This absolutely makes me ill, and it should make everyone else livid.
WASHINGTON -- It weighed 28 tons and took up as much room as 74 washing machines. It was $2.4 billion in $100 bills, and Baghdad needed it ASAP.
The initial request from U.S. officials in charge of Iraq required the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to decide whether it could open its vault on a Sunday, a day banks aren't usually open.
"Just when you think you've seen it all," read one e-mail from an exasperated Fed official.
"Pocket change," said another e-mail.
Then, when the shipment date changed, officials had to scramble to line up U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo planes to hold the money. They did, and the $2,401,600,000 was delivered to Baghdad on June 22, 2004.
It was the largest one-time cash transfer in the history of the New York Fed."
And where did it all go? It was given away, handed out from the back of pickup trucks and stuffed into the duffelbags of "contractors"
And this is what the Iraq invasion was all about. Piracy on a huge scale, a looting of not only Iraq, but our own country.
They simply ordered up 2.4 billion dollars in $100 bills and shipped it to THEMSELVES.
Who's got the money now? Could be anybody. Could be Bremer, could be his friends, his cohorts, could be generals, could be KBR employees, could be just about anybody with a white face and an empty duffelbag.
Hell, it could be George Bush's family. It could be buying Christmas presents for Dick Cheney's nieces and nephews.
Why has this story disappeared down the memory hole? Why hasn't the press covered it?
Well, gosh, for all we know some of that money could have been handed out to media correspondents in Baghdad as well. "Here's a little something for your boss. War's hell, ain't it? Chuckle chuckle".
This story, probably more than any other, represents to me the essence of this massive crime that is the Iraqi invasion.
I don't want people to forget it.
Here's a link to the rest of the article:
And don't forget -- this money was just a FRACTION of the billions of dollars that have vanished in the same fashion. Many more billions that was Iraq's money, from the oil-for-food program, met the same fate.
Vanished into the empty duffelbags of god-knows-who.
And they say there are no more pirates .....
What's truly disgusting about this is that this should NOT be an issue of GOP versus Dem or right-wing versus left. This is an issue of our country being ROBBED, and no one being held accountable. I don't give a shit what party these people belonged to, this is just plain wrong.
Update [2005-8-17 17:16:57 by Nordic]:
Here's a link to the actual report from Waxman, which is actually even more shocking than you can imagine:
Update [2005-8-17 17:16:57 by Nordic]:
Here's a cut and paste from the Yahoo article from when it came out (I printed it as a .pdf and saved it)
Wed Jun 22, 2:07 AM ET
The United States handed out nearly $20 billion of Iraq's funds, with a rush to spend billions in the final days before transferring
power to the Iraqis nearly a year ago, a report said on Tuesday.
A report by Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record) of California, said in the week before the hand-over on
June 28, 2004, the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority ordered the urgent delivery of more than $4 billion in Iraqi funds from the U.S. Federal Reserve in New York.
One single shipment amounted to $2.4 billion -- the largest movement of cash in the bank's history, said Waxman.
Most of these funds came from frozen and seized assets and from the Development Fund for Iraq, which succeeded the U.N.'s
oil-for-food program. After the U.S. invasion, the U.N. directed this money should be used by the CPA for the benefit of the Iraqi
Cash was loaded onto giant pallets for shipment by plane to Iraq, and paid out to contractors who carried it away in duffel bags.
The report, released at a House of Representatives committee hearing, said despite the huge amount of money, there was little U.S. scrutiny in how these assets were managed.
"The disbursement of these funds was characterized by significant waste, fraud and abuse," said Waxman.
An audit by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction said U.S. auditors could not account for nearly $8.8 billion
in Iraqi funds and the United States had not provided adequate controls for this money.
"The CPA's management of Iraqi money was an important responsibility that, in my view, required more diligent accountability,
pursuant to its assigned mandate, than we found," said chief inspector Stuart Bowen in testimony.
CASES OF ABUSE
Auditors found problems safeguarding funds including one instance where a CPA comptroller did not have access to a field safe
as the key was located in an unsecured backpack.
Bowen's office has referred three criminal cases to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the past two weeks for misuse of funds. Bowen
declined to provide details at the hearing.
In one e-mail released in Waxman's report with the subject line "Pocket Change," a CPA official stressed the need to get money
flowing fast before the handover.
Rep. Stephen Lynch (news, bio, voting record) of Massachusetts, a Democrat, questioned why so much money had to be
transferred so fast.
Senior defense official Joseph Benkert said an infusion of funds was needed to address a wide variety of needs before the new
Iraqi government took over.
Part of the challenge in tracking how money was spent was the cash environment and lack of electronic transfers.
Contractors were told to turn up with big duffel bags to pick up their payments and some were paid from the back of pick-up
One picture shows grinning CPA officials standing in front of a pile of cash said to be worth $2 million to be paid to a security