Egyptian police targeted protesters via social media

Monday, February 7, 2011 8:16 EDT
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Egyptian police used the very instrument that sparked the recent anti-government rebellion, social media, to catch its youthful organizers, according to a published report.

Gabrielle, a 25-year-old French-Egyptian property lawyer, told The Daily Mail in a recent interview that activists in communication with each other via the Internet have been “rounded up.”

“They have our names from Facebook postings and Twitter,” she said. “Some have not been heard of since.”

Activists like Gabrielle — young, well-educated middle-class Egyptians — were torn between remaining or leaving Egypt during this time of national struggle. Their protests however, both at online and in daylight, opened themselves to increased vulnerability.

In recent days, loyalists to embattled President Hosni Mubarak failed to overtake the demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The Egyptian military has kept the desperate factions there at bay. Elsewhere, it’s another story.

“In the surrounding streets, and elsewhere in the capital, gangs of iron bar-wielding Mubarak loyalists lurk listlessly at roadblocks,” Ian Gallagher of The Mail wrote, adding, “Bloggers and opposition leaders have been dragged from their homes and beaten up. Journalists, too, have been targeted.”

Pro-Mubarak thugs reportedly torched the Cairo offices of Al-Jazeera, the Arabic media network which has streamed the mass protests on the Internet for free from the earliest moments of the conflict. The Egyptian government had attempted to shut down the network and the public’s access to the Internet to no avail.

The regime’s attempt to blackout social media networks caused an online group of hacktivists known as “Anonymous” to disrupt the Egyptian government with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

One Tunisian member of “Anonymous,” who called himself Anon.M, told Al Jazeera that he was tasked with breaking into Egyptian government websites.

“I take down security barriers of Web sites so that people can enter and occupy the site and post their message to the Egyptian government,” he said. “So they know this Web site is ours now, and they can’t block freedom of expression.”

Gallagher reported that Gabrielle decided to remain in Egypt amid the gunfire in downtown Cairo she deemed once “unthinkable.”

“Let’s hope Mubarak does the opposite,” she said.

With reporting by David Edwards.

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  • Taleisin

    Apparently 2 000 protesters are ‘missing’ since all this began.

  • Anonymous

    Dick Cheney thinks Mubarek is “a good man and a a good friend”!

  • enorceht

    Year Of Tha Boomerang

    So I grip tha cannon like Fanon an pass tha shells to my classmates
    Aw, power to tha people, yeah, yeah
    Tha bosses right ta live is mine ta die
    I’m goin’ out heavy sorta like Mount Tai
    Wit tha five centuries of penitentiary so let tha guilty hang
    In tha year of tha boomerang

    I got no property but yo I’m a piece of it
    So let tha guilty hang

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/UR4DHHC3P6RRXIUP4LWX54YN7I hu

    apparently non-violence isn’t working

  • Anonymous

    The tax cheat Vodafone is in league with Mubarak and the U.S. in rooting out who is doing what so they can be illegally Disappearred. Something both governments are good at doing.

  • Anonymous

    Hell, just do a census and round up whoever like we did in the 1940′s.

  • Anonymous

    Kucinich wrote, “In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado: all without so much as having been convicted of anything.”

    And so the Pentagon and Co. will target those who dared speak out in the age of the Internet. The left will disappear one by one into the unknown darkness…

    What about the disappeared people we don’t know about?

    Are we there yet? Good night and good luck…

  • Anonymous

    Apparently… Nothing is working except fascist dictatorships backed up by “free democracies”…

  • Johnny Warbucks

    One Tunisian member of “Anonymous,” who called himself Anon.M, told Al Jazeera that he was tasked with breaking into Egyptian government websites.

    Now, if he figured out a way to hack himself into Mubarak’s bank accounts and clean them out, he would be everybody’s favorite hero around the world.

    BTW, Vodafone is party-owned by Mubarak himself.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Vodafone in Egypt is party owned by Mubarak himself.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    And Obama thinks he’s a patriot. And Joe Biden doesn’t think he’s a dictator. And Israel thinks he’s a good friend to them. With friends like that, who needs enemies, eh?

  • Johnny Warbucks

    And that’s nothing. Remember who’s heading their ‘new’ government now. By the time it’s all said and done, millions will be missing. I read reports today of protesters being robbed and receiving a phone from their own phones telling them their belongings had turned up and asking them to go claim them. When they show up at the police station, they’re arrested.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EJCHJ2LWM3MGYUGHWB7ALWHE6M Kitty Antonik Wakfer

    Use the Internet *against* government enforcers! Photograph them and publish photos and names – in as many places online (and on paper too) and with as many mechanisms as available! This way anyone with access to the Internet (or even knowing someone who has access, since paper printouts can also be used) can see who they are and if nearby can withdraw or do not initiate voluntary association – negative Social Preferencing. Shun these doers of physical harm! Have nothing to do with them! Do not do business of any kind with them, unless actually threatened with physical harm.

    There are far more non-enforcers in any area than there are government enforcers – civilian or military. And always keep the following in mind:
    Politicians and bureaucrats – rulers, whether or not they are fairly elected – do *not* get out into the field and enforce their own legislation/decrees/mandates/etc. Instead they depend on the enforcers to do the dirty work. Therefore the enforcers are the key! Politicians and bureaucrats simply talk and write, even when it is to give orders. Without the enforcers, the harm cannot be done! The enforcers are the key, whether police or military!

    Strong negative Social Preferencing – withdrawal or refusal of voluntary association with the reasons made public – is selective (discriminating) association to exclude those who cause harm. It is a potentially *very* powerful method of non-violent action, referred to as ostracism by many down through the ages. It is included in Gene Sharp’s 2nd volume (of 3), “The Politics of Nonviolent Action”, Chapter 4, “The Methods of Social Noncooperation”.

    Even in the current very unfree societies (of which the US is one despite its government’s claim of otherwise), negative Social Preferencing can be effectively used to influence individual social behavior and the actions of the State. In fact I wrote about this practice in general intended for use in North America in “Tax/Regulation Protests are Not Enough: Relationship of Self-Responsibility and Social Order” – http://selfsip.org/focus/protestsnotenough.html – but the general principles are applicable anywhere.

  • Anonymous

    Like likes like.

  • Anonymous

    This is excellent and deserves wide distribution. I think it needs to be brought to the attention of Aljazeera. They need to do a report on this concept.

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    the NSA is smiling

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. I would argue to focus on all but the last paragraph which opens things up to a much wider debate and could muddy the waters in the context of current events.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. I’d argue to disregard the final paragraph in these circumstances – it opens up the debate to a much wider field and is in danger of muddying the waters.

  • Taleisin

    When I start a story with ‘mate’ , it’s an aussie man thing.

    Mate, my neighbor is from the Karen people of North Burma. The Doctors here, with our free health system, has changed his nose from ‘smashed’ to ‘a bit ugly’. He looks alright now, but when he first turned up, you could see he had been tortured.
    He watched his village burn and the old people with it. He joined the northern army and lived in the bush helping people from other villages that had been burnt.

    After a few years, he took his wife and son and crossed Laos to spend a year in a refugee camp in Thailand. If he left that camp to get food, The soldiers would shoot him.
    They spent a few years in a camp in Australia before they moved in next door.

    The first year their small children born in refugee, camps would run through my front door and out the back without even a hello. My house was like a bungalow to them. It took them all a while to adjust to a normal Australian suburb.As we got to know each other, we talked a little about his life back in Burma. I’d heard a lot of war stories in the past but they never get any easier.

    When the Dad and Mum became naturalized, last year. I shook his hand and told him he was an Aussie now The poor bugger has so much trouble with the english language but he can say ‘Aussie’ just fine.

    He works hard, loves his family and goes to bed feeling safe. Mate, I am proud to live in a country that can offer such a good man this opportunity. But I want a world where everyone can sleep feeling safe.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    The poor fellow. What a horrible story! The things we humans can do to each other. We don’t deserve to be on this Earth. As I usually say, when god created man, he sure as hell screwed up.

    And I’ve been hearing that Burma and Laos are at it again. Big convoluted thing about borders and some historical church. I think… I don’t even wanna get into it. I’ve got enough going already.

    And on the subject of horrors, you may want to read this article. The US good friend and ally, the tin-pot of Uzbekistan is reported to boil his opponents to death. But, remember, it’s their freedoms that people of the world hate them for not their friends, etc.


  • Taleisin

    That was a depressing link.
    A German man once told me that WWI had a lot to do with the thirty year war in the 1600s. They lost a third of their population back then. Generations remember things like that.

    On another note, what so you think of Hugo Chavez?

  • Anonymous

    Do not miss the fact that one of the enemies of the Egyptian people is our own CIA, who are attempting to plant their surrogate, Sulieman, as president, which would include their supporting him in crushing the people. By extensions those thugs in the street are your thugs.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Sorry, I was away for a couple days.

    Hugo. What do I think about him? Well, from my Cuban ordeal I learned not to trust anyone that tinpot dictator of mine befriends. I gave him the benefit of a doubt though but have gone back to not trusting him. He’s up to no good that one. First, I have a friend who spent a couple of years in Gaza, married a Palestinian there and was only able to go to Venezuela & Cuba as no other country would take the poor guy, not even her own. She has some horror stories to tell about the place and hauled ass out of there after just a few weeks. Imagine how bad things must be that she was scared after spending years in a war zone. Then, she went to Cuba. Another horror story! Poor people, last I spoke with here, they were headed to Korea.

    The other thing is that I’ve been reading stuff on the official Cuban propaganda website and there’s a lot of stuff in there going on between them two esbirrors that doesn’t sound right. So, I’m back to my gut feeling. However, not having ever been in Venezuela, I can’t say either way. I would never do to the Venezuelans what the Amerikan whackjobs do to me when it comes to my own country.