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OBAMA - The Emperor has no clothes, his wars have no end!

category dublin | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Monday May 23, 2011 11:52author by Ciaron - Dublin Catholic Workerauthor phone 087 918 4552 Report this post to the editors

OBAMA, he speaks like JESUS and kills like HEROD!

It has been weird being in Dublin security city the past week. It reminds me a lot of
growing up in the police state of Queensland/Australia in the late '70's.

On Thursday, I was stopped and searched by police five times before noon and shaken down by the Special Branch 3 times over the two daze. My poster (photo of Giusepe Conlon...with the words "Remember Giuseppe Conlon and All Victims of Empire") remains in police custody,
confiscated by an Inspector under State Security legislation.
Photo - Giuseppe Poster...set it free!

The differences between Brisbane 77 and Dublin 11 is one of intensity and oppostion. In Brisbane you would be busted for expressing a dissident opinion, in Dublin last week they shut the city centre down, even to people who wanted to shop!

The clampdown in Brisbane in '77-82 was initially in response to the anti-uranium mining/ nuclear power movement, there had been a similar state response to the anti-Vietnam war and anti- racist Springbok Rugby Tour '68-'71 and of course any attempt by the aboriginal communuty to assert their hman rights (that last one's a given anywhere/ any time in Australia). This is the context in which Julain (WikiLeaks) Assange's mother, a Queenlsand Uni student, was actiive and into which Julian was born - very formative for all of us who went through it!

The Dublin population appears a lot more docile, the resistance smaller (there have been honoroble exceptions I've bumped in to on the streets), the artist scene a lot more timid in Dublin 11 than Brisbane 77.

At least in Briz we had "The Saints" with "Security City"
the "Go Betweens", local anarcho from the West End Tony Kneipp with his cult classic "Pig City"
and the inidigenoeus voice of Kev Carmody, here with "Thou Shalt Not Steal" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6fem7-ucxg
Even Spike Milligan and "The Stranglers" swung by on days where
hundreds of us were rounded up and bashed. Spike wrote an Open Letter and The Stranglers came up with "Nuclear Device" from their stopover experience

Where are the dissident poets, artists and voices of Dublin? Is it the place or is it the times? Is it self
censorship down to concern over access to the U.S. markets or 800 years of colonisation dunno? Whrere are the anarchs and civil libertarians when it comes to this wholesale denial of free expression? Is everyone safely vacuumed packed on the net...doing virtual scocialising, sexuality and social networking. Is 3D, the streets now judged irrelevant? I dunno...I don't even do facebook?

The first time I got busted in Briz at 17, Saints guitarist Ed Keuper and Grant McLennan of the Go Betweens were busted with us (418 of us rounded up! for attemtping to march against uranium exports)...ya didn't have to do much to get busted i Briz in those years.....march, gather in 3 or more, hand out a leaflet, hold a placard bigger than 24 inches by 24 inches...some lefty protestant ministers got busted for singing hims for aboriginal land rights, the Salvation Army band and the Hare
Khrtisnas also had run in s with the cops for doing there thang!

This is how it feels in Dublin today, ya won't have to do much to get busted when the Emperor is in
town. Wherever the U.S. emperor - white conservative or black liberal - should cast his shadow, you're supposed to "tremble, oh tremble...................." Wherever Emperors, the monarchy and military go, human freedoms evaporate.

Colm and I did a small vigil at the historic GPO (site of the 1916 Rising) on Friday against the ongoing use of Shannon Airport by the U.S. military, When we arrived there were ten Gards for the two of us and Special Branch came a calling.

The radio prattles on as I write about the lack of visible oppostion to the Royal Visit,...well maybe that's
because you turned your town into an occupied city! Dublin looked like a ghost town for many of those daze last week.

Radio says there was more reporting of protests about the Queen in the international press than in the irish media....well maybe that's becuase you've got the most cowardly housebroken centralised media in the western world!...not to mention the role of the Stalinists in RTE who have an expertise in airbrushing and censorship and whose buddies from back in the day now head the Labour Party in coalition government with FG. Little investogatory journalism wouldn't go astray...and maybe you'd solve a mystery or two? Save on the guesswork and speculation!

A lot of the resisters in Brisbane during that time were Irish diaspora...O'Gorman, O'Neill, Kelly,
O'Reilly, Foley, Bailey, Dowling, MacLennan, Curley.....but then again so were the Special Branch headed by Les Hogan who also headed the "Holy Name Society". So what gives with the
Irish in the 26 counties, dunno? We had a Radical Rosary Mystery Tour the other day...there were 3 folks from the 26 counties, 2 Catholics from the north, 2 protestants from the north, my bro and I from the Irish OZ diaspora and an English ex- SAS Iraq Vet. friend.
The YouTube link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv76uK72FB4

Here we have the head of the British state and Commander of Chief of U.S. forces that have dragged
"neutral" Ireland into two wars over the last ten years in town...and so little oppostion. The key states fueling these wars Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were created by the British Empire and armed by the U.S. empire. This "war without end" won't end by itself or until you address those states and these empires.

What I have heard of the Irish media over these daze, reminds me of the Stalinist homogeny of Orwell's 1984 radio...whether it is the "tits and ass" tabloids like "News of the World" or the
pseudo sophisticates of the Irish Times and RTE, they are all singing from the same subservient hymn sheet. .... celebrating the Queen and Obama with so much blood on their hands, "don't mention the war/s" and demonising any voices raised in objection.

I've been in the streets as much as I could handing out this flyer
"Free Bradley Manning", solidarity with Brad info side:
"Reward for the Apprehension of Jesus" (first published by IWW in WW1) side:
for Bradley Manning, a young man who has been tortured under Obama for the past year. Bradley is accused of releasing this footage
...of a U.S. helicopter gunship massacre of 2 unarmed Reuters journalists, 9 other unarmed Iraqis and when a family on ths school run stops to see if they can help the wounded or bury the dead...the order comes through to "light them up" killing the father and seriously wounding the children.

I heard no mention of Manning, whose grandfather came form Dublin, at the IAWM anti-war rally outside the GPO on Sunday! Go figure? You must assume that every member of the U.S. military considering non-cooperation is looking at how much solidarity Manning is getting from the peace movement before considering their options and presently Manning is not getting much form the Irish peace movement....even though he passed through shannon Airport on the way to Iraq and his grandfather was from Dublin!

I think it was Stalin who said, one person dying is a tragedy, a million a staistic. So it has been
enlightenting meditating on Bradley Manning and his story. As i t would be meditating on any one Iraqi vistim, really meditating, really considering the suffering and our Irish complicity in it Bradley now 24, was living in Wales and only 14 when these wars began he had an anti-war postion. Back in the U.S. at 17, homeless and poor he joined the U.S. military in his late teens in the hope of being able to get
a college education. Like most U.S. troops who invaded and occupied Iraq he passed through the small departure lounge of Shannon Airport in "neutral" Ireland. 4,000 of these young men and women have returned in body bags, 20,000 with injuries they will never recover from, tens of thousands with post traumatic stress and injuries they may recover from, hundreds of suicides and a million Iraqis dead. Bradley Manning may spend the rest of his life in military prison for telling us the truth about our war on the people of Iraq. he did this believing it would at least create a conversation that may lead to action to the end of the war. We need to be acting up and speaking out for Brad and the past present and future victims of the war machine.

The question for those of us with faith and without, for our communities and our our country is are we heading into or empire or out of empire?
The British did not conscript north or south in Ireland in WW1
The Catholic Church in Australia, under Irish leadership, defeated the governent twice in referendums on the question conscription (...not so in Aotearoa/ New Zealand! where the Irish Catholic community was a lot smaller component of the population)
The Irish constitution embraced neutrality.
For decades (rightly or wrongly), Ireland was generally viewed as a peacful non-imperialist country, it was helpful to have that Irish passport as you past through war zones.

Ten years ago around the time the U.S. military were retreating from their massive bases in Saudi Arabia in response to the New York 911 attack - Shannon Airport became a major hub for the U.S. war machine. The Irish constitution and the Irish people were betrayed. This is now air brushed over as Emperor Obama arrives for his compulsory phot op (40 million U.S. citizens claim irish decent) in the run up to his election.

See you on the streets....this emperor has no clothes of credibilty. It only takes one to shout it!

Related Link: http://www.dublincatholicworker.org
author by Maybe so Hillarypublication date Mon May 23, 2011 12:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"It takes a village to raise a child!"
- Hillary Clinton

"Maybe so, but it takes a Clinton to level a village!"
Stop the drone attacks!

author by Ciaronpublication date Mon May 23, 2011 13:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Should be downtown Dublin by 2 pm...with anti-war and Brad Manning solidarity signs and flyers if anyone wants to hook up.
We could try some street speaking weather permitting etc

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon May 23, 2011 14:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors



might be seen(try the phonetics). I haven't the busfare at the minit(seems it was needed to cover the security of the billionaire visitor last week).

author by Con Carrollpublication date Mon May 23, 2011 19:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

listen to the words of Harry Crosbie. Pat Kenny RTE Friday morning 20 May. we have to apologise for allowing protests. we should ask was he reading the diary of Agusto Pinochet. look at the political direct scaring messages from the gardai about a possible attack from the Real IRA. continuinity. the Irish political/media establishement scared people into welcoming Windsor.
is this testing ground for the blue shirts of Fine Gael. with their counter parts in Labour in silencing protests about the IMF. remember their next visit to dictate is in July. if we were serious we would be on the streets. like the Spanish. saying that alot will be on holidays. that is for those people who aren't affected by the cuts.

author by Ciaronpublication date Tue May 24, 2011 09:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here's one from Briz 77 to Dub 11
The Streets of Your Town
"...they shut it down, they close it down..."

If ya walked down windswept O'Connel St. toward the Jedward/ Obama Lovefest yesterday
(it was hard to work out who was opening for who?)..
you may have thought there were only 3 people in Ireland that had a girevance against the U.S. empire.
You may have thought that the U.S isn't running a major counter insurgency in Colombia (where were you LASC?)
or ramapant on executions judicial and extrajudicial
(where were you Amnesty?...still don't want to offend the Amerikkkans uh?...never been the same since ya jumped the U2 bandwagon....at least no punk rocker from Brisbane ever took a knighthood...at least 2 from Dub uh?)
or the wipe out of the Christian community in Iraq since the U.S invasion and occupation
(where were the churches, trade unions, feminists, eco warriors dunno???)

When the head of the empire that is fast tracking our world to a nuclear bang or a ecological whimper arrives in your capital and there is no visible opposition ....you know your movement is sick, co-opted, silenced and in need of diagnosis. What arre these paid organisers dong besides conference jumping, internetting and going to cofee with each other...where were they? where were they yesterday? keeping their heads down and their atrses covered, maybe?

Oh well could go on forever on that theme...back to the 3-4 strong Catholic Worker vigil on O'Connel St. as the masses of Jedward and Obama fans made their way entranced ike the opening scene from Conan the Barbarian movie where they are all off to volunteer as human sacrifce for the Emperor

As always, you meet good people ....when you as Dan Berrigan advised in the '60's "Don't just do something stand there!"...a lot of folks expressed appreciation that we were offering some visible humble (did I say windswept already?) opposition and took the flyers on Bradley Manning.

We held visuals
- photo of Manning with "Free Bradley Manning and All Imprisoned War Resisters!"
- "OBAMA talks like JESUS kills like HEROD"
(a photo of this sign appeared in the Metro across England yesterday....that's the free paper they give out on the tube in London, but also duplicated in Brighton, Mancheter etc...so yahoo for a visual break in the consensus coming from Ireland to England.. as Obama is about to land in Old Blighty

The Special Branch took about 3 hours to discover our presence and got all excited...checking bags and issuing an instruction that if we moved any further down O'C St .we would be arrested under Section whatever of the Offences Against the State Act

...I must confess I read "Catch 22" 8 times before I was 18...and I run with catch 22 whatever jurisdiction I'm in and whatever state authority I'm facing
"they can do anything you can't stop them form doing!"

So witnessing the voices of dissent silenced in Ireland by the hip charisma of Obama reminded me of that verse from Revelation 13
"...and they prostrated themselves in front of the beast, saying "Who can compare with the beast? Who can resist him?......
...well in Dublin apparently the Catholic Worker that doesn't seem to give a flying proverbial about the popularity stakes and appearing cool to the mainstream media or the bohemian left...and there we stood, it was blowing a gale, placards and drreadlocks flying, rain falling intermently, punters sneering

....we don't care who is running your empire a privileged white pseudo Texan preppie or a cool balck dude from Chicago...empire is empire Brit, Yank, Bablylonian...and we're making our way out of it at speed as the Irish state raises up its arse to empire to be embraced by it...handing the economy to the I.M.F. to be treated as it treats its hotel chamber maids....and offering a military hub for the U.S. war machine as it refuels for its latest killing spree....drive bys in Libya, occupations in Afghnaitsan and Iraq...and who ever this extrajudicial killer and Gitmo co-ordinater has in his sites next

...nothing like a liberal who has tasetd blood, disposed of the body at sea and can now swagger with his jock legal advisers or is that superiors?, jury stil out on that one!.......

Obama's vehicle is named "The Beast"...hopefully we can be as en effective speed bump on his highway of death as this one at the U.S. embassy in Dublin
The phone number for the police station where Giuseppe Conlon poster is being held starts with the digits 666....a coincidence, I think not!

Raymond is in court today, for his nonviolent protest at the Dail when Ireland was handed over to the I.M.F....it's time for solidarity with Raymopnd, Bradley Manning, Fr. Steve Kelly and whoever is befofree the courts ior in chains for ressintg the empire......Solidairity wit hthe folks in London refusing to be silenced by Obama and doing their thang today...

Also noted is they have released the Rosemary Nelson assasination inquiry on a day that they hope will be media swamped by the Obama Irish/English visit...may Rosemary rest in peace, may her unrepentant killers the whores of the empire lay awake in their beds and sweat as they count out the sins in their head"
Pogues "Streets of Sorrow" banned from Briitish television

As it's Bob Dylan's 70th. today here's one for you Obama...written for Reagan, but it serves you well ....Jokerman

Related Link: http://www.dublincatholicworker.org
author by Paddy Joe - Nonepublication date Tue May 24, 2011 12:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Try to stay on message, Opus. You're trying to be too smartassed with the language and sometimes it's impossible to know what the

hell you're on about, however well-intentioned it might be.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue May 24, 2011 12:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Scuse the cryptics, its a relic of the demands of grafitti.Concision, and a dash of the cryptic. It tends to break through when the madness overloads. Like when I OD on arselicking preeners a la our mainstream mediots. Its a density thing. When we're subjected to ten days of royalist recidivism and neo-imperial forelock tugging I go a bit lumpen. Just brush past it, and leave it for those who recognise the multi-plexity.

author by Blazes Boylanpublication date Tue May 24, 2011 15:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What's the "catholic worker" thing about? How is that different from me, an ex-catholic rationalist worker?

Can't you recognize street theatre when you see it? EiiR and O'Bama has nothing to do with politics, it's PR on the grand scale. By trying to create your own street theatre you were about to ruin the show, that's all.

author by 2600 arrested Obamapublication date Wed May 25, 2011 07:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Over Two Thousand Six Hundred Activists Arrested in US Protests (under Obama Presidency)
by Bill Quigley / May 24th, 2011
Dissident Voice

Since President Obama was inaugurated, there have been over two thousand six hundred arrests of activists protesting in the US. Research shows over 670 people have been arrested in protests inside the US already in 2011, over 1290 were arrested in 2010, and 665 arrested in 2009. These figures are certainly underestimate the number actually arrested as arrests in US protests are rarely covered by the mainstream media outlets which focus so intently on arrests of protestors in other countries.

Arrests at protest have been increasing each year since 2009. Those arrested include people protesting US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Guantanamo, strip mining, home foreclosures, nuclear weapons, immigration policies, police brutality, mistreatment of hotel workers, budget cutbacks, Blackwater, the mistreatment of Bradley Manning, and right wing efforts to cut back collective bargaining.

author by American.publication date Wed May 25, 2011 11:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

America is almost continually at war.

Since 1776 American armies have been fighting virtually everywhere within reach of America.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Wed May 25, 2011 13:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As we say this side, ye didn't lick it off the stones. Its a European disease(not that Africa and China dont practise the same shit).

It started before 1776. Its just that when Columbus and the lads hit the Caribbean the opposition was considered only as church conversion-fodder, slave labour for any potential mines or agriculture, or else an impediment to settling white colonies. They even used biological warfare by passing the natives blankets infected from diseased small-pox victims and other rampant shit they had no immunity to. Modern mechanised war did ratchet a few notches with the American 'civil' war, and the carnage was a rehearsal for twentieth-century blossoming.
Mostly the American war-psychopathology originates in the greed of Euro-imperial insatiable demand for totallitarian dominance. Then it got systematised and achieved corporate citizen status with unlimited financial leverage and limited liability, levered to zero by the same financialised legal system.

Its an evolutionary problem, and the corporate entities have us outflanked. Being virtually trans-temporal as well as trans-national they can buy enough collaboration to dominate our collective interests(given that they outlive us as individuals); even up to(down to?) the survival level we are approaching. The new human 'race' is to overtake this runaway corporate machinery, before its synthetic intelligence decides we as a species are redundant. Critical masses are forming, but the machinery of social control was demonstrated here last week. Its reassertion in Egypt and the rest of the Arab/African Spring is hammering out its damage-limitation programs at a rate of knots. Interesting times, as they say in China.

An example of what I mean by trans-temporal is handily provided by Bibi's and the hard-right Israeli's repeated insistence that Jerusalem is the Jewish 'eternal' capital. If they knew their own culture, rather than the self-serving parasitic ideology they adopt in symbiotic expedience, they might heed its injunctions against such blinding hubris. Breaking the mass-hypnosis, as Germany proved in the 1930s, may not be possible without their death-wish armageddon's realisation. Adolf's term was Ragnarok, his Nordic mythology's word for the same Manichean collision. Irony of ironies. Minorities in all periods seem to have recognised the urgency, the vast majority to accept the inevitability, and the powerful deluded minority to refuse to listen.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Wed May 25, 2011 14:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

just in case you think I'm exaggerating with the comparisons, here's the Geheime Statspolizei current position..or at least what little is accessable


author by Someonepublication date Wed May 25, 2011 16:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Obama addressed Ireland in Dublin just like a clown addresses kids. We buy into anything.

author by voros jadedpublication date Thu May 26, 2011 00:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors




author by Obama Shannonpublication date Fri May 27, 2011 10:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

YOUTUBE (3mins) - Obama talks about drinking Guinness the first time IN SHANNON AIRPORT WHILE ON THE WAY TO AFGHANSTAN...


author by Ciaron - Catholic Workerpublication date Sat May 28, 2011 17:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The announcement Monday by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that Shannon is a "no-change" policy is therefore a stark reversal of a joint commitment of the new Irish government, and a complete alignment with the "no-change policy" of the previous Fianna Fáil government.

Irish people swept away by the sententious prose of Obama's speechwriter will find it difficult to impute such explicitly malign objectives to his visit, but a survey of the history of secret diplomatic dealings between the Irish and American governments makes the suspicion far more difficult to avoid."

2011-05-27: Mission Accomplished: Obama Visit Quashes Cancellation of Military Stopover in Ireland

In the wake of Obama's visit, the Irish government has abandoned its plans to discontinue U.S military stopovers in Shannon airport.

The accepted narrative about President Obama's "historic" visit to Ireland on Monday was that it was entirely symbolic, and more to do with seeking the Irish American vote in Obama's reelection bid than with any substantive diplomatic goals. Among other ceremonial activities, the president and the first lady made a flying visit to the village of his Irish ancestors in County Offaly, and were photographed drinking Guinness in a local pub.

The visit was universally judged a success by an ecstatic Irish broadcast media, which ran all day an assortment of panegyrics from the national punditry, while scrutinizing with interest every frame of fresh footage. The president was greeted by a deferent Irish political elite, no doubt desparate to leverage the event to avert some of Ireland's fraught economic prospects.

In a speech to well over 100,000 assembled Irish people in College Green, Dublin, Obama spoke rousingly - and with an eloquence to which, in a political speaker, Irish ears are unaccustomed - of the ties of blood and destiny between Ireland and America, of hope, and of dreams, and of other vague exotica.

That is the story of America and Ireland. That’s the tale of our brawn and our blood, side by side, in making and remaking a nation, pulling it westward, pulling it skyward, moving it forward again and again and again. And that is our task again today...For all you’ve contributed to the character of the United States of America and the spirit of the world, thank you. And may God bless the eternal friendship between our two great nations.

His oratory brought forth - as no doubt intended - a wave of uncritical approval and praise. In the wake of the visit, Irish public goodwill towards the United States is very likely enjoying a significant spike.

It is at times like this that it is very easy for politicians to quietly bury conscientious and inconvenient policies which rely on a critical appraisal of America's foreign policy. This is no coincidence: occasions like this are choreographed specifically for these reasons, with explicit goals in mind. A leaked March 2010 CIA Red Cell document published by Wikileaks outlines propaganda and perception management operations conducted on European populations to ensure European government support for the American war effort. It notes:

Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters. . . (C//NF)
The Afghanistan mission’s low public salience has allowed French and German leaders to disregard popular opposition and steadily increase their troop contributions to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Berlin and Paris currently maintain the third and fourth highest ISAF troop levels, despite the opposition of 80 percent of German and French respondents to increased ISAF deployments, according to INR polling in fall 2009.


Related Link: http://www.dublincatholicworker.org
author by Pilger on Obamapublication date Mon May 30, 2011 19:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Welcome to the violent world of Mr. Hopey Changey
26 May 2011

When Britain lost control of Egypt in 1956, Prime Minister Anthony Eden said he wanted the nationalist president Gamal Abdel Nasser "destroyed… murdered… I don’t give a damn if there’s anarchy and chaos in Egypt". Those insolent Arabs, Winston Churchill had urged in 1951, should be driven "into the gutter from which they should never have emerged".

The language of colonialism may have been modified; the spirit and the hypocrisy are unchanged. A new imperial phase is unfolding in direct response to the Arab uprising that began in January and has shocked Washington and Europe, causing an Eden-style panic. The loss of the Egyptian tyrant Mubarak was grievous, though not irretrievable; an American-backed counter-revolution is under way as the military regime in Cairo is seduced with new bribes and power shifting from the street to political groups that did not initiate the revolution. The western aim, as ever, is to stop authentic democracy and reclaim control.

Libya is the immediate opportunity. The Nato attack on Libya, with the UN Security Council assigned to mandate a bogus "no fly zone" to "protect civilians", is strikingly similar to the final destruction of Yugoslavia in 1999. There was no UN cover for the bombing of Serbia and the "rescue" of Kosovo, yet the propaganda echoes today. Like Slobodan Milosevic, Muammar Gaddafi is a "new Hitler", plotting "genocide" against his people. There is no evidence of this, as there was no genocide in Kosovo. In Libya there is a tribal civil war; and the armed uprising against Gaddafi has long been appropriated by the Americans, French and British, their planes attacking residential Tripoli with uranium-tipped missiles and the submarine HMS Triumph firing Tomahawk missiles, a repeat of the "shock and awe" in Iraq that left thousands of civilians dead and maimed. As in Iraq, the victims, which include countless incinerated Libyan army conscripts, are media unpeople.

article continued...

author by Fisk on Obamapublication date Wed Jun 01, 2011 07:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Arab World Views the American President With Contempt
Who Cares What Obama Says?


This month, in the Middle East, has seen the unmaking of the President of the United States. More than that, it has witnessed the lowest prestige of America in the region since Roosevelt met King Abdul Aziz on the USS Quincy in the Great Bitter Lake in 1945.

While Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu played out their farce in Washington – Obama grovelling as usual – the Arabs got on with the serious business of changing their world, demonstrating and fighting and dying for freedoms they have never possessed. Obama waffled on about change in the Middle East – and about America's new role in the region. It was pathetic. "What is this 'role' thing?" an Egyptian friend asked me at the weekend. "Do they still believe we care about what they think?"

And it is true. Obama's failure to support the Arab revolutions until they were all but over lost the US most of its surviving credit in the region. Obama was silent on the overthrow of Ben Ali, only joined in the chorus of contempt for Mubarak two days before his flight, condemned the Syrian regime – which has killed more of its people than any other dynasty in this Arab "spring", save for the frightful Gaddafi – but makes it clear that he would be happy to see Assad survive, waves his puny fist at puny Bahrain's cruelty and remains absolutely, stunningly silent over Saudi Arabia. And he goes on his knees before Israel. Is it any wonder, then, that Arabs are turning their backs on America, not out of fury or anger, nor with threats or violence, but with contempt? It is the Arabs and their fellow Muslims of the Middle East who are themselves now making the decisions.


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