First off: Today would have been Mohammed Bouazizi’s 27th birthday.
Important notice on Tunisia, linked by AnonNewsNet
We, the people of Tunisia, must take advantage of this confusion to turn this popular insurgency into a full fledged revolution. We proved twice, during the two historical sit-ins, that January the 14th is far beyond a hunger riot or a short outburst of pride. This transition period could be far more important than what follows. We are off the beaten paths and we have no role model to aspire to. So let us keep the pressure on and take our destiny into our own hands. Read all
After the revolution in Egypt a referendum was held about amendments to the constitution. A majority of 77.2% voted yes, 22.8% voted no. Not everybody seems happy with the outcome, and this personal story provides some insight to the reasons of disappointment.
Still, the Egyptian revolution may have been succesfull in ousting Hosni Mubarak, but it seems safe to say that the same revolution is far from over at this point. On April 1st 2011 hundreds of thousands returned to Tahrir Square to Save The Revolution.
The Arab Spring has also reached Iraq
In Morocco protesters are still demanding democratic changes and call for an end to corruption.
In Syria many people are angered by the killing of pro-reform protesters in the city of Daraa by government forces. The killings now have led to nationwide demonstrations against the regime of president Bashar “special rendition” Al-Assad.
Regime sources point at Israel for sending mass text messages into Syria to ignite more unrest. Of course it’s almost impossible to confirm this, and other Arab sources strongly deny these allegation, but in the recent past the Israeli military has used the same kind SMS-tactics in Lebanon.
Nevertheless, Syrian people have all the right to stand up for their freedom, if you’d ask me.
Assad already fired his cabinet.
As I point out in the Libya section below: Qatar, together with Saudi Arabia, assisted Bahrain in crushing recently held pro-democracy protests. The US owns a Navy base in Bahrain. UK and US arms are used in the crackdowns. Still freedom seems far away.
Massive explosions in an ammunition factory, in the city of Jaar, killed more than 100 Yemeni people yesterday, and the deathtoll of the tragic accident (likely caused by a cigarrette) is expected to rise.
Goverment sources, however, blame “Al Qaeda” for the blast. The Yemeni regime is a partner of the US in the so-called “war on terror” , but it’s obvious that their claims about Al Qaeda should be taken with a big grain of salt.
Protesters demanded the release of prisoners being in prison without trial , for since 16 years. Earlier this month there were some more small pro-freedom protests in Saudi Arabia. This could, in geopolitical sense, become a very interesting year.
And an African Spring would surely be a blessing to Ivory Coast, also dealing with ongoing violence ignited by struggles between two presidential candidates, Gbagbo and (internationally recognised as victor of the elections) Ouatarra. The Lebanese community in the country has received death threats by Gbagbo -supporters, probably because Lebanon was the first state to recognize Ouatarra as the new president.
On March 12 100000’s of protesters rallied in Lissabon, Faro, Porto and other cities,in protest against the lack of a future for young people in Portugal. More demonstrations are expected.
More than 200,000 people took part in anti-nuclear protests in Germany on Saturday on the eve of state elections where criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s nuclear policies has already given her opposition the edge. Read further
The protests are a response to the nuclear meltdown disaster in the Japanese Fukushima plant, following a devastating earthquake and a tsunami, earlier this month.
-Dutch students are taking the lead in protests against cuts on higher education, by the rightwing coalition (Christian Democrats CDA, Liberals VVD and far right PVV).
-Online protests appear against cuts in public library fundings
–Public transport workers will go on strike on 7th,20th and 22nd of April
-A big anti-nuclear protest is planned on April 16th
-The resistance against the Dutch passport law (every new passport requires mandatory fingerprints) is still growing
The FNV doesn’t seem to understand the grave consequences of the plans proposed by the European Commission.
…unions from in-and outside the country organized a mass demonstration at the EU-summit in Brussels against austerity measures, also criticising European policies on banks.
Though the protests were of significant size, it was still small compared to a huge demonstration in the…
Between 250000 and 500000 protesters demonstrated against both budget cuts, and corporate tax evasion. Though the demonstration was peaceful in general, a few hundred rioters and riot police were involved in some violence. Unconfirmed detail: A Sky News reporter allegedly offered €25 to a protester to throw a brick.
Hospital doctors across the country have called for strikes on March 30th and 31st, to protest health system cuts. Source
Thousands of Bulgarians have held an anti-government protest in the capital, Sofia, to demand the resignation of the right-wing government.
The protest was called for by the social-democratic Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and held in Sofia’s Alexander Batenberg square, Bulgarian Focus News Agency reported.
The protest comes less than two weeks after massive rallies in the country against a sharp increase in fuel, electricity and food prices.
Reports put the number of Saturday’s protesters between 4,000 and 16,000 people.
Read more at Activist Post
Police truck spraying vaste quantities of teargas at peaceful protesters, March 30, 2011, Tegucigalpa. All photos, Karen Spring, Rights Action, March 30, 2011, Tegucigalpa.)
ON THE STREETS OF TEGUCIGALPA, ENDLESS REPRESSION BY MILITARY-BACKED REGIME
By Karen Spring (Rights Action, Tegucigalpa, March 30, 2011
Today, a National Strike was called in Honduras by the public school teachers and the National Front of Popular Resistance to protest the last two weeks of brutal and fierce repression, the eighteen political prisoners on trial and the attempt of the post-coup regime and international financial institutions to privatize public education.
In a month where massive pro-unity demonstrations by Palestinian youth from both Gaza and Westbank broke out, protests in Nabi Saleh are quashed by Israeli forces, Rachel Corrie is remembered, you could say those rockets from Gaza came just in time to divert the attention away from the movement, and give Tel Aviv an excuse to bomb some kids again, and to deploy an expensive “missile shield.”
Let me start with a well known, disturbing video.
Because at this moment, this “UN intervention” is becoming another one of those infamous humanitarian NATO-wars. And just like the example with the KLA (UCK) in Kosovo, the “coalition” sides with organizations claiming to be revolutionaries and freedom fighters.
But exactly how “revolutionary” are the rebels? Custom made twitter-fashionable PR stuff like the so called “Hipster Libyan Rebel” can’t prevent us from drawing some painful, but necessary conclusions about who exactly the UN and NATO are aiding in this Libyan war:
1: The French secret service has been involved in preparations to topple Khadafi since October 2010. They worked with defected Libyan “Chief of Protocol” Nouri Mesmari. This operation included business deals between French corporations and Benghazi based “revolutionary leaders.” Here’s probably why:
2: The French president Sarkozy failed in closing a deal to build nuclear power plants around Tripoli, and also failed in selling a fleet of Dassault fighter jets to Khadafi (as if France, USA , UK , The Netherlands and some other European countries hadn’t sold enough arms to Khadafi).
Sarkozy lost the deal to both Russia and Italian based corporations ENI and Finmeccania. This probably explains why Italy doesn’t want to get actively involved in the Libyan war.
By the way: if you think you smell a rat by reading the name of the last mentioned corporation, you’re right.More on that later.
3: Khadafi has been using propaganda, as if Libya is facing a conflict with “Al Qaeda.” Well, the problem is: he is wrong. But that’s only because Al Qaeda, as an organization, is a complete fabrication. However, if Khadafi is pointing at extremist islamist militias, he, and I regret having to write this down, is not that far from the truth.
Some rebels belong to a militant group named Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya (Libyan Islamic Fighting Group-LIFG).
Former MI5 officer and whistleblower David Shayler (what the hell happened to this guy btw) once claimed that LIFG received large sums of money from the British intelligence service MI6 , to assasinate Khadafi in 1996. Shayler has received a lot of criticism, not only because of this claim but also about statements he had made about 9/11 being a false flag attack.
It still should be noted, that a rebel commander named Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi admitted to Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that his fighters actually DO have “Al Qaeda”-links.
4: We need to ask ourselves why the USA (through the CIA , see WSWS), French Intelligence, Israel, Chad and dictator-led states like Saudi Arabia, are (or have been) involved in training, funding, arming and facilitating one of the more significant opposition movements in Libya, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL). We could accuse those parties of a lot of things, except for being democracy and freedom-champions, do we?
According to former war correspondent Keith Harmon Snow:
The FNSL held its national congress in the USA in July 2007. Reports of ‘atrocities’ and civilian deaths are being channeled into the western press from operations in Washington DC, and the opposition FNSL is reportedly organizing resistance and military attacks from both inside and outside Libya.”
I suppose this “channeling” is currently happening on social media like twitter and facebook. Never before I’ve seen such huge amounts of militarist propaganda ( adapted by even leftwing peace-activists ) as on both social media websites. It’s really painful to see so many people repeating uncheckable statements like parrots, probably thinking they’re supporting ordinary people in Libya. Which the NFSL is obviously not:
“The main group leading the insurrection is the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition which includes the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL). The NFSL, which is leading the violence, is a U.S.-sponsored armed militia of mostly Libyan expatriates and tribes opposed to al-Qaddafi.
5: Transitional National Council (TNC) and the rising revolutionary PR problems
The TNC sees itself a the transitional government of “liberated Libya.” They have released a statement this weekend in which they deny “false” allegations regarding abusive treatments of detainees and prisoners.
Despite the denial, several reports have surfaced in a variety of media outlets, such as LA Times, Telegraph and Al Jazeera, supporting those accusations. Also it seems clear that many so-called “mercenaries”, detained and accused by rebel groups of collaborating with Khadafi, are actually foreign construction workers. Reports have emerged about refugees in Tunesian border camps, accusing the rebels of looting, violence and racist behaviour directed at African workers.
Looks like the empire plays both sides:
An Italian bed full of neocons, rightwing politicians, Khadafi and corporations
Earlier above I mentioned the involvement of the Finmeccania corporation in business deals the Italians grabbed away from the French. Finmeccania is a major supplier to the Italian Ministry of Defense. It turns out that Khadafi ’s Libyan Investment Authority is a major shareholder in this corporation.
Keep in mind how neocon prominent John Bolton blasted Obama for not acting swiftly enough on Libya, but warned against the ousting of Egyptian despot Mubarak.
It’s also the oil, stupid
-Noteworthy fact: Qatar is one of the Arab states involved in the coalition airstrikes on Libya. Noble isn’t it?
-Noteworthy fact number 3: the US owns a Navy base in Bahrain.
-By the way: if you don’t wage war for water, you’re a 20th century general.
About those civilian deaths
On Saturday 26th of March, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates claimed:
GATES: “The truth of the matter is we have trouble coming up with proof of any civilian casualties that we have been responsible for. But we do have a lot of intelligence reporting about Qadhafi taking the bodies of the people he’s killed and putting them at the sites where we’ve attacked. We have been extremely careful in this military effort, and not just our pilots but the pilots of the other coalition air forces have really done an extraordinary job.”
SCHIEFFER: “He’s taking bodies and putting them in places?
GATES: “We have a number of reports of that.”
Well..it has to make us wonder why Sky News and Reuters, on the same day, reported that both military AND civilian targets were hit in Centra Libya.
Another case, rarely mentioned in the mainstream media, is the funeral of a baby, killed by a coalition missile in Tripoli. Read the story by independent war correspondent Arnold Karskens.
We should not believe any story about coalition bombs (or rebel artillery) not killing civilians. Bombs kill people. Just as Khadafi’s bombs kill. It’s what war is about and bombs are made for. And then we also have NATO’s DU bombs.
Of course I believe that Khadafi will use any kind of propaganda in his own interests. But it would be very, very naive to not expect the same kind of dirty propaganda from the “good guys.”
What? You don’t believe that? Here’s an example from the Gulf War of 1991:
Remember those “slaughtered Kuwaiti incubator babies?” You don’t? That’s because they never existed.
So, I’d say: expect misleading reports and horror stories coming not just from Libyan State TV. Psychological warfare (for the hearts and minds) will be waged by all parties, not just by Khadafi. It’s part of a deadly, and foolish game called war. You should also expect accusations of being pro-Khadafi, for no other reason than being a critical thinker.
All we can hope for now is that the people of Libya will not only get rid of the Khadafi-clan if the majority really wants that, but also free themselves of imperialist powers. This revolution is going to take much more than just ousting a dictator.