by Nicola Smith
From The Sunday Times
August 5, 2007
An American civilian contractor has described scenes of panic and hysteria last year as Filipino construction workers were told that they were on a plane bound for Baghdad rather than Dubai.
Passengers jumped out of their seats screaming in protest until a gun-toting air steward ordered them to sit down, claimed Rory Mayberry, an emergency medical technician travelling on the same flight.
Mayberry said the men were “kidnapped” to build America’s luxurious new embassy in Baghdad’s green zone. He gave his account to a congressional committee investigating allegations of fraud at what will be America’s largest diplomatic mission.
The £300m fortified embassy – a cluster of 21 high-rise towers occupying 104 acres on the west bank of the River Tigris – will house 3,000 staff. It is regarded as one of the most dangerous building projects in the world.
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