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January 30, 2011

Website For Egypt's Al Ahram Newspaper is Down

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." ~ Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776

The website for Egypt's most popular newspaper, Al-Ahram Weekly, is down as persistent violence in Cairo and around Egypt continues due to mass citizen protest of the 30 year reign of President Hosni Mubarak.  

The Egyptian government, still controlled by President Mubarak, has already disabled the Internet around much of the country, as well as interrupted cell phone service.  Mubarak's administration also shut down the operations of the Arabic satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera since Friday, blaming it for encouraging the citizen uprising.

Al Ahram doctored photo put Mubarak up front
Shutting down Al-Ahram could very well be the result of the Internet blackout affecting the country, or it could be another tactic of a fearful regime.  The newspaper has always been supportive of President Mubarak, even to the extent of using doctored photos of the leader to deceive the masses.  This is hardly surprising being that Al-Ahram is majority owned by the Egyptian government.  At this time, one can only speculate about the reason for the removed online presence of one of Egypt's oldest publications.

As violence escalates amidst the upheaval, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is following the anti-government protests in Egypt "with vigilance," and says his nation's efforts are focused on maintaining the stability and security of the region.

The United States Department of State is urging Americans to defer travel to Egypt and warning U.S. citizens already in the country to get out if possible.

As history unfolds in Egypt, it will be interesting to see how U.S. foreign policy is adjusted, if at all.  Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah criticized the protesters and expressed support for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.  Being that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are key allies of the United States, U.S. citizens will likely be bombarded with propaganda if protests continue to spread, as our government will surely side with known government allies in the region. 

"…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." ~ Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776