“My apologies today. It is an exceptional episode,” says Tamer Amin, one of Egypt’s biggest media personalities. “We’re going to try and do something a bit different [and] get away from the ongoing events.”
What follows in the two-hour episode of In the End makes for riveting television: weather control machines, lyrics from the rap group Jedi Mind Tricks, and a shady cabal—the High Council for the World. What ties them together is Egypt and its struggle against terrorism and Western conspiracies.
Amin’s network is not government-owned, although he used to be a presenter on state television. But the track of the episode is a crude—but clear—pro-government argument.
Amin is going to try to convince his viewership that Western governments like the United States control the weather.
“We’re doing what resembles an episode with a message,” Amin says, before going on to deliver a critique of media in Egypt. “I don’t have a problem if we criticize, but distortion? I feel (it’s happening)—a lot of the time, it’s possible it’s intentional. I always see my enemy. What does my enemy mean?”
Soon General Hossam Sweilam, a former general and head of a military think tank, explains fourth- and fifth-generation warfare. The theory, which has been a mainstay of Russian military thought, seeks to explain that warfare has evolved beyond traditional armies to rely on proxies, psyops, and misinformation as the primary weapons.
Men in uniform—police and army included—purport that the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak and has led to instability ever since was caused by American-funded groups and media, in cooperation with Israel, Qatar, and Iran. The conspirators vary based on who is speaking.
Sweilam says America utilized fourth-generation tactics, funding the April 6 Youth Movement, a key organizer during the uprising against Mubarak, and the Muslim Brotherhood to sow sectarian conflict and social unrest.
Fifth-generation warfare takes that one step further. This is where the weather machines come in.
Sweilam, the former head of an Egyptian military think tank, speaks about HAARP, a now-defunct program to study the ionosphere, touting it as a weather-changing machine.
“America used another means to disturb Egypt by using fifth-generation weapons,” Sweilam told The Daily Beast. “[The U.S. government creates things] like exciting volcanoes, earthquakes, and starting fires in some Egyptian villages in the south by using electromagnetic pulses from HAARP system to destroy the Bab al-Mandeb, which is important for the Suez Canal.”
Sweilam points to lyrics by Army of the Pharaohs, a hip hop group formed by an MC from Jedi Mind Tricks, as proof of the conspiracy. For added cohesiveness, he points out that Jedi is another word for Jewish.
The slapdash nature of the episode (and that anyone would believe it) is mindboggling—and even moreso when you consider that Amin is a mainstream commentator and Sweilam was formerly a deputy defense minister.
Unsurprisingly, the episode was met with outcry and ridicule, and the satire-prone Egyptian Internet lampooned the theories. Within a week, Amin said these were the opinions of his guests—not him—shirking whatever editorial responsibility he holds as anchor.
Still, weather machines and hip hop groups conspiring against Egypt may be just the most paranoid iterations of a mainstream belief pushed by columnists and even Egypt’s president.
“Information wars and psychological wars destroy nations,” Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told an assembled who’s who of the next generation of Egyptian military leaders. These days it is hard to open up a newspaper or turn on a TV without hearing a security official or political commentator not belaboring this point.
At a recent government-sponsored conference called “Media, Freedom of Speech and National Security,” General Sameh Abu Hashima, a professor at the Nasser Military Academy, said foreign media in Egypt has two goals: One is to make the populace lose confidence in ruling authorities and the military. The second, he says, is to make the Egyptian people lose confidence in the economy.
The general’s argument boils down to this: Critical reporting in Egypt has an ulterior motive.
The government has criminalized publishing death tolls that contradict the official narrative. Sisi regularly meets with newspaper editors to guide their coverage. Most media members simply self-censor to avoid jailtime. The Committee to Protect Journalists says that at least 18 are behind bars for not complying.
America is an obvious target for the subject of these conspiracies, even though the U.S. government gave the Egyptian government $1.5 billion in aid just last year. Sweilam brushes this aside.
“This is an old story. We are only getting military and economic assistance according to Camp David,” says Sweilam, referring to the presidential hideaway. “But it’s still less compared to Israel!”
Sweilam is completely convinced: When it comes to the weather, the United States is in on it, one way or another.
“This is the main mission, the main goal of America, to establish their New World Order,” he says.