Tuesday, April 12, 2016

12-Apr-16: Wasted lives, stolen futures, obfuscatory answers

This Ben Wiseman illustration accompanied a
New Yorker article "Trafficking in Terror", published
December 14, 2015
If you have been following the media coverage of rising British outrage over evidence of the wanton abuse of the substantial sums of British taxpayers' funds handed over by the UK as foreign aid, you will know that the Daily Mail has focused on 
"the absurd new legislative requirement to give away 0.7 per cent of national income... [and in particular] payments to Palestine [that] seem a classic example of the core aid problem of "fungibility" - when foreign cash supporting public services frees up a regime to spend money in other questionable areas, which all too often fuels conflict or corruption."
A parliamentary question touching on much the same issue was asked in London on March 24, 2016.  Yesterday in Westminster, it was answered. And with everything that's wrong with the response, it actually tells a lot. 

That enquiry was directed at the UK's Department for International Development and from the transcript [hat-tip to MH for directing us to it], it concerned "Palestinian Authority: Overseas Aid: Written question - 32482". Here's the verbatim text of the to and fro [via this online source]:

John Howell: 
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what reports she has received on the use of aid disbursed to the Palestinian Authority for purposes related to terrorist activity.
Mr Desmond Swayne:
UK direct financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) is used to pay the salaries of civil servant and pensioners. Our support is provided through a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank, which carries out close monitoring of PA expenditure. Only named civil servants from a pre-approved EU list are eligible, and the vetting process ensures that our funds do not benefit terrorist groups. The process is subject to independent auditing.
We don't know much about the questioner or the answerer. But from a quick Google check, it appears the Right Honorable Mr Desmond Swayne MP has been the UK's Minister of State for International Development since July 2014. So he's the man who most needs to have good and accurate answers

Mr Swayne's official UK Government bio page [here] and his Wikipedia entry say he spent years in his pre-politics career doing risk management at Royal Bank of Scotland. So he may actually understand better than other MPs how dangerous it is to claim that "vetting" of the treacherous terror-addicted Palestinian Authority with a documented history of decades of corruption could ever deliver a clean bill of health for British taxpayers who fund it. 

As for relying on "independent auditing" or the administrative services of the World Bank (motto: "Working for a World Free of Poverty"), is Mr Swayne serious? What does his answer and its reference to un-named auditors issuing unpublished audit reports at unknown intervals and issuing unstated conclusions even mean?

But what worries us even more than the scant details is the hubris that underlies it. We wonder how any politician can sound so confident when faced with deep concerns by taxpayers whom he is obliged to represent about the possibility that they are funding acts of murder and encouraging even more of the same. 

It's baffling.
Question time in the UK parliament [Image Source]

But - and keep in mind that underneath all this polite political talk, the real subject is the murder by Palestinian Arab jihadists of innocents like our daughter Malki - it's darker than that. 

Though it's been going on for a decade and a half and involves oceans of euros, dollars and pounds, there has only ever been one solitary authentic audit of European aid-funding to the Palestinian Authority, a scandalous situation in its own right. That audit report, made public in December 2013 [full text here], revealed startling things that ought to disturb all the honorable members of the British parliament and not only Messrs Howell and Swayne. For instance -
  1. EU aid to the Palestinian Authority worth billions of euros needs an "overhaul" and major changes in some areas, the bloc's Court of Auditors said... If the circumstances are difficult, there are still "a number of aspects of the current approach in need of an overhaul," said Hans Gustaf Wessberg, who wrote the report for the court. "There is a need for major revisions such as encouraging the PA to undertake more reforms"... [EUbusiness, December 12, 2013]
  2. "The EU should stop paying the salaries of thousands of Palestinian civil servants in the Gaza Strip who are not going to work... They called for a major review, saying money spent on civil servants there should go to the West Bank instead." BBC, December 11, 2013.
  3. "It is difficult to ensure that EU money is not misused or does not become a drip-feed, it said... The PA is not undertaking all the reforms that the EU would like. At every turn there are political causes and factors. The audit is therefore a political minefield." [European Voice, December 12, 2013]
And that's certainly not all. 

Immediately after the audit was publicized, the chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control - a man whose official role probably causes him to think about things like public corruption, financial controls, and checks and balances more than most of us and who most certainly has more information than we do - wrote an articulate call to action. 

In an important, but probably little noticed, article in the Wall Street Journal, he reminded the world that the EU's auditors had found "major dysfunctions" in the way the Palestinian Authority were getting and spending their foreign aid Euros. He called on the EC to impose benchmarks and conditions on the Palestinian Authority as a condition for getting more EU gift money:
These should include improving the state of human rights in the West Bank, cracking down on corruption and cutting off subsidies to convicted Palestinian terrorists. In these hard times, Brussels shouldn't tolerate blatant misuse of EU taxpayers' money. [WSJ, April 9, 2014]
Unless the Brits know of very recent PA reforms and fixes that have (if they happened) gone unreported, you have to wonder how the person who composed yesterday's parliamentary response and/or signed it off on so that Desmond Swayne MP could deliver it could have dared. 

Getting back to where we started, an online petition [here] that the editors at the Daily Mail have promoted calls on the British government to change policy immediately and to hand over foreign aid funds
only for truly deserving causes, on a case-by-case basis...
The petition says the UK government "responds to all petitions that get more than 10,000 signatures". As of this morning (Tuesday), it had already attracted nearly twenty-two times that number. It's become a major expression of public outrage that will have to be addressed. And it has far-reaching consequences that go well behind the British Isles. 

Paraphrasing what we wrote in an earlier post, the ongoing lethal fraud perpetrated by the conniving Palestinian Authority to hide its Reward for Terror scheme (that's not what they call it, but that is exactly what it is) could simply never happen without the active involvement of (at least) many hundreds of European politicians and bureaucrats - some of them British - in funneling the indispensable cash which enables it.

We offer some background in four posts we published in the past fortnight:
A detail from the same illustration that appears
at the top of this post
We noted a while back ["13-Oct-13: Massive scandal in Palestinian Arab financial affairs? No!"] that there waone aspect of the European/UK saga of PA-centred corruption and dishonesty that was truly beyond our comprehension. It still is, and it's this: how can the members of the news media who cover the EU and the Middle East conflict have allowed this financial scandal (one that everyone has known about for years) to get so little media coverage? How much of this conspiracy of silence is based on intimidation?

If you are a member of the British parliament, or know someone who is, please feel free to share the fury. As a family personally affected by this in the worst possible way, we believe passionately that this scandal, and the reams of open-source information that documents it, has been going on for far too long ["4-Sep-12: Where's the shame? How much of your tax dollars went to fund the pension of our child's murderer? More than you probably thought"]. There have been too many innocent victims and far, far, far too many unjust beneficiaries. They include the members of the Palestinian Arab terror squad, one woman and several men, who were convicted of multiple murders including our daughter's in 2001, and who have for years received lavish payments under the nauseating Mahmoud Abbas Rewards for Terror scheme.  

It's time to shut this obscene disgrace down.

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