Moral Low Ground


Wikileaks Release: FBI Trained Egyptian Torturers

Torturers trained here.

US diplomatic cables leaked by the whistle-blowing, Nobel-nominated website Wikileaks reveal that the head of the Egyptian State Security and Investigative Service (SSIS) thanked the US for “training opportunities” at the FBI academy in Quantico, Virginia.

The brutal SSIS is notorious for torturing prisoners. According to the leaked cables, US ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey stated in April 2009 that “Egypt’s police and domestic security services continue to be dogged by persistent, credible allegations of abuse of detainees… The Interior Ministry uses SSIS to monitor and sometimes infiltrate the political opposition and civil society. SSIS suppresses political opposition through arrests, harassment and intimidation.”

Six months later, another leaked US cable recounted how lawyers for suspected Hizbollah prisoners gave details of torture techniques used by SSIS. “The lawyers told us in mid-October that they have compiled accounts from several defendants of GOE [government of Egypt] torture by electric shocks, sleep deprivation, and stripping them naked for extended periods.”

While it is highly  unlikely that the FBI instructed SSIS officers in torture techniques, the fact that such unsavory brutes were trained by American law enforcement officials is troubling enough. So is the fact that despite having full knowledge of what Egyptian security forces were capable of, Washington continued providing the Mubarak regime with billions of dollars in military, security and economic aid.


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