Socialist Worker

Murky paper trail from Iraq to Washington

Issue No. 1952

Ahmed Chalabi

Ahmed Chalabi

The documents used by the senate committee allegedly originate from the Iraqi oil ministry, seized by the US military immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

At the time it was run by a group of Iraqi exiles, including Fadhil Chalabi — a cousin of Ahmed Chalabi, whose fake intelligence was used by Bush and Blair in the run-up to the war.

The publication by the Al-Mada newspaper of the names of some who had allegedly profited from oil trading under the old regime (see above) triggered two separate investigations.

The first was set up by Paul Bremer, then proconsul of Iraq, along with Ihsan Karim, head of Iraq’s board of supreme audit, aided by Ernst & Young, an auditing firm.

The other was conducted by Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a close associate of Ahmed Chalabi, and was directed by Chalabi himself, aided by the British firm KPMG. Bremer and Chalabi clashed, with each claiming their investigation was the official one.

The most stunning allegations all came from Chalabi’s office, though no one else was allowed to verify his documents. In May 2004, following his fall from favour with the US, Chalabi’s offices were raided.

Bremer reportedly seized files related to the oil for food programme.

Meanwhile, Ihsan Karim agreed in June 2004 to turn over his board’s findings to an independent investigative team led by former US Federal Reserve Bank chairman Paul Volcker. But in July 2004 Karim was killed by a car bomb.

The investigation led by Volcker has instead made use of Chalabi’s lists—and it is these names which were included in the Duelfer Report.

Even Volcker’s team said it had not been able to independently verify the names on the list.

“We name those individuals and entities here in the interest of candour, clarity and thoroughness,” the Duelfer Report said.

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