Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ranks of USAID riddled with endemic corruption

Development aid as a "weapons system"--a soft one to be sure

Ranks of USAID riddled with endemic corruption

I thought of you, when they interviewed Andrew Wilder, a development
expert some months ago – and reading about corruption in some of your
posting about Georgia, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan.  It seems to be never

Andrew Wilder is a professor at Tufts University. And he was talking about
how foreign aid can contribute to endemic corruptions.  He talked about
how the military in Afghanistan now thinks of development aid as a
"weapons system"--a soft one to be sure, but I couldn't believe it was so
obviously stated as such.  It's nothing new to us in the trade, but to
hear it on the radio, it's a change-it's no long secret.  Aid, which use
to be thought of as "honorable, neutral" etc.,  is clearly exposed for
what it is; and he talked about how the aid -depending on who gets
it--creates winners and losers in the local community.

He talked about how subcontracting and sub-sub contracting etc just adds
to corruption. All this reminded me of your presentation of the Lugar et
al report; bio weapons labs in Georgia, Bechtel National and my own work
in the Middle East with weapons trafficking.

 From his site, I found this, "Wilder's current research study is titled
Winning Hearts and Minds? Examining the Relationship Between Aid and
Security in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Horn of Africa. This 18-month
study, funded by AREU and the governments of Australia, Norway, and
Sweden, focuses on the central question of the effectiveness of
humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in promoting security in
insecure areas. In particular, the study is researching the widespread
assumption, especially visible these days in counterinsurgency doctrine
and operations, that aid projects can help promote stability and security
by helping to win hearts and minds.

According to Wilder, "given how influential this assumption is in
influencing where aid money is spent, how much is spent, and who spends
it, there is currently remarkably little empirical evidence that either
proves or disproves the assumption." Specific study questions include:
Does reconstruction assistance win hearts and minds, and if so whose and
how? Does winning hearts and minds promote security, and if so how? Is
security-driven development effective in achieving poverty alleviation and
development objectives?

As to your recent correspondence about corruption in Afghanistan, for
Rusty Shultz, I really can't say for sure what all happened other than he
always somehow manages to show back up, even after being fired. All I know
is that there was Juice Factory that ARFC, Afghan Rural Finance Centre
provided a loan to; and it was Chemonics that provided the TA. Despite
allegations, the factory's owner has never been a warlord as I understand
it (maybe this warlord that you mention was someone else in a different

My contacts tell me that the loan was for about 4 million for a project
that could have been done for about $900,000 from accounts, call that
"leakage". Nonetheless, it does appear in retrospect that someone made a
bit of pocket money and that explains some of the old crew "showing-up" in
Georgia spending money like was going out of style.  I haven't received
any word of what is going on in USAID, and if they ever got back to you
from the investigative branch, I imagine it is more bark than bite - is
the clamp down on corruption - remember what I said about the Afghan
corruption really being reflective of their Western advisors and money

As to the project that you are most interested in, USAID's former
Technical Cognizant Officer is named Dorvin Stockdale, who replaced at the
helm a man named Lorene Stoddard; the word is Stockdale was removed along
with three others in USAID, most likely related to corruption or the cover
up of the corruption. Perhaps this is related to the nexus with Georgia
and Rusty Shultz, weapons and drug for weapons swaps. I think now that the
Russians are cooperating in this sphere, there might be some warrants
issued when they start tracking the drug flows and funding sources. It is
going to be hard to deny the involvement of USAID people in weapons
trafficking and drugs, and not just using them.

There were dozens of projects and contracts that Stockdale oversaw and
anything could have happened, especially with Rusty Shultz and ACDI/VOCA
former staffers and pound scum show up again. One possibility has to do
with Dovin Stockdale doctoring a contract that went missing from the files
– everybody was looking for it, and it was found on his desk, it appears
that it had to do with doctoring it up, so that the bloody tracks in the
snow would not be so obvious.

My suggestion, for your next investigation, Afghanistan Rural Finance
Center – start digging there, and what you already know, you should not
have too much trouble connecting the dots to what went on in
Georgia/Azerbaijan with ACDI/VOCA and others.

You would think that someone would realize who and what Rusty is, his
sorted record, and who all stands behind him;  it was well known the
things he was doing wrong even when I was in Georgia with the ACDI project
(that was 2003 and the very beginning of his involvement there).   Several
of my Georgian staff (we had some very good people that ACDI treated
shabbily after I left) knew all kinds of shady things that were going on
with Rusty, but no one seemed to care when they reported it.

Later, there were a number of people who showed up as key personnel when I
was serving on the USAID evaluation teams for the alternative livelihoods
projects, another sink hole, and they had been kicked of projects in other
countries for being alcoholics and worse. However, they were right there
in prominent positions from the likes of Chemonics and DAI.

Being on those USAID evaluation committees reviewing project proposals was
a real eye opener for me.   What a useless process that is.   I was
appalled at some of the horrible proposals that they would review and then
say they were in the competitive range.    Some of the bidders who won
projects had no business winning them; it really makes you wonder if the
whole process is rigged as so people claim.

So, the novel that you are working on sounds like it is "about the life of
Jeffrey K. Silverman", huh?    Is he going to be the hero in the latest
version of a Tom Clancy novel, or maybe the next Jason Bourne???????

By the way, here is the response on the information that he shared with me
to send to DC, and let's see if anything comes out of it.

This is to acknowledge receipt of your hotline complaint. The U.S. Agency
for International Development (USAID), Office of Inspector General Hotline
has reviewed your message and determined that additional information is
needed to thoroughly assess the matter being reported.

Please supply as much of the following information as possible: (1) A
detailed description of the problem with specific examples or references
to fraud, waste, or abuse within a USAID program or by USAID personnel
provide the names- first & last; titles, office(s), locations, of all
USAID personnel directly involved in the matter being reported); (2)
indicate how you became aware of the problem; (3) state how long this
matter has been going on (give specific dates and formal examples); (4)
Specify when the most recent action(s) occurred; (5) identify and submit
any documents, names of people or actions that we can use to verify the
problem (provide phone numbers, etc.). Your complaint will be evaluated by
this Hotline based on the existence of fraud, waste, or abuse by a USAID
employee or within a USAID program and/or bureau.


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