presidential palace Friday, raising fears of a confrontation between elite troops and demonstrators.
In “Communique No. 2” the army said it “confirms the lifting of the state of emergency as soon as the current circumstances end,” a pledge that would remove a law imposed after Mubarak became president following Anwar Sadat’s assassination and that protesters say has long been used to stifle dissent.
**BREAKING** Israeli warplanes have attacked Gaza in the past hour. At least 7 air strikes were reported across the Gaza, rocking the besiged strip, and causing wide spread panic. 8 people have been injured so far, many houses sustained damade, and fire is reported blazing in many shops...[via Gaza TV News]
Half a year on, scientists are starting to understand the ecological impact of Pakistan’s devastating floods – and it’s a mixed bag. Zofeen T Ebrahim reports.
Five months ago, floods triggered by torrential rains submerged one-fifth of Pakistan, killing 2,000 people and destroying the property, livelihoods and infrastructure of millions. Now, the waters have receded – and with them the media’s attention. But for many environmentalists, like Ghulam Akbar, senior director at WWF, work has only just begun.
Basically what it all comes down to is, the CRTC is going to screw us over. As of currently, our internet at the moment is somewhat unlimited. We pay a flat rate every month, and then day in, day out, we download all sort of music, youtube, and if you’re like me, torrent all the HD seasons of favourite T.V. shows, movies, even full music albums all without notice. What the CRTC proposes, however is that now we get charged for EVERY single byte we use, like how it is on a cellphone. Want to download the new HD Blu Ray rip of that new rad movie you want to watch? Most of those files are a good 3 GB each, you would be charged a shitload. Even to youtube all those pointless but absolutely hilarious 3 minute videos about cats at 2 in the morning would be pricy. But here’s the good part, our government is finally jumping onboard against this, as the NDP and Liberals have now openly come forward to us their support. (All except for the Conservatives…obviously. Jesus, Stephen Harper and his bitch posy:/)
Doesn’t matter how old you are, if you live in Canada, this is going to affect you. But you can jump onboard against this as well by signing this petition:
A Norwegian lawmaker has nominated WikiLeaks for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, stating that the secret-spilling website is one of the most important contributors to freedom of speech in the 21st century.
Lawmaker Snorre Valen said that by disclosing information about corruption, human rights abuses and war crimes, WikiLeaks is a “natural contender” for the peace prize.
WikiLeaks, founded by Australian Julian Assange, has released hundreds of thousands of classified documents leaked to the website. The documents have included thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic cables, as well as confidential material on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Members of parliament from all nations, political science and law professors, and previous winners may all submit nominations to the Nobel Peace Prize.
Assange is currently free on bail in Britain, while he fights extradition to Sweden for questioning on charges of sexual misconduct.
Too damn right. Let’s hope it gets it, although i wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t, so as not to offend US sentiment.
Interesting that when the anti-government activist in China was recently awarded the prize the western world and the USA threw their weight behind it, using it as an excuse to malign the Chinese government - here the tides have turned, this time, the prize is heading towards an establishment that exposes US duplicity and imperialism in collaborating with dictators across the world… expect the Chinese government to be laughing in their seats as the USA is the one reeling this time.
On Wednesday, the Mubarak regime showed its fangs, mounting a massive and violent repressive attack on the peaceful crowds in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. People worrying about Egypt becoming like Iran (scroll down) should worry about Egypt already being way too much like Iran as it is. That is, Hillary Clinton and others expressed anxiety in public about increasing militarization of the Iranian regime and use of military and paramilitaries to repress popular protests. But Egypt is far more militarized and now is using exactly the same tactics.
The outlines of Hosni Mubarak’s efforts to maintain regime stability and continuity have now become clear. In response to the mass demonstrations of the past week, he has done the following:
Late last week, he first tried to use the uniformed police and secret police to repress the crowds, killing perhaps 200-300 and wounding hundreds.
This effort failed to quell the protests, and the police were then withdrawn altogether, leaving the country defenseless before gangs of burglars and other criminal elements (some of which may have been composed of secret police or paid informers). The public dealt with this threat of lawlessness by organizing self-defense neighborhood patrols, and continued to refuse to stop demonstrating.
Mubarak appointed military intelligence ogre Omar Suleiman vice president. Suleiman had orchestrated the destruction of the Muslim radical movement of the 1990s, but he clearly was being groomed now as a possible successor to Mubarak and his crowd-control expertise would now be used not against al-Qaeda affiliates but against Egyptian civil society.
Mubarak mobilized the army to keep a semblance of order, but failed to convince the regular army officers to intervene against the protesters, with army chief of staff Sami Anan announcing late Monday that he would not order the troops to use force against the demonstrators.
When the protests continued Tuesday, Mubarak came on television and announced that he would not run for yet another term and would step down in September. His refusal to step down immediately and his other maneuvers indicated his determination, and probably that of a significant section of the officer corps, to maintain the military dictatorship in Egypt, but to attempt to placate the public with an offer to switch out one dictator for a new one (Omar Suleiman, likely).
When this pledge of transition to a new military dictator did not, predictably enough, placate the public either, Mubarak on Wednesday sent several thousand secret police and paid enforcers in civilian clothing into Tahrir Square to attack the protesters with stones, knouts, and molotov cocktails, in hopes of transforming a sympathetic peaceful crowd into a menacing violent mob. This strategy is similar to the one used in summer of 2009 by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to raise the cost of protesting in the streets of Tehran, when they sent in basij (volunteer pro-regime militias). Used consistently and brutally, this show of force can raise the cost of urban protesting and gradually thin out the crowds.
Note that this step number 6 required that the army agree to remain neutral and not to actively protect the crowds. The secret police goons were allowed through army checkpoints with their staves, and some even rode through on horses and camels. Aljazeera English’s correspondent suggests that the military was willing to allow the protests to the point where Mubarak would agree to stand down, but the army wants the crowd to accept that concession and go home now.
“Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers.”—The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) via [A girl with kaleidoscope eyes]
“The Prophet cooked his own food, cleaned his own clothes, and took out his own trash, your wives are not you’re maids, ya ikhwaan, they are your partners, do not treat them like dogs, or you are a rejector of the Sunnah of the Prophet”—Dawud bin Isa (via islamthesolution)
“I love writing but hate starting. The page is awfully white and it says, “You may have fooled some of the people some of the time but those days are over, giftless. I’m not your agent and I’m not your mommy. I’m a white piece of paper, you wanna dance with me?” And I really, really don’t.”—