CIA Reportedly Bribing Large Number of Afghan Officials

The Bush and Obama Administration have made great public pronouncements about working to address the rampant corruption among Afghan leaders who have reportedly stolen millions of dollars. The Administration may want to start with its own bribes. A report has revealed that the CIA is making regular secret payments to members of President Hamid Karzai’s administration. It appears bribes from the United States are not really corruption because we are doing the corrupting.

Recently, one aide, Mohammad Zia Salehi, is accused of accepting a $10,000 car as a bribe in exchange for quashing a wide-ranging probe. U.S. officials expressed horror while maintaining an entire system of alleged bribes for officials to do what we want.

The payments are designed to get information and instill loyalty (it appears fighting for their freedom and rights is not enough).

According to the report below, a sizable number of officials are receiving CIA bribes.

What is interesting is that Paul Gimigliano, a CIA spokesman, disputed the report which appears well sourced. He insisted “this anonymous source appears driven by ignorance, malice or both.” If the allegations are true (and I believe they are), we now have the CIA telling the public not to believe the sources — adding disinformation to bribery.

The standard reply is that the congressional oversight committees will look into this allegation. However, these are the same members who covered up the torture program, blocked federal lawsuits of privacy violations, and allowed an array of criminal violations to occur without response.

Gimigliano, the CIA spokesman, insists that “[t]his agency plays an essential role in promoting American goals in Afghanistan, including security and stability. Speculation about who may help us achieve that is both dangerous and counterproductive.” Of course, this is the same agency that ran a torture program and then destroyed the evidence in the name of American values. We may have a disagreement on what the CIA considers to be American goals and values.

Source: WashingtonPost

22 thoughts on “CIA Reportedly Bribing Large Number of Afghan Officials”

  1. erykah, you make an excellent point. We never have a problem with military dictators or corrupt politicians, as long as we own them.

  2. HenMan rightly points out that: “Vietnam dragged on, year after year, long after the goal of ‘victory’ became a bad joke to anyone with common sense.”

    It’s a little known yet shocking fact that sometime in the mid 90’s (I forget the exact year) it was determined that more Vietnam veterans committed suicide than were actually killed in the war. That’s right. More GI’s took their own lives than were killed by the Viet Cong or NVA or friendly fire combined!

    Just try and get your brain around that twisted statistic for a moment. Then go back and look statistically at how many Luby’s Cafeteria style mass murderers are from military backrounds, or happen in military towns. Society will always reap what it sows. Foreign policy can only be an extension of domestic policy for it’s our politicians that craft policy.

    The hidden social cost of such wars are in fact unfathomable and as such are almost never reported. Such wars don’t “work out.” Not even “sort of.”

  3. Pete said: “It worked in Iraq…. sort of”

    No it didn’t, unless you call utterly ruining the cradle of civilization, over a trillion dollars spent/wasted enriching a handful of multinational corporations, 5 thousand or so dead soldiers and 35,000 or so maimed ones that come home to a bankrupted economy & face unprecedented suicide rates that will likely cost us another trillion to maintain their physical & psychological damages.

    The Iraq war was a failure by every measure. Alexander Cockburn recently argued in The Nation and on his website that “the US onslaught on Iraq was a strategic and military disaster.”

    The Left and Iraq: Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

    “The US isn’t withdrawing from Iraq at all – it’s rebranding the occupation… What is abundantly clear is that the US, whose embassy in Baghdad is now the size of Vatican City, has no intention of letting go of Iraq any time soon.” So declared Seumas Milne of The (UK) Guardian on August 4.
    Milne is not alone among writers on the left arguing that even though most Americans think it’s all over. They say that Uncle Sam still effectively occupies Iraq, still rules the roost there. They gesture at 50,000 US troops in 94 military bases, “advising” and training the Iraqi army, “providing security” and carrying out “counter-terrorism” missions. Outside US government forces there is what Jeremy Scahill calls the “coming surge” of contractors in Iraq, swelling up from the present 100,000. Hillary Clinton wants to increase the number of military contractors working for the state department alone from 2,700 to 7,000. Of these contractors 11,000 are armed mercenaries, mostly “third country nationals, typically from the developing world. “The advantage of an outsourced occupation,” Milne writes, “ is clearly that someone other than US soldiers can do the dying to maintain control of Iraq.

    “Can Iraq now be regarded as a tolerably secure outpost of the American system in the Middle East?” Tariq Ali asked in the New Left Review earlier this year. He answered himself judiciously, “They have reason to exult, and reason to doubt”, but the thrust of his analysis depicts Iraq as still the pawn of the American Empire, with a “predominantly Shia army—some 250,000 strong—… trained and armed to the teeth to deal with any resurgence of the resistance,” all this with “the blessing of the saintly Sistani’s smile”.

    The bottom line, as drawn by Milne and Ali is oil. Milne gestures to the “dozen 20-year contracts to run Iraq’s biggest oil fields that were handed out last year to foreign companies”.

    Is it really true that though the US troop presence has dropped by 120,000 in less than a year, Iraq is as much under Uncle Sam’s imperial jackboot as it was in, say, 2004, even though now no US troops patrol the streets? If Iraq’s political affairs are under US control, how come the U.S. Embassy — deployed in its Vatican City-size compound, (mostly as vacant as a foreclosed subdivision in Riverside, California and planned in the same phase of megalomania) cannot knock Iraqi heads together and make them form a government? Those 50,000 troops broiling in their costly bases are scarcely a decisive factor in Iraq’s internal affairs; nor are the private contractors.

    Is a Shi’a-dominated government really to America’s taste and nothing more than its pawn? It was Sistani who forced the elections of 2005, calling Bush on his pledge of free elections, thus downsizing the excessive representation of the Sunni – who boycotted the election anyway. And if all this was a devious ploy to break “the Iraqi resistance” how come the United States constantly invokes the menace of Iran and decries its influence in Iraq?

    The “Iraqi resistance” invoked in worshipful tones by Tariq Ali, as opposed to his ironic “saintly” reserved for Sistani, means, in his perspective, the Sunni. But if the Sunni ever had a strategy beyond a strictly sectarian agenda, it was scarcely advanced by blowing up Shi’a pilgrims and their shrines and setting off bombs in market places. If Moqtada al Sadr has been side-lined by the US and its supposed creature, Sistani, why has he been described as the “kingmaker” since his success in the parliamentary election this past March?

    As for the contractors, those sinister Third World mercenaries should not be oversold, unless the Shiites are supposed to quail before ill-paid Peruvians, Ugandan cops and the like, who will now be supposedly handing down orders to the Iraqi government. This takes a very imperial, and contemptuous attitude towards the capabilities of the Iraqi people.

    If this really was a “war for oil,” it scarcely went well for the United States.

    Run your eye down the list of contracts the Iraqi government awarded in June and December 2009. Prominent is Russia’s Lukoil, which, in partnership with Norway’s Statoil, won the rights to West Qurna Phase Two, a 12.9 billion–barrel supergiant oilfield. Other successful bidders for fixed-term contracts included Russia’s Gazprom and Malaysia’s Petronas. Only two US-based oil companies came away with contracts: ExxonMobil partnered with Royal Dutch Shell on a contract for West Qurna Phase One (8.7 billion barrels in reserves); and Occidental shares a contract in the Zubair field (4 billion barrels), in company with Italy’s ENI and South Korea’s Kogas. The huge Rumaila field (17 billion barrels) yielded a contract for BP and the China National Petroleum Company, and Royal Dutch Shell split the 12.6 billion–barrel Majnoon field with Petronas, 60-40.

    Throughout the two auctions there were frequent bleats from the oil companies at the harsh terms imposed by the auctioneers representing Iraq, as this vignette from Reuters about the bidding on the northern Najmah field suggests: “Sonangol also won the nearby 900-million-barrel Najmah oilfield in Nineveh.… Again, the Angolan firm had to cut its price and accept a fee of $6 per barrel, less than the $8.50 it had sought. ‘We are expecting a little bit higher. Can you go a little bit higher?’ Sonangol’s exploration manager Paulino Jeronimo asked Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani to spontaneous applause from other oil executives. Shahristani said, ‘No.’”

    So either the all powerful US government was unable to fix the auctions to its liking, or the all powerful US-based oil companies mostly decided the profit margins weren’t sufficiently tempting. Either way, “the war for oil” doesn’t look in very good shape.

    Milne advances the odd idea that with the (entirely imaginary) US “control” of Iraqi oil “the global oil price could be slashed and the grip of recalcitrant Opec states broken.” In fact, the last thing the majors want is to cut world oil prices. Ask BP.

    Milne and Ali are being naive and credulous in taking at face value US officials declaring that they are not wholly withdrawing and they will still be in business in Iraq for the foreseeable future. The reason for saying this is that they don’t want to see their influence go wholly to zilch. They therefore have to maintain — and are dutifully echoed on the left – that their power in Iraq is only a little affected by reduction of troop numbers from 150,000 to less than a quarter of that number.

    The US line on this is in one sense sensible: In Iran many Iranians saw the hidden hand of Britain behind developments long after the Brits’ real power had faded almost to nothing. In the case of the US in Iraq it is easy to sell this when the right and left agree that the US is too powerful to have suffered a defeat.

    The American right tried to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by claiming that “the surge” – a P.R. ploy by General David Petraeus to mask US withdrawal – was a military success, rather than the Sunni abandoning “national resistance” and throwing in their lot with the Americans. The left – or the substantial slice of it hewing to the Milne/Ali line – snatches defeat from the jaws of a victory over America’s plans for Iraq by proclaiming that America has successfully established what Milne calls “a new form of outsourced semi-colonial regime to maintain its grip on the country and region.” Iraq is in ruins – always the default consequence of American imperial endeavors. The left should report this, but also hammer home the message that in terms of its proclaimed objectives the US onslaught on Iraq was a strategic and military disaster. That’s the lesson to bring home.

  4. Buddha,
    You could be right about the perpetual war concept. I would suggest it is more related to the perpetual profit from all activities, including war.

  5. Mike Appleton says:
    Of course, it also illustrates how pathetic U.S foreign policy is in that part of the world.

    Mike, please. This is all over the world: African , Latin America, etc. That’s why I always laugh when our government chides other countries about corruption. We are complicit in that corruption. Hell, our government is as corrupt as the next. This is not news. More on, there is nothing to see here.

  6. Karl Friedrich- I strongly agree with what you said so well. We invaded Afghanistan in 2001 for the alleged purpose of killing or capturing Osama Bin Laden and his top lieutenants in that bleak and lawless land. Bin Laden is long gone and we are still there for various goals that change with each passing year. We have learned nothing from the Russian adventure there and the resulting ruin of their economy and military. Need I bring up the pathetically obvious lie that got us into Iraq? And the resulting ruin of our economy and military? We are still there, minus 4,400 who aren’t coming home and tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of men and women who now suffer from PTSD caused by an uncaring military command that sent them into combat again and again, knowing what it would do to them. Vietnam dragged on, year after year, long after the goal of “victory” became a bad joke to anyone with common sense. The ultimate result of each of these crusades was and will always be the same: The people we went to conquer will stay, and we will leave. When will we learn?

  7. I believe this is called “exporting democracy.” It is a long established practice. It is hardly surprising that in a country (I use that term loosely) such as Afghanistan, where tribal loyalties have always trumped allegiance to a central government, there is a correspondingly higher demand for bribes. Of course, it also illustrates how pathetic U.S foreign policy is in that part of the world.

  8. “detrimental to the task at hand”

    No the real problem is “the task at hand.”

    This nation has no business shoving 100,000 troops into one of the poorest countries on earth in the first place.

    It’s a criminal war inspired by a criminal foreign policy, and foreign policy is always merely an extension of domestic policy. It’s no accident that 30 years ago the incarcerated population in the US was 350,000 but now is over 2 million, yet amazingly the crime rate has dropped.

    Thus CIA = Corporate Inspired Audacity — is more appropo.

    I have news for you. Bribery by the CIA of foreign officials is not news. It’s been SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) since their inception. Yet bribe money is a drop in the bucket of the taxpayer expenditures for this criminal boondoggle in Afghanistan.

    Not only is it $1 million per year to feed & house a single soldier in Afghanistan but this highly mechanized army, per the Pentagon, pays $400 per gallon for fuel while corporations that facilitate it make windfall profits.

    No wonder Wall Street loves war. Just click & weep.

    Now consider the average vehicle, this includes tanks, planes and choppers, averages much less than a mile per gallon. (The fuel line for an A10 Warthog is the diameter of a swimming pool drain.)

    That’s billions of dollars a week while levys & bridges & schools (nevermind constitutional protections) collapse at home while almost one returned vet per day commits suicide. Just imagine how many will be going Postal on the unsuspecting public at some Luby’s Cafeteria in the future?

    It takes 32 years to click off 1 billion seconds on a stopwatch yet that’s what the Pentagon pays corporations for a single Stealth bomber for which there’s not a single enemy to deploy it against. They’ve certainly never deployed one in Afghanistan.

    Put that all in perspective with the rest of the imperialist turpitude in these criminal adventures around the globe and then talk about outrage.

    In my view Sam is really like one of those incorrigable Uncles that molests his nephews over Thanksgiving.

  9. Oh… so what’s the point in all of this? It happens there and it ok…right?

    Health Care:

    Friday, April 15, 2005
    Former Serono Executives Indicted for Bribery
    The Boston Globe reported that four former executives of Serono Inc, a US unit of Serono SA, were indicted by the US justice department for bribery and conspiracy. The government charged that the executives offered doctors trips to a medical conference in Cannes, France in return for prescribing a certain amount of the drug Serostim. The defendents claim that they were employing sales tactics commonly used at the time, and were only sending doctors to a legitimate medical conference on AIDS.

    What about the Apple executive that was indicted:

    In a civil lawsuit filed last Friday in a San Jose, Calif., federal court, Apple charged Paul Shin Devine, a global supply manager in charge of procuring iPhone and iPod component parts, with taking more than $1 million in bribes and kickbacks from half a dozen Asian suppliers over a three-year period.

    Devine has also been indicted on 23 criminal counts by a federal grand jury, and is currently being held in custody. He now faces a bail hearing next Monday, Aug. 23, on those charges. Earlier this week, Devine pleaded not guilty to all counts.

    Apple’s lawsuit alleged that Devine used personal accounts on Windows Live Hotmail and Gmail, the Web-based services operated by Microsoft and Google, respectively, to avoid suspicion as he managed a complex bribery scheme.

  10. raff,

    “This kind of activity, at least on this scale, is not only wasteful, it is detrimental to the task at hand.”

    That would be true unless the task at hand was to help create a justification for perpetual war.

  11. Karl,
    I like the last choice. This type of activity shows the Executive Branch’s total disinvolvement in the so-called intelligence field. This kind of activity, at least on this scale, is not only wasteful, it is detrimental to the task at hand. Throwing money around may keep some Afghan officials happy, but it is getting American military men and women killed.

  12. Perhaps the C.I.A. has always stood for:


    Corrupt International Abettors

    Carreerist Ignorance in Afghanistan

    Corporate Inspired Audacity

    Criminal Institutions of America

    Crazy Idiotic Assholes

  13. What Frank said, above. I make jokes about this stuff so I will not pound my head on the keyboard or shoot my screen.

    We are a military family and this pushes the outrage meter clear off the scale.

    Correction: should read IRS in my previous post, not IRA.

  14. Can I sign up to become an Afghan official? I don’t speak the language, but for the right price am willing to learn. For a nominal sum of three million US dollars, I am willing to learn anything, up to and including Sanskrit. Heck, for that price I might throw in learning to play the Rebab or Zerbaghali at no extra charge. Would I have to relocate, or could I do the corruption from the comfort of my own home? I do have a cell phone and internet connection. I could do the corruption via teleconferencing and that way, not get shot at or blown up. To whom do I send in my application to be a corrupt Afghan government official? Can I use my own bank, or do I have to open a secret Swiss account? What should I put on the “Occupation” line on my IRS Form 1040 next year–I don’t think the IRA would see the humor in a job title like “Money Launderer” or “Bribery Specialist”? Finally, since my work as a corrupt Afghan official will be paid by the CIA, do I need to file a Form 2555 for Foreign Earned Income, since the CIA is a domestic funding source?

  15. My boy was in the Army, in Afghanistan in ’02 & 03 and 2 things made him madder than hell.

    First was he saw his own force being gutted to prepare for the useless assault in Iraq. He says he watched victory fade away.

    Second was the US fueled graft – huge sacks of money going to the Karsai family and friends – a blind eye turned to their involvement in opium and to their ties to the Taliban. Most of the economic aid that was supposed to go to building up infrastructure and lifting the people out of poverty went to enriching a small cadre of crooks and thieves.

    W, his buddies, the folks at State and the CIA all should pray fervently that there really is no Hell.

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