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Qtec
02-03-2005, 03:59 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/02/02/iraq.oil.smuggle/index.html

Documents: U.S. condoned Iraq oil smuggling
Trade was an open secret in administration, U.N.
From Elise Labott and Phil Hirschkorn
CNN



"(CNN) -- Documents obtained by CNN reveal the United States knew about, and even condoned, embargo-breaking oil sales by Saddam Hussein's regime, and did so to shore up alliances with Iraq's neighbors.

"The oil trade with countries such as Turkey and Jordan appears to have been an open secret inside the U.S. government and the United Nations for years."

"The unclassified State Department documents sent to congressional committees with oversight of U.S. foreign policy divulge that the United States deemed such sales to be in the "national interest," even though they generated billions of dollars in unmonitored revenue for Saddam's regime."


"Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told CNN Tuesday the waivers were given to Jordan and Turkey every year since 1998."

"He called both countries "special cases" in which the money Saddam made through the smuggling did not allow him weapons"


"Estimates of how much revenue Iraq earned from these tolerated side sales of its oil to Jordan and Turkey, as well as to Syria and Egypt, range from $5.7 billion to $13.6 billion."

This illicit revenue far exceeds the estimates of what Saddam pocketed through illegal surcharges on his U.N.-approved oil exports and illegal kickbacks on subsequent Iraqi purchases of food, medicine, and supplies -- $1.7 billion to $4.4 billion -- during the maligned seven-year U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq.


Rep. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, one of five panels probing the oil-for-food program, told CNN the United States was "complicit in undermining" the U.N. sanctions on Iraq.

"How is it that you stand on a moral footing to go after the U.N. when they're responsible for 15 percent maybe of the ill-gotten gains, and we were part and complicit of him getting 85 percent of the money?" Menendez asked.

<font color="blue"> Yes, that is a good question.
Anybody? </font color>

"Where was our voice on the committee that was overseeing this on the Security Council?

"The reality is that we were either silent or complicit, and that is fundamentally wrong."


Q

Former State Department diplomat Walker said, "It was almost a 'don't ask, don't tell' kind of policy. It was accepted in the Security Council. No one challenged it."