Before They Were Famous: Yannis Stournaras and Mohamed Morsi

Posted: 27th June 2012

We love seeking out the human side of our favorite entertainers by looking at their work before they were famous, and it’s easy to discover when legions of fans post to the web. But what about the task of uncovering views of influential politicians prior to their emergence on the global stage?

One of the exciting things that you can do with Recorded Future is rewind time in order to quickly discover and analyze the timing of public statements made by an individual before, after, or during a particular period.

Major political appointments earlier this week, following exceptional elections in Greece and Egypt, provide a pair on whom we can conduct such research: Greek finance minister Yannis Stournaras and Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.

Yannis Stournaras – Greek Finance Minister

Several days ago, the world expected Vassilis Rapanos, chairman of the National Bank of Greece, to take up the finance minister post in economically troubled Greece. Rapanos’ sudden resignation due to health problems vaulted Stournaras into the spotlight and immediately made his positions on the Greek recovery notable.

To filter out the flood of recent reporting, we’ll set the clock in Recorded Future to show statements from Stournaras prior to June 25. You can view those live here.

A few moments among the many publicized statements of his:

  • April 8, 2010: “If you do a restructuring, people would not lend any further money to Greece. That would be a huge mistake. Greece has the mechanism. It just has to ask for the money.”
  • October 14, 2010: “Greece is the last Soviet-style economy in Europe. Other countries have some closed professions. But nothing like Greece. Every stone you turn here, there are regulations.”
  • October 15, 2011: “From all the proposed plans which include a haircut and aim at averting a default, we believe that this is where the solution can be found. It should come from the use of state property.”
  • April 2, 2012: “The privatizations program can become a growth lever, perhaps the most important one by attracting foreign investments.”

Mohamed Morsi – Egyptian President

The tumultuous presidential race in Egypt ended this past Sunday with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi narrowly elected. Morsi is immediately forced to negotiate with the country’s military for governing powers, so a true agenda may not be immediately evident. This makes a historical overview of his viewpoints even more intriguing since we might expect a suppression of immediate action that could emerge over time as power is gained.

To generate such a resource we’ll set the clock in Recorded Future to show statements from Morsi prior to May 2012 when his presidential campaign started to garner significant media attention. You can view all of the statements live here:

A few notable examples drawn from the many quotations shown above:

  • July 15, 2010: “…the investment ties between Yemen and his country should witness development because there are no trade exchange restrictions. The trade relationship between Yemen and Egypt goes ahead firmly and there is a huge chance to develop it.”
  • September 10, 2010: “We call on all Muslims to put pressure on their governments to expel U.S. ambassadors and to boycott U.S. products until the U.S. government takes action [against Koran burning].”
  • December 3, 2011: “…Islamic laws would be fundamental in the new constitution while due respect would be given to other religions.”
  • February 29, 2012: “I want an office of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas to be opened in Cairo and I would very much welcome it.”

Monitoring These Leaders Going Forward

Historical statements are then worth contrasting to the current state of affairs and posturing of elected officials. Will they follow through on particular promises or bend in the face of political pressures? This provides us an exciting opportunity to introduce a way to monitor events in real time with live feed from the next generation of Recorded Future (get your invite!) related to Mohammed Morsi:

Did you find any surprising statements in the above live views? What other public figures would be interesting to examine in this way? We’re open to suggestions in the comments.