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A 'fraud' bigger than Madoff

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posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 02:02 PM
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Senior US soldiers investigated over missing Iraq reconstruction billions By Patrick Cockburn in Sulaimaniyah, Northern Iraq Monday, 16 February 2009

In what could turn out to be the greatest fraud in US history, American authorities have started to investigate the alleged role of senior military officers in the misuse of $125bn (£88bn) in a US -directed effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The exact sum missing may never be clear, but a report by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) suggests it may exceed $50bn, making it an even bigger theft than Bernard Madoff's notorious Ponzi scheme.
"I believe the real looting of Iraq after the invasion was by US officials and contractors, and not by people from the slums of Baghdad," said one US businessman active in Iraq since 2003.

In one case, auditors working for SIGIR discovered that $57.8m was sent in "pallet upon pallet of hundred-dollar bills" to the US comptroller for south-central Iraq, Robert J Stein Jr, who had himself photographed standing with the mound of money. He is among the few US officials who were in Iraq to be convicted of fraud and money-laundering.

Despite the vast sums expended on rebuilding by the US since 2003, there have been no cranes visible on the Baghdad skyline except those at work building a new US embassy and others rusting beside a half-built giant mosque that Saddam was constructing when he was overthrown. One of the few visible signs of government work on Baghdad's infrastructure is a tireless attention to planting palm trees and flowers in the centre strip between main roads. Those are then dug up and replanted a few months later.

Iraqi leaders are convinced that the theft or waste of huge sums of US and Iraqi government money could have happened only if senior US officials were themselves involved in the corruption. In 2004-05, the entire Iraq military procurement budget of $1.3bn was siphoned off from the Iraqi Defence Ministry in return for 28-year-old Soviet helicopters too obsolete to fly and armoured cars easily penetrated by rifle bullets. Iraqi officials were blamed for the theft, but US military officials were largely in control of the Defence Ministry at the time and must have been either highly negligent or participants in the fraud.

American federal investigators are now starting an inquiry into the actions of senior US officers involved in the programme to rebuild Iraq, according to The New York Times, which cites interviews with senior government officials and court documents. Court records reveal that, in January, investigators subpoenaed the bank records of Colonel Anthony B Bell, now retired from the US Army, but who was previously responsible for contracting for the reconstruction effort in 2003 and 2004. Two federal officials are cited by the paper as saying that investigators are also looking at the activities of Lieutenant-Colonel Ronald W Hirtle of the US Air Force, who was senior contracting officer in Baghdad in 2004. It is not clear what specific evidence exists against the two men, who have both said they have nothing to hide.

The end of the Bush administration which launched the war may give fresh impetus to investigations into frauds in which tens of billions of dollars were spent on reconstruction with little being built that could be used. In the early days of the occupation, well-connected Republicans were awarded jobs in Iraq, regardless of experience. A 24-year-old from a Republican family was put in charge of the Baghdad stock exchange which had to close down because he allegedly forgot to renew the lease on its building.

In the expanded inquiry by federal agencies, the evidence of a small-time US businessman called Dale C Stoffel who was murdered after leaving the US base at Taiji north of Baghdad in 2004 is being re-examined. Before he was killed, Mr Stoffel, an arms dealer and contractor, was granted limited immunity from prosecution after he had provided information that a network of bribery – linking companies and US officials awarding contracts – existed within the US-run Green Zone in Baghdad. He said bribes of tens of thousands of dollars were regularly delivered in pizza boxes sent to US contracting officers.

So far, US officers who have been successfully prosecuted or unmasked have mostly been involved in small-scale corruption. Often sums paid out in cash were never recorded. In one case, an American soldier put in charge of reviving Iraqi boxing gambled away all the money but he could not be prosecuted because, although the money was certainly gone, nobody had recorded if it was $20,000 or $60,000.

Iraqi ministers admit the wholesale corruption of their government. Ali Allawi, the former finance minister, said Iraq was "becoming like Nigeria in the past when all the oil revenues were stolen". But there has also been a strong suspicion among senior Iraqis that US officials must have been complicit or using Iraqi appointees as front-men in corrupt deals. Several Iraqi officials given important jobs at the urging of the US administration in Baghdad were inexperienced. For instance, the arms procurement chief at the centre of the Defence Ministry scandal, was a Polish-Iraqi, 27 years out of Iraq, who had run a pizza restaurant on the outskirts of Bonn in the 1990s.

In many cases, contractors never started or finished facilities they were supposedly building. As security deteriorated in Iraq from the summer of 2003 it was difficult to check if a contract had been completed. But the failure to provide electricity, water and sewage disposal during the US occupation was crucial in alienating Iraqis from the post-Saddam regime.


www.independent.co.uk...




posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 02:06 PM
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It seems that Madoff is not the only person to raid the pockets of the US taxpayer.
Where will it all end?
Now you know where some of your tax dollars REALLY went, to "rebuild" Iraq, which we blew up in the first place, looking for those WMD's.
Now we know that WMD means "Where Money Disappears".



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 03:20 PM
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of the 14 Trillion dollar debt the US has, at least 10 Trillion must be lost by the military, dhs and the pentagon.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 05:46 PM
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I'm not sure of the number, but I think you're on to something. Certainly when you consider the billions we spent to blow Iraq to pieces, and now billions that were supposed to be used to rebuild the infrastructure that WE blew up, it all adds up. Now we find out that EVEN the money that was supposed to be used to rebuild has been swindled.
Is there no end to the thievery perpetrated against the American taxpayer?



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 05:47 PM
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reply to post by ProfEmeritus
 





Is there no end to the thievery perpetrated against the American taxpayer?


The entire US government is the equivalent to a Ponzi scheme.

How else can you explain being 78 trillion dollars in the hole!

They are going to leech the citizens of this country dry.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 05:52 PM
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we are just another corrupt nation, with one big difference...top of the line media propaganda. we can sell b#llsh#t better then anybody else.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 05:58 PM
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reply to post by ProfEmeritus
 


The sad thing about all this is, that the government and the president was warned about all the discrepancies and money going missing.

Hell how many times since the Iraqi war we here in ATS has been posting about the waste of money in Iraq.

How many time contractors and big companies were brought up to congress awareness to be ignored and handle more lucrative contracts.

Still the American people, all of us has allowed this to happen, we has done nothing about our corrupted government, most of us just keep dreaming of better days ahead.

Guess what its not going to happen, our nation is broken and has been broken for a long time.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 06:09 PM
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Marg- You're right. We've been posting this information for a long time now, and all of a sudden, it makes the news. I guess it's so bad now, that they can't keep it out of the news.

David, - I think they've already leeched us dry. I don't think there's much more leeching that they can do. You can't get blood out of a stone, although I guess they'll keep trying.

Jimmx- Yes, we have the best propaganda machine that money can buy, the American MSM. Unfortunately, we also have too many people in this country that BUY that propaganda. Most Americans don't bother to find out things for themselves, like ATS members do. They just sit back with their six pack, and watch the boob tube.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 07:57 PM
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Not surprised the following of the misspent war dollars is an on going top of conversation among the 'aware'

hope fully this a sign that this administration wants to right some wrongs
I would love to see some heads roll(metaphorically or not) for this and many other lines and geneologies of theft and abuse of power!



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 08:32 PM
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What I don't understand is if this was done in the past, why didn't they print money like they did in Korea or Asian countries(i.e; red dollar, blue dollar). It was to be used in that country 'only' and also a way they could 'trace' it when time to exchange it to Federal Dollars.

I think it goes Higher up in the chain then that.

Idiots.


[edit on 16-2-2009 by tiso_us]



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 09:04 PM
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reply to post by tiso_us
 





What I don't understand is if this was done in the past, why didn't they print money like they did in Korea or Asian countries(i.e; red dollar, blue dollar). It was to be used in that country 'only' and also a way they could 'trace' it when time to exchange it to Federal Dollars.

Of course, it goes higher up the chain.
Does Dick Cheney(ala Halliburton) sound high enough up the chain for you?



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 10:25 PM
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Originally posted by ProfEmeritus
reply to post by tiso_us
 





What I don't understand is if this was done in the past, why didn't they print money like they did in Korea or Asian countries(i.e; red dollar, blue dollar). It was to be used in that country 'only' and also a way they could 'trace' it when time to exchange it to Federal Dollars.

Of course, it goes higher up the chain.
Does Dick Cheney(ala Halliburton) sound high enough up the chain for you?


Hmmmm....forgot about him. I also wander if Halliburton still have Blackwater goons in Iraq still.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 10:39 PM
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Well, according to Frontline:
www.pbs.org...

there are still over 100,000 contractors in Iraq, including Halliburton thugs:


As the Army struggles to meet recruitment numbers, FRONTLINE takes a hard look at private contractors servicing U.S. military supply lines, running U.S. military bases, and protecting U.S. diplomats and generals. Between the logistics giant Halliburton and a myriad of armed security companies, private military contractors comprise the second largest "force" in Iraq, far outnumbering all non-U.S. forces combined. There are as many as 100,000 civilian contractors and approximately 20,000 private security forces. (more) »



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 10:48 PM
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Originally posted by tiso_us
What I don't understand is if this was done in the past, why didn't they print money like they did in Korea or Asian countries(i.e; red dollar, blue dollar). It was to be used in that country 'only' and also a way they could 'trace' it when time to exchange it to Federal Dollars.

I think it goes Higher up in the chain then that.

Idiots.



Stupid like a fox, more like it. Imagine, $57 billion in unmarked bills. That's just the cash.

That colossal sum of money poured into Iraq didn't vanish to replant petunias on the median strips of Baghdad's avenues (what an amazing, perverse detail that was). It's in offshore accounts and the looters will be sitting pretty watching the meltdown they aided and abetted.

Reading it summed up so grimly, it gets your blood boiling over not only the scale of the looting but the whole mountain of lies that was and is Iraq. Unequalled in cynicism and criminality.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 10:56 PM
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reply to post by gottago
 





That colossal sum of money poured into Iraq didn't vanish to replant petunias on the median strips of Baghdad's avenues (what an amazing, perverse detail that was). It's in offshore accounts and the looters will be sitting pretty watching the meltdown they aided and abetted. Reading it summed up so grimly, it gets your blood boiling over not only the scale of the looting but the whole mountain of lies that was and is Iraq. Unequalled in cynicism and criminality.

It is always the arms dealers, contractors, bankers and politicians that benefit financially from war. War is what the Rothschild empire and others like them made them the power that they are.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 11:40 PM
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It reminds me of Iraq being a Elites playground full of these Thugs. no wander the Iraqi people are pissed.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 11:52 PM
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no wander the Iraqi people are pissed.


It isn't only the Iraqis that are "pissed". Most Americans are also. I thought Obama the messiah was going to get us out of Iraq. Surprise, people, Obma is no different than Bush. Same old crooks, politicians, all the same. It's obvious that Obama won't make his money from the $400,000 salary he gets. He's been clued into to much BIGGER ways to accumulate money. I think that's the talk that Cheney had with him during the transition. Who knows, maybe Cheney offered him a piece of the action, if he plays along.
There's probably some action hidden in the 1100 page stimulus bill that they can both benefit from.



posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 12:18 AM
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Originally posted by ProfEmeritus



no wander the Iraqi people are pissed.


It isn't only the Iraqis that are "pissed". Most Americans are also. I thought Obama the messiah was going to get us out of Iraq. Surprise, people, Obma is no different than Bush. Same old crooks, politicians, all the same. It's obvious that Obama won't make his money from the $400,000 salary he gets. He's been clued into to much BIGGER ways to accumulate money. I think that's the talk that Cheney had with him during the transition. Who knows, maybe Cheney offered him a piece of the action, if he plays along.
There's probably some action hidden in the 1100 page stimulus bill that they can both benefit from.


When doing my usual research on candidates before elections, I could not find any 'true' information on Obama. That told me not to vote for him which i didn't.

I dread that TARP II coming out, I'm going to keep an eagle eye on that one.

I'm also watching to see if a 'relief package' for Iraq is in the making but I doubt it.



posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 12:24 AM
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reply to post by tiso_us
 





When doing my usual research on candidates before elections, I could not find any 'true' information on Obama. That told me not to vote for him which i didn't.

That was a wise decision. Too bad more people didn't have your wisdom. Of course, the only candidate that could have done something positive was Ron Paul, and he was made invisible by the MSM.



posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 02:51 PM
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I can't understand watching this go on for eight years and then blaming Obama saying he's nothing but a corrupt politician like the rest

What about the criminals in the Bush administration that hatched and perpetrated this evil ,murdered Americans and Iraqis,robbed us in very way possible from pension funds to bank accounts to mortgages,to jobs to gas prices to can you say Enron ,driving up the cost,driving up the cost of utilities for everyone selling America to the Saudis, Japanese and Chinese,trading arms with 'the enemy' to keep the war dollars flowing,and the slaves and the drugs

Theses are dastardly people and Obama is only the President he has a real problem to untangle this mess and survive



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