Monday, October 18, 2004

Annan & Bribes, Iran's Nukes, Inside Fallujah

Kofi Annan rejects Duelfer's allagations against France & Russia regarding the Oil For Food program.

Elsewhere on the same issue, Josh Narins at Remain Calm exposes the questionable numbers floated regarding oil money branched off during the Oil For Food Program (OFFP). The first part of these sums is from the - legal - surcharges that were between 20 and 50 cents per barrel, but only until September 2001, until when OFFP oil exports were roughly 2.7 billion barrels (they were 3117.3 million barrels in total; see page CRS-7 here) - thus this sum is likely less than half of the claimed $ 2 billion. Second there are illegal exports. Summing up estimates in the previous report, more than doubling to 320,000 to 470,000 barrels/day after the Syrian pipeline started in late 2000 (vs. the roughly 2 million barrels/day legally). Even tough the estimates, especially the Syrian, are suspect to me, selling at the claimed half the market price would get Saddam's regime $ 6 to 10 billion - by far the largest sum, yet when neocons babble about corruption in the OFFP and quote a sum of $ 11 billion, most of the latter is from these illegal sales. Third and last are kickbacks, with zero evidence presented so far. That is, the neocons and Duelfer refer to purported Iraqi Oil Ministry documents they got from Chalabi, documents not disclosed to the public, and documents whose claims were not checked with the accused - documents that at this point don't deserve more credibility than the Niger documents.

(UPDATE 19/10: A NYT article mentioning surcharges led me to discover that the Duelfer Report also deals with Saddam's illegal income (from page 154 of "Regime Finance and Procurement" section). They also display an $ 11 billion total (page 218) - only they themselves admit that the largest sub-sum included, the Jordan Protocol was legal: without it the sum is $ 6.5 billion.

This $ 6.5 billion includes $ 1.5 billion in kickbacks. This is not based on actual evidence, but is an estimate out of thin air: they just assumed 10% kickback on all of the oil sold by the regime through the OFFP. As for surcharges, which were collected big-time only from 2000 (legally) until 2003 (then illegally) - adding up to only $ 229 million. The two biggest factors remaining are illegal oil exports though the Syrian Protocol and 'private sector', and the much smaller Turkey and Egypt Protocols, which are based on allegedly genuine documents from Iraq's oil ministry. All in all, the illegal oil exports claimed by the CIA add up to about $ 4.7 billion, also less than the minimum I guesstimated above. Still three times the alleged UN OFFP ripoff.)

Josh also had a scoop, he found an ignored sentence in Duelfer's report that has importance today: Saddam's secret service had only evidence proving Iran's nuke program is peaceful. The relevant quote is on page 30 of the report:

Iraqi intelligence collected on the Iranian nuclear
program in 2001, but did not contradict Iranian
claims that their reactors being used for peaceful
purposes, according to the former deputy director
of the IIS. Regardless, Iraq assumed Iran was
attempting to develop nuclear weapons.

Remember, Iran was Saddam's big strategic enemy. And also remember, now US government/media propaganda acknowledged this, too. It happened as they moved from "Saddam's WMD stocks" through "Saddam's WMD programmes" and later "Saddam's WMD-related programme activities" to "Saddam's intention to re-start WMD programmes once sanctions are over" (where even the latter is based on zero public evidence). And the feeble spin on the latest is that Saddam wanted WMD/didn't want to make his lack of WMD obvious because he feared Iran (which would be, as I argued even before the war when I thought Saddam might have post-1998 WMD, a use as deterrent, not a threat to neighbors - and much less to the USA or the UK).

I wrote Fallujah is invaded again with zero media presence, but the BBC managed to get out a report from Fallujah. No foreign fighters to see, clans and religion keeps fighters together, foreigners suspected to be spies, heavy bombing, bombing of civilians, people flee, people think Americans attack on hurt pride, most think 'PM' Allawi and 'President' Ghazi Yawer differ because one is Shi'a the other Sunni, but many say religion matter as the 'PM' is a puppet only following American orders. The picture is contrary to US propaganda, tough none of it news to those who paid attention in the last few months.


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