Friday, February 25, 2011

The Egypt leak

Okay, I know. Egypt is like, so five minutes ago. Right now, everyone is doing Wisconsin and Libya and Charlie Sheen and the Oscars. But let's head back to the land of the pharaohs to revisit a question that we've looked at before: Did American covert operators instigate or direct the uprising?

This Asian Tribune article, previously unknown to me (although a Politico commenter mentioned it), indicates that the answer is yes. The information comes from a Wikileaked 2008 cable. Yep, the plan goes back to that year. To the Dubya administration.
The United States has been covertly preparing a regime change in Egypt for the last two years secretly assisting the leaders who were preparing a blueprint to bring representative government to Egypt now emerged as leaders or organizers of the mass uprising that the world is witnessing today.
That's not the most elegantly worded sentence in the world, but you get the idea. The cable discusses a "young Egyptian activist" who was recruited by U.S. intelligence back in 2008.
This young Egyptian activist was arrested and detained in this week’s uprising in Cairo, it has been revealed.

The name of this young Egyptian leader is withheld for obvious reasons.
Aw, c'mon. Let's not be so coy. Looks to me like we're talking about Wael Ghonim, whom we have discussed before.

So what does this cable tell us? Actually, not much that we did not already know.

Washington figured out that Mub could not last, and that his son was too unpopular to take power. Understanding that change was inevitable, they decided to exert some measure of control over the transition. Ghonim was recruited for the gig. (I kinda figured that out already.) If he weren't so young, the CIA probably would have made him the new Egyptian president, just as they did with Sadat and Mub.

The new stuff comes to this: Plans were laid as early as 2008, which means that Obama was not involved. Was Obama ever made aware of this scheme? Now that's an interesting question. He certainly wore his best deer-in-the-headlights expression for much of the uprising.

Also, if the Dubya forces put this scheme in place, why did the Republican leadership (Huckabee, for example) make asses of themselves with their pro-Mub statements?

Turns out lots of people on the ground in Egypt knew all about these plans -- more than two years ago!
xxxxxxxxxxxx claimed that several opposition forces -- including the Wafd, Nasserite, Karama and Tagammu parties, and the Muslim Brotherhood, Kifaya, and Revolutionary Socialist movements -- have 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 (ref C). According to xxxxxxxxxxxx, the opposition is interested in receiving support from the army and the police for a transitional government prior to the 2011 elections. xxxxxxxxxxxx asserted that this plan is so sensitive it cannot be written down.
The xxxxxx string refers to the "activist" working with the U.S. government -- and, as noted above, I'm sure that this refers to Ghonim.

Let's take this a step farther. If the US was (at least in part) behind the Egypt uprising, what about the Tunisian rebellion which inspired the Egyptians? And what about Libya?

One last thing. Here's a line from the cable that caught my attention:
He [Mr. X, whom I have pegged as Ghonim] indicated to us that he has not been focusing on his work as a \"fixer\" for journalists, due to his preoccupation with his U.S. trip.
Yeeaaahhhh. About that "fixer" business. Tell me more.

Just how many "fixers" are there out there? Just how often do journalists get info about foreign affairs from "fixers" who are actually U.S. intelligence assets?
I thought so. My take is that the Egyptian military did not want Gamal, and working with the U.S. intelligence got the transition going. Everyone is happy: the Egyptian military, the U.S. and the people of Egypt. Mission accomplished.

But wait, something went wrong: Bahrain and Yemen are in turmoil; Libya is in a civil war, and there's the potential of disstabalizing Saudi Arabia. Once the shit gets stirred and hits the fan, it sprays everywhere.

If this article was written before the uprising I would give it credibility. But to me you're looking for the wrong spook. I think this article is post-revolution revisionist friendliness to our country and likely planted to make it look like we supported the revolution all along. The author's bio states that he worked... where... United States Department of State as a foreign service national (FSN) from 1970 through 1995. Just a thought about other possibilities.
I disagree with arbusto205 in that I was suspicious of the Egyptian uprising from the beginning. It had a staged feel to it. Compare Egypt to Yemen, or Libya, where two other long time dictators have been in power. The uncertainty is palpable. The U.S. intelligence must be figuring out that they made a mistake and should have allowed the Egyptian military have its coup instead of promoting another phony revolution, like the ones in Eastern Europe.
Gollyee I hope our intelligence forces are that competent!
When watching Frontline the other night, they had a front row seat to the April 6 group and the youth Muslim Brotherhood.

Even before Cannon asked the question, I was asking myself the same, as I do with most stories of that nature. Questioning what I am being told by media. But as I watched Frontline that question of, is this due to outside forces, was a constant. Frontline is good, but they aren't that good to have themselves stationed with the revolutionaries both in the office and in the square.

Anyway, with the first questioning post, I was reminded of those 90s era Discovery Channel docs about the CIA and their exploits and one agent in particular. You probably remember him Cannon, he had a distinct voice, a cigar always in hand, and was bit of a character dressed in his dapper suits.

He would tell of their exploits in Latin America and one story about how they overthrew a govt with a couple of shortwave radios. They chattered back and forth to stir up people into thinking this huge uprising was bubbling up and going critical mass. Sure enough the people came out to join this manufactured uprising.

Buckie...Duckie...something like that was his nickname. He was quite proud of the success they had on a small budget and not a lot of other agents on the case.

So without a doubt, it is possible, and to not ask the question would be irresponsible with the US track record.

I am also reminded of Col Peters' map to redraw the boundaries of the Middle East.

Yes, Egypt wasn't on the map to lose ground to form a new countries, but the PNAC/neocons had designs on Egypt for a while.

"In August of 2002, Defense Policy Board chairman and PNAC member Richard Perle heard a policy briefing from a think tank associated with the Rand Corporation. According to the Washington Post and The Nation, the final slide of this presentation described "Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia as the strategic pivot, and Egypt as the prize" in a war that would purportedly be about ridding the world of Saddam Hussein's weapons."

Even if there was a CIA connection I doubt it was Goniem. I saw him in an interview not savvy at all
In the post, you ask: "Also, if the Dubya forces put this scheme in place, why did the Republican leadership (Huckabee, for example) make asses of themselves with their pro-Mub statements?"

The kind of organization that puts this kind of operation into place exists outside the two-party system and outside the traditional government structure.

So just because it was hatched while Bush was in office does not mean that Bush knew about it, nor does it mean that other republican politicians would know about it. My guess is that Obama was in the dark as well. In these types of things, Presidents and politicians are strictly on a "need to know" basis. They'll be given their script when they are needed to convey some platitudes to the masses.
Anon 5:06 -- it was definitely Ghonim. The "fixer" thing fits right in.
Anon 8:11, I like disagreement, as I maybe disagreed with Joe's angle about Ghonim. I might be playing devil's advocate here, but I know some people here were surprised, but in the end we handled it with the military quite well. Mubarak's abdication speech was great...except he didn't make it. You're sharp to observe that it is rather like '89. Except give the Eastern Europeans some credit, they DID have a revolution of a kind. Just not the sort that was expected.
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