From: Adams, C.H. (CIV)

Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 2:37 PM

To: The Fellas

Subject: Friday Morning, our weekend off

 

This has been an interesting week. This email contains profanities, but it accurately reflects my current attitude and experiences.  Please don't forward this to anyone who will be offended and please proceed no further if you'll be offended.  Please excuse the typos and incomplete or run on sentences.

 

The week began with my last trip downtown.  The trip began sometime before and had a convoluted history.

 

As we neared transition, it occurred in the immaculately conceived minds of some of the folks who pretend to be in charge around here, that there were a number of long term contracts that would presumably be continued after 30 June, that would also require periodic payments.  On one hand there were the folks who knew in their hearts that these dastardly Iraqis might seek to terminate certain pet projects, such as 115, $16,000 computerized fingerprinting and photo ID producing kits that were not linked and had limited storage, by simply telling the company "We're not paying for anymore of those things, don't ship."   And, there were folks who knew in their heart that the Iraqi's "are incompetent"  (the actual statement was, "Lets face it, these people are incompetent.") and simply wouldn't be able to get the job of paying the bills done.  And then there were a few who simply wanted to set up an effective, workable procedure for getting it done, and seemed to recognize that as a sovereign nation, the Iraqi's might make some decisions without consulting W-san and The Boys.

 

And so, we held the Great Conferences and out of this miasma of cerebral effluent came a procedure.  All new contracts or modifications of the old contracts would have to be approved by the IIG.  Payments on existing contracts (contracts that existed before 30 June), would be streamlined.  We would type them up, two "Coalition" representatives would sign them, they would deliver the disbursing documents to the IIG Ministry of Finance (MoF), the MoF would review, the Prime Ministers designated representative would sign the payment authorization, the MoF representative would sign the payment authorization, the documents would be delivered to the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), the CBI would send the documents to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the fed would make the payment from the Iraqi account.  This was documented in English and Arabic and the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq all signed off on it.  So did the U.S. representative.

 

Then, somewhere along the line, someone decided that if the Iraqi's were required to approval the disbursement of Iraqi funds from an Iraqi bank account that it would really slow up the program and so they were cut out of the loop and the U.S. lawyer rewrote Iraqi law so that the Americans could write those checks without having to obtain approval from the Iraqis.  When I brought up the issue of sovereignty and control over their own resources, and predicted Iraqi resistance and reluctance to establish a law like that, the young lady who was explaining it said "Oh, no, we're writing the law right now.  I can walk down to John's office and get a copy of it for you."  I simply said, "The Iraqi's aren't going to to along with that." and the discussion moved on.

 

I don't know if it means anything, but I was excluded from those meetings after that.

 

So then, last week, I overheard the explanation that the first packet of payments was going forward.  We only have to have one signature, the disbursing documents are sent to the CBI, the CBI, in their role as courier and clerk, would forward them to New York and New York would pay them.  Chris took them down.  The check was in the mail.

 

Then, the venders began asking where their payments were.

"Chris" took them down.  The check was in the mail.

 

Those dastardly Iraqis probably haven't processed them.  Those incompetent people.

 

The second and third pay packets were created and for some reason, didn't get sent to the CBI, and I had business there with the Trade Bank and the CBI accounting department so I took them down.  I rode with the Insane U.S. Treasury Agent of Palestinian Ancestry and his equally insane Iraqi partner and Protector in Chief.  When I got there, I took them to the woman whose name was written on the outside of the packet.  She took them out, examined them, looked a bit worried and perhaps even a little frustrated, and explained to me, in English and Arabic, that they needed two signatures and MoF approval.  She picked up a very large 3 ring binder and showed me the written procedure, in English and Arabic that required the signatures and approval.  The Insane Treasury Agent reads and write Arabic, and English, and he verified that they both said they same thing.  They had also been signed by the Americans and were date "July 4, 2004."  See paragraph four above. 

 

I took care of my other business, the agent took care of his, and we left.  Before I left, the Iraqis in charge told me they needed help in working out these problems and problems with the NY Fed and asked if I would help.  And I said "Yo.  You got it."  I was feeling formal.

 

Back at the Palace, I broke the news and was greeted with a lot of anger.  One of the Brave hearts who has never visited any of the Ministries or the CBI and wouldn't know an Iraqi banker from an Ugandan rag collector, was emphatic "The Iraqi's had done it again (I don't know when the first time was)."  Well, we just won't pay their bills and we'll let them experience the problems.  He then proceeded to tell everyone who would listen that "They blew us off.   Just refused to cooperate.  And, now they have changed the rules again."

 

In trying to work things out, I talked to a number of Americans and British, as well as folks at the fed and determined the following.  "Chris" had delivered the first pay packet and personally delivered it to the Deputy Governor.  The Deputy Governor had it processed and shipped it to the Fed.  The Fed was waiting on the Iraqi's to comply with a few documentation and authorization requirements and would pay that packet as soon the internal controls were worked out.  The pay packet that Chris took to the Deputy Governor contained disbursing documents with only one signature. 

 

Obviously, the woman I talked to ws wrong and the Iraqis just couldn't get things straight.

 

Now parallel to this, events were occurring in which various U.S. officials were preparing to almost literally have just anybody place a second signature on the documents and send them back down with me on Thursday.  We didn't know who else could sign the things.  The Colonel was in D.C. and his deputy was the only other authorized signor.  But, since Chris had delivered one signature pay documents to the Deputy Governor, we decided to stick with one signature and I would take packets 2 and 3 back down and deliver them to the Deputy Governor and try to help them iron out their internal lack of coordination.

 

As an American, it is my God given duty to organize the rest of the world.  And, It certainly looked like one Iraqi hand didn't know what the other was doing.

 

So, yesterday morning, we headed back downtown.  Out through the Assassins Gate, past the hole in the street from last weeks car bomb, back in the other directions past the scorched tree and shrubs where the booby trapped Coalition Ministry of Interior auto incinerated its occupants, beyond the really big hole and debris from the prior day's car bomb at the Little Assassin's Gate, up to the bridge three road, past the place where some shit for brains former regime elements (FREs) ambushed a convoy of U.S. MPs and were deciminated in place, over the bridge where the Coalition driver got stuck in traffic and shot in the head and died and really fucked up the traffic, past the tattered concrete walls on the approach to Rasheed street where the mortars had impacted killing pedestrians and destroying shops, left on Rasheed at the corner where the Al Queda dude blew himself and his brief case up and killed one of the banks security guards, down Rasheed and into the bank. 

 

And the Deputy Governor said that "Chris" had not brought him the first pay packet.  "George" had brought it to him.  He said that the procedure and policy, written by the Americans, and agreed to by the Iraqis, required that the MoF authorize the payments.  He said he didn't know why the Americans insisted on first delivering the pay packets to the bank, instead of the MoF, but that he would accomodate them.  That same day, he had had his courier take it to the MoF for the required authorization and had been advised that the documents lacked the required signatures and was returned to the Palace.  He was very embarrassed for me, too.  He's a very nice man.  He got all of the principles from the bank together and we all looked at the procedure together, in the same room, at the same time, and he even called the MoF Deputy Governor and talked to him about it.  I should add that the document also specified who was an authorized signor and had signature specimens.  The U.S. deputy who didn't know who the third authorized signor was is one of the authorized signors and signed right about the 3rd, "unknown" signor.  The document we were examing was the one signed by the American Senior Advisor on July 4, 2004.

 

See paragraph four above. 

 

The problem with going to the MoF from the CBI is that you have to pass through an area that is considered very dangerous.  More dangerous than the area we had just passed through.  See two paragraphs above.   So, we arranged for a carload of Iraqi guns to follow us and we took off.  If I listed all the sites we passed where people have died since I first came in country, I'd never finish this, so I'll skip the details.

 

It was a really fucked trip from the CBI to the MoF, but we made it.

 

At the MoF, we talked to the head of the Accounting Department and the Deputy Governor.  These two men had been involved with the Americans and British in working out the payment procedure.  They had a copy of the same document that the CBI had.  They said that when they had received the first pay packet, they had call the Palace and had been told that someone would pick it up, but no one showed up to do it.  They had tried to give it to one of the other Americans to take it back to the US MoF Advisors, but he had declined.  They couldn't give it to me because it was in the vault and the vault keeper was gone for the day.   They also said that they didn't know why the Americans insisted on first delivering the pay packets to the CBI, instead of the MoF, but that they had daily couriers between the bank and the MoF and they would accomodate us.  I don't know if I've mentioned it, but both the Director of Accounting at the MoF and the Deputy Governor had copies of the same document that the bank people had had.  The one that was signed by the American senior advisor and became policy.

 

So, time to go home.  We bounced out of the MoF and headed back home, past the spot where the bad guys came up from behind and shot up the U.S. convoy (no military escort, we didn't have one either), past the spot where the really big car bomb went off and CNN showed the old man being carried down from the second story rubble.  Bouncing over the curb and the center median and trying not to get stranded in gridlocked traffic and almost killing a boy who ran in front of us.  I normally sit looking backwards and I can't use a seat belt.  I was thrown over the front seat and bounced off the dash.  Twisted the dickens out of my knee.  The last thing I saw before being launched into orbit inside the vehicle was the kid going down in front of us.  That sucked.  It's one thing to intentionally vaporize some asshole, its another to fuck up some kid who's not guilty of anything but being a kid.  We stopped and it turned out that he had only fallen in front of us and that we hadn't actually hit him.  Past a few other sites, and into a road block at the Little Assassin's Gate.  There was another car bomb.  Back to the Assassin's Gate to find out that we were locked out and couldn't get back inside because they thought they had another car bomb inside the search hole.

 

We couldn't go home.  Stranded in the Streets of Baghdad.  Almost sounds like book.

 

So, we bounced back over the first bridge to Rasheed Street, made a right turn and headed south past the hotels where the journalists go to be rocketed and mortared, past the circle where Saddam's statue was pulled down and the Chinese American soldier from New York (my kind of guy) hung an American flag over his face, down through the Iraqi version of the bad side of Detroit to the River road and along the River Road to the 14th of July Bridge. 

 

Around the circle where the vice president was killed waiting to get in, past the holes where the car bombs are setoff to kill the casual day laborers who wait in line to get into the zone, stop for the first soldier, get our ID's checked while the soldier in the Bradley Fighting Vehicle trains his 20mm on my nose, on to the second check where they check IDs again and search the vehicle for explosives, then over the bridge past another Bradley Fighting vehicle and into the Zone. 

 

5 hours.

 

We pulled into the Green Zone Cafe for "lunch."  The best charbroiled chicken this side of Ensenada, Mexico.  I got out of the vehicle, thinking about how I was going to get the Americans and British on board with the procedures and policy that they had written and the Iraqi's had adopted.  We normally drive with no music and no air conditioning and the front windows down so we can hear what is happening and it was a little over 120 degrees and I was dripping sweat from my body armor and helmet.  I stepped out of the vehicle and to the rear, ejected the round from my rifle, pointed the barrel down and blew a hole the size of a small tea cup saucer in the concrete parking lot.  Those of you who are familiar with these things will immediately recognize that in between stepping out of the vehicle and "ejecting the round" I failed to "remove the magazine" and so all I did was reload the rife.

 

So, I'm standing there with little pieces of copper jacket sticking out of the left side of my face—the bullet fragments ricocheted off the concrete wall next to the car—when the Iraqi gun puts his arm around my shoulder and says, "Goooood jahba Adams, you certainly killed that mawtherfawhker."  The agent came around the car and looked at the hole and said, "Well, now I know it (the gun) works.  I hadn't test fired it in months.  Does your face hurt?"

 

Like I said, the roast chicken is great.  They promised not to tell anyone of my little accident and I promised not to tell anyone about them almost creaming the kid.

 

I know I can trust them with my life, my money and my wife.  These are men of honor.   And I know that the words "Adams 1, Concrete Parking Lot Zero" that are written on the briefing board got there as a result of pure random coincidence.

  

I hope you guys are having as much fun as me.

 

 

C.H. Adams

Accountant, Coalition Provisional Authority

Presidential Palace (Sagar Al Qadasiah)

Baghdad, Iraq

 

Countdown to Iraqi Sovereignty:  0 Days

Mabruk al Iraq al Jadeed!

(Forward the New Iraq!)