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August 18, 2013 6:57 PM Saudis want U.S. to back Egypt crackdown - Sunday evening roundup

By Samuel Knight

*The Egyptian coup government has been accused of killing demonstrators in custody.

The Interior Ministry said 36 Brotherhood members died during an attempted prison breakout on Sunday near the capital, saying the prisoners had been suffocated by tear gas.
Offering a very different version of events, a legal source told Reuters 38 men had died from asphyxiation in the back of a crammed police van. The Brotherhood, battling to reverse the overthrow of Mursi, held the authorities responsible.
“The murders show the violations and abuses that political detainees who oppose the July 3 coup get subjected to,” it said.

(Note, by the way, the gender neutral pronoun that affords the anonymous source more protection. Kudos to Reuters!)

*Meanwhile, according to the aforementioned Reuters report, Saudi Arabia is advising the US and EU to refrain from pushing back against the crackdown.

Nothing says “restoring democracy” like Saudi Arabia approves!

Luckily for the Saudi royal family, according to the Washington Post, the Egyptian military isn’t hindered by self-doubt:

Egypt’s military ruler vowed on Sunday to deal forcefully with the perpetrators of violence as supporters of the country’s ousted Islamist president took to the streets for a third consecutive day to protest the killings of hundreds of anti-government demonstrators over the past four days.

*Glenn Greenwald’s partner, Brazilian David Miranda, was detained at Heathrow airport for 9 hours - the maximum allowable by British law without arrest or formal charge.

Miranda had been travelling from Berlin — where he had met with Greenwald’s colleague Laura Poitras — to Rio via London’s main air transit hub.

And his detention reeks of backhanded intimidation.

According to official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 - over 97% - last under an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours.

Authorities confiscated his cell phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, game console and DVDs.

Funny that this sort of thing never seems to happen to the partners of stenographer-journalists who report on classified leaks from “senior administration officials” trying to boast of some nat sec operational success or how Iran is very scary indeed.

*Here’s a consequence of the media being obsessed with the next Presidential election a whole 3 and a half years before the start of primaries: non-factors like Scott Brown get to make headlines for declaring that he’s “exploring” a Presidential bid.

Please, God, make it stop. I’m finally getting over my Post “You Didn’t Build That” Trauma.

*Kim Jong-Un is taking a novel approach to propaganda. He’s offering defectors a chance to kiss-and-make-up if they come home.

For some who return from South Korea there’s even the chance of a stage-managed performance on state television, although what happens to them after their prime time appearances is not known in a state where 200,000 people are imprisoned in gulags and where punishment extends to three generations of a family.
One woman last year apologised at a televised press conference in Pyongyang for betraying her motherland and thanked Kim for bringing her under his “profound loving care” while another dubbed South Korea a “shitty world with no love”.

It’s sort of hard to doubt the bastard if he’s offering people face time on TV!

Of course, this isn’t being done out of the kindness of the Dear Leader’s heart:

Experts said Kim could be trying to show his people that instead of living happily in South Korea, defectors are miserable, have menial jobs and struggle to fit in - something defectors in Seoul say is not far from the truth.

Nor does it necessarily mean long-term happiness for those who repatriate, according to one high profile defector:

The former North Korean singer, who left his parents and siblings back in the North, said he believed returnees got a house and a job, but were put under watch.
“If they are caught with a small problem while being monitored, then it will be all over,” he said. 
On that happy note, enjoy the rest of your weekend. Good luck with Monday.
Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.

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