What a difference placement of a paragraph makes. The New York Times describes how the security police have retreated, leaving Egyptians vulnerable to looters and thugs.
By Saturday night, informal brigades of mostly young men armed with bats, kitchen knives and other makeshift weapons had taken control, setting up checkpoints around the city.
Some speculated that the sudden withdrawal of the police from the cities — even some museums and embassies in Cairo were left unguarded — was intended to create chaos that could justify a crackdown. And reports of widespread looting and violence did return late Saturday night, dominating the state-controlled news media.
“How come there is no security at all?” asked Mohamed Salmawy, president of the Egyptian Writers Union. “It is very fishy that the police had decided to leave the country completely to the thugs and angry mobs.”
Now, doesn’t the order of those three paragraphs make it sound like the “informal brigades” are the “thugs and angry mobs?”
Not so much.
Police appear to have withdrawn from many parts of the Egyptian capital and it is the people who now own the streets.
Locals armed with sticks and knives are setting up their own neighbourhood security groups to protect their homes and property.
Oops, can’t let the truth get out.
Egypt shuts down Al Jazeera bureau
The Egyptian authorities are revoking the Al Jazeera Network’s licence to broadcast from the country, and will be shutting down its bureau office in Cairo, state television has said.
“The information minister [Anas al-Fikki] ordered … suspension of operations of Al Jazeera, cancelling of its licences and withdrawing accreditation to all its staff as of today,” a statement on the official Mena news agency said on Sunday.
In a statement, Al Jazeera said it strongly denounces and condemns the closure of its bureau in Cairo by the Egyptian government. The network received notification from the Egyptian authorities on Sunday morning.
“Al Jazeera has received widespread global acclaim for their coverage on the ground across the length and breadth of Egypt,” the statement said.
An Al Jazeera spokesman said that the company would continue its strong coverage regardless.
In the meantime, it is being reported that Mohamed ElBaradei has joined the protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Y’all remember Mohammed ElBaradei don’t you? He was the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency who informed us, correctly, that there were no ”weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. If our government had listened to him, we would be trillions of dollars in the hole right now and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, as well as thousands of coalition forces, would be alive and whole.
What is interesting about the Al Jazeera coverage is that it is just good old-fashioned journalism. I see no “analysis” by talking heads, just straight up reporting of the incredibly fluid and volatile conditions on the ground.
Cairo protesters stand their ground
The Obama administration via the State Department appears to see the writing on the wall. Almost. Well, not really. They still think everyone can make nice. And that Mubarek can stay. For as long as
we need him it takes.
Despite calls by protesters and others for a stronger U.S. stand against Mubarak, Clinton instead advocated a national dialogue in Egypt that would include Mubarak’s government and those seeking legitimate economic and democratic reforms.
“What we’re trying to do is to help clear the air so that those who remain in power, starting with President Mubarak, with his new vice president, with the new prime minister, will begin a process of reaching out, of creating a dialogue that will bring in peaceful activists and representatives of civil society to, you know, plan a way forward that will meet the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people,” Clinton said on CNN.
That will take time, she conceded, adding that “it is unlikely to be done overnight without very grave consequences for everyone involved.”
The U.S. position was criticized Sunday by Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency who returned to Egypt last week as a leading opposition voice.
“Your policy right now is a failed policy, is a policy that is lagging behind, is a policy that is … having the effect here in Egypt that you are losing whatever (is) left of credibility,” ElBaradei told CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”
“People need to see that you not only talk the talk, but walk the walk, and people need to understand and believe that you really seriously take democracy, rule of law, freedoms seriously. And to say we have a tight rope that — and between the people and the dictator, to say that we are asking a dictator who’s been in power for 30 years to implement democracy is an oxymoron, frankly,” he said.
But you see, Mohammed, they don’t. Lip service is all they pay, while in the meantime we violate every civil liberty there is. You’ve heard of our own gulags haven’t you? You’ve heard of Guatanamo, right? Does the name Bradley Manning ring a bell? Or Jose Padilla? You know our goverment spies on us without warrants don’t you? That they reserve the right detain us indefinitely with no charges, or to assassinate us merely on the President’s say-so. That they defend torture and refuse to prosecute it. That our protests must happen in “free speech zones” because the government no longer believes in the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress just any old place within our borders. Our civil liberties have been tossed aside like yesterday’s garbage in this country, and you’re asking our government to “walk the walk” for you?
The Egyptian people are making it quite clear that Mubarak’s time is up, and if he really gives a flying fuck about his country, he’ll move quickly to step down and allow for a peaceful transition of power. Sending fighter jets to buzz the crowds isn’t quite the message the Egyptian people should be hearing.