Govt says step down but Hafizool defiant
Asked to step down as commissioner in coup enquiry...
Friday, February 1, 2013
Dr Hafizool Mohammed
The Government has asked Dr Hafizool Mohammed to step down as a member of the commission of enquiry into the 1990 coup attempt, in the light of revelations about his academic qualifications, but he has refused.
The T&T Guardian learned attorneys Jagdeo Singh—who is also one of the attorneys for the commission—and Minister of Justice Christlyn Moore met with Mohammed around 5 pm on Tuesday at the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann’s, in an attempt to convince him to step aside.
The meeting lasted for more than five hours, but Mohammed refused to budge. The Sunday Guardian reported last week that Mohammed obtained his DSc in international relations from Atlantic International University (AIU), which is described by various Web sites as a diploma mill.
Mohammed, who has asked to be excused from the commission to seek legal advice, admitted to obtaining the unaccredited degree because of his age and the flexibility it offered. He is expected to produce several certificates to prove his other qualifications at a press conference scheduled for this afternoon at the chambers of attorney Martin George in the Guardian building, Port-of-Spain.
Cabinet sources yesterday said the explanation he gave for obtaining the DSc and listing a dead T&T president, Sir Ellis Clarke, and a non-existent Turkish one on his CV did not sit well with several ministers. “Things are just not adding up and he was given the option to step down. We are awaiting the response from his lawyers at this time,” a Cabinet source disclosed.
But new information surfacing now suggests even before the revelations about Mohammed’s DSc were made public, a cabinet minister was concerned over the appointment and informed Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.
Asked on Wednesday if any issues had previously been raised about Mohammed’s background, Ramlogan replied, “I was never aware.”
To a question about why the discrepancies in Mohammed’s CV were not picked up, Ramlogan said, “You are assuming that the same CV you have is the one that was supplied to me.”
Asked if he was implying that a different CV was sent to him, Ramlogan said, “I was very careful with my words, and said what was provided on the CV to me was verified.”
Reminded that the American Military University said it had no record of Mohammed being a student there, Ramlogan replied, “I can’t comment on that. If and when that is provided in writing, I presume he will have to answer to that.”
Also causing concern were other claims in Mohammed’s CV, in which he listed a stint as chief administrator of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) in Turkey between July 1995 and December 1996.
Nato’s online listing of key personnel from 1951 to the present does not include Mohammed in any senior administrative capacity.
Ministers also expressed concern over Mohammed’s statement that he had been chief of the human resource, plans and policies division at the US Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While there, he said he participated in operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, South Korea and Haiti.
The US army asked the T&T Guardian to e-mail its request for verification of the information. A response is expected today.
Both the PM’s security adviser, Gary Griffith, and former junior Minister of National Security, Donna Cox, also said they had no knowledge of the post of senior interoperability analyst for the strategic division and international affairs division of the T&T government, another position Mohammed says he held.
What Mohammed’s CV says
Mohammed is president and CEO of Peosys (www.peosys.us
), based in Virginia, in the Washington DC metropolitan area. His wife Rosemin Mohammed is its chief operating officer and vice-president.
The company’s Web site describes it as a “Small Disadvantaged Business, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business.”
Dr H Ali Mohammed founded Peosys LLC in 2000, says the Web site, “with the principals (sic) of providing experienced management consulting resources to US federal, state and local governments, non-governmental organisations, private agencies and international governments.”
The company offers “a laser-like full life cycle support including key performance metrics to tailor a solution.”
Among the services it offers are:
• professional and management development training
• educational support
• graphic design
• data warehousing/custom computer programming
• computer systems design
• child care
Mohammed’s entry in Worldwide Who’s Who (http://halimohammed.com
•“Drawing on his experience as a senior interoperability analyst for the strategic division and international affairs division of the Trinidadian government, Dr Mohammed worked for the US Pentagon...In the coming years, Dr Mohammed intends to expand his business internationally through branding, networking, and consulting.”
•It says he is affiliated with: the Middle East Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Brookings Institution, Counterinsurgency Center, US Department of Homeland Security, and the VFW.
(VFW is Veterans of Foreign Wars, an official nonprofit service organisation for US military veterans.)
•His day-to-day responsibilities include: “Fulfilling a contract with the government of T&T as a commissioner of inquiry; researching the coup in 1990; investigating and providing his findings regarding the events that led to this coup, such as the shortcomings of government agencies.”
•The awards and honours he has received are listed as:
Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal for Combat Heroism; Three-Time Recipient, Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Four-Time Recipient, Meritorious Service Medal; Two-Time Recipient, Joint Service Commendation Medal; Three-Time Recipient, Army Commendation Medal; Two-Time Recipient, Joint Service Achievement Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal with One Bronze Star; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with One Bronze Star; South West Asia Service Medal with Two Bronze Stars; Korea Service Medal; Armed Forces Service Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal; Military Outstanding Voluntary Service Medal; NCO Professional Development Ribbon with Numeric 3; NATO Medal; Saudi Kuwaiti Liberation Medal; Kuwaiti Liberation Medal; Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeric 5; Army Service Ribbon; Parachute Badge; Meritorious Unit Commendation; Two-Time Recipient, Army Superior Unit Award; Joint Meritorious Unit Award; Republic of Korea Army Novice Airborne Badge.
Mohammed’s seven-page CV includes the following positions and assignments, some of which he listed as secret or top secret:
•Middle East Desk Officer/Senior Interoperability Analyst, HQ, Department of the Army International Affairs and Strategic Planning, the Pentagon (top secret) 2006-11
—Subject Matter Expert for the MIddle East, (including Asia, Pacific, North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean) (sic)
•Consultant, Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness), Pentagon 2004-5
—Co-founder for the establishment of the Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center, later referred to as the Wounded Warrior Program
However, Wikipedia says: “The Wounded Warrior Project was founded in 2002 in Roanoke, Virginia by John Melia with the assistance of family and friends...Besides John, the original founders of WWP included Jim Melia (John’s brother), John F Melia (John’s father), Al Giordano and Steven Nardizzi.”
• Consultant, US Senate (top secret) 2002
Drafted nuclear, biological and chemical threat assessment for the US Senate
• UN representative, Nato, Bosnia, 1997
—Developed programme to prevent Serbs, Croats and Bosnians from engaging in ethnic cleansing and genocide
—Prepared federation for its first democratic elections
• Chief administrator, Nato, Turkey 1995-96
• Battalion commander, 18th Airborne Personnel and Administration Battalion, Desert Storm, 1991
—Led 1,200 airborne soldiers
According to his CV, his professional experience includes:
• “Solid adviser and consultant in the Middle East exclusively” (sic). Mohammed’s clients are listed as: the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Australia, South Korea, Japan, India, Pakistan, Canada, Turkey, Latin America and the Caribbean, Nato, the UN, Dept of Defense.
• Special adviser and consultant to UN, Nato, Ambassadors, General Officers, Parliaments and Political Leaders
• International security consultant, United Arab Emirates June 11-present
• Peosys was contracted with the US Dept of Labor in Info technology and management (secret) Dec 2008-June 2011. The company, according to Mohammed,
—evaluated data sources and key performance targets using data sets, integration and consistencies with various reporting methods
—implemented enterprise data warehouse allowing users to access and analyse program data for different programs through a single portal
—saved hundreds of millions of dollars through efficiency
A search at www.FedSpending.org
for the period 2000-2012 shows that contracts awarded to Peosys amounted to US$1,003,495 in 2010; US$985,000 in 2009; and US$5,700 in 2008.
Among the referees Mohammed lists in his CV are:
• Mustapha Ibraham, Chief Justice of T&T (sic)
• Dr Neal (sic) Parsan, T&T ambassador to the US
• Dr the Hon Sir Richard Cheltenham...Chief Justice of Barbados (sic)
Mohammed’s thesis, Law and Politics in Islam, produced as part of his doctorate in international affairs at the unaccredited Atlantic International University, is 70 pages long, including a four-page bibliography and two pages of introduction. Numerous passages of the thesis are taken verbatim and uncredited from online resources that include Wikipedia, Islamopedia Online and whyislam.org