Political talk from outside of the UK
By new puritan
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I see the Egyptian government has decided to exit, stage left. Might be worth keeping tabs on this.
The Egyptian prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, has said the government is to resign.

"Today the cabinet took a decision to offer its resignation to the president of the republic," Beblawi said in a televised statement. He gave no clear reason for the decision.

Beblawi was appointed after the army toppled President Mohamed Morsi last July following mass protests against his rule.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/f ... el-bablawi" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

More here from the BBC.
Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi has unexpectedly announced the resignation of his government.

Mr Beblawi said the decision was taken "in light of the current situation the country is going through".

It comes amid a series of strikes, including one by public sector workers and rubbish collectors, and an acute shortage of cooking gas.
He acknowledged that Egypt had witnessed a sharp rise in strikes, but said no government in the world could have fulfilled all the demands of its people in such a short period of time.

"The cabinet has over the past six or seven months shouldered a very difficult responsibility... in most cases the results were good."

"The country is facing huge dangers. It is time we stood together to protect it and help it get out of this narrow tunnel," he added.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-26323638" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
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Jesus Christ.
CAIRO — A criminal court sentenced 529 people to death on Monday after a single session of their mass trial, convicting them of murder for the killing of a police officer in the city of Minya during riots after the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, state media reported.

The swift conviction of so many in one stroke was a sudden acceleration of the sweeping crackdown against Mr. Morsi’s Islamist supporters and other dissenters that has unfolded since his removal last summer. In its immediate aftermath, the new military-led government killed more than a thousand people in shootings at protests against the takeover, and since then it has arrested many thousands of others as demonstrations have continued at universities and in the streets. Most of those arrested have been detained without charges or trials.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/25/world ... share&_r=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Where are the likes of Cohen, Aaronovitch and Bloodworth? Haven't heard a peep from any of them about what's going on in Egypt. Happy to berate the left for its perceived hypocrisy and double standards though.
By new puritan
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If you thought our media were bad...
While the decision to hand the death sentence to 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood on charges of storming and burning a Minya police station was met with condemnation from local and international rights watchdogs, Egyptian television had a different story to tell.

Most Egyptian satellite television channels, increasingly a mouthpiece for state institutions — particularly following the ouster of the Brotherhood from power last summer — celebrated the judiciary for the move.

Ahmed Moussa, who presents a show titled “Ala Masou'ouleyati” (On my Responsibility) at privately owned Sada al-Balad channel, opened his show with a salute to the Egyptian judiciary.

“I salute the fairness and justice of our judiciary in defiance of those killers, and all those who attack it. Egypt's judiciary is clean and fair,” he said.

Moussa slammed human rights organizations for attacking the judiciary, saying that their job is to defend the human rights of the Muslim Brotherhood while they forget about the people.

Responding to criticism of the death sentence being handed to hundreds in one go, he said, “May they be 10,000, 20,000, not 500. We are not sad, we are happy.”
http://madamasr.com/content/egyptian-te ... h-sentence" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Very sad to see the Egyptian revolution being drowned in blood.
By new puritan
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More mass trials imminent.
Mass arrests and mass trials have become key tools in the country’s expanding “war on terrorism.” The same court in Minya is hearing another case, which will resume on April 28th, in which more than six hundred Islamists are charged with the murder of two policemen. On Wednesday, Egypt’s chief prosecutor announced two more mass trials, with a total of nine hundred and nineteen defendants. Many activists have been dragged from their homes to face spurious charges, and an unconstitutional law to ban protests has been passed. Journalists working for Al Jazeera English have been charged with membership in a terrorist organization and with fabricating news to blacken Egypt’s reputation; on Monday, they were once again denied bail. Meanwhile, the show trials of two ex-Presidents, Mubarak and Morsi, are ongoing.

Amid all these legal proceedings, there has been no proper accounting for the abuses of any of Egypt’s regimes. (As the minister for transitional justice—a newly created Cabinet post—explained to an interviewer late last year, “This is not the time for transitional justice.”) Instead, the law has been largely used to beat the losing side into submission. The damage to the beleaguered idea of justice, and to the reputation of the courts, is already immense. Judges see themselves as pillars of the Egyptian state, but, in their zeal to defend it and themselves against an Islamist threat, they are unravelling their country’s already tattered rule of law.
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/n ... -back.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This is much, much worse than anything Chavez or Maduro have ever done. So where's the outrage?
By new puritan
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BBC Breaking News ‏@BBCBreaking 41m
Egypt judge sentences 683 Islamists, including Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie, to death, lawyers say
If I was Tony Blair I'd be keeping my head down for a while. Unlikely, I know.
By new puritan
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Really horrible stuff going on in Egypt at the moment. Reminder that John Kerry - that would-be defender of human rights in Ukraine - hailed the Egyptian junta's coup as "restoring democracy".
Today (28 April 2014) an Egyptian court in Minya sentenced 683 alleged supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death, including leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood. They were found guilty of attacking the Adawa police station in August and killing a policeman following the violent dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-ins in Nahda and Rabaa Squares. Last month 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters were sentenced to death for attacking a police station in the same province despite evidence that many defendants were not present at the scene on the day in question and despite claims by some defendants that they are not Brotherhood supporters. 492 of the March death sentences have now been commuted to life imprisonment.
https://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2014/04 ... opponents/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
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Good piece here on the Saudi-led counter-revolution in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Abdullah was the first foreign leader to congratulate Sisi after his coup last July, only minutes after he seized power. Sisi was Egypt's defense attache in Riyadh before becoming director of military intelligence.

Since the coup, the kingdom has organized a multi-billion bail out for Egypt, along with its Gulf allies Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Sisi has said they have provided or promised $20 billion so far. Abdullah has called for a donor's conference to raise more money for Egypt.

The success of the counter-revolution in Egypt and the defeat of the Muslim Brotherhood there is a major success for the king. The Brotherhood has become the kingdom's bogeyman, which is very ironic since it was once the kingdom's protege. It has been outlawed as a terrorist organization along with al-Qaeda in the kingdom.

The king was deeply alarmed by the start of the Arab awakening in 2011, chaos seemed to be swirling around the kingdom, and its allies such as Tunisia's Ben Ali and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak were dropping like flies. But three years later, Sisi has restored autocracy in Cairo, a pro-Saudi government holds onto power in Yemen and the Sunni royal family remains in charge in Bahrain. In all three cases the kingdom has worked hard to prevent revolution. It's expensive — $30 billion or so a year according to one Saudi estimate — but so far so good. In its immediate neighborhood on the Arabian Peninsula and in the Arab world's most populous state, Egypt, the revolution is thwarted for now.O
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origina ... ullah.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
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John Kerry was in Egypt over the weekend by the way, and he came bearing gifts.
CAIRO—Secretary of State John Kerry voiced strong U.S. support for Egypt's new president and signaled that Washington will continue the flow of military aid in an American welcome of the post-coup government.
Mr. Kerry said that the U.S. had recently released $575 million in assistance for Egypt's military and that he was confident 10 Apache helicopters would be delivered to Egypt soon.

The U.S. froze much of its $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt last year, including the helicopter sales, after the army overthrew President Mohammad Morsi, a leader of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood Islamist movement.
http://online.wsj.com/articles/john-ker ... 1403426551" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I'll honestly never understand people who genuinely take US 'liberal humanitarism' at face value. These people aren't driven by any commitment to democracy and human rights. What they are driven by is the need to acquire resources, markets and geopolitical power. Abstract liberal notions are no match for realpolitik.
By new puritan
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LGBT rights under attack in Egypt.
Since the military overthrew Morsi last July, rights groups have recorded the worst state crackdown on the LGBT community since the days of Hosni Mubarak. Back in 2001, 52 gay men were arrested on a party boat on the Nile and tried for “public depravity”. Twenty-three were sentenced to hard labour in prison. In 2004, a 17-year-old student was handed a 17-year jail sentence for posting his profile on a gay dating site.

In the last 10 months, dozens have been arrested and at least 18 homosexual and transgender people have been jailed under the country’s draconian legislation criminalizing “sexual deviance,” “debauchery” and “insulting public morals.” The prison sentences have ranged from 3 to 12 years.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 ... -gays.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Worth remembering that Obama also supported Mubarak until the very last minute, and he was also very pally with Blair back in the day. Still, that Putin's a bit of a bastard eh? Just goes to show that civil liberties and minority rights are of no interest to the US war machine unless they can be weaponised.
By new puritan
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More here on the Arab Pinochet's killing spree.
In addition to the mass trials and abuses taking place in prisons, harsh tactics employed by security forces also threaten to radicalize more of the population. More than 2,500 Egyptians have been killed in demonstrations and clashes since mid-2013. Most of these deaths occurred in the summer and fall after Morsi’s overthrow, but today—despite shrinking protests due to repression—demonstrators continue to be killed regularly by the security forces.

Yet, there has been no transitional justice or other mechanism to hold police and army officers accountable for their actions. Not a single member of the security forces has been called to account for the violence that followed Morsi’s ouster, including the August 2013 Rabaa massacre. In a separate incident, four police officers were convicted initially for an incident in which 37 prisoners died after being tear-gassed inside a police vehicle, but the officers’ convictions were overturned on appeal.

This lack of accountability threatens to fuel further violence. Anecdotal evidence suggests that revenge for deaths and other abuses at the hands of the security forces has contributed to radicalization and motivated specific attacks since the coup. Without a genuine process of transitional justice, these grievances will continue to fester.
http://carnegieendowment.org/2014/08/20 ... ation/hlk4" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
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Secretary of state John Kerry said on Saturday that Egypt has a critical role to play in countering the ideology of Islamic State, the militant group known as Isis.

Kerry was speaking in Cairo as part of a regional tour to build support for President Barack Obama’s plan to strike both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi frontier, defeat Isis Sunni fighters and build a coalition for a potentially complex military campaign in the heart of the Middle East.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/s ... ainst-isis" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So the Egyptian junta - which murders hundreds at a time - is going to help save the world from ISIS, which, er, murders hundreds at a time. Jesus fucking Christ!
By new puritan
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On Tuesday, eight men went before an Egyptian judge in the country’s highest-profile trial over homosexuality in more than a decade. The men stand accused of appearing in a video showing two men exchanging wedding wings and face the possibility of more than three years in prison.

Police hunted down the men early this month after the video blew up on Arabic social media and made headlines around the world. One of the men called into a popular TV show to say it was a joke, but politicians and much of the press were treating it as a real same-sex wedding — a first for Egypt. Websites associated with the Muslim Brotherhood — the now banned Islamist movement that just over a year ago was ruling Egypt — began featuring the wedding video as a sign of the moral decline in Egypt under the military-backed regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who ousted them from power last year with the help of the army.

Egyptian officials have been enforcing morality laws with a renewed zeal almost since Sisi took power. Since October of last year, according to human rights activists in Egypt, at least 77 people have been arrested in well-publicized cases of “debauchery” or “violating public decency,” the two charges used to prosecute people alleged to be LGBT since Egypt has no law explicitly against homosexual relationships. Though Egypt mounted a crackdown on LGBT people just over a decade ago — most famously in the trial of more than 50 people in a case known by the name of the Nile River night club where many were arrested, the Queen Boat — there had been only occasional arrests in the years since, and they were almost never prosecuted nor publicized in the press. That didn’t change during the year that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi was president before Sisi deposed him.
http://www.buzzfeed.com/lesterfeder/why ... -lgbt-righ" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Radio silence from those liberals, both inside and outside Egypt, who backed the coup.
By new puritan
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The final nail in the coffin of the Egyptian revolution. Crowds reportedly gathering in Tahrir to protest the verdict.
The former Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak, whose overthrow came to symbolise the promise of the Arab Spring, has been cleared of the murder of hundreds of protesters who called for his removal in 2011.

A Cairo court ruled on Saturday that it did not have jurisdiction over what it judged to be politically motivated charges, and dismissed the case. Mubarak, 86, was also acquitted of several other corruption charges. His interior minister, Habib al-Adly, and several senior Mubarak-era police officials were acquitted at the same time, as were Mubarak’s two sons, Gamal and Alaa, and an exiled Mubarak-era businessman, Hussein Salem.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/n ... 1-uprising" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

No way was Sisi's junta ever going to convict anyone else of killing protesters en masse, given that it's already racked up its own body count of 2,000+.
By new puritan
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Another mass death sentence dished out by the Arab Pinochet.
An Egyptian criminal court has sentenced at least 185 people to death pending an appeal process and approval from the country's top religious official.

They are accused of involvement in a "massacre" of 11 policemen last August in the town of Kerdasa, in the west of Cairo, in one of the country's deadliest assaults on security forces.

The attack happened on the same day that security forces cleared two protest camps supporting overthrown President Mohammed Morsi, killing hundreds in the process.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeas ... 93723.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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