Monday, August 19, 2013
Good morning everyone. The news out of Egypt is awful today.
Remember Hosni Mubarak, the former tyrannical president of Egypt who was forced to resign following weeks of massive public protests during the Arab Spring demonstrations over 2 years ago? Well, he is back in the news today. An Egyptian court ordered his release from prison because Egypt has a rule that prohibits incarcerating a defendant for more than 2 years unless a final verdict has been entered.
Mubarak was jailed in April 2011. He was convicted in June, 2011 and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the deaths of 900 civilian protesters. However, his conviction and sentence was overturned on appeal and he is incarcerated at the Tora prison awaiting a retrial. Apparently, one of two pending corruption cases has been dismissed and the other one is going to be dismissed this week.
The Egyptian military arrested President Morsi on July 3rd after weeks of demonstrations protesting his policies. The military has refused to announce where they are detaining him. Senior officials of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ruling political party whose candidate, Mohamed Morsi, won the national election after Mubarak was deposed are also locked up at the Tora prison.
Meanwhile, approximately 1,000 people were killed last week as the military cleared the streets of protesters. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood ambushed and killed 25 police officers this weekend.
Demonstrators have also attacked and burned Christian (Coptic) churches.
Reports of Mubarak’s possible release later this week probably will produce an effect rather like what happens when gas is added to a raging fire.
The military crackdown is incompatible with democracy and civilian rule. No government can long survive without the consent of the governed. A military government that declares martial law and murders its own citizens ultimately undermines its legitimacy.
Unfortunately, many more people are likely to die before this situation sorts itself out.
In another ugly story reported by The Guardian, David Michael Miranda, who is Glen Greenwald’s domestic partner, was detained and interrogated by police officials for 9 hours at Heathrow Airport near London yesterday interrupting his return trip to Rio de Janeiro where he and Glenn reside. David is a Brazilian citizen.
Glenn has been publishing information that he has received from Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who has been granted asylum by Russia. David has been helping Glenn and the two men also have been communicating with the documentary filmaker Laura Poitras, who also has been disseminating information received from Snowden.
David was detained at Heathrow while returning to Rio after spending a week visiting Poitras in Berlin. The Guardian paid for his roundtrip ticket to meet with Poitras, so the trip obviously had a journalistic purpose.
Interrogating David as a potential suspect engaging in terrorist activity because he may have shared information with Poitras that he obtained from Snowden is a violation of the public’s right to know what its government and the NSA are doing and it’s also a violation of a journalist’s duty to inform the public.
Reporting the truth is not engaging in terrorist activity.
Harassing David for nine hours is pure intimidation with no legitimate purpose.