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November 28, 2012

Thousands protest constitutional decree in Tahrir Square, Egypt

Thousands protest constitutional decree in Tahrir Square, Egypt

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Egypt
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File image of protests in Tahrir Square in 2011.
Image: Lilian Wagdy.

An estimated over 100,000 people protested in Tahrir Square yesterday in opposition to a constitutional decree made by Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi. Riot police dispersed the crowd with tear gas as clashes began. One fatality has been reported.

The constitutional decree made November 22 by Morsi protected the constitution drafting body of Egypt from dissolution and also protected executive decisions from being overturned. The decree has sparked protests and strikes reminiscent of protests which eventually toppled the then president Hosni Mubarak.

Earlier this year in September Egyptian courts ruled to dissolve Egypt’s parliament. Morsi opposed the ruling, threatening action, but later respected the decision.

Mohamed ElBaradei said Morsi is acting like a “new pharaoh“. In a comment to Der Spiegel, he said, “Not even the pharaohs had so much authority, to say nothing of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak. This is a catastrophe, it [is] a mockery of the revolution that brought him to power.”

ElBaradei has also said that because of the recent decree “a civil war threatens to erupt in Egypt.”

Morsi has stated the decree is temporary. He met with Egypt’s judiciary on Monday.

Counter demonstration planned by the Muslim Brotherhood and Nour Party has been cancelled to avoid possible further violence.



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April 30, 2011

Egyptian politician ElBaradei says ousted President Mubarak must stand trial

Egyptian politician ElBaradei says ousted President Mubarak must stand trial

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Egypt
Other stories from Egypt
  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 27 January 2015: Greek singer Demis Roussos dies aged 68
  • 23 December 2014: Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for additional day
  • 16 December 2014: Freighter hits fishing boat in Gulf of Suez; thirteen dead
  • 24 November 2014: Sisi: Egypt willing to send stabilizing forces to future Palestinian State
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Hosni Mubarak in Rome in 2009.
Image: Presidenza della Repubblica.

Egyptian politician Mohamed ElBaradei said that ousted President Hosni Mubarak must stand trial. His statement follows the recent ratification by Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil El Araby of a statute that ensures Egypt will join the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). If ElBaradei assumes power in the coming October/November 2011 elections, Mubarak and other former high-ranking corrupt Egyptian officials could potentially be tried in The Hague.

In an interview with the Islam Times, ElBaradei cited reasons as to why the trial of Hosni Mubarak will be necessary to undertake if he chooses to run for Egypt’s top job. “Mubarak allegedly issued the order to shoot at the protesters. [That should] have been reason enough to arrest him immediately…The Military Council has no other option than to try Mubarak and bring everyone else to justice who is responsible for human rights violations or corruption,” he said.

ElBaradei’s previous statement to CNN during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution which began on the 25th of January, according to The Jerusalem Post, was that a trial was unnecessary and that what primarily needed to be done was for Mubarak to hand back money, speculated to be as much as $70 billion, which Mubarak illegally took over the course of his 30 year reign and now owes to the Egyptian people in order for economic progress to emerge.

ElBaradei has stated he believes Egypt should be run by ‘institutions’ rather than ‘individuals’ and has said, “I want to come up with a renaissance project for Egypt and not an electoral program for ElBaradei”.



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March 22, 2011

Egyptian voters approve constitutional changes

Egyptian voters approve constitutional changes

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Egypt
Other stories from Egypt
  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 27 January 2015: Greek singer Demis Roussos dies aged 68
  • 23 December 2014: Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for additional day
  • 16 December 2014: Freighter hits fishing boat in Gulf of Suez; thirteen dead
  • 24 November 2014: Sisi: Egypt willing to send stabilizing forces to future Palestinian State
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Massive protests led to Mubarak’s resignation.

In a referendum held Saturday, Egyptians voted overwhelmingly to amend the nation’s constitution immediately, moving Egypt closer to a democracy, according to results announced today.

Electoral officials said 77% of voters endorsed a set of constitutional amendments that included limiting presidential terms, removing limitations on forming political parties, and holding a general election within six months.

Many of the mostly secular protest leaders who headed the revolution leading to President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation were opposed to the amendments, not wanting to hold elections so quickly. Mohamed ElBaradei, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, said the nation needed more political maturity before holding elections so soon. Leaders of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church also were against the amendments.

The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group previously banned under Mubarak’s rule, and the National Democratic Party, Mubarak’s ruling party, were almost alone in supporting the amendments. Each hoped that its strong organization would give it an advantage in electing the parliament members who will write the new constitution.

Approximately 18 million people, 41% of those eligible, voted, according to electoral officials. This is in contrast to parliamentary elections held four months ago, when the turnout was only six million.

Although there were some problems at the voting places, observers said these were mostly due to the military’s hasty preparations, not wrongdoing by officials. Opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei was prevented from voting by men throwing stones in the worst incidence of sporadic violence.

The results were met with jubilation by Egyptians; in Cairo, horns were honked and fireworks set off. The elections are considered the first in decades not rigged in favor of one party.

“It’s not important what the result is, it’s important that it was fair,” said a revolutionary leader, Abdul Rahman Yusuf.



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February 11, 2011

Hosni Mubarak steps down as president of Egypt

Hosni Mubarak steps down as president of Egypt

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt
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Hosni Mubarak.

Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as the president of Egypt, handing control of the country to the armed forces. Mubarak stepped down after eighteen days of mass protests across the country.

“In these difficult circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave the position of the presidency. He has commissioned the armed forces council to direct the issues of the state,” said the vice president of Egypt, Omar Suleiman. Both houses of parliament and the cabinet are expected to be suspended following Mubarak’s resignation the BBC reports, quoting Al-Arabiya.

In response to the resignation, Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei stated that “This is the greatest day of my life. The country has been liberated.”

Mubarak had been Egypt’s president for nearly 30 years.



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January 28, 2011

Egypt anti-government protests continue, Internet shut down

Egypt anti-government protests continue, Internet shut down

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt
Other stories from Egypt
  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 27 January 2015: Greek singer Demis Roussos dies aged 68
  • 23 December 2014: Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for additional day
  • 16 December 2014: Freighter hits fishing boat in Gulf of Suez; thirteen dead
  • 24 November 2014: Sisi: Egypt willing to send stabilizing forces to future Palestinian State
…More articles here
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To write, edit, start or view other articles on Egypt, see the Egypt Portal
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Anti-government protestors in Egypt rallying against the rule of president Hosni Mubarak took to the streets for a fourth straight day, demanding the long-time leader step down and complaining of poverty, corruption, and oppression. The demonstrations were supposedly inspired by a popular uprising that saw Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali ousted from office. A national curfew is in effect, but is being ignored by many.

Protestors in Cairo, Tuesday – the initial day of protests.
Image: Muhammad Ghafari.

Tens of thousands of people spilled out into streets after Friday prayers today, chanting slogans like “Down, down with Mubarak” and “The people want the regime to fall”. At least eighteen people died in the violence between riot police and protestors, with hundreds more wounded. Up to a thousand people have been arrested.

Police responded to protestors by deploying rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons. In addition, Mubarak ordered the army out onto the streets to help quell the conflict. He was earlier supposed to make a statement, but hasn’t yet done so.

In Cairo, demonstrators targeted the heavily-guarded state broadcasting building, as well as the building of the ruling National Democratic Party, which was set on fire, according to a BBC reporter. In Sinai, armed men took several policemen hostage after seizing a road leading into a nearby town.

Former International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent opposition figure, was taken into custody by authorities and now under house arrest, The Telegraph reports.

Internet shutdown

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Meanwhile, according to media reports and statistics, Egypt has shut down practically all Internet traffic both out of and into the nation, as well as disrupting cellphone usage. A graph by Arbor Networks available on the New York Times website shows an almost vertical drop in overall Egypt internet traffic, starting shortly before four o’clock in the afternoon with over 2.5 million megabits per second down to almost zero in the space of an hour.

“Almost nobody in Egypt has Internet connectivity, and there are no workarounds. I’ve never seen it happen at this scale,” said the chief technology officer for Renesys, a company that tracks Internet traffic. “In a fundamental sense, it’s as if you rewrote the map and they are no longer a country. I never thought it would happen to a country the size and scale of Egypt.”

Andrew Noyes, spokesman for Facebook, noted that the social website had seen almost all of its Egypt traffic disappear and there is only a “minimal” amount left. In a statement, Noyes said: “Although the turmoil in Egypt is a matter for the Egyptian people and their government to resolve, limiting Internet access for millions of people is a matter of concern for the global community.”

Vodafone announced on its website that “all mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it.”



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  • “Massive anti-government protests in Egypt continue into second day, several killed” — Wikinews, January 27, 2011

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November 27, 2009

UN nuclear chief says negotiations with Iran at \’dead end\’

UN nuclear chief says negotiations with Iran at ‘dead end’

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Friday, November 27, 2009

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The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, said earlier on Thursday that the organization has reached a “dead end” in a probe into Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA’s board is meeting to consider a resolution condemning Iran’s nuclear program.

File:Elbaradei.png

File photo of ElBaradei
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

In remarks to the IAEA’s board, ElBaradei expressed frustration over Iran’s failure to cooperate with the Vienna-based agency. ElBaradei leaves office in a few days, at the end of this November, and his remarks have grown sharply more critical of Iran in recent months.

Today, he said he was disappointed that Iran had not agreed on a deal to further enrich its uranium overseas. The deal has the support of the United States, Russia and France and it aims to provide a safeguard that Iran’s uranium is not being used to make a nuclear weapon.

“It is now well over a year since the agency was last able to engage Iran in discussions about these outstanding issues. We have effectively reached a dead end, unless Iran engages fully with us,” he commented.

“In my view the proposed agreement presents a unique opportunity after many years of animosity and hostility to address a humanitarian need and create a space for negotiation. This opportunity should be seized and it would be highly regrettable if it was missed,” he said.

ElBaradei’s comments come as the IAEA board is considering a draft resolution on Iran. According to press reports, the draft urges Iran to stop construction of the uranium enrichment site, and to confirm that it has no other hidden nuclear activities. Diplomats are reportedly confident the measure will be passed, but Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA told a German newspaper that Tehran would reduce its cooperation with the IAEA to a minimum if that happens.

Some members of the international community believe that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon; Tehran, however, maintains that its efforts are for peaceful purposes only.



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October 21, 2009

Iran nuclear talks enter third day

Iran nuclear talks enter third day – Wikinews, the free news source

Iran nuclear talks enter third day

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Iran
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Talks between Iran and three other countries continued on Wednesday in Vienna, Austria, as they try to work out a deal that will ease tensions over Iran’s controversial nuclear program. Diplomats from Iran, Russia, France, and the United States began the third day of talks at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Talks stalled on Tuesday, after Iran expressed resistance to aspects of the proposal, in which it would send most of its low-enriched — or below weapons- grade — uranium to Russia and France for further refinement, to be later used as reactor fuel.

The IAEA’s ambassador to Iran, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, described the ongoing consultations as being “constructive”.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that Iran is opposed to France’s involvement, accusing the country of failing to deliver nuclear supplies in the past. “There is Russia, America […] I believe these countries are enough,” Mottaki said. “France, based on its shortcomings to fulfil its obligations in the past, is not a trustworthy party to provide fuel for Iran.”

Mottaki also added that an agreement would not mean that Iran would suspend its enrichment activity. “Iran will continue its uranium enrichment. It is not linked to buying fuel from abroad. The meetings with world powers, and their behaviour, shows that Iran’s right to have peaceful nuclear technology has been accepted by them,” he said.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said on Tuesday that progress was being made and that technical issues still needed to be analysed. He said an agreement was still within reach. “I believe we are making progress. It is maybe slower than I expected. But we are moving forward,” he said.

ElBaradei added that while “many technical issues” had to be considered, talks were still “moving forward”.

US National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said that US and Iranian delegations held separate discussions on the proposed uranium enrichment deal, under the auspices of the IAEA.

A diplomat familiar with the Vienna talks said the parties now are considering a compromise deal that would allow Russia to sub-contract enrichment work to France, thereby meeting Iran’s request to avoid direct dealings with the country. The enrichment deal would be intended to ease concerns that Iranian uranium enrichment activities are aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council recently imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt its enrichment activities.



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  • “Iran uranium talks “off to a good start”” — Wikinews, October 19, 2009

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October 19, 2009

Iran uranium talks \”off to a good start\”

Iran uranium talks “off to a good start”

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Monday, October 19, 2009

File:Elbaradei.png

Mohamed ElBaradei
Image: IAEA (www.iaea.org).
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Talks between Iranian, Russian, French, and United States officials are “off to a good start” according to Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.

The four countries met at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today in Vienna, despite a statement on Iranian television shortly beforehand saying that the government would not deal directly with France, due to it previously failing to provide “nuclear materials”.

The countries are working on a deal which would allow Iran to send enriched uranium to France and Russia and converted for use in a medical isotopes research reactor. This is the first time that a deal has been worked on regarding Iran’s nuclear programme since the issue was brought up at a meeting in Geneva at the start of this month.

One concern is that Iran has not sent its atomic agency chief, an indication that a resolution of the matter may be be achieved; nevertheless ElBaradei remained positive. “We had this afternoon quite a constructive meeting. We’re off to a good start. Most of the technical issues have been discussed,” he said following the meeting. The head of the Iranian delegation, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, agreed with with the comments, but declined to comment on Iranian media reports that the government is reluctant to send its nuclear fuel. Talks are due to resume tomorrow morning.

Defiant stance

A senior Iranian official denied reports on state broadcaster Press TV that Iran only wanted to import higher-enriched uranium for its research reactor directly from France, Russia or the US, due to difficulties under current UN sanctions.

Iran’s nuclear energy agency spokesman, Ali Shirzadian, said the deal would not end nuclear enrichment activities, as it was not “economically feasible” to purify further low enriched uranium itself to the 130-300kg yield required, adding this was an option if talks “do not bring about Iran’s desired result”.

Sanctions

Iran escaped further UN sanctions after talks in Geneva earlier this month. It agreed to IAEA inspections of a hidden nuclear site, believed to be near the holy city of Qom and to send nuclear material to Russia and France for processing, part of the deal being negotiated at the Vienna talks. According to Western officials, Iran already agreed tentatively in Geneva to major points, but this is denied by Iran.

According to a Western diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous, the talks this week were supposed to seal the deal. “But, since we have had no negotiations thus far with the Iranians, the next couple of days could reopen a lot of what we hoped was already agreed in principle,” he added.



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January 2, 2008

US presidential candidate Duncan Hunter speaks to Wikinews

US presidential candidate Duncan Hunter speaks to Wikinews

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Duncan Hunter

Duncan Hunter is an American politician who has been a Republican member of the House of Representatives since 1981 from California’s 52nd congressional district in northern and eastern San Diego. It was previously numbered the 42nd District from 1981 to 1983 and then the 45th District from 1983 to 1993. Hunter was the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee during the 109th Congress. Hunter is currently seeking the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States. Below is David Shankbone’s interview with the Congressman.

Running for President

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDavid ShankboneWikinews waves Right.pngHow do you handle juggling running the Presidential campaign, acting as a Congressman, and as a husband?

DH: It all works out well. I just talked to my wife, who is campaigning in Wyoming right now. She’s in Casper; I just saw her a couple of nights ago and I came back here [to Washington D.C.] for the votes [on the Defense Bill]. Our son just came back from Afghanistan on Thanksgiving. He’s a U.S. Marine and finished his third tour there in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’re all doing well. We’re all blessed and having a great campaign season.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.pngDo you ever at night say to yourself, “I can’t believe I am finding the energy for another day of this.”

DH: No, actually, listen, most of this stuff is done in air conditioning. [Laughs]

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png[Laughs] That can’t help the sleep deprivation, though.

DH: Listen, I was looking out the window of the Capitol and I saw two guys laying pipeline across Independence Avenue and I thought all I have to do is straighten my tie and make another speech.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.pngGood point.

DH: It’s a lot of fun, it’s a privilege and we’re having a great time. It’s a wonderful family endeavor. I think we’re getting our message out, too: strong national defense, enforce our borders; we’ve got the other guys talking about border enforcement and building my border fence. Also, we’re talking about bringing back high-paying manufacturing jobs that we pushed off to China with bad trade deals. Also the need to keep this country strong militarily. I think it’s a strong message, and I think the message is catching hold well.

Immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border fence

Wikinews waves Left.pngDavid ShankboneWikinews waves Right.pngPresumably the primary reason one typically gives to run for President is because they think they can win and do some good things for the country, but would you say the second reason after that is for a chance to frame the debate on the issues?

DH: Certainly. I think you do that every day, so you’re accomplishing something every day of the campaign, which is getting your message out. For example, I built the border fence in San Diego and I wrote the law that the President signed last October 26 a year ago to extend the border fence—my San Diego fence—854 miles across Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Across the smuggling corridors in those states. So every day we work that issue and energize the American people to build the fence, which is now the law. Every time we get that agenda to complete the border fence picked up by the other candidates, we are accomplishing something. We’re moving the ball down the field.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.pngThe fence that was built in Israel is seen by many as divisive in an area that is far more explosive than the Mexican-U.S. border. How do you respond to people who say that a fence is more symbolic of divisiveness than a resolution of the issues that cause illegal immigration?

DH: Actually, I think the fence has received the approval of people who live on both sides of the border in my community, because before we built that border fence in San Diego—I don’t know if you read the book Lines and Shadows, that was a best-selling book by Joseph Wambaugh, who wrote The Onion Field—it was about the no-mans land that existed between Tijuana and San Diego before we built that fence. You had armed gangs, some of them with machine guns, that preyed on the illegal aliens, murdered a number of people, robbed people by the hundreds every night, and they preyed on people not only on the northern side, but in the northern Tijuana neighborhoods. When we built the double border fence, we took away the mobility of the border gangs, put them out of business, and we actually brought about a much better situation for people on both sides of the border.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.pngIs a fence the remedy for that, or is finding a remedy for the needs and causes of those gangs and for the illegal migration of people a remedy?

DH: Let me put it this way: until we built the border fence, nothing worked. We had law enforcement operations on both sides of the border, and the gangs ran wild. They used the border as a safe haven. If they were pursued in the north, they’d go south; if they were pursued in the south, they’d go north. So until we built the double fence—it’s two fences with a road between—and we took away the mobility of the border gangs, we weren’t able to handle that. So actually there wasn’t another remedy. There’s another reason that we need to have one, and that’s this: today we have 250,000 criminal aliens, mostly people who came across from Mexico, not to look for work or for a better life, but to hurt Americans. People who created and committed serious crimes against Americans. 250,000 of those folks right now in federal, state and local penitentiaries and jails. Unless you have—

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat were they coming here to do?

DH: Well, they came across to hurt people! Those people didn’t come across to find job, they came across to commit crimes, got convicted, and are presently residing in our penitentiaries and jails. That’s a quarter of a million criminal aliens.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.pngWhere did they come from?

DH: Mostly Mexico. The vast majority came from Mexico and last time I looked 27% of the federal penitentiary population are criminal aliens. So there is a large criminal contingent that moves back and forth across the border, and we pay $3 billion a year to incarcerate those folks. One year’s incarceration costs would build a thousand miles of border fence. That’s another reason why you have to have a real border. The other aspect is that we have the biggest open door in the world, that is the biggest front door, the legal immigration system is very liberal in this country and very open, so it is only appropriate that when people want to come into this country, they knock on the front door.

Concentrating the political power in Congressional redistricting

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png You were originally elected as part of the Reagan Revolution and you came from a historically competitive district—

DH: Actually a non-competitive district; it was 2 to 1 Democrat. It was so noncompetitive that my opponent announced two weeks before the election that it was so Democrat that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t beat him! [Laughs]

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png But you won! So it sounds competitive.

DH: Well, it wasn’t competitive until 1980.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.pngDistricts nationwide have become solidly leaning toward one party or another. Do you think that since our districts are being drawn in ways—and both parties do this—in ways that ensure one party wins, do you think that hurts our democracy?

DH: Well, actually, it’s always happened since the original Gerrymander by Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, which they named the Gerry Salamander and then the Gerrymander. The district I ran in had been gerrymandered by the Democrats of the legislature to be heavily Democrat; I was just able to win it. You have the same thing now. You have very polarized seats, but it’s not much different than it was in 1980. In fact, it’s no difficult at all.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png But studies have shown that districts have become more concentrated, that the votes have become more lopsided toward one party, whereas it used to be more that you would find percentages of 47/53, whereas now it is 60/40 or 65/35. You consistently win more than 60-70% of the vote in your district.

DH: Yeah, well, that’s true, but that’s what the old guy used to get in my district in 1980.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png But then they changed it.

DH: Yeah, but my point is that the district was actually moved—the Democrat legislature actually cut my house out and moved it around and moved it into East County with a narrow connector. SO I have always been subject to the Democrat party controlling redistricting in California. They have done what is most expeditious for the party.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Don’t you think this is a problem we have in the country with both parties doing it?

DH: Well, they have always done it. I guess my point is that it’s the same as it has always been. There have been a number of attempts in which referendums have been offered by the minority party, for example in California, to make redistricting more even, and those initiatives have always been the subject of mass media campaigns by the controlling party, and you’ve usually lost. So you end up in the end with the elective representatives of the party sometimes overseen by the judiciary, because you end up with judicial panels redistricting if there is a defective redistricting by the state legislature, but in the end the elected representatives of the states are the people who draw the lines. I don’t know what a valid substitute would be for the elected representatives of the state. I say that as a guy coming from a state that is dominated by the opposite party that tries to do my party in. On the other hand, those districts are drawn by people who have been elected by the majority of Californians. I like the idea of having judicial panels redistrict the states, but I think in the end under this democratic system we have, having the elected representatives do the redistricting is the way it has been done in the past and the way it is going to be done in the future.

Iran and nuclear capabilities

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png The National Intelligence Estimate came out that Iran has not had a nuclear weapons program in years, but the Bush Administration has been warning us that Iran is a threat. Do you think these two pieces of information hurt our international standing?

DH: No, I don’t. First, I think the National Intelligence Estimate, which I have seen in classified and unclassified form, is flat-out wrong. Because a major part of a weapons program is the production of weapons-grade uranium. You presently have 2,952 centrifuges refining uranium in Natanz, which is three times as many centrifuges as our intelligence service has estimated until an actual inspection was made by the IAEA.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png But the IAEA and Mohamed ElBaradei have also come out and said that the National Intelligence Estimate jibes with their findings.

DH: What I’m saying is that the facts don’t support the facts as alleged—or represented by this last inspection—don’t’ support the conclusion that there is not a weapons program being undertaken. A major part of a nuclear device is the refined uranium, which constitutes the explosive matter in a nuclear device. If that’s a major part of the bomb, right now you have almost 3,000 centrifuges producing that material right now in Natanz, Iran, and not only haven’t they slowed down, but they have been increased to three times our former estimate and they are going—according to the last inspection—full bore. So if somebody is telling you they are disarming, the next question you want to ask them is, “Then why are your ammunition factories still in production?”

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Isn’t that just conjecture?

DH: No, it’s not conjecture at all. Natanz has been—the arms teams have been there and they have counted the centrifuges and they are operating at full speed.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png But there is no evidence that they are making any weapons with them, correct?

DH: No, they are producing the powder, the explosive material that is used in a nuclear device, which is the most difficult part to obtain. So they are proceeding at full pace with a part of a nuclear device. So the question to ask the Iranian is, “Why are you doing this?” There is no good answer. I think it is misleading to say they have stopped their arms program. They haven’t stopped that part of it.

Terrorism: the greatest threat to humanity

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png What do you think is the greatest threat to humanity?

DH: The production or the securing of a weapon of mass destruction. There are several species of threats, but I would say in terms of the war against terrorist—

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png You think terrorism is the greatest threat to humanity?

DH: No, I’m going to give you several broad categories, and then I want to give you a sub-category. But if look at the terrorist threat, which I think right now is perhaps the greatest imminent threat that we have, the securing of a nuclear device or another weapon of mass destruction, and its detonation in a large population center,

I think that’s the greatest—

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Are you for nuclear non-proliferation, then?

DH: Well, I’m for nuclear non-proliferation to terrorist groups, and for technology control.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png What is technology control?

DH: It means controlling the subsystems that can be utilized to develop a weapon of mass destruction. You have technology control with respect to chemical and biological weapons, but also nuclear weapons. So you have a regime that includes the nuclear suppliers group, you have several international constructs to keep those systems from getting into the wrong hands. So technology control is a very important aspect of securing and preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons capability by a terrorist group or a terrorist state.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Do you think we should begin entering into agreements with other countries to disarm the nuclear arsenal worldwide?

DH: No, I don’t think the United States should eliminate our nuclear arsenal because I think that manifests a deterrent against others who might move aggressively against the United States at some point, or might move aggressively against our allies. I think there is a deterrent factor to having a nuclear weapons capability for the United States, which I would describe as a responsible nuclear state. Nor do I worry about Great Britain’s, nor do I worry about France’s. But what I would do is everything possible to prevent a regime with nuclear technology from falling into the hands of those who would use it irresponsibly, and that would include of course Iran, obvious North Korea, which has some nuclear devices, and other countries.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png It seems like it is a difficult thing to argue that we have nuclear arms, but other sovereign nations can’t have them.

DH: Yeah, I think that would have to fall under the category of the real world. You don’t want to have countries which have what I would call non-stable leadership, or anti-American leadership, developing the means to kill large numbers of Americans. That may not seem fair, that’s not Marquis of Queensbury rules, but it’s in the interest of the United States.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Does it not worry you that governments can change quickly? You had Shah Pahlavi, who was very pro-Western for a long time, overthrown in Iran. President Musharraf in Pakistan, which now has nuclear weapons, is also unstable with his hold on power and has nuclear capabilities.

DH: Yes, but I think in both those cases you will see that we did not give nuclear weapons capability to either one of them, and would very much prefer they didn’t have it. So I agree with you, but I want to remind you that we haven’t given and we have been very much against nuclear proliferation to those states.

The United Nations

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png You are a critic of the United Nations and it would seem like out of any foreign body that is positioned to assume global leadership on this issue, it would be the UN. Do you think it is wise to take an antagonistic view of that body when it seems necessary to have the global cooperation it embodies?

DH: Well, I’m not antagonistic toward the United Nations as much as I am realistic about the United Nations. I think the United Nations is good, as I have said, for inoculating babies and for operating refugee camps and refugee centers, but they should not be relied upon by the United States for our security, and I think that has been proven time and time again. So the United States needs to have independently the means for maintaining its security.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png One of the things you said was, “Rest assured no treaty that infringes the sovereignty of the United States…”

DH: You said you saw a quote that said ‘a trip to the waste basket’? That’s not a…

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png That’s not an accurate quote?

DH: I like what you said, but that’s not a phrase I generally use, but I am not supportive of the United Nations for U.S. security.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png If you’re concerned about infringing on the sovereignty of the United States, but the concern doesn’t extend for the sovereignty of other countries, how do you form a foreign policy principle that doesn’t make it seem the concern is only what is good for us?

DH: Listen, I need to go to a conference right now, can I call you back?

[Break for Congressman Hunter to attend a conference]

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Hi Congressman Hunter. How was the meeting?

DH: Very good. We wrapped up the defense conference. That was with Senator Kennedy and Senator Levin, and they agreed to take the hate crimes bill off the defense bill, so we are going to move it forward and pass it, so it was good news.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png That happens a lot where they put disparate bills together in the hopes of moving them together. What are some of the positives and what are some of the negatives of doing that?

DH: We do pass out-of-scope legislation in the defense bill sometimes; but the problem is putting in legislation that wouldn’t pass independently. The downside is passing legislation that probably wouldn’t pass or wouldn’t be signed by the President otherwise.

School prayer

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.pngYou support school prayer?

DH: Yeah, I support folks having a place where young people can go to have a quiet time after their substantive activities and have a prayer.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.pngNot a school mandated prayer?

DH: Not a state-enacted prayer.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.pngMore a moment of silence?

DH: Not a moment of silence, but having a place where young people can go and prayer and still having that availability to do that.

Pornography

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png You sponsored the Parents Empowerment Act–

DH: I wrote it. I was the original author of it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png That Act would allow parents or guardians to sue in federal court anyone that disseminates material harmful to minors.

DH: Yeah, pornographic material that hurts young people. That’s one way to get to people that put out dirty images. The key is that if they disseminate it in a way they can expect minors to see it, then they should be held liable for the damages of that material. I came to that conclusion after watching the FCC operate in a very very haphazard and sluggish manner, very rarely responding to complaints. And very under-manned even if they did respond energetically to complaints. It gives parents the ability to hold pornographers liable for the damage to their children. That’s the only way you are going to stop them, to hit them in their pocketbook because they obviously don’t care about the children. They just care about their pocketbook.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Can you explain how that does not limit free speech, especially on the Internet?

DH: Yes, certainly. Free speech, for example–nobody disagrees that somebody has a right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater; we all agree on that. And nobody has the right to put pornographic literature in front of children or in the public, and from my perspective, that should be an actionable right that parents would have. It empowers parents to go after people who are putting filth in front of their children, and to hit these people where they live, which is in their savings account or their check book.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png What about a pornographic website?

DH: Absolutely it would stop a pornographic website, if it is put out in a way that children should reasonably be expected to see it, it should be banned. I think this: the trauma that is caused by young kids–and studies show now that a fairly substantial amount of young children are exposed to pornographic websites now–just sighing and saying that’s life in modern America, well I think we should keep it from happening.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Are there any studies that show it actually harms children?

DH: Oh, absolutely! That pornography harms children, there’s lots of studies. Don’t you think pornography harms children?

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png I’ve spent time in Europe, and I have spent time here. It depends on what you are saying pornography is. For instance, in Europe women are allowed to be bare-chested on the beach or in some places on television. It doesn’t seem to harm children there.

DH: If you’ve seen some stuff on the websites, it’s much worse than that. You’re aware of that.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Sure, but what is the bar for pornography, then?

DH: I think that is a matter of judgment and the court is going to have to make the judgment whether that is pornography or not. That has always been a question of fact. Once it is established and once a community–jurors–agree that it is pornography, that it has harmed children, then the people who spread it are going to be held accountable. You have to be held accountable for what you throw out in front of children.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Would a website with a message at the front saying that a user confirms they are over 18 before they enter the site, would that be sufficient?

DH: I think that’s a question of fact for the jury. They are going to have to decide whether the key element in the Parents Empowerment Act, which is whether or not the purveyor of the pornography could reasonably expect children to see it. It might be argued to the jury that there are movies which put restricted labels and don’t go with the General Audience label because it actually intrigues young people and sometimes has proven to draw higher attendance if you have a label that implies there is something risque in the movie. You’ve seen that. Movie makers avoid the General Audience label.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png They also try to avoid the X label.

DH: It depends on what the case is and what the jury believes. If the jury believes it was truly put in there in a way that the purveyor of the pornographic image set up his site to attract children, then he is going to be liable. But it’s a question of fact.

Gay Marriage

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Do you consider yourself States Rights?

DH: I think so. I think that’s a general philosophy. Federalism. I don’t think it’s absolute; I think there are some issues in which the country as a nation has an interest.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Why would you support the Federal Marriage Amendment if you are for States Rights?

DH: Because of what I just told you. I think that states rights are important, but there are some issues in which the nation as a community has an interest, and of course the Marriage Act, one of the fears has been if you end up with one or two states that support homosexual marriage, what you’ll end up doing is producing a flow of people going to a particular state, receiving their marriage license in that state, and then due to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution, having those marriages recognized in the state where the marriage is banned.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Doesn’t DOMA prevent that? The Defense of Marriage Act?

DH: Well, if you end up with a federal act that prohibits it–that’s what I’m saying, if you prohibit it on a national basis in a Constitutional Amendment or on a federal act, then you eliminate the process of having one or two states generating homosexual marriages and then demanding they be recognized under the Full Faith and Credit Clause. Do you understand what I’m saying? If you have one state that allows it, then you have a recognition requirement of the other states.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png But didn’t DOMA prevent that? Massachusetts currently has gay marriage. So didn’t DOMA prevent that from happening?

DH: Prevent what from happening?

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Prevent a swell of people going to Massachusetts and getting married, and then taking their marriage to another state that bans it and forcing them to recognize it?

DH: What’s your point? I think that’s good. That it does prevent it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png So do you no longer support amending the Constitution is my question.

DH: No, I think it has still yet to be fully decided as to whether a few states can at some point basically become proliferators, if you will, of non-traditional marriage. Here’s my position: If it is necessary to amend the Constitution, then I think we will need to do it. I think you need to have a Defense of Marriage on a uniform basis in all fifty states. What it takes, in terms of satsifying the federal courts to do that, should be done. So if it is required that it is necessary to have an amendment to the Constitution to do that, I would support that. But doing what it takes to have a uniform treatment to defend traditional marriage across all the states.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Essentially you would want to revoke Massachusetts’ ability to have gay marriage?

DH: Yes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png So that would be anti-States rights to a degree?

DH: Well, that’s your argument. But my point is that when I said I’m for states rights, I’m also for recognizing the fact that there are some issues in which the nation has an interest.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Why do you think gay marriage is one of those issues?

DH: I think that’s a center piece, the most important institution in our country, is the marriage. The traditional marriage. Its most important role is as the protector of children. I think central to the American family, which is the most central institution in the country, is the marriage between a man and a wife. I think we need to elevate that traditional marriage. Support it, promote it, elevate it. Not devalue it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png How does gay marriage devalue marriage?

DH: I think that it devalues it by rendering it less than what it was, by making it something that is not a function of the Judeo-Christian tradition, which most of our laws are built on.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Although we are not a Christian nation–

DH: As you start to devalue the traditional marriage, people would ask why can’t it simply be a contract between a number of people? What’s special about two people? What’s special about a man and a wife? I think there is something special about a man and a wife, and in a way the traditional marriage is different than many institutions. It is not a governmentally-formed institution. It is an institution that has a religious element to it. It’s a part of a our Judeo-Christian tradition.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png The argument against that is should government be involved in it at all then.

DH: But it is recognized, and protected, by government. So that makes it an unusual institution.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png What about when two Muslims marry, then? Because that’s not Judeo-Christian.

DH: Well, I’m saying that was the basis of the traditional marriage in our society that made it an important institution in this society. That doesn’t mean it is restricted of one religious group, but that it has been a function of Judeo-Christian religion and has become thereby a part of our laws.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Since it exists in all societies, just because it is practiced by a Judeo-Christian society does that make it a Judeo-Christian institution or a human institution?

DH: Well, I think you can argue that, but–

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png You don’t believe that?

DH: No, I said you could argue that, but in this society it has been a function of the Judeo-Christian religion, although it is supported similarly by other religions, and by diverse numbers of ethnic groups. On the other hand, that’s not a reason to not support it, to not elevate it, and not to honor it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngDSWikinews waves Right.png Some Christian churches such as the Episcopalians conduct gay marriages.

DH: Listen, you might have all liberal types in this country to undo what is essentially the traditional marriage. I don’t agree with that. I think that is an underpinning to the most important institution in this country, which is the family, and so I don’t agree with those who would tear the traditional marriage down, or think it is without value, or that it can be changed and should be changed. I simply don’t agree with that.

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October 29, 2007

ElBaradei says no \’concrete evidence\’ of Iranian nuclear weapons program

ElBaradei says no ‘concrete evidence’ of Iranian nuclear weapons program

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Iran’s nuclear program
Iran's nuclear program
Recent stories
  • 25 November 2013: Iran to reduce nuclear enrichment in exchange for sanctions reduction
  • 12 November 2013: Iran agrees to expanded monitoring of nuclear sites
  • 9 April 2013: Wikinews interviews Amir Abbas Fakhravar about Iranian nuclear intentions
  • 31 December 2012: Iranian Navy conducts drills in Strait of Hormuz
External and Inter-wiki links
  • Wikipedia article about Iran’s nuclear program
  • Wikipedia article about Iran and WMDs

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Sunday that he had seen no “concrete evidence” that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

Flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency

ElBaradei discussed Iran’s nuclear program in an interview with CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer on Sunday. When asked “Do you believe there is a clandestine, secret nuclear weapons program right now under way in Iran?” ElBaradei said “We haven’t seen any concrete evidence to that effect… We suspect that Iran might have the intention, but I don’t think I have seen anybody saying Iran today is working actively on a weapon program. And if there are such information, I would be very happy to receive it.”

Tensions between the United States and Iran have been on the rise recently, with U.S. President George W. Bush warning of the potential for “World War III” should Iran develop a nuclear weapon. On Thursday, the United States imposed new sanctions on Iran in an effort to pressure it to stop enriching uranium.

ElBaradei recommended entering negotiations with Iran as soon as possible to resolve the conflict. “The earlier we go into negotiation, the earlier we follow the North Korean model, the better for everybody,” he said.



Related News

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  • “Cheney warns of ‘serious consequences’ of Iran’s nuclear ambitions” — Wikinews, October 22, 2007
  • Bush and Putin suggest potential for World War III” — Wikinews, October 20, 2007

Sources

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