Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Eliyho Matz on the Holocaust State of Mind

By Eliyho Matz

(First written in 1983)

[In recent years, the German massacre of European Jewry during World War II has become an ongoing obsession dominating the minds of Jews and Gentiles alike. For the survivors who went through its horrors, the Holocaust has never ceased to be a traumatic memory. Until recently, though, the majority have kept silent about their experiences. For how could they explain the unexplainable? But lately, vast outbursts of material on Holocaust subjects in forms such as movies, memorials, exhibitions and commissions have constantly been evolving, aimed at expressing sympathy over, remembering and explaining the mass killing.]

The April 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising has since its occurrence been a significant event in historical perspective, although, but for one Israeli scholar, no one apparently has thought to ask how many people actually fought in Warsaw, what was the result of their revolt, or how many lives were saved by it? (See S.B. Beit Zvi, Post-Ugandian Zionism in the Crucible of the Holocaust, Hebrew Edition; Tel Aviv: Bronfman Publishers, 1977.) The symbolism of Warsaw has come to be more important than the actual event – why should this be, surely in part to serve as a rejoinder to the invalid concept that has emerged portraying the victims as “sheep.”

Thus, amidst this background, concepts about the cataclysm have developed and ideas have been formed regarding the roles played by the Germans on the one hand and the Allies on the other, with regard to Jewish lives. While the Germans did the dirty work of killing, the Allies stood back and hardly reacted. The question of “Why?” still remains. So post-Holocaust theorists of Jewish survival now take under consideration that the world wanted the Jews dead, and that consequently European Jews did not have any political allies, a situation which extends into today (see my article “Auschwitz, Switzerland and World War II Intelligence” on the Internet). Some would even go further to claim that the Holocaust can reoccur, although the basis of their reasoning is unclear. “Never Again” slogans are constantly being flung about by Jewish and Israeli politicians and leaders, bearing witness that the impact of the Holocaust has come to play a central role in Jewish Israeli solidarity, in uniting Jews through their fears and thoughts of past, present and future. This is in the face of a situation where very little fundamental research has been done to explain the phenomenon of the Holocaust in other than emotional terms.

In Israel, the Holocaust is interwoven into daily life. First, it is constantly used as a basis of comparison to the PLO, who advocate the annihilation of all Israelis. Today, in 2012, it is the Hamas in Gaza. Also, the Yad Vashem memorial for the six million Jews has become a must-see spot for visitors from both outside and inside of Israel, and tourists as well as foreign politicians who travel to Israel are escorted to Yad Vashem. It seems that superficial political gains are sought by using the Holocaust as an example of what Jews or Israelis can expect from the world. (Ironically, it must be said that the record shows that the Palestinian Jewish Yishuv leadership of the wartime period did very little to rescue European Jews. And if they did take action, they did so along Zionist ideological lines.) The practical political conclusion is that, if such a desecration was allowed to happen, then Israelis possess the right to do anything to prevent a recurrence of their annihilation, never mind actual political considerations. One American rabbi and writer has gone so far as to declare that “the memory of the Holocaust has enabled Israel to be a responsible and restrained conqueror. Memory is the key to morality” [Irving Greenberg, “The Third Great Cycle of Jewish History” in Perspectives (September 1981), p.25]. The Holocaust has given Israelis the right to do anything at any price for the sake of survival.

A number of television documentaries have stressed the role of the Holocaust in real politics. In some of these, Prime Minister Menachem Begin is described as a German concentration camp survivor; and so he is perceived by most people. Begin, however, is not a survivor of German concentration camps. He left his Polish Jewish Revisionist supporters for Soviet Russian and was interned for a while in a Soviet labor camp. Later on he arrived in Palestine as a Polish soldier.
Contrary to the emotional impact of the Holocaust, this topic has never been a major field of serious research in the academic world. This is not to say that many researchers have not carried out some attempts to explain the phenomenon, but most have allowed emotionalism, in many forms, to influence their work and thus have failed to come up with freshly analytical material. For example, there still does not exist even one solid, worthwhile textbook dealing with how the Nazi regime turned from its scheme of hatred and expulsion to one of massacre. And this is to say nothing of some writers who unjustifiably lay the blame upon the Jewish victims in Occupied Europe for not resisting the Germans. Hannah Arendt brought this accusation one step further and blamed the Jewish councils for aiding the destruction process. Were the members of the Judenrat so free as to choose their own destiny? One might raise the question of what Arendt did while in the United States during World War II to help in Jewish rescue?

This leads us into one aspect and probably not the least important which has barely been touched by Jewish writers. This issue concerns the role of the Jewish leadership in the Free World and its reaction to the killing. Historians and writers thus far have hardly raised the question of what impact the reaction of the Jews of the Free World had upon influencing rescue activities by the Allies. Could it be that the course followed by the Free World’s Jewish leadership actually perpetuated Government inaction? For if there was not strong and decisive enough a Jewish reaction, why should the Allied Governments have been expected to do something when the Jewish leaders were themselves less than persistent in convincing those governments to formulate and pursue rescue measures? Two examples should suffice. The facts of extermination were known to the Jewish leaders from November 1942, and they made little effort to disseminate the information. Moreover, in 1944 while debating the question of bombing Auschwitz, certain important Yishuv leaders expressed doubts over the idea, even in full light of the facts of the Auschwitz machine.

In November 1981, a conference convened in New York City, and there for the first time historians attempted to grapple with the question of the wartime Jewish leadership in the Free World. Papers on the British, American, Palestinian and Swiss Jewish leaderships were presented and discussed at length. These papers were eventually printed and released in book form, but few conclusions were drawn. In the course of the Conference, a long debate ensued on the role of the Jewish leadership during the Holocaust. The role of the Zionist movement and its leadership was touched upon, and criticism flared over the movement’s wartime concentration on Palestine and post-War issues rather than on immediate rescue. As yet, no conclusions on the questions raised in the Conference have been reached. An article by Lucy S. Dawidowicz on the role of American Jewish leaders that appeared in April 1982 in the NY Times Magazine seems to be a continuation of the November 1981 debate. The article is basically a polemic, as well as a whitewash of the record of the American Jewish leaders. She portrays the leaders as having been busy one-hundred percent of the time in rushing to save Jewish lives. Such was not the case. Simply by reading Jewish newspapers published during the wartime, one can readily see where and how the Jewish leaders spent their time. A brief perusal will reveal that they were busy with all sorts of issues: communal struggles, Zionist aspirations, visits to foreign countries, tours of the United States, etc. If, as Dawidowicz suggests, the Jewish leaders were preoccupied with attempts to save Jews, why is it that certain Jewish organizations do not allow researchers to study the records of their activities?

While “the impact of the Holocaust has revolutionized Jewish experience as well as thought,”* it is still unclear where this Holocaust revolution will lead us. For it causes Jews to feel impotent, and to believe that in the final analysis we have no allies and can trust and depend upon only ourselves. Consequently, we create our own moral code to ensure our survival, but which instead leads to a vacuum that can only isolate us and ultimately result in our own social, political and psychological destruction.

For an understanding of the Holocaust, if a full explanation will ever be possible, important issues such as the behavior of the Jewish leadership in Palestine, Britain, the United States and Switzerland will have to be included in the total analysis. We Jews who live in the post-Holocaust era must assess our own values and concepts concerning this event so that we will not fail again to do our part in working to save those who need to be saved; so that we will not exploit it in such a way as to destroy the moral foundation upon which our struggle for survival has been built throughout the centuries.
* Walter S. Wurzburger, “The State of Orthodoxy” in Tradition [Vol. 20, No.1 (Spring 1982), p. 3]


In the year 1982, Yitzhak Ben-Ami, a member of the Bergson Group, published a book of memoirs titled Years of Wrath--Days of Glory. I participated in the making of this book by doing research and by sharing in the selection of material. Less than a year ago, on the Internet I published an article titled “Crazy Bergson Boy,” which I dedicated to the Honorable Will Rogers, Jr., who as a Congressman had been instrumental in the effort to save Jews during the Holocaust. Following is a text of a statement in a letter that he sent to Paul O’Dwyer at the Princeton Club on Wednesday, April 27, 1983 (O’Dwyer gave the letter to Ben-Ami, who in his kindness gave it to me):

I regret not being with you on this occasion of the Second Coming of Mike Ben-Ami’s book. This is a chronicle transcending importance because it is a first-hand testimony from a witness of what went on before, during, and after Years of Wrath. It is a story that needs telling: it is the best evidence as it dispels the mythology that is being circulated to cover up the embarrassing truth—that the Holocaust could not have been without the indifference of the Allied governments and the passive role of the Jewish establishment.

For the past several weeks, public attention has been directed at the Holocaust—an impressive Holocaust Museum is being established in the Capital in the shadow of the Washington Monument. We are told that this is to remind us of the crime that was committed by the Nazis against defenseless people—mostly Jews. I am not clear exactly what the meaning is of such a museum. A memorial has a place. But does it tell the story? Does it tell how the British locked the escape route, that the American government was silent, that the Jewish establishment hid, that our State Department refused visas and turned refugee boats back to Hitler’s inferno? The killing was only the final act in the vast conspiracy of cruelty, indifference, and silence. The victims heard the silence. Also, Hitler heard the silence and saw that for this, for killing Jews, there was no protest, no objection.

Of course, there is the other story, Mike Ben-Ami’s story. The story of vision, of resistance, of courage. Amid the horror there is the story of those young men and women of Palestine and Europe who saw the writing on the wall, and warned what was coming. As early as 1939, they banded together to find boats, even built rafts, to float people down the Danube to ports where they could charter ships, and some made it through the British blockade. When the war started, they fought the Nazis, joining the British, French, Poles. Mike joined the American Army.

Above all, they also cried out against the crime that was going on. They were impolite because they were frantic. They broke the rules of etiquette, they ran full page ads telling what was happening, they broke the conspiracy of silence.

Thank God! I was one who heard their cry, and being in Congress, was able to act in a limited way. That’s how I met Ben-Ami, and Peter Bergson, Sam Merlin, and the other leaders of the Hebrew Committee of National Liberation. With Senator Guy Gillette, we finally passed the resolution creating the War Refugee Board—the only action taken by the American government that actually helped save lives.

It was late in the day and only tattered fragments remained of what had been the great and talented community of 7 million European Jews (exclusive of Russia). But I remember, even then, in 1944, Sol Bloom, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tried to block us, and we had to go around this vain old man who was more concerned with pleasing the State Department than stopping murder.

The Holocaust is the story of the human being destroyed by his own innocence, obtuseness, self-deception—multiplied by 6 million. It is the triumph of death.

Ben-Ami’s book is the little known chronicle of how ingenuity, self-awareness, and realism can prevail. It is the triumph of life.

Please include me in any program that brings this message of realism before the widest possible audience.

Santos Ranch
Tubac, Arizona

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Enjoyed a Double Portion of Downton Abbey Last night...

Here's a link to the series website for Masterpiece Theatre on PBS. BTW, Downton Abbey is based upon a true story...

More here: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, by Fiona, Lady Carnarvon. The earlier Lady Carnarvon, nee Almina Wombwell, was an illegitimate daughter of Alfred Rothschild, of the British branch of the famous banking family.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Uzbek Extremist Confesses to Obama Assassination Plot

From AL.com:
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A 22-year old Uzbekistan national, who had been living in Shelby County on an expired student visa, pleaded guilty this afternoon to charges that include providing material support for terrorism in connection with a plot to kill President Barack Obama.

Ulugbek Kodirov, wearing an orange Shelby County Jail jumpsuit and shackled at his feet, pleaded guilty in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon at the Hugo L. Black U.S. Courthouse in downtown Birmingham.

Kodirov entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorneys Office.

A prosecutor read from the agreement, telling the judge that Kodirov told others that he was in contact with a man called "the Emir" who Kodirov said was connected with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan -- considered by the US as a terrorist group. Kodirov also told an individual that he was willing to die in order to kill the president.

He agreed to plead to two of five counts in a previous indictment -- making a threat to kill the president and a person illegally in the country being in possession of a firearm. He also agreed to plead guilty to proving material support for terrorism in a plan to try to kill the president.
Prosecutors have agreed to drop other charges in the indictment in exchange for the plea.

Kodirov could be sentenced up to 30 years in prison for the three charges, Kallon told him. Kodirov agrees to be deported after completing his sentence under the plea agreement. Sentencing is set for May 17.
Full plea agreement (in Uzbekistan they would call it a "Confession") PDF here.

The plea agreement makes it unlikely that the public would ever learn how Kodirov entered the USA, who approved his visa at US Embassy Tashkent, who sponsored his studies in the USA, and so forth.

There are, unfortunately, more outstanding questions than answers about this mysterious case. Perhaps it is a case for Sherlock Holmes?

UPDATE: The Uzbek government has arrested, interrogated, and released his mother, according to this report.

Agustin Blazquez Film Premieres TONIGHT in Miami...

my decision
Her story with her own words and music!

This documentary is based on the life and artistic career of the famous Cuban singer LUISA MARÍA GÜELL who won the Edith Piaf Gold Medal.

CLICK: http://www.youtube.com/JAUMS

coordinated by Dr. Mercedes Cross Sandoval, in collaboration with La Academia de la Historia de Cuba,

Miami Dade College • The Tower Theater
1508 S.W. 8th Street, Miami, Florida 33135
Telf. (305) 642-1264 • E-mail: towertheater@mdc.edu

Tickets in advance for sale at the box office of the Tower Theater (during regular theater hours)

1508 S.W. 8th Street, Miami, Florida 33135

or at: https://retrievertickets.com/purchase.php?ostk=6438706
(go to :"Movie Quick Link" use the arrow to lower menu "My Decision" and click on the show time)


my decision DVD & my decision DOUBLE CD with 46 song from the documentary

will be for sale in the lobby of the Tower Theater at the time of the premiere

thanks to www.CubaCollectibles.com

An article in Spanish about the film from Miami's Nuevo Herald:
Publicado el miércoles 08 de febrero del 2012
‘Mi decisión’, la historia de Luisa María Güell en documental

Arturo Arias-Polo

El testimonio de una artista cubana que en la plenitud de su carrera decidió abandonar la isla en busca de libertad centra la trama de Mi decisión, el documental de Agustín Blázquez que tendrá su estreno mundial mañana viernes en el Teatro Tower del Miami Dade College, con la presencia del director-productor y su protagonista, la cantante Luisa María Güell.
“Es un documental que refleja las altas y bajas en la vida de un artista. Y como nunca había hecho algo parecido conté la mía tal y como es”, expresó Güell a El Nuevo Herald, tras celebrar que Blázquez llegó en un buen momento de su vida.
“No puse ninguna condición ni lo hice pensando en lo que pudiera pasar [después del estreno]”, aclaró la cantante. “Soy una persona que hace las cosas porque las disfruta y que está contenta con todo lo que ha hecho”.
El metraje de 93 minutos está presentado por el Miami Dade College, AB Independent Productions, Uncovering Cuba Educational Foundation y la serie Dos orillas que coordina la doctora Mercedes Sandoval.
“Luisa María tomó la decisión irreversible de salir de Cuba para ser libre en el mejor momento de su carrera, y para dar ese paso se necesita mucho coraje”, expresó el documentalista cubano residente en Maryland, quien fue testigo de cómo la juventud de su país la “adoraba” desde que popularizó la canción italiana No tengo edad, en 1965.
“Cuando finalmente pudo salir de Cuba, en 1968, ella no sabía qué sucedería después. Lo interesante es que una vez que se estableció en España a los pocos años tomó ‘otra decisión’, la de irse de allí cuando los socialistas tomaron el poder”, agregó Blázquez.
Fuera de Cuba, Luisa María Güell ganó el primer premio en el Festival de la Canción Internacional de Málaga 1969 y el Premio Voz y Canción en el de Puerto Rico, en 1972.
En 1979, obtuvo el Premio de Interpretación y la Medalla de Oro Edith Piaf de Francia como autora y compositora, siendo la primera artista no francesa en recibirlo. Su discografía abarca 28 álbumes.
El director aclaró que no preparó a la artista para no perder la espontaneidad de sus memorias. Como la conocía de cuando la dirigió en los videos musicales Uno y La vida en rosa, la grabación transcurrió sin dificultad. Sólo la puso a hablar frente a la cámara, en un apartamento de Miami Beach, y dejó que sus recuerdos fluyeran.
“No hubo preparación previa. Sus respuestas fueron muy espontáneas. Se nota que creció entre cámaras y micrófonos”, subrayó.
Entre los testimonios más impresionantes, Blázquez destacó uno que narra los últimos minutos de la cantante en el aeropuerto habanero, donde, poco antes de partir rumbo a España, fue víctima de muchas humillaciones.
“Me conmovió todo lo que tuvo que pasar para salir de Cuba y lo que le ocurrió en el aeropuerto”, dijo sin revelar detalles. “Escuchándola reviví muchos momentos que yo también pasé”.
Por su parte, Güell señaló que “en esa época todo era diferente”. Sin embargo, “cuando se revive el pasado después de tantos años todo el dolor está ahí adentro”.
“Las cicatrices están”, precisó la artista. “Y aunque se quiera olvidar uno se lo siente cuando habla de su vida. Es muy triste dejar a tu país para no volver jamás”.
El metraje incluye material gráfico de las actuaciones de Güell como cantante y actriz de televisión, teatro y cine. Entre ellos, imágenes de la película El huésped, dirigida por Eduardo Manet en 1966.
“Muchas de las fotografías que me proporcionó Luisa María las tuve que restaurar porque sufrieron los embates del tiempo. Pero también hay otras de la comedia musical El remero respetuoso que me envió desde México Jorge País, su pareja en la obra”, dijo el productor.
La banda sonora de Mi decisión contiene los primeros éxitos de la cantante en Cuba y aquellos temas que la dieron a conocer a nivel internacional. Tanto el CD de 46 canciones como el DVD del documental podrán adquirirse en el vestíbulo del teatro y –a partir de las 10 p.m. del viernes – a través del sitio www.cubacollectibles.com.
Al referirse al futuro del documental, el director anunció que no piensa llevarlo a ningún festival, salvo que lo inviten.
“Todos los festivales, sin excepción, están controlados por la izquierda. Y sé que no aceptarán [éste] porque cuenta la verdad sobre Cuba”, dijo tajante. “A no ser que me inviten, mi política es no llevarlo a ningún festival”.
Mi decisión es el primero de una serie sobre arte y política que prepara Blázquez, cuyo propósito es llamar la atención sobre muchos artistas del exilio que, según él, no han tenido el reconocimiento que merecen.
“Mi objetivo es que se reconozca a los artistas del exilio, donde hay [talentos] maravillosos y libres que no dependen de nadie que los vigile. Es un crimen, porque muy pocos han traspasado las murallas de Miami”, concluyó.•
Estreno mundial de ‘Mi decisión’, viernes 10 a las 6:30 p.m. en el Teatro Tower del Miami Dade College, 1508 SW 8 St., Miami. Informes: (305) 642-1264, towertheater@mdc.edu y www.youtube.com/JAUMS

Emil Ruderfer: Why International Aid Doesn’t Work

Recently received this interesting essay by email:

Why International Aid Doesn’t Work

By Emil Ruderfer

It’s raining development dollars. The World Bank enthusiastically pledged billions of dollars in new loans for education, health and agriculture during a Special Session of the UN General Assembly, in support of the Millennium Development Goals initiative to combat poverty. At that same UN session, President Barack Obama announced a new U.S. Global Development Policy, promising that “the United States will be a global leader in international development in the 21st century.” Come October, still more billions in loans to finance new projects in developing countries will be on the agenda of the annual joint meeting of the IMF and the World Bank. Indeed, there are hundreds of international aid bodies clamoring to lend for new investments in developing countries.

Poor countries certainly need the aid, but if such lenders as the World Bank really want to help, it should consider not only how much money to lend, but how to lend the money so that it actually helps to alleviate poverty more effectively. Despite the huge sums invested over the years, there is a broad consensus that efforts to better the lives of the poor in developing countries have fallen well short of expectations.

How far short? As things stand, the aid community’s policies have turned developing countries into vast junk heaps of dysfunctional and prematurely deteriorating schools, clinics, roads and other such “assets.”

Take the case of the World Bank itself, the premier lending institution. As much as 90 percent of all World Bank aid is used to finance such projects as irrigation systems, environmental protection schemes, health clinics, access roads, and so forth, what John Kenneth Galbraith once described as “the furniture of economic development.” Typically, these assets are intended to have a projected operational life of 25-30 years during which they will benefit needy populations. Their actual life, however, is often far shorter, and as a result the number of people they help is minimal.

What’s the problem? It’s not an issue of lending more aid money. The problem is that borrowing governments have been chronically short of the money they need to keep all these assets in good operating condition after the lenders are gone. (For economic and political reasons, the Bank does not underwrite such assets throughout their intended shelf lives.) What happens is that the Bank lends developing countries sufficient funds to cover the initial costs of creating the assets, plus some of the early operating expenses. This money, mostly in foreign exchange currencies, is spent within a fixed period, usually five years. After that the borrowing government must become responsible for the operations and maintenance costs.

It is at the end of this first five-year period, when the lenders are gone, that the aid process often breaks down, and with it the new schools, roads, and clinics. The Bank’s working assumption is that borrowing governments will generate enough local currency to pay the expenses of the assets when they assume responsibility for them. However, there is strong evidence that the Bank has been wrong. Borrowers have failed to come up with the money.

Moreover, there is historical evidence that the World Bank has known all along that borrowers were not taking care of the billions of dollars in vital assets. Thus, tens of thousands of poor families never receive the education, health care or other services intended for them. Not only has the Bank ignored this evidence, it has routinely increased its lending for the creation of new assets, thus compounding the problem.

Much development literature attests that the problem with failed assets is well known. One 1979 report states, “Rare is the country that has not witnessed this phenomenon. In Colombia, new tarmac roads have suffered rapid and premature deterioration for lack of maintenance. Throughout West Africa, many new schools have opened without qualified teachers, educational materials, or equipment. Agricultural projects are starved for extension workers, fertilizers, or seeds…. In Bolivia, doctors are often stranded at rural health centers for lack of gasoline for their vehicles." A 1996 Bank report notes “schools without teaching materials, health clinics without drugs, and rehabilitated roads once again becoming impassable because of the absence of subsequent maintenance.” Perhaps in a few years a future such report will add Afghanistan and Iraq, where vast development programs are now underway, to this frustrating list.

A report written in 1986 hit the nail on the head and remains sadly relevant 25 years later: “The problem is not that donors refuse to finance recurrent expenditures during project implementation…the real problem emerges in its most acute form after the end of donor involvement in a project; this is one reason why projects … often cannot be sustained.”

Nevertheless, the Bank continues to turn over billions of dollars in assets to developing countries without demanding any guarantees that the necessary funding for their operations will be provided. In the last five years alone, the Bank has turned over $200 billion in assets to borrowing countries, and many – if not most -- of them face the same discouraging fate: an abbreviated useful life serving relatively few beneficiaries.

The result is that dysfunctional assets have proliferated in developing countries. Neither the Bank, nor any other international aid lender has adapted its assistance strategy to take into account the fact that borrowers simply lack the wherewithal to take care of the assets they already have on the ground, to say nothing of those on the way.

A straightforward solution is available. The architects of international aid created the World Bank at a time when the only thing developing countries needed was new development projects. Borrowers have now acquired hundreds of billions of dollars in vital social and economic assets, but they are desperately short of the funds needed to keep these assets in good operating condition. The best thing the aid community can do is to lend only to those borrowers that can demonstrate that they will be able to generate the cash to operate and maintain the assets they already have as well as any new ones.

The U.S. Government successfully tackled the problem of a lack of local currencies to finance the operating costs of Europe’s rebuilt infrastructure under the Marshall Plan 60 years ago. As J. Bradford De Long and Barry Eichengreen wrote in their 1991 account of the Marshall Plan, the U.S insisted that “For every dollar of Marshall Plan aid received, the recipient country was required to place a matching amount of domestic currency in a counterpart fund…….”
The international aid community must recognize that it should no longer continue to lend without insisting that borrowers generate the revenues needed to maintain the expensive assets created to help them raise the standard of living for their poor.

To end this cycle of waste, the World Bank needs to include in its feasibility studies - the Bank’s blueprints for aid projects - an estimate of costs covering the 25 to 30 year projected life of each asset. In fact, a 2002 World Bank internal policy research paper recommended doing exactly this and a 2007 Bank publication made similar recommendations, stating that, “The evaluation of costs for a capital project should include not only the construction costs themselves but also any resulting ongoing operating and maintenance costs.”

Once those costs are established, the Bank must make sure that borrowers will be able to generate and allocate the necessary local currency revenues to take care of created assets before any new loans are approved. If the Bank determines that borrowers can’t generate the revenues to maintain new schools, clinics, roads, etc., it should not approve the loans. The rest of the international aid community should take similar steps.

Resolving this failed-assets situation will not by itself fix all the problems with development aid; developing countries also suffer a glaring lack of technical and professional expertise that must be addressed. However, solving the dysfunctional-assets problem will put an end to the breathtaking waste that is currently built into the international aid process. Indeed, the financial and economic losses from dysfunctional assets greatly dwarf any losses resulting from corruption, even though corruption gets all the publicity.

In his UN speech, President Obama renewed his call for “a new approach to development that unleashes transformational change and allows more people to take control of their own destiny.” A “new approach” would be to make sure that the expensive assets in poor countries last as long as they are supposed to; after all, they consume almost 90 percent of all aid money. The alternative is perpetuation of the waste.

Emil Ruderfer spent nearly 30 years with the World Bank.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Michael Dirda's Conan Doyle...

Michael Dirda signing books at the Arts Club of Washington on Feb. 7th, 2012.
Enjoyed hearing Michael Dirda speak at the Arts Club of Washington last night about his love of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle, membership in the Baker Street Irregulars, and his new book from Princeton University Press, On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling. Here's a clip:

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Uzbek "Human Rights Activist" Indicted on Terror Charges in Colorado

This just in...

John F. Walsh
United States Attorney, District of Colorado

January 23, 2012


DENVER – Jamshid Muhtorov, a/k/a Abumumin Turkistony, a/k/a Abu Mumin, age 35, of Aurora, Colorado, was arrested Saturday afternoon at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport by members of the FBI’s Denver and Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Forces on a charge of providing and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the Department of Justice announced today. The arrest took place without incident. Muhtorov made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Chicago this morning.

Muhtorov’s arrest is the result of a long-term investigation conducted by the FBI’s Denver Joint Terrorism Task Force. The Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force provided investigative support.

The defendant is a refugee from Uzbekistan. According to the Criminal Complaint, which was obtained in Denver and initially filed under seal, Muhtorov indicated that he planned to travel overseas where he intended to fight on behalf of the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The IJU, a Pakistan-based extremist group, adheres to an anti-western ideology, opposes secular rule in Uzbekistan, and seeks to replace the current regime with a government based on Islamic law. In addition to conducting suicide attacks in Uzbekistan, the IJU has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Muhtorov allegedly has sworn allegiance to the IJU, stating he was ready for any task, even with the risk of dying. The alleged activities of Muhtorov highlight the continued interest of extremists residing in the United States to join and support overseas terrorists.

The government does not allege that Muhtorov was plotting attacks against any targets inside the United States.

The defendant is charged by Criminal Complaint with one count of providing and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, specifically provision and attempted provision of personnel to the IJU. If convicted, Muhtorov faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in cities across the country. The investigation was also aided by the Counter-terrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Muhtorov is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Holloway.

The charges in the Complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


United States Attorney’s Office Press Releases are also on the Internet
Visit http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/co

Full text of complaint: http://www.scribd.com/doc/80276741 

More on Muhtorov's "human rights activism" at Registan.net

Still more here at Different Stans.