Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz's sweetheart deal for his sweetheart

Anwar Ibrahim’s good American buddy, Paul Wolfowitz is in deep trouble with the World Bank, an organisation of which he is president, only because the post is always filled by a USA appointee. But because of the same White House shameless bulldozing support, he may yet escape falling on his own sword of anti-corruption, though he would be severely tainted by his demonstration of shameless double standards.

Paul Wolfowitz has been the man (or one of them) who insisted on invading and occupying Iraq, even long before President Bush (junior) entered the White House. He has been a principal member of an American rightwing think-tank, Project for the New American Century, which had advocated the full exploitation of America’s sole superpower status (after the former USSR collapsed) to dominate and control various things, including the world’s reserves of oil.

The US Senate Committee on Intelligence found that when 9/11 occurred, Wolfowitz called for the attack and invasion of Iraq. 9/11 must have been the excuse he had been looking for to convince a new and fairly clueless president to launch Gulf War II, but this time all the way to Baghdad to occupy it.

It did take a little while for his wish to happen but there we have it today, the present chaos of Iraq. Political analysts said when the Iraqi occupation went sour, he was quietly promoted out of the Bush Administration into the powerful position of World Bank president. Cronyism doesn’t exist only in Malaysia Boleh.

By tradition and reality of who’s providing the most cash for the World Bank, the appointment of the organisation’s president is always an American nominee of the US government. But his appointment encountered many opponents in the bank, including American bank officials, because of his role as the major proponent for the war in Iraq. They feared that Wolfowitz would implement the Bush Administration's policies on aid, rather than represent the views of the World Bank's members.

His performance thus far has been under severe crticism because he was more hellbent on countering corruption related to World Bank loans than to facilitate loans for needy nations.

But Mr Anti-Corruption had no hesitation in ordering a very hefty but dodgy sweetheart pay rise and promotion for his own sweetheart partner, Shaha Riza, a senior World Bank employee. The promotion and pay rise were not approved by the relevant Bank committee. ‘Twas a case of what Malaysians would term ‘cakap ta’serupa bikin’ or not walking his own anti-corruption talk.

The Bank’s top officials want him to show some decency and resign but he has refused, knowing President Bush would continue to support him.

He was asked whether he could still effectively force the bank's big borrowers to tackle corruption as a pre-condition for them receiving funds. But instead of answering that, Wolfowitz insisted he would not resign.

The bank's development committee issued a statement, which said it was crucial for the member nations of the bank to "ensure that it can effectively carry out its mandate and maintain its credibility and reputation as well as the motivation of its staff"

What many of the bank's finance ministers' are saying is that Wolfowitz should resign or be sacked.

It's like saying (very much in vain) that Bush and his cohorts, or Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon, should be tried for war crimes in the same way as they had tried Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milošević.

Power sucks and absolute power sucks absolutely.

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