Democrats probe billions lost to Baghdads corruption

WHEN an American adventurer and arms dealer was gunned down in his black BMW near the banks of the Tigris river in 2004, his murder was blamed on an obscure group of Islamic terrorists.

As Baghdad’s body count rises, Dale Stoffel, 43, is barely remembered today but his name is certain to be revived as the Democrats prepare for a barrage of congressional investigations into corruption in Iraq.

Stoffel, a former intelligence analyst, had hoped to make a fortune by selling ex-Soviet military parts to refit Saddam Hussein’s abandoned tanks and armoured vehicles for the new Iraqi army. But he was also an idealist who turned whistleblower when he learnt that Iraqis in the defence ministry and arms industry expected huge kickbacks for their help.

In a prophetic e-mail, Stoffel wrote to an American colonel he knew in Iraq: “If we proceed down the road we are currently on, there will be serious legal issues that will land us all in jail. There is no oversight of the money and if/when something goes wrong, regardless of how clean our hands are, heads will roll and it will be the heads of those that are reachable, and the people who are supposed to know better (US — citizens, military etc.)”

Three days before his death he met John Shaw, then a senior Pentagon official, whose office was investigating fraud in Iraq. Shaw describes the Stoffel case as “the first public indication of the seriousness and institutional depth of corruption in Iraq”. Shaw is convinced that “in time, we will discover a pervasive pattern of cover-ups along with revelations of corruption”.

American taxpayers have spent $36 billion (£19 billion) on reconstruction in Iraq, much of it unaccounted for. A further $22 billion of Iraq’s own money, derived mainly from oil, has been largely squandered, with little scrutiny.

The Democrats intend to use their new power in the Senate and House of Representatives to harass the Bush administration over the war. The issue of corruption is the most politically appealing as it avoids judgments about the decision to invade and whether to withdraw.

Henry Waxman, who is to chair the House government reform committee, is promising ruthless scrutiny of the money that was shipped to Iraq. During the first year, nearly $12 billion in cash was transferred, much of it shrink wrapped and flown out at $2 billion a time.

One of the first acts of Congress last week after the midterm elections was to reverse a decision to shut the office of Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. An old friend of President George W Bush, Bowen had turned out to be doing an unexpectedly good job of investigating corruption, waste and fraud.

He recently reported to Congress on a new police academy in Baghdad, which cost US taxpayers $75m but was so badly built that human waste was oozing through the ceilings. Bowen has also highlighted lax scrutiny of multi-million-dollar contracts involving Halliburton, the energy services company, and several American occupation officials have been prosecuted for bribery.

But the real scandal, according to Pentagon sources, is that the opportunity to rebuild the Iraqi army and security services in the first two years of the US occupation was squandered, leaving sectarian militias to multiply.

The murder of Stoffel is part of that jigsaw.

In full,,2089-2460034,00.html
All this doesn't matter till the whole truth about WMD is investigated.
I have just heard a BBC radio report that in total contrast to every Oil facility in the World, NO oil metering equipment was fitted by American contractors on the reconstruction of the Iraq’s oil infrastructure, including the main Oil terminal. Not fitting this equipment (only a couple of million dollars) is so unusual as to render the Iraqi Oil Industry unique.

The American in charge said rather lamely that ' there were other priorities'......

As a result know body knows how much Oil is being pumped or stolen - why this was done is obvious to me; certain people are feeding from the same trough as the insurgents.
Anyone who has spent time in Iraq,on the contractor side,can give you lots of information on this subject! Mr Stoffel was involved in what is known as 'the battalion sets affair',where the Iraqis were given money by the US CPA(as it was then) to buy small arms,vehicles etc to equip several batallions of their 'new' army.The money was diverted to Jordan,by the Iraqi officials,and when the kit arrived from E Europe(as most of the army had previously had Soviet era kit),it turned out to be junk.Much was purchased in Poland from scrap dealers,by an Iraqi based in that country,who was an expatriate used car dealer!!!

Similar threads

Latest Threads