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US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’

by : guardian
Tuesday May 17, 2005 - 21:34
13 comments

Report claims blind eye was turned to sanctions busting by American firms

Julian Borger and Jamie Wilson in Washington Tuesday May 17, 2005 The Guardian

The United States administration turned a blind eye to extensive sanctions-busting in the prewar sale of Iraqi oil, according to a new Senate investigation.

A report released last night by Democratic staff on a Senate investigations committee presents documentary evidence that the Bush administration was made aware of illegal oil sales and kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime but did nothing to stop them.

The scale of the shipments involved dwarfs those previously alleged by the Senate committee against UN staff and European politicians like the British MP, George Galloway, and the former French minister, Charles Pasqua.

In fact, the Senate report found that US oil purchases accounted for 52% of the kickbacks paid to the regime in return for sales of cheap oil - more than the rest of the world put together.

"The United States was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from circumventing UN sanctions," the report said. "On occasion, the United States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales.

The report is likely to ease pressure from conservative Republicans on Kofi Annan to resign from his post as UN secretary general.

The new findings are also likely to be raised when Mr Galloway appears before the Senate subcommittee on investigations today.

The Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow arrived yesterday in Washington demanding an apology from the Senate for what he called the "schoolboy dossier" passed off as an investigation against him.

"It was full of holes, full of falsehoods and full of value judgments that are apparently only shared here in Washington," he said at Washington Dulles airport.

He told Reuters: "I have no expectation of justice ... I come not as the accused but as the accuser. I am [going] to show just how absurd this report is."

Mr Galloway has denied allegations that he profited from Iraqi oil sales and will come face to face with the committee in what promises to be one of the most highly charged pieces of political theatre seen in Washington for some time.

Yesterday’s report makes two principal allegations against the Bush administration. Firstly, it found the US treasury failed to take action against a Texas oil company, Bayoil, which facilitated payment of "at least $37m in illegal surcharges to the Hussein regime".

The surcharges were a violation of the UN Oil For Food programme, by which Iraq was allowed to sell heavily discounted oil to raise money for food and humanitarian supplies. However, Saddam was allowed to choose which companies were given the highly lucrative oil contracts. Between September 2000 and September 2002 (when the practice was stopped) the regime demanded kickbacks of 10 to 30 US cents a barrel in return for oil allocations.

In its second main finding, the report said the US military and the state department gave a tacit green light for shipments of nearly 8m barrels of oil bought by Jordan, a vital American ally, entirely outside the UN-monitored Oil For Food system. Jordan was permitted to buy some oil directly under strict conditions but these purchases appeared to be under the counter.

The report details a series of efforts by UN monitors to obtain information about Bayoil’s oil shipments in 2001 and 2002, and the lack of help provided by the US treasury.

After repeated requests over eight months from the UN and the US state department, the treasury’s office of foreign as sets control wrote to Bayoil in May 2002, requesting a report on its transactions but did not "request specific information by UN or direct Bayoil to answer the UN’s questions".

Bayoil’s owner, David Chalmers, has been charged over the company’s activities. His lawyer Catherine Recker told the Washington Post: "Bayoil and David Chalmers [said] they have done nothing illegal and will vigorously defend these reckless accusations."

The Jordanian oil purchases were shipped in the weeks before the war, out of the Iraqi port of Khor al-Amaya, which was operating without UN approval or surveillance.

Investigators found correspondence showing that Odin Marine Inc, the US company chartering the seven huge tankers which picked up the oil at Khor al-Amaya, repeatedly sought and received approval from US military and civilian officials that the ships would not be confiscated by US Navy vessels in the Maritime Interdiction Force (MIF) enforcing the embargo.

Odin was reassured by a state department official that the US "was aware of the shipments and has determined not to take action".

The company’s vice president, David Young, told investigators that a US naval officer at MIF told him that he "had no objections" to the shipments. "He said that he was sorry he could not say anything more. I told him I completely understood and did not expect him to say anything more," Mr Young said.

An executive at Odin Maritime confirmed the senate account of the oil shipments as "correct" but declined to comment further.

It was not clear last night whether the Democratic report would be accepted by Republicans on the Senate investigations committee.

The Pentagon declined to comment. The US representative’s office at the UN referred inquiries to the state department, which fail to return calls.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/internati...



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> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Tuesday May 17 - 23:52 - Posted by 8f61666d6531e8a1...

Can someone please tell me what Galloway is doing in front of a senate committee? What are all these foreigners doing in Washington? These things are supposed to be handled country to country and all of a sudden this congressional committee becomes somes sort of tribunal. When the hell did Britain become the 51st state?




> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Wednesday May 18 - 16:46 - Posted by fa15e807419754e4...

"What are all these foreigners doing in Washington"?
It’s a bit late to come over all precious about stuff like that isn’t it? What next..... You gonna ask what are all those foreigners doing in Iraq?
What George was doing was trying to point out to you lot what an absolute crock of crap you’ve been getting from your president. It seems that no-one in the US political establishment has got any balls so he’s over there to help you find them.



> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Wednesday May 18 - 21:10 - Posted by 8f61666d6531e8a1...

The foreigners are there to kick Saddam’s monstrous butt out but I guess you’re ok with letting Saddam continue to fill those mass graves with dead Iraqis and giving aid and shelter to the terrorists of the world. As for Galloway, he’s the loser and absolute crock of crap who gave Saddam the highest compliment and madeup some faux charity so that he and his wife can write off some of their expenses. We don’t need your brittrash, we have enough democratic trash of our own.



> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Thursday May 19 - 11:11 - Posted by fa15e807419754e4...

Mass graves? We’ve been searching for a couple of years for these things and so far we’ve uncovered a grand total of 5,000 dead. That’s 5,000 from a country that fought a lengthy war against it’s neighbour (Iran) and then faced Gulf I where the US admits to burying Iraqi soldiers alive with armoured bulldozers. Therefore it is not unreasonable to suggest that the bodies found come from war and if they don’t then they certainly come from a period during which you supplied the arms and military help to facilitate such killing while turning a blind eye because he was your friend.
For goodness sake wake up, please. George Galloway came to your country to tell a truth you seem incapble of facing and it has, at least, served to prove what a pathetic shower of money grubbing cowards populate your political life.



> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Thursday May 19 - 11:51 - Posted by bfcee33ce6ae91a8...

The troll keeps wanting everyone to focus on the MASS GRAVES of people killed by Saddam, meanwhile, the US has MURDERED 100,000 Iraqi citizens and 1,620+ US citizens and troll wants us to pretend with him that these people do not matter because Bushturd killed them ...... what gives with these Bush "Christians"?



> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Thursday May 19 - 11:54 - Posted by bfcee33ce6ae91a8...

Can someone tell me what the hell we are doing in Iraq???



> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Thursday May 19 - 17:14 - Posted by 8f61666d6531e8a1...

I would not be surprised if the europeons end up electing on their own someone like Saddam Hussein. They apparently thought he did a good job of running his country. What mass murders? His torture treatment apparently isn’t torture compared to Bush’s torture. You europeons live in a weird reality; you deserve someone like Saddam. I’ll take Bush any day.




> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Thursday May 19 - 18:06 - Posted by fa15e807419754e4...

Please learn how to spell European before you start criticising. It’s only polite! Compared to America Saddam was a complete amateur. You have trolled your way around the planet for the last sixty years torturing and slaughtering your way through country after country supporting evil dictator after evil dictator and I think you have elected someone like Saddam, he’s just called George (somewhere in Texas a village is missing an idiot) Bush.



> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Thursday May 19 - 18:50 - Posted by 8f61666d6531e8a1...

I call you europeons. It has nothing to do with the spelling.



> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Friday May 20 - 10:45 - Posted by bfcee33ce6ae91a8...

And I call you a one toothed redneck troll it has nothing to do with your intelligence, you have none.



> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Friday May 20 - 10:52 - Posted by bfcee33ce6ae91a8...

Don’t tell us, don’t tell us, don’t tell us....we don’t want to know that it was us all along, we like our Hollywood version of the U.S.A., we don’t want to know about that ugly reality that keeps rearing its nasty truth. We here in the U.S.A. want it to be Morning in America with the sun shinning on us and the birds singing and God looking down on us just like in the movies. We don’t want to know about our CIA installing dictators and knocking them down when we have no more use for them as we march around the earth deciding who will live and who will die and who’s resources we are going to confiscate next. We just want to remain grown up children being lead by the hand to our bank accounts where we can empty them for big Mom and Dad government and good old Uncle Sam.



> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Friday May 20 - 11:14 - Posted by fa15e807419754e4...

Go back to your banjo, jerk.



> US ’backed illegal Iraqi oil deals’
Friday May 20 - 14:17 - Posted by 1ebd73fbe1f545ca...

Saddam was OK with Rumsfeld and his half-brained, nodding, dribbling followers when he was buying weapons to kill Iranians. Saddams henchmen were evil scum and did kill political opponents BUT a lot less than the political opponents killed and tortured by Washington sponsored regimes in Central and South America.

Most of the bodies exhumed from the ’mass graves’ in Iraq are casualties of the 10 year Iran/Iraq war prolonged by the US by selling chemical, biological, and conventional weapons to BOTH sides,which was why the Washington regime became loathed by Baghdad and Tehran






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