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Karzai's Ghost Money from the CIA
May 1st, 2013
The U.S. government is not unfamiliar with short-sighted policies, indeed short-sightedness in political systems often seems often more familiar than not. Yet of all the short-sighted policies the United States has engaged in, and especially of those overseas, the recent reports on ghost money in Afghanistan take the cake. I wish I could say I was surprised. According to a report by the New York Times, the Central Intelligence Agency has literally been dropping off “bags of cash” at Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s office for decades. Karzai called the amounts “small,” but evidence indicates the amounts are anything but—perhaps totaling tens...
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Our Dirty Love for Oil
June 2nd, 2011
Teodoro Nguema Obiang has controlled Equatorial Guinea since he executed his uncle in a bloody coup d’état in 1979. Equatorial Guinea is a country in Middle Africa on the coast. It is one of the smallest and wealthiest countries in the continent, in large part because it holds Africa’s largest oil reserves. Yet the wealth is extremely concentrated in the hands of the government and the ruling elite. Over 75% of the population lives below $2 per day, 35% of its citizens do not live past the age of 40, and nearly 60% do not...
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Bank Runs: Moral Hazard in Kabul
September 8th, 2010
If you’ve been following the melodrama surrounding the Bank of Kabul unfold, you’ll already know that the situation has (somewhat) stabilized. If you haven’t, here’s what you missed. Last week panic struck when President Karzai approved the dismissal of the Bank’s CEO, Sherkhan Farnood, amid numerous allegations of large scale corruption. According to high-level reports, top executives of the bank had been lending millions of dollars to the political elite for purchases of high-end real estate in Dubai. In the face of United Arab Emirates’ alarming real estate bubble, these investments are looking frighteningly sour. If...
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Afghanistan & Corruption: Shockingly Bad
August 23rd, 2010
The New York Times reports today that Hamid Karzai, the current president of Afghanistan, admitted to helping his aide escape corruption charges. From the Times:
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan acknowledged Sunday for the first time that he had personally intervened to free a top political aide who had been detained on graft charges by two American-backed Afghan anticorruption units. The aide, Mohammed Zia Saleh, head of administration for Afghanistan’s National Security Council, was arrested in late July after investigators wiretapped Mr. Saleh apparently soliciting bribes from...
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