posted on Jan, 30 2004 @ 05:13 PM
01/30/04: (Hi Pakistan) BEIRUT: When a private Lebanese jet recently arrived at Beirut International Airport packed with 19 billion new Iraqi dinars
in bank-notes - around 12 million US dollars - the authorities immediately impounded the aircraft and arrested the three men aboard. It was a coup
that seemed likely to earn the favour of the United States which has for years been threatening Lebanon with financial sanctions if it allows dirty
money to cross its frontiers.
But an astonishing series of revelations - including a faxed message from the American-appointed Iraqi 'interior ministry' in Baghdad - suggests
that the cash was being sent to Beirut with the full permission of US military authorities to be transferred by a Lebanese exchange dealer - and then
used to buy armoured vehicles for the American army from a British company. The three men aboard the cargo jet - which had been stripped of seats to
enable the 21 boxes of new banknotes to be put aboard - have told the Lebanese authorities that they were cleared to leave Iraq by American officials
at the tightly controlled US base at Baghdad airport.
Nevertheless, the Lebanese state prosecutor Adnan Addoum - Lebanese law is modelled on French Napoleonic law - refused to believe the story, arrested
the three men and a Beirut exchange dealer who is a relative of former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel, and demanded an explanation from Iraq's
Charge d'affaires in Beirut, Tahseen Aina.
Mr Aina immediately told Mr Addoum that the Iraqi Central Bank governor was unaware of any such money transfer. So the four men, Mohamed Issam Bu
Darwish - who stated openly that he was undertaking business operations on behalf of the US authorities in Iraq - Richard Jreisati, a former
Phalangist militia official in Lebanon, Mazen Bsat, the owner of the plane, and Michel Mukattaf, the relative of ex-president Gemayel who runs an
exchange company in Lebanon, were all held by the authorities.
Then, the Iraqi "ministry of interior" - effectively run by American officials working for the US proconsul in Iraq, Paul Bremer - sent a fax to the
Lebanese government stating that the money was being legally transferred for the "urgent purchase" from a British company of armoured vehicles and
"sophisticated equipment intended to confront the dangerous security situation in Iraq."
Is this part of 'Liberation'?
Is robbing a nation the American way?
Do you want to be associated with these people?
Why have they not brought this up an American TV?