Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Egypt’s Secret Police Renames Itself “Homeland Security”

Egypt’s infamous state security apparatus, notorious for spying on political activists and torturing dissidents, has renamed itself “homeland security,” presumably in homage to its American namesake, which has also been used as a tool of political repression.

As part of the re-branding of dictatorship in Egypt, the same security force implicated in the imprisonment and torture of anti-Mubarak activists is busy reorganizing itself while maintaining intimidation and spying campaigns targeted against parliamentary candidates by bugging phone calls and harassing prominent critics of the ruling military regime’s bloody crackdown on protesters.

“After some initial moves to purge the security forces, attempts at systemic reform were halted, say analysts and political observers. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Interior, the 100,000-strong state security service has been renamed homeland security and personnel moved around,” the Financial Times reports today (emphasis mine).

Should we be concerned that a dictatorship which refuses to bow to the will of the people and allow democratic elections to proceed while engaging in savage attacks on demonstrators is re-naming itself after America’s foremost post-9/11 federal agency?

Like the Egyptian secret police, the Department of Homeland Security has reinvented its role to serve as a tool of political repression in recent years. Under the Federal Protective Service (FPS), the DHS tracks the political activities of peaceful advocacy groups. The FPS was seen arresting photographers in Portland last week during an OWS rally. In 2004, the FPS arrested a veteran for the crime of complaining to his local VA office in Des Moines. more