Russian diplomat’s body found on Hatay shore

[That’s the second Russian diplomat to turn-up dead around the Mediterranean lately.  SEE: Top Russian Nuclear Weapons and Disarmament Expert Found Dead, Naked, Skull Crushed-In]

Hatay – Anatolia News Agency

A body found by fishermen on the coast of Çevlik in the border province of Hatay five days ago has been identified as Russian diplomat Yuri Ivanov, Anatolia News Agency reported Friday.

The diplomat drowned while on vacation in Latakia in Syria, but his body could not be found despite widespread search operations. Authorities said the wind and waves must have dragged the body toward the Samandağ district’s coast.

Officials said they had been able to identify the body by corresponding with both domestic and international authorities and were helped by Ivanov’s cross necklace.

The body was sent for an autopsy to the Forensic Medicine Institute in the neighboring province of Adana before being released to the diplomat’s relatives in Samandağ.

Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Plant Begins Receiving Fuel In One Week

Russia says to start up Iran Bushehr plant August 21

A general view shows the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, about 1,215 km (755 miles) south of Tehran, November 30, 2009. REUTERS/Vladimir SoldatkinA general view shows the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, about 1,215 km (755 miles) south of Tehran, November 30, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Vladimir Soldatkin

By Guy Faulconbridge

MOSCOW | Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:58am EDT

(Reuters) – Russia said on Friday it will begin loading nuclear fuel into the reactor of Iran‘s first atomic power station on Aug 21, an irreversible step marking the start-up of the Bushehr plant after nearly 40 years of delays.

Russia agreed in 1995 to build the Bushehr plant on the site of a project begun in the 1970s by German firm Siemens, but delays have haunted the $1 billion project and diplomats say Moscow has used it as a lever in relations with Tehran.

The United States has criticized Russia for pushing ahead with the Bushehr project at a time when major powers including Russia are pressing Tehran to allay fears that its nuclear energy program may be aimed to develop weapons.

But Western fears that the Bushehr project could help Tehran develop a nuclear weapon were lessened when Moscow reached an agreement with Iran obliging it to return spent fuel to Russia. Weapons-grade plutonium can be derived from spent fuel rods.

Russian and Iranian specialists are to begin loading uranium-packed fuel rods into the reactor on August 21, a process that will take about 2-3 weeks.

“This will be an irreversible step,” Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for Russia‘s state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, said by telephone. “At that moment, the Bushehr nuclear power plant will be certified as a nuclear energy installation,” he said.

“That means the period of testing is over and the period of the physical start-up has begun, but this period takes about two and a half months,” he said, adding that the first fissile reaction would take place in early October.

The head of Iran‘s nuclear energy agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, said a ceremony inaugurating the plant would be held in late September or early October, when the fuel is moved “to the heart of the reactor.”

The reactor will be linked to Iran‘s electricity grid about six weeks later when it is powered up to a level of 50 percent, Salehi told the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Diplomats say the Bushehr plant, monitored by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, poses little proliferation risk and has no link with Iran‘s secretive uranium enrichment program, seen as the main “weaponization” threat, at other installations.

Russia started the delivery of nuclear fuel to the Bushehr plant in late 2007 and deliveries were completed in 2008.

Moscow and Washington agree that importing fuel makes unnecessary Iran‘s own enrichment project — the main focus of Western concerns that Tehran is trying to make a nuclear bomb.

Iran, the world’s fourth-largest crude oil producer, rejects such allegations and says its nuclear program is aimed only at generating electricity or producing isotopes for medical care.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had said on March 18 that Russia planned to start up the reactor at the Bushehr plant in the summer of 2010.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Mark Heinrich)

US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev–26 November 2004

US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev

26 November 2004

With their websites and stickers, their pranks and slogans aimed at banishing widespread fear of a corrupt regime, the democracy guerrillas of the Ukrainian Pora youth movement have already notched up a famous victory – whatever the outcome of the dangerous stand-off in Kiev.Ukraine, traditionally passive in its politics, has been mobilised by the young democracy activists and will never be the same again.

But while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.

That one failed. “There will be no Kostunica in Belarus,” the Belarus president declared, referring to the victory in Belgrade.

But experience gained in Serbia, Georgia and Belarus has been invaluable in plotting to beat the regime of Leonid Kuchma in Kiev.

The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people’s elections.

In the centre of Belgrade, there is a dingy office staffed by computer-literate youngsters who call themselves the Centre for Non-violent Resistance. If you want to know how to beat a regime that controls the mass media, the judges, the courts, the security apparatus and the voting stations, the young Belgrade activists are for hire.

They emerged from the anti-Milosevic student movement, Otpor, meaning resistance. The catchy, single-word branding is important. In Georgia last year, the parallel student movement was Khmara. In Belarus, it was Zubr. In Ukraine, it is Pora, meaning high time. Otpor also had a potent, simple slogan that appeared everywhere in Serbia in 2000 – the two words “gotov je”, meaning “he’s finished”, a reference to Milosevic. A logo of a black-and-white clenched fist completed the masterful marketing.

In Ukraine, the equivalent is a ticking clock, also signalling that the Kuchma regime’s days are numbered.

Stickers, spray paint and websites are the young activists’ weapons. Irony and street comedy mocking the regime have been hugely successful in puncturing public fear and enraging the powerful.

Last year, before becoming president in Georgia, the US-educated Mr Saakashvili travelled from Tbilisi to Belgrade to be coached in the techniques of mass defiance. In Belarus, the US embassy organised the dispatch of young opposition leaders to the Baltic, where they met up with Serbs travelling from Belgrade. In Serbia’s case, given the hostile environment in Belgrade, the Americans organised the overthrow from neighbouring Hungary – Budapest and Szeged.

In recent weeks, several Serbs travelled to the Ukraine. Indeed, one of the leaders from Belgrade, Aleksandar Maric, was turned away at the border.

The Democratic party’s National Democratic Institute, the Republican party’s International Republican Institute, the US state department and USAid are the main agencies involved in these grassroots campaigns as well as the Freedom House NGO and billionaire George Soros’s open society institute.

US pollsters and professional consultants are hired to organise focus groups and use psephological data to plot strategy.

The usually fractious oppositions have to be united behind a single candidate if there is to be any chance of unseating the regime. That leader is selected on pragmatic and objective grounds, even if he or she is anti-American.

In Serbia, US pollsters Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates discovered that the assassinated pro-western opposition leader, Zoran Djindjic, was reviled at home and had no chance of beating Milosevic fairly in an election. He was persuaded to take a back seat to the anti-western Vojislav Kostunica, who is now Serbian prime minister.

In Belarus, US officials ordered opposition parties to unite behind the dour, elderly trade unionist, Vladimir Goncharik, because he appealed to much of the Lukashenko constituency.

Officially, the US government spent $41m (£21.7m) organising and funding the year-long operation to get rid of Milosevic from October 1999. In Ukraine, the figure is said to be around $14m.

Apart from the student movement and the united opposition, the other key element in the democracy template is what is known as the “parallel vote tabulation”, a counter to the election-rigging tricks beloved of disreputable regimes.

There are professional outside election monitors from bodies such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, but the Ukrainian poll, like its predecessors, also featured thousands of local election monitors trained and paid by western groups.

Freedom House and the Democratic party’s NDI helped fund and organise the “largest civil regional election monitoring effort” in Ukraine, involving more than 1,000 trained observers. They also organised exit polls. On Sunday night those polls gave Mr Yushchenko an 11-point lead and set the agenda for much of what has followed.

The exit polls are seen as critical because they seize the initiative in the propaganda battle with the regime, invariably appearing first, receiving wide media coverage and putting the onus on the authorities to respond.

The final stage in the US template concerns how to react when the incumbent tries to steal a lost election.

In Belarus, President Lukashenko won, so the response was minimal. In Belgrade, Tbilisi, and now Kiev, where the authorities initially tried to cling to power, the advice was to stay cool but determined and to organise mass displays of civil disobedience, which must remain peaceful but risk provoking the regime into violent suppression.

If the events in Kiev vindicate the US in its strategies for helping other people win elections and take power from anti-democratic regimes, it is certain to try to repeat the exercise elsewhere in the post-Soviet world.

The places to watch are Moldova and the authoritarian countries of central Asia.

International Republican Institute

International Republican Institute

last updated: August 17, 2008

IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

The International Republican Institute (IRI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as a vehicle for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development, was created by the Ronald Reagan administration in 1983 to push democratization efforts and roll back the influence of the Soviet Union. More recently, the tax-payer-funded IRI has claimed to play a role preventing global terrorism, though some of its interventions since 9/11 have been criticized for undermining democracy. A 2006 IRI brochure declared, “When IRI began its work in 1983, advancing democracy was seen as a noble endeavor; today, it is recognized as a defense against terrorism.”1

During a 2005 speech at an IRI event, President George W. Bush described the institute’s work in the context of his “freedom” agenda in the Middle East and elsewhere. He said, “I appreciate the work IRI is doing to advance the cause of liberty. For more than two decades, IRI has been at the forefront of democratic change in more than a hundred countries. You’ve trained the next generation of leaders, you’ve strengthened political parties, you’ve monitored elections, and you’re helping to build civil societies.” He later added: “If the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation and resentment and violence ready for export. The United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East; a strategy that recognizes the best way to defeat the ideology that uses terror as a weapon is to spread freedom and democracy.”2

IRI’s activities have included funding clandestine opinion surveys in Cuba (2008),3 monitoring the controversial and violence-tainted elections in Kenya (2007),4 and undertaking public opinion polls in Pakistan after President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency (2007).5 Its “democracy building” program in Haiti was accused of undermining both U.S. State Department diplomacy efforts and the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide,6 and IRI channeled money from the United States to forces in Venezuela that tried to overthrow President Hugo Chavez in 2002.7

Although officially nonpartisan, IRI is closely aligned with the Republican Party, just as its sister organization, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), is aligned with the Democratic Party. Sen.John McCain (R-AZ) has served as IRI chairman since 1993, and Lorne Craner, the former assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights and labor in the George W. Bush administration, is IRI president.

A July 2008 Times article, titled “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” described IRI as “McCain’s institute” and highlighted the connections between the IRI, the McCain campaign, and various lobbying interests. Reporter Mike McIntire described a 2006 IRI event: “First up that night in September 2006 was the institute’s vice chairman, Peter T. Madigan, a McCain campaign fund-raiser and lobbyist whose clients span the globe, from Dubai to Colombia. He thanked Timothy P. McKone, an AT&T lobbyist and McCain fund-raiser, for helping with the dinner arrangements and then introduced the chairman of AT&T, Edward E. Whitacre Jr., whose company had donated $200,000 for the event. AT&T at the time was seeking political support for an $80 billion merger with BellSouth—another Madigan client—and Mr. Whitacre lavished praise on Mr. McCain, a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee. When Mr. McCain finally took the podium, he expressed ‘profound thanks’ to AT&T before presenting the institute’s Freedom Award to the president of Liberia, a lobbying client of Charlie Black, an institute donor and McCain campaign adviser.”8

McIntire reported, “The institute is also something of a revolving door for lobbyists and out-of-power Republicans that offers big donors a way of helping both the party and the institute’s chairman, who is the second sitting member of Congress—and now candidate for president—ever to head one of the democracy groups. Operating without the sort of limits placed on campaign fund-raising, the institute under Mr. McCain has solicited millions of dollars for its operations from some 560 defense contractors, lobbying firms, oil companies and other corporations, many with issues before Senate committees Mr. McCain was on.”9

Accompanying the Times story was a list of IRI directors and their connections to corporate interests, lobbying groups, and the Republican Party, as well as the amount of money they donated to McCain’s presidential campaign—a total of $36,700.10 The list indicated IRI board members who are also involved in McCain’s presidential campaign: Craner, IRI president; Gahl Hodges Burt, former White House social secretary; Janet Grissom, automaker lobbyist; Madigan, IRI vice chairman and a lobbyist for foreign governments; Alec Poitevint, Republican committeeman; Randy Scheunemann, head of the lobbying firm Orion Strategies, a campaign adviser on foreign policy and national security to Senator McCain, and a former member of the Project for the New American Century and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq; Joseph Schmuckler, senior executive at Mitsubishi Securities; and Richard Williamson, lobbyist for AT&T. Other IRI board members include L. Paul Bremer, former special envoy to Iraq; Alison Fortier, vice president of Lockheed Martin; Frank Fahrenkopf, head of the American Gaming Association and former Republican National Committee chairman; Michael Kostiw, a Senate aide to McCain and former Texaco lobbyist; and John Rogers, managing director of Goldman Sachs.11 The article also featured photos of McCain presenting IRI’s “Freedom Award” to Vice President Dick Cheney in 2001, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2004, and George W. Bush in 2005.12

Despite this, the IRI seems hesitant to acknowledge its partisanship. For instance, in response to the July 2008 New York Times article, the institute released a statement saying, “While some IRI staff are Republicans, some are also Democrats and some are not members of any political party. … Some of IRI’s board members have chosen to support Senator McCain’s candidacy, just as some of NDI’s member’s [sic] have chosen to support Barack Obama’s.”13

Origins and Leadership

The IRI is the indirect product of the democratic globalism efforts of the AFL-CIO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the two main U.S. political parties.14 In 1982 President Ronald Reagan proposed a new organization to promote free-market democracies around the world, the NED. In 1983 Congress approved the creation of NED, which was funded primarily through the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) and secondarily through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Designed as a bipartisan institution, NED channels U.S. government funding through four core grantees: IRI, NDI, the Center for International Private Enterprise, and the Solidarity Center (the AFL-CIO’s international operations institute).15

Like NED and the other core grantees, the early focus of IRI was on the Caribbean and Central America—a region that in the 1980s was the focal point of the Reagan administration’s revival of counterinsurgency and counter-revolutionary operations. After the Soviet bloc began to disintegrate in 1989, according to IRI’s website, the institute “broadened its reach to support democracy around the globe.”16

McCain became IRI chairman in 1993. “Shaken by the loss of the White House in 1992, Republicans scrambled to reinvigorate their party by giving higher profiles to some of its promising prospects. Mr. McCain, just re-elected by a convincing margin, was given two new positions: head of fund-raising and recruiting for the Senate Republicans and chairman of the International Republican Institute.”17 Among the changes he brought, reports the Times, was a shift in focus from Latin American to the former Soviet bloc.18

During McCain’s tenure, IRI’s leadership has included members of the center right, far right, and neoconservative factions of the Republican Party. George A. Folsom, former IRI president and CEO, was a member of the Bush-Cheney Transition Team, serving on the Treasury Department task force. An international investment banker, Folsom was a leading member of the Scowcroft Group, an international advisory firm headed by Brent Scowcroft, President George H.W. Bush’s national security advisor and current IRI board member. IRI’s senior vice president is Georges Fauriol, the former director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Fauriol has also worked with the right-wingForeign Policy Research Institute and the USIA.

The IRI has expanded greatly in recent years. Its 2008 budget was about $78 million, with programs in some 60 countries and about 400 employees.19 Most recently, it has extended its operations into Central Asia, having opened offices in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. In Latin America, IRI has offices in Guatemala, Peru, and Haiti. In Africa, IRI has offices in Kenya, Nigeria, and Angola. IRI’s offices in Asia are found in Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, and Mongolia. In Central and Eastern Europe, IRI has offices in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, and Turkey.20

War on Terror

The IRI has actively supported the Bush administration’s “war on terror” with programs in 10 countries in the Greater Middle East region. The institute has been accused repeatedly of using potentially misleading polling data to push the Bush agenda, both at home and abroad. “During the Afghan presidential election of October 2004, IRI’s pre-election poll showed Hamid Karzai with a strong lead, and its exit poll, released immediately after the vote and well before the ballots were counted, also gave him over 50% of the vote. The British Helsinki Human Rights Group subsequently suggested that these polls might have helped head off scrutiny of an election that had initially been met with well-founded suspicions of fraud. IRI’s polls also serve to influence public opinion in the United States. A year ago, MediaMatters pointed out that the Washington Post had cited an IRI poll showing that ‘60% of Iraqis believed the country is headed in the right direction’ without indicating the partisan nature of its source. In September 2004, President Bush had cited a similar IRI poll at a press conference, saying, ‘I saw a poll that said the right track/wrong track in Iraq was better than here in America. It’s pretty darn strong. I mean, the people see a better future.'”21

IRI’s Middle East and North Africa program reported in 2007, “Although advocates of democracy in the Middle East and North Africa face entrenched interests that feel threatened by reform, notable progress accompanied the challenges witnessed in 2005. Women now have the right to vote in Kuwait, domestic observers can monitor multiparty elections in Egypt, popular protests in Lebanon led to the end of Syrian occupation, and the first elected parliament in more than three decades took office in Afghanistan. The International Republican Institute (IRI) provides support to these advocates of reform in the fields of elections, civil society, and governance programs.”22

However, efforts to fund democracy activities in the Middle East have at times backfired. In a June 2007 article for the New York Times Magazine, Negar Azimi recounted how efforts to funnel money to Iranian groups through the Office of Iranian Affairs, an outfit established in 2006 within the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and at one point overseen by Elizabeth Cheney, were facing criticism “not only from Iranian officials but also from some of the very people whose causes it aims to advance.”23

Reported Azimi: “For the Iranian government, the democracy fund is just one more element in an elaborate Bush administration regime-change stratagem. (‘Is there even a perception that the American government has democracy in mind?’ Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Javad Zarif, asked me recently in New York. ‘Except among a few dreamers in Eastern Europe?’) In recent months, Tehran has upped the pressure on any citizens who might conceivably be linked to the democracy fund and, by extension, on civil society at large, making the mere prospect of American support counterproductive, even reckless. … It is particularly telling, perhaps, that some of the most outspoken critics of the Iranian government have been among the most outspoken critics of the democracy fund. Activists from the journalist Emadeddin Baghi to the Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi to the former political prisoner Akbar Ganji have all said thanks but no thanks. Ganji has refused three personal invitations to meet with Bush.”24

Head of the Office of Iranian Affairs at the time was David Denehy, who according to Azimi is “a veteran of democracy promotion programs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia with the International Republican Institute and a close associate of [former] Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. During the Iraq War, he served in Baghdad from June to October 2003, where his focus was on civil-society development.”25

Attempted Coup in Venezuela

Many observers accused Washington of being behind the failed April 2002 coup against Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez, but the Bush administration denied any U.S. involvement. However, a relatively clear connection emerged between the U.S. government and the anti-Chávez movement: millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money channeled through the IRI and other U.S. organizations to groups opposed to Chávez during the years preceding the April coup. Via NED funding, IRI had been sponsoring political party-building workshops and other anti-Chávez activities in Venezuela. “IRI evidently began opposing Chávez even before his 1998 election,” reported journalist Mike Ceaser. “Prior to that year’s congressional and presidential elections, the IRI worked with Venezuelan organizations critical of Chávez to run newspaper ads, TV, and radio spots that several observers characterize as anti-Chávez.”26 Further, according to Ceaser, “The IRI has … flown groups of Chávez opponents to Washington to meet with U.S. officials. In March 2002, a month before Chávez’s brief ouster, one such group of politicians, union leaders, and activists traveled to D.C. to meet with U.S. officials, including members of Congress and State Department staff. The trip came at the time that several military officers were calling for Chávez’ resignation and talk of a possible coup was widespread.” An opposition figure who benefited from IRI support told Ceaser that bringing varied government opponents together in Washington accelerated the unification of the opposition. “The democratic opposition began to become cohesive,” he said. “We began to become a team.”27

In an April 12, 2002, written statement to the media, IRI President George A. Folsom rejoiced prematurely over Chávez’s removal: “The Venezuelan people rose up to defend democracy in their country,” he wrote. “Venezuelans were provoked into action as a result of systematic repression by the government of Hugo Chávez.”28

The Coup in Haiti

In the first year of the George W. Bush administration, IRI received USAID funding for a new “party-building project” in Haiti, where it had been involved in since 1987. In 2004, the Aristide government collapsed. Before IRI closed its Haiti office in 2007, IRI’s USAID-funded party-building activities focused on working with and training the political opposition.29

According to Robert Maguire, director of the Haiti Program at Trinity College in Washington, D.C., IRI was the key U.S. actor in Haiti for several years. In 2004 he said, “NED and USAID are important, but actually the main actor is the International Republican Institute (IRI), which has been very active in Haiti for many years but particularly in the past three years. IRI has been working with the opposition groups. IRI insisted, through the administration, that USAID give it funding for its work in Haiti. And USAID has done so but kicking and screaming all the way. IRI has worked exclusively with the Democratic Convergence groups in its party-building exercises and support. The IRI point person is Stanley Lucas who historically has had close ties with the Haitian military. … The IRI ran afoul with Aristide right from the beginning since it has only worked with opposition groups that have challenged legitimacy of the Aristide government. Mr. Lucas is a lightning rod of the IRI in Haiti. The United States could not have chosen a more problematic character through which to channel its aid.”30

As the New York Times reported, “what emerges from the events in Haiti is a portrait of how the effort to nurture democracy became entangled in the ideological wars and partisan rivalries of Washington.”31

“The Bush administration has said that while Mr. Aristide was deeply flawed, its policy was always to work with him as Haiti’s democratically elected leader,” the Times reported. “But the administration’s actions in Haiti did not always match its words. Interviews and a review of government documents show that [the IRI,] a democracy-building group close to the White House, and financed by American taxpayers, undercut the official United States policy and the ambassador assigned to carry it out.” 32

The Raw Story reported: “The secretive aspect to some of IRI’s activities, combined with its repeated involvement in subverting left-leaning politicians and parties, creates the appearance that it may be acting as one more tool in the Bush administration’s arsenal for regime change by any means available. The recent increase in IRI’s federal funding—which almost tripled, from $26 million to $75 million, between 2003 and 2005—adds grounds to this suspicion.”33

    The Right Web Mission

    Right Web tracks militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy.


    1. International Republican Institute brochure, 2006,
    2. George W. Bush, “Supporting Emerging Democracies,” Remarks at International Republican Institute Dinner, Renaissance Hotel, Washington, DC, May 17, 2005.
    3. Marc Lacey, “In Rare Study, Cubans Put Money Worries First,” New York Times, June 5, 2008;  [MISSING CITATION?]
    4. Maini Kiai and L. Muthoni Wanyeki, “A Deal We Can Live With,” New York Times, February 12, 2008.
    5. David Rohde and Carlotta Gall, “Most Want Musharraf to Quit, Poll Shows,” New York Times, December 13, 2007.
    6New York Times editorial, “No Help to Democracy in Haiti,” February 3, 2006.
    7. Muriel Kane, “GOP Organization Linked to Dirty Politics, Attempted Coups, ‘Building Democracy’ for US,” Raw Story, June 9, 2006.
    8. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    9. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    10. “McCain’s Institute,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    11. “McCain’s Institute,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    12. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    13. International Republican Institute, “IRI Statement Responding to The New York Times Article ‘McCain’s Lobbyist-Laden Group,’” July 28, 2008,
    14. Tom Barry, “The Crusade of the Democratic Globalists,” International Relations Center, July 14, 2005.
    15. For an institutional perspective on the origins of the NED and its affiliated organizations, see David Lowe, “Idea to Reality: A Brief History of the National Endowment for Democracy,” National Endowment for Democracy,
    16. International Republican Institute, “History,”
    17. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    18. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.
    19. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008; International Republican Institute, “Site Map,”
    20. For a complete list of the countries where IRI is active, see International Republican Institute,
    21. Muriel Kane, “GOP Organization Linked to Dirty Politics, Attempted Coups, ‘Building Democracy’ for US,” Raw Story, June 9, 2006.
    22. International Republican Institute, ”Middle East and North Africa,”
    23. Negar Azimi, “Hard Realities of Soft Power,” New York Times Magazine, June 24, 2007.
    24. Negar Azimi, “Hard Realities of Soft Power,” New York Times Magazine, June 24, 2007.
    25. Negar Azimi, “Hard Realities of Soft Power,” New York Times Magazine, June 24, 2007.
    26. Mike Ceaser, “As Turmoil Deepens in Venezuela, Questions Regarding NED Activities Remain Unanswered,” Americas Program, December 9, 2002.
    27. Mike Ceaser, “As Turmoil Deepens in Venezuela, Questions Regarding NED Activities Remain Unanswered,” Americas Program, December 9, 2002.
    28. Mike Ceaser, “As Turmoil Deepens in Venezuela, Questions Regarding NED Activities Remain Unanswered,” Americas Program, December 9, 2002.
    29. International Republican Institute, “Facts about IRI’s Work in Haiti,” updated July 2008,
    30. Tom Barry, “Aristide’s Fall: The Undemocratic U.S. Policy in Haiti,” IRC America’s Program, February 27, 2004.
    31. Walt Bogdanich and Jenny Nordberg, “Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos,” New York Times, January 29, 2006.
    32. Walt Bogdanich and Jenny Nordberg, “Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos,” New York Times, January 29, 2006.
    33. Muriel Kane, “GOP Organization Linked to Dirty Politics, Attempted Coups, ‘Building Democracy’ for US,” Raw Story, June 9, 2006.
    34. Mike McIntire, “Democracy Institute Gives Donors Access to McCain,” New York Times, July 28, 2008.

    Subversive Reagan Outfits, IRI and NDI, Criticize Democracy in Ukraine

    [Yanukovich should consider criticism by these two subversive revolutionary groups as high praise, considering that they are creations of Ronald Reagan.  Despite their international acclaim as “democracy-building” institutions, the ideas of “democracy” and “patriotism” that they claim to promote are not derived from the  Spirit of ’76, but from the spirit of 1976, the ultra-right-wing  political revolution that has brought America and the world to the edge of oblivion.  These institutions promote the corporate democracy of Ronald Reagan, Neut Gingrich, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama–NOT–that of Jefferson, Franklin and Washington.

    Contrary to its name, the International Republican Institute (IRI) doesn’t promote patriotic Republicanism, or democracy, it uses corporate contributions from its vast right-wing network of connections, along with matching government grants, to create a version of the American political machinery in a targeted country.  The result is a political machine which is totally American corporate/government financed, which creates a massive system of political patronage tilted in the favor of pro-American candidates.  The National Democratic Institute (NDI) does not promote either individualism or majority rule, it serves to select and groom the right individuals to serve the American agenda and to facilitate the activities of various political unions committed to this agenda.

    Together, the IRI and the NDI make-up a united front for exporting revolution in the disguise of democracy to specific targeted countries.  In many cases, the process has successfully hired a foreign clientele to foment revolution against their own governments.    Treason for hire is the name of the game.  Our forefathers are rolling in their graves.]

    US Groups To Censure Ukraine’s Yanukovich

    KIEV, Ukraine — Viktor Yanukovich, the Ukraine’s president, will be criticised by two pro-democracy institutes for backtracking on democratic gains made since the Orange Revolution in 2004.

    Viktor Yanukovych
    A joint statement will be made public in coming days by the institutes representing the top political parties from the US.

    Written by the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute, the statement – obtained by the Financial Times – focuses on recently adopted election legislation that unfairly undermines the chances of opposition parties in a forthcoming October 31 election to regional legislatures.

    Marking the sharpest international criticism of Mr Yanukovich’s democratic credentials yet, the statement follows rising complaints by domestic opposition parties and media.

    Both have accused Kiev’s Moscow-friendly leader and loyal coalition of waging a Kremlin-styled crackdown on democracy and press freedoms since taking over as president.

    Referring to the election law that was adopted by pro-presidential allies in parliament on June 29 and signed by Mr Yanukovich on July 27, the statement attacks the law for “limiting electoral potential” of opposition parties by banning participation of election blocs and parties registered less than one year ago.

    “Restrictions on new parties and independent candidates appear to be unreasonable in light of principles established by the Ukrainian constitution, as well as international obligations and commitments that Ukraine has undertaken,” the statement reads.

    Pro-democracy activists have praised the progress Ukraine has made since the Orange Revolution. Back then, a rigged presidential vote favoring Mr Yanukovich was overturned leading to a five-year presidential term by his pro-western rival, Viktor Yushchenko.

    Ukraine was seen as a rare beacon of democracy in Russia’s backyard and activists hoped the trend would continue despite Mr Yanukovich’s remarkable political comeback in winning the presidency this February.

    But IRI and NDI point to the recent developments as big risks for democracy in Ukraine, saying: “These developments could be characterised as changing the legal framework to create restrictions on political competition and … unreasonable denial of citizens’ rights to legitimate choices.”

    Mr Yanukovich’s majority coalition in parliament was also criticised for adopting the new rules too close to the election “in a non-transparent manner with virtually no public debate”.

    Opposition parties claim that their leaders and associates have faced increasing political persecution. Three high-level officials that served last year in the government of Yulia Tymoshenko, now an opposition leader, have been jailed on corruption charges.

    On Wednesday, Ms Tymoshenko’s party headquarters on the Crimean peninsula was raided by secret service agents.

    Mr Yanukovich has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

    But in an open letter this week, the International Press Institute urged Mr Yanukovich to put an end to a “disturbing deterioration in press freedom over the last six months”.

    “There are fears that since then the clock has been rolled back on recent press freedom gains in Ukraine,” the Vienna-based institute added.

    Source: The Financial Times

    Turkish president calls for civil disobedience to save Bosphorus

    ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
    Turkish President Abdullah Gül.
    Turkish President Abdullah Gül.

    President Abdullah Gül’s apparent call Thursday for activists to use civil disobedience to keep tanker ships out of the Bosphorus Strait was welcomed by some environmentalists while others said the call for cooperation was self-serving.

    “On the issues of the construction of hydroelectric power plants, mines and the damage done to forests, [the government] is not listening to us and sees [environmentalists] as an obstacle,” Zafer Murat Çetintaş from the Istanbul Environmental Council told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Friday.

    Çetintaş also claimed the government can take action to keep these ships from entering the strait by preparing a law exclusively for that body of water.

    Under the Montreux Convention, commercial shipping firms have the right to free passage through the Bosphorus in peacetime, although Turkey claims the right to impose regulations for safety and environmental purposes. The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has prompted concerns about a similar disaster on the heavily trafficked Istanbul waterway, which divides the city of some 15 million people.

    “These tanker ships are passing through the strait; nothing like that is happening anywhere else in the world. What I clearly say here is that I call on nongovernmental organizations and media outlets to be more sensitive to this issue and make efforts to keep these tanker ships away from the Istanbul strait,” Gül said Thursday, speaking at the opening of the 21st International Sailing Boat Races in Istanbul.

    “This should be voluntary work. You can prevent some things by force with laws and international laws. But [this] can be prevented by voluntary action based on environmentalist sensitivities,” the president said.

    Former Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Türk told the Daily News that Turkey cannot ban commercial ships from passing through the strait under international law, unless a ship’s load poses a danger to the environment or is higher than the regularly allowed tonnage. Professor Türk added that the president’s call is meaningless because protests cannot force the closure of the strait to tankers.

    Deniz Sözüdoğru, the communication coordinator for Greenpeace Mediterranean, said the group was glad to hear of Gül’s support. “It is very nice that the president is drawing attention to these problems and calls NGOs to action. We would like him to call us to collaborate on other problems as well,” Sözüdoğru told the Daily News.

    Silence is not an option

    Silence is not an option

    – by Kamran Shafi

    Relatives and policemen carry the flag-draped coffin of Sifwat Ghuyur, a senior police officer, to a burial site during his funeral in Peshawar August 5, 2010. Ghuyur was killed in a suicide attack on his car a day earlier in the city of Peshawar, a police official said. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz / Dawn

    Enough is bloody enough! Enough of deafening silence as our people, women, men and children, are mercilessly killed and maimed and widowed and orphaned by cold-blooded murderers and their handlers and motivators.

    How many more Safwat Ghayyurs and Mushtaq Baigs and Faisal Alvis and Malik Saads and Abid Alis and Khan Raziqs will have to die before those who are equipped and paid to prevent, or at the very least anticipate attacks such as those that killed these fine men, will begin to do their jobs? Whilst I have started this piece with the mention of officers in the service of Pakistan, I am by no means making light of the deaths of thousands of nameless innocents such as the women and children in Meena Bazaar, Peshawar, or the hungry poor at Data Darbar, Lahore.

    It is time that all of us Pakistanis stood up and loudly asked the establishment a raft of hard, even unpalatable to it, questions and demand answers. We must ask why it is that not a single suicide-jacket maker has been apprehended and prosecuted in all the years that these beasts have been going about their ghastly business. We must ask why not even one explosives supplier has been caught and brought before a court of law. We must ask why not one, just one, motivator has been exposed and locked up so that he may not spread his poison any more.

    We must ask why not even one facilitator, people who move these mindless creatures with explosives strapped to their bodies from one place to another, has been arrested and put away. Or why even one suicide attack or car bombing has not been prevented by our much-praised ‘agencies’. We must ask why high-profile officers such as young Safwat Ghayyur were not provided such intelligence cover as would have uncovered the surely elaborate plan hatched by the terrorists to get this officer.

    We must ask how it was that the man who apparently fit the profile of a suicide bomber almost perfectly: young, hanging about outside a sensitive agency (the Frontier Constabulary headquarters) waiting for his quarry; probably wild-eyed, entered Peshawar cantonment in the first place. I went to Peshawar a few weeks ago and it took my wife and I and our driver a full three minutes of questioning, checking of our ID cards, opening the hood and the dickey of the car, having a soldier peer into the car and so on, before we were let through just one barricade. There were three within the cantonment before we got to where we were going and the procedure was repeated at each one, albeit in abbreviated fashion. So how did that misguided, mindless youth stroll into the secure area to do his dreadful deed?

    We must ask too, what is the very first duty of any agency of any state. Surely it is the protection of its own people first and foremost, and as the end result of that the protection of the country as a whole. We must ask if our much-talked-about agencies are succeeding in these primary duties. We must ask if the attacks that have robbed so many of our people of their very lives are the direct result of a massive and ongoing intelligence failure. The frank answer is that the ‘agencies’ have failed and are failing all ends up in doing their primary duty: witness the audacious attacks by terrorists at any target of their choosing anywhere in the country, including that holy of holies, the GHQ. Including, indeed, on installations, and the transport, of the ISI itself.

    Which reminds me. There is an email doing the rounds that tells us that our ISI is the best intelligence agency in the whole wide world. The ranking of the world’s intelligence agencies according to this email is as follows: our very own ISI (and more strength to it, I say), Mossad (Israel), MI-6 (UK), the CIA (US), MSS (China), BND (Germany), FSB (Russia), DGSE (France), RAW (India) and ASIS (Australia). Two immediate questions come to mind. If the ISI is really as good as it is made out to be, how come our country is in the state it is in? Second, if RAW is as bad as to be the 9th worst intelligence agency in the world, how come it can pull off actions as diverse as bombing Data Darbar and R.A. Bazaar in Lahore and Lahore cantonment respectively; arming and provisioning Baloch separatists; and attacking our Ahmadi brothers in their mosques in Lahore? Could it be that RAW is not as bad as the list would have us believe, and the ISI not that good?

    Jokes aside, however, we must ask the hard questions and also make demands of our agencies, paid as they are from our taxes and revenue. The very first is to say to them to please secure our own country first and then attempt to project Pakistani power across our borders, say in Afghanistan. It is to say, please use all the significant resources at your command — the list referred to also tells us that the ISI has up to 10,0000 (I kid you not) operatives worldwide — to at the very least open the Thal-Parachinar road so that the poor people who live in Parachinar do not have to get to their homes via Kabul, Afghanistan.

    May I say please, sirs, sort out the criminal terrorists in your own country before you attempt to broker peace between Karzai and (some of) the Taliban. May I say please, sirs, if you cannot secure your own country how can you possibly have the gall to boss the neighbourhood around? Look inwards, sirs, at the veritable mess this poor country is in and do something about it. Surely you know that the last time the Parachinar road was opened, 10 men and six women were killed and eight men (all of them our Shia brothers and sisters, please note) were taken as hostages. At least find out where these poor hostages are, and have them released. Surely being number one you can do it.

    Source: Dawn, 10 Aug, 2010