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Friday, Apr 1, 2005, 5:11 pm

as if

By Jessica Clark

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Friday Apr 1, 2005
by Greg Palast

[Brussels] In a unexpected turn of events, controversial US Pentagon official Paul Wolfowitz has turned down the post of President of the World Bank. The Deputy Defense Secretary had won unanimous support of World Bank trustees in a vote Thursday despite widespread objections to the appointment in the European press.

In a statement issued today by the Deputy Secretary before departing Brussels, Mr. Wolfowitz cited the release of the Silberman-Robb Commission report to the President on failures of US intelligence in Iraq.

Mr. Wolfowitz noted that on March 27, 2003, he had testified before the US Congress that the post-war reconstruction of that nation would not cost any "US taxpayer money." Rather, Iraq's oil would pay the tab for the post-conquest rebuilding.

The price tag is now inching toward $200 billion. Mr. Wolfowitz, long associated with neo-conservative factions in the Bush Administration, angrily responded to the Silberman-Robb Commission's accusation that his intelligence on Iraq was flawed or deficient.

"That's just plain wrong. In fact, the Pentagon had incontrovertible evidence that my projections were as phony as a three-dollar bill. Don't blame the CIA. We saw their intelligence and preferred an alternative reality."

A World Bank spokesman reached in Washington, when asked about the Wolfowitz rejection of the institution's presidency, said, "It's sounds like another cheap April Fool's Day trick by Greg Palast to call attention to his investigative report on the Bush Administration's secret plans for Iraq's oil -- out in this month's Harper's Magazine."

Jessica Clark is a writer, editor and researcher, with more than 15 years of experience spanning commercial, educational, independent and public media production. Currently she is the Research Director for American University’s Center for Social Media. She also writes a monthly column for PBS’ MediaShift on new directions in public media. She is the author, with Tracy Van Slyke, of Beyond the Echo Chamber: Reshaping Politics Through Networked Progressive Media (2010, New Press).

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