2011年04月18日

合衆国がシリアの反体制派をバックアップ

U.S. secretly backed Syrian opposition groups, cables released by WikiLeaks show
合衆国はシリアの反体制グループを密かにバックアップしていると、ウィキリークスが暴露した外電が解き明かす。

By Craig Whitlock, Sunday, April 17, 11:01 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us_secretly_backed_syrian_opposition_groups_cables_released_by_wikileaks_show/2011/04/14/AF1p9hwD_story.html

The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables.

The London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, began broadcasting in April 2009 but has ramped up operations to cover the mass protests in Syria as part of a long-standing campaign to overthrow the country’s autocratic leader, Bashar al-Assad. Human rights groups say scores of people have been killed by Assad’s security forces since the demonstrations began March 18; Syria has blamed the violence on “armed gangs.”

Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified U.S. diplomatic cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as $6 million to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria. The channel is named after the Barada River, which courses through the heart of Damascus, the Syrian capital.

The U.S. money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W. Bush after he effectively froze political ties with Damascus in 2005. The financial backing has continued under President Obama, even as his administration sought to rebuild relations with Assad. In January, the White House posted an ambassador to Damascus for the first time in six years.

The cables, provided by the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks, show that U.S. Embassy officials in Damascus became worried in 2009 when they learned that Syrian intelligence agents were raising questions about U.S. programs. Some embassy officials suggested that the State Department reconsider its involvement, arguing that it could put the Obama administration’s rapprochement with Damascus at risk.

Syrian authorities “would undoubtedly view any U.S. funds going to illegal political groups as tantamount to supporting regime change,” read an April 2009 cable signed by the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Damascus at the time. “A reassessment of current U.S.-sponsored programming that supports anti-[government] factions, both inside and outside Syria, may prove productive,” the cable said.

It is unclear whether the State Department is still funding Syrian opposition groups, but the cables indicate money was set aside at least through September 2010. While some of that money has also supported programs and dissidents inside Syria, The Washington Post is withholding certain names and program details at the request of the State Department, which said disclosure could endanger the recipients’ personal safety.

Syria, a police state, has been ruled by Assad since 2000, when he took power after his father’s death. Although the White House has condemned the killing of protesters in Syria, it has not explicitly called for his ouster.

The State Department declined to comment on the authenticity of the cables or answer questions about its funding of Barada TV.

Tamara Wittes, a deputy assistant secretary of state who oversees the democracy and human rights portfolio in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, said the State Department does not endorse political parties or movements.

“We back a set of principles,” she said. “There are a lot of organizations in Syria and other countries that are seeking changes from their government. That’s an agenda that we believe in and we’re going to support.”

The State Department often funds programs around the world that promote democratic ideals and human rights, but it usually draws the line at giving money to political opposition groups.

In February 2006, when relations with Damascus were at a nadir, the Bush administration announced that it would award $5 million in grants to “accelerate the work of reformers in Syria.”

But no dissidents inside Syria were willing to take the money, for fear it would lead to their arrest or execution for treason, according to a 2006 cable from the U.S. Embassy, which reported that “no bona fide opposition member will be courageous enough to accept funding.”

Around the same time, Syrian exiles in Europe founded the Movement for Justice and Development. The group, which is banned in Syria, openly advocates for Assad’s removal. U.S. cables describe its leaders as “liberal, moderate Islamists” who are former members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Barada TV

It is unclear when the group began to receive U.S. funds, but cables show U.S. officials in 2007 raised the idea of helping to start an anti-Assad satellite channel.

People involved with the group and with Barada TV, however, would not acknowledge taking money from the U.S. government.

“I’m not aware of anything like that,” Malik al-Abdeh, Barada TV’s news director, said in a brief telephone interview from London.

Abdeh said the channel receives money from “independent Syrian businessmen” whom he declined to name. He also said there was no connection between Barada TV and the Movement for Justice and Development, although he confirmed that he serves on the political group’s board. The board is chaired by his brother, Anas.

“If your purpose is to smear Barada TV, I don’t want to continue this conversation,” Malik al-Abdeh said. “That’s all I’m going to give you.”

Other dissidents said that Barada TV has a growing audience in Syria but that its viewer share is tiny compared with other independent satellite news channels such as al-Jazeera and BBC Arabic. Although Barada TV broadcasts 24 hours a day, many of its programs are reruns. Some of the mainstay shows are “Towards Change,” a panel discussion about current events, and “First Step,” a program produced by a Syrian dissident group based in the United States.

Ausama Monajed, another Syrian exile in London, said he used to work as a producer for Barada TV and as media relations director for the Movement for Justice and Development but has not been “active” in either job for about a year. He said he now devotes all his energy to the Syrian revolutionary movement, distributing videos and protest updates to journalists.

He said he “could not confirm” any U.S. government support for the satellite channel, because he was not involved with its finances. “I didn’t receive a penny myself,” he said.

Several U.S. diplomatic cables from the embassy in Damascus reveal that the Syrian exiles received money from a State Department program called the Middle East Partnership Initiative. According to the cables, the State Department funneled money to the exile group via the Democracy Council, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit. According to its Web site, the council sponsors projects in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America to promote the “fundamental elements of stable societies.”

The council’s founder and president, James Prince, is a former congressional staff member and investment adviser for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Reached by telephone, Prince acknowledged that the council administers a grant from the Middle East Partnership Initiative but said that it was not “Syria-specific.”

Prince said he was “familiar with” Barada TV and the Syrian exile group in London, but he declined to comment further, saying he did not have approval from his board of directors. “We don’t really talk about anything like that,” he said.

The April 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Damascus states that the Democracy Council received $6.3 million from the State Department to run a Syria-related program called the “Civil Society Strengthening Initiative.” That program is described as “a discrete collaborative effort between the Democracy Council and local partners” to produce, among other things, “various broadcast concepts.” Other cables make clear that one of those concepts was Barada TV.

U.S. allocations

Edgar Vasquez, a State Department spokesman, said the Middle East Partnership Initiative has allocated $7.5 million for Syrian programs since 2005. A cable from the embassy in Damascus, however, pegged a much higher total − about $12 million − between 2005 and 2010.

The cables report persistent fears among U.S. diplomats that Syrian state security agents had uncovered the money trail from Washington.

A September 2009 cable reported that Syrian agents had interrogated a number of people about “MEPI operations in particular,” a reference to the Middle East Partnership Initiative.

“It is unclear to what extent [Syrian] intelligence services understand how USG money enters Syria and through which proxy organizations,” the cable stated, referring to funding from the U.S. government. “What is clear, however, is that security agents are increasingly focused on this issue.”

U.S. diplomats also warned that Syrian agents may have “penetrated” the Movement for Justice and Development by intercepting its communications.

A June 2009 cable listed the concerns under the heading “MJD: A Leaky Boat?” It reported that the group was “seeking to expand its base in Syria” but had been “initially lax in its security, often speaking about highly sensitive material on open lines.”

The cable cited evidence that the Syrian intelligence service was aware of the connection between the London exile group and the Democracy Council in Los Angeles. As a result, embassy officials fretted that the entire Syria assistance program had been compromised.

“Reporting in other channels suggest the Syrian [Mukhabarat] may already have penetrated the MJD and is using the MJD contacts to track U.S. democracy programming,” the cable stated. “If the [Syrian government] does know, but has chosen not to intervene openly, it raises the possibility that the [government] may be mounting a campaign to entrap democracy activists.”


whitlockc@washpost.com

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米国核(原子力)規制委員会は規制より振興に熱心?

菅が原子力発電の見直しを口にしたらサルコジが来た。>菅は原子力発電継続を指示。
菅が原子力発電の見直しを口にしたらが来た。

Exclusive: U.S. nuclear regulator a policeman or salesman?
合衆国核規制委員会はポリスマン? それともビジネスマン?

By Ben Berkowitz and Roberta Rampton
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON | Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:50am EDT

(Reuters) - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission exists to police, not promote, the domestic nuclear industry -- but diplomatic cables show that it is sometimes used as a sales tool to help push American technology to foreign governments.
米国核委員会は国内の核(原子力)産業を振興するためではなく取り締まるために存在する。しかし、時には、アメリカの技術を外国政府に押しつけるのを助けるためのセールスツールとして委員会が使われることがあると外電が明らかにする。

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/18/us-nuclear-industry-nrc-idUSTRE73H0PL20110418

The cables, obtained by WikiLeaks and provided to Reuters by a third party, shed light on the way in which U.S. embassies have pulled in the NRC when lobbying for the purchase of equipment made by Westinghouse and other domestic manufacturers.

While the use of diplomats to further American commercial interests is nothing new, it is far less common for regulators to be acting in even the appearance of a commercial capacity, raising concerns about a potential conflict of interest.

The subject is particularly sensitive at a time when there are concerns about whether the operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was designed by U.S. conglomerate General Electric Co., had been properly supervised by the NRC's equivalent in Japan.

The NRC's own chairman has said that in the nuclear business, avoiding conflicts of interest is paramount.

"The important point is that all countries should strive to maintain a strict independence between the regulator and the industries that it oversees," Gregory Jaczko said in an April 2010 speech to an international forum in Seoul.

EMBRACING THE MODEL

But the cables -- from 2006 to early 2010 -- show that the NRC's role in promoting its regulatory model around the world can easily turn it into an advocate for U.S. nuclear technology, whether its officials realize it or not.

For example, an unclassified January 2009 cable from the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur noted that the Malaysian government, as it pursued a nuclear policy, preferred to work with contractors the NRC had already approved.

The diplomatic corps there was quick to point out how that might be used to financial advantage.

The stance "places the (U.S. Government) and US companies in a favorable position to build stronger relations with both representatives and (Government of Malaysia) officials," the embassy said.

In other countries the message was even more pointed, as in Italy in late 2009. Former NRC Chairman Dale Klein, then still a commissioner, visited the country to discuss nuclear cooperation as the government looked to restart the country's civilian nuclear program and build as many as 10 new plants.

Klein was there to talk regulation, but he also unwittingly figured in the embassy's efforts to promote American vendors.

"Commissioner Klein's visit gave additional support to U.S. nuclear energy companies. A (embassy) co-sponsored public forum on nuclear energy featuring Commissioner Klein as keynote speaker and U.S. companies as panel members attracted a large audience of senior public and private Italian officials and local press coverage," a cable said.

Klein, now a vice chancellor at the University of Texas System and a board member at two utility companies with nuclear operations, said that while he was a firm believer in the NRC playing a more international role, commercial advocacy was never part of his job.

"As a regulator we would never take a position of recommending one reactor over another. The NRC's position was safety and security, and you can get the safety and security in a variety of ways," Klein said. "I never recall having been asked the question of what reactor should a country use."

ALLERGY TO COMMERCIALISM

The NRC was created in 1975 because its predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission, had been criticized for conflicts in both policing and promoting an industry. The NRC was tasked with regulation, while a separate agency, later folded into the Energy Department, promoted nuclear power.

It's common for NRC staff and commissioners to be asked to attend international meetings, but they accept only invitations where they can press for strong safety regulations, said Margie Doane, director of the NRC's international programs, who declined to comment directly on the cables.

"You want to talk about safety right at the very inception of someone's thinking about nuclear power," Doane said.

"As long as we make sure our role is only safety and only regulation, it's a very important aspect, and it doesn't have anything to do with whether they buy U.S. technology or not," she said. "If we're invited into something which looks promotional, we make sure that there's a good opportunity for us to get the safety message out, and that it's going to be understood in the right way."

BEAT THE FRENCH

The fear for diplomats is that U.S. equipment companies need government help, lest they be elbowed aside by foreign state-owned competitors such as France's Areva.

The main concern is for the two nuclear reactor builders most closely tied to the United States -- General Electric Co.'s nuclear joint venture with Japan's Hitachi Ltd and Westinghouse Electric Co, the U.S.-based nuclear reactor builder 77 percent owned by Japan's Toshiba Corp. and 20 percent owned by Shaw Group.

That beat-the-French theme comes up over and over again in cables from around the world -- embassies noting with a sense of urgency that foreign competitor X is already on the ground meeting with government officials, and U.S. interests need to act fast at the highest levels to counteract the threat.

"U.S. company representatives and their Italian allies are apprehensive that absent high-level U.S. lobbying, French pressure will push the decision toward a purchase of their technology. We clearly need to engage at the highest level, given the stakes involved ...ens of billions of dollars in contracts and substantial numbers of high-technology jobs could be involved," a cable from the Rome embassy said in February 2009.

In some cases, NRC officials, while not lobbying for American companies, may have smoothed their way. In February 2007, former NRC commissioner Jeffrey Merrifield visited Hanoi to discuss cooperation on nuclear regulation with Vietnam.

According to the embassy, the Vietnamese told Merrifield they had already been approached by French and Japanese companies about a proposed nuclear plant scheduled to start up by 2020. Merrifield, the embassy said, responded in kind that the Vietnamese should expect to hear from American firms like GE and Westinghouse as well.

A spokeswoman for Merrifield's current employer, Shaw Group, was not available for comment.

That push for American counter-action sometimes resulted in overt lobbying, but sometimes the response was more subtle. One striking example came from South Africa in November 2008.

The embassy in Pretoria, so the story goes, helped the American Society of Mechanical Engineers hold a workshop on nuclear codes and standards in Johannesburg. The workshop was sponsored by Westinghouse and Areva, and featured speakers including NRC engineering officials.

While the official purpose of the event was to promote ASME standards to South African suppliers looking to participate in the global nuclear supply chain, the embassy was not shy about explaining its real purpose.

But the embassy indicated there was another purpose: "The unofficial purpose of the workshop was to support Westinghouse's bid as a global supplier committed to localization in South Africa and the ASME standard in its global supply chain, although ASME was technically neutral on the bidding competition," it said.

Their argument was subtle but unmistakable - standards are important, and Westinghouse uses a key international standard, but Areva doesn't, so go Westinghouse instead.

An ASME spokesman declined to comment.

One NRC critic said the very idea of the commission was to divorce the commercial from the professional.

"The whole point in creating the NRC was to get out of the business of looking like they were in the business of promoting anything other than safety," said Henry Sokolski, a conservative nuclear proliferation expert.

"That they should somehow be seen as advantageous to making people comfortable about getting into the business so to speak is itself an abomination. They should be allergic to that," Sokolski said.

(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz in New York and Roberta Rampton in Washington, Editing by Martin Howell)

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2011年04月16日

ナイジェリア:WL革命の機は熟したか?

Nigeria: Ripe for a WikiLeaks revolution?
Leaked cables helped expose high-level corruption, but will those revelations impact upcoming elections?

Jacqueline Head Last Modified: 15 Apr 2011 16:46 Akjazeera English
http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/spotlight/nigeriaelections/2011/04/201141514313670141.html

It is only months since the US diplomatic cables released by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks made headlines around the world with their revelations about Nigeria.

Among them, allegations that Nigeria's government dropped legal action against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which is accused of running a clinical trial that killed and disabled children, after the drugs company threatened to investigate the attorney-general.
http://nfwl.seesaa.net/article/173715426.html

Others revealed that oil firm Shell had infiltrated every level of government and alleged that it was politicians, rather than fighters in the oil-rich Niger Delta, who stole oil wealth and used it to fund arms deals.

Despite attempts by Nigerian leaders and state-run media to discredit WikiLeaks, the cables have been a powerful reminder for residents and the international community on the extent of corruption in the country and how deep its problems go.

But as voters head to the polls for presidential and regional elections, how many will be influenced by the material published over the last few months, and could such revelations bring about real change?

'WikiLeaks revolution'

In other nations, WikiLeaks has claimed credit for naming corrupt administrations, empowering voters by releasing secret government documents, and helping to topple governments.

Julian Assange, the website's founder, said last year that WikiLeaks had "changed the result of the Kenyan general election" in 2007 when it released a secret report into corruption perpetrated by the family of the country's former leader, that the-then government had done nothing to tackle.

A stronger claim was made for Tunisia, which some, to the annoyance of many protesters, called the first "WikiLeaks revolution". The release of a June 2009 cable that spelt out the corruption present in the country's ruling family appeared to act as one catalyst for change in a country struggling with rising inflation, unemployment and repression.

Surely then Nigeria, which has suffered corruption and sporadic violence for decades and now benefits from relatively high levels of internet and mobile access, is ripe for a reaction to these latest revelations.

Dele Olojede, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, set up his newspaper Next several years ago in an attempt to provide a lone independent and credible voice in Nigeria. Through a third party, his publication has obtained US cables from WikiLeaks, and used them to show the "truth" about the politicians Nigerians are set to elect.

"We believe we are doing a public service [by releasing these documents]," he said. "They had a public interest ... revealing things that were closer to the truth."

The releases include one cable in which a state governor reports to US diplomats that Goodluck Jonathan, the incumbent president, had voted four times in elections in 2007, although his government strongly denies the claim.

Despite being an advocate for releases such as these, Olojede is more sceptical about the change they will bring.

"We have published stories over the past two years that were absolutely explosive in the sense that a rational person reading them would think that heads must roll, but nothing happened!" he said, adding that at other times, a seemingly insignificant story would have repercussions.

"It's not clear at this stage what impact these releases will have. A voter takes many things into consideration. I think what the WikiLeaks documents show is what most people already knew about their leaders. However the cables do have the advantage of being specific and naming individuals."

Ethnic divisions

Olojede's view, that most Nigerians are aware of their leaders' faults, may be one of the reasons that while people around the world felt a sense of shock and outrage from the US diplomatic cables, they did little to provoke anger in Africa's most populous nation.

"I don't think WikiLeaks will have much influence. People already know that Nigeria is corrupt and that politicians don't work in their interests," Dr Patrick Wilmot, a London-based commentator on Nigerian affairs and former lecturer there, said.

"They know through the grapevine, the bush telegraph, that their leaders are completely corrupt, that they don't spend their money on schools or public hospitals ... or anything of benefit to the public."

He believes that Nigerians will respond to claims of corruption by simply not taking part in elections, rather than casting a protest vote, and so such revelations will having no bearing on the poll.

The divisions within Nigeria are also a factor in the country's failure to galvanise popular support against a government, he says.

The United Nations estimates there are between 250 to 400 ethnic groups in Nigeria, and two major religions, Christianity and Islam. It is this diversity, Wilmot says, that prevents a situation similar to the one in Tunisia from arising.

Peter Cunliffe-Jones, head of AFP online in London and author of My Nigeria: Five Decades of Independence says Nigeria’s long history of corruption has meant people have learnt to have low expectations of their leaders.

"This is a country that has been ruled by the military for years. Many leaders stole billions during their presidencies. It's very difficult to shock a Nigerian of the baseness of their government."

Feeding the status quo

So why then, in a mineral rich nation with around 150m people, is there not a greater fight against endemic poverty, inequality and injustice?

Nearly one third of the population has access to the internet, the highest rate in the region.The majority of people are under the age of 35. These are two factors that have helped spark protest movements elsewhere.

"There are a very large number of reasons," Cunliffe-Jones says, as to why Nigerians are not out on the streets.

"Most people around the world concentrate on their daily struggle - finding food and shelter. It's a lot easier in the UK for example to stage a protest, but in Nigeria there's a reasonable chance police will shoot you."

"These elections have shown some signs of change. There's been a move against the ruling party and some support for Nuhu Ribadu," the country's former head of the anti-corruption agency.

"But in Nigeria it can't be the shock of revelations that makes the change. I think there is a fair bit of evidence that WikiLeaks had an impact in Tunisia, but in Nigeria people have been writing about high level corruption since the 1960s.

"The Tunisian press were very tightly controlled, with not a hint of criticism. The Nigeria press is vastly different. They have been howling outrage about their leaders but that's where the belief that it's not possible to change comes from.

"The WikiLeaks revelations only feed into the status quo. It needs to be a revelation coming from the other way – such as 'here's a good governor doing a good job'," Cunliffe-Jones says.

Olojede says that no one can predict the outcomes of news reports, and Nigeria does not tend to take cues from movements sweeping other nations.

"I would have been the happiest person if WikiLeaks revelations had caused people to rise up.

"But in Tunisia how does one know that one person's decision to self immolate would spark something that would consume the whole region?"

"It cannot be guaranteed ahead of time ... it can't be WikiLeaks itself [influencing these events]."

Prospects for change

There have been some small indications, however, that change could be on its way.

An online social movement, called Enough is Enough, has held demonstrations over the past year calling for electoral reform and solutions to ongoing violence and power shortages.

Olojede says social media, such as text messaging, has created a more level playing field for information dissemination.

"Social movements probably do have a certain appeal to the young generation because they have a shared experience: they grew up in the internet age.

"They think in a certain type of way that over time will bring about change.

"It's a good start."

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