Tweet
Tweet
Tweet
Tweet

Random Musing

“It's pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty an' wealth have both failed.”- Kin Hubbard

Waspsnest’s Contributors

The Wasp
Mr Raccoon

The Great Train Robbery at £2.6 million was peanuts compared with the Great Plane Robbery at $6.6 billion.

This is one million dollars – try 6600 of those piles and you need a very large wallet – with wheels and wings.

The Great Train Robbery of 1963 is still possibly the largest cash value robbery to have ever occurred in the UK :

At 6:50 p.m. on 7 August 1963 the travelling post office (TPO) “Up Special” train set off from Glasgow Central Station, Scotland en-route to Euston Station in London. The train was hauled by an English Electric Type 4 (later Class 40) diesel-electric locomotive numbered at the time as D326 (later renumbered 40126). The train consisted of 12 carriages and carried 72 Post Office staff who sorted mail.

The mail was loaded on the train at Glasgow and also during station stops en-route, as well as from line side collection points where local post office staff would hang mail sacks on elevated trackside hooks which were caught by nets deployed by the onboard staff. Sorted mail on the train could also be dropped-off at the same time. This process of exchange allowed mail to be distributed locally without delaying the train with more frequent station stops.

The second carriage behind the engine was known as the HVP (High Value Package) coach where registered mail was sorted and this contained valuables including large quantities of money, registered parcels and packages. Usually the value of these items would have been in the region of £300,000, but because there had been a Bank Holiday weekend in Scotland, the total on the day of the robbery was £2.6 million—worth a little over £40 million in 2010.

Not an amount to be sniffed at now or then but when compared to this report from The LA Times it really is small change down the back of the sofa :

After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the George W. Bush administration flooded the conquered country with so much cash to pay for reconstruction and other projects in the first year that a new unit of measurement was born.

Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills.

$2.4 billion in newly printed money is a fair amount to ship anywhere but in the case of Iraq even that is still small beer :

They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 in a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time.

That is rather a lot of cash to be sending anywhere and in this case to a war ravaged country in turmoil.

Hardly surprising then that it seem like a few fingers have been in the till:

This month, the Pentagon and the Iraqi government are finally closing the books on the program that handled all those Benjamins. But despite years of audits and investigations, U.S. Defense officials still cannot say what happened to $6.6 billion in cash — enough to run the Los Angeles Unified School District or the Chicago Public Schools for a year, among many other things.

For the first time, federal auditors are suggesting that some or all of the cash may have been stolen, not just mislaid in an accounting error. Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an office created by Congress, said the missing $6.6 billion may be “the largest theft of funds in national history.

Just remember here that it took one Hercules C130 to bring in $2.4 billion dollars so thats at least 3 to make off with that amount of cash even in £100 bills.

Even judged by the scale of the Iraq funding which has been sprayed willy nilly all over the place, $6.6 billion is still a fair old chunk :

It’s fair to say that Congress, which has already shelled out $61 billion of U.S. taxpayer money for similar reconstruction and development projects in Iraq, is none too thrilled either.

“Congress is not looking forward to having to spend billions of our money to make up for billions of their money that we can’t account for, and can’t seem to find,” said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), who presided over hearings on waste, fraud and abuse in Iraq six years ago when he headed the House Government Reform Committee.

Or a little over 10% of what they thought had been spent on reconstruction.

As for who may have taken it, fingers are of course being pointed at the local officials charged with safeguarding the cash tidal-wave arriving from the US but it would seem more likely that it was non other than Bussh’s friends in high places such as Halliburton and the myriad security contractors all of whom have plenty of transport available to bugger of with the loot :

Theft of such a staggering sum might seem unlikely, but U.S. officials aren’t ruling it out. Some U.S. contractors were accused of siphoning off tens of millions in kickbacks and graft during the post-invasion period, especially in its chaotic early days. But Iraqi officials were viewed as prime offenders.

Whilst I doubt they will ever actually find any of the money apart from a few million here and there amongst the locals, someone somewhere is most likely having a very comfortable retirement at thr expense of the US taxpayer.

At 6:50 p.m. on 7 August 1963 the travelling post office (TPO) “Up Special” train set off from Glasgow Central Station, Scotland en-route to Euston Station in London. The train was hauled by an English Electric Type 4 (later Class 40) diesel-electric locomotive numbered at the time as D326 (later renumbered 40126). The train consisted of 12 carriages and carried 72 Post Office staff who sorted mail.

The mail was loaded on the train at Glasgow and also during station stops en-route, as well as from line side collection points where local post office staff would hang mail sacks on elevated trackside hooks which were caught by nets deployed by the onboard staff. Sorted mail on the train could also be dropped-off at the same time. This process of exchange allowed mail to be distributed locally without delaying the train with more frequent station stops.

The second carriage behind the engine was known as the HVP (High Value Package) coach where registered mail was sorted and this contained valuables including large quantities of money, registered parcels and packages. Usually the value of these items would have been in the region of £300,000, but because there had been a Bank Holiday weekend in Scotland, the total on the day of the robbery was £2.6 million—worth a little over £40 million in 2010.[9]

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Share

4 comments to The Great Train Robbery at £2.6 million was peanuts compared with the Great Plane Robbery at $6.6 billion.

  • microdave

    Oh no, they would be using A400m’s – way over budget, and less capable than existing machines. Typical EU waste of (taxpayers) money…

  • microdave

    “Theft of such a staggering sum might seem unlikely, but U.S. officials aren’t ruling it out.”

    Oh,I don’t know – the EU are pretty good at stealing our money. The accounts haven’t been signed off for 15 years, so there must be plenty of ways to siphon off a few notes, here and there….

    • Wasp

      microdave – should we be looking in the MEP’s register of interests for holders of a large number of lockheed shares perhaps? On second thoughts they probably need a C-130 each just to bring home the cash claimed on expenses.