Securing The Iraqi Homeland: The Differing Faces Of Security | General News & Politics | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Securing The Iraqi Homeland: The Differing Faces Of Security 

Last Updated: 08/13/2013 4:20 pm

Page 6 of 7

For its efforts prewar, Chalabi's INC was paid a total of $39 million by American taxpayers, although its $340,000 a month allowance was recently cut by the Pentagon after a falling out over the false WMD info and claims he had given classified US info to Iran.  Postwar rewards have included a seat on 25-member Governing Council and head of the De-Baathification Commission, possession of 25 tons of potentially incriminating documents gathered by Saddam's notorious Mukahabarat Intelligence Agency, and control of the Ministry of Finance by way of his "associates."

And then there is the question of hundreds of Iraqi government properties.  These include mansions, former government offices, ranches, and agricultural land alleged to have been illegally seized by various groups and political parties - among which members of Chalabi's family and the INC are said to have been the most acquisitive in the days after the toppling of Saddam's statue.

Among these properties is the one al-Maliky speaks of above, and that of the squatters.

Judge Zuhair Al-Maliky: "It is the government's responsibility to provide homes to homeless iraqis who suffered 35 years of tyranny and not to political parties."

Salem Chalabi, named the lead prosecutor for the trial of Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi Governing Council, despite polls showing him to be the least trusted politician in Iraq, was charged with the May 28 murder of Haithem Fadhil, director general of the Finance Ministry.  According to the LA Times, Fadhill "was preparing a report on reclaiming government-owned real estate."  An anonymous source told the LA Times: "Fadhil 'was trying to get back those properties that belonged to the people.  He told his wife and a friend that he had received a lot of threats from Mr. Salem Chalabi directly, who told him: 'You will not stay for long.  We will get rid of you.'"

Salem reportedly has responded to the charges by saying, ''Allegedly, what I said was: ''If you don't stop investigating these properties, you won't stay in this position for long.  I don't have any recollection of meeting [Fadhil]. I've never been in his office, I don't own any properties in Iraq, I stay at a friend's house.  These allegations, to say the least, are ludicrous.''

Another Chalabi associate, the security chief of the INC, Aras Habib, who was nominated for a position on the National Assembly and was nominated by Ahmad Chalabi to head a reincarnated version of the Mukahabarat, has been charged with torturing, kidnapping, illegal detention and stealing government property.

According to investigators working on the money laundering case, Chalabi family members close and distant run almost every major bank in Iraq.  The money laundering issue first surfaced at various branches of the Central Bank of Baghdad where, on Oct.  15, 2003, the exchange of old Iraqi currency - known as "Saddam's dinars" - for new began.  Slated for destruction, millions of old bills were taken to several burn sites around Baghdad, including the Mukahabarat Intelligence Agency complex, destroyed by American bombing and presently occupied by approximately 4,000 squatters.  Soon after their arrival, it was discovered that some of the bills were counterfeit.  A short time later, an alleged associate of the Chalabi, Saba al-Noori, then manager of the Ministry of Finance with ties to the INC, had 57 female bank tellers jailed without charging them.  In interviews I had with tellers last February and March, Ahmad Chalabi and Saba al-Noori's name came up again and again.

On April 1, 2004, in what he says was his first big case, Judge al-Maliky ordered the tellers released on bail and al-Noori was charged and convicted with illegally arresting the tellers.  It is said that al-Noori is a former Mukahabarat officer who had some "smuggling troubles" and ran away to Jordan.

At the end of our interview I ask al-Maliky:

"Are you afraid?"

"I would be lying if I told you no."

"Because it seems they keep killing people."

"Yes.  And it is easy to get rid of one person.  And after, all one down and then blame the terrorists."

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