Monday, August 3, 2009

Billions in Graft Behind Baghdad Kidnappings?

If it sounds too easy/good to be true . . . . I guess in order to make the wealthy wealthier we have to put the entire population's wealth at risk. What else do you suppose is going on in Iraq (other than murder, arson and the American Way)?

(And Danny Schechter reports that:

Emboldened by billions in bailout monies, and funds from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, the Banksters are in full loot mode. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo reports that extravagant bonuses at some banks now outstrip revenues. The financial elite takes our money–and tells us to shove (it). Nine banks distributed $33 billion in bonuses without caring one whit about the public reaction or perception. If they can do it, they do. As a new wave of foreclosures threatens, the banks are not willing to modify most mortgages—even those sold fraudulently, because they make more money forcing families out and reselling their homes.)

From the Sydney Morning Herald we learn (emphasis marks added - Ed.):

An investigation into the kidnapping of five Britons in Iraq has uncovered evidence of possible collusion by Iraqi government officials and a possible motive – to keep secret the whereabouts of billions of dollars in embezzled funds.

A former high-level Iraqi intelligence operative and a current senior government minister, who has been negotiating directly with the hostage-takers, told investigators from The Guardian that the kidnapping of Peter Moore and his four bodyguards in 2007 was not a simple snatch by a band of militants but a sophisticated operation, almost certainly with inside help. Only Mr Moore is thought to be still alive.

Witnesses to the extraordinary operation that led to the abductions said superiors had warned them to keep quiet.

‘‘This operation was on a state level, not al-Qaeda. Only the state has the capability to carry this out,’’ one source said.

There was a sixth Westerner working with Mr Moore, an information technology specialist, at the time of the kidnapping. The man narrowly avoided being captured by hiding in a lavatory at the Iraqi Ministry of Finance, where the abductions took place.

Over the past 10 months interviews have been conducted with senior Iraqi figures and witnesses as well as the former British military officer who investigated the kidnapping for the men’s employers.

Their accounts allege the hostage-takers had contacts in the Iraqi Government, and that Ministry of Defence officials warned off witnesses to the kidnapping. The investigation has also uncovered compelling evidence that the one of the motives behind the kidnappings was the nature of the work the hostages were doing in fighting huge corruption in Iraq’s ministries.

Mr Moore was employed to install a computer tracking system that would have followed billions of dollars of oil and foreign-aid money through the Finance Ministry. The ‘‘Iraq financial management information system’’ was about to go online at the time of the kidnapping.

The intelligence source said: ‘‘Many people don’t want a high level of corruption to be revealed.

‘‘Remember this is the information technology centre [at the Ministry of Finance], this is the place where all the money to do with Iraq and all Iraq’s financial matters is housed.’’

The bodies of two British security guards, Jason Cresswell and Jason Swindlehurst, were handed over to the British embassy in Baghdad in June. On Wednesday the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said the remaining two guards, Alan McMenemy and Alec MacLachlan, were ‘‘very likely’’ dead.

Avril Sweeney, Mr Moore’s mother, said of the Guardian investigation: ‘‘This is the only thing that makes perfect sense – the only thing that has ever made perfect sense since the kidnap began . . . . There is no way that 40 armed policemen would be able to storm into that building and take my son.

‘‘This was all planned. Everything has been so tightly controlled. I appeal to the Iraqi Government to bring about the safe release of my son.’’

The British Foreign Office said: ‘‘We have never ruled out the possibility that the hostage-takers may have received advance notice or other assistance from sympathisers.’’

Well, at least there's that for comfort. Suzan ___________________

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