“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

1 - TUNISIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017 (AFP Photo/ Zacharias ABUBEKER)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

UN envoy Annan pushes for Syrian unity government

Deutsche Welle, 28 June 2012

United Nations diplomats say envoy Kofi Annan has sent a plan for a power-sharing Syrian government to major world powers ahead of their crisis talks in Geneva on Saturday. It could exclude President Bashar al-Assad.

A UN diplomat in New York was quoted anonymously as saying that Annan's plan includes a "transitional national unity government to create a neutral backdrop for transition."

A second diplomat said the plan suggests "Assad could be excluded but also that certain opposition figures could be ruled out."

The diplomats said Russia's mute receipt of the plan "could be a sign that it is ready to let Assad go."

Vitaly Churkin, the UN ambassador of veto-power Russia, which has backed Assad, told reporters that Annan had been "consulting with us and others on the paper," but added there was no guarantee the envoy's plan would find full agreement at the talks in Geneva.

Another diplomat said Russia would not necessarily terminate its support for Assad's regime, which buys Russian arms and provides Moscow with a strategic Mediterranean naval base.

"I don't see the Russians giving up on Assad," the diplomat said.

Talks exclude Iran, Saudi Arabia

Foreign ministers from the five permanent member nations of the UN Security Council and their counterparts from Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey will take part in the talks. The lineup does not include Syrian neighbors Iran and Saudi Arabia. 

Annan has a broader plan after
April's failed ceasefire
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said while on a visit to Finland that she had been in regular contact with Annan over his transition proposal.

"We think it embodies the principles needed for any political transition in Syria that could lead to a peaceful, democratic and representative outcome reflecting the will of the Syrian people," Clinton said.

Syria's 16-month conflict, which began as a uprising early last year, has left more than 15,000 people dead, according to rights activists.

Violence at new peak

At a briefing by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday, Annan's deputy, Jean-Marie Guehenno, said the level of violence was higher than in April, when Syria's factions agreed to Annan's six-point ceasefire plan.

Leading council investigator Paulo Pinheiro, who visited Damascus secretly last week, said Assad's government and its allied militias were responsible for killing civilians, while opposition forces had tortured and executed captured soldiers.

New York-based Human Rights Watch accused Syrian troops of shooting "indiscriminately at anyone - including women and children - trying to flee Syria"

ipj/ncy (dpa, Reuters, AFP)
Related Article:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gabon torches illegal ivory in fight against poachers

BBC News, 27 June 2012

The ivory stockpile resulted from the killing of some 850 elephants

Related Stories 

Gabonese President Ali Bongo has set on fire nearly five tonnes of illegal ivory worth $9.3m (£6m) as part of attempts to deter poaching.

Mr Bongo said the burning was meant to send a "strong signal" to those who still traded in ivory.

Conservation group WWF has welcomed the move, saying it was an "indication of the country's commitment" to curbing elephant poaching and the ivory trade.

Trading in ivory is mostly illegal.

Exceptions have been made for ivory obtained legally, for example from animals killed as part of official culls to control local populations.

The pyre that was kindled in the Gabonese capital, Libreville, represented the central African nation's entire government stockpile of confiscated ivory, which resulted from the killing of some 850 elephants.

Mr Bongo said: "Gabon has a policy of zero tolerance for wildlife crime and we are putting in place the institutions and laws to ensure this policy is enforced.

"We don't want our children to inherit an empty forest. For that reason, we cannot allow this trafficking to continue."

The stock destroyed amounted to 4,825kg, including 1,293 pieces of rough ivory mainly composed of tusks and 17,730 pieces of worked ivory, the WWF said in a statement. 

President Ali Bongo said his country
 had a policy of "zero tolerance for
wildlife crime"
"We believe this is a strong signal of intent by Gabon against poaching and illegal wildlife trade - at a time of intense poaching pressure in central Africa, where the illegal killing of elephants for ivory is at record levels," it added.

The BBC's Charles Mavoungou in Libreville says the discovery of about 20 elephant carcasses in April last year in two national parks in the north of the country enabled the authorities to identify trafficking rings working across Cameroon, Chad, Congo and Sudan.

Since the elephant massacre, wildlife security has been improved with park guards increased from 70 to 400 and the formation of a special 250-strong brigade of the paramilitary police for the national parks, he adds.

Arab Spring unsettles Africa's Sahel region

Deutsche Welle, 27 june 2012

The demise of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has sent shock waves through the Sahel and Mali has been hit the worst. The roar of the Arab Spring still rumbles through many African countries.

A date for a presidential election had been fixed, but the band of Malian soldiers was not prepared to wait. At the end of March 2012, four weeks before the ballot, President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup. The coup plotters alleged that he was incapable of running the country or of defeating the rebels in the north. Since the beginning of the year, the rebel Tuaregs and their allies had been notching up territorial gains in their campaign against the government in Bamako. Their ranks had been filled by mercenaries, who just months beforehand had been fighting for the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. This was something the Malian military felt they could tolerate no longer and so they decided to seize power. 

Amadou Toumani Touré handed in his
resignation before going into exile in
After the coup, the chaos deepened. The constitution was suspended, the presidential election cancelled and all state institutions were dissolved. Unwittingly, the soldiers who mounted the coup had strengthened the hand of the rebels they wished to defeat. The rebels exploited this to their full advantage. They overran not only the whole of northern Mali, but Timbuktu in the west as well. On April 6 2012, they declared an independent north Malian state, naming it Azawad. It encompassed mostly traditional Tuareg territory, the Tuaregs believing that the government in Bamako had neglected them for far too long.

Once a model African state

Northern Mali is now controlled by the Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and its allies, which include the Islamist group Ansar Dine and al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM).

"There was a time when the Sahel states were relatively stable democracies, at least when compared to the dictatorships of Mubarak and Gadhafi," says Marco Scholze, an expert on Mali from the University of Frankfurt. Mali was considered a model African state. It had a constitution, a multiparty system, a national assembly and over the last few decades had made the transition from one-party rule to a more or less properly functioning democracy.

Not much of that seems to have survived. On the contrary, the negative consequences of the Arab Spring are being felt very keenly. Most of the African mercenaries, including many Tuaregs, who earned their living by fighting for the late Colonel Gadhafi, have returned to their home countries, to Mauretania, Niger, Chad and Mali.

Clashes between allies

They took their weapons with them. "The arsenals and munitions dumps were looted," says Marco Scholze. Those weapons are now circulating throughout the whole region. It is therefore hardly surprising that the Tuaregs have acquired new-found firepower. Judith Vorrath from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs observes that there have been Tuareg rebellions in the past and the political situation in Mali has been tense for some time. "But because of the situation in Libya, the weapons and the mercenaries," she explains, "the whole business boiled over." 

AQIM and Ansar Dine favor sharia
law including a strict dress code for
The separatists may have been denied international recognition but they have little to fear, either from the demoralized Malian government troops or their allied militia. The African Union appears reluctant to get involved. Only ECOWAS, the West African regional bloc, is picking up the challenge, negotiating with coup leaders and separatists. ECOWAS is also mulling over the deployment of 3,000 troops to Mali. The greatest threat to the young state of Azawad comes from within. MNLA rebels and the Islamist group Ansar Dine have quite different aims. Whereas Ansar Dine and al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM) want to found a state based on sharia law, most of the people in the region would prefer to live in a more secular environment. Meanwhile there have been reports of armed skirmishes between the MNLA and their Islamist militant allies. 

A new terror breeding ground

Tuareg rebels are reported to have
 clashed with Ansar Dine and AQIM
Clashes of this sort in the region are nothing new. Instability began to descend on the Sahel states in the 1990s and was made worse by the civil war in Algeria. A minority of the Islamists, who had been deprived of their election victory there, regrouped in terrorist organisations which were subsumed into AQIM in 2006. AQIM has influence in Niger and Mauretania as well as in Mali. It has close ties to local criminal gangs involved in the drugs trade and people smuggling in Europe. There are also first indications that AQIM is supporting the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram in Nigeria and the al-Shabab militants in Somalia, triggering alarm bells in the United States.

The fall of Gadhafi poured oil on the flames. A sprawling army of mercenaries returned home, armed but without work. "Northern Mali is mostly desert," Judith Vorrat says. "The borders that are marked on the maps aren't patrolled." Some observers fear that this ungoverned, or ungovernable, space could turn into a breeding ground for a new terrorist threat.

Author: Anne Allmeling / mc
Editor: Susan Houlton

Ethiopian blogger Eskinder Nega 'guilty of terror link'

BBC News, 27 June 2012

Related Stories 

Eskinder Nega was arrested after
publishing  a column questioning
the arrests of some journalists
A court in Ethiopia has found prominent journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega guilty of violating controversial anti-terrorism legislation.

Eskinder and 23 others were accused of links with US-based opposition group Ginbot Seven, which Ethiopia considers a terrorist organisation.

The prosecutor has asked for life in prison, rather than the death penalty.

"This is a dark day for justice in Ethiopia," said Amnesty International's Claire Beston.

Last month, Eskinder was awarded the prestigious Pen America's "Freedom to Write" annual prize for his work.

Human rights groups have criticised Ethiopia's anti-terrorism legislation for being too far-reaching.

Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at campaign group Human Rights Watch, said the case "shows that Ethiopia's government will not tolerate even the mildest criticism".

'Destabilise country'

The BBC's Anne Waithera in the capital, Addis Ababa, says only eight of the defendants, including Eskinder and opposition member Andualem Arage, were present in court.

After the verdict their lawyer told journalists: "My clients are not guilty. They're innocent."

Eskinder was arrested last September after publishing an article questioning arrests under the anti-terrorism legislation, especially that of well-known Ethiopian actor and government critic Debebe Eshetu.

"By using the freedom of speech recognised in the constitution these criminals have been trying to destabilise the country," AFP news agency quotes the prosecutor as saying.

Eskinder opened his first newspaper in 1993, and has been detained at least seven times by the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Last week, an Ethiopian guard working for the UN was jailed for seven years for communicating with the banned Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).

In December, two Swedish journalists were sentenced to 11 years in prison for supporting the ONLF.

Both the ONLF, which has been fighting for greater independence in the Ogaden area that borders Somalia, and Ginbot Seven, have been designated as terrorist groups by the Ethiopian parliament.

Related Article:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mohamed Morsi to pick woman and Christian as Egypt's vice-presidents

New leader will make appointments once people chosen to fill the roles have been selected, says president-elect's office

guardian.co.uk, Abdel-Rahman Hussein in Cairo, Tuesday 26 June 2012

Mohamed Morsi makes his first televised speech to the Egyptian people,
at a studio in Cairo. Photograph: EPA

Mohamed Morsi's first appointments as president-elect of Egypt will be a woman and a Coptic Christian, his spokesman has told the Guardian, as he moves to allay fears of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sameh el-Essawy said that although the names of the two choices had not been finalised, they would be Morsi's two vice-presidents.

When the appointments go through, they will constitute the first time in Egypt's history that either a woman or a Coptic Christian has occupied such an elevated position in the executive branch.

The Muslim Brotherhood is at pains to calm fears of what an Islamist president might mean for Egypt and the region at large. Appointing both a woman and a Coptic Christian is an attempt at a show of unity, and a rule by consensus.

Meanwhile, defeated presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik – Mubarak's last prime minister and Morsi's rival in the runoff election – flew to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday morning with his two daughters. His camp denied that he had fled as investigations begin into allegations of corruption against him while minister of civil aviation. He was in Abu Dhabi for "tourism" purposes, they said.

Essawy also said that Morsi had no objection to swearing the presidential oath in front of the supreme constitutional court (SCC), widely seen as a controversial move after the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood-majority parliament by that very court a day before the run-off elections earlier this month. But, "that does not mean he [Morsi] acknowledges the dissolution of parliament", said Essawy, a member of Morsi's former party, Freedom and Justice (FJP).

Morsi's decisions come on a day that saw a flurry of court decisions and delays regarding several contentious issues, including the status of parliament.

The Muslim Brotherhood's FJP has a 45% majority in the dissolved parliament and is furiously contesting the SCC decision, taking the matter to the supreme administrative court. On Tuesday that court delayed its ruling on the dissolution of parliament until 7 July.

The court also delayed another decision, filed by the former presidential candidate Khaled Ali, against the recent constitutional declaration issued by Scaf, the ruling military junta, which limits presidential authority on a number of matters regarding national security. The court delayed its ruling on this case until 10 July.

The constitutional declaration had stated that in the absence of parliament, the president would swear the oath in front of the SCC. The vice-president of the SCC, Tahani el-Gibali, told the Guardian that the constitutional declaration was "the highest law in the land", though the court "had not yet been notified of any confirmation that this would take place".

An important ruling was handed down on Tuesday when an administrative court overturned a ministry of justice decree two weeks ago that allowed military authorities to arrest and detain civilians. Human rights groups had been furious about the decree, calling it a gross transgression of authority, and immediately filed a complaint to the Cairo administrative court.

To add to the legal frenzy, the administrative court delayed a ruling regarding the constitutionality of the constituent assembly – tasked with drafting Egypt's future and permanent constitution – to 1 September. This case rests on the fact that the assembly was elected by parliament, which is now dissolved, therefore the assembly could have the same fate.

Morsi filled his second day as president-elect with meeting a number of state officials, including the current interior minister, in an attempt to build bridges with a police force that was the initial spark of the 25 January 2011 revolt leading to the fall of Hosni Mubarak. Morsi also met the sheikh of al-Azhar, Egypt's highest religious institution.

The president-elect continues to deliberate with the military and other political forces over the formation of his cabinet, which is expected to be led by an independent national figure and would not have an FJP majority.

In a populist move, Morsi's camp has announced that 750,000 government employees hired on temporary contracts – their status remaining that way for years – would be handed permanent contracts from the beginning of July. This has been a long-standing complaint of government workers, including ambulance service staff who have been intermittently protesting over the past year.

One of Morsi's first directives was to ban the tradition of hanging presidential portraits in all government buildings.

No spring in Bahrain

Deutsche Welle, 26 June 2012

For a while, the king of Bahrain gave the impression he wanted to improve the human rights situation in his country. A study raised hopes of improvement, but they were soon dashed.

It seemed like the dawn of a new era. In July 2011, a few weeks after protests began in spring, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain called in an international investigation commission. It was meant to investigate incidents during the demonstrations, examine accusations against the state's security forces, and make recommendations that would help implement less violent conflict management in the country. The commission set about its work immediately, and presented its results - under the title "Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry" - in November 2011.

The report's authors pulled no punches. They unambiguously accused the state of abusing its powers. They mentioned 13 people killed by security forces, and another five who died under torture. The report concluded with the required recommendations - it called for centers of higher education to teach religious and political tolerance programs, and suggested the development of a national conciliation program offering a platform to all Bahrainis who believed their rights had been violated.

Dashed hopes 

The Bahraini king currently has little
 to fear from the international community
But a report published in June by the "Bahrain Center for Human Rights" (BCHR), suggests that Bahrain has made precious little progress in the eight months since that damning verdict was pronounced. The BCHR's figures are dramatic: four people have allegedly been killed by security forces since the end of March alone. Another 134 have been summarily arrested and jailed. Altogether, more than 500 people are currently in prison for their political views. The BCHR also wrote of the continued use of torture, intimidation, religious discrimination, as well as workers being sacked and students being denied opportunities because of their political views.

Hopes that conditions might improve following Bahrain's Formula One Grand Prix in April have been dashed, says BCHR co-director Maryam al-Khawaje. The government is still using force against demonstrators, and unlike in previous years it is now doing so in the open.
According to al-Khawaje, the Bahraini government was initially embarrassed by the international observers' conclusions, but this has long since subsided. "Those responsible now tell themselves that nothing will happen anyway, so we can do what we want," she says.

Maryam al-Khawaja is the daughter of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a human rights activist who was sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly supporting a terrorist organization. He was eventually force-fed after a hunger strike that lasted several weeks. His daughter sees the government's indifference as a direct result of the international community's failure to criticize conditions in Bahrain.

"All the reactions that we normally see did not materialize," she said. "Whether it's economic sanctions or public condemnation - nothing happened. That's why the government feels immune to criticism. Those in power think they can do what they want."

The protests have been repressed violently

One policy - holding on to power

Joe Stork, director of the Middle East department of Human Rights Watch, takes a similarly bleak view, though he believes that the situation has improved slightly since the publication of the independent commission's report last November. He confirms that the main recommendations have not been realized, and what improvements there are should be viewed with care.

"One shouldn't compare things with the very dark situation in 2011," he said. "Instead, one should compare them with 2005 or 2006, when conditions were much better than today."
He said the draconian treatment of the opposition movement has an obvious motivation - the ruling family simply wants to hold onto power - without compromise. "They don't want to have to deal with a parliament or a government that represents the people."

The role of Saudi Arabia

The Bahraini government enjoys support for its repressive policy from its powerful neighbor Saudi Arabia - the same state that noisily condemns the Assad regime's crimes in Syria. This is unsurprising, since the 200-year-old ruling Bahraini dynasty originates in Saudi Arabia.

Stork explained that the two regimes also enjoy good relations because they are unified by their common interests. "Saudi Arabia does not want Bahrain to develop into a democracy. And there are plenty in the Bahraini royal family who take the same view."

That's why Saudi Arabia did not hesitate to send troops to Bahrain in spring 2011 to help quell the uprising. They reportedly did not play a decisive military role - but they were a strong political signal. "Saudi Arabia was telling the world, and particularly the United States, 'Watch out, leave Bahrain alone! Watch what you say and do, because we don't want to be put under pressure over this,'" said Stork.

Faint hope of improvement

So is there any hope for an improvement in the human rights situation in Bahrain? Al-Khawaja is skeptical. "The government of Bahrain won't even acknowledge that human rights violations are going on," she said. "So how can they stop them?" 

Maryam Al-Khawaja is skeptical that
 the government will change its position
Stork agrees. The government, he said, will not shy away from simply denying everything. "That's their way of dealing the problem," he added. Abrahim Mahmud Ahmed Abdullah, Bahraini ambassador to Germany, would not comment to DW on the human rights situation in his own country, saying he did not have time for an interview.

Stork thinks the situation can only be improved through foreign pressure, particularly from Bahrain's other strongest ally, the US. But he admits there has been little movement on that front so far.

Marie Camberlaine, Middle East analyst at the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), points out that human rights organizations have repeatedly called on the international community to draw attention to the human rights situation in Bahrain and to condemn violations. But their efforts have been in vain. "Nothing has happened since February 2011, when the repression of protests in Bahrain began," she said

It seems clear that both national and international human rights activists are expecting a long struggle, hoping eventually to prevail on the international community to make a stand - though they recognize it may take a while.

Author: Kersten Knipp / bk
Editor: Andreas Illmer
Related Article:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hundreds feared dead as mudslide hits Ugandan villages

Deutsche Welle, 25 June 2012

A mudslide has destroyed three villages in eastern Uganda, with hundreds of people feared dead. The slide followed heavy rains in an area where deforestation is thought to contribute to the problem.

The death toll remains unknown after the incident at around lunchtime on Monday, though it was clear that a small group of settlements had been devastated.

"We know that at least 15 houses have been buried but we do not know how many people were inside them," said Uganda Red Cross spokeswoman Catherine Ntabadde, adding that rescue teams had been dispatched to the area.

Three villages in the Bumwalukani parish on the slopes of the extinct volcano Mount Elgon, near to the Kenyan border, were hit by the mudslides.

"We estimate that each village had about 100 people and so the number of people who died might reach 300," local parliamentarian David Wakikona said. "The areas around Bududa district have been experiencing heavy rains for days now and I am told the landslides started around midday [Monday] and that they're still going on."

It is the third time in three years that eastern Uganda has been hit by similar disasters. Two dozen people were killed last year when mud covered their homes in Mabono village. More than 300 people died in the same district when a mudslide hit the same district in 2010.

Thousands have been evacuated from the area as part a program to avert future disasters, although many have refused to move. Environmentalists claim the problem is exacerbated by deforestation, with the local soil very fine and prone to movement.

rc/msh (AP, dpa, Reuters)
Related Article:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Islamist Morsi Wins Egypt Presidential Vote

ABC News, by Maggie Michael, Associated Press, CAIRO June 24, 2012

Egypt's election commission has declared Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood the winner of Egypt's first free elections by a narrow margin over Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under deposed leader Hosni Mubarak.

The commission said Morsi won with 51.7 percent of the vote versus 48.3 for Shafiq.

A huge crowd of Morsi supporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square erupted in cheers and dancing when the result was read out on live television.

FILE - In this Sunday, May 20, 2012 file photo, the Muslim
Brotherhood's  presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi
holds a rally in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo: AP)

Related Articles:

"Healing the Military Energies in our family Tree" – Jun 13, 2011 (Kryon channelled by David Brown)

“ … There’s much violence and anger throughout the world; when we look at the Middle East, we can see that changes are coming there. The West has a lot of power over the Middle East, but that power will begin to dissolve. The Muslim people of this world will begin to have their own power, and their own prosperity, and they will begin to disconnect from the Western World. This disconnection doesn’t have to be violent as violence only happens when somebody hangs onto what doesn’t belong to them....

... What Military Energy means if we use an analogy: it would be like putting grinding paste into the oil of your motor car. Once you release these energies you will begin to feel lighter as you disconnect from this reality, and, you will find it easier and easier to release any other negative emotions. Military Energies are the core of all your problems...."

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution

Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch 
Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Israel Police deploys large forces in central Tel Aviv as protesters gather for mass rally

A day after 12 people were violently arrested during an attempt to rekindle last year's protest movement, thousands plan to gather in Rotschild Blv. and Habima Square.

Haaretz, by Gili Cohen and Yaniv Kubovich,  Jun.23, 2012

Police arrest social protest leader Daphne Leef in Tel Aviv, June 23, 2012.
Photo by Alon Ron
A large number of police officers were stationed on Saturday in central Tel Aviv as social activists prepared to march in protest of Friday' arrests. 12 people were taken into custody as police used what the protesters called excessive force.

Under the banner "Emergency protest! Returning the power to the people," activists plan to march on Rotchild Blvd, the site of last year's most prominent "tent city," and hold a rally at Habima Theater Square. They plan to join forces with another demonstration in support of Israel's gay community, which has been attacked by several Israeli politicians in recent days.

The organizers have not asked for a license to hold the protest.

On Friday, Daphni Leef, one of the leaders of Israel's social justice protest movement, was arrested by police during a demonstration on Rothschild Boulevard.

The demonstration, which began around noon, was meant to revive the social justice protests that swept Israel last summer. A further 11 protesters were also arrested.

Several hundred demonstrators carried tents to the site, which they attempted to set up along the street. However, municipal inspectors and police prevented them from placing the tents on the ground and began arresting protesters.

Leef was dragged by force into a waiting police car, prompting hundreds of demonstrators to block the road with their bodies in an attempt to prevent the car from leaving the site.

The protesters knocked over trash cans and shouted chants criticizing Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
However, after several moments the police car managed to leave the scene, with Leef inside.

In response, Israel Police said that the protest was illegal, and that the demonstrators refused the requests of municipal inspectors to halt it. Protesters started to attack them, and the police who were at the site, Israel Police said. They cursed, spat, and threw things at the police, the Police claimed.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Assad may be offered clemency by Britain and US if he joins peace talks

Initiative comes after Cameron and Obama received encouragement from Putin during G20 talks in Mexico

guardian.co.uk, Patrick Wintour, political editor, Thursday 21 June 2012

President Bashar al-Assad could be given clemency if he agrees for a
UN-backed political transition in Syria. Photograph: AP

Britain and America are willing to offer the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, safe passage – and even clemency – as part of a diplomatic push to convene a UN-sponsored conference in Geneva on political transition in Syria.

The initiative comes after David Cameron and Barack Obama received encouragement from Russia's President Vladimir Putin in separate bilateral talks at the G20 in Mexico.

A senior British official said: "Those of us who had bilaterals thought there was just enough out of those meetings to make it worth pursuing the objective of negotiating a transitional process in Syria."

With daily reports of civilian deaths and the conflict apparently taking on an increasingly sectarian hue, Britain is willing to discuss giving clemency to Assad if it would allow a transitional conference to be launched. He could even be offered safe passage to attend the conference.

One senior UK official said: "It is hard to see a negotiated solution in which one of the participants would be willing voluntarily to go off to the international criminal court." It was stressed Cameron had not made a final decision on the matter.

During talks at the G20, British and American officials were convinced Putin was not wedded to Assad remaining in power indefinitely, although even this limited concession is disputed in Moscow.

On the basis of these discussions, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, will now seek to persuade the former UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, to change the format of his plans to construct a contact group on Syria, and instead host a conference using the transition on Yemen as the model.

In the case of Yemen, the president, Ali Saleh, was granted immunity in February despite the massacre of civilians. His deputy, to whom he ceded power, is drawing up a new constitution.

Participants would include representatives of the Syrian government, leading figures in the opposition, the five permanent members of the UN security council and key figures in the region, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Russia has been pressing for Iran to be able to attend.

The meeting, under Annan's chairmanship, would be held by the end of the month with an objective of establishing a broader-based government leading to elections in 18 months time.

British officials said: "We do not think it makes sense to invite the Iranians for a number of reasons. We are under no illusions about this and are entirely realistic about the prospects of this happening. It may come off. It could capsize on whether Iran gets invited or not. But it is worth a try given the gravity of events there."

Cameron said on Tuesday Syria was "in danger of descending into a bloody civil war" and there was little time left to act.

As an alternative the US might go for a tougher UN security council resolution on sanctions, but the prospect of a no-fly zone, overcoming Russian objections, is not regarded as realistic.

It also emerged that Cameron confronted Putin over arms supplies and had been personally involved in plans to prevent a Russian-manned shipment of three repaired attack helicopters and air defence systems reaching Syria.

The ship, the MV Alead, returned to Russia after UK insurance was withdrawn on Monday.

It emerged that Cobra, the government emergency committee, held secret sessions last Thursday, Friday and Monday at which options to stop the shipment were discussed, including discussions with the Dutch government to stop the ship on the basis that it was flying under the Dutch Antilles flag.

Cameron was updated on the process while at the G20 summit in Mexico and had at one point been willing to consider ordering the ship to be boarded had it continued down the English Channel.

Russia is not party to any arms embargo and claims the opposition are being armed by the Saudis.

US and UK intelligence had identified the cargo on the ship as well as false documention about its destination. The ship turned back after insurance was withdrawn following UK government pressure. The EU arms embargo on Syria will now be tightened up to cover insurance.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood warns Egypt's generals

Islamic group claims victory in elections and threatens to flood streets if military continues to 'rebuild old regime'

guardian.co.uk, Jack Shenker and Abdel-Rahman Hussein in Cairo, Monday 18 June 2012

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed
 Morsi celebrate after the announcement of his victory. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

The Muslim Brotherhood has vowed to face down Egypt's ruling generals in a "life or death" struggle over the country's political future, after declaring that its candidate had won the presidential election and would refuse to accept the junta's last-ditch attempts to engineer a constitutional coup.

As final ballot results trickled in and unofficial tallies suggested that Mohamed Morsi had secured approximately 52% of the popular vote, the Brotherhood deployed its harshest language yet against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf), promising to bring millions of Egyptians back on to the streets if attempts to rebuild the old regime continued.

"Over the past 18 months we were very keen to avoid any clashes or confrontations with other components of Egypt's political system because we felt that it would have negative consequences for the democratic system and for society as a whole," said Fatema AbouZeid, a senior policy researcher for the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party and a media co-ordinator for the Morsi campaign. "But now it's very clear that Scaf and other institutions of the state are determined to stand in the way of what we're trying to achieve, and we won't accept this any more. Egypt will not go back to the old regime through any means, legal or illegal.

"If we find that Scaf stands firm against us as we try to fulfil the demands of the revolution, we will go back to the streets and escalate things peacefully to the highest possible stage," she said. "Now we have a new factor in Egyptian politics, the Egyptian people themselves, who will not accept a return to the old regime in any form, not after so much Egyptian blood was shed to remove it.

"The revolution is facing a life or death moment and the Egyptian people have put their faith in Dr Morsi to represent them at this time."

On Monday the parliamentary speaker, Saad el-Katatni, a Brotherhood veteran, said he did not recognise last week's decision by Mubarak-era judges in Egypt's supreme constitutional court to dissolve the legislature, a move widely viewed as highly politicised and designed to bolster the generals. Katatni said MPs planned to attend parliament – which was surrounded by armed soldiers – as usual on Tuesday or convene in nearby Tahrir Square, setting the stage for a showdown between the generals who have held sway for six decades and the long-outlawed Islamist movement now on the brink of political control.

An 11th-hour constitutional declaration issued unilaterally by Scaf awarded the generals sweeping powers including the right to put forward legislation and an effective veto over clauses in the new constitution, and formalised the army's ability to detain civilians and sweep out of barracks at moments of "internal unrest".

Political analysts described the move as a constitutional obscenity and said it left the three major institutions of the post-Mubarak Egyptian state – the presidency (now curtailed), the parliament (now dissolved) and the constitutional assembly (now floundering in legal uncertainty) – all under the full or partial influence of the armed forces.

"Military encroachment on civilian authority has been a pretty constant process over the past year and a half but this really embeds it," said Heba Morayef, of Human Rights Watch. "In the past 18 months we've already seen the military literally get away with murder. The military's involvement in civilian law enforcement without the oversight of the civilian judiciary, as outlined in this declaration, is a recipe for abuse and impunity, and it sends a terrifying signal about what measures may be in the works when it comes to dealing with future protests against military rule."

At a press conference on Monday Scaf generals insisted their motives had been misinterpreted, and repeated their commitment to handing over executive authority to the new president by the end of the month – a handover that many Egyptians now view as largely meaningless.

With 99% of the presidential ballot papers tabulated, the Brotherhood claimed Morsi had garnered 13.2m votes, against 12.3m for his rival, Ahmed Shafiq, who served as Hosni Mubarak's final prime minister. In an early morning address to the nation, Morsi promised to stand for the whole of a deeply fractured country, not just the portion of it that voted for him. "I will be serving all Egyptians," he declared, "and standing at an equal distance from all of them."

Chants of "God is great" and "down with military rule" rang out and supporters spilled out into the streets to celebrate. Their headquarters sit across the road from the interior ministry, which once housed many Brotherhood members behind its high walls. Shafiq's team dismissed the Brotherhood's celebrations as premature and said their own tallies suggested that a win for their candidate was "beyond all doubt". Initial results contain a margin of error of about two percentage points and both sides can launch appeals against the conduct of the vote before official results are announced on Thursday. But by Monday evening it seemed increasingly likely that Morsi had done enough to become the first democratically elected president in Egypt's history.

Revolutionaries expressed optimism that that the twists and turns of the past week would reanimate the struggle for change. "I'm not pessimistic at all," said Salma Said, a 26-year-old campaigner with the alternative media collective Mosireen. "I think the fight is going to be tougher, just like any game gets harder in the later levels, but what the revolutionaries really need to do now is unite.

"People are already making lists of urgent demands to put to the new president and which must be met within the next few months. Now we can stop being distracted by elections and get back to work on what's really needed: releasing military prisoners, retrying those convicted in military courts, implementing a minimum and maximum wage, and so on."

Said said the Brotherhood had consistently weakened the revolutionary front but a Morsi victory was preferable to a Shafiq one because it opened up new political space and allowed revolutionaries to move beyond rallies in Tahrir Square and engage with Egyptians in bigger and more creative ways.

"The Egyptian government and the western media always try to equate Tahrir with the revolution and vice versa in an effort to limit the space of the revolution, but that utopian, materialistic image of Tahrir has long been distorted," she said. "Now we need to concentrate on mass marches across the whole country. Tahrir can be a start or end point, but no longer just a destination in its own right.