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Now Where’s That Paddle? (BUMPED and UPDATED)

Look into the face of ignorant naive fear. These American students were arrested in Cairo, Egypt in Tahrir Square for allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails at Egyptian security forces as Egypt continues its slide into whatever the hell it ends up being.

Three Americans studying at the American University in Cairo have been arrested and accused of participating in the violent demonstrations that are sweeping this capital city.

The protests, now in their fourth day, are posing the greatest threat to Egypt’s military leaders since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak last February, and could jeopardize parliamentary elections scheduled for Monday.

A video broadcast on state television showed the three Americans lined up against a wall, with identification cards from the American University in Cairo, credit cards and an Indiana driver’s license spread out on a table.

A spokeswoman for the American University in Cairo identified the detained students as Derrik Sweeney, 19, a student at Georgetown University who is from Jefferson City, Mo.; Luke Gates, 21, an exchange student from Bloomington, Indiana who attends Indiana University; and Gregory Porter, 19, of Glenside, Pa., and Drexel University.

The state television broadcast said the three are accused of throwing flaming canisters at Egyptian security forces, part of what Egypt’s military generals are calling foreign efforts to stir the anti-government protests. American University in Cairo President Lisa Anderson said the university is working closely with the U.S. Embassy to free them.

“The three boys were throwing molotov cocktails and had no passports on them when they were picked up,” Adel Saeed, a spokesman for Egypt’s general prosecutor’s office, told CNN.

Derrik Sweeney was an intern for Republican Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer of MO’s 9th District according to his Facebook page. That doesn’t mean he’s a conservative necessarily, but he doesn’t seem the Occupy type from a cursory glance at his FB page (not determinative I know).

I don’t know if these guys were in the wrong place at the wrong time, nosing around where they shouldn’t have been or drank the “Arab Spring” Kool-aid, but they are in a peck of trouble. I always tell students when they head overseas that if they listen closely as soon as they leave U.S. territory they can hear a slight rattling sound and that is the U.S. Constitution rolling up like a window shade.

I hope for their sake and the sake of their friends and family they were innocently in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught in the general sweep that often happens at these things. Foreign protests are not tourist attractions and Egyptian justice is rough justice — and despite what one hears from American Occupiers and their media enablers — a facial of pepper spray is pretty damn tame compared to what these boys might encounter — if they haven’t already.

If they were there under some naive Occupy sentiment, then God help them because the government — such as it is — might not be so inclined to let them go.

UPDATE (11/24): According to this report from FOXNews these three have been and/or are about to be released.

18 comments to Now Where’s That Paddle? (BUMPED and UPDATED)

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