Pan Africanism : Annan: U.S., Britain Share Blame For Saddam Hussein's Illicit Oil Funds...

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by Aqil, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday that the United States and Britain are partly to blame for Iraq making billions of dollars in illicit money from smuggling oil. Annan said the Americans and the British could have stopped the smuggling but did not, and most of the money Saddam Hussein made illegally when his country was under UN sanctions in the 1990s was from smuggling oil, not from kickbacks under the UN oil-for-food program. "They were the ones who had interdiction, possibly they were also the ones who knew exactly what was going on, and the countries themselves decided to close their eyes to smuggling to Turkey and Jordan because they were allies," Annan said.

    A spokeswoman at the British mission refused to comment on Annan's statement. The U.S. Mission spokesman could not immediately be reached.

    The United States had ships in the Persian Gulf to intercept smugglers, and allegations have swirled for years that Washington looked the other way while some of Iraq's neighbors made substantial profits from oil smuggled out of Iraq.

    Annan partly excused the smuggling to Turkey and Jordan, saying the UN Charter requires states affected by sanctions on another country to be compensated. "We didn't have billions to compensate these countries, and some felt the oil going in was a way of compensation to them, and so it was all generally accepted," Annan said.

    The Secretary-General was speaking at a reunion of current and past UN spokesmen, and his comments were part of a vigorous defense of the United Nations against recent media attacks.

    The UN oil-for-food program, which was endorsed by the United States and begun in 1996, permitted Iraq to sell oil despite a stiff UN economic embargo against Saddam's regime, provided the proceeds were used to buy food and medicine for Iraqi people suffering under the sanctions. Beginning at least by 2000, Saddam's government, which had the power to choose who would have the right to purchase oil, demanded that those it dealt with be willing to pay kickbacks. Estimates of how much illicit money Saddam's regime may have made from smuggling and corruption in the oil-for-food program range from $9 billion to $21 billion. But former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who is conducting an independent investigation, said Saddam gained far more money from smuggling than through oil-for-food deals.

    Annan himself has come under fire recently over the handling of the oil-for-food program. Volcker criticized Annan for not pressing to learn details of his son Kojo's employment by a Swiss company that won a contract under the program. Annan said the scandal around the United Nations was largely "an American story," while people in the rest of the world "still have quite a lot of respect and enthusiasm for the UN and appreciate what the UN does."

    "We are outgunned. We are outmanned," Annan said of critics of the United Nations. "And they have resources that we don't have, and they are relentless and they are organized."

    Annan said he expected Volcker's report would reveal that at the end of the oil-for-food program in 2003, the United Nations gave $8 billion-$9 billion to the Coalition Provisional Authority, and the money has not been accounted for. "When you put things in the right perspective, one should certainly realize where the bulk of the problem came out," Annan said. "But would it influence this group? I am not sure..."

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-04-14-annan_x.htm
     
  2. Ralfa'il

    Ralfa'il Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Oh what a tangled web we weave.....


    I heard one of the biggest indictments in this so-called "scandal" was issued to a Texas oil giant with connections to the White House.
     
  3. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Salaam Ralfa'il...and tru dat. Here is the USAToday article:

    Texas Man, 2 Others Indicted in U.N. Oil-For-Food Scandal

    NEW YORK (AP) — A Houston oilman and two traders from Texas and England paid millions of dollars in secret kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime, cheating the United Nations oil-for-food program out of humanitarian aid funds, authorities said Thursday.

    David B. Chalmers, owner of Bayoil (USA) Inc., and Ludmil Dionissiev, a Bulgarian citizen and permanent U.S. resident, were arrested Thursday morning at their homes in Houston. U.S. Attorney David N. Kelley said he will seek extradition of defendant John Irving from England. Kelley called two indictments unsealed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan "two more pieces in the oil-for-food puzzle." He added: "It's a broad and large investigation...we're going to wring the towel dry."

    One indictment accused the three defendants were accused of paying millions of dollars in kickbacks so the Houston-based Bayoil and another Chalmers company, Bayoil Supply & Trading Limited, based in Nassau, Bahamas, could continue to sell Iraqi oil under the oil-for-food program. The kickbacks, between mid-2000 and March 2003, involved funds otherwise intended for humanitarian relief, Kelley said. He also said that $100 million would be "a conservative estimate" of the value of the oil the defendants dealt with.

    A second complaint charged Tongsun Park, a South Korean citizen, with conspiracy to act in the United States as an unregistered government agent in the Iraqi effort to create the oil-for-food program.

    If convicted of the charges, Chalmers, Irving and Dionissiev each could face a maximum of 62 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. Park could face up to five years in prison. The defendants could also be ordered to make restitution. According to the first indictment, the government seeks the forfeiture of at least $100 million in assets from the defendants. Lawyers for the defendants could not immediately be identified to obtain comment.

    On Jan. 18, an Iraqi-born American businessman accused of skimming money from the oil-for-food program pleaded guilty in New York to being an illegal agent of Saddam Hussein's government. Samir A. Vincent, 64, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Annandale, VA, was the first person to be charged in the Justice Department's investigation of the program.

    The U.N. program, which was endorsed by the United States and begun in 1996, let Iraq sell oil despite a stiff U.N. economic embargo against Saddam's regime, provided the proceeds were used to buy food and medicine for Iraqi people suffering under the sanctions. Beginning at least by 2000, Saddam's government, which had the power to choose who would have the right to purchase oil, demanded that those it dealt with be willing to pay kickbacks, the indictment said.

    John Klochan, acting assistant director in charge of the New York FBI office, said the flaw of the oil-for-food was that Saddam could award contracts to his cronies. "This was the embodiment of the fox guarding the henhouse," he said.

    Among those who have come under fire in recent months over the handling of the program is U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Investigators last month criticized Annan for not pressing to learn details of his son Kojo's employment by a Swiss company that won a contract under the oil-for-food program.

    Findings of an independent investigation — expected in midsummer — will likely lead to dozens of criminal prosecutions by legal authorities in various countries for bribery, sanctions-busting, money laundering and fraud, officials told The Associated Press last month.
     
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