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Shelley Walden, International Reform Officer
202.457.0034, ext. 156
Beatrice Edwards, International Reform Director
202.457.0034 ext. 155
Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director
202.457.0034, ext. 137
A report released by the
Government Accountability Project (GAP), based on documents obtained
nearly three years' of U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests,
exposes the highly irregular manner in which the Foundation for the
(FFF) - an obscure project funded by the U.S. Department of State -
was established and operated by Bush administration officials and
Specifically, the report details
how high-level State
Department officials misled Congress as they sought millions in public
for the Foundation, which was a haven for people with political
The report also shows that FFF was a pet project of Elizabeth Cheney,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.
worked to set up the Foundation with Shaha Riza, Paul Wolfowitz's
companion whose seconding to the State Department (and then to the FFF)
directly responsible for the 2007 World Bank scandal that resulted in
departure from the Bank.
"Liz Cheney had the
preposterous idea that the
Foundation for the Future would bring peace and democracy to the Middle
East," said GAP International Program
Officer Shelley Walden, author of the report. "This overlong project
wasted millions of taxpayer dollars."
The Foundation for the
Future first became an issue of
public interest inquiry in 2007, when GAP
published the payroll records of Riza, girlfriend of then-World Bank
President Paul Wolfowitz. The records showed that Riza, a British
worked as a World Bank communications officer, was seconded to the U.S.
Department after Wolfowitz was appointed, where she was responsible for
establishing the Foundation for the Future (FFF). The FFF was a
organization tasked with promoting democracy and reform in the Broader
East and North Africa (BMENA) region.
While seconded from the
Bank to the State Department
in 2005 and 2006, Riza received salary raises in excess of what Bank
allowed, earning far more than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In
2006, Riza's secondment was transferred to the FFF itself,
where she remained until returning to the Bank in early 2008, after
was forced to resign.
Liz Cheney's Failed
The documents released by
the Department of State
(DOS) show that Liz Cheney, as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of
for Near Eastern Affairs, envisioned Riza's highly irregular secondment
to the FFF in May 2005, well before it was established, andbefore Paul Wolfowitz became
the Bank. In this unsupervised position, Riza promoted an overtly
political U.S. agenda in the Middle
East. Riza's activities in this role were in apparent
violation of conflict of interest regulations at the World Bank, as well
national security, tax and visa regulations of the U.S. government. The
shows that Cheney was instrumental in the Foundation's launch and
to obtain broad international support.
"The project was doomed
from the start -
State Department officials in the region warned that restrictive laws in
Persian Gulf states would make the Foundation ineffective; BMENA
did not support a Foundation that would give their opposition a platform
which to oppose them; and potential donors had misgivings about the
project's lack of indigenous imprint," stated Walden.
"Despite these warning signs, Cheney and the Bush administration moved
full steam ahead and established the Foundation anyway."
In 2005, Cheney, Shaha
Riza and Condoleezza Rice
embarked on an international crusade to obtain financial and diplomatic
for FFF. But their efforts at diplomacy were a failure; they raised less
25% of the goal (set by Cheney) of $25 million (USD) in contributions
other nations. The great majority of funding came from the United
although the legislation creating the institution included a requirement
for the Future was to promote democracy, transparency and popular
political participation on a multilateral basis in the Middle
East," said GAP International Program Director Bea Edwards.
"So when Liz Cheney - who, in the view of many Middle Eastern
leaders, occupied her position largely because she was the Vice
President's daughter - asked other nations for contributions, they
balked. Add to this the fact that the Foundation's board member
process was directed by the former Deputy Secretary of Defense's
girlfriend and that the Foundation was managed by a personal friend of
Wolfowitz's with little expertise in the region, and it's no wonder
that many potential donors refused to fund it."
GAP's report shows that
the FFF was almost entirely
financed and monitored by the U.S.
government, even though the Bush administration repeatedly portrayed it
Congress as a multilateral, non-governmental organization created in
to democratic demands from grassroots organizations. Documents also show
the Bush administration intended to use the Foundation as a vehicle
which to demonstrate its purported commitment to democratic processes
rights abroad, at a time when President Bush was subjected to increasing
criticism for human rights violations in Iraq,
sites" around the world and Guantanamo
Dubious Lobbying and
From 2005-2007, officials
at the State Department executed a number of questionable legislative
in the US Congress that were favorable to the FFF. In the end, the
administration successfully obtained the passage of three laws related
Foundation and a disbursement of $21.3 million in public funds. They
secured $921,064 for the Eurasia Foundation - a non-profit organization
set up by the State Department in the 1990s to promote democracy in the
former Soviet Union - to help establish the FFF.
It appears that in
to obtain the disbursement to the FFF, State Department officials
misled the US Congress about the funding pledged to the Foundation by
governments. Evidence strongly suggests that section 534(k) of US Public
109-102, which at that time stipulated that funds could only be made
to the Foundation to the extent that they had been matched by
from other governments, was violated; the Foundation's own reports show
that less than $6.4 million of the $22.26 million in "matching
funds" listed by the State Department in its communications with
as pledged ever materialized.
the State Department's representation of a murky $10 million pledge from
Qatar, the largest "pledge" of any
country other than the United
States. Documents indicate that the State
Department knew that this pledge would never materialize when it asked
to disburse matching funds.
GAP's report also
suggests that FFF management - including former FFF Chairman (and close
friend of Paul Wolfowitz) Anwar Ibrahim, who is currently a Malaysian
parliamentarian - misled the US Internal Revenue Service. The FFF's
financial statements for 2006 and 2007 state that the Foundation did not
attempt to influence national legislation, an assertion contradicted by
cables and reports released by the Department of State. These documents
that several Foundation representatives actively lobbied the US Congress
2006-07 for legislative changes favorable to the FFF.
documents show generous travel
allowances and salaries for the office of Shaha Riza, whose nebulous
not seem to require such lavish financial support. Riza was paid a net
of $180,000 to perform such tasks as reviewing a translated draft of the
bylaws, a PowerPoint presentation of a business plan and a translated
and procedures manual.
Foundation for the
Future continues to operate, although the departure of both Cheneys from
office appears to have weakened its financial support from Congress.
the vast majority of its funding comes from the U.S. government,
indicate that the FFF will be unsustainable after 2014.
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a 30-year-old nonprofit public interest group that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. We pursue this mission through our Nuclear Safety, International Reform, Corporate Accountability, Food & Drug Safety, and Federal Employee/National Security programs. GAP is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization.
"What is the common vision to guide the Global South out of this crisis?" asked the Progressive International. "What is the plan to win it?"
Delegates to the Havana Congress on the New International Economic Order—a gathering organized by the Progressive International and attended by more than 50 scholars and policymakers from 26 countries across all six inhabited continents—agreed over the weekend on a declaration that outlines a "common vision" for building an egalitarian and sustainable society out of the wreckage of five decades of neoliberal capitalism.
"The crisis of the existing world system can either entrench inequalities," the declaration asserts, or it can "embolden" popular movements throughout the Global South to "reclaim" their role as protagonists "in the construction of a new world order based on justice, equity, and peace."
Delegates resolved to focus their initial efforts on strengthening the development and dissemination of lifesaving technologies in low-income nations.
"Delegates agreed that a key priority must be to secure science and technology sovereignty."
This decision comes one year after Cuban officials announced, at a press conference convened by the Progressive International (PI), their plan to deliver 200 million homegrown Covid-19 vaccine doses to impoverished countries abandoned by their wealthy counterparts and Big Pharma—along with tools to enable domestic production and expert support to improve distribution.
It also comes as Cuba assumes the presidency of the Group of 77 (G77), a bloc of 134 developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America where "the combined crises of food, energy, and environment" are escalating, PI noted.
"What is the common vision to guide the Global South out of this crisis?" the coalition asked. "What is the plan to win it? What is the New International Economic Order for the 21st century?"
"After two days of detailed discussions about how to transform our shared world, delegates agreed that a key priority must be to secure science and technology sovereignty," PI general coordinator David Adler said Sunday at the conclusion of the Havana Congress. "From pharmaceuticals to green tech, from digital currencies to microchips, too much of humanity is locked out of both benefiting from scientific advances and contributing to new ones. We will, as today's declaration calls for, work to build 'a planetary bloc led by the South and reinforced by the solidarities of the North' to liberate knowledge and peoples."
Speaking at the January 12 ceremony during which Cuba ascended to the G77 presidency, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla emphasized the need for coordinated action across the Global South on science and tech, arguing that "scientific-technical development is today monopolized by a club of countries that monopolize most of the patents, technologies, research centers, and promote the drain of talent from our countries."
The G77 Summit on Science, Technology, and Innovation, scheduled for September in Havana, seeks to "unite, complement each other, integrate our national capacities so as not to be relegated to future pandemics," said Parrilla.
During his speech on the first day of the Havana Congress, meanwhile, former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called for a new non-aligned movement to "end the legalized robbery of people and Earth fueling climate catastrophe."
\u201cAt the Havana Congress on the New International Economic Order, @yanisvaroufakis calls for a New Non-Aligned Movement to "end the legalised robbery of people and Earth fuelling climate catastrophe."\n\nRead his full speech here: https://t.co/P8zdht8FD9\u201d— Progressive International (@Progressive International) 1674836693
Read the full Havana Declaration on the New International Economic Order:
The Havana Congress,
Recalling the role of the Cuban Revolution in the struggle to unite the Southern nations of the world, and the spirit of the 1966 Havana Tricontinental Conference that convened peoples from Asia, Africa, and Latin America to chart a path to collective liberation in the face of severe global crises and sustained imperial subjugation;
Hearing the echoes of that history today, as crises of hunger, disease, and war once again overwhelm the world, compounded by a rapidly changing climate and the droughts, floods, and hurricanes that not only threaten to inflame conflicts between peoples, but also risk the extinction of humanity at large;
Celebrating the legacy of the anti-colonial struggle, and the victories won by combining a program of sovereign development at home, solidarity for national liberation abroad, and a strong Southern bloc to force concessions to its interests, culminating in the adoption of the U.N. Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order (NIEO);
Acknowledging that the project of decolonization remains incomplete, disrupted by concerted attacks on the unity of the South in the form of wars, coups, sanctions, structural adjustment, and the false promise that sovereign development might be won through integration into a hierarchical world system;
Emphasizing that the result has been the sustained divergence between North and South, characterized by the same dynamics that defined the international economic order five decades prior: the extraction of natural resources, the enclosure of 'intellectual property,' the plunder of structural adjustment, and the exclusion of the multilateral system;
Recognizing that despite these setbacks, the flame of Southern resistance did not die; that the pursuit of sovereign development has yielded unprecedented achievements—from mass literacy and universal healthcare to poverty alleviation and medical innovation—that enable a renewed campaign of Southern cooperation today;
Stressing that this potential for Southern unity is perceived as a threat to Northern powers, which seek once again to preserve their position in the hierarchy of the world system through mechanisms of economic exclusion, political coercion, and military aggression;
Seizing the opportunity of the present historical juncture, when the crisis of the existing world system can either entrench inequalities or embolden the call to reclaim Southern protagonism in the construction of a new world order based on justice, equity, and peace;
The Havana Congress calls to:
"It is imperative that we demand an independent investigation into the police murder of Manuel 'Tortuguita' Paez Terán," said one group. "We join calls for the termination of the lease and for Mayor Dickens' resignation."
A coalition of more than 1,300 climate and racial justice groups from across the United States on Monday joined a call for an independent investigation into the police killing of forest defender Manuel Paez Terán earlier this month, and demanded the resignation of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.
Nearly two weeks after the fatal shooting of the 26-year-old activist and medic—known as Tortuguita—Dickens "has still failed to condemn the killing," said the groups, and has instead opted "to condemn protestors and parrot the rhetoric of extreme right-wing governor Brian Kemp."
Tortuguita was shot and killed on January 18 when a joint task force including Atlanta police officers raided an encampment at Weelaunee forest. The forest is the site of a proposed $90 million police training facility known as Cop City.
"His championing of Cop City occurs against the backdrop of a continued investment in the gentrification of Atlanta and a continued disinvestment of affordable housing for a city identified as having the country's highest level of wealth inequality."
Over the weekend Dickens, a Democrat, condemned people who have protested Tortuguita's killing in Atlanta, accusing protesters of traveling to the city to "wreak havoc" at demonstrations that were overwhelmingly peaceful.
"Within a few hours of the shooting, Dickens tweeted support for [an] injured state trooper and completely ignored the death at the hands of a task force which included Atlanta police officers on his watch," wrote the groups, which include People vs. Fossil Fuels, Jewish Voice for Peace, Climate Justice Alliance, and Oil Change International. "As a growing number of Atlanta residents, national and global news outlets, and human rights and environmental organizations worldwide call for an investigation of the police narrative of Tortuguita's death, Dickens has dismissed their concerns. He has refused to bring any scrutiny to the one-sided and unsubstantiated recounting of events. Dickens has yet to offer condolences to the slain protestor's family."
The groups noted that Dickens and the Atlanta City Council have the authority to terminate the land lease for Cop City in the forest and called for the mayor to do so immediately, denouncing his strong support for the Atlanta Police Foundation's proposal.
"His championing of Cop City occurs against the backdrop of a continued investment in the gentrification of Atlanta and a continued disinvestment of affordable housing for a city identified as having the country's highest level of wealth inequality," said the groups. "Mayor Dickens can somehow find $90 million dollars for Cop City, one third of which will come from taxpayer money. Still, he can't find money to keep our already overwhelmed hospitals open or to finance much-needed affordable housing."
Ikiya Collective, a signatory of the letter, noted that the training slated to take place at Cop City "will impact organizing across the country" as police are trained to respond to popular uprisings.
"This is a national issue," said the collective. "Climate justice and police brutality are interconnected, which is why we are joining the Stop Cop City calls to action with the frontline communities in Atlanta."
"It is imperative that we demand an independent investigation into the police murder of Manuel 'Tortuguita' Paez Terán," said Ikiya Collective. "We join calls for the termination of the lease and for Mayor Dickens' resignation."
Brazil's far-right ex-president has applied for a visa to remain in the U.S. amid worsening legal troubles in his home country, where he is facing multiple investigations.
Brazil's far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro has applied for a six-month visitor visa to remain in the United States amid worsening legal troubles in his home country.
U.S. authorities received Bolsonaro's application on Friday, The Financial Timesreported Monday, citing "his lawyer, Felipe Alexandre, who has advised the former president not to leave the country while it is being processed—a period that could last several months."
Bolsonaro is facing multiple investigations in Brazil. That includes longstanding probes into alleged wrongdoing committed during his four-year presidential term as well as the Brazilian Supreme Court's recently launched inquiry aimed at determining whether his incessant lies about electoral fraud are to blame for the coup attempt that his supporters launched in Brasília on January 8.
The close ally of former U.S. President Donald Trump—whose unceasing lies about his loss in the 2020 presidential election sparked a deadly right-wing insurrection in Washington two years ago—retreated to Florida on December 30, two days before the January 1 inauguration of his leftist successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, commonly known as Lula.
"He has been staying at the Kissimmee home of a former mixed martial arts fighter, José Aldo, where he is often thronged by adoring members of Florida's right-leaning Brazilian expat community," the Times noted. "Bolsonaro had been traveling on an A-1 visa reserved for diplomats and heads of state. It expired the day he left office, with a 30-day grace period."
Earlier this month, several members of U.S. Congress urged the Biden administration to rescind Bolsonaro's visa.
"We must not allow Mr. Bolsonaro or any other former Brazilian officials to take refuge in the United States to escape justice for any crimes they may have committed when in office," stated a letter to the White House signed by 41 Democratic lawmakers.
Alexandre claimed that there is no evidence that Bolsonaro committed any crimes related to the anti-democratic assault in Brasília, when his election-denying supporters ransacked Brazil's presidential palace, Congress, and Supreme Court.
Bolsonaro has tried to distance himself from the rioters, saying that they "crossed the line." In December, however, Bolsonaro broke his post-election silence to tell his backers—many of whom spent weeks after the October 30 runoff calling for a military coup to prevent Lula from taking office—that his political fate rested in their hands.
"Who decides where I go are you," Bolsonaro told a crowd outside the gates of the presidential residence on December 9. "Who decides which way the armed forces go are you."
Days later, hundreds of Bolsonaristas set fire to cars and buses and tried to breach federal police headquarters in Brasília in a preview of the larger January 8 insurrection.
A bigger right-wing mob invaded Brazil's main government buildings earlier this month under the false pretense that Lula's victory in October's election was the result of widespread fraud—a mistaken belief fueled by years of Bolsonaro and his allies' baseless attacks on the integrity of the country's election infrastructure, disinformation that spread rapidly on social media.
The day after the attack, thousands of democracy defenders took to the streets of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo to demand jail time for those who carried out the violence as well as those who aided and abetted it.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Western Hemisphere panel, said earlier this month that the U.S. should comply if Lula's administration requests Bolsonaro's extradition.
Alexandre, meanwhile, told the Times that Bolsonaro "might eventually decide to petition for a more permanent U.S. visa than the six-month extension he is seeking."