The new Abu Gharib


abu_graibh1When I first heard this news I tweeted, “Abu Gharib anyone” because it certainly seemed to take on the genocidal nature of that infamous, barbaric place in Iraqi/American history when people were rounded up indiscriminately into one central place and tortured, raped and murdered for no apparent reason than someone said they should.  That’s what military dictators do; fascism by nature quells even the aspiration to disagree with the State’s oppression, much less demonstrate against it as the people in Egypt are now doing; so killing that desire is most easily accomplished by killing the people who long for it.  Whatever you think of what’s happening in Egypt today, the fact that for far too many people it’s ok to kill, murder political opponents and especially those with a reasonable grievance for their dissent, is nothing short of genocide.

The Egyptian government acknowledged that its security forces had killed 36 Islamists in its custody Sunday, as the military leaders and the country’s Islamists vowed to keep up their fight over Egypt’s future.

An injured member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi is carried by members of the police and the army after they cleared Rabaa Adawiya Square. (Reuters)

An injured member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi is carried by members of the police and the army after they cleared Rabaa Adawiya Square. (Reuters)

The news of the deaths came on a day in which there appeared to be a pause in the street battles that have claimed more than 1,000 lives in recent days, most of them Islamists and their supporters gunned down by security forces. The Islamists took measures on Sunday to avoid confrontations, including canceling several protests of the military’s ouster of a democratically elected Islamist-led government.

While confirming the killings of the detainees on Sunday, the Ministry of the Interior said the deaths were the consequence of an escape attempt by Islamist prisoners. But officials of the main Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, described the deaths as “assassinations,” and claimed that the victims, which it said numbered 52, had been shot and tear-gassed through the windows of a locked prison van.

The government offered conflicting details throughout the day, once saying the detainees had suffocated to death in the van from tear gas to suppress an escape attempt, but later insisting that the Islamists died in a prison where they were taken.

In either case, the deaths were the fourth mass killing of civilians since the military took control on July 3, but the first time those killed were in government custody at the time.

The Islamists, followers of the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood, have vowed to continue their protests, both against the military’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi and the violence of recent days that started with the bloody crackdown on Brotherhood sit-ins that left hundreds dead.

Although it appeared that security forces were more restrained on Sunday — with no immediate reports of killings in the streets — Maj. Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, the country’s military leader, spoke out on national television in defiant and uncompromising tones, condemning the Islamists again as “terrorists,” but promising to restore democracy to the country.

The government has been pursuing a relentless campaign to paint the Islamists as pursuing violence, and has increasingly lashed out at journalists who do not echo that line, especially the foreign media.

This is what America has decided is far more important to have in power in Egypt than the Morsi government.  Whatever you may think of what Morsi did or did not do, he was not accused of mass murder of his political opponents or targeting of foreign journalists.  Our identification with such a regime can only forebode dire political consequences for America and Egypt in the future, near or far.  We have a name for that…..blowback.

The ‘Mother’ of all ironies


People all over the world are entitled to their opinion about the state of Israel but when these opinions are those of dissent to what the state is doing Israel has decided to ban such people terrorists.  With that name affixed to yours or the group to which you identify, Israel considers it a very real possibility you are a threat to their existence and liable to face preemptive action or even death.  As a result the alternative rock group Pixies had better watch out the state of Israeli might very well target them.

In what I consider the ‘mother of all ironies’, the Israeli promoter for the bands appearance, which the band cancelled in protest of the murder of people on a relief convoy to Gaza, said

“I am full of both sorrow and pain in light of the fact that our repeated attempts to present quality acts and festivals in Israel have increasingly been falling victim to what I can only describe as a form of cultural terrorism which is targeting Israel and the arts worldwide,” he wrote.

“Fans cannot be punished for the deeds of their governments.”


Two things about what monsieur Shuki Weiss, the author of the above quote,  said. The most onerous is his equating a group’s right for them to choose who they want to associate with to a term that has become synonymous to death and destruction, when most likely the reason for the Pixies cancellation was to protest against death and destruction of the Jewish state. The second point to be made is Weiss’ assertion that fans, read people, shouldn’t be punished for the actions of their government is probably something everyone in the Gaza strip is saying and has been saying since the Israeli blockade of that country.
Israel has claimed for itself ‘victim’ status which means anyone who offers any opposition to the State’s policies and/or its actions is considered a terrorist in the eyes of the Israeli establishment. While the old saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me’ used to have meaning, now the tag of terrorism means extra judicial action might be taken against such people in ways only that State can decide. To make that point clear, here is another ominous quote from the same article

“The Israeli authorities must do what they can to fight against those who are doing everything they can to prevent artists from performing in Israel,” she (Moran Paz, a spokeswoman) said, without elaborating.

If the Pixies were to join a caravan seeking to give aid to Gazans, they most likely would be singled out for targeted assassination as were the people on the Turkish convey earlier last week.

The Pixies as well as Elvis Costello are entertainers who have decided to take a courageous stand against murder and the complete disregard for the rule of law which the Israelis have embraced for quite some time. Usually there is nothing wrong with such protest; Americans have the right to associate with whomever they want as well as the right to protest and the right to free speech. Unfortunately the Israelis don’t see things that way so they heap upon such people who dissent perhaps the ugliest and most incendiary term, terrorist, they can which means absent bowing and scraping before the altar of Israeli power in any act of penitence, such people are doomed to failure or worse, death. If nothing else the events over the last week have proven that to be true. But it is extreme chutzpah for someone to self-righteously declare that people shouldn’t be held accountable for what their government does, when that is exactly what the State of Israel is doing to the people of Gaza. Monsieur Weiss’ protestation would have more impact if he at first voted for people in Israel who would end the blockade (Miscellany101 wonders if such politicians exist in that country) or joined the next aid caravan headed for the strip. Absent those two actions, Weiss’ statements are hypocritical at best and inflammatory at worse but he is as entitled to them as The Pixies are to boycotting or refusing to play in Israel because of its high crimes. In fact, The Pixies are doing the state a favor by opposing Israel’s actions because they refuse to be enablers of a country that is headed to self-destruction.  If it, Israel, takes just a minute or two to reflect on what it is that drove The Pixies to their decision, perhaps the state will change course. But who are we kidding…….Israel is inextricably headed towards international condemnation and perhaps war because of its racist policies which they seem to cling to more passionately than the religion they say is the reason for their occupation. So a hat tip to The Pixies for their telling truth to power. I wish I could shake their hands…..all of them.