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Hullabaloo


Friday, January 03, 2014

 
Cracking down on the scourge of puppet terrorism

by digby

This is where witch hunts take you:
The Egyptian government’s crackdown on suspected Islamists has come to this: a terrorism probe focused on a puppet.

Abla Fahita — a Muppet-style character who regularly appears on Egyptian television — went on the air Wednesday night to deny allegations that her lines in a recent commercial were coded messages to the recently banned Muslim Brotherhood organization.

“I am a comedic character,” Fahita, who plays a gossipy widow, said in an interview with Egypt’s CBC network.

The investigation of the puppet is an extreme sign of a climate of fear and paranoia in Egypt that has intensified in recent weeks.

Since a coup ousted President Mohamed Morsi in July, the military-backed government has arrested thousands of people believed to be tied to the Islamist group he was associated with, the Muslim Brotherhood. Lately, even more repressive security measures have been adopted following a spate of deadly bombings blamed on Islamist militants.

Authorities have arrested people — including a young schoolboy — simply for displaying pro-Brotherhood signs or paraphernalia. And this week, secret police detained four journalists with the Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera English, alleging the reporters – including one Australian – had joined the Brotherhood and helped incite riots. The network denied the charges.
I don't pretend to be an expert on the Egyptian political situation, but it sounds as if it's going into full blown paranoia. That can happen. Even here, under the right circumstances.

After all, these are among the faces of American leadership the Egyptians have seen in the last year:
Tea party-backed Representatives Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) on Saturday held a press conference in Egypt to thank the country’s military for overthrowing the elected government, and at one point even seemed to suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood had been behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.


The Daily Show's take on this was predictably sharp although they left out some of the dumbest stuff in that press conference.

These three just went back to the Middle East a couple of weeks ago.

On Tuesday, Congress will begin their first session of the new year. East Texas Representative Louie Gohmert is ready to see some changes when it comes to United States foreign relations. Just weeks ago, Congressman Gohmert embarked on a trip to seek the truth in the Middle East.

As 2013 came to a close, Congressman Louie Gohmert, Michelle Bachmann and Steve King headed to Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine to meet with their country's leaders.

"We have to be traveling. We have to be finding what the truth is because we're not finding it from the administration," says Gohmert.

It was Gohmert's second trip to Egypt in 2013. Egypt is now a place where he says he became well known for supporting their uprising over the summer.

"It's interesting. In Egypt, I keep having leaders in Egypt tell me I'm one of the most popular people in Egypt," explains Gohmert.

The representatives were also on a quest for the truth surrounding the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. Consulate.

"We're still not getting the answers. I know the intelligence committee has had some testimony, but I've heard some things from them I personally knew were not accurate," says Gohmert.

Gohmert says he wants to see the United States stand behind their word when it comes to foreign relations, particularly U.S. relations with Israel.

"It was very cordial meeting, but [Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahuhe,] is in a very difficult situation. We have people in this administration who keep telling them behind the scenes that they cannot defend themselves against Iran and assuring them we will defend you. Well, we have not defended them," explains Gohmert.

Gohmert says he hopes to stop, as he calls it, "the nuclear proliferation" of most Middle Eastern countries.

"So, I hope and pray we can stop this insane deal from being worked out with Iran and stop the nuclear proliferation of all of these nations in the Middle East having nukes. It would be a disaster," says Gohmert.

Gohmert, Bachmann and King's trips were funded by tax payers though the 2013 congressional budget. He adds, that over the last three years, the United States House of Representatives has cut their budget by 20 percent.
My God.

They have a right to do this. Congressional representatives travel around the world all the time on "fact-finding" missions. And some of them aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer. But this trio is beyond ridiculous. In fact, they are just plain nuts.

Unfortunately, there are many people there --- and here --- who see them as normal Americans and believe what they say. And that is how governments end up investigating puppet shows for terrorism.


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