Shihab Rattansi lays bare US hypocrisy on Egypt

Al Jazeera International is head and shoulders above all competitors in the MSM and Shihab Rattansi is by far the best news anchor currently on air. There is much journalists could learn from him. In the following interview with PJ Crowley watch Rattansi straitjacket the usually slick US State Department spokesman with relentless questions about the difference in US responses to Tunisia and Egypt and the applicability of pronouncements made in one instance to the other. Crowley appears disappointed that Rattansi is unwilling to abide by the convention of Western MSM which requires a newsman to take an evasion as a cue for moving on to a different subject.

Mish Ayazeenu

Photo by Adam Makary

Egypt’s anti-regime protests are unprecedented in size, frequency and ferocity. In Shubra, Dokki, Mohandaseen and Bulaq, Cairenes chanted ash-sha’ab yureed isqaat an-nizam, or The People Want the Fall of the Regime, and braved tear gas and baton-wielding thugs in the central Tahrir Square. Alexandria, Tanta, Suez, and the labour stronghold of Mahalla al-Kubra have also demonstrated. A government building has been burnt in Suez. Posters of Mubarak have been ripped down and burnt in several locations. Mish ayazeenu, the people shout: We Don’t Want Him.

When January 25th’s Day of Anger started, police at first allowed protesters to move freely in the streets. This was unusual, and suggests fear on the authorities’ part, as does the abrupt shift back to traditional methods as night fell. At the time of writing, at least a thousand people have been arrested, several killed, and hundreds beaten. (Here’s an audio recording of Guardian journalist Jack Shenker’s experience being trucked into the desert with other protesters.) Uniformed police are backed up by plainclothes goons, many armed with iron bars. (One hopes that someone is collecting photographs of these people in order to identify and shame them.)

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Spiritual Alchemy

M. Shahid Alam







Resetting broken bones is easy: if
it’s done right. Mending broken hearts
is harder: only time’s passage
remedies this. Fixing heedless hearts
is hardest: this takes spiritual alchemy.

M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University. He is author of Israeli Exceptionalism (Palgrave, 2009) and Poverty from the Wealth of Nations (Macmillan, 2000). Visit his website at Qur’anic Reason.

Human Rights in the Rear View Mirror: Colombian Commandos Training Mexican Military and Police

by Cyril Mychalejko

In another misstep of the historic failure of Plan Colombia and the U.S.-supported War on Drugs, Colombia is training thousands of Mexican soldiers, police and court officials in an effort to boost Mexico’s fight against drug cartels.

Trainings have mostly taken place in Mexico, but now Mexican troops and police are traveling to Colombia to receive training from “Colombia’s battle-tested police commandos,” The Washington Post reported on Saturday. The article also suggests that, in addition to asserting itself as a regional power, Colombia is acting as a proxy for Washington because increased U.S. military presence in Mexico is not politically viable.

White House Drug Policy Director Richard Gil Kerlikowske, while meeting with Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón in Bogotá on January 18, said that Colombia “serves as a beacon of hope for other nations struggling with the threat to democracy posed by drug trafficking and related crime.”

A Beacon of Hope?

Kerlikowske’s deceptively rosy assessment of Colombia and the effectiveness of Plan Colombia is severely undermined by the facts on the ground.

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Palestinian Authority’s war on Palestine

How the PLO leadership assisted Israel in the killing of other Palestinians, including members of its own militia.

Mike Hanna reports from Gaza on what The Palestine Papers reveal about the assassination of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade member Hassan al-Madhoun.

Egypt Awakes

UPDATE: See Al Jazeera’s reports below and read Ahmed Moor (who recorded the video below)’s account of today’s events at MondoWeiss.

Led by what appears to be a girl and a boy, a group of Egyptian protesters chase the riot police.

Helena Cobban of Just World News asks if the Arab world is finally waking from 40-year sleep:

In Egypt, the long-entrenched, US-backed-to-the-repressive-hilt Mubarak regime is facing one of the most serious challenges yet to its control.In Tunisia, the long-entrenched, strongly US-backed Ben Ali regime is history, and citizens on the streets and in their gathering places are right now determining how their country will governed in the future.

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Total Capitulation

by Tariq Ali

The ‘Palestine Papers’ being published this week by al-Jazeera confirm in every detail what many Palestinians have suspected for a long time: their leaders have been collaborating in the most shameful fashion with Israel and the United States. Their grovelling is described in grim detail. The process, though few accepted it at the time, began with the much-trumpeted Oslo Accords, described by Edward Said in the LRB at the time as a ‘Palestinian Versailles’. Even he would have been taken aback by the sheer scale of what the PLO leadership agreed to surrender: virtually everything except their own salaries. Their weaknesses, inadequacies and cravenness are now in the public domain.

Now we know that the capitulation was total, but still the Israeli overlords of the PLO refused to sign a deal and their friends in the press blamed the Palestinians for being too difficult. They wanted Palestine to be crushed before they would agree to underwrite a few moth-eaten protectorates that they would supervise indefinitely. They wanted Hamas destroyed. The PLO agreed. The recent assault on Gaza was carried out with the approval of Abbas and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, not to mention Washington and its EU. The PLO sold out in a literal sense. They were bought with money and treated like servants. There is TV footage of Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton at Camp David playfully tugging at Arafat’s headgear to stop him leaving. All three are laughing. Many PLO supporters in Palestine must be weeping as they watch al-Jazeera and take in the scale of the betrayal and the utter cynicism of their leaders. Now we know why the Israel/US/EU nexus was so keen to disregard the outcome of the Palestinian elections and try to destroy Hamas militarily.

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Palestinian Authority Goons Attack Al Jazeera Offices in Ramallah

Max Blumenthal asks: “How did the US and Israel-funded emergency PA government of Abbas/Abed Rabbo/Erekat respond to Al Jazeera’s release of the Palestine Papers? They released a goon squad to vandalize Al Jazeera’s Ramallah office and apparently to attack the person filming the video, too.”

Andrew Bacevich on US Presidential History

Susan Modares of Press TV’s excellent Autograph interviews Andrew J. Bacevich, one of PULSE’s top 10 global thinkers of 2010.

Americans mostly tend to divide their history into presidential terms. Thus, they think there are great differences between the presidents. Many, however, believe there is a national security policy consensus which continues through all presidencies without any change. The same issue is discussed with author and Boston University Prof. Andrew J. Bacevich in this edition of The Autograph.

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