Monday, 31 January 2011

Supporters of freedom, right?

‘They're calling for freedoms. They want more freedoms in their country,’ said the newsreader on Sky News, of the protesters on Egypt’s streets. ‘What's Australia's view on that? Do we support that?’
You’d think that, for a foreign minister, the question was a gentle full toss to be dispatched effortlessly to the boundary. Are you for kittens? What’s your opinion about motherhood?
Freedom? Of course, we support freedom! Don’t we?
Here’s how Rudd answered:
Well the political situation is highly fluid, as a number of my colleagues from elsewhere around the world have said. We have long supported democratic transformation across the Middle East. We have equally strongly argued that this transformation should occur peacefully and without violence. That remains our view in terms of recent developments in Egypt as well.

I should add to what I just said before that earlier today I met with and had discussions with the foreign minister of Egypt in Addis Ababa, where we were both attending the African Union Summit and we discussed these matters in some detail there as well.
Bear in mind that, as the conversation took place, the news footage showed government thugs attacking demonstrators on the streets. Those protesters would, no doubt, have preferred, quite possibly rather more than Mr Rudd, a democratic transformation effected peacefully - but that wasn’t happening, what with all the tear gas being fired at them. So would Rudd call upon Mubarak to, like, stop repressing his citizens?
The newsreader pressed some more.
“The White House is suggesting that the Egyptians turn the internet back on and the social networks, that sort of thing, and of course to end the violence. You'd be supportive of that, would you?”
Again, Rudd would have none of it:
Well I've not seen White House statements to that effect. I go back to what I said before. We ourselves have long supported democratic transformation across the Middle East and across the Arab world, but equally we strongly emphasise the importance for those things to occur peacefully and without violence.
Note the ‘but’ in the second sentence. The implied contrast with Rudd’s support for ‘democratic transformation’ suggests that the condemnation of violence is directed at the protesters rather than those firing rubber bullets and tear gas at them.
The last few weeks have been an interesting time for freedom, a concept that, was, not so very long ago, ostentatiously central to Western foreign policy...
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Jeff Sparrow @'ABC'

Principles of War

#25jan #egypt

Dan Nolan
Unsure if arrested or about to be deported. 6 of us held at army checkpoint outside Hilton hotel. Equipment seized too.

John Barry RIP

Bond composer John Barry dies aged 77

Sharing is not piracy

MoMA Acquires 23 Fonts for Architecture and Design Collection

Explore Joe Fig’s Mini Recreations of Artist Studios

The studios of Jackson Pollock (top) and Chuck Close 
Nearly ten years ago, in an effort to explore the working methods of artists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, Brooklyn artist Joe Fig began constructing a series of diorama-like mini reproductions of their studios. The research ultimately led to Fig’s book, Inside the Painter’s Studio, which includes interviews with Chuck Close, Mary Heilmann, Ryan McGinness, Steve Mumford, Alexis Rockman, and others about their creative process, alongside photos snapped in their studio spaces. Click through to check out a gallery of Fig’s work, and if you live in New York, be sure to check out his upcoming public lecture at SVA on February 3 at 7pm...


Daniel Assange
What's with all the references to a "five-gigabyte hard drive"? Are American bank executives all living in 1995 or something?
Al Arabiya English
Egyptian film legend Omar Sharif joins calls for Mubarak to step down, says 30 years in power is enough

#jan25 #egypt حراس سجن أبو زعبل يعدمون المعتقلين السياسين أمس

Abu Zaabal prison guards executed prisoners politicians yesterday

White House quietly prepares for a post-Mubarak era in Egypt


♪♫ The Subterraneans - My Flamingo/Veiled Women

Via (BIG thanx Marc for the vid!)

Chrissie Hynde puts the 'S' into SEX

Go Away #jan25 #egypt

Blake Hounshell
Note: If the police can be ordered back onto the streets, somebody must have originally ordered them to stand down.

The wrong friends

Myanmar to Open Parliament for First Time Since the ’80s

Conscious - Konnichiwa (K​)​ninja

Cover sketch by Josh Fisher

Why Norway deported its 'Norwegian of the year'

Norway has arrested and deported a young Russian woman who was crowned "Norwegian of the year" after writing a book about her life as an illegal immigrant.
Her fate prompted nationwide public protests against the asylum laws, and the centre-left coalition government has been left shaken.
Maria Amelie, 25, real name Madina Salamova, captured the hearts of many Norwegians with "Illegally Norwegian", a book describing her fleeing the Russian republic of North Ossetia as a child and going underground with her parents when their asylum application was rejected.
Maria Amelie somehow managed to evade Norway's immigration authorities for eight years while learning fluent Norwegian, getting a university degree and then writing her best-selling book.
"I was born in the Caucasus but I have spent more than half of my life fleeing," she told Norwegian media when it was published last autumn.
"A large part of my life I have spent in Norway, so I feel Norwegian and my friends call me Norwegian. I feel this is where I belong."
'Tremendous boost'
Madina Salamova is detained as she reports in to police in Oslo, 24 January  
Ms Salamova was detained when she reported in to police in Oslo
Maria Amelie calls herself a paperless immigrant - someone whose asylum application has been denied and consequently has no papers and no citizen rights.
Her frank book and remarkable integration into Norwegian society endeared her to the Norwegian people and media.
A weekly news magazine awarded her the title "Norwegian of the year" in 2010 but the book also blew her cover.
Many of the people demonstrating against her deportation argue that paperless immigrants should be granted the right to work, pay taxes and access Norway's public health service while they appeal for their situation to be resolved.
Solomon from Ethiopia demonstrated in Oslo earlier this week. He says he has been a paperless immigrant in Norway for 10 years, and that Maria Amelie's book has helped throw light on his and many others' situations.
"It was a tremendous boost," he says.
"She's a voice for the voiceless - those who are living in hiding themselves and living in a very, very difficult situation."
Maria Amelie was 12 when her parents fled North Ossetia, after her father's business empire crumbled when he backed the losing party in the 1998 parliamentary elections.
Their lives were suddenly at risk from creditors and gangsters, they said, and it was not enough to get asylum.
Her parents are still in hiding.
Child migrant
Madina Salamova (second from top) boards a jet from Oslo to Moscow, 24 January  
Madina Salamova flew to Moscow
Marie Amelie's lawyer, Brynjulf Risnes, feels Norway's immigration authorities fail in their mandate to also consider human factors.
"The obvious human factor in this case is that she came as a child, and a child should not be responsible for what her parents have done," he told the BBC.
"Another factor is that her integration into society is obviously unique. Her opponents say we can't treat her differently because of this but this is not the correct legal argument because the law actually does want to reward this kind of argument."
Yet Norway's Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, has stood firm throughout this case. Speaking on national television, he said he understood why people were demonstrating.
"But my task is to make sure we execute a fair refugee and asylum policy, so we have to treat people on an equal basis, [so] that those who are in need of protection are the ones who are allowed to stay," Mr Stoltenberg said.
His Labour Party faces a right-of-centre opposition ready to attack any sign of weakness on immigration. The government's minority partner, the Socialist Left Party, is keen to ease immigration laws, and this has led to serious tensions within the government.
But critics say the government need not have bent any rules to allow Maria Amelie to stay.
John Peder Egenaes, head of Amnesty International Norway, said: "Norway is one of the few countries that have not at any point had any kind of regularisation of these people's situations.
"I believe six million people have undergone so-called regularisation in Europe.
"It basically means their status as illegal is changed to legal. And this has never happened in Norway. We are just creating a paperless underclass right now."
Maria Amelie's supporters hope she will now be able to apply for a work permit from Russia and return as a legal Russian immigrant worker.
Meanwhile thousands of other paperless immigrants in Norway will continue their fight for more rights and what they see as a fairer hearing for their cases.

Watch Julian Assange on CBS's 60 Minutes

Artwork by Jenny Morgan (left) and Daniel Gordon (right)
CBS 60 minutes Assange interview part 1,2 and extras

Polar bear makes marathon swim 426 miles across Arctic seas

Julian Assange: 'How do you attack an organisation? You attack its leadership'

Julian Assange at Ellingham Hall, Norfolk, Britain - 24 Dec 2010
Julian Assange at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk. Photograph: Chris Bourchier/Rex

Julian Assange awakes to talk, from the nap he has stolen in an armchair at the Norfolk country house where he is staying. He has been up all night disseminating, on his WikiLeaks site, US State Department cables and documents relevant to the momentous events unfolding in Egypt, and they make remarkable reading.
The American diplomats writing the cables leaked to Assange report many of the reasons for the Egyptian uprising: torture of political dissidents, even common criminals, to obtain confessions; widespread repression and fear; and – of special interest to anyone who follows WikiLeaks – the increasingly important role of internet activism, opposition blogging and communication with democratic movements within and without the country over the web.
As ever with the diplomatic memorandums published by WikiLeaks – an act of dissemination for which Assange has become public enemy number one in the US – the cables are, ironically, testimony to the professionalism and straight- talking of the US State Department. Assange concedes that the cables contain "a relative honesty and directness, and quite a lot of wannabe Hemingway".
This is exactly what WikiLeaks considers itself established to do, exactly the kind of moment in history that Assange's organisation feels it can illuminate for the world – and to which it may even have contributed, he claims, "by creating an attitude towards freedom of expression", and by being read by Egyptians themselves. This should be one of the great days in the history of his organisation: Assange and a group of his colleagues huddled over a thicket of laptop computers, downloading, following events, sharing news and occasionally whooping at it. It is one hell of an hour in WikiLand, but a weird one, too, for other things are also on Assange's mind.
Tomorrow a book he considers to be an attack on him will be published by journalists with whom he once closely collaborated at the Guardian, sister newspaper to the Observer. Neither the Guardian nor Assange now speaks of one another with affection. The front page of the International Herald Tribune on the kitchen table next door carries an article of record length by the executive editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller, charting what Keller sees as an odyssey through the dealings with a difficult man, after which a "period of intense collaboration and regular contact with our source" came to a close – and an acrimonious one at that. Keller's article appears reasoned, I say to Assange, who retorts that he finds it "grotesque".
Moreover, in eight days' time Assange must face an extradition hearing instigated by authorities in Sweden, wishing to question him over alleged sex offences, a subject that his lawyers had advised him not to speak about in this interview. The hearings in London are due for 7-8 February – and on the first night, "right in the middle of the hearings", says Assange, "BBC Panorama will broadcast a sleazy piece" about Wiki-Leaks. "It's a mad scramble to get books out that self-justify their roles in all this," claims Assange, "instead of getting on with the job of writing about the information and the cables themselves." It was not, he concedes, always this way...

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EFF Uncovers Widespread FBI Intelligence Violations

EFF has uncovered widespread violations stemming from FBI intelligence investigations from 2001 - 2008. In a report released today, EFF documents alarming trends in the Bureau’s intelligence investigation practices, suggesting that FBI intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed.
Using documents obtained through EFF's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, the report finds:
Evidence of delays of 2.5 years, on average, between the occurrence of a violation and its eventual reporting to the Intelligence Oversight Board
Reports of serious misconduct by FBI agents including lying in declarations to courts, using improper evidence to obtain grand jury subpoenas, and accessing password-protected files without a warrant
Indications that the FBI may have committed upwards of 40,000 possible intelligence violations in the 9 years since 9/11
EFF's report stems from analysis of nearly 2,500 pages of FBI documents, consisting of reports of FBI intelligence violations made to the Intelligence Oversight Board — an independent, civilian intelligence-monitoring board that reports to the President on the legality of foreign and domestic intelligence operations. The documents constitute the most complete picture of post-9/11 FBI intelligence abuses available to the public. Our earlier analysis of the documents showed the FBI's arbitrary disclosure practices.
EFF's report underscores the need for greater transparency and oversight in the intelligence community. As part of our ongoing effort to inform the public and elected officials about abusive intelligence investigations, we are distributing copies of the report to members of Congress.
A pdf copy of the report can be downloaded here.
Mark Rumold @'EFF'

The Twitter Revolution Must Die

100,000 P2P Users Sued in US Mass Lawsuits

From today's 'Age' (This could save you LOTS of money!)

Upgrade HA!

Fuck Mubarak

What do you think of the activities of WikiLeaks? (60 minutes/Vanity Fair poll)

Ignorance is bliss?


Guardian names Manning as source. Sarah Tisdall mark 2. The slimiest media organization in the UK.

Meet the Two American Companies Helping Egypt Restrict Its People

استنفار أمني في مدن بشرق ليبيا

Security alert in the cities of eastern Libya


No ‘Berlin Moment’ in Egypt

Out of the mouths of babes...

Drum solo!!!

jeremy scahill
All you right wingers who called Al Jazeera "terrorist" TV look pretty stupid right about now as you RT Al Jazeera

#jan25 #egypt

Aaron Bady
"Egypt was the first Arab country to buy F-16s, widely viewed as a symbol of political and security ties with US"

Spot the difference #jan25 #egypt

(Thanx 'exiledsurfer'!)

This is crazy #jan25 #egypt

Al-Jazeera Live Stream

Lara Setrakian
Fighter jets crossing over Cairo...loudly. A show of force from the Army, with no POLICE in place

Sunday, 30 January 2011

This will be...interesting

This is going to be a weird one. 
Firstly the temp is going to hit 40 today and I am heading off to Melbourne's Big Day Out and as long as I manage to avoid Tool and Rammstein I should be fine. Looking forward to Primal Scream, Stooges, Grinderman etc. The only problem is that I had my appendix removed on Wednesday and to say that I am still fairly sore would be a little bit of an understatement!
But gotta do what you gotta do!
Jacob Appelbaum
Unconfirmed but perhaps ICC cares: 's sons are in London, here's the address: 28 Wilton Place, Westminster SW1X 8RL

The Twitterverse Responds to Protests in Egypt [STATS]

Blake Hounshell
Huh? Stephen Hadley says a putsch by the Muslim Brotherhood is one of two likely options if Egypt defends into chaos

♪♫ Mutamassik - Take The Hit

Mutamassik (meaning “stronghold” and “tenacity” in Arabic) is the nom de tune of Giulia Lolli, a half-Italian/half-Egyptian composer and DJ with a background that’s reflected in her splintered internationalist musical style. Born in Italy and raised in the American Rustbelt, Lolli went to New York City in time to swoop quickly in and out of the illbient scene of the mid-‘90s before heading out to Cairo, and finally landing up in what she terms a “CAVEmen-style” existence with her husband, Brooklyn guitarist Morgan Craft, and child in Tuscany. Lolli has described her music as “Sa’aidi Hardcore & Baladi Breakbeats: Egyptian & Afro-Asiatic Roots mixed with the head-nod of hip-hop & the bass and syncopation of hardstep.” (The term “Sa’aidi” can refer to people of Upper [central-eastern] Egypt, and can also be interpreted as “ascending”; “Baladi” refers to traditional, oft-rural Arabic folk music.)
More and FREE album download
@'Dangerous Minds'

Damage At The National Museum In Egypt

Why We Should Support Democratic Revolution in the Islamic World



Boy fæces charges

President Obama: here is your "game changer"

Reply from friend on Hyves "I'm not pro-hanging, but isn't drug-smuggling wrong?" in regard to->

Zahra Bahrami RIP

The Dutch government froze its official contacts with Iran on Saturday to protest the hanging of a Dutch-Iranian woman in Tehran, the Foreign Ministry said.
Iranian Ambassador Gharib Abadi was informed of the sanctions after he confirmed reports that Zahra Bahrami, 45, was executed. She had participated in protests against Iran's disputed presidential election in 2009.
Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal was "shocked, shattered by this act by a barbaric regime," said spokesman Bengt van Loosdrecht, especially since Abadi had assured the Dutch minister on Friday that Bahrami's legal avenues had not yet been exhausted.
Iran Hangs Dutch Woman Arrested after Protests
Reuters | Jan 29
An Iranian-Dutch woman, arrested after taking part in anti-government protests in Iran in 2009, has been hanged for drug smuggling, the semi-official Mehr news agency said on Saturday.
"A woman smuggler named Zahra Bahrami, daughter of Ali, has been hanged today for the possession and selling of narcotics," Mehr reported, quoting the court.
The 45-year-old woman's daughter was quoted by the rights group International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran as saying the drug charges were fabricated after Bahrami was arrested for taking part in protests in December 2009.
Iran Hangs Iranian-Dutch Woman for Drug Smuggling
AFP (via Vancouver Sun) | Jan 28
The prosecutor's office confirmed on Saturday that she had been arrested for "security crimes."
But elaborating on her alleged drug smuggling, the office said Bahrami had used her Dutch connections to smuggle narcotics into Iran.
"The convict, a member of an international drug gang, smuggled cocaine to Iran using her Dutch connections and had twice shipped and distributed cocaine inside the country," it said.
During a search of her house, authorities found 450 grams of cocaine and 420 grams of opium, the office said, adding that investigations revealed she had sold 150 grams of cocaine in Iran.
Lawyer in Shock over Dutch-Iranian Client's Execution: 'Her Investigation Was Not Yet Complete'
ICHRI | Jan 29
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran was able to contact Bahrami's lawyer, Jinoos Sharif Razi in Tehran. [She] was not aware of the execution. "I am shocked. I was absolutely not informed about this. They should have informed her lawyer of the execution, but I had no idea. I don't know what to say. Just that I am shocked," she said.
An informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that during Zahra Bahrami's detention, her interrogation team was the Iranian Intelligence Ministry's Anti-Espionage Team. Therefore the possibility that her initial charges were drug-related is nil. According to the said source, during her first few weeks of detention in prison, Zahra Bahrami was physically and psychologically tortured to provide televised confessions according to a pre-written scenario.
Jinoos Sharif told the Campaign that the Iranian Judiciary has not yet reviewed the security charges waged against her client. "I am bewildered as to how my client's death sentence was issued while her security charges had not yet been reviewed."
"My mother always says that the confessions extracted from her and her participation in a television interview were all done under duress, and that she was forced to do it, as they had promised to help her. Unfortunately, she was not helped at all," Zahra Bahrami's daughter told the Campaign last week. Asked whether her mother transported drugs during her visits to Iran, her daughter said: "As her daughter, I do not accept any of these accusations. My mother said in court that because she was under pressure during the interrogations, she was made to say those things. My mother is not interested in such things at all. She doesn't even smoke cigarettes, let alone possessing drugs. How could someone who participates in [post-] election gatherings and endangers her life, engage in such actions against her country?"
See also: Report of execution in Farsi (Human Rights Activists News Agency) | "Daughter of Ashura Death Row Prisoner: Mom's False Confessions Based on Promise of Release" (Rah-e Sabz [Jaras] via Persian2English) | "Zahra Bahrami's Upcoming Trial and Possible Death Sentence" (Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran via Persian2English)
@'Tehran Bureau'


Billy Bragg
Important lesson from the London demo today: no kettle = no violence. Coalition, Mayor & Met Police please take note

The Tweets Must Flow

Johann Hari on Human Rights

Johann Hari: Why is it wrong to protect gay children?

The best view of Heaven is from Hell

Photographer Bran Symondson talks about capturing intimate images of an opium-loving police force in war-torn Afghanistan.
@'Dazed Digital'
Yes, we may have helped Tunisia, Egypt. But let us not forget the elephant in the room: Al Jazeera + sat dishes