Justin Webb: Do you regard President Mubarak as an authoritarian ruler?
President Obama: No, I tend not to use labels for folks. I haven’t met him. I’ve spoken to him on the phone.
Obama’s crocodile tears over Egypt’s violence
Bill Van Auken
That the president and other top US officials were hardly unaware of the violence carried out daily by the regime has been substantiated by documentary proof thanks to the secret diplomatic cables from the Cairo embassy released by WikiLeaks. A cable sent to Washington by the US ambassador in Cairo just months before Obama’s speech noted matter-of-factly that police brutality in Egypt is “routine and pervasive”, with “literally hundreds of torture incidents every day in Cairo police stations alone.”
This was hardly news. The Egyptian government has ruled through a virtually uninterrupted state of emergency over the course of Mubarak’s entire presidency. This allowed administrative detention without trial, the criminalization of strikes and the outlawing of any non-sanctioned gathering of five or more people.