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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Why Would You Ever trust The french?

Slowly but surely the truth about Iraq seeps out. Slowly but surely the traitors are revealed. Slowly but surely Bush is proved to have been correct in his actions. Slowly but surely the Left is being stripped of its artificial facade of credibility. Courtesy of powerline. Eat it, Russell.

This story came out yesterday, and we just haven't gotten to it: France's former Ambassador to the U.N., who also served as Kofi Annan's "special adviser," has been indicted by French authorities for "influence peddling and corruption of foreign officials." The official, Jean-Bernard Merimee, is alleged to have received kickbacks in the form of oil allocations from Saddam Hussein as part of the Oil-for-Food fraud.

Merimee is one of those imposing, sophisticated Continental bureaucrats of whom John Kerry and the Democrats in general are so much in awe. It is people like Merimee who would have decided, in a Kerry administration, whether the United States had passed the "global test." Thankfully, that day never arrived, and Merimee won't do much "testing" from a French prison.

You have to wonder, though. Annan's son and "special adviser" were corrupted by Saddam, along with several other U.N. officials--and those are just the ones known so far. On the French end, Merimee, the U.N. ambassador; Interior Minister Charles Pasqua; Patrick Maugein, a friend of Jacques Chirac, and others apparently were on Saddam's payroll.

But it didn't matter! The French government assures us that there was "'no link' between French diplomats' alleged contacts with Saddam's regime and France's decision not to support the U.S.-led war in 2003 that toppled the Iraqi dictator."

Well, that's certainly a relief. Sometimes when people pay bribes they expect results in return. But Saddam apparently wasn't that kind of guy.

Posted by Adolf Fiinkensein | 10/13/2005 08:55:00 PM

27 Comments:

Blogger Paul said...

Ahh yes the French. Trustworthy souls. As I recall it, the DCSG had nothing to do with the only modern act of terrorism in New Zealand. We have every reason to believe them now as we did in the mid-80's.

Of course I've never forgiven the buggers for the mechanical disgrace that was the Renault 25 I once owned, so I probably have prejudices. The day I pushed that thing into the Southern Landfill I almost identified with Philu's lot.

10/13/2005 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Too Right said...

Adolf - I picked up on this yesterday, and blogged here. The murk gets deeper as the US Senate has called for the Head of the UN Oil for Food program to face criminal charges.

I predict De Villepin the now French PM to be implicated - you may recall he was the debonair, patrician French Foreign Minister pillorying the US at the Security Council.

10/13/2005 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Wasn't De Villepin implicated through his connections with Total ELF Fina or whatever it calls itself these days? They had some exclusive oil & gas exploration/exploitation deals with Saddam.

10/13/2005 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

I think you're barking up the wrong tree here, Adolf. The quid pro quo on the oil-for-food scam for Saddam was getting to spend the oil money on whatever he wanted, not food. The French are probably telling the truth about this not affecting their decision to stay out of the war, because the French govt always operates unashamadely in the interests of France. If it had been in the French interest to go to war, they would have sent troops no matter how much dosh Saddam had slung at them - as it was, the war was only in the American interest (and Iranian, but let's not go there), so not contributing was a no-brainer for Jack Shrack.

10/13/2005 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Too Right said...

AL. Yes de Villepin is/was involved in the Total/Elf scandals. M. Roland Dumas also figures - recall him? Min of Def I think at Rainbow Warrior time. de Villepin and Co are also major lenders to the Iranians.

Great guys.

10/13/2005 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

No. No no no no no no no! Chirac and his cronies are some of the most corrupt politicians in the West (if not THE most corrupt).

NYTimes
"French Ex-Premier Is Convicted of Graft"
http://personal.ecu.edu/conradtd/pols3232/3232Sp04-021.htm

International Herald Tribune
"Lengthy Elf Inquiry Nears Explosive Finish"
http://www.iht.com/articles/2002/02/01/joly_ed3_.php

"Elf Executives Jailed Over Fueling Corruption in Africa"
http://www.globalpolicy.org/nations/launder/regions/2003/1118elf.htm

The Independent
"Paris Sues President Chirac's Party for Embezzlement in 1990s"
http://www.globalpolicy.org/nations/launder/regions/2004/0203chirac.htm

The BBC
"Elf Was 'Secret Arm of French Policy'"
http://www.globalpolicy.org/socecon/crisis/2003/0319elfsecretarm.htm

Oh and don't forget this one...

NY Times
"French Court Reverses Corruption Conviction"
http://www.globalpolicy.org/nations/launder/regions/2003/0129french.htm

oh and this:

TVNZ (!!)
"Dirt and Diamonds in Elf Trial"
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/natres/oil/2003/0401elf.htm

10/13/2005 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

(The no's were referring to Psycho)

10/13/2005 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Other organisations involved:

BNP Paribas - the French bank chosen by the UN to run the Oil-For-Food programme.

The largest single shareholder BNP in Paribas is (was?) a company called General Mediterranean, owned by a cousin of Saddam Hussein - Nadhmi Auchi. Also a former member of Iraq's now-banned Ba'ath Party.

Pargesa Holding SA - a Swiss corporation, the single largest shareholder in the merged TotalELF Fina.

TotalELF Fina - the French-Belgium corporation (merger between Total and ELF occurred in 2001) which inherited negotiated deals with Saddam for the Majnoon and Nahr bin Umar oil fields in Shia southern Iraq. They weren't signed before the 2003 invasion.

Forbes estimated the value of these two southern fields in 2003 at $US 3 trillion.
http://www.forbes.com/2003/07/03/cz_jl_0701totalintro.html

More:
http://www.canadafreepress.com/2005/cover030505.htm

List of French, Russian and other companies benefitting from Saddam's continued control of Iraq:
http://www.heritage.org/Research/MiddleEast/wm217.cfm

There are many other credible western media items locateable with Google.

10/14/2005 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

All of Washington is waiting with baited breath for the Fitzgerald enquiry to reach it's conclusion but stop all the presses. Sir Humphreys have a scoop!

It's the French!

Yesterday it was National and the Maoris. Jesus Adolf what drugs are you on - Can I have some?

10/14/2005 12:30:00 AM  
Blogger JamesP said...

Chirac's greatest wish is to die in the office that is currently providing him immunity from prosecution. My wish is that he lives just long enough to be convicted even if it is "only" for electoral fraud. His approval numbers are currently so low that he wishes he was as "unpopular" as George Bush and so another term looks unlikely.

10/14/2005 12:30:00 AM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Jamesp -

Re: supposed unpopularity of Bush. Hasn't reached as low as any of his predecessors yet. Except maybe Bush Snr, but then he was only in office for one term.

10/14/2005 12:33:00 AM  
Blogger noizy said...

"Re: supposed unpopularity of Bush. Hasn't reached as low as any of his predecessors yet."

recent polls put his approval rating at 45% at best, and as low as 37% on the CBS poll.

Clinton, to name but one predecessor, rarely dropped into the 50%-60% range.

Unless you're using something other than approval/disapproval ratings to base your measure of 'popularity' upon?

10/14/2005 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

From what I read, Clintons popularity dropped into the late 30's at one point. Of course I was reading someone elses summary...

10/14/2005 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

In 1994, Clintons popularity was indeed in the low 30's:
http://www.aaiusa.org/wwatch_archives/102594.htm

10/14/2005 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

James Guthrie, why would you ever believe anything from CBS?

10/14/2005 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

As noted in that lefty rag the AFR this morning:

"Few readers will have heard of Hazim Shaalan, one-time small-businessman and, for a brief, gloriously enriching eight-month window of opportunity, defence minister in the provisional government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, of Iraq.

Before we address the issue of Shaalan, it is worth recalling that his former boss was portrayed in Washington and Canberra as an Iraqi George Washington, capable of ending the civil war and propelling Iraq towards democracy.

Well, this week brought a reality check of sorts as arrest warrants for corruption were issued against Shaalan and 27 other officials in the US-backed Allawi government, including the ministers for labour, transport, housing and electricity.

Allawi himself was not fingered directly, but suspicions linger that hewas a beneficiary of a corrupt cabal that looted Iraq of at least $US1billion ($1.3billion) and possibly double that during a prime ministership so warmly praised in far-off capitals.

Incidentally, money diverted by the Allawi claque in eight months more or less matches the $US1.8billion former dictator Saddam Hussein is said to have siphoned out of the Oil for Food program over 10 years."

Apologies for the cut & paste but it's subscription only.

10/14/2005 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Associated Press, Nov 2004 :

"Saddam Hussein's regime made more than $21.3 billion in illegal revenue by subverting the U.N. Oil-for-Food program and other sanctions — more than double previous estimates, according to congressional investigators."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,138617,00.html

Associated Press:

"U.S. congressional investigators reported in November that Saddam made more than $21.3 billion in illegal revenue - over $13 billion from smuggling and about $7 billion by subverting the oil-for-food program."

http://www.w3ar.com/a.php?k=1926

When a US-formed Iraqi body dedicated to investigating corruption actually investigates corruption only a year or two after it occurs - then that's a good thing. When the UN ignores internal corruption for a decade and has to be pursued by a national legislative body such as the US Congress because it wont discipline it's own staff - that's a bad thing.

10/14/2005 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

In fact it's a scandal that is largely being ignored and unreported.

As Tony Walker comments in the same article

"The American media has taken a pass on the story for reasons that are a bit mystifying. America's political actors have similarly avoided it, with one notable and commendable exception.

Congressman Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California - an opponent of the war, to be sure - has done his best to bring to public attention the extent to which Iraq has provided an opportunity for enrichment beyond the various players' wildest dreams.

There are effectively two separate eras of rampant, mind-boggling corruption. Waxman has concentrated on the first, which spans the invasion and occupation of March-April 2003 to the handover to Allawi and his thieves in June 2004.

Shaalan belongs to the second era, beginning with Allawi taking over and ending when a newly elected government came to power in April 2005.

Prudently, Shaalan fled the country after the January 2005 election and is variously reported to be in London or in Amman. It is reasonable to assume he is not having any difficulty paying the rent.

After months of effort, Waxman - the ranking minority member of the Committee on Government Reform - managed to schedule a congressional hearing on the activities of the US-managed Development Fund for Iraq (the successor to the much-maligned UN Oil for Food program) and US management of Iraqi oil proceeds.

That single hearing took place in June, prompting Waxman to note the "stark, and telling, contrast" between Congress's approach to the Oil for Food program and the DFI.

No fewer than five congressional committees investigated the UN's bungling of Oil for Food, whereas, before June 21, 2005, not one congressional hearing was held on US mismanagement of the DFI.

Space does not permit a retelling of all but a fraction of the evidence brought before the committee, but it is hard to disagree with Waxman's conclusions, based on his investigations of what happened to billions of dollars transferred in cash from the Federal Reserve Bank in New York to Iraq between May 2003 and June 2004.

"What we found was an appalling level of incompetence, mismanagement, waste, fraud and greed," Waxman told the committee. "Literally, billions of dollars of Iraqi assets taken from the DFI cannot be accounted for."

In total, almost $US12billion in cash (the UN had transferred $US8billion from its Oil for Food fund to the US-controlled DFI) was withdrawn from the DFI account at the Federal Reserve - the largest cash withdrawals in history.

The administration transferred, from New York to Baghdad by C-130 transports, more than 281million individual currency notes on 484 shrink-wrapped pallets weighing a total of 363tonnes. This included more than $US107million in $US100 bills.

As Waxman noted: "With so much cash arriving in Iraq, you might think that extensive precautions would be taken to account for the funds. But exactly the opposite happened: US officials used virtually no financial controls to safeguard the Iraq funds.

"No certified public accounting firm was hired to monitor disbursements, and auditors found that US officials could not account for billions of dollars."

10/14/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Well i know about it, and we all know I'm not exactly a reader of leftist American blogs/magazines. The Iraqi blogs have run quite a bit about it, though these days they're more interested in the referendum.

Re: US media. None of them cover pork-barrel political deals in the States either. If it bleeds it leads, etc.

10/14/2005 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Ackers1 yes I know about it too. What is there to report? He is being prosecuted and very likely a large part of the funds will be recovered. Are you sure Saddam got away with only $1.8 bil? Did you get that figure from the Lancet or from the BBC? Funny thing Ackers1 I don't hear any reports from you of the number of Iraqi children who have died for lack of medical treatment since the Amerikkans and Brits and Aussies intervened in that country? Cat got your tongue, has it?

10/14/2005 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger noizy said...

"James Guthrie, why would you ever believe anything from CBS?"

I wouldn't necessarily - just quoting one of the 11 polls that were on that page I listed.

"In 1994, Clintons popularity was indeed in the low 30's:
http://www.aaiusa.org/wwatch_archives/102594.htm"

Why would you believe a website that doesn't even quote where they got their number from?

How about Gallup, so we can compare apples with apples?

"President Bush's job-approval rating in the latest Gallup Poll, conducted August 22-25, is just 40 percent. That's the lowest Gallup rating ever for this president."

"Bill Clinton's problem was overreaching. He dropped to 40 percent, briefly, during his first two years in office, when he overreached with his health care plan. That spelled disaster for the Democrats in 1994. But like Reagan, Clinton recovered. During the impeachment process, Clinton's ratings actually went up, into the 60s."

So, on that front, comparable.

10/14/2005 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

Just repeating what I read Adolf.

If you want to do some fact checking.

http://www.oilforfoodfacts.org/

10/14/2005 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think job approval ratings stats are full of shit. The inference is supposed to be that these results would be how people would vote if an election was held tomorrow.

Also, job approval ratings will not favour active presidents. The more they do, the more chance they have of pissing someone else off.
They will disadvantage centrists when the population is polarised. Democrats (the half that doesn t simply have a failure induced pathological hatred of Republicans) will disagree with what the president does that is too Right, Republicans will disagree with the president when he does things that are too left (and given the Republican dominance of the major political bodies in the US, any concession to the Democrats can be seen to too left).

Kimble

10/14/2005 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

It's difficult to think of a reason why he would be popular though Kimble. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that he is well on the way to becoming one of the most unpoular Presidents in modern American history. Certainly haven't heard any murmerings of approval from my American co workers most of whom I assume are fairly staunch Republicans.

Harriet loves him enough to make up for the rest of us.....

10/14/2005 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, not many people can be Popular AND Competent, i suppose.

Roberts was a good choice, but Meirs simply appears to be a choice to appease the impotent democrats. Many conservative probably feel that with the majority and the mandate provided by a signifcant election that Bush should be pressing the advantage.

Democrats just dislike him anyway, for Iraq, for 'stealing' an election, for being texan and a christian and for proving them to be a largely irrelevant political force.

But approval ratings mean nothing for a second term president, and given Bush's percieved centering amongst republican voters the Republican party's next presidential nomination has little to worry about being tarred with the same brush.

Kimble

10/14/2005 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Remember the French? Just because you are fixated on corruption out of America Ackers1, doesn't mean we can't at least discuss the French.

When actions are seen as reactions to what other players are doing, then it makes the black/white pictures painted of America suddenly look grey.

Is the French involvement in the Oil for Food scandal just a one-off? Maybe those nuclear reactors they sold meant something after all. Remember the French arms sales? Notice the French mergers of very large defense companies, generally with a high government ownership component?

And as a side topic, Sir Humphreys noted the appointment of Villepin earlier this year. Bloody history teachers. Very dangerous breed.

Ruffian Out and Villian In

10/14/2005 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Oh, and in that post I noted French arms sales to Taiwan languishing. Hah! Now I know why - they were ramping up arms sales to China.

10/14/2005 04:52:00 PM  

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