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Gina fled Egypt as an American spy
  Gina London knew she had to leave her job in Egyp
Monday, February 5,2007 00:00
by San Francisco Chronicle

 

Gina fled Egypt as an American spyGina London knew she had to leave her job in Egypt or risk losing her life.

London, the former Denver-based CNN reporter who last worked here for lobbyists CRL Associates, knew she had to abandon her job at the International Republican Institute in Cairo when a newspaper ran her picture on the front page.

"There was a huge banner headline saying, ’Get rid of the spy,’ with my picture with a gun sight over it," London said. "The government was allowing government-controlled newspapers to mount a campaign against me. I was afraid some crazy out there would take them up on their call."

London’s journey to becoming Egypt’s "most hated" started when she says she was misquoted in a major Cairo daily newspaper.

"They had me saying that there had been no Democratic reform in the 25 years that (Hosni) Mubarak had been president," she said. "In the same week, we released our political party assessment report, which pretty much criticized the uneven playing field, which got a lot of press."

London signed on last January with IRI, an organization that educates people on how democracy works in the U.S. She left there in July and moved to Seattle as a consultant running a political campaign. When the initiative failed to pass, her former boss, CRL honcho Maria Garcia Berry, called and made London an offer to return to her old job in Denver. She rejoined CRL Jan. 2 as senior vice president.

"Frankly, I hoped that Egypt was going to work," she said. "Everybody drives with their hand firmly on the horn 24-7. It is teeming with noise; there are no emission standards, so there’s noise and pollution nonstop. The good news is that the pyramids will be there for another thousand years, and it may be that long before I visit again."

To celebrate her return to Denver, London will be guest bartender from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place. Her boyfriend, Scotty Walsh, a Seattle artist and magician, will perform his magic show. $5 at the door.

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