Egypt is in trouble.
Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, all Mubarak appointees, orchestrated a bloodless coup yesterday, just before this weekend’s scheduled presidential run-off election.
The top two vote-getters in the May presidential primary–former dictator Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, and Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi–are scheduled for a run-off election tomorrow and Sunday.
But yesterday the Supreme Court dissolved the recently-elected Parliament, and returned power to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military junta that took power when Hosni Mubarak fled in February, 2011. And SCAF has instituted martial law in preparation for the weekend elections.
Egyptians are caught between two nasty extremes. Shafiq was a long-time minister in Mubarak’s government, and has the support of SCAF and the military, which has been the power behind the presidency ever since a group of Army officers led by Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Farouk in 1952. Thursday’s coup makes it pretty clear that a vote for Shafiq is a vote for returning to the strong-arm oppression of the Mubarak era.
Morsi, on the other hand, told the popular Egyptian news site El Bashayer last month that he intends to:
achieve the Islamic conquest of Egypt for the second time, and make all Christians convert to Islam, or else pay the jizya.
Jizya is a tribute or tax required of non-Muslims under sharia law.
Let’s see: military dictatorship or Islamic dictatorship? Egyptians are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
June 11th post: Military surveillance drones in the land of the free
Congress is fast-tracking the introduction of surveillance drones into American airspace. But Sen. Rand Paul introduced a bill this week which would require the government to get a warrant before using aerial drones to spy on U.S.citizens.
You wouldn’t think we’d need a law against unwarranted searches when we have the Fourth Amendment.
Sadly, though, it’s come to that.
The Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act (text here) would also give Americans the right to sue the government for violating the law, and prohibit evidence collected by drones without a warrant from being used in court.
And, lest you worry that it would give the bad guys the upper hand, it would allow warrantless surveillance:
- of our national borders;
- when “swift action” is needed to prevent “imminent danger to life”; and
- to counter a “high risk” of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization.
(A tip of the hat to Free North Carolina for this update.)
June 13th post: Maya’s story: Everyone deserves a voice
Dana Nieder, mother of 4-year-old Maya, whose low muscle tone leaves her unable to speak, has started a petition at Change.org. It asks Apple to return the Speak for Yourself app to the iTunes store immediately, pending the outcome of ongoing patent infringement litigation. (Speak for Yourself is a $300 iPad app that allows Maya to talk.) The petition also asks the companies trying to shut down the makers of the app to guarantee its continued availability regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit.
(And a hat tip to a reader, Eric, for this info.)
You can go here to ask your senators to support the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act (S. 3287). (All you need to know is what state you live in.) And you can sign the Let Maya Speak for Herself petition right here. Both are very quick stops.