heard, it was so unbelievable, even I came to believe that maybe they
were involved in something. I started wondering: for them to be
tortured like that they must have been involved in some plot. You
cannot imagine how harsh it was to hear that, the screaming, how
harshly they were tortured . . . . I heard some of them screaming when
they were being electrocuted. I could hear the electricity too, the
"Attorneys and families believe that the 22 men may have been targeted for arrest
because they were more devout Muslims than other mainstream Egyptian youth, and because authorities thought they could take signs of their religiousness—for
instance, that some of them had organized theological discussion groups—and
transform these signs into proof of more suspicious activity"
The features of the case are strangely familiar in terms of the methods used by the Egyptian intelligence service to those documented recently by Naomi Klein in her book 'The Shock Doctrine'. Whilst the accounts she drew upon referred to events in Latin America, Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo there are evident similarities;
Detention arising from ideological opposition to the state, detention in informal locations (so as to increase the terrorizing effect of the detentions), the stripping naked and humiliation of the detainees, blindfolding and electric shock treatment.
Moreover, the function of their exposure as terrorists, acts to justify further outbreaks of state terror and the general repression of the populace as a means to prevent dissent. These techniques were exploited in Chile, Argentina and Brazil to name but a few using manuals devised by the CIA with active supervision and training thrown in for good measure. The question then becomes whether or not the CIA were involved in these instances. a particularly salient point given the close cooperation between them and Middle-eastern intelligence agencies.
According to HRW these points are irrelevant.
"The purpose of this report is not just to describe the experience of this particular
group of men at the hands of the SSI. Rather, it is a case study offered to illustrate
how SSI operates across Egypt more generally."
In a world of globalised intelligence solidariy centred on the CIA, the Egyptian experience is bottled-up and analysed in isolation from co-operation such as that in the case of Muhammad Bashmilah of Yemen, who was seized by Jordanian intelligence agents in 2003 and turned over to the C.I.A for interrogation within their network of secret prisons.
It is perhaps more understandable that HRW must have felt that the close parallels with cases of terrorist plot exposes in the US and Europe fell outside their remit.
This need not prevent us from comparing the case to those such as the 2006 'plot' to bring down transatlantic airliners.
"Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray was sceptical of the account of the plot. He based his criticism on the assumptions that "None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not have passports." He also suggested that suspected ringleader Rashid Rauf invented the plot under torture in Pakistan.[42"
"On 18 September, Lieutenant-Colonel (ret.) Nigel Wylde, a former senior British Army Intelligence Officer with decades of anti-terror and explosives experience, declared the plot to be 'fiction'. He said the explosives in question could not possibly have been produced on the plane. "So who came up with the idea that a bomb could be made on board? Not Al Qaeda for sure. It would not work. Bin Laden is interested in success not deterrence by failure," Wylde stated. He further suggested that the plot was an invention of the UK security services in order to justify wide-ranging new security measures that threaten to permanently curtail civil liberties and to suspend sections of the United Kingdom's Human Rights Act of 1998. Due to the mountain of evidence, including forensic material, he expected the men to face "a very long trial of (between) five and eight months."