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Introduction: In the aftermath of the 2012 arrest of Kim Schmitz aka “Kim Dotcom” in the wake of the MegaUpload takedown by the federal government, Herr Doctom has been variously portrayed as a martyr for internet freedom and the Second Coming of Christ by his cyber-libertarian supporters and as the Beast of the Apocalypse by his detractors. There is another possibility that suggests itself.
- This guy is a 1 percenter and proud of it, given to nothing so much as conspicuous consumption.
- There’s more to this guy than meets the eye and there is PLENTY of him that meets the eye.
- At the time of his arrest, he had a bunch of credit cards in different names and multiple passports in various names. (Schmitz/Dotcom changes names frequently, a practice that would impede database searches for his name.)
- QUICK: How many different credit cards and passports in how many different names do YOU have?
- Schmitz/Dotcom is a “turned hacker”–a hacker who forsook his life of crime to cooperate with the authorities to develop computer security systems. Julian Assange appears to be another “turned hacker.’
- As such, Dotcommandant may be viewed as an “inside player,” at least to an extent.
- He was convicted of a number of crimes, which did not prevent relatively prestigious companies from backing some of his fraudulent undeertakings.
- Convicted in what was the largest insider trading scandal in Germany up to that time, he fled Germany and was given 20 months probation and a 100,000 euro fine. The Dotcommandant allegedly earned $115,000 a day in his latest gig. A 100,000 euro fine is basically docking the guy a day’s pay. He got 20 months probation–no jail time. That altogether gentle wrist slap may indicate that he has good relations with the powers that be. It certainly was not a punishment that would deter the likes of the Dotcommandant. (Note that, in general, European sentencing in criminal cases is lighter than in the U.S. Still, that’s not much of a sentence for the largest insider trading scheme in Germany up to that point in time. Remember he fled the country to escape justice. The article below describes the punishment meted out to do Schmitz as “repeated lashes with a wet noodle.” Why?
- Food for Thought:
- With his over-the-top persona and jet set lifestyle, he’s not the best poster boy for cyber-libertariansim. Looking like a Goth Drew Carey on steroids, he presents a bizarre physical appearance to go with his “1 persenseless” behavior, making it difficult for many to feel sympathy.
- MegaUpload appears to have taken commercial product produced by others and then taken it to market at considerable profit for themselves. In essence, that’s theft. Seen by his supporters as something of a modern Robin Hood, that construct would have more validity if Our Hero were to distribute some of his evident wealth to the grips and other little folks who worked on the films MegUpload pirates. If, for the sake of argument, one of these giant media corporations were brought down by pirated download, the Big Boys (and Girls) will float gently to earth on their golden parachutes, while the grips go into “white knuckle mode.”
- Note that pirated download, among other things, deprives governments at various levels of sales and income tax revenues, placing added strain and their budgets. Ultimately, the more those budgets are strained, the more people get laid off from their jobs–police, firefighters, DMV clerks etc . In FTR #732 , we noted that the Pirate Bay case featured a clash between two right-wing views: it’s OK to steal revenue from governments but NOT OK to steal revenue from corporations. The same appears to apply in the MegaUpload case.
- The Dotcommandant has apparently engaged in a variety of criminal activities in the past.
- ‘The timing of this bust, coming so soon after the justifiable debate over draconian Internet legislation that may have seriously limited the potential for this remarkable medium, sets this observer to wonder if he actually was working to generate sympathy for SOPA. Perhaps other interests were manipulating Our Hero, running him “on a leash.”
- In the past, we’ve seen Nazi/fascist money man Carl Lundstrom  financing the Pirate Bay  download site. He has also allegedly been involved in financing a second free download  site.
- We’ve seen the Underground Reich  engage in money-making criminal conspiracies ranging in size from the short-selling that occurred  before the assassination of President Kennedy and the 9/11 attacks to the Great Train Robbery in Britain .
- Is the Dotcommandant actually generating money for the Bormann capital network  while discrediting advocates of Internet freedom? Note the money laundering charges against Our Hero, as well as the shockingly light sentence imposed on him by the German courts.
- The other people involved with MegaUpload are Germans and people from areas that were occupied by the Nazis in WWII, such as Slovakia. (Slovakia was, like Croatia, a nominally independent Nazi puppet state, controlled by the collaborationist Hlinka party.)
Have Schmitz/Dotcom been buttressed and fueled with Nazi venture capital, in exchange for part of the profits?
The view here is that MegaUpload and Schmitz/Dotcom’s media antics will serve to discredit the cause of internet freedom and may serve as pretext for the big corporations to crack down hard–and I mean hard–on internet freedom.
That would be deeply tragic.
Program Highlights Include: The Dotcommandant’s rare edition of Mein Kampf, autographed by Hitler himself; The Dotcommandant’s taste for Nazi memorabilia and war gear; The Dotcommandant’s founding of an encrypted e‑mail service, just as Germanya and Brazil were launching technology projects supposedly initiated in the wake of the Snowden disclosures; The Dotcommandant’s early political outreach to John Banks and the ACT Party, a far-right New Zealand political cadre; review of the divine laissez faire economic doctrine of The Fellowship (also known as “The Family,” not to be confused with the mind control cult which figures in Julian Assange’s background); comparison of the divine laissez faire doctrine of the Fellowship with that of the Muslim Brotherhood and its economic theoretician Ibn Khaldun; “ex” CIA officer Graham E. Fuller’s endorsement of Muslim free-market theory; the similarity in the corporatism of the Muslim Brotherhood and that of the GOP.
1. Now, about the Dotcommandant:
. . . . Schmitz’s efforts to branch into the “legit” world of security consulting with his security company Data Protect initially backfired by exposing his real identity—and by allowing it to be connected to his hacker credentials. In March of 1994, he was arrested by police  for trafficking in stolen phone calling card numbers. He was held in custody for a month, then arrested again on additional hacking charges shortly afterward — and again released. In 1998, he was convicted of 11 counts of computer fraud, 10 counts of data espionage, and an assortment of other charges. He received a two-year suspended sentence—because, at just 20, he was declared “under age” at the time the crimes were committed.
But Schmitz used the notoriety to boost his security business. He soon landed a security contract for Data Protect with the airline Lufthansa by demonstrating an apparent security vulnerability—though according to claims by others in the German hacking community , his connection to the airline was thanks to collaboration with an insider there, and to the hacking skills of an accomplice. . . . .
. . . . With insider trading charges pending over LetsBuyIt, Schmitz decided it was time to lay low (by his standards); “in fear for his life ,” he fled to Thailand in January of 2002. On his website, he hinted at possible suicide, saying he would be crossing “to a new world,” Hale-Bopp cult style. But instead of offing himself, he declared that he wanted to be known as “King Kimble the First, Ruler of the Kimpire” — a label he would apply to his future projects. (It’s listed as his title  on LinkedIn.)
As it turned out, Thailand wasn’t happy to see him. He was promptly arrested and fast-track deported to Germany to stand trial. However, the few nights in a Thai jail turned out to be the worst of it, as fears of prison in Germany  were unfounded—he was sentenced to 20 months probation and slapped with a €100,000 fine. In 2003, he pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges over the Monkey “loan” and received another two years of probation.
After the law’s repeated lashes with a wet noodle, Schmitz left Germany and moved to Hong Kong to start the next level of Mega-insanity. . . .
2a. More about Our Hero:
. . . . But in 2002, he was convicted in what was then the largest insider-trading case in German history.
Prosecutors said Schmitz bought shares in an online business and drove up the share price by announcing plans to invest millions to rescue the company from insolvency. After selling his shares for a profit, he fled to Thailand, was arrested and deported.
A Munich court sentenced the then 28-year-old to 20 months probation and a 100,000-euro fine.
After his conviction, Schmitz disappeared from public view, reappearing a couple of years ago in New Zealand, having legally changed his name to Dotcom. . . .
. . . . The FBI estimates that Dotcom personally made around $115,000 a day during 2010 from his empire. The list of property to be forfeited, including almost 20 luxury cars, one of them a pink Cadillac, hints at a lavish lifestyle which may be about to be put on hold. . . .
2b. If you can find a way to convince yourself that Kim Dotcom is trustworthy you might be able to use text searchable strongly enrypted email services that even the goverment can ’t read. 
Kim Dotcom’s “privacy company” Mega is developing secure email services to run on its entirely non-US-based server network as intense pressure from US authorities forces other providers to close.
Last week, Lavabit, which counted NSA leaker Edward Snowden as a user, closed and Silent Circle closed its secure email service. Lavabit’s owner, Ladar Levison, said  he was shutting it down to avoid becoming “complicit in crimes against the American people”.
Last week, Mega chief executive Vikram Kumar told ZDNet that the company was being asked  to deliver secure email and voice services. In the wake of the closures, he expanded on his plans.
Kumar said work is in progress, building off the end-to-end encryption and contacts functionality already working for documents in Mega.
“The biggest tech hurdle is providing email functionality that people expect, such as searching emails, that are trivial to provide if emails are stored in plain text (or available in plain text) on the server side,” Kumar said.
“If all the server can see is encrypted text, as is the case with true end-to-end encryption, then all the functionality has to be built client side. [That’s] not quite impossible, but very, very hard. That’s why even Silent Circle didn’t go there.”
A big issue is handling emails to and from non-encrypted contacts when Mega’s core proposition is end-to-end encryption, Kumar said.
“On this and other fronts, Mega is doing some hugely cutting-edge stuff,” he said. “There is probably no one in the world who takes the Mega approach of making true crypto work for the masses, our core proposition.”
Kumar said Mega is taking theoretic sounding technology such as Bloom filters , and making them work for the masses. Work is also under way to keep Mega secure, even if SSL/TLS is compromised.
“[It’s] exciting stuff, but very hard, so I think it will take months more to crack it,” he said. “But Mega will never launch anything that undermines its end-to-end encryption core security proposition and doesn’t work for the mythical grandmother.”
Meanwhile, Kim Dotcom has said  that he may have to pull parts of Mega out of New Zealand if new surveillance legislation is passed into law.
Dotcom told TorrentFreak that the US government and the other Five Eyes partners, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, are pushing new spy legislation to provide backdoors into internet services.
“The NZ government is currently aggressively looking to extend its powers with the GCSB [Government Computer Services Bureau] and the [Telecommunications Interception Capabilities] Act, which will force service providers with encryption capabilities to give them secret decryption access,” Dotcom said.
He added that it might force some relocation of Mega’s network to other jurisdictions, such as Iceland.
Dotcom explained that by design, Mega doesn’t hold decryption keys to customer accounts and “never will”.
Lavabit’s Levison said: “This experience has taught me one very important lesson: Without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would — strongly — recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”
3. The Dotcommandant presides over a political party in New Zealand that was poised to win seats in that country’s parliament or even participate in a coalition government. The Dotcommandant is proposing to end New Zealand’s participation in the Five Eyes  spying program–a major focal point  of the apparent BND “op” executed by Edward Snowden.
In Australia–like New Zealand, part of the Five Eyes arrangement –Dotcommandant associate Julian Assange founded the WikiLeaks Party. It also formed far-right and fascist allegiances, while attracting attention from the so-called progressive sector.
Note that the Dotkommandant is being assisted by the major players in the Snowden “op”: Nazi fellow-traveler Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange and Eddie the Friendly Spook himself.
It was not an ordinary political rally, but it has been anything but an ordinary election.
The hundreds of people who packed Auckland Town Hall on a recent evening were regaled by speeches by Glenn Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder; and Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, the last two appearing by Internet video link. Mr. Greenwald and Mr. Snowden said the New Zealand government had carried out, or at least participated in, mass domestic surveillance.
But at the center of the show was the event’s organizer, Kim Dotcom, an Internet entrepreneur accused of mass copyright theft  whose fledgling Internet Party stands a chance at winning seats in Parliament in the national elections on Saturday.
“We are going to work really, really hard to stop this country from participating in mass surveillance,” Mr. Dotcom told the crowd. “And we’ll close one of the Five Eyes,” he added, referring to the intelligence alliance that consists of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. The crowd erupted in cheers. . . .
. . . . The party advocates . . . . repealing surveillance legislation and amending copyright laws to protect Internet companies from “civil liability arising from the action of their users,” a fix that could shield hosting services like Mega.
There is widespread suspicion, as well, that if his party wins a place in the government, it will try to block his extradition. . .
. . . Mr. Dotcom has sunk at least 3.5 million New Zealand dollars, or $2.9 million, into the Internet Party, the largest personal contribution to a political party on record in New Zealand, according to the national Electoral Commission. . . .
4a. Our Hero–now a denizen of the so-called progressive sector–originally sought out, and contributed money to , the far right ACT party head John Banks  when beating the political bush in New Zealand.
Watching Kim Dotcom’s slow strip revealing his Internet Party plans has been excruciating: the leak to Whaleoil , the cancellation of the extravaganza launch party , the compromise of journalistic independence by unmasked party secretary Alastair Thompson, and his subsequent resignation . As a political party launch, this wasn’t a fiasco, it was a train wreck. . . .
. . . . It is weird, however, that the left has taken up with Dotcom. The left is not his natural home. When he first came to New Zealand, he sought out the far right in the shape of John Banks for assistance. He’s clearly pro tax minimisation for businesses — evidenced by his setting up Megaupload in Hong Kong where it was on a 4 per cent tax rate. It’s also plain to see he’s a businessman who likes to make obscene amounts of money, flaunt his wealth with extravagant spending and have servants responding to his beck and call — hardly the hallmark of a left-winger.
4b. More about the relationship between Kim Dotcom and the ACT Party’s John Banks.
A campaign donation by internet entrepreneur and alleged copyright pirate Kim Dotcom has forced the resignation of a New Zealand government minister.
John Banks resigned on Wednesday as minister for regulatory reform and small business after the Auckland district court ordered him to stand trial over allegations of electoral fraud relating to Dotcom’s NZ$50,000 ($44,144) donation.
Banks is accused of knowingly filing a false election return in his failed 2010 Auckland mayoral bid, listing donations from Dotcom and casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd as anonymous when he knew who they were from – an offence under the Electoral Act. . . . .
4c. Our Hero has a rare copy of Mein Kampf, personally autographed by Hitler.
. . . Before the party even launched, he’s been embroiled in political tensions. He initially planned a free “Party party”  to kick off the political venture, but was forced to cancel when the Electoral Commission warned it could be seen as buying votes. Then according to local news sites, he’s been in the awkward position this week of having to defend owning Nazi memorabilia including a signed copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf . . . .
6. The Dotcommandant’s party tanked in the elections. Interestingly, some observers felt that it was the Dotcommandant himself who doomed the party’s chances, as well as that of other so-called progressive political parties. Was that the intent? Recall that the Australian WikiLeaks Party  also gravitated to far-right and fascist elements, damaging the Greens in the process.
. . . . The Internet Mana party — a political alliance that includes the Internet Party, founded and bankrolled by Kim Dotcom, the German entrepreneur accused of widespread Internet piracy — failed to win a seat in Parliament. Its main candidate, Hone Harawira, lost his local race, and Internet Mana’s 1.26 percent of the party vote fell well short of the 5 percent needed.
The Internet Party leader, Laila Harré, blamed the National Party for undermining Mr. Harawira’s support, but Mr. Dotcom disagreed.
“I take full responsibility for this loss tonight, because the brand — the brand Kim Dotcom — was poison for what we were trying to achieve,” he told reporters. “I did not see that before, and it only became apparent to me in the last couple of weeks.” Mr. Dotcom put at least $2.9 million into the Internet Party  since May 26, according to Electoral Commission records.
A co-leader of the Green Party, Russel Norman, said Mr. Dotcom’s presence in the election had tarnished left-leaning parties like his. The Green Party won just 10 percent of the vote, down from 11 percent in 2011.
“I did say that to Kim Dotcom,” he said. “Remember, I did say a long time ago that it was a bad idea. But anyway, there you go.”
7. More about John Banks and his ACT Party:
He has a glowing resume in the world of Kiwi politics. Well, glowing may overstate it; his reputation has been well and truly tarnished by controversy over the years. John Banks was a minister in a previous National government and then, for a time, mayor of Auckland. These days he’s the sole representative in New Zealand’s parliament for the far right Act Party, and in a formal coalition with his former National Party buddies.
Life just keeps turning up roses for John. The man who was turfed out of parliament once before by voters, then lost the mayoralty, was thrown a sop for his single one-man-band vote, a juicy cabinet position. Described (jokingly?) as “barely literate” by a radio commentator, Mr Banks once again pulls in a handsome salary, this time not as a fringe radio talk-back host, but as associate Education Minister. . . .
. . . . Banks is reported in the NZ Herald as declaring “he believes the Genesis account of the start of life on Earth,” telling Radio Rhema he has “no doubts the first chapters of Genesis are true.” “God made the world in six days, with Adam and Eve his last act of creation.” . . .
8. More about the ideology of the ACT Party:
ACT New Zealand is a free market political party in New Zealand. The party’s current leader is Jamie Whyte. Until the 2011 New Zealand general election it was led by former National Party leader and Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash.
According to former party leader Rodney Hide, the party stands for “individual freedom, personal responsibility, doing the best for our natural environment and for smaller, smarter government in its goals of a prosperous economy, a strong society, and a quality of life that is the envy of the world”.
The name comes from the initials of the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers, founded in 1993 by Roger Douglas and Derek Quigley, from which the party grew in 1994. The party is commonly known by the acronym “ACT” and pronounced as a word rather than as initials. . . .
9. Throughout the course of the “Arab Spring,”  we noted that it was not a spontaneous event, but a covert operation , tapping the deservedly righteous frustration of many of the peoples in that region in order to usher the Islamo-fascist Muslim Brotherhood  into power. The “turn to the Brotherhood”  took place during the second administration of George W. Bush and has continued under Obama .
(Tragically, one of the most important developments in the investigation into 9/11–the Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002 –has been overlooked. That investigation revealed profound operational links between the GOP and its chief “privatization” ideologues (Grover Norquist and Karl Rove)  and the Muslim Brotherhood, including elements and individuals involved in financing al-Qaeda . It stands as a resounding indictment of this country’s citizenry, journalistic establishment and political class that the United States continues to suffer under the “austerity” onslaught manifested as “the sequester.” The core of the GOP political axis–Norquist and Rove–should be awaiting trial at Guantanamo as the traitors they in point of fact are. The utterly gutless journalists and politicos deserve the blame for this failure.)
Ultimately, Obama and/or the Democratic Party  will take the heat for the actions initiated by Bush, Rove and Norquist.
There is every indication that powerful, transnational corporate forces  envisioned and then dictated the “turn to the Brotherhood.”
The World Bank overtly endorsed the economic agenda of the Brotherhood, seeing in their “corporatist” ideology  a blueprint for advancing free-market ideology in the Muslim world.
When the World Bank gives voice to such thinking, the message resonates powerfully in the corridors of economic power. (We note in passing that the article detailing the Brotherhood’s free-market principles appeared in Newsweek, part of the Graham publishing empire at the time. The Graham publishing interests are second only to The New York Times as a “voice” the American establishment.)
Noteworthy in this context is the similarity in the IMF’s interpretation of “Islamic free-market” principles and the “Christian free-market” ideology espoused by the powerful group known as “The Family” or “The Fellowship.”  (They are not to be confused with the Santikenetan Park Association discussed in FTR #724 .)
Borrowing a page from the Calvinist book, The Family sees great success in business as proof of God’s blessing on the successful.
Both the Muslim Brotherhood and The Family see free-market/laissez-faire principles as being divine in nature, ordained by the Creator.
Of course both the Brotherhood and The Family are strongly connected to the Underground Reich.
We note that “ex” CIA officer Graham Fuller, one of the architects of the “turn to the Brotherhood,” as we call it, articulated the attraction of Islam for Western conservatives/corporatists. 
Stephen Crittenden: Now the book is basically about a shadowy organisation called The Family, or The Fellowship that was founded by a guy called Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian immigrant to the United States in the 1930s. Tell us about him and the foundation of this organisation.
Jeff Sharlet: Vereide is a fascinating character. This guy who comes to America from Norway, because he sees America’s the land of the Bible unchained. Even from a boy he’s given to what he thinks are prophetic visions. He believes that God comes to him and talks to him in very literal words. He comes to America and he makes quite a name for himself, becomes a preacher and starts preaching to guys like Henry Ford and titans of the steel industry and so on, and then has this Epiphany, this realisation in the middle of our Great Depression in the 1930s. He decides that the Great Depression is actually a punishment from God for disobeying God’s law, and how are we disobeying God’s law? Well it’s because we are trying to regulate the economy, we are trying to take matters into our own hands. Well we just have to completely trust God, and those he chooses, men like Henry Ford and the CEO of US Steel and so on.
Stephen Crittenden: Yes, it’s a muscular Christianity. You’d almost say he had a ministry to bring that industrial class back into religion.
Jeff Sharlet: Absolutely. This must be a Christianity on steroids. They were building on this tradition of this kind of macho Christ, and taking it to these businessmen who didn’t really care about church or the Bible or anything like that. What they cared about was organised labour, and in fact, particularly in Australia. Harry Bridges was a major, major labour leader here in the United States. And they just saw him the Devil Incarnate, and began to organise against him. And that’s what this group has become — and are to this day. They still see God’s interests as those of the absolutely unregulated free markets — a very sort of macho, muscular Christianity that tends to serve the interests of those involved. . . .
10. About the Muslim Brotherhood’s economic doctrine. compare this with the economic ideology of The Fellowship of Abraham Vereide.
Judeo-Christian scripture offers little economic instruction. The Book of Deuteronomy, for example, is loaded with edicts on how the faithful should pray, eat, bequeath, keep the holy festivals and treat slaves and spouses, but it is silent on trade and commerce. In Matthew, when Christ admonishes his followers to ‘give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s,’ he is effectively conceding fiscal and monetary authority to pagan Rome. Islam is different. The prophet Muhammad—himself a trader—preached merchant honor, the only regulation that the borderless Levantine market knew. . . .
. . . In Muslim liturgy, the deals cut in the souk become a metaphor for the contract between God and the faithful. And the business model Muhammad prescribed, according to Muslim scholars and economists, is very much in the laissez-faire tradition later embraced by the West. Prices were to be set by God alone—anticipating by more than a millennium Adam Smith’s reference to the ‘invisible hand’ of market-based pricing. Merchants were not to cut deals outside the souk, an early attempt to thwart insider trading. . . . In the days of the caliphate, Islam developed the most sophisticated monetary system the world had yet known. Today, some economists cite Islamic banking as further evidence of an intrinsic Islamic pragmatism. Though still guided by a Qur’anic ban on riba, or interest, Islamic banking has adapted to the needs of a booming oil region for liquidity. In recent years, some 500 Islamic banks and investment firms holding $2 trillion in assets have emerged in the Gulf States, with more in Islamic communities of the West.
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown wants to make London a global center for Islamic finance—and elicits no howl of protest from fundamentalists. How Islamists might run a central bank is more problematic: scholars say they would manipulate currency reserves, not interest rates.
The Muslim Brotherhood hails 14th century philosopher Ibn Khaldun as its economic guide. Anticipating supply-side economics, Khaldun argued that cutting taxes raises production and tax revenues, and that state control should be limited to providing water, fire and free grazing land, the utilities of the ancient world. The World Bank has called Ibn Khaldun the first advocate of privatization. [Emphasis added.] His founding influence is a sign of moderation. If Islamists in power ever do clash with the West, it won’t be over commerce. . . .
11. In addition to the apparent use of Muslim Brotherhood/Islamist elements as proxy warriors against Russia and China,the Brotherhood’s corporatist economics  are beloved to Graham Fuller, as well as corporate elements cdhampioned by Grover Norquist.
. . . . Fuller comes from that faction of CIA Cold Warriors who believed (and still apparently believe) that fundamentalist Islam, even in its radical jihadi form, does not pose a threat to the West, for the simple reason that fundamentalist Islam is conservative, against social justice, against socialism and redistribution of wealth, and in favor of hierarchical socio-economic structures. Socialism is the common enemy to both capitalist America and to Wahhabi Islam, according to Fuller.
According to journalist Robert Dreyfuss’ book “Devil’s Game,” Fuller explained his attraction to radical Islam in neoliberal/libertarian terms:
“There is no mainstream Islamic organization...with radical social views,” he wrote. “Classical Islamic theory envisages the role of the state as limited to facilitating the well-being of markets and merchants rather than controlling them. Islamists have always powerfully objected to socialism and communism....Islam has never had problems with the idea that wealth is unevenly distributed.” . . . .
12. More about the corporatist economic philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood follows. Note that Khairat el-Shater was alleged by Egyptian intelligence to have been running Mohamed Morsi. (We covered this in FTR #787 .) In turn, he was reported  to be serving as a liaison between Morsi and Mohamed Zawahiri, the brother of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri. Shater was also networked with: Anne Patterson, U.S. ambassador to Egypt, GOP Senator John McCain and GOP Senator Lidsay Graham. In turn, Shater was alleged to have transferred $50 million from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to Al-Qaeda at the time that he was networking with the Americans and Morsi. Hey, what’s $50 million between friends.
While Western alarmists often depict Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as a shadowy organization with terrorist ties, the Brotherhood’s ideology actually has more in common with America’s Republican Party than with al-Qaida. Few Americans know it but the Brotherhood is a free-market party led by wealthy businessmen whose economic agenda embraces privatization and foreign investment while spurning labor unions and the redistribution of wealth. Like the Republicans in the U.S., the financial interests of the party’s leadership of businessmen and professionals diverge sharply from those of its poor, socially conservative followers.
The Brotherhood, which did not initially support the revolution that began a year ago, reaped its benefits, capturing nearly half the seats in the new parliament, which was seated this week, and vaulting its top leaders into positions of power.
Arguably the most powerful man in the Muslim Brotherhood is Khairat Al-Shater, a multimillionaire tycoon whose financial interests extend into electronics, manufacturing and retail. A strong advocate of privatization, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Muslim Brotherhood businessmen who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s impressive electoral victory this winter and is now crafting the FJP’s economic agenda.
At Al-Shater’s luxury furniture outlet Istakbal, a new couch costs about 6,000 Egyptian pounds, about $1,000 in U.S. currency. In a country where 40 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, Istakbal’s clientele is largely limited to Egypt’s upper classes.
Although the Brothers do draw significant support from Egypt’s poor and working class, “the Brotherhood is a firmly upper-middle-class organization in its leadership,” says Shadi Hamid, a leading Muslim Brotherhood expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
Not surprisingly, these well-to-do Egyptians are eager to safeguard their economic position in the post-Mubarak Egypt. Despite rising economic inequality and poverty, the Brotherhood does not back radical changes in Egypt’s economy.
The FJP’s economic platform is a tame document, rife with promises to root out corruption and tweak Egypt’s tax and subsidies systems, with occasional allusions to an unspecific commitment to “social justice.” The platform praises the mechanisms of the free market and promises that the party will work for “balanced, sustainable and comprehensive economic development.” It is a program that any European conservative party could get behind. . . .