Saturday, March 5, 2011

Burning the evidence: In Egypt, the secret police are trying to keep their evil deeds secret forever ...

Just because Egypt was never as bad as Libya, and just because Mubarak was never as evil as Kaddafi, does not mean that Egypt was not bad or evil under Mubarak. It was a brutal regime with unchecked state powers. It tortured and terrorized anyone who spoke up and it used intimidation tactics to make sure everyone else knew to never speak up.

Now that Mubarak is out of power, there has been an attempt among Egypt's revolutionaries to establish a truth and reconciliation commission, which would expose the horrors so many Egyptians were subject to, and then forgive the criminals who worked inside their Interior Ministry.

But there can be no truth and reconciliation without the documentation. And those in Mubarak's secret police are now trying to cover up their misdeeds.

The L.A. Times is reporting that Egyptian agents are dutifully burning the evidence of their crimes:

In an attempt to save documents that may incriminate Egypt's notorious state security services for years of torture and abuse, thousands of protesters on Saturday stormed Interior Ministry offices around Cairo as word spread that security officials were attempting to destroy files.

Witnesses and residents in 6th of October, a Cairo suburb, said protesters marched toward a state security office to prevent officials from burning documents. Protesters said they saw flames coming from near the building in the early hours of Saturday. About 3,000 protesters surrounded the building, eventually storming in and later handing it over to the army.

Witnesses claim that the majority of files, which may lead to the prosecution of state security officials for misuse of power, corruption and human rights violations, were already burned by the time protesters arrived. The documents, according to human-rights groups, would offer an intricate paper trail to former President Hosni Mubarak's reviled police state.

With the latest war raging in Libya and with the Egyptian military apparently ruling Egypt with the consent of the people, I had forgotten that there was still a great rift in Egypt between the democrats who forced Mubarak out of office and many people who still work for that government.

Later Saturday, several thousand protesters broke through barriers of the state security headquarters in the neighborhood of Nasr City. "State security obviously made an attempt to cover up or destroy implicating evidence of their horrible deeds over the last 30 years," Ahmed Raouf, one of the protesters, told The Times from inside the headquarters.

Protesters gathered documents and handed them to military officers, who in turn, forwarded files to a representative from the Attorney General's office. Another nearby state security headquarters also was successfully stormed less than an hour later. Many of the protesters were Islamists who either served time or had a member of their family detained at the underground building.

If Egypt is to become a democracy, the Islamists present a stumbling block. They were minimal in the effort to get rid of Hosni, but they might be the largest party in any democratic election. Beyond their extremism and their terrible values, the great danger of Islamists in government is if they ever take power, there may never again be a democratic election. Certainly they have no belief in elections, civil liberties or human rights. They simply want to force everyone else to live in a religious state, where they get to say what the religion is.

1 comment:

opit said...

They sound rather like Dominionists. That isn't just snark. Religious extremism and its uses are the reason the Taleban are in power in Afghanistan. Because they are more honest than run of the mill thieves attracted by 'the West', they tend to purge corruption effectively.
Demockracy is a con. Nobody knows that better than those exposed to the abuse of colonial policies.
Try a different perspective.
the coming Davos Economic Forum session (in a few weeks) gets to deal with "the dystopian society"
Mubarak is 'praised with faint damns'