Corruption rot spawned from lies.
The entire Iraqi misadventure is a horror-shame of an affair.
From UK’s The Independent on Monday:
- In what could turn out to be the greatest fraud in US history, American authorities have started to investigate the alleged role of senior military officers in the misuse of $125bn (Â£88bn) in a US-directed effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
“I believe the real looting of Iraq after the invasion was by US officials and contractors, and not by people from the slums of Baghdad,” said one US businessman active in Iraq since 2003.
The US invaded Iraq without a clue and a plan.
Thus greed took its course — $50 billion gone a-missing, creating a “bigger theft than Bernard Madoff’s notorious Ponzi scheme.”
(Illustration found here).
One of the best covering the Middle East, Patrick Cockburn, wrote the Independent story and adds:
- Despite the vast sums expended on rebuilding by the US since 2003, there have been no cranes visible on the Baghdad skyline except those at work building a new US embassy and others rusting beside a half-built giant mosque that Saddam was constructing when he was overthrown.
One of the few visible signs of government work on Baghdad’s infrastructure is a tireless attention to planting palm trees and flowers in the centre strip between main roads.
Those are then dug up and replanted a few months later.
Such obvious graft and corruption could only mean some US involvement:
- Iraqi leaders are convinced that the theft or waste of huge sums of US and Iraqi government money could have happened only if senior US officials were themselves involved in the corruption.
In 2004-05, the entire Iraq military procurement budget of $1.3bn was siphoned off from the Iraqi Defence Ministry in return for 28-year-old Soviet helicopters too obsolete to fly and armoured cars easily penetrated by rifle bullets.
Iraqi officials were blamed for the theft, but US military officials were largely in control of the Defence Ministry at the time and must have been either highly negligent or participants in the fraud.
Investigators with the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) are reportedly looking into the alleged nefarious activities of retired US Col. Anthony B. Bell and Lt. Col. Ronald W. Hirtle of the Air Force.
Bell was in charge of Iraqi reconstruction contracting in 2003 and 2004 while Hirtle was a senior contracting officer in Baghdad in 2004.
This whole affair stinks, but in a sad, dangerous Elmore Leonard kind of way — dumb-ass, wiseguys getting into big, bad trouble because of greed.
As in the case of grinning, Heckler & Koch MP-5 submachine gun-toting Dale C. Stoffel, a 43-year-old American businessman and arms dealer, who was killed in December 2004.
- Everyone has heard stories of selfless idealists killed in Iraq.
Stoffel was not one of those and probably would not have wanted to be seen that way. He was a self-professed man of action, one who was proudly and openly in Iraq to make a fortune.
Still, he supported the war and the promise of a new Middle East and was a solid Republican, an enthusiastic backer of George W. Bush, and a donor to the president’s campaigns.
ReadÂ aspects of Stoffel’s death here and here.
An Islamic insurgent group, however, claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying on their Web site here, “On The 8th of December 2004, Godâ€™s punishment took him by surprise on the hands of the sons of Iraq to bring him down from the White House to become a thrown corps on the road.”
Was it a corpse, or maybe a plural form, meaning the entire US?
In the NY Times story last Saturday on the new Iraqi corruption probe:
- Before he was shot on a road north of Baghdad, Mr. Stoffel drew a portrait worthy of a pulp crime novel: tens of thousands of dollars stuffed into pizza boxes and delivered surreptitiously to the American contracting offices in Baghdad, and payoffs made in paper sacks that were scattered in â€œdead dropsâ€ around the Green Zone, the nerve center of the United States governmentâ€™s presence in Iraq, two senior federal officials said.
Corruption in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion has been amazing.
Is the current investigation part of an inquiry into the famous $12 billion shrink-wrapped $100 bills on pallets gone a-missing episode?
Or the 190,000 US weapons gone a-missing?
On wait, that wasn’t Iraqi “reconstruction” graft, that was military graft — one must go to the sub-genre, yeah, of military reconstruction graft — but corruption and its rot is part of the program.
- Stanford, his investment firm and the bank were sued by the SEC over the sale of $8 billion of the bank certificates.
The SEC accused the banker and his companies of running a â€œmassive, ongoing fraudâ€ by making false claims to investors about investment strategy and returns.
â€œI can assure you this company is well positioned, with the right products to be successful even in this environment,â€ Allen Stanford wrote in a letter to clients dated Feb. 11.
Company spokesman Brian Bertsch referred press inquiries to the SEC.
Liar to the end.
A tidal wave of cultural corruption shell-shock.