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Egyptian Police Force Continues Crackdown On LGBT Population With Seven New Arrests - VIDEO

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Seven people accused of organizing a “network for practicing debauchery” were arrested late last week as a part of a coordinated effort by the Egyptian police authorities to crack down on LGBT activity in Cairo, the nation’s capitol.

Speaking to popular Egyptian tabloid Al-Youm el-Saba head of Cairo’s Morality Police Major General Magdy Moussa said that the people taken into custody were thought to have been meeting other men in a private gathering to have sex. Using false profiles on gay dating websites, Moussa explained, Cairo police targeted these people and gleaned information that led them to a nightclub where they promptly made their arrests.

In many ways these arrests echo the Egyptian police’s recent televised harassment of gay men caught patronizing a bathhouse located in Cairo. Though the 26 men who were arrested after the bathhouse raid have since been acquitted, their detainment and that of these seven men reflect a broader atmosphere of persecution that is plaguing queer Egyptians.

Though social networks like Grindr have urged caution amongst their users, police forces in countries like Egypt with active campaigns against LGBT people are becoming increasingly savvy and using those same platforms to ensnare gays looking to meet inconspicuously.

More distressing, as J. Lester Feder points out for BuzzFeed, is the seeming coordination between the Egyptian police and the local media. By leaking hyperbolic accounts of the circumstances leading up to arrests, the police feed into the country’s already hostile climate in regards to queer people. Interestingly enough, however, there are those within the country that are interpreting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s crackdown on gays as a gross overextension of power.

“Some of us hoped the acquittal of victims in Mona Iraqi’s bathhouse raid would resonate longer than a few days or weeks; maybe prosecutors and police, humiliated by the implosion of a showpiece case, would back off from their pursuit of illusory ‘perversion,’” wrote Scott Long, director of the Human Rights Watch’s LGBT division. “But that would be unlike this government. General Sisi, dizzy with his own powers, takes each failure as an opportunity to fail better.”

Watch Al-Youm el-Saba’s coverage of the arrests AFTER THE JUMP...

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Egyptian Police Arrest Large Group Of Men At Bathhouse 'Group Sex Party'


Egyptian police raided a bathhouse in Cairo on Sunday night and arrested a large group of men on charges of “perversion,” reports Buzzfeed.

Egyptian television reporter Mona Iraqi posted images of the raid on Facebook revealing “the biggest den of perversions in the heart of Cairo.”

According to Iraqi, her team had notified police “about what is happening in the baths” on December 3rd but Al-Qahira wal Nas television waited to broadcast their report “to give security institutions a chance to close down the baths.” She added that the group of men were “caught in the act during a group sex party” and “immediately transported to the prosecution with no clothes.”

She has promised to reveal “the whole story of the dens spreading AIDS in Egypt” tomorrow.

The arrests come as part the crackdown on LGBT rights under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

In September, Grindr sent a message to all Egyptian users warning that police officers may be “posing as LGBT on social media to entrap you.”

On November 1st, eight men were sentenced to three years in prison after taking part in an alleged same-sex wedding which was recorded and posted to YouTube.

Hillary Clinton Condemns Violence Anti-Muslim Filmmakers Anticipated


With anti-American protests still flaring around the Middle East, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out this morning to express her utter disappointment and revulsion with the anti-Muslim movie trailer that started it all.

The video, she said, is "disgusting and reprehensible" and she reiterated that "the United States had absolutely nothing to do with this video."

"We absolutely reject its content and message. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation," she said, according to Politico. She also urged protesters to adopt non-violent methods because "[violence] has no place in religion and is no way to honor religion."

"Islam, like other religions, respects the fundamental dignity of human beings, and it is a violation of that fundamental dignity to wage attacks on innocence." The mysterious group behind the video apparently knew this kind of thing would happen, and it seems they admit to wanting to see this kind of violence.

Steve Klein, a "consultant" on the film and known anti-Islam activist with ties to white supremacists, told The Guardian's Max Blumenthal, "We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen."

Though the video cannot completely be blamed for the deadly protests, it's clear Klein and his collaborator, identified as a militant Coptic Christian separatist named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, were hoping to foment political and social unrest here and abroad.

From Blumenthal's penetrating report:

Produced and promoted by a strange collection of rightwing Christian evangelicals and exiled Egyptian Copts, the trailer was created with the intention of both destabilizing post-Mubarak Egypt and roiling the US presidential election. As a consultant for the film named Steve Klein said: "We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen."


Styling themselves as "counter-Jihadists", anti-Muslim crusaders like Klein took their cues from top propagandists like Pamela Geller, the blogger who once suggested that Barack Obama was the lovechild of Malcolm X, and Robert Spencer, a pseudo-academic expert on Muslim radicalization who claimed that Islam was no more than "a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers".

Both Geller and Spencer were labeled hate group leaders by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
On his personal Facebook page, Altar or Abolish, Klein obsesses over the Muslim Brotherhood, describing the organization as "a global network of Muslims attacking to convert the world's 6 billion people to Islam or kill them". Klein urges a violent response to the perceived threat of Islam in the United States, posting an image to his website depicting a middle-American family with a mock tank turret strapped to the roof of their car. "Can you direct us to the nearest mosque?" read a caption Klein added to the photo.

Blumenthal's report also confirms adult film star Tim Pax's version of events: actors were told the bare minimum about the project and essentially duped into appearing in what would become a vitriolic propaganda attack on Muslims, Islam, human dignity and good taste.

CBS News' Lara Logan Sexually Assaulted During Egypt Uprising


How awful:

On Friday, Feb. 11, the day Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan was covering the jubilation in Tahrir Square for a "60 Minutes" story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy.

In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering.

There will be no further comment from CBS News and correspondent Logan and her family respectfully request privacy at this time.

Watch: Obama On Mubarak Exit, 'Egypt Will Never Be The Same'


Speaking to the American people and the world today, President Barack Obama said that Egypt "will never be the same" after the successful revolution to oust Hosni Mubarak as President.

In his speech, whcih praised the Egyptian military for their role in the process, Obama specifically celebrated the non-violent Egyptian youth who helped spark the protests.

"Egyptians have inspired us, and they've done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained by violence," he said "For Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism, not mindless killing, but nonviolence, moral force, that bent the arc of history toward justice once more."

The president went on to quote Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous saying, "there is something in the soul that cries out for freedom," before insisting, "those were the cries that came from Tahrir Square, and the entire world has taken note."

Obama also pointed out that the word "Tahrir," as in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt's nationwide protests, means liberation, and contended, "it is a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom, and forevermore it will remind us of the Egyptian people: of what they did, of the things that they stood for, how they changed their country and in doing so changed the world."

Watch Obama speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Egypt Update: Satellite Photo Reveals Cairo Turmoil, Destruction


A recent satellite photo of downtown Cairo.

Here's a huge ABC News list of threats journalists in Cairo. New York magazine asks, is the time for "putting a flashy news anchor in the middle of a chaotic crowd" over?

Michelangelo Signorile spoke with activist and scholar Rasha Moumneh, a researcher with Human Rights Watch who works with feminist and LGBT groups in the Middle East, including Egypt, on his radio show Tuesday about what the protest might mean for LGBT Egyptians.

You can listen to his audio HERE.

The Washington Blade has a report on gays in Egypt:

Scott Long, former LGBT coordinator for Human Rights Watch, an international human rights group, said he has been in contact with gay Egyptians over the past week.

Many have informed him that LGBT people are among the hundreds of thousands who have assembled in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand an end to what they view as an oppressive government that has persecuted a diverse segment of the population, including gays, lesbians and transgender people.

“There are LGBT people marching and joining the protests, not as LGBT people,” Long said. “They’re not marching under a rainbow flag. But certainly friends of mine are out there.”

Long said at least two gay men he knows were arrested in the first street protest in Cairo on Jan. 25 — not for being gay but on a charge of disturbing the peace. Authorities arrested protesters on that charge in an initial attempt to stop the demonstrations last week before determining they were too large to control.

LGBT Asylum News also has a report on gays in Egypt.

Today is being seen as a so-called "Day of Departure" for Hosni Mubarak.

After a night of scattered clashes and bursts of gunfire, an uneasy calm prevailed on Friday as antigovernment protesters mustered for what they have called a “Friday of departure” in hopes of maintaining the momentum behind demands that Mr. Mubarak step down after three decades in power. Television images showed thousands of protesters crowded beneath the palm trees of Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city on the Mediterranean coast, waving Egyptian flags and demanding Mr. Mubarak’s ouster.

More from Al Jazeera...

Chris Bodenner at Daily Dish posted a video from Cairo's 'Day of Rage' which reportedly shows a diplomatic vehicle running down more than 20 people. He writes...."such rare glimpses of raw violence is the only way for many of us to appreciate the real costs of these protests and see through the statistics. Besides, the rage and desperation displayed by the crowd after the car attack feels more compelling than the blatant shock value of the beginning."

Clip (warning: graphic), AFTER THE JUMP...

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