Egypt’s Struggle against US Funded Repression:
Tales of US Sponsorship of Repressive Regimes
By: Solomon Comissiong
On January 25th, 2011 scores of Egyptians decided they were no longer going to tolerate widespread repression from the hands of their own government. This longstanding Egyptian government, headed by Hosni Mubarak, has ruled with a heavy hand for three decades. Throughout this regime thousands have been killed, unjustly imprisoned, or tortured. Starting in Tunisia, a wave of revolution built momentum; soon it became tsunami of radical change. People throughout the Maghreb have reached their social Rubicon, vowing to no longer succumb to widespread suppression, hunger and poverty; meanwhile their elected leaders live like fat cats. This truly is a historical moment in recent history, and perhaps longer. Few media outlets have comprehensively covered this ongoing event—none were US corporate media outlets. We should seldom be shocked at the blatant omission of critical facts, regarding geopolitical events, that the US media has become rather adept at. For that matter, they also practice the same type of “journalism” with regards to critical domestic issues.
The US corporate media has followed the lead of Al Jazeera in terms of actually reporting the mass protests in Egypt (well, kinda sorta); however that is where the similarities begin and end. Instead of showing the story from multiple angles the US corporate media has chosen to focus from primarily the “US perspective” and the possible ramifications to American interests if the protests go a certain way. For instance CNBC contributor, Erin Burrnett, stated Friday January 28th, 2011 on the MSNBC “Morning Joe” program that, “If this spreads, the United States could take a huge hit because democracy in a place like Saudi Arabia, you’ve talked about who might come in power, what that means for oil prices. They’re going to go stratospheric.” She, like “Morning Joe” host, Joe Scarborough, who then replied, “No doubt about it.” was speaking from the point of view of the US elites’ interests. US elites, like the US government, could give a damn if the people of Egypt suffered another 30 years of brutal repression so long as their precious financial and imperialist interests go unscathed. Instead featuring expert guests with a wide range of perspectives on the social climate in Egypt, as Al Jazeera has done throughout, the US corporate media has done the complete opposite. They have provided little broad based contextual perspective, made sure their guest “experts” did the same, and negated any comprehensive exposure regarding the US government’s relationship with the Mubarak regime.
Faithful and zombie-like US corporate media viewers will get no understanding regarding the fact that their government funds the repressive Egyptian military and riot police to the tune of 1.3 billion dollars per year. Even the tear gas canisters that were responsible in bashing in the heads of some protesters had “Made in USA’ written all over them. I guess the US corporate media did not want to trouble Americans with that valuable knowledge. They also found no reason to explain to viewers how brutal and oppressive the Mubarak regime has been during his 30 year tenure as president. I guess if they did that they just might have to explain why the US government has politically and financially supported such an authoritarian government. Vice President Joe Biden pretty much summed up which side of history the US government has become accustomed to being on when he said, “Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with – with Israel. … I would not refer to him as a dictator.” Any reputable professional media would have challenged Biden’s statement. Mubarak has been a faithful ally to the US; however whether or not Joe Biden refers to him as a dictator does not change the fact that Hosni Mubarak is in fact a dictator.
The US media system functions like a fourth branch of government and because of this they are compliant to their partners in Washington by providing as little perspective and information as possible. After all, too much information given to Americans would raise too many pesky questions. Americans are blindly obsequious to the US government due to their rather limited point of reference regarding America’s historically dubious role in global destabilization and support for some of the planet’s more repressive governments. The US government and their corporate media sycophants have masterminded the cultivation of a societal culture that has trained Americans to selectively defend the interests of ruthless oppressors all the while vilifying those being oppressed.
The US seldom predicates it allegiances with other countries on conscious, it bases them on convenience. The US government’s own self-interest is at the top of their decision making process regarding foreign policy. These decisions rarely include justice, freedom or democracy. This is why America has long supported repressive regimes like that of Egypt, Colombia and yes Israel. Despite its horrendous record regarding the murder of trade union organizers and its use of the military to terrorize civilians; Colombia has received over 7 billion dollars in military aid from the US since 2000. In exchange the US has almost unfettered military access throughout Colombia. The US could give a damn about countless human rights violations throughout Colombia so long as their military bases are built and maintained in the South American country. The US has also funded Colombia’s indiscriminate rogue war on drugs, “Plan Colombia”. Colombia’s right wing ex-President who oversaw much of the human carnage now teaches in Washington DC at Georgetown University. However, Colombia is outdone by Israel when it comes to receiving military aid from the US. Israel continues to serve as one of the most repressive states in recent history. The government of Israel’s outright suppression of Palestinians is deplorable by any human standards. Palestinians continue to live some of the most oppressive conditions throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They cannot control their water system, electricity, and are subject to degrading check points throughout the region. Brutal military force from the Israeli Defense Forces has taken the lives of scores of Palestinians, mostly women and children. Those who were outraged at what the white minority apartheid regime did to black South Africans prior to the early 1990s should be equally incensed by what the state of Israel is currently doing to Palestinians. However, it seems as though the US government lacks a moral compass on this issue as they supply Israel with 8.2 million dollars a day in direct military aid. This comes by way of US taxpayer dollars.
The US government has spoken with a forked tongue for a long, long time. Year after year after year, the US government masquerades around the globe as the self-proclaimed paragon for freedom, justice, equality and human rights. However in the meantime they are engaged in bloody illegal wars and financially supporting destructive and repressive governments. As long as the American people allow themselves to be kept in the dark, as well as choosing to remain socially apathetic; there is no conceivable end in sight. The American people have a choice. They can either speak out against the actions of their government in the name of the American people, or they can remain silent as their tax dollars continue to be used as “blood money”. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” How long will we continue to cooperate?
Solomon Comissiong is an educator, community activist, author, public speaker and the host of the Your World News media collective (www.blogtalkradio.com/Your-World-News) and www.yourworldnews.blip.tv.