Technology Gets Less Open in Egypt

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egypt.jpg
While not exactly a haven of free speech before, it looks like Egyptian authorities are cracking down on communications technology in the lead-up to parliamentary elections:

Egypt’s National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) has imposed new restrictions aimed at tightening control over the SMS messaging services provided by mobile phone companies and media institutions in an apparent effort to preempt possible anti-regime activism in the run-up to next month’s parliamentary elections.
On Monday, a number of private media institutions–including Al-Masry Al-Youm–were notified by SMS news providers that they must now obtain approval from the Ministry of Information and the Supreme Press Council before sending news alerts out to subscribers.
A source at the NTRA denied that the new restrictions had a political aspect, insisting that they had been put in place to regulate 30 companies currently operating in Egypt without a clear legal status.
It remains unclear whether the new regulations will stipulate the suspension or cancellation of phone subscriptions for those found disseminating anti-regime text messages. It is also unclear how the new regulations will affect private newspapers’ capacity to generate profits from SMS-based news services.

While Egyptian authorities also indicated that the text shutdown was meant to reduce ethnic tensions between Copts and Muslims, both the Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition parties are expected to make use of texting in the upcoming parliamentary campaign.
On the one hand, this is a clumsy attempt, a reactive effort that could force Brotherhood and other campaign efforts a bit more underground, but is unlikely to stop their get out the vote efforts. After all, we’re talking about a group that won nearly a fifth of the seats in Egypt’s parliament, despite the group being officially banned in the country. And despite official recalcitrance, as the article notes, former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaredei has been able to gather millions of signatures on his petition in favor of reform. Trying to repress such broad-based movements will only strengthen the hands of opposition forces, without much actual benefit to the government.
On another note, this attempt to limit the influence of newer technologies is part of a disturbing broader trend in the Middle East, one exemplified by recent threats to ban Blackberries in Dubai and the continued or past imprisonment of reform-oriented bloggers in Bahrain and Tunisia.
There are many in this country who would, no doubt, not object to a suppressed vote for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Yet if the U.S. does not speak out more forcefully against attempts to limit democratic processes in the region, we risk a further entrenchment of autocracy and repression that will only serve to cripple the reform so desperately needed in much of the region. While we may not always like the result, it is more important that we, as a country, side with freedom.
— Andrew Lebovich

Comments

58 comments on “Technology Gets Less Open in Egypt

  1. rc says:

    Off topic perhaps — but what’s a few tear gas containers (and an American eye) when you could have 5 years of free rape and torture followed by 86 years in prison!
    —-
    From Al Jazeera
    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2010/10/20101016133711604162.html
    . . .
    In any case, in a bizarre scenario – to make a very long story short – Dr. Siddiqui and her three children disappeared for five years from 2003 to 2008, resurfacing in Ghazni, Afghanistan with her oldest child, a son who was then 11. She claimed that for the years she was missing, she was being held in various Pakistani and US prisons being tortured and repeatedly raped. Many prisoners, including Yvonne Ridley, maintain she was incarcerated in Bagram AFB and tortured for at least part of the five missing years.
    After Dr. Siddiqui resurfaced, she was arrested and taken to an Afghan police station where four Americans – two military and two FBI agents – rushed to “question” her through interpreters. The FBI and military, claim that they were taken to a room that had a curtain at one end and that they did not know that Dr. Siddiqui was lying asleep on a bed at the other side of the curtain. As you read below it will become blatantly obvious that personnel involved from both institutions totally fabricated their stories.
    This is the Americans’ version: They entered the room and one of the military dudes said he laid his weapon down (remember, they were there to interrogate one of the top most dangerous people in the world), and Siddiqui got up, grabbed the weapon, yelling obscenities and that she wanted to “kill Americans.” All 5’3″ of her raised the weapon to fire and she fired the rifle twice, missing everyone in the small room – in fact she even missed the walls, floor and ceiling since no bullets from the rifle were ever recovered.
    Then one of the Americans shot her twice in the stomach “in self-defence.” It was shown at the trial that her fingerprints were not even on the weapon. The only bullets that were found that day were in Dr. Aafia’s body. How many stories of military cover-ups have we heard about since 9/11? I can think of two right away without even trying hard: Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch.
    Hopeless injustice
    Dr. Aafia’s side is this: After she was arrested, she was again beaten and she fell asleep on a bed when she heard talking in the room she was in so she got out of the bed and someone shouted: “Oh no, she

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    OMG!!! Look, the anti-semites are running amok in Tel Aviv!!! Quick, break out the tear gas canisters!!!! AIM FOR THEIR HEADS!!!!!
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3970192,00.html
    Thousands protest loyalty oath bill
    Masses gather in Tel Aviv to demonstrate against amendment to Citizenship Act. Demonstrators hold signs reading ‘Lieberman, Lieberman, a fascist and a racist,’ ‘Together we’ll protect democracy’
    Protest over the amendment to the Citizenship Act continues

    Reply

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “It is you leftists who treat Arabs like irresponsible children”
    It doesn’t embarrass you to make comments like that?
    Nadine, you’ve never commented on the use of Jewish teenagers to rifle through Palestinians personal effects, dump their posessions in the street, deface and vandalize their property, and participate in their evictions. How do you feel about that? These are not rogue hooligans or delinquents, but instead are teens being tasked, by the Jewish State Of Israel, to participate in such activities. Would you like to have your child tasked to participate in such activities? Do you see any positive attitude or mindset that these kids will take away from such an experience?
    Refusing to comment on such issues, when you are such a prolific defender of Israel, is as despicable as actually condoning it, Nadine. Your intransigent refusal to admit to ANY Israeli wrongdoing renders virtually ALL of your comments, opinions, and presentation of “facts” as suspect.
    I still find your presence here inexplicable. Its quite obvious that no one takes you seriously. Even those who do not seem to subscribe to the notion that you are a participant in an organized effort at propaganda are apparently not taken in by your biased, prolific, and disingenuous presentations.
    What do you think, or hope, you are accomplishing here? I really am intriqued and curious, although I suspect my curiousity will not bear the fruit of an honest answer.

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  4. nadine says:

    “I realize that people like Nadine like the idea of governments socially organizing their citizens.”
    Warren, how did you conclude that? Do you normally have such comprehension problems? I recommend treating the Arabs as responsible adults, same as anybody else, pointing to Oman as a success story. It is you leftists who treat Arabs like irresponsible children.

    Reply

  5. JohnH says:

    “Gotta love it: the myth of an implacable, anti-Palestinian Zionist Palestinian people.
    You can only peddle such twaddle to an audience that has never, ever, read, viewed or listened to anything the Zionists say to each other in Hebrew.” Or of their daily treatment of Palestinians under Israeli control…

    Reply

  6. nadine says:

    Gotta love it: the myth of an implacable, anti-Semitic Palestinian people.
    You can only peddle such twaddle to an audience that has never, ever, read, viewed or listened to anything the Palestinians say to each other in Arabic.

    Reply

  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.truth-out.org/deconstructing-israeli-distortions64237
    “You won’t hear anything like that from Oren. Instead, you’ll hear a continuing stream of ill-informed, illogical propaganda to perpetuate the myth of an implacable, anti-Semitic Palestinian people bent only on destroying Israel. That myth – not the understandable hesitation of Palestinians to embrace the idea of a Jewish state privileging Jewish people – keeps Israeli Jews locked in their self-made ghetto of perpetual insecurity”

    Reply

  8. DakotabornKansan says:
  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    US frowns upon approval of settlement construction
    Washington – The United States expressed disappointment over Israel’s approval on Friday of 238 new settlement constructions to be built in the West Bank, Haaretz reported Friday.
    Philip Crowley, US State Department spokesman stated: “We were disappointed by the announcement of new tenders in East Jerusalem yesterday. It is contrary to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties.”
    continues….
    OMG!!!! The State Department is “disappointed”!!!
    I bet the Jews are quakin’ in their boots while waiting for the next check for billions OF OUR MONEY and the delivery of their new jet fighters.
    How many sets of kneepads does Hillary intend to wear out during her tenure as SOS?
    Sure glad the bitch wasn’t “disappointed” when the Israelis popped a cap in the head of an American citizen lying defenseless on the deck of a ship sailing on open seaas. Because if she hadda been she might notta had any “disappointment” left to tsk tsk this latest flem filled loogie Netanyahu planted between the eyes of the President Of The United States.

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Those new units are not a bargaining chip”
    Gee, no shit?
    “….but simply new housing in Jewish neighborhoods like Pisgat Zeev that have been there for forty years”
    Theft is theft, stolen forty years ago, or tomorrow, its still theft.
    “There is new housing being built in Arab neighborhoods too, but nobody thinks those are newsworthy”
    Perhaps because this building is not going on illegally on stolen land.
    “Everyone knows Arabs have the right to live anywhere”
    Tell that to the evicted, you liar.
    “How dare those Jews build houses?”
    How dare those Palestinians protest the thefts of their lands.

    Reply

  11. nadine says:

    Those new units are not a bargaining chip, but simply new housing in Jewish neighborhoods like Pisgat Zeev that have been there for forty years.
    There is new housing being built in Arab neighborhoods too, but nobody thinks those are newsworthy. Of course not. Everyone knows Arabs have the right to live anywhere.
    Jerusalem is a living growing city. But the Jew-hating half of the world has decided that this is root cause for anti-Semitism. How dare those Jews build houses?

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see they are building 238 more housing units in East Jerusalem. Undoubtedly, this move is designed to expedite reaching an agreement with the Palestinians, and to “settle the violence”. A brilliant bargaining chip, these 238 new units, aren’t they?
    Its really quite awesome watching Netanyahu’s gestures towards peace while his administration is furiously drawing up boundry maps behind the scenes, isn’t it, questions? Peace is coming any minute now, its in the air.

    Reply

  13. DonS says:

    Wait, wait! Here’s a poll. And a statistic. It must be true:
    “Most Tennesseans Say Muslims Should Get Full Rights, Back Construction Of Murfreesboro Mosque Expansion “:
    “Sixty-seven percent of Tennesseans polled said Muslims deserve the same rights as any Americans and only 14 percent disagreed. And 66 percent said they either supported or did not object to the construction of a new Islamic center in Murfreesboro, while only 28 percent objected. […]
    “Twenty-eight percent of Tennesseans surveyed thought Muslims in America heighten the risk of terrorist attack. Two-thirds of those surveyed agreed that it is wrong to profile people as potential terrorists solely on the basis of their Muslim beliefs.
    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/10/15/most-tennesseans-muslims/
    I think it’s little question that the with the fewest members also have the smallest minds, and the biggest mouths. That is the one’s who aren’t gullible, suggestible, and eaten up with fear or hatred.

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Less so in America but growing”
    And Nadine is apparently too insanely partisan and racist to ponder, and learn from, the reasons this is so.
    Truly, if history is the judge, the behaviour of many Jews fits the commonly used definition of “insanity”; Commitment to the same actions, over and over, expecting different results each time.
    Israel’s behaviour nurtures anti-semitism. The growth of this prejudice is inevitable as Israel becomes more arrogant, more unappreciative of the largesse and charity of the American taxpayer, and more and more vicious in its disdain for human rights and the sanctity of ALL life.
    Yes, anti-semitism IS growing in the United States. And Israel has no one to blame but itself. Its a pity that an entire people are stained by the actions of a few. But isn’t this EXACTLY what the Jewish Israeli leadership is doing to the Palestinians? So we are to weep for the Jews becoming the victims of a phenomena they foster?? If the Jews do not want anti-semitism, then perhaps they need to tell their leaders to stop nurturing it, both here and in the Middle East.
    And to stop using mouthpieces like Nadine.

    Reply

  15. JohnH says:

    Why should anyone be more concerned about an upsurge in anti-Jewish sentiment than about an upsurge in anti-Muslim sentiment? We should be equally concerned about both or about neither.
    Of course, people like Nadine eagerly instigate anti-Muslim sentiment but express outrage over any sign of anti-Jewish sentiment.
    It’s a free country. She’s entitled…as long as it doesn’t involve my tax dollar.

    Reply

  16. Warren Metzler says:

    I realize that people like Nadine like the idea of governments socially organizing their citizens. But I suggest that we remember the inalienable rights the Declaration of Independence tells us about; which are, by definition, rights assigned to every human, rights not possible to be negated by any “enlightened mind”, or government. If the Arabs are currently willing to have their governments be oppressive, we need to let them find out that doesn’t work on their own, and allowing democracy is the best path to that.
    Let the Moslem Brotherhood win, and assume responsibility for governing, and soon they will realize the only option is to move toward free enterprise authentic democracy. It is happening in Vietnam, China, and Russia, and will occur in any country in which we stay out of the way, instead of providing funding for dictators to give us our short sighted goals.

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    Yes, Don Bacon, there has been an upsurge in anti-Semitism, both in the Muslim world, where it is at near-Nazi levels, and in Europe. Less so in America but growing. Have you noticed that the European anti-Semitism is almost entirely on the Left. You can call the Jews anything as long as you use the word “Zionist”.

    Reply

  18. Don Bacon says:

    An Upsurge in Anti-Semitism
    Over the last decade, U.S. embassies and consulates have reported an upsurge in anti-Semitism. This rise in anti-Semitism has been documented in the U.S. Department of State

    Reply

  19. Don Bacon says:

    Anti-Israel IS anti-semitic, according to the US government.

    Reply

  20. Don Bacon says:

    Well, yeah the US could snuff another million or so. It isn’t like their relatives would ever think of flying planes into any of our favorite buildings or anything. But who’s the bogeyman this time? Saddam is goners.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see the ADL has compiled a list of “top ten anti-Israel organizations”. Apparently they had the good sense to not call them “anti-semitic organizations”, being cognizant of the fact that Americans are growing tired of that shit filled attack on any and all critics of Israel.
    http://palestinenote.com/blogs/news/archive/2010/10/14/adl-lists-jewish-voice-for-peace-and-cair-among-top-10-anti-israel-organizations.aspx
    I note “If Americans knew” is one of them. I would like to thank the ADL for reminding me its about time I made a donation to “if Americans knew” again. I will peruse the list to see what other organizations seem to be worthy of a donation.
    http://www.ifamericansonlyknew.org/

    Reply

  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “We already had a war with Iraq, silly”
    Well, maybe we can do it better if we do a retake?
    This time we’ll let Bremer steal everything in sight like he originally intended, and we’ll put the Chalabis in charge of stickin’ phone poles up Sunni assholes. Assassinate Sistani and Sadr, and put Feith and Farouki in charge of antiquity acquisition. Could start selling softdrinks called “Fallujah Fizzies” instead of flying all that yellowcake over here to store.
    If we woulda stuck to the blueprint, by golly, we coulda airlifted Wal-Mart employees into the country instead of Blackwater mercenaries.

    Reply

  23. Don Bacon says:

    Oh, then it’s okay. Most Americans say that Iran is a major threat. It’s the result of “strategic communications” AKA propaganda which I fear we’re going to hear more about.
    I don’t think that Bush, or Condi, cared that much about Iran. But the Dems are much closer to Aipac, and also gain a lot of political strength from the NYC metro area, which is the highest concentration of Jews in the USA. So there you go. Iran is an enemy.
    Now if Minnesota had more punch, then the USA would be much more concerned with Norway, and you know what happens when the US is concerned. Whooopeeee.

    Reply

  24. Paul Norheim says:

    Typo: Iran.

    Reply

  25. Don Bacon says:

    We already had a war with Iraq, silly.

    Reply

  26. Paul Norheim says:

    Why not appoint her Obama’s next National Security Advisor,
    whispering words in his ears that can help him make vital
    strategic leaps and restore America’s power while preparing for
    war with Iraq?

    Reply

  27. Dan Kervick says:

    Maybe Rice is looking for a job?

    Reply

  28. JohnH says:

    Total incompetence affirms sheer incompetence–“Condi Rice gets on Fox News and tells us what great job Hillary Clinton is doing.”

    Reply

  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Ah, here we go. Is the sudden concern for Egyptian “democracy” tied to this?
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/10/20101013203915141175.html
    Egypt grants passage to Gaza convoy
    The Viva Palestina aid convoy that is bound for the Gaza Strip has been given the green light by the Egyptian government to sail to the port of Al-Arish.
    On Wednesday, the 400-member convoy was also promised a free passage across the border into Gaza after it arrives in the Sinai port.
    The Egyptian go-ahead came after a tense eight day stand-off and followed mediation by several countries including Syria to persuade the Egyptians to agree to the passage.
    Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, who is travelling with the group, said that the convoy will now board a cargo ship in the Syrian port of Letakia and sail to Al-Arish.

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And, uh, while we are monitoring events in Eygypt, we might wanna ignore this as well….
    (TN) 9/10 – SHELBY: 3,221 PHANTOM VOTES FOUND; SAME LOCATIONS HAD UPLOADS DAY BEFORE ELECTION –
    * Permission to excerpt or reprint granted *
    Consultants examining the Aug. 5 Shelby County election found 3,221 more votes than voters on documents provided by Shelby County elections officials pursuant to a court order.
    Most voterless votes were found in large Republican precincts, a non-random distribution.
    continues……
    http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=/8/81178.html

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Jeff Dean then became a primary stockholder in what was then called Global Election Systems, by selling his lucrative ballot printing and mailing operation to Canadian-based Global Election Systems, which was then purchased by Diebold. Dean pocketed a few million in the deal, but due to a court judgment against him, hid the money by transferring it to his son — then taking assets purchased by the money back – meanwhile declaring bankruptcy in Washington while hiding assets in Idaho”
    Of course, here at TWN, while slobbering over Chuck Hagel, we are supposed to ignore his connection to Global Election Systems.

    Reply

  32. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Meanwhile, as we monitor those nasty anti-democratic Egyptians…..
    (USA) 10/10 – FELON’S FINGERS IN USA VOTE-BY-MAIL SYSTEM – Vote the old fashioned way. Vote at the polling place, allowing plenty of time, and ready to assert your right to use a provisional ballot if your name is not on the list. Vote by mail is second only to Internet voting in the risk it presents to our democracy.
    For a glimpse into just how slipshod our vote-by-mail controls really are, take a look at how two convicted felons obtained intimate access to the system:
    The primary architect for current vote-by-mail computer software was Jeffrey Dean, an embezzler who specialized in computer crime. Dean’s Dept. of Corrections papers:
    http://www.bbvdocs.org/dean/dean-criminal-docs.pdf
    Court transcripts showing Dean’s key role in vote-by-mail software:
    http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/2197/17789.html
    While in prison, embezzler Jeffrey Dean became friends with a narcotics trafficker named John Elder. While still in prison, on a work-release program, Jeffrey Dean was tasked with creating a computerized vote by mail program for King County, Washington. He began this assignment while working for his brother, Neil Dean, whose business had a contract with King County to provide temporary workers for its huge absentee voting operation. At the time, King County had about 1 million voters, 600,000 of whom voted by absentee.
    Jeff and Neil Dean became involved in creating a vote-by-mail automation program to handle mail processing and signature comparison. Jeff Dean then left his brother Neil Dean’s employment to launch his own ballot printing and mailing company, then called Spectrum Print & Mail. He brought in prison buddy John Elder to help him manage the company.
    One wonders how Jeff Dean ever got the money together to fund his ballot printing operation, which featured high-end printing machines from Europe. At the time he owed nearly half a million dollars in court-ordered restitution for his embezzlement. Someone funded his ballot printing operation, which almost immediately was given the lucrative ballot printing contract for million-voter King County.
    It’s not that Jeff Dean didn’t have political connections. In his depositions, he claims that his embezzlement from the law firm back in the 1980s was not really an embezzlement, but a kickback scheme for some of the partners related to an off-the-books project they were doing.
    Now, Jeff Dean is a liar and a crook, there is no doubt of that (most recently, he did an illegal, unregistered stock offering for an RV park he owns in an Idaho resort area, bilking a lovely couple, the Laners, out of their life savings; he purchased this expensive RV park while declaring in Washington state that he was bankrupt, then sold shares in it to unsuspecting investors).
    I’ve looked at copies of the checks Jeff Dean wrote to himself while allegedly embezzling from the law firm (he took an Alford plea, never admitting guilt). He looks guilty to me, but his claim that he was doing something off the books for the partners is interesting, given the political nature of the firm and his immediate access to the King County election system beginning while still incarcerated. One of the partners, at the law firm Jeff Dean embezzled from was Bud Krogh, who formerly headed the Watergate burglars under Richard Nixon. Jeff Dean claims he took a fall for some of the partners on some off-the-books deal they were doing. There is no doubt that he landed on his feet unusually quickly post-incarceration.
    After Jeff Dean was released, having already begun work on the computerized vote-by-mail system which would later come to dominate the US absentee voting market, he somehow launched a pricey print shop, immediately got the biggest ballot-printing and mailing assignment in Washington state, and then was assigned to work INSIDE King County elections with the GEMS central tabulator and the voter registration database. He was given a key and 24-hour access, and when then-supervisor of elections Julie Anne Kempf dug up his prison record and complained, she was fired but Jeff Dean and prison-buddy John Elder were retained.
    Jeff Dean then became a primary stockholder in what was then called Global Election Systems, by selling his lucrative ballot printing and mailing operation to Canadian-based Global Election Systems, which was then purchased by Diebold. Dean pocketed a few million in the deal, but due to a court judgment against him, hid the money by transferring it to his son — then taking assets purchased by the money back – meanwhile declaring bankruptcy in Washington while hiding assets in Idaho.
    Under Diebold, Jeff Dean became a paid consultant and John Elder took over the ballot printing and mailing, until 2004, when Black Box Voting exposed the two felons, along with three more crooks involved in the start-up of Global Election Systems (Michael K. Graye, Norton Cooper, and Charles Hong Lee, who were convicted of embezzlement..
    Continues….
    (Link in succeeding post…)

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Speaking of Clinton, I see she has finally reacted to the murder of Mr.Hartley on Falcon Lake. Its amazing how concerned she is for the lives of American citizens when her concern dovetails with political agenda. She used the murder as an excuse to natter on about American arms gettin’ into the hands of the drug cartels. She says the State Department is “doing everything it can”. So is the Justice Department, apparently, by suing the State of Arizona for having the unmittigated gall to attempt to protect its citizens and borders.
    I wonder how she woulda reacted to a film of Mexican Federales executing an American citizen lying on the deck of a ship sailing on international waters?
    But at least we can all sleep better tonight knowing that those dangerous anti-war protestors are being brought to heel by the FBI. I have nightmares about my daughter being battered to death by a protest sign being hurled out of one of our free speech zones.
    Sure am glad that we are keeping an eye on those nasty Egyptian leaders too. I think we need to recognize fascism when we see it, don’t you?

    Reply

  34. DonS says:

    here’s a FDL link on the Clinton (that would be Hil) ‘tax the rich’ . . . elsewhere . . . wtory.
    http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/76579

    Reply

  35. Don Bacon says:

    news report:
    Clinton Calls For Tax on Rich

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gee, how nice. Condi Rice gets on Fox News and tells us what great job Hillary Clinton is doing.
    A perjurious felon complimenting a treasonous political whore who ignores her oath of office and the wanton maiming and murder of American citizens by a foreign government.
    Try this sack of shit Obama’s suggestion of “looking forward” by using “looking backwards” as a microscope. Doesn’t instill much optimism, does it?

    Reply

  37. DakotabornKansan says:
  38. DonS says:

    Thanks bks at 12:16.
    I’ll recap the story, because, you know, we keep getting lied to and played by the system of oligarchs, corporatist, and neocons working through a thoroughly bought and political class:
    Per General Hugh Shelton:
    “The US had no reason to invade Iraq in 2003, and only did so because of “a series of lies” told to the American people by the Bush administration, says Gen. Hugh Shelton, who served for four years as the US’s top military officer.”
    ………………………..
    According to Ricks, Shelton states that, in order to get the war going, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld “elbowed aside Gen. Richard Myers and the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and also intimidated and flattered Gen. Tommy R. Franks while working directly with him, and so basically went to war without getting the advice of his top military advisors.”
    …………………………..
    “[Ricks writes] After his first meeting with Rumsfeld, Shelton recalls thinking, “We’re going to need some heavy-duty cleaning supplies if all we’re going to do is waste time having pissing contests like this.” When Rumsfeld was proven wrong in a meeting, Shelton says, he wouldn’t admit it, but rather would press on and do “his best to stay afloat amid the bullshit he was shoveling out.”
    …………………..
    “Spinning the possible possession of WMDs as a threat to the United States in the way they did is, in my opinion, tantamount to intentionally deceiving the American people,” Shelton writes.
    “Ricks notes that “[t]hese are pretty serious charges, given that they come from the man who was the nation’s top military officer for four years immediately preceding 9/11.”
    “Ricks also reports that Shelton has less-than-kind words for Sen. John McCain, who Shelton writes “had a screw loose because normal people just didn’t behave in that manner . . ..”
    “In another part of the memoir, Shelton asserts that “[t]he John McCain that I knew was subject to wild mood swings and would break into erratic temper tantrums in the middle of a normal conversation.”
    Not a whole lot new in this perhaps. But important to counter the more cowardly aspects of the look forward, not backward, crowd.

    Reply

  39. Don Bacon says:

    Regarding gay teen suicides, Firedoglake was alive recently because:
    “To hear how far out of the mainstream the Obama White House is, just listen to senior adviser Valerie Jarrett describe her conversation with the parents of suicided gay teen Justin Aarberg, and her description of Justin having

    Reply

  40. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “POA, spying was only eeeevil when the wicked GW Bush did it. Now that Saint Barack is in office, it’s all justifiable. Don’t you get it?”
    Yes, I DO “get it”, Nadine. But YOU will NEVER “get it”. Because to you its all partisan. And such a mindset, on its face, is sheer and undeniable ignorance.

    Reply

  41. nadine says:

    Just remember Don: Democracy is a streetcar, like PM Erdogan said. When you reach your destination, you get off.
    Any democratic process you talk about wrt to the Brotherhood is strictly temporary.
    Tell me, when are the next elections going to be held in Gaza? You call that democracy?

    Reply

  42. Don Bacon says:

    Okay, I’ll go OT too — whatever happened to “MAJOR CONFERENCE 10/12: Cutting the Fuse”??
    Why are we in Egypt?

    Reply

  43. Don Bacon says:

    nadine, if you’re not talking democratic processes then you’re off topic. “Technology Gets Less Open in Egypt” Kapisch?

    Reply

  44. nadine says:

    POA, spying was only eeeevil when the wicked GW Bush did it. Now that Saint Barack is in office, it’s all justifiable. Don’t you get it? The Obama administration is all about consolidating central power. That’s what statists do.

    Reply

  45. nadine says:

    “We’re talking about democratic processes and how they’re stifled (in Egypt’s case, anyhow) by US aid which amounts to ten percent of Egypt’s national budget.” (Don Bacon)
    No, we’re not. We’re talking about a violent takeover by radical Islamists who are now openly calling for jihad. Your problem is that you are willfully blind to the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood. Doubtless you will continue to call them democrats even if they take over and slaughter their enemies, just as you do Hamas, their spinoff.

    Reply

  46. PissedOffAmerican says:

    ROFLMAO!!!
    Oh, this is rich. Yet one more “Look over there” bit of horseshit about concern for free speech and the flow of information, while HERE Obama seeks to iviscerate online privacy.
    Its only bad if the Muslims do it, right???
    Neda. Never mind Tristan, Emily, or Furkan. Iran. Never mind Israel’s nukes. Terrorism? Never mind anti-abortion bombers, Timothy McVieghs, and urban street gangs that are running rampant in ALL of our urban centers. Vote fraud in Iran??? Never mind what just happened in Memphis.
    And now those nasties in Egypt are seeking to “crack down” on “communications technology”. Never mind what this piece of shit Obama is proposing for our OWN system of “communications technology”.
    Its becoming a damned circus of absurdity reading all this concern for the goings ons in OTHER countries while these sacks of shit in DC dismantle everything we profess to be HERE…
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2010/10/technology_gets/#comments
    Obama takes spying on us to a new level
    Published: Monday, October 11, 2010
    By Nat Hentoff
    Before his forced resignation, President Richard Nixon declared,

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  47. Don Bacon says:

    Who said anything about successful or peaceful? We’re talking about democratic processes and how they’re stifled (in Egypt’s case, anyhow) by US aid which amounts to ten percent of Egypt’s national budget.

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  48. larry birnbaum says:

    If there were a lot of successful democratic models in the
    neighborhood, I might agree. There aren’t. If the choice is between
    bastards who will keep the peace and bastards who will foment
    violence then the choice is obvious. Maybe you don’t agree that
    that’s what the choice is. Then I’d like to see the empirical evidence
    for that, in the form of “peaceful, democratic country X.”

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  49. Don Bacon says:

    We can’t say what Egypt would be like without US aid. What we CAN say, and it’s a no-brainer really, one which shouldn’t even require an explanation, is that the aid helps an authoritative regime stay in power. Plus the US gets its little side benefits, like sending people it doesn’t like there to be tortured, etc.

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  50. JohnH says:

    Like Nadine says, it’s not just Egypt. It’s Israel and the Territories, too. There a minority Jewish government maintains strict, authoritarian control over the majority of the population. And it’s more brutal variety of oppression than just about anywhere else in the ME.
    Buy does Nadine support democracy? Of course not! Just check out any of her recent comments about Turkey.

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  51. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, all the Arab states are authoritarian, those we support like Egypt, and those we don’t, like Syria. As for the US working with them, it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t, situation. Egypt under Sadat and Mubarak cooperated in signing a peace deal with Israel, which though a cold peace, they have not reneged on. So we kept our agreement with them. So now you claim everything thing Mubarak does is our fault. What would he be doing differently without our aid? Why can’t he be responsible for his own actions? What is it with the Left, that they treat Arabs like puppets?
    As for the nature of the Egyptian opposition, that is no accident but a deliberate Egyptian policy for many years, which allowed some freedom of expression in the mosques but none in other places. They encouraged Islamist rather than democratic opposition, and it has turned around to bite them on the butt more than once before now.

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  52. Don Bacon says:

    nadine, without getting into specifics, speaking generally, it’s no mystery that authoritative governments (like Egypt) are prone to spawn radical opposition.
    Egypt, in other words, isn’t Switzerland, thanks in no small part to the US support of the detestable Mubarak. Which is, in part, without the Zionist stuff, what Badi eluded to.

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  53. Don Bacon says:

    The U.S. should speak out more forcefully for democratic processes in Egypt? Good luck on that.
    One-third of all US foreign aid goes to Israel and Egypt. The aid to these two countries is in a 3 to 2 ratio, which means that the extended middle finger the US gets from Egypt is slightly shorter than the one from Israel, but more reflective of its authoritative Mubarak government, a regime which is not about to offer up any democracy for the almost two billion dollars that the US taxpayer sends to Egypt year after year.
    Speaking of flipping us the bird, Egypt recently opened up its air travel to Tehran, after twenty years w/o a connection, so that’s something the US gets for sending so much money.

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  54. nadine says:

    Before we go all gung-ho for more democracy in Egypt, shall we pause and take a quick look at the program of the main opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood? Are they democrats? If they won power, would it lead to more democracy or less? Are we allowed to ask these questions?
    This recent sermon by their spiritual guide, Mohammed Badi, in which he calls for jihad against the US and Israel in terms identical to those of Osama bin Laden, should supply a clue:
    “According to the Islamic shari’a that Allah [has bequeathed] to mankind, the status of the Muslims, compared to that of the infidel nations that arrogantly [disdain] his shari’a, is measured in a kind of scale, in which, when one side is in a state of superiority, the other is in a state of inferiority…
    Many Arab and Muslim regimes have not managed to build up their peoples, due to their weakness and their dependence [on the West], and in many cases they have begun to work against the interests of the [Muslim] nation… The lands of the Arabs and of Islam are now plagued with problems because [the Arabs] have lost their [strength of] will, leaving it to the Zionist enemies and their supporters. [The Arab and Muslim regimes] have forgotten, or are pretending to have forgotten, that the real enemy lying in wait for them is the Zionist entity. They are aiming their weapons against their own peoples, while avoiding any confrontation with these Zionists and achieving neither unity nor revival for their nations. Moreover, they are disregarding Allah’s commandment to wage jihad for His sake with [their] money and [their] lives, so that Allah’s word will reign supreme and the infidels’ word will be inferior…
    “Today the Muslims desperately need a mentality of honor and means of power [that will enable them] to confront global Zionism. [This movement] knows nothing but the language of force, so [the Muslims] must meet iron with iron, and winds with [even more powerful] storms. They crucially need to understand that the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.”
    http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4650.htm

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