WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. State Department under the leadership of Secretary Hillary Clinton continued a program to embolden foreign, revolutionary, social media activists to agitate for regime change in various parts of the world. The program arguably had major, detrimental consequences for the trajectory of the Middle East.
Recent leaks show a memo that top Clinton aide Huma Abedin sent to her boss stating, “I’m giving you credit for inspiring the ‘peaceful’ protests,” with regard to Egypt, with quotation marks around the word “peaceful.”
The United States government is believed to have utilized a program called the Alliance of Youth Movements Summit, co-founded by a close Hillary Clinton adviser, to provide networking opportunities for an activist plotting to overthrow Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak several years before the “Arab Spring” protests that led to widespread regime change in the Middle East.
Through the Alliance of Youth Movements Summit, the U.S. learned that the Muslim Brotherhood was supportive of a plan to overthrow Mubarak. The U.S.-supported Muslim Brotherhood later briefly ruled Egypt after Mubarak’s ouster.
On November 18, 2008, two weeks after Barack Obama was elected U.S. president, the U.S. State Department announced the first Alliance of Youth Movements Summit at Columbia Law School in New York City. A permanent group called the Alliance of Youth Movements (AYM) was developed by Summit leaders after the first Summit convened.
Bush State Department official Jared Cohen, listed as the “international press contact” for the Summit, described some goals of the conference before it convened in December.
Dr. Oz Hassan of the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom describes the Summit as the “brainchild” of Mr. Cohen. He was reportedly a co-founder of the Alliance of Youth Movements, the organization that grew out of the Summit.
Cohen, who advised former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and then served as a close adviser to Hillary Clinton, is perhaps indicative of the overlap between the Bush and Clinton foreign policy establishment. He serves as an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, one of the key institutions that sustains globalism and neoconservatism in both the Democrat and Republican parties.
Cohen said of the 2008 Summit:
We are seeing movements across the world use a diverse set of technologies. The simplest is Television, where we are seeing groups that have the means put their videos and images on screen in the form of commercials. But we are seeing a lot of activities using mobile phones and the Internet.
With mobile phones, there is a tactic called “smart mobbing,” where mobile phones are used to assemble young people around a cause. On the Internet, we are seeing online social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, and Orkut serve as important forums for young people to assemble together, build a cause, a mission, and organize events.
According to confidential dispatches from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, the U.S. government enabled an anti-Mubarak, Egyptian activist to attend the Summit, introduced him to U.S. government officials, and kept in contact with him after he returned to Egypt. The activist stressed to the U.S. that the Muslim Brotherhood was interested in removing Mubarak from power.
The December 2008 dispatch stated:
On December 23, April 6 activist xxxxxxxxxxxx expressed satisfaction with his participation in theDecember 3-5 \”Alliance of Youth Movements Summit,\” and with his subsequent meetings with USG officials, on Capitol Hill, and with think tanks. He described how State Security (SSIS) detained him at the Cairo airport upon his return and confiscated his notes for his summit presentation calling for democratic change in Egypt, and his schedule for his Congressional meetings. xxxxxxxxxxxx contended that the GOE will never undertake significant reform, and therefore, Egyptians need to replace the current regime with a parliamentary democracy. He alleged that several opposition parties and movements have accepted an unwritten plan for democratic transition by 2011; we are doubtful of this claim.
The U.S. government was aware that the activist was plotting regime change in Egypt. According to the dispatch:
xxxxxxxxxxxx expressed satisfaction with the December 3-5 \”Alliance of Youth Movements Summit\” in New York, noting that he was able to meet activists from other countries and outline his movement’s goals for democratic change in Egypt. He told us that the other activists at the summit were very supportive, and that some even offered to hold public demonstrations in support of Egyptian democracy in their countries, with xxxxxxxxxxxx as an invited guest. xxxxxxxxxxxx said he discussed with the other activists how April 6 members could more effectively evade harassment and surveillance from SSIS with technical upgrades, such as consistently alternating computer \”simcards.\” However, xxxxxxxxxxxx lamented to us that because most April 6 members do not own computers, this tactic would be impossible to implement. xxxxxxxxxxxx was appreciative of the successful efforts by the Department and the summit organizers to protect his identity at the summit, and told us that his name was never mentioned publicly.
The dispatch described the activist’s “Washington Meetings and April 6 Ideas for Regime Change”:
xxxxxxxxxxxx described his Washington appointments as positive, saying that on the Hill he met with xxxxxxxxxxxx, a variety of House staff members, including from the offices of xxxxxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxxxxx), and with two Senate staffers. xxxxxxxxxxxx also noted that he met with several think tank members. xxxxxxxxxxxx said that xxxxxxxxxxxx’s office invited him to speak at a late January Congressional hearing on House Resolution 1303 regarding religious and political freedom in Egypt.
The activist is said to have pressured U.S. government officials to support policies that would help spark regime change. According to the dispatch:
xxxxxxxxxxxx described how he tried to convince his Washington interlocutors that the USG should pressure the GOE to implement significant reforms by threatening to reveal CAIRO 00002572 002 OF 002 information about GOE officials’ alleged \”illegal\” off-shore bank accounts. He hoped that the U.S. and the international community would freeze these bank accounts, like the accounts of Zimbabwean President Mugabe’s confidantes. xxxxxxxxxxxx said he wants to convince the USG that Mubarak is worse than Mugabe and that the GOE will never accept democratic reform. xxxxxxxxxxxx asserted that Mubarak derives his legitimacy from U.S. support, and therefore charged the U.S. with \”being responsible\” for Mubarak’s \”crimes.\”
He accused NGOs working on political and economic reform of living in a \”fantasy world,\” and not recognizing that Mubarak — \”the head of the snake\” — must step aside to enable democracy to take root.
The dispatch informed Washington that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was ready to take part in an uprising:
xxxxxxxxxxxx claimed that several opposition forces — including the Wafd, Nasserite, Karama and Tagammu parties, and the Muslim Brotherhood, Kifaya, and Revolutionary Socialist movements — have agreed to support an unwritten plan for a transition to a parliamentary democracy, involving a weakened presidency and an empowered prime minister and parliament, before the scheduled 2011 presidential elections (ref C). According to xxxxxxxxxxxx, the opposition is interested in receiving support from the army and the police for a transitional government prior to the 2011 elections.
xxxxxxxxxxxx asserted that this plan is so sensitive it cannot be written down.
When Hillary Clinton took over the State Department the next month, she kept Cohen on her State Department Policy Planning staff. Cohen worked for Clinton for almost two years, where he focused on counter-radicalization strategies in the Middle East, before taking a job with Google (now Alphabet).
One speaker bio describes him as “a close advisor to both Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, where he was not only the youngest member of Policy Planning in history, but also one of the few appointees kept on in both administrations.”
After Clinton took office, her State Department sponsored the next Alliance of Youth Movements Summit in Mexico City in 2009. Clinton personally announced and addressed that Summit to encourage the activists in attendance. She also became the face of the “21st Century Statecraft” initiative spearheaded by Cohen.
Clinton’s State Department partnered with Google, Facebook, and others to sponsor the 2009 Alliance of Youth Movements Summit in Mexico City on October 16, 2009. Clinton as Secretary of State addressed that Summit with a video message.
“Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton first announced this summit in March 2009 during her digital town hall on the campus of Tecnológico de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico. The Secretary is committed to connecting and empowering these young community leaders,” according to a 2009 State Department press release.
Clinton’s address to the Summit called for “citizen activists” to learn how to foment change in their home countries:
The plot to help catalyze regime change in Egypt was intended to be secret, as evidenced by the confidentiality of the memo, which noted that the activist’s plan in its early stages was still “unrealistic.” But as the organization evolved, it became more transparent about the fact that it was supporting rebel insurgencies.
The Alliance for Youth Movements became Movements.org in 2011, according to a 2011 announcement by FastCompany that noted the move was “[j]ust in time to help organize Egyptian grassroots activists with restored Internet access.”
Hosni Mubarak stepped down from power in Egypt on February 11, 2011, after 18 days of protests led by “the young people of Egypt,” as The New York Times called them.
A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood confirmed that the Islamist group took part in the revolution, saying, “We participated with everyone else…” The Muslim Brotherhood’s political party won a plurality of parliament seats in November 2011. Its candidate Mohamed Morsi was elected president and served from June 2012 until his downfall little more than a year later, in July 2013’s military coup.
Secretary Clinton subsequently visited Egypt to publicly support Morsi, saying: “I have come to Cairo to reaffirm the strong support of the United States for the Egyptian people and their democratic transition. We want to be a good partner and we want to support the democracy that has been achieved by the courage and sacrifice of the Egyptian people.”
After his own downfall, Morsi was convicted of “ordering the arrest and torture of protesters,” according to Al Jazeera, which noted the deaths of at least 817 protesters in Cairo at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood’s forces. Morsi was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Egypt in 2015.
Mrs. Clinton is now under fire from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for her policies at the State Department, which Trump claimed led to the creation of the Islamic State (IS).
Breitbart News reported that she was sent a confidential memo stating Obama administration support for Al Qaeda in Iraq, which later split from the larger Al Qaeda organization to become IS.
Mrs. Clinton also sat on the board of a Clinton Global Initiative corporate partner that allegedly made payments to ISIS in Syria.
Now, Clinton’s sponsorship of the Alliance of Youth Movements Summit could provide more fuel for Trump’s Middle East-based line of attack.
The State Department and the Hillary Clinton campaign did not return requests for comment for this report. Movements.org and Jared Cohen also did not return requests for comment.