Sunday, September 11, 2005

US 'approved' oil smuggling

The largest oil consignment smuggled out of Iraq took place with US approval just weeks before the April 2003 invasion, according to a United Nations report.

The Independent Inquiry Committee has spent the past year examining the now defunct UN oil-for-food program. The report blamed UN officials and the Security Council but it also faulted the United States and other Security Council members for ignoring violations of UN sanctions.

While US Navy ships were patrolling the Gulf in February 2003, making a show of boarding and searching leaky dhows and small ships, they turned a blind eye to tankers carrying $54 million of Iraqi oil under the scheme on Jordan's behalf, the report said.

A total of 7.7 million barrels of oil was smuggled through the Khor al-Amaya oil terminal in at least seven shipments in February and March 2003, it said.

The sales were arranged by a businessman in Jordan named "Mr Shaheen" who told an Iraqi official he had "the Pentagon in one pocket and the CIA in the other." The oil was bought at a heavily discounted price of around $7 a barrel, the report said. If it had been sold at fair market value within the oil-for-food program, it could have earned $200 million to buy humanitarian goods. "

The illegal sales of oil from Khor al-Amaya came at a staggering cost to the program in terms of potential revenue foregone," the report said.

The 1,000-page report showed shipping records from a tanker included instructions for the ship's captain saying the US Navy was "already aware about your passage and itinerary."
The investigation said the smuggling in early 2003 was "the single largest episode of oil smuggling" under the oil-for-food program and occurred with the approval of the United States government."

"The governments of Jordan and the United States have declined the Committee's requests for interviews and information concerning the smuggling of oil from Khor al-Amaya," the report said.

Earlier this year the chief of staff for the US mission to the United Nations admitted Iraqi oil sales with Turkey and Jordan at the time violated UN sanctions.

Yet more examples of US double standards , they make huge waves at the UN staff who 'abused' the oil for food program , when it is themselves that have commited the greatest crime

so the question I have is this .

Which of the following is most likely to hapen now

(a) The US government will accept that (as they say about the UN) they themselves are urgently in need of reform or risk becoming irrelevant to the world today

(b) The US government will stop applying double standards incase their own people realise the judgement stick they apply on the UN should be applied to themselves as well .

(c) The US government will carry on as if this report does not even mention the crimes of the US and continue to place all blame on the UN itself .They will decide not to mention any of this in any press briefings and in turn the US media will fail to inform the American people of any US crime .

The US people will then hear about this again in about one months time when they again will be told about the awfull criminal activity of the United nations and if anyone points out the discrepancy then they will question the independent report that they supported fully up to this point.

My money is on (c)


Blogger pansyjoan said...

C is the winner

September 11, 2005 8:00 pm  
Blogger G_in_AL said...

My money is there are some very (now or soon to be) regretful senior officials in Washington that will very quietly "resign" and/or "retire."

I will bet that there are several washington 'crats sitting right now about to piss themselves, hoping that a couple of folks just go quietly, and dont drop a list of names off. I will bet this includes some senior military leadership too.

But as far as an official response, naw, you wont get it. They will handel it internally, and people will pay, especially for the bad face they put on the country.

About the same as will happen at the UN. No one of note will be charged, but some heads will roll.

September 12, 2005 5:38 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...

i agree G , I have no problem with the US and UN judging its standards by the same rules

it is only when it is double standards that i scream foul

I had just heard so much "oil for food" stuff of late , that people did not notice that the same rules were being broken at a national level as well as an international one

but if heads roll all the way round , i am happy with that

September 12, 2005 10:42 pm  
Blogger NYCTexan said...

If this report had included accounts of the US allowing illegal oil shipments a year or more before the invasion then I would agree that the US had acted improperly. Because this happened "just weeks before the invasion" I don’t think anybody can really blame the US.

There are so many factors that must be considered as to why the US would have done this. First and foremost, the oil for food program was about to be rendered irrelevant with the invasion and subsequent regime change. The US obviously knew this. Secondly, I don’t know all the details (I am pretty sure you don’t either), but not pissing off another Arab county (especially a country that borders Iraq) just before invading seems like a commonsense move. Finally, I can just see the world response now had the US seized the oil shipment. Everybody would be screaming that the US had stolen the oil.

These are just a few of the endless reasons why the US might have let the oil shipments pass.

In regards to the "which of the following will most likely happen now" section of the article, my responses are as follow:

a) As long as the US does not let itself become like Europe economically or politically, the US will never be irrelevant to the world (in our lifetimes). The UN on the other hand is a completely irrelevant body and its actions continue to keep it irrelevant.

b) The US will continue to apply double standards no matter what other nations think. Every nation is hypocritical and does what is in their best interest.

c) The US will carry on and continue to operate as usual. The American media is very hostile toward the Bush administration. Had the media sensed that this story had even the slightest bit of truth or merit they would have blown it out of proportion and shoved it down our throats.

In regards to all the postings blaming the US for everything that ever goes wrong and for screwing up the middle east my response is as follows. It is clear from history that Europe's strategy of appeasement is far superior to anything the US has to offer. Look at the great progress that has been made in Iran. It is comforting to know that Iran's striking capability will at least initially be limited to those European countries that did nothing to stop it. At that point the Europeans will once again have to look down their noses to the US to clean up their mess.

September 16, 2005 7:20 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...


Thanks for popping by

you said " but not pissing off another Arab county (especially a country that borders Iraq) just before invading seems like a commonsense move."

well that didnt seem to apply for
example to syria who provided the US with considerable intelligence data after sept 11th ,

the basic point you seem to imply here is that it is ok to break international law aslong as you have a (national) moral ground to do so ...

Sorry i can't agree with that , especially as the US puts itself at the front in regard to tackling international law breakers then its own conduct needs to be pure , it is not ..

you said "The UN on the other hand is a completely irrelevant body and its actions continue to keep it irrelevant"

well and truly highlighting a difference of opinion there ..

to me and millions like me the UN has gained more credibilty by standing upto the US , the longest standing ovation yesterday was for a speach that was rightly critical of american foreign policy , the UN did not endorse the invastion of iraq and world leaders said how it would be a huge error , it seems the UN was right and America was wrong

they should have listened to Hans Blix but they didnt , and the US now has its worst world reputation that has happened in my life time (i am not young)

so i would say the opposite , i would say that the UN is now more accurate then ever , and the US are trying to claw back international support after a foolish action

I agree the US will continue to apply double standards , and i agree that the rest of the world in the main is no better

the view on the american media is one we differ on too , i think that the first signs of a true media in the US of late has come about due to Katrina , but political groups like fox news will soon redress that balance

I do respect your view NYC but i feel you have an over inflated view of your own countries importance , this is fine of course , it is patriotic , but trust me . america needs the world much more then the world needs america

I just pray for my many friends your side of the pond that america will soon return to the center of politics

then the world can start to repair the damage that the far right wing leadership has brought to us all

trust me , though it may seem crazy or mad or stupid or whatever else you may think , the world is more concerned about the actions of the american government then they are from the muslim extremists ...

you may justify that anyway you want , but at some point leaders are going to have to sit down and work this shit out

and if america continues to dictate but refuses at the same time to listen , then i fear for what problems we all have to come

September 16, 2005 9:30 pm  
Blogger NYCTexan said...

In reply to your international law argument and also in regard to your comment on the US not having the backing of the international community (the UN), there are several factors at play that you and the rest of the world seem to be overlooking.

I will admit that the idea of the world having a forum where all countries can come together to work out problems, solve hunger, find the cure for aids...ect is a great idea. No one would be against this. Back in reality though, we must contend with each and every county doing what is in their best interest. This fact and this fact alone is the reason why at this point there is no "international law."

From your response, I can tell that you are an intelligent and reasonable individual (I am not trying to make myself sound smart by saying this). That stated, I want you to tell me that the countries that were against the Iraq invasion were against the invasion because of international law or because it was morally wrong and not because they had oil, arms, or other contracts that they stood to lose once Sadam was removed from power.

Many people like to refer to the Iraq war as illegal. I seem to recall a treaty signed on behalf of Sadam (Iraq) at the end of the first war agreeing to many terms which were repeatedly broken throughout the 90s and early 00s. It seems to me that voluntarily breaking the treaty is grounds for a legal invasion. I will admit that I don’t know all the terms and stipulations of the signed treaty. I assume that there was some sort of clause stating that if Sadam broke the treaty the UN would have a say in whether or not action would be taken against him. I also recall the US going back to the UN repeatedly seeking "permission" to take action. No matter what Sadam did, the UN would not have acted.

The US tried to play nice and let the international community feel special, but why would the US expect anything to change overtime. The US has seen the UN fail to take action time after time. I guess this more credible UN backed by its "morals and principles" does not have a law to protect those killed in the genocide taking place in the Sudan. Can you explain why nothing was done to prevent the genocide in the Sudan. Might it have something to do with different countries interests in the oil in Sudan. If the UN wont take action in a case like the Sudan then when will it take action.

The UN has become nothing more than an conglomeration of countries that act to hedge the US's power at every turn. The UN is more concerned about the US putting women's panties on the heads of its detainees than with those dying in the Sudan, those gassed by Sadam, ect.

I will admit that America has done terrible things in the past. I am truly ashamed to be an American when I think that we are actually responsible for having created the UN.

Law is not whatever self interest says it is at any given time.

September 16, 2005 11:01 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...


Thankyou for your reply ,

I have come down with a virus , so i will not be able to give you a full reply today

I will come back to the post and reply to you with a day (or so) as soon as i feel a little better

September 17, 2005 6:28 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...


you said "....fact alone is the reason why at this point there is no "international law."

well international law is something that has done us all rather well , a good example would be the first gulf war , Kuiwat was freed by the will of international law , the removal of the Taliban was done through the rules of international law and the US makes most of its political voice on the world stage expecting countries like Iran to stick to it's agreements on international law

from my perspective , the US has always achived success when it has led from the front with the worlds backing , and like Iraq and vietnam , it has always seemed to struggle when it works agaisnt the flow of international support

you said "I want you to tell me that the countries that were against the Iraq invasion were against the invasion because of international law or because it was morally wrong and not because they had oil, arms, or other contracts that they stood to lose once Sadam was removed from power."

of course every country has motives , nobody debates that , the US had motives to attack iraq and it had nothing to do with WMD or terrorism or human rights , but when there is a genuine world crisis , such as the invasion of kuiwat or sept 11th , the world can see the bigger picture and acts as one voice . the fact that countries such as Russia , france , germany , china etc did not support you , when on other occasions they have , highlights the claimed error of such an action

the UN resolutions agaisnt Iraq were designed in a rather clever way by the british and the US governments after the first gulf war , they put a clause into the agrement that stated "that if any member of the security council thinks that iraq is still in material breach then the sanctions stay in place" (paraphrased)

on no less then eleven occasions the world tried to get the sanctions lifted , and on eleven occasions the US and UK stonewalled the world and kept the sanctions in place

the estimate is that upto 1 million Iraqi's died due to the sanctions that it seems (with hindsite) to have been a mistake , for Iraq appears not to have had any WMD . so mu view is the world was right to call us on it eleven times , and we were wrong

you said "The US has seen the UN fail to take action time after time." the reason for this is the US expects the world to follow its rules , but not the other way round , take israel for example , there are over 60 resolutions that critise israel , the US has voted agaisnt each and every one

It is the US that is the worst offender of any country when it comes to stopping world law , and should be ashamed of itself when it appears to vote out 4 times more world laws then countries like china

when the US says the UN needs reform , they mean "the UN should follow our lead"

even this week it is the US that refuses to enlarge the security council
the US that ha stopped the reform of the NPT treaty
the US that blocked the accepted definition of terrorism

john bolton had over 70 ammendments he wanted for the UN and it is to the worlds credit that he achieved none of them

Of course when you talk of countries like Sudan , more work needs to be done , but remember , it was kofi annan who said the invasion of iraq was illigel and nobody stoped that either

you mention the gassing of the kurds by saddam , that is a dangerous area , it was an American dual use factory built as dual use by a company called betchel with US government permision that made the gas that killed the kurds

of course Iraq was you friend then so the US government did not seem to have much of a problem with it at the time , infact not long after they sent mr rumsfield to baghdad to offer yet more support

the simple fact of the matter is that resolution 1441 did not give the US authority to invade Iraq , the UN is very specific when it says it accepts the need for a war , it did not , the US broke an international agreement (the geneva convention) that it agreed to abide by , and it expects the world to abide by , it did not , and as tony blair and george bush say "the rules of the game have changed" yes they have , but sadly not in a way that will ever make us any safer

sorry it took so long for your reply , and thanks again for your thoughts

September 18, 2005 7:41 pm  

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