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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/6/11

Protesters Being Tortured While Obama Blabs About "Transition"

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This confirms the plan to keep Mubarak and his henchmen in the country long enough to conduct a systemic war of torture and attrition against the protesters, whom every day thugs are dragging to Intelligence chief Suleiman's secret prisons.  All Obama is doing is buying time for them to do their dirty work.

It's notable that this NYT article is one of CNN's Ivan Watson's "Must Read" tweets, yesterday:

WE had been detained by Egyptian authorities, handed over to the country's dreaded Mukhabarat, the secret police, and interrogated. They left us all night in a cold room, on hard orange plastic stools, under fluorescent lights.

   But our discomfort paled in comparison to the dull whacks and the screams of pain by Egyptian people that broke the stillness of the night. In one instance, between the cries of suffering, an officer said in Arabic, "You are talking to journalists? You are talking badly about your country?"...

  Captivity was terrible. We felt powerless -- uncertain about where and how long we would be held. But the worst part had nothing to do with our treatment. It was seeing -- and in particular hearing through the walls of this dreadful facility -- the abuse of Egyptians at the hands of their own government.  For one day, we were trapped in the brutal maze where Egyptians are lost for months or even years. Our detainment threw into haunting relief the abuses of security services, the police, the secret police and the intelligence service, and explained why they were at the forefront of complaints made by the protesters....

   In the morning, we could hear the strained voice of a man with a French accent calling out in English: "Where am I? What is happening to me? Answer me. Answer me."  

This prompted us into action -- pressing to be released with more urgency, and indeed fear, than before. A plainclothes officer who said his name was Marwan gestured to us. "Come to the door," he said, "and look out."

   We saw more than 20 people, Westerners and Egyptians, blindfolded and handcuffed. The room had been empty when we arrived the evening before...

The Mukhabarat has had a working relationship with American intelligence, including the C.I.A.'s so-called rendition program of prison transfers. During our questioning, a man nearby was being beaten -- the sickening sound somewhere between a thud and a thwack. Between his screams someone yelled in Arabic, "You're a traitor working with foreigners."NY Times article

Both Mubarak and Suleiman need to LEAVE, and the country placed in the hands of a transition coalition.  

Our calls to suspend shipments of all military hardware to the Egyptian Army should continue.   They will back Mubarak behind the scenes as long as they think we are backing him implicitly with aid, no matter what we say.  Military aid to the Egyptian Army is delivered in installments.  A staffer for Sen. Patrick Leahy, who has threatened a suspension of the assistance which amounts to $1.5 billion per year, explained to me that military aid to Egypt is mostly in the form of export credits for military hardware.  He told me:

   The military aid is deposited into a U.S. bank, and it is used to purchase U.S.-manufactured military equipment for Egypt. These funds are in the hands of the Administration.

Translation: Obama can block funds for any further purchases of arms and hardware at any time.  Furthermore, any shipments of arms ready to go out can be stopped.  In addition, these appropriations expire on March 4th. That is when congress must re-approve military aid to Egypt.

Mubarak retains real power as long as he is in the country, and his head torturer Suleiman is no better.  The Egyptian army must get the unmixed message that America no longer backs Mubarak or his team of gangsters.  

By rights they should be on the way to the Hague to stand trial for crimes against humanity. BBC News reports that the government has settled on a low-intensity campaign of dropping protesters with snipers from a distance, sometimes using lasers to point targets out, singling organizers to be dragged from crowds, and continuing assaults on peaceful demonstrators.  5,000 injured Thursday night alone, according to NPR.  

Then, with the back of the movement broken, Suleiman gets rammed down their throats, the torture continues, and nothing changes. The protesters know what they are talking about when they say their safety lies in driving Mubarak and his henchmen from the country.

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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He writes for Truth Out, Alternet, Consortium News, Op-Ed News, and other Internet media. He reported from Afghanistan in 2009 and produced a short documentary film on (more...)

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