By Jacob G. Hornberger
In a scene that almost certainly made Pentagon and
CIA officials both angry and nervous, Egyptian
protestors stormed the headquarters of the much-feared
State Security Investigations agency in Cairo, where
they began examining top-secret documents. This is the
agency that was primarily responsible for enforcing
the Mubarak dictatorship's war on terrorism and war on
drugs with such things as warrantless arrests,
indefinite detention, torture, and execution.
Why would that make the Pentagon and the CIA angry
and nervous? According to an article in the
Washington Post, "State Security also collaborated
with the United States on counterterrorism and was
likely to have kept files on the rendition program
under which terrorism suspects from around the world
were relocated to Egypt by U.S. agents."
But perhaps the Pentagon and CIA need not worry.
According to the article, there was a lot of document
shredding before the protestors took over the
building. For all we know, maybe some U.S.
intelligence agents were even the ones doing the
Carefully note what the protestors found inside
that ominous building:
"Witnesses also said they found implements used for
torture, including electric shock devices…. On an
upper floor, the protestors found a whirlpool and a
gym in the luxurious quarters used by the service's
Isn't that nice? The torturers were able to release
their stresses and tensions in their luxurious
whirlpool and gym after a hard day at work.
Did you catch the part about electric shock
devices? That's all the information about them that
was provided in the article, but I think everyone
knows how these devices were used by Egyptian
torturers. They were attached to a person's private
parts and then turned on in order to send a charge of
electricity into the most sensitive part of a person's
body with the intent of causing excruciating pain.
What does all this have to do with the Pentagon and
the CIA, our very own government's military and
paramilitary forces? It is a virtual certainty that
U.S. military officials and CIA officials visited and
inspected that facility and that they fully approved
of what they saw.
How do I arrive at this surmise? No, not because
the U.S. Congress has held hearings into the matter.
That's the last thing they're going to do, given the
fact that it has been Congress that has been
appropriating $2 billion a year in foreign aid for the
Egyptian dictatorship for decades, with the full
knowledge and understanding that some of the money was
being used to do the types of things that the State
Security Investigations agency was doing to the
Egyptian people as part of the government's war on
terrorism and war on drugs, two wars that the U.S.
government fully agrees with.
Don't forget the rendition-torture agreement
between the U.S. and Egyptian governments. No, we
still don't have the exact details of the agreement
because, again, this is the last thing that Congress
is going to investigate. But we can surmise that the
agreement went like this: In partial return for the $2
billion annual payment to the Egyptian tyrants, the
U.S. government would periodically deliver a prisoner
to Egypt for the purpose of torture. So that U.S.
officials would have plausible deniability, Egyptian
officials would publicly assure the U.S. government
that the prisoner would not be tortured, but there
would be plenty of winking going on between the
respective representatives handling the matter. Then,
the prisoner would be brutally tortured, after which
Egyptian officials would deny they tortured the
prisoner and U.S. officials would cite Egyptian
promises not to torture the prisoner.
What are the chances that U.S. officials failed to
inspect and investigate the facilities where the
torture was taking place prior to entering into their
rendition-torture agreement? The chances are nil.
First, it was U.S. taxpayer money that was being used
to underwrite the expenses of running the place,
including the electricity bill to run the shock
devices and the whirlpool. Second, U.S. officials
would have been derelict in entering into a torture
agreement without first checking out the competence of
the torturers and the passion that held for their job.
Let's face it: It's been the U.S. government as
part of its imperialist foreign policy that has
enabled, encouraged, and funded the Egyptian
dictatorship's oppression of the Egyptian people for
Alas, however, all too many Americans just don't
want to confront the reality of what their government
has become as an empire. It's easier to continue
living the life of the lie, the life that continues to
hew to a fairy tale about the kindness and goodness of
the imperialist way of life. It's just still too
difficult for many Americans to confront the truth of
what America has become as an empire — a nation whose
government served as the Egyptian people's
co-oppressor, co-torturer, and co-tyrant.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The
Future of Freedom Foundation.