Is former U.S. general and NATO commander Wesley Clark helping advance Hungarian-born billionaire activist George Soros' political and economic interests overseas?
Clark is now advising Romania’s controversial prime minister, Victor Ponta, who has led a campaign to depose the country’s president.
Clark sits on the board of an energy company financed by Soros and works with the billionaire at the International Crisis Group, or ICG, which has supported the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa.
Advertisement - story continues below
Soros, a key backer of the Occupy movement, has ties to companies that seek to mine for gold in Romania, although his non-profit groups have opposed those very mining efforts.
Soros also has ties to mining and oil exploration companies around the world, including in Uganda, where President Obama recently sent Special Forces to help kill or capture Joseph Kony, the leader of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army.
Prior to the deployment of U.S. forces, Soros’s ICG recommended the U.S. deploy a special advisory military team to Uganda to help with operations and run an intelligence platform, the very mission of the American troops now hunting for Kony.
Advertisement - story continues below
On Tuesday, European Union officials questioned the speed with which Romania's Supreme Court upheld the Parliament's decision to suspend Romanian President Traian Basescu, who was accused of overstepping his authority.
Basescu faces a vote later this month about whether to be removed from office permanently. He was also impeached in 2007 but survived a referendum."We are concerned by the speed and consequences of decisions taken over the last few weeks," said EU spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen.
As prime minister, Ponta is Basescu’s main opposition. Ponta has been summoned to an EU meeting in Brussels tomorrow to his row with Basescu.
Ponta represents the left-leaning Social Democratic Party. He became prime minister in May and is now being advised by Clark.
Last Friday, Ponta boasted about his new star adviser in an interview with Romania’s TV channel Antenna 3.
Advertisement - story continues below
“It is a big opportunity,” said Ponta. “General Clark is a great economist, involved at the highest level in economic strategy, a man that anyone would want and a chance no prime minister would ever miss. I promised him that we will solve the political crisis fast and still have an independent justice system.”
Clark is on the board of BNK Petroleum Ltd, a California-based oil company with offices in Canada, the Netherlands and Poland, and subsidiary companies throughout Europe. In 2010, Soros' investment fund, Quantum Partners, paid $66 million to buy about one-fifth of BNK Petroleum.
Clark also serves on the board of the ICG alongside Soros.
Advertisement - story continues below
The Soros Foundation Romania, the billionare’s non-profit in the country, has long attempted to influence Romanian politics.
Strangely, just before Clark joined Ponta, Soros’ Romania foundation released a statement condemning Ponta’s actions to quickly depose Basescu. The statement slammed Ponta for “strong opinions, accusations and pressure tactics used by members of your cabinet on the judicial system, in cases currently before the courts or on final verdicts.”
Soros’s nonprofits, including the Open Society Institute's Romanian offices, previously reportedly helped to fund environmental groups opposing a proposal by Gabriel Resources, a Canadian mining company that wants to develop its world-class Rosia Montana gold and silver project located in west central Romania.
The project has been stalled by Romanian political turmoil. Even while Soros groups actively worked against the mining project, in 2008, Newmont Mining, partially owned by Soros, bought an additional 1.5 percent in Gabriel Resources, bringing its holding in the company seeking to mine Romanian gold to 19.9 percent.
One year before his stepped up financing of the company, Soros write a letter to Newmont Mining’s CEO asking the company to not support the Romanian mining project.
The Gabriel Project is the largest undeveloped gold deposit in Europe. It’s owned by Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, a Romanian company in which Gabriel holds an 80.69 percent stake, with the other about 20 percent owned by CNCAF Minvest S.A., a Romanian state-owned mining enterprise.
In June, Romania's finance minister, Daniel Chitoiu, visited Rosia Montana and stated he was "convinced" the Gabriel mining project will go ahead.
However, earlier this month, the Romania Insider reported that Ponta delayed the project, stating “the economy ministry meant to say the Rosia Montana project will not start this year, but he forgot to include the ‘not’ in the sentence.”
Soros also stepped up the purchase of gold worldwide. In May, it was reported the Soros Fund Management was optimistic on gold as it stocks up in bulk purchases of the precious metal.
Kosovo mine takeover
While Soros has publicly opposed the Romania mining project, his International Crisis group previously has supported takeovers of mines.
Newsbusters reported in 2007 that a few months after the NATO military occupation of Kosovo, which was commanded by Clark, the ICG issued a paper on "Trepca: Making Sense of the Labyrinth" which advised the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) "to take over the Trepca mining complex from the Serbs as quickly as possible and explained how this should be done."
Indeed in August 2000, UNMIK head Bernard Kouchner sent in 3,000 troops to occupy the state-owned Trepca mine, described by the New York Times as "the most valuable piece of real estate in the Balkans."
Soros fingerprints on U.S. military in Uganda
Last October, Obama sent a contingent of American troops into Uganda to help in the hunt for Kony.
WND uncovered Soros’ ties both to the political pressure behind the decision and to the African nation’s fledgling oil industry.
Soros’s ICG recently recommended the U.S. deploy a special advisory military team to Uganda to help with operations and run an intelligence platform.
The president emeritus of ICG is also the principal author of “Responsibility to Protect,” the military doctrine used by Obama to justify the U.S.-led NATO campaign in Libya.
The doctrine that has been cited many times by activists urging intervention in Uganda.
Soros’ own Open Society Institute is one of only three nongovernmental funders of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect.
Authors and advisers of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, including a center founded and led by Samantha Power, the National Security Council special adviser to Obama on human rights, also helped to found the International Criminal Court.
Several of the doctrine’s main founders also sit on boards with Soros, a major proponent of the doctrine.
Soros also maintains close ties to oil interests in Uganda. His organizations have been leading efforts purportedly to facilitate more transparency in Uganda’s oil industry, which is being tightly controlled by the country’s leadership.
Soros’ hand in Ugandan oil industry
Oil exploration began in Uganda’s northwestern Lake Albert basin nearly a decade ago, with initial strikes being made in 2006.
Uganda’s Energy Ministry estimates the country has over 2 billion barrels of oil, with some estimates as high as 6 billion barrels. Production is set to begin in 2015, delayed from 2013 in part because the country has not put in place a regulatory framework for the oil industry.
A 2008 national oil and gas policy, proposed with aid from a Soros-funded group, was supposed to be a general road map for the handling and use of the oil. However, the policy’s recommendations have been largely ignored, with critics accusing Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni of corruption and of tightening his grip on the African country’s emerging oil sector.
Soros himself has been closely tied to oil and other interests in Uganda.
In 2008, the Soros-funded Revenue Watch Institute brought together stakeholders from Uganda and other East African countries to discuss critical governance issues, including the formation of what became Uganda’s national oil and gas policy.
Also in 2008, the Africa Institute for Energy Governance, a grantee of the Soros-funded Revenue Watch, helped established the Publish What You Pay Coalition of Uganda, or PWYP, which was purportedly launched to coordinate and streamline the efforts of the government in promoting transparency and accountability in the oil sector.
Also, a steering committee was formed for PWYP Uganda to develop an agenda for implementing the oil advocacy initiatives and a constitution to guide PWYP’s oil work.
PWYP has since 2006 hosted a number of training workshops in Uganda purportedly to promote contract transparency in Uganda’s oil sector.
PWYP is directly funded by Soros’ Open Society as well as the Soros-funded Revenue Watch Institute. PWYP international is actually hosted by the Open Society Foundation in London.
The billionaire’s Open Society Institute, meanwhile, runs numerous offices in Uganda. It maintains a country manager in Uganda, as well as the Open Society Initiative for East Africa, which supports work in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
The Open Society Institute runs a Ugandan Youth Action Fund, which states its mission is to “identify, inspire, and support small groups of dedicated young people who can mobilize and influence large numbers of their peers to promote open society ideals.”
U.S. troops to Uganda
The U.S. mission in Uganda is to advise forces seeking to kill or capture Kony.
Obama last year announced the initial team of U.S. military personnel “with appropriate combat equipment” deployed to Uganda. Other forces deploying include “a second combat-equipped team and associated headquarters, communications and logistics personnel.”
“Our forces will provide information, advice and assistance to select partner nation forces,” he said.
Soros group: Send military advisors to Uganda
In April 2010, Soros’ International Crisis Group released a report sent to the White House and key lawmakers advising the U.S. military run special operations in Uganda to seek Kony’s capture.
The report states: “To the U.S. government: Deploy a team to the theatre of operations to run an intelligence platform that centralizes all operational information from the Ugandan and other armies, as well as the U.N. and civilian networks, and provides analysis to the Ugandans to better target military operations.”
Since 2008 the U.S. has been providing financial aid in the form of military equipment to Uganda and the other regional countries to fight Kony’s LRA, but Obama’s deployment escalates the direct U.S. involvement.
Soros sits in the ICG’s executive board along with Samuel Berger, Bill Clinton’s former national security advisor; George J. Mitchell, former U.S. Senate majority leader who served as a Mideast envoy to both Obama and President Bush; and Javier Solana, a socialist activist who is NATO’s former secretary-general.
Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, is the ICG’s senior adviser.
The ICG’s president emeritus is Gareth Evans, who, together with activist Ramesh Thakur, is the original founder of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. The duo coined the term.
Both Evans and Thakur serve as advisory board members of the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, the main group pushing the doctrine.
As WND first exposed, Soros is a primary funder and key proponent of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect.
Soros’ Open Society is one of only three nongovernmental funders of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Government sponsors include Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Rwanda and the U.K.
Samantha Power, Arafat deputy
Meanwhile, a closer look at the Soros-funded Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect is telling. Board members of the group include former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former Ireland President Mary Robinson and South African activist Desmond Tutu. Robinson and Tutu have recently made solidarity visits to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip as members of a group called The Elders, which includes former President Jimmy Carter.
WND was first to report the committee that devised the Responsibility to Protect doctrine included Arab League Secretary General Amre Moussa as well as Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, a staunch denier of the Holocaust who long served as the deputy of late Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.
Also, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy has a seat on the advisory board of the 2001 commission that originally founded Responsibility to Protect. The commission is called the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. It invented the term “responsibility to protect” while defining its guidelines.
The Carr Center is a research center concerned with human rights located at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Samantha Power, the National Security Council special adviser to Obama on human rights, was Carr’s founding executive director and headed the institute at the time it advised in the founding of Responsibility to Protect.
With Power’s center on the advisory board, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty first defined the Responsibility to Protect doctrine.
Power reportedly heavily influenced Obama in consultations leading to the decision to bomb Libya, widely regarded as test of Responsibility to Protect in action.
In his address to the nation in April explaining the NATO campaign in Libya, Obama cited the doctrine as the main justification for U.S. and international airstrikes against Libya.
Responsibility to Protect, or Responsibility to Act, as cited by Obama, is a set of principles, now backed by the United Nations, based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege, but a responsibility that can be revoked if a country is accused of “war crimes,” “genocide,” “crimes against humanity” or “ethnic cleansing.”
The term “war crimes” has at times been indiscriminately used by various United Nations-backed international bodies, including the International Criminal Court, or ICC, which applied it to Israeli anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip. There has been fear the ICC could be used to prosecute U.S. troops who commit alleged “war crimes” overseas.
Soros: Right to ‘penetrate nation-states’
Soros himself outlined the fundamentals of Responsibility to Protect in a 2004 Foreign Policy magazine article titled “The People’s Sovereignty: How a New Twist on an Old Idea Can Protect the World’s Most Vulnerable Populations.”
In the article Soros said, “True sovereignty belongs to the people, who in turn delegate it to their governments.
“If governments abuse the authority entrusted to them and citizens have no opportunity to correct such abuses, outside interference is justified,” Soros wrote. “By specifying that sovereignty is based on the people, the international community can penetrate nation-states’ borders to protect the rights of citizens.
“In particular,” he continued, “the principle of the people’s sovereignty can help solve two modern challenges: the obstacles to delivering aid effectively to sovereign states and the obstacles to global collective action dealing with states experiencing internal conflict.”
‘One World Order’
The Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, meanwhile, works in partnership with the World Federalist Movement, a group that promotes democratized global institutions with plenary constitutional power. The movement is a main coordinator and member of Responsibility to Protect Center.
WND reported that responsibility-doctrine founder Thakur recently advocated for a “global rebalancing” and “international redistribution” to create a “New World Order.”
In a piece last March in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, “Toward a new world order,” Thakur wrote, “Westerners must change lifestyles and support international redistribution.”
He was referring to a United Nations-brokered international climate treaty in which he argued, “Developing countries must reorient growth in cleaner and greener directions.”
In the opinion piece, Thakur then discussed recent military engagements and how the financial crisis has impacted the U.S.
“The West’s bullying approach to developing nations won’t work anymore – global power is shifting to Asia,” he wrote. “A much-needed global moral rebalancing is in train.”
Thakur continued: “Westerners have lost their previous capacity to set standards and rules of behavior for the world. Unless they recognize this reality, there is little prospect of making significant progress in deadlocked international negotiations.”
Thakur contended “the demonstration of the limits to U.S. and NATO power in Iraq and Afghanistan has left many less fearful of ‘superior’ Western power.”
With research by Brenda J. Elliott