Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Massive Fraud and Theft at CPA

A massive story seems to have been lurking underneath all of the talk of Alito and other news of the week. An audit of Coalition Provisional Authority spending in Iraq revealed that book keeping was so poor, there is no way to account for much of the $88 million dollars they scrutinized. According to the New York Times

Agents from the inspector general's office found that the living and working quarters of American occupation officials were awash in shrink-wrapped stacks of $100 bills, colloquially known as bricks.

One official kept $2 million in a bathroom safe, another more than half a million dollars in an unlocked footlocker. One contractor received more than $100,000 to completely refurbish an Olympic pool but only polished the pumps; even so, local American officials certified the work as completed.

In other examples

millions of reconstruction dollars [were] stuffed casually into footlockers and filing cabinets, an American soldier in the Philippines ... gambled away cash belonging to Iraq, and three Iraqis ... plunged to their deaths in a rebuilt hospital elevator that had been improperly certified as safe.

It is important to note that much of this money was not American at all, rather it was seized Iraqi oil money and other Iraqi government assets. The TimesOnline (British) reports
nearly $9 billion (£5 billion) of Iraq’s oil revenue disbursed by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which governed Iraq until mid-2004, cannot be accounted for.

This investigation only focused on $88 million dollars and how it was dispersed. This may be an illustration about how billions of dollars were systematically mishandled by unelected American officials. Of course, there is no way to be sure because there is no paperwork to account for the rest of the money.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls this a "Mark McGuire moment" for George Bush and his war in Iraq.

And Juan Cole pointed out that George Bush and the other architects of this war decided to export kleptocracy (associated with other Republican officials like Jack "Abramoff and his "30 Republicans") to Iraq, rather than the democracy that had been promised before the invasion.

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