Gene Sharp Q&A (CIA, Soros, etc.)
When governments in the Middle East (and around the world) say that protesters are operating under foreign agendas and protesting for money, etc - it always strikes me as odd the transparency that these regimes offer vs what is offered by those that they throw allegations at.
Anyway - regarding the baseless allegations.. Compare the two clips above and the questions/quotes that arise:Iranian Propaganda Video (youtube link)
Two questions that arise for me are:
- How come this type of conspiracy theory does not apply to the Arab government supporters? (i.e. intellectuals, propaganda, TV, radio, etc.)
- Is there not one Western intellectual who may disagree and not play along?
- Is there not one Arab intellectual/journalists who cares about his country enough to not facilitate its colonization?
- What does it say about the Arab youth and general citizenry if they are willing to conspire with any foreign element to cause disorder and neo-colonization?
The last question is something that I have struggled with. Even if the government does not believe the allegations of being a foreign agent, it disturbs me that many of my fellow compatriots readily believe this allegation when thrown at any of our youth. However, it becomes more obvious why they think this if one assesses the word 'citizen'. It is defined as an individual belonging to society with associated rights and responsibilities. Given that historically we have had little/no rights then, by definition, there is little expectation for fulfilling any societal responsibilities (streets clean, no corruption, etc.) - the most extreme of this is being a traitor, when one is driven to forgo his/her own people for financial gain. The most frustrating thing for me though is how Jewish Israelis can travel to Sinai, Egypt, anywhere they are allowed and the Israeli government does not automatically assume they are spies and interrogate them, given them a hard time, etc. - however, if any Egyptian were to visit Israel (or even Palestine proper) I think we all know the suspicions that would arise from fellow the government and, consequently, fellow citizens.
At the end of the day, the Egyptian government during Jan25 protests was trying to peddle the message that the people in Tahrir squared are betraying their country for a KFC meal... The real question arises though: If one is willing to betray their country for some fried chicken, then what society do we really have??Gene Sharp Interview (full video link here)
While you should watch the whole interview in the link above (it is around 1 hr 20min, but if you have a video program put it at 1.2 speed, it's still comprehensible and saves some time). Anyway, the above clip I selected simply in response to the above allegations by the Iranian regime (and various other governments when they speak out against protesters). Gene Sharp clearly advocates "RELY ON YOURSELVES ALONE - DON'T DEPEND ON SOMEONE ELSE COMING TO SAVE YOU, THEY MAY NEVER GET THERE AND THEY MAY COME WITH SHACKLES AS WELL"
Moreover, he speaks out against the CIA, foreign government's interests, etc. While one can claim this is all talk, he has also written books to that regard (i.e. the Anti-Coup which can be applied to the CIA-puppet governments in the 1960s-1990s in Latin America). Finally, to top it all off, he even has writing on civilian based defense and how to prevent war, etc. (i.e. he is agianst the military-industrial complex which I believe is what all of the corpiracy thoritests understand is driving the NWO, Masonic Groups, FreeMasons, etc.) Maybe it is all a facade and his life work was all a cover up and his real motives are in support of the CIA and that military-industrial complex. Maybe.
First of all, it strikes me as funny how the people they accuse (e.g. Gene Sharp and George Soros) are frequently on TV and in conferences discussing their works, messages, etc. (just saw George Soros interviewed on Fareed Zakaria a few weeks back see HERE
Some quotes/ideas I liked from the discussion with Mr. Sharp:
- It's a great advantage to know what you don't know - because it is an opportunity to learn, if you want to & if you are not arrogant"
- The key was in studying the sources of power, what is power, what is the nature of revolutions and dictatorships..
- 25:00 "Because you are non-violent, don't assume your opponent will be also. There are people who naively assume that - its pure romanticism" Gene Sharp
- 25:19 "Dictators do not like the people to learn that they have power potential"
- 26:00 People sometimes justify violence: because we are getting killed, we might as well do something. Just know that is a suicidal step you are taking, because your enemy always has greater power for violent than you do. So don't be stupid, don't do the thing he wants you to do, because he knows he can crush you if you go over to violence. That's why the political police put agents into the resistance groups " Gene Sharp
- They [regimes] always have the military option, non-violence just makes it harder for them to use it
- Lord Stephen King Hall (1957-1959): general in the British military who advocated nonviolent resistance to defend against invaders and occupiers (i.e. can be a national policy that protects a country)
- There are sources of power - these sources are uncertain! you can regulate the degree to which the regime gets those sources of power - if you can shrink the availability of those sources of power by restricting the obedience and cooperation of the people and of institutions - then the power of that regime, however dictatorial, will be limited and potentially cut off. (40:38?)
- Something so simple as distributing a banned book - that is part of gnawing away at the foundations of that illegitimate regime - in this case, namely the lies and propaganda. Very simply - terrifyingly simple to the regime.
- Question: Why do you think it was successful?
Gene Sharp: We didn't expect that - I thought that the end of the Burmese edition thats it. These other things just started happenings and we dont know exactly how they happened (he had previously been discussing some of the individual activists who translated and transported the writings). I think its been successful because people have been quietly desperate, they have been hungry... Is there something that can be done so we do not suffer these terrible plights that people before us for several decades have been suffering? That we don't have to go through another war with all that distribution that ends up killing more people than it could be supposedly saving. It was the hunger for that.
- We were surprised - people were writing to us, I don't know how many people, sayiung the same thing: "we thought this was written for us." And from totally different countries, religious groups, societies - the piece is now in four indiginous African languages.
- Non-violence scares regimes, it is harder to attack a non-violent movement's legitimacy because when people are sacrificing their lives not only for a better life but for higher principles - it is hard to doubt their faith.
- You need to illustrate the solidarity of the people - that scares them, and you need to think through how to do this effectively.
- "Internal issues with the power dynamics are very important and can really mess up a movement - there will be groups looking to take over the group for their own political purpose. There are other who have the unanimity policy and - to me - that is nonsense and is disruptive to the, for example, occupy movements in the US in my opinion - although I am not an authority on those movements. That is a knowledge that needs to be studied/developed and would be very useful."
- 1:00:30 Discusses the negative of Western government involvement in the coups and his distrust of the CIA....
- 1:03:00 discussion of corporate America, fake democracies, worry of revolutionary regimes being authoritarian as well, solutions to internal discord.
- "Individuals cannot get rid of dictators. just being good or committed is not enough, you have to work with other people - you have to get rid of the sources of power. The source of power are not made available by individuals, they are by group s and by institutions."
- You do not get rid of regimes/war by confronting - you need to undermine it. More importantly, you need to have an alternative that is credible. You get rid of regimes by not needing them anymore." (Chapters of that in his book Sources of Power and Political Freedom)
- On mix of violence and non-violence (i.e. different groups in Syria): "It is what the oppressor wants, because the violence will spread - it is confident and equpiied and prepared to use the regimes violence which is much gfreater than anything the rebel can produce."
- 1:13:00 Libya-related: Interesting hypothesis about Yunan Luis as an agent provaceteur put by Gaddagi to push for violent rebel opposition being supported by NATO. Outcome is that: 1. there is intense violence there today when compared with Egypt and Tunisia 2. It took longer than it did in Egypt and Tunisia 3. Brought in foreign forces which delegitimized the opposition 4. he ws killed mysteriously two weeks later 6. Two weeks propr to his flipping gaddafi and son predicted civil war (its flimsy but an interesting take - i.e. he hypothesizes that non-violence would have had better long-term outcome for Libya)
I am planning to meet with Mr. Gene Sharp in a few weeks to discuss options that non-violent protesters have during this transition period to ensure sustained pressure on authoritarian forces (i.e. SCAF) while not alienating larger society (i.e. most polls show that citizens desire martial law to deal with criminals and that they view protests unfavorably). I would greatly appreciate any additional questions that Just as an unnecessary addition relating to the first video, I thoroughly dislike MEMRI and hate using their clip here given their appalling ability to nitpick on the smallest detail of negative Arab media yet I do not think (and pls correct me if I am wrong) I have ever seen anything shown of negative Israeli propoganda - whose effects can be seen HERE.
In theory a good start but, of course, little/no details provided by government it seems... Any more info on the below?
Given even very recent abuse (see here)
and the potential of our police to be used as a tool of the regime in power, this is a key priority... (Some brief notes and links on the Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim can be found here
)From State Information Service
: (official government) http://ow.ly/9apvb
Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim asserted on Saturday 18/2/2012 that the ministry has taken the initiative to restructure its departments in a way that fits the nature of the current conditions in Egypt after the revolution.
The Police have their honorable patriotic history in Egypt and used to upright conduct and punctuality in both behavior and appearance, the Minister affirmed, adding that the police have the objective standards that are able to correct any mistake and abolish any negative aspect in the post-revolution phase and bring any individual involved in any act of negligence.
The Police have changed their security philosophy, slogan and work approach and are maintaining the stability and security of Egypt.From Masry al Youm: http://ow.ly/9apsT
Freedom and Justice, the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, leads with the headline, “Interior Ministry purged.” Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has declared that various committees are being formed to restructure the ministry, adding that officers and soldiers have donated one day’s salary as a contribution to Egypt’s economy and a symbol of their love to their country. The article does not specify where these donations will go.
MP Farid Ismail, head of Parliament’s Security and Defense Committee and a Freedom and Justice Party member, agreed to the restructuring decision, according to the party paper. Ismail recently declared that a committee had been formed to question 805 Interior Ministry staff members who are allegedly implicated in crimes.
In the paper, Ismail also denied a “rumor” published by Al-Masry Al-Youm that FJP asked for an entire class of police graduates to be selected from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, saying Al-Masry Al-Youm’s article was a continuation of the newspaper’s policy of tarnishing the Brotherhood’s reputation.
Came across this article a few days ago. It is an account of musician Mohammed Jamal's (Salalem band) unjustified arrest and (by definition) unjustified abuse at the hands of state security. Some tidbits are extracted below but the full article is available here.
I hope that he continues to pursue the officers who are to blame because, until they feel they are held accountable for their actions, they will continue with these disgusting practices and continue to serve the next person in power with little regards to the people they should
actually be serving - the people who pay their salaries - the citizens.
- We were heading home one night after our concert at the Cairo Jazz Club, where we had performed with the Canadian singer NEeMA, when we approached an ordinary police checkpoint. The police signalled for us to pull over and politely asked to see my driving licence and our identification cards – which we handed over, also politely. They then asked to search the car and search us and, out of politeness, we let them. After they were done and had not found anything illegal or suspicious on us, they allowed us to continue on our way, and we did.Add Sticky Note | Remove
- Shortly after I drove off, I realised that I hadn’t taken back my ID card from the police officer who had searched us. Just to be certain, we searched the car first for the card, and when we couldn’t find it, we decided to return to retrieve it.
- Back at the checkpoint, we tried to find the policemen who had searched the car (it was busy and there were a lot of cars being checked over). When I found the officer in question, he insisted that he had given it back to me and then asked me to park because I was blocking the traffic and that he would come and search the car with me for it. Meanwhile, Walkman had wandered off to ask other if they have seen my ID. As I was searching the car with the officer, Walkman innocently asked another policeman about my ID, which he somehow took personally as an accusation of theft and proceeded, with a gang of other coppersm to kick and punch Walkman. When I came to Walkman’s aid, the police turned mercilessly on me too.
- After a long session of beatings, we were dragged to a waiting police car. They confiscated my car and our phones. On the way to the police station, a police officer handed me my ID and told me, “Here you go, your card”. When we reached the station, we were already in complete shock and awe from what had just happened to us – something we had never experienced before. They walked us to a room in which there was a miserable, low-ranking officer from the remnants of the former regime. No one touched us in the police station but they were very generous with the swearing and insults.
- We were also accompanied by a large number of serious criminals, many of whom seemed to be friends with the cops and they all had a laugh together.
- The officer then approached us and said, “Fuck the revolution that made you think you could mistreat police officers. Why the fuck am I being drained on the streets all day. Isn’t it for you? What a fucking revolution.” He then sent his colleague off to write a police report to “screw us” with. The other officer then opened a drawer and got out a big knife, a bar of hashish, and some paper and left.
- We later learnt that they hqd fabricated a police report accusing us of possessing two grams of hashish, a big knife, and attacking a police officer while on duty.
- We were eventually taken to a middle-ranking police officer who was very respectful. He apologised to us when he heard the story and knew we were respectable people but he all he managed to do was to order the guard to keep us apart from the serious criminals until we were transferred in the morning to the prosecutor’s office.
- Handcuffed, we were taken to the prosecutor’s office in a police van full of criminals
- A decent lawyer came to our aid and the prosecutor was also very respectful. He tried to explain that what had happened was because we looked “weird” and that our attitude as musicians might have provoked the officer. Unfortunately, that’s the mindset many in the police force have. We were released on LE400 bail and now Walkman and I are charged with three quite serious crimes.
From the Congressional Research Services and the US Government Accountability Office (note: two hopes of mine are to get an accountability office & Freedom of Information Act in Egypt) an overview that should illustrate US views on AID to Egypt, how it differs between economic/military and the propensity to cut each type. Keep in mind, this was during a time when Bush was actively looking to pursue his “freedom agenda” so, if there was any time that they would cut military aid, it would have been then – and you can read below how successful those attempts are. (It is interesting that almost every proposal to cut USAID to Egypt came from Obey of Wisconsin – wonder why, can’t imagine a large Egyptian constituency there.) Bottom line is that, if I were SCAF I wouldn't fear a cut to military AID based on current discourse from DoD and State Department, coupled with historical inability of congress to execute on threats!
Before going into the congressional views on USAID – I think this little footnote listed in one of the documents is particularly enlightening: “According to U.S. defense officials, Egypt only allocates the minimum amount of FMF funds necessary for follow on maintenance, resulting in inadequate support for weapon system sustainment.”
Couple this with the repeated allegations in wikileaks that the Egyptian military was NOT preparing to face modern day challenges, their focus on private economic enterprises and the reports of Tantawi's inabilities - two conclusions arise:
1. Our military is probably in disarray (most figures put USAID to military at ~1/3 of total budget – although budgetary figures range quite a bit so if we aren't maintaining those systems then not much of a chance that we are doing a good job with others).
2. The above is not due to lack of resources or capabilities but rather that the generals in charge today enjoy the economic benefits from these types of deals with the last thing in their minds is fighting a war – let alone with the one country we are allegedly preparing for… 2006 Report:
As you can see from the below, the military aid is safe (one bill had less than 20% approval) whereas economic assistance is far more likely to be axed – also, when money is needed elsewhere it comes out of Egypt’s economic package, not the military…
An amendment offered on July 15, 2004, to the House FY2005 foreign operations bill (H.R. 4818) would have reduced U.S. military aid to Egypt by $570 million and increased economic aid by the same amount, but the amendment failed by a vote of 131 to 287
. An amendment offered on June 28, 2005, to the House FY2006 foreign operations bill (H.R. 3057) would have reduced U.S. military aid to Egypt by $750 million and would have transferred that amount to child survival and health programs managed by USAID. The amendment failed by a recorded vote of 87 to 326. On May 25, 2006, the House Appropriations Committee in a voice vote rejected an amendment to cut $200 million in military aid to Egypt
during markup of H.R. 5522, the FY2007 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill. In June 2006, the House narrowly defeated an amendment (198-225) to H.R. 5522 that would have reallocated $100 million in economic aid to Egypt and used it instead to fight AIDS worldwide and to assist the Darfur region of Sudan. Many supporters of the amendment were dismayed by the Egyptian government’s spring 2006 crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Cairo. Representative David Obey of Wisconsin sponsored both amendments. 2007 Document:
For years, Congress has specified in annual Foreign Operations appropriations legislation that ESF funds to Egypt are provided with the understanding that Egypt undertake certain economic reforms and liberalize its economy. More recently, however, Congress has begun to attach conditions to Egyptian assistance intended to support the political reform process. The FY2006 Foreign Operations
appropriations (P.L. 109-102), for example, designated $100 million in economic aid for education and democracy and governance programming. The conference report on the FY2006 spending measure (H.Rept. 109-265) stated that “not less than 50 percent of the funds for democracy, governance and human rights be provided through non-governmental organizations for the purpose of strengthening Egyptian civil society organizations, enhancing their participation in the political process and their ability to promote and monitor human rights.”
Although the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee draft bill fully funds the Administration’s $1.76 billion Egyptian aid package for FY2007, Representative Obey, ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee, offered an amendment at the full Committee markup to reduce military assistance to Egypt by $200 million. Under the amendment, a certain portion of military aid would be limited until Egypt improves its record on human rights, detention of democracy activists, election procedures, and other matters. A Kolbe amendment, that passed by voice vote, rescinded $200 million in previously appropriated but unspent funds to Egypt until certain financial reform benchmarks were met. Previously, the Senate voted on May 3 (H.R. 4939; FY2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations) to cut $47 million in appropriated economic assistance to Egypt as an offset for additional spending on humanitarian emergencies in Africa and Guatemala. Also interestingly the 2007 paper covers a crackdown on IRI and NDI:
Many in the Egyptian government appear to feel threatened by the current thrust of U.S. policy and resist some U.S.-advocated changes that seek to empower opposition movements. In June 2006, the Egyptian government ordered the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), two U.S. democracy promotion organizations, to halt all activities in Egypt until they
formally registered with the government. According to the group’s officials, they have submitted papers for registration in early July and are waiting for an Egyptian government response. In the meantime, their offices are open, but all programmatic activity has come to a halt. Egypt took this action after the government was reportedly angered by the comments of an IRI employee who gave an interview to a local paper in which she remarked that political reform in Egypt had not been achieved in the past 25 years and that the institute would work to speed up political reform in the country. 2011 Paper’s take on USAID views of Egypt’s generals
U.S. democracy assistance also faces competing pressures. On the one hand, some U.S. officials perceive a need for the United States to provide technical assistance to new political forces eager to compete in Egypt’s open political landscape. However, Egypt’s military leaders have vocally condemned long-standing U.S. democracy assistance programs and grants to Egyptian civil society organizations as unwanted meddling in Egyptian affairs. Some observers believe that the military has been deliberately attempting to discredit secular/liberal activists by portraying them as American agents for accepting U.S. technical assistance. Finally, now more than ever U.S. policymakers believe that U.S. military aid is needed to support continued Israeli-Egyptian peace given recent terrorist attacks inside Israel emanating from groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula.
Critics may suggest that the Egyptian military has no alternative to maintaining the peace treaty as it remains qualitatively outmatched by the Israel Defense Forces and Egypt’s fragile fiscal condition could not bear the international isolation that would likely accompany a return to a policy of confrontation with Israel.
Recent fears in 2011 – also, totally around government and not military:
“…would prohibit U.S. security aid to Egypt unless the President certifies that “the Government of Egypt is not directly or indirectly controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, its affiliates or supporters, the Government of Egypt is fully implementing the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, and the Government of Egypt is detecting and destroying the smuggling network and tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.” Sources http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL32260.pdf http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/124082.pdf http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/crs/rl33420.pdf http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33003.pdf http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/155979.pdf
All these reports are by Jeremy M. Sharp – excellent coverage of Egyptian-US relations (with emphasis on financial assistance packages and considerations)
So apparently – amongst the wide variety of consumer and military goods produced (literally almost anything you can imagine) - we manufacture/produce our own tear gas, of the CS variety!
This is from Section C of the Technical Annex in “Crowd Control Technologies : An Assessment Of Crowd Control Technology Options For The European Union” – which was published in May 2000. So potentially could have stopped production but feel like that would have been counter to the regime’s mindset – obviously, they don’t have moral qualms against using it but potentially may have been discontinued due to other reasons (although hard to think of some given that profitability is not an important criteria and neither is actually selling it...)
Given that we manufacture this stuff, then at least use your domestic supplies and don’t make us go in debt to teargas ourselves! I suppose it is similar to the dynamic of bread/basic foods in Egypt – the demand far outstrips domestic supply...
On a more serious note though, potentially there was some foresight that the US/EU would eventually cut/decrease shipments so domestic production has been stockpiled until they go through the new 21-tonne US resupply from November).
Anyway – document is below!
Factory 10 (the one producing the tear gas) is located in Alexandria and its military products include small arms and ammunition; while civilian products include shotgun cartridges, semi-automatic bakery lines, food cans, aerosol containers, aluminum containers.
Also apparently companies called “Egypt & Middle East Co” and “Perfect Security Systems” manufacture batons and water cannons, respectively. I will bet both of these are owned by former army generals. Unfortunately only name I could find for latter company is Eng. Mahmoud Kamal (too generic) and the first company name is too generic to quickly identify people. Alternatively, name is “Perfect for Security Systems” (PO Box 136, Mohandeseen, Giza).
And sure enough, a little more digging and clearly it is a military company – nobody else produces for the military sector (god forbid competitive bidding) and especially telecom equipment sensitivity. They turned up on US government website, although they caveat it quite a bit http://export.gov/egypt/businessserviceproviders/index.asp?bsp_cat=80141700
(“The BSP directory is intended to provide an additional resource to U.S. exporters doing business in this geographic area. The BSP directory is not comprehensive. Inclusion does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service.”)
Perfect Security Systems
Contact: Eng. Mahmoud Kamal, General Manager
54 Syria St., Mohandessin, Giza, Egypt.
Phone: +20(2) 336-7270; +20(2) 338-5695; +20(2) 336-7271
Fax: +20(2) 336-7271
(website not working)"We specialize in importing if fire alarm, fighting and security safety systems, anti-intruder alarm, C.C.T.V, surveillance systems, electronic components and telecommunication for civilian and military sectors. "
Going through that website it seems at first glance that there are a substantial number of military related/linked companies (e.g. “Arab Engineering & Distribution Company (AEDCO) is a Joint Stock Company, organized and existing under the laws of the Arab Republic of Egypt,” “Caesar Service operates in the field of security and guarding services under scientific basis that have been well developed in order to suit the working conditions in the Arab Republic of Egypt. Caesar’s professional team, which consists of ex-military and police officers, has enabled the company to become a pioneer in this field.,” and another http://www.remage-egypt.com/about.html
Still trying to pour through the crazy amount of information regarding Egypt military-industrial complex but it is really overwhelming – every company you discover brings about 4 more military companies and a new general manager to dig into!
On the left is a table extracting chemical irritants by type.
For more info, check out this great post by @FouadMD from a while back covering tear gas types, treatments, effects, etc. (http://ow.ly/950q8)
PLEASE SEE HERE FOR LATEST VERSION - THIS IS OUTDATED!
Ok – so this is in reverse chronological order (latest addition at top) with the first, original 14-body group identification from the government at bottom of post…
Video from first SCAF communique that is most comprehensive video of members I have seen: http://ow.ly/8P87V Current Count: 22 (assuming Etman still a member) Department of Defense and Daily News Egypt
Must have missed this SCAF member - Staff Major General Ibrahim Al-Noshy!
haven't seen his name elsewhere but while reading a department of defense communique highlighting US-Egyptian military meetings over recent days they were listing people that US personnel met with and there was a name I hadn't seen before – commenting that he was “chief of the Egyptian Army’s training authority”. After a bit of searching, found this article http://ow.ly/91dbP that lists him as a SCAF member and in charge of Sinai affairs.
This brings me to a total of 22! (Although, as a reader pointed out a few weeks back THIS (http://ow.ly/91diF) Economist article had the number at 24 but listed no names so unclear who.) From Carnegie Endowment (Jan 5th, 2012): http://ow.ly/8vqJm
"A list of the nineteen members of the SCAF is provided below, with the first eight being the most outspoken:"
Major General Mukhtar al-Mulla: Assistant defense minister
Major General Adel Amara: Assistant defense minister (he was only highlighted as an advisor before but Carnegie puts him as a proper member)
Also had different names for the commanders of regional armies (Western, Northern and Eastern)
For a total of 21! From 12/19 Press Conference about Parliament Building
"But only advisors apparently"
"Kato" (hitler oven dude - old video of him: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/332949
) Wikipedia (says they are 18)
A total of 18 members including Six other military commanders (possibly including the four chiefs of staff of the four branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces).
Major General Mohamed Saber Attia - Chief of Operations for the Armed Forces
For a total of 19.! Has names for the regional military zone commanders: Major General Hassan Mohammed Ahmed - Commander of the Northern Military Zone Major General Mohsen El-Shazly - Commander of the Southern Military Zone Major General Mahmoud Ibrahim Hegazy - Commander of the Western Military Zone Foreign Affairs magazine, September/October 2011, "Commanding Democracy in Egypt"
In May, General Mamdouh Shahin, a member of the SCAF (legal affairs)
For a total of 18! Youm7 (http://allafrica.com/stories/201112050301.html)
Adds Maj. Gen. Mamdouh Abdul Haq, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) said in a meeting at "90 minutes TV program" on 3/12/2011
For a total of 17! Amnesty International Report (http://goo.gl/e1qvO)
Major-General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Head of Military Intelligence
Mohammed Said al-Assar, Assistant Defence Minster
For a total of 16!
Egyptian State Information Services Website from 2/18/2011: (total of 14)
Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, former Minister of Defence and Military Production
Lt. General Sami Annan, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces
Admiral Mohab Memish, the Commander of the Maritime Force
Air Marshal Reda Hafez, the Commander of the Air Force
Lt. General Abdel Aziz Seif, the Commander of the Air Defense Forces
General Hassan al-Rwini, the Commander of the Military Central Zone
Staff General Ismail Othman, the Director of the Morale Affairs Department
General Mohsen al-Fanagry, the Assistant Defense Minister
Staff General Mohammed Abdel Nabi, the Commander of the Border Guard
Staff General Mohammed Hegazy, the Commander of the Third Field Army
Staff General Sobhy Sedky, the Commander of the Second Field Army
The commanders of the northern, southern and western zones (3 additional) [Birth Years: Tantawi (1935), Annan (1948), Hafez (1952), Seifeddin (1949)]
While there is much stirring in congress about the NGO crackdown in Egypt, it seems pretty clear to me that the Pentagon/Department of Defense/US military and SCAF are re-iterating their importance to each other (Link 1 below) - apparently the US-military leaders Egyptian cooking and music based on his generosity! On the next level, the State Department continues to re-iterate their belief in SCAF but still pressing on the NGO issue (Link 2 below). Congress seem to be the only ones too concnerned with punishing Egypt for NGO business - bloody elected bodies represeingting the masses always a thorn! (Search congress, NGO Egypt on Google to find many articles with various senator quotes - including John Kerry, Patrick Leahy, etc.).
Interestingly, since 2007, the US government apparently believes that this type of anti-American sentiment was likely to arise regardless of who was to come to power (Link 3).1. Defense.gov News Article: Dempsey Discusses Issues With Egypt’s Defense Leaders
http://ow.ly/91cTM (some of the random detail – e.g. musician coins, chef handshake, are amusing – especially in light of no details regarding discussions)
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met here today with Egypt’s top defense officials to discuss a wide range of issues related to the long-standing security relationship between the two countries, said Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan, the chairman’s spokesman.
Discussions included Egypt’s investigation into the allegedly illegal foreign funding of pro-democracy nongovernmental organizations by more than 40 Egyptian and American activists, including 19 U.S. citizens.
Lapan, declined to give details of Dempsey’s “private” discussions with Egyptian defense officials.
Later, after a wild motorcade ride through the Saturday streets of Cairo, Dempsey arrived at the Ministry of Defense with Patterson. There he met with Enan and Tantawi.
He also met with Maj. Gen. Mohamed el-Assar, assistant minister of defense and a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces; Maj. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, director of military intelligence; Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Mohamed Noshy, chief of the Egyptian Army’s training authority; and others.
During a seven-course official lunch with the Egyptian military leadership, Dempsey sat between Enan and el-Assar at the head table. During lunch he asked to thank the chef, who came out of the kitchen for a handshake and a coin from the chairman. Dempsey also thanked and gave coins to a group of local musicians who played during the meal. 2. State Department on Egypt: SCAF may not be behind NGO raids | The Cable http://ow.ly/91cTf
a top State Department official has been sending the message that the Egyptian military leadership is not behind the recent raids on NGO organizations
Part of Burns's message has been that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took executive power last February after ousting President Hosni Mubarak, may not ultimately be behind the raids or necessarily in favor of the prosecutions that resulted.
"There is a vacuum of authority. We have been directly pressing the authorities in Cairo, including the SCAF, although they may not be the driving force behind this."
American Embassy in Cairo has claimed in similar discussions that the SCAF was surprised by the Dec. 29 raids on several NGOs
The Obama administration has an interest in drawing a distinction between the actions of the SCAF… and other parts of the Egyptian government, including the judiciary and the Ministry of International Cooperation, run by Fayza Abul-Naga
He told the Egyptian media during that trip, "The administration has continued to make a very strong case for our assistance to Egypt."
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jake Walles led a classified briefing for lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday, after which senators who participated complained that they had heard no real plan to end the crisis. Those same lawmakers said the administration was working valiantly on the issue, but with no measurable success.
"We have a real interest in having good relations with Egypt because they have a central role in the region. On the other hand we can't just sit back and let them do what they're doing with the NGOs."
"Congressional support for Egypt -- including continued financial assistance -- is in jeopardy,"
warrant punitive actions against certain Egyptian officials
“Continuing down this path will make it increasingly difficult for Congress to provide military and economic assistance to Egypt and for the Administration to certify legal requirements necessary for aid to move forward,
"Egypt will apply the law... in the case of NGOs and will not back down because of aid or other reasons," he said. (Ganzouri)
If the State Department truly believes that the judiciary and international cooperation ministries are solely to blame for the NGO crisis in Egypt, it's possible U.S. diplomats got that information directly from the Egyptian government.
At last weekend's meeting of the 2012 Munich Security Conference, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr professed that the executive branch in Egypt had no role and no influence over the NGO cases. "We are doing our best to contain this but…we cannot actually exercise any influence on the investigating judges right now when it comes to the investigation," he said, eliciting scoffs of disbelief from the audience. 3. http://ow.ly/91cSY Wikileaks excerpt from 2007 regarding US opinion on post-succession dynamic (also some info regarding expectations/views on potential presidential candidates – pretty apt given it was five years ago)
"Among [the new leader's] first priorities will be to cement his position and build popular support. We can thus anticipate that the new president may sound an initial anti-American tone in his public rhetoric, in an effort to prove his nationalist bona fides to the Egyptian street, and distance himself from Mubarak's policies."
Debating the merits of a sustained boycott of SCAF products/companies versus a general strike
I have begun pouring over army company information and compiling a page here (http://ow.ly/8WsUQ
) and @AalamWassef provided this great overview (http://ow.ly/8ZiNM
- download the PDF, great trove of information) documenting military owned companies and assets - all part of the massive interweb of people, companies, products and services that they use to finance their privileges, benefits, etc. (plan on trying to document those soon as well but these include all those properties on Salah Salem with fancy military gates inside - I have been inside a few of them and they are far nicer than you would expect...)
I believe the only thing that will make SCAF change planned course of action is fear of losing those benefits... So the question is what SCAF needs to maintain its privileges/benefits. I think we can agree that it is generally easier to stay "rich" when you have the support of the West (i.e. despite being horrible dictators across their reign compared Saddam and Qaddafi's life pre/post US-isolation - circa pre1991 and pre1984/post2002, respectively for each...
Therefore, the end extremely worrying situation for #SCAF would be that the US/West flips on them the same way they did when Saddam invaded Kuwait and Qaddafi's Lockerbie, nuclear weapons, etc.! In that regard, Israel is our Kuwait/Lockerbie/Nuclear Weapons... The most apt analogy is the nuclear weapon one since, just the ability to break out, is considered leverage. By the same token, Egypt's ability to wage war (at most) or facilitate proliferation of extremism or turn a blind eye to their development in Sinai (at minimum) can be seen as its "nuclear weapon".
At this point, it turns into an exercise in game theory... When looking at the defense establishments of both countries, at the end of the day neither Egypt wants to go to war with Israel nor does the United States want to cut its military aid to Egypt - which both sides know. The question that the US needs to answer is whether Egypt can go to war with Israel? (Which my complete, unsubstantiated guess would be no). The next question is how far SCAF is willing to deteriorate the country to hold onto their own benefits? Historically, leaders have been willing to undergo a spectrum of isolation but we can make some educated guesses.
The fundamental premise is that #SCAF might not mind seeing Egypt turn to shit as long as they retain some benefits (i.e. pretty sure Pakistani army officers live a pleasant life despite state of their country)!
The most extreme example that comes to mind is North Korea's Kim regime which has no problem starving the whole country and living as global pariahs as long as the core power base is satisfied in Pyong Yang. However, that regime was bred out of isolation and has become accustomed to living locally luxurious but globally isolated. The leaders of North Korea cannot go shopping in Paris or take family trips to New York - something I suspect our general have become quite accustomed to. (According to the New York Times American handlers ensure that a day per visit is carved out for Sami Anan, his wife and three kids to go shopping in Tyson’s Corner with an affinity for electronics and jeans. Additionally, his occasional drinking probably makes him weary of Saudi love)
However, beyond North Korea there are a variety of regimes from Pakistan to Mozambique to Cuba to Iran. (Which, when looking at this list – and North Korea – there is a strong similarity: the regime has been in power for decades and has yet to show palpable signs of weakness – although take into account, by definition we are filtering out all the failed ones so the above list in and upon itself cannot lead one to conclude that the best path to regime longevity is authoritarianism at all costs.)
Now – in my mind – the only situation that SCAF would be OK with is a Pakistan type situation. My knowledge on Pakistan is pretty limited but from what I do know there is a deep military/intelligence state (let’s not forget Head of Intelligence Omar Suleiman has been untouched during revolution and, by many unconfirmed accounts, continues to be part of the state security system with privileges and access).
As a result, I think that confrontation with the military is useful in letting them know we are not going away – however, in reality, they have the guns, tanks, planes, weapons, etc. and – with Maspero and Ahram printing press under their control – they likely will have a sizeable portion of public opinion in the short/medium turn. Therefore, what we need to address is the specific privileges that they are fighting to protect.
While civil disobedience does have its merits, it is also akin to using a sword to perform a surgery – even if it does succeed in cutting off the correct limb; it will likely take a few with it. The collateral damage will not be felt by most people on Facebook/Twitter but for the 40% living day to day it is not sustainable – they will feel the pain before the military does. At that point, the HOPE would be that they realize the army is responsible for the dire circumstances and, in one swift swoop the public would realize the countless army transgressions and see the benefits of a truly civilian state! Unfortunately, not too optimistic that is how it would play out (i.e. far more likely that they would leverage Maspero and Ahram printing press to ensure their message is heard). In short, I worry they will turn the civil disobedience to their advantage and use it to consolidate their support - i.e. an us against them discourse (with "them" being protesters who will be presented at destabilizing Egypt). Moreover, plays very well into anyone who will say "Look at these well off protesters, they can go on strike and not feel the pain whereas #SCAF - and MB for that matter - understand your difficulties and work with us to help you solve them).
Further adding to my belief in the discord between protesters calling for civil disobedience and the general public comes from the polls that have been released over the past year (see an attempt to capture them here (http://ow.ly/8Zlju
). In Q4 2011 a poll released showed that " • 65% of the Egyptian either agrees or strongly agrees that protesters should be prevented from using the Tahrir Square." In essence civil disobedience is a large, nationwide strike. In addition, it explicitly demands things protestors and revolutionaries used to have to defend throughout protesting (i.e. protesters in tahrir are stopping traffic, 3agalit el entag, mayroo7a yishoofo li nafsohom shoghlana , etc.). While one poll may be flawed, these tendencies came out consistenly in other polls as well. Specifically on the civil disobedience, this stood out ": Only 1% of people participating in "workers strikes" while 25% of people participated in street protests " (25% seems high but its polls, self reported). Another poll showed that only 34% of Egyptians feel strongly about the need for civil law. Coupled with the fact that, when asked about reasons for protesting, Egyptians cited low Living Standard/Lack of Jobs" 64% of the time with lack of Democracy/reform coming in at 19% "
The army obviously doesn’t care about the welfare of the people, only raising a concern about that when there is the potential of the sha3b blaming them (i.e. the whole point of a pseudo-civilian government to take the blame – the lovely game of “fire the cabinet, hire the cabinet, repeat). ALthough some report it cares about its image, its fine as long as no threat of revolt.
Unfortunately, I do not see general strike / civil disobedience as fitting into those criteria. The army will simply say “Look, there are foreign forces trying to destabilize and they are getting revenge because we attacked their American financiers.” Today, SCAF’s official Facebook accused AUC students of causing discord (http://ow.ly/8Zf4e
) and conspiring against the state. Fortunately, most people who look at Facebook can search the internet for reports on reality – however, when Maspero is pushing this message there is little that can be done to counter it (although much respect for @3askarkazeboon and @mosireen for their persistent efforts to show the people the truth). Also, let’s not forget Al-Ahram publishing reach – which, again given its importance, controls around 90% of press printing and 85% of distribution...
I think the only thing that will hurt is fear of losing economic privileges – which we cannot expect the US to willingly do. Given their ownership of 40% of the economy through consumer facing brands, the focus should be on choking those companies! That way, SCAF cannot say we are trying to destabilize Egypt – bil 3aks – these are companies that do not pay taxes, use Egyptian employees for free, etc. – we are simply supporting the average Egyptian’s claim on his money and due payment for his efforts.
Public campaign: anytime you see someone drinking Safi water explain how the military benefits from this and pays no taxes - they are literally stealing from you every time you purchase a bottle of Safi water! (In addition to them using your brother's free labor to keep lining their pockets...
Think a sustained boycott of military products would be great - with more impact and less downside on average person than a general strike. If it were targeted on Army companies and a long-term sustained campaign! Not only when they cede to civilian power but as a principle - INDIVIDUALS in the military should not be profiting on our backs...
Also, it is a little more palpable for a nation of 85M to request them to use ALTERNATE products (e.g. buy Baraka instead of Safi) but, given day to day salaries of majority of population, staying at home is expensive!
The above is just thinking out loud - I am by no means particularly knowledgeable of civil disobedience or boycotts but I think history is a useful guide and civil rights in the US would be a successful example of the former and South Africa and/or Israeli boycott an example of the latter...
Started looking into the military’s civilian production and sales to get an idea and, while I have yet to go through all the info, it is one large, complex web of interconnected companies and personalities. All of the information is from public sources, websites, Google searches, etc.
Some key names and companies keep popping up in large investment projects and having lived in Egypt you can see the potential correlation between unnecessary public spending projects and the army’s economic interest. While there is no direct link, it is interesting to see random video monitors pop up in the middle of Cairo (e.g. Gama’eat Al Dawal Street intersection with Gezirat Al Arab) and you see that the military produces THESE
. Additionally, the traffic signal digital display countdown timers that have been installed in many main streets (e.g. Battal Ahmed Abdel Aziz after exiting off 6th October bridge) and a military company produces THESE
. Also, it is interesting to see that they produce billboards then advertise their OWN PRODUCTS
(guessing that has something to do with the parliamentary budget oversight issues).
To give you an idea of the range – the army produces anything from CRATES
to HOTEL DINING/RECEPTION
to LAVISH HOTEL ROOMS
(to the more simple ones
) to COMPUTERS
to DVD PLAYERS
to DATA CENTERS
!! (CLICK on item names to see actual pictures of military products in each category)
While I have been able to come across names of companies and types of goods produced and some specific consumer-facing product names (see list below for some of the identified, more commonly known ones). It has been far more difficult to come across any financials (especially recent ones). One of the companies had $36M and employed 1,517 (apparently sometime around 1998?). Another company (Jeep and other light vehcle production) employs over 17,000 people (unclear of date). One of the larger holding companies made $100M in the 1980s apparently.
While I am still pouring over the information, there are some initial interesting tidbits:
An engine factory writes:
- Delivery of drinking water & sewage drainage projects worth LE365M+ (around $60M)
- With another LE964M+ (little over $160M) in the process of being delivered
Around 1999 three of these companies were placed under sanctions by the US due to the transfer of dual use technologies provided by the US to North Korea
A factory focused on electrionics states:
- Produced of over 50k TV sets
- Produced of over 50k computers
One factory that focuses on equipment for the railway claims to have produced:
- 2,369 rail coaches/cars
- 16,200 freight transport cars
- 36,591 bogies
- 225 subway cars
- 250 “trommay” cars
Another factory that is focused on aircraft (?!?!?) claims :
- Delivery of drinking water & sewage drainage projects worth LE566M+ (little less than $100M)
- With another LE602M (little over $100M) in the process of being delivered
Below are a list of some of the companies (compiled from various sources thanks to great work, will cite but just so many and don't have time right now, apologize - but includes jadaliiya, @arabist, Ahram, Robert Springboard writing, various Google books, etc.) - also, may be some repeats:
- 'Queen', the military's cleaning services company
- high-tech slaughterhouses in East Uwaynat
- cabins to rent out in the north coast Sidi Crir resort last summer;
- apartments for sale in Kuliyyat al-Banat residential buildings
- Safi spring-water company, aviation services, security services, travel services, footwear production, and kitchen-appliance manufacturing.
- television sets, jeeps, washing machines, wooden furniture and olive oil, as well as bottled water under a brand reportedly named after a general’s daughter, Safi
- Queen,’ the army-produced brand of pasta
From random companies/factories:
- Civilian products are the same, in addition to precision casting. casting of hematite iron, grey iron, and steel.
- Civilian products include shotgun cartridges, semi-automatic bakery lines, food cans, aerosol containers, aluminum containers
- Civilian products include dynamite, industrial nitro-cellulose, sodium toluene sulphonate, potassium chlorate, shotgun powder, hydrogenated oils, blasting services
- Civilian products include electric motors, electric fans, electric switches and sockets
- Civilian products include water meters; electric meters; fastners; bolts & nuts and incinerators.
- Civilian products include radiators, sewing machines, medical and surgical instruments, general cutting tools, oil coolers, agricultural machines, shotguns, air rifles, meat mincers, scissors, kitchen knives, and wooden furniture
- Civilian products include irrigation sprinklers, aluminum foils, brass, copper and aluminum brass, sections, strips, plates, tubes, blocks, castings, sheets, wires and cables, water combinations, aluminum tea pots, copper tables, insulated electric wires, copper and aluminum cables, and conductors
- Civilian products include formaldehyde and hexamine paints, safety and detonating fuses, rubber and plastic products, and adhesives
- Civilian products include fire extinguishers, gasoline pumps, automatic balances, pressure cookers, stainless steel cooking pots, gas bottlers, gas regulators, cutlery, pistons, piston rings, cylinders
- Civilian products include paints, inks, varnish, beauty products, potassium chlorate, and anesthetic ether
- Civilian products include television receivers, radios, TV antennas, and personal computers
- Civilian products include electric meters, water meters, ball bearings, bolts and nuts, degreasing solutions, phosphating solutions, and axle boxes
- Civilian products include gas rings, gas ovens, solar water heaters, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners
- Civilian products include diesel engines, generating sets, welding sets, pumping sets, bearing shells, compressed air sets, and tractor engines
- Civilian products include lathes, drilling machines, grinders, wood sawing machines, shapers, milling machines, automatic and semi-automatic bakery lines, agricultural machinery and equipment
- Engaged in the production of passenger cars, Jeep Wranglers, and 4x4 Jeep Cherokees. This Egyptian and American joint venture was formed in 1977, and company employs over 17,000 workers producing military jeeps and other light vehicles
- Engaged in the production of intermediate chemicals; incecticides and fertilizers; house insect insecticides; industrial gases; cosmetics and other aerosol products
- Civilian production includes microscopes
- El-Nasr Company for Services and Maintenance (Queen Service) - security; maintenance works for electrical and water networks; purging works; automobile service stations; and vocational training
- Armed Pharmaceutical Factory - Equipped with West German machine tools (Johann Weiss), this factory makes such pharmaceutical products as tincture of iodine and bandage
- Cutleries : sets of cutleries of extra ordinary beauty and attractive styles ( normal and gold coated ) , made of stainless steel.
- kitchen sets : Pressure cookers, Cooking pots , Frying pans , Casseroles, tea & sweet Sets , Plates and trays ( normal and decorated) , made of stainless steel.
- Fire extinguishers 99 : With dry chemical powder , foam and carbon dioxide ( in different types and sizes form 1 kg to 250 kg ).
- Fire detection and alarm systems , Automatic Fire extinguishing Systems and light fire fighting vehicles.
- LPG cylinders 30 lt. And 60 lt. , cylinder valves and gas regulators
- Automotive feeding industries:
- Internal combustion engines parts ( Pistons, piston pins, rings and cylinder liners
- Automotive shock absorbers.
- Automotive steel wheels.
- Special manufacturing tools workshop for producing gauges, dies (drawing cutting , forming , pressing , forging and carting tools ), jigs and fixtures for Metal and Bakelite.
Please see http://ow.ly/91X86 for updated list of SCAF members...
While this may seem like a moot point, I think the lack of transparency is ridiculous (not even full list of names) around the 20-odd person body that is controlling 85M people with almost complete authority and no (other than guns) legitimate mandate to rule through today...So was General Etman promoted or fired? http://ow.ly/8P7UQ (promoted to deputy chief of army staff ) vs http://ow.ly/8P7W0 (fired but retains advisory role)... Where does this leave him with regard to SCAF membership? According to latter source "while no longer a member of the 20-member military council, Etman will remain one of Tantawi’s many advisers, positions given to officers closely tied to the army leadership, the source at the Defense Ministry said."
Also, does his replacement (Major General Ahmed Abul Dahab, director of artillery division) now join SCAF?
My previous count was at 21 but we may be down to 20 now (which corroborates Masry Al Youm article).
Also, found the only video I know that has a large number of SCAF members visible. However, which corroborates SIS website per the previous SCAF Member Confusion Post
If he was fired because of the image of the army in the media (per Al Masry al Youm) my advice would be to try changing behavior instead of rotating faces...
UpdateAl-Masry Al Youm has multiple articles claiming he has been effectively fired but have not seen additional confirmation...
: Reasons given were Maspero, appointment of Samir Farag and lack of response to Tantawi speeches by Egyptians