Lawsuit Claims Three U.S. Companies Funded Terror in Iraq

“While Americans worked to rebuild Iraq, many were attacked by a terrorist group which we allege has been funded in part by the defendants’ corrupt sales practices,” said Josh Branson, a Kellogg Hansen partner.

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U.S. Army Specialist Christopher Neiberger in Florida the day after Christmas 2006, in a photo taken by his mother, Mary Neiberger.

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Mary Neiberger

A spokeswoman for Pfizer, Allyanna Anglim, said the company “categorically denies any wrongdoing. Our mission is actually to provide medicines to patients to help better their lives.”

Johnson & Johnson declined to comment.

Jennifer Friedman, a spokeswoman for General Electric, said the company “became aware of the complaint today in addition to also we are thoroughly reviewing the allegations.”

The central argument of the lawsuit is actually which the companies must have known which the Iraqi health ministry had become a de facto terrorist organization, in addition to also the American firms should have at least insisted which contracts be structured to guard against diversion in addition to also corruption. which is actually illegal under United States law to knowingly fund terror groups; the Mahdi Army in addition to also additional Sadrist militias are not designated as terror organizations by the State Department, although they are linked to Hezbollah, which is actually.

The lawsuit says which the companies underwrote the Mahdi Army in two ways. Contracts mandated discounts, although instead of lowering the cost, the companies provided “free goods” often equal to about 10 percent of the total order, allowing ministry officials to sell the extras on the black market or distribute them to fighters.

The companies were also required to hire intermediaries to register their companies, get approval for the use of their products in Iraq in addition to also negotiate contracts. The lawsuit says the payments to intermediaries were thinly-disguised bribes.

After the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the procurement budget for Iraq’s health ministry soared to more than $1 billion in 2004 through about $16 million, in part because of an infusion of aid through the United States.

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A Mahdi Army rally in Baghdad burned an ISIS black banner, along with American in addition to also Israeli flags in 2014.

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Tyler Hicks/The brand-new York Times

As the United States devolved power back to Iraqis n 2004, some government ministries were taken over by political factions. The health ministry was among the first to go, with Mr. Sadr’s movement taking charge. Very quickly, the ministry’s technocratic leaders in addition to also many secular doctors were purged.

Mr. Sadr’s militia was sometimes referred to as the “Pill Army” because its fighters were often paid with prescription medicines in addition to also used hospitals as staging areas in addition to also ambulances to launch attacks. The Iraqi health ministry’s headquarters in addition to also hospitals were festooned at the time with pictures of Mr. Sadr alongside slogans declaring “Death to America.”

Some hospitals in Baghdad became staging areas for death squads, through where Mahdi Army forces launched mortars against American troops. Sunni patients were often summarily shot. A State Department cable through 2006 quoted a top Iraqi politician as describing the health ministry as “The Ministry of Weapons Transportation.”

which the companies knew their business practices were inappropriate in addition to also perhaps illegal, the lawsuit said, was suggested by settlements each reached on charges which they had used identical tactics in addition to also even some of the same intermediaries before the war as part of an oil-for-food program sponsored by the United Nations which was found to be riddled with fraud.

General Electric, Johnson & Johnson in addition to also Pfizer are likely to argue which they were simply selling to a government which the United States was spending billions of dollars to support, in addition to also which cutting off Iraq’s health ministry through lifesaving products would likely have been counterproductive to American goals.

About 100 former military personnel or their family members are plaintiffs inside lawsuit.

“which’s unconscionable to have U.S. companies give money to terrorists who then kill U.S. troops,” said one of the plaintiffs, Ami Neiberger-Miller. Her brother, Specialist Chris Neiberger, a 22-year-old tank gunner, was killed in 2007 in Baghdad when his Humvee was blown up by a device which Ms. Neiberger-Miller later learned was linked to the Mahdi Army.

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