Friday, January 28, 2011

Thom Hartmann: Who's supporting President Mubarak of Egypt?

You need to know this. Calls for revolution in Egypt escalated today into full on rioting - pitting thousands of protestors against police in the streets of Cairo. The scene was chaotic as stones were hurled into police battalions that responded with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. Cars and buildings are ablaze - and several injuries are reported as a result of police brutality. This is the most violent day of protesting yet - as the Mubarak administration clings to power in the largest nation in the Arab world. Plunging the country into a communications blackout - the Egyptian government has shut down the Internet as it was proving to be a useful tool for protestors and there are reports that international news correspondents are being prevented from reporting on the story. Security forces in Cairo confronted a news crew with CNN and confiscated their camera. Meanwhile - the Obama administration is walking a tight rope on how to handle the unfolding events in Egypt - an ally in the region yet home to a despotic president. Vice President Joe Biden claimed it was unfair to call President Mubarak a "dictator". President Obama was more nuanced in his position saying giving vague support to the protestors saying, "It is very important that people have mechanisms in order to express their grievances." While the White House hedges - there's one group that's a bit more outspoken in their support for the dictatorship in Egypt. That's the Chamber of Commerce...surprised? The Chamber's Egyptian affiliate - AmCham Egypt - includes many western transnational corporations including BP and Coca and Cola - and the group as recently as last year lobbied Congress to kill legislation to that would have called on the Egyptian Government to recognize the growing pro-democracy movement in the country and hold free, fair, and transparent elections. Why? Because President Mubarak is a key business ally - and he has exempted many Chamber corporate members from human rights laws. Here's another example of how the interests of corporations don't align with the interests of the people. If you're in the business of squashing a pro-democracy revolution like the Chamber of Commerce is - then you're not a patriot - you're a profit junkie.


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