Thursday, 11 July 2013

U.S. Funded Anti-Morsi Activists, Terrorist Advocacy With Foreign Aid

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U.S. foreign aid dollars have been channeled to a U.S.-based radical advocating terrorism against Egyptian civilians, according to a July 10 report by Emad Mekay of the U.C.-Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program, along with funding for other opponents of the former Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi.

One recipient of U.S. “democracy” aid, former Egyptian police Colonel and Supreme Court Justice Omar Afifi Soliman, posted the following advice to opponents of Morsi on this Facebook page, according to Mekay's report published on Al Jazeera-English:

"Make a road bump with a broken palm tree to stop the buses going into Cairo, and drench the road around it with gas and diesel. When the bus slows down for the bump, set it all ablaze so it will burn down with all the passengers inside.… God bless," Soliman's Facebook post last month read. In late May he instructed, "Behead those who control power, water and gas utilities."

All posts on Soliman's Facebook page from the past year have been removed since publication of Mekay's report. Mekay noted in his investigative exposé that Soliman has been on the federal payroll since 2009, and continues to receive taxpayer funding:

In an interview with the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, Soliman reluctantly admitted he received US government funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, but complained it wasn't enough. "It is like $2000 or $2,500 a month," he said. "Do you think this is too much? Obama wants to give us peanuts. We will not accept that."

Establishment officials engaging in damage control for the Egyptian and “democracy” foreign aid programs have tried to minimize Soliman's role in the U.S. foreign aid program — notwithstanding the fact that the former police colonel and Supreme Court judge served as a panelist at a 2011 Carnegie Endowment forum called "Egypt's Transition and the Challenge of Security Sector Reform." (The Carnegie Endowment is one of the most influential and politically connected establishment organizations.) “U.S. money ends up in the hands of all sides (especially the military), so to depict the protests and overthrow of Morsi as some sort of U.S.-funded plot is inaccurate and irresponsible,” Anand Gopal of  the New America Foundation told the in defense of the U.S. foreign aid program.

While Soliman may indeed have been a non-factor in the June 30 Egyptian military coup, subsidizing the former Egyptian policeman's pro-terrorist rants hardly counts as a ringing vindication of efficient use of U.S. taxpayers' foreign aid dollars. Indeed, Soliman's taxpayer-subsidized comments may even qualify as a crime in the United States, as it is a federal crime to engage in a “conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim, or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country.”

Mekay noted in his report, which has gone viral over the Internet, that U.S. foreign aid programs also assisted political parties opposed to the ruling Justice and Freedom Party, associated with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood: 

Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, interviews, and public records reveal Washington's "democracy assistance" may have violated Egyptian law, which prohibits foreign political funding. It may also have broken US government regulations that ban the use of taxpayers' money to fund foreign politicians, or finance subversive activities that target democratically elected governments.

Indeed, U.S. officials working for “Non-Governmental Organizations” created by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have openly boasted that they work directly with partisan political parties within Egypt. British-Egyptian citizen Hafsa Halawa notes that she works for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Egypt, an NED-created corporation affiliated with the U.S. Democratic Party. Her online résumé at indicates that she claims to have served as “Program Assistant for political parties team at NDI, Egypt — trained, communicated & aided parties to formulate successful campaigns after the revolution of January 25th in Egypt.”

The New American reported July 3 that U.S. foreign aid programs, specifically the “democracy” training initiatives of the U.S. Department of State and the NED that focused upon online activism, may have contributed to the protests that ousted Morsi. Though a clear connection between the U.S. government's Middle East Partnership Initiative (METI) and the Egyptian coup has not been documented, Mekay's report makes a strong case for a thorough investigation of the links between the online-based Tamarod movement that produced the coup and U.S. foreign aid.

Indeed, the telephone call between top military officials of the United States and Egypt just hours before the coup threat — though sold to the public through a Wall Street Journal article as a condemnation of military intervention — may have served as a wink interpreted by U.S.-trained Egyptian military leaders as a “go ahead” signal for a coup. The Obama administration — required under federal law to suspend foreign aid payments when a democratically elected government is overthrown in a coup — has yet to pull foreign aid to Egypt despite subsequent military massacres of civilians

Meanwhile, the military government has cracked down on the free press, including both pro-Morsi stations and independent stations such as Al Jazeera-Egypt. "The army shutting TV channels proves al-Sisi's weakness in the situation," the director of programming for Al Jazeera-Egypt, Essam Fouad, told the English-language edition of Al Jazeera after his television went dark by military decree. "If he was strong he wouldn't keep people from knowing the truth." The Muslim Brotherhood website claims that more than a thousand of its supporters have been detained in the subsequent military crackdown.

Photo of a wounded Egyptian: AP Images

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