Sennott’s breathless reporting from Cairo’s Tahrir Square for GlobalPost, NPR, and PBS Frontline was not unique in its giddy enthusiasm for the “people power” revolutions sweeping Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and much of the Middle East. Indeed, his participatory excitement is a common narrative core running through most of the broadcast, print, and online news coverage of the still-developing turmoil in that ancient cauldron of political intrigue.
The decades-old autocracies of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia have already been toppled, and as we go to press, the tyrannical regime of Libya’s terror-sponsoring dictator Moammar Ghadafi is on the ropes. And the fires of revolt are igniting or fully blazing in Oman, Bahrain, Yemen, and Morocco.
There is a spirit within each of us that rejoices at seeing any of our human family successfully shaking off despotic chains. Americans, who have been blessed with a heritage of liberty beyond the dreams of most the Earth’s people, can especially identify with the sentiments of poet James Russell Lowell’s famous lines:
When a deed is done for Freedom, through the broad earth’s aching breast
Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, trembling on from east to west.
The broad appeal of the current Mideast upheavals is enhanced by the appearance that they: 1) represent genuinely grassroots, spontaneous movements; and 2) represent the triumph of unarmed, mostly nonviolent masses against entrenched, absolute power. Compared to the bloodbaths that frequently accompany revolutions, the transitions in Egypt and Tunisia have been remarkably benign — thus far. Of course, they could quickly degenerate into fratricidal civil war, or Khomeini-style totalitarian oppression. And the same potential holds for virtually all of the current hot spots in northern Africa and the Middle East.
The Jacobins, remember, did not unleash their infamous Reign of Terror at the start of the French Revolution, in 1789; they had to restrain their full bloodlust until 1793, when they had sufficiently consolidated their power. Consolidation is an essential stage of every revolution. Tragically, all too often this period of “peaceful” transition is a planned prelude to slaughter and tyranny, as demonstrated by Mao Tse-tung’s Communist Army in China, Fidel Castro’s July 26th Movement in Cuba, Pol Pot’s communist Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the Hutu Interahamwe in Rwanda, Khomeini’s Revolutionary Guards in Iran, and dozens of other examples that could be cited.
The astute observation of the British historian and statesman John Emerich Dalberg, more commonly known as Lord Acton, is apropos here. In his famous series of discourses entitled “Lectures on the French Revolution,” delivered at Cambridge University between 1895 and 1899, Lord Acton noted:
The appalling thing in the French Revolution is not the tumult, but the design. Through all the fire and smoke we perceive the evidence of calculating organization. The managers remain studiously concealed and masked; but there is no doubt about their presence from the first.
The enormously wealthy Duke of Orleans (a cousin to King Louis XVI), the Count Mirabeau, and the infamously depraved Marquis de Sade are but a few of the rich and privileged conspirators who financed and organized the secret societies and criminal combinations that instigated the riots, demonstrations, and terrors of the French Revolution. Most of the major riots and revolutions of the modern age have, likewise, been guided by “managers” who “remain studiously concealed.”
Are there hidden managers of the current turbulence in the Middle East? Is there a design behind the tumult that the managed news media fail to see, or are consciously obscuring? According to the reportage from the mainstream media, the activities convulsing the “Arab Street” capitals are primarily the result of popular discontent and networking by the alienated youth of the Facebook and Twitter generation. The Muslim Brotherhood is a prime mover in these events, according to some reporters and analysts, but according to others their role has been greatly exaggerated. Previously unknown organizations and individuals have assumed the spotlight as supposed leaders of the uprisings. However, the reporting and analysis from the establishment sources invariably fail to mention the most critical facts concerning these individuals and organizations.
The accompanying articles by Charles Scaliger and Christian Gomez focus, respectively, on two of the most important organized forces at work in the upheavals: the globalists, as represented most notably by the Council on Foreign Relations, and the communists or Marxist-Left. These forces are rarely mentioned in the major media reports, and if noted at all tend to be presented as opposite and rival forces. But these forces have, in fact, cooperated many times over the past several decades, to effect some of the most profound and tragic geopolitical revolutions in history, including the betrayal of China to Mao’s communists, and similar betrayals in Poland, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Africa, Nicaragua, Iran, etc. This treachery has been detailed in numerous articles in the pages of this magazine and, notably, in James Perloff’s indispensable study, The Shadows of Power: The Council on Foreign Relations and the American Decline (1988).
In sum, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), has been pursuing a grand global strategy of “convergence,” in which enormous transfusions of taxpayer funds from the middle classes of America and Europe and vast amounts of our technology are transferred to the communist countries — under the guise of helping them “go capitalist.” This process, which has been accelerating for the past 30 years, has largely hollowed out America’s economy, reducing us almost to beggar status, while China has vaulted from beggar to global economic-political-military super-power. The same process has also taken us ever further down the socialist road, as the federal government has usurped more and more powers and taken over an ever-increasing share of the national economy. Economic convergence with China and Russia is already occurring on many levels, thanks to policies crafted, largely, by the hundreds of CFR members who have been strategically promoted to many of the top posts in our leading political, financial, philanthropic, academic, and media institutions.
The Middle East has long been a key target of the communist leaders of Moscow and Beijing, who have coveted its oil and strategic sea lanes, among other things. Despite claims that communism is dead and that the Cold War is over, Russia and China have stepped up their efforts to penetrate, dominate, and annex the Middle East. There are undoubtedly now more KGB agents plying the Middle East than during the height of the Cold War, though of course the KGB has changed its name to SVR and FSB, and most of these agents operate as “capitalist” businessmen. A prime example is Yevgeny Primakov, the KGB’s former Mideast terrorism chief and top Arabist, who now serves Putin as head of the Russian Chamber of Commerce. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Primakov, and their minions swarm over the Middle East and operate through every conceivable venue: OPEC, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Dialogue of Civilizations, the Russia-Arab Business Council, the Nonprofit Partnership Africa Alliance, the Africa-Russia Partnership & Success, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group, etc.
China, flush with even more cash than Russia, is following a similar path. Yet there is very little in the American media about the enormous presence and influence of this growing Beijing-Moscow axis throughout the region.
And despite all the fashionable talk in CFR circles about convergence and our new “partnerships” with Putin and Hu Jintao, their politburos in Moscow and Beijing have far different views about the kinds of regimes that are to be preferred in the Middle East than do most Americans. They are the backers of Iran and Syria, the two most dangerous terror states in the region. They support the new Hezbollah government in Lebanon, which fronts for Syria and Iran.
While Americans have every reason to oppose the continued transfer of their wealth, in the form of foreign aid, to regimes such as Mubarak’s and Ben Ali’s, we also can hardly favor even worse regimes modeled on the likes of those in power in Beirut, Damascus, and Tehran. Yet that is a very distinct likelihood, as a result of the recent turnovers and the continued turmoil. Russia, China, Iran Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas have all hailed the toppling of Egypt’s Mubarak, and there is good reason to believe this is not merely opportunistic rhetoric; they undoubtedly intend to turn it into concrete benefit for their interests.
CFR Handprints Everywhere
Contrary to the conventional cover stories presenting the uprisings in Cairo, Tunis, and elsewhere as spontaneous bottom-up affairs, there is a great deal of evidence indicating that they were instead coordinated top-down events planned long before the first street demonstrations began. And like the slime trail in the garden that leads to the slug, the trail here leads back to the Council on Foreign Relations. Utilizing its unparalleled network of high-level members in the U.S. government, the United Nations, the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Brookings Institution, and many NGOs, corporations, and philanthropic organizations, the CFR has employed a pincer attack pressuring the target governments with economic and diplomatic efforts from above, while funding Astroturf protests from below designed to look like real grass-roots affairs.
As Charles Scaliger notes elsewhere in this issue, the savior whom the media has anointed as the next President of Egypt, Mohamed ElBaradei, was publicly picked over a year ago in the CFR’s journal Foreign Affairs as the “hero” who would save Egypt. ElBaradei, a UN factotum for nearly three decades at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is also a trustee of a high-level CFR-dominated think tank known as the International Crisis Group (ICG), along with billionaire left-wing activist George Soros (CFR) and Zbigniew Brzezinski (CFR), the Carter administration architect who (among many “accomplishments”) supervised the joint U.S.-Soviet overthrow of the Shah of Iran and his replacement by the virulently anti-American terrorism-sponsoring regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, as documented in The New American article “Iran and the Shah: What Really Happened” (May 12, 2009 issue).
One of the forces credited in much of the media reports for launching the Egyptian demonstrations that shook Mubarak from power is the April 6 Youth Movement started by Ahmed Maher. One of the more interesting facts to surface in all of the commotion was that, far from being a lone cyber warrior “speaking truth to power,” Maher is actually a product of one of the CFR’s global Astroturf groups, the Alliance for Youth Movements (AYM), an outfit funded by the U.S. State Department (our tax dollars at work) and a passel of CFR corporate sponsors. Over the past several years, AYM has been helping train thousands of young activists from around the world to bring about Obama-style change and topple governments. Ahmed Maher was a participant in AYM’s major New York City conference in 2008.
AYM was co-founded by Jared Cohen, a Rhodes Scholar who is an adjunct fellow at the CFR and director of Google Ideas, a major new entity at Google. Before going to Google, Cohen was on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff under both Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. (Secretary Rice is a CFR member; Secretary Clinton is not, though her husband is a member, as are many of her underlings at State.) Cohen and his two co-founders, Jason Liebman and Roman Tsunder, comprise the three-man board of directors at AYM. In addition to funding from the State Department, additional financial backing for AYM has come from Google, Pepsi, CBS News, MSNBC, MTV, Facebook, National Geographic, Twitter, and Meetup.
Another interesting name to surface at the epicenter of the current “digital democracy” revolution is Peter Ackerman, a CFR director known as the “Teflon Junk Bond King”; while his partner, Michael Milken, had to pay over $1 billion in fines and settlements and spend 22 months in jail, Ackerman walked away free — with a reported $500 million.
Ackerman is the founding chair of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and has authored two books that have become manuals for the “democracy” uprisings around the world: A Force More Powerful and Strategic Nonviolent Conflict. He teamed up with PBS to produce the TV documentary Bringing Down a Dictator and the series A Force More Powerful, which, reportedly, were being heavily promoted by the U.S. government in the Middle East during the year leading up to the regional commotions. Serving as Ackerman’s chair of academic advisors at ICNC is Dr. Stephen Zunes, a leftist professor and author who also serves on the board of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the Marxist “think tank” notorious for its pro-communist stances and its ties to the Soviet KGB and the Cuban DGI.
Ackerman is also a member of the U.S. Advisory Council of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), a U.S. government-funded operation that has worked closely with USAID (the State Department’s foreign aid arm) to promote the “people power” revolutions now rocking the Middle East. Besides Ackerman, the CFR members at USIP include J. Robinson West (USIP chairman of the Board of Directors), George E. Moose, Chester A. Crocker, Stephen D. Krasner, Richard H. Solomon, Michael H. Posner, Ann E. Rondeau, Frank Carlucci, Max Kampelman, and Marvin Kalb — to name but a few.
With funding from USAID and foundations such as Rockefeller, Ford, and Car-negie, USIP has, since at least 2006, been organizing political opposition groups under its Muslim World Initiative and a series of conferences on “Political Oppositions in the Arab World,” which USIP conducted in Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco.
The Obama administration was chastised by both the Left and the Right for indecisiveness and ineptitude for its public announcements of support for Mubarak and then the manner of its vacillation and flipflop to the side of the protesters. But what has been criticized as “amateur diplomacy” was more likely planned deception. While the foreign policy establishment at the CFR had already determined to dump Mubarak months (or years) before, Team Obama was likely tasked with reassuring the soon-to-be-deposed dictator that the United States was backing him up. Imagine a scene from one of the many gangland movies you’ve seen in which the Godfather embraces a “brother” with faux affection; the real purpose is to distract the victim while a knife is driven into his back.
Mubarak may not have seen it coming; after all, he had been the darling of the American establishment for decades. On March 5, 2002, he was the speaker and guest of honor at a CFR star-studded gala in New York. The event was opened by Peter G. Peterson, chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. “The Council has hosted leaders from our nation and around the world but not likely one more important to quelling the fires of violence and indeed to breaking this most unvirtuous circle of violence and to rebuilding dreams of peace than our guest today,” he told his distinguished guests. He continued: “My honor is to welcome President Mubarak on behalf of the Council members and guests and to say how honored we are to have you with us, Mr. President.... Matters in the Middle East can take a turn now for the better or worse. We all look to you, Mr. President, to help all of us toward that better future.”
Many other leaders — some genuine, honorable allies (Shah Pahlavi, Anastasio Somoza, Ian Smith, Chiang Kai-shek, Moise Tshombe) and some tyrants (Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceausescu, Robert Mugabe) — have been given similar red carpet treatment, only to have it jerked out from under them when it suits the “new world order” convergence policies of the globalist elites who run the Council on Foreign Relations.
— Photo: AP Images