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Iraq war profiteers

Written By: - Date published: 11:40 am, August 9th, 2010 - 15 comments
Categories: corruption, iraq, war - Tags: , ,

I regard the invasion of Iraq as one of the most shameful events in America’s history. The made up cover story about “weapons of mass destruction” was quickly shown to be a lie. It was always about the oil. And for too many of those on the ground it was always about lining their pockets with billions of dollars worth of slush money. Some of this is old news, from 2007:

How the US sent $12bn in cash to Iraq. And watched it vanish

Special flights brought in tonnes of banknotes which disappeared into the war zone

The US flew nearly $12bn in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent. The staggering scale of the biggest transfer of cash in the history of the Federal Reserve has been graphically laid bare by a US congressional committee. …

“One CPA official described an environment awash in $100 bills,” the memorandum says. “One contractor received a $2m payment in a duffel bag stuffed with shrink-wrapped bundles of currency. Auditors discovered that the key to a vault was kept in an unsecured backpack.

“They also found that $774,300 in cash had been stolen from one division’s vault. Cash payments were made from the back of a pickup truck, and cash was stored in unguarded sacks in Iraqi ministry offices. One official was given $6.75m in cash, and was ordered to spend it in one week before the interim Iraqi government took control of Iraqi funds.”

The minutes from a May 2004 CPA meeting reveal “a single disbursement of $500m in security funding labelled merely ‘TBD’, meaning ‘to be determined’.”

The memorandum concludes: “Many of the funds appear to have been lost to corruption and waste … thousands of ‘ghost employees’ were receiving pay cheques from Iraqi ministries under the CPA’s control. Some of the funds could have enriched both criminals and insurgents fighting the United States.

But a recent report has just highlighted another part of the picture:

US ‘fails to account’ for Iraq reconstruction billions

Billions have gone to rebuild Iraq but much of the money is impossible to trace, says a US audit

A US federal watchdog has criticised the US military for failing to account properly for billions of dollars it received to help rebuild Iraq.

The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says the US Department of Defence is unable to account properly for 96% of the money. Out of just over $9bn (£5.8bn), $8.7bn is unaccounted for, the inspector says.

The US military said the funds were not necessarily missing, but that spending records might have been archived. In a response attached to the report, it said attempting to account for the money might require “significant archival retrieval efforts”. …

The funds are separate from the $53bn allocated by the US Congress for rebuilding Iraq. Much of the money came from the sale of Iraqi oil and gas, and some frozen Saddam Hussein-era assets were also sold off. The money was in a special fund administered by the US Department of Defense, the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), and was earmarked for reconstruction projects. But the report says that a lack of proper accounting and poor oversight makes it impossible to say exactly what happened to most of it. …

This will never be investigated. The missing billions will never be found. Far too little has gone into reconstructing Iraq. A shameful footnote to a shameful war.

15 comments on “Iraq war profiteers ”

  1. roger nome 1

    It is all ok. As David Farrar says, Saddam was a bad man, and hundreds of thousands of people needed to die to teach him a lesson.

    The bushites never lied. They simply created their own intelligence agency to discover that Saddam was planning to destroy the US with a mass anthrax letter mailing campaign. He was also planning to celebrate victory with a big yellow cake imported from Nigeria (redbaiter told me).

    The CIA was too dumb to figure all this out, but Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney’s team were right on to them. Haliburton and democracy were the winners on the day, for they wanted victory more than the republican guard.

    The story you link to is typical left-wing propaganda, and you must get a real job in the private sector, or you are wrong ok?

  2. roger nome 2

    So there you go, there’s no reason for any kiwiblog trolls to post on this thread. Capiche?

  3. workingjez 3

    read “The Shock doctrine” by Naiomi Klien, lays the whole affair out in black and white. the Bushies had found the perfect machine to transfer public welath to (their) private hands.

  4. Funny how we don’t hear Obama bitchmoaning much about the sorry state of affairs Bush left him to carry the can with, but it’s all Key and English can talk about here…how Labour has left them in the shit and they cant find the toilet paper to wipe the shit off their chins because of it

    Maybe they should follow suit and declare war on Fiji. War is apparently great for the economy.

    C’mon Bill And John. Man up, grow a pair and lets get democratizing !!!

  5. hey r0b,

    Sorry for the threadjack but I send a mail to the Standard this morning and I directed it mainly to you and the others who like Joe Bageant’s writing. He is coming to NZ and will be at the writers conference in Christchurch and I’m trying to organise another appearance on the North Island. I’m hoping for Auckland. He is dead keen to meet ( I send him the link to your post a couple of weeks ago and don’t worry no repercussions for publishing and linking). He is an amazing raconteur and happy to share a few beers with us. Please check the Standard mail or leave a post for me at my blog site. No details will be made public.

    This is serious and I’m not trying to bullshit here, OK.

    By the way anybody keen to meet this guy this also is a message for you.


    Now to get back to the thread, here’s a thought. Yes, Iraq was all about the oil and so was Afghanistan.

    [lprent: I forwarded the e-mail this morning. Don’t get too impatient. Despite what it often seems like, almost all authors work during the day and only get occasional pit-stops into the site. ]

    • r0b 5.1

      Hi Eve – Thanks for that email, it was forwarded on to me. I’ll look out for Bageant’s tour, though he’s not likely to make it to my little town!

  6. Yes, Iraq was all about the oil and so was Afghanistan.

    I thought Afghanistan was about protecting teh wimminz folk…silly me

  7. joe90 7

    Couldn’t find Matt Taibbi’s 2007 Rolling Stone article, The Great Iraq Swindle, gone 404, but truth-out has it here.

  8. tc 8

    “Funny how we don’t hear Obama bitchmoaning much about the sorry state of affairs Bush left him to carry the can with, but it’s all Key and English can talk about here how Labour has left them in the shit and they cant find the toilet paper to wipe the shit off their chins because of it…”

    Nor do you hear any such whining from labor in Oz Pollywog over the Lib’s multi termed time in Gov’t…..unlike here/oz in the US Obama/Bush all belong to the same types of club as you never get to be President without backing from Big business/banking so IMHO dem’s/rep’s both shades of the same colour.

    Funny that Blinglish and Sideshow have found enough in the ‘sorry state’ for tax cuts for the already well off though.

  9. David 9

    And yet no American Oil company has ended up with any of the Iraqi oil contracts. Sort of ruins your theory dont you think?

  10. joe90 10

    You’ve never heard of the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline David?.

    The so-called Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline has strong support from Washington because the U.S. government is eager to block a competing pipeline that would bring gas to Pakistan and India from Iran.

  11. roger nome 11

    Not really David. The big-wigs of the US economy want security of supply of cheap energy. Not that hard to understand is it?

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