Wednesday, September 21, 2005

America Dies In Its Sleep

A British soldier, his uniform in flames, prepares to jump from a personnel carrier during rioting that broke out in Basra when Britain sought the release of two detained commandos. (By Atef Hassan -- Reuters) Posted by Picasa

Sitting in an outhouse, I concentrated upon this doubt, and as time passed I forgot to leave. Suddenly a violent wind came, first blowing the outhouse door open and then shut again with a loud crash. My spirit instantly advanced and ripped apart my previous doubt; it was like suddenly awakening from a dream, or remembering something forgotten. I began to dance in a way I had never learned, and there are no words to convey my great joy.


A reasonable amount o' fleas is good fer a dog---
keeps him broodin' over bein' a dog, mebbe.

---Edward Noyes Westcott

Corruption is more dangerous than terrorism.

---Hadi al-Amiri, Head of Iraqi National Assembly's Integrity Commission

Americans love a good night's sleep...and we spend tons of money trying to get one here and there. Maybe we spend more money on it, including fees to psychologists and therapists, than almost anything else. Yes, we need oil for all the stuff in our garages...and flying around in airplanes. And we spend lots more on our obesity problems than we contribute to the world's populations of the starving. And of course there is a fortune to be spent finding a sex partner and getting any enjoyment out of the activities. But mostly we really love to sleep...and hate to be awakened!

So let's say that while you were asleep, certain parties "disappeared" $10 billion from the United States Treasury. And let's also say that your sons and daughters were standing guard at those vaults of marble. Not only that, the 10 billion dollars was to be spent for weapons and protection for those duties your children have accepted. In fact, some of those kids are doing that work to get enough money to go to college. If that happened and it was discovered, do you think the story would be in a newspaper the next morning? Maybe? Definitely? Absolutely not?

Iraq Losing Billions to Corruption, Lawmakers Say

"(Al-Sabah) Iraq has lost $10 billion because of financial and administrative corruption, Hussein al-Shahristani, deputy head of the National Assembly, said in a press conference Sunday organized by the assembly's Integrity Commission. Hadi al-Amiri, head of the commission, said corruption is more dangerous than terrorism. He cited contracts the former ministry of defense held with a company known as 'al-Ain al-Jariya' to purchase 24 helicopters for $226.8 million. The helicopters were not bought and no check was made as to where the money went, al-Amiri said." (Al-Sabah is issued daily by the Iraqi Media Network.)

The Scotsman
Tue 20 Sep 2005
Ex-minister faces arrest for 'biggest robbery in the world'


"IRAQ'S former defence minister is expected to be arrested in the coming days in connection with the disappearance of more than $1 billion from the country's defence budget, a senior corruption investigator said yesterday.

"Hazim Shaalan, who served in interim prime minister Iyad Allawi's government, ran a ministry which worked with intermediaries, rather than foreign companies or governments, for the supply of defence equipment including helicopters, armoured vehicles, bullets and weapons.

"Not only were contracts with intermediaries forbidden at the time, but the prices paid for the equipment were vastly inflated and the contracts often not fulfilled. On one occasion, it is alleged more than $230 million had been spent on a collection of 28-year-old, second-hand Polish helicopters whose design life was just 25 years.

"Radhi al-Radhi, the head of Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity, said he handed a file of evidence against Shaalan to Iraq's central criminal court two months ago and expected a warrant for his arrest to be issued within ten days.

"'What Shaalan and his ministry were responsible for is possibly the largest robbery in the world,' Mr Radhi said. 'Our estimates begin at $1.3 billion and go up to $2.3 billion.'

"Shaalan, who lives in Jordan and also spends time in London, has denied any wrongdoing and has said that whatever he did was ultimately approved of by US authorities."

But WHERE, you ask, is American coverage of such a report? Sure, maybe the disappearance of somewhere between 1 and 10 billion dollars isn't from our own US Treasury, but our tax dollars must have sponsored at least some of that procurement budget. And it was for equipment for indigenous soldiers so our kids can get out of there. Check Google News and see how many US papers and media are carrying the story. I find only the Washington Post has an Opinion piece on it. Of course we're watching all our hurricanes...and wondering how to pay for all that disaster relief (and nothing for disaster prevention). Coincidentally, $10 billion of it will come from cuts to Medicaid. Molly Ivins was wondering the other day "exactly why the right-wing Republicans chose to make FEMA a political football." Is Molly losing her grip? Girl, disaster relief is where the big bucks are! BILLIONS.

But wait...there's more. You remember the 2004 Election? The long-awaited Carter-Baker Report on our electoral system is out and guess what? Even though there is nothing vitally wrong with our system...except a few computer glitches here and there, the report concludes that public confidence in elections is disappearing. Disappearing...just like all that money. Just...gone with the wind. And we wonder why we're losing sleep.


Anonymous said...
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jazzolog said...

Dutifully I have been paging through Google News these past 3 days, looking for any update on this missing billions story. US press has yet to cover it, and the UK has fallen silent...rather in a mess of its own over reaction to that rescue thing.

Now we have a report from Al Mendhar in Iraq that Jordan officials say no extradition request has come to them for the former defense minister, despite the accusations that were made against Hazem Shaalan. That doesn't mean one won't, but one wonders about the delay. That comment from Jordan follows a statement made Thursday by a senior aide to former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, also in Jordan, that the whole story is made up. What he had to say is so complicated I'll just put up the whole thing~~~

Posted on 22 Sep 2005 # Reuters

Allawi aide says Iran behind "smear campaign":

AMMAN: Iraqi former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and his former defence minister are targets of an Iraqi government smear campaign inspired by neighbouring Iran, a senior Allawi aide said today.

Ibrahim al-Janabi, deputy head of the National Accord Movement (Wifaq) headed by Allawi, said allegations against former defence minister Hazem Shaalan in connection with the disappearance of 1 billion dollars from his ministry were a fabrication designed to prevent secular leaders from returning to power.

''There are elements within the government that have strong ties with Iranian intelligence who seek to stir these issues,'' Janabi told Reuters in Amman. ''This attack we believe is Iranian-inspired but with Iraqi tools that implement it.'' Allawi, interim prime minister from June 2004 until an elected government took over in April, is a secular-minded Shi'ite politician believed to have ambitions to lead his country again. He criticised Iranian influence while in office and Shaalan once described Iran as Iraq's ''prime enemy''.

The government formed in April after parliamentary elections in January is dominated by Islamist Shi'ite parties that found refuge in Iran during Saddam Hussein's time.

Radhi al-Radhi, the head of Iraq's Committee on Public Integrity, said this week he had handed evidence against Shaalan to Iraq's central criminal court two months ago and expected a warrant for his arrest to be issued soon.

Shaalan, who is in Jordan, has denied any wrongdoing regarding arms procurement during his tenure.

Janabi, Wifaq's deputy leader, said the main reason behind the campaign against Allawi and Shaalan was their opposition to what he called Iranian meddling and subversion in Iraq.

''We expect the campaign to increase and to take the form of direct assassinations of figures who seek to consolidate the national programme away from foreign influences led by Iran.'' Janabi said investigators in the alleged corruption affair were all Shi'ite parties in the government with links to Iran.

''Iranian elements want to create a sectarian project in Iraq that leads to its partition,'' he said.

Copyright 2001-2005

What I say is do we have any accounting of what this war is costing...and where the money is going? Is money missing? If it is, why and how? If it isn't, clearly we have a government there in complete disarray. Can you imagine a charge like this about a sum this huge against a former administration made in your country...and nobody bats an eye? I thought Bush said this whole venture is a model of American democracy.

jazzolog said...

Will Tom DeLay Get Away?

Frankly I've been very worried about this. The first indictment seemed flawed and quickly was replaced by a second, under protest of DeLay's skilled lawyer. That alone was a technicality I thought sure any Texan could blast through. Yesterday John Dean mounted a summary and some analysis that should interest you~~~