MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Tomgram: Nick Turse, The U.S. Military’s Drug of Choice

Posted by Martin C. Fox on February 9, 2018

Remember the pallets of cash, $12B with a B, that went to Iraq to bribe government and tribal leaders and subsequently vanished? I remember an article in The Atlantic where the author describes a meeting between sec of state Hillary and Hamid Kharzai. The result was Kharzai walked away with millions and Hillary was put on the list of those that had been “Kharzaid”. Only Kharzai knows, maybe, where that money went.

If we left the Middle East taking our equipment, training and money terrorism would dry up. CIA/pentagram money is a big part of the problem.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176383/tomgram%3A_nick_turse%2C_the_u.s._military%27s_drug_of_choice/#more

Posted by Nick Turse

The president has, in fact, been a major enabler of what may be the leading addiction crisis in America.  I’m thinking about the Pentagon and its drug of choice: money.  At a time when, from infrastructure to health care, money is desperately needed and seldom found, only the Pentagon is still mainlining dollars as if there were no tomorrow. It’s shooting up in full view of the world and Donald Trump is aiding and abetting the process, eternally calling for yet more money to pump up that military (as well as the U.S. nuclear arsenal). 

And then there was the investigation that hardly anyone heard about, that didn’t spark a single headline.  And still, the question remains: Whatever became of that $500 million?

To be fair, this particular scandal isn’t AFRICOM’s alone, nor did that sizeable sum belong only to that one command.  And unlike the possibly tens of thousands of dollars in cash that reportedly went missing in connection with the strangulation of the Green Beret in Mali, that $500 million didn’t simply vanish.  Still, a report by the Defense Department’s Inspector General (IG), released into the news wasteland of the day after Christmas 2017, does raise questions about a combatant command with a history of scandals, including significant failures in planning, executing, tracking, and documenting projects across the African continent, as well as the effectiveness of U.S. assistance efforts there.

From fiscal years 2014 through 2016, AFRICOM and Central Command (CENTCOM), the umbrella organization for U.S. military activities in the Greater Middle East, received a combined $496 million to conduct counternarcotics (CN) activities.  That substantial sum was used by the respective commands to fund myriad projects from the construction of border outposts in allied nations to training personnel in policing skills like evidence collection.  Or at least, that’s how it was supposed to be used.  According to the IG, neither AFRICOM nor CENTCOM “maintained reliable data for the completion status and funding of training, equipping, and construction activities.”  That means no one — not the IG investigators, not AFRICOM, not CENTCOM personnel — seems to have any idea how much of that money was spent, what it was spent on, whether the funded projects were ever completed, or whether any of it made a difference in the fight against illegal drugs in Africa and the Middle East.

But corrupt allies, as the Pentagon’s Inspector General points out, are only one of the problems facing U.S. counternarcotics efforts there.  AFRICOM itself is another…

Take the radio equipment that the command procured to help Senegal battle narcotics trafficking.  According to a spreadsheet provided to the Inspector General by AFRICOM, $1.1 million was budgeted for that in 2014.  Leaving aside whether such equipment is helpful in curtailing drug trafficking, it was at least clear how much money was spent on those radios.  Until, that is, IG investigators consulted another spreadsheet also provided by AFRICOM.  Its data indicated that nearly triple that sum — $3.1 million — had been budgeted for and spent on those radios.  The question was: Did Senegalese forces receive $1 million worth of radios or three times that figure?  No one at AFRICOM knew.

In fact, those two spreadsheets told radically different stories about the larger U.S. counternarcotics campaign on the continent in 2014.  One indicated that taxpayers had funded 55 different projects budgeted at $15 million; the other, 134 activities to the tune of $24 million.  Investigators were especially troubled by the second spreadsheet in which the “budgeted, obligated, and expended amounts… were identical for each activity causing the team to question the reliability of the data.”  So which spreadsheet was right?  How many projects were really carried out?  How many millions of dollars were actually spent?  The IG’s office concluded that AFRICOM counternarcotics officials didn’t know and so “could not verify which set of data was complete and accurate.” …

…ad nauseum. and this just about Africa!

Be seeing you

phoca_thumb_l_tcobb34

I am not a number. I am a free man!-Number 6

 

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