Iraq War Justified: Paralysis, Corruption at U.N. Made Truth Impossible (Part 3)

The United Nations is by its very nature paralyzed in that five nations with incompatible views and goals can obstruct the process at will; but when corruption is added into the mix of systematic ideological biases, entrenched naiveté that borders on a prerequisite for a UN career, and blatant incompetence, then even the possibility for justice is perverted into a disgusting sham of profiteering and demagoguery – all with a profound sense of self-righteous moralistic judgmentalism. (A long sentence, I know… but describing the pompous windbags at the U.N. demands long sentences).

The United States could have the best resolution in the world for any given global issue, noble and good and effective and whatever else one wants to add; but human rights-abusing China can throw it out with its veto at will. France, based on its currently-deserved place in the world, is and has been virtually irrelevant; but with its veto power – based on its long-past heyday – gives it a clout that is completely without merit. And it is impossible to ignore the alliance with genuine evil that rapidly-approaching-totalitarianism Russia is forming in order to regain its former power and glory from its days as the vile U.S.S.R. That, plus Britain, is your U.N. Security Council, folks.

And that’s the United Nations on a really GOOD day.

What the Iraq War revealed (because no one would have ever known about it otherwise, given that we metaphorically had to pry the evidence from Saddam’s cold dead fingers) is that the United Nations implemented and participated in the greatest case of fraud and corruption in global history; and that the nations who most vociferously opposed any meaningful UN resolution – which could have shaped Iraq’s willingness to cooperate with open weapons inspections – were subsequently discovered to have been completely compromised and corrupted into serving as lackeys for the agenda of Saddam Hussein.

Given that the primary reason for the Iraq War was over the failure of meaningful weapons inspections, let me begin with what Saddam Hussein himself said about his mindset in refusing to allow weapons inspections to unfold. In a way, I am beginning at the end, but I want you to understand the case I am making, and why I am making it. I will add bold face type to point to the specific points in cited passages, but otherwise do not edit in any way.

According to the liberally-oriented Council on Foreign Relations:
Judging from his private statements, the single most important element in Saddam’s strategic calculus was his faith that France and Russia would prevent an invasion by the United States. According to Aziz, Saddam’s confidence was firmly rooted in his belief in the nexus between the economic interests of France and Russia and his own strategic goals: “France and Russia each secured millions of dollars worth of trade and service contracts in Iraq, with the implied understanding that their political posture with regard to sanctions on Iraq would be pro-Iraqi. In addition, the French wanted sanctions lifted to safeguard their trade and service contracts in Iraq. Moreover, they wanted to prove their importance in the world as members of the Security Council — that they could use their veto to show they still had power.”

Ibrahim Ahmad Abd al-Sattar, the Iraqi army and armed forces chief of staff, claimed that Saddam believed that even if his international supporters failed him and the United States did launch a ground invasion, Washington would rapidly bow to international pressure to halt the war. According to his personal interpreter, Saddam also thought his “superior” forces would put up “a heroic resistance and . . . inflict such enormous losses on the Americans that they would stop their advance.” Saddam remained convinced that, in his own words, “Iraq will not, in any way, be like Afghanistan. We will not let the war become a picnic for the American or the British soldiers. No way!” …
When it came to weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Saddam attempted to convince one audience that they were gone while simultaneously convincing another that Iraq still had them. Coming clean about WMD and using full compliance with inspections to escape from sanctions would have been his best course of action for the long run. Saddam, however, found it impossible to abandon the illusion of having WMD, especially since it played so well in the Arab world.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as “Chemical Ali” for his use of chemical weapons on Kurdish civilians in 1987, was convinced Iraq no longer possessed WMD but claims that many within Iraq‘s ruling circle never stopped believing that the weapons still existed. Even at the highest echelons of the regime, when it came to WMD there was always some element of doubt about the truth. According to Chemical Ali, Saddam was asked about the weapons during a meeting with members of the Revolutionary Command Council. He replied that Iraq did not have WMD but flatly rejected a suggestion that the regime remove all doubts to the contrary, going on to explain that such a declaration might encourage the Israelis to attack…

Ironically, it now appears that some of the actions resulting from Saddam’s new policy of cooperation actually helped solidify the coalition’s case for war. Over the years, Western intelligence services had obtained many internal Iraqi communications, among them a 1996 memorandum from the director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service directing all subordinates to “insure that there is no equipment, materials, research, studies, or books related to manufacturing of the prohibited weapons (chemical, biological, nuclear, and missiles) in your site.” And when UN inspectors went to these research and storage locations, they inevitably discovered lingering evidence of WMD-related programs.

In 2002, therefore, when the United States intercepted a message between two Iraqi Republican Guard Corps commanders discussing the removal of the words “nerve agents” from “the wireless instructions,” or learned of instructions to “search the area surrounding the headquarters camp and [the unit] for any chemical agents, make sure the area is free of chemical containers, and write a report on it,” U.S. analysts viewed this information through the prism of a decade of prior deceit. They had no way of knowing that this time the information reflected the regime’s attempt to ensure it was in compliance with UN resolutions.

What was meant to prevent suspicion thus ended up heightening it. The tidbit about removing the term “nerve agents” from radio instructions was prominently cited as an example of Iraqi bad faith by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in his February 5, 2003, statement to the UN.

We learn still more about Saddam, the nature of his regime, and of desire to maintain his WMD capability in statements made by Saddam Hussein himself. In a CBS 60 Minutes interview with FBI Special Agent Piro, who ran Saddam Hussein’s interrogation:

That June 2000 speech was about weapons of mass destruction. In talking casually about that speech, Saddam began to tell the story of his weapons. It was a breakthrough that had taken five months.

“Oh, you couldn’t imagine the excitement that I was feeling at that point,” Piro remembers.

“And what did he tell you about how his weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed?” Pelley asks.

“He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the ’90s. And those that hadn’t been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq,” Piro says.

So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk, why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?” Pelley asks.

It was very important for him to project that because that was what kept him, in his mind, in power. That capability kept the Iranians away. It kept them from reinvading Iraq,” Piro says.

Before his wars with America, Saddam had fought a ruinous eight year war with Iran and it was Iran he still feared the most.

He believed that he couldn’t survive without the perception that he had weapons of mass destruction?” Pelley asks.

Absolutely,” Piro says.

As the U.S. marched toward war and we began massing troops on his border, why didn’t he stop it then? And say, ‘Look, I have no weapons of mass destruction.’ I mean, how could he have wanted his country to be invaded?” Pelley asks.

He didn’t. But he told me he initially miscalculated President Bush. And President Bush’s intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998 under Operation Desert Fox. Which was a four-day aerial attack. So you expected that initially,” Piro says.

Piro says Saddam expected some kind of an air campaign and that he could he survive that. “He survived that once. And then he was willing to accept that type of attack. That type of damage,” he says.

Saddam didn’t believe that the United States would invade,” Pelley remarks.

Not initially, no,” Piro says.

“Once it was clear to him that there was going to be an invasion of the country. I mean, did he actually believe that his armies could win?” Pelley asks.

“No,” Piro says. “What he had asked of his military leaders and senior government officials was to give him two weeks. And at that point it would go into what he called the secret war.”

“The secret war. What did he mean?” Pelley asks.

“Going from a conventional to an unconventional war,” Piro says.

“So the insurgency was part of his plan from the very beginning,” Pelley remarks.

“Well, he would like to take credit for the insurgency,” Piro says.

The Piro interviews with Saddam turned up other revelations about one of the most notorious war crimes of his regime: the use of chemical weapons on Kurdish civilians in 1988. Iraq gassed its own people in something called the Anfal campaign to counter Iranian incursions and Kurdish resistance to his rule.

Piro says Saddam told him he himself gave the orders to use chemical weapons against the Kurds in the North. When shown the graphic pictures of the aftermath, Piro says Saddam reacted by saying, “Necessary.”

In fact, Piro says Saddam intended to produce weapons of mass destruction again, some day. “The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there,” Piro says.

And that was his intention?” Pelley asks.

Yes,” Piro says.

What weapons of mass destruction did he intend to pursue again once he had the opportunity?” Pelley asks.

He wanted to pursue all of WMD. So he wanted to reconstitute his entire WMD program,” says Piro.

Chemical, biological, even nuclear,” Pelley asks.

Yes,” Piro says.

In the summer of 2004, legal custody of Saddam transferred from the U.S. to Iraq. And Saddam had no illusions about what that meant. “Prosecution and execution,” Piro says.

And we have Saddam Hussein talking about weapons of mass destruction on tape before the U.S. invasion. Note that there is also a discussion of burying prohibited weapons:

Saddam Discusses His Nonexistent Weapons Program The Washington Times reports that Saddam Hussein sure talked a lot about a weapons program he supposedly didn’t have: Audiotapes of Saddam Hussein and his aides underscore the Bush administration’s argument that Baghdad was determined to rebuild its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction once the international community had tired of inspections and left the Iraqi dictator alone. In addition to the captured tapes, U.S. officials are analyzing thousands of pages of newly translated Iraqi documents that tell of Saddam seeking uranium from Africa in the mid-1990s.

The documents also speak of burying prohibited missiles, according to a government official familiar with the declassification process Some pundits and recently retired military officers are convinced that Saddam moved his remaining weapons to Syria. They cite satellite photos of lines of trucks heading into the neighboring country before the invasion and the fact Saddam positioned his trusted Iraqi Intelligence Service agents at border crossings.

This news reminds me of a little-noticed Chicago Tribune analysis released at the end of last year: “After reassessing the administration’s nine arguments for war, we do not see the conspiracy to mislead that many critics allege. Example: The accusation that Bush lied about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs overlooks years of global intelligence warnings that, by February 2003, had convinced even French President Jacques Chirac of “the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq.” We also know that, as early as 1997, U.S. intel agencies began repeatedly warning the Clinton White House that Iraq, with fissile material from a foreign source, could have a crude nuclear bomb within a year.”

What comes out of these sources above? We learn that:

1) That Saddam Hussein did not believe the United States would attack, in spite of President Bush’s unequivocal statements to the contrary and 150,000-plus troops on his border. Why did he think this? He thought his bribed French and Russian lackeys would protect him in the UN, and that he could ride out a US attack as long as “world opinion” – as constituted by the French and Russian-distorted view – would never sustain a real invasion.

2) That Saddam Hussein and his military and intelligence apparatus continued to put forth the impression that they had WMD so as to deter enemies from attack. How was the United States to learn the truth in such an environment in such a closed society? The U.S. could not hope to penetrate a closed totalitarian state and ferret out the truth from the lie, but neither could it withdraw from Iraq until it had done precisely that. And

3) That Saddam Hussein had EVERY intention of rebuilding his WMD and nuclear program as soon as the United States pulled back its troops and left him alone. Which is to say, had the United States not invaded when it did, it would either have had to go back and go through the year-long mess at the United Nations and another lengthy and expensive troop buildup all over again, or it would have had to tolerate Iraq possessing WMD and take the inherent risks that came from such possession.

A transcript of CIA Director George Tenet’s address from 5 Feb 2004 and the questioning that follows provides as good of an insight into the American intelligence community’s findings and mindset as anyone without a high-level security clearance could ever hope to find.

Let me now provide a series of comments from multiple media sources detailing how France and Russia completely prostituted their international policy positions on Iraq in order to financially benefit from the corrupt United Nations oil for food program. This fraud, incompetence, abuse, and corruption will be shown to extend far beyond these individual member nations and go straight to the heart of the United Nations itself. The facts reveal that the United States government simply never had any hope for any kind of legitimate redress whatsoever from the United Nations, and thus had no option but to invade:

The Oil-for-Food Scandal: Next Steps for Congress
The Oil-for-Food fraud is potentially the biggest scandal in the history of the United Nations and one of the greatest financial scandals of modern times (see Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., and James Phillips, “Investigate the United Nations Oil-for-Food Fraud,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1748, April 21, 2004). Set up in the mid-1990s as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, the U.N.-run Oil-for-Food program was subverted and manipulated by Saddam Hussein’s regime–allegedly with the complicity of U.N. officials–to help prop up the Iraqi dictator.

Oil-for-food scandal haunts United Nations
In the wake of the Iraq War, we are learning the depth and scope of Saddam Hussein’s treachery. In late November, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations concluded that the total amount of money that Saddam swindled out of the Oil-For-Food program is $21 billion, where previously it was estimated to be $10 billion. The money, which was stolen over a period of years, was part of Saddam Hussein’s master plan to reconstitute his WMD programs…

The Duelfer Report, presented to the Senate Armed Services committee in October, details the methods Saddam used to manipulate both the Oil-For-Food program and the U.N. Security Council. While the Duelfer Report states that Saddam did not possess weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), it does state that Saddam had a broader plan to get rid of U.N. weapons inspectors and erode the sanctions imposed against him in the hopes of one day reconstituting his weapons program. The report paraphrases the mindset of Saddam in this respect: “We will never lower our heads as long as we live, even if we have to destroy everybody.” Saddam destroyed his WMDs in order to allay suspicions of weapons inspectors at the same time he boasted of his arsenal in order to appear strong.

3 Nations Reportedly Slowed Probe of Oil Sales
Congressional investigators say that France, Russia and China systematically sabotaged the former United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq by preventing the United States and Britain from investigating whether Saddam Hussein was diverting billions of dollars.

The wages of greed: Robert Winnett and Stephen Grey reveal how the UN betrayed the poor of Iraq in what is being called the greatest financial scandal ever

The biggest humanitarian programme in history, it nominally allowed his regime to sell Iraqi oil to buy essential supplies under UN supervision. For years Saddam had systematically abused it to fill his own treasury and to reward foreign friends and helpful governments. The records appeared to implicate some of the most powerful figures on the planet.

In 1999-2001, the twilight days of UN sanctions against Iraq when parliamentarians from Russia and across Western Europe were rushing to Baghdad to express horror at the injustice of the decade-long embargo enforced by America and Britain, Mr Cash provided some recompense for their trouble. He sidled up as each new foreigner returned to the hotel from an audience with Saddam. “Have you been given any coupons for oil? Do you know what to do with them?” he asked.

The wages of greed
Every six months Saddam drew up a list of who would be allocated the oil. According to leaked Iraqi oil ministry documents: “During the first two stages (of the programme) the regime gave priority to Russia, China and France. This was because they were permanent members of, and hence had the ability to influence decisions made by, the UN security council. This was done by favouring companies from these countries by giving them oil contracts.”

It was in the “third stage” of the programme that Saddam began handing cut-price oil to “non-end users” — individuals unconnected to the oil industry but at the centre of international decision making, who could sell on their rights for a quick profit. The names of senior Russian and French politicians and businessmen — including an oil trader close to President Jacques Chirac and a senior Roman Catholic priest close to the Pope — have appeared in documents in Iraq. All strongly deny that they ever received or illegally profited from the sale of oil. Evidence has also emerged alleging that Benon Sevan, the UN official in charge of the oil for food programme, personally profited from selling Iraqi oil to the tune of $1.2m. He, too, strenuously denies the allegation.

By 2000 Iraq was free to sell as much oil as it wished through the programme. Corruption went into overdrive as Saddam began insisting on a kickback from every barrel of oil he allocated. A letter written on August 3, 2000 by Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, marked “urgent and confidential”, informed fellow ministers that a high command committee wanted “extra revenues” from the programme…

Saddam made an estimated $20 billion between 1996 and 2003, once oil smuggling and other bribes are taken into account — while rates of disease and malnutrition rose among the Iraqi public. Why was he allowed to get away with it for so long?…

[And when Americans and British tried to slow down oil for food to reduce the enormous fraud that they saw benefitting Saddam and providing him cash for potential weapons programs,] “The people who opposed that were the French and Russians,” said Greenstock. “We consistently got opposition in the security council from the same quarters because there were a lot of their companies involved . . . Everyone was harping on about what the Americans and British were holding up.”

Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a former chairman of the management board at Price Waterhouse Coopers now advising the Iraqi government on the oil for food investigations, believes Annan should accept his responsibilities and that the UN should be reformed. “This is the world’s worst financial scandal, which needs to be thoroughly investigated. I would be surprised if, at the end of the day, as much as 50% of what the Iraqi people were supposed to receive they actually got,” he said.

New Details Emerge: France and Russia Bought and Paid for by Oil for Food
Also on October 6, the CIA released a final report from weapons inspector Charles Duelfer which provided new details about the extent of corruption in the Oil for Food program and the ease with which Saddam was able to ignore international sanctions and illegally export oil with the cooperation of his neighbors.

Most disturbing, however, was the Duelfer report’s disclosure that supposed U.S. allies, most notably France and Russia were literally trading their friendship with Saddam’s regime for billions of dollars in profits from the sale of oil and humanitarian goods. France’s and Russia’s “friendships” apparently also included the illegal sale of guns, ammunition, military spare parts, and so-called dual use items like dump trucks that can be easily converted into missile launchers.

Many concluded long ago that the real motive behind France’s and Russia’s opposition to U.S. plans in Iraq stemmed from the billions they were getting from Saddam Hussein. But the Duelfer report finally provided many of the details that had been missing, and left the French and Russians without their proverbial clothes.

The United States NEVER had a fair shake at justice in the United Nations, because influential countries with veto power over any resolution the U.S. and its allies could hope to pass would be immediately condemned and rejected. And there is no question that Saddam Hussein had a quid pro quo understanding with France and Russia for their cooperation in circumventing any resolution which would have forced Saddam Hussein to open up his country for honest weapons inspections or face severe consequences.

Susan Sachs and Judith Miller of the New York Times wrote a 13 Aug 2004 article titled, “Under Eye of U.N., Billions for Hussein In Oil-for-Food Plan,” that further describes how the oil for food program worked and how it came to be so corrupted. But I am more focused on the corruption of the program as it related to the United Nations attitude toward any Iraq resolutions than I am toward the fraud and incompetence of the U.N. itself.

What follows is more headlines, more revelations of the shocking corruption that the U.N. faced trying to gain legitimate international momentum on Iraq. The U.S. was left with literally no choice but to unilaterally invade Iraq:

Oil-for-Terror?: There appears to be much worse news to uncover in the Oil-for-Food scandal
Beyond the billions in graft, smuggling, and lavish living for Saddam Hussein that were the hallmarks of the United Nations Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, there is one more penny yet to drop.

It’s time to talk about Oil-for-Terror.

Especially with the U.N.’s own investigation into Oil-for-Food now taking shape, and more congressional hearings in the works, it is high time to focus on the likelihood that Saddam may have fiddled Oil-for-Food contracts not only to pad his own pockets, buy pals, and acquire clandestine arms — but also to fund terrorist groups, quite possibly including al Qaeda.

There are at least two links documented already. Both involve oil buyers picked by Saddam and approved by the U.N. One was a firm with close ties to a Liechtenstein trust that has since been designated by the U.N. itself as “belonging to or affiliated with Al Qaeda.” The other was a Swiss-registered subsidiary of a Saudi oil firm that had close dealings with the Taliban during Osama bin Laden’s 1990’s heyday in Afghanistan.

As I’ve already pointed out in my first article in this series, Saddam Hussein DID have ties with terrorism. He operated a terrorist training camp which had a dedicated section for the training of foreign terrorists. And he was paying the families of Palestinian gunmen killed in battles with Israelis $15000 and the families of suicide bombers $25000. And now we have yet another definitive link between Saddam Hussein and terrorism – even al Qaeda (though, as a note, a link to ANY terrorist organization is sufficient to jeopardize the United States and merit invasion).

How the U.N. Helped Saddam Buy Allies
United Press International recently reported the discovery of documents from Saddam Hussein’s oil ministry that show the Iraqi dictator “used oil to bribe top French officials into opposing the imminent U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.”

And according to ABC News, allies of Saddam Hussein profited by pocketing the difference between the price of oil under the U.N.’s “Oil for Food” program and the price of oil on the open market. Some of these allies included “a close political associate and financial backer of French President Jacques Chirac”, “Russian political figures” including “the Russian ambassador to Baghdad” and “officials in the office of President Vladimir Putin”, “George Galloway, a British member of Parliament”, and even some—gasp!—”prominent journalists”.

Because the U.N. allowed Saddam Hussein to decide who received contracts under the “Oil for Food” program, he was able to use it as a personal slush fund to pay off his defenders. France and Russia were two of the most stubborn supporters of the Hussein regime, and their friendship was rewarded well: Russian interests got the biggest cut of the loot, while the French came in second. British politician George Galloway, who likes to refer to Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice as “the three witches“, personally pulled in nearly $10 million while defending Saddam.

Saddam paid Russia in oil for support at Security Council

SADDAM HUSSEIN rewarded Russia with oil for protecting Iraq from key British and American initiatives in the United Nations Security Council, US Senate investigators report today.
The Senate Permanent Sub-committee on Investigations found evidence that the Russian Presidential Administration and the political party that backs President Putin were among those who were paid off with oil allocations in what Iraqi officials knew as the “Saddam Bribery System.”

At one point, Saddam gave Russia additional oil and food contracts under the UN’s Oil-For-Food scheme, specifically to “show gratitude” to Moscow for vetoing a plan by the United States to crack down on cross-border smuggling by Iraq, the report says. Russia was also rewarded for derailing a British and American plan to restrict Iraqi oil sales to an approved list of recognised oil traders, the report says.

Focus: Weapons of mass corruption? The CIA says Saddam abused the UN’s oil for food scheme to buy influence. Robert Winnett reports. Saddam’s trump cards were the oil allocations or “vouchers” that he was allowed to distribute. These pieces of paper entitled the holder to a certain amount of Iraqi oil at a fixed price. By selling them on the international oil market, the voucher-holders could make a quick and virtually invisible profit. In effect, the vouchers were as good as cash, enriching anyone who could get hold of them.

According to the ISG report last week: “The UN (oil-for-food) voucher programme provided Saddam with a useful method of rewarding countries, organisations and individuals willing to co-operate with Iraq to subvert UN sanctions.”

The three biggest recipients of vouchers were Russia, France and China, which received 30%, 15% and 10% of the total respectively. Among the individuals named are the French businessman Patrick Maugein, whom the report says is considered “a conduit to President Chirac”, and Charles Pasqua, the former French interior minister.

Oil-for-Food report names companies that bribed Saddam
Saddam Hussein received $1.8 billion in bribes from more than 2,200 companies in the scramble for lucrative contracts under the United Nation’s Oil-for-Food programme, investigators claimed today.
Russia harboured the most companies involved in the programme, followed by France, according to the inquiry led by Paul Volcker, a former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board.

Many of the firms which benefited were obscure front companies which had been set up specifically to manipulate the UN programme.

The sordid truth about the oil-for-food scandal

So now we know the truth. Forget the row about Saddam’s non-existent weapons stockpiles. That, after all, should never have been the justification for war in the first place. The proper casus belli for regime change in Baghdad was Saddam’s non-compliance with 17 United Nations resolutions over a period of more than 12 years.

The real scandal contained in the long-awaited report of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) that was published last week concerns the fecklessness of the United Nations, not to mention the treacherous conduct of some of its security council members, in its dealings with Saddam’s regime between the end of the 1991 Gulf war and last year’s Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In the diplomatic build-up to last year’s war to remove Saddam Hussein from power, the two most vociferous opponents of military action were Russia and France. Even though Presidents Putin and Chirac reluctantly signed up to UN Security Council resolution 1441 in November 2002 – which threatened Saddam with “serious consequences” if he did not fully complythey were at the forefront of the international campaign to block military action.

At the time it was felt that their main motivation was to protect their lucrative trade ties with Baghdad. In late 2002, Saddam still owed the Russians some $10 billion, mainly for illegal arms deals. France came next in the trade rankings.

Even so, Moscow and Paris tried to claim that they were opposing the war as a matter of principle. That was certainly the impression Mr Chirac sought to give when he announced that he would veto any second UN resolution that authorised military action. Mr Putin also opposed the invasion of Iraq and, just as hostilities were about to commence, even dispatched Yevgeny Primakov, his trusty former KGB colleague, to Baghdad on a last-ditch mission to persuade Saddam to comply and avoid war.

Thanks to the efforts of the ISG team, we now know that there was another, even less palatable, explanation for their duplicity. Far from seeking to protect their lucrative trade ties, the real explanation for the opposition of France and Russia to the war was that both countries’ political establishments were deeply implicated in a lucrative scam to divert the profits of the UN’s oil-for-food programme into their own private coffers.

Annan faces questions on oil-for-food
THE ROLE of Kofi Annan in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal is to be investigated after it emerged that the United Nations secretary-general was in charge of some of the most controversial aspects of the discredited humanitarian programme.

Oil-for-Corruption?

The cover-up is always worse than the crime, they say. But that doesn’t necessarily hold true when you’re dealing with the crime of the century — in fact, two centuries. And the United Nations Oil-for-Food program is among the largest criminal enterprises in history.
Over the course of several years, the U.S. General Accounting Office estimates Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi dictatorship generated more than $10 billion in illegal revenues by exploiting Oil-for-Food.

Members of the U.N. seem to have been deeply involved in the scandal. For example, Benon Sevan, once the executive director of Oil-for-Food, was included on an Iraqi Oil Ministry listing of hundreds of people who allegedly received oil vouchers as bribes from Saddam’s regime.

As such details have dribbled out, the United Nations has reacted predictably — by attempting to sweep Oil-for-Food under the rug or change the subject. For example, the U.N.’s commission of inquiry, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, has been at work for almost six months. But it doesn’t seem to be making progress.

And that’s not surprising — the commission seems to have been set up to fail. As Heritage Foundation experts Nile Gardiner and James Phillips reported recently, it has “no subpoena power and is clearly open to U.N. manipulation. It bears no enforcement authority (such as contempt) to compel compliance with its requests for information and has no authority to discipline or punish any wrongdoing it discovers.”

Let the Revelations Begin

Moreover, the French, Russian, and Chinese had “much to gain from maintaining the status quo.” Confidential records of the sanctions committee examined by subcommittee staff reveal that these nations and others “continually refused to support the US and UK efforts to maintain the integrity of OFFP.”

Leaks from a highly confidential new report prepared for the interim Iraqi government confirm that Saddam’s “regime gave priority to Russia, China and France. This was because they were permanent members of, and hence had the ability to influence decisions made by, the UN Security Council.”

The report claims that Russians had a prominent role. They received “unprecedented priority” and were allocated a third of all Iraqi oil – most of which was resold to other nations. Those named as having received oil include a former senior aide to [President Vladimir] Putin’s political parties, Russian oil firms and the foreign ministry.

The Oil-for-Food Scandal: Next Steps for Congress

The Oil-for-Food fraud is potentially the biggest scandal in the history of the United Nations and one of the greatest financial scandals of modern times. Set up in the mid-1990s as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, the U.N.-run Oil-for-Food program was subverted and manipulated by Saddam Hussein’s regime–allegedly with the complicity of U.N. officials–to help prop up the Iraqi dictator.

Saddam’s dictatorship was able to siphon off an estimated $10 billion from the program through oil smuggling and systematic thievery, by demanding illegal payments from companies buying Iraqi oil, and through kickbacks from those selling goods to Iraq–all under the noses of U.N. bureaucrats.
Members of the U.N. staff that administered the program have been accused of gross incompetence, mismanagement, and possible complicity with the Iraqi regime. Benon Sevan, former executive director of the Oil-for-Food program, appeared on an Iraqi Oil Ministry list of 270 individuals, political entities, and companies from across the world that allegedly received oil vouchers as bribes from Saddam Hussein’s regime….

The heated U.N. Security Council debates before the U.S.-led war to liberate Iraq cannot remain separated from the Oil-for-Food program and the fact that influential politicians, major companies, and political parties from key Security Council member countries may have benefited financially from the program.

The Al Mada list of 270 individuals, political entities, and businesses across the world that allegedly received oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein’s regime included no fewer than 46 Russian and 11 French names. The Russian government alone allegedly received an astonishing $1.36 billion in oil vouchers.

The list of Russian entities accused of accepting bribes from Saddam goes to the heart of the Russian financial and political establishment and includes the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian Communist Party, Lukoil, Yukos, Gasprom, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the chief of the President’s Bureau. The list of French names includes former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua.

The close ties between Russian and French politicians and the Iraqi regime may have been an important factor in influencing their governments’ decision to oppose Hussein’s removal from power. They also highlight the close triangular working relationships among Paris, Moscow, and Baghdad and the huge French and Russian financial interests in pre-liberation Iraq. Prior to the regime change in April 2003, French and Russian oil companies possessed oil contracts with the Saddam Hussein regime that covered roughly 40 percent of the country’s oil wealth (See Carrie Satterlee, “Facts on Who Benefits from Keeping Saddam Hussein in Power,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 217, February 28, 2003).

Without a shred of evidence, European and domestic critics have frequently derided the Bush Administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq as an “oil grab” driven by U.S. corporations such as Halliburton. They ignore the reality that the leading opponents of war at the U.N. Security Council–Russia and France–had vast oil interests in Iraq, protected by the Saddam Hussein regime. The Oil-for-Food program and its elaborate system of kickbacks and bribery was also a major source of revenue for many European politicians and business concerns, especially in Moscow [Note: it is now apparent after five years of war that the United States has fundamentally left Iraqi oil alone, proving the falseness of the above charge].

3 Nations Reportedly Slowed Probe of Oil Sales
Congressional investigators say that France, Russia and China systematically sabotaged the former United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq by preventing the United States and Britain from investigating whether Saddam Hussein was diverting billions of dollars.

In a briefing paper given yesterday to members of the House subcommittee investigating the program, the investigators said their review of the minutes of a United Nations Security Council subcommittee meeting showed that the three nations “continually refused to support the U.S. and U.K. efforts to maintain the integrity” of the program.

The program, set up in 1996, was an effort to keep pressure on Mr. Hussein to disarm while helping the Iraqi people survive the sanctions imposed after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The briefing paper was prepared by the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, before hearings scheduled for Tuesday on the scandal-ridden program.

The paper suggests that France, Russia and China blocked inquiries into Iraq‘s manipulation of the program because their companies “had much to gain from maintaining” the status quo. “Their businesses made billions of dollars through their involvement with the Hussein regime and O.F.F.P.,” the document states, using the initials for the program. No officials of the three governments could be reached for comment.

The paper also accuses the United Nations office charged with overseeing the program of having “pressed” contractors not to rigorously inspect Iraqi oil being sold and the foreign goods being bought. The program office, headed by Benan Sevan, who is also under investigation by a committee appointed by the United Nations, turned a blind eye to corruption charges, the paper says, because it apparently saw oil-for-food “strictly as a humanitarian program.

Oil for Food, Fraud, Terror, etc. Moreover, Oil-for-Food gave several key players a financial interest in the survival of Saddam’s tyrannical regime. The U.N. had an interest in seeing the program grow, as it received a 2.2 percent cut (a total of $1.8 billion) of every deal for administrative costs (more here). So did some conspicuous opponents of the U.S.-led coalition. Gardiner, Phillips, and Dean note that over fifty French and Russian oil companies possessed oil contracts with the Saddam Hussein regime that covered roughly 40 percent of the country’s oil wealth.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has launched a special investigation into the scandal, (though he hasn’t yet labeled it as ‘illegal’) but the Independent Inquiry Committee into the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker is “strikingly opaque,” conclude Nile Gardiner and James Phillips. So far, Volcker has refused to cooperate with Congress by releasing 55 internal U.N. audits and other documents (see more on Congressional investigations here). According to Gardiner and Phillips, “[t]he Commission bears all the hallmarks of a toothless paper tiger, with no subpoena power, no enforcement authority, no deadline, and no accountability.

As Rosett wrote back in April, “[t]he issue is not simply how much Saddam pilfered but whether he availed himself of the huge opportunities to fund carnage under the cover of U.N. sanctions and humanitarian relief.” That is, did some of those unaccounted-for billions go to fund terror against the United States and Saddam’s own people? Marc Perelman unearthed at least two links in a June 2003 Forward piece. While journalists inexplicably failed to follow-up on his findings on Asat Trust and Delta Oil, Fox News released the results of a new investigation over the weekend. As the New York Post reports:

“The network found that Hayel Saeed Anam, a director of a Yemeni company [HSA Group] that did $286 million worth of business with the program, is also the founder of a European-based firm called Malaysian Swiss Gulf and African Chamber – abbreviated MIGA – [which] was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as “belonging to or associated with” al Qaeda [Fox called MIGA a “terrorist chamber of commerce”]. Fox said that in 1984, Anam gave power of attorney to run MIGA to financier Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, a member of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, who also ran a bank designated by the Treasury Department as a financial backer of al Qaeda.”

The wages of greed
Robert Winnett and Stephen Grey reveal how the UN betrayed the poor of Iraq in what is being called the greatest financial scandal ever.

On July 1 the world’s attention was on Baghdad. Three days after the Americans had formally handed power to an interim Iraqi government, Saddam Hussein was due in court to face charges of war crimes and genocide.

When Ehsan Karim left home that Thursday morning, however, he had other things on his mind. A little-known government accountant, Karim was in charge of the Iraqi supreme audit board. Not obviously a frontline job, it would nonetheless cost him his life.
After trawling through the financial records of Saddam’s former regime, Karim had uncovered evidence of a multi-billion-dollar global web of deceit and corruption.

Saddam ‘bought UN allies’ with oil
A LEAKED report has exposed the extent of alleged corruption in the United Nations’ oil-for-food scheme in Iraq, identifying up to 200 individuals and companies that made profits running into hundreds of millions of pounds from it.

The report largely implicates France and Russia, whom Saddam Hussein targeted as he sought support on the UN Security Council before the Iraq war. Both countries were influential voices against UN-backed action.

A senior UN official responsible for the scheme is identified as a major beneficiary. The report, marked “highly confidential”, also finds that the private office of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, profited from the cheap oil. Saddam’s regime awarded this oil during the run-up to the war when military action was being discussed at the UN…

The former Iraqi regime was in effect free to “allocate” oil to whom it wished. Dozens of private individuals were given oil at knockdown prices. They were able to nominate recognised traders to buy the cheap oil from the Iraqi state oil firm and sell it for a personal profit.

The report says oil was given to key countries: “The regime gave priority to Russia, China and France. This was because they were permanent members of, and hence had the ability to influence decisions made by, the UN Security Council. The regime . . . allocated ‘private oil’ to individuals or political parties that sympathised in some way with the regime.”

The report claims that Russians had a prominent role. They received “unprecedented priority” and were allocated a third of all Iraqi oil — most of which was resold to other nations. Besides Putin’s private office, those named as having received oil include political parties, Russian oil firms and the foreign ministry

A section of the report on Russian involvement says Saddam and his henchmen furthered “their political and propagandist cause through companies, individuals and political parties that have no relation to the oil industry. Through their activities, they have gained the indebtedness of the Russian Federation and with that, its weight and leadership on the world stage as well as its permanent membership of the UN Security Council”.

Last week Claude Hankes-Drielsma, an Iraqi government adviser who worked on the investigation, confirmed the report as genuine. “The records demonstrate that the UN oil-for-food programme provided Saddam with a vehicle to buy support internationally by bribing political parties, companies, journalists and other individuals,” he said. “This shows the need for a complete review of the UN.”

Report: U.N. oil-for-food fraud widespread: 2,000 firms made $1.8 billion in illicit payments to Iraq, investigation finds
UNITED NATIONS – About 2,200 companies in the U.N. oil-for-food program, including corporations in the United States, France, Germany and Russia, paid a total of $1.8 billion in kickbacks and illicit surcharges to Saddam Hussein’s government, a U.N.-backed investigation said in a report released Thursday.
The report from the committee probing the $64 billion program said prominent politicians also made money from extensive manipulation of the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq.

The investigators reported that companies and individuals from 66 countries paid illegal kickbacks using a variety of ways, and those paying illegal oil surcharges came from, or were registered in, 40 countries.
There were two main types of manipulation: surcharges paid for humanitarian contracts for spare parts, trucks, medical equipment and other supplies; and kickbacks for oil contracts…

But Saddam, who could choose the buyers of Iraqi oil and the sellers of humanitarian goods, corrupted the program by awarding contracts to — and getting kickbacks from — favored buyers, mostly parties who supported his regime or opposed the sanctions.

Tracing the politicization of oil contracts, the report said Iraqi leaders in the late 1990s decided to deny American, British and Japanese companies allocations to purchase oil because of their countries’ opposition to lifting sanctions.

At the same time, it said, Iraq gave preferential treatment to France, Russia and China, which were perceived to be more favorable to lifting sanctions and were also permanent members of the Security Council.

An article from 21 April 2004 titled “Investigate the United Nations Oil-for-Food Fraud” by by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., and James Phillips had the following:
There is mounting evidence that the United Nations Oil-for-Food program, originally conceived as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, was subverted by Saddam Hussein’s regime and manipulated to help prop up the Iraqi dictator. Saddam’s dictatorship was able to siphon off an estimated $10 billion from the Oil-for-Food program through oil smuggling and systematic thievery, by demanding illegal payments from companies buying Iraqi oil, and through kickbacks from those selling goods to Iraq–all under the noses of U.N. bureaucrats. The members of the U.N. staff administering the program have been accused of gross incompetence, mismanagement, and possible complicity with the Iraqi regime in perpetrating the biggest scandal in U.N. history.

As previously already noted, the figures provided – already characterized as the “the biggest scandal in U.N. history” would subsequently DOUBLE (showing just how massive this scandal truly was) as even more evidence emerged. The article continues:

Emerging from the evidence is a mosaic of international corruption involving a patchwork of politicians and businesses across the world that benefited from the Oil-for-Food program and helped to keep Hussein in power. The Iraqi Oil Ministry recently released a partial list of beneficiaries: 270 names of individuals, political entities, and companies from across the world who received oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein’s regime, allegedly at below-market prices (The names were published in January in the Arabic Iraqi newspaper Al Mada and subsequently reported on in Therese Raphael, “Saddam’s Global Payroll,” The Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2004).

The list includes former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, the “director of the Russian President’s office,” the Russian Communist Party, the Ukraine Communist Party, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the son of Lebanese President Emile Lahud, the son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass, and George Galloway, a British Member of Parliament.

Ominously, the list also implicates U.N. Assistant Secretary General Benon V. Sevan, executive director of the Oil-for-Food program, who has stringently denied any wrongdoing. Sevan, a longtime U.N. bureaucrat with close ties to Kofi Annan, has taken an extended vacation, pending retirement later this month.

Kofi Annan’s son Kojo may also be implicated in the mushrooming scandal. Kojo Annan had ties to Cotecna Inspection SA, a Swiss-based company that received a contract for inspecting goods shipped to Iraq under the Oil-for-Food program. The younger Annan worked for Cotecna in the mid-1990s and became a consultant to the company until shortly before it won the Oil-for-Food contract (Claudia Rosett, “Turtle Bay’s Carnival of Corruption: Digging Deeper into the Scandalous Oil for Food Program,” National Review, March 21, 2004, at http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/rosett200403212155.asp). Cotecna, reportedly implicated in earlier bribery scandals, did not disclose this potential conflict of interest, and neither did the United Nations.

No fewer than 46 Russian and 11 French names appear on the Iraqi Oil Ministry list (For a full list of names by nationality, see Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli, The Saddam Oil Vouchers Affair, Middle East Media Research Institute, February 20, 2004, at memri.org/bin/opener.cgi?Page=archives&ID=IA16404). The Russian government is alleged to have received an astonishing $1.36 billion in oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein.

The close ties between French and Russian politicians and the Iraqi regime may have been an important factor in influencing their governments’ decision to oppose Hussein’s removal from power. They also highlight the close working relationships between Moscow and Baghdad and between Paris and Baghdad, and the huge French and Russian financial interests in pre-liberation Iraq.

Prior to the regime change in April 2003, French and Russian oil companies possessed oil contracts with the Saddam Hussein regime that covered roughly 40 percent of the country’s oil wealth. French oil giant Total Fina Elf had won contracts to develop the Majnoon and Nahr Umar oil fields in southern Iraq, which contain an estimated 26 billion barrels of oil (25 percent of Iraq’s oil reserves). Russian company Lukoil had won the contract to develop the West Qurna field, also in southern Iraq, which has an estimated 15 billion barrels of oil (See Carrie Satterlee, “Facts on Who Benefits from Keeping Saddam Hussein in Power,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 217, February 28, 2003).

Political and military ties between Moscow and Baghdad were extensive. Documents found in the bombed-out headquarters of the Mukhabarat (the Iraqi intelligence service under Hussein) reveal the full extent of intelligence cooperation between the Russian and Iraqi governments.

According to reports in the London Sunday Telegraph:
Russia provided Saddam Hussein’s regime with wide-ranging assistance in the months leading up to the war, including intelligence on private conversations between Tony Blair and other Western leaders. Moscow also provided Saddam with lists of assassins available for “hits” in the West and details of arms deals to neighbouring countries” (see also David Harrison, “Revealed: Russia Spied on Blair for Saddam,” The Sunday Telegraph (London), April 13, 2003).

The Russians are also believed to have sold arms to Iraq illegally right up until the outbreak of war with the United States in March 2003. The Bush Administration has accused Russian arms dealers of selling anti-tank guided missiles, electronic jamming equipment, and thousands of night vision goggles to the Iraqis in open violation of U.N. sanctions.13 During Hussein’s dictatorship, Russia reportedly provided him with $14 billion worth of arms shipments (David Harrison, “Revealed: Russia Spied on Blair for Saddam”).

Evidence has also come to light of intimate political cooperation between Paris and Baghdad in the period leading up to the U.S.-led war against Saddam Hussein. Documents found in the wreckage of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry reveal that “Paris shared with Baghdad the contents of private transatlantic meetings and diplomatic traffic from Washington (Matthew Campbell, “Dossier Reveals France Briefed Iraq on U.S. Plans,” The Sunday Times (London), April 27, 2003).

Officials in the French Foreign Office reportedly shared information with their Iraqi counterparts on a sensitive meeting between former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Details of talks between French President Jacques Chirac and President George W. Bush were also reportedly passed on to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry by the French ambassador in Baghdad. One Russian company signed contracts valued at about $20 million to provide material for Iraq’s missile systems. Another Russian firm, Uliss, negotiated a deal to support a tank project dubbed “Saddam the Lion,” according to the report.

See also the fact sheet, “Facts on Who Benefits From Keeping Saddam Hussein In Power.”

The French Connection
France, China and Syria all have a common reason for keeping American and British troops out of Iraq: the three nations may not want the world to discover that their nationals have been illicitly supplying Saddam Hussein with materials used in building long-range surface-to-surface missiles.

We’re not talking about short-range Al Samoud 2 missiles, which Saddam is ostentatiously destroying to help his protectors avert an invasion, nor his old mobile Scuds. The delivery system for mass destruction warheads requires a much more sophisticated propulsion system and fuels.

If you were running the Iraqi ballistic missiles project, where in the world would you go to buy the chemical that is among the best binders for solid propellant?

Saddam’s Arsenal: Arms From France, Russia, Germany, Belgium and China

Paris, Moscow, Berlin, Brussels and Beijing all threaten to veto any U.N. move for the United States to war with Iraq. All of these worldly members have vowed to strike a blow for peace and not challenge Saddam Hussein. However, Saddam has more than just diplomacy to thank our global allies for.

Saddam is not one to settle for second best. Thus, Saddam had to arm his nation with the best military equipment the world could offer. Saddam’s quest to arm his country led him on a shopping spree in Paris, Moscow, Berlin, Brussels and Beijing.

For articles detailing the evidence of the above mentioned moving of Saddam Hussein’s WMD arsenal to Syria prior to the U.S. invasion, see the following articles:

Many Helped Iraq Evade U.N. Sanctions On Weapons
The French were hardly alone in helping Hussein to reinvigorate his military forces during the 12 years that Iraq was under strict U.N. sanctions. Arm dealers and military suppliers from the former Eastern Bloc — Russia, Poland, Romania, Belarus and Ukraine — provided critical assistance to Iraq as it tried to build a long-range missile program and other systems that weapons inspectors feared could have been used someday to launch chemical, biological or even nuclear attacks.

“It was well known within the U.S. government that individuals and companies were selling Iraq various kinds of prohibited items,” said Gary Samore, a nonproliferation specialist in the Clinton administration who now works as an analyst for the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
While the United States sought to shut down suppliers through diplomatic and other means, Samore said, it was common knowledge that Iraq was able to bypass sanctions by buying in small quantities and paying high prices, using a network of front companies in Jordan, Syria and other countries in the Middle East.

“The world is awash in conventional arms, and every time there’s been an arms embargo on a country they’ve been able to circumvent it,” he said. “It’s much more difficult to buy more exotic technologies like nuclear weapons, but there are so many private dealers and corrupt state entities, especially in the former Soviet Union. The best you can do is slow down sales, obstruct them or make it more expensive.”
Some of the clearest evidence of government corruption, according to the report, involved Russia, a country that has vast storehouses of military technology.

Although the Russian government has denied past accusations that it played a role in supplying arms and military equipment to Hussein’s government, U.S. weapons inspectors reported finding “a significant amount of captured documentation showing contracts between Iraq and Russian companies.”

In one case, a Russian general, Anatoly Makros, formed a joint company with Iraqi partners in 1998 “just to handle the large volume of Russian business,” according to the report, which also cited a former Iraqi diplomat as saying that Russian customs officials ignored the illegal commerce in exchange for bribes. Trade with Russia was so brisk that Iraqi Embassy officials smuggled military supplies on weekly charter flights from Moscow to Baghdad, according to the former Iraqi diplomat, who was not named in the report. The equipment included radar jammers, night-vision goggles and small missile components.

The French Connection
France, China and Syria all have a common reason for keeping American and British troops out of Iraq: the three nations may not want the world to discover that their nationals have been illicitly supplying Saddam Hussein with materials used in building long-range surface-to-surface missiles.

We’re not talking about short-range Al Samoud 2 missiles, which Saddam is ostentatiously destroying to help his protectors avert an invasion, nor his old mobile Scuds. The delivery system for mass destruction warheads requires a much more sophisticated propulsion system and fuels.

If you were running the Iraqi ballistic missiles project, where in the world would you go to buy the chemical that is among the best binders for solid propellant?

Saddam’s Arsenal: Arms From France, Russia, Germany, Belgium and China
Paris, Moscow, Berlin, Brussels and Beijing all threaten to veto any U.N. move for the United States to war with Iraq. All of these worldly members have vowed to strike a blow for peace and not challenge Saddam Hussein. However, Saddam has more than just diplomacy to thank our global allies for.

Saddam is not one to settle for second best. Thus, Saddam had to arm his nation with the best military equipment the world could offer. Saddam’s quest to arm his country led him on a shopping spree in Paris, Moscow, Berlin, Brussels and Beijing.

For articles detailing the evidence of the above mentioned moving of Saddam Hussein’s WMD arsenal to Syria prior to the U.S. invasion, see the following articles:

In addition, there are legitimate questions whether a massive bomb plot uncovered in Jordan used expertise and materials that came from Iraq.

In this absolutely toxic environment, the United States recognized that it had no feasible alternative but to go to war. The Iraq resolution was overwhelmingly passed by both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, with 29 Democrats voting to support the resolution and only 21 opposed. In addition, there is a massive trove of statements compiled by snopes.com from Democrats acknowledging both that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and that he posed a clear and present danger to the United States. There subsequent repudiation of the war they supported represents one of the most despicable acts in U.S. political history.

The Iraq War resolution can be found here. It was granted to the President of the United States in the name of the people of the United States by their duly appointed elected representatives. Like it or not, it was the United States of America – and not President George Bush – which voted to go to war.

If anyone actually bothers to read that war resolution, you’ll find it all there: Saddam Hussein’s violation of his surrender terms; his repeated acts of firing on our forces conducting legitimate operations as agreed in the cease fire agreement from the Gulf War; his longstanding refusal to cooperate with weapons inspectors in direct violation of U.N. Resolution 1441; his ties to terrorist groups. And the long-term threat he steadfastly maintained to our strategic interests if we left him in power. All of that and more is found right there in the resolution in plain black and white.

Another document worth reading is the Apparatus of Lies: Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990-2003, which details the longstanding pattern that mandated his removal in the aftermath of 9/11.

Every major intelligence service in the world – whether in Asia, Europe, or the Middle East – believed along with the United States that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that his possession represented a potential threat. British, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Australian, Saudi Arabian, Turkey, you name it, they accepted that conclusion. Paul Pillar wrote in “Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq,” Foreign Affairs 85:2 (March/April 2006): “the Bush administration was quite right: its perception of Saddam’s weapons capacities was shared by the Clinton administration, congressional Democrats, and most other Western governments and intelligence services.” See also Mortimer B. Zuckerman, “Foul-ups — Not Felonies,” U.S. News and World Report (November 14, 2005)).

Hans Blix, the head of the un inspection effort in Iraq, reported as much to the Security Council two weeks before the invasion began: “intelligence agencies have expressed the view the proscribed programs [in Iraq] have continued or restarted in this period [since 1998].” “It is further contended,” he noted, “that proscribed programs and items are located in underground facilities . . . and that proscribed items are being moved around Iraq.” From this information, Blix himself drew the judgment that, although Iraq had undertaken “a substantial measure of disarmament,” Iraq’s actions, “three to four months into the new resolution [referring to U.N. Resolution 1441], cannot be said to constitute immediate cooperation, nor do they necessarily cover all areas of relevance.” (“In a Chief Inspector’s Words: A Substantial Measure of Disarmament,” excerpts from reports by Hans Blix and Mohammed El Baradei to the un Security Council, New York Times (March 8, 2003)).

Those are the facts as basically all the world’s intelligence experts understood them at the time.

There was a process that the United Nations ostensibly provided by which two nations in material disagreement could come to a fair resolution. But what should have been an honest process was interfered with and corrupted by powerful member nations and by the United Nations itself. If we are going to blame anyone for the invasion, then let us blame countries like France and Russia, as well as the corrupt and grossly incompetent and negligent United Nations. They made it impossible for any just solution to prevail. In Saddam Hussein’s own words and thoughts, their protection and interference gave him the idea that he could defy the United States and keep the inspectors at bay without any meaningful consequence.

What would have happened had the U.N functioned as it should have functioned? The legitimate concerns of his past, present, and future WMD program would have been taken seriously. Resolutions would have been passed that mandated consequences for any failure to comply. Faced with no powerful corrupt ally on the outside, Saddam Hussein may very well have opened up his regime to inspection and averted war. As it is, France, Russia and other such countries self-righteously criticized the United States while literally making deals with the devil. They put the security of the United States and quite possibly the world at risk for the sake of profit and self-advancement. They transformed a humanitarian program that was supposed to feed the hungry and needy people of Iraq into a den of thieves that only profited criminals in high places.

There is plenty of blameworthy parties leading up to the Iraq War. Saddam Hussein, for his refusal to cooperate with the arms inspections; France, Russia, and China, for allowing themselves to be corrupted by Saddam Hussein, and for opposing any U.N. resolution that had any hope of forcing Iraq’s cooperation; and the United Nations itself, for incompetence and negligence. Rather than being the deceitful and malicious party – as so many have claimed – the United States was actually the only party that was acting honorably and reasonably.

See also Part 1: Iraq War Justified: Lessons from Saddam’s History

See also Part 2: Iraq War Justified: What the Chronology Reveals

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5 Responses to “Iraq War Justified: Paralysis, Corruption at U.N. Made Truth Impossible (Part 3)”

  1. Thomas Jackson Says:

    Once again, Michael, you buy into post-invasion rationalizations that have been subsequently debunked. The one about experts analyzing documents “proving” that Iraq wa planning to restart it’s WMD programs? That one was debunked just a few weeks ago, after an exhaustive study of the very documents you claim showed that there was no such intent, program, or any other substitution term for the debunked lie that Iraq had WMDs.

    You are correct that some of Husseins remarks did indeed bluff his adversaries. Take a look at Iran. Understand, now? Israel has nuclear weapons. Think that might have been a motivating factor?

    You are incorrect, however, that Hussein persisted in deception beyond all reason. His December 2002 declaration on WMDs, demanded by Bush, was IN FACT, a correct declaration. The Bush Administration scoffed and dismissed it, claiming that Iraq had failed to account for the Niger uranium and the aluminum tubes that were fabrications of the Bush Administration! No better example exists that shows the deliberate commission of The Crime Against Peace by the Bush Administration. The Bush Administration rejected the Iraqi declaration that complied with 1441 based upon stuff that the Bush Administration MADE UP themselves.

    Rather than do the hard work of statesmanship, persistent intelligence work and diplomacy to bring Hussein down based upon his crimes, the Bush Administration topped Hussein’s crimes and sought to rival the likes of Hitler and Stalin. History is written by the winners, right? Well, Hitler had a pretty good run before his policies of pre-emptive warfare and imperial conquest and international anarchy and national exceptionalism did him in.

  2. Thomas Jackson Says:

    “The Al Mada list of 270 individuals, political entities, and businesses across the world that allegedly received oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein’s regime included no fewer than 46 Russian and 11 French names.”

    Hmmm. Who were the OTHER 214?

  3. Michael Eden Says:

    Thomas,
    I came across the “list” that you refer to. I don’t remember how many names were from what country. But I DO document as a simple fact that Russia and France received FAR, FAR more money in vouchers than any other country. The number of names doesn’t matter. If two guys each get a couple $ billion, and 1000 other people get a few bucks each, is it a big deal that there were 1002 names on the list?

    Did Saddam claim he didn’t have WMD? Sure, he did. But so what? Every country in the Arab world believed he DID have it, and the claim was seen as purely kneejerk. Did you expect him to say he DID have it to the US, and give the US position credibility? Are you seriously that naive?

    Okay, so you think that Iran will be as responsible with its nuclear weapons as Israel has been with its nukes? Let me promise you something, Thomas: one day, Iran WILL get nuclear weapons (because of all the people who think like you do), and you will live to deeply regret it. You might even recall this article, and this conversation when a nuclear bomb goes off somewhere.

    The real point of this part 3 piece is to document that the United States had NO chance whatsoever of ever getting a meaningful inspection resolution through the UN. I believe I substantiate that overwhelmingly. If I am wrong, please document the case for me.

  4. Thomas Jackson Says:

    Iran is an original signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and they have not violated that treaty. They have abided by the terms of the treaty officially.

    What is a concern right now, is that certain elements of the Iranian military had contacts with North Korea and AQ Khan’s network. Those persons must be prosecuted. They violated international law, and they violated the laws of Iran, too.

    Know who outed AQ Khan’s network? One of the last projects of a certain VALERIE PLAME. The nuclear black market was exposed when AQ Khan’s network was outed, and there are several high ranking names in the Bush Administration who have some explaining yet to do about that issue.

    There were several reasons Plame was betrayed, and there will be a much broader understanding of it all publicly before this is all over.

  5. Michael Eden Says:

    Thomas,
    In light of the acknowledgment by the IAEA head that Iran is within as little as six months away from producing nuclear weapons, anyone who cares about the truth can see how profoundly wrong you are, and how completely your thinking is dominated by ideology rather than truth.

    http://poligazette.com/2008/06/24/elbaradei-iran-can-have-nuclear-weapons-within-6-monts-1-y

    ear/

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