UN Food for Oil Scandal

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by katchow, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. katchow macrumors 6502

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    #1
    heard a small bit about this last night...does anyone know where to find some credible info about this?

    not sure if its already been discussed here, but the small bit i saw on CNN last night seem to make a lot of conclusions on what i considered to be limited facts. Of course, i didn't see the whole segment so i can't say for sure. Everytime i go looking on the web for more info its either old news or from opinion sites.

    it seems this could be a very big deal...

    if this is all old news, just call me stupid and delete the thread :)
     
  2. katchow thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #2
    well, this is the only decent article iv'e found so far:

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/06/iraq.wmd.un.vouchers.ap/index.html

    other articles conclude heavily that france, china, and russia used veto power to block a u.n. invasion in order to keep their 'lucrative' deals w/ saddam...i've certainly heard that before, but there seems to be new info coming from documents out of iraq (apparently summarized in Duelfer's report. haven't read it yet)

    it seems to me a rather simplified conclusion...surely, there were other reasons to not invade iraq. Not to mention it was reported that some american companies were also benefiting from the voucher program.

    "Several American companies on the list, compiled from 13 documents kept by Hussein's vice president and oil minister, were given vouchers to purchase billions of dollars of oil at discounted prices. The U.S. companies are not named in the report because of privacy laws, U.S. officials said."

    --washington times
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13313-2004Oct6.html

    ok, so on the one hand you could say france, russia, and china did not want to invade so they could protect their financial interests. But on the other, couldn't one say that we wanted to invade to GAIN financial interests?
     
  3. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #3
    Sorry to be a cynic, but I think the answer to your question is that, given the highly polarized opinions (in the U.S.) about the U.N.'s integrity, one can say whatever one wants to about this situation. The CNN story notes the Paul Volcker (the former Fed Chairman) is heading up an independent investigation for the U.N. I guess it will be useful to see what his conclusions are and to what degree they agree with Duelfer's report.
     
  4. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #4
    How do you explain Germany? Or Richard Clarke, or Howard Dean for that matter? All were against the war for various reasons. I know it's trendy to hate the French, but somehow I find it hard to believe that this was solely responsible for their hesitation to invade Iraq.

    I think there have been some threads about this already, or at least it's been mentioned.
     
  5. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #5
    For forty forevers the Germans have been selling chemicals and related technology into the middle east. For the French, it's been nuclear technology and weaponry. Neither country has morality built into the laws concerning international trade that the U.S. does. So, for them, as with many other countries' governments, trade is trade; money is money.

    Looking at the economic problems extant in Germany and France, I'm not at all surprised that they're into the routine of "...a few billion here, a few billion there, and pretty soon it adds up to real money." Both governments need all the tax income from corporate profits that they can grab...

    'Rat
     
  6. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #6
    Here's a simple solution to proliferation:

    Every country gets one nuke, no more, no less. It has to be sealed in a chassis no smaller than a volkswagen beetle, weighing no less than 4000Lb and must have a hand-actuated detonator with a simple push-button. The container must be welded shut. The chassis must be painted bright, neon yellow with the word NUKE on the side in big hi-glo red letters. The firing mechanism must have a ten second delay and a 500 DB klaxon.
     
  7. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #7
    really ? you should see how picky the german government is about selling arms/military material ... problems even arise when selling arms to turkey (the current discussion at the moment)
    (i can't say the same for the french)
    but historically the US is not really 'error free' either
    who are the biggest arms exporters world wide ? Russia,US and China
     
  8. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #8
    I'm ashamed to say it, but I think the UK ranks No 2.
     
  9. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #9
    Whaaat??? You've GOT to be kidding!
     
  10. katchow thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    who makes your tennis shoes?

    i was under the impression that at one time we supplied weapons to iraq? really, how many pissing matches did we have with russia using other countries as pawns? was there once a democracy in iran or was that my imagination?

    we are currently training african armies in places where the gov't has appaling human right records (which IMO is better than the alternative).

    i don't think our high horse is always as concrete as we'd like to think.

    sorry if my post is a little incoherent...
     
  11. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #11
    "Morality in law": It's against U.S. law for a U.S. corporation to pay a bribe in order to make a sale. It's not against the law in, for instance, Japan, which is why Kubota does well against Caterpillar.

    Granted, U.S. corporations are known to hire "consultants" at rather high rates of pay; said consultants are commonly a brother or cousin to the Exalted Leader of El Pompador.

    But y'all knew that, didn't you? Hmmm? :D

    takao, w/r/t Germany, I didn't mention arms, okay? :) Remember, bug sprays and herbicides are not a lot different from nerve gas. Same basic organics; just "massaged" a bit differently...

    Ran across this:

    NYTimes
    October 13, 2004
    OP-ED COLUMNIST
    Duelfer to France: J'accuse!
    By WILLIAM SAFIRE

    Powerful officials and their profiteering friends in France had a reason to try to stop the U.S. from overthrowing Saddam Hussein: they were pocketing billions in payoffs through a United Nations oil-for-food front.

    That's the import of the Duelfer report. This nonpartisan investigation team found not only documents "giving economic favors to key French diplomats or individuals that have access to key French leaders," but also got Saddam's mouthpiece, Tariq Aziz, to sing about their purpose: "According to Aziz, both parties understood that resale of the oil was to be reciprocated through efforts to lift U.N. sanctions, or through opposition to American initiatives within the Security Council."

    Charles Duelfer's group put on the public record the name of Charles Pasqua, France's former interior minister and now a senator. Pasqua denied all to the BBC and fingered ex-associates: "maybe other former ministers are involved."

    The former French ambassador to the U.N., Jean-Bernard Mérimée, is listed as receiving vouchers for 11 million barrels of oil from Saddam, the proceeds from which would beat a diplomat's pay. Another of President Jacques Chirac's friends receiving Saddam's U.N. largesse is Patrick Maugein, "whom the Iraqis considered a conduit to Chirac," according to the report.

    Maugein, 58, whose association with Chirac has occasionally been chronicled by the French journalist Karl Laske, is chairman of Soco, an oil company active in Vietnam. He's down for 13 million barrels. French oil companies Total and Socap got about 200 million barrels.

    A name that keeps coming up in my poking around is Marc Rich, the American billionaire who was for many years a fugitive, until blessed with one of Bill Clinton's midnight pardons. Rich's company Trafigura, spun off from the Swiss-based Glencore, and its possible dealings with outfits like Jean-Paul Cayre's Ibex have excited the interest of many of the sleuths I've spoken to.

    France's diplomats here are apoplectic, calling the unconfirmed Duelfer reports "unacceptable." They note in high dudgeon that U.S. firms involved in the U.N.'s corrupt caper are not named by the U.S. team and deride our excuse about "privacy laws."

    However, within 24 hours of the damning report's issuance, Judith Miller and her colleagues had the names of the U.S. companies involved - Chevron, Mobil, Texaco, Bay Oil and one Oscar Wyatt Jr. of Houston, who may have profited by $23 million - on the front page of The New York Times. (Will our runaway anti-press prosecutor try to clap Judy in jail for protecting her confidential government sources on this one, too?)

    The Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has issued seven subpoenas and a dozen hard-to-ignore chairman's letters from Senator Norm Coleman to companies in the U.S., as well as to multinationals doing business here. I hear the committee has met no legal resistance so far. Ben Pollner, head of Taurus Oil, active in Iraq all through the oil-for-food fiasco, stiffed Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau's men. (Pollner tells me his dealings were legal, but he clammed up to investigators because he remembers Martha Stewart.)

    What also miffs the French is that Russian officials and oligarchs were able to rip off even more than France's predators. Vladimir Zhirinovsky made out like a bandit when his party had some power; so did "the office of the Russian president" and the Peace and Unity Party, both headed by the unmentionable Putin.

    As the hares zoom by, Paul Volcker, the U.N. investigative tortoise, tells his people to forget the French and Russians and to concentrate on Kofi Annan's right-hand man, Benon Sevan, and Kofi Annan's son's relationship with Cotecna, the U.N.'s see-no-evil "monitor," The White House is wringing its hands because it needs the U.N.'s blessing on the Iraqi election, and John Kerry must be praying not to be asked about this in tonight's debate.

    If I were a French reporter and wanted to lose my job at Chirac's Le Figaro in a hurry, I would drop in at 24 Boulevard Princess Charlotte in Monaco and ask if Patrick Maugein, Rui de Souza or Mario Contini has dropped by to see if Toro Energy and the African Middle East Petroleum company are still there? If that's a blind alley, try the casino.

    -- 30 --
     
  12. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #12
    well you talked about morality in foreign trade and thought that this included weapons as well ;)
    of course it's not really different..(after all sarin,soman,tabun were developed in the germany and the german chemical industry is not really a shining example of ethical business...)
    did you know that very shortly prior to the iraqy war some iraqy secret agents tried to get their hands on parts needed to copy stinger missiles in germany and failed because of police investigations ?
    and after all germany is number 3 after US and Russia in nuclear technology...so it's very obvious that anybody interested in nuclear arms etc. would sooner and later end up in one of these countries... (more than 100 russian nuclear war-heads are still missing ..including suitcase 30-40 kg bombs btw.)
    you know after 59 years germany is still destroying nerve gas from WW2 and it will take at least a decade to destroy everything what is left perhaps more ... so it's obvious that a lot of know-how is available ...

    on the other side: did you know that the new iraqy army will again use Ak-47 as their main weapon ?...seems obvious because they have so many lying around...WRONG...they get completly factory new AK-47...from Bulgaria... because the original russian ones are about 4 tiems more expensive... well seems logical doesn't it ?..the only problem with it, is that no company outside of Russia has a license to produce Ak-47s...so the bulgarian rifles the iraqy army gets are illegal product pirated poor-quality rifles.. but you might think: "what a arms deal in iraq without money going to the US ?" .. you are completly right:the brand new product pirated AK-47s from bulgary are converted to 5.56mm NATO standard and now guess where the ammunition is bought ? (and who invested in bulgary to make those AK-47s) ;)
    i was very amused when i read about it ...
     
  13. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #13
    How did we know Saddam had WMDs? We sold them to him, of course. :p
     
  14. katchow thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    we looked at the receipt?
     
  15. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #15
    takao, count me as one who's never understood the thinking of many countries about arms sales--other than money or (during the Cold War) stirring up trouble. For that matter, I've never understood the penchant for militaries in some countries; most of South and Central America come to mind. They don't have wars or battles, generally, but Lordy! the medals those generals will wear!

    The French government has always struck me as being the most pragmatic about all this arms and technology and Bad Guys: Tacitly, "Do whatever you want, but don't do it here." So, generally, terrorists have wandered about France, but they mostly avoid setting off bombs. Mostly. And, the French can generally wander off through the mideast without the amount of hassle or hazard endured by people of other western nationalities...

    'Rat
     
  16. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #16
    the whole international arms trading is so corrupt from it's core...absolutly unbelievable (not only french ones)..in austria alone there spring 4-6 scandals to mind: last one: austria bought 18 eurofighters for roughly 3 billion €..thats about 33% more than for example the germans pay..for an airplane who is in fact not ready for shipment and in still in testing (and failing lots of tests) because of this F-5 fighters have to be leased from switzerland (for hot cash of course untill it's ready)
    funny if you know that the other favourite bider for the contract, Saab, offered 24 ready to ship Gripen (who use half the cerosin) for a billion less and were according to the austrian Air "force" the recommended choice (because athey made good experience with the saab service etc. with the Draken and other airplanes from them)....but then suddenly the finacial secretary jumped in and 'decided' to buy the _more expensive one_....it sounds so absolutly unbelievable but it is the truth what happened (i guess some would agree that it has "CORRUPTION" written all over it in bold letters...)

    (other airplanes available for purchased would have been the american F-16 who were not modern enough for it's price and produced long ago standing in the desert..or the brand new russian Mig-29 who would have been available for just forgiving a little bit russian debt in austria but they were to fuel hungry and .."not NATO-Standard"...which is funny because austria is not in the NATO ;) )
    then were there things like the NORICUM-scandal (austria illegally sold artillery guns to Iran in the 80ties:bad part: it was a daughter company of the VOEST Alpine..who were/and still are partially governmentally controlled company), buying a french rader system for too much money..forgot the name, and things like selling old tanks somewhere to africa etc etc
     
  17. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #17
    'Rat, take a look at this it pretty much blows your assertion out of the water. The US ranks at #10 and Japan at #11. If the US can only achieve #10 on the list then it must mean that we are far more of a corrupt country than you would think. James Baker, ENron, Halliburton, etc, etc all come to mind when it comes to corruption.
     
  18. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #18
    You and I both know that when the CIA is your sales rep they don't print a reciept. :rolleyes:
     
  19. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #19
    interesting graph but hard to read somehow ;)..(allignin lots of country names vertically close to each other isn't really very fine ..why not put the whole graph horicontal)
     
  20. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #20
    Hey, I never claimed alack of corruption in the U.S. What I said was that our laws about international trade include a morality aspect, outlawing bribery. That efforts are made to evade these laws is irrelevant to the intent.

    But, putting morality into law, unilaterally, creates an uneven playing field for U.S. corporations, which--obviously--impacts our job market.

    "Greed and indifference to human suffering is what made this country great." is applicable to more than just the good old U.S. of A.

    'Rat
     
  21. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #21
    A rather strange position. You are defending US behaviour in international trade on the basis that there is a law against bribery (as there is in most other "civilized" countries). The fact that there are routine and flagrant violations is excusable because it's "irrelevant to the intent". In the absence of meaningful enforcement action, this is paying lip service to the rules. No moral high ground there.

    US corporations, backed by the political, military and economic weight of the US government, have usually enjoyed severely tilted playing fields when dealing with foreign governments.
     
  22. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #22
    So 'Rat, does the Libertarian in you say that without a law regarding bribery (that damn governmental regulation) that Americans would refrain from bribery naturally?

    I find it amusing that you continually respond to bad things we do by pointing out worse things that other do. If the only defense you have is that we're not as bad as some other people, do you think that would hold up in court, or at St. Peter's gates?
     
  23. Macs R Us macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Well I really... Doubt that what they say is ture. But never the less, if it is its not right...
     
  24. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #24
    well, welcome back macs r us. Do be sure to play nice this time around...
     
  25. Macs R Us macrumors 6502

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    #25
    \

    Will do... I never had ment to get any one mad last time... And thanks for the kind welcome back, as only few noticed me :rolleyes: , but thats life...
     

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