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The World Bank’s special board of inquiry report on Paul Wolfowitz is in, and he was found guilty on charges of violating the bank’s ethics rules. Indeed, the board took the extraordinary step of publishing the complete report on the bank’s website this evening. Here is the core of the report:
1. General Counsel Excluded – Coll silenced
“From the time Ms. Riza presented her terms to Mr. Coll (head of human resources) until Mr. Wolfowitz instructed Mr. Coll to accept those terms, neither Mr. Wolfowitz nor Mr. Coll consulted with Bank counsel concerning whether the terms were in the Bank’s interest. Mr. Coll states that during his August 10 meeting with Mr. Wolfowitz and Ms (Robin) Cleveland, they told him he “could not talk to anyone” including the General Counsel about his conversation with Ms. Riza. Mr. Wolfowitz has not denied that the General Counsel was excluded from the negotiations. However, he explains that he did not consult with the General Counsel because he considered the General Counsel to be conflicted from providing advice to both the Ethics Committee and management.” (Note 47, page 21)
2. No Evidence Wolfowitz disagreed with Ethics Committee advice
“Mr. Wolfowitz states that he had disquiet with his understanding of the advice (of the Ethics Committee) but that he nevertheless followed it. The Ethics Procedures make clear that Mr. Wolfowitz could have taken the matter up with the Executive Directors directly if he did not believe the advice he had been given was correct. He (Wolfowitz) has repeatedly claimed that he protested vehemently to the Ethics Committee that he did not wish to be involved, but the Ad Hoc Group did not find any convincing documentary evidence of such a protest. ” (Note 84, page 31)
The report also notes copious evidence, contrary to Wolfowitz’s claims, that he appreciated that his conduct violated the bank’s ethics rules and he proceeded with it anyway, and it finds that he directed bank public relations personnel to make numerous false statements about his situation and the world of the inquiry. All of this conduct was also found to be a violation of the terms of his contract.
Financial Times is reporting that the board is now prepared first to censure Wolfowitz for his misconduct and then to dismiss him – if he refuses to submit his resignation. This is the first time in the history of the bank that a president has been found guilty of serious ethics violations.
Mr. Wolfowitz cannot be prosecuted under United States public corruption statutes because, as president of the World Bank, he enjoys full immunity for any criminal conduct.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”