Gaza feeds “hungry” Egyptians in role reversal (& Journalists accused of being “Jews”)

February 07, 2011

* Egyptian woman: Mossad used me to topple Mubarak regime



1. “Mubarak supporters target journalists as ‘Jews’” (JTA news agency, Feb. 4, 2011)
2. Long list of international journalists who have been threatened, attacked or detained in Egypt
3. “ABC News Reporter Brian Hartman threatened with beheading” (ABC news, Feb. 3, 2011)
4. Egyptian woman: Mossad used me to topple Mubarak regime (Ynet, Feb. 3, 2011)
5. “Gaza feeds hungry Egyptian troops in role reversal” (Reuters, Feb. 4, 2011)
6. “Journalists forced to pledge abstention from Gaza rallies” (Palestinian Maan news agency, Feb. 2, 2011)

[Note by Tom Gross]

Attached below are a number of further items on Egypt, this time concerning the media.

The title of the article below by Reuters – “Gaza feeds hungry Egyptian troops in role reversal” – is very misleading since in fact Gazans have never been hungry in any kind of collective way in modern times. In spite of media miscoverage, the living standards of the average Gazan have been consistently higher than that of many people in other Arab states. I have documented this in various articles and dispatches, for example, here.)

Four other recent dispatches on the situation in Egypt can be seen here:

* The woman who helped start a revolution (& Video of rocket attack on Israeli wedding)
* A troublesome ally (& “What Bush learned about Egyptian democratization”)
* Mubarak’s regime may prove more brittle than Tunisia’s
* So Israel wasn’t the central source of Arab concern after all?



Mubarak supporters target journalists as “Jews”
JTA news agency
February 4, 2011

(JTA) -- Pro-Egyptian government counter-protesters in Cairo are screaming “Jew!” at foreign journalists, apparently spurred by Egyptian state TV accusations that Israeli spies are behind the protests.

“Egyptian state television has actively tried to foment the unrest by reporting that ‘Israeli spies’ have infiltrated the city, which explains why many of the gangs who attack reporters shout ‘yehudi!,’ “ Al Jazeera said in a report on its website.

The report documented increasing attacks on foreign journalists.

The Obama administration has condemned such attacks and called on the Mubarak regime to rein them in.



Tom Gross adds: I sent the news report below to some subscribers to this list on the day it appeared. According to the report, Mubarak is claiming that he is not a tool of the Zionist Entity – it is the protesters who are. Apparently those devious Zionists manipulated the U.S. against Egypt and then farmed out the work to Qatar, which is why Al Jazeera is insulting Egypt daily on TV.


Egyptian woman: Mossad used me to topple Mubarak regime
February 3, 2011

Egyptian Pro-government TV channel interviews woman who claims she was sent to Qatar by US organization, trained by ‘Israelis and Jews’. Why confess? Mubarak ‘was like father to me’, she says.

‘Israeli connection’ to Egypt riots? A young Egyptian woman claims that the Mossad trained her to assist in bringing down Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. In an interview with Egypt’s Al Mehwar network the woman, who noted that her facebook page was extremely popular, said that she was sent by an American organization to be specially trained “by Israelis and Jews” in Qatar.

The woman remained anonymous and was interviewed with her voice distorted and her face blurred. She told of her training and financial support from an American organization called Freedom House. She claims that her trainers were Jews and Israelis whose main job was recruiting “young and unexperienced” students from universities.

The organization is well known, and its website states that its purpose is to “support the expansion of freedom around the world” and that it was founded by “prominent Americans concerned with the mounting threats to peace and democracy”.

According to the young woman, after her initial recruitment, she was sent to Doha in Qatar with a group of other young people for the next stage in the process. “We received intensive training for four days. The trainers had different citizenships but a predominant number among them were Israelis,” she said.

At the end of the interview the woman was asked what led her to confess her secret activities. At this point, she burst into tears and answered that President Mubarak was “like a father to me,” which is why she decided to share what happened to her.

Protests in Cairo escalated to violence after Mubarak’s supporters started to confront the opposition supporters in al-Tahrir Square. At least five people were killed and according to doctors’ reports, the number of those injured at the square reached 1,500. Mubarak announced that he would not be running for another term in office in the next elections, but protestors are demanding his immediate resignation.



For the references to “links” and “wires” in the item below, see here (and please note that ABC News can’t spell “agressively”).

(As of February 4, 2010)

APTN had their satellite dish agressively dismantled, leaving them and many other journalists who rely on their feed point no way to feed material.

ABC News international correspondent Christiane Amanpour said that on Wednesday her car was surrounded by men banging on the sides and windows, and a rock was thrown through the windshield, shattering glass on the occupants. They escaped without injury/ (wires)
Another CNN reporter, Hala Gorani, said she was shoved against a fence when demonstrators rode in on horses and camels, and feared she was going to get trampled/ (wires)

A group of angry Egyptian men carjacked an ABC News crew and threatened to behead them on Thursday in the latest and most menacing attack on foreign reporters trying to cover the anti-government uprising. Producer Brian Hartman, cameraman Akram Abi-hanna and two other ABC News employees / (link)

ABC/Bloomberg’s Lara Setrakian also attacked by protesters

CNN’s Anderson Cooper said he, a producer and camera operator were set upon by people who began punching them and trying to break their camera. Cooper and team were targeted again on Thursday. “Situation on ground in Egypt very tense,” Cooper tweeted Thursday. “Vehicle I was in attacked. My window smashed. All OK.” / (wires)

A photojournalist for CNN-IBN, Rajesh Bhardwaj, was detained in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the site of bloody clashes between supporters and opponents of President Hosni Mubarak. He was taken away by the Egyptian Army and later released, but only after his identification card and tapes were destroyed / (link)

Fox Business Network’s Ashley Webster reported that security officials burst into a room where he and a camera operator were observing the demonstration from a balcony. They forced the camera inside the room. He called the situation “very unnerving” and said via Twitter that he was trying to lay low / (wires)

Fox News Channel’s foreign correspondent Greg Palkot and producer Olaf Wiig were hospitalized in Cairo after being attacked by protestors.

CBS News’ Katie Couric harassed by protesters (link)

CBS newsman Mark Strassman said he and a camera operator were attacked as they attempted to get close to the rock-throwing and take pictures. The camera operator, who he would not name, was punched repeatedly and hit in the face with Mace. / (wires)

CBS News’ Lara Logan, was detained along with her crew by Egyptian police outside Cairo’s Israeli embassy. / (link)

Two New York Times journalists have been arrested. (A Times spokeswoman said that the two journalists were “detained by military police overnight in Cairo and are now free.” ) (link)

Washington Post foreign editor Douglas Jehl wrote Thursday that witnesses say Leila Fadel, the paper’s Cairo bureau chief, and photographer Linda Davidson “were among two dozen journalists arrested this morning by the Egyptian Military Police. They were later released.” / (link)

Wall Street Journal photographer Peter van Agtmael said he was attacked Wednesday by a group of supporters of Mr. Mubarak near Tahrir Square, where several clashes have broken between backers of the regime and protesters demanding Mr. Mubarak’s resignation after nearly 30 years in power / (link)

BBC’s Jerome Boehm also targeted by protesters / (link)

BBC also reported their correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes’ car was forced off the road in Cairo “by a group of angry men.” He has detained by the men, who handed him off to secret police agents who handcuffed and blindfolded him and an unnamed colleague and took them to an interrogation room. They were released after three hours. / (link)

BBC reporter Wyre Davies in Alexandria – Attacked and driven off by locals several times in the past few days / (link)

BBC foreign editor Jon Williams said via Twitter that security forces seized the network’s equipment in a Cairo Hilton hotel in an attempt to stop it broadcasting / (link)

Two days ago, a Bloomberg News reporter (Bloomberg is not disclosing the name of the individual) was held by Egyptian authorities for 12 hours and then released Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times of London said she was approached by a gang of men with knives in Imbaba, a poor neighborhood of Cairo. Another group of men, who also were strangers to her, pushed her into a store and locked it to protect her, she said/ (link)

Joan Roura, a correspondent for TV3, a Catalan public television station, was attacked by men who tried to steal his mobile phone while he was conducting a live broadcast for the 24 hours news channel. Assaults were also reported against Sal Emergui, a correspondent for Catalan radio RAC1; Gemma Saura, a correspondent for the newspaper La Vanguardia; and Mikel Ayestaran, a correspondent for the newspaper Vocento / (link)

Reporter Jean-Francois Lepine of Canada’s CBC all-French RDI network said that he and a cameraman were surrounded by a mob that began hitting them, until they were rescued by the Egyptian army / (wires)

CBC Radio’s Margaret Evans was on air Thursday morning reporting that her crew’s camera equipment had been seized by police and that they were stuck in their hotel, reporting from a balcony that overlooked Tahrir Square / (link)

The Toronto Globe and Mail said on its website that reporter Sonia Verma and Patrick Martin said the military had “commandeered us and our car” in Cairo. / (link)

Two Associated Press correspondents were also roughed up. AP’s Nasser Gamil mentioned in one article (unclear if he was one of the original 2 mentioned) / wires and (link)

Reuters’ Simon Hanna tweeted today that a “gang of thugs” stormed the news organization’s Cairo office and smashed windows / (link)

Voice Of America reporters in the capital were surrounded by several people who prevented them from traveling to Tahrir Square / (link)

Vice magazine’s Cairo correspondent Rachel Pollock gets roughed up trying to cover the protests / (link)

David Degner, a Cairo-based photographer, said five of his journalist friends has been “beaten and had their equipment confiscated” as clashes between the two groups escalated

The AP reports that Ahmed Mohammed Mahmoud, 36, an Egyptian journalist has died. Mahmoud was taking photographs of fighting between protesters and security forces from the balcony of his home when he was shot Jan. 28, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram said on its website. (Link)

The head of Al Jazeera Arabic’s bureau in Cairo and another AJA journalist were detained in the Egyptian capital on Friday the 4th.

Andrew Burton, a photographer on assignment, wrote this account of being engulfed and beaten by a pro-Mubarak crowd yesterday. “I dont know a single journalist heading out on the ground today,” he says / (link)

The website of Belgium’s Le Soir newspaper said Belgian reporter Serge Dumont, whose real name is Maurice Sarfatti, was beaten Wednesday / (wires)

Jon Bjorgvinsson, a correspondent for RUV, Iceland’s national broadcaster, but on assignment for Swiss television in Cairo, was attacked on Tuesday as he and a crew were filming/ (link)

Danish media reported that Danish senior Middle East Correspondent Steffen Jensen was beaten today by pro-Mubarak supporters with clubs while reporting live on the phone to Danish TV2 News from Cairo / (link)

Two Japanese freelance photographers were attacked while covering the protests in Cairo, and one of them was slightly injured, the Kyodo News agency reported/ (link)

Two Swedish reporters (from Aftonbladet tabloid) / (link)

epa photojournalist; German ZDF; German ARD / (link)

A reporter for Turkey’s Fox TV, his Egyptian cameraman and their driver were abducted by men with knives while filming protests Wednesday, but Egyptian police later rescued them, said Anatolia, a Turkish news agency / (link)

Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT, said its Egypt correspondent, Metin Turan, was beaten / (link)

Several Turkish journalists were attacked by Mubarak supporters, according to news reports. Cumali Önal of Cihan News Agency and Doğan Ertuğrul of the Turkish Star Daily were attacked and beaten by pro-Mubarak supporters on Wednesday. Both were in stable condition today / (link)

The Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini said one of its reporters, Petros Papaconstantinou, was beaten by protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Papaconstantinou was clubbed in the head with a baton and stabbed in the foot, either with a knife or a screwdriver / (link)

A Greek freelance photographer punched in the face by a group of men who stopped him on the street near Tahrir Square and smashed some of his equipment / (wires)

In addition, five Chinese journalists were briefly detained after authorities found bullet proof vests in their luggage, along with more than 20 walkie-talkies and satellite phones, the officials said. They were allowed to leave after the equipment was confiscated. / (wires)

RT TV crew injured (link)

A correspondent and a cameraman working for Russia’s Zvezda television channel were detained by men in plainclothes and held overnight Tuesday, Anastasiya Popova of Vesti state television and radio said on air from Cairo / (link)

French international news channel France 24 said three of its journalists had been detained while covering protests in Egypt and were being held by “military intelligence services”. (link)

French photojournalist from SIPA Press agency Alfred Yaghobzadeh is being treated by anti-government protestors after being wounded during clashes between pro-government supporters and anti-government protestors / (link)

Police arrested four Israeli journalists for allegedly violating the curfew in Cairo and for entering the country on tourist visas, according to news reports. / (link)

Al Jazeera reported Thursday that two of its reporters were attacked en route to Cairo airport, along with cameraman being assaulted near Tahrir Square / (link)

al Arabiya’s Ahmed Abdullah (and station was stormed) / (link)

ALSO - Al-Arabiya correspondent, Ahmed Bajano, in Cairo, was beaten while covering a pro-Mubarak demonstration. Another unidentified correspondent was also attacked. Another network reporter said on the air that her colleague Ahmad Abdel Hadi was seized by what appeared to be pro-Mubarak supporters near Tahrir Square, forced in a car, and driven away. / (link)

Men in plainclothes surrounded the office of Sawsan Abu Hussein, deputy editor of the Egyptian magazine October after she called in to a television program to report on violence against protesters (link)

A group of men described as “plainclothes police” attacked the headquarters of the independent daily Al-Shorouk in Cairo today, the paper reported. Reporter Mohamed Khayal and photographer Magdi Ibrahim were injured/ (link)

Bloggers, too, have become targets: The popular Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey has reportedly been arrested (it’s unclear by whom) / (link)

Corban Costa of Brazilian Radio Nacional and cameraman Gilvan Rocha of TV Brasil were detained, blindfolded, and had their passports and equipment seized. The two were reportedly held overnight without water in a windowless room in a Cairo police station.

Polish TVP’s two-man camera crew and producer were apprehended and driven away in a van by unidentified assailants. They were beaten up inside the van, driven out of town and released. Their gear was confiscated. A reporter and a photographer for a Polish weekly were arrested near Tahrir Square. They were tied up and kept in a van in front of a police station most of the day. Their camera gear was destroyed. At 11pm they were put on a bus along with some twenty other journalists and driven back to their hotel / (Tomek Rolski)

Polish state television TVP said that five journalists working in two crews—Krzysztof Kołosionek and Piotr Bugalski; and Michał Jankowski, Piotr Górecki, and Paweł Rolak--were detained in Cairo and that one of their cameras was smashed.

Three Romanian TV crews were detained Wednesday and Thursday in Cairo. On Wednesday, Adelin Petrisor, a reporter for the state-owned broadcaster TVR, and an unnamed cameraman were detained by Cairo police, searched, and later released. On Thursday, police detained Realitatea TV reporter Cristian Zarescu and his unidentified cameraman. Authorities confiscated their tapes before releasing them. Also on Thursday, Antena 3 reporter Carmen Avram and cameraman Cristian Tamas, were stopped by police. The men sent a text message late today saying they were being held for questioning.

Rachel Beth Anderson, a freelance videographer in Cairo, tweeted that “cameras & phones disappearing from journo hotel rooms in the Semiramis hotel! We’re locked inside by staff who says its orders from outside.

The Swedish public broadcaster SVT reported that its correspondent in Egypt, Bert Sundström, is recovering from stab wounds to the stomach in a Cairo hospital

Margaret Warner, a senior correspondent for the U.S.-based “PBS Newshour,” had her camera confiscated. Warner tweeted today: “PBS NewsHour arrives Cairo. Camera gear inspected & confiscated. 2 hours & we’re still haggling.”

Wally Nell, a photographer for the California-based Zuma Press agency, was wounded under the 6th October Bridge at the Corniche on the Nile in downtown Cairo, according to accounts posted by family and friends. Those accounts described Zell as having suffered multiple pellet wounds after being fired upon by police.

At least four contributors to Demotix, a U.K.-based citizen journalism website and photo agency, were also attacked, Turi Munthe, Demotix CEO, told CPJ in an e-mail. The four included Nour El Refai and Mohamed Elmaymony.

NPR’s Lourdes Garcia-Navarro was also attacked. She has this report. (



ABC News Reporter Brian Hartman Threatened With Beheading
Attacks on Foreign Press Growing During Egyptian Uprising
By Mark Mooney
ABC News
February 3, 2011

A group of angry Egyptian men carjacked an ABC News crew and threatened to behead them today in the latest and most menacing attack on foreign reporters trying to cover the anti-government uprising.

Correspondent Brian Hartman, cameraman Akram Abi-hanna and two other ABC News employees were surrounded on a crowded road that leads from Cairo’s airport to the city’s downtown area.

While ABC News and other press agencies had been taking precautions to avoid volatile situations, the road to the airport had been a secure route until today. One of their two vehicles was carrying cameras and transmission equipment strapped to the roof, indicating they were foreign journalists.

Hartman says it was only through the appeal of Abi-hanna, who is Lebanese and a veteran ABC cameraman, that they were saved from being killed or severely beaten.

“We thought we were goners,” Hartman said later. “We absolutely thought we were doomed.”

Word of their harrowing ordeal came in a Twitter message from Hartman that stated, “Just escaped after being carjacked at a checkpoint and driven to a compound where men surrounded the car and threatened to behead us.”

“The men released us only after our camera man appealed to the generous spirit of the Egyptian people, hugging and kissing an elder,” he added in a subsequent tweet.

Minutes after receiving news that Hartman had been safely released, ABC News anchor Christiane Amanpour and her team were surrounded and interrogated by a threatening crowd in Cairo.

The alarm was sent back to ABC News headquarters in Cairo in a series of quick comments during a phone call. “We’re in trouble on the bridge,” was all that was initially said. The bridge is on the same road where Hartman and Abi-hanna were carjacked.

Moments later, the ABC News staffer said, “They’re surrounding us.”

Then cryptically, “We have to go.”

Amanpour and her team were allowed to proceed, but it was the second time in two days that her team has been targeted by groups of men angry with foreign coverage of the demonstrations that are demanding President Hosni Mubarak end his 30-year rule by stepping down immediately.

Foreign news reporters have increasingly become targets of the attacks in Cairo as the Mubarak government teeters and dozens of reporters including CNN’s Anderson Cooper and CBS anchor Katie Couric have been menaced, forced off the road, shoved against fences, and physically assaulted. A Greek reporter was stabbed in the leg.

The growing fury was noted by Hartman in his tweets before his confrontation.

“Getting reports of journalists being attacked all over Cairo,” he tweeted Wednesday.

Hartman and Abi-hanna headed for the airport today to collect equipment that had been impounded upon their arrival Tuesday. After collecting their gear, Hartman tweeted, “Cairo Airport security had to hold back a spitting mad man who was shouting at one of my colleagues about media bias against the govt.”

In today’s incident, Hartman said the two-car convoy was stopped at one of the many makeshift checkpoints that have sprung up around Cairo, most of them created by neighborhood groups to protect themselves from looters.

Their drivers were forced into the back seats and one man tried to snatch a camera from the car, but it was grabbed back. Men from the checkpoint drove them down “a dusty, beat up street where some people opened up the dinged-up barricades and drove us down to a dingy little cul de sac,” Hartman said.

A large banner of Mubarak hung over the street and dozens of men were standing around, Hartman said.

“Then they directed our driver to take us down a dark, narrow alleyway. A man sitting next to me with a cigarette dropping ashes on my shoulder... No way, we can’t go down this alley, I told our driver, and he turned off the car.”

The two vehicles were quickly engulfed by men who poured out of the alley. “It gradually escalated, the tension and anger in their voice... It was pretty clear we were in a threatening situation. People were making gestures and putting their fingers under my throat” and making a slitting motion, he said.

“A man in police uniform came up to me and said, ‘So help me God... I am going to cut off your head,’” Hartman recalled.

One man was yelling, “Cut their necks now, cut their necks now,” and another pointed an imaginary machine gun at Hartman and made shooting noises.

“I couldn’t see outside the windows except angry faces and the gestures. I thought we were absolutely doomed,” Hartman said.

They were saved, he said, when Abi-hanna “lunged forward and gave a great big bear hug” to a man who appeared to be an elder of the neighborhood. “He gave him a kiss on each cheek and told the man referring to me, ‘He is my guest. He is your guest in this country. Egyptian people are better than this.”

Hartman said the cameraman appealed to the “renowned generosity of the Egyptian people.”

Abi-hanna’s words “seemed to calm the tensions down” enough for them to get the cars in gear and escape, despite the efforts of some to stop them.

Hartman said that through it all, none of their equipment was stolen and they were not punched or physically abused.

Reporters for other news outlets, including NBC, BBC and FOX, have reported that their hotel rooms have been ransacked.

Some men charged onto the roof of the Ramses Hilton Hotel where APTN maintains a satellite dish that networks, including ABC News, use to transmit their stories. They broke apart the dish and APTN technicians had to jump from the roof to another roof two floors below.

Security personnel at the Marriot Hotel warned news outlets today to take their transmission gear off of the balconies because suspicious people were looking up at the balconies, possibly trying to identify the rooms of journalists.

Jeffrey Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News, said, “We are assessing the security situation literally on a minute to minute basis. Our priority is to ensure the safety of all of our staff in the field.”



Gaza feeds hungry Egyptian troops in role reversal
By Reuters news agency
February 4, 2011

Egyptian soldiers isolated on the Gaza border by 10 days of internal upheaval are getting bread, canned goods and other food supplies from the enclave, which is usually on the receiving end of food aid.

A source in the border town of Rafah said security forces of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza, had been providing the troops with supplies for the past three days.

Israel has blockaded Gaza for over three years with the assistance of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s government, and half the population depends on handouts of staples from the United Nations.

With mass protests demanding Mubarak should quit, sources in Rafah said north Sinai was tense. Angry Bedouins were in control of many roads following armed clashes with Egyptian police.

The sources said Palestinian merchants in Gaza have also been smuggling vegetables, eggs and other staples into Egypt, where store owners have run out of stock because normal supplies are cut off by the unrest – reversing the usual flow of goods.

Hamas security forces had beefed up their presence along the border and in the area of Gaza’s honeycomb of smuggling tunnels to prevent any breach of the border line. No photography or television images were allowed.



Journalists forced to pledge abstention from Gaza rallies
Palestinian Maan news agency
February 2, 2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Gaza government police ordered detained journalists to sign a paper pledging to “abide by law, order and conventions” following their arrest at a sit-in protest Monday showing support for Egypt rallies.

Member of the Palestinian Journalists Union General Secretariat Tahseen Al-Astal said the journalists and others who were detained refused to sign the paper, saying they broke no laws, but added that the group was eventually compelled to sign a paper promising to abstain from taking part in unlicensed protests.

Six journalists were also assaulted by Gaza government police during Monday’s sit-in protest, the officials said.

Al-Astal quoted testimony Wednesday from Al-Ayyam reporter Asma Al-Ghoul, who said she was hit on the head and face, and that police had pulled her by her hair when they attempted to break up the rally.

Freelancer Fares Al-Ghoul was briefly detained, Al-Astal said, while writer and film director Razan Al-Madhoun who won the golden award in Gaza documentary film festival was also attacked, alongside TV presenter Rami Murad.

Blogger Neda Dhulfaqar and journalist Nazek Abu Rahmeh also said they were beaten, Al-Astal said.

Following the protest, Al-Astal said, Gaza government police ordered the journalists to sign a paper pledging to “abide by law, order and conventions.”

Al-Astal said the journalists and others who were detained refused to sign the paper, saying they broke no laws. The group was eventually compelled to sign a paper promising to abstain from taking part in unlicensed protests.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.