US covertly backed rebel leaders behind Egypt uprising

Saturday, January 29, 2011

LONDON - The US secretly backed rebel leaders who are responsible for the uprising in Egypt and the American embassy in Cairo even helped a dissident to attend a summit for activists in New York, said a media report.

Daily Telegraph reported Saturday that the US embassy in Cairo kept the identity of the young dissident secret from the Egyptian security agencies. He travelled to New York and returned to Cairo in December 2008 and told the US officials that opposition groups were planning to overthrow President Hosny Mubarak and establish a democratic government in 2011.

The dissident has been arrested by Egyptian security with regard to the demonstrations and his identity was kept secret in the media report.

Egypt’s protesters hope to emulate the Tunisian uprising that toppled president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali Jan 14, after nearly 23 years in power.

The dramatic revelations are in previously secret US diplomatic dispatches released by WikiLeaks and they show American officials pressed the Egyptian government to set free dissidents who had been detained by the police.

Mubarak is facing a huge challenge to his 31-years in power and he ordered the army on to the streets to quell rioting.

Margaret Scobey, the US Ambassador to Cairo, sent a secret diplomatic dispatch Dec 30, 2008, recording opposition groups had allegedly drawn up secret plans for “regime change”.

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

The memo 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 was quoted as saying that the plan was “so sensitive it cannot be written down”.

The media report said that Scobey questioned if such an “unrealistic” plot could work, or ever even existed.

The secret cables show that the activist had been approached by US diplomats and received extensive support for his pro-democracy campaign from officials in Washington.

The activist was helped by the embassy to attend a “summit” for youth activists in New York that was held by the US State Department.

Washington was cautioned by Cairo embassy officials that the activist’s identity must be kept secret because he could face “retribution” when he returned to Egypt.

The Egyptian state security had allegedly tortured the activist for three days after he was arrested for taking part in a protest some years earlier.

The WikiLeaks documents show US embassy officials were in constant contact with the activist throughout 2008 and 2009.

Filed under: Politics

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