T Nation

Oil-for-Food Scandal

Is anyone else besides me following this? It’s amazing – we already know it was a conduit for bribes and getting money and weapons to Saddam Hussein, and we don’t even have the accounting records yet.

Kofi Annan, of course, thinks its “inconceivable” that millions upon millions of dollars in bribes might have affected the U.N. deliberation processes on sanctions for Iraq and on the U.S. position concerning Iraq.

As a matter of pure speculation, does anyone else thing Saddam might have been a tad more cooperative if he didn’t think he had at least 1/5 of the U.N. Security Counsel in his pocket? The mind boggles…

Anyway, here’s a great post by Roger Simon on why this scandal matters a lot:

http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2004/10/oilforfood_upda.php

October 19, 2004: Oil-for-Food update

According to the London Telegraph
http://washingtontimes.com/world/20041017-111445-5925r.htm [Note: Link to article re-published in the Washington Times]
, American prosecutors are considering indicting former Oil-for-Food head Benon Sevan.

“We have tried to find out what part he had, and we’ve been working to lift the lid on what he did,” said one official on the House International Relations Committee. “My understanding is that we can indict him without lifting diplomatic immunity. That’s what we did with Noriega.”

If so, the Iraqi people may end up paying for his defense. It seems they will already be ponying up for the UN investigation of the very Oil-for-Food program that fleeced them to the tune of billions. Don Kofi wants to take those costs out of Oil-for-Food’s already depleted… or should I say looted… coffers.
http://www1.voanews.com/specialenglish/article.cfm?objectid=C988926F-CB33-40C1-940060FE96927CA7&title=IN%20THE%20NEWS%20-%20Cheating%20Investigated%20in%20UN%20Oil-for-Food%20Program%20in%20Iraq

Meanwhile, this editorial does a good job of explaining what I have said before - that Oil-for-Food is the hidden key to the Iraq War, explaining the motivations of so many.
http://www.opinioneditorials.com/freedomwriters/cbusch_20041019.html
The article also relates the scandal to the decision before us.

[Begin excerpt] The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) report delivered by CIA chief weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer before the Senate Armed Services Committee was quite illuminating regarding the circumstances surrounding the US decision to invade Iraq. John Kerry was quick to seize on the one finding that no stockpiles of WMDs have been discovered and declared once again that President Bush had misled the country into war.

He conveniently ignored the rest of the report which states that Saddam’s goal was to restart his weapons production as soon as he was successful in getting the sanctions lifted by bribing UN Security Council members through means of the $111 billion Oil-For-Food program. The investigation answered many of the incessant criticisms proffered by the Democrats and certainly demolishes Kerry’s alternative solution for Iraq, reliance on the UN and “old Europe’s” powers for assistance. [End Excerpt]


[I should be clear that while I agree with the assessment made in the last three paragraphs of the editorial linked in the above post – that is, that Kerry and Edwards are drawing the wrong conclusions – I think the author’s adjectives are wildly over the top. Being completely wrong, even on an issue with stakes this high, just doesn’t equal being unpatriotic. It equals being crazy wrong. It happens. That what makes it a Great Debate.]

And here’s Claudia Rossett’s latest piece – she pretty well single-handedly broke this story in the American press, mostly via articles in the Wall Street Journal editorial section:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/cRosett/?id=110005779

La R?publique des Bananes
Kofi Annan tries to explain away France and Russia’s Oil for Food wrongdoing.

BY CLAUDIA ROSETT
Wednesday, October 20, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, finds it “inconceivable” that Russia, France or China might have been influenced in Security Council debates by Saddam Hussein’s Oil for Food business and bribes. “These are very serious and important governments,” Mr. Annan told Britain’s ITV News Sunday. “You are not dealing with banana republics.”

This has been Mr. Annan’s chief response so far to the extensive documentation cited in the recent Iraq Survey Group report, from the CIA’s Charles Duelfer, that under cover of the U.N.'s Oil for Food relief program Saddam was trying to buy up pals on the U.N. Security Council. Mr. Duelfer tells us that under the leaky U.N. sanctions and corrupt Oil for Food program, Saddam had already built the networks and was amassing the resources to rearm himself with weapons of mass destruction as soon as U.N. sanctions were entirely gone.

With the aim of shedding sanctions, Saddam, according to his regime’s own records, was throwing billions in business and millions in bribes to France, Russia and, to a lesser extent, China, all veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council. As it happened, sanctions were indeed eroding, and these three nations opposed the decision of the U.S. and Britain that Saddam either had to shape up or be shipped out.

But in Mr. Annan’s view, Saddam’s oil money had nothing to do with it. Nobody buys the officials of France, Russia and China. They are serious and important.

To be fair, maybe that’s how the world would appear to anyone dulled for decades by U.N. diplo-speak–and Mr. Annan has toiled there for 42 years. But in the modern world, the notion that Russia and China in no way qualify as banana republics might be news to the state-muffled media of both countries. It might also surprise readers of the Berlin-based Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranks 133 countries by levels of corruption, from best to worst. On that list, China ranks about halfway down, worse than Colombia or Peru and tied for 66th place with Panama, Sri Lanka and Syria. Russia does worse yet, ranked between Romania and Algeria, and tied for 86th place with Mozambique.

France does much better. Though it ranks as more corrupt than the U.S., Israel or Japan, it ties with Spain for a still respectable 23rd place. That makes France one of the most corrupt countries not in the entire world, but merely in Western Europe.

Alas, such dignity may come as cold comfort to the French, given that Mr. Annan did not actually deny that the Chinese, Russians and French had taken big payoffs from Saddam. Mr. Annan merely disputed that the Chinese, Russians and French would have delivered anything in return for the bribes. In other words, they may be corrupt, but at least they weren’t honest about it.

But let’s be generous. Let’s grant Mr. Annan’s claim that these are not banana republics. These are countries with nuclear weapons, lively arms industries and permanent seats on the Security Council. These are nations so serious that Saddam found it worthwhile to lavish his graft-filled billions in business upon them, even though Mr. Annan could have told him from the get-go it would make no difference.

That raises another problem, namely Saddam’s rich opportunities amid all his bribing for the much-overlooked possibility of blackmail. In countries so serious and important that a U.N. secretary-general would deem their corruption “inconceivable,” such things as reputation and rule of law must surely matter. Which means that once Saddam managed to bribe someone in, say, France, China or Russia, he basically owned that person, and even in his current deposed and imprisoned condition quite possibly still does. Anyone exposed for accepting bribes from Saddam–at least anyone in a serious and important nonbanana republic–could face ruin.

And in any individual instance, Saddam has long had less to fear from exposure than do his partners in graft. When Saddam was tyrant of all Iraq, the discovery that he had bribed someone was hardly likely to derail the mighty engine through which he worked his schemes, the U.N.'s Oil for Food program (the obvious graft didn’t stop Mr. Annan from repeatedly urging the expansion of the program). And these days, the worst Saddam might have to fear is that along with charges involving such activities as torture and mass murder, he might also face conviction for white-collar crimes. It is at least worth wondering what counsel Saddam may still keep, and what leverage he may still wield, over anyone of seriousness and importance with whom he did business.

In defending Russia, China and France, Mr. Annan further implied that Saddam’s traffic went only to companies, not governments, and therefore could not possibly have swayed state policies. Perhaps Mr. Annan has forgotten that all Saddam’s contracts were funneled into Oil for Food via the official U.N. missions of the respective countries. Although earlier this year Mr. Annan and some of his aides were busy excusing Mr. Annan’s Secretariat from any responsibility for Oil for Fraud, by way of blaming the U.N. member-state missions, especially those on the Security Council.

Maybe Mr. Annan also forgot that both China and Russia, however nonbanana their status at the U.N., have yet to enter the era of genuine private property rights. In both these nations, there is a hazy line between state and private sector, no fair and impartial rule of law to define that line, and no press free enough to delve deeply into such matters as when, by whom and at what price it might have been crossed. Maybe Mr. Annan also forgot that large business interests, even when private, can wield a certain amount of lobbying clout, even in France.

And maybe he just hasn’t had time to read the lists of oil vouchers handed out liberally by Saddam to assorted French former officials and Russian politicians and state entities–alleged bribes now presumably under investigation by the U.N.'s own “independent inquiry” led by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. Earlier this year, an aggrieved Mr. Annan warned critics of the Oil for Food program to shut up and wait for Mr. Volcker to wend his way toward a final report. Apparently, when it comes to Saddam’s biggest clients, Mr. Annan sees no problem with his own policy of pre-emptive exoneration.

In dealing with Saddam, Mr. Annan no doubt had a lot to keep track of. There are many questions yet to be answered about Oil for Food before final blame is parceled out. But if the idea is to save the U.N. itself from becoming the world’s biggest banana institution, there are serious and important questions to be asked about why Secretary-General Kofi Annan finds it “inconceivable” that in the U.N.'s core debates, rampant graft might matter.

Ms. Rosett is a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the Hudson Institute. Her column appears here and in The Wall Street Journal Europe on alternate Wednesdays.

How about revealing which American oil companies participated in the oil-for-food scandal?

[quote]Lumpy wrote:
How about revealing which American oil companies participated in the oil-for-food scandal?[/quote]

If I knew, I would tell you Lumpy.

Perhaps if and when the U.N. opens up the accounting records it will be patently obvious who it was – but, as an FYI, I don’t believe it was Haliburton. I can’t remember where I read it, but something I read implied that Exxon and Texaco had filed some papers indicating they might have been involved.

These five American companies did a half-billion dollars worth of illegal “oil for food” business with Iraq:

Chevron-Texaco
Exxon Mobil
El Paso
Valero
Coastal Corp

The names were revealed in the NY Times, the LA Times and the Financial Times.

These five corporations have given at least $8.4 million to Republicans since 2000, (as well as underwriting right wing 'think tanks").

http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/contrib.asp?Ind=E01

(This page says 81% of energy companies’ political contributions go to the GOP)

I havn’t read much on this scandal yet but does anyone know if Bush knew about this before going to war?

An editorial from today’s Wall Street Journal:

Saddam’s U.N. Payroll
October 28, 2004; Page A14

Out on the campaign trail, John Kerry continues to diminish our allies in Iraq and decry President Bush for “rushing” to war without U.N. Security Council approval. But we hope his would-be Secretaries of State, Biden or Holbrooke, are paying attention in private to revelations about the crumbling sanctions regime they would have had us continue and the related corruption in the U.N.'s Oil for Food program.

These folks are in for a rude awakening if they really think Old Europe will be rushing to help a President Kerry in Iraq, or that the United Nations is competent and trustworthy enough to manage their foreign policy projects.


The latest pieces of news are last week’s data dump from Paul Volcker’s U.N.-blessed investigation of Oil for Food, and U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer’s report to Congress earlier this month. Everybody is still digesting these massive documents. But the most important conclusion is already clear: Saddam Hussein exploited the program to run the largest bribery scheme in the history of the world.

Yes, we mean that literally. Total turnover between 1996 and 2003 was about $97 billion, or $64.2 billion in oil sales and $32.9 billion worth of food and other “humanitarian” goods. Crucially, Saddam was able to manipulate the program largely because U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan – who was given more or less complete discretion to design Oil for Food by the Security Council resolution that created it – allowed him to pick and choose the buyers of his oil and the sellers of the humanitarian goods.

This meant the Iraq dictator could reward his friends and political allies with oil at below market prices and goods contracts at inflated ones. In the middle of the program, he also started demanding kickbacks on the contracts to add to the stream of unmonitored revenue he was already getting from oil smuggling.

It can’t be stressed enough that both the Duelfer and Volcker investigations confirm that this global web of corruption is no mere allegation trumped up by Ahmed Chalabi and “neoconservatives,” as U.N. officials tried to pretend in January when Iraq’s al Mada newspaper published a list of the oil voucher recipients.

Mr. Duelfer’s list of recipients – which more or less confirms al Mada’s – was compiled based on information from current and former Iraqi officials and lists maintained by former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yasin Ramadan (now in U.S. custody) and the former Iraqi Oil Minister. Mr. Volcker’s lists – which include the 248 companies that bought Iraqi oil under the program and the 3,545 companies supplying humanitarian goods – are compiled from the U.N.'s own records and cross-checked against Iraqi and other sources, including the French bank BNP Paribas that administered program revenues.

High-level officials of Saddam’s regime have told investigators that oil and goods contracts were always awarded with an eye to helping Saddam politically, particularly to promote the lifting of the sanctions. The Volcker data bears this out. Iraq’s top customer was Russia, whose firms bought $19.2 billion worth of Iraq oil and exported $3.3 billion in humanitarian goods. Fellow Security Council member France was a distant but significant second, at $4.4 billion and $2.9 billion respectively. China is also high on the list.

Oil voucher recipients are alleged to include the Russian presidential office, former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, and even former Oil for Food program director Benon Sevan of the U.N. Just this week our news side colleagues reported that French authorities have placed under formal investigation a top official of French oil giant Total, for possible misuse of funds including payment of the Iraqi kickbacks. Before the war Total was also openly courting Baghdad for the rights to develop two large Iraqi oil fields.

Against this backdrop, it is impossible to take Secretary-General Annan seriously when he calls it “inconceivable” that this could have affected the Security Council’s handling of Iraq. “I don’t think the Russian or the French or the Chinese government would allow [themselves] to be bought,” he said recently. But even in the unlikely event that they weren’t too worried about the possible financial losses, they surely never wanted this information to see the light of day.

Mr. Annan would be on stronger ground pointing out that Saddam was seeking agents of influence within the U.S. as well. The very first oil voucher recipient under Oil for Food appears to have been Texas tycoon Oscar Wyatt, who had tried to save Saddam from U.S. force before the first Gulf War. The records allege that Mr. Wyatt and his company took 71.8 million barrels of oil under Oil for Food for a profit of $22.8 million. According to a weekend story in the Los Angeles Times, since 1991 he and his wife have given more than $700,000 to federal candidates and PACs (about 75% to Democrats) and Saddam may have regarded him as a way to get to the Clinton Administration.

Another name appearing on the Duelfer and Volcker lists is a politically connected Detroit-area businessman named Shakir al-Khafaji. Our Robert L. Pollock reported on Mr. al-Khafaji’s oil vouchers back in March, based on the al Mada list and information from an Iraqi intelligence source. Mr. al-Khafaji later conceded taking such vouchers, so his appearance on the Duelfer list is not surprising.

More interesting is the appearance of his South African-based Falcon Trading Group on the Volcker list of humanitarian goods suppliers. At about $50 million, he did a serious amount of business. What’s more, a source on Representative Henry Hyde’s House International Relations Committee tells us Falcon was on the so-called “exempt” list, which was meant for highly valued individuals and companies that were allowed to circumvent normal Iraqi contract procedures.

Why might Mr. al-Khafaji have been highly valued? Could it be because he financed an anti-sanctions documentary by former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter to the tune of $400,000? Or brought Mr. Ritter to Baghdad to address Saddam’s rubberstamp parliament? Or brought a U.S. Congressional delegation including former House Minority Whip David Bonior, and Democratic Representatives Jim McDermott and Mike Thompson to Baghdad in late 2002 to denounce President Bush’s Iraq policy? Or because he did the same with South African politicians, possibly influencing that country’s pro-Saddam stance? Mr. al-Khafaji did not return a call this week seeking comment.

Trading with Iraq under Oil for Food wasn’t necessarily illegal (at least if you weren’t paying the kickbacks). And we’re not suggesting Mr. Ritter and the Congressmen were anything other than useful idiots. But it is surely a matter of concern that Saddam may have been able to use the Oil for Food scheme to advance his interests even within the United States. We hope federal authorities have been looking into this activity, as well as the other Iraqi-American (Samir Vincent) on these lists.


Now, let’s step back and put this all in context – the context offered by Mr. Duelfer’s report. The news there isn’t that there appear to have been no large stockpiles of WMD in Iraq at the time of the March 2003 invasion. That’s been clear for more than a year. Rather, the news is that we now know straight from Saddam himself, his scientists, and his fellow high-level detainees that Saddam intended to restart his weapons program the second U.N. sanctions were lifted. And we now know that he would never have unambiguously come clean on his WMD programs because he wanted his enemies (especially the U.S. and Iran) to believe he had them.

In other words, had the weapons inspections been allowed to continue, as Mr. Kerry says he wanted, a U.S. President would have eventually faced the same uncertainties and the same agonizing choice that Mr. Bush did when he decided to commit the U.S. to war. Remember, too, that the final round of inspections was won only with a build-up of U.S. troops in the Gulf, and that a decision to accept as satisfactory the desultory cooperation that Saddam gave these inspectors would have meant overwhelming international pressure for immediate lifting of all sanctions.

There were reasonable arguments against having gone into Iraq. But in light of this latest evidence, the arguments Mr. Kerry and his team have been making – that more inspections might have yielded something, and that the real coalition of the bribed at the Security Council might ever have supported force – don’t pass the laugh test, never mind the global one.

[quote]Lumpy wrote:
These five American companies did a half-billion dollars worth of illegal “oil for food” business with Iraq:

Chevron-Texaco
Exxon Mobil
El Paso
Valero
Coastal Corp

The names were revealed in the NY Times, the LA Times and the Financial Times.

These five corporations have given at least $8.4 million to Republicans since 2000, (as well as underwriting right wing 'think tanks").

http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/contrib.asp?Ind=E01

(This page says 81% of energy companies’ political contributions go to the GOP)
[/quote]

I heard about most of these companies on Fox. They released a statement that everything they did was legal.

The big thing is not who got oil, but who was bribed with oil. I am not saying the American companies are free from corruption, they should be investigated also, but they were bit players in this.

Why are you bringing them up anyway? An attempt attack America?

Saddam hated America, and preferred not to do business with American companies. That is why they made such a small portion of the funds. The big thing are the officials who were bribed.

Also what the hell does it matter what they gave to the GOP? How much does the entertainment industry give to the Democrats? Also with the Democrats linked with environmental extremists, like Gore, they obviously would prefer a Republican controlled government.

As far as this food for oil thing, if the media does not ignore it, and let it vanish, it might become one of the biggest scandals of the century. I used to argue against our withdrawal from the UN, believing that our involvement may actually help push it into a truly helpful organization. That while not being the best organization, at least it was a place where we could attempt to unite the world.

But now that I know how much corruption is involved, that these people were using their power to hurt people, save a man as evil as Saddam, and give him not only weapons, but the capabilities to become the biggest threat the world has ever seen, and just so they could make a buck. I now think that if there is not a major change in the people in power in the UN, we should leave.

This has become a big reason I support Bush. He may have saved the world from decades of mass horror, and exposed a major worldwide corruption that threatened the world.

If you are attempting to say that these American oil companies are involved, then Bush must not have been working with them, because he may have hurt these companies by helping expose this massive corruption.

Oh, I forgot I am talking to Lumpy. Let me dumb it down for you.

You say Bush went to war for oil, but then you say the American companies were making money off of Saddam, meaning that they didn?t want him overthrown, and if they were involved with the corruption, they would not have wanted Bush to go to war. And according to you, they controlled Bush, so why would he have gone to war.

Start spinning now, or just vanish and post elsewhere like you always do when you are loosing an argument.

[quote]The Mage wrote:

But now that I know how much corruption is involved, that these people were using their power to hurt people, save a man as evil as Saddam, and give him not only weapons, but the capabilities to become the biggest threat the world has ever seen, and just so they could make a buck. I now think that if there is not a major change in the people in power in the UN, we should leave.
[/quote]
I love how the media portrays Sadam as “Satan” or an incarnate of pure “Evil”. Or wait as bush says it, “Evil-Doers!”. I’m sorry you think Sadam was so dangerous with everyone just giving him weapons and these “capabilites to become the biggest threat the world has ever seen”. Unfortunately the last time Sadam was given weapons was when we gave them to him 10 years ago to keep Iran at bay. Sadam is not powerful in a global sense at all. He couldn’t even afford a war with one of his nieghboring countries much less with us. He doesn’t even control most of the airspace over his own damn country and he is powerful??? GOD I LOVE PROPAGANDA! I want you to give me one realistic scenario where Sadam could be a threat to the world. He had no weapons of mass destruction or any kind of program instated to develope them. At most he could buy them but would still not have the capabilites of launching them the distance to reach the US. It is not only improbable it is completely impractical. Now take a look at North Korea. If we are worried about preventing threats to the world why don’t we go stop the Nuclear program over there. I believe it was last month I encountered pictures of mushroom clouds in N. Korea taken by and South Korean satellite. The media said that the North Koreans claimed they were building a hydroelectric power plant. Since when do mushroom clouds form from building a fucking hydroelectric power plant? They don’t. N. Korea has nuclear weapons and they are testing them. Now that is a fucking threat, not Sadam Hussien. When Bush realized he wasn’t going to capture Osama Bin Laden he set out on a pursuit to catch Hussien because he knew people like you would fall for the propaganda, forget Bin Laden is out there, and cheer victory when he so easily captures Hussien. Because he convinced you that the man was danger when he really wasn’t.

AHAHAHAH, Bush saving corruption??? AHAHAHAH!!! Bush is a proponant of corruption right here in your own backyard. I know this might be long but please take the time to look at what has gone on under the Bush Administration. Even if this does not convince you of anything I would be happy just to know 1 more person is “aware” of it.

http://www.votenader.org/issues/index.php?cid=124
Ralph Nader has described President Bush as ?a giant corporation masquerading as a human being.? Bush has consistently put the interests of giant national and international corporations before the interests of the American people and small business owners. Every agency of his administration is led by corporate interests ? former CEO?s, leaders of corporate trade associations, corporate lobbyists or corporate law firms. As a result, the policies of the Bush Regime are the policies of Big Business. Some examples:

-The Bush administration continued to push trade agreements even though they are resulting in jobs being outsourced overseas. Nearly 3 million manufacturing and high tech jobs have left for countries where labor is cheaper. When unable to get multi-country trade agreements, the Bush administration has entered into bi-lateral agreements ? with the same goal of corporate profits first ? with individual countries, e.g. Chile, Singapore, Dominican Republic, Austalia, Bahrain, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Morocco, Panama and Thailand.
The Bush administration gave a massive $1.35 trillion tax cut in 2001, skewed dramatically to favor the wealthiest. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the new tax law and its increased debt servicing costs would eat up almost half of the then-projected $5.6 trillion 10-year federal budget surplus. The bill neatly robbed the government of any future flexibility on social spending by reinstating budget deficits for years to come.
-The Bush administration has failed to confront the deeply documented and criticized (by the US General Accounting Office, retired Admirals and Generals and others) wasteful, redundant ?military industrial complex? as President Eisenhower called it ? which now accounts for half of the U.S. government?s operating expenditures.
President Bush has failed to address hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate welfare, tax loopholes and subsidies.
-Under the Bush administration the FCC proposed new rules to allow media conglomerates to dominate local markets by allowing cross ownership restrictions allowing one company to own newspaper, television and radio outlets.
-Corporate crime goes largely unpunished during the Bush presidency. In 2001 the Bush administration repealed integrity and business ethics standards for federal contractors allowing corporate criminals to continue to receive government contracts.
-Insider deals for corporate crooks have expanded under the Bush administration. According to the Defense Contract Audit Agency ?Halliburton repeatedly violated the Federal Acquisition Regulation.? They are under investigation by other federal government agencies for accounting fraud among them: $61 million in overcharges of fuel from Kuwait, millions of dollars for meals never served to soldiers, kickbacks to employees of $6 million and driving empty trucks on phantom missions. They have also been found bribing officials in Nigeria and conducting business with Iran, a country labeled as a state sponsor of terror. Vice President Dick Cheney still has an ongoing interest in Halliburton as he is receiving $178,437 annually through 2005. Despite all of this, Halliburton has received no-bid contracts from the Bush administration worth billions of dollars.
-The oil industry government ? the president, vice president, secretary of commerce and national security advisor are the leaders of an oil-industry dominated government. And, the Bush administration met regularly with the oil industry. Indeed, in 2001 Enron met with White House officials at least 40 times and 72 times with other federal agencies, including secret meetings with Vice President Cheney when he was developing the energy plan for the administration.
-The Bush administration’s prescription drug bill protects the profits of the massive pharmaceutical industry and prohibits Medicare from negotiating a better price for prescription drugs and bars importing cheaper drugs which help needy elderly. The result will be higher prices for older Americans and greater profits for pharmaceutical companies.
-The Bush administration has increased the amount of our public land available for oil and gas exploration and coal mining at bargain basement prices.
Big business donors permeate the administration; forty percent of 246 ?Pioneers? (who raised more than $100,000 for the Bush campaign) received a federal job or ambassadorial and other appointments in the administration.
-The Bush administration is still pushing a bankruptcy bill that will make it hard for consumers to declare bankruptcy as a result of crushing credit card and other medical bills. Of course, the leading donor to his campaign in 2000 was MBNA Bank, five of his top ten donors and 31 of his ?Pioneers? were from the financial services industry.
-The Bush administration is seeking to reduce the rights of consumers to sue corporations for negligence, product liability and malpractice.
The Department of Agriculture has been taken over by agribusiness corporate interests. As a result protecting consumers from Mad Cow Disease has been blocked ? no regulations requiring adequate testing of meat in the U.S., no country of origin labeling and lax enforcement descending into no real regulation at all of the biotechnology industry.
-Bush began his attack on labor immediately, in 2001, when Bush signed several executive orders that ended federal project labor agreements, abolished labor-management partnerships in federal agencies and sought to require government contractors to post notices informing workers of their right not to join unions, without requiring any information on the right to join (but, on this last point, Bush was stopped by the courts).
Bush undermines the health of workers, to protect the profits of Big Business. This includes repealing ergonomics standards to reduce 1.8 million repetitive stress injuries. Repealing rules to prevent tuberculosis in workers in prisons and hospitals. The new rules are voluntary and not mandatory. No mandatory OSHA toxic control rules have been put in place by the Bush administration following the abdication of the Clinton years.
-The Bush’s administration persuaded a federal judge to suspend new black lung regulations that went into effect on January 19, 2001 that would have helped streamline claims by dying miners in claiming benefits from the mining industry.
-The Bush administration has injected itself into labor disputes on the side of corporations against unions. This includes a longshoreman?s strike in California as well as in airline strikes ? in efforts to weaken the union?s negotiating position.
The Bush, EPA has proposed repealing rules to exempt industrial laundries from hazardous and solid waste regulations, despite reports of illnesses from exposure to toxic solvents.
-The Bush administration refused to increase the minimum wage to a living wage. One out of four full-time workers earns less than $8.75 per hour, not enough for an individual ? and certainly not enough for a family ? to live on.
-George Bush put protection of the fossil fuel industry ahead of preventing global climate change when he withdrew the U.S. from the Kyoto Protocol to the Convention on Climate Change signed by over 160 nations. He also reneged on campaign pledge in 2000 to reduce emissions from four pollutants including carbon dioxide.
Bush protected corporate polluters through the Orwellian named ?Clear Skies Initiative,? that would repeal portions of the Clean Air Act designed to prevent pollution and replace with corporate trading to permit pollution. Clear Skies would loosen caps on nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide that cause smog and acid rain ? allowing 68% more nitrogen oxide emissions and 225% more sulphur dioxide emissions.
Of more than $40 billion designated by the Bush administration to restore wetlands, protect habitats, conserve water, and improve water near farms, only $9 billion will address conservation, the rest will actually subsidize corporate factory farms which pollute the environment."

You dumbed it down for yourself, not Lumpy. I don’t even have a comment for what you said, your ignorance speaks for itself.

[quote]ArnldNaledUrMom wrote:

I love how the media portrays Sadam as “Satan” or an incarnate of pure “Evil”. Or wait as bush says it, “Evil-Doers!”. I’m sorry you think Sadam was so dangerous with everyone just giving him weapons and these “capabilites to become the biggest threat the world has ever seen”. Unfortunately the last time Sadam was given weapons was when we gave them to him 10 years ago to keep Iran at bay. [/quote]

I’m sorry, but you cannot be serious? Did you mean a certain type of weapon? Because he was getting all sorts of weapons throughout the sanctions period – especially from the French and Russians.

I can tell you love propaganda, given you’ve obviously swallowed a bunch of it.

Why didn’t he control his airspace? Because we and the British were controlling it with our air power. Why do we know he doesn’t have WMD? Only because we went in and enforced the resolutions allowing us to look – and, BTW, as silly as some people think this is, he still may have hidden some of them, or shipped them out of country. Saddam apparently wanted everyone to think he had WMD, and he had kept in place the people and equipment that would be necessary to re-constitute the program as soon as he got rid of those pesky U.N. sanctions that the U.S. had insisted upon.

Ever hear of a suitcase bomb? A dirty bomb? Using chemicals to attack a food or water supply?

These are terrorist tactics. Saddam supported and worked with terrorists.

As to buying a nuke, unfortunately, that is a realistic possibility. It boggles the mind, but there are hundreds of nuclear warheads from republics in the former Soviet Union that are completely unaccounted for.

How about causing a global recession by affecting stability in the middle east? That would be the rosy scenario – more likely a global depression worse than the Great Depression. That’s the speculation on what would occur if Saudi Arabia, Iraq, et al were suddenly taken off-line in terms of producing oil, which is a likely scenario in a real, pitched war situation.

And, don’t forget, there were also humanitarian concerns due to his genocidal killing of his own people, not to mention torture, rape, etc.

North Korea is the case in point for why appeasement is precisely the wrong strategy. The Clinton Administration chose appeasement, and by the time Bush came to office it was too late to do anything anyway. Hopefully China will help in policing that rogue state, because N. Korea could wreak havoc in that part of the world. Not to mention that it can only be a matter of time until we see a re-militarized Japan, once they come to the determination that we can’t protect them from N. Korea.

[quote]
AHAHAHAH, Bush saving corruption??? AHAHAHAH!!! Bush is a proponant of corruption right here in your own backyard. I know this might be long but please take the time to look at what has gone on under the Bush Administration. Even if this does not convince you of anything I would be happy just to know 1 more person is “aware” of it.[/quote]

As to the rest of your post, you’ve drunk the Nader kool-aid. I’m not going to turn this into a Nader thread – go start your own, and see what kind of interest you get.

ArnldNaledUrMom- we don’t know who was nailing your Mom about nine months before you were born, but by the looks of your post, he couldn’t have been all that bright. So, after having routed Saddam’s forces and imposed santions and no-fly zones on Iraq, we were, in 1994, giving him weapons. Look around, Einstein, this isn’t France, or Germany, or Russia.

You could have made it easier on yourself and, instead of parroting someone’s idiotic notions at length, just told us you are an idiot.

[quote]schrauper wrote:
ArnldNaledUrMom- we don’t know who was nailing your Mom about nine months before you were born, but by the looks of your post, he couldn’t have been all that bright. So, after having routed Saddam’s forces and imposed santions and no-fly zones on Iraq, we were, in 1994, giving him weapons. Look around, Einstein, this isn’t France, or Germany, or Russia.

You could have made it easier on yourself and, instead of parroting someone’s idiotic notions at length, just told us you are an idiot.[/quote]

Are you going to make a point? Your post has nothing subjective in it at all. If there is something I said which isn’t correct point it the fuck out and stop leaving pointlessly vague posts. This is the point of a discussion. Resorting to name calling is almost kind of sad.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
ArnldNaledUrMom wrote:

I love how the media portrays Sadam as “Satan” or an incarnate of pure “Evil”. Or wait as bush says it, “Evil-Doers!”. I’m sorry you think Sadam was so dangerous with everyone just giving him weapons and these “capabilites to become the biggest threat the world has ever seen”. Unfortunately the last time Sadam was given weapons was when we gave them to him 10 years ago to keep Iran at bay.

I’m sorry, but you cannot be serious? Did you mean a certain type of weapon? Because he was getting all sorts of weapons throughout the sanctions period – especially from the French and Russians.

[/quote]

We gave him chemical and biological weapons. There is the possiblility of other weapons however I do not have any resources with facts on that. If it’s that important I’m sure you have the time to look it up.

Thank you for reiderating what I said. Sadam didn’t even control his own airspace. In terms of world domination he was relatively weak. RELATIVELY, meaning at the time of invasion there were worse threats. And yes Sadam bluffed about WMD’s. Yes he wanted us to think he had them and Inspectors went in and said there ain’t shit. So why are we still there? Why did after we found out how weak he really was we continue to waste my god damn tax money on this 2nd vietnam.

And btw, you missed my point by breaking up my argument. Even if he had these WMD’s he couldn’t get them to the continent of North America. He lacks the technology.

What is it with Bush supporters and thinking Sadam and terrorists are the same thing. The terrorists are mostly religious rebels whereas Sadam was very secular.

That is why we should move away from an oil dependency, which the Bush dynasty doesn’t want. Look at how advanced our technology is, do you think we really couldn’t get by without oil?? I mean if it was an abrupt stop or a force transition it would be catastrophic. So why don’t we try to avoid this by not being dependant, take steps to find other sources of energy. To me this only makes sense, and then we don’t have to spend 200 billion dollars protecting fossil fuels.

I am not being durogatory, but do you honestly think we are there to instate a democracy for these peoples well beings? I doubt most bush supports care all that much about the Iraqi’s anyway.

I am not familiar enough with North Korean politics during the Clinton administration to agree or object.

Nader kool-aid?? C’mon, look at the FACTS. All Nader is doing is putting together facts that Bush doesn’t want you to know. Notice how all the sources are cited. Notice how alot of the statements come from high ranking government officials or people who see things in this administration first hand (thier positions are cited). Am I wrong to take thier word? Maybe. But it seems to make sense. Read the article and then you can say I drank all the Nader kool-aid you want.

http://www.votenader.org/issues/index.php?cid=124

Just read how president Bush puts corporations first, over the American people. I find it hard not to believe the FACTS presented.

[quote]ArnldNaledUrMom wrote:

We gave him chemical and biological weapons. There is the possiblility of other weapons however I do not have any resources with facts on that. If it’s that important I’m sure you have the time to look it up.[/quote]

You may be right that we gave him weapons - I don’t know, and I actually don’t want to sift through the historical record to look it up. I know we looked the other way while he used them.

However, he was circumventing the current sanctions to purchase more conventional weaponry. I won’t repeat myself w/r/t the WMD issue.

[quote]ArnldNaledUrMom wrote:

Thank you for reiderating what I said. Sadam didn’t even control his own airspace. In terms of world domination he was relatively weak. RELATIVELY, meaning at the time of invasion there were worse threats. And yes Sadam bluffed about WMD’s. Yes he wanted us to think he had them and Inspectors went in and said there ain’t shit. So why are we still there? Why did after we found out how weak he really was we continue to waste my god damn tax money on this 2nd vietnam.

And btw, you missed my point by breaking up my argument. Even if he had these WMD’s he couldn’t get them to the continent of North America. He lacks the technology.[/quote]

I think you misunderstand the argument. No one ever argued Saddam posed a threat in terms of world domination. He posed a threat to Middle Eastern stability, and, assuming he had WMD, which we did assume at the time, he represented a threat both directly to us (due to low-tech delivery methods I discussed) and to our allies.

BTW, I dealt with that part of your argument when I broke it up.

[quote]ArnldNaledUrMom wrote:

What is it with Bush supporters and thinking Sadam and terrorists are the same thing. The terrorists are mostly religious rebels whereas Sadam was very secular. [/quote]

Saddam did work with terrorists. He sponsored terrorists in Palestine, he sheltered international terrorists in Baghdad, and he had contacts (although not a “working relationship”, whatever the difference is between those two things) with Al Queda. Saddam wasn’t picky, and neither were the terrorists – they subscribed to the “an enemy of my enemy is my friend (for now)” theory.

[quote]ArnldNaledUrMom wrote:

That is why we should move away from an oil dependency, which the Bush dynasty doesn’t want. Look at how advanced our technology is, do you think we really couldn’t get by without oil?? I mean if it was an abrupt stop or a force transition it would be catastrophic. So why don’t we try to avoid this by not being dependant, take steps to find other sources of energy. To me this only makes sense, and then we don’t have to spend 200 billion dollars protecting fossil fuels.
[/quote]

It would be good to move toward nuclear energy, to develop our own oil resources, and to pursue hydrogen and other new technologies. However, we are decades away from a transition like that, so all the pie-in-the-sky talk of eliminating the oil economy isn’t much use to us – maybe our children will find it useful.

BTW, as a complete digression, I applaud faith in our technological innovation, but when the technologies are in their infancies, and haven’t even been proved to work yet, it’s fantasy to think that just because we have high technology in one area we can invent whatever we want in another.

[quote]ArnldNaledUrMom wrote:

I am not being durogatory, but do you honestly think we are there to instate a democracy for these peoples well beings? I doubt most bush supports care all that much about the Iraqi’s anyway.
[/quote]

Not completely. It was one factor out of many. But it was a factor in the decision – a megalomaniacal dictator who tortures and kills his own people having WMD is a different calculation from a stable democracy having WMD.

[quote]ArnldNaledUrMom wrote:

Nader kool-aid?? C’mon, look at the FACTS. All Nader is doing is putting together facts that Bush doesn’t want you to know. Notice how all the sources are cited. Notice how alot of the statements come from high ranking government officials or people who see things in this administration first hand (thier positions are cited). Am I wrong to take thier word? Maybe. But it seems to make sense. Read the article and then you can say I drank all the Nader kool-aid you want.

http://www.votenader.org/issues/index.php?cid=124

Just read how president Bush puts corporations first, over the American people. I find it hard not to believe the FACTS presented.[/quote]

I looked at it and actually started doing a point-by-point response to the Nader stuff, but I really don’t want this to be a Nader thread. For now, suffice it to say, free trade is good and corporations aren’t inherently evil.

[quote]ArnldNaledUrMom wrote:

I love how the media portrays Sadam as “Satan” or an incarnate of pure “Evil”. Or wait as bush says it, “Evil-Doers!”… [/quote]

Oh sorry, he was a great and wonderful man, and we should all aspire to be like him.

Sorry if I believe a man who is responsible for as many as more then a million deaths, and liked to watch videos of torture as entertainment, is evil. Would you prefer the term one fucked up individual?

Am I now supposed to be sensitive to his feelings? I aint no fuckin flower child.

Uh no, this is completely untrue. We have found very recent weapons that arrived the same year we went to war with him. Also, great job of twisting the facts to make us the bad guys.

Wow, looks like you are falling for the propaganda. He did in fact have a program in place, and it was ready to go. Have you read Weapons inspector Kay?s statement to congress?

http://www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/2003/david_kay_10022003.html

I posted about this in another thread, but you should read it, and find our just how wrong you are, and what the real propaganda is. Obviously it is what you read.

We could have waited until he actually had WMD before we went to war, but how many Americans would be dead then?

And yes we had air superiority, but again should we let him change that? How long before he finally had weapons to take out our planes. Then again how long did you want those planes there?

What about the Taco Bell on Broadway? They have chemical weapons called taco?s.

Seriously, you really need to bring in a whole other country to win an argument? I thought we were talking about Saddam, not North Korea. Why bring it up? Are you saying we should attack North Korea? If not then don?t bring it up. This is a whole other subject.

Also, just to show how little you know, many explosives create a mushroom cloud. They do it all the time in movies. What they were doing was destroying a mountain with massive explosives. The US government was not worried about this because there was no radiation given off like if they tested a nuke.

Now if you really care about North Korea, realize that Saddam was in talks with North Korea to get weapons. Here is a statement by Kay:

?Clandestine attempts between late-1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300 km range ballistic missiles --probably the No Dong – 300 km range anti-ship cruise missiles, and other prohibited military equipment.?

Uh yeah, that was easy. I love your conspiracy theory here. Where are the aliens involved? This is leaving reality. If you have proof, display it, otherwise you are just a conspiracy nut.

Vote Nader website? You have got to be kidding me. Ok, I glanced at it, and can easily see the opinion piece used to twist the facts. Who wrote this? Nader? It lists supposed facts without sources. Sorry, this is crap.

Apparently I didn?t dumb it down enough for you. The facts speak for themselves, but you don?t even know them. You talk of propaganda, but are the worst victim of it.

ArnldNaledUrMom- My point you post like you know things then know them.

You wrote: “Unfortunately, the last time Sadam[sic] was given weapons was when we gave them to him 10 years ago to keep Iran at bay.” Really, we gave Saddam (with two d’s) weapons in 1994? Do tell. Try during the Iran- Iraq War, which ended in 1988. France, Germany, and Russia have been dealing with Saddam, weapons and all it is being revealed, lately, not us.

Another gem: “Your posting has nothing subjective in it at all.” Yes it does, as the first and last sentences express opinions, the last tongue-in-cheek.
Did you mean to say that my posts are personal attacks lacking substance?

So, you would never post the following: “I don’t even have a comment for what you said, your ignorance speaks for itself.” I wouldn’t, not after ranting about US weapons freebies to Saddam(with two d’s) in 1994.

Two further points on economics:

Enough with the nonsense about exporting manufacturing jobs and blah, blah, blah. It’s part of a long-term economic trend that has been going on for a century and isn’t going to stop. It’s why Nader voters can shop for all kinds of things cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. Ralphie, even if it snowed in hell and he got elected, couldn’t stop the trend without doing even more damage. Go read the literature.

Ditto for the fiction of the living wage. Force employers to pay people more than they are worth and pretty soon you’ll have to pass the bong around to a lot more people, as they will soon be out of a job.

BTW, when has CO2 been classified as a pollutant? Don’t trees need the stuff?

Why do people on the left, progressive, populist fringe go on with this smarter than thou attitude when they are so demonstrably ignorant about the basics of the very things they rant about? I was making a point about that.

I can continue if you would like.

LOL!!
NaderNaledUrMom got owned.

Loth - I think we might be long lost twin brothers. You Rule!

Vegita ~ Prince of all Sayajins

[quote]lothario1132 wrote:
LOL!!
NaderNaledUrMom got owned.
[/quote]

definite ownage…he got done dirty there.

Now that the election is over, the Senate is turning its attention to this outrage:

The New York Times

THE OIL-FOR-FOOD INVESTIGATION
Senators Accuse U.N. Leader of Blocking Their Fraud Inquiry
By JUDITH MILLER

Published: November 10, 2004

Leaders of a United States Senate subcommittee investigating allegations of fraud in the oil-for-food program in Iraq have accused Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, of obstructing their inquiry.

In a letter sent to Mr. Annan yesterday, the Republican chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations charged that the secretary general and a panel he appointed to conduct an independent investigation into the charges of abuses appeared to be “affirmatively preventing” the Senate from getting documents from a former United Nations contractor that inspected goods bought by Iraq.

The senators also complained that Mr. Annan was blocking access to 55 internal audit reports of the program and other relevant documents and refusing to permit United Nations officials to be interviewed by the subcommittee’s investigators.

The United Nations-administered program, which ran from 1996 to 2003, allowed Iraq to sell oil to buy food and other essential supplies for Iraqis hurt by economic sanctions.

The senators said it had taken four months for Mr. Annan to reply to the subcommittee’s requests, and when he finally did, he refused to cooperate with the Senate inquiry.

“We are concerned that the U.N.'s nondisclosure policy is being used as both a sword and a shield,” the senators wrote, “sharing such ‘internal records’ when it favors the U.N., but then declining to do so when such disclosure could have negative implications.”

The blunt letter is signed by the subcommittee’s chairman, Senator Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota, and Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan.

Edward Mortimer, director of communications in the secretary general’s office, said United Nations officials would “carefully look into what is clearly a very awkward and troubling letter.”

He said he would also consult with Paul A. Volcker, who heads the United Nations-appointed investigation panel. Mr. Mortimer emphasized that Mr. Annan had instructed all United Nations staff to cooperate with Mr. Volcker’s panel, known as the Independent Inquiry Committee.

Neither Mr. Volcker nor members of his staff, who have had a tense relationship with several House and Senate committees investigating the program, could be reached for comment last night.

The subcommittee also announced yesterday that on Monday it would hold the first of several hearings into allegations of widespread corruption in the $64 billion program. Among the first witnesses scheduled is Charles A. Duelfer, the chief American adviser on Iraq’s unconventional weapons programs. Mr. Duelfer, the head of the Iraq Survey Group, recently published a lengthy report on Iraqi weapons programs that documented Saddam Hussein’s use of the program not to buy civilian supplies as intended, but to generate billions of dollars in illicit money, undermine sanctions and buy conventional arms.

In their letter to Mr. Annan, the senators cited the United Nations’ refusal to permit Lloyd’s Register, which the United Nations had hired to inspect Iraq’s purchases, to provide documents to the Senate investigators.

In an Aug. 31 letter, the director of the United Nations’ legal affairs office told Lloyd’s that while Lloyd’s should cooperate fully with Mr. Volcker’s panel, “under no circumstances” was it authorized to provide documents to the subcommittee.

The letter also asks Mr. Annan to permit the Senate investigators to interview 11 senior United Nations officials, including Benon V. Sevan, who headed the program. Mr. Duelfer’s report said Mr. Sevan might have received oil allocations from Saddam Hussein. Mr. Sevan has denied any impropriety.

Is the UN fixable, or should it just be scrapped?