Tahrir - Freedom
Emad Hajjaj, Cagle Cartoons, Jordan
While Egyptians voted this week in the first free elections in their country, for members of parliament that will be responsible for writing a new constitution, protests continue in Tahrir Square in Cairo and in Alexandria and Giza against the military council that has been running the country since the fall of US backed dictator Hosnai Mubarak earlier this year. The council, made up of top members of the Mubarak regime, is simply a continuation of the Mubarak regime without Mubarak and has been maneuvering to retain its power and privileges even after the adoption of the new constitution. Under the council rule, more than 12,000 civilians have been tried and convicted in military trials on charges associated with protesting.
Meanwhile the US Senate Wednesday approved a military budget that contains provisions slipped into it without public hearings being held on them that would give the US military vast new powers to detain indefinitely anyone, anywhere. Under the new provisions, US citizens could be snatched off the street in the US and held forever without any proof being offered for their guilt and without their case ever being reviewed by any judge or court of law.
This comes not long after President Obama began using new powers granted to him that allow him to order the assassination of US citizens "suspected of terrorism," evidence for which likewise is secret and not subject to judicial review or oversight. Both measures are ostensibly intended to be weapons in the war on terror, under which the US has entered into what is looking more and more to be a state of permanent war, against an ill defined enemy.
Whether there even is an enemy is doubtful. Most of the highly publicized arrests of so-called terrorists in the US since 9/11 have turned out to be cases of the entrapment of impressionable young Muslims by the FBI or other law enforcement agencies, or of unbalanced men acting alone. Al Quaeda, the group once headed by the late Osama bin Laden, that was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade, no longer exists as a viable entity, our intelligence services say.
Both measures also coincide with the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement.