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Bremer Gets Invitation – From Waxman (WSJ-Washington Wire)

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laststeamtrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 01:28 AM
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Bremer Gets Invitation – From Waxman (WSJ-Washington Wire)
Bremer Gets Invitation – From Waxman

Paul Bremer, the former American proconsul in Iraq, has kept an extremely low profile since leaving Baghdad in the summer of 2004. But that will change in a hurry if Democrats succeed in bringing him to Capitol Hill to face harsh questions about his controversial tenure in Iraq.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), the tough-talking chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Bremer this afternoon asking that he testify before the panel on Feb. 6. Bremer’s appearance would nominally be part of a series of hearings Waxman is organizing to examine the Bush administration’s botched efforts to rebuild Iraq and post-Katrina New Orleans. A variety of government audits have found significant corruption and pervasive mismanagement of both efforts.

The Waxman letter makes clear that Bremer would face a wide array of questions – and that he would be in for an unpleasant few hours if he agrees to testify.

Waxman writes that the panel wants to ask Bremer, the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, about a government audit that found the CPA had largely lost track of $8.8 billion in Iraqi money that had been entrusted to the U.S. by the United Nations. Much of that money is now believed to have been misspent by the CPA or stolen. Waxman also notes in the letter that he wants to question Bremer about mounting evidence that the Bush administration gave key positions within the CPA to politically-connected Republican operatives and ideologues.

The letter also asks Bremer to prepare written testimony in advance of the session, and to provide 100 copies of the document to committee staff by Feb. 2. “At the hearing, you will be asked to summarize your written testimony in five minutes in order to maximize the time available for discussion and questions,” Waxman writes, delicately.

<more>

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2007/01/17/bremer-gets-invitation-%e2%80%93-from-waxman/
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 01:39 AM
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1. OK, I don't understand the use of the word "IF".
I suppose it's becausethis was an "invitation" and not a subpoena, huh?
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:18 AM
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4. You got it. nt
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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 04:46 AM
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5. they expected him ultimately to agree to appear,
Aides to Waxman said that Bremer has yet to reply to the letter, but two lawmakers on the panel said they expected him ultimately to agree to appear, if only to try to clear his name. –Yochi J. Dreazen
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williesgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:05 AM
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2. Here we go! Should be more than interesting to see how he explains losing
BILLIONS. recommended
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 02:10 AM
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3. Where Has All The Money Gone? (London Review of Books July 05)
by Ed Harriman
July 07, 2005

On 12 April 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority in Erbil in northern Iraq handed over $1.5 billion in cash to a local courier. The money, fresh $100 bills shrink-wrapped on pallets, which filled three Blackhawk helicopters, came from oil sales under the UN’s Oil for Food Programme, and had been entrusted by the UN Security Council to the Americans to be spent on behalf of the Iraqi people. The CPA didn’t properly check out the courier before handing over the cash, and, as a result, according to an audit report by the CPA’s inspector general, ‘there was an increased risk of the loss or theft of the cash.’ Paul Bremer, the American pro-consul in Baghdad until June last year, kept a slush fund of nearly $600 million cash for which there is no paperwork: $200 million of this was kept in a room in one of Saddam’s former palaces, and the US soldier in charge used to keep the key to the room in his backpack, which he left on his desk when he popped out for lunch. Again, this is Iraqi money, not US funds.

The ‘reconstruction’ of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan. But there is a difference: the US government funded the Marshall Plan whereas Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer have made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the ‘liberated’ country, by the Iraqis themselves. There was $6 billion left over from the UN Oil for Food Programme, as well as sequestered and frozen assets, and revenue from resumed oil exports (at least $10 billion in the year following the invasion). Under Security Council Resolution 1483, passed on 22 May 2003, all of these funds were transferred into a new account held at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, called the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), so that they might be spent by the CPA ‘in a transparent manner . . . for the benefit of the Iraqi people’. Congress, it’s true, voted to spend $18.4 billion of US taxpayers’ money on the redevelopment of Iraq. But by 28 June last year, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA had spent up to $20 billion of Iraqi money, compared to $300 million of US funds.

The ‘financial irregularities’ described in audit reports carried out by agencies of the American government and auditors working for the international community collectively give a detailed insight into the mentality of the American occupation authorities and the way they operated, handing out truckloads of dollars for which neither they nor the recipients felt any need to be accountable. The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. They have also discovered that $8.8 billion that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it went. A further $3.4 billion earmarked by Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to finance ‘security’ ...

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=8241
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