by Jacob G. Hornberger
In a scene that almost certainly made Pentagon and CIA officials both angry and nervous, Egyptian protestors stormed the headquarters of the much-feared State Security Investigations agency in Cairo, where they began examining top-secret documents. This is the agency that was primarily responsible for enforcing the Mubarak dictatorship’s war on terrorism and war on drugs with such things as warrantless arrests, indefinite detention, torture, and execution.
Why would that make the Pentagon and the CIA angry and nervous? According to an article in the Washington Post, “State Security also collaborated with the United States on counterterrorism and was likely to have kept files on the rendition program under which terrorism suspects from around the world were relocated to Egypt by U.S. agents.”
But perhaps the Pentagon and CIA need not worry. According to the article, there was a lot of document shredding before the protestors took over the building. For all we know, maybe some U.S. intelligence agents were even the ones doing the shredding.
Carefully note what the protestors found inside that ominous building:
“Witnesses also said they found implements used for torture, including electric shock devices…. On an upper floor, the protestors found a whirlpool and a gym in the luxurious quarters used by the service’s officers.”
Isn’t that nice? The torturers were able to release their stresses and tensions in their luxurious whirlpool and gym after a hard day at work.
Did you catch the part about electric shock devices? That’s all the information about them that was provided in the article, but I think everyone knows how these devices were used by Egyptian torturers. They were attached to a person’s private parts and then turned on in order to send a charge of electricity into the most sensitive part of a person’s body with the intent of causing excruciating pain.
What does all this have to do with the Pentagon and the CIA, our very own government’s military and paramilitary forces? It is a virtual certainty that U.S. military officials and CIA officials visited and inspected that facility and that they fully approved of what they saw.
How do I arrive at this surmise? No, not because the U.S. Congress has held hearings into the matter. That’s the last thing they’re going to do, given the fact that it has been Congress that has been appropriating $2 billion a year in foreign aid for the Egyptian dictatorship for decades, with the full knowledge and understanding that some of the money was being used to do the types of things that the State Security Investigations agency was doing to the Egyptian people as part of the government’s war on terrorism and war on drugs, two wars that the U.S. government fully agrees with.
Don’t forget the rendition-torture agreement between the U.S. and Egyptian governments. No, we still don’t have the exact details of the agreement because, again, this is the last thing that Congress is going to investigate. But we can surmise that the agreement went like this: In partial return for the $2 billion annual payment to the Egyptian tyrants, the U.S. government would periodically deliver a prisoner to Egypt for the purpose of torture. So that U.S. officials would have plausible deniability, Egyptian officials would publicly assure the U.S. government that the prisoner would not be tortured, but there would be plenty of winking going on between the respective representatives handling the matter. Then, the prisoner would be brutally tortured, after which Egyptian officials would deny they tortured the prisoner and U.S. officials would cite Egyptian promises not to torture the prisoner.
What are the chances that U.S. officials failed to inspect and investigate the facilities where the torture was taking place prior to entering into their rendition-torture agreement? The chances are nil. First, it was U.S. taxpayer money that was being used to underwrite the expenses of running the place, including the electricity bill to run the shock devices and the whirlpool. Second, U.S. officials would have been derelict in entering into a torture agreement without first checking out the competence of the torturers and the passion that held for their job.
Let’s face it: It’s been the U.S. government as part of its imperialist foreign policy that has enabled, encouraged, and funded the Egyptian dictatorship’s oppression of the Egyptian people for 30 years.
Alas, however, all too many Americans just don’t want to confront the reality of what their government has become as an empire. It’s easier to continue living the life of the lie, the life that continues to hew to a fairy tale about the kindness and goodness of the imperialist way of life. It’s just still too difficult for many Americans to confront the truth of what America has become as an empire — a nation whose government served as the Egyptian people’s co-oppressor, co-torturer, and co-tyrant.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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