Thursday, January 13, 2005

Paging Captain Renault

I saw this first at Rising-Hegemon, then linked over to First Draft for more details.

The Financial Times reports that the oil-for-food scandal is only shocking to wingnuts and peons:

For months, the US Congress has been investigating activities that violated the United Nations oil-for-food programme and helped Saddam Hussein build secret funds to acquire arms and buy influence.

President George W. Bush has linked future US funding of the international body to a clear account of what went on under the multi-billion dollar programme.

But a joint investigation by the Financial Times and Il Sole 24 Ore, the Italian business daily, shows that the single largest and boldest smuggling operation in the oil-for-food programme was conducted with the knowledge of the US government.

“Although the financial beneficiaries were Iraqis and Jordanians, the fact remains that the US government participated in a major conspiracy that violated sanctions and enriched Saddam's cronies,” a former UN official said. “That is exactly what many in the US are now accusing other countries of having done. I think it's pretty ironic.”

Oh, and the time in question here is February 2003. Team Bush was running the show. The ostensible reason for allowing the shipment was to ensure that Jordan had a petroleum safety net, because well, anything less than invasion was out of the question. After all, there was an election coming up.

Alexander Cockburn has more on the "scandal," and a few other observations here. He notes that the first big lie--weapons of mass destruction--didn't even remotely pan out, so the wingnuts had to quickly come up with another one--hence the statements of shock regarding the backsheesh.

By the way, the article suggests that even this "best laid plan" didn't actually work out--the oil in question was sold to Egypt, Yemen, Malaysia, and China.

Renault would be proud.

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