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Old 11-13-2004, 10:59 AM   #16
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Wall Street Journal Editorial

[Q]Saddam's U.N. Payroll
Oil for Food bribery means sanctions against Iraq were doomed to fail.

Thursday, October 28, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

Out on the campaign trail, John Kerry continues to diminish our allies in Iraq and decry President Bush for "rushing" to war without U.N. Security Council approval. But we hope his would-be Secretaries of State, Biden and Holbrooke, are paying attention in private to revelations about the crumbling sanctions regime they would have had us continue and the related corruption in the U.N.'s Oil for Food program.

These folks are in for a rude awakening if they really think Old Europe will be rushing to help a President Kerry in Iraq, or that the United Nations is competent and trustworthy enough to manage their foreign policy projects.

The latest pieces of news are last week's data dump from Paul Volcker's U.N.-blessed investigation of Oil for Food, and U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer's report to Congress earlier this month. Everybody is still digesting these massive documents. But the most important conclusion is already clear: Saddam Hussein exploited the program to run the largest bribery scheme in the history of the world.
Yes, we mean that literally. Total turnover between 1996 and 2003 was about $97 billion, or $64.2 billion in oil sales and $32.9 billion worth of food and other "humanitarian" goods. Crucially, Saddam was able to manipulate the program largely because U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan--who was given more or less complete discretion to design Oil for Food by the Security Council resolution that created it--allowed him to pick and choose the buyers of his oil and the sellers of the humanitarian goods.

This meant the Iraq dictator could reward his friends and political allies with oil at below market prices and goods contracts at inflated ones. In the middle of the program, he also started demanding kickbacks on the contracts to add to the stream of unmonitored revenue he was already getting from oil smuggling.

It can't be stressed enough that both the Duelfer and Volcker investigations confirm that this global web of corruption is no mere allegation trumped up by Ahmed Chalabi and "neoconservatives," as U.N. officials tried to pretend in January when Iraq's al Mada newspaper published a list of the oil voucher recipients.

Mr. Duelfer's list of recipients--which more or less confirms al Mada's--was compiled based on information from current and former Iraqi officials and lists maintained by former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yasin Ramadan (now in U.S. custody) and the former Iraqi Oil Minister. Mr. Volcker's lists--which include the 248 companies that bought Iraqi oil under the program and the 3,545 companies supplying humanitarian goods--are compiled from the U.N.'s own records and cross-checked against Iraqi and other sources, including the French bank BNP Paribas that administered program revenues.

High-level officials of Saddam's regime have told investigators that oil and goods contracts were always awarded with an eye to helping Saddam politically, particularly to promote the lifting of the sanctions. The Volcker data bears this out. Iraq's top customer was Russia, whose firms bought $19.2 billion worth of Iraq oil and exported $3.3 billion in humanitarian goods. Fellow Security Council member France was a distant but significant second, at $4.4 billion and $2.9 billion respectively. China is also high on the list.

Oil voucher recipients are alleged to include the Russian presidential office, former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, and even former Oil for Food program director Benon Sevan of the U.N. Just this week our news side colleagues reported that French authorities have placed under formal investigation a top official of French oil giant Total, for possible misuse of funds including payment of the Iraqi kickbacks. Before the war Total was also openly courting Baghdad for the rights to develop two large Iraqi oil fields.

Against this backdrop, it is impossible to take Secretary-General Annan seriously when he calls it "inconceivable" that this could have affected the Security Council's handling of Iraq. "I don't think the Russian or the French or the Chinese government would allow [themselves] to be bought," he said recently. But even in the unlikely event that they weren't too worried about the possible financial losses, they surely never wanted this information to see the light of day.
Mr. Annan would be on stronger ground pointing out that Saddam was seeking agents of influence within the U.S. as well. The very first oil voucher recipient under Oil for Food appears to have been Texas tycoon Oscar Wyatt, who had tried to save Saddam from U.S. force before the first Gulf War. The records allege that Mr. Wyatt and his company took 71.8 million barrels of oil under Oil for Food for a profit of $22.8 million. According to a weekend story in the Los Angeles Times, since 1991 he and his wife have given more than $700,000 to federal candidates and PACs (about 75% to Democrats) and Saddam may have regarded him as a way to get to the Clinton Administration.

Another name appearing on the Duelfer and Volcker lists is a politically connected Detroit-area businessman named Shakir al-Khafaji. Our Robert L. Pollock reported on Mr. al-Khafaji's oil vouchers back in March, based on the al Mada list and information from an Iraqi intelligence source. Mr. al-Khafaji later conceded taking such vouchers, so his appearance on the Duelfer list is not surprising.

More interesting is the appearance of his South African-based Falcon Trading Group on the Volcker list of humanitarian goods suppliers. At about $50 million, he did a serious amount of business. What's more, a source on Representative Henry Hyde's House International Relations Committee tells us Falcon was on the so-called "exempt" list, which was meant for highly valued individuals and companies that were allowed to circumvent normal Iraqi contract procedures.

Why might Mr. al-Khafaji have been highly valued? Could it be because he financed an anti-sanctions documentary by former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter to the tune of $400,000? Or brought Mr. Ritter to Baghdad to address Saddam's rubberstamp parliament? Or brought a U.S. Congressional delegation including former House Minority Whip David Bonior, and Democratic Representatives Jim McDermott and Mike Thompson to Baghdad in late 2002 to denounce President Bush's Iraq policy? Or because he did the same with South African politicians, possibly influencing that country's pro-Saddam stance? Mr. al-Khafaji did not return a call this week seeking comment.

Trading with Iraq under Oil for Food wasn't necessarily illegal (at least if you weren't paying the kickbacks). And we're not suggesting Mr. Ritter and the Congressmen were anything other than useful idiots. But it is surely a matter of concern that Saddam may have been able to use the Oil for Food scheme to advance his interests even within the United States. We hope federal authorities have been looking into this activity, as well as the other Iraqi-American (Samir Vincent) on these lists.

Now, let's step back and put this all in context--the context offered by Mr. Duelfer's report. The news there isn't that there appear to have been no large stockpiles of WMD in Iraq at the time of the March 2003 invasion. That's been clear for more than a year. Rather, the news is that we now know straight from Saddam himself, his scientists, and his fellow high-level detainees that Saddam intended to restart his weapons program the second U.N. sanctions were lifted. And we now know that he would never have unambiguously come clean on his WMD programs because he wanted his enemies (especially the U.S. and Iran) to believe he had them.
In other words, had the weapons inspections been allowed to continue, as Mr. Kerry says he wanted, a U.S. President would have eventually faced the same uncertainties and the same agonizing choice that Mr. Bush did when he decided to commit the U.S. to war. Remember, too, that the final round of inspections was won only with a build-up of U.S. troops in the Gulf, and that a decision to accept as satisfactory the desultory cooperation that Saddam gave these inspectors would have meant overwhelming international pressure for immediate lifting of all sanctions.

There were reasonable arguments against having gone into Iraq. But in light of this latest evidence, the arguments Mr. Kerry and his team have been making--that more inspections might have yielded something, and that the real coalition of the bribed at the Security Council might ever have supported force--don't pass the laugh test, never mind the global one. [/Q]


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Old 11-13-2004, 11:03 AM   #17
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but i thought the UN was above any reproach, and had motives only as pure as the driven snow.

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Old 11-13-2004, 11:04 AM   #18
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Originally posted by sharky
Do you have a link to a story about this? Not sure if I want to judge until I've read up on this.

PS-- If we are going with this "hiding something" criteria, we can use the same reasoning for the 9/11 Commission. Why did it take two years to get a commission started when Roosevelt was able to create three dealing with Pearl Harbor a week after that attack? If Republicans want to attack Kofi Annan on this, they are treading on thin ice and will look like hypocrites.
Umm...hate to break it to you.....but the request came from a Democrat and a Republican wotrking in a BIPARTISAN capacity, since it clearly is a WORLD issue.

All the flack that the US took over supposedly not working with the UN appears to be crap.

How was the US supposed to get Security Council support when Russia and France, both with VETO powers were on the take from this program?

It was never going to happen. They were more concerned with making money off of the OIL FOR FOOD program, than they were the Iraqi people.........

I cannot express how sickened I am, that people are so quick to judge the US, over a situation that was allowed to fester over 12 years, while Iraqis were dying because of the sanctions and abuses by members of the UN and Iraq.

Why does it have to be an us against them issue, when clearly, the powers that be could give a SHITE about the situation.
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Old 11-13-2004, 11:11 AM   #19
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good article above,

actual document below.

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Old 11-13-2004, 11:16 AM   #20
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[Q]Canada: Arthur Millholland, president and CEO of the Calgary-based Oilexco company, received 1 million barrels of oil.

United States: Samir Vincent received 10.5 million barrels. In 2000, Vincent, an Iraqi-born American citizen who has lived in the U.S. since 1958, organized a delegation of Iraqi religious leaders to visit the U.S. and meet with former president Jimmy Carter. Shaker Al-Khafaji,the pro-Saddam chairman of the 17th conference of Iraqi expatriates, received 1 million barrels.

Great Britain: George Galloway received 1 million barrels. Fawwaz Zreiqat received 1 million barrels. Zreiqat also appears in the Jordanian section as having received 6 million barrels. The Mujahideen Khalq [3] in Britain received 1 million barrels.

France: The French-Arab Friendship Association received 15.1 million barrels. Former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua received 12 million barrels. [4] Patrick Maugein of the Trafigura company received 25 million barrels. Michel Grimard, founder of the French-Iraqi Export Club, received 17.1 million barrels.

Switzerland: Glenco Re, the largest commodity trader in Switzerland, received 12 million barrels. Taurus, which has been associated with Iraq for 20 years and was the first company to renew its business with Iraq after the fall of Saddam, received 1 million barrels. Petrogas, which is listed under three sub-companies – Petrogas Services, Petrogas Distribution, and Petrogas Resources - and is associated withthe Russian company Rosneftegazetroy, received 1 million barrels. Alcon, listed in Lichtenstein and associated with larger oil companies, received 1 million barrels. Finar Holdings, which is listed in Lugano, Switzerland, and is under liquidation, received 1 million barrels.

Italy: The Italian Petrol Union received 1 million barrels.West Petrol, an Italian company that trades crude oil and oil products, received 1 million barrels. Roberto Formigoni, possibly the president of Lombardia, received 1 million barrels. Salvatore Nicotra, a former NATO pilot who became an oil merchant, received 1 million barrels.

Spain: Basem Qaqish, a member of the Spanish Committee for the Defense of the Arab Cause, received 1 million barrels. Ali Ballout, a pro-Saddam Lebanese journalist, received 1 million barrels. Javier Robert received 1 million barrels.

Yugoslavia: Four Yugoslav political parties received vouchers: the Yugoslav Left party received 9.5 million barrels. The Socialist Party received 1 million barrels. The Italian Party received 1 million barrels. A nother party, whose name in exact transliteration is "kokstuntsha" – possibly Kostunica's party – received 1 million barrels.

Other political parties: The Romanian Labor Party received 5.5 million barrels. The Party of the Hungarian Interest received 4.7 million barrels. The Bulgarian Socialist Party received 1 2 million barrels. The Slovakian Communist Party received 1 million barrels.

Austria: The Arab-Austrian Society received 1 million barrels.

Brazil: The 8th of October Movement, a Brazilian Communist group, received 4.5 million barrels. Fuwad Sirhan received 10 million barrels.

Egypt: Khaled Gamal Abd Al-Nasser, son of the late Egyptian president, received 16.6 million barrels. 'Imad Al-Galda, a businessman and a member of the Egyptian parliament from President Mubarak's National Democratic Party, received 14 million barrels. Abd Al-Azim Mannaf, [5] editor of the Sout Al-Arab newspaper, received 6 million barrels. Muhammad Hilmi, editor of the Egyptian paper Sahwat Misr, [6] received an undisclosed number of barrels. The United Arab Company received 6 million barrels. The Nile and Euphrates Company received 3 million barrels. The Al-Multaqa Foundation for Press and Publication received 1 million barrels. [7]

Libya: Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem received 1 million barrels.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Chad's foreign minister received 1 million barrels. [8] Four South Africans are listed: Tokyo Saxville received 4 million barrels. Montega received 4 million barrels. Both are associated with the African National Party.

Palestinians: The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) received 4 million barrels. The PLO Political Bureau received 5 million barrels. Abu Al-Abbas received 11.5 million barrels. Abdallah Al-Horani received 8 million barrels. The PFLP received 5 million barrels. Wafa Tawfiq Al-Sayegh received 4 million barrels.

Oman: The Al-Shanfari group received 5 million barrels.

Syria: Farras Mustafa Tlass, the son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass, received 6 million barrels. 'Audh Amourah received18 million barrels. Ghassan Zakariya received 6 million barrels. Anwar Al-Aqqad received 2 million barrels. Hamida Na'Na', the owner of the Al-Wafaq Al-Arabi periodical, received 1 million barrels.

Lebanon: The son of Lebanese President Emil Lahoud received 4.5 million barrels. Former MP Najjah Wakim received 3 million barrels. Nasserist Party head Osama M'arouf received 3 million barrels. National Arabic Club Chairman Faisal Darnika received 3 million barrels.

Jordan: Former Islamist MP and head of the Engineers Union Leith Shbeilat [9] received 15.5 million barrels. Former MP and Jordanian Writers Union head Fakhri Qi'war received 6 million barrels. [10] Former Jordanian chief of staff Mashhour Haditha received 1 million barrels. Former MP Toujan Al-Faisal received 3 million barrels. [11] The Jordanian Ministry of Energy received 5 million barrels. Muhammad Saleh Al-Horani, the Amman Stock Exchange head and former Minister of Supplies, received 4 million barrels. Lawyer Wamidth Hussein Al-Majali received 6 million barrels. [12]

Qatar: Qatari Horseracing Association Chairman Hamad bin Ali Aal Thani received 14 million barrels. Gulf Petroleum received 2 million barrels.

The Indian Congress Party received 1 million barrels.

Indonesia: Indonesian President Megawati received 1 million barrels as "the daughter of President Sukarno," and 1 million barrels as Megawati.

Myanmar: Myanmar's Forestry Minister received 1 million barrels.

Ukraine: The Social Democratic Party received 1 million barrels. The Communist Party received 6 million barrels. The Socialist Party received 1 million barrels. The FTD oil company received 1 million barrels, as did other Ukrainian companies.

Belarus: The Liberal Party received 1 million barrels. The Communist Party received 1 ton [sic] of oil. The director of the Belarussian president's office received 1 million barrels.

Russia: The Russian state itself received 1,366,000,000 barrels. The list also included the following:

Companies belonging to the Liberal Democratic Party received 79.8 million barrels - t he list notes the name of party president Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The Russian Communist Party received 1 million barrels. The Lukoil company received 63 million barrels. The Russneft company received 35.5 million barrels. Vladimir Putin's Peace and Unity Party received 34 million barrels - the list notes the name of party chairwoman Saji Umalatova. The Gazprom company received 26 million barrels. The Soyuzneftgaz company received 25.5 million barrels - t he list notes the name Shafrannik. The Moscow Oil Company received 25.1 million barrels. The Onako company received 22.2 million barrels. The Sidanco company received 21.2 million barrels. The Russian Association for Solidarity with Iraq received 12.5 million barrels. The Ural Invest company received 8.5 million barrels. Russneft Gazexport received 12.5 million barrels. The Transneft company received 9 million barrels. The Sibneft company received 8.1 million barrels. The Stroyneftgaz company received 6 million barrels. The Russian Committee for Solidarity with the People of Iraq received 6.5 million barrels - the list notes the name of committee chairman Rudasev. The Russian Orthodox Church received 5 million barrels. The Moscow Science Academy received 3.5 million barrels. The Chechnya Administration received 2 million barrels. T he National Democratic Party received 2 million barrels. The Nordwest group received 2 million barrels. The Yukos company received 2 million barrels. One Russian company which phonetically reads as Zarabsneft received 174.5 million barrels. Vouchers were also granted to the Russian foreign ministry, one under the name of Al-Fayko for 1 million barrels, and one to Yetumin for 30.1 million barrels. T he Mashinoimport Company received 1 million barrels. The Slavneft Company received 1 million barrels. The Caspian Invest Company (Kalika) received 1 million barrels. The Tatneft Tatarstan company received 1 million barrels. The Surgutneft company received 1 million barrels. Siberia's oil and gas company received 1 million barrels.

In addition, the son of the former Russian Ambassador to Iraq received 19.7 million barrels. Nikolay Ryjkov, a former prime minister of the USSR, received 13 million barrels. The Russian President's office director received 5 million barrels.

Oil vouchers were also distributed to companies and individuals from the Sudan, Yemen, Cyprus, Turkey, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, the UAE, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Panama, Thailand, Chad, China, Nigeria, Kenya, Ireland, Bahrain, and the Philippines. Two Saudi companies were also listed.


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Old 11-13-2004, 11:42 AM   #21
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I have a feeling nothing much will come of this... business as usual...
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Old 11-13-2004, 11:44 AM   #22
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The Almighty Buck rules. Damn.
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Old 11-13-2004, 11:44 AM   #23
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dread wins again.
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Old 11-13-2004, 12:02 PM   #24
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Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase
why are they hiding it? simple... the little credibility that they have left will be completely gone, and george bush's credibility will be pumped up considerably when it comes out that france, germany, russia and kofi's son all stood to lose billions of dollars in money (money that was supposed to go to help the iraqi people) if saddam was taken out of power. it puts the blood of american soldiers on the hands of those who had their hands in the cookie jar.

that's why kofi doesn't want to talk about it... that's why the media doesn't want to talk about it... that's why the liberals don't want to talk about it.

It's difficult to listen to pro-Bushies talk about how much money these countries stood to lose without reaching for the sick bucket. The words pot, kettle and black spring to mind. Are u telling me that Bush, Cheney and their big corporate pals are NOT going to profit from this war? And are u telling me that the US has never profited from doing business with Saddam??

The blood of american soldiers in Iraq is on the hands of your own government. These troops were sent to Iraq to accommodate the grand plans of a few fat cats at the top. They weren't sent there for any other reason. This is obviously an uncomfortable truth for u but u should try and deal with it.
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Old 11-13-2004, 12:15 PM   #25
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Originally posted by verte76
Quite honestly, I don't know the particulars of this. But if he's trying to block an investigation it could be trying to keep the investigators from discovering some scandalous activities on the part of the U.N. I'm aware that the U.N. is a deeply flawed institution, and I don't put any shenanigans past people who chase money and power. They are not going to represent the best of humanity, wherever you look.

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Old 11-13-2004, 12:48 PM   #26
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I've said before, several times, that anybody who thought this wasn't going on is incredibly naive and living a sheltered life. Those of us who lived through Communism know very well what corruption is, and the extents of corruption in the so-called governement. Most of the countries on that list are Arab (corruption runs rampant), currently or post-Communist (again, hello corruption). If any of you expected anything less from them, frankly, I'm extremely surprised. Then of course you have your spattering of the 1st world, with corporations or individuals trying to make themselves richer. This goes on every single day in every corporation in America, in Canada, in the governments, of that I have no doubt, except they are a lot more slick than the Communists used to be, so that your average Joe doesn't realize he's being ripped off.

And yes, it's shameful, and no, nothing will change.
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Old 11-13-2004, 12:53 PM   #27
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im not joe average im diamondbruno9 and i refuse to stand for this

and now back to our sponsors.
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Old 11-13-2004, 01:54 PM   #28
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that wall street journal editorial is pretty damming stuff... especially seeing as there ain't much editorializing going on...

the facts in this matter are clear... so clear that those who remain against the war have no answer for it... all they can come back with is "well... um... well you guys are doing it to neener neener neener," yet then provide no evidence. they throw out "halliburton" like it's the most evil word on earth... yes, giving a no bid contract to a company that dick cheney used to be the CEO of is very suspicious, and you can even label it unethical. but let's get something clear here... halliburton isn't some rinky dink little mom and pop operation that cheney wanted to help out... they happen to be the largest, and regarded by many to be the best in their field. unethical, sure... outrageous? not quite...

i'm not naive... i know that american companies, british companies, etc. etc. stood to gain money from this but the facts remain that the main international opposition to this war... the reasons that the democrats in america ALWAYS bring up on why we shouldn't have gone to war... what we should have done instead... are, in fact, tainted, on the take, and frankly, dead wrong.

the more that comes out about this, the better the bush administration's reasoning for going to war looks.

i wonder why 60 minutes didn't run a story about this on their pre-election day episode?
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Old 11-13-2004, 02:21 PM   #29
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Now, why should the US sholder the burden of supporting the UN?
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Old 11-13-2004, 02:44 PM   #30
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I agree with most of the sentiments above, I do not believe that Oil for Palaces was the driving factor in some of those nations obfuscating the process, Russia had illegal arms deals running running across the border along the same smuggling lines that the oil was moved with all the way up to the war, then you have the Baathists themselves who took whatever aid was supplied to the people (medicine, food etc.) and hoarded it. That is why Saddam was able to stay in power, the people were starved by the tens of thousands and the regime could blame the UN and the USA for it. The UN is at fault in this, they will not do a thing about it (just like the sex trade in Kosovo where UN troops work with organised crime to make scratch off human traffic).

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