Amy Goodman was interviewing Seymour Hersh on how the Bush Administration tried to fix the elections in Iraq and Hersh mumbled something about the American Military being corrupted in Iraq. He began to say he has heard so many stories about colonels (in the U.S. military) being corrupted by large sums of cash. They he cut himself off. Here's the transcript:
AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, there was a report in the Financial Times right before the election in Iraq -- it was around January 10 -- that said the electoral group headed by Iyad Allawi, the interim Iraqi Prime Minister, handed out cash to journalists to insure coverage of the press conferences. Your response to that?
SEYMOUR HERSH: I just don't know that but, you know, when you talk about cash in Iraq, you don't just talk about cash. You talk about pallet loads of cash. There's an awful lot of money.
If anybody wanted to read about this -- the London Review of Books recently did an amazing article -- they took the six last State Department and U.N. reports on the missing cash in Iraq. Twenty billion dollars, much of it Iraqi oil money, has just disappeared, and there's no accounting for it. I shouldn't say all of it has disappeared, but the accounting is very lax. The corruption of Iraq and the corruption of our military by the dollars around, the invidious and systematic corruption of our military is just beyond belief. And we will pay a price for that in the end, too. You just cannot have that much money around. There were all kinds of colonels -- look, and it just doesn't matter. I'm getting ahead of myself, because I -- I don't want too talk about things I can't prove, but I can tell you in the London Review of Books in the last issue, the most recent issue, was a very, very serious essay about the extent of financial corruption and how much money simply disappeared from view, and we're not talking about hundreds of millions, we're talking about billions.)
...Of course this is a very natural occurrence. The Bush Administration is incompetent. The Military is therefore ordered to act outside it's own competence as it follows Bush's orders to destroy- and then rebuild- Iraq in an illegal, pointless, self destructive and indulgent war. It is no secret that millions and billions of dollars in cash have been used by the U.S. to pay- to and to pay off- Iraqi and American Contractors.
There is this famous picture showing how contractors are paid: Contractors Payment
It appears and entire company of 130 soldiers of the California National Guard may have been using old style mafia tactics to extort money from Iraqi shop owners. They offered "protection" from "terrorists" to shop owners if the shop owners paid them. This is just like mobsters walking into a business and saying. "nice place you got here, we'd hate so see anythiing happen ot it. If you pay us, will protect you." Translation: " We won't blow up your shop and then blame it on the terrorists if you pay us off! " So the army is extorting money from innocent Iraqi's in addition to all the other things they have been accussed of. Here we have an entire company put on restrictive duty. Other companies appear to be involved too, so it is endemic, not an isolated case. Lt. Col. Patrick Frey, has been suspended while the investigation is conducted, he is the battlion commander.Shakedown
The result of this corrupt war so far is an alliance with the Shiites of Iraq with the Shiites of Iran and the hoped for replacement of the U.S. support of the Jaafari government by the on coming military and financial support of the Iranians. Bush is nurturing fundamentalism here and abroad. He appears to be working for Bin Laden, for terrorism and not against it. Could this be? Could it be that Bush is simply a very disturbed, self destructive, perverse man surrounded by other like-minded people who know not their own motivations? Well.. That's ridiculous! Like Seymour Hersh, I think I must be getting ahead of myself. Let's get back to the corruption.
This from the London Review of Books
London Review of Books
"Staff at the CPA head office in Baghdad usually worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, often on three-month postings. They didn't trust the computer network so many of them put their records on USB sticks and in private computer files that couldn't be opened by their replacements. At one point there was only one officer at the CPA account manager's office clearing all the paying agents throughout Iraq. Paying agents in the field often couldn't get - let alone be bothered with - the paperwork, which was frustrating for the honest ones and a boon to their crooked colleagues. So where did the money go? You can't see it in Hillah. The schools, hospitals, water supply and electricity, all of which were supposed to benefit from this money, are in ruins. The inescapable conclusion is that many of the American paying agents grabbed large bundles of cash for themselves and made sweet deals with their Iraqi contacts. "
....Isn't using pallet loads of cash to pay people for work done, kind of a questionable idea? This money has to be delivered to Iraq by someone: Military personnel. Then it is kept somewhere by someone: more military personnel. Colonels, Generals, high-ranking military and perhaps civilian personnel have easy access to this cash that is lying around on pallets. If it's so easy to get at, and, the record keeping is known to be sometimes non--existent, what's to stop military personnel who are so inclined from making arrangements to have the money shipped back to the U.S. ? Is this happening? Why wouldn't it be? The U.S. military is not only being corrupted by the cash floating around Iraq, they are being corrupted by the situation they are in. They are an illegal occupying force sent to a sovereign nation on false pretenses. They are there immorally. They are not liked and not wanted by anybody. Not even the current Iraqi government wants them there.
The current Jaafari government no longer is feeling so strongly that U.S. support is required for their protection. Jaafari and Talabani feel they can get that from Iran, very soon. And they feel the withdrawal of the U.S. army will weaken the motives for the insurgency more than any continued U.S. "presence". Additionally Iraq's government wants to use the militias against remaining insurgents. But they are afraid to tell the Americans to leave. The Americans might kill them for asking. Dale Stoffel a contractor in Iraq (and not necessarily an honest one) did not like the shakedown he was getting from his Iraqi counterpart a Mr. Zayna, in a deal to rebuild Iraq. "Rebuilding " consisted in this case of 283 million dollars so Iraq could have a new. ...Tank brigade for the Iraqi Army. What a tank brigade can do against insurgents is another question.
Stoffel it turns out worked for Wye Oak Technologies a company whose website describes it's work as bascially a software company. The Website just doesn't look right. Perhaps it is a Brewster-Jennings type company. The kind that Valerie Plame worked for. It turns out that Mr. Stoeffel has a record as an arms dealer. Perhaps he is working as an operative in Iraq, keeping an eye on the Iraqis and our own military for the CIA in regard to weapons of mass destruction. In any case, he sent an E-mail to General Petraeus: Stoffel complained to General Petraeus:
""If we proceed down the road we are currently on, there will be serious legal issues that will land us all in jail," Stoffel wrote in an e-mail to a senior assistant to U.S. Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, who was overseeing the task force in charge of the arms deal, according to the story."
....I assume that Stoffel is saying here that the U.S. Military, specifically General Petraeus and his assistant, Colonel David Styles were engaging in illegal activity and it had to stop or they might all go to jail.
The London Book Review article continues:
"Stoffel complained about the situation in letters written to Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn Hills) and to a senior Pentagon official. Stoffel also e-mailed U.S. Army Col. David Styles, who is Petraeus' assistant on the project. "
Stoffel was murdered 8 days after sending the E-mail to General Petraeus.
Immediately after his killing a never heard of before "terrorist group" claimed credit for the killing on another odd looking website. Was this a phony website? A phony terrorist group? Who would have wanted him killed: Mr. Zayna? Col. David Styles or General Petraeus? Seymour Hersh's comment about corruption rings loudly. Mr. Stoeffel is now dead and General Petraeus is doing business with Mr. Zayna. What does that say?
It says at least this much...in spite of the fact that Stoeffel complained about the corruption of Mr. Zayna, and was subsequently killed (and as a result of the suspicious circumstances the FBI is investigating), General Petraeus and Colonel Styles went ahead with and did business with Mr. Zayna. Why would they do that under the circumstances? What would Mr. Zayna do if he was not allowed to continue to do business with the General and his colonel? Did he know something that perhaps the General and the Colonel didn't want made public about their dealings with him? Was that something their actions "along the path" that Stoffel alluded to that could wind them up in jail?
The London Book of Review article continues:
."Since the killing, U.S. military officials have continued working with Zayna. He is doing construction work on a U.S.-controlled military base outside Baghdad related to the project, said officials with the U.S.-led coalition.
"Stoffel's firm tried unsuccessfully to keep the contract. Wye Oak Technology sent a letter to U.S. and Iraqi officials on Jan. 25 saying it was prepared to resume work so long as "transparency and accountability" were established."
....Summing up the overall attitude of the U.S. Military in Iraq is this from one of our colonels in Iraq just after the war began in 2003, as quoted in the New York Times:
"With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them." That colonel is our representative in Iraq. He is the ambassador of our values. He speaks for you and me. If he is the ugly American, so are we. ". . .