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Leftist overthrow advisor Lester Kurtz: “I talked with the CIA”

By Stephen Gowans | January 6, 2011

Lester Kurtz is a professor of sociology who sits on the academic advisory board of the International Center for Non-violent Conflict, an organization that trains activists in the use of mass civil disobedience to take power from foreign governments.

Lester Kurtz, another academic pony in Peter Ackerman’s ICNC stable. Kurtz talked to the CIA because they asked him to.

The ICNC was founded by former Freedom House head, Peter Ackerman, Michael Milken’s right-hand man at the Wall Street investment banking firm Drexel Burnham Lambert. Ackerman became ridiculously wealthy organizing the KKR leveraged buy-out of RJR Nabisco. [1]

These days Ackerman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, along with former US secretaries of state, defense, and treasury, and CEOs, investment bankers and highly placed media people. When he’s not helping formulate foreign policy recommendations at the CFR, he’s lending a hand on the Advisory Council of the United States Institute for Peace, a phoney U.S. government peace outfit headed absurdly by the U.S. secretaries of defense and state.

As you might expect of a wealthy investor who hobnobs with the US foreign policy establishment, Ackerman defines protection of private property rights as an integral part of democracy and believes the United States has a lot of teach the world. [2]

After learning investment banking at the knee of Milken, Ackerman turned his energies to training foreign activists in the use of the nonviolent resistance techniques of Gene Sharp, probably the first person to situate mass civil disobedience in the context of military strategy. [3] This earned Sharp the sobriquet the Clausewitz of nonviolence, after the Prussian military strategist Carl von Clausewitz. [4]

An interviewer working for a Canadian nonviolent resistance magazine once pointed out to Sharp — with some incredulity — that people say a government cannot fund or sponsor the overthrow of another government.

Sharp replied, “Why not?” adding, “What do they prefer that the U.S. spend money on?” [5]

Gene Sharp, the Clausewitz of nonviolence, who sees no trouble with the U.S. government spending money on overthrowing foreign governments. When Sharp was accused of advising right-wing Venezuelans on how to topple Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, the head of the ICNC academic advisory board, Stephen Zunes, sprang to his defense. Sharp is old and sick, Zunes explained. Besides, he has adopted a “transpartisan’ position that cuts across political boundaries and conceptions and (talks) to essentially anyone”. It used to be that leftist peaceniks were against the US government and other rightist forces. Now they advise them.

Nonviolent resistance – also more aptly called nonviolent warfare – is about taking power, not making a point. It’s not pacifism or a principled religious or ethical position based on abhorrence of violence. It’s power politics. Ackerman and other nonviolent warriors believe that mass civil disobedience – the shrewd use of strikes, boycotts, demonstrations, and nonviolent sabotage backed by sanctions and demonization of target governments – can be more effective in taking political power than military intervention. [6] That makes them instrumental nonviolence advocates. They advocate nonviolence, not because they hate violence, but because they think nonviolence works better than armed revolt or military intervention.

With the help of people like Lester Kurtz, the ICNC trains a modern cadre of mercenaries, who travel the world in the pay of NGOs, Western governments, wealthy individuals and corporate foundations, in order to train local groups in regime change through nonviolent warfare. [7] Ackerman, Kurtz and company, sit at the head of a kind of imperialist International, whose aim is to spread the US system, US influence and ultimately US capital around the world, under the guise of “promoting democracy.” It calls to mind a line from Phil Ochs’ condemnation of US imperialism, “We’re the Cops of The World”. Ochs sang, “The name for our profits is democracy.” Of course, the ICNC isn’t admitting to any of this. ICNC members say they’re just handing out information on nonviolence to anyone who will listen.

Last April, Kurtz posted a comment to my blog, calling my linking of Ackerman and his ICNC to US imperialism a “non sequitur.”

I replied. In my reply I pointed out that Kurtz discloses on his CV that he gave workshops to the CIA and the U.S. government- and corporate- funded think-tank, the RAND Corporation. Nine months later, Kurtz replied, with a bombshell. Sure, he talked with the CIA and RAND, he said, because they asked him to.

Albert Szymanski, also a professor of sociology, would never have received an invitation from the CIA to conduct a workshop on anything, and if he had, we can be pretty sure he would have turned them down. So why Kurtz (an academic advisor to an outfit founded by a wealthy CFR member who celebrates the overthrow of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, an act which cleared the way for a US-backed pro-capitalist government to come to power to sell off state and socially-owned assets to investors like Ackerman) and not Szymanski (a Marxist-Leninist who deplored imperialism)? If ever there was a sign you’re part of the problem, it’s being asked by the CIA for advice. Giving it erases all doubts.

Here’s the exchange. It begins with Kurtz’s comments on my article, “Washington Post: North Korean, Iranian nuclear capability threatens US imperialism”, on April 5, 2010.

It’s no surprise that US foreign policy is somehow linked to the economics of things is not a shock – what is surprising is Stephen Gowans’ effort to link “pro-democracy nonviolence activists,” and Peter Ackerman, with US imperialism! What a non-sequitur! Those activists (with the aid of only educational resources from the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict that Ackerman funds) have taken on oppressors of all political stripes, many of them (like Marcos, Pinochet, etc., etc.) part of the US orb. While Washington no doubt has a hit list, it has nothing to do with providing information and resources to people who would organize for their rights regardless of who is thwarting them. The kind of imprecise thinking that links these activities through some leap of logic simply distracts from other aspects of the argument and leaves me puzzled as to the point of the article.

I replied the same day.

I’m assuming the above was written by Lester Kurtz, Professor of Sociology at George Mason University, and a member of the academic advisory board of Peter Ackerman’s organization, the ICNC. In March, 2005, Kurtz ran a workshop on religion and violence for the CIA and RAND.

I wonder whether Kurtz sees the connection between RAND and the CIA on the one hand and US imperialism on the other. Probably not.

While it may come as no surprise to Kurtz that US foreign policy is somehow linked to the economics of things, showing that this is so is much more difficult than showing that Peter Ackerman is linked to US imperialism. The latter is easily demonstrated.

(1) US foreign policy is imperialist,
(2) The Council on Foreign Relations plays a major role in shaping US foreign policy, and
(3) Peter Ackerman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

We could add other observations (e.g., Ackerman’s previous role as head of the CIA-interlocked Freedom House, hardly what you would call a non-imperialist organization, and his privileged position atop the economic order of things) but the points above should suffice.

What comes as a surprise to me is that while Kurtz can grasp the nexus between the economics of things and the imperialist nature of US foreign policy, he can’t see the much more obvious connection between Ackerman and US imperialism, but perhaps that is so because to see it, would mean acknowledging his own connection to it.

Nine months later Kurtz responded.

Of course there’s a connection between RAND, the CIA, and US imperialism – that’s why I talked with them when asked to do so. What good does it do to sit in a corner and talk to ourselves? I used to complain to my students that nobody ever asked me about important policy questions – do they ask you? I’d ask. So, when they asked me to speak, I did. I’d not work for them, but will talk with them, with you, with the devil, with anyone who will listen. The whole system is rotten, but won’t be replaced or transformed until people stand up and speak out.

Interestingly, Kurtz used the same defense that the head of the ICNC academic advisory board Stephen Zunes used on behalf of the Clausewitz of nonviolence, Gene Sharp, when it was revealed that Sharp had advised right-wing Venezuelans on how to bring down Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Sharp, explained Zunes, had “taken a ‘transpartisan’ position that cuts across political boundaries and conceptions and (talks) to essentially anyone” [8], apparently just as Kurtz does. If that’s a defense, the world dodged a bullet when Zunes turned down a career in law.

Here’s more of Zunes defending Sharp:

Unfortunately, Sharp – who is now well into his 80s and whose health is failing – appears to show little discernment as to who he meets with and his audience has sometimes included some right-wing Cubans or Venezuelans who have sought him out to see if any of his research would be of relevance in their efforts to organize some kind of popular mobilization against the Castro or Chavez governments. Some of those may have indeed been later found to have engaged in assassination plots. [9]

Since Kurtz isn’t well into his 80s, how do we explain his lack of discernment in who he meets with? Or does age have anything to do with it? Meeting with right-wing Venezuelans, right-wing Cubans [10], followers of Reza Pahlavi, the son of the deposed Shah of Iran [11], and the CIA seems to be standard operating procedure for nonviolent warriors. The New Republic’s Franklin Foer pointed out that “When some of State’s desk officers don’t want to create international incidents by advising activists on how to overthrow governments, they gently suggest visiting Ackerman, who has fewer qualms about lending a helping hand.” It seems that if there’s a nationalist or socialist government to be overthrown, the nonviolent warriors are always willing to step up to the plate. They’ll talk to anyone: right-wing assassins, followers of a former US-backed Iranian dictator, the CIA. Adopting a position that “cuts across political boundaries and conceptions” means that where leftist peaceniks once were against the US government and other rightist forces, now they advise them.

On January 5, I responded to Kurtz’s latest comment.

Good work Les. Maybe after you deliver a few more seminars, the CIA will see the light, and decide that taking down foreign governments that refuse to subordinate themselves to Washington’s dictates isn’t such a good thing after all… Oh, but I forgot, that’s no longer a CIA function, is it? It’s now your job, and that of your ICNC colleagues.

Exactly what is it you’re standing up and speaking out about to the CIA anyway: that organizing nonviolent warfare campaigns against foreign governments is more effective in achieving US foreign policy goals than taking out wedding parties with predator drones?

You are, indeed, making the world a better place, Les. Keep accepting those CIA invitations.

Kurtz and some other ICNC academic advisors seem bewildered that they should be so vigorously criticized for trying to show the powerful that nonviolent overthrow movements are a better alternative to armed intervention. After all, what could be wrong with trying to persuade Washington that there’s a nonviolent way to achieve its foreign policy objectives? What they fail to grasp is that the tools the US government uses to prosecute its foreign policy aren’t the problem. The problem is US foreign policy.

1. Franklin Foer, “Regime Change Inc. Peter Ackerman’s quest to topple tyranny,” The New Republic, April 16, 2005.

2. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, “Interview with Peter Ackerman, founding chair of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict,” October 19, 2006. .

3. Eli Lake, “Iran launches a crackdown on democracy activists,” The New York Sun, March 14, 2006.

4. Peace.Ca, “Gene Sharp: A Biographical Profile.”

5. Spencer, Metta, “Gene Sharp 101,” Peace Magazine, July-Septmeber, 2003.

6. Peter Ackerman, “Paths to peace: How Serbian students brought dictator down without a shot fired,” National Catholic Reporter, April 26, 2002; Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall, “The nonviolent script for Iran,” Christian Science Monitor, July 22, 2003; Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall, “With weapons of the will: How to topple Saddam Hussein – nonviolently,” Sojourners Magazine, September-October 2002 (Vol 31, No. 5, pp.20-23.)

7. Mark R. Beissinger, “Promoting democracy: Is exporting revolution a constructive strategy?” Dissent, Winter 2006.

8. Stephen Zunes, George Cicariello-Maher and Eva Golinger, “Debate on the Albert Einstein Institution and its Involvement in Venezuela”,, August 5, 2008.

9. Ibid. It’s bad enough that Zunes tries to excuse Sharp’s meeting with right-wing Venezuelans as a lack of discernment attributable to age and illness when nonviolent warriors regularly aid right-wing forces, but his descent into bafflegab in the construction of the truly prolix phrase “‘transpartisan’ position that cuts across political boundaries and conceptions” — meaning I’d give advice to Hitler if he asked — would be comic were it not intended to prettify a reactionary position. Zunes, I think, would give British MP Sir Norman Fry a run for his money as a concocter of tortured explanations to cover up what he doesn’t care to admit.

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on Leftist overthrow advisor Lester Kurtz: “I talked with the CIA”

‘Egypt eliminates witnesses to violence’

Press TV – February 3, 2011

Egyptian plain-clothes policemen arrest Mohamed Abdul Quddus, rapporteur of the civil Liberties Committee and member of the Press Syndicate Council, outside the journalists syndicate in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011.

Supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have attacked journalists in Cairo in an effort to disrupt the coverage of the violence used against anti-government protesters.

A Belgian reporter was arrested and beaten after he was accused of espionage in Cairo while al-Arabiya correspondent Ahmed Abdullah and journalists from the BBC, ABC News and CNN were attacked, CNN reported.

“The Egyptian government is employing a strategy of eliminating witnesses to their actions,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“The government has resorted to blanket censorship, intimidation, and today a series of deliberate attacks on journalists carried out by pro-government mobs,” he added.

Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders Jean-Francois Juillard has condemned the violence against media personnel and has called for an immediate reaction from the international community.

A number of European leaders have also called on Egypt to stop the violence against people and urged the government to take up political reforms without delay.

Medical sources have reported that three people were killed and more than 1,500 injured in clashes that broke out between protesters and plain-clothes policemen in Cairo on Wednesday.

Cairo’s Tahrir Square has turned into a battleground as protesters defy a nighttime curfew and pledge to remain on the streets until Mubarak steps down.

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | 10 Comments

Whose interest?

By Harry Clark | Mondoweiss | February 2, 2011

There is debate about the precise role of Egypt in US Middle East “strategy”, if the word can be used. Stanford historian Joel Beinin, in an interview by Justin Elliott in Salon, claimed that the Arab states, including Egypt, shared equally the US-Israeli animus against Iran.

“And most recently, Mubarak, along with King Abdullah II of Jordan and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, has been gung-ho for attacking Iran. We know that from the WikiLeaks documents…”

But Historian Gareth Porter and journalist Jim Lobe argue that Saudi Arabia does not share Israel’s enthusiasm for military action. Commenting on the NYT coverage of the Wikileaks cables, they wrote, “Actual Wiki Cables Belie NYT’s Version of Saudi Gulf States’ Stance on Iran”:

“In fact, the cables show that most Gulf Arab regimes – including Saudi Arabia itself – have been seriously concerned about the consequences of a strike against Iran for their own security, in sharp contrast to Israel’s open advocacy of such a strike. They also show the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait expressing that concern with greater urgency in the past two years than previously”

They cite veteran diplomat Chas Freeman and journalist Thomas Lipman as saying that even an approval of military action would fit the pattern of Arab states telling the US what it wants to hear. This applies a fortiori to Egypt, which has no Shia population and is much farther from Iran.

Sasan Fayazmanesh, US-Iranian economist and scholar of the US-Iran relationship, has also skewered the MSM for misconstruing the Wikileaks cables on Iran, and shown the degree to which the US anti-Iran animus is driven by and for Israel. Fayazmanesh writes:

According to this policy, the US would exert pressure on its client states in the Persian Gulf so that they would distance themselves from Iran and get behind Israel. Before becoming president, Barak Obama stated this policy in a speech delivered at the 2007 AIPAC conference (the speech was actually written by Dennis Ross, James B. Steinberg, who is currently the Deputy Secretary of State, and former American Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer). Obama stated: We have “to persuade other nations, such as Saudi Arabia, to recognize common interests with Israel in dealing with Iran.” Once Obama became president, this policy was enforced vigorously.

Gareth Porter feels that “The main function of the U.S. client state relationship with Egypt was to allow Israel to avoid coming to terms with Palestinian demands.” He argues that “the present strategic crisis can only be resolved by a…historical accommodation… with the ‘resistance bloc’ in the Middle East.”, that is, “Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.”

The sine qua non of that accommodation is a just settlement of the Israel-Palestine issue, which is simply inconceivable in US politics. While the Israel lobby and the costs to the US of the “special relationship” are more visible than ever, there is no indication that its grip on power is slipping. The US has advised Mubarak not to stand for re-election in September. This would keep the regime in place and give the US months to manipulate the outcome. It is a colossal insult to the Egyptian people, and does not remotely reflect the interest of the US, but only of Israel and its US supporters.

Overcoming the lobby will take a struggle in US politics like the Civil War. If it doesn’t materialize, instead of a “historic accommodation with the ‘resistance bloc'” we may see even more historic violence, in a collision of the resistance, now including the
people of Egypt, with the immovable object of US-Israel relations.

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | 1 Comment

Egyptians vow to continue protests

Press TV – February 2, 2011

Millions of protesters across Egypt have deified army orders to return to their homes as rallies against President Hosni Mubarak and his government continue for the ninth day.

Earlier Wednesday, the Egyptian military called on protesters to return home.

“The army calls on protesters to go home to restore security and stability in the street,” a military spokesman said on state television.

The call comes as millions of Egyptians took to the streets on Wednesday. Organizers say the protests will continue across the country.

Clashes broke out between Mubarak supports and anti-government protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Opposition activists say Mubarak supporters were in fact plainclothes police officers who charged anti-regime protesters in Cairo on horses and camels. They attacked protesters with knives, witnesses said. According to reports, some 100 people have been injured in the clashes.

Reports say security forces have also attacked people in Suez and Alexandria. The development comes hours after Mubarak warned protesters that clashes would erupt if protests continue. Mubarak has so far defied the protestors’ demand to step down.

Earlier, Egypt’s two houses of parliament suspended their sessions indefinitely until the December general election results are revised.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has accused elements loyal to Mubarak of committing acts of violence and looting in an attempt to undermine the Egyptian revolution.

The group has confirmed several cases where plain clothes police loyal to Mubarak instigated raids and hostility during demonstrations.

The group’s emergency director, Peter Bouckaert, says he has verified reports of injured looters with police ID cards receiving treatment at hospitals.

Bouckaert has also expressed doubts over reports of the escape of thousands of prisoners over the weekend.

During the past several days, Egypt’s state television has been running reports on violent criminals among the protesters. Some view the move as an attempt by Mubarak to discredit the current democratic movement in the country.

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Aletho News | 1 Comment

Rights group: Harsh treatment of child detainee

Ma’an – 02/02/2011

RAMALLAH — Israeli forces psychologically tortured a 14-year-old Palestinian detained in a night raid on his Ramallah village, a local rights group said.

Islam Tamami was detained on 23 January from his home in Nabi Saleh, a village which holds weekly anti-wall rallies to protest Israel’s confiscation of residents’ land.

He was taken to a police station and interrogated without his parents or a lawyer present, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said.

Soldiers used psychological torture to extract false testimony about demonstrations in his village during an eight hour interrogation, PSCC reported.

Tamimi’s lawyers requested access to the boy immediately after his request, but this was not granted until after five hours of interrogation, the committee said.

The boy is still in Israeli detention, despite appeals from his defense for his immediate release due to the unlawful conduct of the police and military.

A military judge on Tuesday refused a request to transfer him to house arrest, committee spokesman Joseph Dana said.

The committee says residents of the village, including children, have been subject to countless injuries, arrests and collective punishment. It says the army’s campaign is an attempt to crush the village’s non-violent protests against the wall.

DCI: Army detained 7,000 Palestinian children detained since 2000

On Saturday, Defence for Children International said Israel’s military had detained around 7,000 Palestinian children since 2000.

In its annual report, submitted to the United Nations, DCI said it was rare for children, or their parents, to be told the reason for the arrest or where the children would be taken.

The arrests were frequently carried out by heavily armed soldiers in the middle of the night, the report said, and children were usually handcuffed and blindfolded before being taken away in a military vehicle.

“The arrest and transfer process is frequently accompanied by physical and verbal abuse,” DCI reported.

“Children are frequently threatened and physically assaulted during interrogation often resulting in the provision of a coerced confession, or the signing of documents which the child has not had a chance to read or understand.”

DCI noted that children as young as 12 were tried in military courts, and said most children ultimately plead guilty “whether the offence was committed or not, as this is the quickest way out of the system.”

Further, Israeli military courts impose sentences on most children detained.

“In 2009, custodial sentences were imposed on children by the military courts in 83 percent of cases, in contrast to a custodial sentence rate of 6.5 percent in the Israeli civilian juvenile justice system,” DCI found.

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

CIA-related groups are gearing up to attack Syria with “color revolution”

Syria in the cross-hairs

By Ein Katzenfreund | February 2, 2011

The Obama regime has been using  its Government-Organized Non-Governmental Organizations (GONGOs) close to the CIA like Freedom House and the NED to remove or threaten the ugly puppet dictators in Tunisia and Egypt. Further “color revolutions” in Yemen, Algeria and Jordan are in the making. The aim of this US policy is clearly to replace these dictators with less repugnant US-friendly puppet ‘democracies’. Now Washington is trying to use the momentum of this process to stage a color regime change in Syria.

Internet activists and organizers in academia have been financed with over half a billion dollars through the State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) program.  Mass media and well known hasbara institutions are directing this campaign. On Monday CNN, which is close to the US regime, together with the Zionist propaganda organization MEMRI, called for an uprising in Syria. The Wall Street Journal, which is also close to the US regime, continued this campaign against Syria. And later, the U.S. news agency UPI campaigned for a dubious “Syrian revolution” Facebook group advocating for protests in Syria on Friday.

There is a vast difference between the revolutionary events in Tunisia and Egypt and the protests planned in Syria. While the abolition of US-backed dictators like Ben Ali and Mubarak could be viewed as progress in the fight for justice, a color revolution in Syria would be a big step backward. Though less democratic than Iran – where a Mossad backed color revolution attempt failed in 2009 –  Syria is also a key pillar of resistance against the hegemony of the Zionist dominated US policy of aggression in the middle east.

Like many other countries in the middle east, Syria has had a lot of problems in recent decades. But these problems in Syria were primarily caused by it’s strong stance for the resistance against Zionism, by not obeying the orders of Tel-Aviv.

Precisely because of his very effective support for the resistance, Syrian president Bashir al-Assad is one of the most popular politicians among the Arab people. Due to the achievements of the steadfast resistance of Syria – and it’s ally Iran – the US is now forced to dismantle it’s ugliest puppet dictatorships in the middle east and let them be replaced by regimes closer to the people.

Should the Zionist-dominated US propaganda succeed in creating a short-term wave of public anger that ousts Assad, the US would not only be able to control Syria, but also have a free hand in installing pro-US puppet regimes in the other newly ‘color’ revolutionized Arab countries. These pseudo democratic puppet regimes modeled after the German pseudo democracy could more easily be forced to submit to the kleptomaniac Zionist terror regime.

For these reasons, it is important for all those longing for real change in the middle east, and finally the world, to support Syria now and defend it against US sponsored soft war attempts. The only way to reach lasting and just peace in the middle east is to resist, until the Zionist apartheid state of Israel ends all occupation and is transformed into a state of all it’s citizens.

Update, March 29, 2011:

Elliot Abrams’ Plan For Syria

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | 3 Comments

Egypt and the false dilemma — decline and fall

By Michael Collins | Online Journal | February 2, 2011

The people of Egypt have had enough of a failed dictatorship masquerading as a democracy. As events unfold, we’re seeing a cautionary message entering the corporate media coverage of this event. Having never exposed the dire conditions that prompted the massive protests and demands for change, we’re now told that this could negatively impact oil supplies, the stock market, and anti-terror efforts. No foundation for the claims was provided but they’re repeated regularly on CNN, the NBCs, Fox, and the print media.

Thus, a false dilemma is created for the public: support the right of people to determine their own fate or protect your safety and the current standard of living, as it were.

Egypt’s oppressive tyranny

Eighty million Egyptians have suffered under an oppressive regime for thirty years. President Hosni Murbark became Egypt’s president and dictator in 1981 after the assassination of the late President Answer Sadat in 1981. Sadat had just completed a peace treaty with Israel. Since then, Mubarak has ruled through emergency law for all but 18 months. Using this law, the government has the, “right to arrest people without charge, detain prisoners indefinitely, limit freedom of expression and assembly, and maintain a special security court.” The Egyptian parliament extended for two years in May 2010. For those who get too far out of line, there are the famous torture facilities of the national police.

The Egyptian revolution followed the successful peoples uprising in Tunisia just days before. The Egyptian economy has not performed for the people. The majority of Egyptians live in substandard conditions and they see little reason for hope. Conditions were no better in Tunisia. Future hot spots for revolution, Algeria and Yemen, are equally bereft of the conditions that allow for human dignity – gainful employment, health, and safety.

Children are particularly hard hit, one-third of Egypt’s population. A recent UNISEF that, “Increases in child mortality and morbidity, child labour, child exploitation, violence against children and women and other forms of abuse, alongside declines in school attendance and the quality of education, nurture, care and emotional well-being, can all be traced to times of economic crisis.” (Harper et al, 2009). The Egyptian economic crisis has been devastating to children.

The conditions in Egypt are different from those in the United States in terms of income and material wealth. On a structural level, however, the class inequalities mirror those faced here. A robust stock market failed to translate into employment gains or basic benefits for the vast majority. Policies are friendly to businesses but discriminate against worker rights and unions. Privatization has sapped the public coffers.

While conditions were building up to a boiling point, the Egyptian Stock Exchange became a favorite for foreign investors. Somehow, the geniuses on Wall Street convinced President Mubarak to privatize and adopt a market economy [crony capitalism]. He did, the people suffered more, and the results led to the near universal demand that Mubarak step down. The globalization of crony capitalism has reached the point where the main stimulus is revolution.

The false dilemma

The coverage of Egypt’s revolution has been a bit timelier than the Tunisian affair, which the corporate media nearly missed. The initial focus was on events and the questions determining the survival of Hosni Mubarak. Who will win? There was no explanation of conditions prompting the protests. That would legitimize the protesters and foreclose media manipulation that may be needed to continue the three-decade support for the present dictatorship and oligarchy.

A Wall Street Journal article Sunday laid out the talking points for fear mongering and the false dilemma – support a peoples revolution? – take an oil shock and more terror.

US stocks are taking a big hit because of the revolution. We’re supposed to react by thinking, Is this really worth it? The recession may get worse.

“Anti-government protests in Egypt have affected world financial markets, with US stocks suffering the biggest one-day loss in six months.” Egyptian Unrest Has Repercussions in Global Economy Wall Street Journal (WSJ), January 30

The specific fear of oil price increases appears. Somehow, we’re asked to believe that a new government might say, all of a sudden, no more United States ships in the Suez Canal.

“In the short term, the biggest global economic worry remains oil prices. Egypt itself isn’t a big energy producer. But significant shipments of oil and petroleum products pass through Egypt each day on their way from the Mideast to European and U.S. markets.” WSJ 01/30

There is absolutely no basis for this. Therefore, the fabrication is deliberate and ill intended.

Then the Journal trots out an expert who draws a conclusion based on the unproven hypothetical. Once again, there is no basis for saying that there would be any shipping disruptions. Why would a new Egyptian government give up that income or pick a fight with a White House with a record of military aggression?

“If oil shipments through Egypt were disrupted, European supply — and global prices — would be affected tremendously, said Dalton Garis, an associate professor in petroleum-market behavior at the Petroleum Institute, an energy-research center in Abu Dhabi.” WSJ 01/30

The media is like a dog on point. They just can’t give up the notion that we’re headed for an oil shock.

“Apart from Egypt’s role as an energy transporter, fear that unrest could spread to bigger oil producers could exacerbate worries.” WSJ 01/30

Where is the information that would justify this fear?

Where is the explanation that accounts for this remarkable mass uprising?

Where are the questions about the three decades of neglect by several U.S. administrations and the requests by presidents Bush and perhaps Obama to carry out “renditions” [torture] in behalf of the United States.

When you support a tyrant who oppresses his/her people, you risk the antipathy of the people when they gain control.

Apparently, our ruling class hasn’t paid any attention to recent history. For years, successive US regimes supported dictatorial rule in South America. The dictators are gone, left leaning governments are in place, and no one is lining up to punish the United States.

The real concern about change in Egypt is all about control. The elite of the US and Europe may encounter a leader who isn’t in their pocket, doesn’t care whether or not he or she is invited to Davos, and actually seeks the benefit of the vast majority of citizens rather than the crony capitalist network also known as the global economy.

Michael Collins is a writer in the DC area who researches and comments on the corruptions of the new millennium. His articles focus on the financial manipulations of The Money Party, the abuse of power by government, and features on elections and election fraud. His articles can be found here. His website is called The Money Party.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on Egypt and the false dilemma — decline and fall