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Ear to the Ground

Egypt Orders Trials, Risking U.S. Aid Cutoff

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Posted on Feb 5, 2012
sierragoddess (CC-BY)

Authorities in Cairo have referred 19 Americans and two dozen others for criminal trials as part of an investigation into foreign funding of Egyptian nonprofits, putting a new strain on Egyptian-American relations. The Obama administration warned that the action, which appears to threaten the independence of civil society groups, could jeopardize $1.5 billion in expected American aid to Egypt this year.

Among those facing trial are Americans involved in organizations that have worked for democracy in countries around the world.

As New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick explains below, the trials would depend on using Mubarak-era laws aimed at discouraging the formation and domestic funding of civil society groups critical of the government. —ARK

The New York Times:

The prosecution relies on laws left over from the authoritarian government of former President Hosni Mubarak that have in effect kept virtually every independent civil society organization here in a kind of legal twilight, subject to arrest at any time.

The laws require all civil society groups to register for a government license which, in practice, is almost never granted to a genuinely independent group that might criticize the government or its policies. Given the legal and political risks, the laws have the added effect of virtually eliminating domestic donations to support such groups.

The laws also require that any foreign financing to Egyptian nonprofit groups flow only through a government ministry and only to licensed groups. Because of the paucity of domestic financing, foreign funds, mainly from the United States and Europe, have been the mainstay of human rights groups here.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, February 6, 2012 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

It will also make a difference to the world,
if some of the “civic democracy” organizations
are proven to be CIA or MOSSAD fronts
and some of the employees their operatives.

Report this

By ywerd, February 6, 2012 at 9:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Something doesn’t seem right here. The Egyptian government could be made up of dick cheney and robert gates clones, which would take as official policy the extermination of all newborns. This would not make a bit of difference to the savage US oligarchs. It’d be more relevant to them if they found a member of the military dictatorship had discussed paying china for goods in gold.

Report this
drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, February 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

” - - which appears to threaten the independence of civil society groups, “

Reminds of the CIA-Google marketing manager who led the initial “student groups” in the early protests.  Who after two weeks made a trip to D.C. to report back on his
progress with the “student” activities.

Foreign leadership is catching on to the groups and companies that are simply fronts for the C.I.A.  Which now places genuine civil groups in question, and logically so.

Could also be a “false flag” designed in DC to simulate a break between the USGOV
and their War College-trained representatives in Cairo.

Report this
PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

Good for them, we should use that aid money and build a few schools and repair some roads and bridges in this country.

Its a win-win, they get their country back and we get jobs.

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