After protesters stormed Egyptian State Security, the fallout is gradually building. Once-secret documents are slowly being made public, laying bare not just the activities of Amn Dawla, but their connections with the outside world.
With Germany, that started with claims that a German firm had been marketing its Trojan software to SS. There’s also video from Saturday, in which a man shows the equipment with which he was tortured. This was made in Germany, although to be honest it looks more like repurposed generic technology than anything designed specifically for torture.
The New York Times gives a glimpse of the revelations within Egypt:
The file on Ms. Shazly, the most influential late-night television host in Egypt, accused her of harboring the socialist sympathies that had landed her father in jail and “made her adopt an incendiary approach in discussing issues related to the Ministry of the Interior.”
The report called her talk show “imbalanced” and said that she ha
But more is surely on its way. As this blog speculates:
We are also likely to find out lots of juicy details about which Western companies profited from Mubarak’s authoritarian regime, especially those who collaborated in spying on and suppressing the Egyptian people. There may also yet be details about people who were given or loaned to the Egyptian government by the US in order to be tortured. M G3Such documents may give us the names of contacts in the US government (including the CIA) who are responsible for such heinous acts. If we are very lucky, Egypt may follow Italy’s lead and prosecute US employees in absentia for these crimes.
Two groups, Amn Dawla Leaks and SS Leaks, are rapidly bringing out documents — albeit with constant debates over authenticity.
Beyond the fakes, there’s also the question of how demonstrators were able to get into the buildings. One argument is that the army and police were simply acting tactically — they realised they wouldn’t be able to get rid of the protesters without violence, and decided to accept the lesser evil. But there’s also the conspiracy view:
these documents may have been left behind on purpose to give people something to sift through when they were finally allowed to break in. It’s certain that the most sensitive documents were destroyed or transported to secure locations weeks ago.
I would not use the word “hoax,” however. We shouldn’t diminish the significance of what happened. It means a lot that citizens took over SS offices, and it means a lot that they found and publicized documents that show the massive, systemic, petty interference of the “security” apparatus in everyday life. But we need to recognize that there is a very deep game being played here, and that the SS shadow state may be undermined and on the defensive, but still operational.
More suspicions of the ‘deep game’ here
The question of authenticity also affects the kind of social impact these documents will have, especially outside Egypt. I could imagine newspapers realising there are fakes circulating among the genuine documents, and thus being squeamish about publishing anything on an SS leak. So we could end up with documents circulating (unverified) in activist and academic circles, but rarely getting into the mainstream media.
Meanwhile there’s a rumour going round that Robert Gates’ has been sent to Cairo for damage-control following the leaks. There doesn’t seem to be any source for this more authoritative than Debka, so I wouldn’t count on it.