February 1, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A Google Inc. marketing manager has gone missing in Cairo, where violent protests against the ruling regime have embroiled Egypt's capital for the past week.
Wael Ghonim's whereabouts have been unknown since last Thursday evening. That's when Google says he was spotted in central Cairo.
Google wants anyone with information about Ghonim to call a United Kingdom phone number: +44-20-7031-3008.
Ghonim oversees Google's marketing in the Middle East and Africa from the company's Dubai office. He has been part of Google's management team there since late 2008, according to information posted on what appears to be Ghonim's account on professional networking site LinkedIn. That page also says Ghonim graduated from Cairo University in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in computer engineering. In 2007, he got his master's degree in marketing and finance from American University in Cairo, according to that LinkedIn account.
A Facebook page under Ghonim's name proclaims his admiration for Mohamed ElBaradei, who opposes the government of Egypt's long-time president, Hosni Mubarak. The page also lists Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs and billionaire investor Warren Buffett as Ghonim's other inspirations.
Egypt's government cut off Internet access last week in hopes of squelching mass protests and public dissent.
Before pulling the plug on the entire Internet, Egypt's government had been blocking Twitter's short-messaging service.
But Ghonim may have found a way to broadcast his views by accessing Internet-connected computers outside of Egypt. In a Jan. 27 post on a Twitter account listed under his name, Ghonim told one of his followers he was tweeting through proxy servers. In another post that same day, Ghonim wrote, "Pray for (hash)Egypt. Very worried as it seems that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people. We are all ready to die."
To help counter the Internet blackout, Google has set up a voicemail system that posts written messages on Twitter accounts. As of late Tuesday, the last post on the Twitter account under Ghonim's name is dated Jan. 27, on the same day of his last sighting.
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