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Saturday, January 29, 2011

US has been secretly backing Egyptian rebels for 3 years

This is going to make every Arab ruler rethink his relationship with the United States. Based on Wikileaks documents, London's Daily Telegraph is reporting that the US has been secretly backing Egyptian revolutionaries for the last three years, and may have even known when the revolt was going to begin.

But first, here's a video with some highlights of Friday night's protests. Let's go to the videotape. The article follows.

The American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police.

On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011.

He has already been arrested by Egyptian security in connection with the demonstrations and his identity is being protected by The Daily Telegraph.


The US government has previously been a supporter of Mr Mubarak’s regime. But the leaked documents show the extent to which America was offering support to pro-democracy activists in Egypt while publicly praising Mr Mubarak as an important ally in the Middle East.

In a secret diplomatic dispatch, sent on December 30 2008, Margaret Scobey, the US Ambassador to Cairo, recorded that opposition groups had allegedly drawn up secret plans for “regime change” to take place before elections, scheduled for September this year.

The memo, which Ambassador Scobey sent to the US Secretary of State in Washington DC, was marked “confidential” and headed: “April 6 activist on his US visit and regime change in Egypt.”

It said the activist claimed “several opposition forces” had “agreed to support an unwritten plan for a transition to a parliamentary democracy, involving a weakened presidency and an empowered prime minister and parliament, before the scheduled 2011 presidential elections”. The embassy’s source said the plan was “so sensitive it cannot be written down”.

Ambassador Scobey questioned whether such an “unrealistic” plot could work, or ever even existed. However, the documents showed that the activist had been approached by US diplomats and received extensive support for his pro-democracy campaign from officials in Washington. The embassy helped the campaigner attend a “summit” for youth activists in New York, which was organised by the US State Department.

Cairo embassy officials warned Washington that the activist’s identity must be kept secret because he could face “retribution” when he returned to Egypt. He had already allegedly been tortured for three days by Egyptian state security after he was arrested for taking part in a protest some years earlier.

The protests in Egypt are being driven by the April 6 youth movement, a group on Facebook that has attracted mainly young and educated members opposed to Mr Mubarak. The group has about 70,000 members and uses social networking sites to orchestrate protests and report on their activities.

The documents released by WikiLeaks reveal US Embassy officials were in regular contact with the activist throughout 2008 and 2009, considering him one of their most reliable sources for information about human rights abuses.
The truth is starting to come out about the number of people hurt over the last few days. It's far more than the single digit numbers we were being given on Friday. Israel Radio reports that 92 people have been killed and over 2,000 injured.

If I'm the leader of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or other non-Democratic allies, I'm not going to sleep too well tonight. I have to wonder whether the United States is planning with dissidents in my country to overthrow my government. Not a pleasant thought (for them).

The full Wikileaks document is here.

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At 12:32 AM, Blogger Iron Chef Kosher! said...

I find it odd that Wikileaks is mentioning this NOW, because it can only make the US look GOOD....

At 2:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno, that's tale attached to one "young dissident"--the Obama pattern is conventionally what is playing out now-they support an ally until there is serious trouble and then they throw the ally under the bus and look for a likely candidate for appeasement among the strong-horse challengers to the ally's power. Too incompetent for long-term subversion they are better at short-term, ad-hoc, expedient treachery.

I don't understand the optimism that folks have for something really good replacing the Mubarak autocracy. Sure as heck didn't work in Gaza or Nasser's accession or the Baathist overthrow of the old orders etc. etc.

At 2:58 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

If the US is supporting the dictators' enemies, consider it payback for all their anti-Americanism. Measure for measure. I am not exactly having any sympathy for the Middle East's despots. The only thing far worse than them are those waiting in the wings to take over.

At 3:00 AM, Blogger M Brueschke said...

Perhaps Wikileaks was stung enough by the backlash against their censoring of the Iraq video that they just had to release something that makes the US look...not terrible.


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