Pardon the title. No disrespect for the decent Copts of the world. It's not gratuitous. The robbers referenced are the present day "robber barons" ready to assume power over our highest government offices.
To extend on a Dkos piece by First Amendment, and to offer some loose threads for those who like pulling them, there are some good ones to pull.
To recap the subject, the secretly recorded video, publicized by Mother Jones, of a Mitt Romney campaign event, included a startling statement Romney made. In a back-and-forth exchange with one of the attendees, Romney expressed an interest in the possibility of a foreign crisis that could influence the election. Considering the controversy about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, what Romney said should be reviewed.
Audience member: So my question is, really, how can you sort of duplicate that scenario?---Mother Jones transcript of the video
Romney: Ohhhh. [A few chuckles in audience.] I'm gonna ask you, how do I duplicate that scenario.
Audience member: I think that had to do with the fact that the Iranians perceived Reagan would do something to really get them out. In other words [unintelligible]…and that's why I'm suggesting that something that you say over the next few months gets the Iranians to understand that their pursuit of the bomb is something that you would predict and I think that's something that could possibly resonate very well with American Republican voters.
Romney: I appreciate the idea. I can't—one of the other things that's frustrating to me is that at a typical day like this, when I do three or four events like this, the number of foreign policy questions that I get are between zero and one. And the American people are not concentrated at all on China, on Russia, Iran, Iraq. This president's failure to put in place a status forces agreement allowing 10-20,000 troops to stay in Iraq? Unthinkable! And yet, in that election, in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we have hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean that's—that was—that was the focus, and so him solving that made all the difference in the world. I'm afraid today if you said, "We got Iran to agree to stand down a nuclear weapon," they'd go hold on. It's really a, but…by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.
Romney [to another audience member]: Please—yes?
Naguib Sawiris is his name. In a way, he is the Egyptian Mitt Romney and Donald Trump rolled into one. A businessman and a failed presidential candidate. He's a member of the Christian Copts, who make up a 10% minority in Egypt.
Sawiris headed Orascom, a telecommunications giant that dominates North Africa and the Middle East. He was also the founder of Mobinil, Egypt's largest mobile phone network. After the Arab Revolution, he announced his exit from the business world to enter the democratic elections in Egypt as a candidate for President.
After Mubarak left, an interim government was installed. The presidential contest would be held in two stages in May and June 2012. Only the top two candidates by popular vote in the first stage would proceed to the second, and final, round.
Egypt is fragmented. There were two dozen candidates competing in the first round, representing the illiterate and semi-literate conservative and devout Muslim poor, the professional secular middle class, the Copts, and the followers of the former military dictatorship headed by Mubarak. These groups splinter further into subgroups.
With the number of competitors in the first round it’s easy to see that the top two could proceed to the second round with only a small base. The run up was chaotic. Candidates were disqualified and replaced. Coalitions formed and fell apart. Islamists, secular moderates, and the military were scheming to have one of the two slots that would compete in the second round.
The Copt minority had little chance of competing successfully with universal suffrage. They feared an Islamist regime and fell in with supporters of the military dictatorship. Conventional wisdom among Copts was that Mubarak had protected them.
Sawiris threw his hat in the ring with a party platform rejecting Islam as the religion of the state, Arabic as its language, and Islamic Sharia as the main source of legislation. Sawiris also expressed his rejection of the veil. He was criticized as a corrupt icon from the former regime. After a few months his candidacy and his party fell apart because of internal fighting over support of the military dictatorship. But Sawiris wasn't done.
By sheer numbers it was assumed an Islamist would be one of the top two in the first round. The question was how to ensure that the second slot would go to a representative of the former military dictatorship, instead of a secular moderate. Sawiris caused an uproar in Egypt by tweeting a cartoon that spoofed Mickey and Minnie Mouse in a way Islamists found offensive.
The secular middle class observed with dismay when the strategy became obvious. Escalating agitation by Copts came to a head in a clash with police and angry Islamists. Two dozen Copts were reported killed. A number of voters were swayed. They concluded that it would be wise to restore the miitary dictatorship which had, at least, preserved order. In the first round of voting, the top two were Ahmed Shafik, the Mubarak military dictatorship holdover who headed the interim government, and Mohamed Morsi, a moderate Muslim Brotherhood candidate. Morsi won narrowly with 51.7% versus 48.3% for Shafik.
Morsi took office with some conciliatory gestures. He resigned from the Muslim Brotherhood and he appointed two women and two Copts as members of his cabinet. Nothing could offset the bitterness, cynicism and anger of people who protested in Tahrir Square during the Arab Revolution expecting a liberal and secular reform movement that would guarantee freedoms, bring prosperity and modernize Egypt. They had been effectively shut out of the election. Shafik and Morsi were equally unacceptable choices to them. The press picked up stories from the US media claiming that Obama had given $1.5 billion to the Muslim Brotherhood to give it an edge before the election. Any good will that existed turned to simmering resentment and suspicion about American interference in Egyptian affairs.
A large number of Copts fled the country in a steady stream during the chaotic months before the election. Many ended up in America with a concentration in Los Angeles. Rightwingers and Evangelicals did not fail to notice the Copts and they began a persistent campaign to publicize their plight as victims of Islamist extremism. They were the ones who fabricated a tale alleging Obama’s $1.5 billion gift to the Muslim Brotherhood by connecting the release of military aid for Egypt to meetings that were held in Washington with Muslim Brotherhood representatives.
Fighters involved in the assault, which was spearheaded by an Islamist brigade formed during last year’s uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, said in interviews during the battle that they were moved to attack the mission by anger over a 14-minute, American-made video that depicted the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as a villainous, homosexual and child-molesting buffoon. Their attack followed by just a few hours the storming of the compound surrounding the United States Embassy in Cairo by an unarmed mob protesting the same video. On Wednesday, new crowds of protesters gathered outside the United States Embassies in Tunis and Cairo.
Others involved in the video are named in the same article. Some of the connections and where they lead have already been mentioned in other pieces that already appeared here at Dkos.
Now we have a propaganda campaign accusing Obama's administration of using lies and a cover up to hide information about terrorist involvement in the attack on the Benghazi consulate. To many who watched the presidential debate earlier this week, the sparring between Romney and Obama, may have seemed like a petty and pointless argument about semantics.
The video, the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi, were presented to Americans without any context for understanding what was happening or why. How Americans are kept in the dark by media that is complicit in delivering lies to the public is another story.