To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.— John Cleese 'Letter to USA'
For many years I listened to a show on ABC radio called a ‘Letter from America‘ by Alastair Cooke. Well here is my reply.
Huge demonstration in Cairo – mock trial of Mubarak-Attacks at Tahrir Square, Cairo
I am very concerned about recent events in Cairo. Only two months ago we were glad to see the tyrant, Mubarak, leave Cairo. Millions of people marched. Since then there have been strikes by workers in Egypt.
These actions have followed up the demands for freedom made in Tahrir Square and elsewhere around Egypt and the middle east.
My concern arises because of reports of a large demonstration on Friday 8 April 2011 in Tahrir Square.
There is confusion about the demands made at the demonstration.
Some reports (Socialist Revolution) say it is against the Egyptian regime and the army generals.
Others reports (Press TV) say some say the demonstration demanded that Egypt break off ties with Israel and open the crossing into Gaza.
What is clear from the video below is that the Egyptian army attacked the demonstration and a number of people were shot. The video depicts firing at night into the square. Some of the comments suggest the demonstration was still going on after curfew at 2am.
If you look on the YouTube videos attached to this one, you can see what was left of Tahrir Square on Saturday morning.
It was a waste land occupied by the Egyptian army. Not a demonstrator in sight.
Also, some of the comments in these videos are of great concern.
These comments (in Arabic & English) are made by people who are opposed to progress and change in the middle east.
To interpret the videos is difficult – we need to take care and analyse what is happening from different sources.
We would need to be there to fully understand what is happening.
Overnight – BBC World News described the demonstration on Friday 8 April 2011 as comprising tens maybe hundreds of thousands. The demonstration made a call to have the regime charged with stealing money from the people. The BBC described a mock trial of Mubarak inside a cage in Tahrir square. Mubarak’s speech in reply was broadcast and the Attorney General had the previous Prime Minister charged with fraud related offences. Such is the force of the people. The BBC World news did not describe the shooting in the video below in any detail however did refer to violence late at night. The people vowed to stay in the square until Mubarak was charged. They asked what is Mubarak doing free in Sham el Sheikh when he should be in jail?
In this video (compare with ‘Attack @ Tahrir Square 2’ above) the army and police vanish (late on Friday night)!? I think that the end of this video occurs after the ‘Attack @ Tahrir Square 2’ video above.
You can translate the comments in the video in arabic using Google translate.
The beginning of the end? Again?
Libyan Oil and the world economy
The world is in an interesting situation right now.
The Americans are over-committed with three wars in the Middle East – Iraq, Afghanistan & now Libya. plus they are propping up Israel.
Israel has a boycott, divestment & sanctions plus a military campaign against Gaza since Hamas was democratically elected into government in 2006. The Israeli BDS includes goods such as cement & building materials so they can’t say that the embargo is solely on arms.
The USA has had a full blown BDS (not just a campaign) against Cuba since 1958. It also has a special variant of the BDS in the occupied territories in that it will not permit the building of new houses.
The sole reason Israel has been able to enforce its BDS on Gaza is because of its American firepower in the form of F16s, missiles etc. It uses special caterpillar D9 contraptions (made in USA) to destroy homes built by Palestinians (Jenin,sic). The USA is helping Israel enforce its BDS on Gaza & the occupied territories.
Look at the sanctions campaign against South Africa, the USA only joined that campaign until it was clear the African National Congress ANC would be unable to fall into the communist camp i.e. the US government waited until the soviet union was falling before it supported the sanctions against Sth Africa.
What I am saying is that BDS was not the invention of a ‘left’ international movement, it was borrowed from what the US government did in places like Cuba & South Africa.
The Arab boycotts were copies of what the US government had shown to be effective against Cuba.
This more recent form of boycott (BDS) is supposed to be a copy of the effective boycott against Sth Africa.
There is no doubt that the boycott against Sth Africa played a part in the downfall of apartheid laws, but it was only a small part. Sth African racism is still there but systemic apartheid is not. However it was the ANC & other political parties in SA that really crippled apartheid. Note that there was a military alliance between the ANC & the SA Communist Party CP – a coalition that was composed of black & white Sth Africans. A Lithuanian Jew, Yossel Mashel Slovo, was the leader of the SA CP. It was a combination of armed struggle (they had help from Cuba) and the fortitude of the black Sth Africans i.e. in refusing to obey the pass laws that ended apartheid not the international boycott.
As a side issue, I find it ironic that people claim the boycott in Australia against Sth African apartheid was like the BDS.
I participated in the anti-apartheid campaign (albeit as a christian refusnik, an atheist) – the real boycott here was not a BDS – it was a sporting boycott. This would come as no surprise to black & white Australians whose greatest passion is sport. After the anti-apartheid campaign in 1971, an apartheid football team (a team selected on the basis of race) ‘never’ played in Queensland – should not say ‘never’ – the only football game I have seen in QLD where the teams were selected on the basis of race was a couple of years ago when the murris i.e. Hodges Inglis etc played against a white Australian team with Lockyer, Wallace, Boyd. Of course the murris & kooris won because they are better footballers
The first recession – financial
The global economy is in a state of stagnation + inflation.
The first dip in the global recession in 2008 was caused by the financial crisis in the US housing market. American financial institutions lent money to people who could not pay their debts. Wages were low, housing prices were high and poeple borrowed agains that rising equity in their home. When houses prices started to fall in California & Florida (for the first time in living memory) and interest rates went up, people defaulted on their mortgages.
“A million people would be homeless” said a Wall Street trader. It may have been millions.
Not only that but the third largest bank in the world went under, nevertheless CEOs still got rich because the US federal government bailed the bankers out. By the way, house prices in regional Queensland are starting to fall.
The second recession – energy crisis.
The second dip recession, more accurately stagnation + inflation (=stagflation), is occuring at the same time as a sovereign debt crisis in Europe. A world energy crisis is the reason — it began with the oil spill by BP in the Gulf of Mexico but is made worse by incertainty in the middle east. Flow of Libyan oil (& gas) has stalled becasue of the civil war there. Saudi Arabia, as it often does, is struggling to make up the shortage in oil supply. Libyan oil is sweeter than Saudi oil and even though it represents only a fraction of the world market is difficult to replace.
The crisis in oil is/will produce a shift to coal for energy. Hence the price of coal is going up. The increase in the price of energy is flowing through to increase the price of petrol & food. Shortages are likely to result – they have already hit the Libyans, the first crisis in any civil war, lack of fuel and hence lack of food supply.
The US have produced a stalemate in Libya, if it continues, what deal will they produce? Or will chaos result as in Iraq. Regardless of what Obama does it will take a long time to get oli & gas flowing again, as happened in Iraq.
It is as if one section of the US government is not talking to the other section. Obama made a miltary mistake going into Libya on the side of the rebels. They have no chain of command. Even with NATO bombs the rebels do not appear able to win the conflict and get rid of Qadhafi. What did Obama think would happen?
So the energy crisis is producing a double dip global recession world-wide.
China, the second largest economy in the world rescued us from the first recession in 2008. But now China is having problems of its own – shortage of energy supply is one of them – added are huge inefficiencies in its economy. Re-location of workers causes much suffering in China.
The third largest economy has been in recession fro over 10 years and now with Tsunamis and nuclear energy fall out at Fukashima will continue to slide.
A friend told me an interesting story about Zhou Enlai (we called him, Joe) – the first premier of the Peoples Republic of China. A long time ago, September 1970(?), Joe Enlai went to an arab summit.
He asked Abdel Nasser, then President of Egypt, who was this guy at the summit and he pointed to Qadhafi? Nasser told him ‘that is Colonel Qadhafi who has just taken over in Libya’. Joe EnLai then explained to Nasser that this young Colonel Qadhafi had just asked him if he would sell him a nuclear weapon.
This story, if true, explains what Qadhafi is like. It is no wonder the Libyan people want to get rid of him and his family.
People like that do know how to defend their power base but, in the end, they are stupid because they lack humility and over-reach their capability and that of their country. Saddam Hussein in Iraq was like that. We know that George Bush II was the same. And Tony Blair. Now David Cameron
After all the talk of hope, will Obama end up like the all the rest?
Obama stayed in Iraq, ordered a surge in Afghanistan and now he is bombing Libya. A reluctant warmonger?
12 April 2011