Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wisconsin Police Union Supports Protesters

In a move that greatly surprised many, the Wisconsin Police Union has joined the protesters at the state capitol building, and refused an order to clear the protesters out.

(Open Salon readers can view the video here, you know the drill by now...)

In a related move, 99ers have rallied to support the Wisconsin unions at protests and vigils across the nation. This is particularly poignant in light of the fact that the unions and NELP utterly abandoned the 99ers last year, when we needed their help so desperately, and still do.

As I have said in this column before, I'd love to see the wave of popular protest really take hold here in the USA. Given the fact that there is not one single jobs bill currently pending in the US Congress, we obviously need to do something.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Air Strikes Used Against Libyan Protesters

One of the more interesting aspects of the Libyan situation over the last few days has been the way that several Libyan government officials abroad have spoken out against the actions of the Gaddafi regime. Yesterday Libya's Deputy Ambassador to the UN spoke out.

Today Libya's ambassador to India resigned his post and spoke to AJE, claiming that fighter planes and helicopter gunships have been used against protesters, as staggering as that accusation may be. Remember, please, that this claim is still unsubstantiated at this point in time. None the less, if I may be forgiven for lapsing into the vernacular, Holy Shit, Batman!

Open Salon readers can view the video here.

I wonder how many intelligence services around the world are watching this nervously, knowing that their dirty little secret dealings with Libya over the years may be about to become public knowledge. There has been "something rotten in Denmark" about the Libyan regime for decades. If nothing else, the dealings between the USA and Libya prior to Reagan's attack on Tripoli in the early 1980's would be very interesting reading. If you think that's too far-fetched, reflect for a moment upon the manifest weirdness of the Iran-Contra affair. Remember that the Reagan administration sold weapons to Iran under the table, (while loudly proclaiming in public that Iran was the devil incarnate), and used the money to finance the Nicaraguan contras.

We live in interesting times, my friends, interesting times indeed. And these times are so "interesting" in large part because of crimes that were committed 30 years ago and never punished. Precedent is the relevant concept, precedent which is set when a government official commits a gross violation of law and escapes with his/her head intact. We allowed the rot to begin with Watergate, when Nixon got away not only with criminal actions, but with gross manipulation of the rules of succession. Not only was Nixon never punished, but in years after he was retroactively exonerated and allowed to assume the role of Elder Statesman that so often devolves upon former presidents, no matter how criminal, (or criminally incompetent), they may have been while in office.

Now stop and think about the precedent we have set by allowing Bush and Cheney to escape prosecution for their many and manifest war crimes. Stop and think what that may lead to, 37 years down the line.

If our nation survives that long.

If our species survives that long.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Israel's Bitch

No comment needed for these two. As immeasurably painful as I find both of these cartoons, there is no denying their essential truth.

In the aftermath of the US veto of the UN resolution declaring Israel's settlements illegal, a resolution which the other 14 members of the security council all voted in favor of, in the aftermath of Rice's incredible, mealy-mouthed, weasel-word hypocrisy in defense of that veto, there is little more to say.

The Obama administration is Israel's bitch, and so is our whole nation, willingly or no. Some bend over and spread their cheeks gladly, while others have to be raped, but we have all been made Israel's bitch.

I am ashamed of my country, truly and deeply ashamed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bahrain Doctor Pleads For Help

You will have heard by now that the Army in Bahrain attacked the demonstrators in Pearl Roundabout during the early hours of Thursday morning.

This morning, the demonstrators reformed their ranks and returned to Pearl Roundabout, which has been become the center of resistance in Bahrain, just as Tahrir Square was in Egypt. The army opened fire indiscriminately on the peaceful crowd, and casualties appear to have been in the hundreds.

The following video is a phone interview with doctor Ghassan of Sulamaniya Hospital, overlaid with raw video footage of the city. I will not even attempt to comment at this time.

As you watch and listen, make allowances, please, for the circumstances. The good doctor is obviously quite upset, but I dare say you and I would be equally upset, in his shoes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hilary's Hypocrisy

On Tuesday night, Hilary Clinton was giving a speech at George Washington University. The theme of her speech was condemnation of dictators who use violence against peaceful protesters.

In the audience, a 71-year old veteran named Ray McGovern silently stood up, displaying his "Veterans For Peace" t-shirt, and turned his back on Secretary Clinton. As McGovern stood there, saying nothing, he was tackled from behind by security, beaten bloody, and dragged out the door to a waiting jail cell.

All of this took place right in front of Mrs Clinton, where she could not possibly fail to see it. She said nothing, and did nothing, but simply carried on with her canned speech.

Hypocrisy, dear reader, means saying one thing and doing the opposite. It means espousing a principle at the same time you are violating that principle. Why is it acceptable to Mrs Clinton that her own security brutally attacks peaceful protesters, but unacceptable that others do so?

Let there be no doubt where I stand on this issue; such actions are always unacceptable to me.

The article at Open Mike is here.

But good luck finding any coverage of this story anywhere in the MSM (MainStream Media). It did not happen, as far as the corporate-controlled talking heads are concerned. I went to just now and searched for anything about the story; there was not a word.

Is there any remaining doubt that the MSM are completely a creature of the power elites? Is there any remaining doubt that the only "free press" left in the USA is online? And that online freedom, my friends, is very much under siege.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Protests Spread to Bahrain

While the situation in Egypt remains uncertain, the protests have now spread to Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf.

If you are like me, dear reader, you could use a little reminder just WTF Bahrain is -

map image courtesy of wikimedia

Peaceful protests 2 days ago resulted in two protesters being shot to death by police, in what most are describing as a very heavy-handed response. The King of Bahrain has made a rare public appearance, and apologised for the deaths. The king also announced a one-time payment of approximately $2500 to each Bahraini. Can you imagine the US government doing this? The mind boggles...

This morning was the funeral for one of the protesters killed by police, and AJE's correspondent in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, estimated the crowd at upwards of 10,000 people. He went on to say that the crowd was angry and frustrated, but peaceful. Interestingly enough, the protesters seemed to be entirely loyal to the king, and simply unhappy with the current government.

Another interesting aspect of the situation is that Bahrain's population is 70% Shia, and only 30% Sunni. The AJE correspondent in Manama said that today's crowd was mostly Shia, with relatively few Sunni present. The Shia of Bahrain, as with the Shia of most Persian Gulf states, are the poor and disenfranchised.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Egyptian Army Steps In, Mubarak To Resign.

In breaking news from Egypt, the army appears to have quietly assumed control of the government, and announced that Mubarak will resign.

AJE is reporting that The Supreme Council Of Egyptian Armed Forces has met, with the Defense Minister chairing the meeting, rather than Mubarak or his new VP Suleiman. In Middle Eastern politics, this is enormously significant.

Mubarak is scheduled to address the nation on live television very soon, so I'll refrain from further speculation.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Struggle In Egypt Goes On

While Mubarak scrambles to try to stay in office, the protesters who demand his removal turned out in major force again today. The video below shows hundreds of thousands of protestors in Cairo's central Tahrir square again today, and thousands more in Alexandria, Egypt's second-largest city.

The issues here are being seriously mis-reported in US mainstream media. The politician Sulieman, whom Mubarak has appointed as his new Vice-President, is the former head of the secret police, and has blood up to his elbows. This man is absolutely not a fit candidate to steer the country through a period of transition. He is a criminal and belongs in a prison cell, not an executive office.

It was amusing to watch the US and Israel and scrambling frantically to try to save their puppet Mubarak. It is not at all amusing that they appear to be having some success. You see, they cannot save Mubarak personally in the long-term; if nothing else, he will die of old age soon. What the Zionists, both here and in Israel, need to do is simply to preserve the existing power structure in Egypt. They need to maintain their puppet government which will do its part to keep the Palestinians bottled up, and repress the desire of the Egyptian people for revenge upon Israel.

What the Arabic world desperately needs right now is another Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub, who is remembered in the Western world as Saladin. Yes, I'm aware that Saladin was a Kurd, not an Arab. But those he led to victory after victory were in large part Arabs; Egypt and Palestine were the lands of his greatest victories.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mass Friday Rally In Egypt

I'm watching the live video coverage from Cairo's central Tahrir square as I sit here sipping my first cup of tea, and frankly, my friends, I am in awe. There are hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in the square, some estimates are over a million, with more arriving all the time. The momentum may have been faltering yesterday, but they are back in force today.

The army seems to be keeping the thugs and security forces at bay, while allowing the protesters free access to the square. At any rate, there has been no fighting so far today, and only a few warning shots fired as the army appears to be skirmishing with the forces that attacked the demonstrators yesterday and Wednesday.

As I have said before, the best live coverage is at AJE's YouTube channel. Stop the video at the top of the page, if it auto-starts, and page down once. You'll find a live video channel one page-width down on the right hand side. About half of the commentary is silly or inane, simply because the anchors seem to feel obligated to be talking all the time, and there isn't really that much to say. But such is the nature of the video medium in its commonly-accepted format, I suppose. At least the other half is highly relevant commentary or reporting from people who are actually on the scene.

As I have said before, I am not a Muslim myself, and I feel no particular desire to become one. But the sight of hundreds of thousands of people kneeling to pray together in that huge square, united for the moment by their common belief, was a very powerful one for me personally. Make no mistake, I am highly engaged with this demonstration on a political level, particularly as it reflects so keenly my fervent desires for change in our own country. But this was a different feeling, a stirring of something beyond the political, beyond the logical, beyond anything that really has an accurate description.

And yet, at the conclusion of that prayer, a speaker stood up and declared bluntly, "this is not about religion or ideology", and the crowd cheered him wildly for it. This destroys any attempt to dismiss these protesters as "religious fanatics". These people are united by their religion, but they are not there to protest about or because of religion, they are there to protest about tangible secular issues like corruption, unemployment, food prices, inflation, and...hey, wait a minute, do those problems sound familiar to you?

Having said that the demonstraters are united by their religion, let me add that although Egypt's Coptic community supports the demonstrations, they are doing so separately, being no fools.

In the midst of this generally positive news, there is one chilling note. The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, stated bluntly that the armed forces of the USA are "standing by to support or intervene".

Excuse me?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Elsewhere in the Middle East

Elsewhere in the Middle East, the King of Jordan dismissed his entire cabinet two days ago, scrambling frantically to head off growing protests in his kingdom.

And today the President of Yemen is backing down frantically in the face of mass protests, publicly abandoning the idea of becoming President for life, vowing not to run again, and promising that his son will not succeed him.

Well, well, well! It does make my wicked old heart go pitty-pat to see such a wave of popular anger sweeping the Middle East, to see rulers quaking in their boots, to see the Zionists gape in consternation as their whole jerrymandered power structure of tame tyrants sways in the hot wind of popular rage. Oy gevalt!

But what will it take to bring this wave of reform to the shores of our own nation? What must we do to awaken the sleeping masses of complacent Americans?

Is it even possible?

And how long will it be until Sarah Palin has something colossally stupid to say on the subject?

Events Turn Ugly In Egypt

If you've been following the news, you probably already know that events in Cairo's central Tahrir square have turned very ugly in the last 4 hours.

What you may not know is that the so-called "pro-Mubarak demonstrators" are actually a mixture of government security forces and hired thugs. Pro-democracy demonstrators have shown on Al Jazeera several Egyptian Police identification cards which they took from these so-called "pro-Mubarak" forces. And the army is reported to be standing by observing, but not interfering on either side.

If you want live coverage, I'd suggest that the best is to be found at the YouTube channel of Al Jazeera English. Stop the video at the top of the page, if it starts automatically, and Page Down once. You'll see a live coverage video embedded at the right side, with frequent commentary from a surprisingly informed range of different people. As always, the big difference with AJE is that they have local reporters who actually live there and know who's who in the zoo.

Strange days, my friends, strange days indeed. If you're up for a moment of amusement, imagine how our own President would be pissing his pants if a million of us showed up in Washington DC to protest with such vigor and determination.