Friends of Saddam Weblog launched

Friends of Saddam is a new weblog launched to keep us apprised of the scandal surrounding Kofi Annan and the UN Oil for Food Program.

I quote from the article, "The Oil for Food Scam: What Did Kofi Annan Know, and When Did He Know It?" by Claudia Rosett. (Original link pulled from the blog cited above. Note that all emphasis will be mine. -- L.)

It worked like this. Saddam would sell at below-market prices to his hand-picked customers—the Russians and the French were special favorites—and they could then sell the oil to third parties at a fat profit. Part of this profit they would keep, part they would kick back to Saddam as a "surcharge," paid into bank accounts outside the UN program, in violation of UN sanctions.

By means of this scam, Saddam’s regime ultimately skimmed off for itself billions of dollars in proceeds that were supposed to have been spent on relief for the Iraqi people. When the scheme was reported in the international press—in November 2000, for example, Reuters carried a long dispatch about Saddam’s demands for a 50-cent premium over official UN prices on every barrel of Iraqi oil—the UN haggled with Saddam but did not stop it.

Beyond that, Saddam had also begun smuggling out oil through Turkey, Jordan, and Syria. This was in flagrant defiance of UN sanctions and made a complete mockery of Oil-for-Food, whose whole point was to channel all of Saddam’s trade. The smuggling, too, was widely reported in the press—and shrugged off by the UN. In the same period, Saddam imposed his own version of sanctions on the U.S., demanding that Oil-for-Food funds be switched from dollars into euros. The UN complied, thereby making it even harder for observers to keep track of its largely secretive and confusing bookkeeping.

Compelling evidence, which serves to make the UN's involvement in any humanitarian effort suspect. Also damning considering that the press no longer makes a single peep about activities they were formerly outraged over.

Can anyone say "manipulation of public opinion"?

Add Friends of Saddam to your blogroll to keep abreast of this putrid matter.

(Hat tip to David at Ripples)

posted by Linda on April 23, 2004 05:10 PM

» Spacecraft links with: Friends of Saddam

Interesting... though I must admit I got thrown off by the title. Half expected it to be a blog dedicated to returning Saddam to power when I read the title.. ;-)

Posted by: Patrick Chester at April 26, 2004 05:50 AM

Well, at least I got your attention.

I do admit that I typed that headline twenty minutes before my first cuppa. ;)

Posted by: Linda at April 26, 2004 05:55 PM