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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Sudan police clash with protesters

Reuters

Al Jazeera
Jan. 31, 2011

Sudanese police have beaten and arrested students as protests broke out throughout Khartoum demanding the government resign, inspired by a popular uprising in neighbouring Egypt.

Hundreds of armed riot police on Sunday broke up groups of young Sudanese demonstrating in central Khartoum and surrounded the entrances of four universities in the capital, firing teargas and beating students at three of them.

Police beat students with batons as they chanted anti-government slogans such as “we are ready to die for Sudan” and “revolution, revolution until victory”.

There were further protests in North Kordofan capital el-Obeid in Sudan’s west, where around 500 protesters engulfed the market before police used tear gas to disperse them, three witnesses said.

“They were shouting against the government and demanding change,” said witness Ahmed who declined to give his full name.

Sudan has a close affinity with Egypt – the two countries were united under British colonial rule. The unprecedented scenes there inspired calls for similar action in Sudan, where protests without permission, which is rarely given, are illegal.

Before Tunisia’s popular revolt, Sudan was the last Arab country to overthrow a leader with popular protests, ousting Jaafar Nimeiri in 1985.

Galvanised by social networks

Groups have emerged on social networking sites calling themselves “Youth for Change” and “The Spark”, since the uprisings in nearby Tunisia and close ally Egypt this month.

Full Article Here – http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/01/2011130131451294670.html

’40,000 violations of the law’ in FBI snooping: report

Raw Story
Jan. 30, 2011
By Daniel Tencer

Companies ‘all too willing’ to comply with FBI requests for personal information, EFF says

As the US prepares once again to extend the Patriot Act, a new report from a privacy watchdog indicates that the FBI’s use of the law and other surveillance powers may have led to as many as 40,000 violations of the law by the bureau in the years since 9/11.

According to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, from 2001 to 2008 the FBI reported nearly 800 violations of surveillance law and the Constitution to the Intelligence Oversight Board, a civilian monitoring group that reports to the president.

The EFF also determined that the FBI investigated some 7,000 potential violations of the law that occurred during surveillance operations. The group estimated that, based on the rate of reporting of violations, the FBI may have violated the law as many as 40,000 times during investigations since 9/11.


“The documents suggest the FBI’s intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed,” the EFF stated in its report.

Of the nearly 800 confirmed violations, about one-third involved National Security Letters, which give the FBI the ability to request private information about targeted suspects with little judicial oversight, and under a veil of secrecy that forbids the organization handing over private information from disclosing that the request was even made.

Though NSLs have existed since the late 1970s, federal authorities’ ability to use them was greatly expanded under the post-9/11 Patriot Act. Courts have subsequently weakened the gag-order element of NSLs.

Although lawmakers insisted that Patriot Act provisions would be used specifically in anti-terrorism investigations, it has since emerged that federal authorities have used them far more broadly. For example, “sneak and peek” searches authorized under the Patriot Act have been used in drug investigations.

What was most “startling” to the EFF about the use of security letters was the apparent willingness of companies and organizations to acquiesce to FBI demands, even when legal justifications for the request were absent. In many cases, the EFF reported, organizations handed over more information than the FBI requested, often in violation of privacy laws.

Full Article Here – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/violations-law-fbi-snooping/

Police use CS spray on tax protesters

Guardian
Jan. 30, 2011
By Matthew Taylor and Jonathan Paige

Tax avoidance protesters needed hospital treatment today after police used CS spray to break up a demonstration on Oxford Street in central London.

Hundreds of people staged peaceful sit-ins at high street stores around the country as part of the latest UK Uncut day of action, designed to highlight companies it says are avoiding millions of pounds in tax.

In London protesters had successfully closed down Boots in Oxford Street – one of the companies campaigners accuse of tax avoidance – when police tried to arrest a woman for pushing a leaflet through the store’s doors. Other demonstrators tried to stop the arrest and at least one police officer used CS spray, which hospitalised three people.


Jed Weightman, one of those who went to hospital, said protesters had joined hands to try and prevent the arrest.

“One police officer sprayed towards us and because I was tall I got a lot of it in my face,” he said. “My eyes were streaming and I couldn’t see anything.”

Earlier this week Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said police could adopt more extreme tactics to counter the growing wave of protests, and hinted that UK Uncut demonstrators could face criminal and civil charges if they invaded shops during today’s protests.

Activists reacted angrily to yesterday’s events, claiming the police had been “heavy handed and disproportionate.”

Anna Williams, who saw the incident, said: “This is yet another example of political policing that is about protecting corporate interests and not those of ordinary people … We have a right to protest when the government are making unnecessary cuts that will hit the poorest in our society the hardest.”

Protesters said staff at Boots had been shocked by the police tactics, and took those who were suffering from the effects of CS spray into the store and offered them free eye wash.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/30/police-cs-spray-tax-protesters

Egypt shuts down Al Jazeera bureau

Al Jazeera
Jan. 30, 2011

The Egyptian authorities are revoking the Al Jazeera Network’s licence to broadcast from the country, and will be shutting down its bureau office in Cairo, state television has said.

“The information minister [Anas al-Fikki] ordered … suspension of operations of Al Jazeera, cancelling of its licences and withdrawing accreditation to all its staff as of today,” a statement on the official Mena news agency said on Sunday.

In a statement, Al Jazeera said it strongly denounces and condemns the closure of its bureau in Cairo by the Egyptian government. The network received notification from the Egyptian authorities on Sunday morning.

“Al Jazeera has received widespread global acclaim for their coverage on the ground across the length and breadth of Egypt,” the statement said.

An Al Jazeera spokesman said that the company would continue its strong coverage regardless.
‘Designed to stifle’
“Al Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists,” the statement said.

Full Article Here – http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/201113085252994161.html

Anti-capitalists clash with riot police in Davos

Reuters
Jan. 30, 2011
By Catherine Bosley

Anti-capitalist protesters threw bottles at riot police on Saturday and officers responded with water cannon as a small demonstration on the final day of the World Economic Forum briefly turned violent.

The clash came after a group of about 100 mainly young, local protesters marched through the chic Swiss ski resort of Davos and gathered near the railway station, some distance from the conference center hosting the Forum.

It was the second episode of violence in Davos this week. Swiss anarchists claimed responsibility for a small explosion that broke windows and shook a hotel on Thursday where executives were meeting. Nobody was hurt in that incident.


Waving banners saying “Down with Capitalism” and “Stop Screwing Us on Salaries”, Saturday’s demonstrators marched along an approved snow-covered route taking them past the outer perimeter of the WEF’s elite meeting.

Organized by local socialists and Greens, the marchers complained that Davos, favored by top bankers, businessmen and politicians, had little to show for its 41 years of meetings.

“PAT EACH OTHER ON THE BACK”

“They come up here to do business, drink, eat and pat each other on the back,” said Karin Stiffner, a 39-year-old housewife in the march. “I don’t think there’s any interest in helping common people. It would just reduce their profits.”

As the protesters wound along the snow-bound road past the WEF congress center in bright sunshine, some threw snowballs at police and one dropped his trousers.

Seven trucks full of police in riot gear kept a close eye on the demonstrators but did not intervene until the clashes at the town’s railway station at the end of the march.

Full Article Here – http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/29/us-davos-protests-idUKTRE70S2BT20110129

A Message from Anonymous

Jan. 29, 2011

Hello, world.

You are now breathing manually.

Over the last few weeks, North Africans have expressed an ardent desire for liberty, democracy, and justice for both themselves, and for the world. While most in the West responded with a mild interest and cynicism for which our culture has become rightly reviled, Anonymous responded with action. Beginning with Tunisia and continuing on to Egypt, thousands of world citizens have dedicated their lives to securing the liberty of others, providing tools, expertise, and long-sought encouragement to those who have already earned their rights by virtue of fighting for them.

When Tunisians bristled in indignation at the chains that have bound them for far too long, the world was silent. Anonymous was not; and thus the online venues of state propaganda were taken down and in some cases replaced with our own clear message that those who want our help will get it.

When protests erupted upon the occasion of one fruit vendor’s bravery, the media ignored it. Anonymous did not, and thus Tunisians were provided with the Guide to Protecting the North African Revolutions.

When Wikileaks confirmed the cruelty and corruption of the Ben Ali regime, Western governments did nothing. Anonymous organized hundreds of Tunisians directly and thousands more indirectly.

It was the Tunisian people themselves that overcame the tyranny to which they had been subjected. They did so in the context of the digital reformation, with unprecedented assistance provided over a mere few weeks. Others will follow. Some have already begun.

That the Egyptian regime has reacted to the yearning of its citizens by shutting down the nation’s communications is the smoking gun that should tell the world that communications are the key to liberty. That we live in the communications age should, and has been, of great alarm to all who love their power more than their people, or who consider themselves to be the only ones capable of governing the world around them. That they have failed to provide any real security should remind all concerned that such people are not only unnecessary to true security, but a perpetual threat to same.

Anonymous is a machine that harnesses the talent that other, lesser institutions often fail to acknowledge or incorporate. Man is a creature that builds institutions and thereafter loses his grip on them. Anonymous cures institutions that are dying and destroys institutions that ought to have died long ago.

All significant human activity is the result of human collaboration – including this very press release. And the means by which humans may collaborate has exploded – not expanded, not increased, but exploded – in such a way as to allow any man on earth to talk and work with any other man.

Such issues will be explored soon enough. In the meantime, we demand that all normal communications be restored to the people of Egypt by January 29th, 12:00 midnight, Eastern Standard Time. That we have occasion to make such a demand in the first place should be enough to convince all good men that the world needs revolution. That we have made it in full view of all men should be enough to convince them that we now have the means to back it up – not just against this regime, but against any and all parties that continue to prop it up even after it has conceded that the truth is its enemy.

We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not Forgive.
We do not Forget.

Fifth day of mass protest in Egypt, nearly 100 killed

The Nation
Jan. 29, 2011

Cairo – Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters remained on the streets across Egypt Saturday as a fresh curfew came into effect and an estimated 24-hour death toll nearing 100.

Angry protestors flocked to the capital Cairo and the cities of Alexandria and Suez – the scenes of unrest and looting overnight – to press for for President Hosny Mubarak to step down as he prepared to name a new cabinet.

Protests and clashes spread to North Sinai, where at least six people were killed in clashes with security forces.

In the latest clashes, police used live ammunition against protesters trying to storm the Interior Ministry in Cairo. Eyewitnesses said two protesters were killed and one injured.

With communication services still severely disrupted, getting clear information about casualties remained difficult.

State television reported that at least 38 people, including 10 security force members, have been killed in protests this week.

Full Article Here – http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home/Fifth-day-of-mass-protest-in-Egypt-nearly-100-kill-30147514.html

Six UK students arrested during protests

Sydney Morning Herald/AAP
Jan. 29, 2011

British students protesting against higher tuition fees and public spending cuts have clashed with police in London and Manchester.

The BBC reports thousands attended a joint rally in Manchester organised by students and trade unions.

Six people were arrested in disturbances when a group broke away from the main body of protesters leading to running skirmishes with police.

 

In central London meanwhile thousands of students staged a noisy protest march which ended in a rally in Westminster with some of the protesters leaving to join hundreds of demonstrators outside the Egyptian embassy.

One student’s placard drew an analogy between events in Egypt and Tunisia and that in Britain.

“Ben Ali, Mubarak … Cameron, you are next,” it read.

Full Article Here – http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/six-uk-students-arrested-during-protests-20110130-1a993.html

Guantanamo inmates stage peaceful protests

AFP
Jan. 29, 2011

GUANTANAMO detainees have been holding daily peaceful protests against the jail’s continued existence, despite pledges from US President Barack Obama to shut it down, a lawyer said.

Lawyer Ramzi Kassem said he had learned from a client held at the US naval base that the protests had been going on for the past 13 days to mark the ninth anniversary of the opening of the facility.

“Most of the remaining prisoners in Camps 5 and 6 at Guantanamo have joined together to peacefully protest their indefinite imprisonment with a sit-in and signs,” Mr Kassem’s Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) said.


The prisoners are refusing to return to their cells for the mandatory nightly lockdown and have been sleeping in the recreation yard and in common areas, the centre said.

A Pentagon spokeswoman said “peaceful protests are not uncommon” at Guantanamo, adding that in the past detainees had protested the frequency of phone calls, the meal plan variety and the size of recreation areas.

She said the latest protests were confined to Camp 6, reserved for the “most compliant” prisoners, and that detainees were protesting in different ways, with some returning to their cells but leaving the doors open.

The prisoner who told Mr Kassem of the protests, Said Abdulhadi, has spent nearly nine years in the jail on the US naval base in Cuba.

Full Article Here – http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/breaking-news/guantanamo-inmates-stage-peaceful-protests/story-e6freonf-1225996539715

How Egypt shut down the internet

Telegraph
Jan. 28, 2011
By Christopher Williams

Organisations that track global internet access detected a collapse in traffic in to and out of Egypt at around 10.30GMT on Thursday night.
The shut down involved the withdrawal of more than 3,500 Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routes by Egyptian ISPs, according to Renesys, a networking firm. Only one ISP out of 10, Noor Data Networks, appeared largely unaffected. It connects to the outside world via an undersea cable operated by Telecom Italia.
According to BGPMon, another networking firm, 88 per cent of Egyptian internet access was successfully shut down, however.

Renesys speculated that the apparent anomaly of Noor Data Networks may be a result of the fact it provides services to the Egyptian stock exchange.
BGP routes are one of the most vital parts of the internet. They are mostly used by ISPs so their networks can exchange information about how to best route the packets of data that make up all internet communications.
 
If an ISP withdraws its BGP routes, its customers effectively disappear from the internet, unable to access websites and services, send and receive email, or use voice services such as Skype. 

Full Article Here – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/8288163/How-Egypt-shut-down-the-internet.html