‘Western countries are using aid to Africa as a smokescreen to hide the “sustained looting” of the continent as it loses nearly $60bn a year through tax evasion, climate change mitigation, and the flight of profits earned by foreign multinational companies, a group of NGOs has claimed.
Although sub-Saharan Africa receives $134bn each year in loans, foreign investment and development aid, research released on Tuesday by a group of UK and Africa-based NGOs suggests that $192bn leaves the region, leaving a $58bn shortfall. The report says that while western countries send about $30bn in development aid to Africa every year, more than six times that amount leaves the continent, “mainly to the same countries providing that aid”.’
‘With numbing regularity, Israel bombs the Gaza Strip, home to 1.8 million Palestinians, from the air, land, and sea, and the excuse is always the same: Hamas “terrorists” don’t accept Israel’s “right to exist.” The specific trigger this time: the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers.
Hamas has publicly stated that it was not responsible for the deaths, and the claim is credible. Increasingly isolated, it had just concluded reconciliation talks with Fatah, a popular move with the Palestinian public, which it was not likely to jeopardize.
Bombing Gaza is convenient for Israel for many reasons: It ends further progress on Palestinian unity talks. It ends focus on the failure of the Kerry peace talks during which Israel continued to announce illegal settlement construction. It reminds all Palestinians that they will suffer a similar fate if they have the temerity to defy Israel. And it unites Israelis like nothing else.’
- Israeli arms dealers do business at Farnborough Airshow even as the bombs drop on Gaza
- Israel’s Bombardment of Gaza Earns Thumbs Up from New York Politicians
- Paris bans pro-Palestinian protest amid tensions
- US media coverage of Gaza is deeply flawed, both sides in conflict say
- U.S. condemns ‘brazen’ Hamas rocket fire amid truce efforts
- Kerry opts against a Mideast mediation trip
- BBC ‘biased coverage’ of Gaza slammed
- CNN’s Chris Cuomo says “Israel’s death toll is rising”
- US Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Defense of Alleged Killers of Palestinian Teen
- The UK’s pro-Israel lobby in context
- Documentary: Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby
‘Congress is showing tangible support for longtime ally Israel as Gaza militants fire rockets, backing a measure that would double the amount of money for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee approved a defense spending bill on Tuesday that would provide $621.6 million for Israeli missile defense, including $351 million for the Iron Dome system that intercepts short-range rockets and mortars. In the latest hostilities between Israel and Hamas, Iron Dome has been successful in shooting down rockets and preventing Israeli deaths.
“It works,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the subcommittee.’
Visiting Egypt’s military junta, Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly expressed “strong support” for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, while assuring the junta, which has been massacring people who participate in peaceful protests, that they’ve got even stronger support still. Kerry assured President Sisi of billions of dollars in continued US military aid, and in particular promised that ordered helicopter gunships would be sent to Egypt’s junta “very, very soon.”
Sisi, for his part, promised to continue to move against “terrorism,” which pleased Kerry. Since the junta has designated most public protesters as terrorists, however, it suggests the policy of crackdowns will continue. The former defense minister, Sisi orchestrated a military coup last summer against the elected government, and has since been elected president, albeit in a vote in which all significant opposition parties were banned from participating, and indeed, during which many opposition figures were imprisoned pending execution for “terrorism” related charges.’
- US unlocks military aid to Egypt, backing President Sisi
- Kerry presses Egypt on democracy, assures on Apache gunships
- Egyptian Court Convicts 3 Al Jazeera Journalists
- Egypt’s kangaroo courts
- Egypt upholds death sentence on Brotherhood leader, nearly 200 supporters
- Egypt cabinet sworn in, with most ministers retained
- Egypt’s Sisi cracks the whip on new government
- Egypt to free Al Jazeera journalist on hunger strike
- Egypt police confiscate rights group’s publication
- Egyptian security forces seize Brotherhood leaders’ assets
- The Egyptian Revolution: Three years and counting
- 1000s of Egyptians hold anti-government rallies
- Egypt’s ultraconservative Islamists back Sisi, seek to eclipse Brotherhood
- Islamist Coalition Calls Supporters to Prepare for New Uprising
- HRW: Egypt’s human rights crisis worse than ever
- Egypt’s Lost Power: The Energy Deal Between Egypt and Israel (Documentary)
‘The United States on Thursday cut aid to Uganda, imposed visa restrictions and canceled a regional military exercise in response to a Ugandan law that imposes harsh penalties on homosexuality. The White House said in a statement the measures were intended to “reinforce our support for human rights of all Ugandans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Homosexuality is taboo in most African countries and illegal in 37, including in Uganda where it has been a crime since British rule. Uganda’s new law, signed by President Yoweri Museveni in February, imposes jail terms of up to life for “aggravated homosexuality” which includes homosexual sex with a minor or while HIV-positive.’
‘Iraq has privately revealed to the Obama administration that it would allow the United States to carry out airstrikes with drones or manned aircraft against al Qaeda targets on Iraqi territory, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported.
According to a senior U.S. official, the Obama administration is considering various options, including possibly providing “kinetic support” for the Iraqi military fighting al Qaeda militants who seized two major cities north of Baghdad this week. The official added that no decisions have been made, the Journal said.
Officials declined to say whether the United States would perhaps use airstrikes with drones or manned aircraft. Iraq has long asked the U.S. to arm it with drones that could be used for attacks, yet Washington has balked at supplying them, officials said, according to the Journal.’
- Iraq Asking for US Air Strikes Against al-Qaeda
- Iraq army capitulates to Isis militants in four cities
- Iraq Militants, Pushing South, Aim at Capital
- U.S. Embassy prepares evacuation plans
- ISIS promises more fighting in more Iraqi cities
- Where ISIS Is Gaining Control in Iraq and Syria
- Not What the US Planned: Al-Qaeda Tears Down Syria-Iraq Border
- Iraqi army withdraws from Kirkuk
- Militants ‘seize Tikrit’ after taking Mosul
- Who Is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?
- Sadr calls for new force to defend Iraq religious sites
- Does ISIS’s rapid advance point to local Iraqi support?
- U.S. can only encourage Iraq’s leader as ISIS seizes Mosul
- Mosul emergency: US considers sending emergency military aid to Iraq
- Maliki offers to arm citizens willing to fight ISIS
- Iraq says to work with Kurdish forces to retake Mosul
- ISIL controls banks in Nineveh
‘The United States government is currently holding $277 million in aid over the heads of the leaders of El Salvador. The money, which was promised to the head of state of El Salvador, may not actually be given to the country after all.
Reports from El Salvador are painting a rather clear picture of the situation. It seems that the United States government is pressuring the leaders of El Salvador to purchase enormous quantities of Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds (GMO’s).
The newly written Millennium Challenge Compact, which would grant the $277 million in aid to El Salvador, includes a stipulation that El Salvador begin to use GMO’s. This is a highly controversial requirement, and many environmentalists are up in arms over the stipulation.’
‘More than three years ago, US President Barack Obama withdrew Washington’s long-standing support for Hosni Mubarak, accelerating the former air force marshal’s overthrow by mass demonstrations. Today, the White House is cooperating with Egypt’s latest military-commander-turned-president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in what some analysts say is a return to the old status quo of US support for military rule.
“The United States looks forward to working with [Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi], the winner of Egypt’s presidential election, to advance our strategic partnership and the many interests shared by the United States and Egypt,” the White House said in a news release. The Obama administration also expressed concern about the restrictive political environment in which the elections took place, calling on el-Sissi to adopt political reforms that would fulfill the “democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people.” But in his May 28 foreign policy speech, President Obama made clear that US-Egyptian relations are primarily rooted in national security interests, not democracy promotion.’
- Sources: Egypt turns to Western advisers, signaling possible reforms
- US Continues to Surreptitiously Supply Arms to Unelected Regime in Egypt
- Egypt’s Sisi takes office to cool reception from West
- Egypt’s Sissi: From army chief to civilian strongman
- At Swearing-In, Ex-General Vows ‘Inclusive’ Egypt
- Egypt’s al-Sissi vows tough line against Islamists
- Timeline of Turmoil in Egypt From Mubarak and Morsi to Sisi
- Egypt willing to open Gaza border crossing permanently, official says
- Egypt’s new leader vows to uphold ties with Israel
- Saudi shouts support for Egypt’s new anti-Islamist leader
- Egypt bans unlicensed preachers, tightens grip on mosques
- 10 Islamists sentenced to death in Egypt
- Egypt court overturns policeman conviction for killing 37 Islamist prisoners
- Egypt criminalises sexual harassment for first time
- Egyptian Election Law Helps to Block Opposition
- Three al-Jazeera journalists could be jailed for up to 15 years
- Egypt to monitor social network sites
- Egyptian Regime Scrambles to Boost Low Turnout in Election Sealing General Sisi’s Grip on Power (Video)
- Pro-military fervor at polls as Egyptians vote
- Sisi voters say they’ll take the quiet life over democracy
- Journalists take care of the censorship as Sisi poised to rule
- Sisi Is Torture and Suffering, Confirms Sisi
- Abby Martin: How the US is Supporting Egypt’s Unelected Mass Death Sentencing Regime (Video)
- US General: U.S.-Egypt military ties will depend on Egypt’s actions
- Badie: the real terrorists are those who killed worshippers and burned the wounded to death
- Galloway: Egypt cannot be ruled without the Muslim Brotherhood
- MI5 stands accused of complicity in torture this year after ‘trying to recruit man from Egyptian jail’
- BP ‘aims to invest $1.5bn in Egypt in 2014’
- Russia to conduct joint army drills with Egypt amid bid to regain regional hold
- Egypt’s Sisi says Muslim Brotherhood is finished
- Egypt claims Israeli spy ring uncovered
- Al-Sisi claims population increase is cause of Egypt’s problems
- Patrick Cockburn: The Death of Justice in Egypt
‘There is no such thing as a free lunch as states that are recipients of western aid understand only too well. The naive may believe that foreign aid is a tool to help developing countries; sceptics are convinced it’s a quid pro quo enabling wealthy powers to exercise geopolitical policy objectives. In a documentary, filmmaker John Pilger made the case that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are “The New Rulers of the World” on behalf of their largest donor countries — the US, the UK, Germany, France and Japan. But some less powerful nations are alleging that one agency — the US Agency for International Development (USAID) — is acting as a front for the CIA.
When the Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled and shutdown USAID in his country last year for alleged attempts to undermine his leftist government, he wasn’t being paranoid after all. As a recent expose by the Associated Press shows USAID’s so-called “democracy promotion programmes” are designed to foment dissent against governments unfriendly to Washington. “In a number of countries, including Venezuela and Bolivia, USAID is acting more as an agency involved in covert action, like the CIA, than as an aid or development agency,” asserted Mark Weisbrot, an economist with a Washington-based think tank, the Centre for Economic and Policy Research.’
- Costa Rica Waits for US to Explain ‘Cuban Twitter’
- USAID’s Days Counted in Ecuador
- CIA Front, USAID, “Spreading Democracy”, Gearing Up in Ukraine – Suharto II?
- The murderous history of USAID, the US Government agency behind Cuba’s fake Twitter clone
- Is USAID the New CIA? Agency Secretly Built Cuban Twitter Program To Fuel Anti-Castro Protests
‘Abby Martin speaks with Jane Bussman, comedian and author of the book ‘A Journey to the Dark Heart of Nameless Unspeakable Evil’ a comedic yet sensible account of her experience hunting for Ugandan warlord, Joseph Kony, also discussing the negative impact of foreign aid in Africa.’ (Breaking the Set)
‘I begin with three examples of State Department covert operations. The first examples start with Cuba (for context) and end with Venezuela, the target of the first two covert operations described below. The third example begins and ends with Cuba. These examples function as case studies that can be applied paradigmatically to Ukraine around the events of February 2014, when Ukraine’s elected president was overthrown in a coup supported by the United States. I conclude with commentary about the State Department’s likely evolution into a covert operations wing of the executive branch, and why such operations are illegal and threaten to ignite war in Europe among nations with nuclear weapons.’
‘Millions of pounds of British aid money to tackle poverty overseas has been invested in builders of gated communities, shopping centres and luxury property in poor countries, the Guardian can reveal. CDC, the little-known investment arm of the British aid programme, has invested more than $260m (£154m) in 44 property and construction companies in Latin America, Africa and Asia. At least 20 of these are hotels, shopping centres or companies that build or manage gated communities and luxury property, according to Guardian research. CDC, formerly the Commonwealth Development Corporation, says these investments will create thousands of jobs for poor people in construction and services. But leading British NGOs questioned how supporting upmarket property could be an acceptable use of UK aid money.
…The ringfenced UK development budget has come under increased scrutiny as the government has met its target of spending 0.7% of gross national income as aid. Coalition ministers have pushed for increased private investment as a central plank of British aid policy. Nick Dearden, director of the World Development Movement, accused the government of exporting a “highly financialised, highly unequal, highly ideological form of ‘development’ which helps big business, not ordinary people”. “If you live in a slum in Nairobi, seeing development money pouring into a luxury block of flats is an insult.”‘
‘U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, said on Tuesday he will not approve sending funds to the Egyptian military, denouncing a “sham trial” in which a court sentenced 683 people to death. “I’m not prepared to sign off on the delivery of additional aid for the Egyptian military,” the Vermont Democrat said in a speech on the Senate floor, explaining why he would hold up the $650 million.
“I’m not prepared to do that until we see convincing evidence the government is committed to the rule of law,” Leahy said. The Obama administration said last week it would deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters and $650 million to Egypt’s military, relaxing a partial suspension of aid imposed after Egypt’s military ousted President Mohamed Mursi last year and cracked down violently on protesters.’
More than Two-Thirds of Afghanistan Reconstruction Money has Gone to One Company: DynCorp International
If not for the federal government, contractor DynCorp International wouldn’t be in business. Virtually all of its revenue (96%) comes from government contracts. That includes the vast majority of the taxpayer dollars that the State Department has awarded to companies to help rebuild Afghanistan. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) says that of the $4 billion allotted by the State Department from 2002 to 2013, 69.3% went to DynCorp. In terms of actual dollars, DynCorp took in $2.8 billion.
Giving so much to one company might not have been a good idea, given DynCorp’s record. The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) notes the contractor’s “colorful history” includes “instances of labor smuggling, weak performance and overpayments on a base support services contract, botched construction work on an Afghan Army garrison, and lawsuits filed by disgruntled subcontractors.”
- DynCorp-gate: How State Dept. wasted billions on Afghan reconstruction
- Meet the 3 Largest Recipients of State Dept. Afghan Aid
- Corpwatch: DynCorp Disgrace
- Wikipedia: DynCorp Controversies
- Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney grills Donald Rumsfeld on DynCorp
- Dyncorp and Halliburton Sex Slave Scandal Won’t Go Away
[...] The Post headline is actually somewhat misleading. It’s not so much that Washington is “partially resuming military aid to Egypt,” but rather that the aid was only partially halted to begin with. Last October, President Obama suspended millions of dollars from the annual U.S. aid package and halted advanced military hardware. But the Egyptian regime still received about $1.6 billion in U.S. aid. The so called “halt” was largely symbolic.
The U.S. has always opposed democracy and supported authoritarianism in Egypt, so this should come as no surprise. The internal Washington logic, however, is that while continuing to support the military junta may not be good for democracy and human rights, it will help secure U.S. interests. These interests supposedly are the following: (1) to help Cairo battle extremists in the Sinai, (2) to maintain control of the Suez Canal, which the U.S. Navy uses to send warships from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf and through which “8 percent of global seaborne trade and 4.5 percent of world oil supplies travel,” and (3) to maintain the peace treaty with Israel.
Ever confident in their ability to get the US to foot the bill for unwise purchases, Israel has announced the acquisition of $2 billion worth of the troubled V-22 Osprey planes, on a “deferred payment plan.” The reason for the deferred payment plan in this case is because Israel has no intention of paying for these planes, and is just putting them in the arms dealers’ equivalent of layaway until they can con the US into paying for it.
The planes won’t be coming out of the current promises of US aid, but rather will be covered by military aid the US hasn’t promised yet, which will be appropriated after 2018. Former Israeli Ambassador Danny Ayalon says it is “reasonable” for Israel to assume that the US will eventually cough up a couple billion dollars for the Ospreys, citing overwhelming support in the US Congress for all things Israel.
Foreign governments have long accused the U.S. Agency for International Development of being a front for the CIA or other groups dedicated to their collapse. In the case of Cuba, they appear to have been right. In an eye-opening display of incompetence, the United States covertly launched a social media platform in Cuba in 2010, hoping to create a Twitter-like service that would spark a “Cuban Spring” and potentially help bring about the collapse of the island’s Communist government.
[...] Though better known for administering humanitarian aid around the world, USAID has a long history of engaging in intelligence work and meddling in the domestic politics of aid recipients. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the agency often partnered with the CIA’s now-shuttered Office of Public Safety, a department beset by allegations that it trained foreign police in “terror and torture techniques” and encouraged official brutality, according to a 1976 Government Accountability Office report. USAID officials have always denied these accusations but in 1973, Congress directed USAID to phase out its public safety program — which worked with the CIA to train foreign police forces — in large part because the accusations were hurting America’s public image. “It matters little whether the charges can be substantiated,” said a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report. “They inevitably stigmatize the total United States foreign aid effort.” By the time the program was closed, USAID had helped train thousands of military personnel and police officers in Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and other countries now notorious for their treatment of political dissidents.
‘”U.S. secretly created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest.” That is the name of an explosive new article by the Associated Press detailing how the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), created a fake Twitter program to undermine the Cuban government. The communications network was called “ZunZuneo” — slang for a Cuban hummingbird’s tweet. It was reportedly built with secret shell companies financed through foreign banks. According to AP, the United States planned to use the platform to spread political content that might trigger a Cuban Spring, or, as one USAID document put it, “renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society.” We speak to Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive. He recently wrote an article in Foreign Policy called, “Our Man in Havana: Was USAID planning to overthrow Castro?“‘ (Democracy Now!)
- Our Man in Havana: Was USAID planning to overthrow Castro?
- Cuban Twitter’ and Other Times USAID Pretended To Be an Intelligence Agency
- U.S. secretly created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest
- Top 5 Things wrong with US AID Social Media Plot Against Cuba
- The US Is Still Trying to Overthrow the Cuban Government
The United States will continue providing Israel with defense aid after a current package worth some $3 billion a year expires in 2017, and the grants are unlikely to wane despite Washington belt-tightening, two US senators said on Thursday. Kelly Ayotte and Joe Donnelly, who are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, visited Israel to confer on security issues like missile defense, on which the allies have partnered.
The previous US administration signed a 10-year deal with Israel in 2007 granting it $30 billion, most of which must be spent on American defense products. Talks on a new package were already under way, said Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican.
Tony Blair is celebrating another multi-million pound contract after his charity secured a key deal with the US government. This time, the former prime minister’s Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) has won a £3.3 million contract to play a key role in Barack Obama’s flagship African aid programme.
The three-year deal – with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – gives Mr Blair’s charity an important role in the initiative, called Power Africa. The money represents more than AGI’s combined total income in 2012, the most recent set of accounts available.
The New Tyranny: How development experts have empowered dictators and helped to trap millions and millions of people in poverty
On the morning of Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010, the villagers of Mubende District, Uganda were in church when they heard the sound of gunfire. They came out to find men torching their homes and crops. The soldiers held them off at gunpoint from rescuing their homes; one 8-year-old child was trapped and died in the fire. The soldiers then marched off the 20,000 farmers from the land that had been in their families for generations. The reason for the violence was that a forestry project financed by the World Bank wanted the land.
The only thing that distinguishes this episode from the many human rights violations that happen in the name of development is that it got unusual publicity. The New York Times ran a front-page story on it on Sept. 21, 2011. The World Bank the next day promised an investigation. What is most revealing of all about this episode is what happened next: nothing. The World Bank never investigated its own actions in financing this project. Now, just after the fourth anniversary of the Mubende tragedy, it has been forgotten by nearly everyone except its victims.
The sad neglect of the rights of the poor in Mubende follows from the ideas behind the global war on poverty. Those who work in development prefer to focus on technical solutions to the poor’s problems, such as forestry projects, clean water supplies, or nutritional supplements. Development experts advise leaders they perceive to be benevolent autocrats to implement these technical solutions. The international professionals perpetrate an illusion that poverty is purely a technical problem, distracting attention away from the real cause: the unchecked power of the state against poor people without rights. The dictators whom experts are advising are not the solution — they are the problem.
- AIPAC and Friends Explain Themselves
- Crisis over Crimea steals thunder from AIPAC conference
- Kerry at AIPAC: US Will Never Fail Israel
- Netanyahu: ‘I think it’s time to recognize a Jewish State. We’ve only been there 4000 years.’ (Video)
- Israel must make tough choices for peace, Obama says
- Mark Regev: ‘Israeli’s want peace more than anyone else’
- AIPAC divisions more pronounced than ever
- Israel Lobby AIPAC Down, But Not Out – Yet
- Zionist Movement: How AIPAC is severing its historical roots, and weakening its influence
- AIPAC Policy Conference 2014 (Video)
- Is Elliott Abrams Hoping to Succeed Abe Foxman at the ADL?
- ‘NY Times’ and ‘LA Times’ run op-eds by an AIPAC board member without telling readers
- The Illusion of AIPAC’s Invincibility
- Business boycott: Israelis feeling the pinch
- Sourcewatch: American Israel Public Affairs Committee
The top ten recipients slated to receive US foreign assistance in 2014 all practice torture and are responsible for major human rights abuses, according to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other major human rights organizations. The violators and degree of aid they are expected to receive are: 1. Israel – $3.1bn, 2. Afghanistan – $2.2bn, 3. Egypt – $1.6bn, 4. Pakistan – $1.2bn, 5. Nigeria – $693m, 6. Jordan – $671m, 7. Iraq – $573m, 8. Kenya – $564m, 9. Tanzania – $553m, 10. Uganda -$456m.
Each of the listed countries are accused of torturing people in the last year, and at least half are reported to be doing so on a massive scale. Financial support for such governments could violate existing US law mandating that little or no funding be granted to a country that “engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture.” The United States remains a signatory of the United Nations Convention against Torture, ratified in 1994. That the top ten recipients of US assistance all practice torture calls into serious question the Obama administration’s overall stance on and understanding of fundamental human rights.
Washington is willing to consider financial aid to Ukraine as the country struggles through a polarizing political crisis, but only if it undertakes political and economic reforms, a top U.S. diplomat said Friday. The comment by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland comes after the opposition leaders behind more than two months of protests suggested that Ukraine needs aid akin to the Marshall Plan, the U.S. program that propped up European nations after World War II to encourage political stability.
Nuland spoke to reporters at the end of a two-day visit that included separate meetings with President Viktor Yanukovych and leaders of the protests seeking his resignation. “Nobody is willing to give economic support, from the United States or from the IMF or from Europe, to an unreformed Ukraine,” Nuland said. Ukraine’s faltering economy is a key issue in the crisis.
- European Official Takes Measured Tone on Ukraine Aid
- Russia warns crisis-hit Ukraine over bailout
- U.S. and Europe Work on Aid Package for Ukraine
- US and Europe stand with people of Ukraine, says John Kerry
- Russia warns Ukraine opposition as protests continue
- US Readying Sanctions Against Ukraine Over Protests
The European Union may double aid to Gambia to 150 million euros over the next seven years, creating a split between EU members on whether to fund countries with poor human-rights records, diplomats said.
Gambia has received some 75 million euros of aid over the past six years from the European Development Fund (EDF). But in talks known as Article 8 dialogues, it has shown little interest in engaging with EU policy on governance, diplomats say.
President Yahya Jammeh drew international condemnation by executing prisoners in 2012, subjecting political opponents to torture and forcing them to confess to sedition on television. At the U.N. General Assembly in September, he attacked gay rights as a threat to humanity.
In a move that could reshape the way the United States deals with post-coup governments, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill that would make it easier to provide aid to countries ruled by military regimes. With an eye toward this summer’s turmoil in Egypt, the bill also requires the executive branch to determine when a democratically-elected government has been removed by force.
On Wednesday [Dec 18th], the Egypt Assistance Reform Act sailed through the committee in a 16-1 vote. Its key backers, Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn), said the bill allows the U.S. government to maintain ties with strategically important countries like Egypt while imposing strict restrictions on any financial or military aid to their governments.
“This legislation reaffirms the enduring U.S. commitment to our partnership with the Egyptian government by authorizing continued assistance and endorsing the importance of ongoing cooperation,” said Menendez, chairman of the committee.
But opponents criticized it for lifting restrictions on U.S. aid to unelected military juntas. The committee “voted to weaken existing law and give the president more authority to send billions in aid to countries who violently overthrow their governments and engage in violence against their own citizens,” Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) told The Cable in a statement.
USAID, the government agency in charge of distributing tax dollars to foreign aid projects, once again is being hit with allegations and audits exposing how fraud and corruption are undermining its programs.
Though the government says it’s taking “steps” to address the problems, the multiple reports reflect a decades-long problem with how USAID money is administered and, critics say, how little has been done to fix it.
[...] On Thursday, USAID chief Rajiv Shah acknowledged during a speech at the Brookings Institution that the government agency has to do “a more focused job of delivering” on its agenda.
Shah outlined the agency’s new three-part plan to help extreme poverty in the world. He said USAID would focus on more public-private partnerships and country programs and demand mutual levels of accountability between other countries and the U.S. He also said the challenges his organization is “grappling” with include understanding “how to fight corruption in fragile environments — even as you want to make rapid gains in health and welfare.”
The swift US humanitarian response to the devastation of Super Typhoon Haiyan highlights the need to expand America’s military presence in the Philippines, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Monday.
He said a proposed agreement to strengthen the US military presence, which was being negotiated as the storm struck on Nov. 8, would allow for the easier delivery of relief aid by US forces in the future.
[...] The proposed deal would allow more US troops, aircraft and ships to pass through the Philippines at a time when Washington is refocusing its attention on Asia.
It had also been seen as a counterweight to Chinese moves in the South China Sea, where Beijing has territorial disputes with US ally Manila.
Despite months of talks, the Philippine and US governments have failed to sign the agreement due to some differences in their respective positions.
However the United States, particularly its military, has burnished its image in the former US colony through its extensive relief work after the typhoon ravaged the central Philippine islands, leaving almost 7,000 dead or missing.