“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

US Secret Documents on US Political Meddling in Egypt

This has been going on for a long time. Look at this published on the CIA website - All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror   Intelligence in Recent Public Literature

By Stephen Kinzer. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2003. 258 pages.


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 2011TELEGRAPH

CAIRO 2454 C. CAIRO 2431 Classified By: ECPO A/Mincouns
Catherine Hill-Herndon for reason 1.4 (d ). 1. (C) Summary and
comment: On December 23, April 6 activist xxxxxxxxxxxx expressed
satisfaction with his participation in the December 3-5 \"Alliance of
Youth Movements Summit,\" and with his subsequent meetings with USG
officials, on Capitol Hill, and with think tanks. He described how
State Security (SSIS) detained him at the Cairo airport upon his
return and confiscated his notes for his summit presentation calling
for democratic change in Egypt, and his schedule for his Congressional
meetings. xxxxxxxxxxxx contended that the GOE will never undertake
significant reform, and therefore, Egyptians need to replace the
current regime with a parliamentary democracy. He alleged that
several opposition parties and movements have accepted an unwritten
plan for democratic transition by 2011; we are doubtful of this claim.
xxxxxxxxxxxx said that although SSIS recently released two April 6
activists, it also arrested three additional group members. We have
pressed the MFA for the release of these April 6 activists. April 6's
stated goal of replacing the current regime with a parliamentary
democracy prior to the 2011 presidential elections is highly
unrealistic, and is not supported by the mainstream opposition. End
summary and comment. ---------------------------- Satisfaction with
the Summit ---------------------------- 2. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx expressed
satisfaction with the December 3-5 \"Alliance of Youth Movements
Summit\" in New York, noting that he was able to meet activists from
other countries and outline his movement's goals for democratic change
in Egypt. He told us that the other activists at the summit were very
supportive, and that some even offered to hold public demonstrations
in support of Egyptian democracy in their countries, with xxxxxxxxxxxx
as an invited guest. xxxxxxxxxxxx said he discussed with the other
activists how April 6 members could more effectively evade harassment
and surveillance from SSIS with technical upgrades, such as
consistently alternating computer \"simcards.\" However, xxxxxxxxxxxx
lamented to us that because most April 6 members do not own computers,
this tactic would be impossible to implement. xxxxxxxxxxxx was
appreciative of the successful efforts by the Department and the
summit organizers to protect his identity at the summit, and told us
that his name was never mentioned publicly. ------------------- A
Cold Welcome Home ------------------- 3. (S) xxxxxxxxxxxx told us
that SSIS detained and searched him at the Cairo Airport on December
18 upon his return from the U.S. According to xxxxxxxxxxxx, SSIS
found and confiscated two documents in his luggage: notes for his
presentation at the summit that described April 6's demands for
democratic transition in Egypt, and a schedule of his Capitol Hill
meetings. xxxxxxxxxxxx described how the SSIS officer told him that
State Security is compiling a file on him, and that the officer's
superiors instructed him to file a report on xxxxxxxxxxxx most recent
activities. --------------------------------------------- ----------
Washington Meetings and April 6 Ideas for Regime Change
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 4. (C)
xxxxxxxxxxxx described his Washington appointments as positive, saying
that on the Hill he met with xxxxxxxxxxxx, a variety of House staff
members, including from the offices of xxxxxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxxxxx),
and with two Senate staffers. xxxxxxxxxxxx also noted that he met
with several think tank members. xxxxxxxxxxxx said that xxxxxxxxxxxx's
office invited him to speak at a late January Congressional hearing on
House Resolution 1303 regarding religious and political freedom in
Egypt. xxxxxxxxxxxx told us he is interested in attending, but
conceded he is unsure whether he will have the funds to make the trip.
He 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. 5. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx described how he tried to convince his
Washington interlocutors that the USG should pressure the GOE to
implement significant reforms by threatening to reveal CAIRO 00002572
002 OF 002 information about GOE officials' alleged \"illegal\"
off-shore bank accounts. He hoped that the U.S. and the international
community would freeze these bank accounts, like the accounts of
Zimbabwean President Mugabe's confidantes. xxxxxxxxxxxx said he wants
to convince the USG that Mubarak is worse than Mugabe and that the GOE
will never accept democratic reform. xxxxxxxxxxxx asserted that
Mubarak derives his legitimacy from U.S. support, and therefore
charged the U.S. with \"being responsible\" for Mubarak's \"crimes.\"
He accused NGOs working on political and economic reform of living in
a \"fantasy world,\" and not recognizing that Mubarak -- \"the head of
the snake\" -- must step aside to enable democracy to take root. 6.
(C) 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. (Comment: We have no information to corroborate that
these parties and movements have agreed to the unrealistic plan
xxxxxxxxxxxx has outlined. Per ref C, xxxxxxxxxxxx previously told us
that this plan was publicly available on the internet. End comment.)
7. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx said that the GOE has recently been cracking down
on the April 6 movement by arresting its members. xxxxxxxxxxxx noted
that although SSIS had released xxxxxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxxxxx \"in the
past few days,\" it had arrested three other members. (Note: On
December 14, we pressed the MFA for the release of xxxxxxxxxxxx and
xxxxxxxxxxxx, and on December 28 we asked the MFA for the GOE to
release the additional three activists. End note.) xxxxxxxxxxxx
conceded that April 6 has no feasible plans for future activities.
The group would like to call for another strike on April 6, 2009, but
realizes this would be \"impossible\" due to SSIS interference,
xxxxxxxxxxxx said. He lamented that the GOE has driven the group's
leadership underground, and that one of its leaders, xxxxxxxxxxxx, has
been in hiding for the past week. 8. (C) Comment: xxxxxxxxxxxx
offered no roadmap of concrete steps toward April 6's highly
unrealistic goal of replacing the current regime with a parliamentary
democracy prior to the 2011 presidential elections. Most opposition
parties and independent NGOs work toward achieving tangible,
incremental reform within the current political context, even if they
may be pessimistic about their chances of success. xxxxxxxxxxxx
wholesale rejection of such an approach places him outside this
mainstream of opposition politicians and activists.


  1. Obviously, this was not done under the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton, but under George Bush and Condaleeza Rice.

  2. "the CIA carried out its first successful regime-change operation over half a century ago. The target was not an oppressive Soviet puppet but a democratically elected government whose populist ideology and nationalist fervor threatened Western economic and geopolitical interests. The CIA's covert intervention—codenamed TPAJAX—preserved the Shah's power and protected Western control of a hugely lucrative oil infrastructure. It also transformed a turbulent constitutional monarchy into an absolutist kingship and induced a succession of unintended consequences at least as far ahead as the Islamic revolution of 1979—and, Kinzer argues in his breezily written, well-researched popular history, perhaps to today."

  3. The fact, Deuce, is that israeli immigrants are Eastern Europeons, more so than they are disciples of Judaism.

    This was exemplified by the 700,000 plus Russians that immigrated to the Levant in the 1990's. Russians that did not qualify as Jews, according to thee Rabbis, but did under the Israeli governments' liberal immigration policies, for Eastern Europeons.

    By Allan C. Brownfeld

    The Law of Return—which permits Jews to emigrate freely to Israel and defines who is eligible for such immigration in the broadest terms, including those who are the grandchildren of a Jew—must be tightened to prevent an influx of non-Jewish immigrants who will threaten the Jewish nature of the state, says Eli Yishai, leader of the Shas Party.

    According to one of our past Presidents, it is these Europeons that are the greatest obstacle to the peace process.

    "An increasing number of the young people in the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] are the children of Russians and settlers, the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem," Clinton told a roundtable with press in New York. "It's a different Israel. Sixteen percent of Israelis speak Russian."

  4. Deuce said...
    Obviously, this was not done under the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton, but under George Bush and Condaleeza Rice

    Barack Obama is a far-Left, anti-war, naive, raving narcissist whose actions have saddled the United States with unprecedented debt. He spurned any notions of bipartisanship during his first two years in office, until last November's election losses. Now, all of a sudden, he feigns having newfound "religion," which falls on deaf ears.

    He is a cowardly demagogue—for example, who failed to come to the aid of those courageous Iranians who were tortured and killed after rising up in protest against the disputed victory of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, following the 2009 Iranian presidential election.

    Fortunately, the twin pincers of the economy and his failing Afghan War are likely to end his presidency in January of 2013, and send Michelle and him either to Hawaii or Chicago to write their memoirs and work on his presidential library full time. The sooner, the better.

  5. Clinton's view point was evident, as far back as 2001, in Israel

    The bomb exploded outside a nightclub popular with Israeli Russians. Its playlist of Russian pop songs draws teenagers from Israel's Russian community, which now accounts for a sixth of the country's population.

    The bomb has added to Russian immigrant feeling that the Palestinian uprising has hit them especially hard.

    A new opinion poll published in an Israeli newspaper shows that 59% of the Russian immigrant community now wants an immediate end to Israel's two-week, limited ceasefire.

    Those Russians, just not Jewish enough, to be anything but cannon fodder for the IDF.

    But the attack also highlighted tensions that have existed over more than a decade between Israelis born in Israel and those who immigrated from Russia.

    There was an angry reaction among Russian immigrants when Israeli religious leaders questioned whether three of the victims should be buried in Jewish cemeteries, as their mothers were not Jewish.
    The Russian community in Israel tends to be secularist, disapproving of the money given to ultra-orthodox Jewish institutions, while at the same time being hawkish on security issues.

    Tuesday, 5 June, 2001

  6. Israel finds no rebuttal to Russian immigrant rhetoric

    Tony Karon
    Last Updated: Jan 18, 2011

    Almost one in three were not Jewish by rabbinical definitions, but Israel's citizenship laws define Jewishness by the same criteria as the Nuremberg Laws - of having had one Jewish grandparent. Many of those didn't even identify as Jewish; they were simply economic refugees looking for a better life. The most extreme example was the gang of Israeli neo-Nazis arrested two years ago, who were children of immigrants from the Soviet bloc. They had been conducting violent attacks on Orthodox Jews and Arabs.

    But the more common Russian political view is an aggressive Jewish nationalism. The community retains a high level of cultural autonomy, with its own Russian-language newspapers, where the conversation is often unabashedly right-wing and racist, sometimes violently so - and also deeply antagonistic towards Israel's political left, regarded as cowards, imbeciles or traitors.

    And there's also a strong element of contempt for the West. The writer Alexander Maistrovoy responded to Bill Clinton's comments by saying that Russian Israelis don't want "the kind of peace which Bill Clinton imposed on Serbs in Kosovo".

  7. As for Obama being "anti-War", what a misreading of what is happening with regards US policy in Afghanistan.

  8. Well Georgy, I was going to comment, but your comment disapeared. I agree, we should not have anothe comment fest about Israel and yes I did make my point.

  9. The Israel comments, Deuce, in answer to your statement that Israel is not a Europeon colony, in the Islamic Arc.

    The factual realities refute the conflation of "Jewishness" and the current state of the State of Israel.

  10. While the idea that anyone could discuss US policy in the Middle East, and ignore Israel, insanity.

    Ms Rice telling the Israeli and Palestinians that the US occupation of Iraq guaranteed Israeli security "to the East".

    The US position on Egypt, governed by the deal struck over thirty years ago, at Camp David, between Israel and Egypt.
    The one Anwar Sadat died for.

  11. While the truth that radical Israelis would stoop to terror, to stop the peace process well and truly exemplified by Yigal Amir and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

  12. Boys paleeeeez, the US has little to do with the entire affair, although simplistic leftist rhetoric avers that the US controls the entire region with supreme manipulation and deceit. The Egyptians deceive themselves very well without any assistance from outsiders, including the insidious Iranian cat's paw El-Baradei.

  13. ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - The United States demanded the immediate release of an American diplomat arrested in the shooting deaths of two Pakistan men, saying Saturday that the man had immunity from prosecution and was illegally detained.

  14. Kandahar deputy governor killed in blast -

    Afghans inspect the wreckage of the vehicle that carried the deputy governor of Kandahar province. (Ahmad Nadeem/Reuters) A suicide bomber killed the deputy governor of Kandahar province and wounded three of his bodyguards on Saturday.

  15. More to the point:

    US subventions to the Egyptian military of $1.3 billion & economic support of $250 million annually are important, but a drop in the bucket in the overall picture. Israel is a recipient of far more political and economic support from the US.

    At least it can be argued that support paid to Egypt does bring stability to the area.

    What the Egyptian Army, as the ultimate arbiter, will have to do is judge whether when Mubarak steps down or declines to run again later this year, the Army will control the appointment or "nomination" of his successor, as has been the case since the Free Officers' Movement in 1952. A Muslim Brotherhood version of Hamas or Al-Qaeda would be a cure worse than the disease.

    For the record, British armed interventions in Egypt in the 1880s which established a "protectorate" and its continued broken promises to leave that sad country until the early '50s has been the historical underpinnings of the successor dictatorship, not of a foreign "protector" like the late, unlamented despised British crown, but of a cabal of Army Officers who have run the country since 1952.

  16. Tunisia's revolution rap hits the big stage
    AFP -

    TUNIS - Once banned from the airwaves under the Tunisian regime, rap artists are taking their revolutionary lyrics to the big stage for the first time on Saturday at a concert and political rally in the capital.
    In Tunisia, All Eyes on Egypt
    Wall Street Journal

  17. TAMPA, Fla. – When police responded to a call from a concerned relative and found Julie Schenecker on the back porch of her Tampa home, they said she was covered in blood and made a gut-wrenching admission: She had killed her teenage son and daughter because they were "mouthy."

    Police said the military officer's wife, described by her mother as depressed, shot and killed her son on the way to soccer practice, then drove to their upscale home and shot her daughter in the head while the girl studied at her computer.

    Read more:

  18. When Condi Rice insisted that Hamas be included in the 2006 Palestinian plebiscite, it was victorious in Gaza and immediately threw out the minority PLO allies from that stinking hellhole. Would that that be preferable, a dictatorial terrorist regime elected 'democratically,' like the PRC, for example?

    I should think not and so should our political leaders.

  19. CAIRO – Hundreds of anti-government protesters returned Saturday to the battered streets of central Cairo, shouting for Hosni Mubarak to step down and attacking police even as the Cabinet resigned on the orders of the Egyptian president.

    The sight of protesters pouring into Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square and clashing with police for a fifth day indicated Mubarak's pledges of reform and the dismissal of the government had done little to cool the anger over Egypt's crushing poverty, unemployment and corruption. In a nationally televised speech after midnight, Mubarak refused to meet the protesters' ultimate demand — for him to step down.

    Read more:

  20. Deuce and DR, you are both off-base with regards to Iraq. Bush's courageous support of Petraeus gave the "Surge" the impetus to basically win all the commanding heights in Iraq.

    The US ended up winning a long unpopular war while summer soldiers like Harry Reid whined "The war is lost" and his co-adjutor Pelosi hissed treasonous backstabbing words about the US military.

    I too questioned the mission after failing to find WMD, and I agree we should depart Iraq toute de suite, but Maliki and the other Iraqis should know who just who helped them shrug off the worst dictator in the world since Mao died.

  21. Where is Red to explain this all to me?

  22. I hope not in Tampa.

    I do not agree, Stella.

    The "Surge" was a publicity gimmick.
    It did not change a thing, just postponed the inevitable.

  23. Zawahiri for President of Egypt!

  24. Zawahiri for President of Egypt!

  25. Stella it's great to have you here. I agree with this sentiment:

    I too questioned the mission after failing to find WMD, and I agree we should depart Iraq toute de suite, but Maliki and the other Iraqis should know who just who helped them shrug off the worst dictator in the world since Mao died.

  26. It did not change a thing, just postponed the inevitable.

  27. What is the inevitable?

  28. Ditto Stella at 7:13.

  29. .

    ...but Maliki and the other Iraqis should know who just who helped them shrug off the worst dictator in the world since Mao died.

    Somehow I suspect the families of the Iraqi war dead (100,000 to 600,000 depending on the source you choose) and the 2,000,000 refugees who fled the country know all too well who killed Hussein and what was the cost that was paid.

    If you haven't noticed there have been stories coming out of Iraq in the past few days of the population rising up against the government troops, troops of the same 'democratically' elected government we helped install.

    Talk of democracy is sweet. Dying? Not so much. Of course, unless it's the other guy.


    Source Iraqi casualties Time period
    Iraq Family Health Survey 151,000 deaths March 2003 to June 2006
    Lancet survey 601,027 violent deaths out of 654,965 excess deaths March 2003 to June 2006
    Opinion Research Business survey 1,033,000 deaths as a result of the conflict March 2003 to August 2007
    Associated Press 110,600 deaths March 2003 to April 2009
    Iraq Body Count project 98,170 — 107,152 civilian deaths as a result of the conflict. 150,726 civilian and combatant deaths[1] March 2003 to October 2010
    WikiLeaks. Classified Iraq war logs[2][3][4][5][1] 109,032 deaths January 2004 to December 2009

    The surge was important because it allowed us to declare 'victory' and get out, which we haven't done yet.


  30. Some big questions:

    Where they are now in power, how long will the Islamists be able to oppress young Muslims?

    Where will the Islamists be able to make inroads and seize control of governments?

    What are the goals, aims and asperations of the Muslim Brotherhood?

    How far will Europe tilt toward fundamentalist Islam?

    Is it really necessary to discredit all religions in order to refute Islamism?

    How does a secular democracy resist Islamist lawfare?

  31. Yes, Stella, it's pleasant to have you in the discussion. I, also, enjoy your point of view.

  32. ...aspirations...

  33. As for the subject of the post: I assume the CIA, knowing that eventually Mubarak will be toast, wanted to get a little leverage with some of the people that would likely be in the ascendant party.

    I assume this type of stuff is done quite often.

  34. More questions:

    What comes next in Egypt?

    If democracy, then what?

    What is political Islam?

    What is Umma

  35. What comes next in Egypt?

    More of the same,

    or a mess.

  36. While reading up on Egypt I got side-tracked onto the Hyksos,

    the Canaanites that ruled Egypt approx. 3,500 yrs. ago. Interesting stuff.

    They seem to have invented the compound bow, horse-drawn chariots, chain-mail body armor, shields, helmets, and assorted swords, daggers, etc.

    They were particularly good merchants, and administrators. Remind you of anyone you've heard of, recently?

  37. I believe Egypt was, at one time, the world's largest exporter of wheat (Mark Antony was interested in more than Cleopatra - who, of course, was Greek, not Egyptian.)

    Now, Egypt is, for sure, the world's largest "Importer" of wheat.

    When the oil runs out they are super-screwed.

  38. Dear global warming, climate change, mood swings, or whatever it is you call yourself these days.

    You suck ass.

  39. Melody, it's called entropy, and yes it does suck.

  40. There was a guy from a small company (they make parts for the truck market) on CNBC.

    He said business is getting better, and he's trying to hire people, BUT

    the people coming through the door can't read, write, or do math.

    He hires the best that he can find, and most of them don't show up on Monday.

  41. And I would venture to say that a large percentage of them have "lost" their drivers licenses, too.

  42. I think we're seeing some 'green shoots' in the economy. We better be because it's gonna take years for those 'shoots' to mature.

  43. The Leader in Green Energy among California Utilities is Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power (20% of electricity from Remewable Resources.

    The Lowest Rates in California? Guess Who?

  44. I got news for ya, Bubbas, and Bubbettes: Obama is on the right path on this one.

  45. Cairo is in flames and the people are looting in the streets, you'd think you were looking at the aftermath of a Lakers NBA championship.

  46. The TSA regularly prohibits US citizens from using cell phones in baggage areas in customs areas. Why?

  47. I'm beginning to think Mubarak is toast.

  48. Starting to see pictures of crowds of people standing on tanks, and tank crews calling it a day.

  49. If a "Yeltsin" shows up it's curtains.

  50. Those old enough to remember will recall that Egypt,under Gamal Nasser, allied with Russia during the cold war. Hosni Mubarak himself is Russian educated.

    Anwar Sadat brought Egypt back into the West.

  51. Why do you think Mubarak never appointed a "Vice" President?

  52. It's worth observing that while we had the bi-polar world of opposing superpowers, fundamentalism was kept in check. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the dysfunctionals like Sayyid Qutb found a following in Egypt.

  53. One of Qutb acolytes was another Egyptian, Aymin al-Zawahiri who has been implicated in the death of Sadat and has great influence on Osama bin-Laden, a Yememi.

  54. The Muslim Brotherhood was started in Egypt in 1928.

  55. This comment has been removed by the author.