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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Libyans are Spilling Their Blood for Us All! - a reprint

I first published this diary three weeks ago. I really have nothing to add except that what I predicted then, that if massive violence against the protest were to succeed in Libya it could be a very dark turning point, already seems to be born out by events this week in Yemen and Bahrain.

These struggle is not lost yet and I am hearten by the fact that in spite Gaddafi's bragging and apparent success on the road, General Abdel Fattah Younes has come over the rebels with 8,000 soldiers of which 3,000 are special forces. It's hard to find much good information about what is really happening on the ground, something of a fog actually. But this former Interior Minister strikes me as possibly a patriot but certainly not a fool. So I don't think he would come over to the side of the rebellion this late in the game if he thought all was lost.
The brute force approach to popular uprisings is now being tried in earnest in Libya. In using artillery, aircraft and navy on peaceful protesters Colonel Gaddafi is attempt to break the protest movements with massive violence.

If he is successful, this type of violent response to popular uprising will almost certainly be used elsewhere with all the terrible consequences for humanity. If he fails and is hopefully executed for his war crimes, the reigning powers around the world will favor more peaceful methods of resolving contradictions.

Colonel Gaddafi is not the only head of state that counts human life cheap. What he has been doing this week using large caliber military weapons against unarmed civilians, US Presidents do as a matter of course, week in and week out. This week US air assaults on the Afghan village of Heelgal killed 64 civilians including many children according to Afghan President Karzai. It was hardly noticed because the spot light is on the innocent blood being spilled by Gaddafi this week and because, with an estimated 8 million civilians killed by the US military since the Korean War, US presidents using military power on civilians isn't exactly news.

When Secretary of State Clinton made the rounds on the TV talk shows Sunday morning talking about events in Libya and complaining that it is wrong to turn to violence to solve political problems, most of the world knew they were listening to a hypocrite. The United States has led the world in using massive violence to resolve political problems.

Nor am I implying that the other world leaders are any less squeamish in applying massive violence if it will resolve their political problems. What I am saying is that the abhorrence for Gaddafi's violence that has been displayed by most world leaders, including our own, is mostly for public consumption.

They know that we are facing a world economic crisis of historic proportions. It's root cause is a world economy that has been organized to benefit a select handful at the expense of the majority. This system has insurmountable internal contradiction that can not be solve unless the rich and powerful are dispossessed and the world economy is re-organized to benefit the world.

They are having none of that. They will fight that with their last dying breath. The other day an Indiana Official suggested that peaceful protesters in Wisconsin be shot. They are like Gaddafi on a world scale in that they would sooner bring disaster and suffering for all rather than give up their privilege.

In Tunisia the general of the army refused to use massive violence on the protesters and the revolution succeeded in ousting the dictator. In Egypt the junior officers refused to open fire with their tanks and the revolution succeeded in ousting the dictator. And while all the leaders of the US, UK and EU are now claiming to welcome and even champion these popular democratic movements, it is a sham. That's not why they have supported these dictators all these years.

If massive violence can contain the wave of mass rebellions that now has reached even the state house in Wisconsin, they won't mind the bloodshed. They just haven't had the opportunity yet. Gaddafi gives them that opportunity.

That is why they have so far been so anemic in their response to Gaddafi. They secretly want him to succeed. They are hoping he will succeed and they won't act until it is clear to all [as is quickly becoming the case] that he has failed. You can count on it. If he can put a lid on things, restore the status quo and with it, the oil flow, they may put him back on the pariah list but they will allow him to stand and continue to do business with him.

This is a test and fate or history has selected the Libyan people to take it. But all of us will be drastically affected by the outcome. The unarmed Libyan protesters that have braved machine gun, anti-aircraft and artillery fire to take many of Gaddafi's fortresses around the country are giving their all, their very lives in many cases, to show that even massive violence won't stop the people's movement forward.

If Gaddafi's violence fails Governor Scott will negotiate with the demonstrators in the Wisconsin state house, if it succeeds he will send in the police. If Gaddafi's violence succeeds, many more will die in Yemen and Bahrain and everywhere else that people resist tyranny. If he fails, the powers that be everywhere on the planet will be less likely to follow his lead and try and massive violence approach.

Those brave Libyans who fate chose to brave machine gun fire to win their freedom are braking that machine gun fire for all of us.

Here are the links to my articles at WL Central:
2011-02-24 Arming Gaddfi
2011-02-14 Senior Egyptian army officers ordered massacre
2011-02-13 Tales of Tyrants: Ben Ali, Mubarak & Suleiman
2011-02-12 Algeria Protesters Defy Ban, Demand Change
The Mubarak Screw Up & the Suleiman Danger
2011-02-10 Mubarak is Defiant
2011-02-10 Mubarak Expected to Step Down!
2011-02-09 The Google Search for Wael Ghonim
2011-02-08 The New Egyptian Normal: Thousands Demonstrate in Cairo, Alexandria
2011-02-06 Tunisia's Revolution Continues
2011-02-04 Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause
2011-02-04 Protesters roar back with "Day of Departure" for Mubarak
2011-02-03 Algerians plan Feb 12 protest against 19- year-long state of emergency
2011-02-01 Jordan's King Sacks Government as Protests Grow
2011-02-01 Tunisian Islamic Leader Returns as EU Freezes Ousted President's Assets
2011-02-01 Army Vows Not to Shoot as Protesters make Million Man Marches in Cairo, Alexandria Today [UPDATE: 2]
2011-01-30 Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
2011-01-29 No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
2011-01-28 In Jordan Thousands Demand New Government
2011-01-28 Mubarak Refuses to Step Down!
2011-01-28 Egypt is on Fire!
2011-01-27 Libya is in Revolt as Gaddafi Worries
2011-01-27 Algerians Plan Big Protest Rally for February 9th
2011-01-27 Tunisia Protests Continues as a Warrant is Issued for Ben Ali
2011-01-27 Tens of Thousands Rally in Yemen, Demand Change
2011-01-27 Mubarak Blinks as Egyptian Protests Continue for 3rd Day

North African Hacker Humor

Here is a recap of my other DKos diaries on the Internet, North Africa and Anonymous:
Who's running Egypt?
Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi
Californians Support North African Revolts
Google Supports Revolts | Anonymous does too!
Secret U.S. Intelligence Source on Middle East Revealed !
Arming Gaddfi

Algeria's 19 year long State of Emergency to end soon, President says
Senior Egyptian Army Officers Ordered Massacre!
Tales of Tyrants: Ben Ali, Mubarak & Suleiman
UPDATE: Egypt's Mubarak Has Resigned! - The Mubarak Screw Up & the Suleiman Danger
BREAKING: Mubarak is Defiant
The Google Search for Wael Ghonim
Tunisia's Revolution Continues
Google Goes Rebel, Supports Egyptian Protest
Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause

Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More! w Petition
Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More!
They Should Have Helped That Street Vendor
Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution Redux
No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
Egypt is on Fire!
North African Revolution Continues
Egypt Protests Continue, Tunisia Wants Ben Ali Back
BREAKING: Protesters Plan Massive "Day of Wrath" in Egypt Today
Tunisians Thank Anonymous as North Africa Explodes
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution
Tunisia: A Single Tweet Can Start A Prairie Fire!
Anonymous plans Op Swift Assist in Tunisia
Arrested Pirate Party Member Becomes Tunisian Minister
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation
Tunis: This Photo was Taken 66 Minutes Ago
The WikiLeaks Revolution: Anonymous Strikes Tunisia
EMERGENCY: DKos Must Act Now to Protect Tunisian Bloggers!
Free Software & Internet Show Communism is Possible
BREAKING - Digital Sit-Ins: The Internet Strikes Back!
Cyber War Report: New Front Opens Against Internet Coup d'état
Operation PayBack: 1st Cyber War Begins over WikiLeaks
The Internet Takeover: Why Google is Next
BREAKING: Goodbye Internet Freedom as Wikileaks is Taken Down
BREAKING NEWS: Obama Admin Takes Control of Internet Domains!
Things Even Keith Olbermann Won't Cover - UPDATE: VICTORY!!!
Stop Internet Blacklist Bill Now!
Sweet Victory on Internet Censorship: Senate Backs Off!
Internet Engineers tell the Senate to Back Off!
Why is Net Neutrality advocate Free Press MIA?
Obama's Internet Coup d'état
Julian Assange on Threat to Internet Freedom

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Are We Siting on the Edge of a Nuclear Disaster?

It is now reported that 7 out 10 nuclear reactors in the Fukushima complex are now in some level of trouble. So it doesn't take a rocket scientist or a nuclear engineer to conclude that these nuclear plants were not designed safe enough for entirely predictable geologic events. I am neither and it's been 40+ years since freshman physics but I can do the math. 7 out of 10 means that it wasn't a 'freak accident' or 'human error' or 'freak double failure'. 7 out of 10 means there is a fundamental design or philosophy flaw in the creation of these nuclear power plants.

They have failed the real world test.

Any release of man-made radiation into the environment does irreparable damage to the environment. I will allow that a tiny release does 'insignificant' damage but I challenge the nuclear experts at DKos to correct me on this.

Also yesterday I heard a Japanese nuclear engineer on NHK say that nuclear plants were designed to survive an earthquake of a given magnitude but only a single event, the effects of aftershocks weren't considered! He seemed to be talking about all modern nuclear plants, not just those in Japan. Please tell me that's not true. I don't have to check with Lucy to know that earthquakes are quite often accompanied by aftershocks. If the standard to which Fukushima was engineered didn't call for the ability to survive at least a 9.0, and a number of aftershocks in the 7.0 range and a tsunami, it wasn't designed to be safe in entirely predictable real world events.

Now I have also read somewhere that San Onofre, positioned on the beach between Los Angeles and San Diego is designed to withstand at least a 7.0! Please tell me that's not true because I think that if it's not designed to survive at least a 9.0, and a number of aftershocks in the 7.0 range and a tsunami, we are sitting on the edge of a nuclear disaster.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Who's running Egypt?

“The exceptional circumstances and putting the Constitution on hold are no grounds for dictatorship rule or and tyranny,” said Khaled Ali, head of The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) in a statement yesterday. On Thursday, 10 March 2011 ECESR filed a lawsuit against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on behalf of named plaintiff, journalist Rasha Azeb and others. The lawsuit seeks to put an end to the trial of civilians by military courts. Azeb, who writes for al-Fagr newspaper, was one of six journalist assaulted in Tahrir Square and then taken before a military court.

Formally it is the army, meaning the SCAF that holds power for a 6 month interim period after Mubarak. The real struggle for power that is going on now will determine the success or failure of the Egyptian revolution. This lawsuit is just one small fight in the revolution's many arenas. Much has been accomplished but much remains to be done. Most of the forces that empowered the old regime are still entrenched in the Egyptian military and civilian society and they will coalesce into a new form of the old tyranny if they are not throughly rooted out.

In point of fact Egypt has been a military dictatorship under Mubarak for 30 years and even before. Since Mubarak was ousted 11 February, the army took over directly and the military dictatorship continues. The night before, on 10 February, Mubarak made his last defiant television appearance. He was widely expected to step down then, as he had been expect to on each of his other two appearance on Egyptian state TV since January 25th. Instead he threw the hook again, promised to leave office when he was damn well ready and to die on Egyptian soil. His speech was followed minutes later by a very threatening new VP and longtime head of state security Omar Suleiman, who promised "to return normalcy to the country."

Suleiman had been positioned to takeover from a resigned Mubarak and carry on business as usual, and it might have worked if Mubarak had resigned in that first speech right after he had appointed Suleiman his first vice president in 30 years but now the people weren't going to buy into that. Politically he was dead and physically he came close to being dead. We now also know that Suleiman was the subject of an assassination attempt in which two people were killed in the first days of February.

The morning after Muburak's defiant speech, a whipped Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak was out. Mubarak has not been seen publicly since. He's reported to be in a coma. Suleiman hasn't been seen since either, although a few days later a representative of the SCAF said the role of Suleiman would be determined by the SCAF. With that, the two most important figures in the old regime were out of power. That left only Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq of the triumvirate of old military men that had been running Egypt. The protester had been demanding his removal too. On 3 March, they got it.

So who's running Egypt now?

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) runs the army and so by extension they run Egypt but they run it under revolutionary conditions. These are conditions where the masses are politically mobilized and the army rules with their consent on an interim basis and there is a split within the military where the lower ranks, meaning also the the vast majority, support the people's demand for a complete cleansing of the old regime. This means that the old leadership still hangs on to power but their exercise of that power is limited and the struggle to complete or overthrow the revolution continues on this new basis.

The SCAF has five members. Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the defense minister, is the head guy. The other members are Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, the military chief of staff; Vice Adm. Mohab Mamish, commander of the Navy; Air Marshal Rada Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed, commander of the Air Force; and Lt. Gen. Abd El Aziz Seif-Eideen, commander of the Air Defense.

Tantawi has been very visible and very public and acting as Egypt's head of state in recent days. Only Monday, he sent a letter to His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan reaffirming bilateral ties. Tuesday he met with President Omer Al-Bashir of the Sudan in Cairo.

On the other hand he was absent when the SCAF met with 27 leaders of political parties to discusses proposed constitutional amendments, the transitional period, and mechanisms for conducting parliamentary and presidential elections. Bikyamasr reported
Head of the SCAF, Hussein Tantawi, was not present at the meeting but the council was represented by four other members.

The meeting was attended by the head of the liberal al-Wafd party, Al-Sayyed el-Badawi; the Muslim Brotherhood’s General Guide Mohammed Badie; Ossama Ghazali Harb, leader of the Democratic Front Party; Abu el-Ela Madi, head of al-Wasat Party; Hamdeen Sabbahi, head of al-Karama Party; and other prominent opposition politicians.
Reporting on the SCAF attitude towards it's presumed transitory duties.

Wafd Party President al-Badawi said the SCAF voiced its commitment to and support of a peaceful handover of power to a civilian government.

Amina el-Nakash, the Vice President of Al Tagammu` party, said the SCAF called on Egyptian citizens to cooperate with the army to restore stability and order in Egypt, and vowed to prosecute corrupt elements and enforce law.
In contrast to Tantawi's very public role, the other four members have had a very low profile. A Google search on each of them turns up no English language news on any of them by name since the SCAF took over except for a piece the NY Times did on General Enan this Thursday. This article noted that many in the Pentagon consider General Enan "Our man in Egypt." While he never trained in the U.S. like some of the younger officers, he has made frequency trips to the U.S. and led delegations of some two dozen senior Egyptian military officers to Washington on odd numbered years. He was on one such trip this January when he had to rush back to Egypt to respond to the outbreak of protests on January 25th. He was having breakfast with two old American friends at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City when he got the call. He had to cancel dinner with Adm. Mike Mullen, but they keep in touch. In fact the last time they had a chat on the phone was yesterday.

Pentagon officials remain in daily contact with the new military rulers, who are described as overwhelmed and alarmed that no potential candidate for president
General Enan has been mention as a possible presidential contender in the past but now the SCAF has promised that none of it's members will run.

The United States is definitely attempting to bring it's influence to bear in shaping the new Egypt. Apart from all the Pentagon connections and $1.3 billion USD for the Egyptian army, Hillary Clinton and the U.S. State Department are now waving around $150 million USD for activists. A high powered delegation of U.S. officials visited Cairo last month with the money to help shore up the economy and provide technical assistance but they left without finding any Egyptian pro-democracy groups that wanted their help.

Next week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to be in Egypt herself. She will also travel to Tunisia and meet with the Libya opposition.

Are there cracks in the military?

While the Egyptian army has presented itself to the outside world as a monolith with one unified command, signs of a sharp internal struggle have been noted by careful observers. While most soldiers are conscripts and junior officers represent a younger generation, the senior officers like those on the SCAF are very closely tied to the old regime, the Pentagon and benefit financially from the network of army businesses known as Military, Inc.

Signs of cracks in this command structure showed themselves most decisively on the night of 30 January when Mubarak ordered the army to massacre the protesters in Tahrir Square, the senior command accepted and passed on the orders but the officers in square refused. The protesters had always been careful to befriend and support the soldiers who had been posted there, now they were refusing to fire on the protesters.

The next day the SCAF promised that force would not be used to remove the protesters from Tahrir Square. At the time the proclamation was seen as support for the protesters. It now appears that it was meant to quell a mutiny in the ranks. Later rumors emerged of mutinous officers being persecuted and even executed.

Another indication of sharp struggle in the military took place on 25 February. Ahram online reports,

The second dramatic shift in the minds of the military was subtler, though on close inspection it becomes practically self-evident. Friday night hundreds of military police launch a vicious attack on the protesters who had decided to resume their sit-in in Tahrir sq, on the grounds that most of the revolution’s demands had yet to be met. For the first time since they were ordered onto the streets nearly a month ago, the military found itself risking the hard-earned goodwill of the people. A shift did take place, however, sometime between the attack on Friday night and the next day, when the army issued a profuse, and for the military, remarkably uncharacteristic, apology for the previous night’s attack, immediately released all those who had been arrested in the course of the attack, and pledged never to attack Egyptian civilians again.

And though the army blamed the Friday night attack on low-ranking officers who were acting on their own initiative, only the hopelessly gullible could give any credence to this excuse, though most have been happy to turn over that particular leaf. Since the apology it’s been a week of one concession after another: a 4-hour meeting between the military council and 17 representatives of the Coalition of Youth Movements, in which promises are made that the military will respond to the revolutionary demands, and that Ahmed Shafiq’s cabinet will be dismissed “before the elections.”

And things have moved very fast since that last weekend in February.

3 March Ahmad Shafiq steps down as PM and Essam Sharaf is appointed to replace him. Sharaf was suggested to the SCAF by the Coalition of the January 25th Revolution Youth in earlier meetings with the SCAF. Sharaf had been Minister of Transport under Mubarak and a professor of Engineering at the American University of Cairo.

He had very publicly joined the revolution when he spoke to a crowd of over a million at the sixth Friday protest in Tahrir Square. “If you want me, I will stay. If you do not want me, I will step down and join you”, he told the crowd. The protesters have celebrated the dismissal of Ahmad Shafiq as PM, who was a military man from the old regime and the appointment of Sharaf who the protesters regard as a ‘son of the revolution’

4 March The SCAF, taking a lesson from the revolutionary youth, announces on it's own Facebook page "The referendum on the proposed amendments to the constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt will take place on March 19, 2011."

Clearly things were moving fast and probably too fast for some people in State Security because they started destroying their records. Up until this point the State Security buildings had been under the careful protection of the army. Something must have spooked them because now they were busy burning and shredding.

5 March, Saturday, protester found out about the destruction of the security files and took over the State Security headquarters in Cairo's Nasr City neighborhood. They immediately started making the secret files public with their own WikiLeaks style website Amn Dawla Leaks. On Sunday, State Security buildings in other cities, including Minya, Marsa Matrouh, Suez, and Assiut, were also occupied by protesters.

On Saturday the website DEBKAfile came out with the headline Gates on urgent mission to Cairo as military rulers lose grip in which it claimed

Barack Obama Saturday, March 5, asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to set out for Cairo without delay on an emergency mission as the unrest in Egypt veered out of control, DEBKAfile's exclusive sources report from Washington. Friday night, thousands of protesters seized control of the headquarters Egyptian security police (Mahabis Namn El Dawla) in Alexandria, Cairo and the nearby 6 of October town, shutting down its operations across the country.

In the last hours, information reaching Washington indicated that control was slipping out of the hands of the Egyptian military junta ruling the country since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow;
...
Military young leaders are believed to have executed a coup and displaced the veterans.

Although a twitter message also put Gates in Cairo, the Pentagon hasn't acknowledged such a trip, however he did show up on Monday morning on an unannounced visit to Afghanistan. That was convenient as he could have easily stopped over in Cairo on the way.

Also on Sunday, the newly appointed PM Sharaf announced his new cabinet. The swearing in was set for Wednesday but they had to go to work almost immediately. Before that day was done the newly appointed Minister of the Interior was on the phone to a TV talk show talking about the record destruction and promising "the ministry will hold any State Security officer who violated the rights of the people accountable."

Apparently the swearing in the the new PM and his cabinet couldn't wait till Wednesday. It was done on Monday 7 March. Tantawi swore in the new interim cabinet headed by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf. Only three members of the new interim cabinet are holdover from the Mubarak regime.

Demonstrators clashed with thugs as 3,000 protesters tried to gain access the State Security headquarters in Cairo's Lazoghly Square on Sunday. The army fired into the air to dispense the crowds. They detained 29 protesters but later released them and requested that any documents taken from the headquarters be returned to the army.

The question of just what to do with State Security is one that is very important now. State Security has long been the most oppressive and most corrupt organ of the old regime. Under Suleiman, State Security grew into a grotesque apparatus of 350,000 people, almost as large as the army, but unlike the army which was designed to protect the nation, State Security was designed to protect the regime from the people. It was so renowned for it's generalized use of torture that it's services were out-sourced worldwide including by the US CIA.

Given it's history, it's easy to see why the protesters want the old apparatus completely dissolved. However others would like to keep it around but modify it in some way. Essawy promised in his talk show interview that his new ministry will limit the function and powers of State Security to combating terrorism only. But according to the government run al-Ahram newspaper, PM Sharaf is planning to remove State Security from the Minister of the Interior and the Attorney General from the Ministry of Justice and put both under the direct supervisor of the PM and his cabinet.

Also on Monday demonstrators stormed the State Security headquarters in Assiut and in the northern Sinia city of El-Arish, thousands demonstrated, demanding the dissolution of State Security and the release of political prisoners. Amidst these continuing demands, the new Attorney General ordered the detention of 67 State Security officers and policemen pending an investigation into the burning and shedding and documents.

9 March, Wednesday, the SCAF approve a new draft law to fight crimes related to thuggery, intimidating citizens or disturbing the peace. This new law includes the death penalty for acts of thuggery which lead to the death of a victim. This law will be a new tool in the hands of the police and on Wednesday the cabinet announced that the police and security personnel would be returning to the streets on Thursday. They have been absent since they were withdrawn after the first Friday protest on January 28th.

Prime Minister Sharaf urged citizens to “cooperate with the police and support them in performing their duty.” This announcement came as thugs associated with the Mubarak regime demolished tents belonging to demonstrators sitting-in in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Amidst all these changes Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradai, the former head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency announced he will run for president in elections to be held later this year.

At this point the answer to the question "Who runs Egypt?" is anything but settled. This is the nature of revolution. Author and activist Khaled Khamissi summed it well on Wednesday after protesters fought off Mubarak loyalists armed with knives and machetes
There is a power struggle between partisans of the revolution and remnants of the Mubarak regime ... But I have faith that we will overcome.

Here are the links to my articles at WL Central:
2011-02-24 Arming Gaddfi
2011-02-14 Senior Egyptian army officers ordered massacre
2011-02-13 Tales of Tyrants: Ben Ali, Mubarak & Suleiman
2011-02-12 Algeria Protesters Defy Ban, Demand Change
The Mubarak Screw Up & the Suleiman Danger
2011-02-10 Mubarak is Defiant
2011-02-10 Mubarak Expected to Step Down!
2011-02-09 The Google Search for Wael Ghonim
2011-02-08 The New Egyptian Normal: Thousands Demonstrate in Cairo, Alexandria
2011-02-06 Tunisia's Revolution Continues
2011-02-04 Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause
2011-02-04 Protesters roar back with "Day of Departure" for Mubarak
2011-02-03 Algerians plan Feb 12 protest against 19- year-long state of emergency
2011-02-01 Jordan's King Sacks Government as Protests Grow
2011-02-01 Tunisian Islamic Leader Returns as EU Freezes Ousted President's Assets
2011-02-01 Army Vows Not to Shoot as Protesters make Million Man Marches in Cairo, Alexandria Today [UPDATE: 2]
2011-01-30 Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
2011-01-29 No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
2011-01-28 In Jordan Thousands Demand New Government
2011-01-28 Mubarak Refuses to Step Down!
2011-01-28 Egypt is on Fire!
2011-01-27 Libya is in Revolt as Gaddafi Worries
2011-01-27 Algerians Plan Big Protest Rally for February 9th
2011-01-27 Tunisia Protests Continues as a Warrant is Issued for Ben Ali
2011-01-27 Tens of Thousands Rally in Yemen, Demand Change
2011-01-27 Mubarak Blinks as Egyptian Protests Continue for 3rd Day

North African Hacker Humor

Here is a recap of my other DKos diaries on the Internet, North Africa and Anonymous:
Californians Support North African Revolts
Secret U.S. Intelligence Source on Middle East Revealed !
Arming Gaddfi

Algeria's 19 year long State of Emergency to end soon, President says
Senior Egyptian Army Officers Ordered Massacre!
Tales of Tyrants: Ben Ali, Mubarak & Suleiman
UPDATE: Egypt's Mubarak Has Resigned! - The Mubarak Screw Up & the Suleiman Danger
BREAKING: Mubarak is Defiant
The Google Search for Wael Ghonim
Tunisia's Revolution Continues
Google Goes Rebel, Supports Egyptian Protest
Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause

Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More! w Petition
Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More!
They Should Have Helped That Street Vendor
Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution Redux
No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
Egypt is on Fire!
North African Revolution Continues
Egypt Protests Continue, Tunisia Wants Ben Ali Back
BREAKING: Protesters Plan Massive "Day of Wrath" in Egypt Today
Tunisians Thank Anonymous as North Africa Explodes
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution
Tunisia: A Single Tweet Can Start A Prairie Fire!
Anonymous plans Op Swift Assist in Tunisia
Arrested Pirate Party Member Becomes Tunisian Minister
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation
Tunis: This Photo was Taken 66 Minutes Ago
The WikiLeaks Revolution: Anonymous Strikes Tunisia
EMERGENCY: DKos Must Act Now to Protect Tunisian Bloggers!
Free Software & Internet Show Communism is Possible
BREAKING - Digital Sit-Ins: The Internet Strikes Back!
Cyber War Report: New Front Opens Against Internet Coup d'état
Operation PayBack: 1st Cyber War Begins over WikiLeaks
The Internet Takeover: Why Google is Next
BREAKING: Goodbye Internet Freedom as Wikileaks is Taken Down
BREAKING NEWS: Obama Admin Takes Control of Internet Domains!
Things Even Keith Olbermann Won't Cover - UPDATE: VICTORY!!!
Stop Internet Blacklist Bill Now!
Sweet Victory on Internet Censorship: Senate Backs Off!
Internet Engineers tell the Senate to Back Off!
Why is Net Neutrality advocate Free Press MIA?
Obama's Internet Coup d'état
Julian Assange on Threat to Internet Freedom

Verizon's Rebate Challenge

Verizon Denies my Rebate! Am I dealing with Crooks and Liars?

So many people have been telling me that I had to get a smart phone that I decided to get one when my Verizon contract qualified me for a discount on a new phone after January 23, 2011.

The evening of January 30th I went on-line to Verizon Wireless, logged in to my account and went shopping. I picked out a Motorola Droid X. The website said that with the $100 mail-in rebate they were offering me, this phone would cost me $169 plus tax. I understand how mail-in rebates are suppose to work and I know that the tax is charged on the full price of the phone so I was not surprised when the Verizon website asked me to charge $325.56 on my credit card.

The phone came via FedEx a few days later. This Customer Receipt was enclosed.



Please note also the detailed blowup of the red box here referencing the enclosed rebate form.


I filled out the rebate form, made the copy below in case I needed it for proof. Good thing I did that. Then I made sure I had crossed all my T's and dotted all my i's and I mailed it in on February 2, 2011.



Please note also the detailed blowup of the green box on this form referencing qualifying dates. Also note that photo copies are not accepted. This gives them a good out when they 'mis-place' your originals.



So imagine my surprise when only a few weeks later, and coincidently, a few days after the 14 day period in which I could return the phone without penalty had expired, I received this postcard informing me that they would not honor the rebate because I had an "Invalid Purchase Date." They didn't spell my name right but that's not what bothers me. I mean how can I have an "invalid purchase date" if I bought the phone on-line and they offered me the rebate at the time I made the purchase? Did they offer me a fake rebate? It boggles the mind!



On February 19 @ 4:05pm PST I called Verizon customer service and talked to Mike. I spent 12:49 minutes on the phone but I got no satisfaction. Mostly Mike insisted that the rebate was handled on the website and I didn't have to mail anything in. The form had been in the box because that's what they do, Mike said. The post card was a mistake, Mike said. Mike insisted there was no problem.

So I asked Mike what his records showed I was charged. Mike said the Verizon records showed I was charged $325.56 and no rebate. So Mike had been misleading me about the rebate already being applied. No rebate had been applied and all I had was this bogus rebate denied postcard.

Mike promised to look into the matter and get back to me in a few days. Mike never did.

I think that Verizon is trying to cheat me out of $100.00 and I think this is their corporate policy. Rebates aren't a way to give you a lower price. They are a way to make you think you can get a lower price and then not giving it to you.

That's why they set up a bunch of hoops that you have to jump through in the hopes that you won't. Those are the rebate rules. I don't like them but I understand them.

In a case like that, when you jump through all their hoops and they try to cheat you anyway, well that's just not cricket. More and more I feel like dealing with a company like Verizon is like dealing with a bunch of crooks and liars.

So I am putting this question to my fellow Kossacks: How should I deal with this?

Obviously, I'm now out much more than $100. The minute I had to talk Mike I was wasting time that was not part of the bargain. Now clearly I will have to invest much more time to get justice in this case.

So I would like to proceed in such a way that not only am I made whole, but I also discourage Verizon from making such tactics a regular part of their business plan.

I will file a complaint with my credit card company. I will let you know how they handle it. I am also looking for other agencies, maybe consumer protection or utility regulators where I can file a complaint. I don't intend to take this stuff anymore.

I will look for your suggestions and you can look here for UPDATES on how this struggle is going
Updated by Clay Claiborne at Mon Mar 14, 2011, 06:31:59 PM

Thanks to the advice and support of second gen I hope to be getting my rebate card in a couple of weeks.

When I went to the web address on the card the website said it couldn't find my rebate based on last name of rebate #. When I called the number on the postcard and worked my way through the menus, it told me that my rebate was denied because of an invalid purchase date.

But when I called that number and followed the menu suggestions of second gen I got a live person that seemed to know all about my problem. There were none of the usual identifying questions. I guess he knew who I was from my home number, from which I dialed.

He went away for about 5 minutes, then came back and said I would be receiving my rebate card in about 15 days. Sorry for the problem.

I couldn't find out much about the problem, and the Verizon rebate guy was a little vague. First he said, "They must have given you wrong rebate form in the store."

"But I bought it on-line."

"Then they must have put the wrong form in the box." He couldn't explain what was wrong with the form. As you can see above the purchase date is not invalid according to this form.

"Did this happen to a lost of people? Was the wrong form put in a lot of boxes, or was it just me?"

"It happened to a lot of people."

"So why didn't you fix it when you discovered the error?"

Silence

"You just wait until they call in to complain?"

"We wait till they call in"

There in lies the real criminality IMHO.

Updated by Clay Claiborne at Tue May 03, 2011 at 02:40 PM PDT

I finally got my $100 rebate card from Verzon but it took this long to get.

As you have read above they finally agreed that they had made an error and promised I would receive my rebate card in two weeks. When it arrived it was for $50.00 not the $100.00 I had been promised.

So I filed dispute with Chase Bank, my credit card company and called Verizon again. Needless to say all of this took a lot more time on the phone, a certified letter and a trip to the post office.

The guy I talked to at Verizon agreed that another mistake had been made and I should have received a hundred dollar card. He promised I would receive that in two weeks and I did.

So now, after 4 months and far more than a hundred dollars of my time I finally have my rebate. Provided, of course, that the card is good.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi

On ABC News This Week with Christiane Amonpour Sunday, February 27, 2011 she went to Libya. She interviewed Saif Gaddafi, the so-called reformist son of Muammar Gaddafi. She failed to ask the hard questions or confront him with the hard evidence.

It was a soft sell job. IMHO they are trying to position Saif Gaddafi to replace the old man and carry on the oil business as before which is all that Disney, which owns ABC, cares about when it comes to Libya.

Warning. This video contains very graphic footage of very violent injuries to human beings made by large caliber weapons of war. It is they type of thing that can not be unseen. Given that ABC News has chosen to soft petal and prettify Gaddafi's violence, I'm afraid this in necessary.



Here are the links to my articles at WL Central:
2011-02-24 Arming Gaddfi
2011-02-14 Senior Egyptian army officers ordered massacre
2011-02-13 Tales of Tyrants: Ben Ali, Mubarak & Suleiman
2011-02-12 Algeria Protesters Defy Ban, Demand Change
The Mubarak Screw Up & the Suleiman Danger
2011-02-10 Mubarak is Defiant
2011-02-10 Mubarak Expected to Step Down!
2011-02-09 The Google Search for Wael Ghonim
2011-02-08 The New Egyptian Normal: Thousands Demonstrate in Cairo, Alexandria
2011-02-06 Tunisia's Revolution Continues
2011-02-04 Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause
2011-02-04 Protesters roar back with "Day of Departure" for Mubarak
2011-02-03 Algerians plan Feb 12 protest against 19- year-long state of emergency
2011-02-01 Jordan's King Sacks Government as Protests Grow
2011-02-01 Tunisian Islamic Leader Returns as EU Freezes Ousted President's Assets
2011-02-01 Army Vows Not to Shoot as Protesters make Million Man Marches in Cairo, Alexandria Today [UPDATE: 2]
2011-01-30 Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
2011-01-29 No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
2011-01-28 In Jordan Thousands Demand New Government
2011-01-28 Mubarak Refuses to Step Down!
2011-01-28 Egypt is on Fire!
2011-01-27 Libya is in Revolt as Gaddafi Worries
2011-01-27 Algerians Plan Big Protest Rally for February 9th
2011-01-27 Tunisia Protests Continues as a Warrant is Issued for Ben Ali
2011-01-27 Tens of Thousands Rally in Yemen, Demand Change
2011-01-27 Mubarak Blinks as Egyptian Protests Continue for 3rd Day

North African Hacker Humor

Here is a recap of my other DKos diaries on the Internet, North Africa and Anonymous:
Californians Support North African Revolts
Secret U.S. Intelligence Source on Middle East Revealed !
Arming Gaddfi

Algeria's 19 year long State of Emergency to end soon, President says
Senior Egyptian Army Officers Ordered Massacre!
Tales of Tyrants: Ben Ali, Mubarak & Suleiman
UPDATE: Egypt's Mubarak Has Resigned! - The Mubarak Screw Up & the Suleiman Danger
BREAKING: Mubarak is Defiant
The Google Search for Wael Ghonim
Tunisia's Revolution Continues
Google Goes Rebel, Supports Egyptian Protest
Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause

Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More! w Petition
Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More!
They Should Have Helped That Street Vendor
Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution Redux
No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
Egypt is on Fire!
North African Revolution Continues
Egypt Protests Continue, Tunisia Wants Ben Ali Back
BREAKING: Protesters Plan Massive "Day of Wrath" in Egypt Today
Tunisians Thank Anonymous as North Africa Explodes
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution
Tunisia: A Single Tweet Can Start A Prairie Fire!
Anonymous plans Op Swift Assist in Tunisia
Arrested Pirate Party Member Becomes Tunisian Minister
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation
Tunis: This Photo was Taken 66 Minutes Ago
The WikiLeaks Revolution: Anonymous Strikes Tunisia
EMERGENCY: DKos Must Act Now to Protect Tunisian Bloggers!
Free Software & Internet Show Communism is Possible
BREAKING - Digital Sit-Ins: The Internet Strikes Back!
Cyber War Report: New Front Opens Against Internet Coup d'état
Operation PayBack: 1st Cyber War Begins over WikiLeaks
The Internet Takeover: Why Google is Next
BREAKING: Goodbye Internet Freedom as Wikileaks is Taken Down
BREAKING NEWS: Obama Admin Takes Control of Internet Domains!
Things Even Keith Olbermann Won't Cover - UPDATE: VICTORY!!!
Stop Internet Blacklist Bill Now!
Sweet Victory on Internet Censorship: Senate Backs Off!
Internet Engineers tell the Senate to Back Off!
Why is Net Neutrality advocate Free Press MIA?
Obama's Internet Coup d'état
Julian Assange on Threat to Internet Freedom