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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

U.S. Complicit in Egyptian military’s “gross human rights violations”—NLG

Endless foreign relations in violence: Middle East/East Africa

Editing, re-reporting by
Carolyn Bennett
“This isn’t about sides, this is about confusion. This is about creating enemies where there aren’t any. … The whole gotdamn world is falling apart: peace reigns, freedom reigns, democracy rules.” 
 “How are we going to keep the military industrial complex chugging forward without clear-cut … pit-faced scum-sucking evil breathing down out neck — threatening our very shores; and my job is to make sure the other side keeps on fighting, whatever side … whatever side we’re officially not on this year.” — Gorman Lennox (Mickey Rourke) speech in closing scenes of film “White Sands”—
Middle East
East Africa

Old civilization, old greed, old exploitation

“Egypt’s arms industry,” UPI reported last year, “is the oldest, the largest and the most technologically advanced in the Arab world. The country's extensive military establishment, which has vast economic holdings, is funded to a large extent by $1.3 billion a year in U.S. military aid.… Egypt’s armed forces — with 500,000 personnel in uniform and about the same number in reserves — are equipped with U.S. weapons systems.”

Funds provided by the United States “must be spent on U.S. equipment and services”; thus United States has effectively “become a subsidy for U.S. contractors. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Electric, Raytheon, General Dynamics and BAE Systems all do big business with Cairo—selling fighter jets, tanks, radars, artillery and other hardware to Egypt.

“In 2010, Lockheed was paid $213 million for a new batch of 20 F-16s for the Egyptian air force, which has some 180 of the U.S.-built fighters. That makes Egypt the fourth largest F-16 operator.

“Lockheed Martin has made an estimated $3.8 billion from F-16 and other sales to Egypt. Boeing, which sells Cairo CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters, has earned an estimated $1.7 billion.

“General Dynamics Land Systems has banked some $2.5 billion by licensing the manufacture of M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks in Egypt” and “more than 1,000 Abrams tanks have been produced at factories in the suburbs of Cairo.”

Egypt’s military industry, UPI reported, extends at least as far back as the early nineteenth century.

NO LAND an ISLAND No People Apart
Foreign Relations in Violence by Bennett
Secrecy, mendacity, complicity, irresponsibility

The National Lawyers Guild in June reported U.S. complicity in Mubarak-era and post-Mubarak era military abuse of Egyptians’ human rights.

“Egypt’s state attacks against protesters, striking workers, and the poor have in some ways escalated since the fall of the Mubarak regime,” the NLG wrote on its return to the States.

“Over a period of less than 18 months, the current government has imprisoned 12,000, injured 6,000, and killed over 1,500 [and] the U.S. government has been complicit in these gross violations by providing direct military and financial aid to the current Egyptian regime, by maneuvering politically to help the regime cling to power in the days after January 25, 2011, and by delaying for almost 15 years the passage of the Small Arms Trade Treaty, which could prevent the regime from using American weapons against the Egyptian people.…

Egyptian uprising
“During the people’s uprising, U.S. corporations continued to ship tear gas and other weaponry to the very government that was shooting at unarmed men, women, and children in the streets of Egypt.”
The people of Egypt today have had no access to information about the extent of military-private ownership of their country’s industry and resources. That is because the military, with the support of the United States has made it illegal to access that information.

“In the face of efforts by the military to maintain control of the Egyptian government and public sphere, Egyptian people must be protected in their efforts to take back their country. However, any efforts to deconstruct the economic and state structures built by and for the benefit of a small elite will fail unless the current government allows full transparency into its domestic operations.

“Accordingly, the National Lawyers Guild supports the central call of Egyptian activists for transparency and freedom to access information relating to the complicity of the U.S. government and corporations in the activities of the repressive military regime. This should include disclosure of all information relating to the provision of U.S. economic and military aid, to military and intelligence training and cooperation, and to the sale of military equipment.

“As American human rights activists and attorneys, we demand further that the U.S. government refrain from any action that compromises the right of the Egyptian people to self-determination and refrain from obstructing the immediate transition to civilian government.”

NLG 4/22/12:
Battle of Mohammed Mahmoud Street:
Graffiti on barricade in front of
Interior Ministry
National Lawyers Guild outlines position and advocacy on United States and Egypt:

We support our Egyptian allies in calling for an immediate and unequivocal end to arbitrary detention, torture, disappearances, and the general criminalization of political dissent, as well as amnesty for all political prisoners.

We support our Egyptian allies in calling for an end to all military tribunals and for the prosecution of all members of the former regime, army, and police who orchestrated and/or engaged in any acts of violence against civilians.

We support the demands of Egypt’s people to uphold both domestic and international human rights law.

We call on the U.S. government to immediately stop providing the Egyptian military with money and weapons, as both forms of aid are being used to violate domestic and international human rights law through the repression of legitimate forms of political dissent.

We call for full disclosure and accounting of all financial and military aid given to the Egyptian government since the 1979 Camp David Accords.

We call for full disclosure of all arms sales agreements between U.S. corporations and the Egyptian military.

We call for a prohibition on exporting arms, including tear gas and other “small arms,” by any American corporation or private arms dealer to Egypt.

NLG  4/23/12:
Police Barricade 
We call for the full enforcement of the Leahy Law, which prohibits U.S. military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights.

We support the passage of the Arms Responsibility Act (HR 5749) which would prohibit the “transfer of defense articles and defense services to the governments of foreign countries that are engaging in gross violations of internationally-recognized human rights.”

We recognize the devastating economic and social impact of neoliberal policies implemented at the behest of the U.S. government and international institutions and call for an end to U.S. economic intervention through the provision of aid with neoliberal conditions and other forms of coercion.

We stand in solidarity with all Egyptians who continue to confront the forces of state repression and work for the establishment of a legal system that will protect dignity, freedom, and basic human rights. These demands are embodied and expressed in the broadly unified revolutionary chant for “bread, freedom, and social justice.

The NLG delegation “is working on a full report of its findings due out later this summer.” The National Lawyers Guild is also “working with organizations and activists to organize around the demands listed above and pushing to hold the U.S. government accountable.”

Sources and notes

“Security Industry: Egypt's arms industry depends on U.S.,” February 15, 2011,http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2011/02/15/Egypts-arms-industry-depends-on-US/UPI-47071297794481/

United Press International

United Press International (UPI), headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in Beirut, Hong Kong, London, Santiago, Seoul and Tokyo, has been a leading provider of information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide since 1907.

“National Lawyers Guild Delegation Returns from Egypt with Evidence of Systematic Human Rights Abuses, Calls for Transparency and Accountability from U.S. Government,” June 28, 2012,  http://www.nlg.org/news/announcements/national-lawyers-guild-delegation-returns-from-egypt-with-evidence-of-systematic-human-rights-abuses-calls-for-transparency-and-accountability-from-u-s-government/

National Lawyers Guild

National Lawyers Guild 1937-2012 (“75 Years of Law for the People”) Projects: Mass Defense Project, Prison Law Project, International Human Rights, Political Prisoners (e.g., Mumia Abu-Jamal, Lynne Stewart), Center for Democratic Communications — Individuals and organizations “trust and rely on the National Lawyers Guild to ensure that infringements of First Amendment liberties do not go unchallenged.”

In the past 35 years, the National Lawyers Guild has worked in the defense of protesters and others whose First Amendment rights have been violated during the exercise of political speech. It has documented abuses of constitutional rights, provided legal defense to arrestees, and sought redress for those violations. The National Lawyers Guild’s “Legal Observing” program deploys trained observers to monitor law enforcement at public events, creating a safe atmosphere for people to express their political views as fully as possible.
Its “Greenscare Hotline” created several years ago is a first line of defense for environmental and animal rights activists who have been contacted by the FBI. Callers are referred to Guild attorneys in their geographic area whose assistance ranges from telephone consultations to direct representation. The hotline is: 888-NLG-ECOL.

“The Assault on Free Speech, Public Assembly, and Dissent” (2004) and “Punishing Protest”(2007), which identified larger governmental trends that had a chilling effect on free speech, are among NGL’s reports cataloguing police tactics that infringed on First Amendment activities. “Operation Backfire: A Survival Guild for Animal Rights and Environmental Activists” is a pocket-sized know your rights booklet for activists under special scrutiny by the government. http://www.nlg.org/

MIC image http://www.newint.org/
NLG images
Photos from NLG Delegation to Egypt
4/23/12: Police Barricade
4/22/12: Battle of Mohammed Mahmoud Street: Graffiti on barricade in front of Interior Ministry


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