Al-Masry Al-Youm spent three hours in total in the torture chambers established by the Muslim Brotherhood at the gates of the Ittihadiya Palace in the suburb of Heliopolis. The central torture chamber, which is located in front of the gate facing the Omar Ibn Abdel Aziz Mosque on al-Merghany Street, is secured with a cordon and iron barriers, where the Central Security Forces (CSF) prevent the access of any persons without the authorization of the Brotherhood.
We entered the chamber with a great difficulty, after a fellow journalist from the Misr 25 TV channel facilitated. The channel is owned by the Brotherhood. There are brigades and police officers in military uniforms, as well as others in civilian clothes from al-Nozha police station, who oversee the beatings, whippings and torture. Fifteen others from the group, distinguished by their strong bodies, are supervised by three bearded and well-dressed men who decide who will be in the chamber and who may leave, even if the person is a member of the Brotherhood.
The torture process starts once a demonstrator who opposes President Mohammed Morsi is arrested in the clashes or is suspected after the clashes end, and the CSF separate Morsi’s supporters from his opponents. Then, the group members trade off punching, kicking and beating him with a stick on the face and all over his body. They tear off his clothes and take him to the nearest secondary torture chamber, from which CSF personnel, members of the Interior Ministry and the State Security Investigations Services (SSIS) are absent.
It is hard to determine how many locations there are, given that the torture chambers are established as near as possible to where a person is arrested. Before the interrogation process starts, they search him, seize his funds, cellphones or ID, all the while punching and slapping his face in order to get him to confess to being a thug and working for money.
They ask him why he took to the street, whether he got paid to take part in the protest and whether he supports Mohamed ElBaradei, founder of the Constitution Party, or Hamdeen Sabahi, founder of the Egyptian Popular Current or the dissolved Egyptian Nationalist movement. As long as this person denies the allegations, they beat him and insult his parents. After that, a person will videotape the interrogation and contact the Misr 25 TV channel to tell them about the interrogation and arrest.
After a while, the detainee is transported from the secondary torture chamber to the central one. On his way, the beatings and insults continue. Every time the prisoner encounters a member of the Brotherhood, that person gets in his share of the insults and beatings.
The health conditions of some of the prisoners was very bad and they were unable to answer questions. Some of them were bleeding all over their bodies, severely exhausted and not receiving any medical aid. However, some got a bottle of water to drink or something to use to stop their bleeding.
Any further questions about Egypt’s new, moderate, moral Islamist leadership?
Yes? You in the back? Freedom of the press? OK:
From Egypt Independent:
The presidential office filed a complaint on Monday accusing privately-owned Youm7’s editor-in-chief Khaled Salah and journalist Ola al-Shafie of slandering President Mohamed Morsy.
The complaint was based on an op-ed in the paper about the clashes at the presidential palace, when supporters of Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood descended on an opposition sit-in against the constitutional declaration and the referendum on the draft constitution.
Shafie alleges in her article that the Muslim Brotherhood was responsible for killing six people and torturing various political activists. The president’s office claims the article defames the president.
The Muslim Brotherhood denies the allegations, claiming that all those killed or injured in the clashes were in fact Brotherhood members, despite video footage and protester testimony demonstrating that members of the Muslim Brotherhood were involved in torturing protesters before handing them over to the police.
Media and human rights watchdogs have expressed concern over the increasing intimidation of journalists who have critiqued the ruling regime.
Media presenter Mohamed Saad was released on bail last week after being interrogated on allegations of insulting the president. Also last week, the broadcast of presenter Hala Fahmy’s show was cut when she criticized the president on air, and she was later referred to the public prosecution.
Nothing to see here.
(Portrait of the president as a young Marxist guerrilla News of the Restless) A young Dilma Rousseff, being interrogated by the Brazilian military junta in the 1970s. She looks pretty fearless and pugnacious, no? Here’s the story behind the picture, courtesy of Cubadebate:
(stonegateinstitute.org | by Anna Mahjar-Barducci)
Relations between Brazil and Iran are shaky. In an interview with the Brazilian paper Folha de Sao Paulo, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who has worked as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s top media adviser, declared that the Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, is distancing herself from Iran. Javanfekr actually accused Rousseff of having ruined the relations between Iran and Brazil that former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula managed to build. “The Brazilian president has been striking against everything that Lula accomplished. She destroyed years of good relations,” Javanfekr said. In another interview with the state-run Iranian agency, IRNA, Javanfekr said: “Brazil’s new president has newly taken over the post and should be given enough time to gain a better understanding of Iran-Brazil relations and the previous administration’s efforts to strengthen ties.”
Under the Lula’s presidency, in 2010, in a deal brokered with Turkey and Brazil, Iran signed an agreement to send uranium abroad for enrichment. In the agreement, Iran announced its readiness to swap 1,200 kg of its low-enriched uranium for 20% enriched fuel on Turkish soil. The deal failed, however, after the U.S. rejected it. The same year, Rousseff was elected as the Brazilian President and relations between Iran and Brazil stopped being so friendly. The reason was Rousseff’s support of a U.N. investigation on human rights abuses in Iran, an initiative led by Washington. As reported by the New York Times, the decision was viewed as a shift from Lula’s previous relations with Tehran.
Al-Jazeera noted that even during the electoral campaign, Rousseff, whenever asked about Iran, would say that for her, human rights would come before business – a thought that seems to have made the Iranian government uncomfortable. In 2011, when the Iranian regime realized that the new Brazilian President would not be friendly to Iran as her predecessor had been, the Iranian ambassador in Brazil commented that Rousseff was “badly informed” about events in Iran. “Rousseff,” wrote Al-Jazeera, “who was tortured in her youth at the hands of Brazil’s dictatorship, and has risen to be Brazil’s first woman president, had given signs all along she wanted to cool off relations with Iran. Cooling? No. She now appears to be dumping a bucket of ice water on it. Freezing it.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast said that Iran attaches great significance to relations with Brazil, and dismissed the remarks on Tehran-Brasilia ties attributed to Presidential media adviser Javanfekr, saying they were misinterpreted: “Iran attaches high significance to its relations with Brazil as the largest Latin American country and an emerging global power. In line with this fact, interactions and negotiations between the two countries are following their normal trend; no change has been made to Tehran’s attitude toward its relations with Brasilia,” Mehmanparast added that “relations between Iran and Brazil have a history of more than 110 years. It seems that certain media outlets and third countries are not happy about good relations between Iran and Brazil and have desperately resorted to a media campaign.”
Brazilian media, however, that the Iranian government is indeed extremely irritated with Rousseff, and that in revenge to the new Brazilian policy the Iranian government is making the life of Brazilian businessmen difficult. The Brazilian paper Folha de Sao Paulo reported that the Iranian government put restrictions on Brazilian meat exporters. The Brazilian multinational JBS, for example, kept thousands of tons of bovine meat on hold for three weeks in an Iranian port. The paper also claims that Iranian meat importers reported that the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to customs ordering limits on the entry of Brazilian products to Iran.
After the interview released by Ahmadinejad’s adviser criticizing Rousseff, the Iranian President declared his intention to visit Brazil in the near future. The Iranian government also stressed that Ahmadinejad would come to Latin America only to meet with Rousseff and not with other leaders in neighboring countries.
The Iranian President nevertheless just came back from a tour in Latin America that brought him to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador, and that intentionally did not include Brazil. Ahmadinejad, however, apparently now feels it was a mistake to neglect Brazil, the largest country in South America and one with a rising economy. The Iranian president apparently hopes once again to charm the Brazilian government, which could be an important political and economic partner. Under Lula’s presidency, in fact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that among the Latin American countries, Brazil was the largest trading partner of Iran. Data also shows that in 2008, Iran’s trade with Latin America tripled to $2.9 billion.
While the Iranian government hopes to revive the lost friendship, the Brazilian government seems to hope that the Ahmadinejad’s trip to Brazil will not happen so soon. The website “Brazil Dispatch” reported that Brazilian commentators “rejoiced that Brazil had been spared the embarrassment of hosting Ahmadinejad during his recent tour of Latin America.” Political commentator Sergio Leo, writing in the newspaper Valor Economico, pointed out that Ahmadinejad’s decision not to visit Brazil during his recent Latin American trip was welcomed by the Brazilian government. Leo commented that Brazil’s relief at not being approached was exorbitant. The main issue, according to local media, was that while Rousseff seems unwilling to compromise on human rights, the Iranian government is equally unwilling to respect them. This is why for Ahmadinejad now, any rapprochement with Brazil will not be easy.
It takes a Marxist to know a Marxist and the Left
NICOSIA (AFP) – Pro-democracy activists in Syria called for fresh protests on Saturday after the alleged torture and killing of a 13-year-old boy by security forces in the flashpoint region of Daraa.
The body of Hamza Al Khatib was returned to his family on Wednesday, following his disappearance after a demonstration on April 29, activists said on their Facebook site, Syrian Revolution 2011.
“We will go out from every home, from every district to express our anger” over the killing, they wrote on the page which carries a picture of the boy.
“A month had passed by with his family not knowing where he is, or if or when will he be released. He was released to his family as a dead body. Upon examining his body, the signs of torture are very clear,” they said.
“There were a few bullets in his body used as a way of torture rather than to kill him with. Clear signs of severe physical abuse appeared on the body such as marks done with hands, sticks, and shoes. Hamza’s penis was also cut off.”
Other activists said Khatib decided after police had killed his cousin to take part in the anti-regime protests sweeping the country since mid-March, with their epicentre in the Daraa region of southern Syria.
His father, Ali Al Khatib, has also been arrested, they said.
On Friday, at least 12 people were shot dead as security forces dispersed protests across Syria, activists said, updating an earlier toll of eight dead.
Four protesters were killed in Daraa, another four in a Damascus suburb, three in Homs, central Syria, and one in Latakia on the coast, said the London-based National Organisation for the Defence of Human Rights.
Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, urged the country’s authorities to investigate the torture to death of the 13-year-old boy and other similar cases.
Seven bodies with torture marks, some with broken necks, were taken to Daraa hospital, he told AFP by telephone in Nicosia, adding that hundreds of cases of torture were being documented.
Since the revolt in Syria erupted, Friday protests following weekly Muslim prayers are widely seen as a barometer of whether activists are able to maintain momentum despite a heavy handed repression.
More than 1,000 people have been killed and 10,000 others arrested since the revolt began, according to rights groups. Syrian authorities say 143 soldiers, security forces and police have been killed.
Foreign journalists are barred from travelling inside Syria, making it difficult to report on the unrest and verify witness accounts.
The government insists the unrest is the work of “armed terrorist gangs” backed by Islamists and foreign agitators.
It initially responded to the revolt by offering some concessions, including lifting the state of emergency in place for nearly five decades, but coupled this with a fierce crackdown.
The opposition has dismissed calls for dialogue, saying that could only take place once the violence ends, political prisoners are freed and reforms adopted. via jordantimes.com
Al Jazeera reported that after receiving his body, Khatib’s family was visited by Syrian secret police, who arrested the boy’s father. The boy’s mother said officers ordered her husband to say the boy was killed by armed Salafists, or ultra-conservative Muslims, whom Assad has claimed as being behind the unrest. She said the secret police had warned her not to speak to the press, threatening, “You know what would happen if we heard you had spoken to the media.”
Waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques were not a factor in tracking down Osama bin Laden, a leading Republican senator insisted Thursday.
In an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, the Republican said former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and others who back those tactics were wrong to claim that waterboarding al-Qaeda’s No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, provided information that led to bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.
go figure, a rhino in the GOP… it is as if anyone is shocked that there are Ron Paul types and others who do not share the opinions of the American public. Most people involved in government now presently agree that Waterboarding was beneficial to the capture of Osama Bin Ladin