A retired World Bank manager writes in response to my post last night, “Where Was I? Oh, Yeah, Wolfowitz”. Oh, and he nails Paul Wolfowitz. As always with such hubristic goniffs, Wolfie keeps getting into more and more trouble the more he tries to explain things.
First, take a look at Wolfie’s April 9 e-mail to the World Bank staff. In it, he doesn’t mention his gal pal, Shaha Ali Riza, by name, nor does he recount the sweet details of her transfer to the State Department. But he says:
The case of the staff member mentioned prompted me to seek the advice of the Board of Executive Directors upon my arrival at the Bank. I subsequently acted on the advice of the Board’s Ethics Committee to work out an agreement that balanced the interests of the institution and the rights of the staff member in an exceptional and unprecedented situation.
Bull. And every time Wolfie brays about fighting corruption, he steps in it. Check out his April 12 press conference, in which the embattled bank prexy said:
I do think that a general solid principle is, if there is a problem, be transparent about it, disclose everything you know, and figure out what are the appropriate remedies. I think it really is true that transparency is the key, absolute key, here to good governance and in fighting corruption.
The ex-manager who wrote me points out the hypocrisy of this self-styled corruption fighter as Wolfie floods bank staffers with e-mails and selective information:
In his email of April 14, Wolfowitz tries to rationalize his actions. He draws staff attention to his “significant facts.” The “significant facts” he omits are:
1) The Board was willing to accept his recusal but had to back down because apparently after subsequent advice from his attorney he had a change of heart and refused to recuse himself on “professional relationship” with his girlfriend. So his offer of recusal was a farce (and the Board saw it as such).
2) Contrary to his assertion that he was only looking after the interests of the Bank, the documents make it abundantly clear that he was only interested in safeguarding Riza’s interests. It was he who devised the package (with Ms. Riza’s help?) rather than HR.
3) Contrary to what he says, he was actively involved in devising the package for Riza, overruling the considerably less generous (and more reasonable) package proposed by HR. He cleverly directs [a Bank official] to give Riza an option between the two packages. One has to be stupid to elect to choose the vastly inferior package.
4) He was clearly both negotiating for Riza and turning around and acting like the “decider.”
If this is not corruption, I don’t know what is.
On another matter, thanks to all of you who have welcomed me back online. But you should know that I was not in hell — at least not all of the time. It’s true that new management canceled the Bush Beat in February 2006. But it’s also true that only a month later, new management installed me as interim editor in chief of the Voice. I had fun doing that job for six months while we searched for the right person. After some twists and turns, we’ve found that person. If you don’t believe me, check out the most recent issues of the Voice.
And in the next few weeks, we’ll be unveiling a big dose of national news online, thanks to the many excellent journalists in the Voice‘s coast-to-coast chain. I’m lucky to be involved in that exciting project too.
OK, back to the bidness of doing journalism rather than talking about it. As the Bush regime’s schnooks always show us, talk is cheap.