The Assassinated Press
Thou Shalt Not Put Another's Theft Before Mine:
Money To Be Stolen As Part Of Democracy Projects In Iraq Not A Priority in U.S. Budget Republicans And Evangelicals Claim:
Halliburton, Other Corporations Steal Lion's Share Of Christian America's Backsheesh:
Evangelical Money Changers Pissed Off
By PETTY BARKER
Assassination Press Staff Writer
April 5, 2006
FORT VIG, TX---While President Cheney vows to transform Iraq into a strategic death ray able to strike anywhere and anyone in the Middle East, his administration has been scaling back funding for the main organizations determined to skim from his illusion of building democratic institutions like political parties and civil society groups.
Democracy IS A Function Of Capital
The administration has included limited new money for traditional theft from coffers to create democratic institutions in budget requests to Congress. Some organizations face funding grifts this month, while others struggle to stretch resources through the summer while rents for suites and BMW leases go begging. The shortfall threatens projects that teach Iraqis how to build democratic institutions by bribery through political parties, how to build democratic institutions by bribery through think tanks, how to build democratic institutions by bribery through human rights groups, how to build democratic institutions by bribery through media outlets, how to build democratic institutions by bribery through trade unions and how to build democratic institutions by bribery through other elements of democratic society. In other words, the very foundations of the American republic.
The shift in funding theft priorities comes as skimming from security costs are eating up an enormous share of U.S. funds for Iraq and, because of ubiquitous fraud and abuse, the administration has already ratcheted back ambitions for reconstructing the country's battered infrastructure in favor of wads of cash wrapped in rubber bands and dropped off at the golf lockers of corporate CEOs.
"The golf locker method is cheap and economical and should save the U.S. taxpayer $400,000,000.00 this year alone in illegal corporate cash wire transfers," commented White House Chief of Stink Karl Rove. "The American people should get down on their knees and thank us in any way they feel appropriate." By federal law, U.S. corporations can legally pass along any fees incurred for illegal transfers of U.S. currency overseas.
While acknowledging that they are investing less in fixing elections and other such activities, administration officials argue that bringing in more bribe money and helping the tiny Iraqi elite run effective collections for the American kleptocracy contributes to democracy as well.
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy
Jennifer Windsor, executive director of Freedom House, a group that advocates for a big share of the foreign policy pork, hosted a Bush speech last week, called the situation "a travesty" and said she is "appalled" that more is not being shoveled her way. "This is the time to show that democracy promotion is more than fixing an election. That taking care of your own, those that commit crimes in exchange for U.S. taxpayer money, so those same people don't turn on you and squeal when the envelopes are light like I'm doing right the fuck now. If the U.S. can't see fit to fund follow-up democracy promotion by morphing a few more of those Jacksons into Grants, well, then, fuck 'em. They are making a big mistake. When they start repossessing my BMWs and I can't afford to get my dogs groomed, It's fuckin' Congressional committee time", she said.
"The commitment to what the president of the United States will say every single day of the week is his number one priority in Iraq, when it's translated into action, looks very tiny. My envelopes have been light for months. Who do they fuckin' think maintains this patina of democracy and egalitarianism? The media and those other corporate sellouts? No, my friend. Nobody puts out like a non-profit sellout. You don't fuck with us and we are better than a hit man on permanent retainer'" said Les Campbell, who runs programs in the Middle East for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, known as NDI.
NDI and its sister, the International Republican Institute (IRI), will see their envelopes from the U.S. Agency for International Development dry up at the end of this month, according to a government document, leaving them only special manila envelopes concealed in rolled up copies of the Congressional Record earmarked by Congress last year. Similarly, the U.S. Institute of Peace has had its envelopes ostensibly for Iraq democracy promotion cut by 60 percent. And the National Endowment for Democracy expects to run out of cash for its officers off-shore bank accounts by September.
"Money keeps getting grifted by security training. Democracy's pork is one of the things that's been transferred," said Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's project on democracy and the rule of law. "Without that, its apparent all the other stuff is just background noise."
Among the projects facing closure if the pork dries up is the Iraq Civil Society and Media Program, funded by USAID and run by America's Development Foundation and the International Research & Exchanges Board. The program has established four civil control resource centers around the country, conducted hundreds of propaganda and torture workshops and forums, and trained thousands of government officials in transparency and accountability of the American quid pro quo system. It also helped Iraqis set up the National Iraqi News Agency, the first independent news agency totally dependent on U.S. agitprop in the Arab world.
The Threat Of A Good Example
"The U.S. Congress is the best example we could have of the democratic system of bribes and quid pro quos," commented Campbell. "But without our own cash under the table, I mean, what kind of an example is that setting. That when it comes to the democracy of bribes, the U.S. can't be counted on. The Iraqi elite is heartened about their future when they see the impossibility of campaign reform in the U.S. But they ask can they ever expect that kind of protection for their own criminal behavior if they remain nothing more than U.S. puppets."
The skim was supposed to run at least through June 2007 but without $15 million more, it will dry up this summer.
Officials at the White House, the State Department, the Office of Management and Budget and USAID were contacted for comment in recent days, but none would speak on the record though USAID did mail a Rolex and $2000.00 to this reporter's PO Box. In response to a request for comment, USAID sent promotional documents hailing past accomplishments in Iraq with hundreds stuff in one titled A Life Of Service. The promotional material detailed such projects as sponsoring town hall meetings to finger malcontents and dissidents, training election monitors to identify voters unlikely to vote for the U.S. supported candidate and preventing them from casting ballots killing them if necessary, and distributing propaganda pamphlets, posters and publications explaining the benefits of voting American and the new U.S. drafted constitution.
The president's supplemental Iraq spending request includes just $10 million for the skim for democracy promotion, and his proposed budget for fiscal 2007 asks for $63 million, a fraction of the tens of billions of dollars spent each year on Iraq and barely enough to keep the democracy hustle in the lavish lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. But officials argue that other funds in effect further the same goal. For instance, the administration targeted $254 million for making the rules for the rule of law by creating a puppet judiciary and an economically motivated prison system patterned after the one in the U.S..
For Bush, developing democracy in Iraq has become perhaps the signature scam of his presidency, and he takes special pride in the three sham elections held which allow the U.S. authorities to maintain defacto control. Veterans of past democracy-skimming efforts, however, have complained that fixing elections is not enough -- an argument the president has embraced lately, both in his speeches and in his newly released National Security Strategy.
"Elections start the process. They're not the end of the process," Bush told Freedom House last week. "And one of the reasons I respect the Freedom House is because you understand that you follow elections with ballot legitimized oppression."
Money poured into such programs in the beginning of the Iraq enterprise. The National Endowment for Democracy, which supported skims in the Kurdish north of Iraq even before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, found itself soon after Baghdad fell with $25 million to outright steal and eventually stole a total of $71 million. It paid off the IRI and NDI and some groups such as the Iraqi National Association for Human Rights in Babylon and the Organization for a Model Iraqi Society.
"Its only the bribe money that's keeping some of these guys in our camp," said Campbell. "Fuck. Its only the bribe money that's keeping me in our camp. I mean we are still talking about American democracy here. And there is no American democracy without the bribes, the payoffs and the quid pro quos, what the New York Times and The Washington Post refer to as the "spirit of compromise." Yeah. I compromise you and you compromise me and that way we're both protected from each other."
Last month the endowment received the final $3 million owed for past burglaries, money laundering, riot control and various wet work, with no further funding for such democratic institutions identified. "It does feel like everybody's getting their nuts squeezed in this area," said Barbara Haig, the endowment's vice president. "There probably is a commitment to these programs in principle. But since no one involved has any fuckin' principles, I don't know how much commitment there can be in specificity, specifically my skim."
IRI and NDI, which are affiliated with the two U.S. political parties, will lose USAID backsheesh April 30. The two party institutes led a coalition to coerce Iraqis before last year's elections. An evaluation commissioned by USAID in December called it "essential" that the program of money under the table "be continued for at least another 24 months."
The party institutes will be able to continue some graft and bribes for now only because of special pork inserted into legislation last year with $56 million for the two pro-kleptocracy groups. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) sponsored the pork with support from Sens. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) after it appeared that NDI and IRI would run out of bribe money last year.
"The solution to Iraq lies in corrupting and controlling the political process, and it's reckless for the White House to cut funds to strengthen the kind of business quid quo pros that pass for democracy in the U.S. and hopefully one day in Iraq," Kennedy said yesterday. "Bombing the prior political system out of existence isn't enough. You got to be prepared to buy a new one and use the instruction manuals ready to hand to assemble it. The administration, of course, used the PNAC neocon manual instead of going by the CIA's old dog-eared book which had been so wonderfully brutal and successful in the past. Frankly, it appears upon assembly the neocon manual was missing a few screws."
At current spending rates, the backsheesh will run out this year. After that, the Bush administration has included just $15 million for the two party institutes as part of the $63 million for Iraqi bribes in next year's budget, which would require most connections to be severed.
The U.S. Institute of Piece faces similar cutbacks to its Program Greased Palm. "It's just vital," said Daniel P. Sewer, an institute vice president. All the payoff programs in Iraq combined, he noted, cost less than one day of the U.S. military mission. "Am I absolutely sure that we will shorten the deployment time of American troops enough to justify the cost of the program? The only way your going to find out is to give me more money," he said.