January 31, 2011

One U.S. Corporation's Role in Egypt's Brutal Crackdown | Save the Internet

One U.S. Corporation's Role in Egypt's Brutal Crackdown | Save the Internet

The open Internet's role in popular uprising is now undisputed. Look no further than Egypt, where the Mubarak regime today reportedly shut down Internet and cell phone communications -- a troubling predictor of the fierce crackdown that has followed.

What's even more troubling is news that one American company is aiding Egypt's harsh response through sales of technology that makes this repression possible.

The Internet's favorite offspring -- Twitter, Facebook and YouTube -- are now heralded on CNN, BBC and Fox News as flag-bearers for a new era of citizen journalism and activism. (More and more these same news organizations have abandoned their own, more traditional means of newsgathering to troll social media for breaking information.)

But the open Internet's power cuts both ways: The tools that connect, organize and empower protesters can also be used to hunt them down.

Telecom Egypt, the nation's dominant phone and Internet service provider, is a state-run enterprise, which made it easy on Friday morning for authorities to pull the plug and plunge much of the nation into digital darkness.

Moreover, Egypt also has the ability to spy on Internet and cell phone users, by opening their communication packets and reading their contents. Iran used similar methods during the 2009 unrest to track, imprison and in some cases, "disappear" truckloads of cyber-dissidents.

The companies that profit from sales of this technology need to be held to a higher standard. One in particular is an American firm, Narus of Sunnyvale, Calif., which has sold Telecom Egypt "real-time traffic intelligence" equipment.


January 30, 2011

CHART OF THE DAY: Oil Prices vs. Food Prices | The Prudent Investor

CHART OF THE DAY: Oil Prices vs. Food Prices | The Prudent Investor

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Keep it simple and see the coming food-energy price spiral. The FAO Food Index and EIA oil index show a very high correlation of 0.93, according to this graph plotted by Paul Chefurka.

GRAPH: Food prices doubled in the last 11 years while oil rose more than 150%. Data: Nov 2000 to Nov 2010 by EIA, FAO. Chart courtesy Paul Chefurka
As global protests have spread to Saudi Arabia oil prices are destined to lead the next step up and remain high. The possibility of supply disruptions by either a closure of the Suez Canal or riots getting out of hand in Saudi Arabia will put in a solid floor at current levels.
This does not bode well for food prices. Check some 11.1 million Go ogle results for "rising food prices" or look at your latest grocery bill.
Forget about seemingly stable "core" ex food/energy inflation and tepid "consumer price indices" with overweighted consumer electronics and underweighted everyday needs. No human being can fight inflation by stopping to eat and no business can cut its energy consumption deliberately. Riots in Africa are not for cheaper iPads but stable food prices.

January 29, 2011

Very touching video... Egyptian speaks !!

Very touching video... (102)

is an understatement. One to save and treasure.

The Protest Movement in Egypt: "Dictators" do not Dictate, They Obey Orders

The Protest Movement in Egypt: "Dictators" do not Dictate, They Obey Orders

"America is no "Role Model" of Democratization for the Middle East. US military presence imposed on Egypt and the Arab World for more than 20 years, coupled with "free market" reforms are the root cause of State violence.

America's intent is to use the protest movement to install a new regime.

The People's Movement should redirect its energies: Identify the relationship between America and "the dictator". Unseat America's political puppet but do not forget to target the "real dictators".

Shunt the process of regime change.

Dismantle the neoliberal reforms.

Close down US military bases in the Arab World.

Establish a truly sovereign government."

Read this in its entirety at the link above ..

January 28, 2011

Incredible coverage of Egypt protest on Jan. 28.

Now this is news and brilliant coverage !!  Guardian you rock !!

Jack Shenker in Cairo says there are signs that the police are siding with protesters. "The regime is already" falling he was told


Egypt Leaves the Internet - Renesys Blog

Egypt Leaves the Internet - Renesys Blog:

From the comments:
"I suspect the cut off of all these services (Net, landlines,cells, power, water -if true) IS multipurpose - Disrupt protest communications to coordinate - protect (balloon theory) AND instill FEAR .. Notice the fear of non-witnessed massacres on some tweets?
Can some of these be plants? Scare people (earlier) from going out on Friday ?"

January 26, 2011

Palestine papers: MI6 plan proposed internment – and hotline to Israelis

Palestine papers: MI6 plan proposed internment – and hotline to Israelis

Seumas Milne and Ian Black:
January 25, 2011 - The Palestinian Authority's security strategy to crush Hamas and other armed groups on the West Bank was originally drawn up by Britain's intelligence service, MI6, leaked papers reveal. The strategy included internment of leaders and activists, closure of radio stations and replacement of imams in mosques – the bulk of which has since been carried out. Two documents drafted by the Secret Intelligence Service in conjunction with other Whitehall departments, which are among the cache given to al-Jazeera TV and shared with the Guardian, are understood to have been passed to Jibril Rajoub, former head of PA security in the West Bank, at the beginning of 2004 by an MI6 officer then based at the British consulate in Jerusalem...

Blair sucks.

Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated - ProPublica

Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated - ProPublica

January 25, 2011

Der Spiegel's take on the new Tunisia

"More than anything, most of the demonstrators want to see an end to corruption." 

My definition:  Corruption is the psychotic symptom of excessive violence.  

I love love love articles like this where I find something out and the author seems to tell the TRUTH about something I long to know about.
This shows some of what may happen in a NEW Tunisia.  I am also going to check IC Publications Africa Today and The Middle East to see what they are saying.  Obviously some leadership is emerging, if only in the media's imagination.
Notice I already had a Middle East liberation tag.  I just KNEW this had to happen eventually.  Even the totally screwed over by being terrorized get fed up when they are told they won't be able to eat, but the Fat Cats are eating caviar in Dubai.

Intoxicated by Freedom

Reinventing Tunisia at Record Speed

By Mathieu von Rohr and Volkhard Windfuhr in Tunis

Photo Gallery: Aftermath of the Jasmine Revolution

Tunisians are intoxicated by their newfound freedom. The media is publishing long-suppressed sentiments, while activists form new parties and young people hold heated debates on street corners. But the country is facing huge challenges in its bid to become a modern democracy, and it will hardly be possible to stick to the deadline for new elections. more...

Tunisians are intoxicated by their newfound freedom. The media is publishing long-suppressed sentiments, while activists form new parties and young people hold heated debates on street corners. But the country is facing huge challenges in its bid to become a modern democracy, and it will hardly be possible to stick to the deadline for new elections.
The 18 men and women have formed a circle, with some sitting and others standing. They are holding one of the first editorial meetings ever convened at La Presse, a daily newspaper in the Tunisian capital Tunis. They discuss thetremendous things happening in their county and what should appear in tomorrow's paper.
They are intoxicated with newfound energy. Now they want to do all the things they have never done before. They want to tell the stories that will stir the country, stories about the little bookshop around the corner displaying formerly banned books, about how stores are gradually reopening their doors but food shortages continue, and about how people on the street are criticizing the new government. All of that is supposed to appear in the next day's edition.
They also want to write articles about the social networking Internet platform Facebook, which has become an alternative source of news for the country's youth. They are even considering downloading and printing images circulating online of police violence and destruction from all over the country.
Still, they are not completely sure how far they should allow themselves to go. They debate and argue over whether they should criticize individual ministers who are particularly incompetent and whether they should identify all the authors of opinion pieces by name.
Euphoria and Apprehension
Faouzia Mezzi is leading the meeting. While the autocratic former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali still ruled the country, there were times when she was banned from writing articles. Today, she is having a hard time restraining those staff members who would prefer to change everything immediately. "We first need to see if we can even publish a newspaper at all," she says. "Be patient."
At the time, it had only been five days since Ben Ali, Tunisia's dictator for 23 years, fled the country, and only the fifth day that the country had enjoyed freedom of the press. No one gave it to these journalists; they simply took it. While the country was rising up against the regime, they launched their own revolution.
But there appear to be limits to the new freedom. The interim government shut down the country's most popular private television station, Hannibal TV, on Sunday night. The New York Times, quoting Tunisia's state news agency, reported that the government had arrested the station's owner, which it accused of treason for broadcasting "false information likely to create a constitutional vacuum and destabilize the country." A spokesman for the station, which had criticized Ben Ali's government in the past, said that it had been shut down without warning and called the move a violation of freedom of the press.
By Monday morning, however, the station had resumed broadcasting, apparently after an opposition member of the interim government intervened. Observers in Tunisia told the New York Times that the network's shutdown damaged the interim government's credibility and said that the fate of the station would be seen as a test of the state's commitment to press freedom.
Practicing Self-Censorship
La Presse, which appears in both French and Arabic versions, is one of the country's oldest newspapers. Like almost all media sources in Tunisia, it is government-owned, meaning the state appoints its senior editors. During the dictatorship, those editors would dictate the issues to be covered, as well as censor anything that could upset the regime. Naturally, the journalists also practiced self-censorship. Indeed, until the revolution, La Presse was little more than a bland mouthpiece for government statements.
On Friday, January 14, 2011, even before Ben Ali and his family had been chased out of the country, the paper's staff allowed itself to be infected by the same lust for freedom that had gripped the entire country. They stripped the editor in chief of power and designated a group of 10 people to be in charge of managing the paper.
The former editor in chief still has his office with its leather chair and he can be spotted skulking along the corridor, but he no longer has any say. The journalists formerly under his charge have been busy discovering what it means to live in a free society -- just like people throughout Tunisia these days.
Back at the meeting, Olfa Belhassine from the paper's culture section proposes an editorial entitled "Who's Afraid of Press Freedom?" She adds that, in her 20 years of working in the media, she has always dreamed of writing just such an article. The next day, it appears in the paper.

An Orderly Revolution

Canadians rank Arctic sovereignty as top foreign-policy priority

The Globe and Fail, as I call it, is not my favorite source of Canadian news (save maybe business stuff) but it's time for an update of this crucial issue here in my blog.  There is much on here on Arctic sovereignty (the Canadians LOSTA; they planted the flag too slow) and on the Law of the Sea as well as about the nuclear ARSENAL they are building up there in the planet's roof.  You may wish to check a few of them out by using that new search box I imposed on the blog (still working to fix up my links cloud down there at the bottom.  But that is time consuming and my brains get fried as I remember how much information I digested since I started.  I don't want you to miss something special I may have put on here, but then again I do want people to get the gist of the whole gestalt I am attempting to create !!)

So here goes with the latest "polls" on the Arctic.  Remember who is in charge up there - Fearless Leader  Harpo.  Nuff said.


Globe and Mail Update

Egypt braced for 'day of revolution' protests: The Guardian

Youth activists, Islamists, workers and football fans to hold rallies and marches against Mubarak government
Egyptian activists with a Tunisian flag as part of anti-government demonstrations
Egyptian demonstrators hold a Tunisian flag in an anti-government protest in front of the attorney general's headquarters in Cairo last week. Photograph: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
Egypt's authoritarian government is bracing itself for one of the biggest opposition demonstrations in recent years tomorrow, as thousands of protesters prepare to take to the streets demanding political reform.
An unlikely alliance of youth activists, political Islamists, industrial workers and hardcore football fans have pledged to join a nationwide "day of revolution" on a national holiday to celebrate the achievements of the police force.
With public sentiment against state security forces at an unprecedented level following a series of high-profile police brutality cases and the torture of anti-government activists, protest organisers are hoping that a large number of Egyptians will be emboldened to attend rallies, marches and flash mobs across the country in a sustained effort to force concessions from an increasingly unpopular ruling elite.
In a move that suggests the uprising in Tunisia may be spreading to other parts of the Arab world, Tunisian activists announced they would be holding their own protests in solidarity with their Egyptian counterparts, while many Egyptians plan to wave Tunisian flags. Parallel protests are also scheduled to take place outside the Egyptian embassies in London and Washington.
Demonstrators are calling for the sacking of the country's interior minister, the cancelling of Egypt's perpetual emergency law, which suspends basic civil liberties, and a new term limit on the presidency that would bring to an end the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak, one of the Middle East's most entrenched dictators.
State security officials have branded the protests illegal, and said that those taking part will be dealt with "strictly".
"I'm answering a call that began online, a call to stand up against police brutality on the day the regime wants us to celebrate their so-called achievements," said Salma Said, a 25-year-old activist and blogger who plans to protest in Cairo.
"Of course demonstrating against police brutality means demonstrating against Mubarak himself and his whole regime, because they are the ones who created this system. Momentum is gathering really, really fast; friends I haven't spoken to in years have been ringing me up, promising to come down."
Tomorrow's events, dubbed a "day of revolution against torture, corruption, poverty and unemployment" by protest leaders, were initiated by two dissident movements, both based online. One is dedicated to the memory of Khaled Said, an Alexandrian man beaten to death by policelast year, while the other, "6 April", is a youth group named after the date of an uprising two years ago in the Nile delta town of El-Mahalla El-Kubra, in which three people were killed by police.
After initially dismissing the protests, the Muslim Brotherhood - Egypt's largest organised opposition force - has now said it will back the demonstrations symbolically, although it has not called on its supporters to take to the streets. Strikes are expected by workers in several parts of the country, including Mahalla, and a number of Egypt's traditional opposition parties and prominent public figures have pledged support.
Mohamed Adel, a spokesman for 6 April, said the broad range of participants distinguished tomorrow's action from previous protests. "It will be the start of something big," he told the Egyptian news outlet Al-Masry Al-Youm.
In a sign of how seriously the Mubarak regime is taking any challenge to its authority following the downfall of Tunisia's president Ben Ali, counter-protests are being organised under the banner of "Mubarak: Egypt's security". Organisers say they want to express their rejection of the "destruction of state institutions" by the opposition, raising fears of violent clashes on the ground.
"Regardless of how many people turn up, these protests will be highly significant," said Nabil Abdel Fattah, a political analyst at the semi-official Al-Ahram Research Centre. "Those confronting the regime on Tuesday will be the sons and daughters of virtual activism - a new generation that has finally found something around which they can unite and rally.They are the product of a government that has never offered them any ideological vision to believe in, and now they have themselves become a symbol of contemporary Egypt."