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May 14, 2007


You think Riza's a spy? Are the powerful really this stupid? Couldn't happen to a nicer guy tho.

I don't know whether Riza's a spy. I just think this whole affair shows a profound lack of judgment in ways that you'd expect, but you'd also hope the Neocons would get beyond.

It is hard to believe Riza is a spy, but it would certainly be delicious if she indeed were. Irrespective of what it would say about Wolfowitz (hey, we already knew he had bad discretion and judgment), it would make Miss Vicky the living anti-matter for US spy concerns. On one hand, she assists and gives safe harbor to those that expose our legitimate good spys; while on the other hand representing, assisting and giving safe harbor to foreign spys operating against against our interests. Geez, you know, when you figure in how butt naked stupid Wolfowitz and his whole coterie of neocon clowns are, this actually could be possible.

Marcy, what I don't understand is how can Wolfowitz, or Miz Vicki or anyone else just get someone a job in the State Department. Wouldn't Condi have to okay it? Don't you generally have to apply, interview, and be selected for these jobs?

FWIW, I just think this shows profoundly poor judgment. Particularly given the lack of transparency. I don't really buy that Riza is a spy--but how would Wolfie know if she were?

unless there's some big, hairy bush administration initiative that hasn't been pushed through yet, it's a puzzlement to me why wolfie would even WANT to stay... i mean, if he does, his effectiveness will be roughly equivalent to that of tits on a boar... my hunch is that the world bank's full impact on iraq is just in the initial stages, a move that wolfie has pushed hard for, and that, because of the resistance of world bank officials to doing it, will probably be stopped dead in its tracks if wolfie goes...

so, what's so important about the world bank being heavily involved in iraq...? well, let's try oil for starters... if the oil law passes with the provisions intact that are so astonishingly favorable to global oil companies and to the u.s., the world bank can back that up with loans for infrastructure development whose terms are also written for u.s. benefit, such as payback being required to come from oil revenues...

both the world bank and the imf have a long and rich history of benign extortion, loaning vast sums of money to underdeveloped and emerging economies with terms that guarantee access to and/or control over big chunks of a country's resources... in addition, if the world bank becomes heavily involved in iraq, it provides more of a legitimate cover so that it doesn't look quite so much like the u.s. and the oil companies are the ones really running the show...

just some thoughts...


I wonder what he said to her BEFORE she got her security clearance.

I have to admit that this is a strange one even for the political crowd.

It seems to me that he must have been in mad love over her, OR/UNLESS he was trying to end the relationship without complication. Either could explain it.

But getting her a raise, and a secrecy clearance at the US State Dept, that required pulling in chits, and/or going semi-public. And at that level, without having to pay taxes she was making more than Condi. That should have caused alarms to go off, and flags to flutter.

I think he has gone nuts, and he is an embarassment and a detriment to the US and we have enough of those.

Get rid of him.

He's either into S&M, or just plain pu**y-whipped. I think strong women are HOT, but one who lawyers up on me? Ouch.

I wonder if she might not be a citizen of Malta, which has close realtions with Libya but is predominantly Catholic? It was the site of airlandings for CIA renditions (one of the airlines was "Prescott" Air).

The quandary for Wolfie is that having been appointed as an organization's new head, it would be a conflict of interest, even self-dealing, for him to have direct or indirect (via subordinates) control over Riza's work, performance reviews or compensation.

What does he do? A Cheney. He makes sure he controls all three. He hides his fix by physically moving Riza to his country's foreign office, but retains control over the three things he isn't supposed to control. I'll bet you could count on the fingers of one hand the number of bureaucrats at the World Bank who believed that solved the problem.

I mean, really, guaranteed "excellent" ratings, guaranteed excessive raises? That's not employment, that's a pay-off. Why? What legal rights did Riza have to enforce, or did she lawyer up to up the political pressure on her beau and the Bank?

That Wolfie's hiring put in jeopardy Riza's employment was an obvious risk they both assumed. They could have stopped seeing each other. Wolfie and the Bank could have legitimately helped her find a comparable job elsewhere, including assisting in obtaining new visas. He could have tried to keep her at the Bank, but isolate himself from control over her future, perhaps by a blind delegation of authority to someone else, overseen by an outside director. Not sure that's possible or effective, but something like that might have worked and might have accomplished what was need. Avoiding an actual or apparent conflict of interest, documenting it, and living up to the arrangement. Wolfie did none of those things. He did a Cheney and made up his own reality.

The snark that Wolfie is dominated by Riza seems an attractive partial explanation. But surely more is at play in Wolfie's questionnable choices.

Juan Cole has an excellent discussion of Wolfowitz and his attachment to cronyism up at Salon: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/05/14/wolfowitz/index.html

While I doubt that Riza is a spy, there is (and always has been) a close connection between cronyism and susceptibility to spying. Both flourish when normal institutional checks and balances are suspended. Flattering con artists are drawn to and excel in that environment. Some are just crooks, some are just spies, and some are both (*cough* Ahmed Chalabi *cough*).

Look at Wolfowitz as a possible lover.

Charisma? Appearance? Grooming? Sensitivity?

You couldn't pay me to sleep with him, much less maintain a long-term arrangement. Not even a million a year tax-free. Not even permanent access to the Library of Congress Archives and a free trip to the moon. And back.

If I was a spy and loyal to my home government and they ordered me to seduce him? I'd resign and wait for the executioner. If I was a Jesuit and ordered to marry and convert him (thinking back to Boris Godunov where Maria is threatened by her priest with excommunication if she doesn't bring Dmitri into the fold), I'd find another religion which didn't use women as pawns.

Watching him lick his comb is just as disgusting as watching as watching Grima drool into his hankie.

There are fates worse than death and disgrace.

Whatever is compelling Riza to sleep with him must be substantial. Given her origin, background, and the super-secret way she got a security clearance... I think she is a spy. I also think she is assigned primarily to the World Bank where she'd traffic in information about the flow of money and contracts.


But so is her lover.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I feel an urgent need to scrub my grey cells. A little Hovhaness will be uplifting.

Riza a spy? Why would our nation's enemies need a spy? Anybody with half a lick of sense would know that the US is run by a bunch of incompetent nincompoops who care only about power and rewarding their friends, that they couldn't run a military operation if somebody else's life depended on it. "Political espionage" would be a better term for what she must have been doing.

"In a written response, Wolfowitz maintained that he acted in good faith in seeking to resolve an obvious conflict of interest. He accused the bank's ethics committee of forcing him to oversee the raise for his longtime companion, Shaha Riza, as compensation for her transfer to a different job. The ethics panel was afraid to confront her, Wolfowitz said, because its members knew she was "extremely angry and upset."

The ethics committee told Wolfowitz he could not directly supervise Riza, who also worked at the bank, after he arrived in 2005. He said, however, that the panel declined to oversee her job transfer and compensation, instead ordering him to handle those tasks.

"Its members did not want to deal with a very angry Ms. Riza, whose career was being damaged as a result of their decision," Wolfowitz said in his response to the investigating committee's report. "It would only be human nature for them to want to steer clear of her."

Wolfowitz added that the chairman of the ethics panel thought that "due to my personal relationship with Ms. Riza, I was in the best position to persuade her to take out-placement and thereby achieve the 'pragmatic solution' the committee desired."

Wolfowitz effectively blamed Riza for his predicament as well, saying that her "intractable position" in demanding a salary increase as compensation for her career disruption forced him to grant one to pre-empt a lawsuit."


Well, doesn't that sound like the sweet cooing of lovebirds!

Poor Wolfie, caught between scardiepants bankers (aren't these the guys who deal with third world dictators?) and a hellion who'll sue him in order to keep her fingers in the Middle Eastern moneypots! As President of the entire organization, why couldn't he tell them that personnel matters were their job and pass the hot potato back to the proper HR person.

Does the World Bank need a President who flagellates himself in public? I wouldn't want to work for someone who is a weakling and a sneak... and publishes it for all the world to read.

Given all this unpleasantness, again I wonder WHY is Ms Riza so determined to keep control of the money flowing through the Middle East? (there are other positions and agencies, and other men, too) WHY is Wolfie so determined to keep both his job and his girlfriend? (there are other opportunities, although he may end up paying for sex on the installment plan if he loses his girlfriend) And, finally WHY doesn't the bank just fire both of them for sheer destructiveness of the bank's mission? How can they claim to fight corruption when they cower behind their walnut doors! They're being paid to make decisions.

Still no word on how she got that security clearance.

"But the White House views the stakes as larger than control of the World Bank...."

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