Plame Game - Following the Money Trail to Niger

More connections and dots to connect:

"NEW YORK — The U.N. Oil-for-Food program — already the subject of federal, congressional and United Nations financial abuse probes — took a fresh hit with an explosive new report that said Saddam Hussein was using the program to fund his ambitions.

The report by Charles Duelfer — the special CIA adviser looking into whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction — found that Saddam was able to "subvert" the $60 billion U.N. program to generate an estimated $1.7 billion in revenue outside U.N. control from 1997-2003.

(**see UPDATE) When this story broke on October 18th, it didn't get wide media coverage as Fitzmas was just around the corner.(***) But it was huge not only because it implicated how the French, Germans and Russians along with over 2200 companies were getting rich via the Oil for Food Program, but it also reinforced the fact that Saddam fully intended to reconstitute his WMD program, he only needed opportunity to do so.

Here are a few of the key points from the findings:

"Saddam’s primary goal from 1991 to 2003 was to have UN sanctions lifted, while maintaining the security of the Regime. He sought to balance the need to cooperate with UN inspections—to gain support for lifting sanctions—with his intention to preserve Iraq’s intellectual capital for WMD with a minimum of foreign intrusiveness and loss of face. Indeed, this remained the goal to the end of the Regime, as the starting of any WMD program, conspicuous or otherwise, risked undoing the progress achieved in eroding sanctions and jeopardizing a political end to the embargo and international monitoring."

Then under analysis of Regime Finance and Procurement:

Once money began to flow into Iraq, the Regime’s authorities, aided by foreign companies and some foreign governments, devised and implemented methods and techniques to procure illicit goods from foreign suppliers.

To implement its procurement efforts, Iraq under Saddam, created a network of Iraqi front companies, some with close relationships to high-ranking foreign government officials. These foreign government officials, in turn, worked through their respective ministries, state-run companies and ministry-sponsored front companies,to procure illicit goods, services, and technologies for Iraq’s WMD-related,conventional arms, and/or dual-use goods programs.

Who were these "front companies with close relationships to high ranking foreign government officials"?

I'll be answering that question soon. But think Plame/Wilson and "under the Palms" and you begin to scratch the surface.

Remember, behind most crime is the love of money.

UPDATE: Opps! Ht to reader Odi...

This happens when your eyes are failing. The Foxnews link above is from 2004, yet the rest of the post stands. The findings of this report were still not widely reported (for obvious reasons) because of the 2004 Election and they supported the Bush Administration's policy towards Iraq more than it didn't.

I now return you to your regular reading.....

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