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27. Mar 2006

'Genopbygning' - hvordan Pentagon lod private firmaer stjæle 23 mia dollars

Denne film forklarer, hvordan milliarder og atter milliarder af Iraks egne penge, sat af til genopbygning, blev stjålet, mens civile irakere dør af mangel på helt almindelig medicin og udstyr.

Filmen er lavet for Channel 4 af Guardian Films og er lavet i samarbejde med den irakiske læge og journalist Ali Fadhil, som undersøger, hvor pengene er blevet af - og hvor meget "gavn", de har gjort i Iraks skrantende sundhedsvæsen. The Guardian bragte forleden en foromtale under overskriften "Iraq was awash in cash. We played football with bricks of $100 bills":
At the start of the Iraq war, around $23bn-worth of Iraqi money was placed in the trusteeship of the US-led coalition by the UN. The money, known as the Development Fund for Iraq and consisting of the proceeds of oil sales, frozen Iraqi bank accounts and seized Iraqi assets, was to be used in a "transparent manner", specified the UN, for "purposes benefiting the people of Iraq".

For the past few months we have been working on a Guardian Films investigation into what happened to that money. What we discovered was that a great deal of it has been wasted, stolen or frittered away. For the coalition, it has been a catastrophe of its own making. For the Iraqi people, it has been a tragedy. But it is also a financial and political scandal that runs right to the heart of the nightmare that is engulfing Iraq today.
Last month Robert Stein Jr, employed as a CPA comptroller in south central Iraq, despite a previous conviction for fraud, pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal more than $2m and taking kickbacks in the form of cars, jewellery, cash and sexual favours. It seems certain he is only the tip of the iceberg. There are a further 50 criminal investigations under way.

Back in Diwaniyah it is a story about failure and incompetence, rather than fraud and corruption. Zahara and Abbas, born one and a half months premature, are suffering from respiratory distress syndrome and are desperately ill. The hospital has just 14 ancient incubators, held together by tape and wire.

Zahara is in a particularly bad way. She needs a ventilator and drugs to help her breathe, but the hospital has virtually nothing. Her father has gone into town to buy vitamin K on the black market, which he has been told his children will need. Zahara starts to deteriorate and in desperation the doctor holds a tube pumping unregulated oxygen against the child's nostrils. "This treatment is worse than primitive," he says. "It's not even medicine." Despite his efforts, the little girl dies; the next day her brother also dies. Yet with the right equipment and the right drugs, they could have survived.

How is it possible that after three years of occupation and billions of dollars of spending, hospitals are still short of basic supplies?
Vel, nok snak - se den ... og bliv vred:
The coalition's health programme was by any standards a failure. Basic equipment and drugs should have been distributed within months - the coalition wouldn't even have had to pay for it. But they missed that chance, not just in health, but in every other area of life in Iraq. As disgruntled Iraqis will often point out, despite far greater devastation and crushing sanctions, Saddam did more to rebuild Iraq in six months after the first Gulf war than the coalition has managed in three years.

Kees Reitfield, a health professional with 20 years' experience in post-conflict health care from Kosovo to Somalia, was in Iraq from the very beginning of the war and looked on in astonishment at the US management in its aftermath.
Himmelråbende inkompetence - eller slet og ret ligegyldighed? Take your pick - uanset hvad, ser det ikke godt ud. Og det er folk i Irak, der betaler prisen.

Link til omtale af filmen hos Information Clearing House.
Link til artiklen hos The Guardian.
Direkte link - kræver RealAudio eller lignende.