$23 BILLION Lost, Stolen, or Missing from “Rebuilding” in Iraq

Ann Shibler
JBS
Friday, June 13, 2008

A BBC Panorama (British TV show) investigation into the corruption and abuse rampant among Iraqi government officials and contract personnel probably has probably exposed only the tip of the iceberg.

Follow this link to the original source: "BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions"

COMMENTARY:

There are currently 70 court cases against top American companies that contracted with the U.S. government for goods or services to be rendered in Iraq. But, the Bush administration is preventing any discussion or exposure of the allegations or details of the court cases by issuing gag orders for all of them. The investigation even looked inside the Iraqi government, at its own officials who are certainly not above a bit of pilfering.

Apparently the administration does not want the American people to know the extent to which their tax dollars have been wasted and even embezzled through the machinations of ever-present war profiteers. With plenty of evidence being reported, the most egregious example so far seems to be the case of Hazem Shalaan, appointed as the Iraqi government’s minister of defense in 2004.

(Article continues below)

The new ministry of defense in Iraq is a creature of the U.S. government, with civilian leaders appointed to head a department that was charged with management and administration and logistics for the Iraqi Armed Forces, under the authority, direction, and control of the Coalition Provisional Authority’s Paul Bremer. Bremer, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, has an interesting profile on Sourcewatch that’s worth reading.

Shalaan and his cronies siphoned $1.2 billion out of the ministry’s budget, and diverted the money to their personal accounts. Iraq’s Commission for Public Integrity investigated Shalaan and company’s activities, noting: "They failed to rebuild the Ministry of Defence, and as a result the violence and the bloodshed went on and on – the murder of Iraqis and foreigners continues and they bear responsibility."

Shalaan was found guilty and sentenced to two jail terms, but has managed to elude even Interpol as he jets around the world on his private plane.

In the meantime, American blood and money continues to disappear into the black hole of Iraq.

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