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Make up your mind by yourself

February 20, 2011

Make up your mind by yourself if any of the statements and actions below amount to hypocrisy or blatant scorn or intimidation or an attempt to curtail dissent.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “The United States stands ready to provide assistance to Egypt to advance its efforts. I’m pleased to announce today we will be reprogramming $150 million for Egypt to put ourselves in a position to support the transition there and assist with their economic recovery. These funds will give us flexibility to respond to Egyptian needs moving forward.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton initially called Mubarak’s government “stable … and [responsive] to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.” Hillary Clinton also warned that removing President Hosni Mubarak too hastily could threaten the country’s transition to democracy.

President Obama at a news conference in Washington: “What has been true in Egypt should be true in Iran, which is, that people should be able to express their opinions and their grievances and seek a more responsive government. What’s been different is the Iranian government’s response, which is to shoot people and beat people and arrest people. And my hope and expectation is, that we’re going to continue to see the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedoms and a more representative government.”

So Obama says clear and unmistakably, that Egypt’s security services didn’t shoot people and beat people and arrest people!

President Obama to Egypt: “What we didn’t do was pretend that we could dictate the outcome in Egypt, because we can’t, so we were very mindful that it was important for this to remain an Egyptian event, that the United States did not become the issue, but that we sent out a very clear message that we believed in an orderly transition, a meaningful transition, and a transition that needed to happen not later, but sooner, and we were consistent on that message throughout.”

Obama makes this statement despite the well documented fact that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and special envoy Frank Wisner repeatedly voiced support for Mubarak’s regime.

US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks show that Egyptian secret police received training at the FBI’s facility in Quantico even as diplomats sent dispatches reporting extensive abuse. A report from October 2009 cites “credible sources” that some prisoners were tortured “with electric shocks and sleep deprivation to reduce them to a zombie state.”

A major study about Arab public opinion by the Brookings Institute in August showed that only 10 percent regarded Iran as a threat. 80 to 90 percent perceived the USA and Israel as a threat. Asked for people who are respected, Erdogan in Turkey was on top. Obama was not even listed. Even Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were more popular than Obama.

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Hillary Clinton at George-Washington University: “What happened in Egypt and what happened in Iran, which this week is once again using violence against protesters seeking basic freedoms, was about a great deal more than the Internet. In each case, people protested because of the frustration with the political and economic conditions of their lives. They stood and marched and chanted and the authorities tracked and blocked and arrested them.”

Just as Hillary Clinton spoke those words, Ray McGovern, a former Army and CIA officer was violently ejected from the hall and arrested just for standing up quietly and turning his back on Clinton. Ray McGovern is 71 years old and a leading activist of “Veterans for Peace”. He was arrested, beaten and handcuffed and seriously hurt.

Hillary Clinton: “We believe that governments who have erected barriers to internet freedom, whether they are technical filters or censorship regimes or attacks on those who exercise their rights to expression and assembly online, will eventually find themselves boxed in. They will face a dictator’s dilemma and will have to choose between letting the walls fall or paying the price to keep them standing. Governments that arrest bloggers, pry into the peaceful activities of their citizens, and limit their access to the internet, may claim to be seeking security, but they are taking the wrong path.”

The U.S. Department of Justice has subpoenaed the internet company Twitter for personal information about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and four other people linked to WikiLeaks, including Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of the Icelandic parliament. The subpoena asks Twitter for all records and correspondence relating to their accounts, including private messages sent through Twitter.

Republican Representative Peter King of New York has introduced a measure that targets whistleblowers who publish classified information. The bill calls for amending the Espionage Act of 1917 to designate the disclosure of government information an act of espionage.

On January 2, a police SWAT team and a FBI anti-terrorism squad showed up at a Memphis church where activists of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, who oppose the war in Afghanistan, were gathering. Members of the FBI’s local Joint Terrorism Task Force, MPD patrol cars and unmarked, black SUVs manned by TACT unit officers were monitoring 16 activists who had congregated to fill out Freedom of Information requests aimed at discovering, if the FBI or MPD is keeping surveillance files on the activists. There were some 30 officers in 10 cars involved.

On January 25, demonstrators held worldwide protests against the FBI’s September raids on 14 peace activists in Minneapolis and Chicago and Grand Jury subpoenas of 23 activists. The raids and subpoenas were staged after an undercover FBI agent, who had infiltrated an anti-war group in Minneapolis, failed to gather incriminating evidence.

Last week Brandon Jourdan, an independent journalist who also worked for Democracy Now, was subjected to a five-hour search when he returned from Haiti. Officers copied the contents of his laptop, of an external hard drive and of his phone. This is an increasingly common scenario and the National Press Photographers Association has filed a lawsuit because many member have been subjected to lengthy searches and seizures of computers, cameras and phones without any reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing.

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I cannot help myself to ask, what Hillary Clintons announcement of “reprogramming $150 million for Egypt” means. More teargas and rubber bullet guns and tasers and water cannons? Or some units of Raytheon’s Silent Guardian Protection System (pain gun)?

I have to acknowledge that US security at least is not using lethal force against the protesters in Madison, in contrast to the security forces in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, Bahrein, and Libya. But the USA nevertheless supplied most of the weapons, and that is bad enough! Bahrain and Libya got their guns reportedly from Britain.

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