• $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • other
  • use Paypal

CALLING ALL COUNTERPUNCHERS! CounterPunch’s website is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. We are supported almost entirely by the subscribers to the print edition of our magazine and by one-out-of-every-1000 readers of the site. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners to the “new” Cuba. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads or click bait. Unlike many other indy media sites, we don’t shake you down for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it. So over the next few weeks we are requesting your financial support. Keep CounterPunch free, fierce and independent by donating today by credit card through our secure online server, via PayPal or by calling 1(800) 840-3683. Note: This annoying box will disappear once we reach our fund drive goal. Thank you for your support!


Mubarak’s Goon Squads


The Independent

Egyptian plain-clothes police beat up demonstrators in central Cairo – in some cases groping women protesters – as Egyptians voted over constitutional changes that would theoretically allow more than one candidate to stand for president.

But yesterday’s street protests, brutally suppressed by the security services, were held to condemn the referendum on the changes, which will insist that anyone wanting to stand against President Hosni Mubarak must have the support of 250 MPs and local councils, all dominated by Mr Mubarak’s own National Democratic Party (NDP), before being permitted to participate in the elections. So much for democracy in Egypt.

President George Bush has claimed that the electoral changes are part of a tide of democracy spreading across the Middle East and his wife Laura, visiting Egypt this week, went along with the official Mubarak line. The President’s changes in the constitution were "bold and wise," she said, adding that political reform should happen slowly. But slow is not the word for it. If 51 per cent of Egypt’s 32.5 million registered voters support the changes in the referendum – which, of course, they will – then Mr Mubarak, we are to believe, may not be alone in standing for presidential election. Yet who will be nominated to oppose him when the NDP calls the shots?

Wednesday’s disgraceful scenes in Cairo, however, showed only too clearly what the government thinks of democracy – either the Bush or the Mubarak version. The policeattacked opposition demonstrators in front of tourists and journalists or stood aside to let pro-Mubarak mobs assault the protesters, watching from the side of the street as Egyptian citizens assaulted Egyptian citizens. Members of the opposition Kifaya movement – it means "Enough!" in English – sought protection from the Cairo police but a senior officer ordered his men to withdraw and leave the protesters to their fate.

When a woman tried to leave the temporary refuge of the press syndicate building in Cairo, she was punched and beaten with batons by pro-Mubarak party men who also tore her clothes. Screaming and vomiting, she collapsed in the street, according to a journalist witness from the Associated Press. Again, the police looked on without interfering. Some plain-clothes police beat, abused and sexually groped women demonstrators.

Only a day earlier, police arrested 17 people from opposition groups, adding to the sense of outrage felt by those Egyptians who regard the referendum as a sham. "The regime is still following the dictatorial and repressive methods towards the Egyptian people and opposition," Mohamed Habib, the deputy leader of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood said. Gameela Ismail, a spokesman for the Ghad "Tomorrow" Party – she is the wife of the party’s leader, Ayman Noor – condemned Laura Bush for her support for Mubarak. "What she said is really frustrating for most opposition forces in Egypt," she said. "She seems not to know enough about Egypt. I’m really amazed."

The Kifaya Party’s spokesman, Abdul Hamid Qandil, reported that two of his members were hurt. "This is the first time this sort of beating and humiliation has taken place here in Cairo," he said, pointing out that it was a common practice outside Cairo where there were no reporters or television cameras. In the countryside – in areas such as the city of Sohag – many voters said they would suffer "penalties" if they did not vote. In al-Arish on the coast, government-appointed school directors ordered their staff to vote; buses carried government employees into Cairo to participate – and to vote for the "changes".

Mr Mubarak has been in power since President Sadat’s assassination in 1981, re-elected every six years in single candidate referendums. Government newspapers and television have given little publicity to possible opposition candidates, who will inevitably be turned down by the MPs and councils whose support they must have. Some Egyptians believe – despite his denials – that Mr Mubarak wants his son Gamal to succeed him in six years’ time; in which case, of course, the NDP would support his candidacy and he could – mirabile dictu – beat his father in the polls.

By continuing Egypt’s state of emergency, Mubarak has effectively neutered the opposition, thus forcing Egyptians to meet in mosques – and strengthening the hands of the theocrats. Like so many other Arab dictators, he has then been able to frighten the Americans into believing that the only alternative to his rule might be an Islamic republic.

ROBERT FISK is a reporter for The Independent and author of Pity the Nation. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch’s collection, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. Fisk’s new book, The Conquest of the Middle East, will be released this fall.


October 13, 2015
Dave Lindorff
US Dispatched a Murderous AC-130 Airborne Gunship to Attack a Hospital
Steve Martinot
The Politics of Prisons and Prisoners
Heidi Morrison
A Portrait of an Immigrant Named Millie, Drawn From Her Funeral
Andre Vltchek
Horrid Carcass of Indonesia – 50 Years After the Coup
Jeremy Malcolm
All Rights Reserved: Now We Know the Final TTP is Everything We Feared
Omar Kassem
Do You Want to See Turkey Falling Apart as Well?
Paul Craig Roberts
Recognizing Neocon Failure: Has Obama Finally Come to His Senses?
Theodoros Papadopoulos
The EU Has Lost the Plot in Ukraine
Roger Annis
Ukraine Threatened by Government Negligence Over Polio
Matthew Stanton
The Vapid Vote
Mel Gurtov
Manipulating Reality: Facebook is Listening to You
Louisa Willcox
Tracking the Grizzly’s Number One Killer
Binoy Kampmark
Assange and the Village Gossipers
Robert Koehler
Why Bombing a Hospital Is a War Crime
Jon Flanders
Railroad Workers Fight Proposed Job Consolidation
Mark Hand
Passion and Pain: Photographer Trains Human Trafficking Survivors
October 12, 2015
Ralph Nader
Imperial Failure: Lessons From Afghanistan and Iraq
Ishmael Reed
Want a Renewal? Rid Your City of Blacks
Thomas S. Harrington
US Caught Faking It in Syria
Victor Grossman
Scenes From a Wonderful Parade Against the TPP
Luciana Bohne
Where Are You When We Need You, Jean-Paul Sartre?
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The US Way of War: From Columbus to Kunduz
Paul Craig Roberts
A Decisive Shift in the Balance of Power
Justus Links
Turkey’s Tiananmen in Context
Ray McGovern
Faux Neutrality: How CNN Shapes Political Debate
William Manson
Things R Us: How Venture Capitalists Feed the Fetishism of Technology
Norman Pollack
The “Apologies”: A Note On Usage
Steve Horn
Cops Called on Reporter Who Asked About Climate at Oil & Gas Convention
Javan Briggs
The Browning of California: the Water is Ours!
Dave Randle
The BBC and the Licence Fee
Andrew Stewart
Elvis Has Left the Building: a Reply to Slavoj Žižek
Nicolás Cabrera
Resisting Columbus: the Movement to Change October 12th Holiday is Rooted in History
Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria