In all the chaos of yesterday, I forgot to follow up on the strange texts I received last evening on by Vodafone cellphone here in Egypt. The AP has the story today, quoting Vodafone officials in London as saying that that Egyptian authorities forced them to broadcast pro-government text messages starting a few days ago.
Our McClatchy colleague in Cairo, Miret El Naggar, said her husband also received three messages in quick succession late yesterday afternoon. They read:
"O Egypt's youth, beware of the rumors and listen to the sounds of reason. Egypt is above all, so keep it safe."
"To every mother, father, sister and brother, to every honorable citizen, protect the country because the nation remains forever."
"The armed forces is keen for your safety and will not use force against this great people."
All the texts were addressed from "Vodafone." AP has a statement from Vodafone PLC, saying the messages were drafted by Egyptian authorities and that it couldn't change them:
Vodafone Group has protested to the authorities that the current situation regarding these messages is unacceptable. We have made clear that all messages should be transparent and clearly attributable to the originator.
Another way the Egyptian government has tried to portray the pro-democracy protesters as bent on chaos and destruction.