Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The UN Oil-For-Food Program
  Were sanctions being ignored by Saddam Hussein al-Majid?  Why, the King of Jordan told us that he was importing 70-90,000 barrels of oil a day from Iraq.  Later, the Iraq-Syria pipeline opened up, and there is no doubt that oil flowed through it.  Again, later, the US knew that Saddam was charging between 20 and 50 cent surcharge on each barrel of oil (although claims that this could have amounted to 2 billion in profits implies exporting more than 5 billion barrels of oil, while the Congressional Research Service, in a nice table on page 11CRS-7 shows that only three billion barrels were ever sold under the Oil-For-Food guidelines, and after Sept, 2001, the surcharges were not allowed.  In other words, 1. the Bush maladministration knew the whole time about the illegal exports, even though they were never a subject of discussion in important speeches or addresses to Americans, and 2. they know full well that most of the illegal money wasn't accrued through Oil-for-Food.

     And yet you may be left wondering, where does that 11 billion dollar number come from, which the neo-con inveterate liar, David Brooks, and others, keep harping upon?  Well, part of it is the above, pre-war known figures of Syrian and Jordanian oil sales, combined with the pre-war (legal under sanctions rules until it was made illegal) "surcharges" and some amount of "kickbacks" (no evidence produced). But the main way to get to that amazing total is to rely on the Energy Information malAdminstration(EIA).  They estimated total Iraqi production, subtracted estimated total Iraqi consumption, subtracted known Oil-for-Food contracts, and was left with... total horseshit, also known as, the total amount of illegal sales (and profits) cited in the GAO report.  9 billion of the alleged 11 billion comes from this EIA estimate.  I still haven't called them to ask how they got to these figures.

Even if they came off the back of an envelope, that wouldn't stop the bloodthirty Brooks!

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