Noted Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey apparently arrested (Update: Sandmonkey Released)
One of the sharpest foreign bloggers and a font of information during the Egypt crisis has been Sandmonkey.
PJ Media CEO Roger Simon was able to interview Sandmonkey for a few minutes last night (An audio trak is available at the link):
On the reassuring side, "Sandmonkey" says the the Muslim Brotherhood is not a heavy presence at the demonstrations and that for the last four years they have been in a weakened position in Egypt, the least powerful of five Islamic organizations (although the most violent). Also heartening is that he says that there are no leaders for the movement, not Mahmoud ElBaradei or anybody else. Unfortunately, however, it doesn't sound much like an Egyptian version of the Tea Party. Mubarak isn't going away and it's getting more bloodthirsty by the day. "Sandmonkey" sounded bleak. He said that only America can help at this point by fully backing the demonstrators against Mubarak. "Does America stand for its ideals or does it stand for its interests?" he asked. On that score, he doesn't like Obama. But guess what? He liked George Bush!Now the Guardian is reporting that Sandmonkey has been arrested and his blog taken down.
Before he went dark, Sandmonkey spat defiance at the Mubarak regime:
If you are in Egypt, I am calling on all of you to head down to Tahrir today and Friday. It is imperative to show them that the battle for the soul of Egypt isn't over and done with. I am calling you to bring your friends, to bring medical supplies, to go and see what Mubarak's gurantees look like in real life. Egypt needs you. Be Heroes.
You watched on TV as "Pro-Mubarak Protesters" - thugs who were paid money by NDP members by admission of High NDP officials- started attacking the peaceful unarmed protesters in Tahrir square.
They attacked them with sticks, threw stones at them, brought in men riding horses and camels- in what must be the most surreal scene ever shown on TV- and carrying whips to beat up the protesters. And then the Bullets started getting fired and Molotov cocktails started getting thrown at the Anti-Mubarak Protesters as the Army standing idly by, allowing it all to happen and not doing anything about it.
Dozens were killed, hundreds injured, and there was no help sent by ambulances. The Police never showed up to stop those attacking because the ones who were captured by the Anti-mubarak people had police ID's on them. They were the police and they were there to shoot and kill people and even tried to set the Egyptian Museum on Fire.
The Aim was clear: Use the clashes as pretext to ban such demonstrations under pretexts of concern for public safety and order, and to prevent disunity amongst the people of Egypt.
It is not unknown in these chaotic situations for prisoners to be shot "while trying to escape" or simply "disappeared" as has happened so often in recent decades. We can only pray that Sandmonkey's notoriety in the West might grant him some protection from the regime.
PJ Media's "The Tatler" is reporting that after being beaten and arrested, Sandmonkey is now free:
Trying to contact RamyYaacoub and Sandmonkey now, we hope Ramy's latest tweets are true:
OnPhone W/ @SandMonkey: "My car is completely destoryed, my cellphone was taken, we were saved by my friend's extra phone" #SandMonkey
OnPhone W/ @SandMonkey: "We were just released after a 2 hour arrest, the beating came before the arrest" #SandMonkey
OnPhone W/ @SandMonkey: "We were released, we did NOT run away . . . heading back to safety now" #SandMonkey
It is possible the authorities did not know who they had in custody. Reports and tweets have indicated that the Egyptian army is stopping people from bringing food and medicine into Tahrir Square and that plainclothes goons are arresting people trying. That is how Sandmonkey got caught, not as a result of any deliberate arrest by the authorities.