RSN June 14 Fundraising
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Weissman writes: "This was an enormous destabilization campaign, far larger than the CIA mounted in Brazil and Chile to encourage the military in those countries to intervene in 1964 and 1973. As a result, by the time Obama gave his consent on July 1, there was no conceivable way to stop the Egyptian military from stepping in."

A portrait of Army Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in a crowd of anti-Morsi demonstrators. (photo: Reuters)
A portrait of Army Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in a crowd of anti-Morsi demonstrators. (photo: Reuters)


Did Google and the Nonviolent Serbs Help Stir Up Obama's Coup in Egypt?

By Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News

13 July 13

 

s Edward Snowden drops one bombshell after another, he has revealed Silicon Valley as a central player in America's surveillance state and the growth of high-tech electronic espionage the world over. A "do no evil" digital industry whose founders once presented themselves as an anti-war alternative to the grubby hands of the Military Industrial Complex now stands exposed as the hardware and software of a new Orwellian world. Add to that their leadership in global tax dodging, manipulating patent rights, and exporting American production jobs, and they seem as power-hungry and self-serving as John D. Rockefeller and the Robber Barons of our nation's inglorious past.

But Egypt? What could Google have to do with a military coup that dare not speak its name? And how did it come together with Serbia's Center for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies, the veterans of Otpor and its U.S.-backed destabilization campaign against Slobodan Milosevic?

The story starts with President Barack Obama, who gave his consent to the Egyptian coup no later than Monday night, July 1, when he urged Morsi to give in to the protesters demanding his resignation. After "Mother America" tried to ease Morsi out without the need for a visible coup, Washington finally sent word that the military takeover was about to begin. One of Morsi's aides captured the moment in a text: "Mother just told us that we will stop playing in one hour."

With that chilling sarcasm, Obama now owns the military ouster of Egypt's first democratically elected government. It will be his enduring legacy no less than Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger own the 1973 coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet and the "free market" Chicago Boys to power in Chile.

Characteristically, Obama appears to have followed from behind. Nowhere did his mixed messages confuse both friend and foe more than on the target of the Egyptian coup, the Muslim Brotherhood. Having a non-devout Muslim stepfather and spending part of his childhood in Indonesia, Obama has long shown a willingness to work with various currents in the Muslim world. He also took advice during his first campaign from Robert Malley, a former classmate from Harvard Law School who had worked under Bill Clinton to set up the 2000 Camp David peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The son of a well-known Jewish Communist from Egypt, Malley regularly met with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and their Palestinian offshoot Hamas in his work as a Middle East specialist for the International Crisis Group. But, under pressure from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, who branded Malley as pro-Palestinian, Obama publicly disowned him before the 2008 election.

Four years later, following Mohamed Morsi's election as president of Egypt, Obama took Malley to heart and set out to work with the Muslim Brotherhood. The effort scored its greatest success in November 2012, when Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly praised Morsi for helping broker a ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu even described Morsi as a "nice surprise." But when Morsi tried to extend his constitutional authority within Egypt, Obama fell under renewed pressure from his critics, and his lack of clarity encouraged Egyptians to blame him both for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and for opposing it.

In fact, the key to Obama's policy remained Washington's long-term relationship with the Egyptian military. If the mostly secular-leaning generals could find a way to live with the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama would almost certainly have stayed the course. But, on June 15, Morsi attended a rally of hardline Sunni Islamists who denounced as "infidels" the non-Islamists in Egypt who opposed Morsi and the Shias in Syria fighting to protect president Bashar al-Assad. According to military sources cited by Reuters, Morsi appeared to back the rally's call for a holy war in Syria.

Reuters saw this as the "tipping point" in the military's concern about the way Morsi was governing Egypt. The generals did not want to fight a war beyond Egypt's borders, nor did they want to deal with a generation of returning jihadists. Morsi had crossed "a national security red line," declared the analyst Yassser El-Shimy, one of Robert Malley's subordinates on the Middle East and North Africa team at the International Crisis Group.

Receiving $1.5 billion a year in U.S. military assistance, the Egyptian generals were in continuing communication with Obama's national security team and brought their concern to Washington's attention. This came just as Obama found himself forced for the first time to publicly support arming the Syrian rebels.

This is where Google and the Serbs enter the picture. Along with other journalists, I have written widely about the nonviolent revolutionaries from CANVAS and about Jared Cohen, a wunderkind on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff under both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton and now head of Google Ideas. My exposés did not win a lot of friends. But Wikileaks has since definitively outed both CANVAS and Cohen in "The Global Intelligence Files." These are in-house emails from Stratfor, a private intelligence group that works closely with the US Marines, Defense Intelligence Agency, Homeland Security, and other government agencies. It also provides intelligence analysis and private spying to major corporations, such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Dow Chemical.

"Otpor strengthened its connections with Western governments and nongovernmental organizations, which provided the group with funding and limited amounts of intelligence about potential weaknesses in regimes they were already targeting," Stratfor wrote in an October 2007 report. "The tactics used in the crucible in Belgrade were 'marketed' in documentaries and training manuals. Otpor became more than 'just' a student group and transformed itself into the Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS). Among the group's strongest allies are Freedom House and the Albert Einstein Institute and, through them, the US Agency for International Development and the US Department of State."

How did Stratfor know? Directly from Srdja Popovic and other Otpor veterans, according to the emails Wikileaks released. "They are [a] very impressive group of guys," wrote Stratfor analyst Marko Papic. "They just go and set up shop in a country and try to bring the government down. When used properly, [they are] more powerful than an aircraft carrier battle group." Papic believed that the Otpor students had been more important than the U.S. money in their native Serbia, but he saw CANVAS as an "export-a-revolution" group. "They are still hooked into the U.S. funding and basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like)." The Stratfor emails also revealed that Popovic met at least twice at the White House with President Obama's National Security Council and clearly shared intelligence with them.

The depth of CANVAS's role in the overthrow of Mubarak remains a matter of controversy, but the New York Times reported that, "The April 6 Youth Movement modeled its logo - a vaguely Soviet looking red and white clenched fist - after Otpor's, and some of its members traveled to Serbia to meet with Otpor activists."

Stratfor's emails about Cohen are less flattering. They speak of contacts at Google who could not figure out whether he was "a hippie activist" and "global rabble-rouser" or a serious player with a State Department/White House license, especially for Egypt. They knew that he ran the Alliance for Youth Movement (later Movements.org), which helped train some of the digital activists in the April 6th Youth Movement, the group that ran the 2011 protests against Mubarak. The emails also noted that Cohen had dinner during the protests in Cairo with Wael Ghonim, the Google executive in Egypt who became the face of "the Facebook revolution." An email from Stratfor vice president Fred Burton, a former State Department security official, added that the dinner with Cohen came just an hour before the Egyptians arrested Ghonim.

George Friedman, Stratfor's crusty CEO, was especially skeptical of Cohen - and of the protests, which he understood far better than those who believe that Washington's "democracy bureaucracy" was trying to create anything resembling a revolution. "The military got exactly what they wanted," wrote Friedman. "They got rid of Mubarak and held on to power. The demonstrations were a tremendous help to them in achieving their goals. So I want to know the links between the military and the demonstrations. Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe Cohen was hired by them. Maybe this is the CIA solving a problem. I don't know. But Cohen is stooging for someone. Who? And was Cohen significant or designed to divert."

Burton took a different tack. His sources believed that "Cohen's rabbi" was Google's billionaire boss and "Obama lackey" Eric Schmidt, and that Google had "White House and State Department support and air cover. In reality, they are doing things the CIA cannot do."

To anyone who has studied the Otpor revolution against Milosevic, the Tamarod strategy will seem a well-adapted copy with an added emphasis on the military. Tamarod started with a massive petition demanding Morsi's resignation, used clever slogans against him, and scheduled a series of nationwide demonstrations against him to begin June 30. They also seemed to understand fully the criticisms Schmidt and Cohen made of the January revolution in their recent magnum opus, "The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business."

In practice, Tamarod scored a much bigger success, with backing from the Nobel prize-winning Mohamed ElBaradei and Egyptian liberals and secularists and a wide range of society, from trade unionists and Coptic Christians to major business people and former supporters of Hosni Mubarak. The New York Times even suggested that members of the old establishment actively sabotaged the economy to help bring Morsi down.

This was an enormous destabilization campaign, far larger than the CIA mounted in Brazil and Chile to encourage the military in those countries to intervene in 1964 and 1973. As a result, by the time Obama gave his consent on July 1, there was no conceivable way to stop the Egyptian military from stepping in as Tamarod was pushing them to do. This leaves two big questions still to be answered: Did Obama or his national security understand the Tamarod campaign? Or, contrary to his image of following from behind, had he or they already given prior approval to the coup?



A veteran of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the New Left monthly Ramparts, Steve Weissman lived for many years in London, working as a magazine writer and television producer. He now lives and works in France, where he is researching a new book, "Big Money: How Global Banks, Corporations, and Speculators Rule and How To Break Their Hold."

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.


 

Comments   

We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.

General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.

Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

- The RSN Team

 
+15 # jwb110 2013-07-13 13:31
This is SO US Policy as to not even be questioned. The military, the military, why this Gov't always backing a military coup!?!? And it always seems to bite the Gov't in the ass!
 
 
+7 # Gogojoe 2013-07-13 13:41
"Obama's coup"...get real!
 
 
-16 # scribe 2013-07-13 14:23
It is nonsense like this that keeps me from contributing to RSN. Capitalists might sell you the rope that is used to hang them, but liberals will invite the religious right of all nations in to suppress them while whimpering about rights.
 
 
+8 # Walter J Smith 2013-07-14 05:54
Sort out your own nonsense so we liberals and non liberals alike can figure out what you are talking about.

Because all you have written here indicates you don't know what you are trying to say or why it even matters.

It only reveals a very confused mind.
 
 
+8 # cmp 2013-07-13 16:33
Let's not forget about the Bretton Woods, "loan sharks" either.

In Egypt, the Middle East's "right wing shining example" under the direction of the US led IMF & World Bank for the last 30+ years, had demanded wide-ranging structural reforms, including tariff reductions, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and reductions in regulation of the private sector, among other policy measures, that aimed to "improve the business environment.." Yet, 30+ years later, 85% of the Country lives on less than $5/day and 15%, on less than $2/day..

What did the World Bank have to say? The 2008 World Bank Doing Business Report, "ranked Egypt as the top worldwide economic reformer..."

When Morsi came into power, Mubarak had previously been negotiating another loan with the IMF for 3.2 billion. Morsi however, had been trying to get the loan up to 4.8 billion because of the collapse’s in the tourism, etc.. Meanwhile, the sympathetic IMF had spent the whole year trying to extort the terms of the deal to include spending cuts, specifically cuts to the food and fuel subsidies to the poor; as well as, the downsizing of the government.. Needless to say, coming from a Party that had run partly on the plight of the poor, these further austerity conditions were not acceptable.

There were a few other fronts (energy sectors, etc.) that were not leaving the Global Plutocrats, all too happy with the “cooperation” of Egypt; as well.
 
 
-6 # Rick Levy 2013-07-13 17:25
I suppose that the millions of protesters against Morsi were CIA moles.
 
 
+5 # geraldom 2013-07-13 20:33
Quoting Rick Levy:
I suppose that the millions of protesters against Morsi were CIA moles.


No, they weren't, but without the military intervention, Morsi would still be in power, and news has come out, whether it's true or not, that supporters of Mubarak helped cause the extremely bad economic conditions in Egypt which was one of the primary reasons as to why these millions of protesters were out on the street protesting.

There may be a lot to what's happening in Egypt hidden behind the curtains so-to-speak.
 
 
+3 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-07-14 06:27
Oh yes, Harold R. M., whole lots happening 'hidden behind the curtains'. And, dare the intelligent plus, highly ethical an conscience driven truth telling and outing journalists and whistleblowers dare to let truth out, quash 'em the evil, greed and power addicted villainaire rulers and their pol. puppet whore minions will.

Along with egregious treatment of Uncle SAM - Snowden, Assange, Manning, I'll go to my grave remembering the serious eruption that occurred when I put on my old journalism hat, worn along with my also old legal hat, and challenged journalists at a press conference during the Waldo Canyon fire, to investigate weather control satellites, WCS.

I'd, by accident, overheard two govt. agents discussing WCS, which had pushed me into question asking mode. First I confirmed the WCS (born via HAARP) exist, then confirm I did that today, with additions to our air and water of chemicals, these WCS are now more advanced and capable of far more than we the sheeple could ever guess, since this info. is 'hidden behind the curtains', and then some.

A 'biggie' (who shall remain anonymous) advised me that anyone working with these WCS, will be "gotten rid of" if they dare to pull the curtain back and let truth out.

Lots and lots more so brave and determined SAM's are desperately needed in today's 'hide the truth behind curtains' U.S. and overall world.
 
 
+8 # geraldom 2013-07-13 18:08
You must add to Obama's credit the military coup that took place in Honduras and perhaps the one that took place in Paraguay, and I believe that he's probably working extremely hard on regime change in various Latin American countries with Venezuela and Ecuador at the very top of his to-do list, not to mention Bolivia.
 
 
+6 # Walter J Smith 2013-07-14 05:50
Obama certainly acts as if political decency anywhere is a threat to his political indecency everywhere.

Good.

I can think of no way to let him expose his sleaze better than allowing his actions to speak louder than his words.
 
 
+1 # Activista 2013-07-13 21:39
This "second" Arab Spring is genuine revolution from below ... majority of Egypt people wanted the change. Google provided free information .. Obama did not have a choice ... army PREVENTED the civil war .. Otpor provided strategy ...
Egypt is now neutral re Syria war (which are NEOCONS loosing ..)
Muslim Brotherhood has integral part in the future of Egypt, but does not represent the majority of the population .. read analysis of the referendum:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/statistically-examining-cairos-constitutional-referendum-did-morsi-hijack-democracy/5320067
Egypt’s Constitutional Referendum: Did President Morsi Hijack Democracy?
 
 
+6 # Walter J Smith 2013-07-14 05:30
The best sentence in the article because of its simple, clear, direct, honest truth: "Characteristic ally, Obama appears to have followed from behind."

When has he done otherwise?

He will follow Wall Street wherever it directs him to go as if the Constitution ordered the president to do exactly that.

Wall Street wants US arms & money poured into the Syrian blood bath: there Obama goes. As robotic as was GWB.
 
 
+1 # Walter J Smith 2013-07-14 05:49
These are not opposing questions: "Did Obama or his national security understand the Tamarod campaign? Or, contrary to his image of following from behind, had he or they already given prior approval to the coup?"

The answer is obvious to both: Yes, to the first, because, yes to the second. The questions only appear to be opposed because they are asked in the wrong order.

Obama still "led" from behind the whole time. If we can only believe that leading is the same thing as following others where you lack the courage to lead. He pretended to know nothing (which he mostly doesn't have to pretend about) as long as he had plenty of "plausible deniability" about what Cohen and Google were doing. When the die was cast and the military was marching in the wake of the collapse of Morsi's public support outside the Muslim Brotherhood, then all Obama had to do was what he did: pretend to be an innocent bystander and hope for blah, blah, blah.

And the comparison of Obama with Nixon hits the sleaze nail on the head. All we need now to seal the deal is his speech comparable to: "I am not a liar."
 
 
+1 # karenvista 2013-07-16 10:22
Quoting Walter J Smith:
And the comparison of Obama with Nixon hits the sleaze nail on the head. All we need now to seal the deal is his speech comparable to: "I am not a liar."


Nixon said "I am not a crook." "I am not a liar" is reserved for Obama.
 
 
+2 # RMDC 2013-07-14 06:09
Anyone who simply looked at the news footage of the protests could see plainly the style of a color revolution -- a product of OTPOR and other CIA backed groups that form the "revolution business." see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpXbA6yZY-8

Google has a contract with the CIA. It has organized the communications of the Egyptian protesters from the very start.

We must learn to recognize the signature of CIA operations. OTPOR and many other CIA backed groups also organized the Russian demonstrations and the Iranian protests. OTPOR created Pussy Riot. There's plenty of information but none of it ever shows up in the mass media. but the mass media does show video and you can recognize the tactics -- rock bands, lots of flags, cheerleaders, chanting and dancing young people.
 
 
-2 # Activista 2013-07-14 09:52
"Google has a contract with the CIA. It has organized the communications of the Egyptian protesters from the very start?"
Please provide some substance here ..
Reminds me Central America in 1980 - "CIA Made Up Moon/Armstrong landing .."
Google is in business of information/com munication - enabled free communication - without Internet information flow would be ONLY government propaganda ..
Morsi danced to Saudi/Qatar/USA money - re Jihad on Syria .. Egyptians got tired ..
 
 
+2 # John_Fisher 2013-07-14 16:49
A very complicated and (to me) confusing situation, but my question is this: why should U.S. foreign policy back a religious party who wants, apparently, to rule according to Islamic law? (Sharia?) Are Egyptian secularists not to be listened to at all? They may not want to live under institutionaliz ed Islam any more than I'd want to live here in the U.S. under force-fed Christianity (an ever-more realistically frightening prospect).
 
 
+2 # RMDC 2013-07-14 17:19
Activista -- just google search for google, CIA, Egypt. You'll see lots of articles going back several years. Of course, not everything is true. But you can sort out the truth.

The military may be neutral on Syria now but I doubt that will last. Same with the coming war against Iran.
 
 
+3 # RMDC 2013-07-14 17:25
John -- it is not really complicated. The US supports the fundamentalist regime in Saudi Arabia who really do impose their wierd interpretation of Sharia. The US wants this sort of government because it is against modernization. Secularism comes with modernization. The most secular governments in the middle east were Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The US is destroying them all. The US regime wants the kind of repression that comes with fundamentalist religious governments.

By the way, in reality Sharia is just the opposite of oppressive. It is an Arab idiom that means "the way to the well." The well is the goal (heaven) but everyone comes at it from different directions and in different ways. In reality, Sharia is a doctrine of religious pluralism and tolerance. Fundamentalists , Wahabbis, Taliban and other zealots are corrupting the real meaning of Sharia, just as Christian fundamentalists corrupt the message of Jesus.
 
 
0 # Activista 2013-07-14 18:21
why should U.S. foreign policy back a religious party who wants, apparently, to rule according to Islamic law?
And this party (Muslim Brotherhood) represents something like 20% of the population. Sure it must be represented in the new Egypt democratic government, but in the proportion to the whole population.
 
 
0 # karenvista 2013-07-16 10:42
Quoting Activista:
why should U.S. foreign policy back a religious party who wants, apparently, to rule according to Islamic law?
And this party (Muslim Brotherhood) represents something like 20% of the population. Sure it must be represented in the new Egypt democratic government, but in the proportion to the whole population.


Look at our history. We always support dictatorships because we think they mean "stability" and that is good for business. We don't do anything unless it is good for business. When a truly democratic government gets elected we overthrow them and install a dictatorship-se e Iran, Honduras, Chile, Guatemala, Brazil, etc.

We are backing the al Qaeda side in Syria where a secular government rules. A country that used to be stable and a have for the refugees from Iraq, where we also overthrew a secular leader. The "Free Syrian Army" (whoever that is) have said that they will impose Sharia law and are actively engaged in ethnic cleansing against Christians, Shia and Alawites.

In the words of Santyana....... .......
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN