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Western Asia ("Middle East")
(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia warned potential protesters on Saturday that a ban on marches would be enforced, signaling the small protests by the Shi'ite minority in the oil-producing east would no longer be tolerated.
"The kingdom's regulations totally ban all sorts of demonstrations, marches, sit-ins," the interior ministry said in a statement, adding security forces would stop all attempts to disrupt public order.
Inspired by protests in other Arab countries there have been Shi'ite marches in the past few days in the east and unconfirmed activist reports of a small protest at a mosque in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Friday.
The U.S. ally has not faced protests of the scale that hit Egypt and Tunisia that toppled veteran leaders, but dissent has built up as unrest has spread in Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya and Oman.
by Missy Comley Beattie
My hands are curved, poised above the keyboard. I’m staring at a document, blank except for the cursor that’s blinking to the rhythm of an Annie Lennox song, “Love is a Stranger.” My eyes are focused on this small vertical mark that, at other times, could be a soporific. Just not now. Because the Lennox lyrics are bitter.
It’s savage and it’s cruel
It shines like destruction
Comes in like a flood
And it seems like religion
It’s noble and it’s brutal
It distorts and deranges
And it wrenches you up
And you’re left like a zombie
This describes love but it could be the tune of our times, as harsh as the world in which we live.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) made an embarrassing error just two days before the start of the Libyan people's revolution on February 17. This quote from an IMF country study appeared in a previous article: "The outlook for Libya’s economy remains favorable." IMF Feb 15 This advice was 180 degrees off target. The Libyan economy has ceased functioning as protests and popular demands imploded the Gaddafi regime. (Image)
Major Media Promote War on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
When imperial America wants war, peace advocates are shut out by official rhetoric and hawkish media reports supporting militarism, not diplomatic efforts to achieve peace. Those for it aren't heard. Hugo Chavez's government is one. On February 28, Venezuela's Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro, warned against belligerence saying:
"We would be against any military intervention against the Arabic people of Libya, and I'm sure that all peoples of the world would support a struggle against any interventionism that some powerful countries would commit against it....Arabic people who are in a process of rebellion, seeking a better destiny, (can) find their way to peace. (Venezuelans understand) very difficult times, (but have) gone about finding our ways to independence, democracy, and freedom, which in our case" is Bolarivarianism.
By Dave Lindorff
The ongoing case of Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor facing murder charges in Lahore for the execution-style slaying of two apparent agents of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, is apparently leading to a roll-back of America’s espionage and Special Operations activities in Pakistan.
A few days ago, Pakistan’s Interior Department, which is reportedly conducting a careful review of the hundreds of private contractors who flooded into Pakistan over the last two years, many with “diplomatic passports,” and many others, like Davis, linked to shady “security” firms, arrested an American security contractor named Aaron DeHaven, a Virginia native who claims to work for a company called Catalyst Services LLC.
Unverified Misreporting on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
America's media, Britain's state-controlled BBC, other Western sources, and Al Jazeera are spreading unverified or false reports on Libya's uprising.
On February 25, writer Madhi Darius Nazemroaya, a Middle East/Central Asian specialist, based on reliable in-country contacts, headlined an important article, "Libya: Is Washington Pushing for Civil War to Justify a US-NATO Military Intervention?"
Access it through the following link:
For greater readership, this article covers key information in it. Its entirety explains much about what's ongoing - what major media accounts misreport or suppress, especially television reaching large audiences, presenting distorted managed news. It shouldn't surprise. Representing powerful interests, carefully filtered sanitized reporting substitutes for the real kind.
Years ago, I was on my gynecologist’s examining table, feet in stirrups, in need of the morning-after pill. He handed me a brochure—info about the med—and said, “Read this, if you can think in this position.”
“If I could think in this position, I wouldn’t be in this position now,” I told him.
The above was to get your attention. The following is the main work:
I do my best and worst thinking when I exercise. Usually, I stay focused, repeating, “focus, focus,” but occasionally this becomes, “we’re eff’d.” Then, I’m not just detouring down side roads; I’m off-road with thoughts that require serious mind tread.
Of course, I’ve been consciousness streaming about revolution, protests, brutal dictators, and Wisconsin, lately. And while I applaud the occupation of the Madison statehouse, I wonder if people have to be PERSONALLY wallet affected to have their asses blown out of their recliners. What is it about the occupation of countries that is acceptable?
Julian Assange: At the Forefront of 21st Century Journalism
How WikiLeaks is democratizing journalism, redistributing power and increasing transparency
By Kevin Zeese
If there were ever a doubt about whether the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is a journalist, recent events erase all those doubts and put him at the forefront of a movement to democratize journalism and empower people.
The U.S. Department of Justice is still trying to find a way to prosecute Assange and others associated with WikiLeaks. A key to their prosecution is claiming he is not a journalist, but that weak premise has been made laughable by recent events.
By John Grant
It’s considered unsportsmanlike to say, “We told you so.” But since all’s fair in love and war and we’re definitely at war, it’s fair to say the peace movement has been right about the whole sordid reality of US war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That may sound audacious or ridiculous to some, especially to those knee-jerks who love to ridicule the antiwar movement while knowing nothing about what it really stands for.
It’s important to note, here, that the peace/antiwar movement doesn’t have quite as extensive a public relations and propaganda program as that employed by the military and its supporters in the federal government and the mainstream media.
For instance, the peace movement doesn’t have well-funded, highly-trained Psy-Ops Teams such asRolling Stone has shown the military has. So no one is able to brainwash US congress members intocutting the military budget and de-funding the wars.
Middle East Protests Continue for Unmet Demands - by Stephen Lendman
So far, weeks of regional protests achieved nothing. Despite ousting Egypt's Mubarak and Tunisia's Ben Ali, their regimes remain in place, offering nothing but unfulfilled promises.
On February 26, Egyptians again protested in Tahrir Square. This time, however, military forces confronted them, Reuters headlining, "Egypt military angers protesters with show of force," saying:
"Soldiers used force on Saturday to break up a protest demanding more political reform in Egypt, demonstrators said, in the toughest move yet against opposition activists who accused the country's military rulers of 'betraying the people.' "
New York Times writer Liam Stack headlined, "Egyptian Military Forces End to New Protest," saying:
"Tens of thousands of protesters returned Friday to Tahrir Square....to keep up the pressure on Egypt's military-led transitional government."
By John Grant
From the WTF Department, here's something from Fox TV's Don Imus Show last December.
Hayes Carll is a young country singer from Texas with a fantastic surreal song about an 18-year-old soldier in Afghanistan that is up there with the best of Dylan, with elliptical lyrics like Desolation Row you never get tired of reaching for to figure out.
It's called KMAG YOYO, which in military argot means "Kiss My Ass Guys. You're On Your Own." (This version is the one broadcast on Sirius Radio, because the lyrics are easier to hear. If you want a performance with more of a live feel, check out the Fox Imus performance.)
Is it Antiwar? No question. But better than that, it's pro living, breathing life and it really jumps. Check it out!...
For the rest of this article by JOHN GRANT in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent online alternative newspaper, please go to: ThisCantBeHappening!
By Dave Lindorff
Pakistani and Indian newspapers are reporting that Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor in jail in Lahore facing murder charges for the execution-slayings of two young men believed to by Pakistani intelligence operatives, was actually involved in organizing terrorist activities in Pakistan.
As the Express Tribune, an English-language daily that is linked to the International Herald Tribune,reported on Feb. 22:
“The Lahore killings were a blessing in disguise for our security agencies who suspected that Davis was masterminding terrorist activities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab,” a senior official in the Punjab Police claimed.
22 February 2011 - Her family is part of the Egyptian elite, but 24-year-old Gigi Ibrahim says she's fighting for her country's future. With thousands following her Twitter feed, Gigi has become something of a celebrity in Cairo's Tahrir Square. In this video, we see her attempts to convince her family of the righteousness of her cause. But will they come around?
Continued Middle East Uprisings and Violence - by Stephen Lendman
What began in Tunisia spread to Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, Bahrain, and now Libya, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The entire region is erupting in protests, mischaracterized as revolutions. They're not, falling far short convulsive, violent, unstoppable tsunamis for change, removing old orders for new ones. So far, they're absent in the region, not even close despite popular passion for change. More on that below.
Islamabad--By now journalists everywhere (except in the US) have come to the conclusion that there is far, far more to Raymond Davis than is being revealed by the US or by Pakistani officials. That he was engaged in anti-state activities in Pakistan and that the two young men he killed were intelligence agents tailing him is virtually an accepted fact.
The US, never famous for its diplomacy (The Ugly American, which made that point more than half a century ago, became a best seller and a very successful movie, starring Marlon Brando), seems to have discovered fresh depths to its strong-arm, coercive diplomacy. The mere fact that no less a personage than the US President has asked that this low-ranked person be granted absolute immunity, is indicative of the US desperation to get him him out of Pakistan and its court system.
Call on Kingdom to stop brutal repression of peaceful protests
WHERE : EMBASSY OF BAHRAIN
3502 International Dr. NW, 20008
(Metro Station- Van Ness, UDC Campus)
WHEN : FRIDAY FEBRUARY 18, 2011, 12:00 pm
WHY: On Thursday February 17, the King of Bahrain unleashed his police forces upon sleeping protesters, including women and children sleeping in their tents, in Pearl Square in the middle of the capital. The King had not long ago apologized for his government’s recent murder of two peaceful protesters.
Under fire from rubber-coated bullets, concussion grenades, and birdshot, protesters and their children fled down streets, ruthlessly pursued. The next day, the King asserted that the armed forces had not attacked anyone. But he made no denial concerning his police.
Middle East Protests, Violence and Strikes Continue - by Stephen Lendman
Whatever set them off, the genie is out of the bottle and spreading from Tunisia to Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Iraq, and perhaps America, in Wisconsin over proposed wage, benefits, and union bargaining rights cuts. A forthcoming article covers outrage in the US heartland, inspiring others Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, and perhaps wherever aggrieved workers reside, awaken, and react against intolerable outrageous policies.
On February 17, New York Times writers Michael Slackman and Nadim Audi headlined, "Bahrain's Military Takes Control of Key Areas in Capital," saying:
By Larry Everest
Today, millions of Egyptians are rising with rage and courage against the hated rule of President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power since 1981.
As Egyptians protesting in the streets were being killed, beaten, or rounded up in the streets of Cairo and other cities before the eyes of the whole world, Vice President Joe Biden defended Mubarak, saying, "Look, Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things and he's been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interests in the region: Middle East peace efforts, the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing the relationship with Israel. I would not refer to him as a dictator." (PBS Newshour, Newsmaker Interview, January 27, 2011)
Diplomatic and Consular Immunity: One Rule for Foreign Consulates in US, Another for US Consulates Abroad
By Dave Lindorff
President Obama, before he was a President or a Senator, was a constitutional law professor. He should know the law.
And yet in the increasingly dangerous show-down over Pakistan’s arrest and detention of Lahore consular contract “security official” Raymond Davis, who is charged with two counts of murder for the shooting deaths of two young Pakistanis on January 27, the president has grossly misstated what international law is with respect to the immunity from prosecution of diplomatic and consular officials.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has chosen a new special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan: a long-time controversial neocon, a man who has been famous for parading as a foreign agent in the lobby circuit, the scandalous former diplomat Marc Grossman. The not-so-gradual resurrection of the old neocon cabal under the Obama administration, led by Hillary Clinton, should not come as a surprise. According to Washington insiders, Daniel Perle and Douglas Feith have been consulted more than a few times in their ‘unofficial’ capacity, but are not far down in the queue to receive ‘official’ acknowledgement. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; at least to those who’ve been following the steady momentum building at the Obama White House towards a soon-to-come Neocon Easter.
Middle East Protests Continue - by Stephen Lendman
They continue in Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia, and most recently in Iran and Bahrain, Al Jazeera saying:
"At least one person has been killed and several others injured after (Bahrain) riot police opened fire at protesters holding a funeral service for a man killed (a) day earlier."
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands in Manama, Bahrain's capital, demanding the regime's removal. Majority Shias want redress, saying Sunni rulers unfairly discriminate. However, more than sectarian issues are involved. Others include political freedoms, ending media and Internet state controls, prohibiting police use of excessive force, and addressing the extreme wealth gap between Bahrain elites and majority citizens.
On February 15, Al Jazeera's unnamed correspondent for his safety said:
Arab Street Celebrates Mubarak's Ouster - by Stephen Lendman
On February 12, AFP headlined, 'Euphoria sweeps Arab cities as Mubarak ousted," saying:
As news spread, jubilant crowds responded. "Across the Middle East and north Africa, loudspeakers on mosques called on citizens to rejoice in their own cities....In Lebanon, where the Cairo protests (were) reminiscent of mass anti-Syrian" 2005 demonstrations, "convoys bearing Egyptian flags blared their horns as fireworks went off across the country." Thousands came out to celebrate, a scene repeated in many Arab countries.
Hezbollah and Hamas observed Egypt's "historic victory." Crowds turned out in Beirut, across Lebanon, and "en masse (throughout) Gaza....joyfully shooting in the air and honking their car horns." Hamas' armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, also rallied in support.
Egypt's Military Declares Martial Law - by Stephen Lendman
World headlines are worrisome. On February 13, London's Guardian headlined Egypt's military rejects swift transfer of power and suspends constitution," saying:
Ruling generals rejected protester demands, saying they intend "to rule by martial law until elections are held." The announcement followed suspension of constitutional rule, retention of Mubarak's cabinet, and military police head, Mohamed Ibrahim Moustafa Ali, ordering protesters out of Tahrir Square under threat of arrest.
Many left "but a hardcore refused, saying they would remain until the army took a series of steps toward democratic reform including installing a civilian-led government and abolishing the repressive" Emergency Law, in force since 1981.
Juan Cole has all the links.
By Yasmeen Ali
Lahore, Pakistan--You cannot open the TV, or read a paper here without more and more news about Raymond Davis and his murderous act. His killing on Jan. 27 of two young Pakistanis has created international waves, too, plunging the Pakistan-America relationship into stormy waters.
A great deal has been written about the case: Raymond Davis’s employment status, whether he is a diplomat or not, who his victims were and what led to their demise at his hands, and finally whether or not Davis can be detained and ultimately tried under the Pakistani Law.
Interestingly though, nobody in the media has made a study of the Vienna Diplomatic Coventions that discuss diplomatic immunity. The convention of 1961 gets cited routinely by the American government, which claims it grants all diplomatic workers immunity from prosecution.
But that claim overstates the case. The actual document -- never actually quoted -- is more nuanced.
"I wrote, 'Dear Western governments. You have been supporting the regime that was oppressing us for 30 years. Please don't get involved now. We don't need you.' " - Wael Ghonim 13 Feb. 2011
February 13, 2011 - Harry Smith reports on the latest events from Egypt, including an in-depth interview with Wael Ghonim.
Egypt at Dawn's Early Light - by Stephen Lendman
What's unfolding looks different than what protesters demand. World headlines partly reflect it, mostly outside America, especially on US television reporting an illusion of change, when, in fact, coup d'etat rule is in charge, headed by authoritarian generals used to giving, not taking orders.
On February 13, Al Jazeera's said, "Egypt army tries to clear Tahrir," adding:
Scuffles broke out "as soldiers tried to remove activists from the epicenter of Egypt's uprising...." Hundreds courageously remained, saying they won't leave until "more of their demands are met."
As a result, "(S)oldiers shoved pro-democracy protesters aside to force a path for traffic to start flowing through Tahrir Square for the first time in more than two weeks."
Tents were removed. Al Jazeera's James Bays reported "flashpoint" confrontations, saying:
Abusers appear when we are most vulnerable. Mistaking their sweet nothings for REAL somethings, we slowly allow harmony to lose its last three letters.
Among the most calculating manipulators are the men and women we elect to represent our interests—but don’t. They have a vast menu from which to select their tactics.
They speak to our individualism and, then, tell us what all they’re doing on our behalf.
They demand our loyalty. Our servitude.
They juggle fear and hope, throwing sounds to our ears and images to our eyes, pushing beyond the bearable so gradually that the once unthinkable becomes commonplace.
They encourage us to shop and travel but to ALWAYS be alert, and report anything suspicious. “If you see something, say something,” Fascism Security Chief Janet Napolitano says, promoting the psychology of fear with a four-pronged campaign that includes locally run “fusion centers” for intelligence sharing. Fusion?