Tag Archives: US State Dept.

US State Department Offers $3 Million Bounty on ISIS Leader THEY Trained

Written by Alice Salles, Published 8-31-2016 by Anti-Media.

Image via Anti-Media.

Image via Anti-Media.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, has been known to use weapons and vehicles their militants have seized from rebel forces backed by the United States. But many have also speculated that in the past, members of the terrorist group were trained or provided with weapons by the U.S. government — either directly or indirectly. Now, the rumors have finally been put to rest in a more formal fashion.

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department announced it would offer a reward of up to $3 million for any information that could lead officials to Gulmurod Khalimov, a former Tajik special operations colonel who, before joining ISIS, received training from the United States through the State Department’s antiterrorism assistance program.

While in its latest statement the U.S. government did not readily admit Khalimov had been trained by its forces, Reuters reports that the former special operations colonel attended “five U.S.-funded courses in the United States and Tajikistan between 2003 and 2014.”

The official statement described the militant as one of the Islamic State’s “key leaders,” adding “[h]e was the commander of a police special operations unit in the Ministry of Interior of Tajikistan. He is now an ISIL member and recruiter.

Reports of his decision to join ISIS appear to come from a 10-minute propaganda video from May of 2015, in which “he announced … that he fights for [ISIS] and has called publicly for violent acts against the United States, Russia, and Tajikistan.” Through the State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” program, officials hope to find information that will lead them to the militant — the same strategy the State Department used when looking for Osama bin Laden and former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Reuters reports that to U.S. officials, Khalimov is considered a “threat to national security and the U.S. Department of State due to his prior counter-terrorism experience and training.”

Back in 2015, the Washington Post reported that Khalimov “received training from elite instructors in Russia as well as in the United States.”

In the video, in which he unveils himself as an ISIS leader, he says:

Listen, you American pigs, I’ve been three times to America, and I saw how you train fighters to kill Muslims. … God willing, I will come with this weapon to your cities, your homes, and we will kill you.”

Tajikistan, one of the poorest post-Soviet nations, crushed Islamic insurgencies with the help of the Russian government in a civil war that spanned from 1992 to 1997. In his 2015 video, Khalimov also attacks the Tajik president, Imomali Rakhmon, whose government has been harshly criticized “by rights groups for everything from forced beard shavings to numerous convictions of believers on religious extremism grounds.”

This article is free and open source. It is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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State Dept Accused of Watering Down Human Rights Ratings to Advance Obama Trade Agenda

Reuters investigation shows American diplomats played politics with annual human trafficking report

Written by Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-4-15.

Fisherman raise their hands when asked who among them would like to go home. (Image via US State Department)

Fisherman raise their hands when asked who among them would like to go home. (Image via US State Department)

The U.S. State Department is being accused of playing politics with human rights after a damning new Reuters investigation published late Monday revealed that high level officials watered down the opinions of rights experts hired to evaluate nations’ human trafficking records seemingly to advance a number of the Obama administration’s key agenda items.

Exposing a “degree of intervention not previously known,” according to the investigation, there were 14 instances where senior American diplomats overruled the analyst opinions to inflate the record of “strategically important countries” for this year’s Trafficking in Persons Report, released last week.

Among those cases, Malaysia had its status upgraded from the lowest level “Tier 3” to the “Tier 2 Watchlist,” which is one rung down from “Tier 2,” despite analysts finding no improvement in the country’s trafficking record. Rights observers charge that this was a deliberate move to pave the way for the passage of the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

In June, Congress passed a provision barring the U.S. from entering into trade agreements with “Tier 3” countries. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez (D), who had spearheaded that effort, issued a statement after the investigation was published, saying: “If true, the Reuters report further confirms what I, along with the human-rights community, have feared all along: The State Department’s trafficking report has been blatantly and intentionally politicized.”

Reuters reports:

Congressional sources and current and former State Department officials said experts in the [Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, or J/TIP] had recommended keeping Malaysia on Tier 3, highlighting a drop in human-trafficking convictions in the country to three last year from nine in 2013. They said, according to the sources, that some of Malaysia’s efforts to end forced labor amounted to promises rather than action.

The country has been cited for having a robust sex slavery industry as well as forced labor camps.

Though the news of Malaysia’s pending status change first broke last month, human rights groups on Monday reiterated their discontent.

“The vultures circled,” Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia Division for Human Rights Watch, told Huffington Post. “What you are seeing is significant damage to the credibility of that report because of these political games played back in Washington.”

Other countries where the State Department issued such “inflated recommendations,” according to human rights analysts, included: China, India, Cuba, Mexico, and Uzbekistan.

Reuters notes that “while a Tier 3 ranking can trigger sanctions limiting access to aid…such action is frequently waived.” However, the real power of the trafficking report “is its ability to embarrass countries into action.”

Lawmakers, including Menendez, on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are convening on Thursday to review the State Department report.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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