While reading up on Egypt yesterday, I stumbled on a Bloomberg article mentioning that FRANK WISNER is in Cairo at the request of the Obama administration.
Obama Seeks to Support Protesters Without Repudiating Mubarak
By Mike Dorning and Julianna Goldman - Feb 1, 2011
FRANK WISNER, a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and former vice chairman of American International Group Inc., is in Cairo at the request of the Obama administration to meet with Egyptian officials and other local contacts to "gain a perspective" on what Mubarak and his government are thinking, State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said yesterday.
The instant I read the name FRANK WISNER, I KNEW THINGS WERE ABOUT TO GO TO HELL IN EGYPT. Frank Wisner is not the person you send to promote democracy. He is a man devoid of morals and probably a human soul. Frank Wisner's entire purpose in existence IS TO CRUSH DEMOCRACY WHEREVER IT NEEDS TO BE CRUSHED.
Counterpunch reports about Frank Wisner in Cairo.
Frank Wisner in Cairo
The Empire's Bagman
By VIJAY PRASHAD
WISNER HAS A LONG LINEAGE IN THE CIA FAMILY. His father, Frank Sr., helped overthrow Arbenz of Guatemala (1954) and Mossadeq of Iran (1953), before he was undone in mysterious circumstances in 1965. FRANK JR. IS WELL KNOWN AROUND LANGLEY, with a career in the Defense and State Departments along with ambassadorial service in Egypt, the Philippines, and then India. In each of these places Wisner insinuated himself into the social and military branches of the power elite. He became their spokesperson. WISNER AND MUBARAK BECAME CLOSE FRIENDS when he was in country (1986-1991), and many credit this friendship (and military aid) with Egypt's support of the US in the 1991 Gulf War. NOT ONCE DID THE US PROVIDE A CRITICISM OF EGYPT'S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD. As Human Rights Watch put it, the George H. W. Bush regime "refrained from any public expression of concern about human rights violations in Egypt." Instead, military aid increased, and the torture system continued. The moral turpitude (bad guys, aka the Muslim Brotherhood and democracy advocates need to be tortured) and the torture apparatus set up the system for the regime followed by Bush's son, George W. after 911, with the extraordinary rendition programs to these very Egyptian prisons. WISNER MIGHT BE CONSIDERED THE ARCHITECT OF THE FRAMEWORK FOR THIS POLICY.
WISNER REMAINED LOYAL TO MUBARAK. In 2005, he celebrated the Egyptian (s)election (Mubarak "won" with 88.6% of the vote). It was a "historic day" he said, and went further, "There were no instances of repression; there wasn't heavy police presence on the streets. The atmosphere was not one of police intimidation." This is quite the opposite of what came out from election observers, human rights organizations and bloggers such as Karee Suleiman and Hossam el-Hamalawy. The Democratic and Republican ghouls came together in the James Baker Institute's working group on the Middle East. Wisner joined the Baker Institute's head Edward Djerejian and others to produce a report in 2003 that offers us a tasty statement, "Achieving security and stability in the Middle East will be made more difficult by the fact that short-term necessities will seem to contradict long-term goals." If the long-term goal is Democracy, then that is all very well because it has to be sacrificed to the short-term, namely support for the kind of Pharonic State embodied by Mubarak. Nothing more is on offer. No wonder that a "Washington Middle East hand" told The Cable, "[WISNER'S] THE EXACT WRONG PERSON TO SEND. HE IS AN APOLOGIST FOR MUBARAK." But this is a wrong view. WISNER IS JUST THE EXACT PERSON TO SEND TO PROTECT THE SHORT-TERM, AND SO ONLY-TERM, INTERESTS OF WASHINGTON. The long-term has been set aside.
I first wrote about Wisner in 1997 when he joined the board of directors of Enron Corporation. Where Wisner had been, to Manila and New Delhi, Enron followed. As one of his staffers said, "if anybody asked the CIA to help promote US business in India, it was probably Frank." Without the CIA and the muscle of the US government, it is unlikely that the Subic Bay power station deal or the Dabhol deal would have gone to Enron. Here Wisner followed James Baker, who was hired by Enron to help it gain access to the Shuaiba power plant in Kuwait. Nor is he different from Holbrooke, who was in the upper circle of Credit Suisse First Boston, Lehman Brothers, Perseus and the American International Group. They used the full power of the US state to push the private interests of their firms, and then made money for themselves. This is the close nexus of Capital and Empire, and Wisner is the hinge between them.
One wonders at the tenor of the official cables coming from Cairo to Washington. Ambassador Margaret Scobey, a career official, has been once more sidelined. The first time was over rendition. She is known to have opposed the tenor of it, and had spoken on behalf of Ayman Nour and others. This time Obama did an end run around her, SENDING WISNER. Scobey went to visit El-Baradei. Similar treatment was meted out to Ambassador Anne Patterson in Islamabad. Her brief was narrowed by Holbrooke's appointment. What must these women in senior places think, that when a crisis erupts, they are set-aside for the men of Washington?
Wisner urged Mubarak to concede. It is not enough. More is being asked for. Today, Mubarak's supporters have come out with bats in hand, ready for a fight. THIS HAS PROBABLY ALSO BEEN SANCTIONED IN THAT PRIVATE MEETING. IT IS WHAT ONE EXPECTS OF EMPIRE'S BAGMAN.
It is also worth noting Frank Wisner Sr's special role in undermining democracy in the US.
Frank Wisner Sr's role in undermining democracy in the US
Frank Wisner Sr was responsible for creating the criminal, "covert" wing of the CIA.
The Presidential Slush Fund
The International Economy - Sept, 2000
… Recruitment of agents to parachute behind the Iron Curtain, their training, and logistical support became the secret mission assigned to a creative and energetic New York lawyer and World War II intelligence veteran named FRANK G. WISNER.
WISNER's obvious first task, before any of the skullduggery could be mounted, was to scrounge up the cash to pay for it all. …
He found his first tempting target in an extraordinary and (at the time) little-noted account accumulating out of sight in the Department of the Treasury known as the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF). …
For WISNER and his OPC, THIS EXTRAVAGANT FREEDOM FROM SCRUTINY, ENSHRINED IN LAW, WAS NOTHING SHORT OF IDEAL.
… IT WAS THE SLUSH FUND ESTABLISHED TO HELP STABILIZE THE DOLLAR IN WORLD TRADE, then supplemented by enemy assets during World War II, THAT STARTED THE UNITED STATES OFF ON THE FIRST COVERT OPERATIONS OF THE COLD WAR.
Frank Wisner Sr was responcible for Subverting US Media
The subversion operation was orchestrated by FRANK WISNER, an old CIA hand who's clandestine activities dated back to WWII. Wisner's media manipulation programme became known as the "Wisner Wurlitzer," and proved an effective technique for sending journalists overseas to spy for the CIA. Of the fifty plus overseas news proprietary's owned by the CIA were The Rome Daily American, The Manilla Times and the Bangkok Post.
Meanwhile, however, WISNER had "implemented his plan and owned respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communication vehicles, plus stringers…" according to Deborah Davis in her biography of Katharine Graham — wife of Philip Graham - and current publisher of the Washington Post. The operation was overseen by Allen Dulles, Director of Central Intelligence. Operation Mockingbird continued to flourish with CIA agents boasting at having "important assets" INSIDE EVERY MAJOR NEWS OUTLET IN THE COUNTRY." The list included such luminaries of the US media as Henry Luce, publisher of Time Magazine, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, of the New York Times and C.D. Jackson of Fortune Magazine, according to Constantine.
Google Archive News results for "Wisner Wurlitzer".
My reaction: Frank Wisner arrival in Cairo means three things.
1) That Obama sent Frank Wisner to Egypt destroys all his remaining credibility. I am no longer going to pretend he is a good person.
2) The US is not supporting Egypt's democratic uprising. It is doing the opposite.
3) Things will continue to get nastier. Much of the credit for Egypt's deterioration into violence should go Frank Wisner, who is there urging Mubarak, the army, and whoever will listen to brutally suppress the Egyptian people's democratic aspirations.
Conclusion: This does not mean democracy is lost in Egypt. The forces aligned against Mubarak are powerful, and, more importantly, the US is losing control of world events. If Egypt has any luck, Frank Wisner will fail to crush democracy this time.