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Focuses on peace and health issues around the world
Heavily financed by Arab sources
Established in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, the Center that bears their name works in partnership with Emory University to fight for “human rights and the alleviation of human suffering,” and seeks “to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.” The Carter Center describes itself as “nonpartisan” and “neutral in dispute-resolution activities.” Located in a 35-acre park approximately two miles east of downtown Atlanta, over the course of its history the Center has been active in 65 countries around the world. Construction of its facilities was financed by private donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Today the Center employs 150 full- and part-time workers who are based primarily in Atlanta, with some field representatives stationed in Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, and Central America.
The Carter Center’s programs fall broadly under two principal categories: Peace and Health.
1) Peace Programs: Says the Carter Center: “Peace with justice requires resolving conflict according to rules agreed to by all, beginning with the shared commitment to human rights and democratic values. Today, virtually all governments claim to share this belief. The Carter Center … seeks practical ways to narrow the gap between the rhetoric and realities of government policies in countries striving to overcome legacies of oppression and deadly conflict by building more just societies of their own.”
The Carter Center’s Peace Programs include the following:
a) The Democracy Program is the Center's most well known initiative. It works for “the development of inclusive democratic societies and the empowerment of citizens through election observation, consensus-building for international standards for democratic elections, and democracy-strengthening activities in emerging democracies and regional organizations.” To date, the Carter Center has monitored more than 50 of what Jimmy Carter calls “troubled democratic elections, all of them either highly contentious or a nation's first experience with democracy.” Since 2000, Carter Center delegations have overseen local and national elections in Peru, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Guyana, East Timor, Zambia, Sierra Leone, China, Kenya, Mozambique, Guatemala, Indonesia, Congo, and Ethiopia. In most of those cases, the Center opposed the use of independent exit polls to verify whether its assessments of the elections' integrity were accurate.
In 1996 Jimmy Carter himself headed a Carter Center delegation that monitored the Palestinian Authority elections, pronouncing them “democratic,” “open,” “fair,” and “well organized.” These were the elections about which former CIA director Jim Woolsey -- as cited in National Review by Jay Nordlinger -- wrote: “Arafat was essentially ‘elected’ the same way Stalin was, but not nearly as democratically as Hitler, who at least had actual opponents.”
The Carter Center also monitored the Venezuelan recall referendum of 2004 (which was designed to determine whether President Hugo Chavez should be recalled from office). According to the Center for Security Policy, the Chavez regime "delayed and obstructed the recall referendum process at every turn. Once the regime was forced to submit to such a referendum, moreover, it used a fraud-filled voting process to ensure victory. The government did everything -- including granting citizenship to half a million illegal aliens in a crude vote-buying scheme and 'migrating' existing voters away from their local election office -- to fix the results in its favor. The outcome was then affirmed and legitimated by ... Jimmy Carter’s near-unconditional support. … Carter ignored pleas from the opposition and publicly endorsed the results, despite the fact that the government reneged on its agreement to carry out an audit of the results. Carter’s actions not only gave the Venezuelan regime the legitimacy it craved, but also destroyed the public’s confidence in the voting process and in the effectiveness of international observers.”
b) The Human Rights Program “intervene[es] on behalf of victims of human rights abuses; strengthen[s] the voices of human rights defenders internationally; and build[s] capacity for rule of law in partnerships with civil society, governments, and international organizations.” This program also calls for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty.
c) The Conflict Resolution Program focuses on “helping prevent deadly conflict, mediating differences, … ensuring that peace processes become irreversible at the invitation of parties to disputes, and assisting capacity building for conflict resolution in regional organizations.”
d) The Americas Program seeks to “improve[e] regional cooperation and the deepening of democracy within the Western Hemisphere; thwar[t] corruption; increas[e] transparency, and decreas[e] social inequities to ensure that free and fair elections lead to the consolidation of democratic institutions and rule of law.”
e) The China Program advises China's Ministry of Civil Affairs on local elections practices, voter education, and data collection.
2) Health Programs: According to the Carter Center, “Many of the most severe [physical] afflictions are entirely preventable. Yet people living in developing nations die or are disabled because they do not have access to the services they need to treat their illness or avoid infection entirely. Every day our experts show people how they can take steps to transform their own lives.” The Center’s Health Programs focus on eradicating infectious diseases; improving sanitation and hygiene; developing drug-distribution systems; strengthening health-care delivery infrastructures; increasing access to trained health personnel; improving agricultural techniques; and reducing “stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses.”
The Carter Center has also been a longtime recipient of Arab funding. Before his death in 2005, Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd made several large donations to the Center, including a 1993 gift of $7.6 million. As of 2005, the king’s nephew, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal (whose post-9/11 offer of $10 million to New York City was rejected by then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani because it was accompanied by the suggestion that America should cut back its support of Israel), had given at least $5 million to the Carter Center. In 2001 the government of the United Arab Emirates gave the Center $500,000. The previous year, ten of Osama bin Laden's brothers had jointly pledged $1 million, as did Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman in 1998. The Saudi Fund for Development has been another major contributor, as have the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and the government of Nigeria. In addition, Morocco’s Prince Moulay Hicham Ben Abdallah has collaborated with the Carter Center on various initiatives. Arab donations such as these are encouraged by Mr. Carter’s consistently pro-Arab, anti-Israel perspective regarding the Mideast conflict. There are no corresponding contributions from Israeli sources.
Additional Arab ties to the Carter Center can be found in the form of a few of its founders: the king of Saudi Arabia, Bank of Credit and Commerce International's Agha Hasan Abedi, and Yasser Arafat's friend Hasib Sabbagh.
In December 2006, Kenneth Stein, a professor of Israeli Studies at Emory University and the first Executive Director of the Carter Center, stepped down from his position at the Center and issued a resignation letter in which he described Carter as an incompetent, a liar, and a fraud. Of Carter’s 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, whose title he classified as “too inflammatory to even print,” Stein said that it was “replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments.” More troubling than Carter’s attacks on Israel, Stein noted, were his outright misrepresentations. In particular, Stein called attention to “meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book.”
On January 11, 2007, fourteen members of the Carter Center’s 200-person Board of Councilors, responsible for building public support for the Center, also resigned to protest Carter's anti-Israel screed. “You have clearly abandoned your historic role of broker in favor of becoming an advocate for one side,” they wrote in their letter of resignation. "It seems that you have turned to a world of advocacy, including even malicious advocacy," they added. "We can no longer endorse your strident and uncompromising position. This is not the Carter Center or Jimmy Carter we came to respect and support." Atlanta real estate developer Steve Berman, who was among those who resigned, said the Board members had “watched with great dismay” as Carter defended the book, especially as he implied that Americans were reluctant to discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict because they feared a powerful Jewish lobby.