Informer Found in Antiwar Committee's Midst
The Feds Go Fishing
By RON JACOBS
Back in September 2010, a series of FBI raids were conducted in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago and North Carolina. These raids were conducted under laws pertaining to US citizens providing "material aid to terrorists" and targeted members of antiwar, leftist, and solidarity organizations. Since the raids, various activists that were targeted have been subpoenaed to appear at a grand jury and have refused to do so. By refusing, those subpoenaed are risking arrest for contempt. However, as of this writing, none have been taken to jail yet. As I wrote in an article first published in CounterPunch on September 27, 2010: "These raids are a clear and vicious attempt to intimidate the antiwar movement." and the grand jury "is a fishing expedition, as evidenced (for example) by the warrant asking for papers from no determined time."
The reaction of those whose homes were raided and their supporters was quick and determined. The targeted activists, their attorneys, and local supporters held a couple of press conferences within days of the raids and original subpoenas and a national network organized protests at Federal Buildings in a number of US cities and towns. Resolutions attacking the raids and subpoenas and pledging support for the activists and the right to organize were introduced and passed by a number of city councils and antiwar and labor organizations. The office of the US Attorney for the Northern Illinois District under the direction of US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald temporarily withdrew the subpoenas. However, they were reinstated in December, leading to the aforementioned refusal of those subpoenaed to appear in front of the grand jury. Several more subpoenas were served on other activists. In fact, nine more activists have been ordered to testify before the grand jury on January 25, 2011 in Chicago.
A sidebar regarding Patrick Fitzgerald might be beneficial here. If that name seems familiar, it is because he is associated with many high profile cases. He helped prosecute Scooter Libby in the case known as the Valerie Plame affair. For those who don't remember this case, it involved members of the George Bush White House releasing the name of a CIA agent to the media--a federal offense. Although Libby was convicted of the crime, it has always been believed that others in the White House, including Vice President Cheney, were involved in its commission. This demands the question as to why no one else was prosecuted and how much the prosecutor (Fitzpatrick) was involved in limiting the prosecution to one individual, thereby sparing the White House from a criminal investigation. Patrick has also been involved in many other high profile cases, including the prosecution off Illinois governors Ryan and Blagojevich in separate corruption cases and a case involving torture by the Chicago police that resulted in the conviction of Chicago detective Jon Burge.
In another investigation targeting leftist, anarchist and antiwar political activists in the Twin Cities, several homes and offices were raided before and during the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. If one recalls, that convention also saw the arrest of media members including Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, brutal attacks on protestors by police and private "contractors" working with police, and a lockdown against free speech activities in certain areas of the city. Several hundred people were arrested and many were beaten. Nine organizers were eventually charged with acts of terrorism. During their trial it became clear that the organizations these individuals were affiliated with had been infiltrated by government informers.
Similarly, last week the AntiWar Committee (one of the organizations targeted in the September raids) of the Twin Cities discovered that they too had had an informer in their midst since 2008. Going by the name Karen Sullivan, this woman claimed to be a single parent and a lesbian who did not get along with her child's father. According to statements from members of the AntiWar Committee that appeared in the press, the group's members were sympathetic to her cover story and, despite an initial concern by some members, accepted and befriended the woman. Also, since the AntiWar Committee (AWC) believed their meetings and activities to be covered by the first amendment and were always open to the public, there was little concern for secrecy.
"Ms. Sullivan" involved herself in AWC activities and meetings, even chairing some of them. She was also one of three AWC members that traveled to Palestine. As soon as they reached Israel, the members were told they would be detained unless they turned back. Two chose to stay and were detained while "Sullivan" went back to the US. It turns out that the Israeli authorities had prior knowledge of the visit and the intention of the group to meet with Palestinian women. While no one in the group could figure out how this was so, it seems apparent now that the "Ms. Sullivan" had provided this information to her handler who had in turn provided it to US officials, who then passed it on to the Israeli government.
In the wake of the January 8, 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona there have been calls by a number of politicians, media commentators and others suggesting the need for new laws limiting political speech in the United States. Meanwhile, efforts are underway in Congress to renew sections of the PATRIOT Act that are due to expire soon. History tells us that when laws designed to curb political are enacted in the US, they are used primarily against groups and individuals on the left side of the political spectrum. There is no need for more laws. Instead, there is a need for more free speech. Laws like the PATRIOT Act and The Effective Death Penalty and Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996 and the subsequent interpretation of those laws by the courts have criminalized political activities that were previously legal. The investigation that led to the raids and grand juries discussed here are an example of this.
The intention of the government in this and other similar investigations is to intimidate people into keeping silent so they can carry on their business with a minimum amount of attention from the public. As the discovery of an informer in the AWC shows, they will stop at nothing in their attempt to silence protest against their imperial designs. It doesn't matter if they get any convictions or even an indictment out of their fishing expedition. If they have intimidated those who oppose imperial war and support people around the world in their struggle against military occupation, they will have accomplished their goal. This is reason enough to support those currently targeted by the FBI in the investigations discussed here. It is more than enough reason to attend the protests against the grand jury on January 25, 2011 around the US.
Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is published by Mainstay Press. His most recent book, titled Tripping Through the American Night is published as an ebook. Fomite (Burlington, VT.) is publishing his new novel, titled The Co-Conspirator's Tale in Spring 2011 He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Enumerated Rights are Hanging by a Thread
The Dissolving Constitution
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
While people in Tunisia and Egypt have taken to the streets in attempts to gain their liberty, Americans are losing their liberty with minimal protest. Even the American Civil Liberties Union seems unfocused. At a time when we are being surrounded by a police state and the federal judiciary is being taken over by the Federalist Society and unitary executive theory that places the president above the law, we need a heightened appreciation of civil liberty and the Constitution on the part of the American people. The American people need to come together and to take a united stand against the police state and unaccountable executive branch power.
During my many years of writing in defense of law as a shield of the people instead of a weapon in the hands of the state, I have identified two important reasons that Americans are losing the protection of the legal principles that made them free. One reason is that among a significant portion of the population, especially those who think of themselves as conservative, there is indifference and even hostility to civil liberties. The other reason is that Benthamite thinking has made inroads into the Blackstonian conception of law that is the basis of the Constitution. Jeremy Bentham argued for pre-emptive arrest before a crime is committed, for torture in order to obtain confession, and for subverting the attorney-client privilege. Bentham’s views, fiercely hostile to those of our Founding Fathers, are now represented on the federal bench (federal appeals court judge Jay S. Bybee, for example) and in prestigious law schools (John Yoo, UC Berkeley, for example).
In chapter 3 of The Tyranny of Good Intentions, Larry Stratton and I contrast Bentham’s views with those of William Blackstone and our Founding Fathers. This article is about the division of the American public on the matter of civil liberty.
Court decisions by “activist judges” in behalf of criminals, abortion, homosexual rights, and against school prayer, all in the name of constitutional rights and civil liberty, have resulted in many Americans identifying civil liberty with procedures that provide protections and immunities for criminals and with judicially created rights that are destroying morality. All the fights over Supreme Court appointments have to do with “social issues” such as abortion. The enumerated rights in the Constitution, such as habeas corpus, due process, free speech and association, long ago receded into the background and play scant role in Senate confirmations of Supreme Court appointees.
As a member of the ACLU, I look to that organization for the legal defense of our enumerated rights. The ACLU does stand up for the enumerated civil liberties spelled out in the Constitution. However, reading the current issue of the ACLU newsletter, I found myself wondering if the ACLU is unconsciously contributing to the public’s indifference and hostility to civil liberty. The newsletter’s list of legal highlights for 2010 presents the ACLU’s activities as being concentrated in efforts to legalize homosexual marriage, to protect abortion from curbs, and to end the promotion of religious beliefs in public schools.
These are all issues that infuriate conservatives, and these are the issues that conservatives identify with civil liberties. Therefore, much of the public is not the least bit perturbed to hear that civil liberties are under attack when many understand civil liberties to consist of criminal rights, prayer bans, abortion, and homosexual marriage. This is dangerous, because in the public’s mind, civil liberty can easily morph from procedures that coddle criminals into procedures that coddle terrorists. Should this occur, all would be lost. Defense of the enumerated rights would become “giving aid and comfort to terrorists.”
It is not my purpose to argue the validity of the ACLU’s position on abortion and homosexual marriage. I am sure that the ACLU is convinced that homosexual and abortion rights are somewhere in the Constitution, but they are not enumerated rights, and the conservatives know it. When the Constitution and Bill of Rights were written, I don’t know if abortion and homosexual acts were the statutory offenses that they were during much of my lifetime, but they were not socially approved behavior that the Founding Fathers thought worthy of constitutional protection. The separation of church and state means no state church or taxpayer support. It does not mean no prayer in public schools. Ironic, isn’t it, that today with faith-based initiatives we have taxpayers’ money going to religious institutions, but no prayer in school.
When the issue is raised that perhaps the Constitution like common law can change as people’s mores change, conservatives reply that if the Constitution can change, anything can be put into it or be taken out, such as the civil liberties that I am complaining about Bush taking out. As for abortion and gay marriage, these are things that conservatives think activist judges and the ACLU put into the Constitution. Strictures against abortion and homosexuals should have been overturned legislatively, not by inventive interpretations of the Constitution.
The unintended consequence of the judicial branch exercising the legislative function in the name of constitutional rights has been the alienation of a large percentage of the population from civil liberty concerns. Today much of the population views the ACLU as a threat to society comparable to terrorism.
With the police state destroying protections against searches, the First Amendment, habeas corpus, due process, and the right to an attorney, with grand jury subpoenas issued to war protesters, with lists of American citizens to be assassinated, with ongoing war crimes committed in wars based in lies and deceptions, with the executive branch’s seizure of the power to violate statutory laws against torture and spying without warrants, should the ACLU refocus, stop alienating conservatives, and bring the people together against the police state?
Should the ACLU be devoting its scarce resources to convincing courts to legalize homosexual marriage when the executive branch can declare people to be suspects and throw them into a dungeon? Reproductive rights and homosexual marriage will not stop people from being thrown into dungeons. If the enumerated rights are lost, no other rights are meaningful.Paul Craig Roberts is coauthor with Lawrence Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions, a book that documents the erosion of the legal principles that protect liberty. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com
An Open Letter to President Obama
What About Free and Fair Elections in the US?
By RALPH NADER
Dear President Obama:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reflected your sentiments when she commented on the Egyptian uprising with the words "We want to see free and fair elections."
But in the District of Columbia, where you and Secretary Clinton reside, there are no "free and fair elections" for electing representatives with full voting rights to Congress. There is only the continual disenfranchisement –unique to all other national capital cities in purported democracies—for the hundreds of thousands of voting age citizens in the District of Columbia.
You stated that the United States "will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people." Presumably that includes the right to have members of Parliament, with full voting rights, elected by the Egyptian voters.
Although you declared in the 2008 election that you supported voting rights for the District –at the least one voting member of the House of Representatives if not two voting Senators—but you used little if any of your political capital or the bully pulpit and muscle to get even the most modest measure through Congress.
Will you now stand up for the voting rights in Congress for District voters, especially since the Republicans in the House have just taken away what Committee-level voting rights Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has had?
Here is a suggestion to get started and one that will enhance a spirit of solidarity. Why not invite 100 of the exuberant, bi-lingual, peaceful Egyptian demonstrators to come to Washington, D.C. and help rally District residents in a massive gathering for their democratic rights in front of the White House at Lafayette Park?
Before you address them, you can look out the window of the White House and see the colonials' signs, and banners and hear their chants.
They might even announce a staggered General Strike whereby at the beginning of each month they come to work 30 minutes later in the morning so that in six months, they go to work at noon. Some employers, especially non-profits and commercial concerns with a sense of self-respect and human rights, may actually encourage such commitment and join with them.
During this elevating protest, people can discuss what it means to the District of Columbia when Congress can over-rule the City Council's decisions, vanquish referenda results, distort its budget, and decline to adequately reimburse the District government for incurring many federal governmental expenses, as precisely outlined recently by Colbert King in the January 29th Washington Post. Conversely, they can ponder with you what is not even contemplated by District residents because of their thralldom to the Congressional veto.
So, come home with your rhetoric, Mr. President, come home to liberate your District of Columbia. What is your response?
From Brunei to Washington
Kleptocrats at Work
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Kleptocracy is as old as government. Exotic car broker Michael Sheehan discovered an amazing case nine years ago when he was invited to purchase rare Ferraris and McLaren F1s from a Brunei collection. He writes about it in the current issue of Sports Car Market.
Brunei is a family-owned oil Sultanate of 400,000 people located on the island of Borneo in southeast Asia. A brother of the sultan was finance minister until 1997, when the Asian financial crisis hit Brunei. The Arthur Anderson accounting firm was called in to audit the books. The accountants found that between 1983 and 1998 $40 billion had disappeared and that the finance minister himself had personally spent $14.8 billion.
The finance minister had a collection of 2,500 exotic cars, 500 properties, five yachts, and nine world-class aircraft. He had managed to spend $900,000,000 in the London jeweler Asprey, apparently guaranteeing the old age retirements of a number of attractive women who consort with kleptocrats.
The finance minister was allowed to keep 500 of the cars, but he had to turn in the rest of his loot--to no avail as we shall see.
Sheehan went to Brunei to view the cars. From his general description of the collection, I estimate that the finance minister had paid six figures for the least expensive car in the collection. Many cost much more. McLaren F1s cost $1,000,000 new. They are more valuable now. In October 2008 one sold at a London auction for $4,100,000. Many of the cars were custom built. Some of the high speed Ferraris “were coated in radar-absorbent matt-black coatings and fitted with infrared cameras for night driving.” Easily more than one billion dollars of Brunei’s oil revenues had found their way into the finance minister’s car collection.
Sheehan reports that the cars were stored in about 12 buildings “surrounded by a high wall topped with razor wire and with a bomb-proof front gate” and patrolled by “armed Gurkhas with very serious German shepherds.” The security was for naught, because “the air conditioning was off, but the tropical sun was not.” Years of heat and humidity had destroyed the cars. The storage facilities had become a car tomb.
Sheehan concluded that most of the cars were in such a state of ruin that only a few of the cars had sufficiently high inherent values to support commercially viable restorations. The best use of the rest, Sheehan decided, would be to turn them into an artificial ocean reef.
The careless waste is shocking and even more so to car buffs who consider many of the ruined cars to be artistic masterpieces. This is the kind of opulent waste that we associate with family-owned countries. But before we Americans start feeling superior, consider that the U.S. government puts the Brunei finance minister to shame.
On January 29, 2002, CBS Evening News reported that the Pentagon had lost track of $2.3 trillion, yes, $2,300 billion. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld admitted, “According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” “We know it is gone,” said Jim Minnery of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, “but we don’t know what they spent it on.”
Reported thefts from Iraq and Afghanistan reconstruction aid rival Brunei’s missing billions. Pallets of cash stacked high have been flown out of Afghanistan in plain view. The stories of corruption and missing funds are so numerous that they are no longer reported.
The U.S. Congress, at President Obama’s request, recently passed the largest military spending bill of all time in behalf of the share prices of the military/security complex, while many of the 50 states teeter on bankruptcy and default on pensions and municipal bonds and slash education, medical, and other services. For “our” government in Washington, it is a no-brainer that the profits of the military-security complex take every precedence over every need of the American people.
If the Brunei finance minister’s billion dollar car collection becomes an artificial reef, it will foster marine life. In contrast, Dick Cheney seriously damaged, perhaps for many years to come, the Gulf of Mexico, because Cheney believed a few extra bucks for the oil companies were more important than safety standards. The missing safety standards have cost British Petroleum $20 billion in clean up and restitution costs.
U.S. taxpayers are paying the Department of Homeland Security
$56,336,000,000 this year to porno-scan and grope them and otherwise invade their privacy, while millions of Americans are foreclosed out of their homes.
How are the priorities of the US. government superior to those of the Brunei finance minister? When it comes to waste and corruption, lies and deception, the U.S. government has no equal.
Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST is published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com
An Outgrowth of British India
Blasphemy and the Status Quo in Pakistan
By M. REZA PIRBHAI
As millions of Egyptians take to the streets to bring down their autocratic, US-managed rulers, forty-thousand Pakistanis also demonstrated in Karachi on January 9, 2011. The latter are no strangers to criminal regimes, rife with nepotism and dynasticism. Their state has killed thousands of its own citizens in the last decade alone. The US has contributed to the carnage through missile strikes, also with the government’s complicity. Uncounted numbers of citizens have also been disappeared by the government, also with the aid of the US and other renditionists (such as the Mubarak regime). Malnutrition in the wake of the monsoon floods is threatening to take thousands more lives. The economy is increasingly privatized and debt-laden, offering little hope to the millions who survive the bombs and mismanagement. Yet, the Pakistani demonstrators who took to Karachi’s streets this January were moved by another issue all together. They were worried that a middle-aged Christian mother of five might not be executed after being convicted for blasphemy.
It should be clarified at the outset that demonstrating against all that ails Pakistan, aside from blasphemers, is no less a feature of the Pakistani street than any other. In the thirty years that Mubarak has ruled Egypt, Pakistanis have been subjected to and overthrown two military and four civilian regimes. All these civil actions have been driven by popular opposition to autocracy and empire, and substantive change in alternative directions has been the hope of large segments of protesting masses. Their victories include constitutional amendments that overturn presidential powers to dissolve the legislature. They have also promoted judicial autonomy and won the right of press freedom. But, as the unconstitutional realities of Pakistan illustrate, constitutional amendments have a long way to go before delivering good governance. Pakistan’s controversial ‘Blasphemy Laws,’ in fact, well illumine the distance to be travelled. After all, demonstrations in support of Blasphemy Laws are not calling for change in any direction. They are rallying for laws long on the books.
The history of these Blasphemy Laws explains why, at least in part. Blasphemy has been acknowledged as an offense as long as Islamic jurisprudence has existed. A range of punishments have been articulated by legal schools and pre-colonial Muslim states enforced the dictates of these schools in various ways and to varying degrees.
For example, jurists have agreed that blasphemy is a subset of laws concerning apostasy (irtidad). However, the same jurists have long debated whether apostasy itself is a statutory (hudud) offense, punishable by the state in any manner at all.
Furthermore, where the state’s jurisdiction has been acknowledged, stringent and exacting rules of evidence have been articulated for charges to be registered and false accusations have been considered serious offences, punishable in their own right.
Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, on the other hand, are neither rooted in the jurisprudence or the statecraft of pre-colonial Muslim societies. Pakistan’s laws grew out of ‘British India.’ In the 186’s, as part of the aftermath of the so-called ‘Mutiny’ in which colonial authority was formalized, sections of the latest penal code added blasphemy against any religious tradition, punishable by a maximum of two years imprisonment. A number of cases and a few convictions followed, and a minor amendment in language was made in the 1920’s. The legal provision itself reflects the process of codification in light of British jurisprudence begun as early as 1780. It should be recalled that Britain upheld Blasphemy Laws (applicable only to Christianity) until July 2008. British jurisprudence was the basis for the colonial code, and these were the laws inherited by Pakistan upon ‘independence’ in 1947.
Not surprisingly, given the colonial origins of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, the application of these laws would be best nurtured and spread under autocratic, rather than democratic, post-colonial rule. Pakistan has remained autocratic from its start, allowing the advocates of such laws to infiltrate the establishment beginning with the anti-Ahmadiyya riots of the 1950’s. But it was not until the tenure of General Zia ul-Haq (1978-88) that colonial ‘Penal Code Section 295’ was amended for the first time. From 1980 to 1986, defaming Prophet Muhammad, derogatory remarks against Quranic passages and defilement of the Quran, were added as offenses. The former offense carried the death sentence and the latter life imprisonment, when the accused’s intent was established in court. As well, ‘Section 298’ made derogatory remarks against or negative representations of any holy Muslim personage (relatives of the Prophet, etc.) punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment and/or fines.
These amendments were part of a far larger policy to ‘Islamize’ Pakistan – a policy that sought to provide Zia’s military regime legitimation, while churning out mujahidin for the US to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. On a jurisprudential level, the amendments concerning blasphemy made Pakistani law more ‘British,’ additions rendering them applicable only to offenses against the dominant creed: Christianity in the case of Britain, Islam for Pakistan. The rules of evidence, in any case, remained British in origin. As for the contribution of ‘Islamic’ legal thought, the laws themself confirm that only the legal opinions included were those of the Pakistani religio-political parties willing to legitimate military rule and raise mujahidin. Prime among these parties were ‘Jamaat-i Islami’ and ‘Jamaat-i Ulama-i Islam,’ whose own doctrinal origins, like the laws in question, also lead back to the colonial era.
When colonial jurists began drawing blasphemy into their penal codes after the 1857 Uprising (‘Mutiny’), Muslim jurists, shell-shocked by defeat, began rebuilding a madrasa-system devastated by decades of colonial rule, let alone the ravages of the late-Uprising. In 1866, a trio of students from one of Delhi’s last remaining pre-colonial institutions, closed in 1856 for cancelled endowments, joined the trend by laying the foundations of a school for the future. Their madrasa would not follow the patterns of those which had produced its founders. It would be funded by small private donations, rather than large land endowments. It would teach a fixed curriculum with exams and awards, like European schools, but designed to emphasize the study of Quran, Hadith literature and law. Philosophy, metaphysics, logic, rhetoric, scholastic theology, astronomy, medicine and various fields of math, literature and languages, taught in pre-colonial madrasas, would be dropped. Furthermore, the law taught would not be derived through pre-colonial Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). This madrasa’s sharia would follow an approach developed only a century earlier – an approach based on the removal of all juristic opinion based on analogical reasoning or the consensus of scholars from the sharia, if ‘direct reference’ could be found in the Quran or Hadith literature. Thus, the entire study of the principles of jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh) was not included in the curriculum, while such established juristic principles as ‘public utility’ and ‘juristic preference,’ common in South Asia’s pre-colonial jurisprudence, was not to be utilized in arriving at the laws to be considered part of the sharia. Only a scripturally-based and codified sharia would be proffered from the madrasa founded at Deoband in 1866. Pakistan’s Jamaat-i Islami, Jamaat-i Ulama-i Islam and a variety of other off-shoots testify to the success of Deoband’s founding vision, at least so far as the organization, curriculum and jurisprudential approach of their associated madrasas are concerned.
As previously mentioned, since Deobandi-type amendments were introduced in Pakistan, the military-dictatorship of Zia ul-Haq, four civilian governments and the military dictatorship of Parvez Musharraf have fallen. All upheld the Blasphemy Laws. The current civilian regime of Asif Ali Zardari has also responded to recent developments, such as Papal criticism, by firmly shutting the door on reform. This longevity and broad-based support best confirms that the religio-political parties promoting these laws, though ‘Islamists,’ are not anti-establishment; no matter their rhetoric. Rather, for the last thirty years at least, members of such parties have held posts in virtually every government, whether headed by the military or a civilian, and irrespective of close ties to the US.
Take the example of the religio-political party that orchestrated the demonstration in Karachi on January 9: Jamaat-i Ulama-i Islam. The current leader of the faction involved, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, inherited the party from his father, who served as Governor of the NWFP in the 1970’s. Rahman himself has been a member of the National Assembly (Parliament) four times since taking the reins of the party in the 1980’s. He was a stalwart ally of Benazir Bhutto, during her second term in office, helping to organize the Afghan Taliban. In 2002, he was one of the nominees for Prime Minister. Until recently, Rahman’s party was also a member of the ruling coalition, high ranking members even holding ministerial posts in Zardari’s government. The association only ended when one of those ministers was found to be involved in a massive scam that defrauded thousands of pilgrims on Hajj in Mecca! In other words, these parties and laws are not examples of popular activism against the establishment, as much as they are extensions of that establishment.
As a result of consistent support from the highest ranks of the Pakistani state, about 4000 blasphemy cases have been registered and 700 persons (about half Christians and Ahmadis) have been convicted since the 1980’s. Although no one has been executed, many of the accused have been killed, even while in jail or out on bail. According to human rights groups, the cases lodged are most frequently based on false accusations motivated by personal and/or political disputes. One of the latest cases concerns the conviction of a Sunni Imam and his son for supposedly pulling down a poster than sported Quranic passages. The case was prompted by Deobandis as the Imam belongs to the rival Barelvi movement, although the latter also supports the Blasphemy Laws. Police, lawyers, judges and activists of various political parties, religious and secular, have been documented to be involved in such abuses, just as dissenting members of the same groups have also been subject to everything from harassment to murder. The recent assassination of the Governor of Punjab Province for supporting reform, in opposition to the stance of his own Pakistan Peoples’ Party, adds to the Blasphemy Law’s list of supporters and victims.
Whether or not blasphemy should feature in Islamic law, this short history is insufficient to even offer an opinion. However, it clearly suggests that Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws are manmade and ill-conceived. For this mundane reason, not their purported divine perfection, the only offense that supporters of the law are really reacting to is change. Change in imperial relations, change in the conduct of generals and change in civilian administrations dominated by dynasties of feudal landlords and crony-capitalists. Change, as well, in the composition of clerics who legitimate the nefarious activities of the former by shackling Islam itself to their colonial schools. Supporters of these laws, whatever their professed ideologies, are bulwarks in the establishment’s unrelenting resistance to change. They are not demonstrators of the kind now staking their claim in Tahrir Square. They are akin to the ‘Pro-Mubarak’ crowds jostling to maintain the status quo. Their thuggery only charts the distance Pakistan’s ‘democracy’ has to travel before Pakistanis can enjoy good governance. Despite so many fallen governments and constitutional amendments, Pakistan’s establishment, no less than Egypt’s, remains entrenched, autocratic and managed from afar.
By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN
Egypt is fated to be the first domino. The revolution there will inevitably spread to all of the Middle East and North Africa. The question is: Will it be an Islamic fundamentalist revolution or a democratic one?
In the fifties, anti-communists latched onto the "domino theory" to elaborate their worries about the spread of global Marxism. President Dwight D. Eisenhower explained it at a press conference on April 7, 1954:
"Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the 'falling domino' principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences."
While it was foolish to believe that the fall of a small country like Vietnam would affect larger and more stable nations like Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, or Malaya, the domino theory has a very direct relevance to what is transpiring now in Egypt.
There is a major danger that the Muslim Brotherhood will find its way into a successor coalition government. And, from there, it is indeed possible that the Brotherhood takes over, bringing an Iranian style fundamentalist Islamic regime to Egypt. The chances of even a popularly elected government embracing the Muslim Brotherhood would be very great. And a domino theory could eventuate.
Working in tandem with Iran, these two nations would then cast a giant shadow over the entire region. From Morocco to Iraq, there would be the threat of a genuine caliphate, realizing the most central goal of the Islamic fundamentalists.
Remember the populations involved. Egypt has 81 million people. Iran has 66 million. The next most populous nation in the region is Algeria at 35 million. The combined population of Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Aden, Oman, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, and Yemen is 185 million. So Egypt and Iran have a population almost equal to that of these other nations combined. A fundamentalist Egypt allied with Iran would sweep the region.
Jordan, Syria, Algeria, Libya, and perhaps even Saudi Arabia would fall to Islamic extremists. Iraq, even with a US military presence, may not be far behind.
But this prospect is not inevitable. It can still be avoided by bold action from the Administration. President Obama must reach out to the Egyptian military and declare his support of their transitional efforts and demand that the Muslim brotherhood play no role in the government.
Turkey is the precedent. There, the secular tradition of independence from Islamic theocracy was first set in place by the great early twentieth century leader Kemal Ataturk. It has been enforced since by the Turkish military which always looms over the civilian government lest it move to close to a theocratic domination. Even when an Islamic Party won the past two elections, the military cautioned that it not become a theocracy and it has not done so.
Obama must use our leverage of $1.3 billion of military aid to get the Army in Egypt to play a similar role. And, most important, he must draw a line in the Egyptian sand: That he will withdraw the military aid if the Muslim Brotherhood is included in any government or coalition.
If Obama fails to do so, he will be responsible for the loss of Egypt and perhaps of the entire region - with all its oil - to forces directly hostile to the United States. Some doubt that Obama is sufficiently strong in defense of America's interests. Some wonder if he has not divided loyalties. Some question if he has the strength to stand up to Muslim extremists. Now we will see.
Friday, February 11, 2011
FP: Pamela Geller, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Well, perhaps for those who are familiar with your work and with your book, it is not a big surprise for them that Obama has endorsed a role for the Muslim Brotherhood in a new, post-Mubarak government for Egypt.
I would like to narrow in with you today about the Muslim Brotherhood’s penetration of the Obama administration. What can you tell us about this Islamist penetration of the White House?
Geller: Thanks Jamie.
The first thing we need to realize is that the Muslim Brotherhood operates in the United States under a variety of names and organizational umbrellas. Technically, there is no “Muslim Brotherhood” in the United States. But the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others are – according to a document captured in a raid and released by law enforcement in 2007 during the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding trial) – Brotherhood-linked organizations.
FP: Right, and crystallize for us why we need to be concerned about Brotherhood-linked organizations in the U.S.
Geller: Because, Jamie, that same captured document explains that the Muslim Brotherhood’s mission in the U.S. is “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
FP: And people with ties to these organizations are involved with the Obama Administration, right?
Geller: Yes they are, Jamie, in various ways. On the first day of his presidency, the President showed an eagerness to be friendly toward the Brotherhood: he chose Ingrid Mattson, president of ISNA to offer a prayer at the National Cathedral during inaugural festivities on January 20, 2009.
Superficially, Obama’s choice was understandable: Ingrid Mattson was a Canadian convert to Islam who carefully cultivated the image of a moderate spokesperson. But ISNA has even admitted ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, which calls itself “one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.”
Mattson has also tried to set Jews and Christians against one another. Speaking at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in March 2007, Mattson said: “Right-wing Christians are very risky allies for American Jews, because they [the Christians] are really anti-Semitic. They do not like Jews.”
But Obama didn’t seem to care about any of that. And so she prayed for Barack Hussein Obama on January 20, 2009. And it gets worse: after that, Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s Senior Advisor for Public Engagement and International Affairs and a longtime, close Obama aide, asked Mattson to join the White House Council on Women and Girls, which is dedicated to “advancing women’s leadership in all communities and sectors – up to the U.S. presidency – by filling the leadership pipeline with a richly diverse, critical mass of women.”
A hijab-wearing leader of a group with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorists and Islamic supremacists – that’s diverse, all right!
FP: Yes diverse all right. I wonder why we haven’t heard Mattson coming to the defense of victims of honor killings and denouncing the Islamic theological teachings that serve as a buffer for those killings. It would be interesting to know what she would have to say about your article, Honor Killing: Islam’s Gruesome Gallery, where you humanize this tragedy by showing us the faces of dead victims and surviving victims of Islamic misogynist violence.
But I guess we shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for Mattson to comment. I encourage all of our readers to look at that Gallery to not only get an idea of the viciousness of Islamic gender apartheid, but also of what kind of people Obama is has around him — since they are the ones who are complicit in and sanction this violence.
Ok, let us move on. Tell us more about the Muslim Brotherhood presence in the Obama Administration.
Geller: In June 2009, Obama appointed a Muslim, Kareem Shora, to the Homeland Security Advisory Council. Shora had been executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a group that had generally opposed anti-terror efforts since 9/11 – as have all the Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups in the U.S. But more worrisome was Obama’s appointment of another Muslim, Arif Alikhan, to be Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the Department of Homeland Security. Alikhan is affiliated with the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), which is another highly deceptive Brotherhood-linked group.
FP: Why did the President make these appointments?
Geller: These appointments were obvious attempts to show the Muslims of the United States and the world that anti-terror efforts were not anti-Islam or anti-Muslim. Shora and Alikhan would stand as moderate Muslims within the DHS, living illustrations of the iron dogma that all Muslims aside from a tiny minority were loyal Americans who abhorred Osama bin Laden and everything he stood for. But when he made the appointment, Obama didn’t notice, or didn’t care, that as deputy mayor of Los Angeles, Alikhan (who has referred to the jihad terrorist group Hizballah as a “liberation movement”) had blocked an effort by the Los Angeles Police Department to gather information about the ethnic makeup of area mosques.
FP: You mean to conduct surveillance in Los Angeles-area mosques?
Geller: No, Jamie. This was not an effort to close down Los Angeles mosques, or to conduct surveillance of them. There was no wiretapping or interrogation involved. No one would be jailed or even inconvenienced. Los Angeles Deputy Chief Michael P. Downing explained in 2007: “We want to know where the Pakistanis, Iranians and Chechens are so we can reach out to those communities.” But even outreach was too much for the hypersensitive Muslim leaders of Los Angeles: they cried racism, discrimination, and “Islamophobia” until the LAPD dropped the plan. And Arif Alikhan spearheaded their drive against this initiative.Did Obama want him to bring to the Department of Homeland Security a similar sensitivity to the quickly wounded feelings of Muslims? I expect so.
FP: Talk a bit about that.
Geller: We are all well aware of Obama’s oft-stated commitment to defending and spreading the ideology of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Remember: in Cairo on June 4, 2009, Obama boasted that “the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it….I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal.” Five days later, as if to show that Obama was serious about what he said in Cairo, his post-American Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Essex County, New Jersey, charging that the county had discriminated against a Muslim woman, Yvette Beshier.
Beshier was a corrections officer, and had been forbidden to wear her khimar, or headscarf, while working. When she refused to comply, the Essex County Department of Corrections (DOC) first suspended and then fired her – the khimar was not part of the uniform, and corrections officers were expected to conform to uniform policy. But such policies, of course, were drawn up before the days of politically correct multiculturalism. Instead of simply expecting employees to conform to company rules, now the company had to adapt to the religious particularities of its Muslim employees: Barack Obama’s Justice Department sued on Beshier’s behalf.
When Obama in Cairo boasted about fighting for hijab-wearing women in the United States, he promised to “punish” infidels for not submitting to the dictates and whims of Islam. The lawsuit that followed less than a week later showed that he was in earnest.
It was almost certainly the first time that the United States Justice Department had filed a lawsuit in order to enforce an element of Sharia, Islamic law.
On duty, Yvette Beshier, like all her fellow corrections officers, should have worn religiously neutral garb. Off duty, she could have dressed any way she wanted. But ultimately the Justice Department’s suit wasn’t really about the dress code at the Essex County Department of Corrections at all. It was about asserting Islamic practices in the U.S., and establishing and reinforcing the precedent that when Islamic law and American law and custom conflicted, it was American law that had to give way.
And that’s just how the Muslim Brotherhood would want it.
FP: Interesting. I wonder when Obama will make an announcement that will defend Muslim women’s right to not veil and to not fear physical violence or acid attacks on their faces when making that decision? Aqsa Parvez was killed by her father, in part, for not veiling. I wonder why Obama didn’t come to Aqsa’s defense? Thank you, Pamela, by the way, for coming to Aqsa’s defense.
So let’s talk about the upheaval in Egypt. What do you think of how Obama is handling the situation?
Geller: Obama approved of a role in the next Egyptian government for the Muslim Brotherhood just as a Brotherhood leader was calling for war several days ago with the tiny Jewish state. It was telling. What better way to unify the ummah than with tried-and-true, religiously mandated Islamic anti-semitism? For all of those quisling clowns desperately trying to scrub the Muslim Brotherhood, this declaration of war was a good hard slap in the face.
Further, it’s interesting how the Muslim Brotherhood is blaming Israel for Mubarak’s regime. They’re not blaming the $300 billion the US has pumped into Egypt. The Camp David Peace Accord (no matter how cold a peace it established) was a good thing. Now we hear that Obama’s would-be peace partners, the Muslim Brotherhood group Hamas, are going to destroy the accord.
02/11/11 Tampa, Florida – I was planning to go into a bizarre and irrational rant against JP Morgan for its obvious scam of manipulating the silver market by massive naked-short positions, and including in my Loud Mogambo Diatribe (LMD) the scumbag government and “regulators” who are supposed to keep this kind of fraud out of the commodities markets.
Preparing myself by taking a long pull on a bottle of tequila, rehearsing every curse word I could remember and loosening up the vocal cords (“Mi mi miiiiii! Get out of my yard, you stupid kids! Yo, Adrian!”), I was almost ready when I got a copy of an email from David Bond, in his role as First Lord of the Treasury for the Island Kingdom of Colemania, who reports the news that JP Morgan has announced that they will accept gold as collateral for margin loans.
The part that saved me from denouncing JP Morgan is when he went on that “Whilst JP Morgan is pleased to now to accept physical gold as collateral for credit, it will NOT ACCEPT equivalent value (or any value) of shares in its own gold ETF in lieu thereof.”
Even I, jaded and cynical after a lifetime of watching one thieving bastard after another foist a screw-job on me, and watching one incompetent, corrupt government moron after another let them, I think that it is all encapsulated in his sentence that the lesson is that “Ergo (or is it ipso facto?) JP Morgan has great faith in physical gold, but concurrently has no faith in its own gold-backed paper.”
Its own ETF! JP Morgan runs an Exchange Traded Fund for gold, giving it complete control over the gold deposited there, and yet doesn’t trust its own fund? Has JP Morgan actually sold the gold that the ETF buyers were told was in there? Hmmm! That would make ME lose faith in it paper, too!
And as far as depositing gold with JP Morgan, Chris Powell of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee seems as cynical as I when he says, “Good luck getting it back.”
But suddenly everybody wants gold, especially as the Federal Reserve created more credit (which turns into money when somebody borrows it) last week, and Total Fed Credit went up last week by $19 billion. As to how much actual money this turned into is anybody’s guess since the fractional-reserve multiplier used by banks ranges from here to, literally, infinity.
But $18.4 billion of it turned into cash! I know this because the Fed used $18.4 billion of it to buy government securities to fund the loathsome Obama administration’s deficit-spending insanity!
And, in December, more money was created when revolving debt climbed by $3.5 billion.
And more money was created to allow total personal debt to shoot up $6.1 billion in December, too.
All in all, seemingly impossible amounts of money are being created, which means seemingly impossible amounts of inflation, which means seemingly impossible amounts of capital gains from buying gold and silver rising in price, which seemingly explains why I am seemingly always saying, “Whee! This investing stuff is easy!”
02/11/11 Baltimore, Maryland – “Most people want to be rentiers,” said Elizabeth. “I know I do.”
Rentiers are people who collect “rentes” – that is, they are people who live on their investments. If you have an investment in an apartment building, for example, you collect rents. That’s why you own the building. You want the income.
That makes you an investor. If you buy the building because you think it is going up in price you are not an investor; you’re a speculator. You’re speculating that you’ll get an increase in your capital.
“Most people who call themselves ‘investors’ are not really investors,” we explained, to know one in particular.
“If you are a real investor, you have to study your investments carefully and make sure they produce a stream of income that justifies the investment. But very few stocks provide enough in dividends to give you any real return on your money. The dividend yield is only about 2%, on average…or about the same as the official inflation rate. The real inflation rate is much higher…meaning, you lose money unless your stocks go up in price.”
How likely is it that stocks will go up in price? Everyone seems to think they’ll go up. Ben Bernanke – the most powerful economist in the world – says he’ll make sure they go up. And they’ve been going up for almost 2 years.
So… Why not buy stocks?
And guess what…they’re cheaper today than they were yesterday.
The Dow went down 10 points yesterday. If the Dow goes down another 5,000 points, we’ll be a buyer too.
Egipto celebra el adiós de Mubarak
Los militares destituyen al Gobierno del expresidente y disuelven el Parlamento. -Las Fuerzas Armadas prometen levantar el estado de excepción vigente desde 1981. -El anuncio desata la euforia entre los manifestantes que exigían su marcha desde hace 18 días.
ENRIC GONZÁLEZ / GEORGINA HIGUERAS / NURIA TESÓN | El Cairo
Egipcios celebran la caída de Mubarak sobre el puente de Qasr al Nil, en El Cairo.- CLAUDIO ÁLVAREZ
Egipto ha empezado a caminar hacia un futuro lleno de esperanzas. No puede esperar un camino fácil, pero el primer paso ha constituido un momento casi aéreo de orgullo y euforia. La algarabía se extiende a esta hora como una fuerza imparable capaz de arrasar un régimen. Las voces se alzan con la convicción, esta vez, de haber puesto un pie en la Historia.
GRAFICO - El Pais - 11-02-2011
VIDEO - - 11-02-2011
AUDIO - El Pais - 11-02-2011
FOTOS - AP - 10-02-2011
El último día de Sadat. El presidente egipcio, Anwar Sadat, y el vicepresidente Hosni Mubarak, durante un desfile militar el 6 de octubre de 1981, minutos antes de que soldados, afines a los Hermanos Musulmanes, abrieran fuego contra la tribuna, matando a Sadat y hiriendo a Mubarak, que asumió el poder.- AP
- Las tres décadas de Mubarak en el poder - El último día de Sadat
- Las tres décadas de Mubarak en el poder - La llegada al poder
- Las tres décadas de Mubarak en el poder - Apoyo de EE UU
- Las tres décadas de Mubarak en el poder - Encuentro en Washington
- Las tres décadas de Mubarak en el poder - Mubarak y Arafat
- Las tres décadas de Mubarak en el poder - Mubarak y George H. W. Bush
Los egipcios han demostrado en 18 jornadas extraordinarias que la unión entre las nuevas redes sociales y las viejas manifestaciones puede derribar cualquier muro. La libertad se ha abierto ante ellos dulce, enorme, casi inabarcable. Fueron pacientes, constantes y pacíficos ante los últimos zarpazos de la tiranía, y han triunfado: Hosni Mubarak,dictador durante 30 años, ha dimitido y huyó hacia su mansión de Sharm el Sheij, en el mar Rojo. Con el colofón de que Suiza congeló pocas horas después buena parte de su fortuna, estimada en varios miles demillones de euros.
"Mabruk, Mabruk!", felicitaba un soldado al borde de las lágrimas a un anciano con galabeya (túnica) y turbante que se abrazaba a él. A su alrededor todo era rojo, blanco y negro. Los colores de la bandera ondean por cualquier rincón, asoman por las ventanillas de los coches o decoran los rostros.
Desvanecimientos, ataques de nervios y torceduras han tomado el relevo a las heridas de bala y las pedradas. Egipto entero canta y baila. Los clásicos sirven para cualquier ocasión: "Nuestra canción habla del pueblo, de los pobres que no tienen nada pero lo pueden todo y luchan por su libertad, porque son fuertes y tienen convicciones y dignidad", gritaba Samer Maher mientras sus amigos bailaban con los brazos alzados chasqueando los dedos al compás de una canción de Said Darwish.
"Es el mejor día de mi vida". "Es lo que siempre quise para mis hijos"."Tengo 27 años y nunca pensé que podría elegir al próximo presidente.En unas elecciones libres, en democracia.... Este es solo el primerpaso, mañana estaremos otra vez en Tahrir". Todo el mundo tiene unahistoria que contar esta noche en la plaza Tahrir.
En los tanques, los soldados tratan de contenerse mientras de todas partes surgen espontáneos que les besan o cubren con banderas. En la entrada de un puesto de zumos un hombre insistía en invitar a un jugo de caña a dos militares de escaso mostacho a los que sacaba varias cabezas.
El Ejército ha asumido temporalmente el poder, con la promesa de una "transición pacífica" hacia "una sociedad democrática". El papel de los militares en la victoria que los egipcios celebran ha sido considerado fundamental por un pueblo que puso en ellos sus esperanzas, pero temió por un momento haberse confiado demasiado. Durante los primeros minutos los jóvenes soldados no se atrevieron a unirse a la celebración, pero el pueblo empujaba fuerte y no fueron capaces de mantener la serenidad mucho tiempo. Sin perder el control de la situación, manteniendo las identificaciones y los cacheos, los militares terminaron uniéndose a la fiesta.
Nueva etapa en Oriente
La caída del rais, celebrada por Estados Unidos y Europa, abre también una nueva etapa en Oriente Próximo. Mientras Israel y Arabia Saudí han expresado su inquietud por el cambio, los islamistas de Gaza, Irán y Líbano lo ven como una oportunidad. Tras las revoluciones de Túnez y Egipto, millones de ciudadanos árabes y norteafricanos han constatado que pueden elegir su propio destino.
Los grandes momentos históricos, y el de ayer lo fue sin duda, se resumen en pocas palabras. Como la breve declaración de Omar Suleimán, el vicepresidente que intentó heredar un régimen y fue engullido por los acontecimientos [Aquí puedes ver el vídeo]: "En las difíciles circunstancias que atraviesa el país, el presidente Hosni Mubarak ha decidido abandonar su cargo. Ha encargado al Consejo Supremo de las Fuerzas Armadas que dirija los asuntos del Estado". Eso fue todo. Segundos después, como si 80 millones de egipcios hubieran estado escuchando el mensaje televisado, el país entero estalló en júbilo.
El tono desafiante que Mubarak y el propio Suleimán habían utilizado la víspera, la inmensa decepción y rabia que habían provocado en la multitud, han quedado lejos en un instante. Probablemente ambos sabían, cuando aparecieron en televisión el jueves por la noche, que el poder se les escurría de las manos. Mubarak habló esa noche con un amigo personal, el ministro israelí Benjamín Ben-Eliezer, y le confesó que había llegado el final de su era. "Solo aspiraba a marcharse con dignidad", comentó Ben-Eliezer. Ni eso consiguió. En el último momento, solo pudo huir en helicóptero de un palacio rodeado por manifestantes. Con el colofón habitual en estos casos: la congelación de su fortuna, estimada en muchos miles de millones de euros, por parte de los bancos suizos.
Presión del Ejército
Aún no se conoce bien el desarrollo de los momentos finales. Parece claro, en cualquier caso, que los mandos militares hicieron saber a Mubarak, en algún momento del jueves, que su resistencia ya era inútil. Los generales, sin embargo, no han querido empujar hasta la calle al que había sido su héroe y seguía siendo un amigo y un jefe respetado. Eso explicaría los confusos comunicados del Consejo Supremo de las Fuerzas Armadas, el incomprensible discurso de Mubarak, mezcla de arrogancia, sentimentalismo y minucias constitucionales, y la confusión que dominó la jornada. "Hubo un pulso oculto entre el Ejército y el dúo Mubarak-Suleimán", explicó a la edición digital de Al Ahram el general Safwat el-Zayat, exdirigente de los servicios secretos egipcios.
Ante Egipto se abren enormes esperanzas. También grandes incógnitas. El nuevo máximo dirigente, el general Mohamed Tantaui, se dirigió anoche a la nación para decir que el Consejo Supremo de las Fuerzas Armadas estudiaba la situación y sus próximas medidas, para homenajear a los jóvenes "mártires" de la revuelta y para rendir tributo a Hosni Mubarak por "sus sacrificios en tiempos de paz y de guerra". De Tantaui se esperaba una tutela temporal en la transición hacia la democracia. Eso era lo que había prometido en un anterior comunicado: conducir pacíficamente a los egipcios a una sociedad democrática. El Ejército ya había prometido levantar el estado de excepción cuando la gente desmontara el campamento de la plaza de la Liberación.
Sus primeras órdenes, no confirmadas oficialmente, han consistido en la destitución del Gobierno y en la disolución del Parlamento. En cualquier otra situación, esas decisiones serían interpretadas como el inicio de una dictadura de los espadones. En Egipto han puesto fin a un sistema tiránico, cruel y corrupto hasta la médula. El hecho de que el general Tantaui no mencionara siquiera a Suleimán se he interpretado como una ruptura seca con el poder caído. No ha habido el menor intento de simular alguna continuidad constitucional con el pasado.
Nueva generación de políticos
Conviene recordar, en cualquier caso, que Tantaui es amigo de Mubarak y le ha sido fiel hasta el final. Y que los generales de mayor rango, Tantaui y el resto de los miembros del Consejo Supremo de las Fuerzas Armadas, han sido parte esencial de la dictadura y se beneficiaron de la corrupción. El Ejército se negó a disparar contra la multitud en los momentos más críticos de la revuelta y eso, además de acrecentar su prestigio entre la población, permitió que la caída del régimen no conllevara un baño de sangre. No existe indicio alguno, sin embargo, de que los generales sean fervientes demócratas, ni de que estén dispuestos a renunciar a su poder y privilegios. Cabe suponer más bien lo contrario. La evolución de Egipto hacia un sistema de libertad y justicia no ha hecho más que empezar.
La mayor potencia del mundo árabe dispone, al menos, de una nueva generación de políticos. No son los ancianos Mohamed el Baradei o Amr Musa, que desde el inicio de la revuelta se postularon como posibles futuros presidentes de un Egipto democrático, sino los 20 o 30 jóvenes profesionales que organizaron a través de Facebook y el correo electrónico una revolución inspirada en la de Túnez, pero de volumen y consecuencias mucho mayores. El líder de ese grupo, Wael Ghoneim, ejecutivo comercial de Google en la región, casado con una estadounidense e ideológicamente liberal, representa mejor que nadie tanto el rostro como el impulso de una generación egipcia que desea libertad política, económica, social y religiosa, en un sistema capaz de integrar con igual comodidad a los Hermanos Musulmanes, a los profesionales laicos y al Egipto profundo, rural y analfabeto.