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Where has all the money gone? Ed Harriman follows the auditors into Iraq

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NVMojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 11:33 AM
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Where has all the money gone? Ed Harriman follows the auditors into Iraq
On 12 April 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority in Erbil in northern Iraq handed over $1.5 billion in cash to a local courier. The money, fresh $100 bills shrink-wrapped on pallets, which filled three Blackhawk helicopters, came from oil sales under the UNs Oil for Food Programme, and had been entrusted by the UN Security Council to the Americans to be spent on behalf of the Iraqi people. The CPA didnt properly check out the courier before handing over the cash, and, as a result, according to an audit report by the CPAs inspector general, there was an increased risk of the loss or theft of the cash. Paul Bremer, the American pro-consul in Baghdad until June last year, kept a slush fund of nearly $600 million cash for which there is no paperwork: $200 million of this was kept in a room in one of Saddams former palaces, and the US soldier in charge used to keep the key to the room in his backpack, which he left on his desk when he popped out for lunch. Again, this is Iraqi money, not US funds.

The reconstruction of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan. But there is a difference: the US government funded the Marshall Plan whereas Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer have made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the liberated country, by the Iraqis themselves. There was $6 billion left over from the UN Oil for Food Programme, as well as sequestered and frozen assets, and revenue from resumed oil exports (at least $10 billion in the year following the invasion). Under Security Council Resolution 1483, passed on 22 May 2003, all of these funds were transferred into a new account held at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, called the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), so that they might be spent by the CPA in a transparent manner . . . for the benefit of the Iraqi people. Congress, its true, voted to spend $18.4 billion of US taxpayers money on the redevelopment of Iraq. But by 28 June last year, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA had spent up to $20 billion of Iraqi money, compared to $300 million of US funds.

The financial irregularities described in audit reports carried out by agencies of the American government and auditors working for the international community collectively give a detailed insight into the mentality of the American occupation authorities and the way they operated, handing out truckloads of dollars for which neither they nor the recipients felt any need to be accountable. The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. They have also discovered that $8.8 billion that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it went. A further $3.4 billion earmarked by Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to finance security.

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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
1. Two or three days after this...
... appeared in the London Review of Books, there was a much shorter synopsis of the problem in the Washington Post, and that, I think, is the extent of recent US reporting on the CPA/money problems.

This article has just been reprinted in the UK Guardian, as well, I think.

Harriman doesn't come out and say it, outright, but it's very apparent from his reporting that a goodly number in the CPA saw the interim coalition government as a license to steal, and steal they did. You'd think that there would at least be outrage in this country about the US funds which were misappropriated/mismanaged, if not about the Iraqi funds treated the same way....
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Francis Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. What makes you think
ir was only iraqui hands that received the missing cash?
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Where exactly did I intimate any such thing?
The CPA was our government.

Please, if you don't have a grasp on the facts, and you haven't read the article, refrain from snide accusations.

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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. shrink wrapped bills are hard to pass up
there have been lots of repukes visiting Iraq. I wonder how many of them came away with their own little souvenir?
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reprehensor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
3. Thanks for posting.
Real news is hard to come by these days.
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