JERUSALEM – Months before protests erupted throughout Egypt aimed at toppling the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, President Obama’s own associates provoked anti-regime chaos on the streets of the now embattled Middle East country and longtime U.S. ally.
Egypt has accused the Obama administration of championing the protests and of pressuring Mubarak to resign. The main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, stands to gain a major foothold in the region as a result.
Yesterday, hundreds were wounded and at least one person was killed as thousands of Mubarak supporters clashed with anti-government protesters in Cairo, with some throwing petrol bombs, wielding sticks and charging on horses and camels.
A similar scene unfolded in January 2010, when Obama associates provoked chaos in Egypt in an attempt to enter the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to join in solidarity with the territory’s population and leadership.
WND reported at the time those protests were led by former Weather Underground terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn – close Obama associates for years.
Another protest leader was Jodie Evans, co-founder of Code Pink, a far-left activist organization formed in 2002 to protest America’s war in Iraq. The group previously met with Hamas and with leaders of the Taliban. Evans was a fundraiser and financial bundler for Obama’s presidential campaign.
Also protesting in Egypt was Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the anti-Israel Electronic Intifada website. WND previously reported Obama spoke at pro-Palestinian events in the 1990s alongside Abunimah. At one such event, a 1999 fundraiser for Palestinian “refugees,” Abunimah recalls introducing Obama on stage.
The Gaza saga began when the radicals arrived Dec. 31, 2009. Evans appealed to Suzanne Mubarak, wife of Egypt’s president, to allow some 1,400 activists to cross from Egypt into neighboring Gaza to march there, deliver humanitarian aid and stage a protest at an Israeli border crossing with thousands of Palestinian Gazans. Egypt’s Interior Ministry had said the march was illegal and a threat to national security.
Mubarak reportedly offered to allow only 100 activists to cross into Gaza. The decision was at first reportedly accepted by Evans but was later rejected, leading to protests throughout Cairo all week under a heavy police presence.
The rioters claimed some of the protests were violent.
A press release by organizers claimed: “Members of the Gaza Freedom March are being forcibly detained in hotels around town as well as violently forced into pens in Tahrir Square by Egyptian police and additional security forces. Reports of police brutality are flooding a delegate legal hotline faster than the legal support team can answer the calls. The reports span from women being kicked, beaten to the ground and dragged into pens, at least one confirmed account of broken ribs, and many left bloody.”
The website BigGovernment.com notes author Philip Weiss wrote of witnessing Ayers’ and Dohrn’s involvement in the debate about whether to accept Egypt’s offer of allowing only a limited number of protesters to enter Gaza.
“As for the Egyptian statement that only hooligans were staying behind in Cairo … Dohrn said that the principle of ‘All or none’ was a miserable one for activist politics. … A European man in a red keffiyeh screamed at her that she was serving the fascisti. Her partner Bill Ayers gently confronted him and asked him why he was so out of control.”
Dohrn later wrote on a blog that she was briefly detained at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo following protests there by her group.
“Bill and I went to the American Embassy at 10 am and asked to see the Ambassador. We were ushered into a holding pen a block away from the embassy building where we joined 35 people already there, surrounded by Egyptian soldiers,” she wrote.
Protests also were staged in front of other foreign embassies as well as in a public area in central Cairo.
Eventually, the protesters accepted the Egyptian offer of allowing about 100 marchers into Gaza. The marchers indeed entered Gaza and were reportedly met on the Gaza side by Hamas’ former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
“We have managed to overcome the occupation plans and we will surely meet at the al-Aqsa Mosque and in Jerusalem, which will remain Arab and Islamic,” Haniyeh declared.
Evans squarely blamed Israel for Egypt’s refusal to allow her group to cross en masse into Gaza.
“It’s obvious that the only reason for it is to make Israel happy. Israel is behind the refusal – what other excuse could there be?”
Close Obama associates
Abunimah traveled in some of the same political circles as Obama in the 1990s. Abunimah previously described meeting with Obama at a fundraiser at the home of Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, reportedly a former PLO activist. Khalidi was also a close associate of Obama.
“[Obama] came with his wife. That’s where I had a chance to really talk to him,” Abunimah recalled. “It was an intimate setting. He convinced me he was very aware of the issues [and] critical of U.S. bias toward Israel and lack of sensitivity to Arabs. … He was very supportive of U.S. pressure on Israel.”
According to quotes obtained by Gulf News, Abunimah recalled a 2004 meeting in a Chicago neighborhood while Obama was running for his Senate seat. Abunimah quoted Obama telling him “warmly” he was sorry that “I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race.”
“I’m hoping when things calm down, I can be more up front,” Abunimah reportedly quoted the senator as saying.
Abunimah said Obama urged him to “keep up the good work” at the Chicago Tribune, where Abunimah contributed guest columns that were highly critical of Israel.
Ayers, meanwhile, became a name in the 2008 presidential campaign when it was disclosed the radical worked closely with Obama for years.
Ayers helped launch Obama’s political career with a fundraiser in his home. Obama served on the board of a Chicago nonprofit alongside Ayers. The terrorist later hired Obama to serve as chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a job Obama later cited as experience that helped qualify him to run for public office.
While at the CAC, Obama and Ayers both granted funds to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.
WND columnist Jack Cashill has produced a series of persuasive arguments that it was Ayers who ghostwrote Obama’s award-winning autobiography, “Dreams from My Father.”
Ayers and Dohrn were two of the main founders of the Weather Underground, which bombed the New York City Police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972. The group was responsible for some 30 bombings aimed at destroying the defense and security infrastructures of the U.S.
Characterizing the Weather Underground as “an American Red Army,” Ayers summed up the organization’s ideology: “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, Kill your parents.”
“Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon,” Ayers recalled in his 2001 memoir, “Fugitive Days.” “The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them.”
Ayers brandished his unrepentant radicalism for years to come, as evidenced by his now notorious 2001 interview with the New York Times, published one day after the 9/11 attacks, in which he stated, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”
Ayers posed for a photograph accompanying the New York Times piece that showed him stepping on an American flag. He said of the U.S.: “What a country. It makes me want to puke.”
Obama champions anti-Mubarak protests
According to a senior Egyptian diplomat speaking to WND, Frank Wisner, a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt, specifically told Mubarak yesterday the U.S. would not continue to support his rule and he must step down.
The Obama administration dispatched Wisner to Egypt last weekend to report to the State Department and White House a general sense of the situation in the embattled country.
WND broke the story yesterday the Egyptian government has information Wisner secretly met earlier this week with a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Issam El-Erian.
The Muslim Brotherhood seeks to spread Islam around the world, in large part using nonviolent means. Hamas and al-Qaida are violent Brotherhood offshoots.
The latest information is not the first charge by the Egyptian government that the Obama administration has been working with or encouraging the opposition to Mubarak.
Last week, a senior Egyptian diplomat stated the Egyptian government suspects elements of the current uprising there, particularly political aspects, are being coordinated with the U.S. State Department and Obama administration.
The senior Egyptian diplomat told WND the Mubarak regime suspects the U.S. has been aiding protest planning by Mohamed ElBaradei, who is seen as one of the main opposition leaders in Cairo.
ElBaradei, former International Atomic Energy Agency chief, has reinvented himself as a campaigner for “reform” in Egypt. He is a candidate for this year’s scheduled presidential elections.
ElBaradei arrived in Cairo just after last week’s protests began and is reportedly being confined to his home by Egyptian security forces.
He is seen as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Last weekend, the London Telegraph reported the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in 2008 helped a young dissident attend a U.S.-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police.
The Telegraph would not identify the dissident, but said he was involved in helping to stir the current protests. The report claimed the dissident told the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that an alliance of opposition groups had a plan to topple Mubarak’s government.
The disclosures, contained in U.S. diplomatic dispatches released by the WikiLeaks website, show American officials pressed the Egyptian government to release other dissidents who had been detained by the police.
The White House has been almost openly championing the unrest in Egypt.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for an “orderly transition” to democracy in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood is the main opposition group.
Obama reportedly voiced support for an “orderly transition” in Egypt that is responsive to the aspirations of Egyptians in phone calls with foreign leaders, the White House said.
Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, speaking in a White House webcast, also urged the government and protesters in Egypt to refrain from violence.