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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #123 - 3 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. U.S. Funds for Iraq Are Largely Unspent (ppg)
   2. =?Windows-1252?Q?Doctors_without_Borders_lawyer=2C_Fran=E7oise_Bouchet-Sa?=
       =?Windows-1252?Q?ulnier?= (ppg)


Message: 1
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Subject: U.S. Funds for Iraq Are Largely Unspent
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2004 16:59:20 -0400

U.S. Funds for Iraq Are Largely Unspent

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, July 4, 2004; Page A01

BAGHDAD, July 3 -- The U.S. government has spent 2 percent of an $18.4
billion aid package that Congress approved in October last year after the
Bush administration called for a quick infusion of cash into Iraq to financ=
reconstruction, according to figures released Friday by the White House.

The U.S.-led occupation authorities were much quicker to channel Iraq's own
money, expending or earmarking nearly all of $20 billion in a special
development fund fed by the country's oil sales, a congressional
investigator said.

Only $366 million of the $18.4 billion U.S. aid package had been spent as o=
June 22, the White House budget office told Congress in a report that offer=
the first detailed accounting of the massive reconstruction package.

Thus far, according to the report, nothing from the package has been spent
on construction, health care, sanitation and water projects. More money has
been spent on administration than all projects related to education, human
rights, democracy and governance.

Of $3.2 billion earmarked for security and law enforcement, a key U.S. goal
in Iraq, only $194 million has been spent. Another central objective of the
aid program was to reduce the 30 percent unemployment rate, but money has
been spent to hire only about 15,000 Iraqis, despite U.S. promises that
250,000 jobs would be created by now, U.S. officials familiar with the aid
program said.

U.S. officials involved in the reconstruction blame security concerns and
bureaucratic infighting between the Pentagon, the State Department and the
White House for delays in the allocation of funds. By the time the
Pentagon's contracting office in Baghdad began awarding contracts, the risk
of kidnapping and other attacks aimed at foreign workers was so dire that
many projects never began. Several Western firms that won contracts have
summarily withdrawn their employees from Iraq.

Fewer than 140 of the 2,300 reconstruction projects that were to be funded
with the U.S. aid package are underway, the officials said.

Officials with the contracting office contend the amount of money actually
spent does not reflect the full scope of work being performed. A more
accurate figure, they said, is the amount of money allocated for
reconstruction work. Just over $5.2 billion had been allocated as of June
22, according to the White House budget report.

"The money that is disbursed is typically not disbursed until the work is
completed, so it doesn't give the best picture of what's going on," said
John Proctor, a spokesman for the contracting office. "Some of our projects
take months, or even years, to complete."

Proctor said actual spending had increased to $400 million since the figure=
were provided to the White House on June 22.

Spending patterns have been different with the Iraqi money. The Coalition
Provisional Authority, the now-dissolved U.S.-led occupation administration=
spent or locked in for future programs more than $19 billion from the $20
billion Development Fund for Iraq, which was established by the U.N.
Security Council to manage Iraq's oil revenue, said Joseph A. Christoff,
director of international affairs and trade at the General Accounting
Office, the watchdog arm of Congress.

Christoff said in a telephone interview on Saturday that all but $900
million of the fund had been spent or allocated by the time the United
States transferred political authority to an interim Iraqi government last

Some Iraqi officials have criticized the contrasting spending practices. Th=
occupation authorities "came here and spent a lot of our money but very
little of theirs," said a senior Iraqi official, who spoke on condition of
anonymity on the ground that criticism could affect his relationship with
the new U.S. Embassy here.

The official did not contest the CPA's decision to use the development fund
money to pay the expenses of running Iraq's government during the
occupation, but he condemned spending on what he called "less essential
projects that should have been left up to the Iraqis to decide."

"They wanted to do things their way before they left," the official said.

The CPA appears to have earmarked more than $6 billion of the Iraqi funds
over the past two months alone, as it prepared to hand over political
authority -- and control over the development fund -- to the interim Iraqi
government. As of May 6, the CPA had earmarked only $13 billion from the
fund, according to a GAO report released this week.

Allocations and disbursements from the development fund were made by the
12-member Program Review Board, a committee composed of Americans
representing the CPA, Iraqis from the U.S.-appointed government and
officials from the governments of Britain and Australia. Most of the voting
members were non-Iraqis.

"It was a CPA-run thing," the senior Iraqi official said. "There was lots o=
talk about taking input from the Iraqis, but in the end, they made all the

At a meeting on May 15, the board allocated $2 billion, according to minute=
of the session posted on the CPA's Web site. Among the commitments were $50=
million for Iraqi security forces, $315 million for electricity repairs,
$460 million to rehabilitate the oil industry and $180 million to fund a
property-claims commission.

It was not clear what specific projects would be funded in the security,
electricity and oil sectors. The CPA had already earmarked $3.2 billion for
security, $5.5 billion for electricity and $1.7 billion for the oil industr=
from the $18.4 billion aid package, although little of that money has been

The development fund, at least until May 6, was used largely to bankroll
day-to-day Iraqi government operations. More than $7.5 billion was withdraw=
to pay for operational expenses -- principally employee salaries -- at
ministries and government agencies.

From July 2003 to May 2004, the CPA allocated about $4.8 billion from the
development fund for relief and reconstruction projects and services. But a=
with the U.S.-funded aid package, the CPA had trouble actually spending
money to address those needs, disbursing only about $1.8 billion of the $4.=

Of the $972 million allocated for repairs to electric-power infrastructure
before May 6, only $157 million was disbursed, according to the GAO report.
Of the $842 million allocated to address increased security needs, only $2
million was spent, the GAO said.

One of the principal beneficiaries of the development fund money was
Halliburton Co., which was paid hundreds of millions of dollars to truck
gasoline and other fuels into Iraq -- a country with the world's
second-largest oil reserves -- because of problems with Iraq's refineries.

According to the GAO report, $1.1 billion of the $1.9 billion allocated for
fuel imports was disbursed. Although it is not clear how much went to
Halliburton, a firm formerly chaired by Vice President Cheney, U.S.
officials familiar with spending patterns said a majority of those funds
went to Halliburton and other non-Iraqi firms.

The Defense Department has been investigating a Halliburton subsidiary for
allegedly overcharging for imported fuels.

Two former CPA officials involved in contracting issues said the CPA spent
money from the development fund faster because it was not governed by the
same rules requiring competitive bidding as the money from Congress was. Th=
CPA has not identified how many noncompetitive contracts were awarded.

U.S. officials have said that Halliburton was among the firms to receive
no-bid contracts from the Program Review Board.

Although the Security Council created a monitoring board composed of
representatives from the United Nations, the World Bank, the International
Monetary Fund and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development to
oversee the CPA's spending, its efforts to audit the process were stymied b=
the CPA, according to other officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The monitoring board has not received many documents it has sought from the
CPA pertaining to uncompetitive contracts. "Transactions worth billions of
dollars in Iraqi funds have not been independently reviewed," the GAO wrote
in its report.

The slow rate of spending of the U.S. aid package has dismayed several
members of Congress who worked to speed passage of the White House's
supplemental budget request last year.

"It's unacceptable for this to have taken so long," said Sen. Joseph R.
Biden Jr. (Del.), the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Biden, who recently returned from Iraq, said he had "learned from our
military commanders that these projects have a direct bearing on their
ability to defeat the insurgency."

=A9 2004 The Washington Post Company


Message: 2
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Subject: =?Windows-1252?Q?Doctors_without_Borders_lawyer=2C_Fran=E7oise_Bouchet-Sa?=
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2004 20:56:33 -0400

Fran=E7oise Bouchet-Saulnier:
    "Illegal Combatants, a False Debate"
    By Patrice de Beer
    Le Monde

    Tuesday 29 June 2004

An interview with Doctors without Borders lawyer, Fran=E7oise Bouchet-Sauln=

What is the impact on humanitarian law of new forms of conflict in which
terrorism is involved?

    The "war against terrorism" is marked by the refusal to recognize the
prisoner or combatant status of the majority of opposition forces.

    However, there is an absolute symmetry between combatant and civilian
status: if one disappears, the other does also. The non-recognition of the
enemy's status leads to his demonization and treatment outside of any lawfu=
condition. This Manichean apprehension of reality is an absolute retreat
from the law. We are witnessing an ascent of abuses of power by way of an
imperceptible gradation that aims to disqualify combatants and terrorists.
In Iraq, families are arrested when they can't find the person they want-
expanding the notion of "combatant" to the civilians who are related to
them. In Palestine or in Chechnya, the entire civilian population is
suspected of being or of supporting combatants, and so finds itself refused
any presumption of innocence.

    Does fighting against terrorism imply a special law?

    The supposedly new character of the conflicts allows a rare bonus: sinc=
they're new, the law doesn't apply any more! However, these insurrections
and guerilla wars are not new phenomena. The Cold War was nothing else: a
big conflict, more or less frozen, with guerillas supported by foreign
powers all over the planet. It's the scope of terrorism that poses a
problem. Fighting it implies that one has to work within a framework of
limited use of force to avoid falling into the same terror oneself. Instead=
on the contrary, we seem to have returned to the principle that the end
justifies the means. We deny a whole philosophy of the law of war that says
that whatever the objectives, the means must be limited. How is one to
respond to the United States except to say that the US is the one tipping
the world into terror because it is the one getting rid of the rules that
allowed terror to be defined and resisted? To quote Nietzsche, "the one who
fights the monster has to take care not to become the monster himself."

    The term "torture" covers forbidden acts causing physical or mental
suffering with the intention of obtaining intelligence or a confession,
directly or from a third party. Is this definition valid?

    The temptation to find the flaws in this definition is obvious. Piles o=
well-paid and badly-intentioned lawyers are at work on that job. For
example, they consider that the "level of pain" could be a criterion. These
legal quibbles have allowed the Israelis to develop the concept of "moderat=
physical pressure"; their Supreme Court refused to swallow this euphemism
applied to torture. When you get in front of a judge, all these legal
cosmetics explode. That's why the American administration tries to avoid
judges. American military tribunals will certainly reiterate the prohibitio=
against torture in Iraq and will describe those acts that have been
committed as torture.

    Do universal values exist?

    It's not values that are relative, but the situations that lead to
sacrificing them. Someone gets the idea that it won't cost anything and
could provide a big return and then sacrifices his values in the name of
exceptional situations. That's a universal temptation. After every conflict=
in universal fashion also, people realize that the sacrifice of principles
weakened military effectiveness and destroyed societies much more durably
than any use of arms. If torture were effective at obtaining vital strategi=
intelligence, Algeria would still be French...

    Terrorists also use torture against the population: ethnic cleansing,
targeting civilians, etc. Its legal definition changes then, however, and i=
becomes a crime against humanity. "Cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment"
is a war crime.

    During a recent trial, French General Schmitt, former head of the armed
services, declared his solidarity "with comrades who, following political
decisions, had to pursue harsh interrogations to save human life." What do
you think of this statement?

    It's exemplary: the military won't acknowledge anything so long as the
politicians haven't accepted responsibility for the illegality of the order=
they've given. By declaring his "solidarity" General Schmitt accepts the
goal the politicians have given and legitimizes the objectives. The end
justifies the means. In Iraq, in the conflict between Pentagon boss, Donald
Rumsfeld, and Colin Powell, it's clear that the latter has acted at least a=
much in his role of Secretary of State as in the role of General, and not
for humanist reasons. For the foundation of law is not humanism, but
intimate knowledge of the powers of destruction at work in conflicts and of
the mechanisms for channeling them. Generals know that respect for the rule=
is also necessary for military effectiveness. It's the inverse of the
civilian power's postulate according to which no war was ever won by
respecting the law. The military know better than politicians that war is
not a political response to the world's problems.

    What difficulties are there with applying humanitarian law??

    First of all, it must be applied in good faith. At the beginning of the
war in Afghanistan and in Iraq, the American government's legal counselors'
commentaries were staggering in bad faith, incompetence, or worse,
propaganda. They ridiculed the Geneva Conventions, asserting, like Deputy
Secretary of State Richard Armitage, that they were "obsolete". They never
mention that these conventions were amended in 1977 to take into account ne=
specifics: decolonization wars, guerilla and terrorist movements.

    In this propaganda war, it's the military, as opposed to civilian
officials, who, paradoxically, find themselves on the side of respect for
the law. They, in fact, feel very concerned: in the absence of rules for th=
treatment of the enemy, they risk undergoing the same fate. People always
forget to mention that an army's power is its discipline. When an army is
made to commit gratuitous acts unjustified by law and military necessity,
its cohesion is destroyed, as was the case with the American army in
Vietnam. France experienced the trauma caused by the Algerian War.

    What are the rules concerning population displacement?

    Ethnic cleansing, emptying a territory for conquest, are war crimes.
Temporary displacements, for military reasons or to protect civilians, are
regulated. Humanitarian law gives the right of return to residents and,
during their displacement, shelter in satisfactory conditions. When a block
of houses in Gaza is leveled, the objective is not to have people return
when the houses are reconstructed, so it is illegal.

    How do you react to the rules of detention set by the Americans in
Guant=E1namo and elsewhere?

    The law during peacetime protects against arbitrary detention by
limiting its reasons, whereas the law of wartime put more emphasis on
detention conditions that are narrowly defined. The problem of illegal
combatants is therefore a false legal debate: you are either a combatant or
a civilian since the 1997 Additional Geneva Convention Protocol reintegrate=
those who commit an act of belligerence into the status of prisoners of war=
When the Untied States asserts that certain detainees are not covered by th=
conventions, it is no longer a matter of law, but of legal propaganda.

    According to their argument, since terrorists don't respect human
rights, these do not apply to them. When that argument didn't hold up, they
said they never ratified the first protocol: therefore it would not apply t=
this type of prisoner. However the definition of a combatant used by the
American military justice code exactly mirrors the 1977 definition! And the
3rd convention clarifies, among other things, that in a case of doubt about
the status of the author of an act of belligerence, he benefits from the
status set forth in the convention until his case is clarified by a
tribunal. This should have forced the Americans to admit that the status of
the prisoners at Guant=E1namo had to be decided by a competent military
tribunal, not by the Pentagon or the president. This prison is an
interesting legal innovation: there are already offshore financial
paradises, now they have created offshore legal paradises!

    How should the world react?

    The Swiss government has made an appeal to the American government for
the application of human rights law. This is an unprecedented act on the
part of a neutral country and a first victory. The United States has lost
the illusion of lawfulness: it's one thing to violate the law while
admitting to the violation, and another to do so while affirming that one i=
respecting the law. It is also a propaganda battle because, on the legal
side, there is no doubt. The American declarations were very clear: it was
not a matter of indicting the prisoners, but of obtaining information. As
long as the war on terrorism continues, they must retain a reservoir of
people capable of giving information on past and future events. Otherwise,
they could have perfectly legally indicted, judged, and even executed
prisoners of war. But then, they can only indict them before the same
tribunals that judge American soldiers.

    How do you assess the use of private contractors by the U.S. army?

    The United States say that Al-Qaeda is a non-governmental group,
mercenaries. But the US makes large use of what it reproaches in others. It
does not make a clear distinction between civilians and combatants; the
whole population is taken hostage. More than half its operations are
conducted by private contractors, who are not always American citizens. The
question of a private company's liability for acts committed by its
contractors on a mission with the United States military in a foreign
country is an unsolvable legal puzzle.

    The construct of a space in Guant=E1namo devoid of all legal
responsibility was created to protect the authorities from all criminal
responsibility by the creation of shell companies. I don't see a conceptual
difference between the status of individuals or organized groups not
dependant on a country and the use of private sub-contractors where we don'=
know the terms of the contract. An irresponsible and legally opaque system
has been created.

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