Saturday, May 21, 2005

War News for Saturday, May 21, 2005 Bring 'em on: Thousands of Shia protest against the American occupation in Najaf. Bring 'em on: Al Sadr supporters clash with guards at the headquarters of Dhi Qar provincial governor in Nasiryah. Bring 'em on: Seven killed in insugency attack on the home of Sunni politician in Mosul. In another press report of this incident: An Iraqi lawmaker said 10 of his private guards were killed here on Thursday during a 1-1/2 hour-long battle with insurgents and Apache helicopter-backed U.S. forces, who he accused of killing several of his aides. Bring 'em on: Two US soldiers killed Thursday in gun attack on convoy in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: One US soldier killed Friday while on "combat logistic patrol" in Taji. Bring 'em on: Senior Iraqi oil ministry official gunned down in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Iraqi university professor gunned down in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Three Iraqi journalists executed last Sunday whilst travelling to Kerbala. Bring 'em on: Iraqi police officer and his father shot dead in Samarra. Bring 'em on: US soldier killed by IED explosion whilst travelling on an escort mission in Mahmudiyah. Bring 'em on: Two Iraqi soldiers killed and five injured in car bomb attack on a military convoy in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Civilian killed by roadside bomb in Latifya. Bring 'em on: Two Iraqi policmen killed by roadside bomb in Baqubah. Bring 'em on: US soldier killed in indirect fire attack in FOB Ramadi. Who would have guessed it? There was a spending blitz in June 2004:
Bill Keller knew that rebuilding Iraq's shattered telecommunications network meant throwing money into a black hole. As the clock ticked down to the end of the U.S. occupation last June, reconstruction projects were hopelessly mired in delays, and financial controls at the Iraqi Communications Ministry appeared non-existent. Yet instead of putting the brakes on spending, top U.S. officials urged that contracts be accelerated, Keller said. "We were squandering the money we were entrusted to handle," said Keller, at the time was a deputy adviser to the Communications Ministry. "We were a blind mouse with money." This apparent indifference toward accountability when it came to spending Iraqi money was common among U.S. officials last year as they rushed to sign contracts in the waning days of U.S. control of Iraq, according to interviews and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times. In recent audits and interviews, June 2004 has emerged as a month when money and accountability were thrown out the door. The United States played the role of frenzied shopper, leaving the Iraqis to pay the bill. More than 1,000 contracts were issued by U.S. officials in June, about double the usual number. Auditors disclosed this month that several U.S. officials are under investigation for possible embezzlement during the June spending blitz. "There were lots of examples of bad management because of the chaos around the turnover," said Ginger Cruz, chief of staff for the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, who oversees U.S. spending in Iraq. "There was a greater opportunity for fraud."
More on the UN oil for food $cam:
In mid-February 2003, just weeks from the onset of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, oil tankers began loading Iraqi crude at the Iraqi port of Khor al-Amaya. The Bush administration-approved sanction-busting oil shipments involved a Jordanian company named Millenium, owned by the Shaheen Business Investment Group and a Connecticut-based shipbroker called Odin Marine, Inc. Oil tankers were permitted to off load their oil at the UAE port of Fujairah for reshipment on larger tankers without any interference from the U.S. Navy-led Maritime Interdiction Force (MIF), set up to enforce the sanctions. Giangrandi's company, Italtech, was involved in a number of the shipments as a U.N. contract holder (lifter). When Iraq's Oil Minister expressed his suspicion that the oil shipments would never get by the U.S. Navy defenses, a mysterious high-ranking visitor told him the Iraqi oil was "for the sake of the people who work for the defense of the United States. It will pass through safely." When the unknown visitor later asked for additional oil shipments from Khor al-Amaya he assured the minister that "you will never hear about this in the press any more. The U.S. forces will make them be quiet." Millennium chartered seven ships through Odin. Shipping communications obtained by the committee proved that the tankers traveled with the full knowledge and acquiescence of the Maritime Interdiction Force, then under the command of a U.S. naval officer, Commander Harry French. The MIF permitted all the ships loading oil from Khor al-Amaya to leave the Gulf without interference. Odin became concerned about the legality of the shipments and eventually contacted U.S. State Department official Amy Schedlebauer. Two hours after Odin's general counsel contacted Schedlebauer, she responded in an e-mail: 'AWARE OF THE SHIPMENTS AND HAS DETERMINED NOT TO TAKE ACTION." Coleman and Levin wrote a February 8, 2005, letter to Rumsfeld asking about the operations of the Maritime Interdiction Force in the Gulf prior to the war. A similar letter was sent to the State Department inquiring about the illegal Khor al-Amaya oil shipments. To date, the committee has not received an answer from either Rumfeld or Rice. Minority report documents indicate that one of the largest recipients of Bayoil Iraqi oil shipments was Enron, the bankrupt company that served as a virtual slush fund for the political campaigns of George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the same time Enron Chairman Kenneth ("Kenny Boy") Lay was involved in Vice President Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force secret dealings and when he was stuffing hundreds of thousands of dollars into the pockets of George W. Bush and Cheney's political campaign, he also managed to illegally stick $206, 757 into the pockets of Saddam Hussein and his cohorts. The Iraqi Oil-for-Food scandal also involves one of the Bush children—Dorothy "Doro" Bush Koch, sister of George W. Bush and married to Bobby Koch, reportedly a cousin in the oil industry Koch family, the owner of Koch Industries, which is also one of Bush's largest political donors. The minority committee report indicates that Koch Industries was also a major recipient of illegal Iraqi oil and a huge source of kickbacks to Saddam Hussein. The total sum in kickbacks from George W. Bush's cousin-in-laws to Saddam's bank accounts: $1,294,620. George Galloway was correct when he called the Coleman Committee the "mother of all smoke screens." Major political contributors and friends of Bush not only paid illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein but personally profited from sanctions-busting with Iraq. Those involved in the scheme included individuals who date back to the Reagan/Bush 41 "cluster bombs and biological and chemical weapons-for-oil" scandal of the 1980s. Galloway is correct when he stated that there is enough evidence on Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair and their neocon advisers to park them in prison cells in The Hague for an awfully long time.
Tip of the iceberg?
McMillion's booty included about 30 automatic rifles, six rocket-propelled grenade launchers and dozens of magazines, scopes and sights. There also were several dummy land mines and grenades, 1,183 Iraqi army berets, more than 600 pairs of socks and eight full uniforms. Other items included a statue looted from an Iraqi museum. The judge found McMillion guilty of violating an order against taking, retaining, storing and transporting war trophies for nonofficial purposes.
Bloggerheads say what needs to be said of the Saddam underpants saga:
By sheer coincidence, these photos were published on the very same day as... BBC - US report reveals Afghan abuses: Fresh details have emerged of abuse of prisoners by US troops in Afghanistan. The deaths of two inmates and alleged abuse of others is detailed by the New York Times citing a 2,000-page document leaked from a US army investigation. The report says some prisoners were chained to ceilings, and that a female interrogator stepped on a man's neck and kicked another in the genitals. The White House said the abuses were being investigated and those responsible would be held to account.


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