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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Egypt police raid offices of human rights groups in Cairo

US National Democratic Institute among 17 organisations targeted as part of inquiry into funding of civic society groups

Egyptian security forces have launched raids on a series of high-profile human rights and pro-democracy organisations based in Cairo, including the US National Democratic Institute, founded by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, and the International Republican Institute.

During the raids riot police confined staff to their offices and forbid them from making phone calls. Seventeen Egyptian and international groups were targeted as part of a widespread investigation into foreign funding of Egyptian civic society groups.

The raids on NDI and IRI, however, both of which have received US state department funding for their operations, are likely to cause friction with the US government, which underwrites military aid to Egypt to the sum of $1.3bn (£843m) annually.

In recent months, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has accused local non-governmental organisations of receiving money from abroad, and has argued that the recent unrest in the country is by "foreign hands".

Hana el-Hattab, an NDI staffer trapped inside her office, tweeted: "We're literally locked in. I really have no idea why they are holding us inside and confiscating our personal laptops."

In other tweets she wrote: "I was on the balcony, dude with machine gun came up and told us to go in and locked it … we asked if they had a search warrant, they said the person who issues warrants is in building & doesn't need to issue one for himself. They're even taking history books from people's bags."

Heba Morayef, who works with Human Rights Watch in Egypt, said she had received a message from an NDI staffer confirming they had been confined inside their offices by riot police. Images posted on Twitter showed armed police in body armour stationed outside.

The official Mena news agency said the 17 "civil society organisations" had been targeted as part of an investigation into foreign funding of such groups.

"The public prosecutor has searched 17 civil society organisations, local and foreign, as part of the foreign funding case," the agency cited the prosecutor's office as saying. "The search is based on evidence showing violation of Egyptian laws, including not having permits."

Security forces, both uniformed and plainclothes, forced their way into the offices where employees were informed that they were under investigation by the public prosecutor. According to witnesses, laptops and other documents were also seized during the raids.

The IRI put out a statement saying it was "dismayed and disappointed by these actions. IRI has been working with Egyptians since 2005; it is ironic that even during the Mubarak era IRI was not subjected to such aggressive action.

"Today's raid is confusing given that IRI was officially invited by the government of Egypt to witness the people's assembly elections, and was in the process of deploying a high level international delegation to observe the third phase of elections on January 3 and 4, having successfully deployed witnesses for phases one and two.

"IRI has worked with Egyptian political parties and civil society to share technical skills and provide information about democratic participation. IRI does not provide monetary or material support to political parties or civil society groups in Egypt."

The raids follow a far-reaching investigation into the foreign funding of human rights and civic advocacy groups launched under the aegis of the country's ruling generals earlier this year.

Ironically, the law being used to pursue the groups is one from the era of former president Hosni Mubarak, which the government had said it intended to repeal.

During the Mubarak era, groups such as NDI and IRI and others had existed in a grey area, unable to obtain permission to operate in full legal compliance.

Other groups reportedly raided, say activists, include the Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung, which supports political dialogue, Freedom House and the Egyptian Public Budget Observatory.

Morayef condemned the raids, and the investigation that led to them, as "entirely inappropriate" adding: "This is part of a wider crackdown on civil society groups in Egypt using Mubarak-era laws. They are using these pre-revolution laws as a broadbrush investigation that could result in wholesale shutting down of human rights and other groups that have been at the forefront of criticism of the army.

"This is very selective and really, really serious. It has huge potential implications for human rights in Egypt."

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said: "The NDI, IRI and Freedom House have been previously investigated by the ministry of justice on charges of receiving foreign funding, while the Arab Centre for the Independence of Justice and Legal Professions has not been yet investigated."

The army has pledged to step aside by mid-2012. "In Mubarak's time the government never dared to do such a thing," said prominent human rights activist Negad el-Bourai on his Twitter account.

Political experts said the groups raided have taken a neutral political stance, focusing on fostering democracy in Egypt by training members of nascent parties. "The National Democratic Institute has been training new parties … in how to participate in elections," a leading member of a liberal party said on condition of anonymity. "This has been with the full knowledge of authorities and was not clandestine."


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"What happened yesterday in Port Said was a heinous punishment
on the fans of Al-Ahly for their participation in the revolution."

-Presidential hopeful Hamdin Sabahi

"We won't allow punishment of fans for their participation in Cairo's Tahrir protests."

Presidential candidate, Abd-al-Mun'im Abu-al-Futuh

On-screen commentators from Al-Ahly's own TV station are left visibly
distraught as they listen to emotional accounts of the scenes of violence
that killed 74 people in Port Said stadium.



Egyptians incensed after 74 die in soccer tragedy

PORT SAID, Egypt | Thu Feb 2, 2012 6:49am EST

(Reuters) - Egyptians incensed by the deaths of 74 people in clashes at a soccer stadium staged protests on Thursday as fans and politicians accused the ruling generals of failing to prevent the deadliest incident since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.

Young men blocked roads near the state television building and the capital's landmark Tahrir Square, and a crowd gathered at Cairo's main rail station hoping to see relatives returning from the game in Port Said.

As covered bodies from Egypt's worst soccer disaster were unloaded from trains, thousands chanted "Down with military rule".

"Where is my son?" screamed Fatma Kamal, whose frantic phone calls seeking news of her 18-year-old had gone unanswered. "To hell with the football match ... Give me back my boy."

At least 1,000 people were injured in the violence on Wednesday evening when soccer fans invaded the pitch in the Mediterranean city after local team al-Masry beat visitors from Cairo's Al Ahli, Egypt's most successful club.

Hundreds of al-Masry supporters surged across the pitch to the visitors' end and panicked Ahli fans dashed for the exit. But the steel doors were bolted shut and dozens were crushed to death in the stampede, witnesses said.

Angry politicians denounced a thin security presence given the tense build-up to the match and accused Egypt's military leaders of allowing, or even causing, the fighting.

Parliament was holding an emergency session to discuss the violence. The Muslim Brotherhood, which dominates the assembly, said an "invisible" hand was behind the tragedy.

The Interior Ministry blamed the violence on a section of the crowd which it said had deliberately set out to cause "anarchy, a riot, and a stampede".

Hundreds gathered near the stadium in Port Said on Thursday, chanting: "Port Said people are innocent. This is a conspiracy."

The army's fiercest critics regularly accuse it of sowing disorder in Egypt to scupper a transition to civilian rule. The military has pledged to step aside by mid-year.

Activists called a march at 4 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) from Al Ahli's club ground in central Cairo to the interior ministry to protest at what one minister said it was Egypt's worst soccer disaster.

"The military council wants to prove that the country is heading towards chaos and destruction. They are Mubarak's men. They are applying his strategy when he said 'choose me or choose chaos'," said Mahmoud el-Naggar, 30, a laboratory technician and member of the Coalition of Revolutionary Youth in Port Said.

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, 76, who heads the ruling military council, took the unusual step of speaking by telephone to a television channel owned by Al Ahli, vowing to track down the culprits. The army announced three days of national mourning.

"I deeply regret what happened at the football match in Port Said. I offer my condolences to the victims' families," Tantawi said in comments broadcast on state television.

It did little to assuage the anger of fans, who, like many Egyptians, are furious that Egypt is still plagued by lawlessness and frequent bouts of deadly violence almost a year after Mubarak was driven out and replaced by an army council.

"The people want the execution of the field marshal," fans chanted at the Cairo rail station. "We will secure their rights, or die like them," they said as covered bodies were unloaded from the trains.


The post-match pitch invasion provoked panic among the crowd as rival fans fought. Most of the deaths were among people who were trampled in the crush of the panicking crowd or who fell or were thrown from terraces, witnesses and health workers said.

Television footage showed some security officers in the stadium showing no sign of trying to stop the pitch invasion. One officer was filmed talking on a mobile phone as people poured onto the field.

"The rush caused a stampede, people were pushing each other against the metal door and stepping on each other," said one witness who attended the match, 23-year-old Ossama El-Zayat.

"We saw riot police firing shots in the air, and then everyone got scared and kept pushing against the locked door. We didn't know whether police were firing live rounds or not. People were crying and dying," he said.

Several enraged politicians and ordinary Egyptians accused officials who are still in their jobs after the fall of Mubarak of complicity in the tragedy, or at least of allowing a security vacuum that has let violence flourish in the past 12 months.

"The security forces did this or allowed it to happen. The men of Mubarak are still ruling. The head of the regime has fallen but all his men are still in their positions," Albadry Farghali, a member of parliament for Port Said, screamed in a telephone call to live television.

Some saw the violence as orchestrated to target the "Ultras", Al Ahli fans whose experience confronting police at soccer matches was turned with devastating effect against Mubarak's heavy-handed security forces in the uprising.

They played a significant role in defending Cairo's Tahrir Square, the heart of the uprising against Mubarak, when men on camels and horses charged protesters last year. Thursday is the anniversary of the notorious February 2 camel charge.

"All that happened is not for the sake of a game. It's political. It was orchestrated by the military council to target the Ultras," said Abdullah el-Said, a 43-year-old driver in Port Said. "The military council wanted to crush the Ultras because they sided with protesters ever since the revolution began."

Yet many Egyptians still see the army as the only guarantor of security. When one activist in a group outside a hospital accused the army of sowing chaos, a man chimed in blaming the youths: "Security has to return to the streets. Enough with all those protests that caused this security vacuum," he yelled.


Some blamed the violence on "thugs", the hired hands or plain clothes police officers of Mubarak's era who would often emerge from police lines to crush dissent to his rule.

"Unknown groups came between the fans and they were the ones that started the chaos. I was at the match and I saw that the group that did this is not from Port Said," said Farouk Ibrahim.

"They were thugs, like the thugs the National Democratic Party used in elections," he said, referring to Mubarak's former party and the polls that were routinely rigged in its favor.

The two soccer teams, al-Masry and Al Ahli, have a history of fierce rivalry. Witnesses said fighting began after Ahli fans unfurled banners insulting Port Said and one descended to the pitch carrying an iron bar at the end of the match.

"I saw people holding machetes and knives. Some were hit with these weapons, other victims were flung from their seats, while the invasion happened," Usama El Tafahni, a journalist in Port Said who attended the match, told Reuters.

Many fans died in a subsequent stampede, while some were flung off their seats onto the pitch and were killed by the fall. At the height of the disturbances, rioting fans fired flares straight into the stands.

Television footage showed fans running onto the field and chasing Al Ahli players. A small group of riot police formed a corridor to protect the players, but they appeared overwhelmed and fans were still able to kick and punch players as they fled.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Egyptian junta stages coup against parliament
Johannes Stern | 15 June 2012 | WSW

'The US-backed Egyptian military junta dissolved the Islamist-dominated parliament yesterday in a military coup.'

"Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee
"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Syria, state television greeted the news of Morsi's ouster with visible glee.

Syrian state television flashed breaking news on its screen with excerpts
of an interview with Mr. Assad that it said would be published on Thursday:

"What's happening in Egypt is the fall of so-called political Islam,"
said Mr. Assad.

Syria's Assad nailed it.

After Morsi, political Islamism is terminally damaged.

Bad news for the NWO, which owns that franchise.

The Brotherhood blew it. Resting on a less influential rural base, they only
had majority support for an even-handed administration. But, knowing that
their reign would be brief, they over-reached attempting to copper-fasten
their position.

At the same time they were dancing to the neo-liberal economic agenda,
to the disgust of Egyptians who saw the economy implode while the
Brotherhood busied themselves playing sectarian religious games.

Mohammed el-Baradei has been engineered into the vacum as the token
representative of the Tahrir Square legacy, but he has little credibility on
the street --which reckons he represents international interests.

But pragmatism is winning out here -just as in Iran's recent elections,
where the establishment came to an accommodation with the revolution.

The Army knows that a 'coup' dynamic won't work here.

Egypt's economic situation is so dire that I expect the Army to take
political divisions off the table by sharing power between all interests -
except the Brotherhood. Islamists will be welcomed - but the Muslim
Brotherhood will be crushed.

The lesson from Egypt:

Sure, religion matters. But bread 'n butter matter more

Syria take note. Tunisia take note. Lybia take note.

The world take note: political Islamism is terminally damaged.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Bahaa El-Din offered Egypt's PM job,
ElBaradei set to be appointed VP

Ziad Bahaa El-Din, an Egyptian lawyer and founding member
of the Social Democratic Party, is offered the Prime Minister post

Ahram Online , Sunday 7 Jul 2013

Ziad Bahaa El-Din, founding member of the Egyptian Social Democratic
Party, has been offered to become Egypt's new Prime Minister, sources
told Ahram Online on Sunday.....

Liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei, who was a vocal critic of the Muslim
Brotherhood rule, is set to be appointed as vice-president, Ahram Online
has learned.

ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA), was tipped to become the new prime minister but his candidacy
was dropped after Salafist Nour party voiced objection..... http://rlu.ru/vnB

It always was a slap in the face to Egypt's conservatives for
the Army to appoint liberal poster boy, Mohammed elBaradei
as the country's acting Prime Minister.

Predictably, the Salafist Nour party wouldn't have him.
Now he's been demoted to VP and a center-left lawyer
will head the interim administration. Good.

That's a win for Tahrir Square, who suspect elBaradei
(who tried to cozy up with them) is a figurehead pawn
who would be used to co-opt the protest movement.

It's also a win for pragmatism - and a successful first test
of the ability to form a broad government of national unity.

Let's see if Tahrir Square gets a secure seat at the table.

The Muslim Brotherhood became useful idiots whose ineptitude
has swung the pendulum of popular sentient back towards the
grassroots forces who spawned the Arab Spring.

Islamism is dead. The Revolution is intact and alive. Laughing

But, right now it's all about bread and butter. More of each.

Egypt Revolution 2.0 : "It's the Economy Stupid!"

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Massacre in Egypt: US-backed junta kills scores, wounds thousands of people
Alex Lantier | 27 July 2013 | WSW

'Deadly clashes have erupted across Egypt, as tens of thousands protested in dozens of marches supporting either deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi or the military junta that ousted him in a July 3 coup. Security forces attacked pro-Mursi rallies early this morning, firing live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas. The move came after Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim—installed by the army—vowed that the coup regime would disperse the protests organized by Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) “soon and in a legal manner.”

Al Jazeera reported today that 120 people had been killed and some 4,500 injured when the army attacked a round-the-clock pro-Mursi vigil at Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawia Mosque. Seventeen were killed and over 500 wounded in clashes with police near the October 6 Bridge in Cairo’s Nasr City, the site of another of the largest ongoing pro-Mursi protests.

At least seven people were killed and 80 or more wounded when pro-army and pro-Mursi demonstrators clashed in Alexandria. MB officials claimed the security forces opened fire with birdshot on pro-Mursi demonstrators in Alexandria. Among the dead was a 14-year-old boy who was stabbed to death.

Egyptian health officials reported that most of the dead or wounded had suffered shots to the head or torso, suggesting that security forces attacking the protests are shooting to kill. Hundreds of others were wounded in clashes in the port city of Damietta, the Shubra neighborhood of Cairo and other areas across Egypt.

There are widespread fears of an even bloodier crackdown to come, after the army issued the MB an ultimatum to join negotiations with the new military junta by today. On Thursday, July 3 coup leader General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi told the MB that the next 48 hours were a “final chance” to “join the nation in preparation to launch the future.”

Related: Tunisian opposition seizes on Brahmi’s murder to push for Egypt-style coup

"Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee
"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clashes spread in Egypt amid rising death toll from army massacre
Alex Lantier | 16 August 2013 | WSW

'Clashes erupted across Egypt yesterday in the wake of efforts by the Egyptian military junta to drown protests in blood. Following Wednesday’s massacre, supporters of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi protested and attacked government buildings throughout the country.

The army ousted Mursi in a July 3 coup aimed at pre-empting developing mass working class protests against Mursi’s reactionary policies and moving back to the type of military-backed dictatorship that existed before the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak. As casualties from Wednesday’s bloodbath mount into the thousands and fighting spreads, the coup is placing Egypt on a path towards civil war and mass upheavals.

Thousands of relatives of the victims of Wednesday’s massacres flocked to morgues and mosques where the bodies of victims are being held, chanting: “The army and police are one dirty hand!”

Health Ministry sources reported yesterday that the death toll from Wednesday’s crackdown had risen to 638, with at least 4,200 injured—more than double the initial official figures. These figures, which do not include the bodies of protesters at facilities controlled by Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB), are still substantial underestimates. Reuters reporters counted a further 228 bodies at northeast Cairo’s Al-Imam mosque alone, and the MB has issued estimates that over 2,000 were killed and 10,000 wounded in Wednesday’s crackdown.

As the death toll rose, Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi issued a statement praising police for their “self-restraint” and justifying the massacre: “The state had to intervene to restore security and peace for Egyptians.”

Related: Mass protests defy curfew, army crackdown in Egypt

More: Latest news from Egypt

"Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee
"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha
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