Cairo, Egypt -- On a hot July evening this past summer, toward the end of our interview, Aref Desouki, vice-chair of a faction of the liberal Ghad Party, suddenly got defensive. After dodging questions about Egyptian State Security’s infiltration of his party, the bespectacled, cane-carrying mathematics professor wanted to emphasize that political conspiracies aren’t unique to Egypt. “You are controlled in the U.S. by an underground government,” he said, completely seriously. “A secret government that is related to the Zionists and the Jewish-Christian Zionists. For at least forty years, the U.S. has been more supportive of Israel and no U.S. president can go against this or he will be killed, like Kennedy. And when Clinton talked about Arab rights, they sent Monica to his office. And Monica is Jewish.”
Through nearly five months of interviews with opposition leaders in Egypt, I have come across perfectly well-educated people who happen to believe that the CIA killed Marilyn Monroe (because of her affair with Kennedy); MI-6 killed Princess Diana (because she was dating Dodi Al Fayyad, a Muslim); and the U.S. government was behind 9/11 (because a few Al Qaeda operatives couldn’t have possibly pulled off such a large operation), among many others. Yet inasmuch as these conspiracy theories typically emerge from deep-seated bigotries within Egyptian society, they are also fueled by the fact that, for nearly six decades, there were real conspiracies against the Egyptian people.
Slowly but surely, some of these conspiracies are coming to light. Earlier this month, activists stormed Interior Ministry, State Security, and police headquarters nationwide, finding numerous documents demonstrating the Mubarak regime’s deep interference in Egyptian political life. The activists found personal files containing printouts of their e-mails, transcripts of their phone conversations, data on their Skype conversations, and information on their Facebook activity. State Security tracked both their political work and personal lives, apparently digging for intimate details to humiliate regime opponents publicly.
In one document, State Security chief Hassan Abdel Rahman ordered a local officer in Beheira to “investigate the tax position” of Al Gabha Party Secretary Ibrahim Nawwar. (Al Gabha is a liberal party founded in 2007, which took a number of strong stances against the Mubarak regime, including boycotting the 2010 parliamentary elections.) The document noted that Nawwar “defended” Al Gabha Party chairman Osama Al Ghazali Harb’s decision to open local party’s headquarters for various liberal opposition movements’ activities. Another set of documents contained e-mails between leading liberal youth activist Esraa Abdel Fattah and her ex-husband, which indicated that State Security knew that reconciliation was possible and used agents to circulate rumors of an affair.
The documents also shed light on State Security’s immense spying capabilities. One document reportedly contains a full transcript of a meeting among top youth leaders, held in a tent that was erected in Tahrir Square during the revolt. The activists believe that State Security listened in through their cell phones, which can be tapped even if they are powered off, and, to avoid this kind of surveillance in the week prior to the January 25 demonstrations, they used to put their phones in an iron pot in another room during their meetings. But it became impossible to take this precaution after they began camping out in Tahrir Square.
Yet the most outrage-inducing documents suggest that State Security planned the January 1 bombing of Al Qiddissin Church in Alexandria, which killed 23 people and injured 70 more. A letter to Interior Minister Habib Al Adly, dated December 2, 2010, reportedly indicates that State Security used an imprisoned Islamist to help coordinate the attack, and contains information regarding the church’s entrances and exits. This thoroughly discredited the Mubarak regime’s January 23 announcement that an Al Qaeda-linked Palestinian group had executed the attack, during which Mubarak congratulated the police on state television for finding the perpetrators. Apparently, this was the dictator’s last-ditch effort to discourage the protests that would be held on Police Day two days later.
Of course, it is impossible to know whether any of this is true. The very fact that the documents pertaining to the church bombing were found so quickly raises important doubts about their validity. But since some conspiracy theories now have even a shred of documentary proof, conspiracy theories are most likely here to stay. After all, people now have ample reason for believing that their suspicions about their own government were completely justified. And these documents will likely encourage them to remain suspicious moving forward.
The only long-term solution for this problem is for future Egyptian governments to operate with maximal transparency. To its credit, the Supreme Military Council, which currently governs Egypt, took an important step recently when it announced the closing of State Security. And the public’s widespread acceptance of the results of last Saturday’s referendum on proposed constitutional amendments suggests that a more democratic future may hold the key to finally banishing some of the Egyptian people’s suspicions.
Eric Trager is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pennsylvania and an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
quote:Originally posted by tigerlily_misr: “You are controlled in the U.S. by an underground government,” he said, completely seriously. “A secret government that is related to the Zionists and the Jewish-Christian Zionists.
by Hugh Fitzgerald
"..The most dangerous and most powerful lobby in Washington is the Saudi-Arab lobby, the lobby that not only has worked steadfastly against American understanding of Islam (and not merely of the Arab war against Israel, as some fondly believe), but has also prevented any sensible measures that might long ago have been instituted, way back in the early 1970s, to raise the tax on gasoline and institute other measures to steadily diminish the reliance, not on "foreign oil" but on oil, period. That Saudi lobby has, in other words, managed to direct the energy policy of the largest oil-consumer in the world, and hence distorted the entire energy policy of the world, with enormous consequences.
Meanwhile, in Antisemitic La-La Land, Walt and Mearsheimer are now going about the country flogging their book and prating about the "Israel Lobby" that they claim, idiotically, was responsible for the war in Iraq. Do they not know how opposed to the Iraq War the Israeli military was? What do they know, other than that the names "Wolfowitz" and "Perle" and "Feith" for them mean far more than "Bush" and "Cheney" and "Rice"? For them, who know nothing about what really has gone on in Washington over the past 30 years, the "Israel Lobby" is what counts about the Iraq venture that was supported by, inter alios, Wolfowitz, Feith, and Perle (only the first two of whom were government officials, and who have been out of Pentagon posts for at least two years) as well as by everyone else in and around the top who was not named "Wolfowitz" and "Feith" and "Perle."
For what, exactly, does this “Israel Lobby” count? For helping get passed foreign aid for both Israel and -- since AIPAC has allowed itself to believe that Egypt is a "force for peace" -- for Egypt as well. For getting a few symbolic resolutions past, and making sure that noises are made quadrennially about moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem, and things at that level. But that's about it for the famously overrated "Israel Lobby," which itself has proven incapable, or unwilling, to understand Islam, and therefore cannot accurately describe what Israel faces -- a Lesser Jihad that can be contained, but to which there is no "solution" (just as there is no "solution" to the Larger Jihad, except permanent containment and a deliberate attempt by Infidels to constrain the power of Muslim states and societies and individuals to wreak harm on Infidels). That "Israel Lobby" has done nothing t help educate Congressmen about Islam -- which would be a service not only to Israel, but to the entire West.
Meanwhile, the real power in Washington is the Saudi-Arab Lobby. It has managed to prevent a sensible policy toward Islam. It has managed to prevent any understanding of the intruments of Jihad -- the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da'wa, demographic conquest -- that now threaten the historic center of the West itself: Europe. It has prevented the development of an energy policy based on the goal of diminishing use of oil and other fossil fuels, that ought to have begun more than three decades ago.
But just ask Walt and Mearsheimer about the Saudi Lobby. They won't know what you are talking about. Ask them about J. B. Kelly's article "Of Valuable Oil and Worthless Policies." They haven't a clue.
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For Muslim politicians, running for office is the American way:
Across the country, dozens of Muslims have actively engaged in the American political process, running for — and winning — elected offices. From a mayor in New Jersey; to state representatives in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa, Maryland and Missouri; to congressmen in Minnesota and Indiana, American politicians from the Muslim faith are increasingly in political positions.