Friday, February 8

IDF corruption case explodes

Ehud Olmert
In the aftermath of the elections in Israel, only one person is laughing hard. On January 11, 2013, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave an interview to Channel Two's "Friday's Studio." He accused Netanyahu of spending $3 Billion on "hallucinated adventures that were not implemented and would not be implemented." As described in Israel Spent $3 Billion on Iran Attack, the sum went missing on preparations of an attack on Iran. Most Israelis are naive, but not naive enough to believe that military exercises for an airstrike can cost so much. 

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who had been recently acquittedafter having been forced to leave office, used his regained innocence to hit the most probable figure behind his impeachment: Netanyahu. Olmert's careful whisper destroyed Netanyahu's dreams. Instead of increasing his power as polls predicted, Netanyahu lost 11 seats in the Knesset, giving place to the current Treason Season. However, Olmert's achievement went beyond that. He opened the gate for other corruption cases to be exposed. On February 6, Yedioth Aharonot exposed a case that led on the next day to the banning of six communication equipment suppliers by the IDF, following the acknowledgment of a non-commissioned officer to have robbed the army. 
Probably in most of the world's armies, non-commissioned officers are the best equipped people. In the IDF, they are often referred to as the "army's spine," acknowledging their pivotal role as the most stable part of a unit. Soldiers stay for short periods of time in a unit, eventually being released back to civilian life. Officers advance their careers by moving from unit to unit while getting a higher rank; more often than not an officer's post in the IDF lasts a couple of years. In contrast, non-commissioned officers can serve twenty years in a unit; in military terms this is eternity, an infinity of eons. They control low-administrative issues and thus have access to the best of everything. They always get new uniforms from the laundry, they invariably enjoy the tastiest spam meat, they always have fuel coupons, but never, absolutely never, they do have work. 

"anti-Semitic Lies!" 

If the IDF spokesman troubled himself to read this website, he probably would have reacted in the fashion of this section's title. Yet, state corruption is not foreign in Israel (see Corruptus in Extremis). Moreover, days before the current affair exploded, on January 29, Transparency International included Israel in the fourth layer in a list of countries with a high risk of corruption in its defense industry due to its lack of transparency. Other shining stars in this group are India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, and Ukraine. Israel's reaction included the words "they don't know," and "baseless accusations" while refusing to comment on its obvious lack of transparency. The Israeli lie was exposed one week afterwards. 
© Latuff
Millions of Dollars 

An unnamed Chief Warrant Officer (this is the most senior non-commissioned officer rank), acknowledged having manipulated contracts with six Israeli companies, namely Dor Information Technologies, Videoset Technologies, Nextcom, Rotel Networks, Shamrad Electronica, and Manolid-Herut. His method of operation was typical, the only unusual thing - beyond the publicity - was the size of his operation. He robbed millions of dollars from the IDF. He would issue bids and subsequently order goods and services from the abovementioned companies according to the regular procedures and protocols used by the army, everything was "kosher." However, he would purchase different items from those requested in the bids. After receiving them, he would sell them privately, or give them away as gifts to officers, assuring their silent cooperation. Afterwards, the companies sent to the Ministry of Defense requests for payment for the original equipment mentioned in the army bids. Thus, the paperwork looked like regular activities of that unit. 

Due to the involvement of civilians and military officers, the investigation was conducted by the Investigations Unit of the Ministry of Defense together with Metzah (acronym for "Investigative Military Police," in Hebrew). The Ministry's Deputy Legal Advisor decided to cancel the status of "Ministry of Defense Suppliers" to these companies after having proved their criminal activities. Oddly, there wasn't much to investigate since all six companies acknowledged the facts, claiming "we thought that we were working for the benefit of the IDF," providing collateral corroboration that this scheme is the norm and not the exception. Make no mistake, the chances of this crime reaching the Court are slim; the State doesn't like to disclose itself as a corrupt fool. The companies will be allowed to participate in an inner process within the Ministry, and probably will face a minor administrative sanction. The Chief Warrant Officer would be offered early retirement with a generous state-pension, and he will reluctantly accept. After all, the state-administration is above the law, isn't it?

The Memoirs of a Refugee

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