Daily Archives: December 31, 2013

2013 big moment : When Time Stopped

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Location – Cairo, Egypt – Date : July 3 – Time : 7 p.m. (1700 GMT)

Egypt’s people and armed forces overthrew  Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday and announced a political transition with the support of a wide range of political, religious and youth leaders.

After a day of drama in which tanks and troops deployed near the presidential palace as a military deadline for Morsi to yield to mass protests passed, the top army commander General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced on television that the president had “failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people”.

Mideast Egypt

Flanked by political and religious leaders and top generals, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the suspension of the Islamist-tinged constitution and a roadmap for a return to democratic rule under a revised rulebook.

The president of the supreme constitutional court will act as interim head of state, assisted by an interim council and a technocratic government until new presidential and parliamentary elections are held.

“Those in the meeting have agreed on a roadmap for the future that includes initial steps to achieve the building of a strong Egyptian society that is cohesive and does not exclude anyone and ends the state of tension and division,” Sisi said in a solemn address broadcast live on state television.

After he spoke, Millions of anti-Morsi protesters in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square erupted into wild cheering, setting off fireworks and waving flags. Cars drove around the capital honking their horns in celebration.

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The Muslim Brotherhood president, in office for just a year, was at a Republican Guard barracks surrounded by barbed wire, barriers and troops, but it was not clear whether he was under arrest. The state newspaper Al-Ahram said the military had told Morsi at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) that he was no longer head of state.

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“TERRORISTS AND FOOLS”

Military chiefs, vowing to restore order in a country racked by protests over Morsi’s Islamist policies, earlier issued a call to battle in a statement headlined “The Final Hours”. They said they were willing to shed blood against “terrorists and fools”.

Armored vehicles took up position outside the state broadcasting headquarters on the Nile River bank, where soldiers patrolled the corridors and non-essential staff were sent home.

In another show of force, several hundred soldiers with armored vehicles staged a parade near the presidential palace, and security sources said Morsi and the entire senior leadership of his Muslim Brotherhood were banned from leaving the country.

Security sources told Reuters the authorities had sent a list of at least 40 leading members of the Brotherhood to airport police.

U.S. oil prices rose to a 14-month high above $100 a barrel partly on fears that unrest in Egypt could destabilize the Middle East and lead to supply disruption.

The massive anti-Morsi protests showed that the Brotherhood had not only alienated liberals and secularists by seeking to entrench Islamic rule, notably in a new constitution, but had also angered millions of Egyptians with economic mismanagement.

33 Million protester in Egypt – 30 June 2013

Tourism and investment have dried up, inflation is rampant and fuel supplies are running short, with power cuts lengthening in the summer heat and motorists spending hours fuelling cars.

Liberal opponents said a rambling late-night television address by Morsi showed he had “lost his mind”.

The country’s two main religious leaders, the head of the Al-Azhar Islamic institute and the Coptic Pope, both expressed their support for the army’s roadmap in speeches after Sisi

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Egypt likely to change roadmap, hold presidential vote first – sources

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CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s government is likely to call a presidential election before parliamentary polls, officials said on Monday, rearranging the political timetable in a way that could see army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi elected head of state by April.

Parliamentary elections were supposed to happen first under the roadmap unveiled after the army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July after mass protests against his rule.

But critics have campaigned for a change, saying the country needs an elected leader to direct government at a time of economic and political crisis and to forge a political alliance before a potentially divisive parliamentary election.

SISI YET TO DECLARE PRESIDENTIAL BID

A draft constitution concluded on December 1 opened the way for a change in the order of the elections by leaving open the question of which should come first.

Secular-leaning politicians who want the presidential election before the parliamentary polls lobbied interim head of state Adly Mansour during four recent meetings, according to officials familiar with what was discussed.

“The forces that attended the four meetings agreed, with a large percentage, to have the presidential elections first and that means that most likely the presidential elections will be first,” said one of the officials.

An army official added: “Presidential elections are most likely to be held first, as it seems to be the demand of most parties so far.”

Holding the presidential election first would “accelerate the process of bringing Sisi as head of state”, said Mustapha Kamel Al-Sayid, a professor of political science at Cairo University.

“The people who are pushing for a change are doing so because they would like to have him as head of state.”

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Sisi, 59, has yet to announce his candidacy. An army official familiar with his thinking said last week he was still undecided as he weighs up the manifold problems facing a country in deep economic crisis.

But he may have no choice. His supporters see Sisi as the only man able to restore stability after three years of turmoil.

And analysts say the powerful security apparatus will be putting pressure on him to run as it presses a crackdown on the Brotherhood and combats militant attacks that have spiralled since Mursi’s overthrow.

There have been three bombings in the last week, the bloodiest of them an attack on a police station that killed 16 people in the city of Mansoura, north of Cairo. The state blamed the Brotherhood, and the government designated the Brotherhood group a terrorist organisation.

The referendum has been set for January 14-15.

The draft says steps towards holding the first of the elections should be begin no later than 90 days from the ratification of the constitution. Mansour said on Sunday the government was committed to holding both presidential and parliamentary elections within six months of its approval.

The Islamist Nour Party, which came second to the Brotherhood in the last parliamentary elections, had said secular parties wanted to push back the parliamentary election because they were worried about losing to Islamists again.

The Nour, an ultraorthodox Salafi party, supported the removal of Mursi. Sherif Taha, the party spokesman, said the Nour would not object to holding the presidential election first if that was the result of “consensus”.

He also said the government must offer clear guarantees that the parliamentary election would follow.

Father of slain Tsarnaev associate pens letter to Obama, alleges FBI deliberately killed son

 Abdulbaki Todashev

Abdulbaki Todashev

The father of Ibragim Todashev, a native of Chechnya, who was shot dead by an FBI agent in Florida last spring has written a letter to US President Barack Obama in which he asks the president to help establish the truth about what happened on the day of his son’s death.

Caitlin Hayden, spokesperson of the US National Security Council, has confirmed that the letter has been received. She said that the White House is studying the letter so as to take necessary steps.

Todashev’s lawyer says that his client fears that the truth might be concealed and asks President Obama to prevent this. Todashev is also surprised that the US authorities are secretive about the investigation of his son’s death and that the investigation is taking such a long time. Florida Attorney General, who received the report of the Department of Justice about the circumstances of Todashev’s death as early as in August, has not expressed his opinion yet.

Ibragim Todashev was killed by FBI agents in his Florida apartment on 22 May during an interrogation. Shortly before his death the FBI and Massachusetts police questioned Todashev about two crimes, namely the Boston terrorist act on 15 April allegedly carried out by the Tsarnayev brothers and the triple murder in Waltham City in September 2011.

FBI’s self-investigation always leads to self-exoneration – Todashev’s attorney

US offers Russia support over 2014 Olympics security

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The United States has offered to help Russia secure the 2014 Winter Olympics following two deadly attacks in two days in the country.

“The US government has offered our full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games, and we would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation for the safety of the athletes, spectators, and other participants,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement on Monday.

A blast hit a trolleybus on Monday morning in Volgograd, killing at least 14 people. Another explosion on Sunday killed 17 people at Volgograd’s main train station.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered tighter security nationwide as the country is due to hold the 2014 Olympics in February.

Washington’s offer comes after US President Barack Obama refused to attend in the opening or closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games.

US-Russia relations have been icy over a wide range of issues from foreign policy to human rights.

Moscow’s decision to grant one-year political asylum to American whistleblower Edward Snowden has angered American politicians.

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee said on Monday it is confident the event will be “safe and secure.”

“I have personally written to the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, to express our condolences to the Russian people and our confidence in the Russian authorities to deliver safe and secure Games in Sochi,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement.

“I am certain that everything will be done to ensure the security of the athletes and all the participants of the Olympic Games,” he said.

تفجيرات فولغوغراد.. الحصيلة الى 33 قتيلا والحزن والترقب الأمني يطغيان على فرحة العيد

أعلنت وزارة الطوارئ الروسية 31 ديسمبر/كانون الأول أن حصيلة ضحايا التفجيرين الانتحاريين اللذين هزا مدينة فولغوغراد جنوب روسيا يوم الأحد والاثنين ارتفعت الى 33 قتيلا. وأوضحت الوزارة أن أحد الجرحى الذين أصيبوا في التفجير الأول الذي استهدف محطة فولغوغراد للسكة الحديدية، توفي في المستشفى الليلة الماضية، كما توفي أحد جرحى التفجير الثاني. وبذلك تكون حصيلة التفجير الأول الذي وقع في الساعة الثانية عشرة و45 دقيقة الأحد في مبنى محطة السكة الحديدة، هي 18 قتيلا، بينما لقي 15 آخرون مصرعهم في التفجير الثاني الذي وقع في أقل من 24 ساعة بعد التفجير الأول، وتحديدا في الساعة الثامنة والنصف صباح الاثنين، في حافلة كانت تمر بمنطقة مكتظة بالسكان في ساعة الذروة. وتشير وزارة الطوارئ الى أن 106 أشخاص أصيبوا في التفجيرين وتم نقل 64 منهم الى المستشفيات. كما نقلت طائرة تابعة لوزارة الطوارئ الروسية الليلة الماضية 7 من الجرحى حالتهم خطرة، الى موسكو، لتلقي العلاج في أفضل المستشفيات هناك

ويرى المحققون أن التفجيرين مرتبطان ببعضهما البعض، وبتفجير انتحاري آخر استهدف حافلة في فولغوغراد منذ شهرين. وحسب النتائج الأولية للتحقيق، فإن الانتحارين هما رجلان (علما بأن تفجير أكتوبر نفذته إمرأة)، وأحدهما بافيل بيتشيونكين من جمهورية ماري إيل بوسط روسيا، اعتنق الإسلام عام 2012 وانضم الى الجماعة المتطرفة التي تنشط في منطقة بويناكسك الداغستانية. ويشير المحققون الى أن جماعة بويناكسك المتطرفة تعتبر الأكثر نشاطا وتمثل الخطر الأكبر، إذ تضم عددا كبيرا من المقاتلين من أصول سلافية، ومنهم زعيم الجماعة أليكسي باشينتسيف

ويقول المحققون أن توجه الجماعات المتطرفة في شمال القوقاز لاستخدام أعضائها من أصول سلافية لتنفيذ الهجمات الانتحارية، يزيد من صعوبة عمل الأجهزة الأمنية على إحباط المخططات الإرهابية

وقد دخلت وحدات من القوات الداخلية مدينة فولغوغراد الاثنين 20 ديسمبر/كانون الأول لضمان الأمن، وذلك على خلفية مخاوف من وجود مخططات إرهابية أخرى مع اقتراب عيد رأس السنة وهو العيد الأهم بالنسبة للروس. وكان الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين قد أمر بتشديد الإجراءات الأمنية في الأراضي الروسية

Egypt Arrests 4 Al Jazeera English Journalists charged with a terrorism-related offense

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Al Jazeera – false news

Egyptian authorities arrested a team of journalists from the news channel Al Jazeera English on Sunday, accusing them of broadcasting “false news” that damaged national security as well as possessing written materials that promoted “incitement,” including information about student protests in support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Three of the four journalists were arrested at the Cairo Marriott hotel, where they were said to have turned a series of rooms into an improvised bureau. The journalists have been described in many Egyptian media reports as “a terrorist cell” working in support of the Brotherhood, which the government declared a terrorist organization last week. On Monday evening it was reported that their case had been referred to a special national security prosecutor.

Al Jazeera said that the four journalists detained were Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, a Canadian citizen and the channel’s Cairo bureau chief, who previously worked for CNN and contributed to The New York Times; Peter Greste, an Australian and two-decade veteran of Reuters, CNN and the BBC ; Baher Mohamed, a Cairo-based producer; and the cameraman Mohamed Fawzy.

In a statement, Al Jazeera English demanded the release of its employees and called their arrest part of a pattern of “harassment by Egyptian security forces which has arrested our colleagues, confiscated our equipment and raided our offices despite that we are not officially banned from working there.”

Remark :

August , 2013

On it’s first day of broadcasting in the United States, Al Jazeera aired a fake video of a man supposedly dying of a gun shot wound. The footage showed a man lying on his back, with his shirt covered with blood, as a woman kneeled over him screeching. Then a doctor lifted his shirt to inspect the wound, but there was none.

Al Jazeera is funded by Qatar, who also funded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Ironically, just before Al Jazeera aired the video, they had filed a lawsuit against AT&T. A spokesman said, “Al Jazeera America’s strong hope is to resolve this matter quickly so that AT&T’s customers will have access to our unbiased, fact-based and in-depth coverage of the news that is important to Americans.”

Once the doctor lifted the man’s shirt and exposed the lie, the man on the ground repositioned himself to block the camera. The camera was then turned away. The scam was exposed by FSA Crimes, a nonprofit organization that tracks war crimes.

This is not the first time that Al Jazeera was accused of doctoring a tape or perpetrating a fraud in order to show the Muslim Brotherhood in a favorable light.

The following is a statement by FSA Crimes:

“The strong bias of Al Jazeera in Egypt was always to be expected. Their support for the Muslim Brotherhood was a given and there was never any doubt that the new interim government had their suspicions about the news agency.”

Al Jazeera did not issue a statement on the incident.