FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Kissinger on Egypt

Always comforting to have Henry Kissinger around to advise the current U.S. administration what to do. His latest advice to Obama re Egypt: slow down, take things easier, don’t rush Egypt’s sensitive leaders.

“We should be looking at a democratic evolution,” said Kissinger. But he warned the U.S. should cultivate key democratic reformists and military leaders in a low-key fashion during the process. “It should not look like an American project. The Egyptians are a proud people. They threw out the British and they threw out the Russians.”

On the other hand, when thin-skinned right wing dictators in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay were disappearing “democratic reformists” by the thousands in 1976, Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State—not having to worry about lurid accounts of torture on Twitter and Facebook and Al Jazeera– advised South American generals to get on with their grisly task so as not to provoke censure from a U.S. Congress beginning to waken to the on-going slaughter. Or, as Kissinger put it to Argentine Foreign Minister Admiral Cesar August Guzzetti, in June 1976, “If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly. But you should get back quickly to normal procedures.”

The things to be done were no secret: human rights organizations and State Department memorandum supplied all necessary details. In Argentina alone more than 10,000 people had been “disappeared” by the end of 1976. But, in the name of fighting the Cold War, those messy kinds of things had to be done said the Generals and their apologists—Kissinger included.

Ironically, for the past thirty years, Hosni Mubarak and his apologists have justified his brutal repression in similar terms. Some are still doing it. It’s just the name of the bogeyman that’s changed: from Communism to Radical Islam aka the Moslem Brotherhood—from Fidel Castro’s revolutionary virus to Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. The fact that Al Qaeda’s leaders have condemned the Moslem Brotherhood for its willingness to participate in Egyptian politics is a detail.

The parallels between Egypt and the trio of South American military dictators is striking. According to the State Department memo on the June 10 meeting between Kissinger and Admiral Guzzetti, obtained by the National Security Archives, the Argentine told Kissinger,

“Our main problem in Argentina is terrorism. It is the first priority of the current government that took office on March 24. There are two aspects to the solution. The first is to ensure the internal security of the country; the second is to solve the most urgent economic problems over the coming 6 to 12 months. Argentina needs United States understanding and support….”

The NSA analysis of that memo continued,

“This at a time when the international community, the U.S. media, universities, and scientific institutions, the U.S. Congress, and even the U.S. Embassy in Argentina were clamoring about the indiscriminate human rights violations against scientists, labor leaders, students, and politicians by the Argentine military, Secretary Kissinger told Guzzetti: “We are aware you are in a difficult period. It is a curious time, when political, criminal, and terrorist activities tend to merge without any clear separation. We understand you must establish authority.”

The U.S. Ambassador had earlier protested to the Argentina government about the disappearance and torture of human rights workers, including American citizens. Kissinger, however, told Guzzetti, “In the United States we have strong domestic pressures to do something on human rights… We want you to succeed. We do not want to harrass [sic] you. I will do what I can….”

One could almost hear an American official today—sotto voce—giving similar advice to Egypt’s new Vice-President General Omar Suleiman, the man, let’s not forget, who for the past eight years headed up the feared Intelligence Directorate —infamous for systematic brutality, torture and disappearances; so skilled at their work that it was Suleiman and his uniformed thugs who were frequently used by the CIA’s rendition program.

All of a sudden though, Suleiman with his impeccable dark suit and tie and unflappable demeanor—is now not only the go-to man for torture but also, the go-to man to engineer “a transition to democracy.”

Not too fast a transition though, and certainly not too democratic.

Just as Henry the K. would advise.

Barry M. Lando, a graduate of Harvard and Columbia University, spent 25 years as an award-winning investigative producer with 60 Minutes. The author of numerous articles about Iraq, he produced a documentary about Saddam Hussein that has been shown around the world. He lives in Paris. His latest book is “Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush.” Lando is currently completing a novel, “The Fisherman’s File”, concerning Israel’s most closely guarded secret (it’s not the bomb.) He can be reached through his blog.

 

More articles by:

BARRY LANDO is a former producer for 60 Minutes. He is the author of  “Deep Strike” a novel about Russian hacking, rogue CIA agents, and a new American president. He can be reached at: barrylando@gmail.com or through his website.

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
Elliot Sperber
Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail