JERUSALEM – The Obama administration’s lead investigator into the Benghazi attack, former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, previously held clandestine meetings with Hamas aimed at opening U.S. dialogue with the terrorist group, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.
Sources within Hamas previously disclosed to WND the June 2009 meeting. The gathering allegedly took place in Geneva with two Hamas leaders, Bassem Naim and Mahmoud al-Zahar. Naim is Hamas’ health minister, while al-Zahar is one of the main Hamas leaders in Gaza.
Pickering is further tied to the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa through his role as a member of the small board of the International Crisis Group, or ICG, one of the main proponents of the international “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine.
The doctrine is the very military protocol used to justify the NATO bombing campaign that brought down Moammar Ghadafi’s regime in Libya.
Gareth Evans, president emeritus of the ICG, is the founder and co-author of the doctrine.
Billionaire activist George Soros is on the ICG’s executive board. Soros’ Open Society Institute is also one of only three nongovernmental funders of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, the group that devised the doctrine.
The ICG itself has long petitioned for talks with Hamas as well as normalized relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, for years urging the Egyptian government to allow the Brotherhood to establish an Islamist political party, as WND previously reported.
The crisis group has petitioned for the Algerian government to cease “excessive” military activities against al-Qaida-linked groups and to allow organizations seeking to create an Islamic state to participate in the Algerian government.
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Pickering’s meeting with Hamas in 2009 served as an “important step” to open eventual dialogue between the Islamic group and the Obama administration, Hamas’ chief political adviser in Gaza, Ahmed Yousef, told WND that year.
At the time, the State Department told the Jerusalem Post the meeting between Pickering and Hamas was not sanctioned by the White House and that official U.S. policy regarding the group remained unchanged: Hamas first must recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements as a precondition for dialogue with the U.S.
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly stressed Pickering acted as a private citizen. Kelly said he was unaware of any prior U.S. governmental coordination with the former diplomat about the meeting with Hamas.
Pickering is not the only member of the ICG that was accused of serving as a conduit between the Obama administration and Hamas.
Another ICG member is Robert Malley, a former adviser to Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. He resigned after it was exposed he had communicated with Hamas. WND reported Malley long had petitioned for dialogue with Hamas.
Other ICG board members include Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to Jimmy Carter; and Samuel Berger, who was Bill Clinton’s national security adviser.
Military doctrine used to bomb Libya
The ICG is one of the main proponents of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, championing the doctrine in its official mission statement.
Doctrine founder Evans is the ICG’s president emeritus.
President Obama’s national security adviser, Samantha Power, helped to found Responsibility to Protect, which was also devised by several controversial characters, including Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, a staunch denier of the Holocaust who long served as the deputy of late Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.
Powers, last April, was named the head of the new White House Atrocities Prevention Board.
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 U.N.-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.
The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, founded by Power, had a seat on the advisory board of the 2001 commission that original 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.
Power 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.
The Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect is the world’s leading champion of the military doctrine.
Soros’ Open Society Institute is a primary funder and key proponent of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect.
Several of the doctrine’s main founders sit on boards with Soros.
The committee that devised the Responsibility to Protect doctrine included Arab League Secretary General Amre Moussa as well as Palestinian legislator Ashrawi.
Two of the global group’s advisory board members, Ramesh Thakur and Gareth Evans, are the original founders of the doctrine, with the duo even coining the term “responsibility to protect.”
Thakur and Evans sit on multiple boards with Soros.
The 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.
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 made solidarity visits to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip as members of a group called The Elders, which includes former President Jimmy Carter.
Annan once famously stated: “State sovereignty, in its most basic sense, is being redefined – not least by the forces of globalization and international co-operation. States are … instruments at the service of their peoples and not vice versa.”
Right to ‘penetrate nation-states’ borders’
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, 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.”
More Soros ties
“Responsibility” founders Evans and Thakur served as co-chairmen, with Gregorian on the advisory board of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which invented the term “responsibility to protect.”
In his capacity as co-chairman, Evans also played a pivotal role in initiating the fundamental shift from sovereignty as a right to “sovereignty as responsibility.”
Evans presented Responsibility to Protect at the July 23, 2009, United Nations General Assembly, which was convened to consider the principle.
Thakur is a fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, which is in partnership with an economic institute founded by Soros.
Soros is on the executive board of the International Crisis Group, a “crisis management organization” for which Evans serves as president-emeritus.
‘One World Order’
Doctrine founder Thakur has advocated a “global rebalancing” and “international redistribution” to create a “New World Order.”
In a piece in March 2011 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,” he added.
Thakur continued: “Westerners have lost their previous capacity to set standards and rules of behaviour 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.”
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by Aaron Klein Email | Archive
Aaron Klein is WND’s senior staff reporter and Jerusalem bureau chief. He also hosts "Aaron Klein Investigative Radio" on New York’s WABC Radio. Follow Aaron on Twitter and Facebook.
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott