Monday, April 29, 2013

CIA 'ghost money': Millions in bribe money paid by U.S. to Afghanistan leaders

CIA 'ghost money': Millions in bribe money paid by U.S. to Afghanistan leaders, In a stunning report of clandestine government deception, news outlet Reuters is reporting April 28 that tens of millions of U.S. dollars in cash were delivered by the CIA to the office of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

The so-called “ghost money,” or what more aptly be called government bribes, were meant to curry favor and “buy” influence for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in a cockeyed ‘cash for information’ exchange.

The bribes, which allegedly have been ongoing for decades, was delivered to Karzai in “suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags,” according to the New York Times, citing current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.

In no shock to anyone rather than buying the cooperation of the Afghanistan President, the money was misdirected and misappropriated and went to fuel corruption and empower warlords.

In the long run, this undermined Washington's exit strategy from Afghanistan, the newspaper quoted U.S. officials as saying.

“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan”, one American official said, “was the United States.”

The CIA declined to comment on the report and the U.S. State Department did not immediately comment. The New York Times did not publish any comment from Karzai or his office.

“We called it ‘ghost money’,” Khalil Roman, who served as Karzai's chief of staff from 2002 until 2005, told the New York Times. “It came in secret and it left in secret.”

Evidently, the power of cash and forced payouts has been a standard procedure MOU for the CIA in Afghanistan since the start of the war.

What kind of oversight or restrictions were in place to ensure that these enormous sums of money, earmarked to purchase foreign cooperation, was put to proper use?

None. Although no U.S. laws were violated, the law of common sense clearly was in jeopardy.

According to Reuters, there was no evidence that Karzai personally received any of the money, Afghan officials told the newspaper. The cash was handled by his National Security Council, it added.

U.S. and Afghan officials familiar with the payments said the main goal of the money, as they understood it, was for the U.S. to attain access to Karzai and his inner circle, and to guarantee the CIA's influence at the presidential palace when policy decisions were passed.

Much of the money went to warlords and politicians, many with ties to the drug trade and in some cases the Taliban, the New York Times said.

Reuters commented that for most of Karzai's 11-year reign, there has been little interest in anti-corruption in the army or police. The country's two most powerful institutions receive billions of dollars from donors annually but struggle just to recruit and maintain a force bled by high rates of desertion.

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