Sunday, January 01, 2006

All Good Things...

Several months ago I informed all the Iraqi And Afghan bloggers I would be discontinuing my services in collecting donations on their behalf on Dec 31st, 2005. At this time all the blogs' PayPal button have been removed. The links to the donors and this site will only remain at the discretion of each site's owner. This site will remain as a historical artifact of what transpired.

There is still some money left in the blogger's accounts. I'll be making arrangements over the next few weeks to have this money distributed to the bloggers or where ever they see fit. Although I don't anticipate any major issues, if something does come up I'll be sure to post status updates on this site.

The reason I have decided to stop is that the mission has been accomplished. In the early days, the donations made had a real impact on the ability of the first bloggers to continue blogging from within their home countries. Besides the internet fees, the fact people were willing to pay made it clear how important this all was. Having first person accounts available for people to read is what the blogosphere is all about and it is hard to imagine a place that needed this more than Iraq and Afghanistan.

My one regret is I wasn't able to attract a wider range of views of the Iraqi experience. I made several attempts to get Riverbend on board and Zeyad, but was unsuccessful. In Riverbend'’s case it appears she pursued other channels so good for her. But the way groups polarize into different camps even on a medium that was made for talking confuses me. With little to no risk of physical confrontation why do people do this? Without dialog how do opposing sides ever reconcile or at least admit the other side isn't 100% evil. I had hoped that blogs will allow dialog between opposing sides, but it appears at best they provide easier access to information for people in the middle of an issue to make up their minds.


When I started this blog, I said no politics was allowed. As I've obviously violated this rule I guess that's my queue to close up the site and move on. It's been a pleasure working with everyone that I came in contact with.

All the best,

Tom Villars

Monday, August 15, 2005

Lost hosting for the donation pages

I lost the hosting for the donation pages and I need to find another place to host them. Should have something back up by this weekend.

As always, if anyone has any questions please feel free to email me, or leave a comment.

Update* Found a way to host the accounting files on blogspot. Everyone's List of Donor's link should now be working.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Afghan blogger #2

Have received a request from a second Afghan blogger, Afghan LORD. His paypal button is up and I'll be verifying him in the next week or two assuming there are some donations.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Afghan blogger status update

Waheed has sent all the information required to send the donations via Western Union. I'll be sending the money either Friday evening or Saturday morning.

And a special thanks to Spirit Of America that made a significant donation to help Waheed purchase a computer.

Update* Sent $1600 USD via western Union on April 08. Waiting for Waheed to acknowledge receipt of the money.

Update** Waheed acknowledged receipt of the money via email. Hopefully he will psot on his blog shortly.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Have added an Afghan blogger

As an experiment I have added a blogger from Afghanistan. Waheed has been blogging since March 8 and seems to have developed a good following in just a few weeks. You can read more about him at his blog, Afghan Warrior.

No longer accepting new Iraqi Bloggers

The situation has improved in Iraq where the cost of accessing the Internet is no longer prohibitively expensive for most of the Iraqi bloggers. Of course there will be exceptions, but at this point there are certainly enough authenticate Iraqi bloggers out there that the true voice of Iraq can not be buried by main stream media.

Therefore I have decided to stop accepting request for new Iraqi bloggers that have not been blogging since January 1, 2005.

Donations to Iraqi Blogger Technical Support being discontinued

With so many bloggers now on the list, the accounting hassles of splitting up the money are becoming more trouble than their worth. Effective immediately, not future donations to Iraqi Blogger Technical Support will be accepted. Of course you can still donate directly to any of the active supported bloggers.

Western Union

A Western Union of $160 was sent on March 11, 2005 to AYS in a secure and undisclosed location. AYS has acknowledge receipt of the funds.

Wire Transfer

A wire transfer of $5,900.00 (USD) was sent on March 10th, 2005. The break down was as follows:


IPDP$2,600.00
Iraq The Model$2,345.00
Road Of A Nation$75.00
Nabil's Blog$80.00
Iraqi Humanity$800.00


Update* ITM is checking on the status of the transfer, but as of March 27th, we don't have confirmation it has arrived.

Update** ITM has informed me the intermediary we use has been out of town. We hope to hear something within the next few days.

Update *** Omar has the money in hand and will be distributing it shortly.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Status Update

Omar and Mohammed have asked that the PayPal donation button be removed from their site. They feel they can pay for all their blogging expenses through advertisements. BlogAds have been added so if anyone is interested in getting your ad displayed over 6000 times a day, you can advertise here.

Final expenses for the Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party have been listed here.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Wire Transfer for IPDP and Iraq The Model

A wire transfer of $9000 was sent on Nov 16, 2004. The break down was as follows:


Iraq The Model$1,000.00
IPDP$8,000.00


Update 2004-12-02
There seems to be a problem with this transfer as well but we have the international swift routing code and the people on the receiving end should be able to get it sorted out. I'll keep people posted on progress. Just once I'd like to have one of these go through with out a major hassle.

Update 2004-12-20
It seems the problem is on this side of the Atlantic after all. Got the following from my bank:

Update 2005-02-02
My bank has informed me that after 2.5 months the funds have finally been released.
Wed Feb 02 14:46:30 2005 Attention Brokerage Customer
As you may already be aware, the hold was released on the wired funds under reference number XXXXXXXXX102 at the Bank of New York. Thank you.
Boy I am glad Omar and Mohammed got to meet with President Bush last year, just think how long this would have taken if they had only met with someone like Vice President Cheney.



Mr. Villars:

The wire transaction has been held up at the Bank of New York. Apparently someone close to the name of XXXX XXXX XXXX has appeared on the OFAC list. They need some additional information to say for certain whether his is the person in question is not eligible or eligible for a transfer.

The information we need is
Date of Birth
Home address

if you get this info to me, I will forward it to the Bank of New York

Regards,
Douglas Vincent Boyle
Professional, Relationship Manager
E*TRADE Securities LLC


Unfortunately this has happened before with Omar and considering that Omar was allowed to meet with the President Bush, it is clear the banks are at best being overly cautious in this matter. I'll update everyone as soon as I hear more.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Moving to Ad Supported

Omar from Iraq The Model has requested assitance with placing ads on his site. This is something new for Iraqi bloggers but with the donation levels trending down it seems a reasonable way to proceed with futher funding.

While we'll eventually get Blog Ads added to the site, I'd thought we'd start with InTrade. InTrade specializes in politcal and financial futures contracts. I've had them make up a quote board specfically designed for events related to Iraq. If you have questions most can be answered at the Intrade FAQ page, but feel free to ask a questions in the comment section and I'll do my best to provide answers.

Full Disclosure:
I am long 187 contracts on the IRAQ.ELECTIONS.JAN05 contract.
I am the Market Maker for the IRAQ.TURNOUT.+8.0M contract.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Reporting an unwelcome ad

Since Google Adsense does not allow pre-screening of which ads are displayed on a site, there is a good chance some unwelcome or inappropriate ads could show up. If you think an ad falls into this category, add a comment with the ad's URL and I'll try to remove it from the list of advertisers allowed on the site. We can block up to 200 advertisers.

Blocked Advertisers

  • www.bringemhome.org (Kathleen A.)
  • www.cheblogs.com (Tom Villars)
  • www.4-my-country.com (not perfection)