Captain's Quarters Blog

« Osama Been Forgotten . . . or Obliterated? | Main | Driving Miss First Mate »

October 7, 2004
A Familiar Name Among The Bribed

Fox News's article on the ISG report ties more names to the widescale corruption at the UN which enabled Saddam to subvert the international sanctions John Kerry claims had him "trapped". Billions of dollars made their way illegally into Saddam's coffers, and some familiar names benefitted from the kickbacks:

Suitcases full of cash, secret bank accounts, covert operatives, corrupt politicians on the take. A report detailing alleged illicit U.N. Oil-for-Food deals with the former Iraq government paints a portrait of Saddam Hussein as an international gangster -- not a nuclear terrorist. ...

The report, delivered Wednesday by Charles Duelfer, who was charged to investigate the extent of Iraq's weapons programs, relies on internal Iraqi documents and extensive interviews with members of the former regime now imprisoned in Iraq.

Although Saddam opposed the program at first, he quickly realized it could be exploited and did so with mendacious verve until the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, former Iraqi officials report.

Saddam was able to "subvert" the $60 billion U.N. Oil-for-Food program to generate an estimated $1.7 billion in revenue outside U.N. control from 1997-2003, Duelfer's report says.

In addition to Oil-for-Food schemes, Iraq brought in over $8 billion in illicit oil deals with Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Egypt through smuggling or illegal pumping through pipelines during the full period that sanctions were in place from 1991-2003, the report says.

Syria, it should be noted, sat on the UN Security Council and had responsibility to enforce its sanctions on Saddam. Instead, as the LA Times detailed in December 2003, Bashir Assad deliberately undermined the sanctions regime in order to both enrich himself and curry favor with his Ba'ath colleague and sometime rival. Egypt gets $2B a year from the US to maintain its alliance with us and Israel, but decided to moonlight for spare change. Jordan and especially Turkey are supposedly our allies, Turkey being an example of an Islamic democracy that we would like to duplicate. Perhaps they prefer the French, who also made a lot of money stabbing us in the back.

Fox notes some individuals who made out pretty well by selling out - Benon Sevan, for one, who ran the Oil-For-Food program and has recently taken to saying that enforcement of the rules wasn't his job. The oil vouchers he received from Saddam could have brought him an extra $2M. A Russian colonel got between $15-$20M, although she intended to disperse it among colleagues, and it's always good to see people sharing their good fortune.

One name leaps out from the crowd, however. People may recall the pardon scandals at the end of the Clinton presidency in January 2001, just as Clinton prepared to leave office. One pardon in particular raised eyebrows across the political spectrum, and that same name has mysteriously reappeared in the UNSCAM fallout:

In what the report calls, "an open secret," the Iraqi government demanded illicit surcharges of 25-to-30 cents on all barrels of oil bought, which buyers had to secretly pay before the deals were sealed. They complied because the Iraqis were selling slightly below market prices.

One of the most prolific purchasers of the oil was Swiss-based Glencore run by one-time fugitive American financier Marc Rich, which the report alleges paid over $3.2 million in kickbacks to the Iraqi government. Rich, formerly wanted for tax-evasion was pardoned by President Clinton in his last days in office.

The report says that the company denies any inappropriate deals.

At the time of the pardon, many people puzzled over why Bill Clinton would pardon a man who fled the country and whose status as a fugitive had been under negotiation with the FBI just prior to Clinton's action. Instead of cutting a deal with Rich to get him back to the US to face charges, Clinton pulled the rug out from under the FBI. Without the leverage of the charges, Rich had no further motivation to cooperate with the DoJ on any outstanding investigations.

At the time, the presumption was that Rich's wife had donated enough money to buy the pardon. Now, however, the question may be whether Clinton knew about the corruption and feared that an aggressive Bush administration policy would uncover Rich's participation in undermining Iraqi sanctions while Rich raised funds for both his presidential library and Hillary's election. Or maybe the issue runs even deeper than that? (hat tip: G Gotway)

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 7, 2004 9:37 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A Familiar Name Among The Bribed:

» Did Clinton Gain From Oil-For-Food? from RIGHT ON RED >>
That's the question Ed Morrissey is asking. It seems that one of the parties making out quite nicely in the Oil-for-Food program was the Swiss company Glencore, run by Marc Rich. Remember him? He's the fugitive American financier whom Bill Clinton... [Read More]

Tracked on October 7, 2004 11:48 PM

» Marc Rich, Former Clinton Pardonee, Tied To O.F.F. from Friends of Saddam - U.N.'s oil-for-food abused, report says Saddam's oil kickbacks The most lucrative exploitation of the program involved kickbacks from companies executing legal sales of oil. Under the terms of the U.N resolution establishing the progr... [Read More]

Tracked on October 9, 2004 3:24 AM

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!