Destabilization: Directed Discontent in Egypt and Beyond
By Paul and Phillip D. Collins, March, 11, 2011
When democracy granted democratic methods for us in the times of opposition, this was bound to happen in a democratic system. However, we National Socialists never asserted that we represented a democratic point of view, but we have declared openly that we used democratic methods only in order to gain the power and that, after assuming the power, we would deny to our adversaries without consideration the means which were granted to us in the times of opposition. – Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda
The flames of revolution were stoked in Egypt on January 25 as tens of thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets of Cairo on a day that was dubbed “the day of revolt against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment” (“Egypt braces for nationwide protests”). The protesters’ selection of that day was certainly no accident. According to France 24, the organizers chose the day “to coincide with a national holiday to celebrate Police Day” (ibid). The day had originally been declared a formal public holiday by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2009, to celebrate the efforts of Egyptian police to maintain law and order in the streets of the Arab republic (Osman).
Apparently, protesters meant for the day to take on a new, revolutionary meaning. Relying on the Tunisian uprising to provide momentum, protest organizers called for economic and political reform and an end to what they considered to police state tactics. France 24 elaborates:
Among demands are the ouster of Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, whose police and security forces have been accused of heavy-handedness; the removal of the decades-old emergency law and a rise in minimum wages. The controversial law, which gives police wide powers of arrest, suspends constitutional rights and curbs non-governmental political activity, was renewed in 2010 for a further two years. (“Egypt braces for nationwide protests”)
As protesters flooded the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, and Ismaila, the 25th of January ceased to be “National Police Day” and became, at least among many of the demonstrators, the “Day of Anger” (“Egyptians report poor communication services on Day of Anger”). Using the Internet as a tool of revolution, many protesters also referred to January 25 as a “day of revolt” in a web message (“Egypt protests: Three killed in ‘day of revolt’”).
Unfortunately, anger and revolt are usually accompanied by violence, and January 25 was certainly no exception to the rule. According to the BBC, “demonstrators attacked a police water cannon vehicle, opening the driver’s door and ordering the man out of the vehicle” in Cairo’s Tahrir Square (ibid). Protesters also attempted to break the police cordons, leading to a violent response as officers beat demonstrators with batons (ibid). The violence resulted in the deaths of two police officers in Cairo and two protesters in Suez (ibid).
The violence escalated and, on February 2, the organizers of the “Day of Anger” declared February 4 a “Friday of Departure”, with a plan to march on Heliopolis Palace, the executive office of the Egyptian President (“Feb. 4 declared the ‘Friday of departure”). The protest organizers issued an ultimatum to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak: step down by February 4 or face the consequences (Marshall). According to journalist Tim Marshall, demonstrators differed on how Mubarak should be dealt with, but all agreed that his time as president had to end. Marshall writes: “Some Egyptians want Hosni Mubarak to be hanged while others want him to leave the country – but they are all united in believing he cannot remain as president” (ibid).
On February 11, 2011, the protesters finally got their wish as the Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak had stepped down as president (“Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Resigns”). The announcement ended 18 days of protest and Egypt saw the close of a 30-year reign (ibid).
It would be unfair to claim that the protesters possessed no legitimate grievances with the Mubarak government. According to MSNBC’s Suzanne Choney, Egyptian activists were not tolerated by Mubarak’s government and ran the risk of being arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or even executed (“Egyptian bloggers brave police intimidation”). Transparency International, a non-governmental organization dedicated to the exposure of political corruption, also weighed Mubarak’s government and found it wanting. In its 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index report, Transparency International gave Egypt a score of 3.1, with 10 being very clean and 0 being highly corrupt (“Corruption Perceptions Index 2010 Results”).
Yet while Mubarak was certainly no angel, his opposition appeared to be co-opted by forces that are even more questionable. The remainder of this article will be dedicated to a closer examination of these forces, all of which inhabit the murky world of deep politics.
Freedom House: Imperialists Under One Roof
It is interesting to note the role played by the social networking site Facebook and the microblogging service Twitter in the Egyptian upheaval. In a January 25, 2011 Washington Post article entitled “Twitter blocked in Egypt as protests turn violent,” Melissa Bell states that Egyptian protests “were organized on Facebook and Twitter” (Bell). Protesters even launched a virtual version of the February 1 “March of Millions” on Facebook, hoping to gather online support for the march from Cairo’s Tahrir Square to the Presidential Palace (“A Virtual ‘March of Millions’ in Solidarity with Egyptian Protesters”).
The Facebook and Twitter activists may have received their technical training from Freedom House, a major U.S. Foundation. In a March 24, 2010 article at the Freedom House website entitled “Bloggers Learn New Media Tools,” one reads:
From February 27 to March 13, Freedom House hosted 11 bloggers from the Middle East and North Africa for a two-week Advanced New Media Study Tour in Washington, D.C. The Study Tour provided the bloggers with training in digital security, digital video making, message development, and digital mapping. (“Bloggers Learn New Media Tools”)
A Freedom House program known as “New Generation” may also point to the foundation’s preparation of activists for revolution. Another article at the Freedom House site entitled “New Generation of Advocates: Empowering Civil Society in Egypt,” looks at the foundation’s “New Generation” project in greater detail. The article refers to young Egyptian activists as the “YouTube Generation” and states that they are “supported by Freedom House to enhance their outreach, advocacy and effectiveness” (“New Generation of Advocates: Empowering Civil Society in Egypt”). That support, says the article, “has yielded tangible results and the New Generation program in Egypt has gained prominence both locally and internationally” (ibid). The article then shares how Freedom House helped fellows visiting from Egypt acquire tools that could be used to facilitate revolution. It states:
Egyptian visiting fellows from all civil society groups received unprecedented attention and recognition, including meetings in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor and prominent members of Congress. In the words of Condoleezza Rice, the fellows represent the “hope for the future of Egypt.”
Freedom House fellows acquired skills in civic mobilization, leadership, and strategic planning, and benefit from networking opportunities through interaction with Washington-based donors, International organizations and the media. After returning to Egypt, the fellows received small grants to implement innovative initiatives such as advocating for political reform through Facebook and SMS messaging. (Ibid)
Tacitly underpinning the euphemism-laden prose of the article is an unspoken message: Freedom House provided activists with access to the resources necessary to carry out a revolution.
Established in 1941 in New York City, Freedom House appears to represent American elites who are strong proponents of interventionism. In a history provided at the foundation’s website, one reads the following:
It (Freedom House) emerged from an amalgamation of two groups that had been formed with the quiet encouragement of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to encourage popular support for American involvement in World War II at a time when isolationist sentiments were running high in the United States. (“Freedom House: A History”)
Of course, the term “isolationist” occupies a special place in the interventionist lexicon. It has been chronically invoked to stigmatize the opponents of intrusive and meddlesome foreign policies. It comes as little surprise that Roosevelt circumspectly supported the formation of Freedom House. The organization’s interventionist propensities were also characteristic of Roosevelt’s outlook, which had been cultivated by globalists. Curtis Dall, Roosevelt’s son-in-law, elaborates on how the former President imbibed interventionism:
For a long time I felt that FDR had developed many thoughts and ideas that were his own to benefit this country, the U.S.A. But, he didn’t. Most of his thoughts, his political “ammunition”, as it were, was carefully manufactured for him in advance by the CFR-One-World Money group. Brilliantly, with great gusto, like a fine piece of artillery, he exploded that prepared “ammunition” in the middle of an unsuspecting target, the American people—and thus paid off and retained his internationalist political support. Perhaps he copied Woodrow Wilson unduly, in that respect, and readily fell for the One-World Money intervention and the United Nations hoax. My feeling is that he accepted that support merely as a practical means to gain and retain for himself more personal and political power. (185)
Given the invocation of the stigma on the Freedom House website, one can safely assume that the organization is a bastion of the same interventionist ideas that infected Roosevelt’s thinking. The interventionist ideas that circulate within Freedom House draw to the organization’s ranks imperialists of two competing elite factions.
The first of these are the neoconservatives, a faction that promotes conquest abroad through overtly militaristic campaigns. Neoconservativism is derivative of Jacobinism, which was an outgrowth of the Enlightenment. As proponents of Enlightenment universalism, the Jacobins viewed plebiscitary democracy as a model of governance that should be imposed upon all societies of the world (Ryn 21). Yet, domestic obstacles prevented the Jacobins from realizing such a universal imposition (21). The neoconservatives, however, are not hindered by such constraints, as is evidenced by their successful mobilization of an unpopular military campaign in Iraq. This faction finds representation within Freedom House through individuals such as R. James Woolsey, Jr., Max M Kampelman, and Kenneth Adelman (“Freedom House”).
The second faction is the neo-liberal Establishment, a faction that promotes imperialism largely through international treaties and free trade agreements that gradually erode the national sovereignty of participating countries. This school of thought advances its model of global society under the euphemistic banner of a “global village,” a Utopian societal blueprint marked by the democratically problematic nuances of global markets, rabid technophilia, and overtly collectivistic political arrangements. Like neoconservativism, the Establishment’s neo-liberal outlook finds its theoretical underpinnings with the universalist cultural posture of the Enlightenment. However, Establishment activists deride unilaterally initiated military campaigns, particularly those that alienate world bodies and multilateral arrangements like the United Nations. This was a major point of contention between the neo-liberals and the neoconservatives in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The neo-liberal Establishment finds representation within Freedom House through individuals such as Samuel P. Huntington, Anthony Lake, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, and Zbigniew Brzezinski (“Freedom House”).
While the contention between neoconservatives and the neo-liberal Establishment is quite genuine, the dialectical commonalities shared by these two factions make their sectarian struggle somewhat superficial. Both factions promote the ascendancy of a supra-national entity to which all nation-states would be capriciously subordinated. In the case of neoconservativism, this supra-national entity would body itself forth through the imperialist machinations of a unilateral American Empire. As for the Establishment, this supra-national entity would be established multilaterally and hailed under the hopelessly romantic trope of “global governance.”
What attracts both of these factions to Freedom House is the organization’s ability to facilitate imperialist campaigns through the exercise of what Joseph Nye, a neo-liberal and member of the elitist Trilateral Commission, refers to as “soft power.” Nye describes soft power as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments” (x). Instead of outright bribes or military force, countries can be bent to the will of soft power practitioners through a subtle seduction. In his book Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, Nye writes: “When you get others to admire your ideals and want what you want, you do not have to spend as much on sticks and carrots to move them in your direction. Seduction is always more effective than coercion…” (x). Later in his book, Nye again describes soft power as a form of manipulation that involves the tempting of the target, stating: “Those who deny the importance of soft power are like people who do not understand the power of seduction” (8).
According to Nye, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) qualify as adept practitioners of soft power. As such, national governments find themselves locked in a rather delicate relational dynamic with NGOs. Because NGOs wield a considerable amount of political and social capital, this union stipulates both cooperation and guarded vigilance on the part of national governments. Nye explains: “…the information revolution has greatly enhanced NGO’s soft power. Because they are able to attract followers, governments have to take NGOs into account as both allies and adversaries” (90). As an NGO, Freedom House must be regarded with the same sort of ambivalence. Unfortunately, Freedom House is currently viewed with far less suspicion. In fact, the American government has embraced Freedom House as an unquestioned ally. The alliance between government and NGOs such as Freedom House has led to private forces exerting an unhealthy influence on foreign policy and national politics.
Not surprisingly, Freedom House’s use of soft power in other countries has drawn criticism. U.S. Representative Ron Paul is among those who object to Freedom House’s interference in the domestic affairs of other nations. On December 7, 2004, Paul accused Freedom House of acting as a conduit for “one-sided U.S. funding” in the 2004 Ukrainian election. Paul stated:
…the U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), granted millions of dollars to the Poland-America-Ukraine Cooperation Initiative (PAUCI), which is administered by the U.S.-based Freedom House.
PAUCI then sent U.S. government funds to numerous Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This would be bad enough and would in itself constitute meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. But, what is worse is that many of these grantee organizations in Ukraine are blatantly in favor of presidential candidate Viktor Yushenko. (“U.S. Hypocrisy on Ukraine”)
Guardian journalist Ian Traynor asserted that Freedom House was involved in the aiding of “grassroots campaigns” in Ukraine (“U.S. Campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev”). The foundation also manipulated public opinion using polls. In an article entitled “U.S. Campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” Traynor elaborates:
Freedom House and the Democratic party’s NDI helped fund and organise the “largest civil regional election monitoring effort” in Ukraine, involving more than 1,000 trained observers. They also organised exit polls. On Sunday night those polls gave Mr. Yushchenko an 11-point lead and set the agenda for much of what has followed. (“U.S. campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev”)
Named the “Orange Revolution,” the series of protests and political events that took place from late November 2004 to January 2005 in Ukraine was one of many “color revolutions” that swept through the former Soviet Union and the Balkans. While western media organs portrayed the uprisings as organically occurring political phenomena, the involvement of deviant elites and criminalized portions of western governments and the intelligence community were detected and documented by many astute observers on both the left and right side of the political spectrum. Thierry Meyssan was among those observers, referring to the color revolutions as a “grassroots takeover technique” (“Color revolution fails in Iran”). Meyssan describes color revolutions in detail:
Color revolutions are to revolutions what Canada Dry is to beer. They look like the real thing, but they lack the flavor. They are regime changes which appear to be revolutions because they mobilize huge segments of the population but are more akin to takeovers, because they do not aim at changing social structures. Instead they aspire to replace an elite with another, in order to carry out pro-American economic and foreign policies. (ibid)
Meyssan’s description of color revolutions is accurate with one crucial exception: the revolutionary changes are never “pro-American.” While American entities and resources may have been employed, it is a collection of elites that exist above government that benefit from the takeover. The only America that benefits from color revolutions is the imperialist model. The American republic only receives the negative results, like blowback and a poor international image.
The negative effects of color revolutions and NGO interference in other countries has not stop individuals in the government from making sure that Freedom House receives government funding. In a March 31, 2006 article in the Financial Times entitled “Bush enters debate on freedom in Iran,” Guy Dinmore asserts that Iran was another country that was a target of Freedom House interference. Dinmore identified Freedom House as “one of several organizations selected by the State Department to receive funding for clandestine activities in Iran” (“Bush enter debate on freedom in Iran”). Highlighting Freedom House’s subversive and revolutionary nature, Dinmore cited one of the foundation’s research studies, which states:
Far more often than is generally understood, the change agent is broad-based, non-violent civic resistance – which employs tactics such as boycotts, mass protests, blockades, strikes and civil disobedience to de-legitimate authoritarian rulers and erode their sources of support, including the loyalty of their armed defenders. (Qutd. in Dinmore)
Freedom House and its allied NGOs are employing soft power to facilitate what neoconservative Michael Ledeen calls “creative destruction.” An inherently revolutionary and subversive concept, creative destruction refers to the tearing down and rebuilding of every aspect of a society. Ledeen provides a frightening definition:
Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence – our existence, not our policies – threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission. (212-213)
Not unlike the 18th century revolutionaries, the interventionists want to see radical change and societal reconfiguration. Freedom House and its allied NGOs are tools for realizing that dream.
The National Endowment for Democracy: Human Rights, Covert Wrongs
Freedom House is only one entity in a network of governmental and non-governmental organizations that deviant elites use to conduct destabilization campaigns, reshape countries’ political, social, and economic landscape, and punish recalcitrant national leaders and dictators. In a Haitianalysis.com article entitled “The Freedom House Files,” Diana Barahona points out a connection between Freedom House and an elite combine known as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Barahona states: “During the 1980s the organization (Freedom House) began to receive a majority of its grant income from the newly created NED (founded by Congress in 1983)…” (“The Freedom House Files”).
A Voltairenet.org article entitled “Freedom House: when ‘freedom’ is only a pretext,” contends that NED and Freedom House are both part of the same mechanism. This mechanism, as portrayed by the article, is to U.S. intervention what money launderers are to drug dealing. The article states: “The NED subsidizes Freedom House, which at the same time co-finances programs chosen by the NED thus erasing any traces of U.S. intervention” (“Freedom House: when ‘freedom is only a pretext”).
The close relationship and monetary ties between Freedom House and the NED appear to have continued to the present. In its 2007 Annual Report, Freedom House lists NED as one of its donors (“Freedom House Annual Report 2007”).
Interestingly, the NED may have been seeding Egypt for a revolution since at least 2009. In an article for the NED 2009 Annual Report entitled “Middle East and North Africa Program Highlights 2009,” the NED reveals its involvement with various activist groups striving to bring political change to Egypt. The article states:
In Egypt, a new generation of civic groups and activists emerged in the midst of continued arrests of democracy activists. Civic groups, bloggers and emerging social networks built national coalitions in preparation for future parliamentary and presidential elections. NED-supported groups, such as the Justice and Citizenship Center for Human Rights, formed and trained a coalition of provincial civic organizations to mobilize and engage citizens in the upcoming elections. In preparation for these elections, the ruling party allocated a 64 seat quota for women. Accordingly, NED supported the National Association for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms (NADRF), which launched a campaign to train independent women candidates to run for parliament. (“Middle East and North Africa Program Highlights 2009”)
While some of these Egyptian activists may have been seeking legitimate social, economic, and political change, their efforts were being hijacked by an organization with sinister and nefarious motives. Over the years, the NED has gained a reputation among critics in both the left and right wings for draping covert action with a veil of “human rights.” In fact, Allen Weinstein, one of the drafters of the legislation that established the NED, was quoted in 1991 saying: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA” (Blum).
Not everyone has fallen for the NED’s humanitarian mask. Representative Ron Paul has viewed the organization with considerably more discernment. In an October 11, 2003 article entitled “National Endowment for Democracy: Paying to Make Enemies of America,” Paul explains how the NED interferes in the political processes of other countries under the euphemistic banner of “democracy.” Paul states:
The misnamed National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is nothing more than a costly program that takes US taxpayer funds to promote favored politicians and political parties abroad. What the NED does in foreign countries, through its recipient organizations the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), would be rightly illegal in the United States. The NED injects “soft money” into the domestic elections of foreign countries in favor of one party or the other. Imagine what a couple of hundred thousand dollars will do to assist a politician or political party in a relatively poor country abroad. It is particularly Orwellian to call US manipulation of foreign elections “promoting democracy.” How would Americans feel if the Chinese arrived with millions of dollars to support certain candidates deemed friendly to China? Would this be viewed as a democratic development? (“National Endowment for Democracy: Paying to Make Enemies of America”)
There are several examples of NED involvement in the political affairs of other nations that would lead many to surmise that the answer to Paul’s question is “no.” In 1984, the NED provided funds to a presidential candidate in Panama who was supported by Manuel Noriega and the CIA (Blum). Controversy following this move prompted Congress to enact a “law prohibiting the use of NED funds ‘to finance the campaigns of candidates for public office’” (ibid).
The NED, says William Blum, “successfully manipulated elections in Nicaragua in 1990 and Mongolia in 1996 and helped overthrow democratically elected governments in Bulgaria in 1990 and Albania in 1991 and 1992” (ibid). Serbia is yet another country that fell victim to a NED destabilization campaign. In a November 26, 2000 New York Times article entitled “Who Really Brought Down Milosevic,” Roger Cohen shares some damning admissions given to him during an interview with Paul B. McCarthy, an official with the NED. In 1999, McCarthy and his colleagues at the NED were looking for a Serbian opposition movement that could be used to destabilize Milosevic’s government (“Who Really Brought Down Milosevic?”). The NED turned to Otpor, a student-led revolutionary group, as a candidate (ibid). McCarthy told Cohen that “the fascistic look” of Otpor’s flag, with its closed fist logo, initially scared many NED officials (ibid). Several of the group’s features, however, made the NED officials put their fears and reservations aside. Cohen shares some of those features:
Its flat organization would frustrate the regime’s attempts to pick a target to hit or compromise; its commitment to enduring arrests and even police violence tended to shame the long-squabbling Serbian opposition parties into uniting; it looked more effective in breaking fear than any other group; it had a clear agenda of ousting Milosevic and making Serbia a ”normal” European state; and it had the means to sway parents while getting out the critical vote of young people. (ibid)
McCarthy revealed to Cohen that large amounts of money from the NED began to flow into Otpor coffers around August 1999 (ibid). Almost $3 million were spent by the NED in Serbia and, according to McCarthy, “Otpor was certainly the largest recipient” (ibid). The NED funds were placed in Otpor’s accounts outside of Serbia (ibid). McCarthy even “held a series of meetings with the movement’s leaders in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, and in Szeged and Budapest in Hungary” (ibid).
The NED also played a role in the Iran-Contra Affair, considered one of the greatest political scandals in American history. Blum shares the details:
The Endowment played an important role in the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s, funding key components of Oliver North’s shadowy “Project Democracy” network, which privatized US foreign policy, waged war, ran arms and drugs and engaged in other equally charming activities. At one point in 1987, a White House spokesman stated that those at NED “run Project Democracy”. This was an exaggeration; it would have been more correct to say that NED was the public arm of Project Democracy, while North ran the covert end of things. In any event, the statement caused much less of a stir than if – as in an earlier period – it had been revealed that it was the CIA which was behind such an unscrupulous operation. (“Trojan Horse: The National Endowment for Democracy”)
NED may have even found its way into the hands of a recognized terrorist. Between 1990 and 1992, the Cuban-American National Fund (CANF), a group described by Blum as an “ultra-fanatic anti-Castro Miami group,” received a quarter-million dollars of taxpayers’ money from the NED (ibid). In turn, Luis Posada Carriles, who Blum calls “one of the most prolific and pitiless terrorists of modern times,” was a recipient of CANF financing (ibid).
The Apotheosis of George Soros
In Freedom House’s 2007 Annual Report, the Open Society Institute is listed as one of the foundation’s donors (“Freedom House Annual Report 2007). At its website, the Open Society is described as a foundation founded by George Soros, a Hungarian-American investor and chairman of the Soros Fund Management, LLC, “to help countries make the transition from communism” (“About the Open Society Foundations”). One of the richest men in the world, Soros gained a reputation as a stalwart opponent of the Bush Administration in 2003. In particular, Soros derided Bush’s transparent militarism and unilateral approach. Yet, while Soros decried Bush’s meddlesome foreign policy, he shares the former President’s adherence to the interventionist outlook. The point of departure is Soros’ emphasis upon a soft power approach to conquest. Neil Clark elaborates on this point of departure:
Soros is angry not with Bush’s aims – of extending Pax Americana and making the world safe for global capitalists like himself – but with the crass and blundering way Bush is going about it. By making US ambitions so clear, the Bush gang has committed the cardinal sin of giving the game away. For years, Soros and his NGOs have gone about their work extending the boundaries of the “free world” so skillfully that hardly anyone noticed. Now a Texan redneck and a gang of overzealous neo-cons have blown it.
As a cultivated and educated man (a degree in philosophy from the London School of Economics, honorary degrees from the Universities of Oxford, Yale, Bologna and Budapest), Soros knows too well that empires perish when they overstep the mark and provoke the formation of counter-alliances. He understands that the Clintonian approach of multilateralism – whereby the US cajoles or bribes but never does anything so crude as to threaten – is the only one that will allow the empire to endure. Bush’s policies have led to a divided Europe, Nato in disarray, the genesis of a new Franco-German-Russian alliance and the first meaningful steps towards Arab unity since Nasser.
Soros knows a better way – armed with a few billion dollars, a handful of NGOs and a nod and a wink from the US State Department, it is perfectly possible to topple foreign governments that are bad for business, seize a country’s assets, and even to get thanked for your benevolence afterwards. Soros has done it. (Clark)
As was previously stated, the dialectical commonalities between the unilateral and multilateral forms of interventionism render sectarian struggles such as those between Bush and Soros rather superficial. In both instances, the nation-state system is weakened and an onerous supra-national authority is enshrined. Democratic governance does not fare well in either case.
The Open Society’s activities “have grown to encompass the United States and more than 70 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America” (“About the Open Society Foundation”). Waving an extremely euphemistic banner, Soros and his institute claims to “work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens” (ibid).
Yet like Freedom House and the NED, Soros and his Open Society Institute seems to be using “democracy” as a pretext for destabilizing countries that have fallen out of favor with deviant elites. The “Rose Revolution” that took place in the country of Georgia in 2003 provides an example of the destabilization campaigns Soros conducts through the Open Society Institute. In a Globe and Mail article entitled “Georgia revolt carried mark of Soros,” Mark MacKinnon states that in February of 2003 the Open Society provided funds to Giga Bokeria, a 31-year-old Tblisi activist, so that he could “meet with members of the Otpor (Resistance) movement and learn how they used street demonstrations to topple dictator Slobodan Milsevic” (“Georgia revolt carried mark of Soros”). This was the same group that received NED funding when deviant elites decided to bring revolutionary change to Serbia.
With Otpor training and funding from Soros’ Open Society, Bokeria helped found the Liberty Institute (ibid). The organization became an integral part of the movement dedicated to toppling Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze. The Liberty Institute, writes MacKinnon, “was instrumental in organizing the street protests that eventually forced Mr. Shevardnadze to sign his resignation papers” (ibid).
Apparently, Shevardnadze was not ignorant of Soros’ intentions to remove him from office. The beleaguered president publicly denounced Soros and warned the Hungarian-American financier to stop interfering in Georgian politics. MacKinnon elaborates:
“George Soros is set against the President of Georgia,” [Shevardnadze] said during a news conference in Tblisi a week before his resignation – it was at least the third time during the protests that he had complained about Mr. Soros. He threatened to shut down Open Society’s offices, saying it was not Mr. Soros’ business “to get involved in the political processes.” (ibid)
In MacKinnon’s article, Bokeria identifies three organizations as the chief participants in the movement that destabilized Shevardnadze’s government: Saakashvili’s National Movement party, the Rustavi-2 television station, and the youth group Kmara, which means “Georgian for Enough” in English (ibid). All three of these organizations, according to MacKinnon, were connected to Soros. Kmara was the recipient of a $500,000 starting grant, apparently given by Soros (ibid). MacKinnon states that some of the Soros money may have been used by Kmara to bus demonstrators in from the Georgian countryside for protests that took place on the streets surrounding the parliament building (ibid).
Every good destabilization campaign benefits from a propaganda fount and Georgian television station Rustavi-2 certainly played that role during the “Rose Revolution.” Rustavi-1 was launched in 1995 with start-up money provided by Soros (ibid). When Rustavi-2 decided to start an anti-Shevardnadze newspaper called 24 Hours, Soros again came through with funds (ibid).
The television station’s anti-Shevardnadze activities included airing a cartoon called Our Yard, which, according to MacKinnon, portrayed the Georgian president “as a crooked double-dealer” (ibid). Twice the station was shut down for broadcasting anti-Shevardnadze reports that asserted corruption in the government (ibid). Rustavi-2 also shown its audiences exit polls conducted by American NGOs that called the official results of the Nov. 2, 2003 parliamentary election into question (ibid). The exit poll report reflected the opinion expressed by Soros at a 2002 news conference in Moscow. During the conference, Soros suggested that “Shevardnadze’s government could not be trusted to hold a proper parliamentary election in 2003” (ibid).
Mikhail Saakashvili, the Georgian politician who was Shevardnadze’s primary rival at the time, enjoys what MacKinnon describes as “a warm relationship” with George Soros (ibid). He was even a recipient of the Open Society Award, which was personally given to him by Soros (ibid). The alliance between the two began in 2000, when Soros visited Georgia with the goal of establishing a Georgian office of the Open Society (ibid). While Soros had been invited to Georgia by Shevardnadze, it was Saakashvili who caught the Hungarian American’s eye. During the trip, Soros “met with Mr. Saakashvili and publicly praised a program the then-justice-minister was promoting to tackle the country’s corruption problem” (ibid). Soros’ relationship with Shevardnadze went back to the eighties (ibid). It began to deteriorate, however, when Saakashvili left the Georgian government, citing Shevardnadze’s sluggish response to corruption as the reason for his departure (ibid).
The Soros-sponsored toppling of the Shevardnadze government did not result in a more free and open Georgia. Saakashvili, the man who promised to sweep corruption from Georgia’s political landscape, proved to be even more corrupt than his predecessor. Steven Levitsky and Lucan A. Way elaborates:
Notwithstanding important successes in state-building, the Saakashvili government was not democratic. Media harassment persisted, including tax raids of independent television stations, prosecution of journalists, and government pressure to cancel programs critical of Saakashvili. The Rustavi 2 TV station was “effectively taken over by the state through government-controlled interests” and begun “cheering rather than scrutinizing” government activities. The judiciary was packed, and government critics were occasionally arrested and, in a few cases, charged with treason. For example, the government enforced anticorruption laws selectively, “arresting and punishing political enemies while leaving supporters untouched.” In late 2007, Irakli Okruashvili – a former defense minister who was viewed as a potential challenger to Saakashvili – was arrested and charged with corruption (he later fled into exile). The arrest triggered a wave of opposition protests, and in November, the government responded by violently breaking up demonstrations and declaring a state of emergency in which demonstrations were banned, private news – broadcasting was suspended, and several television stations – including the most influential opposition station, Imedi – were taken off the air. Saakashvili then called early presidential elections for January 2008. The election was marred by abuse of state resources, media bias, harassment and intimidation of opposition supporters, at least some restrictions on opposition campaigning, and numerous irregularities in voting and vote-counting. Saakashvili won easily. (227)
The similarities between the Rose Revolution and the Egyptian Revolution suggest that Soros has applied the same revolutionary model in the Egypt. As was the case with Shevardnadze’s Georgia, the Soros syndicate initially enjoyed a much warmer relationship with Mubarak’s government. Former White House chief of staff John Podesta and his brother Tony are illustrative of this observation. John Podesta is the current President of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a public policy research and advocacy organization (“American Progress Staff”). Journalist Matt Bai has named George Soros as one of the “big donors” providing funds for the center’s operating budget (Bai).
As protests and social unrest began to emerge on the streets of Egypt, the Sunlight Foundation, a watchdog group, began exploring the Podesta brothers’ ties to the Egyptian government. The foundation’s Paul Blumenthal revealed that Tony Podesta is a major player in the PLM Group, an organization that lobbies Washington on behalf of Egypt (Blumenthal). This group acts the umbrella organization for three lobbying firms: former House Republican Majority Leader Bob Livingston’s Livingston Group, former Democratic congressional representative Toby Moffett’s Moffett Group and the Podesta Group (ibid). John and Tony Podesta founded the Podesta Group in 1988 (“Podesta Group”).
In a January 28, 2011 Salon article entitled “Who’s doing Mubarak’s bidding in Washington,” Justin Elliott states that the Podesta Group “profited handsomely” from its lobbying work on behalf of Mubarak’s government (Elliott). Elliott continues: “The Egyptian government in 2007 signed a deal to pay $1.1 million annually, plus expenses, to the PLM Group, which was a joint venture of the Podesta Group and the Republican firm the Livingston Group” (ibid).
Yet, while they made lucrative enterprise out of doing business with Mubarak, the Podesta brothers had no qualms with betraying the Egyptian president. This betrayal was made evident by a CAP article entitled, “The Obama Administration’s Next Steps in Egypt: More Proactive Efforts Are Needed.” Authored by Brian Katulis, the piece cited “the broad engagement with the diverse political opposition in Egypt by U.S. diplomats” as an integral component in Obama’s diplomatic approach during the Egyptian crisis (Katulis). Katulis also prescribed the legitimization of Egypt’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, stating: “…it seems almost inevitable that any real democratic opening would lead to greater participation of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in a future Egyptian government” (ibid).
It appears that this betrayal has not jeopardized the Podestas’ business in Egypt. It seems that Tony Podesta and his partners in the PLM Group had the foresight to avoid dealing directly with Mubarak, who they recognized as an expendable autocrat. Bennett Roth explains:
While the unfolding events in the Middle East have created a sense of uncertainty about the future of U.S.-Egyptian ties, the lobbying relationship [between the PLM Group and Egypt] remains stable largely because the $1.1 million annual lobbying contract is not with the Egyptian president but with three Cabinet-level offices that remain in place. (Roth)
Thus, the bureaucratic machinery necessary for facilitating the Podestas’ business dealings with Egypt remains firmly entrenched. Money would continue to flow irrespective of potential regime changes. That potentiality began to materialize with Soros in 2008. It was in June of that year that the International Crisis Group (ICG), an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1995, released a report that supported one of Egypt’s most prominent opposition groups, the Muslim Brotherhood. Soros is no small player in the ICG; the group’s website lists him as a member of the executive committee of the board of trustees (“Crisis Group’s Board of Trustees”).
Entitled, “Egypt’s Muslim Brothers: Confrontation or Integration?,” the ICG report characterizes Egypt’s efforts to subdue the political radicalism of the Muslim Brotherhood as impediments to the nation’s democratic process. In particular, the report claims that a constitutional amendment designed to formalize a longstanding prohibition on the Brotherhood’s political participation has also “noticeably degraded the quality of parliamentary and political life” (“Egypt’s Muslim Brothers: Confrontation or Integration?”).
In hopes of seeing the legitimization of the Brotherhood, the report recommends the initiation of a discourse between the radical Islamist organization And the Egyptian government. The report states: “Both the regime and the Muslim Brothers should initiate a dialogue as well as preliminary steps to pave the way toward eventual normalization” (ibid).
Reiterating the theme of confrontation or integration, the report contends that the Brotherhood must be assimilated into the political system in order to facilitate democratization and secure stability. The report reads:
Ultimately, the Muslim Brothers are too powerful and too representative for there to be either stability or genuine democratization without finding a way to incorporate them. Their integration should be pursued not just for its own sake, but as an essential step to genuine opening of the political sphere that would also benefit secular opposition forces. (ibid)
To such an end, the report recommends “the regularization of the Muslim Brothers’ participation in political life” (ibid). To bring about such regularization, the report even suggests a constitutional revision that would “set guidelines for the establishment of a political party with religious reference” (ibid).
The report identifies one major obstacle to the Muslim Brotherhood’s integration: the Mubarak presidency. It candidly declares that the “legalization of a party associated with the Muslim Brothers is highly unlikely to occur under President Hosni Mubarak’s stewardship and may have to await the completion of a presidential transition” (ibid).
The ICG may have begun facilitating just such a “presidential transition” when one of its participants, former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency and 2005 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mohamed ElBaradei, returned to Egypt. At its website, the ICG claims that ElBaradei “suspended his membership from the Board of Crisis Group concurrent with his Jan. 2011 return to Egypt” (“Crisis Group’s Board of Trustees”). It is possible that ElBaradei’s suspension of his membership was a ploy designed to mitigate suspicions that he was acting on behalf of the ICG in Egypt. This contention gains greater traction when one considers the fact that ElBaradei’s activism in Egypt resulted in the fulfill-ment of some of the ICG’s recommendations. In turn, these prescriptions tacitly stipulated the removal of Mubarak, which has been fully realized.
On January 30, 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood began collaborating with ElBaradei. In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Essam el Eryan, a Muslim Brotherhood official, stated that “political groups support ElBaradei to negotiate with the regime” (“Muslim Brotherhood throws support behind ElBaradei”). Soros praised the collaboration in a February 3, 2011 Washington Post editorial, describing it as “a hopeful sign that [the Muslim Brotherhood] intends to play a constructive role in a democratic political system” (“Why Obama has to get Egypt right”).
Soros’ meddling in Egyptian politics and flagrant disregard for the sovereignty of a nation are partially premised upon the globalist outlook he shares with other deviant elites. These globalist sentiments are expressed in his 1998 book The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered. In the book, Soros states: “To stabilize and regulate a truly global economy, we need some global system of political decision making. In short, we need a global society to support our global economy” (xxix). He disregards the concept of a world government, stating that the abolition of nation-states “is neither feasible nor desirable” (xxix). In the very next breath, however, Soros says, “insofar as there are collective interests that transcend state boundaries, the sovereignty of states must be subordinated to international law and international institutions” (xxix). Thus, international law and international institutions, taken together, constitute a supra-national authority. In this sense, Soros may as well be advocating a world government. For Soros, the nation-state must be domesticated and rendered impotent.
There may be, however, a much deeper, even more sinister motive behind Soros’ assault of Egypt and other countries. Tearing down and rebuilding nations affirms a messianic delusion that afflicts Soros’ psychology. This delusion has occasionally emerged in several different media items. According to Gail Counsell, Soros has told “reporters with a straight face: ‘It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out’” (“The billionaire who built on chaos”). In an interview with Time Magazine, Soros’ friend , head U.S. strategist at Morgan Stanley Byron Wien stated: “You must understand he (Soros) thinks he’s been anointed by God to solve insoluble problems” (“Turning dollars into change”).
Perhaps the most damning messianic proclamation can be found in Soros’ own book, The Alchemy of Finance: Reading the Mind of the Market. In that book, Soros writes:
It will come as no surprise to the reader when I admit that I have always harbored an exagge-rated view of my self-importance – to put it bluntly, I fancied myself as some kind of god or an economic reformer like Keynes… or, even better, a scientist like Einstein… My sense of reality was strong enough to make me realize that these expectations were excessive and I kept them hidden as a guilty secret. This was a source of considerable unhappiness through much of my adult life. As I made my way in the world, reality came close enough to my fantasy to allow me to admit my secret, at least to myself. Needless to say, I feel much happier as a result. I have been fortunate enough to be able to act out some of my fantasies… (362-3)
One shudders to think that the destabilization of Egypt may have been on of Soros’ realized “fantasies” on the path to apotheosis. Soros’ messianic delusion alone is not enough to make the speculator dangerous. It is the fact that Soros has the financial power to ostensibly affirm his delusion that makes him dangerous. Of course, the powerbroker will learn otherwise when he neglects to live forever. Sadly, there may be untold volumes of collateral damage left in the wake of this deity’s passing. Where Christ died for the world, the world may have to die for Soros.
Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Co-Option of the Global Political Awakening
To many observers, the button-down, suit-and-tie elites of the ICG and the controversial Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood are strange bedfellows. The motive for the ICG’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood may be gathered from a perusal of statements made in recent years by Zbigniew Brzezinski. Best known for his roles as Carter’s national security advisor and co-founder of the elitist Trilateral Commission, Brzezinski is listed at the ICG’s website as one of the group’s senior advisors (“Crisis Group Senior Advisors”).
On a number of occasions, Brzezinski has expressed concern over what he describes as “the global political awakening.” This global political awakening, says Brzezinski, is characterized by worldwide discontent and political activism. According to the former national security advisor, the majority of the world’s population has begun voicing its grievances with imperialist campaigns as more people seek self-empowerment and self-determination. Brzezinski writes:
For the first time in history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. Global activism is generating a surge in the quest for cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world scarred by memories of colonial or imperial domination. (“The global political awakening”)
As a retainer for certain deviant elites, Brzezinski is naturally disturbed by the fact that the global political awakening possesses the potential to upset the dominant position of the global oligarchical establishment. He views the world’s population with a considerable degree of distrust and paranoia, believing that participants in the global political awakening armed with modern communication technologies and a renewed political consciousness, will disrupt the hegemony of the American Empire. In an article entitled, “The Dilemma of the Last Sovereign,” Brzezinski states:
It is no overstatement to assert that now in the 21st century the population of much of the developing world is politically stirring and in many places seething with unrest. It is a population acutely conscious of social injustice to an unprecedented degree, and often resentful of its perceived lack of political dignity. The nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions. These energies transcend sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well as to the existing global hierarchy, on top of which America still perches. (“The Dilemma of the Last Sovereign”)
Brzezinski is completely justified in his fear that the American Empire might be challenged by the global political awakening. In 1997, the former national security adviser wrote The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives. The book served as the blueprint for America’s transformation into an imperial power. In The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski recommends an “imperial geostrategy” that seeks “to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together” (40). In very blunt and candid terms, Brzezinski calls for America to be transformed into an empire that treats other nations like fiefdoms. This empire, says Brzezinski, must assume an adversarial posture towards democracy. He writes: “The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are congenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization” (36).
Brzezinski’s imperial geostrategy was implemented by several factions of the elite. A natal derision for imperialism and popular discontent stemming from the decline that invariably besets empires could be giving rise to some manifestation of the global awakening in America. Intimations of the awakening are detectable among some elements of the Tea Party, as is evidenced by Ron Paul’s mandate to withdraw from Afghanistan and other corners of the world. In all likelihood, these intimations prompt concern among individuals like Brzezinski.
For the deviant elites and elite retainers that populate the ICG, the Muslim Brotherhood may be seen as a vehicle for co-opting the global political awakening in Egypt. The ICG hopes to use the Muslim Bro-therhood to redirect political activism in Egypt towards the fulfillment of elite initiatives.
The attempts to hijack the global political awakening have not gone undetected by the people of the world. Libyans have expressed a desire to depose their long-time autocratic ruler Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi without any outside assistance. They seem to understand that the participation of other countries in their revolution would lead to the installation of a government that would be loyal to foreign elites. In a March 3, 2011 Spiegel Online article, reporter Jonathan Stockton shares the sentiments of Yusuf Sultan, a Libyan refinery worker. Stock writes: “…Yusuf and his comrades say they don’t want to see Western troops in Libya. A no-fly zone, he says, would be fine. ‘But if the Americans come,’ he says, ‘they would steal our revolution’” (“If the American Come, They Would Steal Our Revolution”). Hopefully, Sultan is expressing the opinion of the majority of the world’s people. If he is, then true reform may take place in countries that have long suffered at the hands of autocrats that enriched themselves at the expense of their own people. Revolutions that exclude the deviant elites that have been running the world into the ground for more than a century possess a greater potential of introducing genuine liberty to oppressed people.
The Muslim Brotherhood: The Nexus of Jihadists, Spooks, and Deviant Elites
During the Egyptian revolution of 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood was considered “the standard bearer of Egypt’s opposition” (Miller). The downfall of Mubarak helped the Muslim Brotherhood gain momentum on the Egyptian political landscape, with the establishment of the Islamic transnational movement’s first political party, Freedom and Justice (ibid). Yet, according to journalist David E. Miller, the new party “faces an uphill struggle” (ibid). Miller elaborates:
The Brotherhood officially remains banned in Egypt and its leaders declined to detail what its positions will be or even state with certainty whether non-Muslims will be able to hold leadership positions. Analysts say many Egyptians are suspicious of its Muslim agenda. (ibid)
Egyptians have every right to be suspicious of the Muslim Brotherhood. Far from a simple social organization, the Muslim Brotherhood represents the nexus where fanatical Islamists, deviant elites, and the criminalized elements in government and the Intelligence Community meet.
While the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928, the seed of its radicalism and fanaticism sprouted 90 years earlier with the birth of a Persian named Jamal Eddine al-Afghani. Originally named Jamal Eddine, this Persian, according to Robert Dreyfuss in his book Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam:
… adopted the name “al-Afghani” in order to create the impression that he was born in Afghanistan. By claiming Afghan origins, Afghani could disguise his identity as both a Persian and Shiite, the minority branch of Islam, thus giving him a broader appeal in the mostly Sunni Muslim world. (22)
Afghani’s name change was just one of many examples of how this crafty Persian attempted to be all things to all people. By playing the chameleon, Afghani was able to influence and manipulate many in the Muslim world. Behind the mask, however, he “was a heterodox thinker who was a Freemason, a mystic, a political operative, and, above all, someone who believed… in the ‘social utility of religion’” (22). While he appeared to be a devout Muslim, Afghani’s sentiments towards the Islamic religion were far more pragmatic. Dreyfuss elaborates:
Afghani treated religion as a tool. He was outwardly pious, constructing a detailed scheme for a politics governed by the pared-down, seventh century version of the simple Muslim society of Mecca during the era of the prophet. (22)
Dreyfuss provides an excerpt from Afghani’s writings that demonstrates his intentions to subvert Islam for his own purposes. The excerpt reads:
We do not cut the head of religion except with the sword of religion. Therefore, if you were to see us now, you would see ascetics and worshippers, kneeling and genuflecting, never disobeying God’s commands and doing all that they are ordered to do. (Qutd. in Dreyfuss 22)
In the public eye, Afghani was careful to present himself as a devoted follower and preacher of Islam who was opposed to the imperial power that were undermining the self-determination of the Arab people (23). Behind the scenes, however, Afghani “was a closet atheist who railed not only against Islam, but all religions” (23). The pragmatic atheist and his esoteric adherents were nothing if not cynical, preaching anti-imperialism to the masses while they enjoyed the role of “ally, errand boy, and tool of the imperial powers” (21). Dreyfuss writes: “… while he (Afghani) posed as an anti-imperialist when it suited his purposes, Afghani and those in his inner circle engaged in a conspiratorial alliance with those very imperialists” (23).
This “conspiratorial alliance” with deviant elites in the west gave birth to the Muslim Brotherhood’s precursor in 1885. It was in that year that Afghani “proposed the idea of a British-led pan-Islamic alliance” (20). The Persian acquired the sponsorship of the British elite, even occasionally acting in an intelligence-oriented role for the British oligarchs. Dreyfuss describes the Afghani’s exploits:
From the 1870s to the 1890s, Afghani was supported by the United Kingdom, and at least once, the record shows – in 1882, in India, according to a secret file of the Indian government’s intelligence service – Afghani officially offered to go to Egypt as an agent of British intelligence. (20)
Possibly drawing from his Freemasonic background, Afghani designed his pro-British pan-Islamic movement to operate like a secret society. In true Masonic fashion, the Persian possessed two sets of teachings: a public one for the masses and a private one for the movement’s elite. Dreyfuss states: “Throughout his life, Afghani had one message for the ‘mass’ and another for the ‘choice spirits’: for the masses, pan-Islamic; for the elite an eclectic brand of philosophy” (23).
The Pan-Islamic movement birthed by Afghani was an Arab variant of what authors Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould refer to as “mystical imperialism,” which was a “philosophy that rationalized the expansion of empire by infusing a sense of the divine into the raw politics of empire building” (“Mystical Imperialism: Afghanistan’s Ancient Role”). Mystical imperialism was the result of elite projects in religious experimentation, which “sought to create a syncretistic cult-like religion with the over-arching goal of uniting the various factions and cultures within the empire” (“Mystical Imperialism: Afghanistan’s Ancient Role”). Afghani almost certainly imbibed elements of mystical imperialism while in the lodges of Freemasonry. Fitzgerald and Gould explain that mystical imperialism drew “on Anglo and Franco-Egyptian Masonic societies for inspiration” (ibid). Afghani was very familiar with Freemasonry of the Anglo-Egyptian and Franco-Egyptian variety. Dreyfuss writes: “In the 1870s, in Egypt – while outwardly professing to be a pious Muslim – Afghani frequented the lodges of the Anglo-Egyptian and Franco-Egyptian Freemason societies” (26).
In 1869, Afghani left Afghanistan to look for fertile soil abroad to plant the seeds of what would become Pan-Islam. From the very beginning, the Persian received support from the British elite. According to Dreyfuss, Afghani “went first to India, whose British-led colonial authorities welcomed the Islamic scholar with honors, graciously escorting him aboard a government-owned vessel on an all-expense-paid voyage to Suez” (25).
After his trip to India, Afghani made a brief visit to Cairo and then traveled Turkey (25). His stay in Turkey, however, was short-lived, ending in expulsion when his religious views became a threat to the Turkish religious establishment (25). Afghani returned to Cairo where he “was adopted by the Egyptian prime minister, Riad Pasha, a notorious reactionary and enemy of the nascent nationalist movement in Egypt” (25). By taking up league with an opponent of the nationalist movement, Afghani was again coming into proximity with the imperial powers; the imperialists considered the nationalist movement to be a threat to their regional dominance.
Pasha provided Afghani with residency in Cairo’s Al Azhar mosque “considered the center of Islamic learning worldwide” (25). Receiving a monthly government stipend, Afghani went to work laying the building blocks of Pan-Islam with British sponsorship. Dreyfuss states: “Feted by the British in India, transported by London to Egypt, and sponsored by England’s agent in Cairo, Afghani patiently laid the cornerstone of Pan-Islam (25).
During his time at the Al Azhar mosque, Afghani took a disciple named Mohammed Abduh under his wing (26). From 1871 to 1879, Afghani and Abduh worked together (27). In 1879, when the nationalist movement began gaining ground in Egypt and Pasha started to lose his political influence, the two left Cairo together (27). While in Egypt, however, Afghani and Abduh were British agents who worked feverishly to create a movement for mobilizing the Arab world on behalf of the British elite. Dreyfuss elaborates:
In the half century between 1875 and 1925, the building blocks of the Islamic right were cemented in the place by the British empire. Afghani created the intellectual foundation for a pan-Islamic movement with British patronage and the support of England’s leading Orientalist, E.G. Browne. Abduh, Afghani’s chief disciple, founded, with the help of London’s Egyptian proconsul Evelyn Baring Lord Cromer, the Salafiyya movement, the radical-right, back-to-basics fundamentalist current that still exists today. To understand the proper role of Afghani and Abduh, it is important to see them as experiments in a century-long British effort to organize a pro-British pan-Islamic movement. (20-1)
After his expulsion from Egypt, Afghani entered into a long period of travel. He went to India, London, Paris, Russia, Munich and Iran (25). Afghani was initially welcomed in Iran. Things changed, however, when the Persian let his revolutionary impulses consume him. Afghani encouraged social upheaval that would presage the 1979 revolution. Dreyfuss explains:
In Iran, the shah made him war minister and prime minister, but Afghani and the shah soon parted ways, and Afghani began agitating against the Persian monarch. Foreshadowing Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1970s revolution, Afghani took refuge in a mosque and organized the clergy to support him, until he was arrested and deported to Turkey. In 1896, his followers would assassinate the shah, ending that king’s fifty-year reign. (25-6).
An agitator and revolutionary to the very end, Afghani died in 1897 (26). Afghani’s radical brand of Islamism, however, did not die with him. In 1928, an Egyptian school teacher and imam Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood, which Dreyfuss describes as “the direct outgrowth of the pan-Islamic movement of Afghani and Abduh” (49).
Many of the concepts of pan-Islamism may have been passed to Banna by his father, who was a student of Abduh (51). It was a Syrian named Rashid Rida, however, who Dreyfuss characterizes as the “transmission belt” of pan-Islam to Banna (49). In 1897, Rida came to Egypt seeking Abduh (49). Both Afghani and Abduh were a source of inspiration for Rida. The Syrian was “an avid follower of The Indissoluble Bond, Afghani and Abduh’s weekly” (49). Rida located Abduh, who was enjoying the patronage of Lord Cromer, Egypt’s ruler (49). According to Dreyfuss, Rida became Abduh’s “chief acolyte” (49).
Determined to spread pan-Islam, Rida formed the Society of Propaganda and Guidance, which Dreyfuss tells us was “an early forerunner of the Muslim Brotherhood” (49). This organization, with its related Institute of Propaganda and Guidance, was responsible for indoctrinating the next generation of Islamists. Dreyfuss writes:
Its (the Society of Propaganda and Guidance’s) enrollees included students from as far away as Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Central Asia, and East Africa. They formed a second wave of the international cadre for an Islamist movement, after the secret societies tied the Indissoluble Bond. (50)
These second wave Islamists included eminent and well-known Egyptian sheikhs and religious figures who used their clout and influence to bring followers of Abduh and Rida together in the “Lighthouse Party,” a political organization that shared its name with an eight-page weekly newspaper founded by Rida in 1898 (49 and 50). Motivated by its opposition to the new Nationalist Party, the Lighthouse Party brought adherents of Abduh and Rida together to form yet another political organization, the People’s Party (50). Again, the British elite helped the Islamist descendants of Afghani and Abduh thrive. Lord Cromer, the British Consul-General in Egypt, played a major role in supporting the People’s Party. Dreyfuss states:
The People’s Party, reportedly created with British support, openly supported the British occupation of Egypt, and it won plaudits from Lord Cromer, who described its members as a “small be increasing number of Egyptians of whom comparatively little is heard.” In his 1906 Annual Report, Lord Cromer wrote: “The main hope of Egyptian Nationalism, in the only true and practicable sense of the word, lies, in my opinion, with those who belong to this party.” (50)
Hassan al-Banna became a member of the second wave of Islamism, influenced by his reading of Rida’s The Lighthouse (20). Dreyfuss tells us: “Rashid Rida’s chief acolyte was Hassan al-Banna” (50). Banna and his Muslim Brotherhood played a pivotal role in the rise of Islamism. According to Dreyfuss, their influence remains relevant to this very day:
It is impossible to overestimate the importance and legacy of Hassan al-Banna. The twenty-first century War on Terrorism is a war against the offspring of Banna and his Brothers. They show up everywhere – in the attorney general’s office in Sudan, on Afghanistan’s battlefields, in Hama in Syria, atop Saudi Arabia’s universities, in bomb-making factories in Gaza, as ministers in the government of Jordan, in posh banking centers in the Gulf sheikhdoms and in the post-Saddam Hussein government. (50-1)
Like its pan-Islam predecessor, the Muslim Brotherhood plays an integral role in the deep political world, engaging in intrigues and subversive activities with the covert machinations that drive the undercurrent of politics and history. These covert machinations can be seen at work before World War Two with the British travel writer Freya Stark. Stark was not just a writer. She was also an agent of British intelligence. Stark was used by British intelligence to foster an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood (Dorril 622). Brotherhood collaboration with Western intelligence continued with an alliance between the Brotherhood and the CIA that began around 1955. According to former CIA agent Miles Copeland, it was around this time that America began looking for the Muslim equivalent of Billy Graham, hoping to use such a charismatic individual to influence the Arab world. When this failed, the Agency began forging ties with the CIA (Aburish 60-61). What was the motive for this marriage between Western intelligence and the Muslim Brotherhood? This alliance would help the Western power elite neutralize the challenge to their hegemony coming from the secular Arab nationalist movement. Said Aburish elaborates:
In the 1950s and later, the West opposed the secular Arab nationalist movement for two reasons: it challenged its regional hegemony and threatened the survival of its clients’ leaders and countries. Specifically, there was nothing to stop a secular movement from cooperating with the USSR; in fact, most of them were mildly socialist. Furthermore, most secular movements advocated various schemes of Arab unity, a union or a unified policy, which threatened and undermined the pro-West traditional regimes of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other client states. The West saw it as a challenge that had to be met. (60)
Was the alliance between the CIA and the Brotherhood merely a continuation of the alliance between British intelligence and the Brotherhood? According to the authors of Dope, Inc. the OSS, which was the forerunner of the CIA, was merely a subsidiary of British intelligence (540). When the Office of Strategic Services was being organized, William Stephenson, Britain’s Special Operations Executive representative in the United States, was brought in for “technical assistance” (418). Stephenson’s involvement would lead to the creation of “a British SOE fifth column embedded deeply into the American official intelligence community” (454). When it came to religious engineering to promote fanaticism within the Arab world, it could be that the British power elite passed the mantle to the American power elite.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in the realm of intelligence and national security politics has contributed to a profound decline in the integrity and moral strength of intelligence agencies the world over. Even Israeli intelligence has periodically soiled itself by jumping into bed with the Muslim Brotherhood. In his book, The Other Side of Deception: A Rogue Agent Exposes the Mossad’s Secret Agenda, former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky reveals that the Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel, began destabilizing Jordan by arming the Muslim Brotherhood along with its offshoot organization, Hamas, and similar fundamentalists (182). As part of its destabilization plans, Israel participated in a covert weapons pipeline that supplied the Muslim Brotherhood (254).
To the average Israeli, supporting the Muslim Brotherhood is suicidal… even treasonous. For those Israeli elites and criminalized portions of the Mossad that wish to maintain an Israeli national security state, the move is quite reasonable. The threat of Islamism provides factions within Israel with a pretext for the refusal of treaties and the maintenance of military strength. Ostrovsky elaborates:
The Mossad realized that it had to come up with a new threat to the region, a threat of such magnitude that it would justify whatever action the Mossad might see fit to take.
The right-wing elements in the Mossad (and in the whole country, for that matter) had what they regarded as a sound philosophy: They believed (correctly, as it happened) that Israel was the strongest military presence in the Middle East. In fact, they believed that the military might of what had become known as “fortress Israel” was greater than all of the Arab armies combined, and was responsible for whatever security Israel possessed. The right-wing believed then – and they still believe – that this strength arises from the need to answer the constant threat of war.
The corollary belief was that peace overtures would inevitably start a process of corrosion that would weaken the military and eventually bring about the demise of the state of Israel, since, as the philosophy goes, its Arab neighbors are untrustworthy, and no treaty signed by them is worth the paper it’s written on.
Supporting the radical elements of Muslim fundamentalism sat well with the Mossad’s general plan for the region. An Arab world run be fundamentalists would not be a party to any negotiations with the West, thus leaving Israel again as the only democratic, rational country in the region. (251-52)
There is a sad and dangerous irony to all of this. While Israelis have been facilitating a fundamentalist Islamic threat to undermine regional treaties, factions in the West have been supporting Islamic fundamentalist and questionable Arab elements in hopes of giving rise to a comprehensive Middle East Peace plan. Western funding of a fundamentalist Islamic threat is motivated by the “level battlefield doctrine” (LBD), a Reagan Administration policy that was designed to weaken Israel. It is the opinion of these writers that the LBD policy is still being practiced by deviant elites and criminalized portions of Western intelligence. Israeli investigative reporter Joel Bainerman describes the policy:
The LBD became and some say still is today the cornerstone of U.S. policy towards Israel. The doctrine is based on a Saudi Arabian notion that the problem in the Middle East is not with the Arabs, but in Israel’s reckless use of its military superiority. The Administration must ensure that the Arabs are put on parity with Israel militarily so that Israel will be pressured into concessions which will lead to a comprehensive Middle East peace. (The Crimes of a President 184-85)
Needless to say, both sides are fueling a vicious cycle. In the end, Israel does not achieve regional dominance and the Western elite does not achieve regional peace. The Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamists are the only ones who come out the clear victor.
The Muslim Brotherhood received an important endorsement in May of 1979 at the Bilderberg meeting held in Austria (Engdahl 171). At this meeting, British Islamic expert Dr. Bernard Lewis suggested that endorsing the Muslim Brotherhood would allow the Western elite “to promote balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines” (171). This balkanization process would result in the rise of various autonomous groups and the spreading of chaos in the Near East (171). In what Lewis termed an “Arc of crisis,” the chaos would eventually spill over into the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union (171). This would help the Western elites counter Soviet moves to become the world’s sole hegemon, thus preserving the Cold War dialectical rivalry that had been so advantageous to the Western oligarchs.
The power elite’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood had begun one year earlier, when Carter appointed Bilderberg attendee George Ball to head a White House Iran task force that fell under the authority of then-National Security Advisor Brzezinski (171). Ball recommended pulling support for Iran’s leader at the time, the Shah of Iran (171). He also suggested supporting the Shah’s opposition, the infamous Ayatollah Khomeini (171). While Khomeini’s fanaticism was obvious to many, the Carter Administration portrayed the cleric as a progressive reformer. Mike Evans elaborates:
Carter’s ambassador to the U.N., Andrew Young, said, “Khomeini will eventually be hailed as a saint.” Carter’s Iranian ambassador, William Sullivan, said, “Khomeini is a Gandhi-like figure.” Carter adviser James Bill proclaimed in a Newsweek interview on February 12, 1979, that Khomeini was not a mad mujahid, but a man of “impeccable integrity and honesty.” (14)
The Muslim Brotherhood was the movement behind Khomeini (Engdahl 171). According to Dreyfuss, Khomeini’s godfather and teacher, Ayotollah Seyyed Abolqassem Kashani was the “chief representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in Iran” (110). Kashani played a role in the formation of the Devotees of Islam, thereby facilitating the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence into Iran. Dreyfuss writes: “In 1945, Kashani helped found the unofficial Iranian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Devotees of Islam, led by a radical mullah named Navab Safavi” (111).
Khomeini received assistance from Western intelligence during the earliest days of his revolutionary activities against the shah of Iran. In 1964, Khomeini’s attempts to topple the shah led to his brief imprisonment by SAVAK, the shah’s secret police, and exile to Turkey (Trento, Prelude to Terror 196). In hopes of influencing the fanatical religious leader, the CIA made arrangements for Khomeini to take up residence in a safe haven in Iraq (Prelude to Terror 196). Trento provides the details:
The CIA arranged for the Iraqi regime to let Khomeini move to the holy city of An-Najaf, where he directed his campaign against the shah. When Saddam Hussein came to power as Iraq’s vice president in 1968, he permitted the CIA to place a number of Iranian-born agents around the ayatollah. From the huge and beautiful golden-domed mosque in An-Najaf, Khomeini was the most influential cleric in the region. (Prelude to Terror 196)
By 1978, it became painfully apparent to Saddam that Khomeini imperiled his secular power (Prelude to Terror 196). Given this potential threat to his primacy, Saddam paid credence to the shah’s recommendation that Khomeini seek asylum elsewhere (Prelude to Terror 196). According to Trento, Khomeini relocated to Neauphle-le-Chateau, a hamlet outside of Paris (Prelude to Terror 196). While in France, the transient religious leader was joined by several Iranians that happened to be on the CIA payroll (Prelude to Terror 196). These Iranians assisted Khomeini with his preparations for a victorious return to Iran (Prelude to Terror 196). In an interview with author Mike Evans, a former covert operative revealed that money from the U.S. government made its way into Khomeini’s coffers during his stay in France. Evans shares the specifics of the account:
A former naval intelligence officer and CIA operative during the Carter Administration, who asked to remain anonymous, related to me that the U.S. government wrote checks to Khomeini in increments of approximately $150 million. (This operative was directly involved in the operation of funding the cleric). According to this gentleman, Khomeini’s French operation was paid for by the U.S., including the Air France flight that returned the fanatical Islamic cleric to Tehran. He fully believes Khomeini left France for Iran because Carter stopped giving the cleric money. It is his opinion that Jimmy Carter should have been tried for treason for aiding and abetting an enemy of the United States. (14)
When Khomeini returned to Iran in 1979, he did so “with several CIA agents on his staff” (Trento, Prelude to Terror 197). Just a few weeks before Khomeini’s return, it became apparent to the Shah that the West was preparing to oust him. According to Mike Evans in his book Jimmy Carter: The Liberal Left and World Chaos, it was the Guadeloupe summit in January of 1979 that provided the Shah with the tip-off. Evans writes:
In the midst of the turmoil in Iran or perhaps because of it, President Carter called for a summit on the French Republic island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. Invited to meet with Carter in January 1979 were French President Valery Giscard d’ Estaing, West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, and British Prime Minister James Callaghan. In his memoir, Answer to History, the Shah wrote:
“Giscard said they hoped to ‘evaluate the situation of the world,’ with special emphasis on events in the eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. I believe that during those meetings the French and West Germans agreed with the British and the American proposals for my ouster.”
It was at Guadeloupe, according to d’ Estaing, that Carter showed his hand in favor of the ouster of the Shah. (14-15)
With his feet planted firmly on Iranian soil, Khomeini began his crusade to transform Iran into an Islamic republic, with factions of Western intelligence providing assistance and support from behind the scenes. Western intelligence factions cultivated the revolutionary environment in Iran before and after Khomeini’s arrival. CIA case officer Robert Bowie ran covert operations against the Shah that allowed the coup to be successful (Engdahl 171). The CIA-led coup used economic pressures placed on Iran by London to create the pretext for religious discontent against the Shah (172). London refused Iranian Oil production, “taking only 3 million or so barrels a day on an agreed minimum of 5 million barrels per day” (172). This move imposed revenue pressures on Iran, and agitators trained by U.S. intelligence went about blaming the Shah’s regime (172).
According to William Engdahl, the destabilization of the Shah’s regime was also aided by American’s working within Iran’s security establishment:
As Iran’s economic troubles grew, American “security” advisers to the Shah’s Savak secret police implemented a policy of even more brutal repression, in a manner calculated to maximize popular antipathy to the Shah. At the same time, the Carter Administration cynically began protesting abuses of “human rights” under the Shah. (172)
The efforts to tear down the Shah’s government from within were not limited to encouraging corruption among the ranks of SAVAK. The Western alliance against the Shah also encouraged Iran’s military to retract its support for the embattled Iranian ruler. Mike Evans elaborates:
When Carter later sent General Robert Huyser to Iran as his special emissary to persuade the Iranian military leaders to acquiesce to the Shah’s exile, Huyser represented not only the U.S. but the entire Western alliance. His counterparts in Iran agreed to the exile of Pahlavi only after Huyser produced copies of the record of the meeting in Guadeloupe.
Before General Huyser’s death in 1997, I met with him in his home. During the meeting the general told me, “Jimmy Carter was responsible for the overthrow of the Shah.” Huyser maintained Carter had “deceived not only the Shah, but me also.” (15)
The action taken against the Shah was successful and the deposed Iranian leader fled the country in January of 1979 (Engdahl 172). Writing about his downfall, the Shah later stated:
I did not know it then – perhaps I did not want to know – but it is clear to me now that the Americans wanted me out. Clearly this is what the human rights advocates in the State Department wanted… What was I to make of the Administration’s sudden decision to call former Under Secretary of State George Ball to the White House as an adviser on Iran?… Ball was among those Americans who wanted to abandon me and ultimately my country. (172)
Khomeini’s rise to power in Iran was a major victory for the Muslim Brotherhood that stood behind him, and Western intelligence had made no small contribution to that victory.
As the Iranian Revolution of 1979 illustrates, the Muslim Brotherhood periodically forge alliances with criminalized portions of the intelligence community and deviant elites forge to destabilize common foes. The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 is not the first time that deep political elements in the West have reached out to the Muslim Brotherhood to depose an Egyptian leader. According to former CIA operative Robert Baer, Washington turned to the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s when Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser implemented nationalist policies that were viewed as detrimental by elite factions in the West. Under the banner of “anticommunism,” covert support for the Muslim Brotherhood was arranged by John Foster and Allen Dulles, who were representatives of the Wall Street elite in the State Department and the CIA. Baer writes:
The White House looked on the Brothers as a silent ally, a secret weapon against (what else?) communism. This covert action started in the 1950s with the Dulles brothers – Allen at the CIA and John Foster at the State Department – when they approved Saudi Arabia’s funding of Egypt’s Brothers against Nasser. As far as Washington was concerned, Nasser was a communist. He’d nationalized Egypt’s big-business industries, including the Suez Canal. He bought his weapons from the Soviet Union. He was threatening to bulldoze Israel in the sea. The logic of the cold war led to a clear conclusion: If Allah agreed to fight on our side, fine. If Allah decided political assassination was permissible, that was fine, too, so long as no one talked about it in polite company.
Like any other truly effective covert action, this one was strictly off the books. There was no CIA finding, no memorandum of notification to Congress. Not a penny came out of the Treasury to fund it. In other words, no record. All the White House had to do was give a wink and a nod to countries harboring the Muslim Brothers, like Saudi Arabia and Jordan. That’s what happened during the Yemeni civil war that got under way in 1962. When Nasser backed an anti-American government and sent troops to help it, Washington quietly gave Riyadh approval to back Yemen’s Muslim Brothers against the Egyptians. (98-99)
At the time, the Muslim Brotherhood had its own motives for moving against Nasser. In 1954, the Egyptian president issued a decree outlawing the Brotherhood in Egypt (Dreyfuss 101). The decree was a response to an incident that occurred at Cairo University, when pro-Nasser nationalists were attacked by Brotherhood members (101). It is interesting to note that Nasser viewed the Muslim Brotherhood as an agent of a foreign power. According to Dreyfuss, Nasser “blasted the Brotherhood as a Pawn of the British” (101). The Egyptian president was not being paranoid. Nasser’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood “coincided with rising British frustration with the Egyptian leader during U.K.-Egypt negotiations over the transfer of the Suez Canal and its bases to Egypt” (101). Many of the unreconstructed imperialists in Britain were stridently opposed to dealing with Nasser. British opposition to the Egyptian nationalist leader included Prime Minister Anthony Eden. Dreyfuss writes: “From 1954 on, Anthony Eden, the British prime minister, was demanding Nasser’s head” (101). Both Eden and MI6’s George Young spoke very bluntly about killing Nasser (101). In one conversation, Eden went as far as to state: “What’s all this nonsense about isolating Nasser or ‘neutralizing’ him, as you call it? I want him destroyed, can’t you understand? I want him murdered… And I don’t give a damn if there’s anarchy and chaos in Egypt” (101).
It appears that what made Nasser so dangerous to Western elites was his understanding that foreign powers were the primary cause of his nation’s ills. Israeli investigative journalist Joel Bainerman echoes this contention. In an article entitled, “Why the Middle East Conflict Continues to Exist,” Bainerman asserts that neither Jew nor Arab is to blame for persistent fighting in the Middle East. Instead, he says, “a third player, the Foreign Elite (FE), is why the Middle East remains unstable” (“Why the Middle East Conflict Continues to Exist”). It is a failure to recognize this third player in Middle East issues that prevents both the Jews and Arabs from bringing true stability to the region:
There is a “third entity” in the conflict in addition to the Israelis and the Arabs: the foreigners (in order of importance, the US, Britain, China, France, Germany). Without them, there would be no Middle East conflict because it is the foreign influence that keeps the “situation” from being resolved. Unfortunately, both Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews believe they are each other’s worst enemy – without considering the third element – the foreigners – that is the enemy of both. The thing that Arabs and Jews have most in common is this common enemy, yet the leaders on both sides (not being legitimate or independent) tell their people that the other side is their number one enemy. Hence the conflict continues. (ibid)
Apparently, Mubarak also came to realize the danger posed by foreign elites to his country. His awareness of this threat was heightened four years prior to the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, when a U.S. Intelligence report prepared in the fall of 2007 fell into his hands. Debka-Net-Weekly provides the details:
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence and Middle East sources report that for four years, Mubarak was in on the plan hatched between Washington, Egyptian army elements and Egyptian opposition groups. It was first put on the White House table in the fall of 2007, towards the end of the third year of President George W. Bush’s second term.
The Egyptian ruler had good foreknowledge of its main features and told his associates on more than one occasion that they encompassed the steps for his overthrow and the nature of the regime to replace his. Mubarak viewed President Barack Obama’s public demand early on in the current protest campaign for his regime to grant more freedom and institute democratic reforms as a coded signal for encouraging the conspirators.
A US intelligence report dated Sept. 10, 2007 which came into Mubarak’s hands revealed Washington’s objectives for the post-Mubarak era.
The document outlined the steps the US would promote for engendering democracy in Egypt against Mubarak’s will. It showed Washington working for substantial changes in Egyptian society through the very circles which last week rode the popular wave to bring about Mubarak’s downfall.
This is how the 2007 US intelligence report phrased it:
“Our fundamental reform goal in Egypt remains democratic transformation, including the expansion of political freedom and democratic pluralism, respect for human rights and a stable, democratic and legitimate transition to the post-Mubarak era… President Mubarak is deeply skeptical of the US role in democracy promotion. Nonetheless, USG programs are helping to establish democratic institutions and strengthen individual voices for change in Egypt… Due to ongoing GOE interference with US democracy and human rights assistance programs, the Deputies Committee decided on April 10 to proceed with offshore programming as appropriate…”
The U.S. Intelligence report provided Mubarak with reason to believe, as Nasser had before him, that the Muslim Brotherhood was acting as an agent of a foreign power. According to Debka-Net-Weekly, the report “went on to describe the activity of American bodies within the outlawed Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood” (ibid). While the Muslim Brotherhood claims to represent Arab people, it is really nothing more than another deep political player that periodically collaborates with foreign elites and intelligence agencies.
The CFR, the State Department and Weaponized Foreign Policy
The connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and the deviant elites of the West have continued to the present day. Feisal Abdul Rauf, the American imam who conceived the controversial “Ground Zero Mosque” project, demonstrates this fact. Conservative blogger Alyssa A. Lappen describes Rauf’s father, Dr. Muhammad Abdul Rauf as “ an Egyptian contemporary of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) founder Hassan al-Banna” (“Feisal Abdul Rauf”). Dr. Muhammad Abdul Rauf, says Lappen, was a student and teacher at Al-Azhar University “beside Hassan al-Banna, perpetuating the pious family tradition of radicalism” (ibid). When the Egyptian crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood took place in 1948, Dr. Rauf fled the country (ibid). His son, Feisal, was born in Kuwait (ibid).
With Feisal Abdul Rauf, one finds a modern manifestation of the symbiotic relationship between the Islamists and the imperialists that began with Jamal Eddine al-Afghani and his pro-British pan-Islam movement. In 2005, he participated in the Independent Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward Reform in the Arab World (“Bipartisan Task Force Endorses Democracy Promotion”). The task force was sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) (ibid). The imam has developed a cozy relationship with the CFR. At the website of the Cordoba Initiative, an organization founded by Feisal in 2004, the imam’s biography states that he “has appeared regularly at the Council on Foreign Relations” (“Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf”).
The CFR’s story begins with an elitist named John Ruskin. In 1870, John Ruskin “hit Oxford like an earthquake,” proselytizing students in the imperialistic gospel of the British Empire (Quigley 130). In Tragedy and Hope, Dr. Carroll Quigley provides a brief summation of this gospel:
Ruskin spoke to the Oxford undergraduates as members of the privileged ruling class. He told them that they were possessors of a magnificent tradition of education, beauty, rule of law, freedom, decency, and self-discipline, but that this tradition could not be saved, and did not deserve to be saved, unless it could be extended to the lower classes in England itself and to the non-En glish masses throughout the world. If this precious tradition were not extended to these two great majorities, the minority of upper class Englishmen would ultimately be submerged by these majorities and the tradition lost. To prevent this, the tradition must be extended to the masses and to the Empire. (130)
Among the undergraduates who wholeheartedly embraced this message was Cecil Rhodes, who would keep his longhand copy of Ruskin’s inaugural lecture for thirty years (Quigley 130-31). Inspired by Ruskin, Rhodes established his scientific dictatorship in South Africa, where he monopolized the diamond fields through DeBeers Consolidated Mines (Quigley 130-31). Instrumental in the formation of this diamond cartel were Lord Rothschild and Alfred Beit, who provided Rhodes with financial support (Quigley 130-31). Yet, the borders of Rhodes’ African empire did not end there. Cecil also:
… rose to be prime minister of the Cape Colony (1890-1896), contributed money to political par ties, controlled parliamentary seats both in England and South Africa, and sought to win a strip of British territory across Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to Egypt and to join these two extremes together with a telegraph line and ultimately with a Cape-to-Cairo Railway. (Quigley 130-31)
Cecil Rhodes not the only adherent of Ruskin’s imperialistic message. Evidently, others had taken to heart the Anglophilic gospel of Ruskin and, eventually, became associated with Rhodes. Together, this network would establish a secret society devoted to the cause of British expansionism. Carroll Quigley elaborates:
Among Ruskin’s most devoted disciples at Oxford were a group of intimate friends including Arnold Toynbee, Alfred (later Lord) Milner, Arthur Glazebrook, George (later Sir George) Parkin, Philip Lyttelton Gell, and Henry (later Sir Henry) Birchenough. These were so moved by Ruskin that they devoted the rest of their lives to carrying out his ideas. A similar group of Cambridge men including Reginald Baliol Brett (Lord Esher), Sir John B. Seeley, Albert (Lord) Grey, and Edmund Garrett were also aroused by Ruskin’s message and devoted their lives to the extension of the British Empire and uplift of England’s urban masses as two parts of one project which they called “extension of the English-speaking idea.” They were remarkably successful in these aims because of England’s most sensational journalist William Stead (1849 – 1912), an ardent social reformer and imperialist, brought them into association with Rhodes. This association was formally established on February 5, 1891, when Rhodes and Stead organized a secret society of which Rhodes had been dreaming for sixteen years. In this secret society Rhodes was to be leader; Stead, Brett (Lord Esher), and Milner were to form an executive committee; Arthur (lord) Balfour, (Sir) Harry Johnston, Lord Rothschild, Albert (Lord) Grey, and others were listed as potential members of a “Circle of Initiates;” while there was to be an outer circle known as the “Association of Helpers” (later organized by Milner as the Round Table organization). Brett was invited to join this organization the same day and Milner a couple of weeks later, on his return from Egypt. Both accepted with enthusiasm. Thus the central part of the secret society was established by March 1891. It continued to function as a formal group, although the outer circle was, apparently, not organized until 1909-1913. This group was able to get access to Rhodes’ money after his death in 1902 and also to funds of loyal Rhodes supporters like Alfred Beit (1853-1906) and Sir Abe Bailey (1864-1940). With this backing they sought to extend and execute the ideals that Rhodes had obtained from Ruskin and Stead. Milner was the chief Rhodes Trustee and Parkin was Organizing Secretary of the Rhodes Trust after 1902, while Gell and Birchenough, as well as others with similar ideas, became officials of the British South Africa Company. They were joined in their efforts by other Ruskinite friends of Stead’s like Lord Grey, Lord Esher, and Flora Shaw (later Lady Lugard). In 1890, by a stratagem too elaborate to describe here, Miss Shaw became Head of the Colonial Department of the Times while still remaining on the payroll of Stead’s Pall Mall Gazette. In this past she played a major role in the next ten years in carrying into execution the imperial schemes of Cecil Rhodes, to whom Stead had introduced her in 1889. (131-32)
When Rhodes died, the continuation of his imperialistic vision fell upon the shoulders of chief Rhodes Trustee Alfred Milner. Under Milner’s coordination, the disciples of Rhodes’ imperial vision established the Roundtable Groups and the Royal Institute for International Affairs to carry out their dream of empire. The Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) became the stateside surrogate organization in this network. Quigley continues:
As governor-general and high commissioner of South Africa in the period 1897-1905, Milner recruited a group of young men chiefly from Oxford and from Toynbee Hall, to assist him in organizing his administration. Through his influence these men were able to win influential posts in government and international finance and become the dominant influence in British imperial and foreign affairs up to 1939. Under Milner in South Africa they were known as Milner’s Kindergarten until 1910. In 1909-1913 they organized semisecret groups, known as Round Table Groups, in the chief dependencies and the United States… In 1919 they founded the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) for which the chief financial supporters were Sir Abe Bailey and the Astor Family (owners of The Times). Similar Institutes of International Affairs were established in the chief British dominions and in the United States (where it is known as the Council on Foreign Relations) in the period of 1919-1927. (132-33)
Feisal Abdul Rauf’s relationship with the CFR does not only represent a modern bridge between the Islamists and imperialists, it also provides a link in the chain that joins the fanatics of Islamism with the shadier side of the intelligence community. An elite combine, the CFR is considered by many researchers to be a nexus where the intelligence community and America’s semi-submerged oligarchy intersect. In his book, The Secret History of the CIA, journalist Joseph J. Trento reveals that Allen Dulles, Wall Street lawyer and power elite agent, “laid out a scheme to operate an intelligence service outside the government” (The Secret History of the CIA 44).
This organization, writes Trento, had already been assembled by Dulles clandestinely (The Secret History of the CIA 44). With an organized civilian intelligence agency waiting in the shadows, Dulles “planned to present it to President Truman as a fait accompli” (The Secret History of the CIA 44).
“Uncle Allen,” as his staff called him, was already fighting his own private war against the Soviets. Using the Council on Foreign Relations as his base, he organized a three-pronged attack. First, he formed a privately run and privately controlled shadow intelligence service. Second, he placed those loyal to him in government positions to work with the front groups he controlled. Third, he used the media to mold public opinion in his favor.
Among other things, Dulles used his connections in the press to help create domestic fears that the Soviet Union was on the march in Europe and China. Dulles’s plan worked. Truman was already seeing reports that the military, the State Department, and other government agencies had a small number of Communists in sensitive positions. He had no choice but to take action. The combination of bad publicity and the real threat forced Truman to accept Dulles’s quasi- privatized operation. (The Secret History of the CIA 44)
The end result of Dulles’ operation was a Central Intelligence Agency with a Jekyll/Hyde personality, oscillating between the legitimate task of serving the national interest and the dubious enterprise of catering to private forces. According to former executive assistant to the deputy director of the CIA Victor Marchetti and former State Department analyst John Marks, the relationship between the CFR and the CIA continued on to the present. In the classic book, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, Marchetti and Marks state:
The influential but private Council, composed of several hundred of the country’s top political, military, business, and academic leaders, has long been the CIA’s principal “constituency” in the American public. When the agency has needed prominent citizens to front its proprietary companies or for other special assistance, it has often turned to Council members. (267)
The influence of the CFR also extends into the U.S. State Department. The elitist combine began to insinuate itself into the State Department two years before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. At that time, Hamilton Fish Armstrong, the editor of the CFR’s flagship publication, Foreign Affairs, and CFR Executive Director Walter Mallory met with Assistant Secretary of State George S. Messersmith to discuss “a role for the Council in the formulation of national policy” (Grose). In his official history of the CFR, Peter Grose writes:
On September 12, 1939, as Nazi Germany invaded Poland, Armstrong and Mallory entrained to Washington to meet with Assistant Secretary of State George S. Messersmith. At that time the Department of State could command few resources for study, research, policy planning, and initiative; on such matters, the career diplomats on the eve of World War II were scarcely better off than had been their predecessors when America entered World War I. The men from the Council proposed a discreet venture… a program of independent analysis and study that would guide American foreign policy in the coming years of war and the challenging new world that would emerge after. (ibid)
Messersmith agreed to the proposal and the War and Peace Study Group was born with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation (ibid). Of the project, Isaiah Bowman wrote: ”The matter is strictly confidential because the whole plan would be ’ditched’ if it became generally known that the State Department is working in collaboration with any outside group” (ibid). The War and Peace Study Group was shrouded in secrecy to prevent public outrage over the fact that American foreign policy was being privatized.
World War II facilitated the diffusion of CFR member throughout various branches of the government, including the State Department. The War and Peace Study Group provided the incubator for this infestation. Grose euphemistically describes this metastasis: “Once the United States entered the war, most of the guiding spirits of the War and Peace Studies accepted mobilization into government service… in the State Department” (ibid).
During the last 50 to 60 years, the CFR and its fellow travelers have taken the State Department in an interventionist direction. They have redefined State Department directives within the contours of a distinctly interventionist outlook. The impact of this interventionist outlook is demonstrable in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. Evidence of State Department involvement in the destabilization of Egypt was provided by a Wikileaks cable release. The classified diplomatic cable, dated 30 December, 2008 was sent from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to the U.S. State Department (“U.S. covertly aided Egyptian protest leaders for regime change, secret December 2008 Wikileaks cable reveals”). Daya Gamage shares the cable’s revelation:
The US State Department officials, US Congressmen and their immediate staff were engaged in having discussions with the Egyptian rebel leaders on US soil. The US embassy in Cairo was instrumental in organizing a summit in New York in 2008 to meet one of the young Egyptian activists. (Ibid)
The young Egyptian activist mentioned in the cable was a member of the April 6 youth movement, one of the opposition groups that hoped to remove Mubarak from office (ibid). From December 3 to December 5 of 2008, the activist attended the “Alliance of Youth Movements Summit” in Washington, an event that was organized by the State Department (ibid). A list of attendee biographies for the Alliance of Youth Movements Summit reveals that one of the panelists at the event was Sherif Mansour, a program officer for Middle East and North Africa at Freedom House (“Alliance of Youth Movements Summit: Attendee Biographies”). Mansour’s biography states that he “runs the New Generation Advocating Political Reform in Egypt and North Africa Program” (ibid). Readers will recall that it was Freedom House’s “New Generation” program that trained Egyptian activists on how to using Facebook and other social networking tools. According to Gamage, the April 6 youth movement “has a presence on the social network site Facebook” (“U.S. covertly aided Egyptian protest leaders for regime change, secret December 2008 Wikileaks cable reveals”).
The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 painfully illustrates that the State Department has abandoned traditional diplomacy in favor of an interventionism that includes destabilization schemes. Foreign policy has become a weapon that the deviant elites of the West use against recalcitrant nations.
The Death of a Nuclear Free Middle East
The unholy marriage between the Western elite and the Muslim Brotherhood was reinvigorated by their shared opposition to Mubarak’s vision of a “nuclear free Middle East.” Mubarak’s vision is certainly nothing new; Egypt has pursued a nuclear free Middle East for the last 35 years (Mahdy). According to reporter Fareed Mahdy, Mubarak resurrected the Egyptian initiative in 1990 “through a new, larger plan to declare the Middle East a ‘weapons of mass destruction free region’, including nuclear weapons” (ibid).
Mubarak’s position came into direct conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood’s 2005 parliamentary election platform, which stated that, under Brotherhood leadership, Egypt would initiate the development of “special national programs, such as the nuclear program, the space and aviation program, armaments program, and the bio-technology program” (qutd. in Salama and Hilal). In May of 2006, the Muslim Brotherhood’s criticism of the Egyptian government’s lack of interest in nuclear weapons became even more blatant. Salama and Hilal elaborate:
By May 17, 2006, Brotherhood deputies were openly attacking the Mubarak government for not pursuing an active nuclear program. Ikhwanonline, the official website of the Muslim Brotherhood, stated that Brotherhood “deputies accuse the government of abandoning the nuclear program and [being content with not] building atomic power plants for peaceful purposes and electricity production at the same time many other countries such as India advanced in this field.” (India has not only developed nuclear power for electricity production, but used its peaceful nuclear program as a stepping stone to develop nuclear weapons.) (“Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Presses Government for Nuclear Weapons”).
At a July 4, 2006, joint meeting of the foreign affairs, Arab, defense, and national security committees of the Egyptian parliament, the Muslim Brotherhood’s position on nuclear power took another disturbing turn. During the meeting, Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Dr. Hamdi Hassan stated: “We [Egyptians] are ready to starve in order to own a nuclear weapon that will represent a real deterrent and will be decisive in the Arab-Israeli conflict” (ibid). The Brotherhood was dropping all pretense, changing its initial promotion of nuclear power for energy needs to a call for nuclear weapons as a deterrent.
Hassan strengthened his proposal of nuclear weapons development with a comparison of Egypt to Pakistan. During the meeting, Hassan told Egyptian Foreign Minister Mr. Abu al-Ghayth:
You remind me of Youssouf Wali, who said that Egypt should harvest cantaloupe instead of wheat despite the fact that wheat is a strategic and necessary commodity as are nuclear weapons…When India tested its first bomb, Pakistan did not stand still and immediately opted for nuclear weapons to protect itself. (Ibid)
Hassan’s fellow Muslim Brother Saad Al Husseyni was also present at the meeting, claiming that “the country [Egypt] will not have a strong diplomatic influence without a strong economy, a productive government, popular support, and a strong and deterrent military power” (ibid). Additionally, the Brotherhood challenged Mubarak’s vision of a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East. Salama and Hilal write:
Ahmed Diyyab, also member of the Muslim Brotherhood caucus, attacked the Mubarak government’s nuclear policy from a different angle at the meeting, criticizing Egypt’s traditional role in leading states in the region to press for a Middle East Weapon-of-Mass-Destruction (WMD) Free Zone: “Is it realistic and diplomatically sound,” he asked, “to demand a weapons of mass destruction-free Middle East, while being aware of the presence of a staunch enemy [Israel] who does not, at all, abide by international community decisions?” By implication, his suggestion that the Mubarak government’s traditional championing of a WMD-free zone was an insufficient safeguard of Egypt’s national interest amounted to another call by the Brotherhood for Egyptian acquisition of a nuclear deterrent as a more effective alternative. (Ibid)
While Mubarak’s stance on nuclear weapons was a hindrance to the Brotherhood’s nuclear ambitions, it was also an obstacle to the Western elites’ long-held goal of a New World Order. Many elites view a comprehensive Middle East Peace plan as a necessary stepping-stone to world government. A nuclear umbrella provided by the United State is considered to be a major component of any lasting Middle East peace. The concept was presented in a March 2009 report prepared by the Washington Institute for Near East Studies’ (WINEP) Task Force on Iranian Proliferation, Regional Security, and U.S. Policy. Entitled, “Preventing a Cascade of Instability: U.S. Engagement to Check Iranian Nuclear Progress,” the report suggests that current challenge posed by Iran’s nuclear bid could be used as a pretext for deepening America’s involvement in the Middle East. “The Iranian nuclear standoff,” says the report, “is not only a major problem but also in some ways an opportunity” (8). It also states:
Confronting the Iran nuclear program also offers other opportunities to advance U.S. interests: to demonstrate U.S. commitment to multilateral diplomacy, to deepen U.S. relationships with its Middle East friends, and to strengthen the global nonproliferation regime. (1)
How can the American Empire capitalize on the Iranian nuclear challenge? The report recommends exploring the possibility of a nuclear umbrella, which is a guarantee that a nuclear power state will come to the defense of a non-nuclear allied state. The report reads:
One issue needing much more thought is how a U.S. nuclear guarantee (or “umbrella”) would work and whether it is appropriate in the Middle East. Many in the Gulf seem to think that the region already benefits from a de facto U.S. guarantee; they may welcome its formalization. (6)
Such an umbrella, according to the report, would allow for a more significant American military presence in the region. Of course, past historical episodes of American military deployments abroad have been regarded rather unfavorably. Acknowledging this reality, the report states:
Regional states are often unenthusiastic about the presence of large U.S. forces. Any consider-ation of moving U.S. nuclear weapons to the region, such as putting nuclear cruise missiles on navy ships, would raise complex issues. (6)
This regional derision for military occupation notwithstanding, the report insists that America’s integrity as a superpower stipulates its presence. That presence must be undergirded by force, irrespective of the ambivalence that such force will engender. The report declares: “The Cold War experience suggests that deployments of weapons and troops are often necessary to make pledges credible” (6). The report proposes using treaty power to make a nuclear umbrella, also euphemistically referred to as an “extended deterrent,” a reality. It reads: “To be effective, extended deterrence must be credible in the eyes of both Iran and America’s regional friends. Political commitment is an important component; perhaps such a commitment should be embodied in an agreement or treaty” (6).
In the run-up to the 2009 U.S.-Egyptian summit, rumors that Obama was going to offer a nuclear umbrella to Mubarak generated concern in many different political circles. Mubarak, however, opted for preemption, insisting in an August 17 interview with the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram that “Egypt will not be part of any American nuclear umbrella intended to protect the Gulf countries” (Mahdy). Fareed Mahdy provides further details on Mubarak’s interview with Al-Ahram:
Such an umbrella, he (Mubarak) said, “would imply accepting foreign troops and experts on our land – and we do not accept that.” Mubarak also emphasised that a U.S. nuclear umbrella “would imply an implicit acceptance that there is a regional nuclear power – we do not accept that either.”
The Egyptian president asserted that “the Middle East does not need any nuclear powers, be they Iran or Israel – what we need is peace, security, stability and development.” In any case, “we have not received any official communication regarding such a proposal,” he added. (Ibid)
Suleiman Awad, the spokesperson for the Egyptian Presidency, also rejected the idea of a nuclear umbrella as a means of confronting the Iranian nuclear challenge. Mahdy elaborates:
On the same day, Suleiman Awad, spokesperson of the Egyptian Presidency, also commented on a U.S. nuclear umbrella in the region. “This is not the first time the issue is raised; it is part of the U.S. defence policy,” the presidential spokesperson said. “What is new is that it is raised now for the Middle East.”
At the height of the Sino-Indian war that coincided closely with the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962, the U.S. Administration under president John F. Kennedy made an informal offer of a nuclear umbrella to India at a time when the country felt constrained to seek U.S. military support to defend itself against China.
Commenting on alleged U.S. nuclear plans in the Middle East now, Awad said: “It is absolutely rejectable both in form and content. Instead of talking about a nuclear umbrella, the Iranian nuclear file should be dealt with (in a spirit of) dialogue and flexibility from both sides – the West, and Iran.” (Ibid)
A day later, according to knowledgeable sources, Mubarak told Obama that “what the Middle East needs is peace, security, stability, and development” sans any nuclear arsenal, thereby reaffirming “Egypt’s pledge underlying the country’s commitment since 1974 for the establishment of a ‘nuclear free Middle East’” (ibid).
Ironically, Mubarak seemed to be following the admonition in George Washington’s farewell address, avoiding entangling alliances. Now, with Mubarak gone, the path has been cleared for future intervention. The stakes, however, have risen considerably, with the real possibility of a significant nuclear presence in the region. Will a mushroom cloud appear in the sky over the Middle East someday soon?
Spreading the Disease: The Political Contagion of Revolutionary Gnosticism
Intimations of the Egyptian Revolution’s ideological pedigree were detectable in a March 26, 2010 article by Stephen Cook in Foreign Affairs, the flagship publication of the CFR. The article’s title, “Is ElBaradei Egypt’s Hero?,” betrays Cook’s circumspect proclivities toward political messianism. These proclivities become more pronounced when Cook contrasts ElBaradei with Mubarak:
It is not surprising that Mubarak cannot accurately read Egyptian society’s political desires and hopes. He is elderly, isolated, and has been out of touch for some time. Contrary to his recent declaration, Egyptians are looking for a hero. And they no longer want the false heroics of a discredited line of military officers. Instead, many seem deeply attracted to a bespectacled lawyer who appears to have the courage of his convictions. (“Is ElBaradei Egypt’s Hero”)
The description of a “bespectacled lawyer who appears to have the courage of his convictions” seems to have been lifted directly from the narrative of a Jimmy Stewart film. While such an idealistic individual would certainly be a desirable sight on the otherwise barren landscape of modern politics, the paradigmatic template of Cook’s ElBaradei may be disproportionate with reality. In fact, another description of ElBaradei presented earlier in the article seems slightly less romantic. In that description, Cook portrays ElBaradei as “a somewhat dour technocrat whose ties to his native country seemed purposely tenuous, to allow him to more freely contribute to improving global governance” (ibid). This somewhat downcast depiction more closely approximates the breed of aspiring oligarchs that populate the neo-liberal Establishment. Elitist, technocratic, and obsessed with a form of homogeneous world order, ElBaradei certainly seems to mirror many of the deviant elites in the West. Yet, such characteristics stem from a deeper spiritual heritage that underpins the Weltanschauungs of both the neo-liberal Establishment and elements within the Egyptian Revolution.
Articulating the objectives of the Egyptian Revolution, ElBaradei declared: “[W]e have to have a government of national salvation…” (“Crisis in Egypt: New Elections Announced for Coming Weeks”). In this statement, ElBaradei tacitly imbues the State with soteriological value, thereby virtually apotheosizing it. Such a view of government is really nothing new. It defines the Utopian aspirations of a perennial revolutionary spirit: secular Gnosticism. James Webb enumerates the various incarnations of secular Gnosticism:
In this century, with the presentation of traditional religious positions in secular form, there has emerged a secular Gnosticism beside the other great secular religions — the mystical union of Fascism, the apocalypse of Marxist dialectic, the Earthly City of social democracy. The secular Gnosticism is almost never recognized for what it is, and it can exist alongside other convictions almost unperceived. (Webb 418)
Whatever form it takes, secular Gnosticism invariably promotes an immanentist eschatology in which their own distorted version of the Parousia is instigated through revolution. For the secular Gnostic, the Eschaton (i.e., the End of Days) indwells history and, as such, can be drawn into the experiential limits of man. Wolfgang Smith elaborates: “In place of an Eschaton which ontologically transcends the confines of this world, the modern Gnostic envisions an End within history, an Eschaton, therefore, which is to be realized within the ontological plane of this visible universe” (Smith 238; emphasis added). Thus, the secular Gnostic seeks to immanentize the Eschaton, thereby creating heaven on earth.
ElBaradei’s “government of national salvation” is merely another installment in a succession of earthly paradises sought by secular Gnostics. It finds its own corner in the gallery of hopelessly romantic Utopian crusades, occupying a space alongside the mystical union of Fascism, the apocalypse of Marxist dialectic, and the Earthly City of social democracy. As is evidenced by the distinctly soteriological character of ElBaradei’s political rhetoric, the spirit of secular Gnosticism pervades the ethos of the emergent Egyptian Revolution.
Ironically, this strictly immanentist political religion is the outgrowth of a radically transcendental pagan religion. Ancient Gnosticism, which was the progenitor of secular Gnosticism, regarded the ontological confines of the physical cosmos far less favorably. Essentially, ancient Gnosticism was another variant of the pagan Mystery religions augmented by a heretical Christology. Ancient Gnosticism presented a cosmology in which the material world qualified as a veritable hell governed by the demonic agents of time and space. Meanwhile, the spiritual world, which qualified as the true reality, remained unattainable for all but those who possessed gnosis (i.e., a secret knowledge of the infinite). Presiding over this ontological antagonism was Jehovah, whom the Gnostics blasphemously maligned as an inferior deity (Raschke 27). Rejecting Christianity’s theocentric soteriology, Gnosticism depicted Jesus as a mere “type” of the perfect man, a “teacher and an exemplar, to show others the path to illumination” (27-28).
While Gnosticism has assumed a myriad of forms throughout the ages, adherence to the heresy in any of its incarnations portends the same existential consequences. Gnosticism invariably results in an oscillation between polar extremes. For example, Gnostics can be either radically antinomian or radically ascetic. In addition, Gnostics either elevate the transcendent to the detriment of the immanent (e.g., ancient Gnosticism) or elevate the immanent to the detriment of the transcendent (e.g., secular Gnosticism, typified by soteriological social movements like communism and fascism). In fact, the very narrative of Gnosticism opens with a significant imbalance. In contradistinction to the Biblical creation account, which depicts a harmonious Godhead sculpting the universe, Gnostic mythology posits a schism among the heavenly forces as the catalyst for creation. This alternative creation account, which is couched in misotheism, gave rise to an overwhelmingly cynical view of existence. Phillip J. Lee explains:
The fundamental complaint of the gnostic is not against the powers that be, but against the powers that began, against the Prime Mover for having moved. The material world itself is the result of a cosmic faux pas, a temporary disorder within the pleroma. The ancient gnostic, looking at the world through despairing eyes, saw matter in terms of decay, place in terms of limitation, time in terms of death. In light of this tragic vision, the logical conclusion seemed to be that the cosmos itself – matter, place, time, change, body and everything seen, heard, touched or smelled – must have been a colossal error. (8)
Thanks to this supposed disunity among the divine powers, humanity thrust into the oppressive finitude of matter. Fettered by the physical laws of nature and moral absolutes typified by the Mosaic Law that was imparted to humanity by an inferior God, the numa (spirit) of man found itself separated from the one true divine numa and in a perpetual state of alienation. Thus, the cosmos was a product of the tension between opposites. Such a cosmology makes no allowances for any sort of equilibrium. For the Gnostic, this cosmological imbalance translates into an overall imbalance that pervades all facets of life. The Gnostic pendulum consistently swings between dialectical poles such as statism and anarchism, onerous collectivism and misanthropic individualism, puritanical self-denial and hedonistic excess, etc. Ultimately, the excluded middle is the final casualty of the Gnostic Weltanschauung. This oscillation between dialectical extremes invariably predisposes the Gnostic to some form of religious and/or political zealotry.
Gnosticism was codified as a revolutionary ideology during the Enlightenment. This complicated period of history acted as the crucible for all modern sociopolitical Utopian movements devoted to establishingsome form of homogeneous, unipolar technocratic governance. Secular humanist Conrad Goeringer synopsizes the Enlightenment as follows:
In the history of Atheism, no period is as complex and exciting as that time we know today as the Enlightenment. Cultural historians and philosophers consider this era to have spanned the eighteenth century, cresting during the French Revolution of 1789. It was a phenomenon which swept the western world, drowning in its wake many of the sclerotic and despotic institutions of l’ancien regime or old order, and helping to crystallize a new view of man and the roles of reason, nature, progress and religion.
And too, the Enlightenment was a feverish period of Atheistic thought and propaganda. Many of the leading philosophers of the time were Atheists or deists, opposed to the cultural and political hegemony long exercised by the Vatican and its shock troops, the Jesuits. Much of the political, social and literary activity of the Enlightenment was characterized by a repudiation of Christianity, and the formulation of doctrines calling for separation, if not outright abolition, of state and church. (“The Enlightenment, Freemasonry, and the Illuminati”)
Although the Enlightenment was proffered as an alternative to religion, it was nothing more than the 18th century incarnation of the older anthropocentric religions of occult antiquity. Goeringer admits as much, stating:
The Enlightenment mirrored the Christian religion. Reason became its revelation, nature its god. If the Enlightenment did not abolish the myth of god, it reduced god to a sort of absentee deity, a caretaker to the universe who was nevertheless subject to the laws of nature. Deism arose from the same fertile soil of the Enlightenment as had Atheism, and no doubt many deists were actually Atheists. The deistic god was symbolized in the masonic lodges as the “Great Architect of the Universe”, certainly not the god of the Christian superstition. (“The Enlightenment, Freemasonry, and the Illuminati”)
The Gnostic elements of the Enlightenment come into clearer focus when one examines the concepts and ideas espoused by some of the age’s chief theoreticians. One case in point is Condorcet’s “doctrine of a coming Utopia, where indefinite progress would bring forth a ‘natural salvation’ of plenty and immortality” (“The Enlightenment, Freemasonry, and the Illuminati”). Condorcet’s doctrine of “natural salvation” merely reiterated Gnosticism’s anthropocentric soteriology. As was the case with Gnosticism, Condorcet divorced the redemptive process for humanity from any transcendent Creator, thereby placing salvation solely in the hands of man.
Another case in point was Enlightenment luminary Voltaire, whose work reiterated Gnostic’s nightmarish cosmology and inherent misotheism. Linda de Hoyos elaborates on the Gnostic elements of Voltaire’s Weltanschauung:
…Voltaire’s own anti-Christian beliefs are exposed in his 1756 short piece, Plato’s Dream, where he embraces the ancient gnostic doctrine of the universe. In this exercise, Voltaire not only peddles the complete separation of the material and spiritual world, but upholds the gnostic doctrine that all material reality is inherently evil. The corollary to this doctrine, of course, is that man is thereby excused from all compunctions to be moral, since he is a helpless victim trapped in an evil universe not of his own making. This doctrine was likely the source of Voltaire’s world view since as early as 1711, when he was introduced into the Temple of Taste, a secret society of debauchees who then forwarded him to England for further indoctrination in buggery. (“The Enlightenment’s Crusade Against Reason”)
In addition to Gnosticism’s anthropocentric soteriology, inherent misotheism, and radically dualistic cosmology, the Enlightenment imbibed the ancient heresy’s inverted hermeneutic. In The Hypostasis of the Archons, an Egyptian Gnostic text, the serpent in Eden is portrayed as humanity’s benevolent “Instructor” and “incognito savior” (Raschke 27). Of course, Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 identifies the serpent as Satan, the Adversary of both God and man. Remaining consistent with Gnosticism’s inverted hermeneutic, the Enlightenment depicted the Devil as man’s liberator and God as the oppressive force of superstition. However, the sociopolitical Utopians of the Enlightenment would exalt Satan under his original appellation, Lucifer. This becomes evident with a perusal of the semiology adorning the Enlightenment’s sacred text, Diderot’s Encyclopedia. Conrad Goeringer elaborates:
If the bible was the holy book of the Christian enlightenment, then the Encyclopedia was the inspiration of the Enlightenment. Here was a compendium of human knowledge dealing with arts, sciences mechanics and philosophy which swelled to some 36 volumes by 1780. Begun by the Atheist Diderot in 1751, the Encyclopedia bore the imprints of Voltaire, Montesque, Rousseau, Buffon, Turgot and others. Gracing the title page of Diderot’s compendium in the first edition was a drawing of Lucifer, symbol of light and rebellion, standing beside the masonic symbols of square and compass. (“The Enlightenment, Freemasonry, and the Illuminati”)
Yet, in contradistinction to the traditional Christian view of the Adversary, the Enlightenment did not regard Lucifer as a literal metaphysical entity. Instead, the fallen angel became a symbol for the cognitive powers of man, which promised apotheosis through reason and science. This reinterpreted view of the perennial Rebel constitutes the nucleus the occult religion of Luciferianism, which was disseminated on the popular level as secular humanism during the Enlightenment.
Encyclopedia‘s inclusion of masonic symbols with the symbol of light and rebellion was appropriate given the Enlightenment-era Lodge’s fetishized view of reason and science. In fact, a bizarre veneration of Lucifer pervaded some sects of Freemasonry. In Morals and Dogma, 33rd Degree Freemason Albert Pike expresses unabashed praise for Lucifer:
LUCIFER, the Light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish Souls? Doubt it not. (321)
Masonry attained a place of prominence in the Enlightenment, acting as a conduit for revolutionary activism and ideas. Expanding on Masonry’s role in the Enlightenment, Goeringer states:
[S]ecret societies and salons, lodges of the Freemasons and private reading clubs would become the focal points for the sedicious and “impious” activists of the Enlightenment. Masonry required that novitiates pass through a series of degrees, accompanied by symbolic ritual, whereupon the secrets of the craft were gradually unfolded; the metaphors of masonry, the remaking of humanity as early masons had remade rough stone, soon served as a revolutionary allegory. This became the new model of revolutionary organization — lodges of brothers, all seeking to reconstruct within their own circle an “inner light” to radiate forth wisdom into the world, to “illuminate” the sagacity of the Enlightenment. So pervasive and appealing was this notion that even relatively conservative and respected members of society could entertain the prospect of a new Utopia, “or at least a social alternative to the ancient regime…. (“The Enlightenment, Freemasonry, and the Illuminati”)
Freemasonry originated with “a network of Humanist associations” throughout early-Renaissance Italy (Martin 518-19). These early humanists, who would eventually co-opt the operative Mason guilds in the late 1500s, transplanted the concept of gnosis within the ontological confines of the physical universe:
Whether out of historical ignorance or willfulness of both, Italian humanists bowdlerized the idea of Kabbala almost beyond recognition. They reconstructed the concept of gnosis, and transferred it to a thoroughly this-worldly plane. The special gnosis they sought was a secret knowledge of how to master the blind forces of nature for a sociopolitical purpose. (519-20)
It is with this ontological transplantation of gnosis that one detects intimations of an immanentist form of Gnosticism. In contradistinction to ancient Gnosticism, the new Gnosticism that was developed by these Italian humanists bestowed ontological primacy upon the physical universe. In all likelihood, this immanentist Gnosticism was introduced to the corpus of Masonry by the Italian humanists that co-opted it. In turn, Freemasonry provided the “new model of revolutionary organization” for the militant wing of the Enlightenment. Those who constituted this wing of the Enlightenment qualified as secular Gnostics, actively working to draw their immanentist conception of the Eschaton into the experiential limits of man.
Moreover, the aspiration to “master the blind forces of nature for a sociopolitical purpose” reiterates a theme that pervades the contemporary Utopian outlook: the malleability of reality. For the modern revolutionary, reality is a synthetic construct that can be re-sculpted through a special sociopolitical gnosis. Reality becomes a malleable lump of clay to be molded by the omnipotent fingers of the revolutionary adept. This somewhat sorcerous view of reality is a hallmark of the ideologically religious, who, in contradistinction to the traditionally religious, seek to demolish the present order that fetters them. Laurent Murawiec distills the pathology of the ideologically religious:
Reality, as it were, is invaded by belief, and belief in turn shapes the believer’s reality. The difference between the religious and the ideologically religious is this: the religious believer accepts that reality is a given, whereas the fanatic gambles everything on a pseudo-reality of what ought to be. The religious believer accepts reality and works at improving it, the fanatic rejects reality, refuses to pass any compromise with it and tries to destroy it and replace it with his fantasy. (“Deterring Those Who Are Already Dead?”)
The political and social landscape as viewed through the interpretative lens of the secular Gnostic is a pliancy awaiting the imposition of his tangibly enacted vision. Reality, intractable as it is, poses a problem for the secular Gnostic. Thus, he attempts to obliterate it through the tumult of revolution, thereby paving the way for the instantiation of his Utopian fantasy. Murawiec eloquently synopsizes this outlook:
Faith has been described as a belief in things invisible. Gnosticism is a belief in a fantasy that is taken to be more real than the common reality: they do not believe what they see, they see what they believe. (“Deterring Those Who Are Already Dead?”)
Not surprisingly, the Promethean radicals of the French Revolution were edified by:
… a “solar myth of the revolution,” suggesting that the sun was rising on a new era in which darkness would vanish forever. This image became implanted “at a level of consciousness that simultaneously interpreted something real and produced a new reality.” (Billington 6; emphasis added)
No doubt, elements of this outlook are detectable in the fanatical Weltanschauung of Islamism. What else is the jihadist but an ideologically religious warrior? This is no accident. It is a result of both internal and external Gnostic influences upon the Arab world. The most prominent external influence was the Enlightenment, which was introduced to the bosom of Muslim civilization during the Napoleonic Era. According to Abdelwahab Meddeb, several elements of the Enlightenment were appealing enough to circumvent the ethnocentric barriers of the Arab world:
The Enlightenment as a movement of ideas was introduced into the land of Islam after Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt (1798), which provoked something like electroshock in the Arab Orient. Islam had thought itself superior till then, or at least equal to Europe in military force, comforts, and the conditions of life produced by the achievement of civilization. But now it suddenly found itself confronted with arms, material goods, technical methods, and scientific approaches that were unknown and in some ways more efficient. So it wanted to understand the reasons for European advancement, for such progress that made it aware of its own historical lagging and, above all, of the balance of power that had reduced it to being in a weaker position, fated to be subjugated. Having reached this awareness, Muslim scholars, in their various Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Asiatic spheres, would discover the Enlightenment and its principles. (“Islam and the Enlightenment: Between Ebb and Flow”)
Meanwhile, there were several internal elements that made the Muslim world far more receptive to Enlightenment institutions, particularly Freemasonry. Among those internal elements was Akbarism. a monistic philosophy that supplanted the traditional theistic conception of God with an immanent absentee landlord. Meddeb describes this philosophical doctrine and explains how it acted as a segue for the introduction of Enlightenment-era Masonry:
Akbarism was the metaphysical and moral theory taken from texts written by the Andalusian theosophist Ibn Arabi (1165-1240), who spread his concept of the oneness of Being, and who redirected Islamic belief towards an immanentist form of deism coupled with religious relativism, making Koranic relativism even more systematic, going so far as to grant credit and a share of truth to all forms of belief, even the most pagan ones. A European during the Age of Enlightenment, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the English ambassador to Constantinople (1717), witnessed the effect of these ideas on the Ottoman elite, for whom non-Islamic beliefs were intelligible, understandable, visitable, likeable. What’s more, the closeness of this “deism” to the philosophy of Spinoza (who was at the source of the deism of the Enlightenment and of Romanticism) helped a number of these enlightened Muslims to receive the Masonic message and to join some of its lodges, like Amir Abdelkader (1807-1883), disciple of his medieval master Ibn Arabi, whose interpretation he put into practice, before joining Freemasonry. (“Islam and the Enlightenment: Between Ebb and Flow”)
As was previously stated, the Pan-Islam Movement was created by Afghani, who was a Freemason. In fact, Afghani patterned the Movement after the Masonic organizational model. No doubt, members of the Movement imbibed several Gnostic ideas that circulated within Masonry. In turn, the Movement birthed the Muslim Brotherhood, whose defining aphorism states: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope” (“Muslim Brotherhood”). It is with the doctrine of jihad that one begins to discern intimations of secular Gnosticism, which was probably the bequest of Freemasonry.
In all likelihood, the binary opposition that informs the modern jihadist’s struggle against the West was shaped by Gnosticism. Gnosticism invokes the traditional binary opposition of good and evil, but presents this dichotomy within the context of an inverted hermeneutic. Again, Gnosticism portrays the serpent in Eden as humanity’s benevolent “Instructor” and “incognito savior” (Raschke 27). Meanwhile, Gnosticism caricatures Jehovah as “the archon of arrogance” (27). Within this inverted hermeneutic, light is conflated with darkness and vice versa. Manichaeism exemplifies this confused binary opposition. Maintaining Gnosticism’s radical dualism, Manichaeism divided the world into light and darkness. Yet, because Gnosticism’s inverted hermeneutic imbues the profane with the semblance of the sacred and vice versa, the Manichean struggle between light and darkness is defined according to a distorted binary opposition. Thus, Manichaeism provides the premises for morally repugnant crusades of violence. Murawiec contends that Islam, which was birthed within an adversarial tribal milieu, was already culturally and conceptually predisposed to this Manichean outlook:
Islam, which was heavily burdened by Gnostic contents, and historically shaped by a tribal matrix that inherently fosters Manichean tendencies (“them”-vs.-“us”). The jump from mere religion to religious ideology was easy. It was achieved in the 19th century by Jamal al-Din al- Afghani. It was followed by Abu Ala Mawdoodi, Hassan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, Ali Shariati, Ruhollah Khomeiny, Osama bin Laden, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Deobandi of South Asia, the Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyya, the Talibans, the Wahhabi, share this outlook. (“Deterring Those Who Are Already Dead?”)
There can be little wonder why the Islamist jihad against the West has been so bloody. Jihad is an outgrowth of Gnosticism, which corrupts the binary opposition of good and evil with an inverted hermeneutic. If one’s political and/or social struggle is defined by a distorted binary opposition, then profoundly immoral acts, like the murder of innocents, can be elevated to the status of meritorious duty. Of course, the murder of innocents is a central feature of terrorism. Synopsizing the Gnostic roots of jihad, Murawiec states:
Contemporary jihad is not a matter of politics at all (of “occupation,” of “grievances,” of colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism and Zionism), but a matter of Gnostic faith. Consequently, attempts at dealing with the problem politically will not even touch it. Aspirin is good, and so is penicillin, but they are of little avail to counter maladies of the mind. I am emphatically not saying here that the jihadis are “crazy.” I am saying that they are possessed of a disease of the mind, and the disease is the political religion of modern Gnosticism in its Islamic version. (“Deterring Those Who Are Already Dead?”)
The Manichean binary opposition of dark and light has not been restricted to the Arab world. In fact, it has helped to define the Western elite’s war against Muslim civilization, as is evidenced by the Report of Team B. According to Joseph Trento, Team B was a private group of intelligence analysts created for the purposes of preparing a national intelligence estimate that would compete with official CIA findings (Trento, Prelude to Terror 94-95). In their examination of the Report of Team B, researchers Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould note the consistent references to Manichaeism and the ramifications that such references held for the Cold War dialectic:
Completely overruling any chance for the peaceful cooperation promised by SALT, Team B claimed the Soviets were engaging in a Nazi-like build-up of forces and were preparing for a third world war as if it were inevitable. But it was in the Team B’s charge that the Soviet Union’s world view was “Manichean” that we found reason to wonder… Manicheanism came to be used as a veiled metaphor for the enemy of any officially approved truth, defined in stark pseudo-religious terms of good versus evil. But what was such a quasi-religious metaphor doing in the Team B Report?
Over the next decade we trailed a labyrinth of clues and ultimately found Team B’s Manichean references mirror-imaging Washington’s own strange policy, a policy which at first had labeled Soviets as the evil and fiercely-religious, Muslim holy warriors as the good, now reversed after 9/11 to cast America as the good and Muslims as the evil. It is an analogy whose likeness grows more visible as America’s involvement deepens. (“Mystical Imperialism: Afghanistan’s Ancient Role”)
It comes as little surprise that the roles of the Soviet Union, America, and the Muslim holy warriors of the Mujahideen have changed radically over the years. Premising their geopolitical outlook upon Manichaeism’s distorted binary opposition of good and evil, those involved in the Cold War could redefine their moral designations according to pragmatic considerations. Villains could be easily rehabilitated and heroes could be easily vilified.
The imposition of Manichaeism upon the otherwise mundane world of geopolitics is not a recent phenomenon. During the 16th century, Edmund Spencer “merged the ideas of continental philosophers Giordano Bruno, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and Francesco Giorgi into a form of British-Israelism with Elizabeth in a messianic role” (“Mystical Imperialism: Afghanistan’s Ancient Role”). A defining feature of Spencer’s British-Israelism was a Manichean framework that pitted light against darkness:
In Spencer, Renaissance Neoplatonism helps to form the mystical black-versus-white/good-versus-evil framework for an empire that is in harmony with universal laws and a higher ideal; an empire governed by celestial white knights conquering the power of a lower, inherently evil and unredeemable earth in preparation for judgment day.
In this rhetoric of white knights wielding “white magic” can be seen the seeds of a gnostic self-righteous “exceptionalism” that makes the bearer immune from judgement. (Ibid)
This same Gnostic self-righteous “exceptionalism” is also embedded within the doctrine of jihad, which presents Muslim warriors as an elite that is excused from all moral compunctions by virtue of their gnosis. Where the British Empire promoted a caste of “white knights” exempted from moral accountability, today’s emergent Islamic Empire promotes a caste of “holy warriors” whose terrorism qualifies as a categorical imperative. Murawiec elaborates:
The believers—here, the jihadis—are the Elect: they, and only they, know God’s plan for the world; they have been chosen by Him to fight and win the final, cosmic battle between God and Satan, and bring about perfection on earth, in this case, the extension of God’s writ and dominion, the dar al-Islam, to mankind as a whole. Everybody else is wrong and evil, jahili, and an enemy who can and should be killed at will. Reality, Creation, that is, is irretrievably perverted. The Perfect are “an elite of amoral superman” (Norman Cohn), who know what reality “really” ought to be. They are engaged in transforming the world so that it conforms to the “second reality” that they alone know, thanks to their special knowledge, gnosis. In order to get from A to B, from the evil today to the perfect tomorrow, torrents of blood have to be shed in exterminatory struggle, the blood of all those whose actions or whose very being hinder the accomplishment of the Mahdi’s mission. Owing to their extraordinary status, the Perfects are above all laws and norms. Everything they do is willed and sanctioned by God. Their intent (niyyah) vouches for their acts. They alone are able to determine life and death. The power this ideology confers upon its believers is intoxicating. (“Deterring Those Who Are Already Dead?”)
The Gnostic character of Islamism is most clearly demonstrated by the ultimate objective of jihad, which is the universal imposition of dar al-Islam upon humanity. This objective echoes the universalist cultural posture of the Enlightenment, which informs the Utopian endeavors of today’s global oligarchical establishment. Like the communists and the fascists, the Islamist revolution is a soteriological social movement devoted to immanentizing the Eschaton and creating an earthly paradise. While the concept of a worldly Heaven has circulated under numerous appellations, it has always been portrayed as a future that would be instantiated through the efforts of man himself. Historically, such immanentist crusades have resulted in wars, terrorism, and genocide. For instance, the immanentist crusade of Hitlerian fascism attempted to establish a Third Reich through eugenical regimentation. In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood was intimately tied to the Nazi Party from its very inception. John Loftus delineates the Nazi roots of the Brotherhood:
In the 1920’s there was a young Egyptian named al Bana. And al Bana formed this nationalist group called the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Bana was a devout admirer of Adolph Hitler and wrote to him frequently. So persistent was he in his admiration of the new Nazi Party that in the 1930’s, al-Bana and the Muslim Brotherhood became a secret arm of Nazi intelligence.
The Arab Nazis had much in common with the new Nazi doctrines. They hated Jews; they hated democracy; and they hated the Western culture. It became the official policy of the Third Reich to secretly develop the Muslim Brotherhood as the fifth Parliament, an army inside Egypt. (“The Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al-Qaeda”)
The Nazis’ ideological kissing cousins, the communists, sought to establish the worker’s paradise through the political genocide of Marxist dialectic. Neoconservatives, which are the progenies of Trotskyism, have attempted to establish a Pax Americana through the violent imperialism of the so-called “global democratic revolution.” Populated by the adherents of varying immanentist eschatologies, geopolitics has become the battleground for competing pedigrees of Gnostic jihadists.
In the case of immanentist Muslims, factions like the Sufi Sunnis and Ismaili Shiites wage a jihad within the ontological confines of the visible world in hopes of achieving a universal submission to their perverted version of Islam. Some immanentist Muslims even believe in an immanent Parousia, as is evidenced by the disturbing messianic claims of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Murawiec describes Ahmadinejad’s immanentist propensities:
Ahmadinejad wants to hasten the reappearance of the Hidden Imam, whose coming, in traditional Muslim, and especially Shiite, apocalyptics, will be the Sign of the Hour, that the End of Days is nigh. Ahmadinejad’s politics cannot be labeled “radical,” as opposed to “moderate.” His politics are apocalyptic and eschatological. Its vanishing point is not earthly but otherworldly. Famously Ayatollah Khomeini said: “We have not made a revolution to lower the price of melon.” The task of Mahdi, when he reappears, will be to lead the great and final war which will bring about the extermination of the Unbelievers, the end of Unbelief and the complete dominion of God’s writ upon the whole of mankind. The Umma will inflate to absorb the rest of the world. (“Deterring Those Who Are Already Dead?”)
In an interview with Muhammad Said al-Ashmawy, who served as the chief justice of the High Court of Assizes in Egypt, Richard Labeviere learned of the Utopian aspirations that edify Islamist organizations, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood:
“The history of the Muslim Brothers is infused and fascinated by fascistic ideology,” Said al-Ashmawy adds. “Their doctrines, their total (if not totalitarian) way of life, takes as a starting point the same obsession with a perfect city on earth, in conformity with the celestial city whose organization and distribution of powers they can discern through the lens of their fantastical reading of the Koran.” (124; emphasis added)
The above quote echoes the theme of an earthly paradise and a Gnostic elite who rule by virtue of their special gnosis. As Murawiec previously stated, the jihadists “are possessed of a disease of the mind, and the disease is the political religion of modern Gnosticism in its Islamic version” (“Deterring Those Who Are Already Dead?”). It is interesting that Murawiec would liken the political contagion of modern Gnosticism to a form of possession. Murawiec is certainly not the first writer to make such an analogy. In 1872, Fyodor Dostoevsky published The Possessed, which examined the emergent revolutionary machinations of 19th century Russia. The central character is nihilist Peter Verkhovensky. Verkhovensky gains the trust of Lembke, a provincial governor, in hopes of facilitating a destructive revolution that will eradicate the bourgeois and usher in the classless Utopia of socialism. The cunning nihilist convinces Lembke to initiate a campaign of brutal suppression against recalcitrant workers who are disseminating revolutionary leaflets. The result is a violent backlash that engulfs the provincial capital, leaving Lembke standing before the burning remains of his mansion:
Lembke stood facing the lodge, shouting and gesticulating. He was giving orders which no one attempted to carry out. It seemed to me that every one had given him up as hopeless and left him. Anyway, though every one in the vast crowd of all classes, among whom there were gentlemen, and even the cathedral priest, was listening to him with curiosity and wonder, no one spoke to him or tried to get him away. Lembke, with a pale face and glittering eyes, was uttering the most amazing things. To complete the picture, he had lost his hat and was bareheaded.
“It’s all incendiarism! It’s nihilism! If anything is burning, it’s nihilism!” I heard almost with horror; and though there was nothing to be surprised at, yet actual madness, when one sees it, always gives one a shock.
“Your Excellency,” said a policeman, coming up to him, “what if you were to try the repose of home? . . . It’s dangerous for your Excellency even to stand here.”
This policeman, as I heard afterwards, had been told off by the chief of police to watch over Andrey Antonovitch, to do his utmost to get him home, and in case of danger even to use force — a task evidently beyond the man’s power.
“They will wipe away the tears of the people whose houses have been burnt, but they will burn down the town. It’s all the work of four scoundrels, four and a half! Arrest the scoundrel! He worms himself into the honour of families. They made use of the governesses to burn down the houses. It’s vile, vile! Aie, what’s he about?” he shouted, suddenly noticing a fireman at the top of the burning lodge, under whom the roof had almost burnt away and round whom the flames were beginning to flare up. “Pull him down! Pull him down! He will fall, he will catch fire, put him out! . . . What is he doing there?”
“He is putting the fire out, your Excellency.”
“Not likely. The fire is in the minds of men and not in the roofs of houses…” (The Possessed; emphasis added)
A commonly employed technique in forest management is controlled burning, which involves the intentional setting of fires in consciously selected wooded areas. Fire can function in a regenerative capacity, stimulating the germination of desirable trees and foliage. Yet, in the context of politics, the same principle underpinning controlled burns seldom works. The fire in the minds of men is not so easily controlled. Those who set that fire and try to direct its spread invariably lose control. The flames of revolution typically consume the very rights of those it claims to liberate. In the charred remains of l’ancien régime, the ugly weed of totalitarianism germinates, choking out the tree of liberty and consuming the forest.
This analogy is applicable to the Egyptian Revolution, which has provoked a series of uprisings throughout the Arab world. No doubt, the burn was initially controlled by a collaborative effort between the Muslim Brotherhood and the western elite. While the flames did consume an autocratic leader, the fire did not leave behind a fertile forest for democracy. Instead, it left a vacuum for the weed of totalitarianism. Worse still, the next autocrat to come to power may not be so friendly towards the West. Such a corollary would be hardly advantageous to either the legitimate national government of the United States or the deviant elites that have co-opted it. To reiterate an old aphorism, those who play with fire eventually get burned.
Now, it seems that the burn has freed itself from the fetters of its controllers and developed a certain degree of autonomy. Revolutionary flames swiftly spread to Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, and Morocco. This perpetually expanding fire has generated concern among several national leaders. Ironically, Russia and China, two countries where the revolutionary flame once burned bright, are becoming nervous. Observing this uncontrollable blaze, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev opined: “These states are difficult, and it is quite probable that hard times are ahead, including the arrival at power of fanatics. This will mean fires for decades and the spread of extremism” (“Medvedev sees ‘fires for decades’ in Arab world”).
Why does the fire continue to burn? The answer is because it is not in the roofs of houses, but in the minds of men.
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About the Authors
Phillip D. Collins acted as the editor for The Hidden Face of Terrorism and co-authored the book The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship with his brother Paul Collins. Both books are available at www.amazon.com. Phillip has also written articles for News With Views, Conspiracy Archive, and the Vexilla Regis Journal.
In 1999, Phillip earned an Associate degree of Arts and Science from Clark State Community College. In 2006, he earned a bachelor’s degree with majors in communication studies and liberal studies along with a minor in philosophy from Wright State University.
Phillip worked as a staff writer for a weekly news publication, the Vandalia Drummer, between late 2007 and 2011. During his tenure with the paper, he earned several accolades.
In 2011, he was inducted into the Media Honor Roll by the Ohio School Board Association for his extensive coverage of the Vandalia-Butler School District. That very same year, the Ohio Newspaper Association bestowed an Osman C. Hooper Newspaper Award upon Phillip for Best Photo. In addition, the City of Vandalia officially proclaimed that November 7, 2011 would be known as “Phillip Collins Day.” This honor was bestowed upon Phillip for his tireless coverage of the City and community.
Shortly after bringing his journalism career to a close, Phillip received another Osman C. Hooper Newspaper Award in the category of In-depth Reporting. This award was given to Phillip for his investigative work over the death of U.S. Marine Maria Lauterbach and the resultant Department of Defense reforms concerning sexual assault and rape. The case drew national attention and received TV coverage by major media organs.
Phillip currently works for the Wyoming Department of Corrections, where he earned the distinction of Employee of the Quarter for the third quarter of 2013. Phillip still works as a freelance journalist and is currently collaborating with his brother on a follow-up to The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship.
Paul David Collins is the author of The Hidden Face of Terrorism and the co-author of The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship. In 1999, he earned his Associate of Arts and Science degree from Clark State Community College. In 2006, he received his bachelor’s degree with a major in Liberal Studies and a minor in Political Science from Wright State University. He worked as a professional journalist for roughly four years.
From 2008 to 2012, Paul covered local news for several Times Community News publications, including the Enon Messenger, the New Carlisle Sun, the Tipp City Herald, the Kettering/Oakwood Times, the Beavercreek News Current, the Vandalia Drummer, the Springboro Sun, the Englewood Independent, the Fairborn Daily Herald, and the Xenia Daily Gazette.
Paul also wrote for other local papers, including the Enon Eagle, the New Carlisle News, and the Lusk Herald. In addition to his work in the realm of mainstream, Paul has published several articles concerning the topics of deep politics and elite deviancy. Those articles have appeared in Terry Melanson’s online Conspiracy Archive, Paranoia magazine, Vexilla Regis Journal, and Nexus magazine. He currently works as a correctional officer with the Wyoming Department of Corrections.