Hillary Clinton agreed to attend a Clinton Foundation event in Morocco as a “condition” set by the country’s authoritarian government, according to a November 2014 email published by WikiLeaks.
In the email, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin discusses some of the former secretary of state’s “schedule issues” for 2015. One of the bullet points reads [emphasis added]:
– Morocco: No matter what happens, she will be in Morocco hosting CGI on May 5-7, 2015. Her presence was a condition for the Moroccans to proceed so there is no going back on this. Important that you know background.
The Clinton Global Initiative conference in Marrakesh, hosted by Moroccan King Mohammed VI, was a lavish affair funded by a $1 million contribution from OCP, a phosphate conglomerate owned by the Moroccan royal family.
Hillary Clinton announced the conference in September 2015, calling Morocco a “vital hub for economic and cultural exchange,” and thanking the Moroccan government “for welcoming us and for its hospitality.”
Ultimately, Hillary did back out of the commitment. By April 2015, shortly before formally launching her presidential campaign, scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation and its long list of shady foreign donors had increased dramatically. The political optics of attending the conference would have been terrible for a candidate who had just announced her candidacy.
Politico reported at the time that Hillary was “unlikely” to attend the CGI event, although former President Bill Clinton did make an appearance at the ritzy gathering, where he cited “Morocco’s longstanding friendship to my family,” and personally thanked King Mohammed, who pledged as much as $500,000 to the construction toward the construction of the Clinton Library in Arkansas.
The CGI conference took place at a “lavish palm-tree-lined golf resort with a cocktail reception featuring Moroccan hors d’oeuvres and a saxophonist serenading about 50 donors, non-profit leaders and dignitaries including Saudi Prince Turki Al Faisal.”
The Washington Post reported that attendees in Marrakesh were “chauffeured across the city to an opulent 56-room palace that boasts a private collection of Arabian horses, overlooks the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and serves a fine-dining menu of ‘biolight’ cuisine.”
The Moroccan government is one of several foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation that have been widely denounced for abusing human rights. Amnesty International, in a report published several days after the CGI conference in 2015, blasted the Moroccan government for its abusive treatment of political prisoners.
According to the report, dissidents in Morocco are subjected to “beatings, stress positions, asphyxiation, simulated drowning, psychological and sexual violence,” as a means of securing confessions for alleged crimes against the state. One tactic, known as the “roast chicken,” involves “suspending detainees from an iron bar by their wrists and knees.”
Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty denounced the Moroccan government’s human rights record in a statement. “Morocco’s leaders portray the image of a liberal, human-rights-friendly country,” said Shetty. “But as long as the threat of torture hangs over detention and dissent that image will just be a mirage.”
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