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Oil for Food Investigation Continues

from the October 18, 2005 eNews issue

The ongoing investigation into the UNs oil-for-food program has exposed an organization rife with corruption. The intent of the UN oil-for-food program was to help get much needed medical supplies and humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq. However, Saddam siphoned off more than $10 billion from the program in illegal oil sales and inflated contracts. The beneficiaries of these deals included some 270 prominent individuals, political parties and corporations in 47 countries, many of whom where outspoken opponents of the war in Iraq.

At the center of the oil-for-food scandal are members of the UN itself, several of whom have been accused of taking bribes from Saddam's regime. The highest-ranking UN figure yet to be caught up in the Oil-for-Food scandal was arrested last week in Paris. Jean-Bernard Merimee is a former French ambassador to the United Nations who later served as a personal representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan and carried the rank of undersecretary-general.

The evidence indicates that opposition to the US policy on Iraq has long been fueled not by the desire for peace but by the battle for political power and the struggle to protect the interests of those governments and individuals who profited from their partnership with Saddam Husseins brutal regime. Although a closer look at the scandal may reveal even more frightening implications. It is believed that much of the money could have been used to finance international terrorism. It appears Saddam used the oil-for-food program to funnel large sums of money to terrorists and terrorist organizations, and the free world is suffering for it today in Iraq and elsewhere.

According to previous reports by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal some of the companies doing business under the oil-for-food program may have terrorist connections, including a remnant of the defunct global criminal bank BCCI, which perpetrated financial fraud on a massive global scale involving billions of dollars, and crimes including, but not limited to: money laundering, illicit purchases of banks and real estate, the bribery of world leaders and political figures, the commission and facilitation of income tax evasion, illegal immigration, management of prostitution, support of terrorism, arms trafficking, smuggling, and the sale of nuclear technologies.

One company involved in the oil-for-food scandal had close ties to the Taliban while Osama bin Laden was on the rise in Afghanistan; another was linked to a bank in the Bahamas involved in Al-Qaeda's financial network; and a third company had a close connection to one of Saddam's would-be nuclear-bomb makers. Among the names of companies and individuals benefiting from the scandal was the late Abu Abbas, one of the world's most wanted terrorists, as well as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a US designated terrorist organization. Yet another of Saddams lucrative partnerships was with a company called Galp International Trading Establishment. Galp is embedded in a multinational web of financial entities controlled by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a parent organization of the terrorist group Hamas, and has also been accused of financing Al-Qaeda.

The investigation itself seems to be surrounded by intrigue and conspiracy. The Iraqi official in charge of the inquiry into the oil-for-food program was assassinated when a bomb exploded under his car in Baghdad. US officials in Iraq believe his death may have been directly linked to the investigation. Such a serious allegation is not surprising considering that the implications of the oil-for-food scandal could be not only embarrassing, but potentially devastating to those involved.

Many questions still remain to be answered, most importantly: Who benefited from illegal oil sales under the UN oil-for-food program? Were key UN officials involved in the scandal and did the UN look the other way while Saddam exploited the Iraqi people? How many terrorists and terrorist organizations benefited from the $10 billion dollars in smuggled oil? And how much of this money is being used to finance the terrorist activities occurring in Iraq and the Middle East today in which many American soldiers have been wounded or killed?

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