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Suleiman: Military Crackdown if Protest Continue

Suleiman: We will unleash “dark bats of the night… to terrorize people” if protests continue

Forbes
February 9, 2011

Egypt’s anti-government activists called on supporters Wednesday to expand their demonstrations in defiance of the vice president’s warning that protests calling for President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster would not be tolerated for much longer.

Vice President Omar Suleiman, who is managing the crisis, raised the prospect of a new crackdown on protesters Tuesday when he told Egyptian newspaper editors there could be a “coup” unless demonstrators agree to enter negotiations. The protesters insist they won’t talk before Mubarak steps down, which the president is refusing to do.

“He is threatening to impose martial law, which means everybody in the square will be smashed,” said Abdul-Rahman Samir, a spokesman for a coalition of the five main youth groups behind protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. “But what would he do with the rest of the 70 million Egyptians who will follow us afterward.”

Suleiman is creating “a disastrous scenario,” Samir said. “We are striking and we will protest and we will not negotiate until Mubarak steps down. Whoever wants to threaten us, then let them do so,” he added.

For the first time, protesters were calling forcefully Wednesday for labor strikes, trying to draw powerful labor unions into support for their cause.

Suleiman’s warning was the latest in a series of confused messages from the government to the protesters. Officials have made a series of pledges not to attack, harass or arrest the activists in recent days, followed by Suleiman’s thinly veiled threat of a new crackdown.

“We can’t bear this for a long time,” he said of the Tahrir protests. “There must be an end to this crisis as soon as possible.” He said the regime wants to resolve the crisis through dialogue, warning: “We don’t want to deal with Egyptian society with police tools.”

He also warned of chaos if the situation continued, speaking of “the dark bats of the night emerging to terrorize the people.” If dialogue is not successful, he said, the alternative is “that a coup happens, which would mean uncalculated and hasty steps, including lots of irrationalities.”

Although it was not completely clear what the vice president intended in his “coup” comment, the protesters heard it as a veiled threat to impose martial law – which would be a dramatic escalation in the standoff.

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Suleiman: CIA’s Torture Chief in Egypt

 



Iran Executing Protesters to Discourage New Uprising

Iran Executing Protesters to Discourage New Uprising

Daily Beast
February 5, 2011

As political unrest shakes Egypt, the Iranian government has quietly hanged at least 73 people in recent weeks in what may be an effort to discourage new uprisings in Tehran. Omid Memarian and Roja Heydarpour on the secret prisons and brewing backlash.

As protests sweep the Middle East, the Iranian government has launched a brutal wave of executions in what many see as an intimidation tactic aimed at discouraging fresh uprisings.

During the month of January, Iran executed at least 73 people, an average of two to three hangings each day. The numbers are alarming, even in a country second only to China for the most executions in the world.

The killings have sent a bone chilling message to members of Iran’s pro-democracy Green Movement about the deadly risks of following the lead of frustrated citizens in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. Many of those executed in Iran in recent weeks were political prisoners originally rounded up during the protests that swept Tehran in 2009, after the alleged fraudulent election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“The executions, for those who live in close quarters with death-row inmates, have dealt a severe emotional blow,” said a family member of a political prisoner in Farsi.

The hanging of a Dutch-Iranian prisoner, Zahra Bahrami, last week was particularly shattering for the inmates, according to the family member. Bahrami’s hanging sparked outcry from the international community, though drowned by the massive uprisings in the region. She was initially arrested for participating in the protests in 2009, but was later charged with possessing 400 grams of cocaine and opium—a crime punishable by death.

Her fellow inmates knew she was originally a political prisoner. They also knew that she had been severely tortured. So the news of her execution was particularly shocking.

Since the uprising in Iran two years ago, the green movement has been largely silenced with extreme violence and intimidation that reportedly includes secret prisons and hangings without due process. Those demonstrations led to more than 5,000 prisoners, dozens of murdered protesters, and several prisoners who died from torture.

And as the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 approaches next week, the government fears the day will be used by organizers for more protests. The regime uses the day to tout the triumph of Islam over a despotic regime. But the people can tout it as a remembrance of overthrowing a despised and brutal authority.

In the month of January alone, close to 100 executions took place inside the Iranian prisons, according to various sources. According to Iranian media accounts, the number is between 66 and 73—but activists and journalists believe it to be even more.

“We know that other executions take place…no newspaper would dare to challenge the government statistics and information,” said a Tehran-based journalist on the condition of anonymity. “Talking about the executions is very much like debating the nuclear issue or criticizing Ahmadinejad—they are all considered security issues and this could have serious repercussions for journalists or papers.”

The Iranian government claims that most of those executed had charges related to drug trafficking or trade, but there are political prisoners among them. During the past few weeks, at least three political prisoners were hanged, two of whom had been arrested during the post-election protests.

A large number of executions are reportedly taking place in secret in Vakilabad prison in Mashad, one of the holiest cities in Shi’ite Islam, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Five hundred miles east of Tehran, there are allegedly dozens, if not hundreds of prisoners, hanged outside the prison—without due process, and completely hidden from the eyes of the international community.

And as news of the rash of executions continues to spread among the population, people are showing signs of utter disgust, according to an activist in Iran who helps international human rights organizations gather data.

“Iran’s economic crisis coupled with its crisis of legitimacy is all reaching a pivotal point,” said a human rights activist on the condition of anonymity for fear of political repercussions.

He believes that there will be a “bread uprising” akin to those in Tunisia in Egypt as the economic conditions inside the country worsen. And the people first hit by a crumbling economy are the poor, which stirs anxiety inside the regime about revolt, he said.

So the execution of political activists intimidates protestors, while execution of ordinary citizens for drug trafficking, intimidates the poor.

These executions as an intimidation tool can, of course, backfire.

If the poorer, rural people and the educated middle class find common ground, violence will eventually be met with violence, he said.

To confound the problem, there has not been a UN human rights monitor in Iran since 2002.

Just last week, two UN independent experts warned that there has been a dramatic surge in death sentences in Iran carried out, in the absence of internationally recognized safeguards, despite numerous calls by the UN to immediately halt executions.

“We call on the Iranian Government to immediately declare a moratorium on the death penalty in view of the gravity of the situation…” said the UN Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns last week. “Any death sentence undertaken in contravention of a Government’s international obligations is tantamount to an arbitrary execution,” he said.

US Embassy Van Plows Through Cairo Protesters

Iranian Protesters Lynched by Police

Police Van Running Over Iranian Protesters

 



US Embassy Van Plows Through Cairo Protesters

US Embassy Van Plows Through Cairo Protesters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQI9xDGHy7E

US Embassy in Cairo Denies Involvement in Car Hit-and-Run Incident

 



Omar Suleiman: CIA’s Torture Chief in Egypt

Omar Suleiman: CIA’s Torture Chief in Egypt

James Ridgeway
uruknet.info
February 4, 2011


Chief of Torture Omar Suleiman (right) to replace Dictator Hosni Mubarak (left).

As things now stand, the United States appears ready to have Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak tossed out in exchange for his newly-named Vice President, Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian spy master. That is, maintain the status quo by swapping one dictator for another.

Of course, Israel must sign off on this deal aimed at assuring that Egypt can remain as America’s main base in the region, straddling as it does North Africa and the Middle East. Without that status quo, the U.S. would have to rethink its entire neo-colonial policies in the region.

But Suleiman looks like a nasty piece of work.

You don’t get much about him in the US corporate media, but Agence France Press has pulled together the basics:

“For US intelligence officials, he has been a trusted partner willing to go after Islamist militants without hesitation, targeting homegrown radical groups Gamaa Islamiya and Jihad after they carried out a string of attacks on foreigners. A product of the US-Egyptian relationship, Suleiman underwent training in the 1980s at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School and Center at Fort Bragg in North Carolina….

“After taking over as spy director, Suleiman oversaw an agreement with the United States in 1995 that allowed for suspected militants to be secretly transferred to Egypt for questioning, according to the book “Ghost Plane” by journalist Stephen Grey. ..

“In the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the CIA relied on Suleiman to accept the transfer of a detainee known as Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, who US officials hoped could prove a link between Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda. The suspect was bound and blindfolded and flown to Cairo, where the CIA believed their longtime ally Suleiman would ensure a successful interrogation, according to “The One Percent Doctrine” by author Ron Suskind. A US Senate report in 2006 describes how the detainee was locked in a cage for hours and beaten, with Egyptian authorities pushing him to confirm alleged connections between Al-Qaeda and Saddam. Libi eventually told his interrogators that the then Iraqi regime was moving to provide Al-Qaeda with biological and chemical weapons. When the then US secretary of state Colin Powell made the case for war before the United Nations, he referred to details of Libi’s confession. The detainee eventually recanted his account.”

Thus our loyal ally Egypt provided the fake information used by the United States to justify go to war in Iraq.

Stephen Soldz of the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and co-founder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology provided the following excerpts from authors who discussed Sulieman:

Jane Mayer, in The Dark Side, pointed to Suleiman’s role in the rendition program:

“Each rendition was authorized at the very top levels of both governments….The long-serving chief of the Egyptian central intelligence agency, Omar Suleiman, negotiated directly with top Agency officials. [Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt] Walker described the Egyptian counterpart, Suleiman, as ‘very bright, very realistic,’ adding that he was cognizant that there was a downside to ‘some of the negative things that the Egyptians engaged in, of torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way'” (pp. 113).

Stephen Grey, in Ghost Plane, his investigative work on the rendition program, also points to Suleiman as central to the program:

“To negotiate these assurances [that the Egyptians wouldn’t ‘torture’ the prisoner delivered for torture] the CIA dealt principally in Egypt through Omar Suleiman, the chief of the Egyptian general intelligence service (EGIS) since 1993. It was he who arranged the meetings with the Egyptian interior ministry…. Suleiman, who understood English well, was an urbane and sophisticated man. Others told me that for years Suleiman was America’s chief interlocutor with the Egyptian regime — the main channel to President Hosni Mubarak himself, even on matters far removed from intelligence and security.”

Suleiman’s role in the rendition program was also highlighted in a Wikileaks cable:

“The context of the close and sustained cooperation between the USG and GOE on counterterrorism, Post believes that the written GOE assurances regarding the return of three Egyptians detained at Guantanamo (reftel) represent the firm commitment of the GOE to adhere to the requested principles. These assurances were passed directly from Egyptian General Intelligence Service (EGIS) Chief Soliman (sic) through liaison channels — the most effective communication path on this issue. General Soliman’s word is the GOE’s guarantee, and the GOE’s track record of cooperation on CT issues lends further support to this assessment. End summary.”

“Shortly after 9/11, Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib was captured by Pakistani security forces and, under US pressure, torture by Pakistanis,” writes Soldz. “He was then rendered (with an Australian diplomat watching) by CIA operatives to Egypt, a not uncommon practice. In Egypt, Habib merited Suleiman’s personal attention. As related by Richard Neville, based on Habib’s memoir”:

“Habib was interrogated by the country’s Intelligence Director, General Omar Suleiman…. Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before 9/11, he was under suspicion. Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks. That treatment wasn’t enough for Suleiman, so:

To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib – and he did, with a vicious karate kick.

After Suleiman’s men extracted Habib’s confession, he was transferred back to US custody, where he eventually was imprisoned at Guantanamo. His “confession” was then used as evidence in his Guantanamo trial.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7sK9gUczkA

Obama Scrambling To Replace One Crony Egyptian Government With Another

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Egypt: Police van runs over protesters

Egypt: Police van runs over protesters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LZZGXgeVUU

 

FLASHBACK: Iranian police car running over protesters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAaPnAQDHhU