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Confirmation of U.S. Support for Egyptian, Mideast Uprisings

Sez Who?

COMMENT: A recent New York Times arti­cle pro­vides fur­ther evi­dence of U.S. sup­port for what we have termed “Pig­gy-Back Coup.

A bul­let-point syn­op­sis of this com­plex inves­ti­ga­tion is avail­able.

“U.S. Groups Helped Nur­ture Arab Upris­ings” by Ron Nixon; The New York Times; 4/14/2011.

EXCERPT: Even as the Unit­ed States poured bil­lions of dol­lars into for­eign mil­i­tary pro­grams and anti-ter­ror­ism cam­paigns, a small core of Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment-financed orga­ni­za­tions were pro­mot­ing democ­ra­cy in author­i­tar­i­an Arab states.

The mon­ey spent on these pro­grams was minute com­pared with efforts led by the Pen­ta­gon. But as Amer­i­can offi­cials and oth­ers look back at the upris­ings of the Arab Spring, they are see­ing that the Unit­ed States’ democ­ra­cy-build­ing cam­paigns played a big­ger role in foment­ing protests than was pre­vi­ous­ly known, with key lead­ers of the move­ments hav­ing been trained by the Amer­i­cans in cam­paign­ing, orga­niz­ing through new media tools and mon­i­tor­ing elec­tions.

A num­ber of the groups and indi­vid­u­als direct­ly involved in the revolts and reforms sweep­ing the region, includ­ing the April 6 Youth Move­ment in Egypt, the Bahrain Cen­ter for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qad­hi, a youth leader in Yemen, received train­ing and financ­ing from groups like the Inter­na­tion­al Repub­li­can Insti­tute, the Nation­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Insti­tute and Free­dom House, a non­prof­it human rights orga­ni­za­tion based in Wash­ing­ton, accord­ing to inter­views in recent weeks and Amer­i­can diplo­mat­ic cables obtained by Wik­iLeaks.

The work of these groups often pro­voked ten­sions between the Unit­ed States and many Mid­dle East­ern lead­ers, who fre­quent­ly com­plained that their lead­er­ship was being under­mined, accord­ing to the cables. . . .

. . . “We didn’t fund them to start protests, but we did help sup­port their devel­op­ment of skills and net­work­ing,” said Stephen McIn­er­ney, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Project on Mid­dle East Democ­ra­cy, a Wash­ing­ton-based advo­ca­cy and research group. “That train­ing did play a role in what ulti­mate­ly hap­pened, but it was their rev­o­lu­tion. We didn’t start it.”

Some Egypt­ian youth lead­ers attend­ed a 2008 tech­nol­o­gy meet­ing in New York, where they were taught to use social net­work­ing and mobile tech­nolo­gies to pro­mote democ­ra­cy. Among those spon­sor­ing the meet­ing were Face­book, Google, MTV, Colum­bia Law School and the State Depart­ment.

“We learned how to orga­nize and build coali­tions,” said Bashem Fathy, a founder of the youth move­ment that ulti­mate­ly drove the Egypt­ian upris­ings. Mr. Fathy, who attend­ed train­ing with Free­dom House, said, “This cer­tain­ly helped dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion.” . . .

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