Monday, October 31, 2011

@alaa

Alaa AbdelFattah (@alaa) was detained by military prosecution for 15 days pending further military investigations. The news is all too reminiscent of 2006 when Alaa was arrested for partaking in demonstrations supporting the independence of judiciary in Egypt.

@alaa

Alaa was summoned on bogus charges of inciting violence during the Maspero massacre. He was detained after refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the military trials for civilians as well as for objecting that the real culprits of the Maspero massacre are performing the investigations. 

There is no evidence at all to support these charges. To get a clearer picture of how absurd the charges are, Mina Danial, who was killed by the army, possibly by snipers, was among those accused of the same charges.

The reason for targeting Alaa is perhaps due to his involvement in the revolution. We are witnessing the vendetta of a regime we failed to bring down. Alaa's last article in El Shorouk may have had something to do with it, where he explained how the autopsies of the martyrs helped implicate the army in their murder.

What we are witnessing here is not the utter incompetence of an investigative body but the reaction of a criminal asked to investigate his own crime. The criminal does everything possible to steer clear of any real evidence, and when the body of evidence is so overwhelming as it is against the military in the Maspero massacre, the result is as ridiculous as accusing a victim of their own murder.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Essam Atta

Links related to the case of Essam Ali Atta, victim of police brutality in Tora prison. Much like Khaled Said, police claims he has killed himself by swallowing drugs and there is cause to believe that the forensic report has been forged.

Essam Atta



Articles, Links and Testimonies 
Ahram Online Articles
http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/25315.aspx
http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/25318.aspx

Jack Shenker for the Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/28/egypt-anger-grows-death-torture

Report from Tahrir Doctors
http://tahrirdoctors.com/midandoctors/2011/10/29/بيان-عاجل-بخصوص-تشريح-جثمان-المواطن-عص/

Aida Seif El Dawla Testimony
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150432395249365

Malek X testimony
http://malek-x.net/node/711

Ahmad Seyam, one of the attending doctors 
http://ahmadsyiam.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-post_29.html?m=1

Al Masry Al Yom
http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/509636

Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/egyptian-prisoner-tortured-to-death-activists-say/2011/10/28/gIQABPlRQM_story.html

Al Jazeera 
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/10/2011102911326932794.html

MOI Statement (Arabic)
http://www.egypolice.com/?p=8629

Essam's alleged torture method
http://democrati.net/2011/10/30/essam-atta-alleged-torture-method-known-as-water-cure/


Videos

Gameela Ismail with Mona Seif and Malek Adly 

Gameela Ismail talks to General Mohamed Naguib and accuses him of the same old attitude



Mohamed Atta, Essam Atta's brother speaks on camera



Aida Seif El Dawla and her testimony on Al Jazeera 



Graphic video showing Essam Atta's body and his mother's reaction



The story of Essam Atta as told by his brother by No to Military Trials of Civilians


Facebook Groups

We are all Essam Atta Victim of Prison Torture


We are all Essam Ali (Arabic)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I’m Still Afraid

The simple fact of the matter is that we have an army that kills its own people. They used live rounds in previous incidents and in recent times added an Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) running over unarmed protesters to their magnificent resume. The 'Maspero Massacre' is no isolated incident; it’s what soldiers have practiced for some time now.

"I used to be afraid, now I'm Egyptian"

It may be unimaginable to a westerner what it’s like in a country ruled by a mafia, a group of sinister men who care nothing for human related values and will stop at nothing to attain personal gains. This state of affairs may be difficult to fathom for anyone from a somewhat civilized society or someone never exposed to the brutality of a third world country.

Let me explain what it’s like. It’s not an absolute nightmare; it’s closer to a jungle with skewed rules. The one thing you can do to survive is forfeit your freedom along with any rights you may think you have. You are not to have an opinion, because having an opinion may lead to voicing it and voicing it may lead to some action or may just offend the masters. These sinister men will shut you up, kidnap you, torture you and even kill you if you criticize them or threaten their lawlessness. So in a way you may yet survive this tyranny by keeping your mouth shut, but if you get in their way, they will literally crush you.

The real problem in dealing with these mobsters is when you oppose them and try and take what’s yours. They do not believe your money, property or rights are yours anymore. They believe that they are invaders who have the right to control everything about you. They are like an occupying foreign force. Calling for what’s right becomes very dangerous.

I am sure of the army’s treachery, I am sure of the threat to my life and my safety when I protest. That’s why it’s not easy for me to go out and protest despite my certainty of their evil nature. I must first consider the specific cause for which I’m marching for, and after that I have to consider whether I’m willing to get hurt for it, go to jail or risk dying for it. There are times like the Abbaseya march when I went out knowing full well we were walking into a trap. There are other times when I was sure that at midnight, the attacks would commence, like the day the Israeli embassy was rumored to have been stormed. There are so many elements that go into making this decision, and the freedom of assembly or any other human right is not something one can take for granted.

I must confess I’m not one of those Egyptians who have rid themselves of fear. I have the same fear of being hurt or killed while marching or going to a protest. I don’t fit the stereotype of a valiant Egyptian revolutionary who has overcome his fears and marches bravely ready to die for his cause. I care for my life and I would rather live a good life than die at a protest. Not having the courage to face death, I still go out trying to avoid it but prepared for the possibility of a chance encounter.

So why go out with all these fears and calculations? Why even risk it? Perhaps I choose to march out of fear itself, for fear that the future will hold more dangers for me and for generations to come. Perhaps out of hope and perhaps the promise of a better life. But maybe the main reason I march is because of another force stronger than fear, a force of dignity.

I was raised to reject slavery in all forms and so, despite everything, I decided not to be a servant of evil beings. I come from a world of freedom that exists in some way around me and has been transferred inside me. If movies, books and literature have poisoned my brain then they have done the finest job deluding me into thinking I deserve freedom and that human life and dignity are worth something. The sinister men have tried to instill a sense of low self-worth and indignity within us. But somewhere along the line, the idea that humans are born free and are worthy of a decent life has seeped through the cracks. Their plan to keep us all in check has failed somewhere along the line. I have been damaged beyond repair and now I cannot rid myself of the idea that I deserve to be free.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Utopia




"If you suffer your people to be ill-educated and their manners corrupted from infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded, sire, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?"


~Thomas More

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Maspero Aftermath

My words don’t mean much because no words can truly describe Egypt at the present moment. Cairo is now very morose and everyone with a conscience is filled with sadness. It’s a different kind of sadness, not the sadness over martyrs who have helped liberate the country, a sadness closer to defeat.


One must come to terms that the events of Maspero have been a great defeat to Egyptians. The greatest defeat was not that the military fired on its people, nor is it that the state media propagated lies inciting Egyptians, or that Egyptians took to the streets to kill each other with knives and swords. The greatest defeat was the reaction of Egyptian citizens to these events. The saddest part is that Egyptians believed the lies circulated by state TV that Copts started firing at the army but even those who did not believe didn’t really care.

They’re getting away with it like they have with many incidents in the past. They’re getting away with it because it happened to the Coptic Christians of Egypt. One might be tempted to say this isn’t accurate; the army attacked both Copts and Muslims and didn’t discriminate between either. I agree completely but the attacks and deaths have been associated to Copts, even if some Muslims partook and shared the same fate. Who will stand up for the Copts? Muslim extremists don’t mind that Copts were murdered and moderate Muslims are divided; some don’t mind what happened and others are incensed but the greater majority doesn’t really care. The fact remains that the military is reaping the benefits of the sectarian strife that the regime has sown for 60 years. The true tragedy is the indifference of the moderates; that is the true defeat.

The army got away with convincing the world that protesters stormed the Israeli embassy, and perhaps they would be surprised not to get away with the events of Maspero. But why should anything happen to them? Killers are still at large and continue to kill; those inciting hate, violence and murder are still broadcasting their lies; demonstrations and demonstrators are being crushed; why should anything change?

Those who support revolutionary change are disappointed and enraged. It is indeed disappointing to have an army that has betrayed its people, and state media that betrayed the truth but the most disappointing is to have Egyptians insisting on seeing lies as truth. Even the most optimistic of us have been worn down by the events of maspero.

The irony is that the brave resilient youth who stood up to one of the most brutal police regimes will not be defeated by the bullets and weapons of the regime, but by the soft whispers of their countrymen betraying their cause.

Egyptians have defeated themselves.  The pain of losing vibrant passionate people is exacerbated by the apathy of Egyptians who are charged with protecting them. As people were being buried after being run over by the army and killed using live ammo, apathetic Egyptians were discussing whether the Copts had a right to protest, and whether or not the church was burnt and perhaps even condemning the attacks of protesters on the APCs than ran over a third of the protesters that were killed. It seems that in Egypt APCs are more valuable than humans beings.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Maspero Massacre on 9 October 2011

I am posting the following links I’ve collected on the events of Maspero on 9 October 2011. I am posting this without much commentary because the videos and the pictures speak for themselves. I only have this to say. What happened yesterday will beg the question, “Why?” because the “What” is already clear.

APC running protesters over

The army orchestrated an attack on Coptic protests to make it appear as though there is sectarian violence that is not sponsored by the state. They failed. Most Copts understand that this is the doing of the army, not the Muslims. I’m not sure how aware most Muslims are that the Copts did not start any of the violence.

More than 25 people were killed and over 300 others injured.

So why? Why did the army fire on people? Why is the SCAF orchestrating this? Why are Copts targeted?

I won’t go into lengthy answers, but this is the same old plan. It’s like the bombing of the church on New Year’s and it’s like many other sectarian clashes instigated by State Security.



APC running protesters over


Very disturbing, APC running over protesters deliberately and mercilessly  http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=297792996913952

Minute 5.45 shows clearly without a doubt how the APC ran over protesters.. incredibly disturbing 





Army soldier actually firing from APC caught on video


Various Footage
How it all started


More footage (German TV)


The part the German TV did not catch

Egyptian soldier proud of having shot a protester



Green laser pointer on a protester indicating presence of snipers


Sharaf was advised and did nothing



A video implicating the army 



Another video showing CSF and army damaging the cars



Full version of the video showing army damaging cars



Priest protecting a soldier from other protesters despite the murders before them


Interview with priest who protected the soldier


Eyewitness accounts, articles and blog posts


Hossam Bahgat's eyewitness account



Daily News Egypt




CNN Reports on the military's history of violence 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLiagb7-wxQ


Sarah Carr's footage of the Shubra march


Moustafa El Fouly saying dead protesters were thrown into the Nile
Arabawy's blog post 

Ahram Online article

Sarah Carr's first hand account on Al Masry Al Yom and on CBC

Jack Shenker's analysis on the Guardian

Eyewitness testimony from Hani Bushra

Ahdaf Soueif on the Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/10/attack-on-egyptian-christians-not-sectarian?CMP=twt_gu

Maspero Testimonies - A blog dedicated to documenting the eyewitness accounts of 9 October
http://masperotestimonies.wordpress.com/

Guardian translates some testimonies 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2011/oct/14/egypt-christians-copts-cairo-demonstrations-interactive

Guardian documents some testimonies
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/11/cairo-witnesses-security-forces-bloodshed?CMP=twt_gu

Al Masry Al Yom Editorial
http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/503904

International Federation for Human Rights
http://www.fidh.org/The-Egyptian-Army-crushing

Human Rights Watch
http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/10/10/egypt-investigate-violence-against-coptic-christians

Comprehensive Human Rights Watch Report
http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/10/25/egypt-don-t-cover-military-killing-copt-protesters

Amnesty International
http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/deadly-clashes-coptic-protest-egypt-show-urgent-need-reform-2011-10-11

Mosireen.org - A collection of videos about the events
http://mosireen.org/

El Nadeem cause of death report here 

Same report in a blog post





TV channels being raided
25 Jan TV Channel raided



Al Hurrah raided




The Victims




Vivian talks about Michael Mosaad's murder by the army


No arrests made...



Another video :http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=271201212902672


Simon Hanna covers funeral for Ahram Online


Mina Daniel's Autopsy report: "Projectile entered the upper chest and exited from the lower back"

Shohada Maspero Website - Eyewitness testimonies

State TV Lies
Soldiers with one arm bandaged



Rasha Magdy on State TV inciting Egyptians against Copts

Apologies for not getting the original video of soldiers lying about the events

Soldier calls Christians sons of bitches

Friday, October 07, 2011

Meet the New Boss: A tale of military extortion

On the way back from Ain Sokhna close to 11 pm on Friday night, 23 September 2011, I was stopped by a group of army personnel. I was in the company of a male Egyptian friend and a female Australian friend (the significance of gender soon to be elucidated). They searched thoroughly through every piece of trash in my mess of a car and came up with an unopened bottle of alcohol kept in a back pack in the trunk of the car. 

“We found this,” the soldier promptly reported as he held up the cheap bottle. I carelessly remarked, “This is a closed container of alcohol.”
They continued to rummage through the car, over and over again with much redundancy. 
When they were done, one of the army personnel said they had to confiscate and break the bottle. I could not tell if he was an officer or a conscript, since he was wearing army pants and a designer shirt but in all likelihood, he was an officer since he had the freedom to do so. I once again emphasized that it was a closed container which meant they had no right to do so. 
The officer responded, “If there’s a closed one here, it means that another was consumed there.”
It may be pertinent to point that neither I nor my company had consumed any alcohol earlier. 
I responded, “the law says that …” and before I had completed the sentence, the officer said, “Don’t talk to me about the law, I’ve been up since 6 am in the morning doing this.”
I did not care for the bottle in any way, but my concern was for being a victim of illegitimate abuse. I insisted that he had no legal ground for confiscating the bottle, and he insisted he didn’t care much for legitimacy. 
“Where did you buy this?” he asked.
“Duty free,” I said.
“Do you have your passport to prove it?”
“No.”
“Then I’m sorry.”
“I could have bought it from Egypt and paid 3000 LE in customs for all you care,” I said.
My friend spoke to the officer, aggressively opposed to his actions. The officer in retaliation said that he could just through it up in the air and smash it if he wanted to. My friend said he couldn’t do that, but I on the other hand agreed with the officer. 
“You can do whatever you want because you’re carrying a gun, but not because you have a right to,” I said.
He said that nothing can be done by force and that he had his orders. He went on to say, “I have orders to confiscate any drugs, electric shock, alcohol and condoms.”
“Condoms?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied, “just earlier today we stopped 73 cars and the women were all complaining when we confiscated their electric shocks.”
“I understand about electric shocks and drugs, but the rest of your instructions are illegal. How do I know you really have orders to confiscate these items?” I asked.
He said, “It’s simple we wait for a military truck that transfers you to C28, the prosecution for military intelligence and then you get to find out.”
“You want me to go to military prosecution infamous for locking up 12,000 people unjustly where trials are done in an officer’s mess for this?” I responded.
“What trials?” he said, “Don’t believe all that you hear.” 
“You and I both know this is what happens,” I responded.  “I’m not going to waste my time waiting for that truck when we both know that you do not have the right to confiscate alcohol if it’s in a closed container. Besides, if I knew I was doing something wrong, I wouldn’t have argued with you for so long, and more importantly if you knew you had a right to do what you’re doing, you wouldn’t have been so patient and civil in this conversation.”
We talked for around 30 minutes. It was the same old technique used by Egyptian police to blackmail passersby on the road. The idea as I learned from earlier encounters was that the security personnel would use threats of time wasting and hassles in order for you to bribe them. 
The officer held on to the alcohol bottle, and said that he had to destroy it. He said he’d pour it all out to show us that he was actually getting rid of it. What did he think we were suspicious of? Whatever suspicions we may have not have of him trying to take this bottle for him and his buddies were asserted.
I explained to my Australian friend what was going on and translated some of the conversation.
Me and my Egyptian friend quarreled and were intent on not allowing this abuse of power. Many words were exchanged. Despite the absurdity of the situation, I noticed that the army officers were still new at this. They exerted too much effort searching the car, something the police would have been more efficient at. They also couldn’t maintain that balance between power and abuse. They were too civil at times and too threatening at times. 
In a few months, they would perfect these attacks. After enough abuses they would find out that they need to exert less effort searching the cars, they need to be less tense when issuing threats and they would get what they wanted easily from those who cared more for their time than they cared for the rule of law. 
I knew that the price for my time was the bottle, and it’s a price I would be willing to pay in different circumstances. But with that price, I would have given up my rights and the rule of law which I wasn’t willing to give away. I was ready to wait it out and perhaps even risk the chance of facing military prosecution with falsified charges because I didn’t want to willingly give up my right and succumb to military extortion.
My Australian friend had stood at a distance and hadn’t engaged the officers in any conversation. 
“This is ridiculous,” she finally said addressing the officer in English. 
“No this is not ridiculous,” responded the officer looking surprised. I was surprised too, for other reasons. I had not expected the officer to understand the word ‘ridiculous’ and hadn’t expected him to respond in English.
He then stood there for five seconds trying to find the words to convince her of his position, but found none. He then handed her the cheap bottle saying, “A gift for you.”