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IRAQ: Congress Missing in Action as Questions Grow Over Handling of Seized Iraqi Assets

Six congressional committees are investigating the United Nations Oil-for-Food (UN) scandal, yet not a single Republican committee chairman will call a hearing to investigate the mishandling of $9 billion dollars by the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Bellaciao
February 17th, 2005

There are 6 Congressional Committees investigating the Oil-for-Food (UN) scandal, yet not a single Republican Committee Chairman will call a hearing to investigate the whereabouts of 9 billion dollars missing in action.

What has emerged recently is that the corruption is beyond the scope that anyone could have possibly imagined:

  • A British adviser to the Iraqi Governing Council claimed that officials in the CPA were demanding bribes of up to $300,000 in return for awarding contracts.
  • Contracts were paid in cash bricks - stacks of $100 bills - stuffed in gunnysacks. Why pay in cash bricks except to leave no paper or electronic trail?
  • $1.4 billion was flown by helicopter to a bank in the Kurdish town of Irbil- it never arrived.
  • 8,206 guards were listed on the payroll, but they could only find 602 actual guards. Where did this money go? Who was behind this scam?
  • Just One individual with an excel spreadsheet was in charge of $20 billion
  • Cost-plus contracts gave contractors incentive to charge higher prices- the more they spent, the more they made.
    • Halliburton purchased of hundreds of high-end SUVs
    • Leased SUVs for $7,500 per month
    • Some employees lived in 5-star hotels
    • Employees were told NOT to keep electronic spreadsheets to record their purchases- ie leave no trail
  • Whistleblowers exposed fraudulent practices, yet for more than a year the CPA continued to give contracts to the firm Custer-Battles. When asked why, Custer said, "Battles is very active in the Republican party, and speaks to individuals he knows in the Whitehouse almost daily."

Aside from the felonious theft of our hard-earned money, consider the side effects of this looting. Recently a soldier at Walter Reed Hospital told Senator Durbin, "Senator, can we afford to come up with the money for armor plating for the 8,400 humvees from Iraq, like the one that blew up under me and took my leg?"

In December Rumsfeld was caught in a lie when he said the lack of equipment was due to the supply line- they couldn’t make the armored humvees any faster. The next day the manufacturer stated that they were NOT operating at full capacity- just give them the word and they could have delivered more armored vehicles.

Let that sink in....

Our money has been stolen, while our troops have been stuck with inadequate equipment- more US soldiers have been maimed and killed as a direct result of these corrupt practices.

Several Democratic Senators and Congresspeople have called for hearings.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich has requested a Federal Grand Jury Investigaion:

"The Administration, the Department of Defense, and Coalition Provisional Authority must be held directly responsible for this staggering lack of accountability of $9 billion. If ever there was a reason for a grand jury to start asking questions of high ranking federal government officials, this is it."

"It is simply not believable that the Administration lost track of every dime of the funds. The Administration willfully turned a blind eye and allowed the misuse of funds, and now must be held accountable."

California Democrat Mike Thompson is the chief sponsor of the War Funding Accountability Act which would have Congress review the accounting every three months. During World War II when a Democratic President and Congress launched the Truman Committee which uncovered $15 billion fraud- which is about $135 billion in today’s dollars).

Why won’t this Republican President and Congress investigate the corrupt war profiteering that has taken place?

Could it have something to do with VP Cheney’s ties to Halliburton? The whistleblowers at the 2/13 Senate Hearing were former KBR (Hallburton) employees that described the corrupt practices they were taught by managers. Consider that in March 2003 Halliburton received a no-bid contract for ’putting out the oil-well fires’. Two months later it was revealed that this contract also gave Halliburton the rights to get the oil fields up and running. And now it emerges that during the last year and a half, the meters were broken and nobody knows how much oil has been pumped out of Iraq.

The evidence of blatant fraud is piling up like a US election- broken oil meters, waste, bribes, helicopters with literal tonnage of cash bricks... is this the method of goverment or drug dealers and organized crime? Their actions speak volumes - why did the CPA and various contractors intentionally cover their tracks using unaccountable procedures?

Certain Congresspeople are refusing to investigate this theft of $9 billion, doesn’t that make them accessories to the crime? According to The Constitution, it is the duty of Congress to investigate these crimes. Their purpose is to provide ’checks and balances’ to the Executive Branch, expressly to be something other than a horde of rubber stamp lemmings.

Democrats are calling for hearings to uncover this fraud, the Republicans are stonewalling. It appears they want to push through this $82 billion bill without even looking into the billions that are already missing. This is criminal.

Demand they hold Bush accountable or we will hold them accountable.

Demand Accountability and Prosecution. That is the only way to discourage this from happening again.





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