Gloria Arroyo's grip on the Philippine presidency appeared tenuous last night after more than 100 marines openly defied her rule by rallying around commanders wanting to withdraw from the chain of command.
The crack troops, backed by several thousand opposition and civil society figures who flocked to their Manila base, ended the mini-rebellion after five hours and agreed to respect their superiors.
But the wider turmoil, which began last June when Ms Arroyo was accused of rigging the 2004 presidential election, is thought to be far from over. The government said yesterday that dozens of people still faced arrest over an alleged attempted coup last Friday and that the state of emergency announced the same day remains in force.
Late last night hundreds of students opposed to Ms Arroyo began to gather at the University of the Philippines (UP) and the civilian leaders who had supported the marines, including former president and pro-democracy icon Corazon Aquino, were considering whether to join them.
The above, noted by James in Brighton, is from John Aglionby's "Marines' rebellion loosens Arroyo's grip on power" (The Guardian of London). I'm not seeing it in this report but a report on Pacifica radio this evening (from the Phillipines) noted that Arroyo had shut down the schools for Monday and it was thought that was an attempt to curb/quash dissent. It's Sunday and we've got an entry focused on Iraq but there are too many things going on elsewhere to not note them. (But expect nothing at all in the entries tomorrow morning. I'm exhausted now and I'll be more so tomorrow morning.)
To answer a question Polly had, that others may have as well, why "Pacifica" as opposed to the actual Pacifica station? Members who listen to a Pacifica station or affilliate are very happy with their stations and they should be. If I mention a station by name it will be seen as my endorsing that station over others. Also, since Polly's in England and may not know, Pacifica isn't like the BBC Radio (stations) in that they carry the same programs. They all carry Democracy Now! but other than that they vary. I'm sure that the report from the Phillipines was carried on many stations and to avoid any member thinking I'm saying "___ is better than ____!" -- it's just easier to say "I heard on Pacifica . . ."
Polly noted Tom Coghlan 's "Three blocks of Afghan prison seized by inmates after violent protests" (The Telegraph of London):
Hundreds of captured Taliban and suspected al-Qa'eda fighters ran riot in Afghanistan's most notorious prison yesterday as inmates seized control of its three blocks during an eruption of violence.
The Islamists, who were said last night to be holding an American prisoner hostage, were among an estimated 1,500 prisoners at Kabul's vast Pul-e-Charki jail whose revolt was triggered on Saturday night by new rules to impose a prison uniform on inmates.
In her e-mail on this, Polly notes that in England they've heard for around a year that British troops would be pulling out of Iraq . . . to go to Afghanistan.
In other news, Ian notes "US urged to return Egyptian mask" (BBC News):
Egypt has asked an art museum in the US to return a 3,000-year-old funerary mask it claims disappeared from the capital's Egyptian Museum decades ago.
The piece, known as the mask of Ka Nefer Nefer, is said to date back to the 19th Dynasty, 1307-1196BC.
Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities said the mask was discovered in 1952 in the pyramid at Saqqara, near Cairo.
It is thought to have been smuggled abroad before being bought by Missouri's St Louis Art Museum in 1998.
"The mask is in a very well preserved condition and it features the bust of a young lady called Ka Nefer Nefer," said Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass.
"It has a combination of glass inlaid eyes, a face covered with gold and a wig."
On the issue of the ports proposal in the United States, Sam notes David Stocker's "Snow Job" (CounterPunch):
Not trumpeted on the government's website is the fact that [John] Snow (current Secretary of the US Treasury) is now the head of a little known government committee that privately approves foreign business transactions. When CSX, was bought out one year ago this week by Dubai Ports World for $1.4 billion, Snow cashed in on his stock options. DPW, the very same U.A.E. state owned company that is now with help from Snow, closing the loop for packages moving from the slums of Dubai to your own home.
My point is this, with a nuclear bomb the size of a laptop we are already unsafe. If somebody wanted that to happen, it would. The extreme efforts and enormous expense to protect our homeland have proven utterly ineffective. This DPW deal under a microscope is yet another example of the theft of our government by a small cadre of wealthy people with a very narrow agenda. It is an effort by Bush to pay back his Arab handlers while he still can. This should put the light to their faux democracy-mongering throughout the world. It should lay open the huge homeland security budget as largely a sham and history's greatest boon to cronyism, with the sole intent of distracting Americans from seeing that the policies and actions of our own government are the greatest danger to the safety of the people of the world today.
The Sultans of spin in the White House and the Emirates of Arabia should read the words of Mohammed. "Be charitable. Allah tolerates trade, but loveth not usury. Guard against the time when you shall be brought before your sins. Be saved from avarice."
For many reasons and on many levels, Bush's February 24 statement to the national press, rings true. "This deal would not go forward if we were concerned about the safety of America." They are not.
By the way, someone sent the transcript to a Fox "News" show that Joe Biden appeared on Sunday morning. We aren't linking. (I don't think we were being asked to link.) My thoughts on it? Biden was worthless. I don't care whether he delivered his talking points "strongly" or "weakly," he was worthless. Why? He said he was happy with a 45 day review. That's all he wants. Biden, who shared that he was told at a recent meet and greet that he was too "centrist" for a voter to support -- true, would have a tag sale on everything. All he wants is a 45 day review. While others either want the deal stopped or to go forward, Biden emerges to say, basically, 'I'm happy just as long as we have a reivew.' In the same interview, he listed things that some company controlling the ports would have access to (security items). If, after making that list, all he wants is a "review" he's worthless on this issue.
On the issue of Ireland that was noted this morning, Olive steers us to the AFP's "Irish protesters clash in Dublin march" (via Australia's ABC):
Irish riot police have clashed in running battles with Republican protesters who forced Protestant unionists from Northern Ireland to call off a march through central Dublin.
A police spokesman said the march had never got going as the republican protesters clashed with police in O'Connell Street, the city's main thoroughfare.
The spokesman said 14 people had been injured -- six members of the force and eight civilians.
Three cars had been set on fire in Nassau Street close to the Leinster House parliament building and police said rampaging protesters had broken shop windows and some shops had been looted.
Police said 40 people have been arrested.
On the same topic, Dominick notes Paul O'Brien's "Enemies of the state" (The Irish Examiner):
INTELLIGENCE failures may have resulted in the gardaí being ill-prepared for Saturday's riots in Dublin. This led to at least 14 people being injured and an estimated €10 million being lost by city centre businesses forced to close in the face of the frightening violence.
Senior officers in charge of the policing operation for the Love Ulster parade were oblivious to the violent nature of the demonstration that appeared to have been well planned by extremist republicans.
"The intelligence that was available to us from different sources, including the PSNI, was that no high-grade protesting was going to take place," Assistant Garda Commissioner Al McHugh said yesterday.
Opposition TDs have called on Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy to explain the flaws in intelligence that may have contributed to the policing difficulties.
Dominick also notes "Iran agrees nuclear deal with Russia" (Irish Examiner, Breaking News):
Iran and Russia have agreed in principle to establish a joint uranium enrichment venture, a breakthrough in talks on a US-backed Kremlin proposal aimed at easing concerns that Tehran wants to build nuclear weapons.But further negotiations on the details lay ahead, and it was not known whether Iran would give up enrichment entirely at home, a top demand of the West.
The deal -- announced by the two countries' top nuclear chiefs yesterday -- could deflect any move by the United Nations nuclear watchdog at a March 6 meeting to recommend that the UN Security Council consider action on Iran.
Olive notes "Mexican mine manager says trapped miners dead" (AFP via Australia's ABC):
Sixty-five Mexican miners trapped in a mine six days ago are dead, the mine manager has told their family members.
Mine manager Ruben Escudero "informed us that all the miners are dead -- there is nothing that can be done," said Juan Hernandez, the nephew of one of the trapped men.
Rescuers late on Friday halted their search for miners, citing safety concerns.
Gareth provides news of the stumbling Bully Boy via Arifa Akbar's "Police reveal how Bush can't wave and pedal at same time" (The Independent of London):
The police report describes him as a "falling object" who lost control of his bicycle after trying to pedal and wave at the same time.
So ends the mystery of how President George Bush collided with a police officer while cycling at Gleneagles on the first day of the G8 summit last year.
Security was tight at the Perthshire resort on 6 July, amid fears that anti-globalisation protesters would try to storm the hotel where the leaders of the world's richest countries had gathered. Mr Bush was cycling in the grounds when he waved and shouted to a group of Strathclyde police officers: "Thanks, you guys, for coming." This triggered a serious case of wobbles and he ended up injuring a constable.
The police report, obtained by Scotland on Sunday, gives a blow by blow account of the lead-up to the accident. It reads: "[The unit] was requested to cover the road junction on the Auchterarder to Braco Road as the President of the USA, George Bush, was cycling through.
"At about 1800 hours the President approached the junction at speed on the bicycle. The road was damp at the time. As the President passed the junction at speed he raised his left arm from the handlebars to wave to the police officers present while shouting 'thanks, you guys, for coming'.
"As he did this he lost control of the cycle, falling to the ground, causing both himself and his bicycle to strike [the officer] on the lower legs. [The officer] fell to the ground, striking his head."
And as always, we close with a highlight from Pru, "Belfast post victory is a symbol of what unity achieves" (Great Britain's The Socialist Worker, and Pru says to read the note near the end):
An 18-day unofficial strike by Belfast postal workers ended in victory. Two Belfast CWU union members told Socialist Worker how the battle was won.
Royal Mail totally capitulated to our central demands. We achieved a complete climbdown. We went out on strike against bullying and harassment and won our key objective of an independent review of employee relations and industrial relations in Belfast.
Royal Mail guaranteed that there would be no interference in the process or the outcome. We also won a pledge of no victimisations against the workers involved in the dispute.
Royal Mail insisted from the start that there would be no negotiation over an independent review until we went back to work. But they couldn’t break us, and they had to concede.
Our strike held up seven million items of mail. That showed our strength. But we couldn't have won without the support of our colleagues, our communities and our families.
And we wouldn't have won without forging an incredible unity between Catholic and Protestant. In 20 years time people might not remember the details of the dispute, but they will remember that unity.
There were three key moments in the strike. The first was when we walked out. The first office out was a mainly Protestant one, the second was a mainly Catholic one. That marked us as together from the beginning.
The second key moment was the march up the Protestant Shankill and down the Catholic Falls Road. There's been nothing like that for over 70 years. The march came a week into the strike when some people were beginning to feel a bit low. It was electrifying, our spirits went through the roof.
We'll never forget marching through areas where we had never set foot before. All the working people on the streets backed us. They wanted some of what we were doing, fighting for decency and justice for working people.
Suddenly it wasn't just a battle for postal workers' rights, it was a symbol of something more important as well. It is this that has sustained us in the most difficult moments.
It was why we felt untouchable when there were calls to give up and go back to work from the media and management and from some who should have known better in the union movement.
The third key moment was the demonstration in Belfast last week. It felt like the cavalry had arrived!
There were postal workers from England, Scotland and Wales who came over and brought their support and money. There were men and women who had brought thousands of pounds from their workmates. We then knew we were not alone and would not starve.
The more managers slandered us and attacked us the more determined we felt. They said we were covering-up for sectarian thugs -- a lie. They said it was based on sinister motives -- a lie. They said it was all set up by a bunch of "renegade CWU reps"-- a lie. They sent men in the night to harass reps and threaten them with personal damages for the dispute -- a filthy piece of harassment.
We do not forget these assaults. Overcoming them makes our victory sweeter. It is union members who have fought bullying, not the managers who claim to be so "sensitive".
Our strike was kept going by democracy and openness. Members always knew the truth about what was going on, and there were regular meetings where everyone could have their say.
The CWU repudiated the strike because of the anti-union laws. But rank and file members supported us from the start.
Our branch members were magnificent, and so were others much further away.
We remember one cold day that we got a call from a postal worker in Wales saying he backed us all the way. Suddenly the warmth of our CWU family was round us.
The leaflets from the rank and file paper Postworker that went round certainly had an effect in raising support, and so did the attendance of some of our members at the national CWU forum in Newcastle.
The 100-strong Postworker meeting and then the whole gathering heard our case the next day. We also thank certain people in the CWU leadership who played a very important role in getting justice for us.
Our 18 days that shook Royal Mail have set down a marker for the future. Touch one of us and this is what you can expect.
As Socialist Worker went to press, news came through that Royal Mail management were attempting to renege on the deal agreed at the end of the strike.
Belfast will need the full support of every worker if the deal is not fully implemented.
"Thanks very much to all Socialist Worker readers for your support during our dispute. It was much appreciated, especially Eamonn McCann whom we are going to name our games room after."
Gabe McAuley, Belfast postal worker
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