Friday, February 20, 2004
(Read the full story at MEMRI here)In a little known program, Saddam Hussein issued a series of 'oil vouchers' in exchange for goods imported illegally into Iraq in violation of the UN embargo. According to the report:
"The voucher holder would normally tender the voucher to any one of the specialized companies operating in the United Arab Emirates for a commission which initially ranged from $0.25 to $0.30 per barrel, though it may have declined in later years to as little as $0.10 or even $0.05 per barrel because of oil surplus on the market. In other words, a voucher for 1 million barrels would have translated into a quick profit of $250,000-300,000 on the high side and $50,000-100,000 on the low side - all paid in cash."
The list of recipients of this illegal program was the property of the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) and has been verified by A former undersecretary in the Iraqi Ministry of Petroleum, Abd Al-Saheb Salman Qutb.
This has the potential to be one of the largest scandals of recent times, especially as it sheds a lot of light on why certain countries were so against our entry into Iraq. Here are a few names:
- (France) Patrick Maugein, CEO of the oil firm SOCO International: A close confidant of President Chirac, he received vouchers for 25 million barrels.
- (France) Bernard Merimee: The former French Ambassador to the United Nations and France's representative in the Security Council, he received vouchers totalling 11 million barrels.
- (France) Charles Pasqua: The former interior minister, and close friend of Chirac, received vouchers totalling 12 million barrels.
- The Russian State: The government received vouchers totalling 1.366 billion barrels. There were 45 other groups listed for Russia that received vouchers totalling in excess of 1.1 billion barrels, including companies like Gasprom, political parties such as the Liberal Democratic Party, and other Russian government agencies like the Russian Foreign Ministry.
- Switzerland: From the country that profited from the Nazis, it should be no surprise that all told their various companies held vouchers totalling over 78 million barrels.
- Syria: This should surprise nobody. With people like Farras Mustafa Tlass, son of the Syrian Defense Minster, leading the way, Syrian connections held vouchers totalling over 80 million barrels.
- (United States) Shaker Al-Khaffaji: Remember that documentary former weapons inspector Scott Ritter produced? The one that said weapons inspections were corrupted by the US? Well, he was advanced $400,000 by Shaker to produce the documentary. Shaker was also the holder of voucher totalling 7 million barrels. Wonder where that money came from?
- (United States) Samir Vincent : He lobbied against the UN embargo. He's a good friend of Jimmy Carter. He's also the proud recipient of vouchers totalling 10.5 million barrels. What a scumbag.
And my favorite...
- (Indonesia) President Megawati Sukarnoputri: The leader of the Indonesian government received vouchers totalling 10 million barrels. What, bleeding your country dry through corruption isn't enough?
Not surprisingly, the Arab media has said little. It would be bad form to show that the Iraqi people were sold out by their fellow Arabs for oil money. Especially those Arabs who claimed to care so much about them. They decried the embargo while profiting from it at the same time. Nice. Do yourself a favor and read the whole article. It's eye-opening.