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Dispatches From Cairo: Torture in Post-Mubarak Egypt

Posted on Oct 30, 2011

Mourners gather around the coffin of Essam Atta at his funeral in Cairo. Egyptian rights activists on Friday accused Cairo prison guards of fatally injuring him in a torture case that they said shows continued rampant human rights abuse by security forces despite the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

By Lauren Unger-Geoffroy

(Page 2)

Authorities’ use of torture was one of the major grievances behind the mass mobilization of the Egyptian revolution. Under the former regime, police torture was routine, and almost nine months after Mubarak’s departure it is still routine. Now, however, Egyptians will not accept it. A key question is: Will the people hold the army and the police accountable for the torture and death of civilians when those civilians are petty criminals?

Nothing that Atta might have done could justify the sickening barbarity of the police. Whatever his past, he well may become the new Khaled Said, another symbol for the revolution. Grist for its mill, new blood and fuel and motivation.

Egyptians had hoped there would be natural change in the police, supposedly restructured since Mubarak’s ouster, but it is clear that the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF) has failed to remove top-ranking officers who served the former regime and thereby has failed to achieve reform.

Atta’s death has suppressed any public sense of reform within the practices of the police and security forces. Brutal traditions held over from the Mubarak regime must be dismantled and cleansed with fire before we can have a civilized police establishment that is truly here to keep the peace, to protect and serve.


Square, Site wide

The horrifying killing of more than 20 Coptic Christian demonstrators in Cairo’s Maspero district earlier this month was so successfully cleaned up that three days after the violence not a physical trace of the conflict remained in the area where it occurred. No blood, no shells, no tracks. So clean. The only evidence left was the many photos and videos preserved on the global Internet, where they will accuse and condemn for decades to come. A Friday demonstration in Maspero against the killings of the Christians was small and drowned out by news of the Atta death.

Although Atta’s demise inspired a wave of anger and condemnation on the social networks, worries of violent confrontation proved unfounded. Crowds at demonstrations were good sized but not as big or as vociferous as we are used to. People are just too stunned and sickened to be motivated right now. Even the chanting at the protests was relatively weak, and the usual Egyptian rhythmic cohesiveness was off. This month’s news of Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi’s capture and death has reduced public outcry. The people are nearly speechless—for the moment.

The developments of recent days come only weeks before the parliamentary elections in which candidates—one hopes they are voices of reason among revolutionary activists, liberals and the Muslim Brotherhood—will compete to participate in the new democratic Egyptian government. The voting will be the first step toward a true democratic Egyptian presidential election, now set for 2013. So we will see what the people really want … who will emerge as a people’s choice, and what may happen between now and the presidential election. In Egypt, and perhaps across the shifting Middle East.

A time for decisions is nearing. But right now the people are sleeping to forget ever more images of tortured bodies and other signs of their vulnerability.

Egyptians sympathize with and are supportive of all people seeking freedom from corruption and injustice. They are heartbroken for Syria’s torment, they worry about Yemen and Morocco, hope things will be OK in Libya.

Also, their hearts are with the Occupy protests in the United States. But they are puzzled about the media’s focus on the police cordons and not on the suffering behind the protests. And they don’t quite understand an idea of police brutality that doesn’t include some people dead.

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LocalHero's avatar

By LocalHero, November 3, 2011 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

Certainly nobody can be surprised by this. The Egyptian uprising should never have allied themselves with the Egyptian military which has been trained for decades by the worst-of-the-worst, the US military. Of course, that’s why the US took a position of (limited) support for the protesters - they knew that it would deliver power right back into the hands of the US.

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By gerard, November 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

That last comment of mine, read out of context, is intolerably flip.  I renounce it here and explain that at that moment I was thinking of Occupiers in New York just before the snow began to fall. The reference to “umbrellas” was a plea for both material and moral support from the other 99$ of us whom they represent and are trying to speak for.

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By gerard, November 1, 2011 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

Every human effort for good gets rained-on.  Bring your umbrella—and one for your neighbor if you have an extra.

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blogdog's avatar

By blogdog, November 1, 2011 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

RE: ...those in the world that helped them. - while helping themselves to
install more pliant puppets - Gaddafi defended Africa, championed African unity -
created African financial institutions to serve Africans, protect them from IMF /
World Bank hegemony

now Libya is ‘free’ to be plundered as it was under the former monarchy, with all
the help NATO could muster - 10,000 strike sorties - each delivering 6,000 to
60,000 pounds of ordinance - more than the Luftwaffe dropped on England -
civilian deaths estimated at between 70,000 and 100,000 with depleted uranium
effects to last for centuries

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, November 1, 2011 at 4:15 am Link to this comment

If dollars were sent sub rosa by “interested parties” to kindle or
foment the rebellions, so be it.  It is time the people of the world
awakened from their tombs of ignorance and tyranny whatever
form that may be and that there were those in the world that
helped them.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, November 1, 2011 at 2:04 am Link to this comment

The „public media“ disinformation that has surrounded all such “Arab Spring” fantasy ideation
distracts from the core of what has gone on since 1947, led by personages in the U.S.A.  Former CIA assassin for GHWBushSr, Chip Tatum, reveals some of it in his chronicles.  A much better overview is provided by the videos of former CIA site chief, John Stockwell.  Former CIA agent Susan Lindauer whistle-blew the truth about the Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, that Muammar al Ghaddafi had nothing to do with it.  Yet, the GHWBushSr entourage scape-goated him, and ultimately had NATO destroy Libya and him.  Why?  Because he declined to be controlled by the GHWBushSr entourage, was demanding reparations for Libya´s payout for the Lockerbie incident, and actively supported the replacement of the dollar as “oil currency.”  Interesting, that the “rebel government” changed the debt-free, Libyan state bank into a Rothschild bank as one of their first official actions.    John Stockwell, click on number 8

Of course, it is easier for ignorant people to believe the overwhelming, Zionist-Rothschild media, than the factual truth, which is suppressed.  Shills of the Zionist entourage support what they think is their stake in the disinformation program that supports one Zionist government for the earth.  Dr. Carol Rosin, former associate of Dr. Werner von Braun, has re-started her campaign to reveal the WWII, Zionist-Hitler plan revealed to her by Dr. von Braun, with his dying request to spread the information to the world. 
Chalk up a few points for the honesty and courage of the ladies - - !

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, November 1, 2011 at 1:00 am Link to this comment

The brutality some men commit on others, on men and women
alike, and children defies all definitions of morality and sanity. 
Is it a permanent defect in the psyche of the human race?  Can
it be annihilated?  How? 

How can we be silent about such savagery?!

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blogdog's avatar

By blogdog, October 31, 2011 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

not intending to rain on the parade, but…

online review:

the book

Arabesque American
by Ahmed Bensaada
(Michel Brule May 2011)


Arabesque Americaine leaves absolutely no doubt that the “Arab Spring” — like the earlier “color revolutions” in eastern Europe — were almost certainly destabilization/regime change operations, funded and orchestrated by the CIA, State Department, historic CIA- funded foundations —  and last, but not least, Google.

Bensaada’s 120-page book provides a carefully researched and referenced account of each of the foundations that are “exporting democracy” to MENA (the Middle East and North Africa ), along with an exact accounting of the millions of dollars given to each country in 2009 and the specific groups the funds went to.

My favorite chapter was the one describing the role these foundations, the State Department, and Google have played in training young MENA activists in the use of social media (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). I was particularly interested in the free access and training they provide international youth activists on TOR, a special software designed to evade government surveillance (which, under the Patriot Act, is illegal in the US ).

Bensaada, who was born and received his early education in Algeria, devotes special attention to the Egypt revolution, emphasizing the role Google played via their star employee Wael Ghonem.

The following is a brief outline of the topics covered:

Chapter 1 — concerns the secret American funding and orchestration of the so-called “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe , with particular focus on Serbia (2000), Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004) and Kirghizistan(2005). In each case, pro-Soviet governments were overthrown by mobilizing disaffected, pro-Western young people — financed by the CIA,  State Department, and Pentagon linked “democracy manipulating” foundations. The latter include National Endowment for Democracy (NED), National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Freedom House (FH), the Albert Einstein Institute, the Center for Non Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) — and George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI).

Chapter 2 — contains a detailed discussion of the above think tanks and foundations, which includes a description of the their government funding, as well as the subversive activities (espionage, election rigging, an popular destablization activities) they promote in countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Iran that oppose America’s pro-corporate agenda.

Chapter 3 — discusses the promotion, by the State Department and these think tanks and foundations, of new technologies in these destabilization campaigns. I was fascinated by Bensaada’s description of Guide Star’s TOR Project, which permits anonymous navigation of the Internet. According to their own website, TOR is funded by Google, the US Naval Research Lab, and Human Rights Watch (HRW). In 2004 Paul Treanor documented that HRW is a joint project of Soros’ Open Society Institute and the State Department   ( US Wikileaks spokesperson Jacob Appelbaum, the main TOR spokesperson, travels all over the world training activists in the use of TOR (Wikileaks uses TOR on their servers).


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By gerard, October 31, 2011 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

Think what the ordinary people of Egypt did to lift their history out of the muck of oppression—and in a short period of time. Without the violence, too.
Quite marvelous, when you stop to think about it. Not to mention inspiring similar protests in a number of other countries, including the U.S. of A.
I doubt if they regret it, even though there’s still a long way to go. They’ve got their self-respect, and the future will be more in their hands than it was before.

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By mazarali, October 31, 2011 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

According to the Project on Student Debt, the average arrears for graduating U.S. students is $24,000, but that figure is low for many who are entering a state of sustained debt peonage during the wonder years of young adulthood. jogos de carros

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blogdog's avatar

By blogdog, October 30, 2011 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

the sad thing is that all the sacrifices resulted in a military coup d’etat - Libya is
fast becoming worse and will be by 1000 times - Jabril’s NATO propaganda lies
continue relentlessly, proposing a peaceful future, while leaving the al qaeda
brigades to murder, torture and loot at will - any wonder partisans are hiding their
weapons - if families are to face torture and death at the hands of a cut throat
‘rebel’ brigade, why not defend oneself and go down fighting - the partisans will
not give in - they may lie low for a while - but NATO’s vicious proxies are
genuinely scared and with good reason

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By balkas, October 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

i have ‘predicted’ that the protest in egypt wld not change the basics in
it needs to get highly political also to affect the basic structure of
governance there and thus to take full control of the army [or high
echelons], spies, and police.

that’s all there is to it: obtain power and power is in military and police
hands and not in politicians’.

and that can be achieved only by econo-politico-military-educational
power. in other words, power has to meet power.

there is no quick and easy fixes. one must engage in political labors;
suffering death threats, death, penury, injury, insults, oppression,
incarceration, beatings, torture., etc., in order to build a viable party that
cld take decades or even centuries.

this analyses is valid also for u.s protesters. hey, folks, history is not a
mystory regarding the lessons of it. it’s crystal clear. tnx

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