Political talk from outside of the UK
By new puritan
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Worse than the dictators: Egypt’s leaders bring pillars of freedom crashing down
Egypt is enacting authoritarian laws at a rate unmatched by any regime for 60 years, legal specialists from four institutions have told the Guardian.

Since the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, Morsi’s successors in the presidency, Adly Mansour and Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, have used the absence of an elected parliament to almost unilaterally issue a series of draconian decrees that severely restrict freedom of expression, association and assembly.
Legislation enacted by Mansour, an interim president installed by Sisi after Morsi’s removal, and Sisi himself, a former army chief elected to succeed Mansour, include laws that ban protest, expand the jurisdiction of military courts, remove several limits on pre-trial detention, and restrict media coverage of the armed forces without prior approval.

Most troublingly, the moves have been made without the involvement of parliament, and with only the nominal oversight of a cabinet and a committee over which Sisi has overbearing influence.
Egypt boasts of imprisoning 10,000 in 2014
The Egyptian military dictatorship of Field Marshal-President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi boasted last weekend that it had detained nearly 10,000 people over the past 12 months. This grim estimate came as Washington moved to further normalize its relationship with the regime, and as the US Congress effectively waived human rights conditions for the provision of military aid to the Cairo regime.
Opponents of the regime believe that the real number of those arrested has reached over 40,000, many of them held without charges in clandestine torture centers run by the security forces.

Among these prisoners are at least 1,000 minors, some as young as 11 years old, according to the human rights group “Free the Children.” A report issued earlier this week found that at least 600 are being held in the town of Banha, north of Cairo, in a secret detention camp whose very existence the regime denies. Lawyers for the youths’ families report them being held for eight months or more without trial or access to either family members or attorneys.
In the vicious crackdown on protests against the coup, the regime has killed at least 3,000 people, including the bloody massacre of over 1,000 people who had occupied Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in August of last year.

Since then, the regime’s courts have held three mass trials in which a total of 1,397 political detainees have been sentenced to death.

The regime has sought to suppress any future protests by imposing a law outlawing any demonstration that is not authorized by the security forces.

None of this, however, has stood in the way of a steady march toward full normalization between Washington and the Egyptian junta. Full diplomatic relations are being restored and steps taken to assure the uninterrupted flow of military hardware to the dictatorship. In the face of the junta’s monstrous crimes, the Obama administration has proven unable to summon up any of the phony “human rights” outrage it reserves for countries like Venezuela, where its aim is regime change.
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
Looks like Mubarak's about to walk. Quelle surprise.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... urned.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
An Egyptian court has overturned former president Hosni Mubarak’s final outstanding conviction, prompting lawyers for the ageing autocrat to demand his release, and seemingly bringing the country's 2011 revolution against his rule full circle.

In November, another court dropped murder charges against Mr Mubarak, 86, over the deaths of hundreds of protesters during the 18-day uprising.

Mr Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, were handed jail terms of between three and four years last year, after being convicted of using state funds to renovate the family’s private residences. The money was spent on over $17 million-worth of luxury goods, including double-door German refrigerators, and a special chair to seat Mr Mubarak and his young grandsons.

A retrial was ordered, though a new date has yet to be announced.
Naturally Britain continues bowing and scraping to the junta for a few measly quid. Cameron should be howled out of town whenever he postures over civil liberties - what a disgusting charlatan.
On Tuesday, the British government drew criticism from rights groups over its decision to send the largest UK trade delegation to Egypt in decades, a move suggesting that business was back to normal, despite the state's reversion to Mubarak-era abuses.
Meanwhile, in other Sisi news...
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has issued a decree giving Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab the power to ban any foreign publication offensive to religion.
Egypt's courts periodically issue jail sentences and fines against individuals who "insult religions".

Earlier this week an Egyptian court sentenced a 21-year old student Karim El-Banna to 3 years in jail for atheism and insulting "Islam" on his Facebook page.

Last June, a Christian man was sentenced to 6 years in jail for insulting Islam.
http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/120255.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
The ruling class loves its new Egyptian Pinochet.
Gideon Rachman
Interviewer at Davos tells AlSisi, "the Davos community counts on your leadership". More applause.
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
Another socialist murdered by the junta.
A woman was killed as security forces dispersed a march by the Socialist Popular Alliance Party on Saturday in central Cairo.

Shaimaa El-Sabag, one of dozens of marchers, was shot by pellets at close range, according to a statement issued by the party. The health ministry has confirmed her death.

In a statement, the interior ministry denied that a policeman had gunned her down, saying marchers used fire crackers. "And later," the statement reads, "a woman was injured and hospitalised, but she died after succumbing to her injuries."

The ministry went on to warn against such gatherings, warning that "terrorist groups" would infiltrate them with the intention of causing strife.
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent ... eftis.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
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“A corrupt, repressive police state”: The west’s deplorable love affair with Egypt’s despot

This man is an authoritarian presiding over prison camps and state violence. So why is he the toast of Davos?
http://www.salon.com/2015/02/03/a_corru ... ts_despot/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Had to laugh. Why indeed!
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
Dozens of Egyptian football fans were killed on Sunday evening after police fired teargas and shotgun pellets on supporters queueing to enter a Cairo stadium, in the latest spasm of state-led violence that has characterised much of Egypt’s post-revolutionary history.

The clashes prompted the government to postpone the Egyptian Premier League indefinitely, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
Death toll estimates varied. The website of Egypt’s flagship state newspaper said 30 had died, the fans themselves said 28 on their official Facebook page, while the health ministry – whose numbers are based on bodies taken to public hospitals – reported 19.

The incident is the latest in at least a dozen mass killings since the 2011 revolution and at least the third to be connected to football. More than 70 fans died in a massacre in 2012, when supporters from Al Ahly SC were killed in a riot in Port Said. Authorities blamed those deaths on fans from a rival club, but Ahly’s followers believed they were targeted because of the role their hardcore support base played in both the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and in subsequent demonstrations.

Zamalek’s fans have played a similar role in pro-democracy protests since 2011, leading some of them to suggest on Sunday that their treatment constituted an act of state vengeance. In recent months, they also locked horns with their club chairman, Mortada Mansour, a counter-revolutionary lawyer who makes no secret of his contempt for revolutionaries and Zamalek’s ultras.
http://www.theguardian.com/football/201 ... ue-14-dead" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By The Red Arrow
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A meeting of minds in Cairo: Billion-dollar arms deal on table as Putin and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seek closer trade links and alliance against 'terror'
Vladimir Putin will have much to talk about with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and will recognise a kindred spirit in an autocratic nationalist ruler buffeted by Western criticism, writes Robert Fisk
After crushing Muslim fighters in Chechnya, Mr Putin supports Bashar al-Assad’s ferocious war against the "Islamic State" in Syria and will be more than happy to put his arm around the chubby Egyptian whose courts have been sentencing Muslim Brotherhood members to the scaffold by the hundred. Mr Sisi has met Mr Putin before, in Moscow, and a Russian leader known for his cynicism can only enjoy meeting a military autocrat who was elected president after staging a successful coup d’etat against a previously elected president. Even the old Soviet Union could never quite achieve this.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 34972.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
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I wonder if this is connected. The junta is probably playing both sides against each other - the US-aligned bloc hasn't exactly been parsimonious with the support it's provided so far but crushing your own working class is an expensive business.
Mark Urban @MarkUrban01
The French have briefed Reuters that a £4bn+ sale of 24 Rafale fighters to Egypt is 'imminent'.
" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By The Red Arrow
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What do you get for the man who has everything?

Putin and al-Sisi enjoy heart-warming moment over a Kalashnikov


Russian leader presented the gift - which kills an estimated 250,000 people every year - to Egyptian counterpart
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 35636.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
Some background here to Sisi's recent cosying up to Putin. Seems even the Saudis (!) have baulked a bit at the bloodletting.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/analy ... -222943462" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi found himself in a tough spot on Monday, reportedly having to call his Gulf backers to clear the air after damning leaks appeared to reveal Sisi ridiculing his Gulf backers and saying that he “despised” them, despite their generous financial support.

While it may be difficult to prove that the recordings - allegedly taken in 2013 when Sisi was still defence minister - are real, most analysts agree that recordings are credible enough to be taken seriously and that they could have political ramifications for Sisi if not now, then in the future.
Since Sisi led a military drive to topple former President Mohamed Morsi in the wake of large-scale protests against Morsi’s rule in 2013, he has relied heavily on the Gulf. Officially the Gulf states, namely Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, have poured in $33bn into Egypt since the coup. Unofficially, the figure could be many billions more.

The money has, at least in part, flowed so freely because of the Gulf’s desire to stem the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, which they feared could threaten the aging, oil-rich monarchs and their governments. Other security concerns such as checking regional rival Iran, preventing the spread of so-called “terrorist” activities, as well as the prevention of further strife in Egypt, have all reportedly played a part.
Doubts about Sisi have also existed inside Gulf policy-making circles, Davidson explained.

“The massacres of the Brotherhood [seen in Sisi’s Egypt] did not go down well in many circles in Saudi Arabia,” Davidson said. “Elderly Saudis, including members of the ruling family, remember days when the Muslim Brotherhood was actually partially funded by the Saudis as a counterweight to nationalism and [Egyptian President Anwar Sadat] in particular.”

“So this image of the Saudi monarchy being firmly behind Sisi and everything that he has done was very simplistic. History alone tells us that there is much more to this story.”

Suggestive of this have been recent hints that following the shakeup of power in Riyadh, we may be seeing a cooling of relations with Sisi and attempts at reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood as well as its Qatari backers.

Nor do many analysts believe the Gulf is economically able to keep up its current rate of funding. With oil prices hitting lows of $45 a barrel in January, down from $115 a barrel in June 2013, even the richer Gulf States have been left reeling.
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/analy ... -222943462" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There's also a good piece in the latest LRB on Sisi's torture dungeons.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n04/tom-stevenson/sisis-way" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
JUST 11 days after President Obama resumed U.S. military aid to Egypt , Mohamed Soltan, a 27-year-old American, was sentenced to life in prison on trumped-up charges, in defiance of numerous public and private demands by senior U.S. officials for his release.

The verdict Saturday was just the latest of multiple slaps in the face of the Obama administration by the regime of Abdel Fatah al-Sissi in response to appeals for a moderation of its repression, which is the most severe Egypt has experienced in more than a half-century. Mr. Soltan’s case is particularly revealing of U.S. fecklessness in the face of the brutality that Americans subsidize through more than $1 billion in aid to the Egyptian military.
Mr. Obama rewards Egypt’s repression with military aid

The conclusion that the Washington Post seems to be unwilling to draw is that Soltan has been knowingly thrown under the bus by his own country. That's realpolitik.
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
Sounds like Britain to be honest.
CNN Breaking News ‏@cnnbrk 5h5 hours ago
New law in Egypt will make publishing news that contradicts official version of terrorist events a crime, union says. http://cnn.it/1HGDMK9" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi rode into the new stretch of the Suez Canal on a wave of nationalist pomp, his personality cult on full display, backed by a roster of Egypt’s international friends.

The French President François Hollande was named “guest of honour” at the ceremony in the port town of Ismailia, following the recent sale by the French of three Rafale fighter jets to the Sisi administration. Here he took prime position next to Mr Sisi himself, who had arrived, decked in full military garb, sailing down the new channel alongside a naval ship called Tahya Masr, or Long Live Egypt.

Also in attendance was the British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, who had earlier praised the “modern wonder” of the project, as well as Egypt’s “vision of a more prosperous, more democratic society”, in an editorial for the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 44392.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Corbyn gets hauled over the coals for even talking to Hamas, while serving ministers bow and scrape before this piece of shit and nobody says a word. It's a fucking disgrace to be honest.
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