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Egyptians storm their Stasi building

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I love this headline from Al Jazeera English: "Egyptians raid state police offices." Typically, in Pravda or Izvestis, the "Egyptians" would refer to the Egyptian state, but here it refers to the Egyptian people. Good for them:

Egyptian protesters have stormed several state security buildings, seizing documents and attempting to retrieve files kept on alleged human rights abuses in the country. ...

Protesters stormed inside at least six of the buildings on Saturday, including the agency's main headquarters in Cairo's northern Nasr City neighbourhood, confronting and attacking some officers.

The protesters are demanding the agency be dismantled and its leaders be put on trial
.

"We are inside, hundreds of us." Mohammed Abdel-Fattah, one of the protesters who barged into the Nasr City compound on Saturday, told the Associated Press.

"We are fetching documents and we are looking for detainees."

Around 2,500 people swept into the compound, according to state media.

Abdel-Fattah said they barged in from the back doors, and the military, which had cordoned off the building, could not stop them.

They scoured the building for official documents, many of which were already shredded in piles or burned in what they believe was an attempt to hide evidence incriminating senior officials in abuses. Some also searched the building for secret detention rooms.

Army officers tried to get protesters out of the compound, but did not use force. One army officer rescued a state security officer from angry protesters and ushered him into a tank. ...

On Friday, Egypt's newly appointed prime minister Essam Sharaf vowed to reform the dreaded security apparatus as he addressed thousands of people in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

"I pray that Egypt will be a free country and that its security apparatus will serve the citizens," he said, as thousands chanted "the people want the end of the state security." [sounds like a dogwhistle, to me]

If Obama's asked Gates to fly to Cairo to put the toothpaste back in the tube, that hasn't made the mainstream yet. (It's also not clear to me why somebody with a profile as high as Gates's would be Obama's choice for such a mission.) Anyhow, it sure would be interesting to see any of the files on extraordinary rendition that Suleiman squirreled away, for any and all administrations, although I imagine for Egyptians, seeing which of their loved ones were tortured or disappeared would be the greater priority,

NOTE More excellent information from Siun here; hat tip Jawbone. Also, the parallel between the Egyptian security services and the Stasi is exact from the standpoint of data storage: Both were paper-based (like 1984, come to think of it). That's not the case with our own, which are digital, making the seizure of buildings off point, tactically. It's also interesting to speculate that our own state security files are all riddled with fraud, as are at least two other major electronic data systems run by the powers that be: MERS, and electronic voting machines.

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Submitted by lefttown on

"That's not the case with our own, which are digital, making the seizure of buildings off point, tactically."

It would make for a great symbolic gesture, however. Who pays the salaries of the people occupying these buildings? Who bought all digital equipment? Who built and pays for the maintenance of the building themselves? We do. Perhaps we ought to at least take a look at what goes on in those buildings.