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Iraq is now the third most corrupt country in the world

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Wayne Madsen
Online Journal
June 3, 2008

The Bush-Cheney administration has something else for which it can congratulate itself, in addition to the military quagmire it created in Iraq with its "surge." According to the international corruption watchdog group Transparency International, Iraq is now the third most corrupt nation in the world, ranking just ahead of last place Somalia and the military dictatorship of Burma.

It is so bad in Iraq that Iraqi Judge Radhi al-Radhi, who was in charge of anti-corruption efforts in the country as head of the Iraqi Commission on Public Integrity, was forced to flee Iraq for the United States last year. Thirty-one of al-Radhi’s investigators were assassinated, a clear indication that it was time for al-Radhi and his family to escape. It is clear that the government of U.S. puppet Nouri al-Maliki, who, along with his top henchman, have squirreled away billions in bank accounts and real estate holdings in Switzerland, London, and Chicago. The Maliki assassins were so brutal that even the bodies of 12 family members of al-Radhi’s investigators were found with drill holes in their bodies, evidence that they were tortured before they were murdered.

Saddam Hussein’s government never approached the level of corruption in Iraq now being advanced and nurtured by the puppet Maliki regime. In bed with U.S. contractors like Halliburton, Blackwater, and other firms that have raked in obscene profits from the neocon-inspired and directed war, the Maliki regime has turned over Iraq’s oil production to foreign oil companies, failed to properly account for its own oil revenues, ignored even the most basic accounting procedures, and now plans to play a diversion game by suing businessmen and government officials in the West it accuses of profiting from the Saddam Hussein era’s United Nations "Oil-for-Food" program.

Meanwhile, the State Department, which contracted with al-Radhi to oversee anti-corruption efforts in Iraq, now wants nothing to do with him. Almost broke and living in a suburb of Washington, DC, al-Radhi has been the subject of a neocon character assassination campaign. Even though al-Radhi has testified before Rep. Henry Waxman’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Democrats did nothing as al-Radhi’s son reportedly had his U.S. residency visa pulled by the State Department and was forced to return to Iraq where he now faces a fate similar to al-Radhi’s investigators and their families if Judge al-Radhi does not cease his criticism of Maliki and his corrupt cronies.

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Maliki has ensured that he and his cronies are exempt from anti-corruption investigations and Iraq’s former Electricity Minister Aiham Alsammarae, appointed by US viceroy Paul Bremer and already convicted for fraud, escaped from Baghdad’s Green Zone in late 2006, with the assistance of Blackwater, during his trial for embezzling billions of more dollars from Iraq’s coffers. Alsammarae now lives very comfortably in Oak Brook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Alsammarae is a friend of convicted Chicago land developer Tony Rezko. An INTERPOL Red Notice arrest warrant remains active on Alsammarae, although it has mysteriously disappeared from INTERPOL’s web site.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Maliki issued an order that he, his current and former ministers like Alsammarae, and President Jalal Talabani, who is overseeing his own profits for him and his own cronies in the area governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government, are exempt from any anti-corruption investigations.

Alsammarae’s colleague, former Iraqi Defense Minister Hazen Shalaan, also fled Baghdad after being convicted for fraud, including buying used Polish weapons and claiming they were new. Shalaan, also the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice arrest warrant, lives comfortably in Acton in west London, according to a BBC investigation. The BBC reported that Shalaan jets around the world in a private jet regardless of the INTERPOL warrant. The BBC estimates that Shalaan, Alsammarae, Maliki, and the other fraudsters who govern Iraq have siphoned off some $23 billion. Only about 5 to 6 percent of Iraqi funds get to the intended recipients, the rest is ending up in the pockets of Maliki and his cronies, as well as in the coffers of US companies, the most prominent and corrupt being Vice President Dick Cheney’s former firm, Halliburton.

The Republicans on Waxman’s committee, particularly outgoing Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), attempted to discredit al-Radhi. The GOP members pointed out that al-Radhi’s charges were ridiculous since General David Petraeus had already testified before Congress that the situation in Iraq was going so well. WMR has previously reported that Petraeus has also personally benefited from fraudulent activities during his tenure in Iraq; activities that were discovered by the late Colonel Ted Westhusing, who was said to have shot himself to death in Baghdad shortly before he was to return to the United States.

To cover its own tracks of corruption, the State Department is now reclassifying documents it prepared on fraud involving the Iraqi government to Confidential and Secret from Sensitive but Unclassified. The documents all supported al-Radhi’s fraud findings against the Maliki regime. A "gag order" by the Bush administration is preventing any State Department or other government officials from testifying to Congress about fraud in Iraq.

Al Radhi’s and his family’s requests for political asylum are being refused by the Bush-Cheney administration. The Maliki regime has banned Al-Radhi from returning to Iraq, turning the former Iraqi judge and his family into "stateless" people. Moreover, the State Department, which once hailed al-Radhi’s performance, is refusing to write him letters of recommendation for employment in the private sector. Private charities are now seeing to the welfare of al-Radhi and his family.

This article was posted: Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 11:07 am

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