Hillary’s Tortured Democracy and the Suleiman “Assassination Attempt”

At a security conference in Munich today, Hillary Clinton announced that America’s torturer, Omar Suleiman, must be in charge of Egypt’s “transition” to “democracy.”

The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton today signalled how far the US has swung its support behind vice-president Omar Suleiman and the transition process he is leading in Egypt.

Clinton was speaking at a security conference in Munich today, where the watchword on Egypt was the need for orderly transition.

In her most striking remarks, the US secretary of state said: “There are forces at work in any society, particularly one that is facing these kind of challenges, that will try to derail or overtake the process to pursue their own agenda, which is why I think it’s important to follow the transition process announced by the Egyptian government, actually headed by vice-president Omar Suleiman.”

This, just hours after Obama reiterated that “it’s not up to us” to determine the future of Egypt.

See the FT for an even more detailed description of Hillary’s address.

Meanwhile, our government appears to be the only entity–aside from Fox News–pushing a totally unconfirmed report that Hillary’s choice to lead Egypt’s “democracy” survived an assassination attempt the other day.

I first learned about the rumor when David Corn reacted on Twitter to a Fox reporter asking about it.

Q: Do you know anything about assassination attempt on #Egypt VP? G: I’m not going to get into that question.//Huh?

I found Robert Gibbs’ response (at least as Corn captured it–the WH has not released a transcript) fascinating. You would think if Gibbs knew the allegation was false, he’d say so in no uncertain terms. If he didn’t know about it, he’d tell reporters he’d get back to them on it. But instead, “I’m not going to get into that question.”

Which is not dissimilar from the way Hillary used this alleged assassination attempt in Munich. In spite of the fact that only Fox has reported it in the US, the German diplomat who at one point seemed to confirm subsequently retracted it, and an Egyptian official has denied it, Hillary used the alleged assassination to support her case that stability is key in the transition to Egyptian “democracy.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the conference that the news of the assassination attempt reflects the challenges of restoring stability in Egypt.

While I haven’t found a direct transcription of this yet, it appears that, like Gibbs, Hillary acknowledged the existence of an “assassination plot” that only Fox seems to know exists, without directly confirming it, and then used it to emphasize how the danger of such things demonstrates the need for our torturer to oversee a stable transition in Egypt.

I’m having a bit of deja vu this morning. Last time I remember these kinds of linguistic tricks, Dick Cheney and George Bush were using them to convince us to forcibly impose democracy on Iraq in 2002-2003.

  1. nextstopchicago says:

    Yeah, I’d been watching this play out too. The live-blogs mentioned this last night essentially as a rumor, one (I think al-Jazeera) even saying, of a Fox report, “Fox could not confirm.” I like the idea of treating all Fox reports as mere rumors unless Fox can offer specific evidence.

    My guess is that the regime initially like the idea and casually dropped it into an interview, but then later, someone realized that it might encourage Suleiman haters in the Army to actually try.

  2. phred says:

    What do you bet Hillary took a page out of the circular sourcing book of BushCo… USG leaks to Fox that there was an assassination attempt on Suleiman, USG then cites Fox report as evidence there was an assassination attempt on Suleiman. And behold a data point is born.

    It is disgusting to see O trade-in one dictator for another. And it is infuriating to listen to Hillary then lecture us on how the Egyptians better be careful or they might just get another dictator. In this case, she is pulling a Fox maneuver of accusing others of attempting to do something, that one is in fact, already doing themselves.

    Someday, I would like to not be ashamed of my government.

    • tanbark says:

      Phred: Spot on! :o)

      And, of Hillary: “She really needs to STFU.”

      Not at all, Zach. :o) Kissing up to the rightwing worked SO well for her in her presidential run.

      At this point, I’m thinking that Obama deserves to have her bail to have another go at him in 2012. It be would poetic justice, both ways.

      • dabear says:

        In your wildest dreams. OFA would never prop her up like they have Sarah Palin to be the women to run against him so he could “win”. One, Hillary isn’t an idiot. She will not run. So KOS and many on FDL can all let go of the wet dreams in hopes one of those two women run against him. I know it would be easy to just cut and paste blog post from 2008 and give the cheeto fingers a break for 2012 but no such luck.

        • bmaz says:

          I have no idea where you come up with the statement that “many on FDL” have a “wet dream” of Hillary running against Obama. Is that from commenters, or are you alleging it is something that the blog itself is engaging in? Personally, I would love to see someone on the left primary Obama, but do not have, and have never had, any illusions that it would be Hillary or that she is particularly to the left of Obama. What is your foundation for all this??

          • dabear says:

            No, bmaz. Not saying FDL as a whole. I think the frontpagers have been doing a bang up job for the most part since the election with some great investigative journalism. I am loving it and that is why I came back. I should have said “some” and not “many”. It just becomes a “many” in comments whenever the name Hillary goes on a page. Then when it becomes a sexist comment I am going to speak up. It becomes a huge distraction, and I try to bit my tongue and have for many times, but when something like this is up, trying to put pieces together that will end up hopefully help the Egyptian people in the long run, once they leave the streets, and the cameras turn off and the world “forgets” again, I really should have the same right to get to say STFU already just every once and a while. No? Rather than getting the blame to be one that is still caught up in “bile”. Bile-hum-bug. It has nothing to do with trying to participate and share my political voice on issues that are at hand. Being called a “troll” is what has helped split up many of the “veal pin” boards, and yes I would say that “some posters”, not Jane or FDL as a whole, at FDL allow themselves to be neutered in political leftist voice, many times around here. I love Emptywheel, by the way and have followed Marcy it for a very long time because of her great investigative pieces that make us think.

    • Mauimom says:

      I’d just like to footnote Hillary’s activities in this, and reference them to all the folks who claim we would have been better off electing Hillary over Obama.

      I loathe Obama, but I think it’s false comfort to think we would have gotten better with Hillary.

      • phred says:

        Agreed. Given the behavior of elected Democrats en masse in Washinton, D.C. over the past few years, I’m hard pressed to think of any that would truly stand up for the principles they trot out only for campaigns.

        This alone is sufficient reason for Egyptians to keep telling the west in general and the US in particular to butt out. We do not have their interests at heart and I suspect it will be quite some time yet before we have a political structure that truly works toward promoting democracy and fair trade around the world.

    • holeybuybull says:

      If Hillary “The Hawk” Clinton can’t recognize the inherent hypocrisy of her statements in support of Torturer-in-Chief Suleiman, she should resign immediately. After all, we already have one Sec. of War (Gates), we don’t need another one.

  3. PeasantParty says:

    We/US look so foolish. Hilary still has no idea what the people in the street want and refuses to listen.

    Has any other nation made statements regarding Egypt? I read somewhere that Isreal is very worried and has sent in their own spook types/Mosaad. I haven’t seen confirmation of that either, but it would not surprise me at all.

    • phred says:

      Hilary still has no idea what the people in the street want and refuses to listen.

      I respectfully disagree. Hillary knows exactly what the protesters want and it scares the living daylights out of her and the rest of the MOTU.

      Imagine if ME countries actually governed themselves in a way that benefited the public, multi-national corporations would not get the sweetheart deals they currently enjoy and their profits would decrease. Wall Street can’t have that as their current economic model demands quarterly growth (this allows them to game the system, siphoning vast sums of money out of the markets via short-term market movements). Stocks of the afore-mentioned companies would get hammered, investors and bonus-laden CEOs would be in an uproar.

      This is the real threat.

      There is also the issue of Israel and the fact that democratic ME countries would like demand better treatment of Palestinians, but imo that is secondary to the over-arching concern that western corporations can operate with minimal costs and interference in the ME. Just my opinion though, ymmv.

      • felicity says:

        Your ‘opinion’ is standard American foreign policy. Large American corporations, financial and non-financial, use governments and especially the leadership of the US government to make it easier to exploit the world’s resources and its people.

        • dabear says:

          See my comment @16. That seems some confirmation of the “corporations and financial” now sending their trial balloons out.

      • nextstopchicago says:

        Deleted to avoid “blog-whoring” as someone called it yesterday – I’ve posted too much and need to do some listening.

    • turtlelucy says:

      I’m so glad someone has finally mentioned ElBaradei. I’ve had enormous respect for him since he headed the United Nations Nuclear Control Agency. I was thrilled when I heard he had returned to Egypt and he appeared to have a lot of credibility with the protesters. But I’ve heard nothing about him for a number of days. Damn, here we go again, being on the wrong side of our best democratic ideals!

      • Mary says:

        THere has definitely been a push to keep him out of the focus. It’s a question as to whether he would or could have been the kind of leader that is needed to take Egypt to the next step, but he was committed to working on getting Egypt to the next step and on disabusing the Press of the fixation that the Muslim Brotherhood would immediately take over all of Egypt if Mubarak was displaced.

        He was to be included in a group that was going to be representative of factions in the uprisings to try to meet with the army and others to negotiate a resolution. Now, instead, anyone who has been noticed as meeting with him within the last couple of days is being rounded up and “detained” to coordinate with Clinton going big time on her Scheherazadian sales pitch for her Arabian Knight.

        @56 – better tradecraft would point out the huge problems in missioncraft. Pong back to Congress.

  4. Mary says:

    A little OT, but Hill’s been a busy girl. When she wasn’t telling the Egyptians to shut up and get in line behind our hand picked torturer, she was putting pressure on Pakistan to release our killer-diplomats.


    And now there’s another Congressional delegation in Pakistan adding their voices to Issa’s. Buck McKeon (R-Cal), John Kline (R-MN) and the bubbly boy whose main qualification for taking the lead on House Intel for the Dems was his inability to differentiate between Sunni and Shia, Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) are all there asking for Davis too. And despite those earlier stories about how the US was going to cooperate over the SUV and driver etc., they are now saying they don’t know nuthin about no SUV – without even trying for a backstory.

    I guess if they’re really lucky they could get what they want and, just as the steam is running out in Egypt they could light a fire in Pakistan that puts the other bonfires to shame.

    And then would someone be holding a hearing with Issa, asking him whether or not he received any briefings that Pakistan is “unstable” and that things like US killings in the street, accompanies by vehicles mowing down pedestrians and then pulling guns on the civilians who rush to the aid of the mowed down – – that things like that might have a deletorious effect?

    • phred says:

      Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)

      Well well, isn’t that interesting. Correct me if I’m wrong Mary, but isn’t he best buds with Jose Rodriguez (former-CIA) Destroyer of Torture Tapes?

      Kinda makes one wonder who our murderous “diplomat” in Pakistan was working for and what he was up to, doesn’t it?

      Lets hope the Pakistanis have the good sense to smile and nod and send our Congressional delegations packing.

      • holeybuybull says:

        The US would benefit more from Pakistan arresting and incarcerating the members of those delegations. They’d be unable to inflict more damaging policies on the American people and the rest of the world if they weren’t here.

  5. Mary says:

    BTW – given all the belt tightening going on – who is paying for all these trips to Pakistan by members of Congress?

    McKeon was there on behalf of the House Armed Services Committee to threaten to cut off aid if Davis isn’t released.


    Umm, if the detention of one guy who was killing people in the streets so far outweighs our “national security interest” of pouring money hand over fist into Pakistan’s military that we are willing to cut off aid until he’s released – – – haven’t we just found one good budget cut item just waiting to happen? I mean, if we can cut if off if they don’t release him, surely we can cut if off if they do as well.

    The Voice of Russia (note agenda) has an interview up on the case


    which says that the Pres, PM and Army Chief have all met, though, and agreed to leave the case with the courts.

    Seriously – if one man, Davis or Suleiman, can result in our cutting off aid – then why don’t we just cut it anyway?

    • SueDe says:

      What?!?!! Cut off aid to Pakistan (or Egypt)? What would we do for “leverage” to influence the outcomes we want? Foreign aid, particularly military aid, is the only reason some of these countries listen to us at all – that and our threat to use our military to control events, although that doesn’t seem to be a workable option in the case of either Pakistan or Egypt. At least not yet.

  6. radiofreewill says:

    I read this as: The global ruling class is rallying behind the beleaguered Suleiman…

    …it must be a philosophy thing.

        • dabear says:

          It sure and the heck does. Did you read @30 about who is heading the “Committee of Wise Men”. Oddly enough the EU sat up something that also just happens to be called the “Committee of Wise Men” in 2007 that deals “energy”.

        • Mary says:

          Some of the Egyptian sources (and yeah, everyone has an agenda) are also speculating on Bedouin tribes in the area. Apparently they have long been unhappy with their share of pipeline revenue and the spirit of revolt may have moved them. But that’s just spec too. Small bomb, little damage, and most of the pipeline underground not affected. Also elements to be considered in whichever agenda is being pushed at any given time.

  7. rgreen says:

    A couple of thoughts for the language police: 1) there is a at least a subtle difference beween an assassination plot and an attempt. 2) what exactly is meant by the phrase “restoring stability in Egypt”?

  8. dabear says:

    Though this whole thing sounds like a trial ballon, but supposedly “senior Obama Administrations sources” did respond shortly after the “attempt” happened. Who said, “organized attack” on Jan 29? Where is that quote? Anyone remember it coming up before yesterday?

    Fox reports Suleiman was targeted shortly after being named to his post on January 29, with senior Obama Administration sources describing the attempt as an “organized attack” on Suleiman’s motorcade.

    Edited: And who was the “security official” in Egypt that denied the attempt happened back on the 29th?

      • dabear says:

        Yup, looks like the puzzle is coming together nicely. America is good at this shit and they sent those puzzle pieces to the “graphic department” many days ago. With “graphics department” now sending them to the “printing presses”. They are just now, 12 days later, pulling the pieces out one by one.

      • dabear says:

        As Siun pointed out this morning, the players vying for the whole puzzle:

        A Committee of Wise Men – including 18 intellectuals and businessmen has declared that “the main demand of protesters in Tahrir Square was for President Hosni Mubarak to step down and transfer his authority to Vice-President Omar Suleiman.

        It only makes sense they will be the winners take all. The puzzle is complete. “The committee was formed as Nobel Prize winner Ahmed Zeweil.” From wikipedia.

        Dr. Zewail has been nominated and will participate in President Barack Obama’s Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The council will talk about education, science, defense, energy, the economy, and technology.

        • dabear says:

          Do you want to write the piece, EW? You can probably put it together faster than I? If I did I would have to cross post from the blog where I frontpage to MyFiredoglake. You will get a bigger readership.

  9. DavidKaib says:

    The appointment of Suleiman was misunderstood by many because it looked like a bad attempt to curry favor with the populace. But that was never the point. The point was always to solidify the support of the US foreign policy establishment, and clearly that succeeded. Whether they will continue to operate on this matter without the interference of the rest of us, on the other hand, is an open question.

    • dabear says:

      Well, they will “continue to operate on this matter without the rest of us” with “the rest of us” meaning the American left. They could give a crap what we say or have ever said about rendition. Will they get away with it with the Egyptian people? That will and can only be confirmed if they end up saying they will compromise on Suleiman staying to lead the transition with the rest going. Meaning if the Egyptian protesters compromise on him, then rendition of “terrorist” regarding American’s current wars is more important to us than them. They do care about their citizens being tortured. I have no clue what the people in the streets of Egypt think or feel about the rendition of people from other countries accused to be involved in 9/11 and our current wars.

      • DavidKaib says:

        I think they do care – not for their own sake, but simply in the sense that they know they have to keep up appearances. Elites do not act with a totally free hand – they have to talk in terms of democracy and security, they cannot offer imperial reasons for their actions. If the justifications did not mater, they would not spend so much time trying to convince those of us who are listening. Change has always come when regular people have been able to exploit this.

  10. arcadesproject says:

    Reading and re-reading Hillary’s comments, I’m still shocked at their naked arrogance. It illustrates how deeply the USG is committed to the interests of the MOTU. (Meanwhile, over in Myanmar, an ex-general, deeply implicated in the depredations of the preceding junta, has become the first ‘civilian’ head of state in that country. Another hand-picked instrument of the new world order?)

  11. Zachary Mason says:

    The United States acts unjustifiably and irresponsibly when it interferes in the internal politics of other countries. How could Hillary have been more rude, pretentious, and wrong when she said Egypt “must” replace Mubarak with Suleiman the war criminal?

    She really needs to STFU.

    • geoshmoe says:

      I Agree with that.

      Maybe it”s time for Hillary to move toward retirement, as she has intimated a few times, at least from the high profile public officialdom.

      And be the “babushka” and grandmother, and ah… ah, “learn to bake cookies…?!”

      Ah… ah well and you know… ah, maybe take another course in elocution, so she can announce the event, with a new clear syntax in her speech, without over use of the ubiquitous term: ah.

      Why she can’t sit back and allow things to develop under the covert /shadow ops that inevitably work their wonders, and be able to take pride in what ever is the outcome, I don’t get.

      O and Hil are out there pronouncing things “unnacceptable” right and left, and grandstanding about “democracy” and who is in and who isn’t, and so on, but way too early, (or maybe late ) in the game, seems amateurish to me.

      Where are the bank disclosures promised from JA?

      • bmaz says:

        I think it quite likely Clinton would be taking most of the same positions on her own; but, that said, what she is doing here is carrying out the express policy of the Obama Administration, blaming her personally for it is pinning the tail on the wrong donkey.

        • tanbark says:

          BMaz, I’m not sure about Hillary just being Obama’s handmaiden on this.

          She’s got that “property of AIPAC” tatt on her butt, and alway has had it.

          Also, she’s certainly watching events, ALL events, to see if Obama’s numbers will tank enough to make him vulnerable to other dems in 2012. I feel sure that she’s taking the position of telling him:

          “Whatever you SAY, just remember that if this plate falls, the gravitational pull on the rest of your presidency could be substantial.”

          Hillary’s gone off the reservation on her own, a time or two, already. It’s probably too early for a “principled resignation” for her, just now, but if she waits too long, she’ll be so connnected with him in the voters minds that she won’t have a chance. She’s walking as much of a tightrope as Obama, for the time being.

    • liberaldem says:

      Indeed she does. I’m still hoping that somehow the people of Egypt will get a better, more fair and just government-without Mr. Suleiman.

  12. Funnydiva2002 says:


    Not Acceptable.

    FUCK OFF, HILL, and the BlowJob you rode in on!!!

    How much more tone-deaf can this Administration be?

    • dabear says:

      Oops. There is one of those cheeto finger “cut and paste” from 2008 now. Can you all at least get more original? Can you tell from my comments here that have some fucking substance that most supporters of Hillary in 2008 have moved the fuck on to real concerns like the Egyptian people and Pan-Arab revolution and people willing to put their bodies in the streets. They are not latte-carrying-fake-Che-loving-hopium revolutionaries. They are the real deal. This is the reason that I do not blog on the veal pen blogs that often. The selfishness, and yes, sexist bullshit, makes me want to vomit.

        • dabear says:

          “Troll” But another cut and paste from 2008. People are not leaving boards anymore where we all once worked together against the neo-cons. Not going to happen and I will be damned before I watch you little turps get away with that shit again.

          • dabear says:

            Now, can we all get back on the same page and focus. I know it is tough but how about stretch you brain a bit and respond to @30.

      • bmaz says:

        So, now you are calling this blog “the veal pen”? Who the fuck are you to spew such unadulterated crap? And you can immediately stop calling other commenters you disagree with asshole, or you are done (won’t be a “slap on the wrist” either).

        • dabear says:

          Okay, bmaz. One of your commenters can make a sexist comment and I get the final smack down for saying asshole. How about you go back to @20 and get that often my comments are appreciated when it comes to researching issues that can help us “all”.

      • PJEvans says:

        I don’t know who you are, and don’t care either, but you’re insulting someone who’s been commenting here longer than you’ve been around.
        ~~~Edited by Moderator~~~

        • bmaz says:

          Okay folks, one and all, it is a tough conversation that lies at the root of this post; it goes back to things we thought were changing for the better in 2008, but quite clearly have not. DaBear was a little out of line earlier and has gotten back on topic and has given some worthwhile contribution to the discussion. But the same request for civility toward one another applies to all. It is one thing to be tough and blistering on the subject matter of comments, but another to just be lighting up the commenter.

          • dabear says:

            Sorry, I wrote my comment before I read yours. I’m toast for a bit and going to go soak myself in a hot cup of tea. :)

              • dabear says:

                it is a tough conversation that lies at the root of this post; it goes back to things we thought were changing for the better in 2008, but quite clearly have not.

                You said that very well. I could not agree more. And I am making no excuses, besides today I was just not willing to have my mouth filled with blood from bitting my tongue, but I also am still coming off of watching what happens “when the cameras turn off.” (I had been keeping up with your pieces on az)

                I so fear for the Egyptians, but more so want to make sure we will continue to stand with them well after this. I personally would rather have Hillary Clinton opening her mouth giving us things we can pick apart to turn into “facts” and put daylight on them rather than running the probable risk of forgetting about our solidarity with the Egyptian people as soon as the talking heads get off the TV.

                I have a piece I think you can relate to in MyFDL, Continue to Stand with Us, and a link in there about our public defender here. (She is a powerhouse that seldom gets mainstream airtime other than Democracy Now! who has been following her for years). Maybe, we can have a metaphorical drink together: there has just been no time to grieve and figure out how to rally more troops here to get out in our streets.

                • bmaz says:

                  I have never met Garcia, but know of her a little. She has a good reputation. She is technically the “Legal Defender”, which is like the “Public Defender”, but a completely separate office. Essentially, the bigger counties like Maricopa and Pima were having so many cases with co-defendants and other conflict situations, that instead of always hiring private attorneys on contract at an hourly charge, they decided it would be economically sensible to have a second government run defenders office (a smart move too I think). I have several friends here in Phoenix that work at the Maricopa County Legal Defender’s Office, and they do quite good work.

                  • dabear says:

                    It has amazed me that Pima has kept her on. Beck and Sheriff Jo have been after her hard especially in this last year. I figure she might be keeping a low profile at the moment since the witch hunt has also been on to get rid of Dupnik. When those two go, I fear Tucson will loose anything that even resembles “liberal” anymore and I have no clue where to move.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Arpaio is starting to weaken, and he has bigger problems coming if what I am hearing is correct. Beck is a loon and many are starting to figure that out (you know where Beck came from don’t you – he was a loony morning radio show asshole here who ended up getting arrested for stealing public Christmas decorations from the City of Scottsdale). Dupnik is a tough old coot; the Republicans have come for him several times before, he is still there.

          • nextstopchicago says:

            I think you’re right in saying this sheds new light on “things we thought were changing for the better in 2008”.

            But I think you’re wrong to say “clearly have not.” I’d say “they clearly have not changed as much …”

            While I’d like immensely more from the administration, I do think they’ve carved out a space for the opposition. I’m not convinced Bush would have insisted the military avoid bloodshed. I thought it was all over during teh all-out attack of Mubarak’s plainclothes thugs two days ago, but the heroes of Tahrir Square held them off. And now, almost all of the reporters and activists arrested have been released. I can’t see the Bush administration pushing that hard.

            I’m expecting you’ll counter that Obama “had to” because it was simply too embarrassing, and that Bush would have had to as well. You may be right so I hope to see the case.

            • bmaz says:

              Oh, I don’t necessarily disagree with any of that actually. I am not saying Obama is not, on the whole, better than Bush. It is just not by very freaking much. And on civil liberties issues, I actually think the somewhat neutered Bush of the last year or two of his presidency may have been less harmful than what Obama has been. Now those horrid policies of the early and mid Bush years have become ratified and, in some cases, exceeded and exacerbated by a Democratic President and Congress.

              And there was an energy and willingness for a broad cross section, but notably youth, to really change the moribund direction of this country. Obama has killed it. That kills me.

              • Kelly Canfield says:

                Obama has killed it. That kills me.

                Yep. That’s it.

                And that’s why the Democrats got fired in the last election; not because of deficits/spending. They got fired for not reversing this crappy direction, for which there was a clear mandate.

                People are going to fire everybody again come 2012, because we still want what we wanted in 2008!

                • Kassandra says:

                  They got fired becasue it was the plan
                  as Kissinger said in a quote I can’t find anymore “Obama is in there to assure the New World Order”. And, so far he’s going a fine job of it.
                  It was nearly painful to watch him deal with what the people expected when he had clear majorities in both houses and kept appealing to the right. Now, I think he’s got the congress he wants and the excuses sound more plausible.
                  The thing that amazes me is that people still so desperately want to believe and the media sure lets them

                  After Citizens United, I don’t think we even HAVE the chance to vote anyone out the PTB want in there.
                  I watched my new nutso republican governor waltz into office with a half billion bucks from the corporations while her democratic challenger practically stood in as a beard.

                  thankfully, some were ready for her corporatist attacks on environmental law and she’s already got about 3 lawsuits going as of the last month.
                  I smell recall.

                  Obama will not be primaries and the last 4 years the iron fist is going to come completely out of the glove

              • nextstopchicago says:

                It’s ridiculous, but reading combined with thinking of the course of this crisis, it all actuallly made me cry just a bit. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck!

              • tanbark says:

                “…just not by very freaking much…”

                Second that motion!

                I ended an argument (and a friendship) with two old democratic buds on this one:

                “Tell me the ways in which Barack Obama has been better for progressives, than George Bush?”

                Talk about some piss-thin gruel! :o)

              • Mary says:

                “Obama has killed it. That kills me.”


                I’m not sure that he’s been better on the whole even. Maybe – but putting a Kagan on the Sup Ct is something that even Bush wasn’t allowed to get by with and she’s lifetime. Hillary would also likely have cut better deals on Healthcare (Obama gives away the farm as his first maneuver, then tries to negotiate with the plow he still has in the barn).

                He’s also been much more vicious with whistleblowers. Palin’s state trooper abuses fade with how he’s targeted good guys to protect notgoodguysandnotgoodpolicy. And he has NO vision and NO plan. He’s a jumble of reactionary moves and he really and truly believes his own spiteful spits about people like Krugman and Stiglitz when they try to help him.

                It’s sad to see where he’s taken us as a nation – the reinforcement he’s given to the worst of the Bush policies.

            • emptywheel says:

              Having read the WL cables, I actually think there was a lot of continuity in our policy towards Egypt (not least bc Scobey is a holdover). We’ve been completely ineffectively pushing Mubarak to reform for years, we’ve been consistently supporting NGOs (who are not the ones behind this uprising, which is part of our focus problem). Hell, there’s a cable from 2005 showing Liz BabyDick Cheney pushing Mubarak to have real election monitors.

              In his comments yesterday, Cheney sounded like O–basically that the Egyptians get to decide, and that it may be time for Mubarak. He’s insistent that Mubarak be treated well, but I don’t think anyone believes O will support a trial for Mubarak. For obvious reasons.

        • dabear says:

          Okay, PJ, you have made your point. I am am not ashamed one bit to say I am saddened by being the one called a troll when confronting a sexist comment that had nothing to do with the topic of this thread. And, my friend, perhaps one day you will realize that sometimes it takes thicker skin to say one is saddened by the unhelpful vile spewed in this world rather than returning a comment with “Fuck Off” because someone had the nerve to speak out against something that is helpful to “none”.

    • turtlelucy says:

      I see nothing funny about you, altho I’ll accept your self-definition as a ‘diva.’ Your language is unacceptable to me. I regret that the powers that be allow this on a site of some intellectual import. But, for me, when I come upon such a comment, the whole site loses credibility. I assume others are okay with it, since no one else complains, but this makes these sites just as objectionable as those on the crazy right. This is every bit as bad, without qualification!

      • phred says:

        Hmmm, I must be slow today, there are a lot of arguments that I am not following…

        So in your comment at #60 you used “damn”. So is it, “fuck” or “blowjob” that you find unacceptable?

        The language troubles me far less than Hillary (and ObamaCo at large) going to bat to install a torturer to replace a dictator. In that sense, Funnydiva’s fit of pique seems pretty reasonable to me.

        Of course, I have been known to be wildly foul-mouthed myself when provoked, so perhaps mine is not an unbiased opinion ; )

      • Frank33 says:

        I assume others are okay with it, since no one else complains, but this makes these sites just as objectionable as those on the crazy right. This is every bit as bad, without qualification!

        You are sad. You seem to think this Post and the comments should make you happy clappy. Those Firedogs can be unkind, especially when this site is slandered. Last week, defending Bradley Manning was the same as defending child molesters. Now FDL is as bad as…Daily Kos.

        Oh if only people would not be so critical of Hillary Clinton. If only commentators would be nicer. If only the internet could be shut down when the government desires it. Then Cass Sunstein and Barack Obama and their censorship will be successful. Hillary is that you?

      • PJEvans says:

        You need to spend more time at FDL late-late-night, or else grow thicker skin WRT four-letter words.

        (Where are all these pearl-clutchers coming from?)

  13. 300SDL says:

    Shorter Clinton: Since the tuberculosis of Mubarak isn’t working, we want to give the people of Egypt the emphysema of Suleiman.

    That will really show those protesters our good faith—substituting one pliable sock puppet proxy with another. Looks to me like the US has become the enemy it once despised.

    • Mary says:

      The good thing is that the Dept of Justice has determine that repeated bouts of suffocation are really just tools towards achieving a constructive dialog.

  14. deep harm says:

    Illuminating article about Suleiman on the website of a Malaysian human rights group reports that he was directly involved in torture and describes his importance to US policies in the region. http://aliran.com/4321.html
    But, the importance of the Suez canal to oil shipping and US/allied naval operations are a more likely focus of State Department plans than restoring the human rights of 80 million people.

  15. Mary says:

    @22 Reyes, Issa, McKeon and calls from Hillary. All in the middle of the Egyptian meltdown and with the Pakistan existing unrest, they are willing to that publically push to get him out, without regard to what is going to happen in Pakistan if that happens.

    Not even willing to sit quietly for a few weeks and try to keep things quiet while backchanneling – both Repubs and Obamacos feel they have to come out publically swinging to get him out asap. Almost as if they think the “wrong” kind of info might be forthcoming from him.

    @24 – :) It’s actually kind of interesting to see them toss this gambit down in both Pakistan and Egypt. Despite our “national security” absolutely requiring support of despots in those countries and huge infusions of military and “elite” assassiation/rendition/etc. help and training – one person, be it Suleiman or Davis – is now supposedly grounds and reason for cutting off aid. And then what? They seem to think that the military in the two countries will be more loyal to a US paycheck than to anything else and will force the outcomes. But realistically – what do they think they are putting on the table? Issa and McKeon are really willing, with US soldiers right there on the boarder and operating behind the boarders as well, really going to turn the Pak military against them, just to get Davis out?

    Cut off $$ to the Egyptian military and part of the BEST case scenario is that the army quits blocking the Gaza border.

    More scarey than the Egyptian volatility is how shallowly the US Congress seems to view the whole thing.

    • phred says:

      Almost as if they think the “wrong” kind of info might be forthcoming from him.

      In Pakistan, as in Egypt, I suspect they could get any info out of him that they care to invent. I suspect what really frightens Hill et al., is that he might tell the Pakistanis the truth.

      And if that truth came out in a court of law, well then, the whole world would find out, and then where would they be? Oh I know, the same kind of fix they are in with Wikileaks, proving once again to the whole world that not only are we not the good guys, we’re not even competent bad guys.

      • dabear says:

        Yes, it is becoming much more clear that he has us by the raisins. If I had to guess though, which I am really trying not to do with what is to come to the Egyptian people they will figure out how to make sure he is gone at the end of the “transition”. They will figure out a way to silence him so he is not elected. And floating pieces about “assassination” by unknown sources could be but a hint, hint.

        • phred says:

          Ummm, you don’t appear to have understood my comment at all. Admittedly, I used a pronoun, consistent with Mary’s comment to which I was replying, but I was not commenting on Egypt at all in #44. As a result, your comment makes no sense (to me anyway).

          • dabear says:

            I should have said “i agree” with the conversation your comment, “…are we not the good guys, we’re not even competent bad guys.” Though I do not think we are incompetent. We do what we do, and therefore, was Just speculating if we will figure out a way to stop him from spilling all the beans to get to a court of law floating “assassination attempt” while we are propping him up at the same time. I will admit that I allowed myself to get distracted from matters at hand and critical analysis on the topic of the post regarding, I’m having a bit of deja vu this morning. Last time I remember these kinds of linguistic tricks” in relation to foreign policy and “American Interest”.

            • phred says:

              Please stop using pronouns. I can’t follow your argument, because I have no idea who you are talking about.

              Just to clarify, I was talking about Raymond Davis “private security officer”/”technical consultant”/”U.S. Special Forces” and now accused murderer of two Pakistanis. He is being held in Pakistan. And as far as I know is neither running for election, nor accused of any assassination attempts in Egypt.

              Now then, who are you talking about?

      • Mary says:

        The court of law part is the problem. While Bush and Obama and their bootlickers in the DOJ can hand out dispensations for their criminals here at home, and while they can cut deals with the torturers they are paying off in foreign coutnries to let our criminals run amok there as well, once the criminals get into a court it’s a much more difficult thing to claim “no foul.”

        Or at least, it used to be, here, before things like the el-Masri and related torture case dismissals.

        Ok – nevermind.

        • phred says:

          Yep. Crime and punishment, with the added benefit of the public hearing all the evidence. It is easy to see why ObamaCo is horrified by such an institution ; )

    • emptywheel says:

      The US Congress seems more intent on demanding all other countries allow us to spy (badly) with impunity than to force our IC and contractors to use better tradecraft.

    • emptywheel says:

      Oh, and don’t forget our loud response to the charging of Alan Gross. I mean, sure, he’s no merc, but I’m sure everyone who goes to Cuba thinks they can get away with setting up sat phones for locals.

      • Mary says:

        I guess you saw on Fri the Cuban prosecutors decided to try for a 20 year sentence.

        Of course, Congress can’t send delegations … and they can’t threaten to cut off aid … but Obama can still talk tough.

        And seriously – we won’t extradite Posada to Venezuela, despite his role in all kinds of murder while a CIA operative


        bc he “might be” tortured, but we’ll put a US torturer at the helm of the leading Arab nation.

        The Gods of Irony have been on a drunken binge the last 10 years.

  16. onitgoes says:

    Thanks for the post and some of the insightful comments. One had to figure that Sulieman was corrupt, if for no other reason, that he’s Numero Duo behind Mubarak. Ergo, also a puppet for the USA. I’ve noticed Hills & others, such as Madeline Albright, vastly *praising* Sulieman and “encouraging” (ahem) Egyptians to welcome their new “savior” with open arms. Well thanks for the info, Hills: now I have proof positive that Sulieman is as corrupt and crooked as Mubarak; that he dances to the USA PTB’s tunes for some buck$; and that, in the end, it’ll be the same old same old song: meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    I, too, feel that Hills, et al, know very very well what the Egyptian people WANT, but that’s irrelevant to the MOTU, who have been frantically pulling the levers behind the curtain since the shit hit the fan, beginning in Tunisia.

    The MOTU don’t really give a crap about Mubarak at this point. He’s expendable, plus he’s been well-paid for his “duties” for the PTB. All the MOTU demand is that their “boy” (or “girl,” as the case may be) be put in charge and dance to their demands, including torturing for fun and profit. The names will change, but the expectations do not.

    Good luck to the Egyptians. Power will not give up without a hugely giant fight.

    • dabear says:

      And all of this seemed to really started getting the tin ear of “the left” when Jimmy Carter came out, I think it was last weekend, and said “Sulieman” had been his “trusted” go to guy in the last five years. I like Carter, and that really throw me for a loop. (Edited for typos)

  17. Masoninblue says:

    Correction notice: Due to registration difficulties beyond my control, I’m now Masoninblue at Firedoglake and Twitter.

    I’m also an expert on schizophrenia.

  18. tanbark says:

    Dear ‘buybull; I have mixed feelings about her resigning anytime really soon. If she does that, it won’t be because of any shame about helping Mubarak install a proxy for himself; it will be because she’s setting up to run at Obama next year.

    My feelings about that are mixed because it would be ironic justice for her to stab him in the back after he did rehab on her and gave her State.

    I mean, Obama’s been giving “reach out” for two years to the GOP and hasn’t even gotten a reach-AROUND. Now Hillary could do the same thing to him. :o)

    Oh. Did I mention that I think that if the democrats pick Obama OR Hillary for 2012, it will be an act of political seppuku for them?

    • bmaz says:

      Say what you will about the Clintons, they are party creatures. I see about zero chance she will run against Obama. And I don’t think she is freelancing on Egypt. May be exactly what she would have done anyway, likely that is pretty close to right, but nevertheless she is implementing Obama policy as is.

      • tanbark says:

        “I see about zero chance she’ll run against Obama.”

        I think it all depends on how vulnerable he is. He’s essentially a lame-duck/caretaker president, and I don’t think the GOP is going to let him take too much care of things. His approval ratings will probably have to get into the 30’s for Hillary to run, but I see no way that the republicans will allow him to come up with enough of a real stimulus package to turn the economy around. Nor, will they permit him to fulfill his promise to get us out of Iraq by the end of the year. Couple that with the dark at the end of the tunnel in Afghanistan, and my 2c, all bets are off, for what his chances are in 2012.

        One thing. We should know about Hillary’s intentions some time this year. She could resign sometime in 201l and then wait to see how far he sinks, before she jumps in. She would need to do that, if she doesn’t want to enrage the Obama loyalists by bailing out of State directly and late, to make a run.

        Whatever happens, the political landscape a year from now is going to look one hell of a lot different than it does now.

      • tanbark says:

        BTW, I’m not so sure about the Clinton’s being party creatures.

        Hillary sure wasn’t a party creature when she endorsed Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary over Ned Lamont.

        Nor, when she was triangulating by praising John McCain as having good Commander-in-Chief credentials, unlike Obama.

        In 2008, she ran like a repub-lite, and when Sarah Palin was sucking up to her during the general as a fellow “feminist”, all Hillary had to do was yell “bullshit!” and she could have scotched that. She was quiet as a mouse.

        The party? Not so much; it’s more about the Clinton’s.

        • dabear says:

          I disagree. It was better for her to ignore Palin all together which she has this whole time. Palin has done a fine job disproving her conservative “feminist” bullshit all by herself. Whatever “conservative feminist” means in the first place. Besides an oxymoron. Anyway Heart gave Palin a good enough smack down when they said you can’t use our song Barracuda. Palin has been nothing more than chatter for a media that won’t report the real news on what Obama is doing to tear apart anything that is left as “social safety net”.

          • tanbark says:

            I agree with you about Palin being a red herring now, but in the middle of the election, when Palin was so nauseatingly trying to play the feminist card, a couple of scornful pressers from Hillary would have robbed her of what cred she had. Instead, she was silent.

            The message was every bit as clear as when she supported Leiberman over Ned Lamont, and as when she made that speech endorsing John McCain as a better potential Commander in Chief than Obama.

            The notion that she’s a committed democratic team player just doesn’t wash. And if Obama’s popularity sinks as much as I think it will, there’s a 50-50 chance that we’ll see more evidence of that.

            • bmaz says:

              The Clintons did everything asked of them during the election. If Plouffe, Axelrod and Obama had wanted her to respond to the lightweight Palin, she undoubtedly would have. I think they all played it right in not giving Palin the credibility of being worth responding to. It would have been Palin’s dream to get a heavyweight woman like Clinton to play in her pig pen; no reason to grant that wish.

              • tanbark says:

                “The Clinton’s did everything asked of them during the election.”

                You can’t be serious.

                The idea that Axelrod and the rest of Obama’s advisers wouldn’t want Hillary to utterly reject Palin’s gibberish about feminism, is ludicrous. She was the perfect person to do that.

                Moreover, the time to ignore Palin is now, when some “progressives” are using her as a red-herring to try to cover for Obama. It wasn’t when she was a “fresh face” that some people expected and hoped would fire up republicans, and she did that, for a while. Then, everything she said needed to be contested and questioned and pointed out for the nonsense it was.

                Which, demonstrably, neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton helped with.

                Check out this clip of Clinton praising Palin:


                Do you think that Axelrod and Co. were happy with this?

            • dabear says:

              Well, Tanbark, I can’t go through that shit again of being called a troll by people I had fought neo-cons with for years, among other horrid vile spewed. NOR watch “some”, only “some”, tanbark, “scornful pressers” loose what sanity they had left and start calling those of us that did have righteous scorn residual and some sanity left, trolls because we came out and said, :Have you lost your fucking minds!” I can’t go through that shit again, tanbark, so please don’t rile up any of the insane masses by saying Hillary will primary him in 2012. :) I got out of the Dem party when the DNC put Libermann on the ticket in 2000 and only came back in the mindfuck of two-party politics in 2008 because it was clear as day to me that Obama would tear the left apart. The pain of watching “hope” tear the party apart has been almost unbearable. Having the Dem Party tear the party apart with their corporatism would have been a much fairer fight for the real left. Edit: That would be scornful pressers by PUMA people, not Hillary.)

  19. klynn says:


    Since you are great at reading between the lines of gov’t released statements, what is your take on denials on Wisner comments just released in the last 25 minutes?

    But in Washington, state department spokesman PJ Crowley said: “We have great respect for Frank Wisner and we were deeply appreciative of his willingness to travel to Egypt last week.”

    “He has not continued in any official capacity following the trip. The views he expressed today are his own. He did not co-ordinate his comments with the US government.”

    • dabear says:

      Good up-to-the-mintute find. Head scratcher. Maybe Hoover was right when he said, “Wisner’s gang of weirdos” during his commie witch hunts. Hard to call Wisner a commie now though.

      • dabear says:

        Sorry, that was his dad that was the “commie” that was also later diagnosed manic depressive and given electroshock therapy.

    • nextstopchicago says:


      I’m not as good at reading between the lines, but I think the speed with which this was disavowed suggests that it was not a trial balloon for the administration, but simply Wisner’s feeling that you can talk whatever shit you want on behalf of the person who pays you (he’s on the board at the largest Egyptian bank, among other things).

      I raised the alarm in a couple places, then went to do a couple things around the house with a sinking feeling that maybe this was administration policy, but he’d already been contradicted by the time I came back to the computer.

      • phred says:

        Yeah, I think O has made it clear that they are on-board with dumping Mubarak asap, provided Suleiman arranges for an orderly transition.

        I suspect that like the Wise Men yesterday, Wisner was blowing smoke that suited his own agenda.

        • Mary says:

          It changes the discussion, too, if there are still a bunch of people beating the Mubarak drum. So instead of it being a done deal that Mubarak is gone and the discussion being over what kinds of succession – Suleiman or other options and how quickly you get to rejecting 30 yo emergency powers and getting on with democratic government, it makes Suleiman a more “midstream” option if the possibility of Mubarak is still in the disucssion, as opposed to Suleiman being the hard right option if Mubarak isn’t still being talked up.

          But given Suleiman’s ties to the Clinton admin renditions too, especially the Albanian Returnees, Clinton, Bush and Obama are all going to be happier with Suleiman being a head of state than being a mere chief of inte services that a successor gov might investigate and where the names of – – Clinton, Bush and Obama might all emerge too frequently.

    • emptywheel says:

      Wisner is a lobbyist for Patton Boggs, representing the Government of Egypt.

      PJ would have been better served to say somsething like, “having utterly failed in his mission for his country, Wisner has gone back to his day job pushing whatever policy his clients think, regardless of its benefit to America.”

      • klynn says:

        Thanks. Thought you might see that angle.

        That would make a great post. A list of those who will use their self-interests to fight the Egyptian people behind the scenes, such as corporate firms.

        My guess is that such individuals will push their sound bites more and more.

  20. nextstopchicago says:

    There was a rally for Egyptian democracy in Chicago yesterday. I missed it because I didn’t know anything about it. It was all Islamic organizations, which makes sense, but perhaps allows the marginalization of their message. I wish I knew people involved. I’d love to help widen their scope.

    I’ve tried contacting the local HRW office (wondering if they’d do anything about the people that were missing, now released) but didn’t hear back. If anyone knows of any public rallies, let people know. (If there’s some clearinghouse you know of for info on supporting the protesters, a link would be appreciated.)

  21. dabear says:

    Obama has split the left apart. I feared it would happen. From a strategic view I just thought that we even had a chance to rejoin with the far left because would have all been on Clinton’s ass from day one. Bernie Sanders is the only person I know we can primary him with so we can “try” to get some movement going.

  22. nextstopchicago says:

    I also want to put forth something I’m trying to think through. Clearly the military could put down this uprising, though at some fairly great cost in terms of their internal reputation, their external reputation, the size of the American subsidy. I’ve been surprised that they did not. I’d be interested in hearing what people attribute this to.

    The transition DOES to a degree depend on the attitude of the military. In other words, a military leadership that was dead set on killing off any hope of democracy could do this in a variety of ways that would leave few fingerprints. This is an institution with little experience of the idea of civilian control. And an institution with some sense of itself as being democratic, popular and inclusive regardless of the outcome of what it might see as the flawed process of democratic elections.

    Much as I instinctively react against efforts to put Suleiman at the head of a “transition to democracy”, I can also understand that a true transition probably requires some subtlety today – I might describe one possible course as feeding Suleiman faster than he can chew and swallow. There is that “psychological break” that Obama spoke of. The same may be true of the entire senior leadership – that an initial step in which they sit down and listen to civilians, even if they remain for the moment in the role of dictating authority, may be necessary as a first step on the road to trusting themselves to civilian authority. I don’t want that road to be long. But I’m concerned that even as I lambaste the administration for a policy I fear trends cynically towards continued military control, that a genuine policy of transition to democracy might look about the same in its embryonic stage at day 12 of the Egyptian revolution.

    On the other hand, hell, my rage against the administration only serves to push them in the right direction, and to counter some true wacko on the other side of the issue, so I’m not overly worried. But I’d be interested in anyone’s reaction to what I just wrote.

    • dabear says:

      One thing I have thought of wrt to the military is that the American left would have thrown a holy fit, screaming that the,” US is using the Egyptian military that is funded with our tax-dollars to kill the Egyptian people.” That would have been our response because we automatically don’t trust our government.

      It is easier for them to sell us, and the Egyptian people, Suleiman. If the military ends up supporting him, the Egyptian people who have, for the most part been protected by them with the soldiers in the streets, and whom the Egyptian people seem to trust, might end up making a concession to having Suleiman do the “transition”.

      If that is all the case, then we will have to work hard with the Egyptian people to make sure he is not elected when the elections come…if he is not the President the Egyptian people want. Are fingers are going to have to bleed on our blogs to help them when their elections come and throughout this “transition”.

    • bmaz says:

      When all hell really broke loose, several of the key Egyptian military leaders were already here on a previously scheduled deal of some sort, including Sami Enan. I think he and the others had an immediate come to jesus meeting with the Administration and both got their points across to the other and reached a basic understanding as to how the military would react. Enan then immediately left to go back to Egypt.

      As to what is really going on inside the Obama Administration, I don’t think this by Carl Bernstein is probably exactly right, but likely not too far off. And, while it may not be the worst play if so; may, in fact, be about as good as could be hoped for. But who knows?

      • nextstopchicago says:

        Thanks for the Bernstein link. That actually fits pretty closely with the essay Ramy Raoof pointed to in his tweet – “What Mubarak Must Do Before He Leaves”.

        • bmaz says:

          It does fit pretty well. And, if that is what the Obama Admin is really giving the cover for, even if they look at points stupid doing it, then all things considered, it would be pretty decent policy. The one part in the Ramy Raoof et. al version that was not emphasized in the Bernstein version, that kind of concerns me, is the part about enacting the necessary Egyptian constitutional reforms. I would like to get some sense that, at least behind the scenes, the foundation is being put in place for this critical part. And I have not heard much to that end yet.

    • phred says:

      Since you asked, here is my two cents… I don’t know a thing about the military leadership in Egypt, nor the shifting winds of political allegiance at the top of the military/civilian food chain in that country, so take this with a grain of salt…

      As I understand it, Egypt has mandatory service. Everyone has to serve and that means you will have soldiers who are likely to be more in tune with public sentiment than with their superiors. In addition, military hierarchy is just as susceptible to differences of opinion in civil disputes, so even the officers may not be in lockstep support of the regime.

      Even if the generals at the top support Mubarak (and there is no guarantee that they do, there may be some who see opportunity if he is removed), they must also be aware that if the majority (or even a significant minority) of the soldiers break ranks and join the protesters, they could lose what power and influence they currently possess. They may well be walking a fine line to see which side gets the upper hand, and then that is the way they will go…

      All supposition of course. We’ll have to see…

      • nextstopchicago says:


        I think sympathy for the heroes of Tahrir among the soldiers is one element. But by Wednesday, the moment for a pro-democracy rebellion in the ranks was past. Already on Wednesday, you saw the same guys who had hugged protesters the day before stand by idly as they were brutally attacked. I think the army by today knows pretty much who they can count on, and so challenges to the command structure are pretty unlikely almost no matter what is asked. If orders crossed a line that a senior lieutenat or a general wouldn’t go beyond, that might be different, but the small acts of violence that would be needed to scare 95% of protesters back home — unfortunately, I think the army could be relied on to do that.

        • phred says:

          Perhaps, but I’m not so sure that things are set in stone here. I can easily imagine things yet going either way… the soldiers supporting the protesters or crushing them.

          If anything, I think the moment to crush them has passed. The coverage, despite all of the attempts of the government to quash it, has drawn global attention. I suspect a severe crackdown, televised, tweeted, and otherwise uploaded would not only increase civil unrest in Egypt, but across the ME.

          If they had crushed the protests early on, perhaps the military could have nipped this in the bud. I think it gets harder to do as time goes by, especially when the whole world is watching…

          On the other hand, if it drags out too long and the reporters get bored and go home, things could get very very bad indeed for the protesters. Oddly enough living here in the States, I think one of the most helpful things I can do is to keep watching, keep talking about it, help keep it all on the front page and at the top of the hour.

  23. nextstopchicago says:

    Also, I felt (I think I commented here) yesterday that a bright line for me would be release of activists and journalists. From what I’m seeing, almost everyone is released. For instance, the note at 2335 of the Enduring America liveblog. Sandmonkey is back on the street, and no longer anonymous (one the regime knew his name, it probably didn’t matter any more.)

    I think these releases stem from American pressure, and they suggest a good faith truce (though certainly not a shared vision of where things will head) – meaning that the new leaders are not attempting to hold all their gains, and should a new crisis be provoked, the pro-democracy forces still have most of their people to continue their efforts.

    If crackdown-lite was really the goal, I don’t think the administration would have made much of an issue of the arrests. This makes me think they are hoping for some genuine accommodation with the heroes of Tahrir. They want to manage the process, though, and that will inevitably weaken Tahrir and strengthen the army. I don’t like that. But I think this is a more accurate than the complete cynicism about our role that sometimes sweeps over me. I might describe their goal as managed democracy, which isn’t great, but will be a hell of a lot better than a complete return to military rule. If that’s the goal. If it comes to pass.

    • Mary says:

      The releases are of recent detentions. The problem that so many are protesting against is the emergency powers (that have been ongoing now for 30 years and which were renewed just last March with Obama making no effort of any kind to get Mubarak to back off them). Under those emergency powers, THOUSANDS have been and will continue to be detained, tortured and disappeared. It’s not a popular thing and there is no recourse for the victims bc of the suspension of constitutional rights by the emergency powers.

      Votes or not – no one gets a “real” democracy while constitutional rights are suspended by the Executive.

      I do think that the young army guys were perplexed when the thugs showed up and they did sit back. But after a bit, they started to react by protecting some journos and by moving onto overpasses that were being used by the thugs for tossing rocks and worse down on the crowdsa nd moving the thugs along.

      Still – an army votes with its stomach at times. That’s where the money issue becomes real. Money to pay the military is a chunk of that aid equation. That goes one of two ways. The army kids and career guys decide it’s in their interest to do whatever the US wants to get their money (likely) or things go on with uncertainty and threats get made or realized to hold off on paying the military and then the kids get pissed – maybe even leave that Gaza border posting ;) Things can jump anywhichway, but generally you bet on people following their financial interest.

  24. nextstopchicago says:

    I’m intrigued by the flow of tweets today @sandmonkey and @ramyraoof, two activists who have been at the heart of this process.

    Sandmonkey is calling for taking names to create a party of those who were at Tahrir:

    >Instead of getting blankets, please get some foldable tables, chairs, papers, pens and a laptop

    >Start registering the protesters, get their names, addresses & districts. Start organizing them into committees. & they elect leaders

    >Do the same in Alex, In Mansoura, in Suez. Protect the Data with your life. Get encryption programs if necessary

    (Keep in mind that as I said of SandMonkey, the government already knows most of the names, so anonymity is no longer very useful – in a surprising way, that’s actually a benefit for activists. Much the way that three days ago, the very viciousness of the regime was probably what carried the day for democracy in Tahrir – people who might have fled scared for their lives said, a la Franklin’s ‘we shall surely hang separately’, that it was safer to stay and throw rocks than to go home and wait for the secret policemen’s knock.)

    This is an amazing throwing off of fear, and it suggests a maturing of a movement which, just 12 days ago, didn’t know the names of most of its own supporters.

    RamyRaoof is pointing to this essay:


    which pursues some of the same thoughts from the NYTimes editorial describing a Constitutional way out of the crisis.

    I wish Hillary was reading such things – might give her more optimism about a real democracy. I hope Barack might be.

    I also wonder where Michelle Obama is in all this. I’d think Barack listens to her, and from when I knew her, I’d expect her to be widely read and eager to give him some broader viewpoints. Alas there’s been little sign of that.

  25. eagleye says:

    I hate saying this, but I think there is a strong possibility that we’re going to see a terrible bloody slaughter in Egypt. The Worldwide Order of Entrenched Interests has way too much at stake to allow a grassroots movement to succeed.

  26. textynn says:

    Egypt has put on his big boy boots and kicked the bully to the curb. Big Daddy WarbucksINC hasn’t made his move YET. If the Egyptians think they are going to control the oil they got a world of pure hell on earth coming at them. This is bad yall. We may all have to stand up and say no if Big Oil throws a tantrum and takes us into ANOTHER war.

    I fear that if the US decides to make a move that shows it is really running Egypt, we may have a real and justified war on our hands. The people of Egypt have stood up for their lives, their children, and their work. Just like us they need resources and fair business practices to survive. Egypt doesn’t want Big Oil running it or the world and they symbolized that today.


    US, Israel, and Big Oil is a unified power interested in Egypt. Someone has sent a message and the official story is it was a leak which makes me think that this event is heavily censored.

  27. dabear says:

    Good thread and links in many more ways than just the issue at hand of the Egyptian people. I have been a blog-whore too today. Nite.

  28. tanbark says:

    daBear, you doth protest too much. :o)

    I haven’t called you a troll. I don’t think you ARE a troll.

    All I’m saying is that the evidence of Hillary being an unprincipled political hack, herself, (as is the guy she nominally works for…) is there.

    And, that if Obama’s numbers get low enough, I think she could very well try to take advantage of that to run against him, and not just to “primary” him, in some silly effort to keep him honest, but to win, as should be the purpose, for anyone who runs at him. The problem is, that Hillary, just like Obama, is part and parcel of the old status-quo swamp. The democratic party needs to get shed of all these people, and not only because it’s the moral thing to do, but for the practical reason that sticking with them in 2012 is going to get us another hammering.

    As for Obama tearing the party apart; you aint seen nuthin’ yet. The crunch is going to come in the next year-to-18 months, when we could easily be looking at his numbers going into the 30’s. If that happens it would be insane to stick with him. We’ll HAVE to run someone else, just to hold on to enough congressional clout to monkeywrench the worst of the republican policies. In fact, that’s Obama’s “legacy”…that we’re just fighting to keep the democratic party from becoming a rump group of irrelevant “centrist” rubber stamps for the same kind of idiocy that Bush brought to the White House, and which Obama is sustaining so much of.

    One of the great things about his winning (I hoped!) was that we could stop playing defense and really get after this corporatist ethic that is ruining the country, and in substantial measure, the world. After the campaign he ran, and with the mandate that he got, I insist that was not an unreasonable expectation. That it was mistaken, is a tragedy, and it’s the reason that I will work hard to make sure that Obama at least serves as an example as what happens when you run as a good democrat and then try to govern as a republican-lite.

  29. Mary says:

    OT – the 18 yo wife of one of the motorcyclists killed by “Raymond Davis” has tried to commit suicide.


    After the US was reported to be close to securing release (including using a dry up of IMF funds as addiional pressure)


    she became severely depressed. Some reports are that she has died.


    The Dawn report from 2-6-2011 indicates that when Davis was arrested, he had “an ID showing that he worked for the US consulate general in Peshawar” and that Dawn has a copy from the original detaining entities. He also had “A US Department of Veteran Affairs card and Department of Defence contractor card ” and documents revealing that he was on an annual contract of $200,000.00

    So the US first claimed him “as a Lahore consulate staffer” but then he “was later declared as assigned to Islamabad embassy” and yet his id when he was captured indicated that he was with the consulate in Peshawar.

    It looks to be an interesting case of an embassy staffer concurrently working at three different stations.

    No wonder he was getting a contract payment of 200,000 annually – so, are a lot of our diplomats independent contractors rather than employees?


    The US embassy, in a list of cases of its employees pending for registration, given to the FO on Jan 25 (two days before the incident), intriguingly did not mention Davis. However, a revised list submitted a day after the incident on Jan 28 carried his name.

    Apparently, the lists are prepared by a lone monk in a cave who etches the names in gold leaf calligraphy – so it takes awhile to get on the list. Bodies in the street tend to speed up the process.

    This article has a discussion at the end of the impact of the version of the Vienna Conventions being relied upon (I’m not expert – I just know we tend to abrogate treaties and conventions on whim when our Presidents want to)