Max Blumenthal writes: On July 26, a cable news host leaned across his desk, stared into the camera and let his audience in on what he believed was the Obama administration’s deepest, darkest secret. “The issue is not whether Obama is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or not,” he declared. “The issue is that it is a fact that Obama used the help of the Muslim Brotherhood in his administration.”
Reading from notes in a tone of total omniscience, the host began to name names. He cited six figures, all Muslim American activists or intellectuals, accusing them of operating a Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cell inside the White House. They were Mazen Asbahi, Arif Ali Khan, Eboo Patel, Salam Marayati, and Mohamed Elibiary.
“Write these names down,” the host told his audience, “look them up during the break and when I come back let me know if what I say is right or wrong.”
Though he sounded like Glenn Beck or any other Tea Party-style Islamophobe, the host was not American and did not even speak English. He was Yousef El-Hosseini, a popular and famously reactionary personality on the private Egyptian cable network, ONTV. Founded by Egypt’s wealthiest man, Naguib Sawiris, a key financial backer of the forces behind the overthrow of the country’s first elected president, Mohamed Morsi, ONTV has emerged as one of the country’s central instruments for spreading pro-military propaganda.
Since Egyptian security forces commanded by strongman Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi began massacring supporters of Morsi, arresting and disappearing activists in droves, and shutting down unsympathetic news outlets, the Obama administration has ratcheted up its criticism, canceling a joint military maneuver with Egypt while stopping just short of suspending aid. Fearing that external pressure could lead to a crisis in internal morale, Egypt’s military regime has cranked up its Mighty Wurlitzer.
During the past two weeks, pro-military networks like OnTV have begun blending footage of Egypt’s glorious security forces waging a “war on terror” with the kind of conspiratorial screeds familiar to far-right members of Congress like Michele Bachmann and Islamophobia hustlers like Pamela Geller. The propaganda blitz has successfully reinforced the view of many average Egyptians that if Obama cannot respect the heroic Sisi’s war on “terror,” it is because he is caught in the invisible tentacles of the Brotherhood – or perhaps he is an undercover Brother himself. [Continue reading…]