Who donit – a classic game of self-deception

Egypt investigates fire at state security buildings; Egypt Daily News

Finding the culprit is always challenging;  in every legislature in the country where budget discussions are taking place, part of the process is finding the culprits – who or what  brought us to this state.  In Wisconsin for example, the governor has found the culprit working for the state and belonging to state employee unions.  In Reno, an ex-city manager took to many liberties with discrete funds, spending money from one fund on another cause, or so the enlargement goes. Finding a guilty person frees those in office from any guilt and makes them part of the solution and not the problem – the moral high ground that all politicians want to occupy.

In political situations the hunt for the “bad guy (s)” is particularly fierce – wait until the campaign for the presidency begins in earnest, not the water-testing that is going on now; both parties will find lots of people to blame for everything in the country and I should not be surprised if the guilty party is always a member of the opposing political party. Much like in martial strife, isn’t it always the other  partner who is doing all the bad things and wouldn’t  things be perfect if they would just do things our way?

There are times when it is slightly more important to find the right culprit, such as when the country is being torn apart by revolt – whether it passive or aggressive – that threatens the security of the country and the stability of the existing government.  Under those circumstances it is a matter of survival and not simply a political exercise.  The past couple of months we have been entertained, if one can use that metaphor in this case, by a long list of the offenders and their supporters.  Each country in the Middle East has made its own list.  We have the names, but rarely to do we have insight into the thinking or intelligence, if one can use that metaphor in this case, behind the accusations.  What did Muammar Gaddafi know when he said Osama bin Laden and his terrorist organization was behind the unrest and al-Qaeda was drugging the youth of Libya?  We don’t know.

Today however, we do have some insight in how leaders get the intelligence they use to make the statements they make.  Of course, we have heard a different version of the story before – the story of the intelligence that President George Bush used to determine his course of action in Iraq. The CIA is still defending itself and was not aided by the confession recently by the Iraqi who said he made it all up to get rid of Sadam Hussein.  Gathering intelligence is dicey at best and conducted in secrecy and rarely does a wiki-leak come along to let the average person know what goes on behind the scenes.

However, yesterday we got a glimpse into the secret caverns into an intelligence agency;  Egyptians stormed the home of the security administration – the secret and not so secret police.  It was part of the continued pressure for substantive change – even after Mubarak left, the protesters have insisted that all of the old guard had to go, and certainly the director of the police was one of their targets.  They got there wish, just as they did with the new prime minister.  Thus far six new ministers have been appointed to replace the Mubarak ministers – those replaced include the long time office holders and those appointed at the last minute to appease the protesters.  And even more signigicantly the new appointees come from lists of potential ministers submitted by them.  Isn’t that  wiki-government in action?

The protesters got a bonus yesterday, documents; the intelligence that helped shape Mubarak’s thinking.  Some of the documents apparently were burned by the police, but not all. The intelligence officers were gathering data to establish the names and sources of funding of the culprits behind the crowds gathering in Tahrir Square, and who were they you might ask? Allow me to submit the following list of culprits as presented by al-Arabiya:

Several of the seized documents focus on the January 25 revolution, which ousted the Egyptian regime. The documents attribute the revolution to a scheme devised by the United States, the European Union, and Israel to infiltrate the region and put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

State security reports found in the office also accuse Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah of taking advantage of their string ties with the Muslim Brotherhood to storm security offices in Egypt.

I can only draw one conclusion – or at least I only want to draw one – from this revelation; when looking for culprits we also look at the usual suspects.  Whether it be the CIA or the FBI or the Egyptian, Libyan or Iranian version of those agencies, it seems they always find the same culprits they always found, rather like the democrats always finding the guilty among the republicans and the republicans always finding their culprits among the democrats.  Doesn’t seem like a very good system for getting at the truth does it?  But then truth is highly overrated anyway.


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