Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Wolfowitz Affair

Le Monde reveals extent of the sordid Wolfowitz scandal which goes beyond the golden round-trip glider for his squeeze, Shaha Ali Riza, chief of World Bank Communications for the Middle East.

When Wolfowitz is named President of the World Bank, he goes before the Board of Directors on what to do about his paramour and potential conflict of interest. They tell him to keep her in the bank, albeit in an annex, and out of his line of supervision. Ms. Riza rejects their proposal.

Because his squeeze objects, Wolfowitz then decides without consultation to put her "on loan" to the US department of State. He then goes back to the World Bank Board of Directors to declare that he has taken care of the conflict of interest issue. But has he really?

An anonymous email is circulated at the bank denouncing the exorbitant terms terms of the departure of Ms. Riza. The news is also leaked to the Washington Post and the Financial Times. Meanwhile, the World Bank Employees Association demands an investigation, which peels back the lid on the impropriety and arrogance of Mr. Wolfowitz.

Violating bank rules, Wolfowitz has ordered the Human Resources Director to write a contract giving Ms. Riza a $60,000 raise and a guaranteed slot for her return to the bank. Afterwards, she is to be given big promotions every five years until her retirement. This type of treatment is unheard of at the bank. The Board publishes the findings:

Paul Wolfowitz had summoned three henchmen from the White House and the Department of Defense engaged via nebulous and presumably generous contracts. He made Robin Cleveland No. 2 at the bank through a position created especially for her: Adviser to the President. Cleveland is despised by the bank's staff, to whom she is known as The Dragon. The job of Kevin Kellems is apparently official censor. Suzanne Rich Folsom runs the internal police, The Integrity Department, like the Spanish Inquisition. Wolfowitz has also appointed Juan José Daboub of El Salvador as Director-General, someone who is very close to Opus Dei (as are Bush's Supreme Court picks).

Barricaded in his office behind his 4-headed dog demon (and emulating his boss, George W. Bush), Wolfowitz issues fiats left and right, including instructions to staff to report "traitors" to the law firm of Williams & Connoly. He also metes out punishment. For example, Christiaan Poortman is fired as head of the Middle East Department because he advised against opening a World Bank office in Baghdad. Indeed, Wolfowitz wields the anti-corruption club depending on who is in Bush's good book, cutting off funds of those on the White House's enemies.

Fed up, 22 of his 24 administrators tell Wolfowitz to his face in January that they are dissatisfied in his leadership.


We see that in the Defense Department, in the Justice Department, in the State Department, in the Supreme Court, at the UN and in the World Bank, to mention only a few institutions, the White House has installed hand-picked individuals who answer only to Bush and Cheney. These people have no moral clarity or respect for what the United States has traditionally stood for. They live by the medieval Mafia code and fealty to the gang leader, their overlord.



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