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الخميس، 31 يناير 2013

Israel Attacks Lebanon

Israel Attacks Lebanon

Global Research, January 30, 2013

Lebanon’s Naharnet news site said 12 Israeli fighter jets entered Lebanese air space in the last 24 hours. Flights overflew the Beka Valley.On Saturday, Lebanon’s Al-Mustaqbal daily said a southern weapons storage facility was struck. No official confirmation followed.
Lebanon’s Daily Star headlined “Israel hits target in Lebanon-Syria border area – sources,” saying:
According to four unnamed Western diplomats and regional security sources, “Israeli forces attacked a convoy on the Syrian-Lebanese border overnight.”
Little further information followed. Israel warned earlier about “high-tech anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles reaching Israel’s enemies.” Chemical weapons concerns were raised.
Lebanese military sources reported multiple Israeli incursions into Lebanon’s airspace overnight.
According to one source:
“There was definitely a hit in the border area.” Without elaborating, he said “something happened.”
Another said “The Israeli air force blew up a convoy which had just crossed the border from Syria into Lebanon.”
An IDF spokeswoman said “We do not comment on reports of this kind.”
France’s Le Figaro said Israeli aircraft attacked an alleged weapons convoy traveling from Syria to Lebanon. It’s not clear if it occurred in Syrian or Lebanese territory.
On Sunday, Israeli Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said “The entire world has said more than once that it takes developments in Syria very seriously.”
Negative developments would have to be addressed, he added.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Israel won’t “compromise on the security of the northern front.”
On January 29, Al-Monitor said IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi traveled to Washington to meet US Pentagon officials. Whether doing so is connected to Israel’s attack isn’t clear.
Netanyahu held recent security meetings. Discussions focused on Syrian and Lebanese issues. Cabinet members were told:
“It is necessary to look at our surroundings, both at what is happening with Iran and its proxies, and what is happening in other arenas – lethal weaponry in Syria, which is steadily breaking up.”
Israel Air Force commander, Major General Amir Eshel, said Syria is “falling apart. Nobody has any idea right now what is going to happen in Syria on the day after, and how the country is going to look.”
“This is happening in a place with a huge weapons arsenal, some of which are new and advanced, and some of which are not conventional.”
On January 20, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile said “Israeli aircraft target(ed) Hizbollah missiles in Zabadani. S. Syria.”
Israeli aircraft struck “missile and arms convoys standing ready in southern Syria for transfer to Hizbollah in Lebanon, according to Western sources.”
On Sunday, Israel deployed two Iron Dome missile defense systems. They’re stationed on Israel’s Golan border. Their effectiveness is way overblown.
UN observers monitoring Syria’s border with Israel were withdrawn. At issue is why. Netanyahu’s stoking fear. He does it repeatedly on Iran. Whether he’s got something else in mind now bears close watching.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Rape Victims Must Sign Away Rights to Get Remedy from Barrick Gold

Rape Victims Must Sign Away Rights to Get Remedy from Barrick Gold

Global Research, January 30, 2013


Ottawa – Washington, D.C. – Oxford – January 30, 2013. Following years of denial, Barrick Gold is implementing a remedy program for victims of rape by employees of its Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
In order to receive a remedy package, women must enter into an agreement in which “the claimant agrees that she will not pursue or participate in any legal action against PJV, PRFA [Porgera Remediation Framework Association Inc.] or Barrick in or outside of PNG. PRFA and Barrick will be able to rely on the agreement as a bar to any legal proceedings which may be brought by the claimant in breach of the agreement.”
Included in the remedy options offered to women are “access to psycho-social/trauma counseling” and “access to health care.” “We do not believe women should have to sign away rights to possible future legal action in order to access the types of remedy Barrick is offering these victims of rape and gang rape,” says Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada, “this requirement is not best practice in cases of non-judicial remedy.”
“We are also concerned that Barrick is not offering remedy to those women who have been raped and gang raped by members of police Mobile Squads who are being housed, fed and supported by PJV on PJV property” says Tricia Feeney, Executive Director of Rights & Accountability in Development.
“Barrick appears to be rushing women through the claims process,” says Rick Herz, Litigation Coordinator for EarthRights International, which has brought several transnational lawsuits in U.S. courts against extractive companies for similar abuses. “Women should not be coerced into giving up their legal rights and, at a minimum, Barrick should allow women to keep the remedial offers made to them open long enough for them to seek legal counsel and evaluate their options.”
MiningWatch Canada, Rights & Accountability in Development and EarthRights International are currently engaged in mediated discussions with Barrick Gold as a result of a complaint filed with the Canadian National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines. The information and related documents provided in this release were obtained outside of that process.
For more information contact:
Catherine Coumans, MiningWatch Canada,  catherine@miningwatch.ca
Patricia Feeney, Rights & Accountability in Development,,tricia.feeney@raid-uk.org
Rick Herz, Litigation Coordinator for EarthRights International, rick@earthrights.org
The following related documents are available atwww.miningwatch.ca
  • Background Brief – Concerns regarding the Remediation Framework for women victims of sexual violence by Porgera Joint Venture security guards. January 29, 2013.
  • A Framework of Remediation Initiatives in Response to Violence Against Women in the Porgera Valley
  • OECD Complaint Against Barrick’s Porgera Operations
  • Legal Brief before the Standing Committee on the Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE) of the House of Commons by the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law. November 16, 2009.

The Real Invasion of Africa is Not News, and a Licence to Lie is Hollywood’s Gift

The Real Invasion of Africa is Not News, and a Licence to Lie is Hollywood’s Gift

Global Research, January 30, 2013

A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. Reported by Associated Press on Christmas Day, this was missing from most Anglo-American media.
The invasion has almost nothing to do with “Islamism”, and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the US and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine. As in the cold war, a division of labour requires that western journalism and popular culture provide the cover of a holy war against a “menacing arc” of Islamic extremism, no different from the bogus “red menace” of a worldwide communist conspiracy.
Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments. Last year, Africom staged Operation African Endeavor, with the armed forces of 34 African nations taking part, commanded by the US military.
Africom’s “soldier to soldier” doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are missing.
It is as if Africa’s proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master’s black colonial elite whose “historic mission”, warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the promotion of “a capitalism rampant though camouflaged”.
A striking example is the eastern Congo, a treasure trove of strategic minerals, controlled by an atrocious rebel group known as the M23, which in turn is run by Uganda and Rwanda, the proxies of Washington.
Long planned as a “mission” for NATO, not to mention the ever-zealous French, whose colonial lost causes remain on permanent standby, the war on Africa became urgent in 2011 when the Arab world appeared to be liberating itself from the Mubaraks and other clients of Washington and Europe. The hysteria this caused in imperial capitals cannot be exaggerated. NATO bombers were dispatched not to Tunis or Cairo but Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi ruled over Africa’s largest oil reserves. With the Libyan city of Sirte reduced to rubble, the British SAS directed the “rebel” militias in what has since been exposed as a racist bloodbath.
The indigenous people of the Sahara, the Tuareg, whose Berber fighters Gaddafi had protected, fled home across Algeria to Mali, where the Tuareg have been claiming a separate state since the 1960s. As the ever watchful Patrick Cockburn points out, it is this local dispute, not al-Qaeda, that the West fears most in northwest Africa… “poor though the Tuareg may be, they are often living on top of great reserves of oil, gas, uranium and other valuable minerals”.
Almost certainly the consequence of a French/US attack on Mali on 13 January, a siege at a gas complex in Algeria ended bloodily, inspiring a 9/11 moment in David Cameron. The former Carlton TV PR man raged about a “global threat” requiring “decades” of western violence. He meant implantation of the west’s business plan for Africa, together with the rape of multi-ethnic Syria and the conquest of independent Iran.
Cameron has now ordered British troops to Mali, and sent an RAF drone, while his verbose military chief, General Sir David Richards, has addressed “a very clear message to jihadists worldwide: don’t dangle and tangle with us. We will deal with it robustly” – exactly what jihadists want to hear. The trail of blood of British army terror victims, all Muslims, their “systemic” torture cases currently heading to court, add necessary irony to the general’s words. I once experienced Sir David’s “robust” ways when I asked him if he had read the courageous Afghan feminist Malalai Joya’s description of the barbaric behaviour of westerners and their clients in her country. “You are an apologist for the Taliban” was his reply. (He later apologised).
These bleak comedians are straight out of Evelyn Waugh and allow us to feel the bracing breeze of history and hypocrisy. The “Islamic terrorism” that is their excuse for the enduring theft of Africa’s riches was all but invented by them. There is no longer any excuse to swallow the BBC/CNN line and not know the truth. Read Mark Curtis’s Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam(Serpent’s Tail) or John Cooley’s Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism(Pluto Press) or The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski (HarperCollins) who was midwife to the birth of modern fundamentalist terror. In effect, the mujahedin of al-Qaida and the Taliban were created by the CIA, its Pakistani equivalent, the Inter-Services Intelligence, and Britain’s MI6.
Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, describes a secret presidential directive in 1979 that began what became the current “war on terror”. For 17 years, the US deliberately cultivated, bank-rolled, armed and brainwashed jihadi extremists that “steeped a generation in violence”. Code-named Operation Cyclone, this was the “great game” to bring down the Soviet Union but brought down the Twin Towers.
Since then, the news that intelligent, educated people both dispense and ingest has become a kind of Disney journalism, fortified, as ever, by Hollywood’s licence to lie, and lie. There is the coming Dreamworks movie on WikiLeaks, a fabrication inspired by a book of perfidious title-tattle by two enriched Guardian journalists; and there is Zero Dark Thirty, which promotes torture and murder, directed by the Oscar-winning Kathryn Bigelow, the Leni Riefenstahl of our time, promoting her master’s voice as did the Fuhrer’s pet film-maker. Such is the one-way mirror through which we barely glimpse what power does in our name.
For more information on John Pilger, please visit his website at www.johnpilger.com

U.S. Secret Prisons and the Guantanamo Trials, Systematic Torture

U.S. Secret Prisons and the Guantanamo Trials, Systematic Torture

Global Research, January 30, 2013
RT

According to UN investigations in 2010 there are more than 27,000 prisonersheld by the U.S. in more than 100 secret prisons around the world and on 17 ships as floating prisons. These are almost entirely Muslim prisoners.
According to Center for Constitutional Rights 92% of the prisoners held just at Guantanamo are not “Al-Qaeda fighters” by the U.S. government’s own records and 22 were under 18 years of age when captured.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed one of the 5 now on trial at Guantanamo was subjected to water board torture 183 times. He wore a camouflaged vest to court to make the point that he was once part of the U.S. armed and paid mujahideen force in Afghanistan in 1980s and U.S. proxy army in Bosnia in 1990s.  The U.S. can be expected to treat its proxy army in Syria and Libya in the same way.

U.S. government targeted kidnappings and assassinations are today continued through daily drone attacks with Hellfire missiles in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Mali and as far as the Philippines. Again thousands of civilians, including youth and women are among the victims.
President Obama had promised to close Guantanamo Prison as one of his first acts as president in 2009. Yesterday it was decided instead to close the office and eliminate the special envoy Daniel Fried whose role was to close the prison at Guantanamo. Daniel Fried’s role will now be to intensify the sanctions on Iran and Syria.
Close Guantanamo and ALL U.S. secret prisons! End the drone wars! End the Sanctions!

السبت، 26 يناير 2013

“Very Democratic”: US and British Press Hail “Liberal Policy” which Allows Women to Fight in the Frontline Propaganda Alert

“Very Democratic”: US and British Press Hail “Liberal Policy” which Allows Women to Fight in the Frontline

Propaganda Alert

Global Research, January 26, 2013

Excerpts from:
Equality at the front line: Pentagon is set to lift ban on women in combat roles
by Elisabeth Bumiller and Thom Shanker,
New York Times, 25 January 2013
[U.S.] Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is lifting the military’s official ban on women [soldiers] in combat, which will open up hundreds of thousands of additional front-line jobs to them, senior defense officials said Wednesday.
The groundbreaking decision overturns a 1994 Pentagon rule that restricts women from artillery, armor, infantry and other such combat roles, even though in reality women have frequently found themselves in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan; according to the Pentagon, hundreds of thousands of women have deployed in those conflicts. As of last year, more than 800 women [soldiers] had been wounded in the two wars and more than 130 had died.  […]The decision clearly fits into the broad and ambitious liberal agenda, especially around matters of equal opportunity, that President Obama laid out this week in his Inaugural Address.

New York Times, 24 January 2013


Excerpts from:  
Women troops on march towards frontline combat
Armed forces set to follow US example by 2017
by Deborah Haynes, The Times, 25 January 2013
Women in the British military are likely to be allowed to serve in combat units after a ground-breaking decision by the United States to lift a ban on frontline female fighters.
Britain must review its policy of preventing female soldiers from applying for certain jobs within four years.  […]Jim Murphy, the [Labour Party’s] Shadow Defence Secretary  (*) , urged the [Conservative Party] Government to review Britain’s ban on women participating in the sharpest end of warfare.  […]“We in Britain must maximise everyone’s talent and courage for our military and so should look again at UK policy” [said Mr Murphy.]Women soldiers, sailors and aircrew already undertake a wide range of tasks that put them in the line of fire, including as medics, intelligence officers and fighter pilots. They will also soon serve on submarines.
The Times, 25 January 2013

Related Independent Media Articles:
What does this new ‘liberal vision’ actually mean?
by Richard Becker,
Global Research, 23 January 2013
by Stephen Lendman,
Steve Lendman Blog, 23 January 2013
by Cem Ertür,
Indybay, 10 December 2011

Proliferation of Armed Drones for “Global Security”: Will the UN Drone Inquiry Get to the Heart of the matter?

Proliferation of Armed Drones for “Global Security”: Will the UN Drone Inquiry Get to the Heart of the matter?

Global Research, January 26, 2013

The UN inquiry into the use of armed drones for targeted killing, announced yesterday by London-based UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson, is very much to be welcomed.
Undertaken at the direct request of several states, the inquiry is also in response to what Mr Emmerson called “the increasing international concern surrounding the issue of remote targeted killing through the use of UAVs.”
Ben-Emmerson
In a statement Ben Emmerson said
”The exponential rise in the use of drone technology in a variety of military and non-military contexts represents a real challenge to the framework of established international law and it is both right as a matter of principle, and inevitable as a matter of political reality, that the international community should now be focussing attention on the standards applicable to this technological development, particularly its deployment in counterterrorism and counter-insurgency initiatives, and attempt to reach a consensus on the legality of its use, and the standards and safeguards which should apply to it.
The inquiry will examine 25 case studies of drone strikes that have taken place in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Palestine in order to:
”look at the evidence that drone strikes and other forms of remote targeted killing have caused disproportionate civilian casualties in some instances, and to make recommendations concerning the duty of States to conduct thorough independent and impartial investigations to such allegations such allegations, with a view to securing accountability and reparation where things can be shown to have gone badly wrong with potentially grave consequences for civilians.”
This inquiry then is very much to be welcomed and will hopefully make an important contribution to our understanding of the use of armed drones.
However the inquiry will make a real impact if it also addresses some of the wider questions about the growing use of drones, questions that go beyond the issue of targeted killing. As we have written before targeted killing, while being an extremely serious issue, is only part of the problem. The wider problem is that armed unmanned drones lower the political cost of military intervention as a whole and make it far too easy for political leaders to choose the lethal, military solution rather than a political or diplomatic option.
While Mr Emmerson as UN Special Rapporteur has a mandate to look at human rights issues, the wider political and global security implications of the growing use of armed drones are also hugely important. And , it is perhaps important to point out, they too have a bearing on the human rights of those caught up in the so-called ‘risk free’ warfare.
There are signs that Mr Emmerson understands these wider issues. In his statement he said
Given the relative ease with which this technology can be deployed, and given its relatively low cost (both in economic terms, and in terms of risk to the lives of service personnel of the states deploying the technology) the issue now has to be confronted squarely by the international community… [T]hese legal questions are not confined to the use of drones… but it is the use of drones which has propelled this issue to the top of the international agenda because they can and have been used with such apparent ease and frequency to devastating effect…”
Also in his interview on the BBC programme The World at One, Mr Emmerson also added that
“the real issue is that the frequency and ease with which they [drones] can be resorted to carries with it the risk that there may be an unacceptable high level of risk of civilian casualties given that the technology is deploy in densely populated civilian areas”
No doubt Mr Emmerson and his team will be under great pressure to limit the scope of the inquiry and to take a narrow definition of the human rights implications of drone strikes and look simply at whether particular strikes ‘have gone wrong’.
If that is the case this will be a missed opportunity.
The implication of the growing use – and proliferation – of armed drones for global security as well as their impact on human rights is very severe. Mr Emmerson and his team have a huge responsibility to get this right.

Egypt’s Constitutional Referendum: Did President Morsi Hijack Democracy?

Egypt’s Constitutional Referendum: Did President Morsi Hijack Democracy?

Global Research, January 22, 2013

President Morsi created a new constitution for Egypt on December 26, 2012. Prior to this, Morsi was forced by massive street protests in Egypt to rescind an executive decree that granted him sweeping presidential powers. His opponents called it an empty gesture as Morsi’s government rolled out the tanks and brought out the Egyptian military from their barracks into the streets. Opponents of Morsi and the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood accused him and his Freedom and Justice Party of playing a game to stupefy Egyptians by consistently making propositions, then withdrawing them, and then making them again to create confusion. After calling out the military, Morsi’s government would then rush a constitutional referendum forward that would guarantee him more powers.
The constitutional changes in Egypt have divided its society. Several Muslim Brotherhood offices have even been stormed by large groups of angry protesters. In what appeared to be a turning back of the clock to the Mubarak regime’s use of brute force, reports of casualties caused by attacks on protesters and activists were far spread. Morsi’s supporters and Egyptian security forces would fight in the streets across Egypt with those opposing the new constitution. A peaceful sit-in of activists in front of the presidential palace in Cairo even ended in violence and death as fighting broke out.
So does Egypt’s new constitution enjoy popular support? In the end Morsi’s new constitution appears to have become victorious. The way numerical information or data is presented or inferred, however, can be very misleading. In many cases the data about the referendum was very selectively presented. An examination of the numbers through some elementary statistical data analysis says a lot about the support that the new constitution received from Egyptian society and provides an important contextual answer to the question being posed. [1]
Reading the Numbers
The new constitution won by a 63.8% approval of yes. This is very misleading when the level of participation is used to generate further data. Only 32.9% of eligible voters cast their ballots for the election and most importantly the new constitution was approved with the support of 20.9% of eligible voters.
Only 17.1 million people out of nearly 52 million registered eligible voters in Egypt participated. Even though the Muslim Brotherhood and its political allies came out in full force to vote, the turnout for the referendum was actually low. This means that about 35 million eligible Egyptians (1) did not bother to vote or (2) boycotted the referendum or (3) were unable to go to a polling station to vote. In some countries such a turnout would be disqualified, because of the lack of citizen participation.
Demographically, only 10.9 million Egyptians voted yes to approve the new constitution. This is a not even a quarter of the population in a country of nearly 82 million people. [2] This means that about 13.3% of the Egyptian population supported the new constitution.
The numbers or data speak for themselves. Interpreting these statistics, we have a sound frame of reference to categorically state that a minority of Egyptians helped secure the Muslim Brotherhood’s new constitutional. It is little wonder that many Egyptians declared that the referendum was illegitimate.
*Estimated breakdown of the entire Egyptian population (millions)
More Political Turbulence to Come?
The leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood is being perceived more and more by Egyptian society as a corrupt organization. It has flip-flopped on many of its promises. Even ideologically the group is being perceived as corrupt by many Muslims inside Egypt. Large segments of Egyptian society believe that very little has changed in their country. For Morsi’s opponent the status quo of the Mubarak era in Egypt essentially remains intact under him and his Freedom and Justice Party.
Like the dictatorship of Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood has refused to fully open the borders with Gaza to help the Palestinians. Its calls of support for the Palestinians have proved to only be political lip service. In fact, like Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood immediately pledged to safeguard Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel when the doors of power were opened to them. Finally, Morsi’s US-supported and Israeli friendly truce between Hamas and Tel Aviv appears to be a strategy devised to de-link Hamas and the Palestinians from Iran and the Resistance Bloc.
Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have kept all the employees of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry from the Sadat and Mubarak eras in place. The structures of Egypt’s intelligence services have remained untouched and are intact. The Muslim Brotherhood has continued to subordinate their country’s economy to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) like Mubarak did; this is in opposition to the tenets of Islam that ban interest-based banking.
Morsi’s attempts to viciously repress Egyptian protesters with force also resemble the use of force from the Sadat and Mubarak eras. The violent crackdowns on Egyptian protests by the Muslim Brotherhood have resulted in many protesters saying that the new government is just as murderous as the last. Political instability and turbulence lies ahead for Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood. The country’s economy is not doing any better and a new parliamentary election, which is scheduled for the end of February 2013, will see more heated battles between the Muslim Brotherhood and its opponents as the country is further galvanized.
The Flaws of So-called Democratic Voting Processes
Although determining the exact reasons is a different research topic, it can categorically be stated on the basis of the referendum’s numbers that Morsi’s constitution does not have the support of the majority of Egyptians. The votes of approval that were cast were unrepresentative of most Egyptian society. Is this democracy?
It is here that one can see the flaws in voting procedures that emerge in so-called “democratic processes.” To be candid, a country or society cannot be considered democratic just because voting takes place. This is not democracy, but a “motion of democracy.” In paradox, democracy has continuously been hijacked through the ballot box and under seemingly democratic mechanisms or motions. Egypt is not the only case. Other countries, like the US and Canada, face similar problems where minorities are making decisions for the majority of the population under the guise of democracy.
Democracy is not about voting per se, it is about active participation and collective decision making by all the members of a society. This is called “direct democracy.” Anything else is not real or authentic democracy. Voting in larger societies has been presented as a substitute representing an individual citizen’s voice in charting the course of their society under what is called “indirect democracy.” Indirect democracies are preferably referred to as “representative democracies” to conceal or gloss over the fact that they are not direct democracies.
Notes
[1] These calculations were made by the author for the Chinese press right after the Egyptian constitutional referendum and based on the Arab Republic of Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics official population figure for 2012 and two pieces of numerical information or data about the referendum provided by the Associated Press (AP) on December 25, 2012. The data from AP is the following: (1) 63.8% of voters said yes; and (2) 32.9% of nearly 52 million registered voters went to referendum polling stations. It should also be noted that the data provided are estimates and that among the non-eligible members of the Egyptian population there are those that are under age.
[2] According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, the Egyptian population is 83,774,037 as of January 18, 2013.

A child reciting a poem during an event where Iraqi poets emphasized their role in the " squares of dignity".

A child reciting a poem during an event  where  Iraqi poets emphasized  their role in the " squares of dignity".
Dozen of poets participated on the 17th Jan in Falluja. unfortunately, it's almost impossible to translate the poems since they are all in  colloquial dialect but the jest of them in a rough translation :
" we defy whoever tempted to stand against us ...  aren't we the people who made America weep?"

A Desperate al-Maliki Resorts to Violence Against Peaceful Protests

As the Iraqi Thawra revolution enters its second month of protests, the al-Maliki government responded today with both savage violence and repression around Iraq when confronted by Friday´s “No Retreat” rallies.


   It was reported that in Fallujah at least 10people were killed and more than 100 were injured, among them many children and a journalist. The number of the deaths continues to increase as some of the injured die. The shooters, identified as army troops, were called in from Baghdad to prevent delegations from other parts of Iraq from joining the massive demonstrations. The hospital in Fallujah has appealed to citizens to donate blood to treat the wounded in this emergency. In his sermon in Fallujah today, Mohammed al-Dulaimi, who led Friday prayers, warned al-Maliki that “He should stop neglecting our demands and stop violating our rights. Otherwise, the volcano will explode.”Demonstrations were reported in other cities including Ramadi, Samarra, Mosul and Baquba, Baghdad, Kerkuk, Haweeja, and other places. Reports say that many were injured when the army clashed with protesters in Mosul. In Baquba Hassan al Zaidi, a tribal chief explained “the government should respond to the demands of protesters, before we start a revolution and put an end to the government”. In the Shiite holy city of Naji, south of Baghdad, Sheik Sadr al-Din al-Qubanji a high-ranking member of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council political block, worried that the protests could lead “to the collapse of the entire political process in Iraq” was forced to admit that the protests were not sectarian.
   In anticipation of the growing support for the protest demands in other parts of the country Uday al-Zaidi (the well-known brother of the famous shoe thrower against George W Bush) and Qusay al-Khaffiya, two of the leaders of the present wave of protests, were arrested inBasra. They had been mobilizing support there during the last 10 days. Uday Al-Zaidi has been released later, but nothing is known about the fate of his still arrested friends. Arrests were made by the Security Forces in Tarmiya, just north of Baghdad, and in the Diyala region. The security forces threatened the Imam of Sheik Dhari Mosque in Abu Ghraib and stopped people from attending Friday prayers,
     Al-Maliki is becoming increasingly more isolated, more desperate and more dictatorial. He arrogantly continues to deny the national and non-sectarian nature of the protests and instead blames terrorists, remnants of the Baath Party and foreign interests in the region. For this purpose an attempt to enforce a news blackout can be seen in many areas including Mosul in Nineveh and in the south where the army prevented the media from covering the protests.  Western media continue at least indirectly to support his position by describing the demonstrators, if they report them at all, as Sunni protests, despite the banners for “Iraqi unity, no to sectarianism”. Numerous Shiite religious and tribal leaders have endorsed the protests. The Iraq Civil Society Solidarity Initiative ((ICSSI) issued a statement in support of what they termed “the popular protests in Iraq demanding an end to corruption, sectarian conflict and injustice”. It stressed that “freedom of expression and freedom to organize peaceful demonstrations are human rights that must be guaranteed”.
      In response to the massacre against these civilians today in Fallujah, the Deputy Minister of Defence has announced that he will appoint yet “another committee” to investigate what happened! It is the same ministry that sent troops to Anbar in the first place with orders to try to stop the demonstrations. The already appointed 7-man cross-political party committee of ministers in the green zone parliament has in effect collapsed as politicians not seriously interested in justice squabble for their own political purposes. Some of them are obviously worried that the anger of the Iraqi people is developing into a demand to replace the political process imposed by the US occupation in the illegal Bremer constitution that is the core reason for this dysfunctional misgovernment. They realize that it is not only al-Maliki´s days that are numbered if the demands of the protesters are not met immediately. The people on the streets continue to make it clear that there is no going back. Al Ahram summed up the mood of the people in Iraq in their analysis of the changing landscape in Iraq and the growing demand heard in the protests: “Leave, Leave! The people want to overthrow the regime!” It seems they have no other choice if their demands are to be realized.

Mike Powers is a member of the  Iraq Solidarity Association in Stockholm and the International Anti-Occupation Network (IAON). He is a member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee