Monday, February 23, 2009

Melayu Yang Mati Pucuk Itu

Melayu pemuda buncit bertempik
Derhaka! Derhaka! Derhaka!
Sebagai beruk dan monyet sarkis
Sambil terkencing dan terkencit
Melihat pisang ufti yang dirompak
Semakin sedikit untuk direbut

Melayu SPRM kentut berdegar
Rasuah! Rasuah! Rasuah!
Sebagai anjing mitos ketuanan
Tidak nampak gajah di depan mata
Lapuran dan penyelewengan si tuan
Terus berbukit dan berbau hancing

Melayu GERAK jilat menjilat
Lembu! Lembu! Lembu!
Kerana sedap di cucuk hidung
Sekali diterajang sekali berGERAK
Gemuk kenyang makan suap
Kerana itu berak memilih tempat

Melayu NGOk-NGOk berdemo sakan
Daulat Tuanku! Daulat Tuanku!
Sebagai hamba kepada ketuanan
Telah buta hati tersasar perjuangan
Menempek sebagai pelakun pembantu
Aksi bodoh berskrip agenda hipokrasi

Melayu-Melayu itu dan yang sewaktu
Keras kerisnya dibalut viagra
Sebagai wira bangang yang mati pucuk
Kerana belum sempat klimaks
Mereka terkulai dan tersadai dipinggiran
Ignoran sebagai pengkhianat bangsa!

Dubai, UAE
23 Februari 2009

Iraq reconstruction: A $117b failure story

It is a story of incompetence, nepotism, failures and cover up. And of fraud and corruption, and not only by Iraqi officials and American contractors.

Earlier this month, the Commission on Wartime Contracting presented to the US Congress a document prepared by the US Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction entitled Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience.
It is a story of incompetence, nepotism, failures and cover up. And of fraud and corruption, and not only by Iraqi officials and American contractors.
Last week the New York Times reported that senior American officers involved in the Iraq reconstruction project were being investigated for fraud and corruption.
As an example of failure the report mentions the waste-water treatment system to serve the entire population of Falluja. When finished "it will serve just over a third of the city's population, will have cost three times its original price, and will have been completed three years later than originally planned."
The report also accuses the Pentagon of covering up this failure. It says that when it became clear that the reconstruction effort, and particularly the training of Iraqi army and police, were falling short of expectations, the Pentagon simply made up inflated measures of progress and declared the projects successful.
Former secretary of state Colin Powell reportedly said that in the months that followed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon "kept inventing numbers of Iraqi security forces - the number would jump 20,000 a week! 'We now have 80,000, we now have 100,000, we now have 120,000'."
The report says that by mid-2008, $117 billion (Dh429.8 billion), including $50 billion of American taxpayer money, had been spent on the reconstruction of Iraq, with nothing more to show for it than restoring what the war had destroyed.
The reconstruction project relied almost exclusively on contractors. The reliance on contractors created a fertile ground for nepotism. Christian Miller, the author of the book Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives and Corporate Greed in Iraq. Who profited here?, told daily independent news programme Democracy Now that an ideological decision had been made by then-deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz to award construction contracts only to those nations which were participating in the invasion, which basically meant "mostly American companies".
Last week, the British newspaper The Independent reported that well-connected Republicans had been given well-paying jobs in Iraq, regardless of experience: "A 24-year-old from a Republican family was put in charge of the Baghdad stock exchange".
Fraud and corruption figured prominently in this epic of failure. The New York Times reported that "current war fraud runs into untold billions" and listed among other items, "faulty ammunition and vehicles and not-so-bullet-proof vests".
Rolling Stone carried its own investigation of fraud and corruption in a report entitled "The Great Iraq Swindle: How Bush Allowed an Army of For-Profit Contractors to Invade the US Treasury". The investigation relates how the American company Bechtel was given $50 million to build a hospital but within a year the cost had climbed to $169 million when "the company was pulled off the project without a single bed being ready for use".
In another example, an American contractor was brazen in his defrauding action. He delivered broken trucks to the US Army, and when the American military complained, he gave this colourful answer: "We were only told we had to deliver the trucks. The contract doesn't say they had to work."
The New York Times reported that corruption was rampant in Iraq: "The government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki is systematically dismissing Iraqi oversight officials, who were installed to fight corruption in Iraqi ministries&"
Corruption in Iraq had also been the subject of a 2008 investigation by the American news programme 60 Minutes. It explored "the rampant corruption going on throughout the Iraqi government, and how much of the up to $18 billion is missing or unaccounted for&"
60 Minutes also reported on how the State Department retroactively classified its own report "detailing widespread fraud, intimidation and embezzlement within the Iraqi government".
The State Department's refusal to cooperate with investigators into fraud and corruption was publicly decried by Democrat Senator Byron Dorgan. He told the Senate that former members of the State Department testified before congress that "our State Department& did everything they could to undermine the efforts" of those fighting corruption in Iraq.
Iraqi officials say that the fraud and corruption could only have taken place with the complicity of American military officials. At least one American businessman working in Iraq supports this contention.
"I believe the real looting of Iraq after the invasion was by US officials and contractors, and not by people from the slums of Baghdad," he is reported to have said.
Last week the New York Times, citing court records and interviews with American military officials, reported that senior US military officers were being investigated for corruption in connection with the Iraq reconstruction effort.

By Adel Safty's, his new book, Might Over Right, is endorsed by Noam Chomsky, and published by Garnet in England.

Vacancies in Dubai Metro


Oscars: ‘Slumdog’ Takes Best Picture

Oscars: ‘Slumdog’ Takes Best Picture

Fox Searchlight “Slumdog Millionaire” takes best picture.
'Slumdog Millionaire' Wins Best Picture
"Slumdog Millionaire" won the top prize at the 81st annual Academy Awards ceremony, as well as awards for directing, adapted screenplay, original score, film editing, original song, sound mixing and cinematography.