Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Peter Greste & the Elephant in the Room

"What a pity Peter Greste isn't an American. If he were, the US would have promptly suspended all the millions of dollars of military aid to Egypt, pending a presidential pardon..."

So begins a letter in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

Let's get one thing straight here: even if Egyptian jails were full to overflowing with Americans, the United States still wouldn't turn off its estimated US$1.5billion annual aid flow to Egypt.

But don't expect any ms media commentator or pundit to tell you why this is so. It's an ELEPHANT-in-the-room thing.

The following report is probably about as close as the ms media will ever get to the beast:

"The US State Department spokeswoman bobbed and ducked and weaved for a full 20 minutes, determined not to state what seemed obvious: that in the midst of Middle East chaos, Egypt is just too important an ally to cut adrift, no matter how anti-democratic its behaviour. (Despite talk, no avoiding the truth about Egypt, Nick O'Malley, Sydney Morning Herald, 25/6/14)

"Before the briefing... both the White House and the Secretary of State John Kerry had issued stern statements about Peter Greste and his al-Jazeera colleagues. 'The prosecution of journalists for reporting information that does not coincide with the government of Egypt's narrative flouts the most basic standards of media freedom...' said the White House. The tone of Mr Kerry's statement was similar. 'Injustices like these simply cannot stand if Egypt is to move forward in the way that President as-Sisi... told me just yesterday...' After that meeting... Mr Kerry had said he had come to reaffirm Washington's 'historic partnership' with Egypt, including hundreds of millions of dollars...

"The jarring disconnect between the sentencing and Mr Kerry's warm words made for a combative media briefing.

"'I'm curious, though,' a reporter asked State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, 'did the secretary, in fact, raise these cases yesterday while he was in Egypt?'

"She responded: 'I think the secretary made very clear today our feelings... in his statement he called on the Egyptian government to review the political sentences...'

"Back and forth it went: '... how is this anything other than just a slap in the face to you guys, particularly after you've given them - you went ahead and released additional assistance?'

"Finally Ms Harf said: 'This is about the fact we have shared strategic interests, that the assistance we provide to them... is done in service of those shared strategic. It's all where the US national security interests lie'."

Shared strategic interests? US national security interests? What rubbish!

C'mon, Ms Harf, spit it out.

Another of your duckers and weavers, the former US press secretary PJ Crowley, managed it back in January 2011 when he was asked why the US still supported Mubarak when the Egyptian people wanted him out. This is what he said:

"We respect what Egypt contributes to the region. It is a stabilising force. It has made its own peace with Israel and is pursuing normal relations with Israel. We think that's important. We think that's a model that the region should adopt..." (See my 29/1/11 post US: Egypt Is All About Israel.)

There you go. It doesn't matter whether it's Sadat, Mubarak, Morsi, or Sisi. Whoever the Egyptian president is, and whatever he does, the US will continue to bribe him annually just to keep the Israelis happy.

[See also my posts Egypt: Life Support System for a Treaty (6/7/13), That Peace Treaty (9/2/11), A Likud Peace (15/2/09).]


Anonymous said...

To put it another way, so long as Egypt complies with two basic dictates;

No. 1 maintains a closed and sealed border with Gaza, which is against the Geneva Conventions in so far as maintaining an embargo on a civilian population under occupation and various provisions relating to collective punishment of civilians under occupation.

No. 2 Maintains the sham and worthless "treaty" with the Bandit State.

Then Egypt can do as it pleases. U.S. 'aid' will continue to flow rivers of gold, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer and the powerful U.S. domestic Israel Lobby.

As for Australia, what a farce it is to have the Attorney General, Senator George [not occupied but disputed] Brandis, purporting to speak for the interests of Australia in this matter on the world stage.

Imagine how the legal credibility of Australia and the hapless A.G. appear to the casual observer overseas now, let alone the tarnished opinion of any informed overseas judicial authority, including Egyptian, of anything uttered by Senator George [not occupied but disputed] Brandis.

Peter Greste must now be wondering, with friends like Senator George [not occupied but disputed] Brandis,who needs enemies?

Anonymous said...

sry, agree with the piece.

disagree with the elephant.

how many times did the US shell Al Jazeera coordinates with they went into Iraq?

how many journalist deaths by coalition forces, yeah, ok, specifically american forces?

i dont believe Blair really did discourage Bush from bombing their Doha hq of AJ, even tho this was the line the media painted of "dovey"(sic) Blair.

no... truth is, we kill journalists, have killed journalists, and Egypt have only locked up Greste.

The longer form commentary will never be told

arabs are bad is the cliff notes for the BS version