April 19, 2004

Oil--for--Terror

Claudia Rosett has written before (here and here) about the scandalous behavior of the United Nations and its oversight of the Oil-for-Food program that was essentially corrupt on both ends - with the UN siphoning funds and Saddam hoarding supplies that were supposed to go to his countrymen. She weighs in again at the National Review with more -- much much more: bq. Oil-for-Terror? There appears to be much worse news to uncover in the Oil-for-Food scandal. bq. Beyond the billions in graft, smuggling, and lavish living for Saddam Hussein that were the hallmarks of the United Nations Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, there is one more penny yet to drop. bq. It's time to talk about Oil-for-Terror. bq. Especially with the U.N.'s own investigation into Oil-for-Food now taking shape, and more congressional hearings in the works, it is high time to focus on the likelihood that Saddam may have fiddled Oil-for-Food contracts not only to pad his own pockets, buy pals, and acquire clandestine arms but also to fund terrorist groups, quite possibly including al Qaeda. And more: bq. Which brings us to back to terrorist ties, and Perelman's story of June 20, 2003, for which the reporting checks out. In brief (hang on for the ride): One link ran from a U.N.-approved buyer of Saddam's oil, Galp International Trading Corp., involved near the very start of the program, to a shell company called ASAT Trust in Liechtenstein, linked to a bank in the Bahamas, Bank Al Taqwa. Both ASAT Trust and Bank Al Taqwa were designated on the U.N.'s own terror-watch list, shortly after 9/11, as entities "belonging to or affiliated with Al Qaeda." This Liechtenstein trust and Bahamian bank were linked to two closely connected terrorist financiers, Youssef Nada and Idris Ahmed Nasreddin both of whom were described in 2002 by Treasury as "part of an extensive financial network providing support to Al Qaeda and other terrorist related organizations," and both of whom appear on the U.N.'s list of individuals belonging to or affiliated with al Qaeda. bq. The other tie between Oil-for-Food and al Qaeda, noted by Perelman, ran through another of Saddam's handpicked, Oil-for-Food oil buyers, Swiss-based Delta Services which bought oil from Saddam in 2000 and 2001, at the height of Saddam's scam for grafting money out of Oil-for-Food by way of under-priced oil contracts. Now shut down, Delta Services was a subsidiary of a Saudi Arabian firm, Delta Oil, which had close ties to the Taliban during Osama bin Laden's heyday in Afghanistan in the late 1990s. In discussions of graft via Oil-for-Food, it has been assumed that the windfall profits were largely kicked back to Saddam, or perhaps used to sway prominent politicians and buy commercial lobbying clout. But that begs further inquiry. There was every opportunity here for Saddam not solely to pocket the plunder, but to send it along to whomever he chose once he had tapped into the appropriate networks. This is just a fraction of what she has -- she also posts a lot of links to corroborate her facts. Well worth the 10 minutes to read... Posted by DaveH at April 19, 2004 4:41 PM