A People’s History of the Egyptian Revolution
Egypt’s revolution didn’t suddenly happen overnight; there was long and important history. Beginning with Egypt and Israel signing the Camp David Accords in 1979, Egypt was rewarded with billions in US military aid that paved the way for neoliberal-style policies under Hosni Mubarak. By 2000, the first signs of widespread opposition started, in solidarity with the Palestinian intifada. The protests centered around poverty, corruption and the need for democracy. A second wave of mass opposition ignited in 2003 in response to the US invasion of Iraq and Egypt’s support for the war. Then the April 6 Movement rose in 2008, protesting against rising food costs and low wages. By 2010, social media and blogs were outlets for organizing and dissent.
Guest – Rami El-Amine, co-writer of the article “A People’s History of the Egyptian Revolution” and founder of Left Turn Magazine.
Guest – Activist Mostafa Henaway, who also contributed to the article “A People’s History of the Egyptian Revolution.”
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark on War of Aggression in Libya
As many listeners know, the military operation in Libya is not a humanitarian intervention; it is part of the global war and effort to militarize North Africa. The Chinese have sizable interests in Libya in the battle for oil. Meanwhile, the Gaddafi leadership has continued to function despite the NATO bombing campaign in the last four months and the loss of significant parts of the the country. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney had recently returned from a fact-finding mission in Tripoli during a time of intense bombing. She has organized speakers to discuss how billions are spent in this military operation while we’re being told there are no funds available for jobs, health care and education. Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark was among the speakers, he’s been following the US and NATO involvement in brutal attempts to overthrow the Gaddafi government.
Attorney Ramsey Clark:
- The reality is that it’s a war of aggression, which the Nuremberg charter and judgement defined as a supreme international crime.
- What we’ve done is used the appearance of a civil war, people rising up against their own government, to wage a massive assault, really unrelated to their activities. The first place we hit was Tripoli; they were nowhere near Tripoli and we bombed the daylights out of it.
- The bombing is spreading away from the compound, it’s hitting areas outside of the city. Interesting to note, people are still fleeing from Iraq to Syria. It’s safer in Syria; our newspapers say it’s violent in Syria.
- If you go back to Rwanda, remember how everybody was outraged afterward but nobody intervened.
- A clearer illustration is what’s happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where hundreds of thousands of people have died and are dying by armed troops. Nobody bothers to intervene.
- What you do is, you want to go in anyway, you use humanitarian intervention as justification.
- The poor Congress is defaulting on its responsibility. The military budget exceeds all of the civilian budget. They can gloss over it but until we address the issue of US military expenditures, our country will be a threat to peace in the world.
- We spend more on the military then the rest of the world combined. It’s almost impossible to think that the United States will curtail its foreign aggressions, while the military expenditures are at what they are.
- We’ve got, in the Pacific Ocean today, 8 Trident nuclear submarines. The cost is enormous: each one carries 140-145 nuclear warheads, any one of which can destroy the biggest city in the country and go beyond it. Their largest warhead will leave a crater with a 25-mile diameter.
- Hard to sleep in Tripoli and other places that are under direct attack by us.
- We tolerated him for 40 years while he created the highest standard of living in all of Africa. Highest per capita income, highest levels of education. Health care and more public housing then they can use for their own citizens – almost enough for their foreign labor. He doesn’t submit to the will of the United States.
- Sub-Saharan Africa primarily, all the places on Earth are dying. It’s not just the conditions of weather in East Africa, but every place you go, structures crumbling. The chaos seems to be spreading and we seem to prefer it.
- Rebel Forces: It’s a group that doesn’t always know each other and doesn’t always like each other.
- We took out all of Gaddafi’s planes which was easy to do. It’s easy to hit his armor.
- They’ve held their own against the might of western Europe and the United States for months and months.
- U.S. government agreed to pay, without admitting liability, $300 million for the people killed in 1986 by our bombing.
- People have to organize and rise up. I don’t think we’re going to get anything accomplished as far as peace and reduction of US militarization except by an enormous demand by the people.
- We can cut 90 percent of the military spending in my opinion and be safer, and not be engaged in all these interventions – which we can’t handle anymore.
Guest – Attorney Ramsey Clark was the former Attorney General of the United States under President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was the first Attorney General at the Justice Department to call for the elimination of the death penalty and all electronic surveillance. After he left the Johnson administration, he became a important critic of the Vietnam War and continued defending the rights of people worldwide, from Palestinians to Iraqis, to anyone who found themselves at the repressive end of government action.
National Lawyers Guild Lawyers Victorious in Internet Free Speech Case
At a 2008 Sunday service at the Mount Hope Baptist Church in Lansing, Michigan, members of the queer rights group Bash Back! disrupted the service to protest anti-gay policies. Months later, the church and the Alliance Defense Fund, a reactionary Christian nonprofit organization, sued Bash Back! and 15 named activists under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. The church and Defense Fund subpoenaed identifying information in an attempt to find out the protesters’ identities; Risup.net, a provider of online communication tools for individuals and groups working for social change, was the only email provider to challenge the subpoenas. Federal judge Richard A. Jones ruled that Riseup.net did not have to turn over the records, finding that “the users’ First Amendment right to speak anonymously online outweighs Mount Hope’s right to discovery.” National Lawyers Guild members Larry Hildes of Bellingham, Washington, Devin Theriot-Orr of Seattle, and Mark Sniderman of Indiana successfully defended several activists who received subpoenas from Mt. Hope Baptist Church demanding they turn over their internet account records. Once again, this shows how readily corporations share private personal data on activists with the government or other private entities.
Attorney Larry Hildes:
This church is particularly virulent with their ministry aimed at turning gay people straight.
The group picketed outside and tried to pass out leaflets inside. Two women ran to the front of the sanctuary and kissed each other at the altar.
Mount Hope Baptist Church called the police. The police showed up and said there’s no criminal activity here.
The Alliance Defense Fund, a huge fundamentalist law firm and fundraising empire in Scottsdale, Arizona contacted the church and said we’ll take on your case.
They sued the Bash Back! folks under the FACE Act – Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. They sued them and settled for $2,500 and a consent decree that they would never disrupt a religious service in the United States again.
In the meantime they went to look for anyone connected with Bash Back! in any way. They went to Yahoo and subpoenaed records from list-serves and Yahoo, without telling anybody, gave them what they wanted.
Then they went after RiseUp and RiseUp prides themselves on two things, being the internet voice of the left and privacy for their subscribers.
RiseUp attorney Devin Theriot-Orr outlined the internet case law; there is some good law.
In order to engage in free speech you need to have some degree of security and safety that your privacy is going to be protected. Otherwise, it chills the climate so that very few people are going to be able to take that risk.
The victory is that there is a First Amendment right to be on a list-serve of a group, even a group whose actions can be seen as civil disobedience or illegal. Your information is still protected and private and the Freedom of Association Privilege goes to that.
We were awarded $28,000 dollars in fees by the court.
Attorney Devin Theriot-Orr:
I’m the pro bono lawyer for RiseUp.net. The identity information of subscribers is protected by a longstanding precedent going back to 2001.
Obviously the First Amendment has its limits; you can’t speak anonymously about threatening to kill people.
One of the caveats of the First Amendment is that if you have a bona fide law suit and you’re trying to uncover the identity of the defendants there’s a whole balancing test to go through before you should be able to identify the defendants.
They also provided identical subpoenas to Yahoo and Google, and even though these companies are located in Silicon Valley with very good federal benches, and they’re in the ninth circuit, it’s kind of amazing to me that other companies don’t take a stronger stance to protect their users’ privacy.
We’re hoping this is a warning to overly zealous attorneys who are abusing discovery process.
Guest – Attorney Larry Hildes, National Lawyers Guild attorney in the case, based in Bellingham, Washington.
Guest – Attorney Devin Theriot-Orr, National Lawyers Guild attorney in Seattle and pro-bono attorney for RiseUp.net.