Middle East Report Online: Algeria’s Midwinter Uproar by Jack Brown

20 January, 2011 — Middle East Report Online: Algeria’s Midwinter Uproar

For background on Bouteflika, see Ahmed Aghrout and Yahia Zoubir, ‘Introducing Algeria’s President-for-Life,’ Middle East Report Online, April 1, 2009 and Jacob Mundy, ‘Bouteflika’s Triumph and Algeria’s Tragedy,’ Middle East Report Online, April 10, 2009.

For background on the deeper political system, see James McDougall, ‘After the War: Algeria’s Transition to Uncertainty,’ Middle East Report 245 (Winter 2007).

Soon after the onset of protests which eventually toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, a wave of riots swept through Algeria as well, with many neighborhoods in the capital of Algiers and dozens of smaller cities overwhelmed by thousands of angry young men who closed down streets with burning tires, attacked police stations with rocks and paving stones, and set fire to public buildings. For Algerians a few years older than the rioters, these events recalled the uprising of October 1988, in which violent unrest upended the single-party state.

The disturbances of January 2011 were sparked by a sudden increase in commodity food prices, local journalists maintained, although much of the international press also linked them to a domino effect emanating from neighboring Tunisia. Both of these accounts are strikingly incomplete, however: Food price spikes were certainly one immediate cause of the Algerian unrest, but they were not the underlying reason that crowds of youths spontaneously decided to set upon policemen and other symbols of the state. Likewise, the theory of Tunisian contagion, while it may capture another contributing factor, ignores the national economic and political specificities that both triggered the Algerian rioting and determined its eventual course.

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Aristide Should Be Allowed to Return to Haiti By Mark Weisbrot

20 January, 2011 — The Center for Economic and Policy Research

Haiti’s infamous dictator “Baby Doc” Duvalier, returned to his country this week, while the country’s first elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, is kept out. These two facts really say everything about Washington’s policy toward Haiti and our government’s respect for democracy in that country and in the region.

Asked about the return of Duvalier, who had thousands tortured and murdered under his dictatorship, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, “this is a matter for the Government of Haiti and the people of Haiti.”

But when asked about Aristide returning, he said, “Haiti does not need, at this point, any more burdens.”

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Building a police state in Palestine By Aisling Byrne

18 January, 2011 — Mideast Foreign Policy

“If we are building a police state — what are we actually doing here?” So asked a European diploma responding to allegations of torture by the Palestinian security forces. The diplomat might well ask. A police state is not a state. It is a form of larceny: of people’s rights, aspirations and sacrifices, for the personal benefit of an élite. This is not what the world meant when it called for statehood. But a police state is what is being assiduously constructed in Palestine, disguised as state-building and good governance. Under this guise, its intent is to facilitate the authoritarianism which creates sufficient popular dependency — and fear — to strangle any opposition.

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AIC Weekly News Update 20 January, 2011

20 January, 2011 — Alternative Information Center

Below are a selection of recent AIC publications:

Israeli Settlers Violence Report: November, December 2010

The Alternative Information Center monitored and recorded Israeli
settler attacks and violations during the final two months of 2010.
www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/settlers-violence/3196-israeli-settlers-violence-report-november-december-2010-

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Media Lens: Collateral Damage – WikiLeaks In The Crosshairs

20 January, 2011 — Media Lens: Collateral Damage – WikiLeaks In The Crosshairs

The horrific killing of six people in Arizona, and the wounding of a dozen more, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, generated a wave of discussion on the impact of violent political rhetoric. A leading article in The Times commented: Continue reading

Huge spy hub uncovered in Israel — RT

20 January, 2011 — Huge spy hub uncovered in Israel — RT

It has been described as Israel’s ‘big ears’ – a huge facility where it is claimed phone calls and emails from all across the Middle East and beyond can be monitored for intelligence.

­Hidden from prying eyes for decades in the desert, it has become a focus for investigative journalists. Many Israelis have probably driven past it and not cast a second glance. A few satellite dishes outside a little known town in the Negev desert. But, this is no ordinary military base.

‘This is the largest or the largest equal spying facility that I have ever seen on earth,’ says Nicky Hager, an author and investigative journalist from New Zealand.

And Hager should know: he has been studying signal intelligence – or electronic spying – for the last 25 years. A tip off gave him access to people on the inside.

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VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 19 January, 2011: Racism In Jewish Schools; “A Dead Arab Is A Good Arab”

19 January, 2011 — VTJP

News

International Middle East Media Center

Army Eyes At Demolishing Palestinian Village To Expand Settlement
IMEMC – Thursday January 20, 2011 – 01:50, Israeli soldiers invaded on Wednesday “Khirbit At Taweel”, a small village near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and handed the residents military orders to demolish their clay homes by Thursday.

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What Does WikiLeaks Have on Bank of America? By Mary Bottari

17 January, 2011 — Global ResearchTruthout and Campaign for America’s Future – 2011-01-13

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is promising to unleash a cache of secret documents from the hard drive of a U.S. megabank executive. In 2009, he told Computer World that the bank was Bank of America (BofA). In 2010, he told Forbes that the information was significant enough to “take down a bank or two,” but that he needed time to lay out the information in a more user-friendly format.

Recent new reports suggest that BofA is now moving into high gear on damage control, creating a “war room” and buying up hundreds of derogatory Internet domain names including BankofAmericaSucks.com and BrianMoynihanblows.com (BofA’s CEO).

Before the big banks start calling for Assange’s internment at Guantanamo, the question worth considering is what does Wikileaks have on America’s largest bank?

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Tunisia’s Wall Has Fallen by Nadia Marzouki

19 January, 2011 — Middle East Report Online

(Nadia Marzouki is a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.)

Check out clasic MERIP articles on Tunisia:

Fred Halliday,’Tunisia’s Uncertain Future‘, Middle East Report 163 (March-April 1990)

Nigel Disney, ‘The Working-Class Revolt in Tunisia,’ Nigel Disney, MERIP Reports 67 (May 1978)

For the first time in decades, Tunisia is free of one-man rule. The extraordinary events of December 2010 and January 2011 have been nothing less than a political revolution: The consistent pressure of popular fury forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali first to make an unprecedented promise to relinquish power; then pushed him to step down; and finally halted an attempt at unconstitutional transfer of power, setting the stage for elections to be held at an undetermined date in the near to mid-term future.

The uncertain aftermath has begun: Three days after Ben Ali’s January 14 departure to exile in Saudi Arabia, the caretaker head of government Mohammed al-Ghannouchi announced a ‘national unity’ cabinet composed heavily of members of the long-time ruling party, the Rassemblement Constitutionel Democratique (RCD), who will retain (at least for now) the ministries of interior, defense, foreign affairs and finance. Opposition parties classified as ‘legal’ under Ben Ali also acquired posts. The announcement came after a night of gunfights reported around the presidential palace, opposition party headquarters and major banks, as well as drive-by shootings elsewhere in the capital of Tunis. The Guardian, citing human rights activists, attributed the attacks to militias made up of security men loyal to Ben Ali, while Ghannouchi said on state television that ‘the coming days will show who is behind them.’

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