The Blogiston Post

Politics, money, and war.

Sunday, October 31

bringing back iran contra

US Special Operations Command is headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida. Last year, there were funny goings-on regarding money at MacDill.

Is there a connection between today's story on funding for US Special Operations and reports of the "parked" funds at Mac Dill in October of 2003? Reports at that time never clarified the intended use of the funds. Now things are looking a little more clear...and nefarious.

Pentagon gets funds for covert payoffs
Moving into an area of clandestine activity that is traditionally the domain of the CIA, the Pentagon has secured new authority that allows U.S. Special Operations forces to dole out millions of dollars in cash, equipment and weapons to international warlords and foreign fighters.

The U.S. Special Operations Command will have, the new policy states, as much as $25 million a year to spend providing "support to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals" aiding U.S. efforts against terrorists and other targets. Previously, military units were barred from providing money or arms to foreign groups.

The new authority is contained in a little-noticed provision in the Defense Department authorization bill that was signed by President Bush on Friday.
Meanwhile, back in October of 2003...

More military funds scrutinized
Pentagon officials are investigating allegations of a second case of the Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base hiding millions of dollars from Congress in its budget.

The latest allegation, Pentagon officials confirmed Wednesday, involves $25-million that Special Operations listed in its fiscal year 2004 budget, which took effect Wednesday.


Pentagon investigators already had been conducting an audit, or a preliminary investigation, into how Special Operations - at the Pentagon's request - inflated budget proposals in fiscal year 2003 to "park," or hide, $20-million from Congress.

In that case, Special Operations officials divided $20-million among six projects so the money would not attract attention, according to defense officials and documents obtained by the St. Petersburg Times.
Our previous post on Mac Dill with more info

John Kerry as a junior Senator exposed Iran Contra and the BCCI scandal. Looks like the less than noble elements in America intend to keep him busy as President.

Thursday, October 21


Carl Levin has released a new report today from the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Minority Staff.

Levin Releases Report on Pre-War Intelligence
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) released a report today of an inquiry he initiated on June 27, 2003 and conducted by the SASC Minority Staff.

The report focuses on 1) the establishment of a non-Intelligence Community source of intelligence analysis in the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, and 2) the extent to which policy makers utilized that alternative source rather than the analyses produced by the Intelligence Community with regard to the issue of any relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda before the Iraq war.
Report of an Inquiry into the Alternative Analysis of the
Issue of an Iraq-al Qaeda Relationship (PDF)
is 46 pages long.

We love footnotes.
The Intelligence Community is currently comprised of:

the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence
the Central Intelligence Agency
the Defense Intelligence Agency
the National Security Agency
the National Reconnaissance Office
the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
the intelligence components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps
the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research
the Energy Department’s Office of Intelligence
the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Office of Intelligence
[the FBI] Divisions of Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence
the Department of Homeland Security’s Directorate of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection
[the DHS] Directorate of Coast Guard Intelligence
the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Finance Intelligence.
Interesting section, Part II, compares public statements made by senior Administration officials about the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship to the then-classified relevant Intelligence Community assessments.
However, the [Intelligence Community] never had the opportunity to defend its analysis, nor point out problems with DOD’s “alternative” view of the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship when it was presented to the policymakers at the White House. Under Secretary Feith never informed the IC that he was taking the briefing they saw (with the addition of the slide critical of the IC and two other slides) to the White House. In fact, [Director of Central Intelligence] Tenet had been unaware of the Feith staff September 2002 briefing to the White House until February 2004, when Senator Levin raised the issue at an [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] hearing.
Let the Games Begin.

Department of Defense Statement Regarding The Levin Minority Report
The long-standing practice and policy of the Department of Defense is not to involve itself in political matters, but the following points are relevant:
The subjects covered in the Levin report have been investigated by, among other bodies, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The Department provided volumes of documents and other requested materials to these committees.

The unanimous, bipartisan report of the 9/11 Commission noted relationships that existed between al Qaeda and Iraq prior to al Qaeda’s attack on the United States in September 2001.

The unanimous, bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report of July 2004 found no evidence that Administration officials tried to coerce, influence or pressure intelligence analysts to change their judgments about Iraq’s WMD capabilities or links to terrorism.

The Senate Intelligence Committee also found that staff members from the Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Mr. Douglas Feith “played by IC [intelligence community] rules” during their participation in an August 20, 2002 coordination meeting on the IC’s Iraqi Support for Terrorism report. The Senate Intelligence Committee report stated that Mr. Feith’s office was “not given special treatment,” and that their participation in the meeting “contributed to a frank exchange of opinions” which “did not result in changes to their analytical judgments.”
We laughed so hard we had to take a pee break before posting the DoD announcement. Obviously, Levin hit a nerve. Pass the popcorn.

Hint: Kiss, kiss, kiss. We might have missed the report if it hadn't been for the DoD announcement.

Friday, October 15

go henry

Auditors Can't Account for Iraq Spent Funds
The audit was performed by the accounting firm KMPG for the International Advisory and Monitoring Board, created by the United Nations to monitor the stewardship of Iraqi funds.

The report monitored spending by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S.-run governing agency which went out of existence in June; Iraqi ministries; the Kurdish Regional Government and Iraqi provisional governments. It covered the period from January to June this year.

In the CPA programs, "We found 37 cases where contracting files could not be located," the auditors said. The cost of the contracts: $185 million. In another 52 cases, there was no record of the goods received for $87.9 million in expenditures.
The Report and Fact Sheet are posted at the website of the Committee on Government Reform , Minority Office where Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is the Ranking Minority Member. Information is posted under the section titled Problems Found in Bush Administration Management of Iraqi Funds
A new audit by the International Advisory and Monitoring Board finds that the Bush Administration has not properly accounted for the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars in Iraqi oil proceeds.
The Fact Sheet (PDF) is 4 pages long, and is broken down into sections:
CPA-Administered Projects
Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP)
Iraqi Ministries
Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)
Iraqi Provincial Governments
The Development Fund for Iraq: Report of Factual Findings in Connection with Disbursements (PDF) is 28 pages long.

A sample of the report from page 17 under the section Projects administered by the CPA:
We found 34 cases where disbursements and advance payments had been made to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for import of petroleum products ($983,704,969), restoration of oil infrastructure ($67,573,813), restoration of Iraqi electricity ($606,739,525) and other projects ($41,482,614).

We noted that disbursements to the USACE were authorized by the PRB and approved by the CPA Administrator, under a series of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU). Under these MoU the USACE utilized DFI funds for new work approved by the CPA Administrator. We were informed by the USACE that the contract vehicle was several task orders added to existing contracts that had been openly competed well before the start of the CPA and also issued new contracts.

We had limited access to contracting procedures and documentation for contracts awarded by the USACE. However, we were informed by the USACE that their contracts were awarded with limited competition from the largest US construction companies. In one case, we were provided with written justification for the limited competition on the electricity contracts.

We noted that two contracts related to the restoration of oil infrastructure were transferred from the USACE to the Project Management Office, a US Government agency.
A second sample from page 22 under the section Commanders Emergency Response Program :
For our sample of CERP disbursements tested, we found adequate supporting documentation for goods received or evidencing services rendered, except for the following deviations:
We found 142 cases where we were unable to obtain receiving reports or other supporting documentation evidencing services received for payments made ($39,957,782).
Quick summary: No one really knows where a nice chunk of the money went.

"let them eat cake," said the baker

James Baker. Money. Carlyle. Iraq. Debt. Conflict of interest. What else is new?

James Baker's Double Life
Until now, there has been no concrete evidence that Baker's loyalties are split, or that his power as Special Presidential Envoy--an unpaid position--has been used to benefit any of his corporate clients or employers. But according to documents obtained by The Nation, that is precisely what has happened. Carlyle has sought to secure an extraordinary $1 billion investment from the Kuwaiti government, with Baker's influence as debt envoy being used as a crucial lever.