Vodafone: Government made us send pro-Mubarak text messages

Using emergency powers provisions that give it the right to order mobile phone networks to send text messages to subscribers, the Egyptian government has apparently ordered Vodafone to send a message urging citizens to confront "traitors". Check out this Flickr account for images of the messages. The  Guardian's live blog has a translation:

The Armed Forces asks Egypt's honest and loyal men to confront the traitors and criminals and protect our people and honor and our precious Egypt.

Youth of Egypt, beware rumors and listen to the sound of reason - Egypt is above all so preserve it.

To every mother-father-sister-brother, to every honest citizen preserve this country as the nation is forever.

The Armed Forces cares for your safety and well being and will not resort to using force against this great nation.

Mobile phone service was restored throughout Egypt yesterday after operators were instructed to shut it down last Friday. Vodafone claims they are protesting the current situation and have  “made clear that all messages should be transparent and clearly attributable to the originator.” All the same, many only activists by the company's acquiescence to the regime and have called for a boycott of its services outside Egypt. 


Socialist International finally kicks out Mubarak

The Socialist International -- the global federation of center-left parties that includes Britain's Labour Party and the French Socialist Party -- finally got around to expelling Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party this week, after giving Tunisia's RCD the boot last month. In a letter to the NDP, the International's Secretary General writes:

The current massive calls being made  today by the citizens of Egypt  for freedoms and
rights point to the dramatic failure of the Egyptian government to deliver to its people
and to the failings of the NDP to live up to its promises. The use of violence, with scores
dead and injured, is totally incompatible with the policies and principles of any social
democratic party anywhere in the world.  

Consequently, we consider that a party in government that does not listen, that does
not move  and that does not immediately initiate a process of meaningful  change  in
these circumstances, cannot be a member of the Socialist International.
We are, as of today, ceasing the membership of the NDP,  however we  remain
determined  to cooperate with all the democrats in Egypt striving to achieve an open,
democratic, inclusive and secular state. 

The obvious point here is that it's a bit rich for the International to suddenly discover that the NDP isn't democratic -- when it joined the federation in 1989, Egypt had already been under emergency rule for nine years. For that matter, it hasn't even been particularly socialist in recent years.

The International may want to consider a thorough housecleaning of its membership list. I notice, for instance, that still-refusing-to-step-down President Laurent Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front  is still listed as a member.