Saturday, February 12, 2011

Protesters face year in jail - in Los Angeles, not Egypt

Protesters face year in jail - in Los Angeles, not Egypt

LA Times = Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich is throwing the book at dozens of people arrested during recent political demonstrations — a major shift in city policy that has him pressing for jail time in types of cases that previous prosecutors had treated as infractions. Some of the activists arrested, including eight college students and one military veteran who took part in a Westwood rally last year in support of the DREAM Act, face up to one year in county jail.

In 2009, under Trutanich's predecessor, Rocky Delgadillo, all but one of 12 students arrested at a protest over fee hikes at UCLA were offered plea deals that reduced their charges to an infraction with a $100 fine. "Our policy was that this is an exercise of 1st Amendment rights, and if this was your first time, you would get a hearing," said Delgadillo, who said his policy was based on the belief that a protester demonstrating for a political cause is different from a typical criminal.

Of course, what you notice is that you never hear the opposite story. You never hear of American police and American prosecutors acting with more tolerance and restraint, especially towards those evil terrorists who dare to think that all this talk about freedom and democracy means that they are free to try to speak their minds and tell their supposedly democratic government what they want.

Egypt Trades Torture Supervisor for ‘Mubarak’s Poodle’

Egypt Trades Torture Supervisor for ‘Mubarak’s Poodle’ from

The surprise ouster of long-time Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak today came with an additional shock, that Vice President Omar Suleiman, the unsavory torturemaster of the Mubarak regime who Western officials appeared to have hand-picked as his successor, got brushed aside.

While the details of exactly how it happened are unclear, Mubarak’s ouster led to all power being turned over to the military, making 75 year old Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi the new de facto head of state.

Gee, I guess nobody likes a torturer. Not even his fellow members of government. Or, perhaps they feared and disliked the torturer more than the rest.

Still, its not exactly the 4th of July for Egypt. Not when a dictator is replaced by military rule. That still ain't exactly democracy. Now, like all militaries in such a familiar situation, I'm sure we'll here lots of talk of free and fair elections to be held some day. The trick of course is how long is it until that day, and just exactly how free and fair are the elections.

But, its always fascinating to see how things work in the sphere of influence of this great arsenal of democracy that is America. America, that great land of freedom, seemed quite happy with a dicator in power for 30 some odd years. And now, surprise, surprise, when the actual people about whom we mouth such words of freedom decide that they actually want some freedom and not dictators for life and CIA trained torturers, what they really get is rule by a military that has close ties and gets a big chunk of its funding from the USA.

So, now "Mubarak's poodle" has replaced the dictator for life. Its a sign of how bad things have been in Egypt that this is apparently greeted with some relief by the people there.

Egypt’s military, of course, though not as rife with torture as the police, has a shady reputation itself, and its dominance over the entire nation’s economy hardly makes it an ideal instrument of reform. Still, locals seem quite hopeful at the moment, and so long as he isn’t Mubarak or Suleiman, there seems to be almost universal consensus that he will be an improvement.

Friday, February 11, 2011

It ain't over yet.

“Citizens, in these difficult circumstances that our country is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to relinquish the office of the presidency and has instructed the Supreme Council of the armed forces to take over the affairs of the country.”
- Mubarak resignation text

So, an American backed dictator has resigned. By American tradition in its sphere of influence, its the dictator's spy chief with his close ties to the CIA that takes over from the 'President'. From the Austrailian ...

FORMER Guantanamo detainee Mamdouh Habib says he was tortured by Egyptian Vice-President Omar Suleiman, who is seen as a possible successor to embattled President Hosni Mubarak.

Mr Habib last night told The Weekend Australian it would be a disgrace if Mr Suleiman became leader of Egypt given his personal role in overseeing the torture of terror suspects in the 1990s.

"This guy is an agent for the United States and the CIA. If Australia supports Suleiman, they are supporting torture and crime," Mr Habib said.

Yep, the perfect American friend. Both Mr. Suleiman, and the Australian government who's been a steady backer and supporter for American torture and crime.

"I was sitting in a chair, hooded, with my hands handcuffed behind my back. He came up to me. His voice was deep and rough. He spoke to me in Egyptian and English," Mr Habib writes. "He said, 'Listen, you don't know who I am, but I am the one who has your life in his hands'."

Mr Habib writes that Mr Suleiman had told him that he wanted him to die a slow death: "No, I don't want you to die now. I want you to die slowly. I can't stay with you; my time is too valuable to stay here. You only have me to save you. I'm your saviour. You have to tell me everything if you want to be saved. What do you say?"

When Mr Habib said he had nothing to tell him, he says Mr Suleiman had said: "You think I can't destroy you just like that?"

Sure, Thomas Jefferson would have just loved this guy.

They had taken Mr Habib to another room and then Mr Suleiman had said: "Now you are going to tell me that you planned a terrorist attack. I give you my word you will be a rich man if you tell me you have been planning attacks. Don't you trust me?"

Mr Habib had replied that he did not trust anyone.

"Immediately he slapped me hard across the face and knocked off the blindfold; I clearly saw his face," Mr Habib writes.

Mr Habib alleges Mr Suleiman said: "That's it. That's it. I don't want to see this man again until he co-operates and tells me he's been planning a terrorist attack."

And gee, you wonder where all these phony terror alerts that never mean anything come from? They come from the Suleiman's of the world, working under orders to find more terrorist confessions.

We've become the Spanish Inquisition. Wouldn't Thomas Jefferson be so proud of us. This 'our guy' in Egypt. When our dictators finally get toppled by popular resistence, the first thing that happens is that the CIA's best friend in the country gets named its new ruler.

In the mid-1990s, Suleiman worked closely with the Clinton administration in devising and implementing its rendition program; back then, rendition involved kidnapping suspected terrorists and transferring them to a third country for trial. In The Dark Side, Jane Mayer describes how the rendition program began:

"Each rendition was authorised at the very top levels of both governments [the US and Egypt] ... The long-serving chief of the Egyptian central intelligence agency, Omar Suleiman, negotiated directly with top [CIA] officials. [Former US Ambassador to Egypt Edward] Walker described the Egyptian counterpart, Suleiman, as 'very bright, very realistic', adding that he was cognisant that there was a downside to 'some of the negative things that the Egyptians engaged in, of torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way'. (p. 113).

"Technically, US law required the CIA to seek 'assurances' from Egypt that rendered suspects wouldn't face torture. But under Suleiman's reign at the EGIS, such assurances were considered close to worthless. As Michael Scheuer, a former CIA officer [head of the al-Qaeda desk], who helped set up the practise of rendition, later testified, even if such 'assurances' were written in indelible ink, 'they weren't worth a bucket of warm spit'."
-- Suleiman: The CIA's man in Cairo

Yep, that's change we can believe in. And, oh, by the way, those 'Clinton-era' torture policies described above is what Barrack Obama reinstated as his torture policy when he reversed the Bush era executive orders. The above describes torture under Obama as well.

The US is now mouthing support for elections. While at the same time already starting to claim that a government that includes the popular Muslim Brotherhood is unacceptable. For now, those words are mainly coming from the pro-Israel sections of Congress, which of course is almost all of the Congress. But just watch, very quickly that little caveat will quickly become US policy.

We support elections in Egypt. As long as the 'right' people win. The US has always supported elections in Egypt. Even when 99% of the people were voting for Mubarak, he was the 'right' guy in the eyes of the US and Israel. So, the US always supported his 'elections' in Egypt. Now, the US is supporting new 'elections' in Egypt, so long as they are supervised by the Egyptian Army with its close ties to the US military, and by the CIA's torturer in Cairo.

But, right now, the real power in Egypt is the people in the streets. They've discovered what the rest of the world seems to forget, most of the time. That, when the people go into the streets in their masses. When the people start to speak with unity, no government, no army, no dark spies and their evil torture chambers can hold them back. The American-backed Mubarak dictatorship has killed over 300 of its citizens in trying to stem this flood of popular opinion. But, even murder hasn't stopped this wave.

And, that power in the streets won't be happy with the US's rent-a-torturer in Egypt being named their new friend who's going to lead them to democracy. At least that's the feeling I get from the other side of the world. We shall see, but this doesn't look like its over yet. As much as the US might now plead for 'stability' and 'order', the people have Egypt have re-discovered Thomas Jefferson's truth ... that power resides with the people. And that it will be they the people who will decide what happens next in Egypt.

It ain't over yet. is a source for continuous reporting on events in Egypt.