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US documents show that Washington funded military coup in Egypt

Despite the fact that American president Barack Obama has said the US did not take sides during the recent coup against the elected president in Egypt, US federal government documents proves that the White House funded many prominent Egyptian activist who have worked outspokenly to undermine the democratic experience.

According to an in-depth investigation published by Aljazeer.net/English, those activists and their institutions which are apparently working to reinforce democratic values in Egypt, have contributed significantly to the toppling of the first freely elected Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi.

The documents, Aljazeera said, were obtained by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley. They show that the US channelled funding through a State Department programme to Egyptian activists and the institutions they run. However, the US knows that its funds go to anti-democracy activities.

The programme is known by US officials as a "democracy assistance" initiative. It is part of the Obama administration's effort to try to stop the retreat of pro-Washington secularists. They work to win back influence in Arab Spring countries after the rise of Islamists.

Of course, the documents show that funding these parties form a clear opposition of Egyptian law, which prohibits foreign political funds. At the same time, it breaks US government regulations that ban the use of taxpayers' money to fund foreign politicians, or finance subversive activities that target democratically elected governments.

One of the activists bankrolled is the exiled colonel in the Egyptian police, Omar Afifi Solaiman, who served in Egypt's elite investigative police unit, notorious for human rights abuses. He began receiving US funds in 2008 for at least four years.

Solaiman, who has refugee status in the US, was sentenced in absentia last year to five years imprisonment by a Cairo court for his role in inciting violence in 2011 against the embassies of Israel and Saudi Arabia, two US allies.

Aljazeera said he also used social media to encourage violent attacks against Egyptian officials, according to court documents and a review of his social media posts. The total amount of funds he has received so far is $120,000.

However, while Solaiman was supposed to promote democratic understanding, he instead encouraged the violent overthrow of Egypt's government and the freely elected president Mohamed Morsi through interviews with Egyptian media, social media posts and YouTube videos.

Solaiman lives in the US, but many others were discovered to be receiving funds from the US government are living in Egypt. Members if the Salvation Front, the main opposition bloc, has backed street protest campaigns against the elected government that turned violent, in contravention of many of the State Department's own guidelines.

Aljazeera also said that Esraa Abdel-Fatah, the 34-year old Egyptian woman who sprang to notoriety during the country's pitched battle over the new constitution in December 2012.

She exhorted activists to lay siege to mosques and drag from pulpits all Muslim preachers and religious figures who supported the country's proposed constitution, just before it went to a public referendum.

The act of besieging mosques has continued ever since, and several people have died in clashes defending them. Abdel-Fatah's organisation got a $75,000 grant in 2011.

Michael Meunier is a frequent guest on TV channels that opposed Morsi. Head of the Al-Haya Party, he denied receiving US assistance, but documents show USAID in 2011 granted his Cairo-based organisation $873,355. Since 2009, it has taken in $1.3 million from the US agency.

Meunier helped rally the country's five million minority Coptic Christian Orthodox who oppose Morsi's Islamist agenda to take to the streets against the president on June 30.

Reform and Development Party member Mohammed Essmat al-Sadat received US financial support through his Sadat Association for Social Development. Sadat, who was a member of the main body that called for the toppling of the democratically elected president, collected $84,445.

Sadat defended the use of force and blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the massacre which took place in front of the Republican Guards Club and claimed the lives of more than 60 Egyptians, including women and children, and wounded more than 1,000.

Aljazeera literally said: some US-backed politicians have said Washington tacitly encouraged them to incite protests. "We were told by the Americans that if we see big street protests that sustain themselves for a week, they will reconsider all current US policies towards the Muslim Brotherhood regime," said Saaddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian-American politician who opposed Morsi. Ibrahim's organisation also got a lot of fund from the US.

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