TEL AVIV – Secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel sits on the small board of a peace fund that finances an international “crisis management” group that long has petitioned the Algerian government to cease “excessive” military activities against al-Qaida-linked jihadists, WND has learned.

The organization, the International Crisis Group, or ICG, called on Algeria to grant legitimacy to the very al-Qaida-linked group reportedly behind the kidnapping of about 40 foreign hostages, including several Americans, at a natural-gas field in Algeria.

Two Americans escaped today unharmed as Algerian special forces launched a rescue operation, according to the state news agency. At least six people were killed, the Associated Press reported. Dozens more remained unaccounted for, including Britons, French, Norwegians, Romanians, Malaysians, Japanese, Algerians, at least one American and the captors.

ICG petitioned for the Islamist group to participate in the Algerian government.

Hagel serves on the board of The Ploughshares Fund, a George Soros-financed fund that pushes for a nuclear-free world.

The Ploughshares Fund identifies itself as a “publicly supported foundation that funds, organizes and innovates projects to realize a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons.”

The fund calls itself “the largest grant-making foundation in the U.S. focusing exclusively on peace and security issues.”

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Since its founding in 1981 by San Francisco philanthropist and activist Sally Lilienthal, Ploughshares says it has awarded many hundreds of grants “whose aggregate value exceeded $60 million.”

The fund is in turn financed by a small number of foundations, including Soros’ Open Society Institute, the Buffett Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation.

One of the groups funded by Ploughshares is ICG.

Soros himself funds ICG directly via his Open Society and also sits on ICG’s executive committee which consists of eight members.

ICG long has petitioned for the reformation of the Algerian government and for the inclusion of Islamist political parties, including two groups that seek to turn Algeria into an Islamic state.

In a July 2004 ICG report obtained by WND, ICG calls on the Algerian government to curb military action against al-Qaida-affiliated organizations, particularly the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, currently known as Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb is reportedly behind the hostage crisis currently under way in Algeria.

The ICG report also called for Algeria to open talks with an armed Islamic terrorist group known as Houmat Daawa Salafia, or HDS.

ICG names the two Islamic groups in its recommendations to the Algerian government.

“Give top priority to ending the remaining armed movements, mainly the GSPC and HDS, through a political, security, legal and diplomatic strategy,” states the ICG report.

“Avoid excessive reliance on military means and do not allow these movements’ purported links to al-Qaida to rule out a negotiated end to their campaigns,” continued ICG’s recommendation to the Algerian government.

ICG has issued at least six other reports recommending Algeria transition to a democracy that will allow the participation of the Islamic groups seeking to create a Muslim caliphate.

After Algeria’s president, Bouteflika, won more than 80 percent of the vote against Islamic opposition groups in 2004, Robert Malley, an ICG associate, recommended, “Rather than exclude all his opponents from the policy making process, he could empower them.”

ICG’s Malley was an adviser to Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. He resigned after it was exposed he had communicated with Hamas. WND reported Malley long had petitioned for dialogue with Hamas.

WND also reported ICG has petitioned for the Egyptian government to normalize ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

ICG released a report urging the Egyptian regime to allow the Brotherhood to establish an Islamist political party.

In a June 2008 report titled “Egypt’s Muslim Brothers Confrontation or Integration,” Soros’ ICG urges the Egyptian regime to allow the group to participate in political life.

The report dismisses Egypt’s longstanding government crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood as “dangerously short-sighted.”

The ICG report called on Hosni Mubarak’s former regime to “pave the way for the regularization of the Muslim Brothers’ participation in political life,” including by allowing for the “establishment of a political party with religious reference.”

ICG specifically stressed allowing the Brotherhood to serve as an Islamist party several times in its 2008 report.

ICG and its personalities also long have petitioned for the Muslim Brotherhood to be allowed to join the Egyptian government.

U.S. ICG board members include Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to Jimmy Carter; Samuel Berger, who was Bill Clinton’s national security adviser; and retired U.S. ambassador Thomas Pickering, who made headlines in 2009 after meeting with Hamas leaders and calling for the U.S. to open ties to the Islamist group. Another ICG member is Malley.

ICG defines itself as an “independent, non-profit, multinational organization, with 100 staff members on five continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.”


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