Friday, November 16, 2007


Facing violence, unemployment and poverty, the acpital city of Iraq's volatile Diyala province now finds itself confronting also corruption.
This follows the failed promises of reform, reconstruction and rehabilitation at the beginning of the U.S. occupation of Iraq.  Billions of dollars of U.S. and Iraqi funds were set aside for rebuilding Iraq, ruined by four years of occupation, 12 years of sanctions, and 30 years of dictatorship.  There is little to show for these vast amounts of aid money.
The infrastructure is clearly worse on all measurable levels than it was pre-invasion.
Under the Coalition Provisional Authority, more than 7 billion dollars went "missing" in the first year of occupation alone.  Now Iraqi authorities are blamed for adding to the corruption.
Contractors in Baquba told IPS they believe the govenor's office is directly involved in the corruption.
The above is from Ahmed Ali's "Coruption Adds to Baquba's Problems" (IPS).  That's Baquba, turning to northern Iraq.  Ali's pointing out the ongoing corruption and also notes puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki's immunizing his ministers against prosecution, so check out the article which Brendan noted.  And remember just how long the corruption in Iraq has been going on.  This didn't emerge or just surface.  A really bad documentary by a War Hawk who supported the illegal war before it started and who supports it continuing today gets his ego stroked a great deal for a really bad movie (that exists to sell 'smarter' illegal wars) mainly because, for most of the media, Iraq is like a TV signal when the cable's going in and out.  In March 2005, BBC could report, "The reconstruction of post-war Iraq is in danger of becoming 'the biggest corruption scandal in history,' Transparency International has warned."  Paul McGeough (The Age) would also cover the topic in 2005 (May 2nd):
The new Iraq receives foreign aid worth close to $US100 billion ($A126 billion) and the corruption watchdog Transparency International says it could become "the biggest corruption scandal in history".
Jawad taps into the economy at various levels - he's an engineer and builder, he supplies government departments and he represents foreign companies. He said: "After I went to the Transport Ministry with a proposal for flights to Iraq from Scandinavia, I had a call from the minister's cousin to say that there would be no deal unless I paid a bribe of $US500,000."
Those are just two examples.  This has been an ongoing story. Naomi Klein's "Baghdad Year Zero" (Harper's magazine) explained it very clearly in September 2004 and she expands upon the themes of the article (and the scope) in her new book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism.
Lloyd notes Karen DeYoung's "State Dept. Won't Order Diplomats to Iraq" (Washington Post):
The State Department expects to announce, perhaps as early as today, that volunteers have filled all 48 open jobs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for next year and that it will not order any foreign service officers to work there against their will, officials said yesterday.
Volunteers for the last three or four positions are currently being vetted.  Once that process is completed, a senior department officials said, Secretary of State Condolezza Rice will ask personnel officers to assure her that everyone selected "does in fact have the right skill sets" and meets all requirements before an announcement is made.
The State Department was among those agencies who were supposed to be preventing corruption and providing oversight.  We all know how that worked out.  And possibly some of the refusal to be stationed in Iraq is a refusal to take place in a crime spree?
Remember that today is Iraq Moratorium Day.  It's the third Friday of every month (every month while the illegal war drags on).
On most PBS' stations  NOW with David Brancaccio begins airing tonight.  In some markets, it may repeat at additional times or it may not air on Friday, but online it does stream at any time.  Here's what's up for the latest installment:
As millions of homeowners face foreclosure, NOW investigates sleazy tactics of mortgage lenders.

NOW #346
On Friday, November 16 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), NOW travels to North Minneapolis to investigate the mortgage meltdown that's left the city scarred with boarded-up and abandoned houses. What's happened in communities like this one has investors everywhere shaken. Wall Street firms are stumbling and markets around the globe are reeling. Economists worry the mortgage bust may even lead to a recession. By one estimate, investors could eventually see as much as 400 billion dollars go down the drain - losses almost twice as big as the saving & loan crisis of the early 1990s. NOW connects the dots to see the extent to which recklessness, corruption and greed created this subprime mess that now threatens to undermine our entire economy. David Brancaccio talks to Rep. Keith Ellison, who grew up in North Minneapolis and who has pushed legislation to address the crisis. He also talks to Ameriquest whistleblower Mark Bomchill, who explains the competitive "boiler room" culture that encouraged brokers to aggressively push mortgage products they knew clients would be unable to repay.
NOW Online ( will feature this show for free streaming starting Monday morning, as well as useful tips for homeowners worried about foreclosure.
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