Monday, January 31, 2011

Dear Conspiracy Theorists

Firs of all, and in order not to alienate you, let me just say one thing before I start: I am much like you. I believe there is a lot going on behind the curtains of the international political scene; things that we're not supposed to know of, but we have hunches about (people like you and me), and sometimes receive proof of.

That having been said, let me move on:

Before you let your mind go wild after recent claims by some newspapers (read: The Telegraph) that the US is backing Egyptian activists and start drawing unsubstantiated conclusions that the US in fact is behind the whole popular uprising in Egypt (or maybe in the whole Middle East?!), take a moment to consider two points:

1. The hard evidence we have is a leaked cable from the US Embassy in Cairo. This is what the Telegraph bases its whole conspiracy theory friendly piece on, that appeared on Friday the 28th.

Have you actually read it? The cable, that is. If not, please do.

The cable does not in fact prove any widespread support for Egyptian political activists at all; it simply states that the US Embassy in Cairo has asked the Egyptian government to free three detained activists, and it has protected the identity of one particular political activist from the 6 April movement when he traveled to New York to attend the Alliance of Youth Movements Summit.

The Alliance of Youth Movements is not exactly a secret training camp for dangerous insurgents; it is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that brings together digital activists from around the world and work to
"Support  digital activists through in-person trainings, online tutorials and best practice guides, and leveraging's relationships with technology leadership to generate direct support for activists’ activities and help grassroots movement to build capacity."
The Movements is also not exactly funded by secret government-toppling organizations; its sponsors and partners include MTV, Google, Youtube, Facebook, Pepsi, National Geographic, Columbia Law School and the US Department of State.

According to the cable, the unnamed activist was detained at Cairo airport as he came back from the summit in New York, and had his notes from the meeting confiscated. He apparently contacted the US Embassy in Cairo and told him about a secret unwritten plan that he and some other activists had drawn up at the summit. A plan to overthrow the Egyptian government before the 2011 presidential election and replace it with a parliamentary democracy.

The cable states that the US Embassy is "doubtful of this claim."

It also says:

"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."

Now. You say, "Okay, but they still supported them, didn't they?"

Let me tell you exactly why this doesn't even almost suggest that the US is behind the uprising in Egypt:

I work at a Palestinian NGO and we receive money from the US government to train young Palestinians in media. We also have a project training young Palestinians in communication skills, advocacy and lobbying funded by the Canadian government. Imagine that tomorrow there's a third intifada here, and one of our trainees proves to be an activist engaged in the revolt, particularly skillful in lobbying and using the media to reach out with his or her message.

Is that proof that the US or Canada is behind the third intifada?


But the Telegraph would have to publish another article about how the US supports anti-government activists in the Middle East.

You have no idea how many thousands of small non-governmental projects like these the US government and pretty much all Western (and some non-Western countries) support around the world. That does not mean that they're actively trying to topple the governments in the respective countries.

2. The second point I invite you to consider is: pretending that the cable actually isn't so utterly unexciting as a cable can possible be for a conspiracy theorist, and believing for a moment that there is proof for US backing of the Egyptian protests, what is the motivation behind it?

Hosni Mubarak is one of the United States' most important allies. This is why the US pours in something around 1.5 billion US dollars a year for him to be able to stay in power with all means available to him (hundreds of thousands of police, torture, strict control of the media).

Moreover, Mubarak keeps Egypt's peace agreement with the most important ally (not really, but the US seems to believe it is) Israel.

Mubarak keeps Hamas safely locked into the Gaza strip.

Mubarak keeps the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt behind bars.

Mubarak works with the US in its fight against  what it decides is terrorism.

Mubarak makes sure that the Suez Canal - a vital canal that keeps the oil flow steady - remains open to the West.

Why, please tell me why, would the US actively support a revolution against this man?



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