Dormant Egypt Explodes – Time for Democracy to Bloom on Fertile Ground

In recent days, millions of Egyptians have erupted and flowed into the streets demanding an end to President Mubarak’s three decade rule…demanding an end to the tyranny, intimidation, top-level corruption and torture that this tourist mecca & civilisation with ancient roots has had to tolerate for so long.

Tyrannical behaviour often tolerated…and given both tacit & overt approval of the United States, Israel & other, so called, “civilised” nations over the years.

Torture camp Egypt, as I’ve referred to it previously, was used by a grateful Neo-Con government, under the chaotic rule of President GW Bush, for grotesque rendition purposes…as Marjorie Cohn in her article US Chickens Come Home to Roost describes it:

 …Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s intelligence chief whom Mubarak just named Vice-President, was the lynchpin for Egyptian torture when the CIA sent prisoners to Egypt in its extraordinary rendition program. Stephen Grey noted in Ghost Plane, “[I]n secret, men like Omar Suleiman, the country’s most powerful spy and secret politician, did our work, the sort of work that Western countries have no appetite to do ourselves.”

In her chapter in the newly published book, “The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse,” Jane Mayer cites Egypt as the most common destination for suspects rendered by the United States. “The largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid after Israel,” Mayer writes, “Egypt was a key strategic ally, and its secret police force, the Mukhabarat, had a reputation for brutality.” She describes the rendering of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi to Egypt, where he was tortured and made a false confession that Colin Powell cited as he importuned the Security Council to approve the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Al-Libi later recanted his confession.

The State Department’s 2002 report on Egypt noted that detainees were “stripped and blindfolded; suspended from a ceiling or doorframe with feet just touching the floor; beaten with fists, metal rods, or other objects; doused with hot or cold water; flogged on the back; burned with cigarettes; and subjected to electrical shocks. Some victims . . . [were] forced to strip and threatened with rape.”

In 2005, the United Nations Committee Against Torture found that “Egypt resorted to consistent and widespread use of torture against detainees” and “the risk of such treatment was particularly high in the case of detainees held for political and security reasons.”

About a year ago, an Italian judge convicted 22 CIA operatives and a U.S. Air Force colonel of arranging the kidnapping of a Muslim cleric in Milan in 2003, then flying him to Egypt where he was tortured. Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr told Human Rights Watch he was “hung up like a slaughtered sheep and given electrical shocks” in Egypt. “I was brutally tortured and I could hear the screams of others who were tortured too,” he added.

A former CIA agent observed, “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear – never to see them again – you send them to Egypt.”

Australian citizen, Mamdouh Habib, has also felt the wrath of American & Egyptian justice…and in the process the Australian government shamed our country. Richard Neville provides some of the sickening details in his revealing piece The Torturer’s Apprentice

In Egypt, where torture seems to be a government sport, Habib was interrogated by the country’s Intelligence Director, General Omar Suleiman, whose is ranked second in power to President Hosni Mubarak. Back in 2001, Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before  9/11, he was under suspicion. Suleiman slapped Habib’s face so hard, the blindfold was dislodged, revealing the torturer’s identity. According to his memoir, Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks.

 He was again interrogated by Omar Suleiman. To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib – and he did, with a vicious karate kick.  Suleiman is expected to be the next President of Egypt.

According to My Story, ASIO agents and other Australian officials visited Habib in Egypt (“David” and “Stewart” are two of the names provided). ASIO had previously raided Habib’s Sydney home, and delivered the results to his Egyptian torturers: phone numbers, bank statements, SIM cards, a laptop, tapes of private conversations, his address book, etc. On the face of it, this is a blatant breach of article 4 of CAT. In Federal Court hearings, Habib’s lawyers stated that Australian officials were not only complicit in Habib’s torture, but were active participants.

During his time in Government, Attorney General Phillip Ruddock repeatedly denied he was ever aware of Habib’s whereabouts, as did PM John Howard and Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer.

 Unfortunately, rather than President Mubarak taking the rational approach & recognising that for a peaceful political transition he needs to step aside and accept his hard man regime will no longer be tolerated by the masses…Mubarak has decided to resist the urgings of the bulk of his people, indicating he will remain in power until the next election.

Going by the viciousness of the attacks on anti-Mubarak crowds today by his supporters, one can only wonder if this is part of a desperate strategy to force some of the regime’s opposition into calling upon more extremist Islamic elements in order to protect themselves and try to overthrow the government.

 Mubarak, and others behind the scenes, are possibly sowing further seeds of hate & discontent in order to provoke such a violent reaction from those who have been to date restrained & peaceful demonstrators…so his regime can turn to the Egyptian military and demand an end to “the chaos that is an indication of what the future will bring if we allow this government to fall”…and then resort to the use of Chinese government-style tactics to crush the rebellion…as we saw occur with Tiananmen Square protests in 1989…and in Burma during 2007.

 One can imagine how today’s Egyptian street battles will feed into the tactics of those who use “anti-Muslim” propaganda and fear-mongering in order to convince other nations to support despots & tyrants such as Mubarak in order to stomp on any protest movements in Islam-dominated states in case regime changes put their own privileges & security at possible further risk.

 In a passionate response to the violence, Nobel Peace Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei has called for a continuation of the peaceful resistance:

 “After today people are realising just what they’re dealing with,” added the 68-year-old. “Now they’re not just talking about the man responsible leaving the country, they’re also talking about putting him on trial. If he has an iota of dignity left, he should leave. Mubarak has received a vote of no confidence by the entire Egyptian people … I hope he has the intelligence to realise that it is better for him to leave now before the country continues to go down the drain, economically and socially.”

 Despite the bloodshed, ElBaradei called on pro-change demonstrators to continue taking to the streets in huge numbers. “I think Friday will be a very big day in that respect. But even if they don’t, even if they are repressed and crushed, there is still no going back. This is a new era – just look in protesters’ eyes. The Egyptians have grown in confidence, they’ve tasted freedom, and there’s no way back.”

 Further global economic complications have arisen due to the increase in oil prices triggered partly by the instability in Egypt…and the severe winter weather in America.

Hopefully sanity will prevail and Mubarak will stand down and permit the more democratic leaders of Egypt to usher in a new & vibrant era. Enough blood has been shed in this region to last many lifetimes. The children deserve better.

It’s time for democracy to bloom on this fertile ground…just as agriculture did along the Nile many years ago.


21 comments on “Dormant Egypt Explodes – Time for Democracy to Bloom on Fertile Ground

  1. Pingback: The easiest way to Mubarak. | Twitter Trending Topics

  2. Nice horsies they have running through the crowd. I think I remember those horsies, and the lack of identifying badges for their riders, from the corrupt, autocratic Joh era. Perhaps Egyptians aren’t so different (in their aspirations) after all.

  3. Very compelling read Nas and thanks for the great post. It has left me speechless. With a lot of the news over the last few weeks focused on local events I’ve been left ignorant as to what’s been going on elsewhere in the world.

  4. Cheers Migs…

    Unfortunately, as I predicted above, the Mubarak regime is using “the chaos excuse”…and citing so called Muslim extremists as instigators of the “chaos”:

    Mubarak fears Egypt chaos if steps down – report

    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Thursday that if he stepped down now after days of massive street protests Egypt would fall into chaos and the Muslim Brotherhood opposition group would take control.

    “I am fed up. After 62 years in public service, I have had enough. I want to go,” Mubarak said in an interview with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour. ( at his heavily guarded presidential palace in Cairo.

    “If I resign today there will be chaos,” Mubarak said.

    Mubarak blamed the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned political party in Egypt, for the violence that erupted on Wednesday during protests in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square and said his government was not responsible for it.

    Vice president, Omar Suleiman, intelligence-chief & torturer, is blaming foreign journalists & foreign input…referrin’ to the events as a “conspiracy”.

    This worth a read:


  5. Seems so often that whatever chance a country w/ a significant Islamic population has to shed itself of despots & create a diverse democracy…there are those who would rather not take the risk & go about sabotaging valid protest movements by manufacturing opinion across the world that assists the despotic regime in its crushing of dissent:

    Western governments have been intimately involved in the innumerable injustices wrought on the Egyptian people during the Mubarak years. But who has time to sort through all of that when we have ghoulish “worst-case scenarios” to bandy about? And so we have a character like John Bolton, of Bush administration disrepute, rising from the political graveyard with predictions that in all likelihood “a radical, tightly knit organization like the Muslim Brotherhood will take advantage of the chaos and seize power.” And he quickly directs his prognosticator’s spotlight onto the Christian minority, warning that they have reason to be alarmed. And the chatter goes on and on, as talk of America’s strategic concerns is punctuated with grim potentialities designed to frighten the American people.

    JOSHUA FAROUK GEORGY refutes the fear-mongering claims of Bolt & his ilk:

    In reality, what the political scene in Egypt will look like after the revolution nobody knows. But given the choice between what they have known and the unknown, Egyptians have chosen the latter. This uprising does not belong to a specific segment of the population – and as much as some in the West might like to present it in a sectarian or partisan light, this is an Egyptian uprising. Christians alongside Muslims from all backgrounds and walks of life are participating in the protests, many holding signs featuring the “cross and crescent” that since the 1919 Revolution has symbolized Christian-Muslim national unity.

    My own family in Egypt, who are Christian, are gratified by the demonstrations of solidarity between Muslims and Christians in the face of grave circumstances, the rotten fruits of Mubarak’s reign. And if we look to history, we will find that this is hardly surprising.

    When Egyptians have risen up and demanded their rights, they have done so as a people. This was the case during the revolution of 1952 as it was during resistance movements to British occupation in 1882 and 1919. Now we are witnessing a revolutionary moment in 2011, and the structure of Western mainstream discourse obscures the obvious.

    I’ve noticed a number of commentators have been raising the “Hamas in Gaza” spectre…including some on Australia’s Sky News (a Murdoch station)…

    knowing the Murdoch empire’s general support for the invasions of Afghanistan & Iraq…pumping up of the War on Terrorism…and support for Israel…it’s not surprising that they would be sowing such ‘seeds of doubt’…incrementally building up the ‘fear factor’.

    CNN has not been any better.


  6. Not just Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and the horrific regime in Syria are all coming under pressure from its citizens to democratise.

    I wrote a lot on this during the lead up to the Iraq invasion and if Iraq hadn’t been invaded a similar thing would have happened there. Apart from Japan where special circumstances were involved, no country has successfully had democracy forced upon them. Democracy comes about in non-democratic nations through people movements and uprising, often started at the student level as happened in Indonesia.

    There are tomes on this and how it works.

    Until the harshest sanctions ever placed upon a nation were invoked on Iraq, Iraq was one of the best educated nations and had one of most affluent working classes in the region. That is the recipe for democratic movements.

    A democratic uprising in Iraq was inevitable, the only question was timing, but it mattered not if that happened in one year or ten years it’s what should have been allowed to occur instead of invasion for oil and a force democratisation that by any measure of democracy is a failure.

  7. Good points Mobius…and the Iraq invasion has spread the mistrust that many Arabs have of the American regime. Neo-Cons w/ Israel lobby groups & supporters who are terrified of an outcome that could see a more independent, less American pressured, view of the relationship between Egypt & Israel are able to take advantage of this ‘mistrust” by whipping up the fear-mongering rhetoric across the world…

    which then angers young Arabs…who may turn to more extremist groups…enabling Muburak’s regime & the sh*t stirrin’ media to point to them & isolate such groups from the bulk of the Egyptian public…as is already occurring

    and the moment a bomb or such goes off (potentially a false flag event) the “War on Terror” mantra begins…

    the military is forced to move (some officers eagerly to save their corrupt butts from investigation)…

    ending much support across the apathetic world for the protest movement.

    Incremental sabotaging of a valid democracy movement in order to appease Israeli, Jordanian & Gulf State fears…to ensure the US still can sell billions of dollars of armaments to Egypt…and attempt to nip in the bud a movement that may eventually disrupt movement of oil, other travel thru Suez Canal…and developing projects that bring in big bucks for corporate heavyweights. Amongst other things.


  8. Noticed that former Howard minister Peter Reith was on SKY NEWS Agenda playin’ it both sides of the fence when it came to the Egyptian events…

    sickeningly, his recommendation for Egypt was to move to a “free market system similar to China’s”…

    ignoring of course the fact that China is not a democracy and has become one of the great examples of authoritarian capitalism across the world…providing ideas & motivation for torture, protest clampdowns & censorship to both despotic regimes & Neo-Con led democracies.


  9. The American news organisations by & large are pathetic spinmeisters & fear-mongers:

    Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox News begins w/ “What does it mean for Americans if Muslim Brotherhood jihadists take over?”

    Dianne Sawyer on ABC news referred to “thugs” in Cairo streets a number of times but she did not once distinguish between peaceful demonstrators & Mubarak supporters who attacked the crowds.

    Sadly, Christiane Amanpour came across like a mouthpiece for Mubarak…quoting his “chaos” & “Muslim Brotherhood” comments but providing no in-depth analysis on ABC news.

    The incremental campaign to crush the protest movement is well on its way.

    And this will come across as so obvious to many a hopeful Arab looking for an end to tyranny…only to see manipulation of the message & attempted splitting of their diverse ranks in order to point the finger at Muslim extremists and crush their hopes yet again.

    American government & media pragmatism & realpolitiks of the most grotesque kind raises its ugly head once again.


  10. Hi jules. Nasking’s a good one for keeping his eye on international affairs. God knows, he’s lived in just about every country on the planet (except Malawi) so his personal interests stretch far beyond our picket fenced borders.

  11. Cheers jules.

    Just posted followin’ at Climate clippings 14 by Brian over at Lavartus Prodeo:

    thankyou for the informative post & links. Sadly, our countries live in a loopy state of ‘denial’…and I fear that it will take the loss of millions, if not billions of people, mass extinctions and loss of vast areas of habitable land & agriculture before the hold of the climate change ‘deniers’ and their fossil fool puppeteers is loosened to see the urgent action taken that is so necessary.

    I have lost all confidence in political & corporate leadership to take us down the appropriate path…and w/ the domino effect of uprisings in Arab states (understandable) and the wobbling of China (overheated in far too many sectors, inflation etc., nationalism vs dissidents) & the EU shakiness…combined w/ the market casino repeating so many previous mistakes in their renewed exeburence…steadily rising oil prices…add these ongoin’ natural disasters of epic proportion, I foresee enormous strains on our economic & social well-being in the near future.

    Unfortunately, the window of opportunity has narrowed to a slit…and one can only imagine the influential religious kooks & profiteers who will use these disasters to promote their nutty agendas…particularly as 2012 nears…and untried war criminals & other so called “sinners” across the world look for redemption &/or other opportunities to implement authoritarian capitalist regimes.

    Frankly, I think a National Disaster Relief Fund is the way to go…and sadly the NBN may have to be delayed as we prepare for possible global upheaval…and numerous natural disasters.

    Unfortunately, the seeds were sown well before Gore failed to dispute the election of 2000…electric cars were mashed…Arab/Muslim states invaded by the Bush lot…and the ETS abandoned.

    I do not believe there is any coincidence that the rise of the Murdoch empire (including Fox News) and other cable networks w/ connections by shareholders & ads/funding to oil companies, major Arab state projects, Gulf States, Israel (incl. lobby groups) runs parallel to this increasing global instability.

    Somewhat reluctant allies who have managed to take us down the path of insanity.


  12. This one just came into my inbox from Amnesty International.

    Our hearts nearly stopped this morning when we heard the news.

    A group of human rights workers in Cairo, including two members of Amnesty International staff, were detained by police after a human rights law centre was overtaken by Egyptian military forces. We do not know their current whereabouts.

  13. Useful link Min. Thnx. I hope those human rights workers are found. To fall into the hands of the Egyptian secret police can be a dreadful thing.


  14. I was listening to a commentary on British based channel and was interested in the interpretation that “this is a Peoples’ Revolution…Christians and Muslims unite in a common goal”.

  15. It is indeed Min.

    Brilliant to see so many peaceful, secular demonstrators in Tahrir Square today & tonight.

    This reported by the BBC:

    Many expressed anger at remarks made by Iran’s spiritual and political leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that the revolt against Western-backed Mr Mubarak represented an “irrepressible defeat” for the US and was part of a regional “Islamic awakening”.

    “You will find the whole Egyptian spectrum here – men, women, old and young, Muslims and Christians,” countered Ashraf Waheed. “We love Western people but we need President Obama and the American government to take the right side. Mubarak must leave.”

    Egypt, like Indonesia & Turkey could serve as a great example of a secular democracy…not as Iran’s sh*t-stirrin’ spiritual and political leader would prefer… who is part of no more than a tyrannical regime w/ characteristics similar to the one Egyptians want to escape from.

    Iran has nothing to offer the Egyptian protestors. Their ongoing terrorist-centred war w/ Israel has brought nothing but suffering to the Lebanese & Palestinian people.

    Long-term pride is found in a functioning democracy…not an authoritarian one dominated by one religion…exploited by Iranian allies who have only self-interest at heart.


  16. As I mentioned elsewhere:

    Obama’s acting a bit wishy washy some critics claim when it comes to the Egyptian uprising. “Been caught flat-footed” too many accuse…

    I reckon that he’s obviously worried that if he does a Reagan: “Tear down those walls…!”

    …and Egypt ends up w/ a violent overthrow…or even peaceful(ish) election that brings in dominant Islamic parties (some critics fear-monger re: Gaza & Hamas outcome)…

    he’ll look like a Muslim motivator (as tho he doesn’t already have enuff problems w/ ignoramuses who think he’s secret Muslim)…or a total foreign affairs dickhead.

    Furthermore, you can imagine the pressures coming from the Israel, Saudi & other Gulf-state lobby in & out of Washington…

    “Manage this carefully…don’t help destabilise the region…or else”…”we’ll pull funding from yer Dem candidates”…”If things go wrong we’ll join the Republicans for a MOTHER OF ALL CAMPAIGNS to kick your butt next election”…late night phone calls from Jewish friends & allies in Chicago: “Barack, be careful man, this could backfire on all our families in Israel…don’t trust the Arabs”.

    And the various CIA & intelligence officers across the globe providing warnings re:

    “Imagine the investigations that could come out of a regime change?”…”The Russkies & Chinese will be right in there…Mubarak’s w/ us remember”…”where will we torture to get the info we need…this could even lead to the fall of our Jordanian torture camp King”…etc. etc.

    From armament, military-based corporations:

    “This place is a profiteer’s heaven…don’t step on our patch…we don’t need the Russkies taking our rightful profits”…

    Not quite as easy for Obama as Reagan then. Has to be more nuanced…deal w/ alot of worrying, threatening pressure groups.

    Informative article:

    “When Will Obama, the Peace Prize Laureate, Do Something in the Name of Peace?”

    Obama and Egyptian Liberation

    Unlike Obama, ElBaradei actually earned his Nobel Peace Prize while serving at the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). He stuck his neck out against George W. Bush over his false claims that Iraq had a nuclear program along with stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in 2002, and in 2003 he revealed that the documents that the Bush White House had touted about Iraq’s alleged purchase of uranium in Niger were fabricated. He also battled the Bush administration over the issue of Iran’s nuclear program.

    In demanding an end to Mubarak’s dictatorship, ElBaradei stands alongside Nawal El Saadawi, a leading Egyptian feminist, sociologist, medical doctor and writer.

    He stands alongside Ahmad Maher, the 28-year-old construction engineer and leader of the secular, pro-labor April 6 movement (which takes its name from April 6, 2008, when a series of strikes and labor actions by textile workers in Mahalla led to a growing general strike by workers and residents and then, on April 6, faced a brutal crackdown by security forces).

    He stands alongside Asma Mahfouz whose Internet video outlng Mubarak’s abuses went viral.

    He stands alongside Wael Ghonim, the Google employee detained for two weeks by Egyptian security forces as the January protest in Tahrir (“Liberation”) Square began.

    He stands alongside dissident Ayman Nour, a former presidential candidate and member of the Egyptian Parliament and chair of the El Ghad party who was imprisoned in 2005 by the Mubarak government for political reasons and released on health grounds in 2009.

    They all stand alongside the National Association for Change, the Egyptian Movement for Change, members of the Facebook-formed We Are All Khaled Said group (named after a man whose death in a brutal police beating was captured in a photograph circulated over the Internet), The Muslim Brotherhood, and other banned political parties and organizations such as Kefaya, The Democratic Front and the liberal Wafd (which means “delegation), just to name a few.

    They, and millions of other Egyptians, are facing and fighting injustice.

    Meanwhile, Obama seems intent on managing injustice.

    Helps to focus on change agents…and “hope” leaders.


  17. An interesting view of Russia’s position re: Egypt uprising…& their connections to militants in Arab states:

    Egypt forces Mideast rethink in cautious Russia
    05 Feb 2011

    By Dmitry Zaks

    Russia waited well over a week before issuing a foreign ministry notice for outside powers — presumably the United States — not to issue “ultimatums” for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to go.

    But Russian President Dmitry Medvedev himself appeared to be gently urging Mubarak out the door Thursday by suggesting that he wanted to see the crisis resolved “soon”.

    Mubarak’s ties with Moscow stretch back decades. He spent two years training to become a fighter pilot in a Soviet military academy. Later, he worked to improve ties with the Kremlin as president despite his strong reliance on US aid.

    One alternative could thus see Russia decide that the wave of unrest sweeping the Middle East and North Africa was placing its own regional security under threat.

    Last month’s bomb attack on a Moscow airport has underscored Russia’s continued inability to curb Islamic militancy in its own country. The rise of more radical elements in Egypt would be an unwelcome shock for the Kremlin.

    “This can unquestionably improve Russia’s ties with the United States,” said Viktor Kremenyuk of the USA and Canada Institute, of the situation in Egypt.

    “After all, this is a threat to the entire region’s security that can resonate in the Caucasus and even (Russia’s Muslim region of) Tatarstan,” he said.

    Lipman added that the crisis could also “change Russia’s position on Iran” — an old ally whose nuclear programme has recently prompted Moscow to insist on more openness from Tehran.

    Yet analysts also point out that Moscow has also broken ranks with the West and retained formal ties with groups that are listed as terrorist organisation by Washington.

    “One must remember that Russia also has a history of contacts with some of the Islamic radicals — Hezbollah, for example,” said Kremenyuk.

    Medvedev also met last year in Syria with one of the exiled leaders of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

    Analysts say that these contacts leave Russia with options.

    Russia may ultimately decide to “rearrange its priorities” and start openly supporting more militant elements with which the United States has no official links, said Lipman.

    “We may be witnessing a serious shift in the balance of power in the Middle East,” he argued.

    But most observers now agree that Russia’s main problem is it has almost no say in developments in the region and will be forced to adapt its policy to whoever comes to power next.

    “Russia has little influence over the situation. It is unable to influence what happens in the Middle East — particularly in Egypt,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs magazine.

    But this also allows Russia to sit back and let the West come up with its response to the crisis before making its own move.

    “This is not a Russian crisis — this is an American one,” Lukyanov said.

    Mubarak is a goner.

    Obama can’t afford to be on the wrong side of the protestors & Egyptian military heads (& future heads) who will determine this outcome.


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