Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Does a lack of transparency equal corruption in USAID funded projects in Georgia?

Sleeping in the same bed with AEI makes for strange bedfellows for a whistle blower against USAID abuses

The underlying motivations are not crystal clear, why a lone scholar as Till Bruckner, University of Bristol and who worked in Georgia as a monitor of IDP assistance in the aftermath of the 2998 Russian-Georgia war, is now accruing a long list of enemies who label him a whistle blower, has a sharp axe to grind against USAID's lack of even a clear and present transparency.  Till Bruckner, whose name cannot pull up much at all on a Google search of anything unrelated to his new polemic emerging circa April 2010, which sprang out of nowhere to bemoan the lack of transparency that may be hiding corruption in USAID and their nongovernmental organization affiliates, including their religious aid network?   

Why would he pick the American Enterprise Institute's magazine, THE AMERICAN, to lead the armada as a flagship into the murky waters of investigating the similarities between World Food Program and USAID shortcoming?  Many people today fear that the USAID may have itself have mutated into a bloated behemoth of intelligence affiliates.  Not only Till.


The AEI is well known and notorious among its detractors for being the birthplace of hard core neo conservatism, which has been a frightful infestation of American democratic ideals and foreign policy for over 20 years now. You may be thinking by now that I am a blind supporter of USAID and the black clouds of legitimate and illegitimate NGOs swarming around USAID and the Republic of Georgia like sweat flies.  On the contrary, I have been a long time investigative reporter dredging up such information for public disclosure for a few decades here in the Caucasus.

The motivations of Mr. Bruckner have been portrayed by some as purely PhD research, but I find this is a mouthful to chew on and not choke. One can simply Google his mentors, allies, and affiliations and see that there is a smorgasbord of envy and jealousy of a vast rival power network such as USAID, to make an overflowing Georgian 'supra' table seem meager.  USAID now far eclipses the former glory of AEI and their tangled web of patronages

Something akin to the legendary rivalry between the Templars and the Hospitallers during the Crusades is going on here, and I don't think I am the only muckraking hillbilly in these here hills that has noticed it so effortlessly, do you?

And I question if the poor and needy of our planet, and their even more unfortunate brothers and sisters living under bloody repression, who truly need humanitarian aid and development assistance, would be impressed by this infighting and feuding squabble between two juggernauts who in the end will lay out very little for the poor themselves, and leave the recipients questioning the sincerity of the benefits coming from "the American People".  Remember Katrina and Ward 9?  Charity starts at home, as well as transparency.

I have to give Mr. Bruckner credit for coining one of the pithiest sentences I have read in a very long time, "Secrecy and charity make for strange bedfellows."


I absolutely agree, and whistle blowing against abuses of U.S. monies exemplified by USAID projects, makes strange bedfellows for AEI.

Jeffrey K. Silverman, Freelance journalist and former Editor of Georgian Times, 18 years resident of Georgia, who has successfully investigated high level corruption in USAID and USDA funded projects in Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Afghanistan, in the last ten years.


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