Posts Tagged ‘payola’

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Five Democrats and their Middle East donors

April 8, 2014
Bill Clinton and Sheikh Mohammed Al-Amoudi

Bill Clinton and Sheikh Mohammed Al-Amoudi

Opponents of George W. Bush like pointing out his family’s links to Saudi Arabia. Fair enough, but let’s not lose sight of the high-profile Democrats who have benefited from multi-million dollar campaign contributions, sweetheart loans, and business deals from Wahhabi or Iranian patrons, or both:

Jimmy Carter—Carter accepted $1 million from the Bin Laden family for his Carter Center presidential library. Carter also received a multi-million dollar loan in the late 1970s to save his peanut business—a loan which was backstopped by BCCI, the Pakistani-operated, Persian Gulf-funded bank that became embroiled in international corruption scandals and was ultimately shut down. BCCI officials had relationships with Osama Bin Laden, gave nuclear secrets to Pakistan, and served as the depository for money made off the Arab oil embargo. Bert Lance, a Carter administration official and close personal friend of Carter’s, was forced to resign during Carter’s presidency for improper banking relationships with BCCI. More recently, Carter refused to give back a donation from the Zayed Foundation, an anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli, Saudi group, even after Harvard University had refused to accept a donation from the same foundation. Several observers have concluded that the funding has influenced Carter’s increasingly harsh views and references to apartheid when describing Israel.

(As a footnote, Jimmy Carter’s grandson, who is currently running for governor of Georgia, was accused of accepting too much foreign money when he first ran for office as a state senator in 2010, and Mohammad Bhuiyan, a university professor who is friend and ally of international micro-credit loan shark and alleged tax cheat Mohammad Yunus, has donated to Jason Carter’s political campaigns.)

Bill Clinton—The Clinton Foundation accepted a gift of at least $1 to $5 million if not $20 million from billionaire oilman Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi. Saudi Arabia itself gave between $10 and $25 million shortly before his wife became secretary of state, with Kuwait, Qatar and Oman each giving between $1 to $5 million. These donations followed earlier millions that flowed from the Saudi royal family to the Clinton library in Arkansas. In her dealings with the Islamic world as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton neglected to pursue an agreement with Iraq to provide for its ongoing security needs after the withdrawal of American troops, and she pressed for negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan—two decisions which coincidentally aligned with the desires of Saudi Arabia.

Al Gore—Gore personally made about $100 million from his share of the sale of the Current TV network to the Qatari-controlled sensationalist and anti-Semitic network Al Jazeera. The $100 million windfall makes the Saudi gifts to Jimmy Carter look like, well, peanuts. The purchase gave Al Jazeera its long awaited entre to American audiences, along with some air of legitimacy by being praised by the former vice president after the sale. Qatar has been a primary bankroller of the radical fighters of the Arab Spring, and Al Jazeera has been its cheerleader. The Shiites, secularists, and Christians are suffering from Qatar’s activities, but Al Jazeera and Al Gore have made out like bandits from the transaction. Although Gore was highly outspoken against the war in Iraq, he has been fairly quiet about American involvement in Libya and Syria—involvement which is supported and encouraged by Qatar. A cynic may wonder whether Gore’s silence was purchased.

John Kerry—When Kerry ran for president in 2004, Iranian-American donor Hassan Nemazee gave him $100,000. Nemazee had served earlier on the board of the pro-Khomeini American Iranian Council. Kerry signaled during the campaign that he would pursue areas of mutual interest with Iran, and complained that George Bush didn’t give Iran “nuclear fuel” to see whether or not Iran would use it peacefully. As secretary of state, Kerry has pursued diplomatic negotiations with Iran in Geneva despite Iranian President Rouhani’s history of deceiving the West about Iran’s nuclear program. Eventually, Hassan Nemazee pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in prison for defrauding banks with phony collateral to borrow money to finance his Democrat fundraising activities. Nemazee also served as a fundraiser and adviser to Hillary Clinton before going to prison.

Barack Obama—Before he was elected, there were allegations that Barack Obama got help as a student from Saudi agent Khalid al-Mansour for law school expenses and as an adult from sweetheart deals by Syrian-American real estate developer Tony Rezko. Like Kerry and Hillary Clinton, Obama also received campaign donations from Hassan Nemazee. Donations totaling $30,000 were made to the 2008 Obama campaign from two brothers in Gaza in violation of campaign finance laws; the donations were said to be returned after the donations became public. California businessman Kareem Ahmed was a “million dollar donor” to the Obama campaign and Democratic causes in 2012, and his offices were raided by the local district attorney last year.

 

A lot of the donors here are anti-Semitic, and they are supporting these politicians because they believe they can help them undermine Israel’s security. Saudi Arabia in particular has a long history of trying to buy elections around the world, not only supporting Wahhabi causes and groups, but “secular” and mainstream entities such as universities and philanthropies in order to curry broad institutional favor from the West. These cases, even if the money had zero influence on the politicians in question, illustrate the great lengths to which wealthy Arab donors and sometimes pro-Iranian donors will go in an attempt to influence U.S. politics and foreign policy in their favor.

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Charities paid off al-Shabaab to work in Somalia

December 12, 2013

Relief agencies operating in Somalia in 2011 made payments the terrorist organization al-Shabaab as a precondition for distributing aid to the famine-struck country.  This revelation comes to us from a new report by the Overseas Development Institute and the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies.

This travesty demonstrates the need for stronger supply chain management by international relief charities.  Paying kickbacks to a terror group for the “privilege” of operating on their turf simply helps the terrorist group continue buying weapons and victimizing the population within their territory.

When it’s a diamond mining operation or an international fruit company, leftists are justifiably quick to point out the evils of corporate protection money paid to militants because of slipshod management.  But when a charity does the same thing, universities and think tanks still tirelessly defend their right of charities to operate in conflict zones despite the risks of aid and supplies ending up in terrorists’ hands.

The BBC (h/t to Rushette and Jihad Watch) offers some details from the report:

…It gives one example of al-Shabab diverting food aid in the town of Baidoa, where it is reported to have kept between half and two-thirds of food aid for its fighters.

Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, developed a highly sophisticated system of monitoring and co-opting the aid agencies, even setting up a “Humanitarian Co-ordination Office”.

Aid groups had to deal with this office, even though they risked legal problems by doing so because of counter-terrorism laws in other states which forbid engagement with groups like al-Shabab.

The report says agencies who worked in al-Shabab-held areas had to complete special forms and sign a pledge saying they would refrain from certain social and religious activities.

It also describes how al-Shabab gave people extra food if they spied on the aid groups…

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Qatar Charity gains beachhead in Somalia

October 20, 2013

Qatar Charity, which Osama Bin Laden once considered to be one of Al Qaeda’s three most important front charities, and which has more recently been observed to be working in concert with jihadist fighters in Mali, has established a “model village” in Mogadishu, Somalia.

The village is actually a refugee camp with “amenities” such as schools and drinking water, and a mosque that will be in keeping with Qatar Charity’s values.

This is the latest demonstration of Qatar’s attempt to shop for influence in unstable countries that are ripe for Islamist coups d’état.

From Bernama on Oct. 1:

Qatar Charity Establishes Model Village In Somalia

DOHA, Oct 1 (Bernama) — Qatar Charity (QC) has established a model village at a cost of around QAR1 million (RM890,986.75), near the Somali capital Mogadishu, within the framework of Eemaar project, to support the return of Somali displaced to their homes, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

According to a QC’s statement, the village includes a primary school, a mosque, shops and wells with the capacity of about 6,000 persons. It will also be receiving aid including food and non-food items in addition to the distribution of seeds, plowing equipment and pesticides to farmers and other income-generating projects.

QC’s Executive Director for International Development, Mohamed Ali Al-Ghamdi, noted that the establishment of the village comes under Eemaar project a year ago, aimed to support and encourage the displaced Somalis to return to their areas and provide them with income-generating projects.

By the way, how many public contracts and sub-contracts have been awarded to al-Shabaab fighters during village construction?

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Cash for Karzai in suitcases, backpacks, and grocery bags

April 30, 2013

Good old Uncle Moneybags is back, but this time his sacks are filled with American money for distribution to cronies and warlords.  From the Wall Street Journal yesterday:

Men in dark coats with facial hair and millions of dollars

Karzai Confirms Accepting CIA Cash Monthly for 10 Years

By JUHANA ROSSI in Helsinki and YAROSLAV TROFIMOV in Kabul

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday acknowledged that his office has been receiving money from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency over the past 10 years, dismissing the monthly cash payments as a “small amount.”

Mr. Karzai addressed the issue after the New York Times reported on Sunday that the CIA has made tens of millions of dollars in secret payments, often cash packed in shopping bags, as it sought to maintain influence over Afghanistan’s mercurial leader.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, here in Brussels last week, Monday confirmed that his government has been receiving CIA money for a decade, but dismissed it as a ‘small amount.’

“Yes, the office of the national security has been receiving support from the United States for the past 10 years,” Mr. Karzai told reporters at a news briefing in Helsinki, Finland, responding to a question about whether he has received CIA cash. “Monthly. Not a big amount. A small amount which has been used for various purposes.”

The CIA declined to comment on the matter.

Mr. Karzai, who is touring Northern Europe, made the remarks following his meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

The U.S. isn’t the only country to supply the Afghan presidential palace with secret money. In 2010, Mr. Karzai acknowledged receiving bags full of euros from the government of Iran.

Afghan officials have said that these secret funds have been used by the president to reward supporters and buy loyalty from tribal leaders…

Time to take a second look at the proposal to cease foreign aid in Afghanistan?  Or is that still considered “a bit dramatic“?

By the way, if a U.S. company did what a federal agency has done by transferring money to Karzai, that company would be prosecuted under the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Money Jihad has previously covered the money that Hamid Karzai received from Iran here.

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Peace in our time… if the price is right

September 19, 2012

Possible Arab thumbing U.S. cash

The Taliban is willing to accept truce with the government of Afghanistan contingent on the replacement of U.S. military presence with U.S. “economic assistance,” according to a report published this month describing interviews of Taliban leaders conducted by the Royal United Services Institute.

Can you imagine the pain that the 9/11 victims’ families would endure if their tax dollars were spent on foreign aid to a Karzai-Taliban coalition government?  It is outrageous that our government would even consider negotiations under terms floated in the RUSI interviews.

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England to Taliban: Let’s just kiss and say good-bye

September 4, 2012

The U.K. will pay a bribe to the Taliban to allow a safe exit of British troops from Afghanistan according to a report from the Pakistan Observer.

No source is named in the article, but there is a precedent for such an arrangement:  Afghan officials claimed in 2009 that Italy struck a deal with the Taliban to refrain from attacking Italian forces in Afghanistan.

In the uproar over the Italian scandal, it was reported that this behavior was fairly common among NATO forces:  “One Western military source told of payments made by Canadian soldiers stationed in the violent southern province of Kandahar, while another officer spoke of similar practices by the German army in northern Kunduz…  ‘I think more than 50 percent of NATO forces deployed in rural Afghanistan have such deals or at least have struck such deals’ to ensure peace,” a senior Afghan official said.

There has also been a steady stream of news and reports of foreign aid misappropriation and development aid subcontracting scandals that have helped line the pockets of the Taliban.

We don’t want to believe this Observer story, but it’s tough not to wonder…

UK-Taliban deal Britain to pay security money to Afghan Taliban for safe exit

Saturday, August 18, 2012 – Islamabad—A deal has been struck between Britain and Afghan Taliban under which London will pay security money to Afghan Taliban, area war lords, local elders and even Afghan officials for safe withdrawal of their men and heavy equipment in 2013 and early 2014.

The reports emanating from Kabul suggest the agreement was reached in mid July this year to speedy withdrawal of heavy military hardware in fourteen month period. The recent visits of British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and other senior officials to Kabul can be seen in this context as UK wants quick withdrawal of their troops. The French Forces are also expected to complete their withdrawal process earlier than expected.

The reports further said other NATO forces are also expected to make similar arrangements with Afghan Taliban and other stakeholders to avoid loss of life and sophisticated technology, if they are attacked by Taliban on withdrawing convoys.

The deal facilitated by Afghan elders included provision of funds by the British to develop Taliban controlled areas.

Reports also said British troops in Helmund province have already started collecting data about their war machines, ammunition and men to make a safe exit.

The British are weighing their options to use Pakistani or Central Asian routes to withdraw their heavy equipment. It was also decided to airlift the most sophisticated weapons back to London for fear of loss or turning into hands of Taliban or other groups.

Several NATO countries are considering handing over their heavy equipment including tanks and armoured carriers and not the advanced equipment to newly set up Afghan army.

Washington is in contact with Taliban to determine their role in future created in Kabul after departure of US-led NATO forces in 2014.

No dollar amounts have ever been reported in the Italian case, or this new allegation involving the British.  But keep in mind as a baseline that ransoms have reportedly been paid by European governments to terrorist organizations in the $5 million to $10 million range per hostage.  How much more would the Taliban expect to guarantee safe passage out of their territory for all British troops?  Fifty million?  A hundred million?

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Terror conspirator rewarded bomber’s widow

July 26, 2012

Taimour Abdulwahab blew himself up in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010, injuring two people in the attack.  His widow who lives in Great Britain moved in with a friend shortly after the attack.  While there, she was wired £1,000 by Nasserdine Menni, who had conspired with Abdulwahab to carry out the Stockholm strike.

Her defense?  “It is a cultural thing that when someone passes away, you ask the family if they need anything.”

“Passes away”?  Yeah, like Muhammad Atta and Osama Bin Laden “passed away,” right?

From the Daily Record last month:

Stockholm terror trial: Bomber’s wife had money wired to her, court in Glasgow hears

THE wife of a man who blew himself up in a busy Stockholm street had money wired to her by an accused conspirator to further her husband’s terrorist aims, a court has heard.

Taimour Abdulwahab died in the explosion on December 11 2010 in the Bryggargatan area of the Swedish capital.

Nasserdine Menni, whose age is unknown, is on trial at the High Court in Glasgow charged with conspiring with Abdulwahab and others to further terrorist aims, which included the use of explosive devices in the commission of an act of terrorism directed against members of the Swedish public, with intent to murder them.

Abdulwahab’s wife, Mona Thwany, 29, gave evidence at the trial today and said that in the weeks following her husband’s death, she left the family home in Luton, Bedfordshire, with her three children after it was searched by police.

She stayed with a friend, Hemel Tellis, a 29-year-old science teacher also from Luton, for about two weeks before looking for a new place, Mrs Thwany told the court.

During that time, Menni, who Mrs Thwany said she only knew as Azzedin, sent £1,000 to her through Mrs Tellis’ bank account, she said.

Mrs Thwany told the court she did not know Menni personally but that she had seen him around and had probably heard her husband mention him.

She said: “It is a cultural thing that when someone passes away, you ask the family if they need anything.”

The court heard that Abdulwahab’s parents and sister lived in Sweden.

Mrs Thwany also told the jury that her son had changed his name from Osama but would not say what he had changed it to.

At one point during her evidence, trial Judge Lord Matthews gave Mrs Thwany a warning after she refused to answer certain questions.

As she took to the stand, she told the Advocate Depute Andrew Miller: “I am here for one reason and one reason only, and that is to assist with the case concerning Mr Menni.

“As you know, previously I have had contact with the police, so I am respectfully asking you to ask questions which are relevant to this case please. I wouldn’t want to incriminate myself.”

Lord Matthews said: “It will be for me to judge what questions are and are not relevant, so you just answer them.”

Later in the proceedings, Mrs Thwany refused to say her email address out loud over fears for her privacy, but the judge told her: “Whether you like to or not, you will just have to give us it.”

She eventually wrote the email address down and it was handed around the jury.

Menni is also charged with transferring money to or for the use of Abdulwahab, in the knowledge it would be used for the purposes of terrorism

Oh, and “Cultural”?  No, it is religious.  It is common for terrorist groups such as Hamas to pay money to the families of suicide bombers.  This case illustrates how it is done privately by individual Islamists as well.  The common root is Islam, not “culture.”

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Exposing the overpaid, incestuous sharia boards

April 30, 2012

An important article comes our way from the Spears Wealth Management Survey.  A few stunning quotations:

  • “The most in-demand shariah scholars are paid $2,000 a day”
  • “Some scholars charge around $1,000-$1,500 per hour of consultation — in addition to an annual bonus of between $10,000 and $20,000 per board seat”
  • “Remuneration for a fixed shariah board membership can exceed $200,000 a year plus fees”
  • “The top twenty shariah scholars in the world hold between fourteen and 85 board memberships each”
  • ‘The top ten scholars in the world make up 40 per cent of all board memberships”
  • The top five scholars “make up around 25 per cent of the entire boards across the globe”
  • “The top two scholars share 51 per cent of their board memberships”

Read it all.  As Shariah Finance Watch has pointed out for a long time, the sharia advisers are paid quite the pretty penny.  But this piece really puts that in black and white, and points many of the broader flaws of governance in the sharia finance industry.

One cannot read this and still believe mainstream media assertions that sharia finance is somehow more ethical and less risky than conventional finance.  Without even getting into the moral problems of anti-Semitism and jihadist sympathies of the sharia scholars, this sector—from a purely financial standpoint—is hopelessly marred by corruption, shakedowns, conflicts of interest, nepotism, and lack of oversight.  Investors must take note.

I believe this article by Sophie McBain was first published around Apr. 26:

Islamic Finance’s ‘Scholar Problem’: Why Are Shariah Scholars Paid So Much?

Dollars for Scholars

IT MAY BE an unusual career move, but becoming a shariah scholar for an Islamic bank is nice work if you can get it. A quick poll of bankers, lawyers and academics working in Islamic finance revealed unanimous agreement that shariah scholars — who approve every new Islamic banking transaction to certify its compliance to Islamic shariah law — are paid ‘a lot’, but few volunteered figures. Welcome to the opaque world of Islamic finance, and the fledgling industry’s ‘scholar problem’.

Among those who did give figures on shariah scholar salaries, there was considerable variation. Professor Rodney Wilson, a member of the Durham Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance, says that the most in-demand shariah scholars are paid $2,000 a day. Reuters has quoted an unnamed banker as saying that some scholars charge around $1,000-$1,500 per hour of consultation — in addition to an annual bonus of between $10,000 and $20,000 per board seat.

Dr Murat Ünal, CEO of Funds@Work, an investment consultancy and Islamic finance specialist, says that remuneration for a fixed shariah board membership can exceed $200,000 a year plus fees, while advising on a large transaction such as a sukuk (Islamic bond) can generate commission running into millions of dollars. If this still doesn’t sound generous enough, consider that Funds@Work’s pioneering research into shariah scholars and their networks has found that the top twenty shariah scholars in the world hold between fourteen and 85 board memberships each.

There’s a reason for the inconsistency of these accounts: shariah scholar payments don’t have to be made public. And while conventional bankers have found themselves the target of a forceful backlash against bonuses, the quieter but equally insistent voices calling for limits to the influence and payment of shariah scholars struggle to find a platform.

The concerns of those campaigning for changes to the current shariah scholar system are critical to a fast-growing industry, which has the potential to bring millions of Muslims into banking for the first time and which offers a thoughtful critique of mainstream finance. The Islamic finance industry is predicted by Deutsche Bank almost to double to $1.8 trillion by 2016, but its economic potential may never be fulfilled because of its serious governance problems, with power concentrated in a small, ageing and reticent elite.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Tora Bora officials pay the Taliban

April 24, 2012

But first, some semi-related analysis…  Organizations like Al Qaeda can operate on a shoestring budget because they don’t have a ground force militia.  They have individual operatives in Asia and Africa sleeper cells in the West.  Many of their members, especially in the U.S. and Europe, are able to fund their own daily lives, pay their own rent, buy their groceries, etc.  Their operatives aren’t living hand-to-mouth with a band of fellow wasteland jihadists.

Groups like the Taliban and al-Shabaab, on the other hand, have paramilitary forces with a very physical presence in their communities.  They keep young men on the payroll who need to be fed, transported, clothed, and armed by the organization itself.  That is partly why the Taliban and al-Shabaab have even larger budgets than terrorist groups that have international reach.

The physical presence of the Taliban also gives them a distinct fundraising advantage.  They can intimidate the local population and shake them down for money.  They can even get money from local leaders who are theoretically on the same side as the Afghan central government and ISAF.

We overlooked this great article from Afghanistan Today (h/t @douglaswissing) last fall.  It describes how Afghan law enforcement, local politicians, and even members of the national parliament pay zakat as protection money to the Taliban.  The U.S. and UN have flawed contracting procedures that help fund the Taliban, but this article is a must-read for understanding how our ally is keeping the Taliban’s ground game alive too:

Currencies of protection

In eastern areas of high insurgent activity and low levels of conflict, there are growing signs of secretive payment systems for keeping state officials and security forces safe from attack. 

by Abdul Rahim Mohmand , Jalalabad , 28.9.2011

For some Afghan government officials in the eastern Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, paying off the Taliban on a regular basis with money or weapons and ammunition is the most reliable way of staying alive.

“We pay so they don’t kill us, that’s how we save ourselves. And the Taliban are happy with the sum and leave us alone.”

“My older brother works as a senior law-enforcement official in Jalalabad, and I pay local Taliban every month on his behalf from 100,000 to 200,000 afghanis (2,000 to 4,000 US dollars),” said Abdul R, whose full name and his brother’s post are withheld for security reasons.

“We pay so they don’t kill us, that’s how we save ourselves. And the Taliban are happy with the sum and leave us alone,” he added.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Libya spends $1.4b on Islamist rebels & waste

April 16, 2012

Remember the $135 million in U.S. financial aid promised to Libyan rebels and their newly forming Islamist government?  Or perhaps you’ll remember the €70 million ($90 million USD) from the European Commission humanitarian aid department (ECHO), €20 million from Sweden, over $15 million from the U.K. in aircraft and ships, and other EU member aid for a sum of $195 million in total European aid to Libya?  Well, you can kiss it all good-bye.  It has vanished.

The Libyan National Transitional Council, which has received and doled out much of the international aid to the Islamist rebels who fought Qaddafi, has bled over a billion dollars in recent months.  The NTC has squandered so much money that it will suspend its welfare for Muslim militiamen.  Corruption in the third world is one thing, but handing out over a billion dollars—much of it in foreign aid from developed countries dealing with their own debt crises—to heavily armed Islamic fighters is an insane abomination.

From RT on Apr. 14:

Libya freezes rewards for ex-rebels over mass fraud

Libya’s National Transitional Council has suspended a multi-million-dollar payout program to former anti-Gaddafi rebels after admitting it was steeped in fraud. Officials cited duplicate payouts, and claims from impostors and even the dead.

­Since last year’s overthrow of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi, the National Transition Council, Libya’s temporary replacement government, has promised to reward ordinary citizens who joined the rebellion.

The program began three months ago, with former rebels being given a one-time payment of up to $3,200 – a sizable sum for Libya. NTC has already paid out $1.4 billion.

Now, the handouts have stopped.

“Millions of dinars allocated to revolutionaries were lost in illegitimate payments to non-beneficiaries,” announced NTC spokesman Mohammed Harizi.

Paying people money based on nothing but unverifiable information that they fought in the civil war always appeared an idea ripe for abuse. Since the war was fought largely by ragtag groups of militiamen, many units did not even write down the names of those who joined them, much less outline their exact role in the conflict.

The NTC delegated the job of making reward lists to the tribal councils who recruited the militias in the first place.

Whether through lack of information or integrity, the lists have been a disaster. The NTC claims that some legitimate claimants were not selected, other names were listed more than once, and some names belong to people who hadn’t shot a bullet in the conflict.

“The corruption is too much,” said Harizi. “Some of the people on the lists aren’t even alive.”

This follows the fiasco of a similar program that provided treatment abroad for the war wounded. Instead of those who suffered real injuries, many entirely healthy Libyans with good connections to the tribal leaders who decided the lists got sponsored trips abroad. The program has also now been curtailed.

Following the announcement, some former rebel fighters who missed out on their payouts staged a protest outside the NTC headquarters in Tripoli, reportedly shooting at the building.

The NTC has promised to restructure the reward program in the coming months, but it is unclear how they will obtain more reliable information for future lists.

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How Afghan contracts line Taliban pockets

September 23, 2011

In its August report, the U.S. Commission on Wartime Contracting provided nuts & bolts descriptions of how American taxpayer dollars have ended up in Taliban hands.

One piece of visual evidence from the report shows how the Taliban shakes down Afghan subcontractors working on U.S. reconstruction contracts.  This letter is from the “Islamic Imarat of Afghanistan” (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan), which is how the Taliban refer to themselves.

Taliban message for construction company

The Commission elaborates on how the subcontracting problem takes place (internal citations omitted):

In Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. funds have been diverted to insurgents and warlords as a cost of doing business in the country. In Afghanistan, insurgents, warlords, or other groups control or contest parts of the country. They threaten to destroy projects and harm personnel. The Commission finds it particularly alarming that Afghan subcontractors on U.S.-funded convoys, road construction, and development projects pay insurgent groups for protection.

While there is no official estimate of the amount of U.S. funds diverted to insurgents, it certainly comes to a significant percentage of a project’s cost. The largest source of funding for the insurgency is commonly recognized to be money from the drug trade. During a March 2011 trip to Afghanistan, experts told the Commission that extortion of funds from U.S. construction projects and transportation contracts is the insurgent’s second-largest funding source.

Afghan contractors hired under the Host Nation Trucking program have turned to Afghan private security contractors. These Afghan subcontractors in turn pay off the insurgents or warlords who control the roads their convoys must use.

Almost 6,000 Afghan truck movements a month are funded under the program. Diversion on this scale did not occur in Iraq, where the U.S. military provided most of the escorts for similar convoys. Many contracts other than transportation provide opportunities for diversion:

  • Afghan subcontractors on a USAID community development program in Kunar Province were paying up to 20 percent of their total subcontract value to insurgents for “protection.” The USAID IG estimated that over $5 million of program funding was at risk of falling into insurgents’ hands.
  • A congressional staff report cited Afghan Taliban demands for pay-offs from businesses and households for electricity generated by USAID-funded projects. This occurs in Taliban-controlled areas like Helmand Province.

Because they directly strengthen the insurgency, diverted funds pose far more danger than other kinds of waste and have a disproportionately adverse impact on the U.S. effort.

H/t JihadWatch.

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