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The Great Baghdad Bank Robbery

"Saddam is in your custody. We are transferring to you a copy of the power of attorney he gave to the 'Syrian businessman', whom we do not know. If you can show us a more recent power of attorney from Saddam Hussein, we can compare signatures and act on your prisoner's instructions. "
DEBKA file (07-17)

Some revealing details are now emerging about the $1 billion Great Bank Heist which Saddam Hussein's henchmen staged at the Iraqi National Bank in Baghdad on March 19, hours before the US "shock and awe" air raids. For instance, Saddam handwrote his cash demand on a plain sheet of paper and signed it in pencil. That sheet was among the documents US forces found in the deposed ruler's spider hole, when they captured him on December 12. The stack shed no light on the whereabouts of the ousted ruler's weapons of mass destruction but, once the simple codes were cracked, they held clues to some of the cash he had socked away and named power of attorney holders through whom he enjoys access to the loot.

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? Other documents in the pile, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's intelligence sources, lifted the lid off the clandestine workings of the deep-hush 14th Directorate - Office of Special Operations - of the Dawairat al Mukhabarat al-Amah, or Department of General Intelligence. This dread department, known also as N-14, was responsible for running agents on clandestine and sensitive special operations outside the country - particularly assassinations. Its main training facility was located at Salman Pak, 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Baghdad. N-14 orchestrated the failed assassination of former President George Bush during a visit to Kuwait in April 1993. The long hours its agents invested in acquiring language and orientation skills for blending into the countries of their missions came in useful after the US invasion of Iraq, when they were reassigned new duties as guardians of the deposed dictator's fortune, trustees for his worldwide financial and business empire with responsibility for remitting profits as directed. These professional killers pose "behind enemy lines" in smart suits as non-Iraqi businessmen living under the false identities registered in their Saudi, US, British, Syrian or Egyptian passports. One such Syrian businessman recently turned up at the national bank of Syria with a power of attorney note for $1.1billion of Iraqi funds on deposit there. The note, passed on to the Americans, proved to have been written with the "Saddam pencil." But the "Syrian businessman", presumed until then to divide his time between Frankfurt, Munich, Geneva and Damascus, had disappeared. When asked by the Americans to hand over the cash looted from Iraq, Syria balked...

excerpted from DEBKA-Net Weekly


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interesting. I wonder... 18.Jul.2004 19:43

yuno hoo

I wonder when we'll find out what became of all the booty that was looted from the vaults of the museums that US soldiers methodically blew open and allowed armed gangs to seize and cart off. How much do you wanna bet it's in the hands of private collectors with tight connections to the current US regime?

I predict the whole story will eventually come out a few years down the line, when some heir foolishly tries to sell one of the pieces. In a couple decades, someone like Sy Hersh will write a voluminous nonfiction thriller about the whole thing. By that time, all the top parties to the heist will be safely in their dotage, retired or dead.