Egyptian ex-dictator Mubarak accused of torture

This video about Egypt is called Mona Eltahawy on Mubarak‘s “parallel Universe”.

From Aswat Masriya in Egypt:

Egypt: Rights Group Accuses Mubarak, Adli of Torturing Citizens

22 August 2013

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights filed a formal complaint to Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat demanding swift investigations into complaints filed by the organization against former President Hosni Mubarak and his Interior Minister Habib al-Adli.

The complaint accused Mubarak and Adli of torturing citizens and violating their rights.

The organization said it filed complaints, over the span of 25 years, to report incidents of torture and maltreatment as well as violations of the right to live.

Torture is one of the most brutal crimes committed against the Egyptian citizen over the past few decades, said Hafez Abu Saada, the organization’s director.

The organization based its complaint on the Egyptian legislation, which includes articles from the Egyptian penal code, as well as articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

THE DRAFT Protest Law to regulate the right to peaceful assembly, issued by Egyptian Interim President Adly Mansour on Sunday, has been widely criticised as an attack on basic democratic rights, including the right to strike: here.

Will Egyptian junta free dictator Mubarak?

About this 2010 video, about when Mubarak was dictator in Egypt, one might say:

Egyptian police torture is upsetting. However, people need to see that brutality is more than a newspaper article.

By Alex Lantier:

Egyptian military junta moves to free Mubarak

20 August 2013

After a week of massacres that have left thousands of unarmed protesters killed or wounded, the Egyptian military junta is moving to free the hated former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, who has sat in prison since a revolutionary uprising of the working class forced his ouster in February 2011.

When a judge cleared Mubarak on corruption charges yesterday, Mubarak’s lawyer Farid el-Deeb told the press: “All we have left is a simple administrative procedure that should take no more than 48 hours. He should be freed by the end of the week.”

El-Deeb confidently predicted that Mubarak would be cleared of another outstanding corruption charge. He would then be free to leave prison on bail, while appealing his conviction on charges of failing to stop the army’s massacres of protesters during the 2011 uprising. The junta, which includes many feloul—ex-Mubarak regime elements—and whose massacres have claimed approximately 1,000 dead and 6,000 wounded, according to official estimates, will be desperate to acquit Mubarak on those charges as well.

A Cairo criminal court ordered Egypt’s long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak freed from prison on bail yesterday, starkly illustrating the Egyptian military junta’s counterrevolutionary agenda: here.

U.S. military needs Egypt for access to critical area: here.

U.S. Arms Industry Would Lose Big from Egypt Aid Cut-Off: here.

Egypt’s military junta continued its crackdown Tuesday with large numbers of new arrests, including that of the Mohamed Badie, the so-called supreme guide, or spiritual leader, of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB): here.

IN the wake of the growing crisis in Egypt, divisions between the Arab rulers are widening as Turkey and Qatar support the Muslim Brotherhood while Saudi Arabia and Oman support the Egyptian army: here.

Workers at the state-run Mahalla Weaving and Textile Company mounted a three-day strike to force Egypt’s military junta to pay a promised profit-sharing bonus: here.

Egyptian bloggers speak

This video, recorded during the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, says about itself:

September 2006

An Egyptian blogger is facing eleven years in prison in the country’s first ever ‘blogger trial’. The case reveals the extent to which the internet is shaping political protests in Egypt.

“I think the blogs are having a direct impact on Egyptian society“, states political scientist Rabab El Mahdy. “They’re attracting younger people that we haven’t been able to reach through traditional routes”. Under Egypt‘s emergency laws, demonstrations are illegal. But in hundreds of internet articles, protestors are revealing their government’s brutal tactics and demanding change.

From Aswat Masriya (Cairo, Egypt):

Egypt: Blogging – From Expression Venue to Continuous Revolution

22 October 2012

Prominent Egyptian bloggers said on Sunday that blogging is still significant although it has developed to keep up with the rapidly unfolding events.

In a conference that grouped bloggers Wael Abass, Nawara Negm, Wael Khalil and Lillian Wagdy, Wael Abass said that even television coverage has developed to keep audience updated with the latest news.

Abass added that blogs initially focused on poetry, culture, analyses and philosophy, but eventually people found a need to learn about events in 140 characters and instant image-sharing, referring to Twitter.

Abass insisted that he does not see a difference between freedom of expression before and after the uprising, pointing to the sharp polarization in the media.

Nawara Negm said that the role of blogging is still essential in light of unfolding developments, adding that while she had refrained from blogging for a period, recent events have forced her to return to her blog.

“The current situation raises the need for us to explain our views. I see a second struggle that requires preparation”, the political activist and blogger said.

Wael Khalil argued that Twitter changed the understanding of blogging as it provided the people with a new venue where information sharing is very rapid.

He pointed, at Aswat Masriya’s headquarters, that Twitter is a comprehensive venue that reflects all sides and faces of a story, reflecting an accurate image of the weight of an issue.

He cited an incident in October of last year where reactions on Twitter stopped a decree from ever reaching the street.

Khalil believes that the advantage of blogging is that it is owned and controlled by the people and may therefore be used however they wish.

He added that social/new media becomes even more influential when traditional media borrows some of the issues circulating on it and offers it to a wider audience.

Lilian Wagdy said that before last year’s uprising, she worked in “traditional journalism” before turning to “the people’s journalism”, referring to blogging, she added that the act indirectly led to her being laid off.

Wagdy believes that “citizen journalists” have the option of whether to be objective but must deliver the truth as that is how mutual trust is developed.

She explained that people have developed awareness and willingness to investigate news and their sources as to act accordingly, in a period often less than five minutes.

Supporting Lilian’s argument, Khalil cited four incidents where photoshoped images circulated the web, adding that the investigation process done by the people is part of their learning experience.

Negm said that bloggers turned down an attempt to have them all unite in one platform in 2007, describing the approach as “bleaching a pavement”.

Agreeing with Negm, Abass stressed that blogging is an individual activity, not collective, adding however that bloggers could unite efforts for one cause, such as pressure to release a detainee.

Abass explained that his disappointment with traditional media is what initially gave him an incentive to blog. “An opposition newspaper wishing the president a happy birthday for instance and no mention of minorities, such as atheists, homosexuals, etc”, Abass said.

He pointed out that as bloggers do not work for a salary, posses little resources and do not abide by editorial policies of institutions, their incentives are very personal.

Negm claimed that while before the uprising bloggers were monitored by State Security, new forces and political factions are now on that as well.

An employee of Egypt’s state television (Maspero), Negm, like Abass, insisted that nothing has really changed, but the “revolution continues”.

She added that the uprising’s only advantage is that it let each revolutionary know that they are not alone, pointing to collective action.

“There is still a regime that plays the same game and opposition trying to expand their freedom venue. Supposedly the revolution began to change all this”, Wagdy said.

Abass argued that the ex-regime allowed calculated and monitored breathing rooms that the internet helped the opposition expand, leading to collective awareness and the uprising.

Khalil said that the uprising made known that the internet is not only an expression venue but a tool for action.

New Visions for Egypt’s Ongoing Revolution: here.

Sarkozy, Assad, Mubarak

Sarkozy, Assad, and Mubarak

This photo shows on the left Nicolas Sarkozy, by now ex-president of France. On the right Hosni Mubarak, by now ex-dictator of Egypt; though Sarkozy and his administration (like Tony Blair, US Vice President Joe Biden, and other NATO countries establishment people) tried desperately to prevent Mubarak’s regime from succumbing under the anti-dictatorial mass movement. And in the middle Bashar al-Assad, still dictator of Syria.

One day after this photo was taken was 14 July 2008, the French national holiday. Assad and Mubarak were then Sarkozy’s guests of honour at the military parade in Paris.

Nicolas Sarkozy, just before he lost the French elections, suddenly discovered that Assad was a dictator indeed. Similar to Libya: Sarkozy used to be a Gaddafi crony, before he became a warmonger about Libya. Not only did Sarkozy very suddenly discover that Gaddafi and later Assad were dictators, but also that the best way to bring democracy was supposedly bloody war killing and maiming many Libyan and Syrian civilians. Very unlike the Greek junta, Suharto in Indonesia, Pinochet in Chile, the apartheid regime in South Africa etc. etc. which all fell not because of any bloody invasion by foreign soldiers, but because the people themselves drove their own tyrants away.

The terrorist assassination of three leading figures in the Syrian government has been applauded by the United States: here.

It is not just Bashar al-Assad who is ‘responsible’ for the rise of Isis. When Amnesty revealed hanging in Assad’s prisons, we must remember that a few years earlier Bush and Blair were dispatching civilians to be tortured there too, by Robert Fisk.

Egyptian dictatorial law lifted after 31 years

This video is called [EGYPT] Protesters Tear Down Image Of Mubarak, Demonstrations 024, 25/01/2011.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Egyptian emergency law lifted after 31 years

Friday 01 June 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

Egypt‘s notorious state of emergency was allowed to expire on Friday, ending 31 years of almost unrestricted police powers of arrest and prosecution in “special” courts.

Since former president Anwar Sadat’s 1981 assassination, the security forces had been able to detain and arrest people without charge, keep them locked up despite court judgements and extract confessions under torture.

Abuses almost always went unpunished and human rights groups said more than 10,000 people were in detention under the ousted Hosni Mubarak regime.

Last year’s popular uprising that drove General Mubarak from power was partially fueled by anger over police abuses of power and lifting the law was a key demand by the uprising’s youth groups.

The military rulers who took charge after General Mubarak’s exit have said that they have no intention to renew the law.

They claim that they will continue to be in charge of the country’s security only until an elected civilian authority takes over by the end of June.

A run-off presidential election between the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi and former air force commander Ahmed Shafiq, who was General Mubarak’s last prime minister, is due on June 16-17.

The emergency law was a defining and much-resented feature of General Mubarak’s 29-year authoritarian regime.

It was almost automatically renewed every few years, the last time in May 2010.

Under the military rule of the past 15 months, a constitutional declaration put restrictions on renewing the emergency law, requiring both parliamentary approval and a public referendum on any reappearance of the state of emergency.

But since General Mubarak’s removal human rights groups have blamed the military for its own set of human rights violations through its use of military tribunals for civilians and detention of activists.

More than 11,000 civilians have been referred to military tribunals since February last year and there have been various allegations of torture in detention.

There are currently nearly 200 people still detained under the state of emergency and human rights groups have called for their immediate release or for legitimate charges to be laid against them.

Egyptian Court Sentences Mubarak to Life in Prison: here.

HUNDREDS of thousands of Egyptian workers and youth have re-occupied Tahrir Square in disgust at the light sentencing of ex-president Mubarak and at the former Mubarak regime’s Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq’s, participation in the presidential election run-off: here.

BP polluters, pals of dictator Mubarak

This satiric video from Britain is called BP wins Greenpeace ‘greenwash’ award.

There is still another side to the analysis here below. Joschka Fischer, ex-Foreign Affairs minister of Germany, calls himself “Green”; but is in fact up to his neck in the dirty business of Big Oil corporations including BP and the Egyptian Mubarak dictatorship.

From Pambazuka News:

Egypt: BP Support for Mubarak Dictatorship Revealed

Mika Minio-Paluello

17 February 2011

Egyptian protestors were furious at Mubarak for upholding his own interests and those of Western powers and foreign companies at the expense of the country’s people. Mika Minio-Paluello takes a closer look at oil company BP‘s relationship with the regime.

The millions on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez were furious at Mubarak for upholding his own interests and those of Western powers and foreign companies at the expense of the Egyptian people. For decades, British and American oil companies worked hand in glove with the Egyptian dictatorship, enjoying its ‘stability’ (lack of democratic change), ‘security’ (repression of dissent) and ‘favourable business environment’ (neoliberal policies and restrictions on trade unions).

Since Egypt’s first oil field at Gemsa came into production in 1910, the country’s resources have been dominated by London-based corporations. Back in the early 20th century, Anglo-Egyptian Oilfields – a joint venture of present-day BP and Shell – was the major operator in the country. A century later, vast chunks of the Gulf of Suez, Western Desert and Nile Delta remain long-term concessions granted to the same two companies, plus Reading-based BG.

BP is particularly proud of its ‘strong relationships with the Egyptian government’, boasting that it is the single largest foreign investor in the country and responsible for almost half of Egypt’s entire oil production, easily overshadowing all competitors. Describing itself as a significant part of the Egyptian oil industry for more than 45 years, the company witnessed Hosni Mubarak’s rise to power as Head of the Air Force and then Vice-President under Anwar Sadat, before he gained complete control in 1982. BP continued to extract crude oil and underwrite repression throughout more than four decades of Emergency Law, investing over $17 billion in oil rigs and pipelines. Billions of dollars in revenue payments enabled Mubarak to build up and arm both his civil and paramilitary police forces and the army.

In exchange, the regime ensured that its Western corporate allies profited handsomely over the years. Privatisation and reduced state involvement in the economy during the 1990s pleased the IMF, made billions for Mubarak’s associates and increased incentives to Western oil companies. Exploration and production concessions were made yet more profitable, with increased cost recovery allowances, larger blocks and longer license periods.

In parallel, harsh restrictions on freedom of expression, social movements and civil society reduced space for Egyptians to raise environmental concerns. In this context, BP has continued to drill new wells in the coral-rich but threatened Red Sea, including in its North Shadwan concession near the SS Thistlegorm, a British armed Merchant Navy ship sunk in 1940. Expanded oil extraction in these waters threatens the Egyptian tourist industry in Hurghada and the Sinai, especially after a major oil spill in June 2010. The Ministry of Petroleum, praised by BP, attempted to cover up the leak by claiming it was caused by a passing tanker discharging ballast.

With such limited environmental oversight, BP has been eager to drive ahead with new prospects, ‘drilling to reach reservoir technical limits’. The company aims to create ‘a new profit centre’ in the Nile Delta offshore region by introducing its deepwater ‘expertise’ from the Gulf of Mexico.

By investing $1 billion a year into the country and making Egypt one of its 14 global Strategic Performance Units, BP emphasized the faith it places in its relationship with Mubarak’s government. Hesham Mekawi, Chairman of BP Egypt, has lauded ‘the stability of the country’, insisting that British oil investors will have a sustainable business in Egypt for years to come. When the regime felt threatened only months ago by a potential US Congress resolution demanding that Mubarak ‘hold fair elections, allow international monitoring of elections, and respect democracy and human rights’, BP allowed the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, in which it is one of the primary players, to lobby hard and successfully to scupper the debate in Congress.

The company that brands itself with green images of sustainability and responsibility has taken a simple approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Egypt: Providing a handful of scholarships to Cambridge each year alongside continued support for the dictatorship.

So now that we’re witnessing a vast popular uprising across Egypt, has BP ended its allegiance to and support for the dictatorship? The company’s website carries no comment on the democratic protests or the regime’s attempts at repression, referring only to ‘the ongoing unrest in Egypt’ and evacuation plans. Meanwhile, drilling and extraction operations continue unabated, with most oil facilities located out of reach of normal street protests. BP is assuming that Egypt’s strong army will guarantee the security integrity of its assets, and it continues to pay revenues to and underwrite a regime now widely accepted as illegitimate.

Demands from the democracy activists sweeping Egypt include ‘Putting on trial all those responsible for the policies of impoverishment and torture’. Will BP Egypt Chairman Hesham Mekawi and BP ex-CEO Tony Hayward answer for their part in enabling and supporting Mubarak’s repression? Or will the company’s faith in strongman politics be rewarded by relative continuity through a revitalised military regime?

Mika Minio-Paluello is a community support campaigner at PLATFORM.

The latest gas deal between BP and Egypt – who profits? MEE investigates: here.

The Arab revolution has reached the tiny Gulf state of Bahrain, where Sunni rulers control a majority Shiite population. Western nations are following the protests with concern: If the unrest spreads to the Shiite minority in neighboring Saudi Arabia, it could affect the world’s most important oil-producing region: here.

Prime Minister David Cameron was labelled a hypocrite today for touring the Gulf to flog British-made weapons used for torture and oppression in the region at the same time as calling for “greater democracy” from the self-same states.

Britain: Students occupy the LSE in solidarity with Libyan revolt: here.

From Democracy Now! in the USA:

Researchers in the Gulf of Mexico have found dead baby dolphins are washing up along the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines at 10 times the normal rate. The Sun Herald newspaper in Mississippi reports that 17 young dolphins have been collected along the shorelines so far this year, the first birthing season for dolphins since the massive BP oil spill. Deaths in the adult dolphin population have also risen sharply over the past nine months. Meanwhile, a top marine scientist, Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia, has revealed that large amounts of the oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the sea floor bottom in the Gulf of Mexico, decimating life on parts of the sea floor.

I came across an ad for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival recently. It looks to be a great lineup this year: Arcade Fire, Lupe Fiasco, Wilco, Trombone Shorty, Lauryn Hill, Mumford & Sons, Sonny Rollins, the list goes on. Then I spied the main sponsor: Shell Oil. I thought it was a joke at first. True, it wasn’t this particular oil giant who recently spilled millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf, devastating the ecosystem and taking an untold toll on the local economy. Still, this seems in poor taste: here.

Shell oil exploration threatens one of the world’s great wonders. Anglo-Dutch conglomerate applies for permit to drill just 30 miles off World Heritage-listed coral reef in Western Australia: here.

Egyptians demand end of dictatorship

This video from the USA says about itself:

Renowned feminist and human rights activist Nawal El Saadawi was a political prisoner and exiled from Egypt for years. Now she has returned to Cairo, and she joins us to discuss the role of women during the last seven days of unprecedented protests. “Women and girls are beside boys in the streets,” El Saadawi says. “We are calling for justice, freedom and equality, and real democracy and a new constitution, no discrimination between men and women, no discrimination between Muslims and Christians, to change the system… and to have a real democracy.” [includes rush transcript]

Yet another Western-backed dictator is set to fall from grace. The Shah of Iran, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein — they all refused to concede defeat. And they all fell down. Hosni Mubarak will, too, if he doesn’t review his history books: here.

End U.S. support for Egypt’s dictatorship! Here.

Egypt: Curfew Now in Effect — More People Streaming In: here.

Joel Simon: What Is at Stake With Egypt‘s Media Crackdown. Standing up for the rights of journalists may be our last, best hope of stemming an impending bloodbath that could go down in history as the gravest example of political repression: here.

Egypt, Jordan pro-democracy movement continues

This video is called Egypt Protest: Masses Rally to Oust Mubarak.

Egypt: Over a million people flooded into the heart of Cairo today, filling Liberation square and piling pressure on “murderous” President Hosni Mubarak to go gracefully.

Out of Chaos, Egypt Finds Freedom — For Its Women: here.

Giant TV screen in Tahrir Sqare showing AlJazeera: here.

Judith Orr reporting live from Cairo: here.

Eamonn McCann: Britain and the US’s hypocritical condemnations of the Egyptian dictatorship: here.

Jordanian King Abdullah II fired his government today following street protests.

Gershon Baskin – Jerusalem Post – The future of Israel is not linked to the corrupt, nondemocratic regimes we call “moderate,” but to the masses of people who take to the streets demanding rights. When we understand that correctly, we will make peace with Palestine, we will have real democracy and we will be a lot more secure: here.

Lara Friedman – The Obama Administration and the world – including those of us care deeply about Israel – must stand, squarely, with the people of Egypt (…) and take dramatic, decisive action to re-accredit the peace proces: here.

As long as the masses in Egypt and in the entire Arab world continue seeing the images of tyranny and violence from the occupied territories, Israel will not be able to be accepted, even it is acceptable to a few regimes, by Gideon Levy: here.