Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egyptian Military Begins Crackdown On Foreign Journalists

Army attacks human rights offices to ransack the files, make arrests

Cairo - Army soldiers began to attack foreign journalists, confiscating equipment, taking notebooks and going through them, and routing them out of Liberty Square.

They also raided the offices of human rights organizations, destroyed their files and arrested the people working there, according to Hosnan Baghat, a human rights activist interviewed on Link TV's program, “Democracy Now.”

Observers had eagerly awaited to see what side the military would come down on after diverting security police in mufti out of the area and allowing many more anti-regime revolutionaries to come into the square.

“It's not the side of the anti-government activists,” said Mr. Baghat.

The answer came early in the afternoon when the military's counterinsurgency tactics began, first against journalists, then against human rights activists.

In the U.S. Congress, Representative Ron Paul, I-Texas City, called for an end to foreign aid for military organizations, echoing his son Senator Rand Paul's similar proposal to eliminate about $3 billion in annual military aid for Israel earlier in the week.

The Egyptian military receives about $1.3 billion in aid each year from the Department of Defense, something experts say is an indication of the Egyptian military's dependence on American aid.

Foreign policy experts credit the arrangement in part for holding a balance of power between Israeli and moderate Arabic interests in the petroleum-rich Emirates and Saudi Arabia and more radical Islamic states such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Palestinian nation.

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