Monday, March 19, 2007

Is this a wind up?

In the public interest I have decided to post an email that is being sent to British experts, offering them senior posts in Iraq. I have found a specific example. Believe it if you can......The job offer email is worded like some kind of irritating advertising of the 'Congratulations ! Good news ! You have won a free laptop' type. A bad taste joke? No, it's a serious job offer from a big US consulting firm close to the Republican Party. It was sent to a friend of mine - who for obvious reasons will remain nameless. And it was sent to a British academic. What's more, it was preceded by a bizarre telephone interview. My friend told me that a junior office worker from the big US firm telephoned him at home one evening and went through a long and bureaucratic questionnaire on the phone, asking lots of questions about his CV and previous work. They explained that they were looking to recruit a senior reconstruction specialist (and as my friend pointed out - fearless genius & suicidal idiot as well !) to run a US reconstruction programme, 'post-surge', in one of Iraq's big provinces. They explained that the assumption behind the new recruitment drive was that the US 'troop surge' will be highly successful. They weren't clear which province but said vaguely it could be one of many. Following this telephone interview no discussions or negotiations, took place, and no detailed description was made of what the work entailed.

[The email doesn't even mention Iraq, even though all of the verbal questions were about Iraq, operations in-theatre, and my friend's 'war experience']. All the changes in typefaces and emboldened text are as sent to him - and are unedited. And remember, this concerns a project where someone will be in charge of the future reconstruction of Iraq, and there is a significant risk of death or injury.Given this background the letter is even more 'jaw-dropping'. See for yourself, below !

Dear Mr xxxxxxx,

Thanks for taking time out of your day to read my email. Great news! The field office has recommended that we move forward with you bringing you onboard. First, I need to know your availability to begin this position in the Middle East ? We would like for you to start on as soon as possible. In the meantime, there are pre-employment forms that must be completed and return back to me within 72 hours. You can to fax them back to me; if that is easier for you. My fax number and email address are below. Therefore, I am attaching the following documents:

RTI application…Disclosure form…USAID Bio Data Form…Personal information form…Badge Application

In addition, I will need a copy of your passport and salary documentation that backs up the salary you put down on the USAID Bio Data form. Your salary documentation can be your pay stub, employment contract, W-2/tax form, or a formal letter from your employer that clearly states base pay. I realize I am requesting a lot from you, however, they are necessary. I really appreciate you taking the time to fill out these forms and sending them to me, as soon as possible.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Congratulations!

Best regards


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