EIN GEDI, Israel – Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for defense secretary, sits on the board of fund that is the main financial backer of group urging the U.S. to join the U.N.’s International Criminal Court, which could prosecute American citizens and soldiers for “war crimes” and other offenses.
WND previously exposed Hagel serves on the board of the Ploughshares Fund, a George Soros-funded group that advocates a nuclear-free world.
The Ploughshares Fund has a long history of anti-war advocacy and is a partner of the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies, which has urged the defunding of the Pentagon and massive decreases in U.S. defense capabilities, including slashing the American nuclear arsenal to 292 deployed weapons.
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Now WND has learned that Hagel’s Ploughshares Fund is a major financial contributor to something called the Connect U.S. Fund, or CUSF.
The group promotes global governance and states on its website its mission is to influence “policy through integrative collaborative grant making on human rights, non-proliferation, climate change and development, and effective foreign assistance.”
CUSF grew out of a 2004 initiative by Soros's Open Society Institute together with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to create “a collaborative fund” through which a team of foreign policy advocates “advance responsible U.S. global engagement in an increasingly interdependent world.”
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Ploughshares is now part of that small collaborative fund.
CUSF’s first executive director was Eric Schwartz, a former member of President Bill Clinton's National Security Council. He served at CUSF until 2009, when he joined the Obama administration as assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration.
WND previously reported Schwartz’s work with the Connect U.S. Fund and Obama’s administration.
The Connect U.S. Fund provides grants to pro-U.N. groups such as Human Rights First, which states it used top military brass to secure U.S. politicians’ commitments against torture.
Another grantee, the Center for Victims of Torture, produced a draft executive order against torture endorsed by prominent national security figures. Months later, a virtually identical executive order was issued by Obama.
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Groups funded by Schwartz’s previous organization organized a January 2009 national conference call to promote a “Responsible U.S. Global Engagement” agenda for Obama’s new administration.
Schwartz himself has authored numerous op-eds in major national newspapers calling for more U.S. global engagement.
Schwartz previously worked under Bill Clinton’s national security adviser, Sandy Berger, in a position, he boasted on his Connect Fund website bio that allowed him to initiate and manage “the White House review that resulted in U.S. signature of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” which would subject U.S. citizens to international prosecution for “war crimes.”
Later, President Bush’s U.N. ambassador, John Bolton, led the effort for the U.S. to pull out of the International Criminal Court, a victory Bolton touted as the “happiest moment” of his political career until that point.
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Schwartz’s former assistant at the Connect U.S. Fund, Heather B. Hamilton, who now serves as senior policy advocate at the fund, led the group’s efforts to lobby against Bush’s appointment of Bolton.
While Schwartz was serving Obama’s transition team as adviser on U.N. issues, he coordinated several meetings with the Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court, which wants the U.S. to re-enter that agreement.
The Working Group is a project of the Citizens for Global Solutions, or CGS, a grassroots organization that envisions a “future in which nations work together to abolish war, protect our rights and freedoms and solve the problems facing humanity that no nation can solve alone.”
Hamilton, Schwartz’s deputy, served as executive vice president of CGS.
The CGS mission states it seeks, “More Blue (U.N.) Helmets on U.S. Troops.”
CUSF, meanwhile, emphasizes on the top of its website that “the United States will only be successful in achieving critical foreign-policy objectives if it exercises power and influence in a manner that is widely perceived as legitimate, demonstrates foresight and responsibility to future generations, and emphasizes international cooperation.”
The group’s mission specifically calls for the U.S. to join the International Criminal Court.
The mission states: “The Connect U.S. Fund is working to ensure continued U.S. commitment to multilateral engagement on international human rights through, for example, forward movement on several global human rights conventions and treaties, support for and reform of international human rights institutions and instruments, continued engagement with the U.N. Human Rights Council, actively cooperating with the International Criminal Court, and putting in place policies and systems that improve the capacity to prevent and respond to mass atrocities.”
CUSF also works “to develop collaborative efforts to encourage U.S. leadership in reshaping and reforming the international financial architecture.”
Discover the Networks sees that directive as “a call for wealth redistribution across national borders, as embodied in CUSF's advocacy of ‘trade preference reform’ – i.e., the implementation of policies that extend duty-free preferences to exports from the world's least-developed countries."
CUSF also seeks to address “the imbalance in resources between military and civilian agencies engaged in diplomacy and development.”
CUSF works to “help advocates, Congress, and the Administration determine how the U.S. can help generate the resources necessary to address developing country concerns [about climate change] and bridge the gap between North and South that will be necessary for reaching an international agreement.”
Such an agreement would be predicated on “U.S. support for climate finance.”
Opposition to U.S. missile defense
Hagel’s Ploughshares, meanwhile, opposes America’s development of a missile defense system and contributes to scores of anti-war groups highly critical of U.S. foreign policy and military expansion.
Ploughshares is directed by Joseph Cirincione, who served as an adviser on nuclear issues to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Cirincione also served as director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress.
Among the groups that receive Ploughshares donations are the anti-Israel Americans for Peace Now, the Arms Control Association, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Policy Alternatives, the Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity, the radical Citizen Action, Citizens for Environmental Justice, the Coalition for New Priorities and the radical Institute for Policy Studies.
More grantees include the New America Foundation, the Nonviolent Peaceforce, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the Nuclear Freeze Foundation, the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, Peace Action, the Peace Studies Association, Physicians for Human Rights and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Ploughshares has also funded the Soros-financed Connect US Fund, which urges more U.N. helmets on U.S. troops, as well as the Center for American Progress, which is highly influential in informing White House policy.
Also on the list of Ploughshares grantees is The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which has long petitioned for the U.S. to reduce its nuclear stockpiles. According to Pavel Sudoplatov, a former major-general in Soviet intelligence, the work by the magazine editors was for the benefit of the Soviet Union.
Two of the magazine’s founding sponsors, Leo Szilard and Robert Oppenheimer, were accused of passing information from the Manhattan Project to the Soviets. Both were also key initiators of the Manhattan Project.
Ploughshares funds the International Crisis Group, a small organization that boasts Soros on its board and is a key promoter of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine used to justify the NATO airstrikes in Libya last year.
Massive defense slashes
Another Ploughshares grantee is the Institute for Policy Studies.
Ploughshares is listed on the institute’s website as a partner organization.
The institute works with the Center for American Progress to release an annual “Unified Security Budget,” which reportedly has influenced White House military policy. Previous recommendations from the two groups’ yearly Unified Security Budgets have been adapted by the Obama administration.
The 2012 budget, reviewed in full by WND, called on Obama to use the U.S. Armed Forces in part to combat “global warming,” fight global poverty, remedy “injustice,” bolster the United Nations and increase “peacekeeping” forces worldwide.
The budget called for massive, second-term slashes to the military budget. The savings are to be used to invest in “sustainable energy” and in fighting worldwide climate change.
The report makes clear the stated objective of transforming the U.S. Armed Forces to stress conflict resolution and diplomacy.
The report takes issue with the use of forces on the ground in various countries to secure or influence the longer-term strategic position of other nations.
It recommends scaling back all U.S. ground forces by 20 percent and reducing the Navy’s surface fleet by 20 percent, including two carriers and carrier combat air wings. It also calls for reducing the Air Force by two combat air wings while cutting standing peacetime overseas deployments in Europe and East Asia by up to 50,000 troops at a time.
The budget’s authors strongly argue for the reduction of the U.S. nuclear arsenal to no more than 292 deployed nuclear weapons and the complete elimination of the Trident II nuclear missile. It’s a process Obama already initiated in April 2010 when he signed a deal with Russia reducing stocks of weapons-grade plutonium.
The accord with Russia was signed at a nuclear summit in Washington arranged by Obama at which leaders of 47 nations committed to reducing the world’s nuclear stockpiles. One week earlier, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and Obama signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, committing both countries to reducing their deployed nuclear arsenals.
Obama had broadly proclaimed his disarmament intentions during a 2007 campaign speech: “Here’s what I’ll say as president: America seeks a world in which there are no nuclear weapons.”
By 2010, as president, he was arguing: “We need to change our nuclear policy and our posture, which is still focused on deterring the Soviet Union – a country that doesn’t exist.”
Obama’s declaration came just as Russia was signing a major arms deal with Syria and began to revive its Cold War-era naval bases in the Middle East, including in the Syrian ports of Tartus and Latakia on the Mediterranean.
The joint CAP and IPS report, meanwhile, recommends the U.S. cease all further development of missile defenses.
The report goes through a list of current missile defense programs, including Ground-based Midcourse Defense, Airborne Laser, Kinetic Energy Interceptors and a number of others, pushing for all programs to be cut.
“It is unwise to fund more advanced systems for missile defense while current ones have yet to be proven effective against their targeted threats,” complains the report.
The military’s vital Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation program is to be cut by $10 billion across the board.
Next on the chopping block: the complete cancellation of the second SSN-744 Virginia Class submarine. While the Unified Security Budget describes the new model as “unnecessary to address any of the threats facing the United States today” and “a weapon looking for an enemy,” the SSN-774 is designed for covert collection of intelligence, transportation of special operations teams, and launching of tactical Tomahawk missiles – flexible capabilities tailored to rapid responses required by the 21st-century’s conflicts with irregular combatants.
Similarly targeted for cancellation are the V-22 Osprey helicopter and the Navy and Marine Corps versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Combating ‘global warming’
The 2012 Unified report sets the tone of its lofty agenda by demanding immediate reductions in the military’s already heavily slashed budget. But there is one exception requiring massive increases in funding – any spending that funds “alternative energy” or that focuses Defense Department resources on combating “climate change as a security threat.”
The report authors recommend investing “the lion’s share” of the few allotted military increases in addressing the “threat” of so-called climate change.
The report wants Obama to take billions of dollars from the U.S. military and instead use them for a “green stimulus.”
These groups also envision the military as a tool to fight so-called global warming. In 2011, the IPS released a 40-page CAP-endorsed report titled “The Green Dividend,” a term the IPS defines as “a major shift of resources from the military budget to sustainable energy.”
The IPS research paper identifies the Pentagon as the “largest institutional energy user – and greenhouse gas emitter – on the planet,” arguing that if it undertook a “crash program” to convert to renewable energy sources and clean vehicles, it could make a significant impact on global emissions.
The IPS calls on the Pentagon to contribute to a green world “by simply getting out of the way, by handing over unneeded military installations to be converted into green job incubators.”
The report lauds Obama’s first-ever U.S. Global Development Policy, which was issued in September 2010 and declares that the primary purpose of our development aid is to pursue broad-based economic growth as the means to fight global poverty.
The report goes on to recommend that massive funds be sent to combat global woes, including an increase of $3.5 billion to “Global Health” investment and $2.14 billion to support United Nations peacekeeping and ensure that the United States does not fall behind in U.N. payments.