Is The U.S. Forcing Egypt Toward A Russian Alliance?

Submitted by James Durso
‘The lion is back in his den!’
Hosni Mubarak, former President of Egypt, walked free last week after six years in detention on charges of murder and corruption. What does the U. S. have to show for it? Nothing.
In January 2011, Egyptian activists planned protests against corruption, lack of economic growth, and the heavy-handed police tactics of the recent years. The protests were scheduled for 25 January in Cairo and across Egypt. A broad swath of Egyptian activist groups participated, including the Islamists. The protests quickly escalated and became increasingly violent to the extent that the police were replaced by the military. At the end of two weeks, Mubarak had dissolved his government, appointed an interim leader, and announced he would not seek re-election in the September 2011 elections.
In early February 2011, on the same day that Vice President, and former intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak would resign as President, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces suspended the constitution and dissolved both houses of Parliament for six months until elections could be held. In May 2011, Mubarak was charged with the murder of protesters and ordered to stand trial. The elections of June 2012 handed power to the only organized opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood and its leader, Mohammed Morsi, who promptly tried to install an Islamist constitution and grant himself broader power than had Mubarak. The secular opposition was upset that the Islamist opposition they helped usher into power would be so… Islamist. More violent protests ensued. The whole sorry mess came to an end in July 2013, when the military seized power and Morsi’s hand-picked minister of defense, General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, became Egypt’s leader and was elected President in May 2014 with a Chicago-like 93 percent of the vote.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 4, 2017.

The Stupefying Corruption Of The US Occupation Of Iraq

Who shall doubt ‘the secret hid
Under Cheops’ pyramid’
Was that the contractor did
Cheops out of several millions?
The message of Rudyard Kipling’s poem is that corruption is always with us and has not changed much down the ages. There is some truth in this, but degrees of corruption greatly matter, as the Cheops would have found to his cost if he tried to build his pyramid in modern Iraq instead of ancient Egypt. The project would cost him billions rather than millions – and he would be more likely to end up with a hole in the ground than anything resembling a pyramid.
Three years ago I was in Baghdad after it had rained heavily, driving for miles through streets that had disappeared under grey-coloured flood water combined with raw sewage. Later I asked Shirouk Abayachi, an advisor to the Ministry of Water Resources, why this was happening and she said that ‘since 2003, $7bn has been spent to build a new sewage system for Baghdad, but either the sewers weren’t built or they were built very badly’. She concluded that ‘corruption is the key to all this’.
Anybody discussing the Panama Papers and the practices of the law firm Mossack Fonseca should think about the ultimate destination of the $7bn not spent on the Baghdad drainage system. There will be many go-betweens and middle men protecting anyone who profited from this huge sum, but the suspicion must be that a proportion of it will have ended up in offshore financial centres where money is hidden and can be turned into legally held assets.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on April 11, 2016.

Clueless Carly – – – Crony Capitalist Warmonger With Flash Cards

Carly Fiorina proved at least one thing last week. Namely, you don’t have to be a career GOP politician to come across as a war-mongering neocon and abortion-bashing statist demagogue. She took the stage fully formed as a frightul modern-day Torquemada, threatening to bring fire and brimstone down on anyone running afoul of her righteous indignation and crystal clear grasp of the Truth.
That included about everyone on the world stage, save for the presumably sainted Bibi Netanyahu. As for the others, Putin was to be given the silent treatment and a stiff dose of NATO encirclement, while Iran was to be occupied by US inspectors at ‘every military and every nuclear facility…….. anytime, anywhere……’
In trying to sound like she actually knows something about national security policy there was not a single neocon shibboleth that she didn’t name check, nor any possibility for bolstering Washington’s military might she failed to mention:
Having met Vladimir Putin, I wouldn’t talk to him at all. We’ve talked way too much to him……. What I would do, immediately, is begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states. I’d probably send a few thousand more troops into Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message….. We could also, to Senator Rubio’s point, give the Egyptians what they’ve asked for…….. We could give the Jordanians what they’ve asked for…bombs and materiel. We have not supplied it… We could arm the Kurds.
Yada yada. If you thought Fiorina was actually running for CEO of the military-industrial complex, you would not necessarily be wrong. After the above riff, she was just getting warmed-up:

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by David Stockman ‘ September 23, 2015.

Clueless Carly – – – Crony Capitalist War-Monger With Flash Cards

Carly Fiorina proved at least one thing last week. Namely, you don’t have to be a career GOP politician to come across as a war-mongering neocon and abortion-bashing statist demagogue. She took the stage fully formed as a frightul modern-day Torquemada, threatening to bring fire and brimstone down on anyone running afoul of her righteous indignation and crystal clear grasp of the Truth.
That included about everyone on the world stage, save for the presumably sainted Bibi Netanyahu. As for the others, Putin was to be given the silent treatment and a stiff dose of NATO encirclement, while Iran was to be occupied by US inspectors at ‘every military and every nuclear facility…….. anytime, anywhere……’
In trying to sound like she actually knows something about national security policy there is not a single neocon shibboleth that she didn’t name check, nor any possibility for bolstering Washington’s military might she failed to mention:
Having met Vladimir Putin, I wouldn’t talk to him at all. We’ve talked way too much to him……. What I would do, immediately, is begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states. I’d probably send a few thousand more troops into Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message….. We could also, to Senator Rubio’s point, give the Egyptians what they’ve asked for…….. We could give the Jordanians what they’ve asked for…bombs and materiel. We have not supplied it… We could arm the Kurds.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on September 23, 2015.

Obama’s Sends $1.3 Billion To His Favorite Terrorist – – -General al-Sisi Then Brutally Attacks All Domestic Opponents

Like a stopped clock, even rabid neoconservatives can be right once in a while. A good case in point is a recent open letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, signed by such neocon luminaries as Robert Kagan, Elliott Abrams, Reuel Gerecht and Ellen Bork, calling on the Obama administration to ‘press the Government of Egypt to end its campaign of indiscriminate repression in order to advance a more effective strategy for countering violent extremism.’
The Obama administration, which helped blow up Libya and Syria in the name of human rights, has resumed arms shipments to the military regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, which seized power from a democratically elected government in 2013. Washington’s double standard not only undercuts U. S. credibility internationally, it also jeopardizes important security interests in the region.
As the letter from the ‘Bipartisan Working Group on Egypt’ rightly warns, ‘State violence – several thousand killed during street demonstrations, tens of thousands of political prisoners, hundreds of documented cases of torture or forced disappearance, sexual assault of detainees or family members, reported collective punishment of Sinai communities possibly with weapons provided through U. S. military aid – is creating more incentives for Egyptians to join militant groups.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 30, 2015.

Under Hillary, US Sold $66 Million In Chemical Arms To Clinton Foundation Donors Gassing Their Citizens

As Hillary Clinton’s bid for The White House ramps up, contributions to The Clinton Foundation charities have come under increased scrutiny.
First, a Reuters investigation revealed that contributions from foreign governments had inexplicably disappeared from tax documents starting in 2010, prompting the charity to refile five years worth of returns. The ‘omission’ was characterized as a ‘mistake’ by the foundation’s acting CEO who, in a lengthy blog post, promised that the organization had been careful to avoid conflicts of interest when Clinton was Secretary of State. It later turned out that Clinton may not have kept all of her promises to the Obama administration when it came to avoiding such conflicts.
Further investigative reports from the IBTimes outlined two particularly interesting cases where payments to the Clintons and/or their charities may have influenced policy decisions.
In one case, Goldman Sachs paid Bill Clinton $200,000 for a speech before lobbying the Clinton-led State Department on Export-Import Bank legislation and on multiple occasions, foreign government donors to the Clinton Foundation were awarded arms deals which, when taken together, were worth more than $150 billion.
Now, the IBTimes is back at it, with a look at the Clinton State Departments’ chemical arms sales to Middle Eastern governments who gave to Clinton family charities. Here’s more via IBTimes:
The Clinton-run State Department’s approval of chemical and biological exports to the Egyptian government increased in volume just as dollars flowed from Mubarak-linked entities into the coffers of Clinton family concerns. A group closely associated with the Mubarak government paid Bill Clinton a $250,000 speaking fee in 2010, less than 4 months before the Egyptian revolution began. In 2012, a firm with an ownership stake in the company that manufactured the tear gas reportedly used by Egyptian security forces against the uprising paid $100,000 to $250,000 for another Bill Clinton speech.
The approval of American chemical weapons sales to Egypt as Mubarak’s associates were stocking Clinton family interests with cash is but one example of a dynamic that prevailed though Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 06/03/2015.

Paul Volcker Invests in Foreign Banks as He Lectures on U.S. Bank Reform

Last Monday, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker held a press conference at the National Press Club to releasehis nonprofit’s plan for reforming U. S. bank regulation. Volcker’s plan includes elevating the Federal Reserve to even greater heights as a super regulator of a consolidated system. That’s exactly the opposite of what Congress has in mind as it holds hearings on fatal conflicts of interests between the Fed and Wall Street.
At the press conference, Volcker delivered a thoroughly discredited statement suggesting some deep-pocketed backers are putting words in his mouth. Volcker said: ‘The Federal Reserve is the best-equipped, the most independent and most respected financial agency of the United States government.’
Volcker’s views on financial reform must be seen against the backdrop of Volcker’s myriad conflicts and ties with the global ruling elite. His non-profit organization, The Volcker Alliance, has multiplied its income by a factor of 30 in one year. From 2012 to 2013, The Volcker Alliance went from $500,000 in contributions to over $15 million. It fails to list its donors on its public IRS 990 tax form. And then there is the matter of Volcker’s personal investments in unseemly foreign bank deals alongside global banks that are serially charged with breaking the law.
In December of last year, Simon Clark of the Wall Street Journal reported that Volcker had just completed his third investment stake in a foreign bank. Clark wrote that Volcker is well known for taming inflation in the 1980s (as Fed Chairman) but ‘Less well known is the 87-year-old former Fed chairman’s penchant for investing in banks around the world.’
According to Clark, since 1999, Volcker has invested in three separate foreign bank deals put together by private equity firm, Ripplewood. The most recent deal is for a stake in Latvia’s Citadele Bank. Earlier deals include the 1999 takeover of the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan (now known as Shinsei Bank) and the 2006 investment in Egypt’s Commercial International Bank.
The Latvia deal looks like an attempt by Ripplewood to replay the maneuver it perfected in the Shinsei Bank deal. Both Citadele Bank and Shinsei Bank were bailed out by taxpayers before Ripplewood came up with its offers.

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By Pam Martens and Russ Marte.