Saturday, April 25, 2015

Political News

Political news.

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As President Obama inches closer to entering the final half of his second term, speculation is emerging that the current first lady may pull...

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A few weeks ago, Hillary Clinton delivered a much-touted policy speech at the New America Foundation in Washington, where she talked passionately about the financial plight of Americans...

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Unfortunately, it takes the media mouthpiece of the Russian government to tell the truth about Hillary Clinton and the War Party. You’ll never get the...

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Leaked documents pertaining to the case against an American computer hacker currently serving a 10-year prison sentence have exposed discrepancies concerning the government's prosecution...

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White House says it 'looks forward to working with' Al Sisi despite severe crackdown on dissent Sarah Lazare The Obama administration said Wednesday that it "looks forward to...

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Robert Parry Sometimes in dealing with the U.S. government and its compliant mainstream media, I’m left with the feeling that if it weren’t for double...

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According to the Chinese zodiac, the heavens circle around every 12 years. The Year of the Snake, the creature that sheds its skin to...

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The Partnership for Civil Justice (a public interest legal organization which the Washington Post called “the constitutional sheriffs for a new protest generation”) reported...

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The G7 is meeting in Brussels for its annual summit. Initially Russia planned to host the conference, but G7 leaders excluded Russia's participation over...

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César Chelala The formation of a new unity government between Fatah and Hamas, although strongly resisted by the Israeli government leadership, may offer some hope...

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David Cameron will make one more attempt to get his plan for a in/out EU referendum by 2017 into law before the 2015 general election. The...

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After announcing it would comply with a federal court order, the Obama administration has decided that it wants to conceal more portions of a...

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Defying threats of violence, tens of thousands of ordinary Syrians went to the polls to cast a vote that was more about Syrian dignity...

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This paper starts with summarizing the major theoretical elements in the definition of a global ruling class. It then examines how neoconservatives in the...

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The excuse-making on behalf of President Obama has always found its most extreme form when it came time to explain why he failed to...

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PALESTINE President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a unity government of technocrats in Ramallah today, answering the desire of most Palestinians to end national divisions. The...

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The White House has officially admitted that fake vaccination programs have been used by the United States as a cover for covertly stealing DNA...

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Money expert Martin Lewis is calling on David Cameron to admit he got it wrong on the hated Bedroom Tax – and finally scrap it. The cash wizard told...

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Bill Van Auken  The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation mandating sanctions against Venezuela as officials there presented evidence of US involvement in a...

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Myles Hoenig I have just finished Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel by Max Blumenthal. It’s written well enough to read in just a short week...

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Tony Gosling In medieval times the most crooked arch-dukes and barons could gather in an imposing castle of their choice and plot the demise of...

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Protesters who took to the streets of Istanbul and Ankara on Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of this country's Gezi Park uprisings were met with...

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Egypt's Illegitimate New President

by Stephen Lendman

Egypt's sham process has no legitimacy. Elections are farcical when held.

General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ran practically unopposed. Hamdeen Sabahi masqueraded as an opponent. He supports junta rule. 

On most everything that matters he's anti-democratic. Anti-populist. Anti-what ordinary Egyptians deserve.

Egyptian elections require more than one candidate. Doing so provides a veneer of legitimacy. It's fake.

Junta power runs Egypt. Sisi heads its current regime. He's Egypt's Pinochet. He's Washington's man in Cairo. 

He's a US War College graduate. He maintains close Pentagon ties. He has no legitimacy whatever. He reflects fascism writ large.

Brute force is official policy. Ousting Morsi on July 3 was reminiscent of September 11, 1973. Chileans old enough to remember won’t forget.

A reign of terror followed. Sisi governs the same way. He sentenced hundreds of opposition figures to death. Thousands were imprisoned.

Sweeping crackdowns continue. Democracy is pure fantasy. Opposition elements aren't tolerated.

It bears repeating. Elections when held are farcical. Sisi is Egypt's new strongman. He's its anointed new president.

Turnout was embarrassingly low. IkhwanWeb is the banned Muslim Brotherhood (MB) web site. On May 29, it headlined "90% of Egyptians Boycott Sham Presidential Election."

MB issued a statement saying:

"With a 90% boycott of the blood ballot - the show presidential election, the Egyptian people have dealt a serious and humiliating blow to the illegitimate coup and its so-called roadmap." 

"This is the beginning of the end of the military coup. We hail the Egyptian People's resilience and steadfastness."

"The Egyptian people have turned their back to the sham presidential elections. All the military coup's begging, pleas and threats have failed." 

"The Egyptian people have thus told the whole world that they will not abandon democratic legitimacy, freedom or dignity."

"The people of Egypt are one nation and will continue to hold high their values and their unity."

"The honorable patriotic people of Egypt affirm that they are the only authority that can grant legitimacy to those they can trust, and that the murderous military coup has no legitimacy or popularity." 

"They further affirm that they will continue to reject the coup and resist it until they defeat it completely - with God's help - and with peaceful creativity and selfless devotion, patience and determination." 

"The Egyptian people will reclaim their rights and freedom, and will write glorious new pages of their homeland's history."

Egypt's junta-controlled press reported 37%. Independent sources said around 15%. Two electoral days weren't enough. 

Propaganda didn't help. It claimed Sisi enjoyed overwhelming support. Big Lies failed to convince most Egyptians. 

Sisi mythology fell flat. His 95% landslide was farcical. More theater of the absurd than real. More fiction than fact. More surreal than legitimate.

Reuters said "lines outside polling stations in various parts of Cairo were short, and in some cases no voters could be seen on Tuesday."

Authorities were desperate. They ordered an extra day of voting. They threatened fines for anyone not doing so. TV commentators called non-voters "terrorists."

Al-Azhar is Egypt's highest Islamic authority. It called not voting tantamount to "disobeying the nation."

It didn't help. Turnout was disastrously low. It reflected widespread anti-regime sentiment. It showed most people reject Sisi.

They want democracy. The real thing. Not junta rule. Or Sisi heading things. He failed to get a popular mandate. 

He fell way short. He tried inventing one instead. He consolidated military rule. He represents state terrorism writ large.

Last July, he ousted Mohamed Morsi. Martial law followed. Egypt's constitution was suspended. 

Tanks patrolled streets. Peaceful demonstrators were murdered in cold blood.

Weeks before the election, he said he'd "finish the Muslim Brotherhood as a group" once and for all. 

He hunted them down. He rounded them up. He imprisoned them. Kangaroo court proceedings followed. Hanging judges sentenced hundreds of its members to death.

Fascist police states operate this way. Egypt is one of the worst. Obama supports what demands denunciation. 

Coup d'etat authority has no legitimacy. Claiming otherwise doesn't wash. Diktat power rules Egypt. Tanks patrol streets. Demonstrators are shot, killed, injured and/or arrested.

War on ordinary Egyptians continues. Against its working class. Anyone protesting junta rule. Sisi defended Egypt's anti-protest law.

He "will not let protests destroy the country," he said. His off-the-record conversation was leaked. He asked:

"Will you bear it if I make you walk on your own feet? When I wake you up at five in the morning every day?" 

"Will you bear cutting back on food, cutting back on air-conditioners?"

"People think I'm a soft man. Sisi is torture and suffering."

His comments warned Egyptians. Anyone challenging junta rule assures his wrath.

On Wednesday, Obama told graduating West Point cadets he cooperates with Sisi for "security interests."

Assuring Israel has a friendly neighbor. For both countries "shared efforts against violent extremism."

They represent the worst of its dark side. Low turnout showed most Egyptians reject it.

Pew Research showed around three-fourths of Egyptians expressed dissatisfaction with junta led governance.

Sisi is Egypt's new president. Its new strongman. Its illegitimate ruler. He represents fascism writ large.

It doesn't matter. He enjoys full US support. Including generous annual aid. 

Around $1.3 billion in military assistance in 2014. Plus another $250 million in economic support. Providing it violates US law.

The 1961 Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) and 1976 Arms Export Control Act (AECA) prohibits it.

AECA permits military related sales only for defense or legitimate internal security purposes. FAA forbids aiding governments that engage:

"in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of person, unless such assistance will directly benefit the needy people in such country."

The 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act's (FOAA) Leahy Law provision states:

"None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to support any training program involving a unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of Defense has received credible information from the Department of State that a member of such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights, unless all necessary corrective steps have been taken."

FOAA prohibits funding foreign security forces that commit gross human rights violations unless its government "is taking effective measures to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice."

Egypt is one of many rogue states Washington supports illegally. Its high crimes against peace, equity and justice don't matter.

It receives generous aid. Obama approves it. Congress rubber-stamps it. Doing so violates US law. It's forthcoming anyway.

It bears repeating. Sisi is Washington's man in Cairo. He's one of many rogue Obama friends. 

They comprise a Noah's arc of world class scoundrels. They're part of America's war on humanity.

How long oppressed people tolerate them remains to be seen.

A Final Comment

Observers found Egypt's electoral process sorely lacking. It fell way below international standards. Eric Bjornlund heads Democracy International.

It's an election monitoring organization. "Egypt's repressive political environment made a genuinely democratic presidential election impossible, said Bjornlund.

European observers said much the same thing. Egypt's election "f(ell) short of constitutional principles."

It had no legitimacy whatever. It rubber-stamped coup e'tat rule. It prevented democratic governance. 

Junta authority runs Egypt. Challengers aren't tolerated. Rogue states operate this way. Egypt is one of the worst.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

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The National – 26 November 2013

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu made what was presumably intended to sound like a historic peace gesture towards the Palestinians last week.

He invited Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, to Jerusalem to address the Israeli parliament, echoing Menachem Begin’s invitation to Egypt’s president, Anwar Sadat, in 1977. That visit was the prelude to a peace agreement concluded the following year between Israel and Egypt.

Should Mr Abbas accept, it would pose a dilemma for his host. According to Israeli law, the right of foreigners to address the parliament is reserved to visiting heads of state.

As one Israeli commentator pointedly observed, Mr Netanyahu would have either to hurriedly change the law or to recognise Mr Abbas as the head of a Palestinian state. We can assume he is about to do neither.

In reality, Mr Netanyahu’s offer was as hollow as his previous utterances about Palestinian statehood.

Begin, a rightwing hawk too, welcomed Sadat to the parliament, where Israeli legislators listened intently to the Egyptian leader’s vision of peace.

More than 35 years later, Mr Netanyahu and his cohorts are not in the least interested in Mr Abbas’s terms for an end to the conflict, even in the midst of the current nine-month peace talks. They want him to come only if he is ready to concede terms of surrender – recognising as a Jewish state whatever enlarged borders Israel demands.

Coincidentally, the Israeli prime minister made his insincere offer while French president Francois Hollande was in the parliament calling for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Mr Hollande was wildly feted during his three-day visit to Israel, if less so during his half-day meeting with Mr Abbas in Ramallah, but his public statements offered little more than platitudes.

Saying he favoured “two states for two peoples”, Mr Hollande warned each leader that they would have to make sacrifices: the Palestinians by abandoning the dream of the refugees’ return, and Israel by ending settlement-building.

The problem is that Mr Netanyahu is not listening even to his friends. This month his housing minister, Uri Ariel, unveiled plans for 24,000 new homes in the occupied territories, the largest spike in construction in more than a decade.

The proposals include 1,200 homes in the so-called E1 area of the West Bank, a strategic strip of land next to Jerusalem that would further erode the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state. Washington views Israeli development there as a stake through the heart of the peace process.

Facing pressure from the White House, Mr Netanyahu put the plans on ice but has not cancelled them. On Sunday, a new batch of more than 800 settler homes was approved.

The serial humiliation has proved too much for Palestinian negotiators, who have proffered their resignations. Mr Abbas, however, has promised the United States that he will participate to the bitter end of the talks, due in April.

Strangely, Mr Netanyahu’s offer to Mr Abbas to follow in Sadat’s footsteps came as the CIA declassified documents from the 1978 Camp David agreement between Israel and Egypt. They provide an illuminating window on the current negotiations.

The then-US national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, privately warned that Israel had less interest in reaching a deal than either Sadat or the US president of the time, Jimmy Carter. “The risk,” he wrote to Mr Carter, “is that you could lose control of the talks and be diverted from the central issues either by Begin’s legalisms or Sadat’s imprecision.”

An almost-verbatim memo should have been sent to Barack Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry, before these peace talks began last July. Instead the White House has kept its distance, leaving Israel to dictate both the agenda – Israel’s security – and the molluscular pace.

Aware that no progress has been made, the US is finally preparing to put forward a “framework proposal” in January in the hope of extracting a deal by the April deadline.

There has been speculation that, following the deal struck between the world’s main powers and Iran at the weekend over its nuclear programme, Mr Obama will finally be emboldened to stand strong against Israel and Mr Netanyahu’s intransigence towards the Palestinians.

Any optimism is likely to prove misplaced. It emerged last week that Martin Indyk, US envoy to the talks, had quietly recruited to his team David Makovsky. His roots, like Mr Indyk’s, lie in the hawkish pro-Israel political lobbies that have dominated Washington for decades.

In the summer, Mr Makovsky used a column in the New York Times to berate the European Union for failing to “talk tough” to the Palestinians and dispel their hopes of return for the refugees.

Mr Makovsky has probably been chosen because of his expected usefulness in the talks’ impending endgame. Specialising in the kind of detail valued by Mr Brzezinski, he has drawn up precise maps designed to provide the basis for a final agreement, one premised on extensive land swaps.

Israeli leaders have shied away from setting down on paper their vision of a Palestinian state precisely because they know it would not look much like any kind of state. Mr Makovsky is not so reticent.

His maps annex to Israel the vast majority of the illegal settlements in the West Bank, leaving a series of fingers of Israeli territory throttling a future Palestinian state and compensating the Palestinians with areas of desert, mostly near Gaza.

As the Israeli analyst Noam Sheizaf has observed, Mr Makovsky’s guiding principle in drafting these maps has been “to satiate Israel’s growing appetite for land”.

Washington has learnt nothing from its past success with the Egyptians nor from its more recent failures with the Palestinians. Mr Makovsky may add some necessary clarity, but it is exactly the kind of detail no credible Palestinian leader can ever be persuaded to accept.

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