Obama Lays Ground Work For Direct Negotiations With Iran

Direct diplomacy without preconditions I am sure… Just wait and see. Pretty soon we will be bending over for these asshats while they builds some nukes… Remember what happened with N. Korea under the Clinton administration… 

Change You Can Believe In!

President Obama did a quick pivot Monday, shifting his focus to foreign policy by contacting a handful of major world leaders — including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nikolas Sarkozy — as his new U.N. ambassador restated the desire for vigorous and “direct diplomacy” with Iran.

President Obama did a quick pivot Monday, shifting his focus to foreign policy by contacting a handful of major world leaders — including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nikolas Sarkozy — as his new U.N. ambassador restated the desire for vigorous and “direct diplomacy” with Iran.

Obama spoke with the foreign leaders ahead of a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and his Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who was leaving immediately afterward for a trip to the region. Mitchell will go to Cairo, Egypt; Jersusalem, Israel; Ramallah in the West Bank; Amman, Jordan; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He will also visit Paris and London.

Back in the U.S., U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who was confirmed last week for the post, said Monday that Iran’s refusal to meet international obligations will increase pressure on Tehran to drop its nuclear ambitions and cooperate with the United States and global community.

Besides pursuing nuclear weapons, Iran has called for the destruction of Israel and support for Hamas, a terror group designated by the U.S., Israel and the European Union. 

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Rice’s remarks are not a departure from statements made previously by Obama the candidate. She merely restated the administration position that no forms of communication should be off the table with the Islamic regime. 

“Whether you were on the campaign trail or not, clearly this was something that generated a lot of coverage over the past two years. And I think Ambassador Rice was simply restating the position that the president had,” he said.

Gibbs did not offer any specific initiatives on dealing with Iran, but said Rice’s remarks should come as no surprise.

“This administration is going to use all elements of our national power to address concerns” about Iran’s nuclear program. 

As for the Mitchell trip, Gibbs said Mitchell was ahead overseas “to begin the process that the president promised to be actively engaged in, the peace process there in the Middle East.”

State Department Spokesman Robert A. Wood said the purpose of the trip is to consult with regional leaders on a range of issues, including trying to contain smuggling into Gaza to prevent the rearming of Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules Gaza. He said Mitchell will not meet with any Hamas leaders.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

via Obama, Iran Talks Next? – First 100 Days of Presidency – Politics FOXNews.com .


YouTube & Yahoo Silence Human Rights Activist Misr Digital

A fellow blogger and Human Rights activist, who has won awards for his efforts is being silenced by YouTube and Yahoo!.

Yahoo has cancelled his email address and YouTube has taken down his videos. The videos, though graphic in nature, are live videos submitted by Egyptians, in hopes that the world will see the human rights abuses they endure.

YouTube claims to support his efforts, but the context of the videos are the problem. Well then, let’s put them in context, a country, like many Islamic countries, controls the Mass Media within and therefore the Mass Media of the World is never able to show the world what these goverments do. A blogger is able to bring the real deal to the world, which the Western Liberal Media had no problem showing when it was against the US Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Please contact YouTube and Yahoo! to help bring to light the injustices being wrought in Egypt to the People’s Court of the World.

Members of the Press, Please for once do the right thing and support Wael in his efforts. Use your collective power to bring pressure on YouTube and Yahoo!

Politicians and Human Rights Groups, please take action to get important information like this reinstated.

Fellow Bloggers Spread the Word and Get the Attention of the Press, Politicians, Human Rights Groups, encourage them to take action NOW. See contact information at bottom of post

A prominent Egyptian human rights activist has been muzzled after YouTube and Yahoo! shut down accounts belonging to the award-winning blogger.

Cairo-based Wael Abbas regularly writes and posts video about police brutality, torture and sexual harassment in Egypt. He told FOXNews.com that he’s fighting an “electronic war” now that the providers have pulled the plug on his video and e-mail accounts.

“This is part of a campaign or a war — an electronic war — against me,” Abbas said from Cairo.

Abbas has used his YouTube account to post more than 100 videos of police brutality and public demonstrations over the past few years to further the fight for freedoms in his country. Many of the videos, taken with cell phones, are leaked to him by anonymous posters who find that Abbas will report on the stories when mainstream Egyptian media will not.

One of the videos — of an Egyptian bus driver being sodomized with a stick by a police officer — was used as evidence to convict two officers of brutality, a rare occurrence in a country where human-rights groups say torture is rampant. /**/

“I think this is a new technique that the government is using, which is complaining about the content of some Web sites or some e-mail addresses, in order to disable them — and disable their owners — from what they are doing,” Abbas said.

YouTube said the decision to remove Abbas’ videos had nothing to do with the Egyptian government, but was rather an internal decision.

“In terms of content that might highlight human rights abuses, of course we support users putting educational, historic, philosophical or documentary footage on the site — even when this may involve acts of violence,” a YouTube spokeswoman said. “However, the graphic nature of the content needs to be put in context so that users can easily understand what they are watching.”

Abbas has run his blog Misr Digital, or Egyptian Awareness, since 2004, covering freedoms of speech and expression topics ignored by mainstream Egyptian media.

His work won him the 2007 Knight International Journalism Award, in recognition of his effort to raise the standards of media excellence in Egypt.

Click here to see his blog (in Arabic).

Many of the videos of police brutality are taken by the officers with their cell phones, who then share them with friends, Abbas said.

Six videos taken down by YouTube and shared with FOXNews.com show alleged police brutality at stations in downtown Cairo and the Imbaba and El Haram neighborhoods of the capitol.

In two videos, a murder suspect confesses after being hung upside down. Her screams are of the pain in her hands, according to an independent translation by FOXNews.com.

Click here to see Pt. 1 of the video. (Warning: these videos are graphic and may be disturbing.)

Click here to see Pt. 2 of the video.

Another video from the El Haram police station shows one officer repeatedly slapping a suspect while others egg on the officer to “Hit him!” “Hit him!” The video was allegedly taken to make an example of the suspect among his friends, Abbas said.

Click here to see the video.

“What is important to me is to have these videos available online for anybody because the anti-torture campaign in Egypt hasn’t stopped,” he said. “There are people being killed in police stations everyday; elections continue to be rigged; there will be interference from the police inside the Egyptian university.

“So these videos are necessary to keep the world informed of what kind of ‘democracy’ that we have in Egypt and what kind of charade that we have here.”

A request for comment from Yahoo! was not immediately returned.

Yahoo! Contact Information:

Yahoo! Inc.
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Yahoo! Customer Care

Google Contact Information: 

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phone: 650-253-0000
fax: 650-253-0001

YouTube Web Contact form: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/request.py

Google’s Board of Directorsdirectors@google.com

Human Rights Watch Contact Information:

Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor
New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
Tel: 1-(212) 290-4700, Fax: 1-(212) 736-1300

Human Rights Watch
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Tel. +49-(0)30-259306-10
Fax. +49-(0)30-259306-29

Human Rights Watch
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1040 Brussels
Tel: 32 (2) 732-2009
Fax: 32 (2) 732-0471

Human Rights Watch
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Chicago, IL 60610
Tel.: 312-573-2450
Fax: 312-573-2454

Human Rights Watch
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London N1 9HF, UK
Tel: 44 20 7713 1995, Fax: 44 20 7713 1800

Human Rights Watch
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Human Rights Watch
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Human Rights Watch
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Fax: +41 22 738 17 91

Human Rights Watch
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Human Rights Watch
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Tel:1-(202) 612-4321, Fax:1-(202) 612-4333

Government Contact Information:

US House of Representative

US Senate

UN General Inquiries


Name Position Phone
WITNESS 718.783.2000
David Abbott Office Services & Human Resources Coordinator 718.783.2000 ext. 301
Miyoko Brunner Development Associate 718-783-2000, ext. 303
Matisse Bustos Hawkes Communications & Outreach Coordinator 718.783.2000 x.306
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Kelly Matheson Video Advocacy Institute Coordinator 718-783-2000 x-339
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Jenni Wolfson Acting Executive Director 718.783.2000 ext. 324

CNN’s Report on this travesty of justice:

CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) — An Egyptian human rights activist who posted videos about police abuse says YouTube has shut down his account because of complaints that the videos contain “inappropriate material.”

art.wael.abbas.cnn.jpg art.egypt.jpg

Egyptian human rights activist and blogger Wael Abbas says YouTube has suspended his account.

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Wael Abbas, an award-winning anti-torture watchdog, told CNN on Wednesday that there have been 100 videos posted on his account containing images of torture, police brutality, demonstrations, strikes, sit-ins and election irregularities.

Now, material he had posted is no longer available on the popular video-sharing Web site, he said.

Abbas said YouTube sent him an e-mail saying they had suspended his account.

“They didn’t ask me to remove it. They said ‘Your account isn’t working,’ ” he said. Video Watch Abbas’ complaints about YouTube »

When asked about Abbas, a YouTube spokesperson said, “We take these matters very seriously, but we don’t comment on individual videos.”

YouTube regulations state that “graphic or gratuitous violence” is not allowed and violations of the Terms of Use could result in the ending of an account and deleting all of the videos in it.

“YouTube prohibits inappropriate content on the site, and our community effectively polices the site for inappropriate material,” the spokesperson said. “Users can flag content that they feel is inappropriate and once it is flagged it is reviewed by our staff and removed from the system within minutes if it violates our Community Guidelines or Terms of Use. We also disable the accounts of repeat offenders.”

Abbas agreed that some of the videos were “graphic,” but said strong images underscore the issue of abuse and make an “impact on public opinion.”

He said the graphic images he posted had an impact like the photos and videos of Abu Ghraib prison that emerged in 2004 showing mistreatment of detainees by U.S. troops and stoking international outrage.

“We managed to direct the attention of the people to something that was taboo, something that was never discussed before, which is police brutality and torture inside police stations,” said Abbas, referring to his videos.

The 33-year-old Abbas also operates one of Egypt‘s best known blogs, misrdigital.com, which owes its popularity in part to its frequent postings about police abuse.

In one prominent incident, Abbas posted a video on his blog of a police officer binding and sodomizing an Egyptian bus driver who intervened in a dispute between police and another driver.

The video was one of the factors that led to the conviction of two police officers, who were sentenced to three years each in connection with the incident.

“It’s the first time Egyptian people saw something like that,” Abbas said, referring to beatings and torture. “It was a shock to the Egyptian people.”

The blogger, who said he’s in a “state of shock” because he lost videos he’s uploaded for years, said he might resort to campaigning against YouTube.

“We thought that YouTube was our ally,” Abbas said. “It helped show the truth in countries like Burma. … With what they did now, it doesn’t seem like that anymore,” he said.

Abbas said he has also had a problem with Yahoo! because it shut down two of his e-mail accounts, accusing him of being a spammer.

The International Center for Journalists recently awarded a Knight International Journalism Award to Abbas for his work.