IPT Exclusive: An Al Jazeera Anchor’s Bloody Call

Egypt newspapers celebrate Morsi’s ouster

2013-635085466767124719-712Ahram Online, Thursday 4 Jul 2013:

The streets were roaring with celebratory chants, music and fireworks Wednesday evening, as the army declared its roadmap for Egypt in a televised speech delivered by General Abdel Fatah Said El-Sisi — a roadmap that removed Mohamed Morsi from the position of president of Egypt.

Newspapers Thursday morning echoed the widespread excitement, with headlines and photographs in both the private and public press celebrating Morsi’s ouster. The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party paper did not rejoice, and put forward concerns about the democratic future of the country.

The front page of prominent private paper Al-Masry Al-Youm showcased a large photograph depicting thousands of protestors waving Egyptian flags with fireworks hanging like chandeliers in the sky. The main headline reads “Welcome back, Egypt: Morsi eliminated by the people’s command.” The front page detailed the stream of events and decisions that unfolded Wednesday, including the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, suspending the 2012 constitution, and the emergence of liberal leader Mohamed ElBaradei as a prominent contender to lead a truncated transitional period government that will home in on the security and economy files.

Tahrir newspaper, an independent paper led by prominent dissident writer and TV presenter Ibrahim Eissa, published a full-page photography depicting celebrations in Tahrir Square with a bold red headline that reads, “The People Triumph.” The front page also provides snapshots from last night’s televised army statement drawing a roadmap for Egypt’s transitional period, along with “Dismissing Morsi, appointing Adly Mansour as interim president, suspending the constitution, and gearing up for early presidential elections.”

In a rather uncustomary move, Tahrir printed an English headline at the very top of its front page, meant to address none other than the president of the United States: “It’s a Revolution … Not a Coup, Mr Obama!”

The headline responds to a written statement released by US President Barack Obama Wednesday expressing deep concern at the ouster of Morsi. International news outlets have also been dubbing last night’s events a “coup.”

Al-Youm Al-Sabea also celebrated the deposing of Morsi, leading with the headline “Revolutionary legitimacy triumphs.” The word “legitimacy” has been a source of entertainment for Egyptians following former president Morsi’s Tuesday speech, in which he repeated the word more than 40 times, in reference to his constitutional and presidential legitimacy. The paper cites sources saying that Morsi is now under house arrest, that Brotherhood leaders are under a travel ban, and that the army has assumed control of Maspero (the state television building).

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The rise and fall of an Egyptian president

In response to millions of Egyptians taking to streets, army and number of political and religious leaders propose roadmap aimed at ending year of unrest

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Friday, July 13, 2012 (Photo: AP)

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Friday, July 13, 2012 (Photo: AP)

By Mary Mourad, Wednesday 3 Jul 2013:

Today’s milestone marks a new phase in the Egyptian revolution, one which many had awaited since Mubarak stepped down in February 2011. The statement, read out by military chief-of-staff Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, describes a roadmap that includes the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, suspending the constitution temporarily, and handing over power to the head of Egypt’s High Constitutional Court.

The roadmap, which various political and religious figures participated in drafting, includes forming a committee for revising the constitution, formation of a council for “national reconciliation,” revising laws for parliamentary elections and holding early presidential elections.

Attendees at the press conference where El-Sisi gave his speech included a number of top military and police officials who sat in two rows on either side of the podium.

They included the Coptic Orthodox patriarch Tawadros II, the grand imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayyeb, Mohamed ElBaradei, a representative of the Salafist Nour Party, Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, one of the anti-Morsi Rebel campaign’s founders, and a senior judicial figure. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party refused to join the meeting.

The statement was received with enthusiasm and cheers by anti-Morsi protesters to close the first chapter of the Egyptian revolution and mark the end of the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The army took these actions following the massive demonstrations, marches and sit-ins that started on 30 June throughout the country. According to some estimates, as many as 17 million Egyptians took to the streets.

The historically unprecedented turnout shook the country and was expected to cause pressure on the presidency. Limited violence erupted leaving 34 dead and a few hundred injured, but no massive or organised violence erupted.

The army was the first to come out with a statement on Monday, 1 July giving a 48-hour ultimatum for political forces to come together to “fulfil the people’s demands” or the army would present a roadmap for the country including all political currents. The police followed suit to announce that they were siding with the Egyptian people and protecting protestors.

Read more at Ahramonline



Egyptian Tourism Officials Stunned by Morsi Appointment

Protesters outside the governor's office in Luxor. (Photo: © Reuters)

Protesters outside the governor’s office in Luxor. (Photo: © Reuters)

IPT News: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is drawing fire for appointing Muslim Brotherhood officials to a majority of 17 provincial governorships this week. But the appointment of a hardline Islamist to the district covering the heart of Egypt’s tourism industry is causing particular anxiety.

Hundreds of people in Luxor protested outside the governor’s office Monday after Morsi appointed Adel el-Khayat to lead the province. El-Khayat is not in the Muslim Brotherhood. Rather, he’s a part of the radical religious movement al-Gamaa al-Islamiya’s political party. Al-Gamaa members claimed credit for killing 58 tourists during a 1997 attack at a temple in Luxor.

“No to the terrorist governor!” read a protester’s sign.

In addition to the connection to the attack, el-Khayat’s Construction and Development party advocates banning alcohol sales, nightclubs and dress codes for modesty.

“Doesn’t the president know that the people of Luxor depend on tourism for their livelihoods?” asked protester Abubaker Fadel. The area is home to some of Egypt’s greatest antiquities, including King Tutankhamun’s tomb. But visitors already have fallen off since the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak’s government and the Brotherhood’s ascension to power.

Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou resigned in protest of el-Khayat’s appointment.

In response, Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood counter-demonstrators ringed the governor’s office today, hoping to clear a path for el-Khayat to enter.

The appointment struck many Egyptians as particularly tone-deaf, coming amid widespread discontent with Morsi’s leadership just a year into his term. “It’s as if the Muslim Brotherhood is reaching out to the extremists,” American University in Cairo historian Khaled Fahmy said.

In addition to el-Khayat, Morsi tapped Muslim Brotherhood officials for eight of the 17 vacant governorships. Brotherhood members now fill 10 of 27 governorships. That’s significant because, in addition to local matters, governors carry strong influence over arranging elections.

Opposition groups say Morsi is trying to monopolize power in Egypt for the Brotherhood. They hope to garner 15 million signatures on a petition calling for early elections, to be released before Morsi’s one-year anniversary in office June 30.

Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei called Morsi’s government “a surreal and absurd regime.”

Cables Show State Department Disregarded Muslim Brotherhood Threat

by John Rossomando

Morsi Annuls Decree, Advances 12/15/12 Constitutional Referendum


Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi (C) attends a meeting with Egypt’s Vice President Mahmoud Mekky (4th L) with other politicians and heads of parties at the presidential palace in Cairo December 8, 2012. A new decree was issued to accomplish the same popularly supported result as the 11/22/12 decree—a more Sharia-compliant constitution for a Sharia-thirsty Egyptian society

by Andrew Bostom

Al-Ahram has just published (Sunday 12/9/12)  in English translation the full text of a new constitutional declaration that revokes the controversial constitutional declaration issued by Egyptian President Morsi on November 22, 2012.

The earlier decree granting Morsi sweeping executive powers, which he insisted was necessary to move Egypt’s democratic transition forward, did in fact break the deadlock over the draft constitution. According to Mohammad Salim al-Awa, spokesman for a national political dialogue  held Saturday (albeit, boycotted by the major Morsi government opposition groups), the most contentious article from the prior 11/22/12 edict, which placed all of Morsi’s actions beyond judicial review, has been abrogated.

But the referendum on Egypt’s newly minted, increasingly Sharia-compliant draft constitution, will proceed apace, under the following conditions, outlined in item 3 of the new declaration:

3- If the people vote against the draft constitution in the referendum on Saturday, 15 December 2012, the president is to call for the direct election of a new Constituent Assembly of 100 members within three months.

The new Assembly is to finish its task within six months from its election date. The president is to then call for a referendum on the new draft presented by the Assembly within thirty days of receiving it.

In all cases, vote counting and the announcement of results in the constitutional referendum is to take place publicly in election subcommittees as soon as the voting process is finished. The results are to be validated by the head of the subcommittee.

Despite polling data reported yesterday from Vote Compass Egypt, indicating a mass Egyptian popular support of 70% for the constitution,  National Salvation Front “liberal” opposition leader Mohamed El-Baradei, with predictable (if delusive) bravado,  tweeted shortly after 2 a.m Sunday 12/9/12,

We have broken the barrier of fear: A constitution that axes our rights and freedoms is a constitution we will bring down today before tomorrow. Our strength is in our will.

Inside the Muslim Brotherhood’s Torture Chambers

photo_aspx_By Daniel Greenfield

Does the Muslim Brotherhood have its own torture chambers? Well it wouldn’t be a proper totalitarian movement if it didn’t. In the Middle East having your torture chambers is like an American politician getting his own handicapped parking sticker, it’s a sign that you have real power now.

Al-Masry Al-Youm spent three hours Wednesday night in a Muslim Brotherhood torture chamber at the presidential palace. The central chamber was located at the gate of the palace in front of Omar bin Abdel Aziz Mosque on Merghany Street. The chamber was cordoned by iron barriers and Central Security Forces, who only allowed this reporter access after a colleague from Misr 25 satellite channel, owned by the Brotherhood, intervened.

Police officials in uniform were present inside the chamber, as were plainclothes officers from the Nozha police station. Fifteen Brotherhood members were also present, supervised by three bearded men who decided who should be there. They could order anyone out of the room.

Opposing protesters were brought to the chambers after being detained by Brotherhood members, who beat them and tore their clothes.

The kidnappers would take the detained person’s ID card, mobile phone and money before beginning “investigations,” which included intervals of beating to force the confession that he or she is a “thug.”

The interrogators would then ask their captive why they had taken to the street, if they had received any money for protesting, and if they belonged to Mohamed ElBaradei’s Constitution Party, Hamdeen Sabbahi’s Popular Current or the dissolved National Democratic Party of Hosni Mubarak.

If the detainee denied affiliation, the torturers would intensify beatings and verbal abuse. They also documented the interrogations on a mobile phone camera and contacted the Misr 25 TV channel to name the detainees as thugs.

After a while, a captive would be transferred to a central chamber, where a Brotherhood lawyer would hand his or her ID card and personal belongings to a senior police officer, who was the head of the “investigations department” in the chamber. Some Brotherhood members claimed that they found weapons on the detainees and had handed them over to Nozha police officers.

This reporter heard detainees screaming inside the chamber. One pleaded, “I’m a bearded sheikh… It’s Safwat Hegazy who will restore my rights. I’m a friend of all sheikhs.” A bleeding man cried, “I’m an educated person. I have a car. Do I look like a thug?” A severely beaten detainee, who said he was from Sayeda Zeinab, was accused of being affiliated with former Parliament Speaker Fathi Sorour.

Some of the detainees were not able to respond to the questions the Brotherhood interrogators screamed at them because of their physical state. Some were bleeding profusely and severely fatigued, but were not given medical assistance, only offered bottles of water to drink.

There was blood visible on the pavement outside the chambers. Some Brothers covered it with dust to try to hide it, but some of it remained visible.

Maybe Morsi can call in his good friend Obama to help him spread some of the dust over the blood.