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The Grand Scam: Spinning Egypt's Military Coup

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Headlined to H3 7/19/13

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Perhaps one measure to assess the regional ramifications of the latest events is the reaction by Israel and the Palestinians. When Mubarak was deposed on February 11, 2011, the Palestinians were jubilant and dancing in the streets, while Israel was in mourning. But when Morsi was overthrown by the military on July 3 the roles were reversed.

Remember Human Rights? Free Speech? Freedom of Assembly?

By the time the assembled speakers behind Gen. Sisi led by ElBaradei, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, and the Coptic Pope finished their blessings of the military coup, the security forces were in full force as hundreds of MB supporters including senior leaders were rounded up on the flimsy charge of instigating violence. Their assets were frozen and their buildings seized. Morsi was detained as Mubarak-era prosecutors threatened to charge him with "escaping prison" when he was illegally arrested by Mubarak security officers on January 27, 2011 during the early days of the 2011 revolution. Astonishingly, the prosecutors also announced that they would investigate the president for "contacting and communicating with foreign elements," such as Western leaders during his tenure. More than a dozen pro-Morsi media outlets including TV channels, websites, and newspapers were raided and closed. By July 8, the army killed over 80 pro-Morsi demonstrators and injured over 1,000 when they were praying and protesting peacefully in front of the Presidential Guards Club, where Morsi is believed to be detained. So far, more than 270 people have been killed and thousands injured by the army and security forces across Egypt.

With overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the military claimed that its soldiers were attacked. Liberal elites and human rights advocates as well as the media mouthpieces echoed the military's claims and blamed the protesters for being near a military installation. But the Presidential Guards Club is no such thing. Though owned by the Presidential Guards, it is a social and sports club, where officers and their families go for recreational purposes. Since the miltary coup, the Egyptian people have been subjected to a military propaganda unseen since the Nasser era. While Morsi did not shut down a single media outlet despite the demonization campaign against him, all pro-Morsi channels and websites have been shut down or severely curtailed.

Double Standards: No to Morsi's Decree and Prosecutor. But Yes to the Military's

The liberal opposition was outraged and went into overdrive when Morsi issued his Nov. 2012 constitutional declaration and sacked the corrupt Mubarak-appointed general prosecutor, a major demand by the revolutionary and youth groups. Despite his good intentions of accelerating the establishment of the democratic institutions that were dismantled by the SCC, Morsi was accused of authoritarianism and heavyhandedness. Yet, most liberals and secularists praised the constitutional decree of the puppet president who was installed by the military shortly after the coup. I will discuss the details of this decree in a subsequent article but suffice it to say that it bestowed on a president chosen by the military powers that Morsi, the democratically-elected president, did not have, since much of his powers were transferred to the Prime Minister in the 2012 constitiution. 

Moreover, the liberal opposition was in an uproar when Morsi unilaterally appointed a general prosecutor with unquestionable integrity, to the point that corrupt judges and prosecutors harrassed him and surrounded his office for days demanding his resignation. Yet, when a new prosecutor was also unilaterally appointed by the new interim president, not a single judge, prosecutor, or opposition leader objected. Upon assuming office, the first order of business for this new general prosecutor was to freeze the assets of Islamist leaders and order their arrests.

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you shouldn't call it a chicken

ElBaradei, who was elected to nothing, is now Egypt's Vice President, while Morsi, who was freely and democratically elected by the Egyptian electorate, is detained and his whereabouts are unknown. Both of these outcomes were determined by the will of military generals and cheered on by their civilian enablers. The deceit and lies demonstrated by the Egyptian liberal and secular elites are astounding. For years, they taunted the Islamists to respect democratic principles, the rule of law, and submit to the will of the people. They warned against dictatorships, military rule, or sacrificing democractic principles, human rights, personal freedoms, and minority protections. Believing in democratic principles, human rights, and the rule of law is a lifetime commitment. One cannot say, "I will only have these values on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. But for the rest of the week, I will look the other way." That is called hypocrisy.

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Esam Al-Amin is a regular contributor for a number of websites.
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