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US Embassy Cables: in 2009 “APRIL 6” Leader talks with US Congress about Maher ties to Freedom House

06/02/2012 Leave a comment

“APRIL 6” LEADER PLANS U.S. TRAVEL; DESCRIBES MOVEMENT IN DISARRAY

Ref ID: 09CAIRO695
Date: 2009-04-23 15:45
Origin: Embassy Cairo
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

VZCZCXRO7514
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #0695 1131545
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231545Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2268
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
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C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 000695

SIPDIS

FOR NEA/ELA, DRL/NESCA AND H
NSC FOR KUMAR AND KUCHTA-HELBLING

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2029
TAGS: PHUM KDEM EG
SUBJECT: “APRIL 6” LEADER PLANS U.S. TRAVEL; DESCRIBES
MOVEMENT IN DISARRAY

REF: A. CAIRO 591
B. CAIRO 580
C. CAIRO 468
D. 08 CAIRO 2572

Classified By: Economic-Political Counselor
Catherine Hill-Herndon for reason 1.4 (d).

1. (C) On April 22, “April 6 Movement” leader Ahmed Saleh told us that he plans to travel to Washington from May 2 to May 9 to testify in a May 7 Congressional hearing on a draft resolution on human rights in Egypt sponsored by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA). Saleh said that Dina Guirgis of the Washington-based NGO “Voices for a Democratic Egypt (VDE)” is working to schedule meetings for him with Congress, and VDE will provide him with accommodation. Saleh believes that Egyptian activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim is “personally” funding Saleh’s plane travel to the U.S. Saleh requested assistance in setting up meetings with USG officials so he can “explain the importance of democracy in Egypt.”

2. (C) According to Saleh, the “April 6 Movement” is in increasing disarray. Saleh said that Islamist members, such as Labor Party activist Dia Isawi, are accusing him and secular “April 6” leader Ahmed Maher of “treason” for their association with the U.S. NGO Freedom House, which Isawi views as a “Zionist organization.”

(Note: Saleh is secular and is allied with Ahmed Maher in advocating a secular orientation for “April 6.” End note.)

Saleh noted that the Islamist members held a mock trial of Ahmed Maher for “treason” into the early morning hours of April 22 after obtaining Freedom House documents detailing planned funding of “April 6 activities.” Saleh said that as a result of this internal “April 6” strife, programming with Freedom House is now “impossible.” Saleh speculated that Isawi might be working as an agent for State Security.

3. (C) Saleh noted that youth activists from the secular Ghad party are also accusing him and Ahmed Maher of “treason” because of their contacts with Freedom House. Saleh claimed that the prominent blogger Wael Abbas is working with Dia Isawi to undermine the secular “April 6” leadership so that Abbas can claim the mantle of internet activism for himself. According to Saleh, Abbas has threatened to post information about Saleh and Maher’s links to Freedom House on his blog. Saleh told us he is still planning to establish an “underground” secular wing of “April 6” (ref C).

4. (C) In a separate meeting April 23, Wael Abbas criticized “April 6” leader Ahmed Maher as weak and the movement as disorganized, but did not voice any support for Isawi.

(Comment: We do not believe that Abbas wants to dominate other internet activists, as Saleh suggested. Abbas has worked closely with other activists in the past, and has expressed to us his hope that more internet activists will participate in political life. End comment.)

-SCOBEY

Source: WikiLeaks

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US Embassy Cables: in 2009 “APRIL 6” tells US GOV they kicked out Islamists before elections & supports Ayman Nour

06/02/2012 Leave a comment

“APRIL 6” MOVEMENT CONSOLIDATES RANKS, LOOKS TOWARD COMING ELECTIONS

Ref ID: 09CAIRO1464
Date: 2009-07-30 13:45
Origin: Embassy Cairo
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

VZCZCXRO0250
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DE RUEHEG #1464/01 2111345
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3299
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 001464

SIPDIS

FOR NEA/ELA AND DRL/NESCA
NSC FOR KUMAR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/30/2029
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM EG
SUBJECT: “APRIL 6” MOVEMENT CONSOLIDATES RANKS, LOOKS TOWARD COMING ELECTIONS

REF: A. CAIRO 695
B. CAIRO 591
C. CAIRO 580
D. CAIRO 468
E. 08 CAIRO 2572
F. 08 CAIRO 697

Classified By: Economic-Political Minister-Counselor Donald A. Blome for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. KEY POINTS

— (C) “April 6” movement leader Ahmed Saleh told us July 26 that the group has ejected Islamist and Nasserist members to try to preserve its secular, western orientation.

— (C) Saleh urged U.S. pressure on the GOE for international monitors for the 2010 and 2011 elections. He is planning to travel to the U.S. with Ayman Nour in October to press for international monitors.

— (C) According to Saleh, a U.S.-based Freedom House official recently received a letter from the Egyptian MFA criticizing the organization’s association with Saleh.

— (C) Meeting us for the first time July 28, “April 6” coordinator Ahmed Maher said the group is open to working with secular opposition parties on voter education and other activities.

2. (C) Background: “April 6” is a small, youth-based movement which advocates replacing the current regime through a peaceful transition to democracy that would include a weak presidency and an empowered parliament and prime minister.
The movement organized a largely successful strike in Cairo on April 6, 2008 through Facebook to protest price increases and political and economic conditions (ref F). Following the strike, the GOE has arrested and tortured “April 6” members, and has prevented the group from staging public demonstrations (ref E). End background.

——————————————–
Cleaning House: Islamists and Nasserists Out
——————————————–

3. (C) Saleh told us July 26 that the group ejected 13 Islamist and Nasserist members the previous day in an attempt to consolidate its secular, western orientation. Saleh had told us previously that these members had tried to hijack “April 6,” and turn it into a Islamist movement opposing the west and rejecting Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel (refs A, D). Saleh said that following the ouster, “April 6” published a new “manifesto” on its Facebook page, reaffirming the group’s interest in working with western countries and organizations. Saleh assessed that the movement would now be more internally “harmonious,” but that the ousted members would try to attack the group from the outside. He predicted that thousands of young Egyptians would join “April 6” now that the movement has resolved its internal issues.

——————————————— —
“April 6” Looking Toward 2010 and 2011 Elections
——————————————— —

4. (C) Saleh said “April 6” is now focusing on the 2010 parliamentary and 2011 presidential elections. He asked for U.S. pressure on the GOE to allow international monitors as the only way of ensuring free and fair elections and open campaigns. He asserted that the political opposition would only be able to operate freely under such conditions, as the GOE would otherwise use the Emergency Law to prevent campaigning. Saleh noted that he had made this point to USG,Congressional and NGO interlocutors during his June-July trip to the U.S. Saleh said he is also coordinating his actions with Saad Eddin Ibrahim.

5. (C) Saleh asserted that free and fair elections as part of a gradual non-violent transition to democracy would be the only way to address Egypt’s acute economic and political problems. He said that “April 6” plans an internet voter education campaign to decrease voter apathy, and wants to stage street demonstrations to support this goal. However, he predicted the GOE would prevent such demonstrations.
According to Saleh, “April 6” members are currently not planning to run for seats in the 2010 parliamentary elections, but he noted that this calculus could change if the elections were “more open.” Saleh stressed that if movement members chose to run, they would do so as independents, not as opposition party candidates.

6. (C) “April 6” Coordinator Ahmed Maher told us July 28 that the group is open to working with secular opposition parties such as Al-Ghad, the Democratic Front and Anwar Esmat Sadat’s nascent Reform and Development Party on voter education and other activities such as anti-corruption initiatives. Maher said he is working to establish an organizational structure for the group that would include a Cairo-based coordinating committee overseeing smaller chapters in each governorate.
(Note: This was our first meeting with Maher who was arrested and tortured following the April 6, 2008 strike, and tries to keep a low profile. End note.)

——————————–
New Coordination with Ayman Nour
——————————–

7. (C) Saleh said he is working with former opposition presidential candidate Ayman Nour on a planned October 1-7 visit the U.S. to urge the USG to press for international election monitors. Saleh said that he, Nour and another opposition politician would travel together. Saleh told us he is working with U.S.-based Egyptians such as Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Dina Guirgis of Voices for a Democratic Egypt and Sherif Mansour of Freedom House to coordinate an Ayman Nour trip focused on monitors. He said Guirgis is the lead U.S.-based coordinator for the trip. According to Saleh, Saad Eddin Ibrahim travelled to Europe in mid-July to urge European officials to press for international monitors.

8. (C) Saleh told us that “April 6” would support Nour as a presidential candidate in 2011 if he were able to run. Saleh noted that he recently began discussions with Nour about future coordination with “April 6” to achieve democratic change. He described Nour as slightly “unbalanced from his time in jail,” but voiced hope that Nour could be an agent of change in open 2011 presidential elections.

——————-
Saleh’s U.S. Travel
——————-

9. (C) Saleh said that during his June-July travel to the U.S., a Washington-based Freedom House official told him that the Egyptian MFA had sent Freedom House a letter criticizing the organization’s relationship with Saleh. According to Saleh, the Freedom House official said the letter criticized Saleh as “an illegitimate opportunist seeking asylum in the U.S.” Saleh told us GOE customs searched him for 2 hours on July 20 at Cairo International Airport upon his return. He believed customs gave his papers to MOI State Security Investigative Services (SSIS) officers.

-Tueller

Source: WikiLeaks

US Embassy Cables: US planning for Mubarak succession since 2006

20/09/2011 Leave a comment

NEXT STEPS FOR ADVANCING DEMOCRACY IN EGYPT

Ref ID: 06CAIRO1351
Date: 2006-03-06 12:41
Origin: Embassy Cairo
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 CAIRO 001351

SIPDIS

NEA FOR A/S WELCH, PDAS CHENEY, DAS CARPENTER
NEA FOR ELA
NSC FOR DNSA ABRAMS
TUNIS FOR MEPI (MULREAN)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2016
TAGS: PGOV KDEM EG
SUBJECT: NEXT STEPS FOR ADVANCING DEMOCRACY IN EGYPT

Classified by Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone for reasons

1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary and Introduction: Sometime in the next six years, Egypt will undergo a leadership succession. The United States’ goals for this succession should be to promote an opening to establish a representative government that will secure Egyptian stability, prosperity, and friendship for a generation. There is scant movement in that direction now. Whether or not 77-year old Hosni Mubarak survives his six-year term, his regime is ossifying and increasingly out of touch. His enlightened economic cabinet has a negligible political base and gets little credit outside of elite circles. The National Democratic Party’s popularity is in decline. The military still expects to inherit the Presidency. But the Muslim Brotherhood’s confidence is growing. Read more…

US Embassy Cables: Response to El Baradei Return to Cairo in 2010

09/09/2011 Leave a comment

El Baradei Returns to Cairo

Ref ID: 10CAIRO237
Date: 2010-02-23 13:42
Origin: Embassy Cairo
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

VZCZCXRO0921
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DE RUEHEG #0237/01 0541343
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 231342Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0363
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 CAIRO 000237

SIPDIS
FOR D (L), NEA AND DRL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2035/02/23
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM EG
SUBJECT: El Baradei Returns to Cairo

REF: 10 CAIRO 215

CLASSIFIED BY: Margaret Scobey, Ambassador; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1. (C) Key Points:

— Thousands of supporters greeted former IAEA Chairman Mohammed El Baradei upon his return to Cairo. Beleaguered leaders of the opposition seem relieved at their ability to muster a show of support for El Baradei and enthusiastic about his potential impact.

— El Baradei is seen as an “independent” and viable alternative to a corrupt regime and an ineffectual opposition.  However, the mainstream opposition appears reluctant to claim him as their own “consensus candidate.”

— In a television interview February 21, El Baradei criticized GOE corruption, election fraud, lack of political reform and failure to successfully address poverty and illiteracy.

— El Baradei met with Arab League Secretary Amre Moussa on February 22 and will begin to meet with political activists on February 23.”

— NDP reaction and government media reaction focused on El Baradei’s lack of political experience and doubts over his level of commitment.  Opinion makers in the independent media also see El Baradei as an outsider and appear wary to offer unqualified support.

Read more…

US Embassy Cables: Wael Abbas Acquitted, Gamal Eid expresses Relief to USA

09/09/2011 Leave a comment

PROMINENT BLOGGER’S PRISON SENTENCE OVERTURNED

Ref ID: 10CAIRO229
Date: 2010-02-22 15:46
Origin: Embassy Cairo
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

VZCZCXRO0531
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0356
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RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 000229

SIPDIS
FOR NEA AND DRL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2035/02/22
TAGS: PGOV PHUM EG
SUBJECT: PROMINENT BLOGGER’S PRISON SENTENCE OVERTURNED

REF: 10 CAIRO 135; 10 CAIRO 99; 09 CAIRO 1447; 09 CAIRO 1263 CLASSIFIED BY: Stephen O’Dowd, Counselor, State, ECPO; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1.(C) On February 18, a Cairo appeals court acquitted prominent blogger Wael Abbas of committing property damage by allegedly damaging a neighbor’s internet line in April 2009, and overturned the six month prison sentence previously imposed against Abbas (ref A). Abbas expressed relief to us, and attributed the court’s decision to his lawyers’ successful strategy of providing documentation that he was in Vienna during the time of the alleged property damage. Abbas’ lawyers issued a public statement February 18 welcoming the court’s decision.

2.(C) Abbas’ lawyer Gamal Eid told us February 22 that the neighbor has filed another criminal complaint against Abbas related to “illegal use” of the internet line he shared with Abbas. Eid was not certain of the exact nature of the criminal complaint, but believed the neighbor whose brother is a police officer is again trying quietly to move the complaint through the judicial system without Abbas’ knowledge. (Note: Per ref A, Abbas and his lawyers told us they did not attend the November 2009 initial court session where the judge ruled against Abbas for allegedly damaging the internet line because they were not aware of the charge. End note.) Eid expected that the latest criminal complaint would also be baseless, and would not hold up in court.

-SCOBEY

Source: WikiLeaks

US Embassy Cables: Egypt Democracy & Governance Funding sums +140 million USD in 2008 & 2009

07/09/2011 1 comment

EGYPT´S FY 2009 ESF: PROPOSED BUDGET FOR D&G

Ref ID: 07CAIRO3423
Date: 2007-12-06 15:07
Origin: Embassy Cairo
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

VZCZCXYZ0009
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #3423/01 3401507
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O 061507Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7663

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 003423

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/05/2017

TAGS: EAID PGOV EG

SUBJECT: EGYPT´S FY 2009 ESF: PROPOSED BUDGET FOR D&G

REF: A) CAIRO 3343 B) CAIRO 3420

Classified by Ambassador Francis Ricciardone for reason 1.4 (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY AND INTRODUCTION: After a great deal of deliberation, in which Embassy Cairo participated fully, the inter-agency agreed to allot $66.5m for democracy and governance programs in Egypt for FY08 and $75m for FY09. These figures represent annual totals of our support for civil society — both US and Egyptian NGO´s — and also for programs carried out with the Government of Egypt in the areas of administration of justice, media reform and decentralization. We believe that the likely negative Egyptian response to this level of funding, and the inability of US and Egyptian NGO´s to spend at this level with intended results and required accountability, argue for reducing the FY09 D&G figure to $50m. If conditions change, or our projections prove too conservative, we could consider adding funds from other Egypt ESF sources. END SUMMARY. Read more…

US Embassy Cables: 2009 El Baradei Presidential Candidacy Remain Unclear

03/09/2011 Leave a comment

EL BARADEI’S “CONDITIONED” PRESIDENTIAL RUN

Ref ID: 09CAIRO2279

Date: 2009-12-10 13:35

Origin: Embassy Cairo

Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

VZCZCXRO2572
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #2279/01 3441335
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101335Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4421
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 002279

SIPDIS

NSC FOR AGUIRRE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/09/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT: EL BARADEI’S “CONDITIONED” PRESIDENTIAL RUN

REF: CAIRO 2209

Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs Donald A. Blome, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1.Key Points: — (C) Mohammed El Baradei’s December 4 statement stops short of a commitment to run in Egypt’s 2011 presidential elections. Now no longer at the IAEA, El Baradei expanded on earlier criticism of the state of democracy in Egypt and set a high bar for his candidacy. — (C) Reaction from members of the government and state-run media has been harsh and personal but not uniform; with some suggesting competition has its benefits. — (C) Opposition political and human rights activists have praised the “conditions” outlined by El Baradei but have not uniformly endorsed his candidacy.

2.(C) Comment: Thus far El Baradei’s true political aspirations remain unclear. He is surely aware of his ability to influence the debate at home and may only seek, as he told CNN December 6, to do what he can “to make sure that Egypt…moves in the right direction.” As a favored son of Egypt, El Baradei’s remarks are harder to reject as purely “international interference.” As a result, even if he is not a “serious candidate” El Baradei’s endorsement of “home grown” demands keeps political reform in the public spotlight, particularly in the wake of attempts by the ruling party and President Mubarak to downplay it in favor of social and economic issues. (Reftel). End Comment. Read more…