Oh, the ignominy of seeing yet another imperial money machine get trashed!
The World Bank has been accused of publishing false accounts and wasting money on ineffective medicines in its malaria treatment programme.
A Lancet paper claims the bank faked figures, boosting the success of its malaria projects, and reneged on a pledge to invest $300-500m in Africa.
It also claims the bank funded obsolete treatments – against expert advice.
The Lancet study also alleges that the World Bank hyped the results of its malaria control programme in India.
They quote the bank saying that it reduced deaths from malaria in the Indian states of Gujarat by 58%, Maharashtra by 98% and Rajasthan by 79%.
The authors say they doubted malaria could be reduced so markedly in such a short time and requested and obtained official statistics from India’s own national malaria programme.
According to India’s Directorate of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, deaths from malaria rose in all three states in the 2002-3 period in question.
“Because we were refused access to the original data sources, we cannot discern the cause of the bank’s many statistical errors and particularly whether those errors arise from unintentional mistakes or from intentional data falsification or fabrication,” the authors say.
Dr Attaran and his colleagues go on to call for the World Bank to hand over the $1bn due to be invested in malaria programmes worldwide to a separate body, saying the bank’s role should be reserved only for funding.
But the bank says: “World Bank Group President, Paul Wolfowitz, has put the full weight of his leadership behind the Bank’s renewed commitment to malaria, with a strong emphasis on results.”
The day after the September 11 attacks Wolfowitz authorized the creation of an informal team focused on ferreting out damaging intelligence about Iraq. This loosely organized team soon became the Office of Special Plans (OSP) directed by Abram Shulsky, formerly of RAND and the National Strategy Information Center (NSIC). The objective of this closet intelligence team, according to Rumsfeld, was to "search for information on Iraq’s hostile intentions or links to terrorists." OSP’s mission was to create intelligence that the Pentagon and vice president could use to press their case for an Iraq invasion with the president and Congress.
The OSP played a key role in providing Rumseld, Cheney, and the president himself with the intelligence frequently cited to justify the March 2003 invasion. By late 2003 the OSP was closed down, having accomplished its mission of providing the strategic intelligence cited by the administration in the build-up to the invasion. OSP’s staff and operations were folded back into the normal operations of the NESA and into its Office of Northern Gulf Affairs.
Personally, though, I’ll always think of him as the guy in Fahrenheit 9/11 who goobed on his comb to save a few bucks on hair gel. It just seems…so…metaphorical, somehow.