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Documents: U.S. condoned Iraq oil smuggling
February 3, 2005 6:26 PM   Subscribe

Documents: U.S. condoned Iraq oil smuggling Documents obtained by CNN reveal the United States knew about, and even condoned, embargo-breaking oil sales by Saddam Hussein's regime, and did so to shore up alliances with Iraq's neighbors. The oil trade with countries such as Turkey and Jordan appears to have been an open secret inside the U.S. government and the United Nations for years.
posted by Postroad (28 comments total)

 
Does anyone have a link to the actual memos? Armitage's quote mentions only a praise of Jordan and no oil.
posted by Captaintripps at 6:34 PM on February 3, 2005


Is this the thing I've heard about that says the "UN oil for food scam" that conservatives have been pushing for years only amounted to 15% of the total oil smuggling and 85% was done by the US?
posted by mathowie at 6:37 PM on February 3, 2005


How is this possible? We're all about exporting Democracy!

We'll even send 200 billion dollars -- and 1430 U.S. lives -- for the sole purpose of overthrowing despots and letting their people have free elections and purple fingers!

And from what I heard last night at the State of the Union, we're somehow responsible for free elections in Ukraine too. Or at least everybody on one side of the room clapped like we'd done that too.

I mean, next you'll be telling me that we are on good terms with Libya's dictatorial Muammar Qadhafi or Saudi Arabia's King Fahd. Or Communist Factory-land China.

America does not negotiate with dictators!*

Admit it, this is something Dan Rather made up, right?

(* Note: leaders who have granted concessions to United Fruit, Shell Oil, Nike Shoes, or Halliburton are, by definition, not considered dictators for the purposes of this pledge. Offer no longer valid in Taiwan Formosa.)
posted by orthogonality at 6:44 PM on February 3, 2005


...but...but they voted...elections...democracy! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
posted by odinsdream at 6:48 PM on February 3, 2005


Is this the thing I've heard about that says the "UN oil for food scam" that conservatives have been pushing for years only amounted to 15% of the total oil smuggling and 85% was done by the US?

Where in the story does it say that the US smuggled oil?
posted by trharlan at 6:51 PM on February 3, 2005


tharlan,

"How is it that you stand on a moral footing to go after the U.N. when they're responsible for 15 percent maybe of the ill-gotten gains, and we were part and complicit of him getting 85 percent of the money?" Menendez asked.
posted by effwerd at 6:56 PM on February 3, 2005


effwerd, I'm not defending the US, but it does not follow from your quote that the US smuggled oil.
posted by trharlan at 6:58 PM on February 3, 2005


I am not surprised by this at all. And I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't be except for the staunchest of Republican supporters who actually think in the rhetorical terms they're fed, e.g. "they hate us for our freedom."

I understand completely, trharlan. I just imagine that's what Matt might have been thinking of.
posted by effwerd at 7:01 PM on February 3, 2005


that first part was just a general comment and the second part was a response on preview, i hope you don't take it to be one cohesive thought directed toward you, trharlan
posted by effwerd at 7:04 PM on February 3, 2005


Wait, you mean the U.S. Government is full of lying hypocrites?!? NOW I'M PISSED!
posted by zekinskia at 7:55 PM on February 3, 2005


Mission Accomplished Indeed!!

The US Was complicit in the UN: Oil for Food program...

Nuke those fuUkers right now!!

** Hides in fallout resistant-but-not-proof bunker**
posted by Balisong at 8:05 PM on February 3, 2005


impeach norm coleman, oh wherever it is you do to senators
posted by edgeways at 8:10 PM on February 3, 2005


Reminds me of that Marine Corps General saying, "Yea, it's fun to kill people." Who can we trust?
posted by snsranch at 8:11 PM on February 3, 2005


Wow. On the same day that (UN oil-for-food program chief) Benon Sevan is accused of corruption. This won't go over well.

But it's not like the US was undermining its own program. It was the UN's program. An Al-Jazeera article on this subject from Dec. 28, 2004 is entitled: UN didn’t stop Saddam from smuggling oil, and places the responsibility on the Security Council, of which the US is a member.

So no, the US didn't stop it. But neither did all the other members of the Security Council. And they did so by agreement, more or less.
posted by dammitjim at 8:14 PM on February 3, 2005


I wonder who will pay him to take the fall?
posted by Balisong at 8:19 PM on February 3, 2005


It was going on through 2002, so it looks like both Clinton and Bush are in this.

Personally I don't think this whole scandal is all that important. Wouldn't this just mean we were breaking our own embargo? The embargo that was starving Iraq? And compared to invading Iraq without the U.N.'s approval, this seems like nothing. We've already shown how much we care for international regulations.

Considering that Bremer lost $9 billion in Iraq and halliburton, this seems to pale in comparison.
posted by destro at 8:47 PM on February 3, 2005


It would be nice if the right would spend as much time and taxpayer money to recover that 85% of unaccountable funds the US received through this program, before Santorum mouths off about how Annan should be removed from his position at the UN.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:16 PM on February 3, 2005


It would be nice if the right would spend as much time and taxpayer money to recover that 85% of unaccountable funds the US received through this program

Do I misunderstand you, or are you saying that the US received funds through this program?
posted by trharlan at 9:20 PM on February 3, 2005


You can be sure that American oil interests were represented. That would be the only reasonable explanation for why the Bremner-led government prevented investigations into the scandal in 2003 and 2004.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:25 PM on February 3, 2005


Is blame Big Oil and the military-industrial complex your standard reaction to someone who points out that maybe you made a completely unsubstantiated allegation?
posted by trharlan at 9:34 PM on February 3, 2005


So the occupation-led government (and the US government, by proxy) didn't prevent investigation of the oil-for-food scandal? Or they did, but to protect European Security Council members?
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:49 PM on February 3, 2005


Put away your boner.
posted by HTuttle at 12:48 AM on February 4, 2005


Eat shit, HTuttle.
posted by interrobang at 12:55 AM on February 4, 2005


"Where was our voice on the committee that was overseeing this on the Security Council?

"The reality is that we were either silent or complicit, and that is fundamentally wrong."

Former State Department diplomat Walker said, "It was almost a 'don't ask, don't tell' kind of policy. It was accepted in the Security Council. No one challenged it."

John Ruggie, a former senior adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said U.S. diplomats focused on assuring U.N.-approved shipments to Iraq were free of military components, and the United States felt Jordan and Turkey needed to be compensated for the adverse impact of the sanctions.

Ruggie said, "The secretary of state of the United States said each and every year that those illegal sales were in the national security interest of the United States. So it wasn't just that the U.S. was looking the other way."


What part of this do the wingnuts, who were desperately grasping at the program (Norm Coleman?) as justification for an illegal invasion, not understand? We knew! We were complicit! We advocated the continuation of the violations. We have absolutely NO room to criticize anyone since they were doing EXACTLY what we wanted. Bite me Norm.
posted by nofundy at 5:24 AM on February 4, 2005


"Mr Volcker cited financial records which show that Mr Sevan received $160,000 in cash payments from 1999 to 2003. (Please, current admin supporters, do not compare with US admin practices re Iraq. You'll feel ashamed).

Although the allegations against Mr Sevan were the focal point of yesterday's report, Mr Volcker said the inquiry did not find systematic misuse of funds. However, he also found that three UN contractors for the programme were selected without going through a competitive bidding process. (Please, current admin supporters, do not compare with US admin practices re Iraq. You'll feel ashamed).

The White House and Republican congressmen are exploiting the oil-for-food row to undermine Mr Annan, who opposed the US-led war in Iraq". (Actually, it's alright if you feel shame. Shows you're still human in a way).
posted by acrobat at 6:13 AM on February 4, 2005


Maybe the negativity that some countries feel twords US foreign policy comes from situations like this. It seems like the US creates rules and then breaks them when its convenient because we have the power to do so. Countries who don't have the power to do so might feel a little resentment twords the 'do as I say, not as I do' attitude.
posted by kookywon at 7:29 AM on February 4, 2005


kookywon: I have a slighly different interpretation to offer : oil food for program involved 1. money 2.more money ...and both euro and u.s.a. bourocrats saw the money and tought "look, a lot of money ! " ...given that the lack of money was to be felt by iraqui people directly (who were on the receiving end of the baton) and that no BBC or whatever were clooooosely monitoring the equation money from oil = food for iraquis ..the above bourocrats tought

"Let's take some of that money for us ! Nobody will notice"

And the U.S. bourocrat said

"But ! But ! That's illegal ! How dare you ! "

"It's not illegal if you forget about it ....!

"Damn you evil ! Christ is my light and to further advance the cause of Christ I'll take the money...but NOT for personal profit ! Let the damn muslim iraqui kids be sent to heaven by starvation ! "

And the euro bourocrat said

"Enough of that reliigious bullshit of yours, get your money and shaddap !"

And so it went merrily and nicely till somebody who wasn't paid enough spoke to exposed the evul euroliberals..
posted by elpapacito at 9:26 AM on February 4, 2005


Official response from Sen. Coleman (from his own website, that is), in which he makes no mention of US government complicity but does press for Sevan's diplomatic immunity to be lifted so he can be prosecuted. Tard? You bet!
posted by billsaysthis at 1:43 PM on February 5, 2005


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