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Written by The Informed Aussie
Published on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
Egypt’s infamous state security apparatus, notorious for spying on political activists and torturing dissidents, has renamed itself “homeland security,” presumably in homage to its American namesake, which has also been used as a tool of political repression.
As part of the re-branding of dictatorship in Egypt, the same security force implicated in the imprisonment and torture of anti-Mubarak activists is busy reorganizing itself while maintaining intimidation and spying campaigns targeted against parliamentary candidates by bugging phone calls and harassing prominent critics of the ruling military regime’s bloody crackdown on protesters.
“After some initial moves to purge the security forces, attempts at systemic reform were halted, say analysts and political observers. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Interior, the 100,000-strong state security service has been renamed homeland security and personnel moved around,” the Financial Times reports today (emphasis mine).
Should we be concerned that a dictatorship which refuses to bow to the will of the people and allow democratic elections to proceed while engaging in savage attacks on demonstrators is re-naming itself after America’s foremost post-9/11 federal agency?
Like the Egyptian secret police, the Department of Homeland Security has reinvented its role to serve as a tool of political repression in recent years. Under the Federal Protective Service (FPS), the DHS tracks the political activities of peaceful advocacy groups. The FPS was seen arresting photographers in Portland last week during an OWS rally. In 2004, the FPS arrested a veteran for the crime of complaining to his local VA office in Des Moines.
Big Sis also hires third party companies to spy on political organizations such as anti-tax groups.
It wouldn’t be the first time that tormentors of pro-democracy protesters in Egypt have looked to America for inspiration in an effort to lend their brutal brand of authoritarianism a veneer of legitimacy.
As Washington’s Blog noted earlier today, Egyptian authorities are justifying their brutal crackdown against protesters, with dozens killed over the last few days, by pointing to how U.S. law enforcement bodies are taking a “firm stance” against Occupy Wall Street protesters.
One example of this “firm stance” became a viral You Tube hit over the weekend, with video footage showing police at the the University of California pepper-spraying demonstratorsdirectly in the face and throat.
As we reported earlier, the brutal crackdown on behalf of Egyptian authorities has registered barely a whimper of complaint from normally reliable ‘humanitarian crusaders’ like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, presumably because their administration has been a vehement supporter of Egypt’s not-so-transitional ruling military junta with billions of dollars in aid, most of which has gone directly to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).