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Bush's friend Wolfowitz admits abusing his position as head of World Bank



Paul Wolfowitz has now admitted using his position to install his girlfriend, herself a wealthy Jewish Zionist, in a top job within the US State Department. He also got her an excessive pay rise, but previously "denied that he was involved in the decision".

Wolfowitz also gave the top positions around him at the World Bank to his own circle of friends, all prominent Zionists and neoconservatives, rewarding loyal contacts who had been "deeply involved" in intelligence and decisions on Iraq. Hard-working World Bank employees who were properly qualified for these jobs found themselves excluded from the new inner-circle, and some of them had the courage to speak out.

These abuses of power are typical of the endemic corruption among the ruling elite, but this particular case has sinister implications for the US regime and major international institutions, raising serious questions about whose interests senior officials are really serving, especially when the agenda closely follows the interests of Israel.

Wolfowitz was appointed as president of the World Bank by his close friend George Bush, the US President, who calls Wolfowitz by his nickname "Wolfie". Before he got that job, Wolfowitz was Deputy Defense Secretary under Donald Rumsfeld. Wolfowitz is an influential Jewish neoconservative, and a prominent pro-Israel Zionist, who "advises" the US regime on strategy and key decisions, like which country to attack next.

The so-called "World Bank" operates like an elabourate bribery racket, handing out huge sums of money to poor countries in return for certain conditions. There is always something in it for western governments and corporations, and the politicians and businessmen involved are often connected.

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Wolfowitz says sorry for helping partner's career

Paul Wolfowitz, fighting off calls for his resignation as president of the World Bank, has apologised for helping his girlfriend get transferred to a high-paying job outside the institution.

"With hindsight I wish I had trusted my original instincts and kept myself out of the negotiations," he said yesterday. "I made a mistake, for which I am sorry."

Mr Wolfowitz, a former US deputy Defence Secretary and one of the leading architects of the invasion of Iraq, helped his girlfriend of five years, Shaha Riza, get transferred to a high-paying job at the State Department. His involvement brought accusations of favouritism and calls for him to stand down.

The World Bank Group Staff Association said in a statement: "The president must acknowledge that his conduct has compromised the integrity and effectiveness of the World Bank Group and has destroyed the staff's trust in his leadership. He must act honourably and resign."

Mr Wolfowitz, selected as World Bank president by the Bush administration two years ago, has been a controversial appointment. At the time he took over, a poll suggested 90 per cent of employees were opposed to him taking the job.

Mr Wolfowitz said that after a meeting with the bank's board he had agreed to establish a panel to decide whether his behaviour was inappropriate. [In other words, the suspect gets to choose the judge in his own trial.] "I proposed to the board that they establish some mechanism to judge whether the agreement reached was a reasonable outcome," he said. "I will accept any remedies they propose."

Ms Riza had been working as a communications adviser in the bank's Middle East Department before being detailed to a job at the State Department. The bank's rules prohibit employees from supervising anyone with whom they had a personal relationship.

"I took the issue to the ethics committee and... the committee's advice was to promote and relocate Ms Riza," said Mr Wolfowitz. "I made a good-faith effort to implement my understanding of that advice. And it was done to take responsibility for settling an issue that I believe had potential to harm the institution."


SOURCE

The Independent, "Wolfowitz says sorry for helping partner's career", 13 April 2007.
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article2444492.ece


FURTHER READING

The Independent, "Neocons and nepotism? Sex, money & the fall of Wolfowitz", 11 April 2007.
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article2439546.ece
    The man affectionately known as 'Wolfie' by George Bush has struggled to make friends in his new job as the head of the World Bank. Now his staff are accusing him of lavishing promotions and pay rises on his girlfriend
    For a mild-mannered and scrupulously polite man, Paul Wolfowitz has a remarkable knack of attracting controversy. There are the minuscule controversies - such as when, in his current incarnation as President of the World Bank, he was seen to have holes in his socks when he took off the mandatory slippers after a visit to a mosque in Turkey earlier this year. Was this handsomely paid international civil servant such a cheapskate that he wouldn't shell out a few dollars for some new socks?
    Then of course there are somewhat more serious controversies, among them the war in Iraq, of which Wolfowitz, then deputy Secretary of Defence, was one of the most enthusiastic advocates and principal architects.
    Wolfowitz, it will be remembered, fervently [claimed he] believed that the American invaders would be hailed as liberators, and that the occupation would require no more than 100,000 troops at most. These surely rank as two of the more disastrous military misjudgements of recent times.
    ...
    Since then, he [claims that he] has made the fight against corruption, both in countries receiving World Bank aid, and among Bank employees, a priority issue.
    [But "aid" is not a charatable donation. There are strings attached, like opening markets to predatory western corporations, and in many ways the World Bank works like an elabourate bribery racket, giving away big money in return for advancing the interests of powerful governments, particularly the US and Israel, and their friends in powerful corporations.]
    But was not the Riza affair an example, if not of corruption, then at least of favouritism and nepotism, those selfsame Third World vices against which Wolfowitz now campaigns?
    [In other words, Wolfowitz's self-proclaimed campaign against corruption is blatant hypocrisy, but the ruling elite want to have one rule for them and a different (harsher) rule for the rest of us.]
    ...
    Wolfowitz, it was feared, would be a mere placeman of the White House, sent in to further the global political agenda of the Bush administration. Fairly or unfairly, he was regarded as a neocon zealot with no feel for, or qualification for, the Bank's mission of helping the developing world. Accusations of cronyism reared their head.
    Rather than choose Bank people as his top aides, Wolfowitz brought in Republican political operatives, at least two of whom - Robin Cleveland, a former senior White House official, and Kevin Kellems, who had worked in Vice-President Dick Cheney's office and the Pentagon - had been deeply involved in pre- and post-war Iraq policy. Staff resentment of these outsiders in part reflected the resistance to change inherent in the culture of any large bureaucracy.
    ...
    Like many neo-cons, he is Jewish, and a passionate supporter of Israel, where his sister now lives. He was also a prime mover in the neo-con manifesto of the 1990s, the Project for a New American Century. He sees himself less as a neo-conservative than as a pragmatist and realist, but in fact much of the youthful idealism remains.
    ...
    And this same archetypal champion of the Jewish state was actually booed at a pro-Israel rally in Washington in April 2002 for daring to remind them of the sufferings of the Palestinians.
    ...


BBC News, "Wolfowitz apologises over pay row", 12 April 2007.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6548291.stm
    World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz has apologised for "mistakes" made over the promotion and pay of an ex-colleague with whom he is romantically involved.
    Mr Wolfowitz's partner, Shaha Riza, was moved to the State Department when he took the Bank's top job in 2005.
    But the bank's staff association says she then received pay rises and promotions which were "grossly out of line" with the Bank's staff rules.
    The controversy comes ahead of joint World Bank and IMF spring meetings.
    ...


BBC News, "Pressure grows on World Bank boss", 13 April 2007.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6550995.stm
    Ms Riza's promotion and pay rise has attracted strong criticism from staff within the bank.
    Ms Riza, who remains a World Bank employee, was moved to the US state department on secondment when Mr Wolfowitz took the World Bank's top job in 2005.
    Mr Wolfowitz - a former US deputy secretary of defence - at first denied that he was involved in the decision about her salary.
    ...

"The Insider" mailing list article, 13 April 2007.

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