Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt And The U.S. : Interference With The Internet #LeakSpin

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak :
The Countdown To Regime Change

The right to Internet access is so critical to citizens' participation in their own governments that the revolution taking place in Egypt has implications for the United States. Tonight, U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the bloody crackdown on the protests in Egypt.

From The New York Times :

Mr. Obama also said that Egyptian officials should "reverse the actions that they have taken to interfere with the Internet, cellphone service, social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st century." He added, "going forward, this moment of volatility has to be turned into a moment of promise."

In a 2007 editorial ABC News online, Internet access was described as an important underpinning to democracies. When the governments of Burma and China restricted Internet access, the consequences to freedoms were indisputable. ''Democratic governments understand the connection between human rights and Internet freedom. They have been quick to condemn the Internet crackdown in Burma and China and the lack of Internet freedom in much of the world,'' wrote Leslie Harris.

Remember that before the Egyptian government suspended Internet access inside its country, ''President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States ... .''

Remember that before the Egyptian government shut down cellphone service, President Obama ordered the Justice Department to obtain a secret court order to demand that Twitter turn over, among other things, the ''subscriber names'' of the five individuals associated with WikiLeaks, an act that would blatantly deny subscribers their rights to due process.

Earlier today, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also made a statement to express her request that the Egyptian government restore Internet access.

''Mrs. Clinton also urged the government 'to reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communications,' referring to its decision — apparently unprecedented — to cut off all Internet services in the country, as well as mobile phone networks in some areas,'' reported The Times.

For the U.S. government to actualise the exceptionalism that we know it to have, and for the U.S. government to truly support democracy in Egypt, it must be more honest about the dishonesty of the Egyptian government (''GOE''). Today, WikiLeaks published new U.S. Embassy cables, including one that gave some perspective into the inside information available to the U.S. government.

''The GOE has not begun serious work on trying to transform the police and security services from instruments of power that serve and protect the regime into institutions operating in the public interest, despite official slogans to the contrary.''

#CableGate, #LeakSpin, #09CAIRO79

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