Saturday, March 08, 2014

Obama Has Egyptian Military Regime Break American Peace Activist's Arm

Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of the anti-war activist group Code Pink, was on her way to participate in a solidarity action for Palestinian women imprisoned in the Gaza Strip when she was seized at the Cairo airport, held overnight, assaulted by secret police goons who broke her arm, tore her ligaments, and dislocated her shoulder, and then deported her to Turkey. During her over 14 hours as a captive, the U.S. embassy was called repeatedly to come and assist her, as is their putative duty, to aid a U.S. citizen in distress, and they never showed up, including after the vicious assault on her, which they were also informed about. I suppose the State Department apparatchiks were high-fiveing each other in their lair. This refusal to intervene constituted a thumbs-up to the Egyptian regime, which has long employed its torture skills to prisoners delivered to them by the U.S.

Last year (May 2013) Medea Benjamin committed the grave offense of interrupting a mendacious speech by Obama to confront him about some of his murderous policies. One question she shouted as she was being dragged from the room by Obama's Praetorian Guard was about the “killing” as she politely put it (murder is the correct word- and remember, Obama personally approves each name on the death list) of the 16 year old son of “terrorist” Anwar al-Awlaki, who was blown apart by a drone-fired Hellfire missile in a cafe in Yemen along with some of his cousins. She also shouted questions about various similar U.S. atrocities. Well you don't insult the Emperor like that and get away with it scot-free. [1]

So here's a concrete example of how Egypt “supports” the U.S. Mutual persecution of each other's dissidents is one way repressive regimes “support” one another and “protect” the “interests” of the each other.

There's no reason to think that the Egyptian secret police would have undertaken this assault on their own, or would be aware of Benjamin's travel plans, or even who she was, without the U.S. telling them.

The U.S. tracks the travel of dissidents (“terrorists” in U.S. government lingo) in advance, since any time a dissident books a plane reservation a computer alert immediately brings it to the attention of a secret police monitor. There were a hundred women participating in the solidarity action including Benjamin. Yet the Egyptian state thugs singled her out for seizure and mauling. The totality of the circumstances point to Obama's guilt.

Another strike against Benjamin was showing support for Palestinians, Anything that merely draws attention to the plight of Palestinians is considered an “attack” on Israel. The U.S. is Israel's rottweiler. When Israel murdered American Rachel Corrie, who stood in front of a U.S.-made bulldozer to try and stop the demolition of yet another Palestinian home, the U.S. was fine with that. As in the murder of 34 American sailors and the wounding of 174 in the 1967 Israeli attempt to sink the U.S.S. Liberty (a Navy spy ship) in a two-hour jet and torpedo boat attack, the murder of Corrie was called an “accident” by Israel, and the U.S. government said OK. Loyalty is a one-way street with our rulers. Citizens and soldiers are supposed to be loyal to them, but they owe us nothing. [2]

So Obama has an Egyptian goon squad do yet another favor for the U.S. imperialist government. Meanwhile the American media is keen to remind us almost daily that Putin is a “thug.” Which I don't dispute. It just gets annoying to constantly hear the pot calling the kettle black.

But the State Department has done worse than what they did to Benjamin. The movie Missing portrayed their complicity with the Pinochet junta of Chile in the murder of American Charles Horman, and their protection of the Pinochet regime, for example. So what's a broken arm? (The U.S. military had the junta murder Horman and another American, Frank Teruggi, because of their presumed political sympathies. At least 3 Americans are known to have been murdered by the fascist junta installed by the U.S., a well as citizens of other nations, especially Spaniards. For that matter, Kissinger gave the go-ahead to Pinochet's overseas assassination program, which included murdering Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington, D.C., by car bomb.)

So I guess you could say Benjamin “got off easy.” She wasn't murdered, like Michael Hastings was, for “sticking his nose where it had no business being,” in the gangsters' lingo. Or like the FBI execution of Ibragim Todashev in his apartment after hours of questioning. [3]

So what's a broken arm? Hell, they blow up grandmothers with drones! All in a day's work, for a repressive global empire that daily degenerates further into barbarism.

[Postscript: Obama's Revenge has proven durable. See "Medea Benjamin’s Arm 'Wakes Me Up Every Single Night in Pain.'”]

2] A surviving officer, James Ennes, wrote a detailed account of the attack and its context, Assault on the Liberty.

3] And this was at least the fifth day of interrogation of Todashev. A series of preposterous stories was then planted in the media by unnamed FBI agents aka “law enforcement sources.” The initial story was this vague line, anonymously sourced of course, which appeared on ABC “News;” “There was some sort of aggressive movement that led the FBI agent to believe he was under threat and he opened fire.” This version omitted the facts that the room was full of cops and FBI agents, and that Todashev was recovering from knee surgery at the time on which he could only hobble around. It also left out what we later discovered from autopsy photos smuggled out to Todashev's father- that he was shot 6 times, including in the top of his head. The U.S. media blacked out the father's press conference at which he displayed the photos. Todashev was obviously executed either as he was seated in his chair or on the floor.

Todashev knew the Boston Marathon Bombers, the Tsarnaev brothers. All three were Chechen immigrants in the U.S. During his interrogation by the FBI, they apparently discovered that he knew something they didn't want to get out, and so they silenced him. We know that the FBI was alerted to the Tsarnaevs by the Russians well before the bombings, yet they pretended to look the other way. At the least, it smells like another 9/11, where the secret police deliberately allow a terrorist outrage to occur in order to seize more power for themselves.

Or worse- that the FBI helped instigate the bombings.

The Tsarnaevs apparently went on jihadi websites to get instructions on making the pressure cooker bombs they constructed. Given that NSA, CIA, and FBI monitor jihadi websites and plant spyware on the computers of anyone who views those websites, it really stretches credulity to claim that the Tsarnaevs somehow “flew under the radar.” And it is a matter of public record, reported by the bourgeois media, that the Russians WARNED the FBI about the Tsarnaevs well in advance of the bombings. The absurd excuse that the Russians didn't give the FBI specific enough information is absurd. As someone who has been under surveillance (and persecution) for decades for having opinions that the reactionaries of the secret police hate, I find it darkly humorous for the FBI to claim they blew off monitoring people identified as terrorists because there wasn't specific enough information!

But the corporate propaganda system repeats this insulting (to the intelligence of any thinking person) nonsense uncritically and moves on. Thus do they aid and abet the crimes of the FBI. As indeed they do in covering up the FBI's murders. The FBI knows they can count on this media complicity, which is why their crimes get increasingly brazen.

See the numerous articles at the Atlantic monthly website, such as “Yet Another Explanation for the Killing of Ibragim Todashev,” and also their numerous articles on the matter.

The only corporate broadcast coverage I'm aware of was by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. See for instance “Maddow: Something's Very Rotten w/ FBI Tsarnaev-Todashev Boston Bombing-Linked 'Investigation',” and “Rachel Maddow Tries Her Best Not To Call FBI killing Of Ibragim Todashev A Conspiracy.

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