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 Monday, April 23, 2007

Actor Alec Baldwin: Father Of The Year

Read here article by Robert Paul Reyes

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Ireland and dad, Alec Baldwin, in 2005, clearly happier times.

" Hey, I want to tell you something, OK? And I want to leave a message for you right now.

'Cause again, it's 10:30 here in New York on a Wednesday, and once again I've made an ass of myself trying to get to a phone to call you at a specific time.

When the time comes for me to make the phone call, I stop whatever I'm doing and I go and I make that phone call.

At 11 o'clock in the morning in New York and if you don't pick up the phone at 10 o'clock at night.

And you don't even have the G**damn phone turned on.

I want you to know something, OK? I'm tired of playing this game with you.

I'm leaving this message with you to tell you you have insulted me for the last time. You have insulted me.

You don't have the brains or the decency as a human being.

I don't give a damn that you're 12 years old, or 11 years old, or that you're a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn't care about what you do as far as I'm concerned.

You have humiliated me for the last time with this phone.

And when I come out there next week, I'm going to fly out there for the day just to straighten you out on this issue.

I'm going to let you know just how disappointed in you I am and how angry I am with you that you've done this to me again.

You've made me feel like s**t and you've made me feel like a fool over and over and over again.

And this crap you pull on me with this G**damn phone situation that you would never dream of doing to your mother and you do it to me constantly and over and over again.

I am going to get on a plane and I am going to come out there for the day and I am going to straighten your ass out when I see you.

Do you understand me?

I'm going to really make sure you get it. Then I'm going to get on a plane and I'm going to turn around and come home.

So you'd better be ready Friday the 20th to meet with me.

So I'm going to let you know just how I feel about what a rude little pig you really are.

You are a rude, thoughtless little pig, OK?"

This is the full text of the voice mail that Alec Baldwin left for his 11-year-old daughter.

If Alec had left this vitriolic message on the voice mail of his worst enemy, I still would have been surprised at the depth of his anger. But to leave such hateful words on the voice mail of his young daughter is simply unforgivable.

Baldwin is a typical Hollywood egotist; the world revolves around him. He cares only about his feelings: You have insulted ME , You have humiliated ME, You've done this to ME again.

Nevermind the psychological damage he is inflicting on his daughter by calling her a "pig".

What was the crime that caused Alec to go bonkers?

Did his daughter OD on heroin or run away from home? No, she had the temerity not to pick up her phone when her father called.

I don't blame little Ireland for not wanting to talk to her psycho dad; I'm surprised she hasn't blocked his phone number.

Surprisingly some jokers have jumped to the defense of the indefensible, but it's not who you think. Alec is a noted Hollywood liberal, but it's not liberals who have defended Alec's meltdown.

It's a few Men's Rights Advocates (MRA) who have defended Alec's tirade against his own daughter. MRA have a few legitimate issues: Men do get the shaft when it comes to divorce and child custody cases.

But the "Men's Movement" goes far beyond these core issues; they see a vast feminist conspiracy to keep men subjugated. Most men's rights activists believe in a patriarchal society where testosterone is the coin of the realm.

Those in the "Men's Movement" do great harm to their cause when they defend an out-of-control freak like Baldwin.

And they shouldn't try to shift the focus away from Baldwin, by castigating the mother, Kim Basinger, for releasing the incriminating voice mail. It hasn't been prove that Basinger released the voice mail to the media, and two wrongs don't make a right.

Alec Baldwin has a long history of losing his temper; he is a prime candidate for intervention. Baldwin's inexcusable tirade against his daughter has proven that he doesn't deserve custody.

He should forget about visitation rights and adopt a pet rat.

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 Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia State Massacre: Gunman is 23 year old Student Cho Seung-Hui, US Permanent Resident from South Korea

  Read here for more

The Virginia Tech student identified as the assailant in Monday's deadly gun rampage was a South Korean immigrant who had been in the United States since 1992 and who held a green card signifying his status as a legal permanent U.S. resident, federal officials said Tuesday.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old English major, was listed with a home address in Centreville, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., not far from Dulles International Airport.

Immigration records maintained by the Department of Homeland Security show that Cho was born in South Korea on Jan. 18, 1984 and entered the United States through Detroit on Sept. 2, 1992. He had last renewed his green card on Oct. 27, 2003.

University officials said he lived in a dormitory on the Virginia Tech campus, but could shed no light on a motive for the shooting spree that left 33 dead. "He was a loner, and we're having difficulty finding information about him," said Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker.

Cho's fingerprints were found on two handguns used in the rampage, said two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information had not been announced. The serial numbers on the two weapons had been filed off, the officials said.

Ballistics tests by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms showed that one of the guns was used in both of Monday's separate campus attacks that happened two hours apart.

Cho was found with a backpack containing a receipt for a Glock 9mm pistol that he had bought in March.

As a permanent legal resident of the United States, Cho was eligible to buy a handgun unless he had been convicted of any felony criminal charges, a federal immigration official said.

Troubled Kid

He was an English major whose creative writing was so disturbing that he was referred to the school's counseling service. News reports also said that he may have been taking medication for depression, that he was becoming increasingly violent and erratic, and that he left a note in his dorm in which he railed against ``rich kids,'' ``debauchery'' and ``deceitful charlatans'' on campus.

Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university's English department, said she did not personally know the gunman. But she said she spoke with Lucinda Roy, the department's director of creative writing, who had Cho in one of her classes and described him as "troubled."

``There was some concern about him,'' Rude said. ``Sometimes, in creative writing, people reveal things and you never know if it's creative or if they're describing things, if they're imagining things or just how real it might be. But we're all alert to not ignore things like this.''

She said Cho was referred to the counseling service, but she said she did not know when, or what the outcome was. Rude refused to release any of his writings or his grades, citing privacy laws.

The Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site that he left a note in his dorm room that included a rambling list of grievances. Citing identified sources, the Tribune said he had recently shown troubling signs, including setting a fire in a dorm room and stalking some women.

Fear of Asian Backlash (read here for more)

Virginia Tech student Jiyoun Yoo was terrified when she heard a gunman had rampaged through her campus, killing 32 of her classmates. When news broke on Tuesday that the gunman was a South Korean student, her fear took a new direction.

"I'm from South Korea, so I am a little bit scared," said Yoo, 24, as she walked on campus. "The shooting was just one person, but maybe it will affect all South Korean students."

Yoo, a petite graduate student with long black hair, said she didn't know the gunman and none of her Korean friends had heard of him either.

"If he speaks Korean, we'd maybe know him, but none of us does," she said. She said her family in Seoul had called overnight, very concerned Yoo might be a target if there was a backlash against Asian students at Virginia Tech.

"It is big news in South Korea. Yesterday they were worried if I'm safe, now they are worried there might be a risk that I'm South Korean," said Yoo.

The South Korean government also expressed fears of a backlash.

"We are working closely with our diplomatic missions and local Korean residents' associations in anticipation of any situation that may arise," a foreign ministry official said in Seoul.

South Korea has the largest number of foreign students in the United States, with nearly 15 percent, according to the U.S. Customs and Enforcement Web site.

Police say Cho chained doors closed to trap students inside as he gunned them down before killing himself. Rumors leaked out on Monday that the gunman was Asian, but it was not until Tuesday that his identity and nationality was revealed.

Some 1,655 students at Virginia Tech, or 6.2 percent, are Asian, the university's Web site says.

White students on campus dismissed suggestions there might be a backlash against foreigners at the university.

"It hadn't even crossed my mind," said Andrew Rush, 20, an accounting major. "There is a huge Asian community on campus and we're all together in class all day. It's so integrated I don't think this will change anything."

Foreign-born residents in Blacksburg said the town, nestled in the mountains of southwest Virginia, has been a welcoming place to live and work.

"Everyone has always been open and supportive," said Xiaojin Moore, co-owner of the Oasis World Market grocery store about a mile (1.6 km) from campus.

Moore, a native of China, hopes her three small children will not be targeted because of their Asian appearance.

"We just want to be left alone to figure things out, until things calm down," Moore said.

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 Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia State Shooting: At Least 22 Dead.

  UPDATE: Read here for more

At least 33 confirmed killed.

A gunman opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm and then, two hours later, shot up a classroom building across campus Monday, killing 32 people in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history.

The gunman committed suicide, bringing the death toll to 33. At least 26 people were injured, authorities said. Their conditions were not disclosed. Students bitterly complained that there were no public-address announcements on campus after the first burst of gunfire.

Many said the first word they received from the university was an e-mail more than two hours into the rampage around the time the gunman struck again. Virginia Tech

President Charles Steger said authorities believed that the shooting at the dorm was a domestic dispute and mistakenly thought the gunman had fled the campus. We had no reason to suspect any other incident was going to occur, he said. He defended the university's handling of the tragedy, saying: We can only make decisions based on the information you had on the time.

You dont have hours to reflect on it. Investigators offered no motive for the attack. The gunmans name was not immediately released, and it was not known if he was a student. The shootings spread panic and confusion on campus. Witnesses reported students jumping out the windows of a classroom building to escape the gunfire.

End of update


Read here
At least 22 people, including the suspected gunman, were killed and many others were wounded at Virginia Tech university on Monday in the deadliest campus shooting incident in U.S. history.

The rampage took place in two separate areas of the huge campus about two hours apart during the morning. Police said they believed a single gunman was responsible.

"This is a tragedy of monumental proportions," Virginia Tech president Charles Steger told reporters.

Virginia Tech campus police chief Wendell Finchum said the suspected gunman was dead and that police were trying to determine whether he killed himself or was shot by officers.

"At this time we believe it's only one gunman," said Finchum.

The death toll was worse than a massacre at the University of Texas in Austin on August 1, 1966, when trained marksman Charles Whitman killed 15 people, including his mother and wife the night before, and wounded 31 others.

The first shooting on Virginia Tech, a state university known for its demanding science and engineering curriculum, was reported to campus police at about 7:15 a.m. (1115 GMT) in West Ambler Johnston Hall, a dormitory housing some 900 students. It was followed by more shooting at another campus building, Norris Hall, Steger said.

The wounded were taken to hospitals in the area for treatment, he said.

Virginia Tech, with 26,000 students, is located in the southwest corner of the state, about 240 miles from Washington.

The campus had been closed for one day last August during a search for another gunman, CNN reported. Classes were canceled for Monday and Tuesday and counselors were being brought in talk to the students.

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 Saturday, April 14, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz : Why He Should Resign as President of the World Bank

  Excerpts: Read here for more by Rupert Cornwell in The Independent (UK ) and HERE


Directors of the World Bank on Friday faulted institution’s chief Paul Wolfowitz for pushing through the promotion and salary package of his girlfriend and pledged to take quick action.

The 24-member board of governors, which met in Washington, said it found that Mr Wolfowitz signed off on Shaha Riza’s promotion and salary increase without a review by an ethics committee or the board’s chairman.

The promotion came shortly after he joined the institution in 2005.

The board’s statement has apparently weakened Mr Wolfowitz’s position, creating a situation which may lead to his resignation.
Read here for more

Paul Wolfowitz carries a good deal of baggage.

Wolfowitz, it will be remembered, fervently 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.

Like his former master in the White House, Wolfowitz (at least in public) has NEVER admitted responsibility for the debacle that is Iraq.

Indeed, some believe that he sees the Bank as another means of bringing democracy to the developing world, the very goal the Iraq war was meant to achieve in the Middle East. That grand notion has failed.

Read below: Wolfowitz and the Iraq War Fiasco

When he was named by Bush to head the Bank in early 2005, an in-house survey found that nearly 90 per cent of staff opposed the choice.

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.

  • Kevin Kellems previously served as Communications Director and Spokesman for Vice President Dick Cheney and Advisor to Richard Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

A host of senior staffers, including six vice-presidents, left after Wolfowitz's arrival.

He is an intellectual, who was Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington for eight years, before becoming Donald Rumsfeld's deputy at the Pentagon.

Wolfowitz's career has followed the familiar neo-con path, from the young man who espoused liberal causes and marched with Martin Luther King in the early 1960s to the foreign policy hawk of little more than a decade later, convinced that only by projecting its strength and its values abroad could America defend itself at home, first from the Communist, then the terrorist, threat.

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.

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.

The real problems with Wolfowitz in high office, whether at the World Bank or at the Pentagon, are his shortcomings as a manager. That was one reason Paul Bremer and not Wolfowitz, was chosen to be the US pro-consul in Iraq after the 2003 invasion.

He is not the hands-on, all-action, deftly self-promoting chief executive that was Wolfensohn.

Nor is he a proven corporate manager, spewing out plans and bullet charts, like Robert McNamara, the defence secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and the World Bank President with whom Wolfowitz is often compared.

The random fashion in which Wolfowitz applied the corruption sanctions fanned a third suspicion - that his hit list had been drawn up not by the World Bank, but by the Bush administration.

He is in more trouble over the promotion and lavish pay rises accorded to his partner, a former senior employee of the Bank. New documents released by the World Bank on Friday that show Wolfowitz had a direct hand in arranging her promotion and generous pay package.

German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said Wolfowitz needs to do some soul-searching about whether he can continue to lead the bank.

"At this point, it is my conclusion that he has to decide for himself whether in regard to this mistake, he can credibly fulfill his duties," she said.

Presidential hopeful John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina who weighed in Friday. "America's ability to lead in the fight against global poverty is undermined with Paul Wolfowitz at the helm of the World Bank," Edwards said.

He said Wolfowitz's tenure at the World Bank has been marked by some of the same "failures as his term managing the war in Iraq - cronyism and rhetoric that does not match reality - and now serious questions of financial integrity."

Joaquin Almunia, the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs suggested there is concern. "It seems there has been a scandal. I don't know what the consequences will be," Almunia said. "I have been this morning with the European secretary directors of the World Bank and they have transmitted to me that it is a real concern."

The Girl-Friend Scandal

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Shaha Riza, Wolfowitz's Girlfriend

Shaha Riza is a British national of Libyan ancestry who grew up in Saudi Arabia. She and Wolfowitz have been together since his previous marriage broke down in 2001.
Indeed, her strong belief in bringing democracy to the Arab world is said to have only strengthened her partner's determination to confer that boon on Iraq.

Their relationship became public when Wolfowitz succeeded James Wolfensohn at the helm of the Bank in mid-2005.

At first he attempted to keep her in her job as communications adviser at the Bank's Middle East department, even though that was flatly against the ethics rules of the organisation. In the end she was sent to the State Department, but stayed on the World Bank's payroll.

She was promoted and given two rises well above staff norms, bringing her salary to $193,000 (£98,000) - more than Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State.

Riza has left the State Department. She is now said to be working for the Foundation for the Future, an international group largely funded by the US, whose prime mission is (you've guessed) to advance freedom and democracy in the Middle East and north Africa.

But will that be the end of the matter ?

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The Subplot To Remove Wolfowitz as President of World Bank

  Read here full article by David E. Sanger in New York Times

When President Bush appointed Paul D. Wolfowitz as the president of the World Bank two years ago, the White House had to put down an insurrection among European nations that viewed the administration’s best-known neoconservative as a symbol of American unilateralism and arrogance.

For a while, Mr. Wolfowitz seemed to defuse those fears, even taking on the Bush administration over how best to aid the poorest nations of Africa.

But now it is clear that the chorus of calls in recent days for Mr. Wolfowitz’s ouster is only partly about his involvement in setting up a comfortable job, with a big pay raise, for a bank officer who is Mr. Wolfowitz’s companion.

At its core, the fight about whether Mr. Wolfowitz should stay on at the bank is a debate about Mr. Bush and his tumultuous relationship with the rest of the world, particularly the bank, the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which have viewed themselves — at various moments since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 — as being at war with the Bush White House and its agenda.

As finance ministers gathered in Washington on Friday for the bank’s weekend meeting, Mr. Wolfowitz worked behind the scenes, seeking support for keeping his job. But there were few endorsements of his leadership beyond those offered by the Bush administration.

In foreign capitals, and among the bank’s staff members, it has been noted that Mr. Wolfowitz’s passion for fighting corruption, which he has said saps economic life from the world’s poorest nations, seemed to evaporate when it came to reviewing lending to Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, three countries that the United States considers strategically vital.

Some longtime bank staff members complained that Mr. Wolfowitz relied too little on experts in international development and too much on a pair of aides who served with him in the administration.

Members of the bank’s board from around the world began comparing what they called the murky way in which the bank made some policy decisions to the secretive habits of the Bush administration.

Nancy Birdsall, the president of the Center for Global Development, a group that monitors aid to the world’s poorest nations, described what she termed “real doubts about Wolfowitz’s judgment” inside the bank.

Mr. Wolfowitz came to the bank with heavy political baggage. Since the bank was set up at the end of World War II, its president has always been an American, a fact that has engendered more and more resentment over time. That reaction was compounded when Mr. Bush selected Mr. Wolfowitz, who had served as deputy secretary of defense and an architect of the Iraq war.

It took a huge amount of effort to quiet this down,” a member of the bank’s board of governors and an early supporter of Mr. Wolfowitz recalled Friday of the early insurrection. “And you would think, knowing that he was going into an institution that was deeply suspicious of him and the Bush administration, that he would have done everything he could to allay those concerns.”

At first, Mr. Wolfowitz did so. He made Africa his first priority. He displayed a passion and energy for the work — much as he did many years ago as ambassador to Indonesia, where he immersed himself in the culture and took on a dictator, Suharto. His campaign against corruption was intellectually unassailable and quintessentially American, and he was certainly right as far as the facts were concerned, members of the bank’s staff and leadership say.

But eventually his focus on that issue put him at odds with career officials at an institution that is famously resistant to outside influence, and which believes that fighting poverty has to come first, even if that means dealing with countries whose leaders are not above skimming a few million dollars along the way.

He came in to a mood of skepticism and strong reservations by many,” said Geoffrey Lamb, a former vice president of the bank, who worked closely with Mr. Wolfowitz on questions of finance for the world’s poorest nations before he retired last summer. “My feeling was that he provided a bit of reassurance, by moving actively on aid to Africa and debt forgiveness. Clearly, those early perceptions have changed a lot.”

Over time, Mr. Wolfowitz created an impression that at critical moments he was putting American foreign policy interests first, most notably when he suspended a program in Uzbekistan after the country denied landing rights to American military aircraft, and directed huge amounts of aid to the countries he once recruited to sign on to Washington’s counterterrorism agenda.

It did not help that he relied heavily on a pair of aides drawn from the Bush administration, Robin Cleveland and Kevin Kellems, who created an inner circle that the bank’s professional staff members said they had great trouble piercing.

Mr. Wolfowitz’s defenders say that he was right to come in with a mission of shaking up the ingrown bureaucracy at the bank, and that the place desperately needed shaking up. But even they acknowledge that management has never been his strong suit, and that his judgment in dealing with the transfer of his companion, Shaha Ali Riza, was questionable.

In the backlash against Mr. Wolfowitz, though, there is also an undercurrent of settling scores — including those that go beyond the World Bank. Europeans still fume over Mr. Bush’s decision to send John R. Bolton, one of the biggest critics of the United Nations, to New York to serve as ambassador there — an experiment that ended when it became clear that the newly Democratic Senate would not confirm him to finish Mr. Bush’s term.

Others recall that the administration tried to fire Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian-born head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who famously declared in early 2003 that there was no evidence Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program. Dr. ElBaradei proved to be right, and was soon awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

So far, the White House has expressed confidence in Mr. Wolfowitz, but not with much vigor. There were no signs that President Bush was about to rush to his aid, though that could still happen. European and Asian officials bet it will not.

There is a sense that we’re finally at a moment when Bush needs the world more than the world needs Bush,” said a senior foreign official who flew into Washington recently for the annual meeting of the bank and the International Monetary Fund.

And there’s more than a little of that mixed in this whole argument over Wolfowitz’s fate.”

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 Friday, April 13, 2007

Wolfowitz as President of World Bank is now Untenable: He Should Resign or Sacked

  Read here article by Joel Havemann in LA Times

Related article:

  • Paul Wolfowitz, the President of the World Bank, was fighting for his job yesterday for ordering a huge pay rise and a promotion for his girlfriend, an official at the bank. The board of the World Bank was meeting in Washington yesterday morning to decide the fate of Mr Wolfowitz and there was rising speculation that Mr Wolfowitz could be forced to resign or even be sacked.Read here for more

  • The World Bank's staff association, which represents 10,000 employees, on Thursday asked bank president Paul Wolfowitz to step down amid charges that he gave his girlfriend, a bank employee, improper pay increases and attempted to cover it up. The association made the call during an informal press conference inside the bank at which dozens of employees showed up. It is the first time anyone inside the Washington-headquartered institution has demanded his ouster. Read here for more

  • World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz apologized Thursday for his role in landing his girlfriend a job at the State Department that gave her more than $60,000 a year in raises and a salary greater than that of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

    "I made a mistake, for which I am sorry," Wolfowitz said at a news conference before the spring meetings of the bank and the International Monetary Fund.

    He declined to answer questions about how his girlfriend's new job and her pay had been arranged beyond saying it had been done to avoid a conflict of interest because of his position and their personal relationship. She was working for the World Bank when he became its president in 2005.

    Wolfowitz suggested that his critics might be motivated in part by the role he played as an architect of President Bush's Iraq war policy. Wolfowitz was deputy secretary of Defense before taking over the World Bank.

    "In the larger scheme of things," he said, "we have much more important things to focus on. For those people who disagree with the things that they associate me with in my previous job, I'm not in my previous job. I'm not working for the U.S. government."

    The flap is the latest at the World Bank since Wolfowitz became its president.

    Wolfowitz has alienated bank staffers with a management style that many regard as insular, surrounding himself with a handful of longtime associates and shutting out the staff he inherited.

    Some staffers also complain that Wolfowitz intends to open a World Bank office in Iraq to channel international aid to that country, supplementing American reconstruction aid.

    The pay-raise controversy stems from what he acknowledges is his romantic relationship with Shaha Ali Riza.

    The bank's multinational board of directors met Thursday to consider what to do about the matter but made no announcement afterward.

    Asked at his news conference whether he would consider resigning, Wolfowitz said he would have nothing to say beyond his prepared statement.

    In it, Wolfowitz said that when he came to the bank, he "raised the issue of a potential conflict of interest" because of his relationship.

    He said that he asked to be recused from personnel considerations regarding Riza but that the bank's ethics committee advised him "to promote and relocate" her.

    She was assigned to the State Department, where she initially worked on the establishment of the Foundation for the Future, a sort of World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa, financed largely by contributions from the U.S. and European governments, as well as rich countries in the region. After a year, she was assigned to the foundation's staff.

    Riza's salary grew to $180,000, up from the $132,600 she had been paid at the World Bank.

    She recently got another raise, to $193,590, putting her ahead of the secretary of State, who earns $186,600.

    "In hindsight," Wolfowitz said, "I wish I had trusted my original instincts and kept myself out of the negotiations" over Riza's assignments and compensation.

    Riza, who carries a British passport but was born in Tunisia and is of Saudi and Libyan descent, could not be reached for comment.

    Riza's salary was disclosed not by the World Bank but by a bank employee who took the information to the Government Accountability Project, a whistle-blower protection group.

    Particularly troubling to the bank's staff were reports that Riza, while working at the bank, received fees paid by a U.S. defense contractor that was doing consulting work in Iraq.

    "I know that if anyone else in the bank did this, he/she will be dismissed immediately," said one comment on an internal bank website. The Government Accountability Project obtained and released 221 comments from the site.

    The bank's management responded to the comments' leak and staff tumult by retaining a high-powered Washington law firm to try to find the sources. "The disclosures of confidential internal communications violated bank policy," said a message from the legal department to the bank staff.

    Bea Edwards, international director of the Government Accountability Project, said that even if Wolfowitz hung onto his job, he would find it difficult to raise funds from the bank's member nations, one of his major jobs.

    "Having demonstrated how cavalier he is in doling out money," Edwards said, "he'll have trouble making the case that the bank's members should pay out more."

    In his statement, Wolfowitz said, "I proposed to the board that they establish some mechanism to judge whether the agreement reached was a reasonable outcome." He promised to accept any recommendations it made.

    The White House, which nominated Wolfowitz for World Bank president, reiterated its support for him.

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     Monday, April 02, 2007

    Iraq War: One Third of the “Coalition of the Willing” are Mercenaries



    Read here full article

    A UN report published recently showed that the number of mercenaries working in Iraq has been steadily increasing and is now estimated to over 30%.

    Between 30,000 and 50,000 mercenaries are working in Iraq, making them the second largest military force there after the occupying United States.

    The case of Iraq "is a new manifestation of the use of mercenaries that has caught the UN by surprise", Spain's Jose Luis Gomez del Prado -- a member of the UN working group on mercenaries -- said Friday during a visit to Peru.

    The United States has 130,000 soldiers in Iraq, he noted. Britain has 10,000 troops.

    The report described the increasing tendency by the invading forces to use paid mercenaries in areas of high tension in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Mr Prado said that the mercenaries are the second largest armed forces in Iraq after the US forces of occupation, and their duties include the protection of the Green Zone and other areas in Baghdad, which are the responsibility of the American forces of occupation.

    Indeed, contrary to common belief and the vibrant war propaganda, mercenaries in Iraq are given fighting duties as well as logistics.

    The use of mercenaries is favoured by the forces occupation as a form of 'human-shield’ inserted between US regulars and the forever rising potency of Iraqi insurgency.

    The mercenaries are seen as 'dispensable’ because the killing of mercenaries is NOT reflected in the US government statistics of 3,245 dead soldiers.

    Mr Prado warned of the danger of using mercenaries since they are not accountable to any law or the type of chain of command often associated with regular armies.

    Other experts went further by saying that it is in the interest of those mercenaries and the firms they work for, to keep Iraq in a constant state of war since this guarentees constant flow of work for them.

    This can explain the numerous reports from local Iraqis of mercenaries involvement terrorist activities.

    Most of the mercenaries often do not know the goals of their missions, and their focus is on the exercise of barbarities for a fistful of Dollars.

    The majority of the mercenaries are supplied to the forces of occupation by US security firms which are in close collaboration with the US Department of Defence.

    Pardo estimates that the mercenary industry in Iraq alone is worth a total of $100billion paid for by western tax-payers.

    Most mercenaries are recruited from South America, whilst those at officer level tend to come from eastern Europe and South Africa.

    The report warns that these mercenaries are highly trained in the inhumain methods of torture, brutality and barbarity; they often employ these methods against the local population. In addition, former officers in the former South African aparthide regime are known to be training of Iraqi goverenment secret security forces and police.

    The report reveals that only 5% of the crimes committed by the mercenaries in Iraq have been prosecuted with sentencing being extremely light in comparison to the crime committed.

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