This evening we kick off our College Civil Liberties Tour with a program at the University of Washington at Seattle. If you’re able to tune in, it will be live-streamed here. This week’s schedule is there too. If you can’t make it, we’ll be posting the video on our website (fff.org) at a later date. The program features Glenn Greenwald, Bruce Fein, and me as panelists and Jack Hunter as moderator. It’s being co-sponsored by the Young Americans for Liberty and The Future of Freedom Foundation. We are all geared up and ready to go!
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in a speech last week that the U.S. government would not “retreat” from the Middle East and remains committed to supporting democracy in that part of the world. Her comments were made in the context of the killing in Libya of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Who is she kidding? It’s amazing how these people seem to create their own realities and then possibly even convince themselves that it really is reality.
Supporting democracy? Come on! Doesn’t Clinton know that the U.S. government has long been one of the principal supporters of dictatorship? Well, everyone in the Middle East knows it, especially the citizens of the countries who have suffered under such dictatorships.
Consider Egypt, one of the worlds’ most brutal dictatorships, a military one that has long oppressed the Egyptian people, in large part with the vast military and intelligence establishment that has been fortified for decades with U.S.-government-provided cash and weaponry.
For some 30 years, the Egyptian military has wielded the same types of “temporary” “emergency” powers that the U.S. military has wielded over the American people for the past 11 yearsâ€”the power of the military to take citizens into custody, cart them away to a military dungeon, torture them, and execute them, perhaps after some sort of kangaroo tribunal like the ones at Gitmo.
In fact, it didn’t surprise anyone in the Middle East when the U.S. government chose Egypt as one of its major rendition-torture partners. Sharing the same mindset as U.S. officials regarding civil liberties, the war on terrorism, and the importance of “order and stability,” the Egyptian military and intelligence forces worked closely with their counterparts in the CIA and the Pentagon to receive and torture victims on behalf of the U.S. Empire.
It was only when the Egyptian people finally had had enough of this U.S.-supported tyranny that U.S. officials decided to shift gears and call for the ouster of its long-supported, pro-U.S. friend and ally, Egyptian military dictator Hosni Mubarak. The idea was to appear on the side of the protestors and democracy while, at the same time, continuing to support Egypt’s military dictatorship with a billion dollars a year in cash and armaments.
The election of Mohammad Morsi has obviously thrown a monkey wrench into the works, given the fact that so far he isn’t being sufficiently submissive for U.S. officials. That’s why they have shifted Egypt from the ranks of ally to non-ally. That’s also why they continue to funnel their cash and weaponry directly into the hands of the pro-U.S. Egyptian military rather than into the hands of the civilian presidency. In any event, Morsi is really nothing more than a “democratically” elected dictator. (The quotation marks are necessary because any election held under military rule is necessarily an illegitimate election.)
Consider Bahrain, another cruel and brutal dictatorship that has long oppressed its own people. In the eyes of the U.S. Empire, that’s okay because Bahrain is pro-U.S. and its regime has proven sufficiently submissive to the Empire. Why, it even permits the Empire to maintain a giant U.S. military base within the country. You can’t get much more submissive than that.
Iran? Oh sure, today the U.S. Empire is ostensibly committed to spreading democracy in Iran. Not so when its dictator was in power, however. Don’t forget, after all, that it was the CIA that is primarily responsible for the destruction of Iran’s experiment with democracy. When the elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, proved to be insufficiently submissive to the British Empire, the CIA ousted him in a coup and installed the shah of Iran into power, a brutal dictator who, with the full support of the U.S. government, proceeded to brutalize his own people until they finally threw him out in a revolution in 1979. That’s, of course, when the Iranian revolutionaries took U.S. diplomats hostage. By that time, they had discovered what the CIA had to their country.
Today, the U.S. government’s aim in Iran is the same as it was in 1953, when it ousted Mossadegh from power and installed the shah into power â€” to effect regime change, whereby the current regime in Iran is ousted and replaced with a pro-U.S. submissive regime, even if its dictatorial. That’s what the sanctions, which are wrapped in bogus WMD scares again, are all about.
Iraq? The U.S. government was one of the major supporters of Saddam Hussein, one of the most brutal dictators in the world. In fact, after they turned against him, they referred to Saddam Hussein as another Adolf Hitler, but conveniently forgot that they were one of this new Hitler’s greatest friends and supporters, which is why they furnished him with those infamous WMDs that they later used as the bogus reason for invading and occupying the country.
Libya, where Ambassador Stevens was killed? Before the U.S. government turned on Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, U.S. officials loved him, even to the point of using him as one of their infamous rendition-torture partners. In fact, they even renditioned to him opponents of his brutal dictatorial regime, knowing full well what he was going to do to them.
The list of U.S.-supported dictatorships goes on and on. Why does it seem to surprise U.S. officials when people in the affected countries go after U.S. diplomats? Why can’t they see that when they support brutal dictatorships, the victims are going to get angry and want to retaliate? Why can’t they see that when they support one side of a conflict, the other side is going to get angry? Why can’t they see that Swiss diplomats are not targeted for kidnapping or murder, owing to the fact that the Swiss government, unlike the U.S. government, minds its own business? Why can’t they see that their quest for worldwide military domination and control, as manifested by foreign military bases, CIA coups, sanctions, interventions, invasions, occupations, foreign aid, and support of dictatorships is what fuels the virulent anti-American anger and rage? Why can’t they see that the best thing that could ever happen to people in the Middle East and the rest of the world, including the American people, is if the U.S. government were to leave people alone and stopped meddling in the affairs of other nations?