Saturday, February 04, 2006

Eric Alterman's Utopia: Egypt, 2006

It's the kind of thing where people can't get into your country when they say things the government doesn't approve of:

Galloway had flown to Cairo to take part in a mock trial of U.S. President George W. Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for their policies in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.

Wait a minute - I knew the U.S. government stopped people coming into its country when they said naughty things about George Bush, but why would Egypt stop someone from coming to its country for saying bad things about George Bush?

Because the U.S. State Department probably called up the Egyptians and asked for a little 'favor' - to at least delay Galloway at the airport, in the hopes that he'd get frustrated and just go away. But he didn't go away. Finally, before it became a huge international row that reached U.S. and Egyptian citizens, the Egyptian Foreign Minister stepped-in to make sure Galloway was allowed entry.

Why did the U.S. want to stop Galloway from participating in the event? Because Galloway is a huge and effective critic of George Bush, and all this 'war criminal' talk about George Bush is not helpful to Bush's image.

Why would the Egyptian government cooperate with Bush? Because the U.S. helps to support the Egyptian government and Egyptian elite - the business interests - in many ways, not the least of which is direct monetary support:

# Recent and Ongoing U.S.-Supported Power Projects

Construction, Cairo Regional Control Center:
Complete last fall.
U.S. funding $50.2 million, Egypt funding LE 115 million.

Equipment, three substations:
# Cairo-500, completed June 2002.
# Cairo East, completed November 2002.
# Mansoura, nearing completion.
Total U.S. funding $14.5 million, total Egypt funding LE 6.4 million.

Controls upgrade, four generating plants:
# Abu Sultan, completed in January.
U.S. funding $12.3 million. Egypt funding LE 4.3 million.
# Abu Qir, under way.
U.S. funding $13.7 million, Egypt funding LE 4 million.
# Ataka, contract signed in May.
U.S. funding $14.9 million, Egypt funding LE 6.2 million.
# Aswan High Dam, completed in May.
U.S. funding $13.6 million, Egypt funding LE 5 million.

U.S. taxpayers pay for power stations in a foreign country, and U.S. politicans and business interests reap the rewards. I wouldn't be surprised if some/all of the above energy projects will be owned/controlled by the U.S., directly or indirectly, possibly even including well-known firms like Halliburton.

Why is this hypocritical for the U.S. government to be on such good terms with the Egyptian government? Because Egypt is ruled by an oppressive military dictatorship.

As more and more Americans are finally starting to see, their government is not committed to democracy - it is committed to money and power - nothing more. And that's not money and power for ordinary Americans - that's more money and more power for the people who already have a lot of both - in other words, for the elite. If it is helpful to our government's plans to talk about democracy while they overthrown democratic governments, then so be it - whatever is necessary to keep the American people fooled.

UPDATE: Changed around some of original post. Why Eric Alterman's utopia? Because, like Iran and George Bush, he doesn't believe in free speech either.

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