And why you should be afraid it exists
by: Thomas X. Foolery, D.D.
As average American citizenry, we try not to delve into government agencies too much…more out of fear than anything I suppose. Most try not to look behind the curtain too often or too deep. The great and powerful Oz might catch us.
Maybe it’s television or the movies, maybe its fear of the known and unknown. Either way all the acronyms such as NSA, FBI, GAO, DNC, CIA, CDC all conjure up images of Jason Bourne chasing down assassins in some far off exotic land as a rogue agent of a secret acronym who gets caught up in the politics of it all. And therein lies the problem. Amazing patriots like Snowden, Barrett and others have shed light on the ugly truth that there are such people, the agencies do exist and things that go bump in the night just might be an assassin or someone planting a laser range finder on your home, so the drones and satellites know where to look and listen…because you texted the presidents name in a conversation with a friend. The government has become the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. For now.
In reading an article on defense spending, and another on military assistance lent to the “Coalition” forces fighting in Afghanistan, I happened upon the acronym USAID. Its been seen sporadically many times, but given its innocuous almost warm and fuzzy nature, not much thought was lent to it. Then, as often happens, it struck me out of nowhere. Why would an agency of the US Government that states its sole mission is assistance to developing nations need something a teeny bit shy of half of the $44 billion dollars in defense spending, shared with only the Department’s of Defense and State, appropriated and disbursed from 2002 through 2014? That’s an awful lot of money for bean sprouts, powdered milk and antibiotics. Specifically when thats only approximately one third of the ‘actual’ amount spent. When a seemingly benevolent and charitable federal agency is included, many times, in the same sentences and paragraphs in many separate publications, with Dept. of Defense, Academi (formerly known as Blackwater), the CIA, NSA and militaristic type partners it raises more than an eyebrow. Indeed.
Its mission statement reads “USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their full potential” thus is would be reasonable to believe that there are no ulterior motives here, aside from the typical cramming democracy down other nations’ throats (whether they want it or not). It appears that its essentially a noble ‘cause’ to help others in need etc and so forth. Makes America look good on the foreign affairs front, garners support from allies. Unfortunately all is not as it seems.
If a look is taken into the top forty vendors of USAID, it would appear even more likely that there is more good than harm to come of this agency. Except…there are significant windfalls for the US to absorb by way of repayment of ‘initiatives’ that were given – but not asked for. Specifically mineral rights, oil reserves and food surplus. Maybe its just me, but I find the whole facade troubling. Especially when its published openly by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) and emblazoned on the USAID website that their efforts account for less than 1 percent of the total Federal Budget.
That is a significant amount of money to be spent abroad when there are domestic issues that need resolution soon than later. Not to mention according to the president, the ‘war is over’ in Afghanistan. Except, through the investigation by the Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), USAID received billions upon billions of dollars to ‘reconstruct’ a Country we are technically still having active conflict in and with.
Add to that IBM, a “complete stranger to defense contracting” according to the Washington Post, yet it has seized control of literally all of the natural mineral resources and subsequent investment of same from Afghanistan. Under a contract that allows IBM complete control of all of Afghani financial benefits from mining, they get to keep a decent percentage of the profits, with a mere tithing going back to the federal government. There are differing claims to exact percentages, with the range being between 7 and 30%. Even at seven points, that represents billions of dollars on top of the USAID contract with IBM thats worth $267,000,000. This is only to control the investments of the minerals, not mine them either.
A deeper look at USAIDS ‘vendor’ list shows more cause for concern. Chemonix is present in the Afghan region, to “promote social and economic change through stability”, but what appears to be nothing short of re-education of the populace into a more “socially acceptable and foreign affair appropriate mind set” based on their mission statement. Chemonix has been around for at least fifty years (changing corporate names multiple times) and were instrumental in assisting the DoD in pre-1968 Vietnam with a very similar program for the North Vietnamese. We all know how that turned out. Based on the projected 2016 DoD Budget Approval, Chemonix will receive $501,697,892 for their participation in Afghanistan in 2015.
The World Bank is slated to get the largest sum from USAID’s budget, an astonishing $2,051,451,215. Yes, thats over two billion dollars. Given to a Bank, that by all practical research is a self sustaining financial institution in and of itself with assets in excess of $187 Trillion Dollars and an additional infinite line of credit from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) that was voted in by a secretive session of the member nations, with only 8 of the 20 participating countries being allowed a vote.
The World Bank indeed has some great initiatives, specifically those ending world hunger and poverty, providing education, medicine and stability to third world countries. All noble causes. All fully funded by TWB and IMF independently. So this begs the question, is the risk so great in Afghanistan that a two billion dollar contract must be in place to guarantee spending losses aren’t incurred? Even a United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report in 2012 criticized the World Bank and other international financial institutions such as the IMF, for focusing too much “on issuing loans rather than on achieving concrete development results within a finite period of time” and called on the institution to “strengthen anti-corruption efforts”. So they’re given a couple billion from USAID to have no finite solutions in the Afghan region?
How about Academi? They literally did a ‘bang up’ job in Iraq as Blackwater. We can be relatively certain, although the name has changed, it’s still the same organization, if not worse, with DoD approvals and executive orders all over the place. Are they required to abide by the Geneva Convention? Rules of Engagement? Who’s watching the watchers who are supposed to be watching the mercenaries with advanced weapons systems, Humvees and military explosives? Are there any oversight committees looking for oversights? Do innocuous vendors from USAID need armed protection from insurgency whilst teaching indigenous folks how to purify their water or grow vegetables?
Its a reasonable assumption with ISIS and other militant groups roaming around kidnapping and killing civilians, that they need some sort of protection. But, a paramilitary “mercenary” group contracted to protect? For Profit. Well, we can guess this would account for the president stating publicly the ‘war’ is over and troops are coming home for the first time in 12 years. Yet, isn’t a militant mercenary group on the payroll of a company funded by US Dollars tantamount to the same thing? Not to be misunderstood in this aspect, there must be safeguards in place. People with weapons need to be standing close by to protect the other regular type folks whom are giving medicine, or food or whatever is on the agenda. Yet common sense dictates it would, or at least should, be actual military personnel, US, Coalition or otherwise. Not mercenaries. And not to the tune of over five hundred million dollars.
All of the investments through USAID budget expenditures boil down to the one thing everyone in the pool wants but no one can yet lay claim to: the raping of Afghanistan’s natural resources that have for the most part remained unsolicited and virgin.
But by USAID’s accounts, they will install a new informed government, from an educated population, that no longer reels from the pangs of hunger nor suffers the strife of poverty. Without being blinded by social or religious differences they (the native Afghans) will choose to hand over all rights and privileges to what amounts to the only future prosperity that their Country has. And will do so willingly. Because they want to…sure they do. All the while the poppy plants will be harvested, heroin shall be exported and the mountains, hillsides and farmland will be raped by strip mining, hydrofracking, explosives detonating, and the sound’s of heavy equipment will fill the air night and day.
Meanwhile a typical Afghan citizen sits idly by sipping a Coca-Cola, eating a Big Mac and watching cable television…as their country is pilfered under USAIDS credo of “…enabling resilient, democratic societies to realize their full potential”. It’s a sad state of affairs when about seventy hours of research provides more questions than answers.
The infrastructure on American soil is deteriorating rapidly, the economy is idle at best, the country is rife with hunger and poverty…yet USAID, or any other acronym hidden federal agency is not doing much about the strife on home soil. Apparently we haven’t realized our full potential yet….or possibly none of us are resilient enough to meet the standard. Indeed.