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Fired Iraqi Judge Testifies Corruption Has 'Stopped' Reconstruction
Spencer Ackerman –
Here's how bad corruption is in Iraq. An Iraqi corruption judge, Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, the former head of the Iraqi Commission on Public Integrity, is testifying now before the House oversight committee. It's been known that institutional mechanisms in the Iraqi criminal code allow the Iraqi ministers to stifle corruption investigations. But al-Radhi, who is now seeking asylum in the U.S., stated that a whopping $18 billion has been lost to thieves in "nearly every ministry." (That's not the U.S.-provided Iraqi Relief and Reconstruction Fund.) Corruption, he said, is not just getting worse, but has "stopped" reconstruction efforts.
Al-Radhi testified that the Maliki government's corruption "has helped fund sectarian militias," as has that of Maliki's rivals in the Sunni parties. According to al-Radhi, the militias controlling cities like Taji (Sunni) and Basra (Shiite) control oil sales and use the revenue to buy weapons. "These militias are from the parties' blocs, and it is a source of revenue for them." Even worse is what happens to those who try to stop the corruption: The militias have systematically targeted al-Radhi and his investigators. His staff and their relatives have been kidnapped, detained, tortured and murdered. Their bodies have been found hung on meat hooks, tortured with power drills, and attacked by suicide bombers.
He said Maliki -- who recently issued counter-charges of corruption against al-Radhi -- has protected his deputies and "his relatives" from corruption investigations. These are allegations that the State Department tried to stop Waxman from airing publicly.
Video of al-Radhi's opening statement coming shortly.