Shortly after midnight on the morning of New Year's Day, a green Skoda automobile pulled up outside the Saints Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria, Egypt. The vehicle decanted two men, one of whom was seen speaking tersely into a mobile phone as they walked briskly from the scene.
A few minutes later a 100 kilogram bomb detonated inside the car, sending its densely packed, lethal payload of nails, glass and iron balls into the sanctuary. The explosion, which was powerful enough to shatter every window in the neighborhood, killed more than twenty worshipers gathered for New Year's mass. Nearly a hundred more were seriously wounded. Body parts were propelled into the fourth floor of the church building and onto a neighboring mosque.
An hour before the bomb went off, government security personnel assigned to guard the church quietly withdrew, despite official assurances that the force would be on hand until the end of the worship service. No explanation was given for this oddly timed dereliction of duty. After the bombing, a group of Muslim radicals quickly materialized to taunt the terrified and infuriated Christian victims with chants of "Allah akbar." Armored riot police arrived shortly thereafter, firing rubber bullets and tear gas grenades to disperse the crowd.
The immediate official story was that "foreign elements" -- either al-Qaeda or the Israeli Mossad -- were responsible for the atrocity. This explanation was immediately challenged by surviving eyewitnesses who had seen the security force withdrawn and the unidentified vehicle park in a cordoned-off "secure" area. Spokesmen for the long-suffering Coptic Christian population pointed out that on January 6, 2010, security had been withdrawn from a Coptic church in Nag Hammadi shortly before a drive-by shooting. Six Coptic Christians attending Christmas Eve mass, along with a Muslim security guard, were killed in the attack, and nine others were wounded.
|Suspects in the Nag Hammadi shooting.
Three suspects were arrested by the police a few days after the atrocity in Nag Hammadi. The alleged ringleader, a career criminal named Mohammad Kammouni, was sentenced to death earlier this year by a special "state security" tribunal established under the post-1981 emergency law.
Under that streamlined procedure, the verdict cannot be appealed, and -- once the Grand Mufti ratifies the death sentence -- Kammouni can be disposed of quickly and cleanly. This is a very tidy way to dispose of a Patsy.
By the time of the New Year's Eve bombing in Alexandria, a growing number of Egyptians -- both Christian and Muslim -- began to suspect that Mubarak's U.S.-supported police state had cultivated a large pool of patsies to carry out false flag operations intended to foment sectarian conflict. If that was the design, things were working out as planned.
Funerals of Coptic terrorism victims were becoming commonplace, and quickly turning into confrontations between Christians and Muslims. This kept the riot police busy and gave State Security (SS) officials a pretext to round up scores of young Copts as a "preventive" measure. The biggest benefit to the regime was the emergence of a deep and increasingly violent sectarian rift in the Egyptian population.
"Clashes between Muslims and Christians have grown increasingly common in recent years, especially in Upper Egypt, where there is a large Christian population and a strong culture of vendetta killings," reported the New York Times following the Nag Hammadi murders. "Those killings typically spring from unexceptional disputes that spiral into full-blown conflicts that have to be settled by security forces."
"Egyptians have been united historically by a strong sense of national identity, allowing the Muslim majority and Coptic Christian minority to live in peace, for the most part," continued the report. "But the recent rise in religious fervor, especially among Muslims, has strained relations and increased reported episodes of religiously inspired violence."
"There is a prevailing atmosphere of sectarianism and religious incitement which has led to this behavior," complained Gamal Asaad, a Coptic Christian and former member of the Egyptian parliament. "People deal with each other now as Muslims or Christians, not as Egyptians."
During the past two decades, according to Egyptian-American human rights activist Magdi Khalil, Egyptian Copts suffered more than 1,500 attacks that killed hundreds and inflicted millions of dollars' worth of property damage. He describes those incidents as "state crimes" perpetrated by the Mubarak regime, which used the Christian minority as as scapegoat "to redirect public anger from its own corruption."
Khalil points out that while the Mubarak regime fomented Islamist terrorist attacks on Christians in the service of its domestic agenda, it exploited the violence for external consumption by blaming it on the apparently all-powerful Muslim Brotherhood. The specter of the much-discussed but little-understood Brotherhood, Khalil points out, was used by Mubarak "as a pretext vis-a-vis the West to justify his autocratic regime."
Tragically, the removal of Mubarak and the resignation (for whatever it's worth) of Omar Suleiman, the Beria-esque head of the Egyptian secret police, didn't entirely extinguish the inter-communal conflict that had been so lovingly nurtured by the regime for the past thirty years. However, during the past year a growing number of young Egyptians -- their perceptions sharpened by the ongoing economic collapse -- have come to understand how they were being manipulated.
|"We live together, or die together": Egyptian Muslims rally to defend Christian neighbors.
Rejecting the artificial collectivist divisions being promoted by the regime (and subsidized by its unfathomably evil patron in Washington), Egyptians began to communicate and collaborate across religious lines in the interest of saving their country from the government ruling it.
Last January, in defiance of the divide-and-conquer script being followed by the Regime, thousands of Muslims volunteered to attend Coptic Christmas worship services to act as "human shields" protecting their Christian neighbors. During the peaceful anti-government demonstrations in Tahrir Square, Copts returned the favor by forming a human chain protecting their Muslim neighbors during prayers. In seeking to bring down the police state ruling them, those brave and principled people practiced the most effective form of subversion: Loving their neighbors as themselves.
On March 5th, hundreds of Egyptian pro-liberty activists, after learning that State Security officials were destroying documentary evidence of their crimes, laid siege to SS headquarters near Cairo. Although tons of critical documents had been reduced to confetti, thousands of others were seized, many of which have been published on the Web. Some of the material describes the pervasive surveillance of freedom activists by the SS; other documents provide details of official corruption, such as the rigging of local elections by Mubarak's National Democratic Party. Medical reports lay out in terrifying detail numerous cases in which innocent people were tortured to death.
The most significant find, however, was a group of eight documents discussing attacks on Christian churches. Nestled in that batch was a December 2, 2010 memo to the Egyptian Interior Minister outlining "Mission No. 77," an operation in which a jailed Islamist would organize the plot to bomb the Saints Coptic Church in Alexandria during New Year's Eve mass.
Oh, sure -- some bien-pensants are suggesting that the incriminating documents are cunningly cobbled forgeries. This would mean that the Egyptian SS didn't stage a false-flag operation, but that for some reason somebody in that agency created a false file suggesting as much after the fact.
Given that every spy agency is a roomful of funhouse mirrors, it's possible that the "Mission No. 77" document was manufactured as part of some too-clever-by-half disinformation scheme. In any case, it's worth remembering that the Egyptian SS was trained and funded by the same U.S. government responsible for creating the Operation Northwoods proposal decades ago, which outlined several possible false-flag terrorism campaigns in which Americans would suffer injury or death in order to manipulate public opinion.
In recent years, the Regime in Washington, using what it unblushingly calls terrorism "facilitators," has staged a series of ersatz terrorist plots intended to create the impression that America is under siege by implacable Jihadist enemies.
Whatever the eventual outcome of the uprising in Egypt, this much is worth celebrating: Millions of Egyptians who suffered under Mubarak's police state understand how this game is played, and are refusing to play along any longer. What's our excuse?
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Dum spiro, pugno!