Friday, April 21, 2006

We love the corruption

Remember this post from July 2005? Regarding the full sickology of the Iraqi war economy, it covered epic CPA corruption, heroin smuggling, Iraqi girls turning up turning tricks all over the Middle East, and of course Viktor Bout. In comments, someone claimed to have heard from a Kroll securigoon that Russian planes were bringing in CIS-area prostitutes to service the Green Zonies as "catering staff".

Strange how these things turn up. In the case of Philip Bloom, who's just gone to jail for kicking back $2 million of Iraqi public funds to CPA officials in exchange for contracts whilst working out of Hillah (CPA Region South-Centre, a civil shadow of the MND-SC command), it seems he maintained a villa staffed by tarts in Baghdad as part of his graft scheme. The main target was the CPA South-Centre comptroller, Robert Stein, who was given control of $82 million in reconstruction funding despite being a convicted fraudster. (More here.)

Meanwhile, a senior USAF officer has been caught apparently feeding security contracts to a South African mercenary firm she had a financial stake in. Weirdly, her boss, Jay Garner, is defending her on the grounds she only dunnit to keep his security detail in work by getting Bernard Kerik - for it is he! - to hire them. But she went much further, becoming a director of the company and registering its US subsidiary in her name, at her address in the Washington suburbs.

And the South African mercs hardly helped get the Iraqi police going. Then, of course, there were some other problems..
Employees were arrested in 2004 on suspicion of participating in an attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea. A former U.S. military official said some of the men had ties to Executive Outcomes, a controversial mercenary outfit involved in fighting civil wars in Sierra Leone and Angola.

"These guys were knuckle-draggers," the official said.
Well, the arrested men were two of the firm's founders, Hermanus Carlse and Lourens Horn, who took part in the EG raid "on leave" from Meteoric. It looks, too, as if that description was well on the mark, at least going by this report from the Cape Argus: one of their men was killed when he stopped to ask the way to a butcher's shop in Baghdad. Does anyone out there have any information about whether one Paddy McKay was involved with the firm in any way? Or whether, as I suspect, the "Air Mero"/Skylink/Jetline KBR contract was used for the "catering"?

Updated:: We interview Paddy McKay.

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