Thread: 363 TONS of Newly Printed, Shrink-Wrapped $100 Bills!

Hophead - 2/8/2007 at 09:43 PM

Published on Thursday, February 8, 2007 by McClatchy Newspapers
Billions and Billions of Dollars Just Disappear in Iraq
by Joseph L. Galloway

Show me the money, or at least some receipts scribbled on the backs of old envelopes and grocery bags.

This week, we were treated to the spectacle of the former U.S. civilian overlord of Iraq, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, squirming in the hot seat as he attempted with little success to explain what he did with 363 TONS of newly printed, shrink-wrapped $100 bills he had flown to Baghdad.

That's $12 billion in cold, hard American cash, and no one, especially Bremer, seems to know where it went.

It may be an urban legend, but the late Sen. Everett Dirksen, the Illinois Republican, is widely quoted as saying: "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money." If he didn't say it, he should have.

Bremer, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his role in totally screwing up the first two years of the Iraq Occupation, said that a lot of the cash was delivered to ministries of the Iraqi government to meet payrolls that were patently fraudulent.

The Department of Defense's special inspector general for Iraq, Stuart Bowen, said that a 2005 audit he conducted found that in some ministries the payroll was padded with up to 90 percent "ghost employees" - people who didn't really work there or perhaps didn't really exist.

Bremer said that he decided to provide the money to meet those payrolls, even though he knew they were bogus, for fear of starting riots and demonstrations among the Iraqis, real and imagined.

After all, the former czar told the representatives, it wasn't really our money anyway. It was Iraqi money - oil earnings and bank accounts seized from Saddam Hussein's government - that we were holding in trust.

I can think of no period in American history when we sat idly by while $12 billion just disappeared, poof, without a paper trail; without heads rolling; without someone going to prison.

And all this was happening at a time in the war when American soldiers and Marines were going without properly armored vehicles, without lifesaving body armor and even without some of the weapons they needed.

What does it take for the American people's gag reflex to kick in? When do we begin to realize that this is only the tip of an iceberg of fraud, waste, abuse and corruption perpetrated on a monumental scale by the Bush administration, its buddies among the military contractors and their handmaidens on Capitol Hill?

The cost of this war is swiftly building toward a trillion dollars. How much of that was siphoned off by crooked and incompetent contractors, greedy defense corporations and Iraqi crooks in a government that we created and installed?

No one in the congressional hearing has yet asked Bremer or the inspector general how much of that $12 billion in cash was handed out to American contractors in Baghdad, although that question begs to be asked and answered.

During the dark days of World War II, Congress established a Committee on War Profiteering and put a little-known senator from Missouri, Harry S. Truman, in charge. Truman, a veteran of combat service in World War I, was a bulldog.

His committee went after not only those who stole money but also those who provided shoddy or worthless equipment and supplies for our troops. He had the power to shut down an offending company or contractor, and he used it.

Where's our Truman Committee today? Where are the righteous representatives of the people charged with standing guard over our troops and our money?

We've wasted $600 billion on a war that we're losing, day by bloody day, at a time when our president presents a federal budget that cuts Medicare to find billions for more that war. The Decider boasts that if we do things his way, America's wealthiest individuals won't have to pay even one dollar more in taxes.

Meanwhile, the people's representatives, on both sides of the aisle, round up the contributions they need for re-election by putting themselves in the pockets of the very robber barons they're supposed to be investigating, interrogating and policing.

Perhaps we should let a no-bid cost-plus contract to Halliburton to construct large additions to the country club federal prisons to accommodate a population explosion in the years ahead. Or, for convenience sake, maybe we could just add a prison wing to the $500 million George W. Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

© 2007 McClatchy Washington Bureau and wire service sources


leafsfan - 2/8/2007 at 10:09 PM

Seems George and his buds at Haliburton had a little party. Okay maybe a big party on US tax payers dollars. Sad very sad. Can't get $$$ for gym and music in schools but can just go out and lose billions in IRAQ. Never understand how he was voted back in.

Denza - 2/8/2007 at 10:45 PM

This is one of the most obscenely corrupt things I have ever seen. I have done a bunch of research and there just is no *&*^& end to it.

This from the American Conservative

Some of my favorite highlights!

Money also disappeared in truckloads and by helicopter. The CPA reportedly distributed funds to contractors in bags off the back of a truck. In one notorious incident in April 2004, $1.5 billion in cash that had just been delivered by three Blackhawk helicopters was handed over to a courier in Erbil, in the Kurdish region, never to be seen again. Afterwards, no one was able to recall the courier’s name or provide a good description of him.

Another U.S. firm well connected to the Bush White House, Custer Battles, has provided security services to the coalition, receiving $11 million in Iraqi funds including $4 million in cash in a sole-source contract to supply security at Baghdad International Airport. The company had never provided airport security before receiving the contract. It also received a $21 million no-bid contract to provide security for the exchange of Iraqi currency. It has been alleged that much of the currency “replaced” by Custer Battles has never been accounted for. The company also allegedly took over abandoned Iraqi-owned forklifts at the airport, repainted them, and then leased them back to the airport authority through a company set up in the Cayman Islands. Custer Battles reportedly set up a number of shell companies in offshore tax havens in Lebanon, Cyprus, and the Cayman Islands to handle the cash flow.

The undocumented cash flow continued long after the CPA folded. Over $1.5 billion was disbursed to interim Iraqi ministries without any accounting, and more than $1 billion designated for provincial treasuries never made it out of Baghdad. More than $430 million in contracts issued by the Petroleum Ministry were unsupported by any documentation, and $8 billion were given to government ministries that had no financial controls in place. Nearly all of it disappeared, spent on “payroll,” wages for “ghost employees” in the Ministries of the Interior and Defense. In one case, an Army brigade receiving money to support 2,200 men was found to have fewer than 300 effectives. 602 actual guards at the Ministry of the Interior were billed as more than 8,200 for payroll purposes.

Another American contractor, CACI International, which was involved in the Abu Ghraib interrogations, was accused by the GAO in April 2004 of having failed to keep records on hours of work that it was billing for and of routinely upgrading employee job descriptions so that more could be charged per employee per hour. Both are apparently common practices among contractors in Iraq, and audits routinely determine that there is little in the way of paperwork to support billings. The GAO report also confirms that many private security contractors in Iraq have been charging the U.S. government exorbitant fees for their services, frequently because the contracts allow security costs to be rolled into the overall cost of the contract without being itemized. In one case, contract security guards were effectively being billed at $33,000 per guard per month while the average rate for a security specialist worked out to between $13,000 and $20,000 per month.

From another article, different source:

"Iraq was awash in cash - in dollar bills. Piles and piles of money," says Frank Willis, a former senior official with the governing Coalition Provisional Authority. "We played football with some of the bricks of $100 bills before delivery. It was a wild-west crazy atmosphere, the likes of which none of us had ever experienced."

[Edited on 2/8/2007 by Denza]

cupofjo - 2/9/2007 at 01:50 AM

nypeachhead - 2/9/2007 at 03:51 AM


where does it end?

gotdrumz - 2/9/2007 at 04:15 AM

Let's hear from the conservative side in this site. Defend all of this if you can.

this doesn't surprise me no matter what affiliation you may have in the political arena
thinking that a politician nowadays isn't gonna be corrupt...try defending that.

bigann - 2/9/2007 at 04:31 AM

Seems George and his buds at Haliburton had a little party. Okay maybe a big party on US tax payers dollars. Sad very sad. Can't get $$$ for gym and music in schools but can just go out and lose billions in IRAQ. Never understand how he was voted back in.

First of all, I don't believe he was ever voted back in office...but that's for another thread....but if he was...isn't he the guy who restored integrity and dignity back to the know, the fellow you'd like to have a beer with?

America held hostage - year 7

February deaths - 32
January deaths - 86

Total dead - 3,115

February Iraqi civilian deaths - 555
January Iraqi civilian deaths -1,802

greggswoman - 2/9/2007 at 04:52 AM

Oh what I could do with just 100 lbs. of those $20's. Hell...even 1 lb. Just sickening!

leafsfan - 2/9/2007 at 05:20 PM

The football quote is a classic, just like Clint Eastwood and Donald Sutherland in Kelly's Heroes. Man oh man.

Chain - 2/9/2007 at 05:37 PM

Watch what happens to this clown....Not a f*cking thing. He should go to prison, right along with Bush, Cheny, Wolf a **** s, and Rummy.

PattyG - 2/9/2007 at 05:49 PM

This is probably the biggest scandals of our times. It is so much worse then you could believe. I highly recommend a new movie called "Iraq for Sale". What was written in this article is only the tip of the iceberg, I have beendoing some research on Blackwater USA and the new "Private Military" they have put together. After seeing this movie I was stunned.

If a private military is not bad enough, the real horror is what these companies are doing to our military, putting profit over the lives of our soldiers and the rampant theft of American tax dollars.

If you know or have a family member in the service have them get tested, the below link tells why they should.

The below link is Patrick Leahy's bill to combat war profiteering.

This is general facts & research. Go over here for the specific corporations, and the experts in the film.
BACKGROUND ARTICLES for the movie Iraq For Sale.

Contract Sport (2/16/2004, Jane Mayer, New Yorker)
Outsourcing War (3/1/2005, P. W. Singer, Foreign Affairs)
The Other U.S. Military (5/31/2004, BusinessWeek)
The private contractor-GOP gravy train (5/11/2004, Robert Schlesinger,
Outsourcing Blame (5/21/2004, William D. Hartung,
Alternet's war profiteering archive resources on human trafficking

War Profiteers: Profits Over Patriotism in Iraq (9/2006, Campaign for America's Future)
How the U.S. Senate voted on war profiteering
How the U.S. House of Representatives voted on war profiteering
Windfalls of War: U.S. Contractors in Afghanistan & Iraq (Center for Public Integrity)
All Iraq/Afghanistan contractors
Outsourcing the Pentagon: Who's winning the big contracts
Executive Excess 2006 (8/2006, Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy)
A Fistful of Contractors: The Case for a Pragmatic Assessment of Private Military Companies in Iraq (9/2004, David Isenberg, BASIC)
Outsourcing is Facilitating Human Rights Violations (2006 Annual Report, Amnesty International USA)
Accountability for Contracting Abuses in Iraq (9/18/2006, Senate Democratic Policy Committee)
Whether Halliburton Has Failed to Provide Clean Water to United States Troops in Iraq: 4/7/2006 and 1/23/2006, Senate DPC
Waste, Fraud and Abuse in U.S. Government Contracting in Iraq: 6/27/2005 and 2/14/2005, Senate DPC
Iraq Contracting Practices (2/13/2004, Senate DPC)
Contracting Abuses in Iraq (11/3/2003, Senate DPC)

Iraq, Inc: A Profitable Occupation (11/2004, Pratap Chatterjee)
Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (4/2004, P.W. Singer, Brookings Institution)
The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security (7/2005, Deborah A. Avant, Author Q&A)
Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq (8/2006, T. Christian Miller)
Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror (8/2006, Robert Young Pelton)
A Bloody Business: America's War Zone Contractors and the Occupation of Iraq (5/2006, Gerry Schumacher)
Contract Warriors (4/2005, Fred Rosen)
The Best War Ever, Damned Lies, and the Mess in Iraq (9/2006, Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber)

[Edited on 2/9/2007 by PattyG]

[Edited on 2/9/2007 by PattyG]

DerekFromCincinnati - 2/9/2007 at 06:06 PM

Bremer is an idiot, and there should be plenty of criminal charges to go around. All who have ripped off the government, especially American-based contractors, should face the music and if guilty, be treated like cuffed latex slavegirls.

That is, except for Alion Science and Technology who is doing a fine job.


bigann - 2/9/2007 at 06:26 PM

All that cash laying around and we couldn't provide our service people with proper vests and armored vehicles. I can't even think of a punishment bad enought to fit those people responsible....and I have a very vivid imagination!!!

nypeachhead - 2/9/2007 at 08:18 PM

How in the world is this not THE story in the news right now!! You could nto find this story on a cable news channel if you wanted to . The priority of our media and probably most of the people in the country is a joke. Was Anna Nicole a B actress who was in Playboy once upon a time or the first lady of the US???

what has happened to this money dammit! I swear, this is the best thing that could have happened to Bremer and co.

PattyG - 2/9/2007 at 08:35 PM

It is a disgrace and so much worse than you can imagine. KBR refuses to have chow lines open all day, will only feed the troops twice a day which creates long, long lines and puts our troops at risk for attacks. Bathing water that is contaminated with typhiod, myalria and a host of leathal germs because they are to cheep to use chlorine. Out of 67 water treatment plants 62 of them are contaminated.

Blowing up $100,000 vehicles because they have flat tires, who cares just buy another one and bill the government. Leasing top of the line SUV's for the folks who live in the "Emerald City" at $70,000 a year with a 3 year contract, thats right folks $210,000 each for something if it breaks down or has a flat will be blown up and another one leased in its place. $45 for a 6 pack of coke made in the region, these are cokes with Arabic labels made in the region not shipped in. Yes you heard it here, $45.00 a 6 pack.

Tents that our troops live in falling apart and loaded with mold. Troops fattening up so they can get out on the "Fat Boy" program only to go to work Blackwater after they are discharged. Jobs that were being done by soldiers, where soldiers actually have to train the overpriced contracted employees to take their jobs. Trucks sent out on runs with nothing on them not even a bandaid and then being billed as load deliveries. By the way every trip is a danger to those drivers liives, but they are sent out anyway with nothing on the truck.

It really is the biggest scandal of our time. Actually CNN has been running some of the Blackwater trail this week but it has been trumped by Anna Nicole.

Denza - 2/10/2007 at 12:08 AM

Thought I'd post this in this thread as well...

This appears to be the entire film of "Iraq for Sale".

I haven't watched it yet and am not endorsing it, but it sure seems worth taking a look at.

BTW, when my stepson returned from Iraq he considered going to work for Blackwater, but in the end decided not to. He did re-enlist.

fanfrom-71 - 2/10/2007 at 12:18 AM

Nothing that ANOTHER night of America Idol shouldn't be able to keep 99% of americans mind off of!
Seems like the dumbing of america is working quite well for them.

PattyG - 2/10/2007 at 03:00 AM

Denza, I wish your son the very best and pray for his safety, it shows the man he is and will become. Whether you believe that going to Iraq was the right thing or not, these young men deserve the loyalty of this government and country.

bigann - 2/10/2007 at 03:02 AM

Denza, I wish your son the very best and pray for his safety, it shows the man he is and will become. Whether you believe that going to Iraq was the right thing or not, these young men deserve the loyalty of this government and country.

Amen....being against the war in no way means being against the troops and their noble service to this country!!! I thank every one of them!

Denza - 2/10/2007 at 03:05 AM

Thank you for that Patty, the more I learn the more I understand why he didn't go back for money...he went back to help his friends. I think HE understands war profiteering and he said no.

This one is more do with the topic of this thread. Interesting investigation in conjunction with an Iraqi journalist featuring video including Paul Bremer and forklifts of cash. Lots of cash. And more cash.

Iraqs Missing Billions

fanfrom-71 - 2/10/2007 at 01:44 PM

Whether you believe that going to Iraq was the right thing or not, these young men deserve the loyalty of this government.
The REALLY sad part is,they do, but they won't get it! )

SquatchTexas - 2/11/2007 at 11:35 AM

I hate to bring it up, but there was several of us on here months ago biatching about this very thing. The missing money is an "old" story. There might be accountability later on, but not right now. There is too much that still has to be done, not the least of which is preparing for Bush to leave this mess to someone else as well as the possible act of desperation against Iran thats in the works.

cheech12131 - 2/13/2007 at 12:18 AM

It's a crime that they outlawed public lynching

LinnieXX - 2/13/2007 at 04:32 PM

It's a crime that they outlawed public lynching
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This seems to be a recurring theme with you.

LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i was just thinking that, and would call him on that very same thing but it doesnt fit in this topic.

LinnieXX - 2/13/2007 at 04:35 PM

ha! here is a thought....

"consider loading B-52's with $100 bills stamped, "Uncle Sam is Your Friend," and drop them over Teheran. "

DerekFromCincinnati - 2/13/2007 at 05:25 PM

Sending the money in $100 bills was the right thing to do. If they had sent it in $20s, then they would have wasted way too much paper and trees as well as the fuel it would take to transport it, therefore affecting the environment needlessly. If they sent higher domination bills then it would have caused inflation and hoarding. Sending hundreds was the prudent thing to do.

LinnieXX - 2/13/2007 at 05:29 PM

Sending hundreds was the prudent thing to do.

hell, they shoulda just sent 12 Billion-Dollar bills. think of the amount of postage they woulda saved!

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