Saddam Husseins Oil-for-UN Votes Program
During the wind up to Operation Iraqi Freedom, a number of opinion columnist, to include yours truly, predicted the reason that France, Germany and Russia did not want Iraqi invaded was because our troops might find documents proving those governments were on Saddam Hussein’s payroll. A few of us also predicted that news of such evidence, when found, would be quickly buried by the left-leaning mainstream media.
The fears of the French and the Russians were well founded. Recently, our troops found documents inside the Iraqi Oil Ministry proving key French and Russian officials were being bribed by Saddam. These damning revelations received scant mention by the mainstream media and then dismissed with no subsequent in-depth follow-up. Believe me, if the Iraqi Oil Ministry documents had proven the French, Russians and others who opposed our entry into Iraq were innocent of being bribed by Saddam, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and National Public Radio would still be talking about it.
The documents prove Saddam was using the United Nations’ oil-for-food program as his conduit for bribing officials right inside the offices of French President Jacques Chirac, and Russian President Valdimir Putin. All told, 270 prominent individuals, political parties or corporations in 47 countries were favored by oil contracts worth millions of dollars. To Germany’s credit, no German officials were on the list.
Here is how Saddam’s pay-off scheme worked: In exchange for their support at the United Nations, in particular, and in exchange for their railings against the United States, in general, Saddam provided his co-conspirators with oil contracts at a price well below the international market price for oil. Yet, the holders of these contracts could sell the contracts at the actual world market price The holders of these contracts were able to sell their gifts from Saddam for an average profit of about 50 cents a barrel.
British Member of Parliament, George Galloway, who tried to force the resignation of British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, because of Blair’s support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, is listed as receiving contracts for 19 million barrels of oil. That meant a $5 million dollar profit for Galloway. Interestingly, while the British tabloids gave plenty of ink to Galloway’s call for Blair’s resignation, the same tabloids are showing little interest in the evidence that Galloway was on Saddam’s payroll.
Patrick Maugein, French President Chirac’s financial backer and key political associate, was the second largest beneficiary of Saddam’s bribes. Chirac’s buddy was given contracts for 36 million of barrels of oil.
The Russian government and individual Russian officials received the biggest number of oil contracts – 1.3 billion barrels. Officials in the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin were given oil contracts for 92 million barrels. The Russian ambassador to Iraq, got one million barrels. The Russian Communist Party got 137 million barrels, and five million barrels went to the Russian Orthodox Church. The list goes on and on to include all the nations that opposed the joint U.S/U.K. effort to topple Saddam Hussein.
It must have been of cold comfort to Saddam Hussein -- living down in that rat hole -- that the foreign government officials he bought stayed bought. But then, isn’t that the cynical definition of the “honest” politician?
While the mainstream media give short shrift of the documentary evidence of Saddam’s bribery and the French and Russian complicity, it continues to hound the Bush Administration for awarding the contract to restore Iraq’s oil production to Halliburton. In all the world only two oil field production companies are large enough to restore and increase Iraq’s oil production: the American-owned Halliburton and the French-owned Schlumberger.
Should we have rewarded the French-owned Schlumberger with a lucrative contract when France -- bought and paid for by Saddam -- pulled out all the stops to keep the United Nations from supporting our effort to topple the Iraqi dictator? Duh.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – novels about terrorist attacks on Colorado’s water supply and on the Panama Canal, respectively.
©2004. William Hamilton.