Main Question or Discussion Point
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyID=2006-02-02T191140Z_01_N0212094_RTRUKOC_0_US-CRIME-IRAQ-CONSPIRACY.xml&archived=FalseWASHINGTON (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.
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...
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10087987/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.
The bigger picture: All of the talk about rebuilding Iraq was just that, talk.
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=13160The 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.’