secrecy oversight armed forces accountability

Out With the Old Boss, In With the New Boss
whistle blow corruption

Corruption Fingered in Mideast Militaries

Even after the overthrow of authoritarian regimes, some places stay corrupt. The more things change, the more they stay the same -- until society matures beyond taxes, to dues, and beyond subsidies, to dividends. This 2013 excerpt is from the Associated Press, Feb 6.

by Barbara Surk

Continued secrecy and lack of civilian oversight in defense ministries and armed forces in the Middle East and North Africa expose them to corrupt practices, the Britain-based Transparency International said in a report on the Mideast and North Africa region released in Beirut.

Of the 19 countries surveyed, only a few disclose their military budgets, the group said. None of the countries makes public the size of its military or the troops' salaries.

Countries in transition, such as Egypt, Libya Tunisia, and Yemen, lack any accountability, legislative oversight, and credible "whistleblowing" systems through which concerned officers or defense officials can report suspected corruption.

It's a clear indication that replacing authoritarian leaders with elected ones is not enough to eradicate corruption.

In Egypt and in other countries that have experienced decades of authoritarian rule, including Libya, Yemen, Algeria and Syria, the military owns a large portion of commercial economic outlets. Little or nothing is known about their profits.

Organized crime has penetrated the defense sectors in at least some of the countries.

In Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco, too, the risk of improper purchases taking place remains high.

To read more

JJS: Why does anyone even want to control the state? It’s in order to be able to take money from others legally -- to tax -- and to spend it on anything one likes legally -- to subsidize. Wanna-be reformers can not rationally expect the state to reform the state. The pressure must come from beyond the coterie of politicians, from a popular understanding of the proper role of government. And that is one task: to defend the rights of people. The most crucial right -- and the least recognized right -- is one’s right to a fair share of the worth of Mother Earth. Once we recognize and feel that right, then we can win it. And once we win it, say goodbye to corrupt militaries and all the waste and fraud of all forms in government. Instead, the revenue will be in your hands and the hands of your fellow citizens.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

In Indonesia, It's Blatant, In the US It's Subtle

Land deals stir discontent in Sierra Leone

Obstructing Justice and Siphoning Funds

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