Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Bushfire, Part 3

Continued from Part 2

Oh, lightning strike twice!

Is War With Iran Inevitable? April 11, 2006

But it appears today President Bush is considering yet another "preventive war." Weekend reports by Sy Hersh in The New Yorker claim the Pentagon is planning air strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities with bunker-buster bombs, possibly tipped with nuclear warheads.

The White House is dismissing it all, and this may be just the rattling of B-2s to concentrate minds in Tehran on the need to negotiate on their nuclear program.

But the Bushites have also painted us into a corner. Vice President Cheney has said Iran will not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. Sen. John McCain says, "The military option is on the table." And Israel is demanding that the United States stop dithering.

Hey everybody bask in the afterglow

How the US sent $12bn in cash to Iraq. And watched it vanish February 8, 2007

The US flew nearly $12bn in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent.

The staggering scale of the biggest transfer of cash in the history of the Federal Reserve has been graphically laid bare by a US congressional committee.

In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tonnes, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors. Using C-130 planes, the deliveries took place once or twice a month with the biggest of $2,401,600,000 on June 22 2004, six days before the handover.


'The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now' August 15, 2005

SE: In some cases where the FBI stumbles upon evidence of high-level officials being involved in drug-smuggling, they're even prevented from sharing it with the DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency]. The Department of State just comes in and says, "Leave it."

You know, it's funny, after 9/11, the common criticism was that there was "no information-sharing" between the FBI, CIA, and the like, and this is why the terrorists pulled it off – as if we didn't want to cooperate. No information-sharing? That's the biggest BS I ever heard!

CD: So you're saying that the whole process of sorting through the intelligence you received, executing investigations, and getting information where it needed to go was prevented by the State Department?

SE: Several times, yes.

Yeah, lightning strike twice!

Is a U.S.-Iran War Inevitable? Mar. 29, 2007

But then again you'd be missing the grim fatalism that has settled over Iran of late, the resigned belief that a war with the U.S. is all but inevitable. This week Iranian diplomats are telling interlocutors that, yes, they realize seizing the Brits could lead to a hot war. But, they point out, it wasn't Iran that started taking hostages — it was the U.S., when it arrested five members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Erbil in Northern Iraq on January 11. They are diplomats, the Iranians insist. They were in Erbil with the approval of the Kurds and therefore, they argue, are under the protection of the Vienna Convention.

Iranian grievances, real and perceived, don't stop there. Tehran is convinced the U.S. or one of its allies was behind the March 2006 separatist violence in Iranian Baluchistan, which ended up with 20 people killed, including an IRGC member executed. And the Iranians believe there is more to come, accusing the U.S. of training and arming Iranian Kurds and Azeris to go back home and cause problems. Needless to say the Iranians are not happy there are American soldiers on two of its borders, as well as two carriers and a dozen warships in the Gulf. You call this paranoia? they ask.

Hey everybody bask in the afterglow

How the US sent $12bn in cash to Iraq. And watched it vanish February 8, 2007

"One CPA official described an environment awash in $100 bills," the memorandum says. "One contractor received a $2m payment in a duffel bag stuffed with shrink-wrapped bundles of currency. Auditors discovered that the key to a vault was kept in an unsecured backpack.

"They also found that $774,300 in cash had been stolen from one division's vault. Cash payments were made from the back of a pickup truck, and cash was stored in unguarded sacks in Iraqi ministry offices. One official was given $6.75m in cash, and was ordered to spend it in one week before the interim Iraqi government took control of Iraqi funds."


Interview: L. Paul Bremer, III June & August, 2006

Tell me the story of how you get this job.

I was contacted by two people -- Paul Wolfowitz, who is deputy secretary of defense, and Scooter Libby, who was the vice president's chief of staff, both of whom I'd known for decades -- who asked if I would be interested in being considered to go over and run the Coalition Provisional Authority [CPA]. I said, "Well, I've got to talk to my wife," who managed to restrain her enthusiasm at this prospect, I have to say, but in the end agreed....

Naked light shining over my bed

Iraq rebuilding contracts awarded March 25, 2003

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The first contracts for rebuilding post-war Iraq have been awarded, and Vice President Dick Cheney's old employer, Halliburton Co., is one of the early winners.

The Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) unit of Halliburton (HAL: up $0.54 to $20.66, Research, Estimates), of which Cheney was CEO from 1995 to 2000, said late Monday that it was awarded a contract by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to put out oil fires and make emergency repairs to Iraq's oil infrastructure.

President Bush Tuesday asked Congress for $489.3 million to cover the cost of repairing damage to Iraq's oil facilities, much or all of which could go to Halliburton or its subcontractors under the terms of its contract with the Army.

Been lying here too long

What Went Wrong with the Rebuilding of Iraq? May 16, 2007

It was a free-for-all climate best demonstrated when Paul Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, successfully requested that $12 billion in cash be shipped to Iraq. U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), now chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said he was astonished when he heard about it.

"It's hard even now to imagine $12 billion in hundred-dollar bills, wrapped into bricklike bundles, then put on huge pallets and brought over by troop carrier airplanes to be dispersed in a war zone," Waxman said.

"We have no idea where that money went. Of the $12 billion, $8.8 billion is unaccounted for," he said.

I need your arms to take me down

How the US sent $12bn in cash to Iraq. And watched it vanish February 8, 2007

"Some of the funds could have enriched both criminals and insurgents fighting the United States."

Take me to the ground

Interview: L. Paul Bremer, III June & August, 2006

You talked with the president about all of this?

Yes, I did. The most important conversation I had was at a one-on-one luncheon that he invited me to about 10 days before I went to Baghdad. I had not met the president before. He was very open, and we discussed quite a lot -- China and the Middle East and so forth. I found him very well informed. There was no detail missing.

But then we got to Iraq, and I basically said, "I'm going to need some help." He said, "How can I help you?" I said: "Two ways. Number one, we're going to need time to make this happen. It's going to be really tough." ... And he said very clearly, "I'll give you whatever time you need. I'm not going to be dissuaded by the polls or by the pundits or by the election cycle," because this was, of course, in May of 2003, so about a year and a half before he would have been up for re-election. I said, "I need to be sure I have adequate authority to carry out the job you're giving me." ... And he said: "Don't worry. I understand that. We'll fix that."

Stay tuned for Part 4

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