During these uprisings across northern Africa, a lot of talk has been about national security, or the nearly-mechanical catch-phrase, “police apparatus,’ which is just a soft-lotion locution for an ugly, nefarious secret cop operation.
All strong-armed, dictator regimes must have these organizations or they couldn’t exist for very long — the Soviets had the old NKVD, Saddam his ruthless secret police, Iran’s Shah had SAVAK, and, of course, Hitler had the top name-catch of all time for brutal secret police, Gestapo.
And under-fire Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak has his own –Â the Mukhabarat, or if one prefers the long title, the Department of General Intelligence or the General Directorate of Intelligence (Al-Mukhabarat Al-A’ma).
These ‘police apparatus’ keeps notorious assholes in power (most of the time with US help, naturally).
(Illustration found here).
In twisting the knife deeper, even Mubarak used the phrase yesterday during a TV speech in a attempt to pacify an unsympathetic uprising while slithering between-the-lines was for a call for just one more nasty crackdown.
From Wired’s Danger Room blog:
Passive-aggressively, Mubarak told the cameras, â€œI did not intend to run for the coming presidency. I have exhausted my life serving Egypt and its people.â€ Riiiiiiiight.
Heâ€™ll spend â€œthe few months remaining in my current termâ€¦ ensuring the peaceful transition of power.â€
Al Jazeeraâ€™s Egypt correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin tweets, â€œnot enough 4 #Egypt protesters who respond w angry chants.â€ Among those chants: â€œLeave! Leave!â€ and â€œRevolution Until Death.â€
That may be what Mubarak is counting on.
His attempt to break the protesters by shutting off the internet and cellphone service failed.
So he portrayed the protests as being hijacked by â€œoutlawsâ€ and described the Egyptian people as cowering subjects terrified by the revolution.
â€œI instruct the police apparatus to shoulder its responsibilities,â€ Mubarak said, â€œand protect the citizens in absolute dignity â€¦ arrest the outlaws, those who caused the chaos.â€
In other words, the shit might just hit the fan — hope not as so far this has been a most calm revolution.
Those people packed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square (“Liberty” Square — ironic, huh?) are fed up with Mubarak’s horrible secret police apparatus and want the sonofabitch to get the shit out of Dodge (or Cairo, or Egypt all together).
In a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the international advocacy group, claims the practice of using secret police methods of arrest and torture “is endemic and often practiced with impunity.”
HRWâ€™s latest report, titled â€œâ€˜Work on Him Until He Confessesâ€™: Impunity for Torture in Egypt,â€ claims that the countryâ€™s State Security Investigations (SSI) — which is responsible for monitoring political dissidents and opposition forces and is a leg of the countryâ€™s intelligence community along with Suleimanâ€™s GIS — is Egyptâ€™s most notorious perpetrator of abuses, including routine forced disappearances.
Nasr al-Sayed Hassan Nasr, a former Muslim Brotherhood member, told HRW about his 60-day detention, where a SSI officer told him that â€œ[t]his is the biggest citadel in the Middle East for extracting information. You are 35 meters below the ground in a place that nobody except the minister of interior knows about.â€
Nasr says he was blind-folded the entire time, beaten, electro-shocked, and threatened with sexual abuse and humiliation.
Laurence Wright, author of The Looming Tower, a history of al-Qaeda, suggests that a connection exists between the abuses of Egyptâ€™s jails, where al-Qaedaâ€™s number two, Ayman Zawahiri, was tortured, and the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon.
And with that horror, the US also has its hands full of innocent blood.
A January 2009 WikiLeaks cable from U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that Mubarakâ€™s government â€œhas not begun serious work on trying to transform the police and security services from instruments of power that serve and protect the regime into institutions operating in the public interest, despite official slogans to the contrary.â€
In March of that year, Clinton responded to a question about a State Department report on Egyptâ€™s human rights record by saying, â€œWe consider Egypt to be a friend and â€¦ we all have room for improvement.â€
Last week, Jumping Joe Biden continued the US line:
Ahead of a day that could prove decisive, NewsHour host Jim Lehrer asked Biden if the time has “come for President Mubarak of Egypt to go?” Biden answered: “No. I think the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move in the direction that â€“ to be more responsive to some… of the needs of the people out there.”
And when that bullshit didn’t fly very far, President Obama stepped in with a walk-back from Joe’s blubbering and told a TV audience on Tuesday that Mubarak must begin “an orderly transition (that) must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now.”
What happens now is in the winds off the Nile.