The “Pyramid Schemes” of Empire Inc.

The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt forced have Obama into an uncomfortable but familar posture: On the one hand, in order to preserve at least the appearance of credibility, the candidate of hope and change has to at least feign solidarity with the people who expressed their hope by flooding into the streets of Tunisia and Cairo demanding change in leadership of their US-sponsored tyrannies. On the other hand, as the man charged with the responsibility of prolonging the death-gasp of a doomed Empire, Obama had to work overtime behind the scenes to make sure that any political changes forced upon America’s satraps in the Middle East remain cosmetic and trivial. This dilemma accounts for the mixed messages being issued from the White House throughout the crisis as each mangled response contradicts an earlier stance.

More recent developments on Mubarak’s “dignified” exit reveal even more cynical contempt for Egypt’s long suffering people on the part of the Obama administration as Egypt’s recently appointed VP Omar Suleiman, the CIA’s ‘go to guy’ for its offshore torture enterprises has reportedly been installed as Mubarak’s successor.

What better illustrates Obama’s flailing and ineffectual leadership style than a comparison of his rhetoric in Cairo shortly after taking office with his current posture regarding developments in Egypt? In his 2009 Cairo speech, Obama affirmed his “unyielding belief” in the universality of democratic struggle, and the “yearning” of all people to live “under the rule of law and the equal administration of justice, towards government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people”. Words that in retrospect reveal the insincerity behind them as his administration attempts to downplay the “government by the people, of the people . . . ” stuff as it applies to the Arab world, and push forward a more moderate and “realistic” solution to what they consider an unfolding ”crisis” in Egypt and beyond: Millions of people peacefully united in a struggle to break free from a brutal, authoritarian regime headed by a corrupt tyrant.

His audience at the time could be forgiven if they chose to ignore the dramatic, chest-puffing pauses, the Il Duce tilt of the chin and the somewhat condescending tone as he hectored his Muslim non-brethren about that silly tendency of theirs to view the US as a “self-interested Empire”. His reassurances that “government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power” struck just the right note after eight years of his predecessor’s gaffe-ridden and tone deaf rhetoric. In hindsight, “Democracy”, like the ill-fated “Mission Accomplished”, has a similar slip of the tongue quality. American politicians and pundits remain entwined in an intimate spooning position on their shared bed, perfecting the necessary linguistic contortions to condemn the violence Mubarak’s paid goons are inflicting upon demonstrators and journalists, without implicating themselves for their enduring support for Egypt’s state-sponsored terrorism.

“Democracy” was Obama’s theme when Mubarak was apparently secure, cashing America’s yearly $1.3 billion hush money check with its boot heel firmly set on the neck of the Egyptian people. Now, however, when those people are in the streets demanding that political realities be reshaped according to Obama’s rhetoric, the offending word has disappeared from the President’s vocabulary. Instead we hear the familiar refrains centered around “stability,” and “reform”. His calls for a “peaceful transition” of power are merely a stalling tactic meant to buy time until a neoliberal carpetbagger is eventually installed to carry out the IMF’s failed policies, and to pre-empt any future resistance outside Israeli-controlled territory to these externally imposed measures of poverty and oppression. That Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt hinges on the regime’s complicit support for Israel’s permanent occupation of Palestinian land does not factor in to the official argument that this “strategic alliance” is somehow “vital” to US interests. Instead Mubarak, the much vaunted “strategic ally” is trotted out whenever his complicit cohorts in Washington need to justify their feet dragging.

An especially comic moment was barely mentioned in the American media that involved the dispatch of former ambassador Frank Wisner as Obama’s “envoy” to read the riot act to his good friend Mubarak once it became clear that the dictator’s exit was inevitable. Is it possible that Hillary Clinton didn’t know that Wisner is a partner at the Washington law firm of Patton Boggs, which for years has proudly represented Egypt’s political and economic elite? According to the firm’s website:

Patton Boggs has been active in Egypt for 20 years. We have advised the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and have handled arbitrations and litigation on the government’s behalf in Europe and the US. Our attorneys also represent some of the leading Egyptian commercial families and their companies, and we have been involved in oil and gas and telecommunications infrastructure projects on their behalf. One of our partners also served as the Chairman of the US-Egyptian Chamber of Commerce, promoting foreign direct investment into targeted sectors of the Egyptian economy. We have also handled negotiation of offset agreements and managed contractor disputes in military sales agreements arising under the US Foreign Military Sales Act.

Patton Boggs maintains a correspondent affiliate relationship with one of Egypt’s most prominent firm of lawyers in Cairo, the law firm of Zaki Hashem.

Could Wisner realistically be expected to violate the rules of legal ethics by strong-arming his own client? No. Wisner proceeded to further embarrass his already confused boss by going “off message” and announcing in Munich that Mubarak’s “continued leadership is critical; it’s his opportunity to write his own legacy …” This prompted a spasm of clumsy backtracking by the Secretary of State, who immediately informed the groveling press that “He does not speak for the administration … So you would have to ask him what he meant, and how it fits into his view of what’s going on.” However, Wisner’s statement was perfectly consistent with Joe Biden’s assertion a few weeks ago that Mubarak is “not a dictator”, and the Vice President certainly spoke for the Obama administration. But that was then – before it became obvious that Mubarak’s days were numbered – and this is now, when the administration is supposed to be forcing Mubarak out in favor of his freshly appointed stand-in, CIA asset and torturer Omar Suleiman. Someone forgot to tell Wisner to update his file.

Recent statements coming from the Israeli leadership warning the world of the dangers of a democratized Middle East and how threatens Israel’s apartheid state reveal Netanyahu’s fingerprints in glaring relief all over the rhetorical playbook US politicians and pundits refer to when “condemning” their man in Cairo. The US (firmly under the boot of its largest recipient of military aid) remains convinced that its “strategic interests” lie in preventing the imprisoned segment of Israel’s population funny ideas about self-determination, even if this failed policy is at the heart of anti-American sentiments in the region. The failure of the US to adequately gauge the level of anger Egyptians felt over the their government’s betrayal of the stateless Palestinian people, including Mubarak’s active role in enforcing the Israeli blockade of Gaza before and after Israel’s 2008 blitzkrieg, remains a still unacknowledged factor leading to the present uprising. As Obama Inc. is forced to confront this swelling human tsunami of discontent, one thing has become disturbingly clear: US leadership is a wholly illusory facade that masks a rudderless system of entrenched interests, all profiting from endless armed conflict, and all seeking to maintain the political and economic imbalances necessary to procure the cheap resources to sustain it.

The Empire is at the stage when corporal decomposition briefly mimics life-like functions before dissolving into an unsalvageable heap of toxic waste, eventually collapsing in on itself. From this worm ridden detritus we continue to mold Golem-esque monsters like Mubarak, imposing, larger-than-life clay figures programmed to carry out Israel’s vengeance-seeking imperatives and crushing domestic and regional resistance to its land grabbing ambitions. Like Golem, the obedient, brute stupid clay automatons of Jewish mythology, created in the primitive laboratories of holy men to protect the Jewish ghetto from torch bearing mobs, Mubarak and his cohorts were similarly dreamt up in squalid think tanks in DC suburbs and unleashed upon the world with the same unintended consequences. According to one telling of this hubris-themed legend, the monster was only deactivated when the rabbi removed the first letter of the Hebrew word “emet” (truth or reality) from the creature’s forehead, leaving the word “met,” meaning dead. In a similar attempt to defang a useful-idiot-turned-liability, Washington and Tel Aviv are hoping to defuse a genuine democratic movement with similar sleight of hand techniques, removing trace evidence of their handiwork on Egypt’s internal affairs as they select Mubarak’s remodeled clay replica as his successor.

The timing of the Arab uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt could hardly be more propitious. They occur just now as if to confirm the basic message of the leaked Palestine Papers several weeks ago, which is that the US-sponsored “peace process” is a fraudulent charade and the United States, along its European allies are irrelevant to resolution of the conflict in Palestine — the subtext for the dissolution of proxy dictatorships in the Middle East. Whatever else they may represent, these uprisings offer a rumbling signal to the feckless “international community” that this conflict, will ultimately be solved not by bureaucrats in Washington, London, Paris and Berlin, but by the people who must bear the burden of its irresolution, and the hopelessness and indignity it spawns, every day of their lives.

The US’s duck-and-cover response to Egypt’s spontaneous regime combustion reveals a woeful lack of preparedness and foresight on the part of its policy makers. It is obvious that Obama has spent the larger part of his presidency inhaling the sulfurous ‘dutch oven’ fumes within the fetid, airtight think tanks where the overlapping emissions of policy wonks, strategists and drab Generals mingle with the clean banknote scent of Wall Street money launderers. His administration’s failure to anticipate the inevitable blowback from its continuation of decades of failed foreign policy is evident in their floundering attempts to evoke a “clash of civilizations” scenario to justify its hypocritical about-face on the subject of a democratized Middle East. In an attempt to further distance himself from his own rhetoric, Obama has left the more brutal assessments of the situation unfolding in Egypt to his Republican cohorts to deliver the message that “stability” under a tyrant’s boot is the best case scenario for the people of the Middle East – a view that is echoed across the political spectrum on both sides of the Atlantic in varying degrees of overt racism by politicians, pundits and “experts” alike. Consensus opinion among the people who are paid handsomely to get it wrong every time insists that Egyptians are only incapable of filling the political vacuum left in Mubarak’s wake with a bomb laden Mullah intent on draining the Suez Canal. Notice how little has been made of the sewer monsters that have emerged from the political vacuum of Obama’s flailing leadership at home.

To the chagrin of the mob-fearing, democracy-thwarting leaders of the ‘free’ world, the Egyptian people are overwhelmingly unwilling to settle for an interim government led by a defanged and temporarily hobbled ruling party bureaucrat, even if it means sacrificing the the meagre, short-term benefits a return to “stability” would bring. Enter the Muslim Brotherhood whose gains in Egypt’s 2005 parliamentary elections posed a genuine democratic challenge to Mubarak’s authoritarian ‘secular’ regime and not the hoped for theological “threat”, without which Israel and its allies in the west remain hamstrung in their attempts to summon the specter of Bin Laden to hover ominously over Tahrir square where tens of thousands of demonstrators remain steadfast in their demands for Mubarak’s removal. Despite the Brotherhood’s deliberately low profile presence in the ongoing demonstrations and their stated willingness to work within a legitimately elected government, Washington and Tel Aviv’s official storytellers are spinning a Crusade-era yarn with the requisite, turban wearing villains on a suicide mission from God to illustrate the Brotherhood’s moderate aims to reform Egypt’s political institutions.

Thinking back to all the bellicose rhetoric of war in recent years, combined with the vacuous windbaggery of Obama’s preening oratory, you realize those ominous rumblings of fighter jets and unmanned aircraft audible over his finely pitched spoken anthems are just the sound a corpse emits as accumulated gases seek release. As events unfold in Egypt, with millions of its citizens publicly unshackling themselves from a brutal and ruinous status-quo, we are not only witness to a spontaneous irruption of emboldened citizens demanding an end to decades of tyrannical rule, but an insurrection on a global scale that promises to upend Empire and the corrupt institutions that sustain it.

How fitting that the Egyptian people once condemned to eke out a meagre existence among the monuments and relics of another dead Empire have risen en masse from the ruins, bringing down not only a stooge Pharaoh, but revealing American power as little more than a gold-plated hologram carcass signifying the brief reign of its last little emperor.

Jennifer Matsui is a freelance writer living in Tokyo. "Stella LaChance" is a former Federal Communications Commission attorney, now practicing law in Dallas, Texas. Read other articles by Jennifer Matsui and Stella LaChance.

10 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. bozh said on February 11th, 2011 at 9:35am #

    “What better illustrates Obama’s flailing and ineffectual leadership style than a comparison of his rhetoric in Cairo shortly after taking office with his current posture regarding developments in Egypt?”

    this stands in contradistinction to what i know!
    u.s. not being satisfied with one quarter of known earth [to borrow the term from sargon 1, the idiot 1] is succeeding ‘brilliantly’ in obtaining the other three quarters of the little globe.

    one cld limn such affairs as “flailing”, “ineffectual”, not totally completed, etc., but to me that wld distort reality and occlude a conclusion that the world supremacists will, in all likelihood, kill via famine, wars, and global warming at least 4bn people.

    for only thus can u.s. remain the greatest nation on earth. and only thus erase all vestiges of caring-sharing. etcetc.
    it beats me why u.s, policies, set in cement even 200yr s ago, r attributed to a person? isn’t that an ad hominem? tnx

  2. pabelmont said on February 11th, 2011 at 10:17am #

    Over-population world-wide and global warming (with unpredictable but world-wide consequences predicted) are coming along to add to the misery of this dictator-plagued (and USA-plagued) world.

    The USA may or may not be on its last legs in this great Ponzi-scheme of world dominance, but I hope it is. I’d far rather that the enormous intellectual, financial, and other resources of the USA were spent on mitigating over-population and global warming than on propping-up dictators.

    Even democracies will have to deal with floods of refugees, when starvation hits them and their neighbors. Dictatorships will not have any advantages other than ruthlessness. The USA could do so much good in the world if only that were the goal chosen by the ruling oligarchy-establishment.

  3. Don Hawkins said on February 11th, 2011 at 1:52pm #

    Jennifer Matsui and Stella LaChance a freelance writer and an attorney now practicing law in Dallas, Texas. That was a hell of a write and a writer and an attorney maybe we are seeing change we can believe in.

  4. bowlerhat said on February 11th, 2011 at 7:00pm #

    One can but hope that the people of Egypt will not be governed by a u.s. puppet this time.

    One felt such a wonderful feeling of warmth and Joy this morning with the news.
    Hopefully the wise people of Egypt will decline the $ 1.3 billion u.s. bribe of arms and instead, receive in it’s place, investors betting on Egypt’s renaissance.

    We wish you ALL, the Very Best of Great Fortune!!

  5. Don Hawkins said on February 12th, 2011 at 4:31am #

    Well according to Fox New’s the Muslim Brotherhood is now or has been the single biggest evil in the World. They really need to calm down over there at Fox as there talking heads yesterday after the tyrant skipped town may have all been watching a little to much Glenn Beck. A few suggestions have a cup of coffee maybe get a real job although after Wall Street raided all the 401k’s and this is after the down turn here in the States yes that will be tuff. Wait farm labor as I do this and find it good for the soul. Oh is your house underwater yet again thank’s to the little angle’s on Wall Street well all you talking heads thinking of a move remember the dust bowl day’s heck tie it on top of the old SUV check the air in your tires and off into the land of Nod. All you talking heads did go to college right so you remember the Land of Nod but never hurt’s to take a refresher course now and then. East of Eden remember the book here’s a quote don’t you just love John Steinbeck?

    “Some men are friends with the whole world in their hearts, and there are

    others that hate themselves and spread their hatred around like butter on hot

    The Land of Nod (Hebrew: eretz-Nod?, ??? ???) is a place in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, located “on the east of Eden” (qidmet-‘Eden), to which Cain chose to flee after murdering his brother Abel. According to Genesis 4:16:

  6. Don Hawkins said on February 12th, 2011 at 5:14am #

    Hay it worked in Egypt the old lab Top and or computer. Cell phones and boot’s along with travel light and move fast. Let’s see Glenn Beck has his show at 5 PM Eastern heck one million to start New York City loud and clear the time is now and we are already late. Think long haul and kind of like a war. Calm at peace we have the truth the knowledge and they have………………? Remember don’t forget Wall Street that’s in New York City the symbol the bull how about flowers ok then when do we get started? In front of Wall Street how about a giant Pyramid for the wise old Owl’s flat bed truck you do the trick.

  7. Don Hawkins said on February 12th, 2011 at 6:25am #

    Pyramids were used by ancient Egyptians to bury pharaohs and other important people. The practice was abandoned after the time of the Old Kingdom. Students can build a wooden pyramid as part of a lesson on ancient Egypt.

    At a secret location let’s get started I have a speed square and hammer we should remember any low hanging sign’s or power lines stay within the law’s and check all light’s on the flat bed. At the same time of course get the word out to as many people as possible this is only a start as Wall Street big business in general have another plan so far destroy the Earth’s ability to sustain life. To me this is not a very good plan on there part.

  8. Don Hawkins said on February 12th, 2011 at 6:52am #


    On the ability for Earth to sustain Life well 2010 should have giving us a little clue and now 2011 above chart that I have never seen on MSM must be a reason for that from the wise old Owl’s and again please note the blue line well as the blue line goes so goes the ability for Earth to sustain life. Of course if we watch MSM or TV in general the Sun is shining and the birds are chirping this somewhat an illusion kind of like Wall Street and a few more. Repeat the obvious in a time of Universal deceit and or short term thinking and unbridled greed.

  9. Don Hawkins said on February 12th, 2011 at 9:30am #

    I thought about it and a Pyramid with a dollar sign running through it with Ponzi scheme on the dollar sign. We would want anybody to get confused make the meaning clear we could put the Arctic along with Greenland on the Pyramid draw ice melting it’s not that hard.

  10. mary said on February 12th, 2011 at 9:55am #

    Quite handy. Don’t you already have a pyramid with the all seeing eye on the back of a dollar bill?