An Egyptian man surveys the fire damage at a burned and looted police station, in the Darb al Ahmar neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill) (AP)

Egypt state police officers caught looting to promote chaos

Undercover state police officers encouraged looting by -- oh, yes -- looting themselves

Adam Clark Estes
February 1, 2011 10:28PM (UTC)

What's the best way for a government to promote fear of instability? Why, state-sponsored violence and looting, of course!

Human Rights Watch confirmed rumors today that undercover police officers -- who were supposed to be stopping looters -- have been looting themselves. Working under President Hosni Mubarak, card-carrying members of state security forces looted and vandalized areas of Cairo and also shot several protesters. According to Peter Bouckaert, emergency director for Human Rights Watch, the state's actions encouraged violence in order to bolster the illusion of instability. In tandem, Egypt state television took an alarmist tone to accomplish the same goal. Said Bouckaert:


Mubarak's mantra to his own people was that he was the guarantor of the nation's stability. It would make sense that he would want to send the message that without him, there is no safety.

Classy, Hosni. Real classy.

Adam Clark Estes

Adam Clark Estes blogs the news for Salon. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @adamclarkestes

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