Contractor Fraud In Iraq

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former official with the U.S. governing administration in Iraq pleaded guilty on Thursday and admitted he and others took more than $1 million in bribes and stole more than $2 million in reconstruction money.

Robert Stein, comptroller and funding officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority - South Central Region in 2003 and 2004, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and other charges, Justice Department officials said.

Stein, 50, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and a former Defense Department contractor, entered the guilty plea in federal court in Washington, they said.

He admitted that he conspired, along with other public officials, including several U.S. Army officers, to rig bids to steer contracts to a certain contractor.
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyID=2006-02-02T191140Z_01_N0212094_RTRUKOC_0_US-CRIME-IRAQ-CONSPIRACY.xml&archived=False

I can see now why Bush is asking for another 70 billion to pay for Iraq. If the no bid contractors turn out like these guys...:mad: :mad: :mad:

and worse:

Beyond the alleged corruption, Thursday’s charges raise another embarrassing question. Why did the U.S. government hire Stein to handle millions of dollars? He was a convicted felon who was sentenced to eight months in jail in 1996 for credit card fraud.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10087987/

The bigger picture: All of the talk about rebuilding Iraq was just that, talk.

The sums are simple. Reconstruction will cost considerably more than originally imagined. The American administration has committed most of its funds. The Iraqis have neither the money nor the expertise to run the projects that have been completed. There’s little transparency or accountability. To judge from the audits published so far, at least $12 billion spent by the Americans and by the Iraqi interim and transitional governments has not been properly accounted for. Almost three years after the fall of Saddam, the GAO reports, ‘it is unclear how US efforts are helping the Iraqi people obtain clean water, reliable electricity or competent healthcare.’ The Bush administration has decided to provide no more reconstruction funds.

The auditors who have discovered Iraq’s deepening financial crisis have been ignored. They asked the US ambassador and the US military commander in Iraq for their views. Neither replied. The US State Department was to submit estimates of how much it will cost to complete all American-funded projects in Iraq to the White House Office of Management and Budget. The Office won’t discuss the matter. Earlier this month, Brigadier-General William McCoy told reporters: ‘The US never intended to completely rebuild Iraq . . . This was just supposed to be a jump-start.’
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=13160
 
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  • #2
SOS2008
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edward said:
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyID=2006-02-02T191140Z_01_N0212094_RTRUKOC_0_US-CRIME-IRAQ-CONSPIRACY.xml&archived=False

I can see now why Bush is asking for another 70 billion to pay for Iraq. If the no bid contractors turn out like these guys...:mad: :mad: :mad:

and worse:


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10087987/

The bigger picture: All of the talk about rebuilding Iraq was just that, talk.


http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=13160
This is why many Americans are beginning to question the notion of “nation-building” when our own country is deeply in debt, with cuts to Medicaid, student loans…and our own need to rebuild after Katrina…where we see the same no-bid contracts…
 
  • #3
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The Iraqis have neither the money nor the expertise to run the projects that have been completed.
Of course not, they looted all the money when we failed to provide security for the nation. Also, no country has the money to rebuild on a massive scale when their entire infrastructure gets bombed. Is New Orleans already built by the local residents? No, outside contractors are bidding on the jobs. The same is true for Iraq. Why is it that Halliburton will hire and fly out American's to do their work? We already destroyed their country on a war based on bad intelligence. So we then had to shift gears and say we are going to rebuild Iraq to save face. Well, if you’re going to rebuild a country, you make the people of that country a major player in the rebuilding process. (Iraqi's cant drive a trucks now? Come on.) This means using the male work force to do something to make them feel they are important. What message do we send, you’re not good enough to rebuild your own country? This is utter crap. Give the people some work, so they will have less time sitting around doing nothing and start making trouble. I say ship in bulldozers, materials, shovels etc. Iraq has plenty of engineers and skilled workers with experience with these systesm. I mean, they did build them it is their country. They would be the best ones to fix it. We wouldn't be rebuilding half this mess had the country been kept under control after the initial invasion.
 
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  • #4
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I do need to correct one thing:

edward said:
I can see now why Bush is asking for another 70 billion to pay for Iraq.
That figure is actually 120 billion. The 70 billion dollar figure is another requested tax cut.:rolleyes:
The 120 billion brings the total funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanstan to over 400 billion. We sure didn't get much bang for our bucks did we? Some one can check my math, but off of the top of my head if we killed or detained 400,000 suspected terrorists/insergents, that would come to one million dollars for each one.??

In one of the links above Bush is quoted as saying that he will request no more money for rebuilding Iraq. Which is good because I have a gut feeling that the contractor fraud discussed above is just the tip of the iceburg.
 
  • #5
loseyourname
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SOS2008 said:
This is why many Americans are beginning to question the notion of “nation-building” when our own country is deeply in debt, with cuts to Medicaid, student loans…and our own need to rebuild after Katrina…where we see the same no-bid contracts…
Another thing I would question is why we're not finding and prosecuting the people that do exactly the same thing here. Just as many government contracts are executed domestically, and I would imagine the level of fraud and added expense is just as bad. If we're going to suddenly be keen on cutting it out of Iraq, let's just go all-out and cut it out of everywhere.
 
  • #6
loseyourname
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What are you quoting from, Cyrus? Is that from the article?
 
  • #7
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Yea, its from Edwards quote he provided. My whole point is to give all those Iraqi's something to do. Give them all shovels. Make them dig a big hole for all I care, Just keep them too busy to blow things up. You have lots of Iraqis who dont have jobs, meanwhile we ship in workers from the US to do work? If I were an Iraqi, I would be pissed off too. Who did we come to help, them or ourselves?
 
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  • #8
SOS2008
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I don’t know how familiar people are with the “Development Fund” formally known as the Oil for Food Program. But here is a summary:

New debt for Iraq will accrue through the very program that President Bush pledged would 'benefit the people of Iraq.' The Development Fund, derived from actual and expected Iraqi oil and gas sales, apparently will be used to leverage U.S. government-backed loans, credit, and direct financing for U.S. corporate forays into Iraq. Besides financing reconstruction projects, some of the funds will also be used as collateral for projects approved by the U.S. Export-Import Bank (ExIm), whose mission is not development or poverty alleviation, but rather the creation of U.S. jobs and the promotion of American business abroad.

…For the Bush/Cheney administration and their allies in the oil industry, this was not enough. Hours after the UN endorsed U.S. control of the 'Development Fund' for Iraq, Bush signed an executive order that was spun as implementing Resolution 1483, but in reality, went much further towards attracting investment and minimizing risk for U.S. corporations in Iraq.

Executive Order 13303 decrees that 'any attachment, judgment, decree, lien, execution, garnishment, or other judicial process is prohibited, and shall be deemed null and void', with respect to the Development Fund for Iraq and "all Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and interests therein."
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2003/0724oily.htm

So basically the Iraqi people get screwed, while American companies rake it in…the largest single recipient being Halliburton, of course. One can see the chronology of events on Waxman’s site, for example:

Monday, June 20, 2005
Subpoena Sought for Concealed Halliburton Documents

Rep. Waxman asks Subcommittee Chairman Chris Shays to subpoena documents that would expose why U.S. officials withheld from international auditors information about $177 million in Halliburton overcharges that were billed to the Development Fund for Iraq.
http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov/investigations.asp?Issue=Iraq+Reconstruction [Broken]

But the Spoils of War don’t end here. Tort Reform begins with this:

Halliburton shares surge on Senate asbestos plan -
A congressional effort that may limit the cost of asbestos litigation gave shares of Halliburton Co. a boost on Wednesday, since such a plan could cut the oil field service firm's current $4.25 billion liability by more than 75 percent, according to a Reuters report.
http://houston.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2003/07/07/daily31.html

Interesting, these fund concepts--funds managed and accessible by whom? And before one can consider the relations between Cheney and kickbacks from Halliburton, and siphoning from various funds including the “Development Fund” in Iraq, we see this:

Katrina Relief: It's Iraq Déjà vu All Over Again - Huffington Post, The - Article - 2005-09-17

The feeling that the Katrina relief effort is going to be Iraq all over again is unavoidable when you look at the list of the companies already being awarded clean up and reconstruction contracts. It's that old gang from Baghdad: Halliburton, Bechtel, Fluor, and the Shaw Group (which has a tasteful notice on its website saying "Hurricane Recovery Projects -- Apply Here!"). Together again. A veritable moveable feast of crony capitalism.
http://www.independent-media.tv/gtheme.cfm?ftheme_id=35

Truly, the average American can’t comprehend the complex maize of wheeling and dealing by BushCo, going back to the Swiss investigation linking George W. Bush and Dick Cheny to big oil's bribes and pay-offs to foreign interests. A number of Halliburton's field operations have been linked to Exxon Mobil's and BP Amoco, some major Bush campaign contributors (including Enron contributions of $736,800 to Bush over the past eight years, his single largest contributor).

I can only guess the American people are too overwhelmed, and have covered their ears singing La-la-la-la-la. But these guys are getting richER while our country goes further into debt.
 
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  • #9
SOS2008
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loseyourname said:
Another thing I would question is why we're not finding and prosecuting the people that do exactly the same thing here. Just as many government contracts are executed domestically, and I would imagine the level of fraud and added expense is just as bad. If we're going to suddenly be keen on cutting it out of Iraq, let's just go all-out and cut it out of everywhere.
And perhaps conflict of interest in general? (Spelled C-H-E-N-E-Y)

We all know Bush and Cheney’s influence peddling before becoming elected (or should I say how they became elected?). Despite his spotty track record in the oil business, Harken Oil and Gas saw a bonus in Bush, whom it used not as an operating manager but as a high-profile board member. Likewise, Cheney’s performance for Halliburton was mediocre at best.

But it doesn’t end there. When their terms of office are over, both will be hired as ‘consultants’ with a signing bonus (equal to what is being set aside for them from the plundering?). In the case of Cheney, he gives a new meaning to the term “revolving door.” Somebody needs to tell Dick you can’t get paid while in office.
 

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