Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More signs of progress

Ex-State officials allege corruption in Iraq

The Bush administration repeatedly ignored corruption at the highest levels within the Iraqi government and kept secret potentially embarrassing information so as not to undermine its relationship with Baghdad, according to two former State Department employees.
The Office of Accountability and Transparency, or "OAT" team, was intended to provide assistance and training to Iraq's anti-corruption agencies. It was dismantled last December, after it alleged in a draft report leaked to the media that al-Maliki's office had derailed or prevented investigations into Shiite-controlled agencies.
Brennan charges the State Department never responded to his team's report, which was retroactively classified because agency officials said it could hurt bilateral relations with Iraq. Other recommendations by the group also were kept secret, including a negative assessment of Iraq's Joint Anti-Corruption Committee, Brennan said.

In July 2007, the OAT team concluded that the committee's only purpose was to provide a forum for complaints against Judge Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, a top anti-corruption official in Baghdad whom many U.S. officials have hailed as the most effective in exposing fraud and abuse.
In related news:
U.S.-Backed Head Of Iraqi Anti-Corruption Agency Now A ‘Destitute’ Undocumented Immigrant In U.S.

After the 2003 Iraq invasion, Coalition Provisional Authority chief Paul Bremer created a major anti-corruption ministry in Iraq, the Public Integrity Commission (CPI). Last October, former CPI commissioner Judge Radhi al-Radhi, who was appointed by Bremer and whose work has been praised by top U.S. officials, told Congress about the “rampant” corruption in Iraqi ministries that had cost Iraq as much as $18 billion.

Radhi’s gripping account detailed how Prime Minister Maliki tried to subvert his commission and how nearly four dozen of his staff members were killed. Subsequently, he was forced to seek asylum in the United States.

But today, Radhi is living as an undocumented immigrant in Virginia.
The State Department turned against Radhi, according to Mattil and Brennan. They “said a senior State Department official had ordered agency employees not to give al Radhi references or contact him” about the asylum. Radhi is “destitute” in his current situation, they noted.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak