Tag Archives: Trump

Trump’s Afghanistan Strategy will Fail if it Does not Take on Corruption

Trump’s Afghanistan Strategy will Fail if it Does not Take on Corruption

Tonight at 9pm EST President Trump announced his new Afghanistan strategy, Global Witness’ Stephen Carter highlights what is needed for a real change in direction:

“The United States is Afghanistan’s key partner and has real potential to help break the cycle of violence there. But its continued presence will change nothing unless the US and the Afghan government also tackle the root causes of instability. That means fighting the corruption that allows insurgents and strongmen to reap the benefits of the country’s resources, and maintain their grip on power. ‘Nation-building’ in that sense is vital to what President Trump called ‘principled realism’ – not separate from it.

“Corruption is at the heart of insecurity in Afghanistan. It deeply undermines the effectiveness of Afghan forces and the legitimacy of the Afghan government, and is a huge obstacle to any realistic path to stability. Despite successive American military and political leaders acknowledging this challenge, in practice they have rarely treated it as a priority: it is ironic that it is now seen as impossible. If President Trump wants to turn Afghanistan around, there needs to be a real change in the way the US and the Afghan government’s approach governance issues, putting them on a par with military concerns and using levers of support and influence much more effectively.

“The Afghan mining sector is one obvious place to start. It is the second largest source of funding for the Taliban and a major driver of corruption and conflict. Global Witness’ own research, for example, shows how competition over illegal mining in Badakhshan has undermined the stability of an entire province and made it a hotbed of the insurgency. Despite this, basic transparency measures have yet to be put into effect, the Mining Law is missing key safeguards against corruption and conflict, and the Afghan government has struggled to produce basic information on contracts and production. The US has done relatively little to press for stronger action, even though the sector is central to hopes of building up Afghanistan’s economy – and for its ability to fund their own security forces and secure their territory without endless expenditure of American lives and money.

“Under President Ghani and CEO Abdullah the Afghan government has shown itself willing to contemplate serious reforms and to agree anti-corruption benchmarks, even if implementation has so far been slow. America has a partner in Afghanistan, but they need to seize the chance to work with them, and push hard for serious action. The call for ‘real reforms’ is welcome, but it has been made before, and is lacking specifics. President Trump’s Afghan strategy will stand or fall on how well he turns those words into action.” said Carter.

Will Peter King’s Latent Misogyny Lead Him to Dodge LI Women’s Town Hall?

Will Peter King’s Latent Misogyny Lead Him to Dodge LI Women’s Town Hall?

Massapequa Park, NY — Constituents from New York’s 2nd congressional district hand delivered an invitation to Rep. Peter King (NY-02) to participate in a Women’s Town Hall on May 7 at the Dominican Village in Amityville. The Women’s Town Hall is being organized by New York’s 2nd District Democrats, the National Organization for Women – NY, and ATLI, and this was their third attempt at inviting Rep. King. The groups have previously called his office and sent an invitation via registered mail.

In February, Rep. King agreed to meet with Liuba Grechen Shirley, founder and district organizer for New York’s 2nd District Democrats, a local political group in King’s district, after the group organized a protest with over 400 constituents in front of his office. Grechen Shirley requested that Rep. King hold a Town Hall, but he responded that his constituents know his positions, because he is regularly on television, and he refused to host a Town Hall adding that, “No one wants to have a confrontation.”

“What he fails to understand is that the purpose of a Town Hall is not for constituents to hear our Representative’s positions, but for him to listen to ours, to answer our questions,” said Grechen Shirley.

 

For the first time in more than 12 years, Rep. Peter King participated in a public availability for constituents by holding a telephone town hall in March. Thousands of constituents called in, and over 600 registered questions. During the 82-minute call and King took questions from 15 men, 4 women and one online question.

“King’s latent misogyny was evinced that night,” said Liuba Grechen Shirley. “You don’t select nearly four times as many men as women by accident. That is why we are holding a Women’s Town Hall – to give King’s constituents a voice, to give women the opportunity to ask questions about how Donald Trump’s agenda affects our lives personally.”

King’s acquiescence to hold a public availability at all can be largely credited to the female-led group New York’s 2nd District Democrats, which launched a campaign to demand King engage with his constituents, but the group feels that the telephone town hall failed to meet the mark.  “This forum allowed Pete King to cherry pick the constituents who spoke to avoid answering the tough questions about his record and his flip-flops,” said Liuba Grechen Shirley.

“Whether it’s prenatal care, reproductive rights, health care, paid family leave, affordable childcare, equitable pay, immigrant and refugee rights, access to clean air and water, or preventing violence – these essentials are all on the chopping block of the Trump agenda.”

“Just last week, Trump privately signed a bill that allows states to withhold federal funding from organizations that provide abortion services. While only 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides are abortions, states can now legally defund the organization. States can now legally deprive millions of Americans – both men and women – from accessing preventative, affordable health care. Planned Parenthood provides STD and cancer screenings, birth control and pregnancy tests. Last month, Rep. King all but confirmed that he would vote yes on Trump’s American Health Care Act, ignoring that over 10% of his constituents would lose their health care coverage under the AHCA,” said Grechen Shirley

Grechen Shirley added, “Peter King has voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. He’s voted against paid family leave. He supports the ICE raids that are tearing families apart in his district and it’s time for him to respond to his constituents. We would like to have an open, informed, constructive discussion with our Congressman, so that he listens to us about our concerns with the issues that are our affecting out lives. We hope that Rep. King attends our Women’s Town Hall.”

Documents

  1. Read the National Organization for Women’s letter HERE
  2. Read the NY 2nd District Democrat’s invitation HERE
Leaked Trump Executive Order Easing Conflict Mineral Regulations a ‘Gift to Warlords & Corrupt Businesses’

Leaked Trump Executive Order Easing Conflict Mineral Regulations a ‘Gift to Warlords & Corrupt Businesses’

Washington, DC — In response to reports that the President Trump is planning to issue an executive order targeting the US conflict minerals provision, also known as Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank, Carly Oboth Policy Adviser at Global Witness said: 

“Any executive action suspending the US conflict minerals rule would be a gift to predatory armed groups seeking to profit from Congo’s minerals as well as a gift to companies wanting to do business with the criminal and the corrupt. 

“This law helps stop US companies funding conflict and human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries. Suspending it will benefit secretive and corrupt business practices. Responsible business practices are starting to spread in eastern Congo.  This action could reverse that progress.

“It is an abuse of power that the Trump Administration is claiming that the law should be suspended through a national security exemption intended for emergency purposes.  Suspending this provision could actually undermine US national security.”

The conflict minerals law, known as Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Act, aims to help stop mineral trading fuelling conflict in Central Africa by requiring companies to check whether they are funding conflict or human rights abuses through their purchases of minerals, including tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. These minerals are crucial parts of many products manufactured and sold in the US, from jewelry and airplanes to laptops and mobile phones.

For over a decade, Global Witness has exposed the role of minerals in fuelling conflict and human rights abuses in eastern Congo and played a leading role in securing passage of the conflict minerals provision.