Friday, 10/12/2012: Candlelight Vigil to Honor Martyrs of the Maspero Massacre

Call from the Coalition to Defend the Egyptian Revolution
Candlelight Vigil to Honor Martyrs of the Maspero Massacre
Friday October 12, 2012 – 7:00 PM
Union Square, Manhattan

October 9, 2012 marked the one year anniversary of what has come to be known as the Maspero massacre, one of the numerous bloody attacks deliberately orchestrated and executed by counterrevolutionary forces under the direction of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), during the ongoing popular revolution in Egypt calling for bread, freedom and social justice.

The Maspero march was organized in resistance to sectarian tactics of the regime. Led by Coptic Christians and joined by broad sections of Egyptian society, together they raised the banner of revolutionary unity, reiterating demands for social justice, an end to military rule and repression, and accountability for crimes committed against Egyptians. The demonstrators were met with merciless brutality that continues to haunt the hearts and minds of all who witnessed it to this day. Military vehicles zig-zagged indiscriminately across the streets, flattening protesters to death and fired live ammunition at swathes of civilians. Meanwhile, state TV channels aired false and blatantly sectarian reports inciting ‘Muslims’ to battle with ‘Christians’ ‘in defense of the Egyptian army.’

The Maspero massacre resulted in the murder of 28 protesters and severe injury to over 200; nearly all of whom were Copts. It marked one of the most disturbing moments in Egypt’s revolutionary struggle. Despite the recent election of Mohammed Morsi, the first so-called ‘civilian president’ in Egypt, full immunity has been granted to SCAF members from prosecution for crimes against civilians, resulting in continued inhumane policies of the Mubarak-era’s emergency laws and its successive military rule. This has included: criminalizing dissent, cracking down on worker strikes and demonstrations, refusing transparency over military budget and the country’s economy (an estimated 20-40% of which is under the army’s control), and continuing to accept military aid from the United States, which is often used to repress, torture, and kill Egyptian people.

On October 8th of 2012, Morsi’s administration released a ‘presidential pardon for the unconditional release’ of political prisoners arrested during the ‘transitional period.’ This mandate contains deeply problematic categories and selective timeframes that divide the revolutionaries between those registered as ‘protesters,’ and the remaining civilians, many of whom are minors who faced non-political charges and were also subject to military tribunals. The ‘pardon’ not only exhausts the extension of constitutional protections to civilians detained by non-civilian entities such as SCAF, it sets a dangerous legal precedent for the arrest of civilians without proper investigation or due process.

While this ‘pardon’ is surely a partial victory won by the tireless efforts of groups like “No to Military Trials” and many other revolutionaries who have fought to pressure the authorities, it is ultimately a political move to pre-empt this week’s planned demonstrations on matters of social justice. Morsi’s government has consistently failed to address the calls for structural change in the latest strikes across the country by doctors, teachers, and students, industrial and public service workers, rural communities and more.

The revolution did not end when Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, and it certainly did not end when remnants of the old regime were defeated in the June 2012 presidential elections. Regardless of who is in power, the Egyptian revolution will continue to fight for bread, freedom, and social justice, alongside retribution for the martyrs, their families, and the countless Egyptians who gave their lives to this struggle.

We echo, reiterate and support the demands of Egyptian revolutionary forces for the following:

The unconditional release of all imprisoned civilians subject to or pending military trials and legislation.

Accountability from all institutional forces participating in the counterrevolution: chiefly SCAF, remnants of the old regime, and the current Morsi government.

An immediate end to military and emergency law in the repression of dissent, and all US military and police aid to Egypt.

Important Fundraising Request: Following Up on Government and Corporate Accountability in Egypt

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Allies:

This past spring a group of 11 U.S. Attorneys and Scholars took part in an important National Lawyer’s Guild delegation to Cairo, Egypt. The aim of the delegation was to study Egypt’s ongoing revolution and to investigate the role and responsibility of the U.S. government and American corporations in human rights abuses under the Mubarak and post Mubarak regimes.

At the time the delegation was being organized we could not make an open call for donations due to the security situation. Given the incidents of persecution of local and international NGOs in Egypt by the military controlled government we did not want to risk exposing our allies in Egypt or risk our ability to conduct the delegation by advertising our trip.

We are asking for your assistance in raising funds to cover some outstanding costs of the delegation and the remainder will assist us in our upcoming post-delegation work: including the publication of a full report, which will be translated for Arab audiences. These funds are very important to follow up on planned legal, policy and organizing campaigns for government and corporate accountability.

We are hoping to raise between 3,000-5,000$. Any amount would be greatly appreciated. Please donate through this account:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=M33G2VUNL5Z5G

Delegation Statement

http://www.nlg.org/news/announcements/national-lawyers-guild-delegation-returns-from-egypt-with-evidence-of-systematic-human-rights-abuses-calls-for-transparency-and-accountability-from-u-s-government/

Article: U.S. Intervention Continues to Undermine the Egyptian Revolution

http://truth-out.org/news/item/10573-us-intervention-continues-to-undermine-egyptian-revolution

Delegation Participants
Suzanne Adely, NLG Labor Lawyer and Organizer
Bahar Azmy, Legal Director-Center for Constitutional Rights
Audrey Bomse, NLG International Committee
Lamis Deek , NLG Human Rights Lawyer and Community Organizer
Ahmad Ghabbour, Attorney, National Security Clinic at UT Law School.
Maryam Jamshidi, Attorney and Scholar ,Transitional Justice
Michael Letwin, New York based Defense Attorney and Activist
Corinna Mullen, Scholar- School of Oriental and African Studies
Brahim Rouabah, Tunis Based Human Rights Activist, Center for Islam and Democracy
Azadeh Shahshahani, Human Rights Attorney, President-elect of the National Lawyers Guild.
Mayssa Sultan , Cairo based Egyptian-American Activist

For more information please email suzanne.adely@gmail.com

NLG Delegation report: US Intervention Continues to Undermine Egyptian Revolution

NLG Delegation report: a Truthout original
US Intervention Continues to Undermine Egyptian Revolution
by Suzanne Adely, Azadeh Shahshahani and Corinna Mullin

Suzanne Adely is a labor and human rights activist and lawyer, a member of the National Lawyers Guild and Defend the Egyptian Revolution Committee in New York.
Azadeh Shahshahani

Azadeh Shahshahani is a human rights attorney and activist based in Atlanta and president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild.
Corinna Mullin

Corinna Mullin is a human rights activist and lecturer in comparative and international politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.

Full report at:

http://truth-out.org/news/item/10573-us-intervention-continues-to-undermine-egyptian-revolution

7/26 forum: Why You Should Support the Syrian Revolution

Why You Should Support the Syrian Revolution
A forum on its roots and prospects

In the last week the tide seems to have turned against the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad, giving new hopes to the masses in Syria and supporters of the Arab Revolution throughout the world.

But the claims of Western governments and mainstream media on the one hand, and those who still believe Assad’s “anti-imperialist” rhetoric on the other, leave much confusion about where the Syrian revolution came from and where it’s going. What is the role of the various forces in the opposition? What would Western intervention mean for the fate of the Revolution?

Speakers:
Yusef Khalil, activist and author of articles on the Revolution
Sarab al-Jijakli, Network of Arab-American Professionals
Moderated by Suzanne Adely, Coalition to Defend the Egyptian Revolution
IFTAR MEAL WILL BE PROVIDED
Thursday, July 26th, 7 pm
NYU’s Puck Bldg., 4th floor (Sociology dept),
on the southeast corner of Houston and Lafayette
Sponsored by the Coalition to Defend the Egyptian Revolution (defendegyptianrevolution.org)
For more information: defendegyptianrevolution@gmail.com

Solidarity with Con Ed Workers: Statement by Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions

The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU)
in Solidarity with
Con Edison Workers in New York

The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) follows with concern the news that Con Edisson locked out 8,500 members of Utiliy Workers Union of America Local 1-2 in New York. This is an attempt by the company to impose worse and unjust conditions on its workers with the expiration of the current contracts. The company insists on having big concessions on both health care and pensions, and is demanding that workers pay for safety equipment required by federal law.

Con Ed is a huge private utility, covering tens of millions of consumers in the New York metropolitan region. There have been recent well-documented reports to the effect that it has been spending money on lobbying and not paying any taxes during 2008–2010, instead getting $127 million in tax rebates, despite making a profit of $4.2 billion, and increasing executive pay by 82% to $17.4 million in 2010 for its top five executives.

Even though the union has shown a significant amount of flexibility and moderation, offering to continue working under the terms of its expired contract, especially because of the heat wave which the city is currently experiencing, Con Ed insisted it would only allow the workers to continue working if the union pledged to give seven days’ notice before going out on strike, which the union refused to do. Con Ed seems adamant to use the heat wave that will leave New Yorkers more vulnerable to brown outs and blackouts as a weapon to pressure the workers and their unions into accepting blatant and unjust worsening of their conditions of work.

The union rightly questions Con Ed’s decision to bring in replacement workers at a time when residents fighting the heat could lead to greater pressure on Con Ed’s system. Replacement workers currently performing the jobs out in the field are either supervisors who haven’t performed fieldwork in years or outside replacement workers, some of whom are fresh out of trade school.

The EFITU esteems this behavior on the part of Con Ed to be irresponsible and very dangerous. In addition to threatening thousands of workers of dismissal and adding to the ranks of the unemployed, the company is endangering consumers in great need of its services in a period likely to witness an increase in utility emergencies. The company is also endangering the lives of non-qualified replacement workers. In addition, the greedy behavior of Con Ed is placing unnecessary pressure on public finances at a period of huge economic difficulties. Because Con Edison locked out their workforce, those workers will be eligible to file for Unemployment Insurance benefits seven days after the lockout began.

The EFITU expresses its total solidarity with our American coworkers and comrades. It urges the American government to exercise its role by preventing these dangers and intervening in favor of just lobor contracts preserving workers legal rights. It also calls upon unqualified replacement workers, supervisors and trainees to disobey Con Ed orders and refuse to replace their colleagues. Accepting to do so is endangering their lives as well as citizens’ lives, and represents an attempt to break the will of their colleagues and impose unjust working conditions on them all.
The solidarity campaign within the American labor movement with Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 is a source of joy and inspiration for EFITU. We join this campaign, as we consider that workers’ solidarity not only at the national but also the international level is the way that allows workers to gain their rights against savage capitalism and multi-national companies.

Long Live the Struggle of Con Ed Workers!
Workers of the World Unite Against the Injustice and Tyranny of Savage Capitalism

Kamal Abou Eita
Head of the EFITU
July 6, 2012

Video of Members of NLG Delegation to Egypt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VwwnAnW078&feature=youtu.be

Suzanne Adely, Lamis Deek and Michael Letwin explain why the National Lawyers Guild Delegation went to Egypt, their findings and future plans

Interview conducted by Sherry Wolf

To support the work described in the video, we need your help to defray the costs of ongoing work in defense of the Egyptian Revolution.

Please click the PayPal Donate button on the DER homepage defendegyptianrevolution.org

NLG Egypt Delegation Findings and Demands

To endorse the delegation’s list of demands (see end of document), please email defendegyptianrevolution@gmail.com

***

http://www.nlg.org/news/announcements/national-lawyers-guild-delegation-returns-from-egypt -with-evidence-of-systematic-human-rights-abuses-calls-for-transparency-and-accountability -from-u-s-government/

June 28, 2012

Contact: Azadeh Shahshahani, President-Elect, (212) 679-5100, ext. 15, azadeh@nlg.org

This April, the National Lawyers Guild sent a delegation of U.S. lawyers, activists, and scholars to study Egypt’s ongoing revolution. In particular, the delegation investigated the role and responsibility of the U.S. government and American corporations in human rights abuses. It also documented how 30 years of U.S. military and economic intervention has violated Egypt’s popular sovereignty and locked the country in a web of debt.

The delegation met with a broad range of activists, including human rights advocates, youth leaders, Islamists, leftist intellectuals, and trade unionists. Delegates also met with many civil society organizations that provide vital legal and social services to poor and working class Egyptians who have been targeted by the state for their activism.

Through these meetings, the delegation gained important evidence of human rights abuses. The evidence implicates the military, the police, and state security forces in violent attacks on protesters, unlawful detention of activists, and the widespread use of torture, actions in which U.S. agencies have also been complicit.

The delegation’s work takes on added importance in light of a series of decrees by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) designed to further entrench the military’s power. These decrees, in conjunction with a recent Supreme Constitutional Court ruling dissolving the newly elected parliament, will have the effect of constraining the power of the winner of last weekend’s presidential elections, Mohamed Morsi. And while the election results are now official, it is clear that, unless action is taken, the real winner will continue to be the SCAF, which stands to maintain legislative, executive, and judicial control over all of Egypt.

Representing one of the most significant uprisings of our time, Egypt’s revolution still holds the potential to lead us into a new era of equality, democracy, and human rights, and it has already inspired democracy movements around the world, including the Occupy movement.

U.S.-Funded Repression

Egypt’s state attacks against protesters, striking workers, and the poor have in some ways escalated since the fall of the Mubarak regime. Over a period of less than 18 months, the current government has imprisoned 12,000, injured 6,000, and killed over 1,500.

The U.S. government has been complicit in these gross violations by providing direct military and financial aid to the current Egyptian regime, by maneuvering politically to help the regime cling to power in the days after January 25, 2011, and by delaying for almost 15 years the passage of the Small Arms Trade Treaty, which could prevent the regime from using American weapons against the Egyptian people.

The influx of those weapons belies the fact that American corporations are also complicit. During the people’s uprising, U.S. corporations continued to ship tear gas and other weaponry to the very government that was shooting at unarmed men, women, and children in the streets of Egypt.

Furthermore, the U.S. government and private corporations have supported the economic policies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which have resulted in long-term job insecurity, increased poverty, and drastic concentration of wealth.

A Call for Full Disclosure of the U.S. Relationship with SCAF

To date, the people of Egypt have had no access to information about the extent of military-private ownership of their country’s industry and resources. That is because the military, with the support of the U.S., has made it illegal to access that information.

In the face of efforts by the military to maintain control of the Egyptian government and public sphere, Egyptian people must be protected in their efforts to take back their country. However, any efforts to deconstruct the economic and state structures built by and for the benefit of a small elite will fail unless the current government allows full transparency into its domestic operations.

Accordingly, the National Lawyers Guild supports the central call of Egyptian activists for transparency and freedom to access information relating to the complicity of the U.S. government and corporations in the activities of the repressive military regime. This should include disclosure of all information relating to the provision of U.S. economic and military aid, to military and intelligence training and cooperation, and to the sale of military equipment.

As American human rights activists and attorneys, we demand further that the U.S. government refrain from any action that compromises the right of the Egyptian people to self-determination, and that it refrain from obstructing the immediate transition to civilian government. Specifically, our demands are as follows:

  • We support our Egyptian allies in calling for an immediate and unequivocal end to arbitrary detention, torture, disappearances, and the general criminalization of political dissent, as well as amnesty for all political prisoners.
  • We support our Egyptian allies in calling for an end to all military tribunals and for the prosecution of all members of the former regime, army, and police who orchestrated and/or engaged in any acts of violence against civilians.
  • We support the demands of Egypt’s people to uphold both domestic and international human rights law.
  • We call on the U.S. government to immediately stop providing the Egyptian military with money and weapons, as both forms of aid are being used to violate domestic and international human rights law through the repression of legitimate forms of political dissent.
  • We call for full disclosure and accounting of all financial and military aid given to the Egyptian government since the 1979 Camp David Accords.
  • We call for full disclosure of all arms sales agreements between U.S. corporations and the Egyptian military.
  • We call for a prohibition on exporting arms, including tear gas and other “small arms,” by any American corporation or private arms dealer to Egypt.
  • We call for the full enforcement of the Leahy Law, which prohibits U.S. military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights.
  • We support the passage of the Arms Responsibility Act (HR 5749) which would prohibit the “transfer of defense articles and defense services to the governments of foreign countries that are engaging in gross violations of internationally-recognized human rights.”
  • We recognize the devastating economic and social impact of neoliberal policies implemented at the behest of the U.S. government and international institutions and call for an end to U.S. economic intervention through the provision of aid with neoliberal conditions and other forms of coercion.
  • We stand in solidarity with all Egyptians who continue to confront the forces of state repression and work for the establishment of a legal system that will protect dignity, freedom, and basic human rights. These demands are embodied and expressed in the broadly unified revolutionary chant for “bread, freedom, and social justice.”

The delegation is working on a full report of its findings due out later this summer. In the meantime, delegation members will be working with organizations and activists to organize around the demands listed above and pushing to hold the U.S. government accountable.