By Rania El Gamal
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Libya's rebel military commander was shot dead in an incident shrouded in mystery, dealing a blow to the Western-backed forces struggling to topple Muammar Gaddafi.
Rebels said Abdel Fattah Younes, long a member of the veteran leader's inner circle before defecting in February, was shot by assailants on Thursday after he had been summoned from the battlefield for unspecified talks with other rebel leaders.
The killing of such a senior figure is an embarrassment and a setback for the rebels regardless of who was responsible -- Gaddafi agents apparently able to strike deep in rebel inner circles, or his own side. There are known to be stark divisions between Gaddafi defectors and those who never worked with him.
The rebels did not say who killed Younes or where. His death coincided with a new rebel offensive in the west and further international recognition for rebels, which they hope will help unfreeze billions of dollars in Libyan state funds.
On Friday, weeping relatives and supporters brought his coffin into the main square of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi to mourn him.
"We got the body yesterday here (in Benghazi), he had been shot with bullets and burned," Younes's nephew, Abdul Hakim, said, crying as he followed the coffin through the square.
"He had called us at 10 o'clock (on Thursday morning) to say he was on his way here."
RUMORS OF SECRET TALKS
Officials would not give details of why Younes had been recalled to Benghazi from the front line near the oil port of Brega for questioning. Rumors had circulated in Benghazi that he had held secret talks with the Gaddafi government.
"If the Rumors that General Younes was feeding information to Gaddafi were there then it would make sense that some rogue elements might attempt to assassinate him," said Alan Fraser, an analyst with London-based risk consultancy AKE.
Rebel defense minister Omar Hariri told Reuters his death was still being investigated and the loss would be great.
In Benghazi relatives vowed allegiance to the rebels' political leader.
"A message to Mustafa Abdel Jalil: We will walk with you all the way," nephew Mohammed Younes told hundreds of mourners in the main square.
But at the funeral later, worried mourners expressed fears he may have died at the hands of other rebels.
Seraj, a soldier who described himself as a relative, said he had heard that Younes and two other army officials killed with him had gone without a fight with men who had summoned them to Benghazi. "Later we heard that he was killed," he said.
Nephew Hakim said another coffin brought into the square by a crowd of men, some in military fatigues and some with rifles, held the body of one of the other men killed with Younes.
"It seems this was an assassination operation organized by Gaddafi's men," said London-based Libyan activist Shamis Ashour. "There certainly was treason, a sleeping cell among the rebels."
"The alternative, which is equally possible," said another analyst, Shashank Joshi, "is summary execution by rebels, an internal act of decapitation by the rebels themselves."
Joshi, of London's Royal United Services Institute, said this explanation would highlight divisions in rebel ranks already known to exist, and put a question mark over the rebels' reliability as partners for Western states.
"All these things would humiliate governments that have supported the rebels. Particularly Britain, which came late to the fray, partly for reasons like this," he said.
One rebel commander said Islamists may have been to blame.
Libyan state TV named a rebel it said had killed Younes.
Younes, from eastern Libya where the rebels are strongest, was Gaddafi's interior minister but swapped sides to become the military chief in the rebel Transitional National Council, whose political leader Jalil announced his death.
Jalil said the killers were still at large but added:
"The head of the armed cell, to which the accusing finger points and a member of which carried out this individual cowardly crime, has been arrested." He gave no details.
Younes, who was involved in the 1969 coup that brought Gaddafi to power, was not trusted by all rebel leaders due to his previous role in cracking down on dissidents.
His death is likely to be a severe setback to a movement that has won the backing of some 30 nations -- most recently Britain and Portugal -- but is laboring on the battlefield.
Hariri, the rebel defense minister, visited the front line in western Libya on Friday. At a nearby checkpoint he told Reuters Younes's death was still being investigated.
"Of course this will have an impact on the rebels, after all we have lost a key leader," he said. "But they will recover, and there will be other leaders."
Analyst David Hartwell of IHS in London said:
"He was one of the few credible senior opposition military commanders and he has been a key figure in helping stabilize and re-organize rebel fighters."
Fighters on the front line near the town of Misrata said they viewed Younes as a martyr and would avenge his death.
"It will be an extra motive for us in the fight against the tyrant," said Khaled al-Uwayyib.
Rebels took swathes of Libya early on after rising up in February to end Gaddafi's 41 years of domination of the oil-producing North African state but have made few recent advances despite the support of NATO air strikes.
They said they had seized several towns in the Western Mountains on Thursday but are yet to make a major breakthrough.
A rebel commander near Ghezaia told Reuters on Friday that around 100 insurgents had taken control of the town, from which Gaddafi forces had dominated plains below the mountains.
Reuters could not go there to confirm the report as rebels said the area could be mined. But looking through binoculars from a rebel-held ridge near Nalut, reporters could see no sign of Gaddafi's forces in Ghezaia.
Another rebel commander said the settlements of Takut and Um al Far had also been seized.
With prospects fading for a negotiated settlement, the five-month-old civil war will grind on into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in August.
Nick Witney, analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations in Paris, said the West had hoped for a "nice simple conflict" with right prevailing, but this had ignored Libya's nuanced tribal-based politics.
"It was a brave and right thing to do," he said. "But I feel we've lost the moral high ground a bit and wandered into something that will be prolonged and messy, but we're not in a position to sort out."
(Additional reporting by Michael Georgy near Ghezaia; Mussab Al-Khairalla in Misrata; Alexandria Sage in Paris; Samia Nakhoul, Avril Ormsby and Clare Kane in London and Missy Ryan in Tripoli; writing by Richard Meares; editing by Andrew Roche)
Source: Reuters US Online Report Top News
What makes Google searches any different from websites dedicated to searching out and linking to copyrighted content on other servers?
That's a question Homeland Security Investigation Special Agent James Hayes had a hard time explaining during a recent phone interview with John Moe of American Public Media.
Last week, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced the domain names of ten "linking" websites had been seized for providing access to illegal, pirated telecasts of the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In a phone interview, confronted by Moe, Special Agent Hayes didn't seem too sure if ICE could seize Google's domain as well.
He responded that Homeland Security would not be targeting Google because the agency was only targeting sites that "failed to do any due diligence to insure that the content they are providing has been authorized by the copyright holders or that the websites that they are linking to have received authorization from copyright holders."
"There's a pretty serious problem with this claim in that it's wrong on both sides of the equation," Mike Masnick of TechDirt commented. "Google, as a search engine, does no due diligence to check that links only go to non-infringing content."
The domain names seized by ICE were ATDHE.NET, CHANNELSURFING.NET, HQ-STREAMS.COM, HQSTREAMS.NET, FIRSTROW.NET, ILEMI.COM, IILEMI.COM, IILEMII.COM, ROJADIRECTA.ORG and ROJADIRECTA.COM.
Visitors to these websites now only see a banner that informs them the domain name was seized by the New York office of ICE HSI because of criminal copyright violations.
The websites did not themselves host any illegal content, but allowed users to easily browse for links to third party websites that were hosting pirated videos, according to ICE.
"The revenue that these sport franchises make as a result of these sporting events does a number of things," Special Agent Hayes continued. "One, there is taxes paid on that. And two, they are also able to hire employees through that revenue.
"For instance, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which charges $44.95 for an event, and you have a million people watching that event that are not paying for that, because the content has been pirated, that's lost tax revenue and that's lost jobs. Especially in down economy, that is a big concern."
The domain names were seized as part of "Operation in Our Sites," an ongoing investigation into websites that illegally offer copyrighted material.
In November 2010, the Department of Homeland Security closed down at least 76 domains. Many of the web domains were sites that trafficked in counterfeit brand name goods and some others linked to copyright-infringing file-sharing materials. At least one of the sites was a Google-like search engine: a revelation that caused alarm among web freedom advocates who worried the government's move stepped over the line.
The online group of hacktivists known as "Anonymous" infiltrated the network and websites of an Internet security company after learning the company planned to sell information about the group to the FBI.
The website of Washington DC-based HBGary Federal was hijacked Sunday along with the Twitter account of CEO Aaron Barr. The company's website was defaced with a message that read, "This domain seized by Anonymous under section #14 of the rules of the Internet."
"Your recent claims of 'infiltrating' Anonymous amuse us, and so do your attempts at using Anonymous as a means to garner press attention for yourself," the messaged continued. "How's this for attention?"
Barr told the Financial Times over the weekend that he had identified the "core leaders" of the group and had information that could lead to their arrest.
He told the Times he infiltrated "Anonymous" to demonstrate the security risks to organizations from social media and networking.
In addition to hacking the company's website and Twitter account, "Anonymous" gained access to more than 44,000 company e-mails, which were released to the public in a 4.71 gigabyte Torrent file. The group also gained access to the report that was allegedly going to be sold to the FBI and posted it online (.pdf).
"Anonymous" claims that most of the information gathered was either publicly available or inaccurate.
"The lack of quality in Aaron Barr's undertaken research is worth noting," the group said in a statement. "Aaron Barr missed a great deal of information that has been available online, and in fact failed to identify some of those whose identities were never intended to be hidden. People such as DailyKos' diarist blogger Barrett Brown, and the administrator of anonnews.org, joepie91, whose identities could have been found in under a minute with a simple Google search."
"Anonymous does not have leaders," the statement added. "We are not a group, we are not an organization. We are just an idea. What we have done today will appear harsh. It is harsh. We will respond to those who seek to threaten us. We understand that our participants have been concerned about recent FBI raids and companies such as HBGary Federal lurking and logging our chats, so we’ve given all of Anonymous a message: we will fight back."
Burr reportedly talked to members of "Anonymous" in an IRC chatroom, claiming he never intended to sell the information he gathered to the FBI.
"Ok I am going to say this one more time," he told the room. "I did this for research. The FBI called me because of my research. The email you are referring to about selling data was about a model built on this type of research. It was not to sell specifically this data. I was going to use it to describe the process of how social media exploitation works."
"Do I regret it now? Sure," he told Forbes on Monday. "I’m getting personal threats from people, and I have two kids. I have two four-year old kids. Nothing is worth that."
"I had expected some potential retribution," he said. "I knew some folks would take my research as some kind of personal attack which it absolutely was not. I thought they might take down our Web site with a DDoS attack. I did not prepare for them to do what they did."
Barr told Forbes he had to unplug his router at home because "Anonymous" was trying to crack it.
Three teenagers aged 15, 16 and 19 along with two men, aged 20 and 26, were arrested by British authorities January 27 for their involvement in "recent and ongoing" attacks by "Anonymous." The FBI announced mass raids across the United States on the same day, executing more than 40 search warrants throughout the nation.
In a campaign known as "Operation Payback" those participating in "Anonymous" succeeded in taking down the online operations of PayPal, MasterCard Worldwide, Visa, Swiss bank PostFinance and others using a technique called "distributed denial of service" (DDoS) attacks. The companies were targeted after they dropped their financial services to WikiLeaks.
Updated Feb 7, 2011 at 3:50pm EST.
Egyptian police used the very instrument that sparked the recent anti-government rebellion, social media, to catch its youthful organizers, according to a published report.
Gabrielle, a 25-year-old French-Egyptian property lawyer, told The Daily Mail in a recent interview that activists in communication with each other via the Internet have been "rounded up."
"They have our names from Facebook postings and Twitter," she said. "Some have not been heard of since."
Activists like Gabrielle -- young, well-educated middle-class Egyptians -- were torn between remaining or leaving Egypt during this time of national struggle. Their protests however, both at online and in daylight, opened themselves to increased vulnerability.
In recent days, loyalists to embattled President Hosni Mubarak failed to overtake the demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The Egyptian military has kept the desperate factions there at bay. Elsewhere, it's another story.
"In the surrounding streets, and elsewhere in the capital, gangs of iron bar-wielding Mubarak loyalists lurk listlessly at roadblocks," Ian Gallagher of The Mail wrote, adding, "Bloggers and opposition leaders have been dragged from their homes and beaten up. Journalists, too, have been targeted."
Pro-Mubarak thugs reportedly torched the Cairo offices of Al-Jazeera, the Arabic media network which has streamed the mass protests on the Internet for free from the earliest moments of the conflict. The Egyptian government had attempted to shut down the network and the public's access to the Internet to no avail.
The regime's attempt to blackout social media networks caused an online group of hacktivists known as "Anonymous" to disrupt the Egyptian government with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
One Tunisian member of "Anonymous," who called himself Anon.M, told Al Jazeera that he was tasked with breaking into Egyptian government websites.
"I take down security barriers of Web sites so that people can enter and occupy the site and post their message to the Egyptian government," he said. "So they know this Web site is ours now, and they can't block freedom of expression."
Gallagher reported that Gabrielle decided to remain in Egypt amid the gunfire in downtown Cairo she deemed once "unthinkable."
"Let’s hope Mubarak does the opposite," she said.
With reporting by David Edwards.
A Washington Post columnist recently attacked a Nobel Prize winner by claiming that the scientific consensus that backs climate change is essentially a religious institution.
"Look, if Godzilla appeared on the Mall this afternoon, Al Gore would say it’s global warming," Charles Krauthammer said on PBS’s Inside Washington Saturday.
He continued, "Look, everything is - it’s a religion."
Host Gordon Peterson kicked off the discussion, quoting former vice president Al Gore in a recent interview with a New York Times columnist.
““There is about four percent more water vapor in the atmosphere today than there was in 1970,” Gore told Gail Collins.
Gore further explained that the extra water appeared because the warmer oceans and air returned to earth as heavier precipitation.
However, this scientific fact escaped Krauthammer who instead called for proof that climate change is wrong.
"You find me a single piece of evidence that Al Gore would ever admit would contradict global warming, and I’ll be surprised," he said.
Krauthammer would indeed be surprised because the climate science community unanimously agreed that human industry directly effects the Earth's climate.
"It is well established through formal attribution studies that the global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases," the US government's Global Change Research Program reported. [PDF] "Such studies have only recently been used to determine the causes of some changes in extremes at the scale of a continent. Certain aspects of observed increases in temperature extremes have been linked to human influences."
Their summary concluded: "In the future, with continued global warming, heat waves and heavy downpours are very likely to further increase in frequency and intensity. Substantial areas of North America are likely to have more frequent droughts of greater severity. Hurricane wind speeds, rainfall intensity, and storm surge levels are likely to increase. The strongest cold season storms are likely to become more frequent, with stronger winds and more extreme wave heights.
"Current and future impacts resulting from these changes depend not only on the changes in extremes, but also on responses by human and natural systems."
This video is of PBS’s Inside Washington, broadcast Feb. 5, 2011, as sniped by climatebrad.
Update: Egypt denied Saturday that Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman was a target of a recent assassination attempt, according to the Associated Press.
A random bullet fired from criminals fighting against each other hit the lead car in Suleiman's motorcade on Jan. 28, a statement from the Egyptian government said.
The vice president was unharmed in the incident, and no evidence existed showing he was targeted in a premeditated plan, the statement added.
The original story continues below:
An alleged attempt on the life of the newly named vice president of Egypt left two of his bodyguards dead the day after his appointment, a recent report said.
"It's so organized that it's been classified an assassination attempt," Fox News reported Friday.
An unnamed "senior US official" told Fox News that he was amazed the story of Omar Suleiman's assassination attempt had not been "picked up" yet.
The attempt on Suleiman's life reportedly happened during a motorcade the day after embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak named him to his cabinet on January 29.
However, Richard Engel, the NBC News correspondent in Cairo, said on Twitter that the Sueiman assassination story is merely a rumor.
"#egypt re-reports of assassination attempt against Suleiman. US source says 'NO evidence of any attempt...rumor originated with media,' Engel wrote late Friday.
When asked about the report of a failed assassination, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told Fox News, "I'm not going to ... get into that question."
Suleiman is seen as a likely successor to President Mubarak.
Gunshots erupted Friday for a few minutes at Cairo's central Tahrir (Liberation) Square, the epicenter of protests against President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year grip on power, an AFP correspondent reported.
There were no immediate reports of casualties despite more than 10,000 people hunkering down in the square for the night to demand Mubarak's departure, a new parliament and the installation of an interim government.
On the Muslim day of prayers and rest, tens of thousands of people from all walks of life filled the square earlier on Friday for a giant "day of departure" rally.
The square has seen 11 straight days of protests that have shaken the pillars of Mubarak's three-decade rule.
This video is from Fox News, broadcast Feb. 4, 2011, sniped via Mediaite.
Fox News recently accused President Barack Obama of misquoting a passage from the Bible during his address this week at the National Prayer Breakfast. However, a liberal media watchdog group pointed out that Fox Nation failed to realize that "there is more than one version of the Bible."
Fox Nation blasted Obama's reading of Isaiah 40:31, stating that the passage is, "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Obama's version stated, "Those who wait on the Lord will soar on wings like eagles, and they will run and not be weary, and they will walk and not faint."
Dimiero said that this volley was the latest attack aimed to discredit Obama's Christian upbringing and identity. "This would be funny if it weren't so pathetic," he said.
However, the overall smear campaign has worked. A Pew polling report last year showed that only 34 percent of Americans think Obama is Christian, while roughly 18 percent think he is Muslim.
The stage for this latest smear -- the annual National Prayer Breakfast -- is steeped in controversy. The breakfast's organizer, The Family, is a group of secretive right-wing evangelical Christian politicians that aims to spread its strict beliefs abroad, as noted by church-state separation advocates.
"Unlike other Christian right groups, they don’t really believe that you’re in power because you’re a good person," Jeff Starlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power told Democracy Now of The Family's members in 2009.
This video is from the White House, broadcast Feb. 3, 2011.
A liberal congressman has demanded a chance to visit with accused secrets leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is being held in US military custody.
"As you know, I am concerned about reports of his treatment while in custody that describe alarming abuses of his constitutional rights and his physical health," Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates Friday.
He continued, "His care while in the custody of the Department of Defense is the responsibility of the U.S. Government and as a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform it is my duty to conduct effective oversight."
Recent reports have suggested that Manning's condition has declined visibly during six months in solitary confinement. Kucinich earlier in the week demanded that the Army publicly reveal Manning's mental health.
"If true, the Army’s treatment would obviously constitute 'cruel and unusual punishment' in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution," Rep. Kucinich wrote in a previous letter to Gates.
Kucinich urged that Manning be immediately provided with a mental health specialist should the accusations of unfair treatment before his deployment to Iraq prove correct.
"At the very least, the Army must explain the justification for confining someone with mental health problems under conditions that are virtually certain to exacerbate those problems and explain the danger he now presents that only these extreme conditions of confinement can avoid," he added.
Kucinich's letter came in response to The Washington Post's report on Pfc. Manning, an Army intelligence analyst accused of being a source of the WikiLeaks documents. The report indicated that the Army deployed Manning to Iraq in spite of a mental health screening that recommended he remain at home.
In Iraq, Manning's mental health continued to deteriorate, the report indicated, to the point where he was demoted in rank for assaulting another soldier. Since his arrest in May 2010, Manning has been held in intensive solitary confinement at a prison in Quantico, Va.
Quoting from Glenn Greenwald's December 2010 report on Manning's condition, Kucinich wrote,"In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America's Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado: all without so much as having been convicted of anything."
Kucinich also quoted from a recent "Open Letter" from the Psychologists for Social Responsibility, issued in protest of Manning’s incarceration. The letter said that the group determined Manning's confinement fits the definition of "cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment" and thereby violates US law.
In January, two activist reporters who tried to deliver a petition protesting Manning's treatment were detained against their will at Quantico. A few days earlier, Manning had been placed on suicide watch for two days against the wishes of the prison's psychologist.
Many of Manning's defenders say the US is trying to use its leverage against the Army private to pressure him into testifying against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, something the New York Times suggested last month.
Manning has been held in some form of solitary confinement for at least the past six months. He faces charges the Army says could result in up to 52 years in prison.
The United Nations' special rapporteur for torture has reportedly launched an investigation into complaints that Manning's treatment at Quantico amounts to torture.
This week, Amnesty International attempted to increase support to Manning by suggesting he may be a British citizen because his mother is reportedly Welsh by birth. However, Manning's lawyer said that his client considered himself an American citizen.
With reporting by Daniel Tencer.
Al Jazeera's office in Cairo was stormed by a "gang of thugs" and set on fire along with all the equipment inside it, the Arab news network said Friday.
"It appears to be the latest attempt by the Egyptian regime or its supporters to hinder Al Jazeera's coverage of events in the country," the news network said in a statement.
"In the last week its bureau was forcibly closed, all its journalists had press credentials revoked, and nine journalists were detained at various stages. Al Jazeera has also faced unprecedented levels of interference in its broadcast signal as well as persistent and repeated attempts to bring down its websites."
"We are grateful for the support we have received from across the world for our coverage in Egypt and can assure everyone that we will continue our work undeterred," the statement added.
Al Jazaeera also said its website "has been under relentless attack since the onset of the uprisings in Egypt." A banner advertisment on the news network's Arabic-language website was hacked Friday and replaced with a slogan reading, "Together for the collapse of Egypt." The banner linked to a page critical of the network.
The international free press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said there appears to be "an all-out witch-hunt against news media" in Egypt.
"Theft, violence, arbitrary arrests and extreme violence... the list of abuses against journalists by President Mubarak’s supporters is getting longer by the hour and they are clearly systematic and concerted," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said.
"After shutting down the Internet and then reconnecting it at the start of this week, the regime has decided to target media personnel physically by unleashing its supporters in an unprecedented campaign of hatred and violence," he added. "This has gone beyond censorship. This is now about ridding Cairo of all journalists working for foreign news media."
The Committee to Protect Journalists said it recorded 30 detentions 30 detentions, 26 assaults, and eight instances of equipment having been seized within a 24 hour period in Egypt. State television has reported that foreign journalists are actually "Israeli spies" involved in an elaborate plot to destabilize Egypt.
Reporters from The Washington Post, The New York Times, Globe and Mail, Fox News, and The Associated Press are among those to have been attacked or detained.
CNN reporter Anderson Cooper admitted Thursday he was "a little bit scared" for his safety after being repeatedly attacked by supporters of President Mubarak. He and his crew were violently attacked by pro-Mubarak forces Wednesday as they tried to make their way through the streets of Cairo.
ABC's Christiane Amanpour faced similar treatment. While trying to talk to Mubarak supporters, she was threatened and told to turn back. Upon retreating, she had the windshield of her car broken with a rock.
Sources told the Committee to Protect Journalists that numerous Egyptian journalists for state-owned or government-aligned media have resigned or have refused to work.
"I can’t be part of the propaganda machine," Shahira Amin, a broadcaster at the Egyptian state-run Nile TV station, said. "I'm not going to sheath the public eyes."
CNN reporter Anderson Cooper admitted Thursday he was "a little bit scared" for his safety after being repeatedly attacked by supporters of embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Cooper and his crew were violently attacked by pro-Mubarak forces Wednesday as they tried to make their way through the streets of Cairo. A number of other journalists have reportedly been attacked by pro-Mubarak mobs as well.
"I can't tell you where we are, frankly for our own safety," Cooper said while sitting in a dimly lit room.
"Systematically, we have seen journalists attacked... we would like to be showing you pictures, live pictures, of what's happening in Liberation Square right now, but we can't do that because our cameras have systematically been taken down through threats, through intimidation, through actual physical attacks."
"I don't mind telling you I am a little bit scared, because we frankly don't really know what the next few hours will hold," he added. "And I think there's a lot of people who are scared tonight in Egypt."
ABC's Christiane Amanpour faced similar treatment Wednesday. While trying to talk to Mubarak supporters, she was threatened and told to turn back. Upon retreating, she had the windshield of her car broken with a rock.
"There's a real anti-Western reporter sentiment there," ABC's Robin Roberts noted Thursday. "Is there still that sense?"
"The pro-Mubarak supporters have been against the journalists," Amanpour replied. "Partly this is because the state television, some of the local press, the state press, has been blaming journalists.
"And a statement from the Foreign Ministry was issued overnight saying, this uprising against Mubarak, is, quote, a foreign conspiracy, led by international journalists. So, those people who been aggressive towards us are not the anti-Mubarak demonstrators. They're the pro-regime thugs and agitators that have been sent in to disrupt the protests."
In recent days, reporters have become targets in Egypt. Western journalists have been roughed up by pro-Mubarak demonstrators, and reporters from around the world have been arrested or detained by Egyptian security forces.
As late as Thursday, there were reports that the Egyptian Army had begun to round up journalists, alleging it was for their own protection. Two correspondents from The New York Times were reportedly detained.
The Washington Post also reported having reporters arrested Thursday.
Fox News foreign correspondent Greg Palkot and his cameraman Olaf Wiig were severely beaten by pro-Mubarak supporters Wednesday. Both were hospitalized overnight with severe injuries.
The following video was broadcast on CNN, Feb. 3, 2011 and uploaded by MoxNews.
A seemingly spontaneous response concerning the Obama campaign canceling an appearance on a local news station was actually scripted by Fox News' producers, internal documents obtained by Media Matters show.
"Isn't that what they do in socialist countries?" Fox News host Steven Doocy asked right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin on a segment of Fox & Friends from October 27, 2008.
He was responding to news that Jill Biden would not be appearing on WFTV after the station's anchor Barbara West asked Joe Biden, "How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?"
"There's a chill wind blowing, and I think that this does signal what the future of the White House press corps would be under an Obama-Biden administration," Malkin said on Fox & Friends. "How dare Barbara West of WFTV confront Joe Biden with some basic, simple questions that anyone who wasn't totally in the tank for Obama would feel comfortable asking?"
"Barbara West out in Orlando, she asks some hard questions, and the station gets shut down," Doocy remarked. "You know, your comment about a chill is perhaps accurate because people will think twice before they ask something like that. But isn't that what they do in socialist countries where, you know, 'I don't like that, you're done?'"
The evening before the Fox News segment aired, Fox producer Elizabeth Fanning sent an email to staffers at the network, listing five questions: "Is this a preview of things to come? Will the White House press room be like this? Can you not ask tough questions? Will they suppress the freedom of the press? Isn't this what happens in communist countries?"
In another e-mail obtained by Media Matters, Fox News Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon told his staff to downplay the importance of climate science that showed the world was getting warmer.
Additional emails showed that Sammon asked his news department to refer to the public option as the "government run option" because polls showed the phrase "government option" was opposed by the public.
Perhaps not coincidentally, a poll gauging public trust in TV news found that PBS was the most trusted name in news, while trust in Fox News dropped significantly.
Furthermore, a study published in early Demember 2010 found that people who had the most exposure to Fox News were more likely to believe falsehoods and rumors about national and world affairs when compared to those who paid attention to other news outlets.
This video is from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast October 27, 2008 (via Media Matters.)
Members of the Arizona Legislature, led by Republican Senate President Russell Pearce, have introduced a bill that attempts to grant the state the power to ignore federal laws it does not want to comply with.
If passed and signed into law, Senate Bill 1433 would create a 12-member committee within the state legislature with the power to review and recommend to the full Legislature laws they think are unconstitutional. The full Legislature would then have the power to nullify the federal statute by a majority vote.
"The committee shall recommend, propose and call for a vote by simple majority to nullify in its entirety a specific federal law or regulation that is outside the scope of the powers delegated by the People to the federal government in the United States Constitution," the bill reads. "The committee shall make its recommendation within thirty days after receiving the federal legislation for consideration and process."
According to the bill, "no authority has ever been given to the legislative branch, the executive branch or the judicial branch of the federal government to preempt state legislation."
The legality of the proposed legislation is questionable, as it runs counter to Article VI, Clause 2 and the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which have been interpreted as making federal law trump state law.
Article VI of the Constitution, commonly known as the Supremacy Clause, states that, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."
Likewise, in a set of decisions that has come to be known as the "incorporation doctrine", the Supreme Court of the United States routinely ruled that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment prevents state and local governments from violating most provisions of the Constitution's Bill of Rights.
Senate Bill 1433 is not the only piece of legislation in the Arizona legislature that conflicts with the 14th Amendment. In January, members of the Arizona House of Representatives introduced legislation that seeks to eliminate the long-standing 14th Amendment guarantee that all people born in the US and under its jurisdiction are citizens of the US.
"Babies born to illegal alien mothers within US borders are called anchor babies because under the 1965 immigration Act, they act as an anchor that pulls the illegal alien mother and eventually a host of other relatives into permanent US residency," Senate President Pearce's website stated.
"With illegal aliens who are unlawfully in the United States, their native country has a claim of allegiance on the child. Thus, the completeness of their allegiance to the United States is impaired, which therefore precludes automatic citizenship."
The Canadian government will seek to overturn an independent agency's decision to allow Internet providers the ability to cap usage, effectively turning bandwidth into a commodity.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), an agency that regulates telecommunication carriers in Canada, issued a decision in May 2010 that allowed Bell Canada to charge its customers based on the amount of bandwidth they use.
"CRTC must go back to drawing board," Canadian Industry Ministery Tony Clement recently wrote, after being asked if he would work to overturn the ruling.
"This is about forcing a single business model on all competitors."
Many small Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as RipNet, Xplornet and Storm, purchased bandwidth from Bell Canada and then resold it to their customers.
The decision allowed Bell Canada, the largest telecommunication company in the nation, to charge smaller ISPs a flat fee for network connection with a 60 gigabytes (GB) monthly usage cap. ISPs that exceeded the cap would be forced to pay additional fees of more than $1 per GB.
Because of the CRTC's ruling, smaller ISPs would not be able to offer "unlimited access" plans to their customers and would be forced to switch to usage-based billing.
"It means you could get charged in the hundreds of dollars for what you currently pay $35 or $40 dollars for," Rocky Gaudrault, the CEO of TekSavvy Solutions Inc, told The Globe and Mail. "You could have multiples of your current monthly fee when this all comes through."
CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein is scheduled to explain the decision Thursday before the House of Commons industry committee.
"The CRTC should be under no illusion," a senior government source told The Gazette. "The prime minister and the minister of industry will reverse this decision unless the CRTC does it itself."
CORRECTION: Previous version of article incorrectly stated Rogers Communication purchased bandwidth from Bell Canada.
Senate Republicans Lindsey Graham and John Barrasso have introduced legislation that would allow states to opt out of certain provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"Our legislation opens up a third front in the fight against Obama health care," Sen. Graham said in a statement.
Republicans are hoping to win legal challenges against the new laws and have passed a repeal of them in the House.
But in some states, that legislation may actually be just another option in their fight against the law.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen declared Tuesday that "for Wisconsin, the federal health care law is dead" after a federal judge in Florida ruled Monday that key provisions of the health reform laws were unconstitutional. US District Judge Roger Vinson, a Reagan appointee, agreed with the 26 states that brought the lawsuit, ruling that Congress cannot penalize individuals who do not buy insurance.
"Judge Vinson declared the health care law void and stated in his decision that a declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction," a statement from Attorney General Hollen's office said. "Effectively, Wisconsin was relieved of any obligations or duties that were created under terms of the federal health care law."
That could mean any state with an attorney general who opposes health care reform would be able to simply prevent the laws from being implemented, at least until the Supreme Court has a chance to rule on an appeal.
In mid-December, a federal judge in Virginia also ruled against the health reform laws, similarly declaring unconstitutional the "individual mandate" provision.
The Obama administration said it would appeal the rulings. The case was widely seen as one which would end up before the US Supreme Court.
Sens. Graham and Barrasso's legislation would grant states the ability to opt out of the requirement for individuals to buy government-approved health insurance and for businesses to provide health insurance. The bill would also allow states to opt out of the expansion of state Medicaid programs and new federal requirements for regulating health insurance.
"Our bill takes the fight out of Washington and puts it back in the states," Sen. Graham said. "I would hope every Senator, regardless of party, would give the people of their home state a chance to be heard. I'm confident that if given the chance, a large number of states would opt-out of the provisions regarding the individual mandate, employer mandate, and expansion of Medicaid. As more states opt-out, it will have the effect of repealing and replacing Obamacare."
While some states have been working to repeal the Affordable Care Act, other lawmakers have taken it in a different direction. In Vermont, officials were seeking to opt-out of the laws in order to implement a single-payer health care system supported by a majority of the state's voters.
"It is my strong hope that Vermont will lead the nation in a new direction through a Medicare-for-all single-payer approach," said Sen. Sanders (I-VT), a longtime single-payer advocate who last year tried and failed to garner support for the program in Congress.
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