Sunday, August 29, 2010

Strange edfellows in preaching transparency in USAID programs

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 like Till Bruckner, University of Bristol in the UK, is accruing a long list of enemies who label him a whistle blower with an axe to grind against USAID lack of even basic transparency in how its program are run in the country of Georgia.  Till Bruckner, whose name cannot pull up much at all on Google unrelated to this new polemic emerging circa April 2010, 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 networks, would pick the American Enterprise Institute's magazine, THE AMERICAN, to lead the armada as a flagship into the murky waters of investigating the similarties between World Food Program and USAID, which may itself today have grown to be a bloated behemoth of intelligence affiliates. 

The AEI is well known and notorious among its detractors for being the birthplace of hard core neo convervatism, 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 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 author's motivations portrayed by some as purely PhD research is a mouthful to chew on and not choke. One can simply Google his mentors, allies, and affiliations and see that there is enough envy and jealousy of a  vast rival power network to make an overflowing Georgian 'supra' table seem meager.  USAID now 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 muckracking hillbilly in these here hills that has noticed 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 Silverman,
Freelance journalist and former Editor of Georgian Times, 18 years resident of Georgia, who has investigated corruption within USAID in Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Afghanistan, in the last ten years.


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