The Vice-President of the USA begs to differ. He thinks that the man to whom the US gives $1.2bn in military aid is a cuddly chap, mostly because he's friendly to Israel:
"Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he's been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with - with Israel. ... I would not refer to him as a dictator..."Got it, protestors? Your rights aren't important: it's the US's geopolitical interests which will determine whether you get a new government.
What does the US Ambassador to Egypt say about her hosts? Well, according to a Wikileaked cable, it's not a very cuddly government:
Torture and police brutality in Egypt are endemic and widespread. The police use brutal methods mostly against common criminals to extract confessions, but also against demonstrators, certain political prisoners and unfortunate bystanders. One human rights lawyer told us there is evidence of torture in Egypt dating back to the times of the Pharaohs.