Microsoft founder Bill Gates
Published On: Thu, Nov 3rd, 2011
The world’s second richest man and one of its most influential philanthropists will today advise the G20 to ask government to make details of Uganda’s oil agreements public.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is also expected to ask the G20 to ensure that government declares the money it receives from its oil resources. Mr Gates’ comments come a day after a parliamentary ad hoc committee started investigating allegations of corruption and unfair agreements in Uganda’s largely opaque oil sector which is expected to generate $2 billion per year at peak production, compared to a national budget of $3 billion.
“This oil revenue should have a huge impact on the government’s ability to address the needs of millions of poor Ugandans,” Mr Gates will today tell leaders of the G20, which include the world’s richest and most powerful countries. “However, we have no insight into the country’s oil leasing arrangements, and, as a result, Ugandan citizens have no means to protect their interests.”
Mr Gates’ comments on Uganda are part of a report on financing global development he has written for the G20 meeting at the request of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who currently holds its rotational leadership. The full report will be published today.
Mr Gates has closely been following developments in Uganda where his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a major donor to health projects, and is keen to see Uganda’s oil money spent transparently on social and economic development.
Ms Winnie Ngabiirwe of Publish What You Pay Uganda, a pro-transparency pressure group, said yesterday: “For a long time now, Ugandans have asked our government to do exactly what Mr Gates is asking for. Unfortunately, our government has continued to dismiss our concerns, treating the oil and gas sector with the highest level of secrecy. Making agreements accessible to Ugandans, and publishing what the country is earning is an important step necessary for fighting against corruption and embezzlement.”
Energy Minister Irene Muloni told Daily Monitor yesterday that there was no need to worry since the oil industry in Uganda is young. “All the appropriate laws will be put in place. Uganda’s oil resources will be adequately managed,” she said, advising this newspaper to seek President Museveni’s view over Mr Gate’s presentation.
Tullow Oil is in final stages of farming down two-thirds of its interest in Uganda’s oil fields to France’s Total and China’s CNOOC. In July 2010, the US passed the Dodd-Frank Act, which calls for all oil, gas and mining companies listed in the US to publish their payments to foreign governments.
This would include CNOOC, which is listed in the US, but not UK-listed Tullow.
However, last week the European Commission proposed a new law which would implement the same requirement for all 27 EU member countries.
If adopted, Tullow and Total would have to publish their payments to Uganda unless government passes a secrecy law making it explicitly illegal for any oil, gas or mining company to publish information about their activities in Uganda.
Mr Gates is also expected to encourage Uganda to sign up to the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and gives an example of Ghana, which used the initiative to raise minimum mining royalties from three to six per cent. “The problem is that EITI is a voluntary initiative, and only five African countries are currently compliant, although more are working towards it,” Mr Gates says. “All G20 countries should require the mining and oil companies listed on their stock exchanges to disclose payments to governments.”
By John Njoroge, Daily Monitor
- Uganda: Minister aims to present oil bills this year (mb50.wordpress.com)
- For Uganda, oil industry is more curse than cure (theglobeandmail.com)
- The ‘Resource Curse:’ Uganda’s Upcoming Oil Wealth is a Global Challenge on Multiple Fronts (forbes.com)
- Analysis: Rocky start for Uganda’s oil sector (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Why U.S. military in Uganda? Soros fingerprints all over it (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Uganda struggles to make oil a blessing (marketwatch.com)
- Uganda Welcomes Oil, but Fears Graft It Attracts (nytimes.com)
By Aaron Klein
© 2011 WND
After President Barack Obama announced earlier this week that he would be sending American troops into Uganda, WND uncovered billionaire activist George Soros‘ ties both to the political pressure behind the decision and to the African nation’s fledgling oil industry.
Soros sits on the executive board of an influential “crisis management organization” that recently recommended the U.S. deploy a special advisory military team to Uganda to help with operations and run an intelligence platform, a recommendation Obama’s action seems to fulfill.
The president emeritus of that organization, the International Crisis Group, 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.
Soros’ own Open Society Institute is one of only three nongovernmental funders of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect, a doctrine that has been cited many times by activists urging intervention in Uganda.
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, who is 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 going 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 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
Obama yesterday notified House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that he plans to send about 100 military personnel, mostly Special Operations Forces, to central Africa. The first troops reportedly arrived in Uganda on Wednesday.
The U.S. mission will be to advise forces seeking to kill or capture Joseph Kony, the leader of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA. Kony is accused of major human rights atrocities. He is on the U.S. terrorist list and is wanted by the International Criminal Court.
In a letter on Friday, Obama announced the initial team of U.S. military personnel “with appropriate combat equipment” deployed to Uganda on Wednesday. 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.
Both conservatives and liberals have raised questions about whether military involvement in Uganda advances U.S. interests.
Writing in The Atlantic yesterday, Max Fisher noted the Obama administration last year approved special forces bases and operations across the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and Central Asia.
“But those operations, large and small, target terrorist groups and rogue states that threaten the U.S. – something the Lord’s Resistance Army could not possibly do,” he wrote.
“It’s difficult to find a U.S. interest at stake in the Lord’s Resistance Army’s campaign of violence,” continued Fisher. “It’s possible that there’s some immediate U.S. interest at stake we can’t obviously see.”
Bill Roggio, the managing editor of The Long War Journal, referred to the Obama administration’s stated rationale for sending troops “puzzling,” claiming the LRA does not present a national security threat to the U.S. – “despite what President Obama said.”
Tea-party-backed presidential candidate Michele Bachmann also questioned the wisdom of Obama’s move to send U.S. troops to Uganda.
“When it comes to sending our brave men and women into foreign nations, we have to first demonstrate a vital American national interest before we send our troops in,” she said at a campaign stop yesterday in Iowa.
Soros group: Send military advisors to Uganda
In April 2010 Soros’ International Crisis Group, or ICG, 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 new 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 as well as the former foreign affairs minister of Spain.
Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, is the ICG’s senior advisor.
The ICG’s president emeritus is Gareth Evans, who, together with activist Ramesh Thakur, is the original founder of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, with the duo even coining the term “responsibility to protect.”
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.”
- Obama orders 100 troops to Uganda (thehill.com)
- Profile: Joseph Kony – Aljazeera.net (news.google.com)
- Kony 2012: Inivisible Children viral campaign backfires after Twitter storm (dailymail.co.uk)
- Kony 2012: what’s the real story? (guardian.co.uk)
- Why You Should Feel Awkward About the ‘Kony2012′ Video (globalspin.blogs.time.com)
- Kony 2012 Invisible Children – CIA ? (merovee.wordpress.com)