All According to Plan: The Raba’a Massacre and Mass Killings of Protesters in Egypt

Human Rights Watch (HRW) issues its report on the mass killings of protesters in Egypt today (12th August 2014) two days before the anniversary of the hideous events. The main points of this HRW report on clearing the protest camp in Raba’a al-‘Adawiyya: ** it is recognised the largest one-day mass killing of peaceful protesters in recent history ** the persons responsible are identified as Mohamed Ibrahim (Min. Interior) , Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi (Min. Defence, now President of Egypt and recipient yesterday of the Saudi Medal of Honour), Midhat el-Menshawi (Special forces leader) ** evidence shows that security forces opened fire on protesters from the outset ** security forces went about their business on that gruesome day without fear of armed resistance as was claimed (open for details: http://www.hrw.org/embargo/node/127933?signature=2ae57efa3cd206b49c7d54634fae13c6&suid=6).Philip Roth writes: “This wasn’t merely a case of excessive force or poor training. It was a violent crackdown planned at the highest levels of the Egyptian government. Many of the same officials are still in power in Egypt, and have a lot to answer for.”

See video:

HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth and Middle East and North Africa Director Sarah Leah Whitson were due to make the presentation of the report in Cairo, but they were denied entry into the country by the junta. The HRW report has highlighted, among other things, the pernicious nature of the plethora of home-grown human rights organisations in Egypt, run behind the scenes by the intelligence services, which try to counter accusations such as those of HRW with their own distracting fabrications. HRW documented 817 killings at Raba’a el-‘Adawiyya, the main protest camp, and 87 killings at el-Nahda, the smaller protest camp where our intrepid team was based, whose story we followed on this site (see links to the Story of the Egyptian Coup and the Protest Camps starting with : http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/07/12/why-are-we-in-the-streets/).

This HRW report is an extremely important and objective document: one difficult for the US and EU to ignore (in the context of their astonishing support for the Egyptian junta). However, the documented killings by HRW are documented killings, and are in fact much smaller numbers than the number of those actually killed in the final analysis as per the count of friends and relatives of those missing, especially when there was no possibility of clearing of the dead and wounded prior to the implementation of a brutal sanitisation of the areas concerned by the junta’s forces. On this see the al-Jazeera documentary:

ِA further documentary was compiled by al-Jazeera partially from mobile phone footage which, during part of the film, gives a much closer view of the harrowing events of the 14th August. This documentary focuses on the Egyptian media’s spin defending the junta’s violent clearances (led by Naguib Sawiris’ ONTV), detailed in the first 10 mins in the form of distance shots being piped through TV into people’s living rooms. Their claims were that the protesters at the camps were not peaceful and that they were killing and torturing pro-junta “protesters” in hidden places beneath the podia erected at the camps (used by speakers to address the crowds). The film offers a clever point-by-point deconstruction of this spin, exposing it for the pack of lies that it actually was. However, it also, and more importantly, shows close-up the clearing process which used bulldozers with flame throwers in train (see 14.28 mins into the film), a process which would ultimately make it impossible to determine the actual number of deaths (which presumably from the point of view of the junta was the main point of the exercise):

Tayab Ali from ITN solicitors in London, who heads the Muslim Brotherhood’s legal team says: “the HRW report provides independent support for our case that members of the Egyptian post-coup government are responsible for the very serious international crimes that were committed against unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators in Egypt. We have already provided significant evidence to the police and investigative authorities in a number of countries including the United Kingdom. We will add to that the powerful evidence contained in this report. There is clear evidence that the post-coup military led regime planned and used extreme violence to support the coup. As the evidence grows it will become harder for those responsible for these crimes to evade justice. Those responsible for planning and executing these crimes against the people of Egypt will be prosecuted. It is just a matter of time”. See our analysis of the legal cases being prosecuted by ITN on link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/11/19/egypt-as-a-space-of-resistance/