Monday, May 16, 2005


Via Zemblan patriot M.L.: A reminder that we live in America, where, when the White House instructs Newsweek to retract a true story, Newsweek eagerly complies (on which more later). From the Guardian (U.K.):
US 'backed illegal Iraqi oil deals'
Report claims blind eye was turned to sanctions busting by American firms

The United States administration turned a blind eye to extensive sanctions-busting in the prewar sale of Iraqi oil, according to a new Senate investigation.

A report released last night by Democratic staff on a Senate investigations committee presents documentary evidence that the Bush administration was made aware of illegal oil sales and kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime but did nothing to stop them.

The scale of the shipments involved dwarfs those previously alleged by the Senate committee against UN staff and European politicians like the British MP, George Galloway, and the former French minister, Charles Pasqua.

In fact, the Senate report found that US oil purchases accounted for 52% of the kickbacks paid to the regime in return for sales of cheap oil - more than the rest of the world put together.

"The United States was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from circumventing UN sanctions," the report said. "On occasion, the United States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales.
From CNN (U.S.A.):
U.S. report cites Russians in oil-for-food probe
Senate panel points to top Kremlin officials before hearing

A U.S. Senate report released Monday accuses top Russian politicians, including advisers to President Vladimir Putin, of engaging in illicit transactions with Iraq during the U.N. oil-for-food program.

The report was made by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The subcommittee, one of several congressional panels investigating the now-defunct program, plans a hearing on its findings Tuesday.

Former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yasin Ramadan told investigators that Iraq believed the Russian allocations provided "compensation for support" shown, especially at the United Nations, where Russia sits on the Security Council.

"This is how Saddam Hussein used oil for food -- to line his own pockets and and curry favor with politicians," said U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minnesota, chairman of the subcommittee.

Coleman said Iraq abused the program "to take care of its friends ... and throw money at [U.N.] member states."

The report found that Saddam's regime allocated 76 million barrels of crude oil to Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Russia's deputy parliament speaker, and his political party between 1997 and 2002.
The CNN story also recycles the discredited slurs against MP George Galloway, who has already prevailed in two libel suits against the Daily Telegraph and the Christian Science Monitor. Galloway will appear before Congress tomorrow to defend himself against charges that he received lucrative oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein:
The outspoken, anti-war Respect MP said he will give the 13-strong Republican-led committee "both barrels". He vowed to clear his name as he left Heathrow: "The truth is I have never bought or sold a drop of oil from Iraq, or sold or bought a drop of oil from anybody.

"If I had I would be a very rich man and the person who made me rich would already be in the public domain," he said.

"I am going to accuse them of being involved in a huge diversion from the real issues in Iraq, which are the theft of billions of dollars worth of Iraq's wealth by the United States of America and its corporations, and the deaths of more than 100,000 people in Iraq."

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