Egyptians End Military Rule And We Can Too


CTV: The Egyptian military has pledged to transfer power to a civilian government by July 1, 2012, The Associated Press is reporting. The move comes as tens of thousands of Egyptians joined a mass protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Tuesday to apply pressure on military leaders to step down and hand power to a civilian government. A military council has ruled Egypt since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak earlier this year. But many have grown impatient with the military rulers’ progress on reforms, which has prompted calls for a “second revolution” and brought thousands back into Tahrir Square for a new round of mass protests. MORE

TIME:  Tens of thousands of Egyptians are once again filling Cairo’s Tahrir Square in defiance of an authoritarian regime, and paying for their stand in blood and pain as security forces fire tear-gas, rubber bullets and even in some instances live ammunition. But the crowds are no longer chanting “The Army and the people are one hand!” as they did in the January rebellion that ended the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak. That slogan had always been wishful thinking, particularly when applied to the Mubarak-appointed generals that eased the strongman into retirement and claimed power for themselves last February. Tuesday’s crowd chanted “The people want the fall of the Marshall,” referring to Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, the 76-year-old head of the military junta that replaced Mubarak, and has since moved to consolidate its own power. Tantawi in an unprecedented televised address to the nation on Tuesday insisted that the transition as authored by his Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) would continue as planned, albeit with an expedited transfer of power to a civilian president next July. As for the protesters’ demand that the junta stand down, Tantawi answered that they’d do so only if that was the verdict of a popular referendum — apparently betting that the protesters in the Square don’t necessarily war_pig_02.jpghave the support of the majority of the electorate. SCAF is made up of generals appointed by Mubarak; Tantawi had been his last defense minister. And over four days of attacks (see photos) on protesters that have seen as many as 30 killed and more than 1,500 wounded, those generals have reminded Egyptians that, in fact, theirs is the hand of authoritarian repression. Indeed, the single greatest cause of the latest political crisis in Egypt appears to be the junta’s inability to learn the lesson of Egypt’s recent history — and that of its neighborhood — that killing unarmed protesters only inflames resistance and negates whatever legitimacy those in power might claim. The generals appeared to be scrambling for legitimacy on Tuesday, Tantawi offering to advance the date for presidential elections to open the way for a handover to civilian government to next July. SCAF has also reportedly offered the job of interim prime minister to liberal champion Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei after the last military-appointed cabinet resigned en bloc on Monday. ElBaradei, who had urged the military to step down and hand executive authority to a civilian “government of national salvation” was reported to be hesitating, unsure of the extent of authority he was being offered. MORE

RELATED: A Drexel University student has been arrested in Cairo.  Gregory Porter, from Glenside, is reportedly one of three American students accused of setting off molotov cocktails and clashing with police in Tahrir Square, where anti-government protesters are gathering in response to calls for a “million-man march.” Gregory Porter, an undergraduate student majoring in international area studies, has been studying at the American University in Cairo. Porter is a 2010 graduate of La Salle College High School, in Montgomery County.  Brother Richard Kessler is the President of LaSalle College High School, a Catholic prep school. MORE

RELATED: Anyone curious about the cost of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan can look it up on, up to the latest fraction of a war_pig_02.jpgsecond. Last weekend, the Iraq war had cost more than $800 billion since 2001; the Afghan war, $467 billion plus. For the 8-1/2-year conflict in Iraq alone, that works out to nearly $3,000 a second. MORE

RELATED: For months, the Pentagon’s top brass has toiled away on a secret strategy document that was supposed to serve as a guide to how best to cut $450 billion from the defense budget over the next decade without endangering national security. The strategy document, which is still being debated in the Pentagon, calls for a shift away from big, expensive counterinsurgency operations like Iraq and Afghanistan, a substantially smaller Army and Marine Corps and a greater focus on China and Asia, said senior Pentagon officials. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been especially insistent in internal meetings that any cuts to ground forces must be gradual and reversible. But the failure of the supercommittee to reach an agreement could trigger cuts that would make any strategy irrelevant and would turn the Pentagon’s meticulously crafted budget process upside down by slashing an additional $600 billion. MORE

RELATED: Each weekend when Leon Panetta flies roundtrip from Washington D.C. to Monterey, California it costs around $30,000–you’re paying for it, and he’s only reimbursing you for the price of a coach seat. Since July, he’s been home 14 times reports The Washington Times‘ Susan Crabtree who also notes: Mr. Panetta must reimburse the government for personal travel at the cost of an equivalent commercial coach ticket even though the actual cost of the travel is much higher — $3,200 a flight hour, according to the Defense Department. Each round trip from Washington to California and back, in an Air Force equivalent of a Gulfstream jet, can add up to more than $30,000. They add that It’s government rules that require Panetta must take a war_pig_02.jpgmilitary jet for security and logistical reasons (keeping in touch with senior officials).  But, assuming each trip costs a flat $30,000, that would mean that since July, taxpayers have already spent $420,000 on Leon Panetta’s commute and gotten (based on a price search for a ticket to Monterey in December) $6,594 back in return. MORE

NORMAN STAMPER, FORMER SEATTLE CHIEF OF POLICE: US police forces have become increasingly militarized, and it’s showing in cities everywhere […] The paramilitary bureaucracy and the culture it engenders—a black-and-white world in which police unions serve above all to protect the brotherhood—is worse today than it was in the 1990s. Such agencies inevitably view protesters as the enemy. And young people, poor people and people of color will forever experience the institution as an abusive, militaristic force—not just during demonstrations but every day, in neighborhoods across the country. […] In the interest of “discipline,” too many police bosses treat their frontline officers as dependent children, which helps explain why many of them behave more like juvenile delinquents than mature, competent professionals. It also helps to explain why persistent, patterned misconduct, including racism, sexism, homophobia, brutality, perjury and corruption, do not go away, no matter how many blue-ribbon panels are commissioned or how much training is provided.External political factors are also to blame, such as the continuing madness of the drug war. Last year police arrested 1.6 million nonviolent drug offenders. In New York City alone almost 50,000 people (overwhelmingly black, Latino or poor) were busted for possession of small amounts of marijuana—some of it, we have recently learned, planted by narcotics officers. The counterproductive response to 9/11, in which the federal government began providing military equipment and training even to some of the smallest rural departments, has fueled the militarization of police forces. Everyday policing is characterized by a SWAT mentality, every other 911 call a military mission. What emerges is a picture of a vital public-safety institution perpetually at war with its own people. MORE

ANONYMOUS: We Know Where You Live

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Internet hacking group Anonymous has launched its latest attack on the UC Davis police officer accused of pepper-spraying student by posting a video online that lists his personal contact information. In a 10-minute video attributed to the group, a computer-altered voice publicizes the home address, home telephone and cellphone numbers and email address belonging to Lt. John Pike. A call to the listed cellphone number was answered by a voicemail announcement naming Pike as its owner, but said no space was available to leave a message. The mysterious group speaks directly to Pike in the first minute of the video, telling him to “expect our wrath” and threatening, “We are going to make you squeal” as the viral video of Pike pepper-spraying passive protesters plays in the background. A shorter two-minute video was also posted by the hacking group that tells officials, “It is quite difficult to engage in a peaceful protest when you come bearing arms like we’re flies to the swatter. We are here to inform you that it will no longer be tolerated.” MORE

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