US "DEMOCRACY" - PROMOTING EFFORTS ON TRIAL
By: Justin Raimondo
The trial of 43 employees of Western-backed pro-democracy groups
in Egypt has been postponed until July, when government prosecution witnesses are
scheduled to testify. The case attracted international attention when the authorities
accused US- and European-backed groups of trying to overthrow the government. As Egyptian
police raided the offices of several NGOs, and detained Sam La Hood son of US labor
secretary Ray La Hood Egypts minister for international cooperation Fayza
Abulnaga issued a dossier on their activities, which amounted, she said, to promoting
American and Israeli interests and preventing the emergence of Egypt as
a democratic state. The state-controlled Al-Ahram newspaper headlined the story: American Funding Aims to
Spread Anarchy in Egypt.
While the move was popular in Egypt, where suspicions of US and
Israeli covert activity runs high, in the US the Washington glitterati were in
outrage mode: Hillary Clinton threatened to cut off the $1.5 billion in aid scheduled to
be delivered to Cairo, and the pundits went wild with scorn: Thomas Friedman denounced the
trial as a witch hunt, while Sen. John Boots-on-the-ground McCain
gave vent to his growing alarm and outrage. The civil society
crowd went bananas, naturally, since this is a bread-and-butter issue for them, being
entirely dependent on Western governments and the generosity of George Soros. If taking
government money is cause for suspicion and legal problems in countries like Egypt, their
whole racket is over.
What their racket consists of is carrying out the foreign policy agendas of
the US and its European allies under the guise of promoting democracy. It is,
in short, a program of organized subversion, similar to that carried out by the old Soviet
Union in the days of the Comintern. Back then, the Soviets were upfront about their
commitment to proletarian internationalism, actively promoting
revolutionary movements funded and directed from Moscow. Our own
internationalism, albeit far from proletarian, is similar in its intent and hypocritical
cant. An entire wing of the national security bureaucracy is centered around the mythology
of America as the great promoter of democracy and transparency,
with both political parties operating their own separate arms of an international
apparatus which is nothing less or more than an instrument of US foreign
Even the Egyptian employees of these democracy promotion projects
were well aware of what sugar daddy Uncle Sam is up to: it turns out that they resigned en
masse a few months before the raids. AP
They complained that the US group, described as nonpartisan, had
excluded the country's most popular Islamist political organization from its programs,
collected sensitive religious information about Egyptians when conducting polls to send to
Washington, and ordered employees to erase all computer files and turn over all records
for shipment abroad months before the raids.
Our resignation is a result of many different practices we
have been witnessing that seem suspicious and unprofessional, the Egyptian employees
wrote in their 17 October resignation letter.
Among these practices was failing to report where the money was going, a
legal requirement in Egypt (and the US, I might add). Dawlat Soulam, a former employee of
the International Republican Institute (IRI), told AP:
Are we doing something we want to hide from the Egyptians? Are you
playing a political agenda and you don't want to show that you want to take sides?
A pledge to post the information publicly went unfulfilled, in spite of
weekly meetings at which the subject was discussed. The employees main
complaint was that, contrary to their public pronouncements, US officials were taking
sides in Egypts election, directly funding secular liberal parties and excluding the
others, including the Islamists. Im sure this was just an oversight, however, since
were funding the most radical Islamists in Syria at this very moment. In any case,
apparently the IRIs Democratic counterpart, the National Democratic Institute, was
making up for this shameless neglect by providing training to Muslim
The idea that the US government is some sort of above-the-fray
democracy-promoter, who therefore is obligated to ladle out millions in aid to
all parties including those that advocate, say, the imposition of Sharia law
is born of an empty-headed illusion shared by more than one native activist who looks to
the US as a model for their own country. These people take seriously the propaganda points
of US policymakers who insist their democracy promotion efforts are all about
process rather than the pursuit of US foreign policy objectives just as
yesteryears idealistic Comintern agents sincerely believed in the Kremlins
devotion to proletarian internationalism. When they discover otherwise, a
whole generation of the god that failed ex-ideologues is born.
In reality, and in all cases, nation-states pursue their own interests, which
are, first and foremost, the political interests of those who rule. This is true in
democracies as well as dictatorships, and it is the basic premise of a realistic view of
world politics, the starting point for all serious analyses of political actors, from the
local to the international scene.
In the case of the Soviet Union, the Comintern was tasked with propagandizing
for Russian national interests abroad, and it used the indigenous Communist parties and
fellow-travelers to promote a geopolitical strategy that was primarily defensive. Saddled
with enormous economic problems at home, and an increasingly restive subject population,
Kremlin leaders avoided the Trotskyite strategy of pursuing world revolution
in favor of building socialism in one country i.e. working furiously to
manage the inefficiencies of a socialist system and avoid complete collapse. Their
efforts, as we know, ended in failure, as the economic and political disaster that had
been awaiting them since
1917 finally worked out its inexorable logic and the Berlin Wall was toppled.
In the case of the United States, we have a rising hegemon instead of a
fragile and ultimately untenable would-be imperialism, one with no military equivalent on
the world stage and clearly on the offensive. When the cold war ended, a dizzying
triumphalism displaced any realistic sense of what Americas role in the world ought
to be: instead of turning to solve its own mounting internal problems, the US government
boosted its efforts to meddle in the internal affairs of other nations. The
democracy promotion racket got a big shot in the arm with the infusion of
billions in taxpayer dollars.
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is an official US government
agency that melds the private and the public: i.e. private interests get
public money. Both political parties share in the loot, as do labor and big business, with
the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce getting in on the gravy train. In addition, the US
Agency for International Development (USAID) plays a key role in dispensing funds to
favored groups abroad, acting in tandem with too many other obscure federal agencies to
even list. Naturally, the well-connected civil society crowd is first in line
for their fair share of government cheese: their task is to train aspiring
young leaders who, once they attain power, can be relied on to do the bidding of their
NED was originally conceived as a comfortably obscure niche for the
neoconservatives in the Reagan administration, a place where they could indulge their cold
war fantasies without exercising too much real influence and without attracting much
notice. As is the case with all government programs, however, this one soon metastasized
into an ever-growing bureaucratic empire, one which owed its political survival to serving
the interests of all the major Washington players: both parties, big labor, and big
business. With that kind of coalition behind it, NEDs budget and international reach
grew by leaps and bounds.
In the post cold war world, NED, USAID, and those non-governmental
organizations most willing to turn themselves into instruments of the State have
spawned an international industry that is the civilian wing of Washingtons regime-change
machine. This world-spanning apparatus is an essential element in our
governments foreign policy game plan: it exists to create an aura of legitimacy
around our whatever military campaign is in progress. The goal is to continually push back
the frontiers of the Empire, and the current focus is on the volatile Middle East.
Egypt is just one theater in a wider war. The long arm of Washington is evident in Syria, too, where our democracy
promotion efforts have served as a cover for financing armed rebels, including
groups openly claiming allegiance
to Al Qaeda. Unlike in Egypt, where the US effort to destabilize the country is
necessarily covert, the campaign for regime change in Syria is military in nature
and thats where the Islamists, including Al Qaeda, come in handy. If Egyptians look
at Syria and see the future, who can blame them for fearing and resenting
Washingtons interference in their elections?
The National Endowment for Democracy is endowing Americas fat cats
big labor, big business, the party bosses with billions in free money at a
time when ordinary people are being thrown off food stamps and a government-created
financial bubble is laying waste to the economy. It ought to be abolished forthwith.
The agencys critics argue that it undermines rather than advances the
democratic ideals were supposed to be promoting in the countries where it operates,
but this misses the real point. The purpose of NED and other such efforts is not so much
to legitimize these canned revolutions in the eyes of the natives, but to
impress upon Americans and other Westerners the nobility of our favored political actors
and the unmitigated evil of anyone who fails to toe Washingtons line. When
Americans read news reports quoting some NGO officials opinion as received wisdom,
they are duly impressed, especially when the group has the words democracy
and/or human rights in its name.
The trial of the NGO officials in Cairo has been postponed, perhaps in order
to give the Obama administration a final opportunity to make a deal with the Egyptians.
Meanwhile, Washington is whining that the trial is politically motivated
because nothing they do is ever motivated by political gain.
If a public trial ever takes place which I doubt it promises to
be fascinating: testimony from the group of disillusioned ex-employees will give us
valuable insights into the inner workings of Americas worldwide regime change
project. While defenders of the NGO workers claim the trial is all part of a
crackdown by the Egyptian military authorities, and the remnants of the
Mubarak regime, I have my suspicions that it was the ex-employees who went to the
authorities and reported suspicious (and illegal) activities on the part of
Now thats what I call blowback with a vengeance!
Justin Raimondo is Editorial
Director of AntiWar.Com.
He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.
"Published originally at EtherZone.com :
republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
Justin Raimondo may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
the June 6, 2012 issue of Ether Zone.
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