Jihan Hafiz / The Real News & John Glaser / Anti-War.com – 2011-11-30 00:52:06
Video: Egyptian Protesters Vow to Resist US-Made Toxic Gas
An excellent report from Jihan Hafiz / The Real News
CAIRO (November 29, 2011) â€“ Toxic smoke has come to symbolize the brutality of Egypt’s security forces. During the five days of violent street battles, makeshift street clinics and hospitals were overwhelmed with tear-gas victims. Some did not survive. The Egyptian Health Ministry reports that seven people died from asphyxiation caused by tear-gas. Innocent bystanders have also fallen victim. The medicine used by doctors earlier in the year to resuscitate victims of tear gas has been inadequate this time.
According to the State Department’s 2010 Fiscal Year report on foreign assistance, more than $1.7 million of non-lethal weapons, including tear-gas, were exported to Egypt from the United States. Most of the tear gas was produced by two companies in Pennsylvania — Combined Tactical Systems, in Jamestown, and Defense Technology Federal Laboratories, which is based in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania and is owned by British military contractor BAE Systems.
Both companies describe their products as “less-lethal.” [CTS made the 37/35 MM Riot CS Smoke Projectiles used in Tahrir Square, DTFL manufactures CS Riot Control gas and 518E Riot Gas used on protesting civilians.] They have come under fire for deaths caused by the use of their tear gas by one of their major clients — the Israeli government. Combined Tactical Systems flies an Israeli flag over their building in Jamestown.
US-Made Tear Gas Used on Egyptian Protesters
John Glaser / Anti-War.com
(November 28, 2011) — The close military relationship between the U.S. and Egypt/SCAF is continuing and is serving as an impediment to prospects for democratic governance. Elections took place today in Egypt and we will soon see the results, but — as a recent Amnesty International report puts it — the elections are being overshadowed by the continuing abuses by the U.S.-supported military junta.
In fact, with regard to trials of civilians before military courts, the numbers have become worse. Bloggers, journalists, scholars and ordinary citizens have been silenced and charged with crimes such as â€œcriticizing the military.â€ When pressed to end the state of emergency, the military rulers repeatedly use security issues as an excuse to maintain the status quo.
Furthermore, the SCAF failed to heed the call of Amnesty International and Egyptian activists to demand accountability for the security abuses of the past Mubarak regime. Certainly key members of the previous government have gone on trial, including Mubarak himself. But the SCAF never took steps to investigate past abuses. Without accountability, the police and security officials of the past regime simply returned to their old jobs; it should be no surprise that the old regimeâ€™s violence toward protesters is now getting repeated.
The above links I provided detail recent U.S. military and economic aid to Egypt making the â€œU.S.Aâ€ on those tear gas canisters seem like a mundane feature of the status quo. The Government Accountability Office has made it clear that the U.S. is unable to track their weapons welfare to see whether it is used on civilians. But really, anybody with mental faculties rivaling that of a 10 year old kid can predict they U.S.-donated weapons to military rulers will eventually be used on the people.
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