by Jacob G. Hornberger
Russian foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov hoisted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton up on her petard after she accused Russia of shipping attack helicopters to the Assad regime in Syria. In response, Lavrov reminded Clinton of something she might have forgotten: that the U.S. government supplies weaponry to oppressive regimes throughout the Middle East.
Lavrov didn’t specify which countries he was referring to but he might have had Bahrain in mind. That nation is ruled by a brutal dictatorship that is not reluctant in the least to employ force against its own people, even if they are simply protesting and demonstrating against the tyranny of their own government.
The U.S. government does the same thing with Bahrain that it accuses Russia of doing with Syria. The U.S. government supplies weaponry to the Bahrain dictatorship, weaponry that officials use to keep the Bahraini people under the regime’s iron boot. Perhaps the fact that the U.S. Empire maintains a military base in Bahrain plays a role here.
Consider Egypt, which has been run by a brutal military dictatorship for decades. That regime is notorious for rounding up critics and dissidents, torturing them, and subjecting them to indefinite incarceration without trial. The dictatorship claims that it needs to wield these powers for reasons of national security — that is, to keep the nation safe from drug dealers and terrorists. Just this week, Egypt’s Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the Egyptian parliament, and the military has made it very clear that it will never relinquish ultimate power in the society.
So, what is the U.S. government’s response to Egypt’s brutal military dictatorship? $1.2 billion! That’s the amount of U.S. taxpayer money, which was extracted from Americans by the Internal Revenue Service, that the U.S. government recently sent to Egypt, as its annual “contribution” to support and fortify the dictatorship.
What do Egyptian officials do with all that money? Well, after no doubt depositing a bit of it in their personal bank accounts, they purchase weaponry from the United States, which they then use to maintain “order and stability” in the country, including by arresting, torturing, and incarcerating critics and dissidents.
Or consider other dictatorships in the Middle East, such as those in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Iraq, and Jordan. The U.S. government is among their principal supporters and backers.
Indeed, let’s not forget about all those brutal Latin American dictatorships that the U.S. government has long supported. Among the things that U.S. officials were — and are — most proud of was the fact that they trained the military forces of Latin American dictatorships at the Pentagon’s infamous School of the Americas.
I’m surprised that Lavrov failed to remind Clinton of the rendition-torture partnerships between the U.S. government and some of these dictatorial regimes, such as Egypt and Syria.
Yes, I said Syria! Yes, the same country that’s headed by the Assad dictatorship over which Clinton is taking Russia to task. Believe it or not, the U.S. government entered into a rendition-torture partnership with the Assad regime to incarcerate without trial and torture what turned out to be an innocent man.
Unfortunately we don’t have all the details on the U.S.-Syrian rendition-torture partnership because, U.S. officials say, that would threaten “national security.” Equally unfortunate is the fact that neither Congress nor the mainstream press has ever considered it important to learn exactly how the Syrian-U.S. torture partnership came into existence and which U.S. officials, including the U.S. president, actually signed off on it.
Of course, none of this is to excuse Russian support of the brutal Syrian dictatorship. It’s simply to show the moral bankruptcy and double hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy, a policy that is committed to getting pro-U.S. dictators into power and keeping them in power, even while taking other nations to task for supporting their favorite dictators.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.
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