Click to Print This Page
http://www


'Looking for Work to Pay My Girlfriend's Wages.'    

                                                           

                                                          [Semana, Colombia]

 

 

La Jornada, Mexico

Wolfowitz and Washington's Abuse of Global Institutions

 

"Amidst the nepotism and unconditional protection of its members, the United States governing elite take advantage of their position within international agencies and, worse still, they have dispensed business opportunities built on the destruction, ruin and death in Iraq."

 

EDITORIAL

 

Translated By Douglas Myles Rasmussen

 

May 18, 2007

 

Mexico – La Jornada – Original Article (Mexico)

The departure of Paul Wolfowitz from the presidency of the World Bank reveals much more than the monumental indecency of this “hawk” who was recycled into an international civil servant, and who, after coming undone in light of a scandal involving a pay increase he authorized for his girlfriend Shaha Ali Riza (when she no longer worked for the organization), showed no shame in demanding - by way of his lawyer - a considerable sum in exchange for his own resignation. Now, the ex-Undersecretary of Defense of the United States goes home with $375,000 in his pocket and an exoneration negotiated with the board of the World Bank, leaving in his wake an institution sunk deep in ill-repute. 

 

The shameful episode that was staged by this man, the representative par excellence of the neoconservatives that still govern the United States and who have brought the world an inferno of destruction, plundering, corruption and violence, shows clearly the patronizing and slipshod way public power has been wielded during the two presidencies of George W. Bush. It's worth remembering that when Wolfowitz departed the Pentagon, Ali Riza - who was already his girlfriend and worked at the World Bank - benefited from a contract marginally related to her duties at the Bank, to participate in the “reconstruction” of Iraq.

 

Once Bush imposed Wolfowitz on the Bank - despite resistance from his European partners in the organization - the new president earned the antagonism of the Bank's senior staff by surrounding himself with advisers he brought with him and who were devoid of any knowledge of development, granting them princely contracts and regularly ignoring the recommendations and views of experience Bank staff. 

 

Immediately after his appointed, Wolfowitz commissioned his girlfriend to work at the Department of State - under the direction of Lynne Cheney [actually, Liz Cheney], the daughter of the U.S. Vice President - and arranged for her a salary of $200,000 per year. In other words, Ali Riza wound up earning more than the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. 

 

Thus, amidst the nepotism, impositions on the international community and the unconditional protection of its members - the United States governing elite take advantage of their position within international agencies and, worse still, they have dispensed business opportunities built on the destruction, ruin and death in Iraq. 

 

One shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the salary budget at the World Bank is paid by contributions from the entire world, contributed by the governments which comprise the organization. With this fact in mind, we must inevitably conclude that the illegal appropriation and allocation of funds by Wolfowitz and his girlfriend constitute a new form of trans-national corruption, in which common funds taken from around the world end up in the pockets of unscrupulous, and worse still, unpunished officials. 

 

Another worrying aspect of this episode is that the downfall of this U.S. “hawk” could well be just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of sticky fingers in the World Bank treasury.  The details of the Wolfowitz-Ali Riza affair came to light largely because it was in the interests of various European governments. This took the form of a bitter confrontation between Washington and leading European countries - Germany, France and England - who are interested in limiting U.S. control over the financial organization. But it's worth asking how many similar events are remain in the desk drawers of the World Bank and other international institutions - and which will never be known. 

 

To summarize, with a very small monetary foible relative to the resources that the World Bank handles, in the eyes of the world and its governments, Wolfowitz has brought that institution to the brink of moral bankruptcy. 

 

In theory, the World Bank's mission is to reduce poverty on this planet. In practice, it has accomplished the opposite: with the imposition of neo-liberal and anti-populist economic measures, it has multiplied the number of miserable people in countries that have had the misfortune of complying with its directives. From what can be seen, at least the institution has managed the job of increasing the wealth of some … its top officials. 

 

Spanish Version Below

 

Wolfowitz y la ruina del Banco Mundial

 

Editorial

 

La salida de Paul Wolfowitz de la presidencia del Banco Mundial (BM) deja ver mucho más que la monumental indecencia de este halcón reciclado como funcionario internacional, quien, tras desatarse el escándalo por el incremento salarial que otorgó a su novia, Shaha Ali Riza, cuando ésta ya no laboraba en el organismo, no tuvo empacho en exigir, abogado de por medio, una suma considerable a cambio de su propia renuncia. Ahora, el antiguo subsecretario de Defensa de Estados Unidos se va a su casa con 375 mil dólares en la bolsa y una exoneración negociada con el consejo del BM, y deja tras de una institución sumida en profundo descrédito.

 

El vergonzoso episodio escenificado por este hombre, representativo por excelencia de los neoconservadores que aún gobiernan en Estados Unidos y que han llevado al mundo a un infierno de destrucción, saqueo, corrupción y violencia, pone de manifiesto la manera patrimonialista y desaseada con que ha sido manejado el poder público durante las dos presidencias de George W. Bush. Cabe recordar que cuando Wolfowitz despachaba en el Pentágono Ali Riza, la cual era ya su pareja y trabajaba en el Banco Mundial, se benefició con un contrato al margen de sus funciones en el organismo financiero para participar en la "reconstrucción" de Irak. Una vez que Bush impuso a Wolfowitz en el BM a pesar de la resistencia de los socios europeos del organismo, el nuevo presidente de la institución se granjeó la animadversión de los empleados con antigüedad porque se rodeó de asesores llevados por él y carentes de conocimientos en materia de desarrollo, les otorgó contratos principescos e ignoró de manera regular las recomendaciones y los puntos de vista de empleados con experiencia. A renglón seguido, Wolfowitz comisionó a su novia para que trabajara en el Departamento de Estado, bajo las órdenes de Lynne Cheney, hija del vicepresidente estadunidense, y ordenó que se le otorgara un salario de casi 200 mil dólares anuales, con lo que Ali Riza terminó ganando más que la secretaria de Estado, Condoleezza Rice.

 

Así, en medio de nepotismos, imposiciones a la comunidad internacional y protección incondicional de sus integrantes, los miembros del grupo gobernante estadunidense sacan partido de las posiciones en los organismos internacionales y, peor aún, se reparten las oportunidades de negocio construidas en Irak sobre la destrucción, el arrasamiento y la muerte.

 

No debe perderse de vista que los presupuestos salariales del Banco Mundial proceden de los contribuyentes de todo el mundo, aportados por los gobiernos que forman parte del organismo. Con este dato en mente, es inevitable concluir que la indebida apropiación y asignación de fondos por Wolfowitz y su novia constituye una nueva modalidad de corrupción trasnacional, en la que los dineros comunes de todo el mundo acaban en la bolsa de funcionarios inescrupulosos y, lo peor, impunes.

 

Otro aspecto preocupante del episodio es que la caída del halcón estadunidense bien podría ser la punta del iceberg de una cantidad de manoseos a las arcas del BM. Los pormenores del affaire Wolfowitz-Ali Riza llegaron al conocimiento público, en buena medida, porque así convenía a los intereses de varios gobiernos europeos; se dio en el marco de una amarga confrontación entre Washington y los principales países europeos -Alemania, Francia e Inglaterra-, interesados en acotar el control estadunidense sobre el organismo financiero. Pero cabe preguntarse cuántos sucesos semejantes se quedan en los cajones y no llegan a conocerse nunca, tanto en el BM como en otras instituciones internacionales.

 

En suma, con una afectación monetaria muy menor en relación con los recursos que maneja el organismo que presidió, Wolfowitz lo llevó a una quiebra moral en la percepción de las sociedades y de los gobiernos.

 

En teoría, la misión del Banco Mundial es reducir la pobreza en el planeta. En la práctica ha hecho lo contrario: ha multiplicado, con la imposición de medidas económicas neoliberales y antipopulares, el número de miserables en los países que han tenido la desgracia de acatar sus directrices. A lo que puede verse, la institución ha resultado más eficaz, en todo caso, en la tarea de incrementar la riqueza de sus altos funcionarios.

 

 










































Paul Wolfowitz leaves his house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on May 18. Wolfowitz annnounced that he will be resigning as World Bank President as of June 30, in the 'best interests of the Bank.'

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Wolfowitz agrees to step down, effective June 30, but Bank staff says that's too long to wait, 00:01:16, May 18WindowsVideo

RealVideo[LATEST NEWSWIRE PHOTOS: Wolfowitz Under Fire].

[Norra Vasterbotten, Sweden]





Shaha Riza: The unlikely femme fatale at the center of the Wolfowitz storm.


After Iraq and the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz leaves the stage ...





Will George W. Bush set aside the long-standing tradition of having an American World Bank President by naming British Prime Minister Tony Blair? ...


[Guardian Unlimited, U.K.]