11A042 Mubaraktomy? by Jim Davies, 2/11/2011    

Every government maintains its charade only while its subjects give their implied consent; the closest case of an explicit consent is the US Constitution, and that falls a very long way short. Today Egypt's is teetering on the brink of bloodshed as consent there has clearly been withdrawn, so while history is busy getting made, let's review why.

Robert Tait, formerly of the London Guardian, reported his experience after flying to Cairo to gain "an insight into the inner workings of the Mubarak régime. It told me all I needed to know about why it had become hated, feared and loathed by the mass of ordinary Egyptians." He calls it "Twenty eight hours in Egypt's torture machine" saying that after being taken to an unmarked building he saw and heard other prisoners being brutalized with the "sickening, rapid click-click-clicking of the electrocuting device sound[ing] like an angry rattlesnake as it passed within inches of my face." He was lucky; his passport and journalist credentials earned him a one-way trip back to the airport. His translator was also released, after agreeing that the bruises he suffered were caused by having slept on the floor.

According to OpEdNews.com Mubarak's heir-apparent Omar Suleiman played a "central role" in the US rendition program - under which, we can recall, prisoners who would not talk enough while in American hands were spirited to allied governments who would torture them more freely. Suleiman ran the Egyptian General Intelligence Service - a kind of Gestapo on the Nile - and supervised all treatment of renditioned prisoners; one one occasion taking part himself, according to that site. Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib was "repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks" at the hands of Egypt's new VP. Yesterday's ZGBlog mentioned part of Julian Assange's defense against deportation to Sweden is that its government also renditioned prisoners to Egypt. Let's hope Suleiman doesn't get his electrodes on that other Australian too.

In contrast, yesterday the CS Monitor offered an explanation for the Cairo protests - but it was a whitewash job. It lists five ways the country's constitution stifles opposition, and all five have to do with political "rights". It implies that if only Egypt had a constitution like ours, all would be well. The five are:

  1. Thirty years of "emergency law" permitting the government to break up public demonstrations, conduct searches without approval, detain suspects indefinitely, arrest them without trial, and try civilians in a military court. Well, yes; but except perhaps in degree, how does ours differ? Bradley Manning, can you tell us?
  2. Opposing political parties are marginalized. But not our Libertarian party?
  3. "The right to run for president is severely limited." Here, you must be 35 and a native-born American, or else be called Barry Sotero.
  4. Elections are not subject to judicial oversight. Here, in 2000 the Supreme Court made all the difference in the world.
  5. Presidents can run as often as they like. Here, they have different names and faces but also run as often as they like.

Freedom from torture and other oppression is not achieved by tidying up political rules, or by replacing one government by another. It's done by abolishing political activity, and the rules by which it is perfumed.

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