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The Cairo Fiasco and the Bonfire of Liberal values

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The Iraq war, the Libyan campaign, and the covert operations in Syria, were all pursued against ruthless tyrannical régimes. Nothing there went to plan, did it? But, hand-wringing aside, they are justified by the apparatchiks in Washington and Brussels on the basis that they were bringing liberal democracy to the Middle-East. Getting rid of the dictators: bringing “negative liberty”, pace Isaiah Berlin. The endless war by the mightiest army on the planet against one of the admittedly larger tribes of traditional Afghanistan goes on, and we are regaled with documentaries of a few women taking off their veils and going about activities they couldn’t have engaged in before the US invasion, whilst the entire fabric of Afghan society breaks down, and the population sinks into drug addiction.

Fine. But now how are they going to explain to the world that they knowingly backed a group of thugs in the overthrow of the democratically elected leader of Egypt on 3rd July 2013, the pivotal nation in the Middle-East and the one with the largest population?

In case any of these apparatchiks are reading this, especially their “leaders”, Barak Obama, John Kerry, Herman van Rompuy (EU President on 3rd July 2013), Catherine Ashton (EU foreign policy chief on 3rd July 2013), David Cameron, and François Hollande, who are wont to make endless speeches about “defending liberal values”, I repeat for your benefit:

“HOW ARE YOU GOING TO EXPLAIN TO THE WORLD THAT YOU KNOWINGLY BACKED A GROUP OF THUGS IN THE OVERTHROW OF THE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED LEADER OF EGYPT! I have had to raise my voice, as it were, to stop you scanning this article nonchalantly, maybe pausing a moment only to shrug your shoulders. You are going to be remembered as the breed, who came at the end of a 250 year history of liberalism starting in 1776, along with your shovels to bury the dead corpse of an idea. That’s if you care to be remembered at all. Maybe all you are really is animate recyclers of proteins and carbohydrates.”

There was another coup in the Ukraine in February 2014, and revelations about this are coming out thick and fast, but whatever the judgement there, the 3rd July 2013 was “the date” of the bonfire of liberal values. In the Middle-East, there was no-one to defend the Egyptian people, whose lives the US/EU apparatchiks have made a misery, as Russia defended the people of Donbass and Crimea. The full weight of Russian media has been used to help balance out the rubbish circulating in the Western media about events in the Ukraine, and much circumstantial evidence has been built up which points towards the culpability of the US and the EU in aiding and abetting the fascist coup in Kiev and covering up its misdeeds.

But the evidence in Egypt is not circumstantial, it is straightforward and absolute. There is so much of it, it is difficult to chose, but if you scan back through the Counterpunch archives on Egypt, you’ll find it all there. A classic one though is a videotape showing Mohamed Ibrahim, the Egyptian junta interior minister, telling his police chiefs to throw the kitchen sink at peaceful demonstrators in the street, including using live ammunition. The whole thing is absolutely blatant.

We also know that the US State Department actually agreed with and supported the coup in Egypt from videotapes of proceedings of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on October 24th 2013. The whole thing takes two and half hours, and only towards the end we find the intervention by Congressman Gerry Connolly (Democrat, 11th District VA) making clear, not only the position of the State Department but also his view on that position, namely that it was: “one of the most extraordinary statements I’ve ever read from a United States official”. Connolly cannot reconcile himself to the idea that his government believes it is right to overthrow a foreign official duly, fairly and democratically elected to his position under any circumstances, especially circumstances where mobs in the street are set to calling for the removal of democratic politicians. Ambassador Elizabeth Jones appears floored by his onslaught.

It isn’t as if the sharper elements in the official media weren’t on the case. On the 10th July 2013, a week after the coup, Peter Oborne, chief political editor of the Daily Telegraph in London writes in “William Hague is betraying Britain’s values in its response to the Egyptian coup”:

“Unfortunately, a modern foreign secretary is virtually powerless. The important decisions are made by the prime minister who, in turn, is told what to do by the White House… Here’s the deal. We get to retain an illusion of importance. Exactly how much of an illusion can be determined from the fact that it has just taken President Obama eight months to fill the post of US ambassador to London. In return, we do whatever America wants.

The reason Mr Hague was unable to cope is revealing. The United States has not publicly adopted a position about the removal of President Morsi, and we, therefore, have nothing to say either. Britain has to wait until the United States has decided. Mainly thanks to what I believe to be a bitter ongoing argument between the CIA and the state department (but also because of President Obama’s habitual procrastination) this has not happened.”

So if there was an argument between the CIA and the State Department, and Elizabeth Jones later made it clear on October 24th what the State department thought, then clearly the CIA had intelligence which weighed against backing the coup. Perhaps the CIA should have been listened to, because the potential usurper was head of military intelligence in Egypt, and they must have known a thing or two about him. Like perhaps that he had failed his secondary school exams, and faked his paperwork to become an officer. Like perhaps that he was a really thick, envious, nasty piece of work, who couldn’t be trusted.

Judging Morsi Government

Elizabeth Jones maintained that the Morsi government “made mistakes”, as if honestly that could ever be an excuse for removing an elected government. Actually analysing the period in question objectively can only lead to the conclusion that there were very few mistakes, especially very few economic ones. This is remarkable, given that we know that half the ministers in Morsi’s cabinet, who were from the military and who held the most important posts (defence, finance, electricity, petroleum) undermined him. So much also for the accusation that Morsi was stuffing government posts with Muslim Brothers.

The mistakes that the Muslim Brotherhood made were mostly political mistakes, which cost them their position, and perhaps they were mistakes which really (with hindsight) couldn’t have been avoided. Khairat al-Shater, then political leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, made strong overtures from the start of the 2011 revolution to the Salafist movement to form an “Islamic current”. This was really a peace offering to Saudi Arabia (which later was the first country Morsi visited after his election). He may or may not have known that an anti-Muslim Brotherhood cabal had been launched from Abu Dhabi led by Mohamed bin Zayed, crown prince and current ruler, which had unprecedentedly managed to gain control of the affairs of Saudi Arabia through the secretary of the royal court, Khalid al-Tuwaiji, who wasn’t linked to the al-Saud family by blood and was clearly out to rip them off. It was like a replay of the Lord of the Rings: King Abdulla’s Theoden to al-Tuwaiji’s Grima Wormtongue, and Mohamed bin Zayed as Saruman.

This cabal would, as we know, be the undoing of Morsi’s government. But lunging to the right politically, as he did from the start, meant that Khairat al-Shater, whatever he might have gained from Saudi backing (if things had been different) meant that he couldn’t ally himself with the left and the worker movement, with whom the brotherhood shared social values. What no-one could have known, however, was that the most successful party among the Salafists, al-Nour party, was actually Egyptian Intelligence in disguise. They were the ones who dragged the brotherhood down the difficult road of an Islamic constitution, and they were ones who, after leaving the “Islamic current” and their alliance with the Brotherhood three to four month after parliamentary elections, suddenly sided with the elements that would bring about the coup. They batted not an eyelid, when all the Islamic references to the constitution which they had apparently fought for so hard, were summarily cancelled in the new military constitution (which was printed in final form before the referendum).

The Writing is on the Wall

There is an Arabic saying: follow the liar to the door of his house. That’s what we’ve been doing here since July 2013, following the US/EU roadmap to its ultimate conclusion, and we are now going down a blind alley towards the one and only door.

Mubarak had, during his rule, hemmed the military in with the creation of the Amn al-Dawla (National Security), which took over all political security matters, and the National Demokleptocratic Party (NDP) as the seat of political power for his son Gamal. Yes, the whole fake Mubarakian democratic structure was a bid to create a new dynastic rule. When the revolution happened, the first two casualties were Amn al-Dawla, whose offices were invaded by the military within hours of Mubarak’s forced resignation and the NDP, which was abolished. Omar Suleiman, who was the US point man in Egypt, as torture chief and head of Amn al-Dawla, never stood a chance in the subsequent Presidential race. He died mysteriously, although some say he’s still alive. Releasing Mubarak and his sons and instructing Egyptian judges to clear them of all corruption and murder charges, was just a favour Sisi was doing for old Theoden. It meant nothing politically.

Now the military have both economic and military power in Egypt, they are throttling the country to death. But they have made enemies of personnel from both Amn al-Dawla and General Intelligence, which is now completely dominated by Sisi’s own coterie at military intelligence. No-one knows where all the bugs are in all the various government offices, except these guys. Now they are exacting their revenge. An avalanche of tapes recording conversations between Sisi and his chief of staff Abbas Kamel, between Sisi and various shady Libyan businessmen and politicians, and between Abbas Kamel and numerous other media and political figures, including foreign officials like al-Tuwaiji, have been aired through opposition Mekameleen TV in Istanbul. These have completely undermined Sisi’s credibility.

When Sisi was heard on tape belittling his Gulf donors, betraying the mean envious streak of a guttersnipe, saying that he had a right to demand money from them on the basis that money for the Gulf Arabs was just like water (the Arabic metaphor is rice), he, on the advice of his Israeli advisers, phoned his “brothers in the Gulf,” claiming that he was the victim fourth generation warfare. No-one believed him, but like all excuses which are not yet falsified, the door is kept ajar. Certainly, when the shoe was on the other foot, the UNSC led by the US and Britain, who were now probably listening to their intelligence services intently, failed to be impressed by the fake video of 21 Copts being beheaded by ISIS. Experts in false flags themselves, they weren’t going to be taken in.

But if they weren’t going to be taken in, that’s also because the mood had changed. Those people have moved on worse false flags before. The reason why the mood has changed is because of the change of régime in Saudi Arabia. King Salman and his sons Mohamed and Abdulaziz who essentially run the country, have surveyed the devastation caused under the rule of old Theoden, with the oil markets in disarray, Iran surprisingly hemming the Kingdom in on all sides, including now from the south in Yemen, and the very foundations of the Kingdom at risk with the insane persecution of the Muslim Brotherhood. As Peter Oborne explains patiently to Egyptian propagandist Ahmed Moussa in a TV interview, the persecution of the Muslim Brotherhood was always going to be a crazy idea. And the Brotherhood isn’t a foundational organisation just for the Egyptian nation; this is also the case for Saudi Arabia, which is most probably why it had come under attack.

The Liar at His Door

But now we have come to the end of the blind alley or the roadmap, or whatever you want to call it. The most devastating of all the leaks of conversations to come out through Mekameleen TV, however, regarded the legality of the President Morsi’s arrest. These conversations were between General Mamdouh Shahin, the legal advisor to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Sisi’s office manager Abbas Kamel, and Sisi himself, who were taped discussing how to “fix” a legal problem that had arisen over Morsi’s detention. Mohammed Morsi initially had been held in an army barracks, rather than a prison run by the Interior Ministry, which should have been the case if he had been arrested with due process, according to the law.

Shahin says in the tapes that if this matter wasn’t resolved, the government prosecutors couldn’t logically pursue their charges against Morsi, because his detention would automatically be illegal. So Shahin, and Kamel were frantically discussing how history could be rewritten, how backdated orders from the Interior Ministry could be generated, how a military warehouse on the edge of Abu Qir naval base could be turned into a prison, supplying it with records of visits and various props such as backdated newspapers, which could be used in photo ops for the file, as well as a batch of prison officers. The warehouse-cum-prison would have a doorway pointing outwards from the base onto a peripheral road, would be painted in Ministry of Interior colours and have all the necessary plaques and markings to make it look like a prison. Displaying the nature of these characters, the tapes disclose their boasts about being “the best forgers in the world”: the whole thing would be so realistic “it would drive Morsi crazy”.

Mekameleen TV is clearly an opposition TV station, and as a source therefore potentially questionable. Full credibility was lacking. The door was therefore still ajar.

What slammed it shut was evidence given in British Court by Peter French, a professor of forensic speech science at the University of York, of J. P. French Associates, which is Britain’s leading independent forensic speech and acoustics laboratory. In a case raised against members of the Egyptian junta, their media buffoons and their pet clerics, by Egypt International Crimes Investigation Team (EICI) of solicitors Irvine, Thanvi, Natas (ITN) instructed by Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), French Associates were tasked to establish whether the voice of the main participant in the discussions, General Mamdouh Shahin, the legal advisor to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), was genuine. Here is what they had to say:

“Our opinion is that the evidence provides strong support for the view that the questioned speaker is Mr Mamdouh Shahin… There are no indications that the spoken material in the recordings has been fabricated by editing together a large number of short speech segments or utterances. It would be very difficult to create a convincing conversation in this way. Further, the speech material displays the features of natural conversations that one would expect to encounter in a genuine recording.”

There is no conclusion other than that President Morsi was kidnapped, and if any members of the Egyptian government or military enter the jurisdiction of British courts, they face arrest under universal jurisdiction. Now that it had become increasingly clear that the 7th February has marked a decisive turning point in Sisi’s reign of terror, with even his staunchest supporters deserting his media hounds’ calls for mass rallies, and his Libyan false flag in tatters, what are the US and the EU going to do?

How, you apparatchiks of the US/EU, who a currently funding these criminals, are you going to unwind this mess? How are you EVER going to live it down, even if you find a way out?

Omar Kassem can be reached through his website at http://different-traditions.com/

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Omar Kassem can be reached through his website at http://different-traditions.com/

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