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America’s Plan B in Egypt: Bring Back the Old Regime

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photo: Kodak Agfa

The road that has been taken in Egypt is a dangerous one. A military coup has taken place in Egypt while millions of Egyptians have cheered it on with little thought about what is replacing the Muslim Brotherhood and the ramifications it will have for their society. Many people in cheering crowds have treated the Egyptian military’s coup like it was some sort of democratic act. Little do many of them remember who the generals of the Egyptian military work for. Those who are ideologically opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood have also cheered the military takeover without realizing that the military takeover ultimately serves imperialist behaviour. The cheering crowds have not considered the negative precedent that has been set.

Egypt was never cleansed of corrupt figures by the Muslim Brotherhood, which instead joined them. Key figures in Egypt, like Al-Azhar’s Grand Mufti Ahmed Al-Tayeb (who was appointed by Mubarak), criticized the Muslim Brotherhood when Mubark was in power, then denounced Mubarak and supported the Muslim Brotherhood when it gained power, and then denounced the Muslim Brotherhood when the military removed it from power. The disgraced Muslim Brotherhood has actually been replaced by a far worse assembly. These figures, whatever they call themselves, have only served power and never democracy. The military’s replacements for the Muslim Brotherhood - be it the new interim president or the leaders of the military junta—were either working with or serving the Muslim Brotherhood and, even before them, Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
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US Egypt Policies Don't Pass the Laugh Test

A military coup in Egypt yesterday resulted in the removal and imprisonment of the elected president, Mohamed Morsi, a closure of media outlets sympathetic to him, the house arrest of his advisors, and the suspension of the constitution. The military that overthrew Morsi is the main recipient of the $1.3 billion yearly US aid package to Egypt. You could say that the US “owns” the Egyptian military that just overthrew its democratically-elected leader.
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What is Happening in Egypt?

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The July 3 move by the Egyptian military to stabilize the country signals the collapse of Obama’s Middle East policy.

Washington’s present interventionist regional policy began during the George W. Bush administration and was fatally flawed from the start. The Obama administration simply compounded the mistakes while moving it forward.

Vice President Dick Cheney and his neo-con team created a crusade against the Shia branch of Islam targeting Iran, its ally Syria, and Hizbullah in Lebanon. The strategy called for a coalition of Sunni Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Gulf states plus Israel plus Turkey.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Neoconservative fellow-traveler Republicans, like Senator John McCain, have blown trumpets for the policy for years. The Obama White House adopted it as its own. The basic idea is to crush if not Balkanize Syria, go after Hizbullah, and then go to war against Iran.
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Snowden Case Highlights Deep Constitutional Erosion

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photo: OZinOH

The case of Edward J. Snowden raises a number of difficult issues for the United States.  The case impacts on Washington’s foreign policy and on US domestic politics.  The decline of American representative democracy is now sharply in focus.

Americans naturally want appropriate and necessary capabilities to defend our country but we do not want such capabilities turned on ourselves in violation of the US Constitution. 

The impact on domestic US politics is squarely on issues of constitutional law.  Already the watchdog American Civil Liberties Union filed a court case against the government as a result of Snowden’s revelations.
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If You Like the Surveillance State, You'll Love E-Verify

From massive NSA spying, to IRS targeting of the administration's political opponents, to collection and sharing of our health care information as part of Obamacare, it seems every day we learn of another assault on our privacy. Sadly, this week the Senate took another significant, if little-noticed, step toward creating an authoritarian surveillance state. Buried in the immigration bill is a national identification system called mandatory E-Verify.

The Senate did not spend much time discussing E-Verify, and what little discussion took place was mostly bipartisan praise for its effectiveness as a tool for preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining employment. It is a tragedy that mandatory E-Verify is not receiving more attention, as it will impact nearly every American’s privacy and liberty.


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Will Egypt Implode Tomorrow?

The Egypt experiment is falling apart. The crisis point may be reached as early as tomorrow, June 30th, when massive demonstrations are expected to rock the rule of Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi. It has been a slow-motion disintegration from the begining, however.

US-backed liberal Egyptians took to Tahrir Square in 2011, trained by the State Department to mobilize masses through social media to overthrow Mubarak rule. Their success resulted in their being shunted aside in favor of the real power in Egypt, post-Mubarak: the Muslim Brotherhood and the military.

Since then, contrary to US government predictions, democracy and freedom has not broken out bringing with it economic prosperity and social harmony. History teaches us that revolutions are not as simplistic and binary (bad out, good in) as their supporters would like us to believe. The Egyptian economy, dependent on tourism, has been in free-fall since the unrest, leading to deep layers of resentment in those who were told that overthrowing Mubarak would bring economic growth.


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Obama's Wild Neo Con Dream

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It is now clear that the preliminary meeting at Geneva this week of Russia, the United States and the United Nations for setting a date for the Geneva-2 conference on Syria ended inconclusively. The meeting couldn’t agree when the Geneva-2 should be held or who would be invited. A UN statement said that Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry will meet next week and further talks are expected to follow.

The United Nations special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi who chaired the meeting urged the US and Russia to "contain this situation that is getting out of hand, not only in Syria but also in the region". But he ruled out the possibility of holding the Geneva – 2 in July. Other diplomatic sources have doubted if the conference could be held "earlier than August or September".

The sticking point is apparently the failure to agree on potential participants at the conference. However, that is only an alibi – although, it is partly true to the extent that there is no unified Syrian opposition despite the robust efforts by the US and its allies to cobble together one and Russia is insisting on Iran’s participation.


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Why Is No One Listening to the US Government?

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photo: See-ming Lee 李思明 SML

The US government is in panic mode over the apparently successful escape of NSA leaker Ed Snowden from Hong Kong. US government officials are swinging wildly at any target in sight while howling at the disintegrating illusion of US omnipotence. The rest of the world will not do what they demand. They will not hand over Edward Snowden. The injustice!

White House Spokesman Jay Carney screams at China: "We are just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official. This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant, and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the U.S.-China relationship."

Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia that “[t]here would be without any question some effect and impact on the relationship and consequences."

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King fumed: "We can’t allow Russia to do this without diplomatic consequences. The opportunity will come over the next several months or year, when Russia will need us with something involving trade involving diplomacy, involving finance, where the U.S. will basically say no, and we will make it difficult for Putin. He should know now not to expect any favors."


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The Death of Daniel Somers

I am reading the heartbreaking suicide note of Daniel Somers, a US combat veteran who spent several years fighting in Iraq. Mr. Somers was only 30 years old when he took his own life, after being tormented by the horrific memories of what he experienced in Iraq. 

He wrote: “The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from.”

Many who shout the loudest that we must “support the troops” urge sending them off to unwinnable and undeclared wars in which there is no legitimate US interest. The US military has been abused by those who see military force as a first resort rather than the last resort and only in self-defense. This abuse has resulted in a generation of American veterans facing a life sentence in the prison of tortured and deeply damaged minds as well as broken bodies.


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