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UNITED NATIONS - An Iraqi official said today there was a list of cash bribes made by Saddam Hussein's government to journalists, politicians and groups in connection with the US$67 billion ($108.92 billion) UN-run oil-for-food programme.
Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi Governing Council, said Iraqi officials combing Saddam's files had not decided whether to release the list as part of a burgeoning scandal over the defunct programme.
"We have a list of cash paid to journalists, personalities, groups and parties," Talabani told a news conference after conferring with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan over an Iraqi interim government.
A separate, previously released list contains the names of more than 250 individuals, business, politicians and other groups alleged to have received vouchers for oil they could sell.
Oil for Food and Terrorism
In addition to propping up Saddam's regime and buying influence abroad, some Oil-for-Food revenues may have been diverted to funding terrorism.
At least two shadowy entities--Asat Trust and al-Taqwa, which have been linked to al-Qaeda, Hamas, and other Islamic extremist organizations--profited from the Oil-for-Food program.
Another reported recipient of Oil-for-Food largesse was Delta Services, a now-defunct subsidiary of Delta Oil, a Saudi oil company that had close relations with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Delta Oil was one of the prime movers pushing for the building of a pipeline from oil-rich Central Asia across Afghanistan to Pakistan. This scheme collapsed after al-Qaeda bombed two U.S. embassies in East Africa in August 1998, provoking an American cruise missile strike on al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.
Another target of retaliation for the embassy bombings was the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan. Osama Bin Laden was suspected of owning at least part of the plant, although this has never been proven. However, according to Clinton Administration officials, the plant manager lived in a villa owned by bin Laden, and U.S. intelligence intercepted phone calls from the plant to the Iraqi official who ran Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program. Before being destroyed, the Al Shifa plant also received a contract for $199,000 under the Oil-for-Food program.
What started as a plan to get humanitarian aid to Iraqis living under Saddam Hussein's regime became what critics call a multi-billion dollar boondoggle: It's the Oil-for-Food (search) program that was run by the United Nations from late 1996 to last year.
For details about how the program operated as well as the investigations taking place to determine what happened to the money, read through this series of recent FOXNews.com articles.
NEW YORK - Congressional investigators examining "a semitrailer truck load" of subpoenaed documents are trying to determine whether lax monitoring at a French bank that held more than $60 billion for the U.N. oil-for-food program facilitated illicit business deals by the former Iraqi government, officials told The Associated Press.
Although BNP Paribas isn't the target of the probe involving companies and individuals in 50 countries, the documents could provide a road map to alleged corruption at the United Nations French Bankand by politicians from France, Russia, Britain, Indonesia and Persian Gulf states who have been implicated.
Indeed, there is so much here, involving so many businesses and officials and illicit networks worldwide, that it may take a while for many of the disclosures to be winnowed out, and sink in. But what it boils down to is that the U.N. provided cover for Saddam to steal, smuggle, deal, and bribe his way back toward becoming precisely the kind of entrenched menace that all of the UN's erstwhile integrity and well-paid activity was supposed to prevent - equipped with weapons that may even now be killing both civilians and Coalition troops in Iraq.
Sens. Norm Coleman (search) of Minnesota and Carl Levin (search) of Michigan sent a letter to Annan Tuesday in which they blasted Annan for "affirmatively preventing" their congressional panel from getting requested information.
"They are not providing access to U.N. personnel, not providing access to U.N. internal audits," Coleman told FOX News.
Coleman and Levin — respectively, the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Governmental Affairs investigations subcommittee — want to know how Saddam Hussein was able to pocket an estimated $11 billion through payoffs and oil smuggling.
Originally posted by dom
I just don't think that's a strong enough reason for them not to support the war.
The financial aspects of this aren't significant enough to have been the major reason.
The Special Commission was not financed from Member States assessed contributions to the United Nations. In accordance with resolution 699 of 1999, the costs of its operations are, ultimately, to be borne by the Government of Iraq. However, during the early years of its operations, the cash requirements of the Commission were met through funds released from the escrow account established under Security Council resolution 778 for the receipt of Iraqi frozen assets. In addition, the Commission received some voluntary contributions from a number of States.
The Commission is financed from a small portion of the monies raised from the export of oil from Iraq (the “oil-for-food” programme). Unlike its predecessor, UNSCOM, the staff of UNMOVIC are employees of the United Nations.
Originally posted by dom
The french didn't want this war, any leadership with a shred of common sense wouldn't have wanted this war, because it was bound to inflame Arab public opinion.
Another example still waiting to be prosecuted is France's Rwandan Operation Turquoise and its predecessor actions. For those who missed that one, Turquoise was their 1994 military action that assisted in the fully armed escape of the French-backed and equipped perpetrators who initiated the Hutu-Tutsi genocide that eventually claimed 800,000 lives. The French government also provided transport and de facto sanctuary for Agathe Kanziga (wife of the Rwandan dictator) and her entourage that were fully involved in the governmentally instigated genocide.
"We have too much evidence. For example, we have a telephone conversation where a top French official was talking to a Rwandan military official, giving them weapons and asking him to stop killing Tutsis on camera. 'Kill them [Tutsi] but do it off camera'," the source told Internews. When contacted, Rwanda's Prosecutor-General Gerald Gahima declined to give any details, but did not deny that his office is conducting investigations.
PARIS: The French government secretly supplied fleeing Iraqi officials with passports in Syria that allowed them to escape to Europe, The Washington Times has learned.
An unknown number of Iraqis who worked for Saddam Hussein’s government were given passports by French officials in Syria, US intelligence officials said.
A Syrian employee at the French embassy in Damascus has testified that he knew that at least 8 Iraqi officials from Saddam’s Oil and Finance Ministries were given French-originated European Union passports in mid-April. The only one he identified was Tahir Jalil al-Habbush, a one-time head of Mukhabarat. In a similar testimony, Roni Ahmed, whom recently admitted to smuggling people, has confirmed that Iraqis were using counterfeit traveling papers to escape to Europe. He said he and those like him had made dozens of fake passports to Stockholm and sold them without even asking the Iraqis who they were, but by their attire he concluded they were “very important".
There appears to be a French connection to all of this. If the reports are to be trusted, the US has captured a dozen French passports in Iraq that are believed to be from the same batch used by Iraqi officials to escape.It was also reported that as of April 11-12th, the French were discovered to be offering Iraqi diplomats and officials asylum in Paris, and that French embassies and consulates were working “around the clock to ease admission” for dozens of Iraqis wanting to escape regardless of their rank.
In early May, it was revealed that France secretly supplied Iraqi officials that found harbor in Syria with EU passports, allowing them safe travel to most parts of Western Europe, where there are large Moslem and Arab communities. European Union members permit free travel between them, so evasion is substantially easier than one might predict. Most or all of the Iraqis given visas were believed to be prominent regime and financial personnel who did extensive business with French companies, politicians or worked with the French intelligence community in some way.
10 November 2004
French forces opened fire yesterday as thousands of angry government loyalists massed outside an evacuation post for foreigners, witnesses said. A hospital reported seven people killed and 200 wounded in a fourth day of chaotic violence pitting France against its former prize colony.
ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Around 50 people have been killed by French troops in Ivory Coast during three days of violence which exploded after France wiped out most of the country's military aircraft, an Ivorian minister says.
"We have counted around 50 people dead, all of them were demonstrators shot by the French," National Reconciliation Minister Sebastien Dano told Reuters on Tuesday, adding the death toll was for both the main city Abidjan and other towns.
Dano, a member of President Laurent Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front, said the demonstrators were shot by French helicopters and tanks and by troops with rifles.
"The French intervened in a disproportionate way. They destroyed the republic's property, they killed and wounded. We don't understand this violence," he said.
"It is France which is attacking and humiliating us."