One of the state witnesses has reversed his testimony saying that police obtained his earlier confession that was used against Nour under pressure. This proves the fabricated nature of Ayman Nour case and the regime intentions of framing hiim to prevent him from challenging NDP power monopoly.For those of you unfamiliar with the details, on trial with Nour are five or six others who have confessed their guilt, and are testifying that they forged documents at Nour's behest. Nour claims never to have even met them. I couldn't go to the trial today. But we should be getting word about what transpired shortly.
Al Jazeera may have a more indirect impact as well. There is increasing pressure on state media to reform, as its credibility sinks to all time lows, and viewers increasingly turn to channels such as Al Jazeera for their news. State television was slammed by critics when it failed to cover the April 17 suicide bombing near Al Azhar. A subsequent headline in Al Masry Al Youm read "Egyptian television watched the Al Azhar incident on Al Jazeera." Al Jazeera reported the bombing first at 6:30 pm and was quick to provide analysis and commentary. State television failed to provide coverage of the bombing until 9 p.m., and then they simply rebroadcast MBC's coverage of the incident. Why the delay and the failure to cover the event? According to Al Masry Al Youm, state television's authoritarian news director had his mobile phone turned off and thus couldn't authorize the broadcast. A week later, Osama al-Ghazali Harb, editor in chief of the Al Ahram-owned quarterly journal Al Siyasa Al Dawliyya (International Policy), wrote in Al Ahram Weekly that the state media relies on one of three strategies towards covering unfavorable news: completely ignoring the event, downplaying its importance, or attacking members of the opposition.
"This strategy only serves to highlight the fact that large swathes of the official media continue to live in the 1950s, a proud example of the very worst in state-controlled, dictatorial media even as dictatorships and the absolute state are on the wane," al-Ghazali Harb wrote.Today's Al Misry article also printed a rebuttal from the news director for Egyptian state television in which he pointed out that state television had indeed covered the anti-police violence protests in front of the Interior Ministry a few weeks ago, and also covered the Ayman Nour trial. I have been gone for the past month, so I can't vouch for either of those claims.
Fred Burton, vice president of counter-terrorism with Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based outfit specializing in intelligence and counter-terrorism analysis, issued a report on June 22 describing the remotely detonated charge that killed George Hawi, the former Lebanese Communist Part chief, as "so sophisticated that few in the world could have done it."
The counter-terrorism expert believes that the "complex nature of the Hawi attack narrows down the list of culprits to a few." Among the countries possessing that level of expertise are the United States, Britain, France, Israel and Russia. "This type of technology is only available to government agencies," Burton told United Press International.
Burton, who spent 15 years in U.S. counter-terrorism, told UPI that the "surgical nature of the charge" and the skill set that went into these bombings are "not available for your average terrorist organization."Apparently the same goes for Samir Kassir.
Even though he's running for president of Egypt, Hoffman Estates writer Aladdin Elaasar does not consider himself political.
"My life is an open book. I just like to talk about people's issues," Elaasar said. "If there is someone who can provide services better, then they should. It's not partisan, it's not religious, it's just about public service."
And public service, Elaasar says, is what Egypt desperately needs. The country suffers from high rates of poverty, inequality, illiteracy, human rights violations and unemployment. The country's infrastructure and public transportation are falling apart, and it's polluted.
"People say there is a black cloud over Cairo," Elaasar said. "The city of Cairo is literally choking."It's interesting what the Egyptian expat community is doing, but meanwhile, back home there are more candidates coming out of the woodworks, including a nephew of Anwar Al Sadat. Looks like he has his uncle's sense of panache.
Brave leaders who are committed to individual civil and political freedoms exist within Egyptian society. Ramy Lakah can be added to the list of heroic Egyptian dissidents who include Saad Eddin Ibrahim and Ayman Nour — they are the Andrei Sakharovs, Vaclav Havels, and Natan Sharanskys of their day.That's hilarious. It's true that Lakah was on the board of the Egyptian Organization of Human Rights, but he never was part of those who went out of their way to fight for human rights in Egypt. As for the other attributes she gives him, most are ridiculous. In her attempt to depict Lakah as a Christian leader (she has a long history of manipulating discrimination against Christians and formerly visited Egypt as a member of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a body stacked with Christian and Jewish fundamentalists like Shea and Elliott Abrams), she even makes the mistake of saying he is Coptic--he's actually Catholic. But that is the least of many mistakes and outright lies. The problem is, considering where it is coming from, these are dangerous lies. If Lakah was even a tenth of what Chalabi is, the problem would be different, but in this case either she is an idiot or Lakah paid her a fat sum to write what she did.
Mamdouh Mohamed Makram - Asiut - member of the hamla http://www.hamla.net/ (that is the popular campaign for change, as opposed to the popular movement for change). He was arrested while hanging banners that talk about freedom.
Mohammed Shafiq and Ahmed Said - Cairo - youth for change members arrested in the metro after distributing leaflets written in Colliqual Egyptian Arabic about the deteriorating state of health, education and lack of jobs (released on bail after being interrogated without laywers)
Mostafa Khalil - Mansoura - Kifaya member arrested for putting Kifaya stickers on the walls of his house that face the street.
Khadiga Mohamed Madkour - Kifaya member- was assaulted on the referendum protest and one of the women who pushed charges. I have no idea what was the reason/excuse for her arrest.___________ In another email, the organizer writes:
I just recieved an email confirming the release of all Kifaya related detainees.
The prosecutor general called to personally check their release and informed someone in Mansoura that Kifaya stickers are free speech or something to that effect.____________________ Also tomorrow in Shubra, the protests resume. Pictures and reports to follow.