Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Saddam: Used money from UN program to develop WMD?

Saddam bagged $21B in oil scam
Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, testified that some of the oil-for-food profits went to Saddam's Military Industrial Commission, which was trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.

He said the commission's budget "surged from $7.8 million in 1998" — when the U.N. program got into full swing — to $350 million in 2001. It was to be $500 million in 2003, the year of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

"Saddam's priorities were clear," Duelfer said.

The committee released bombshell documents that show how U.S. and other Western companies were forced to pay surcharges and kickbacks.

Among the documents released was a letter from Russian ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky to an unnamed U.S. oil company saying he wanted to sell them a voucher he had that enabled him to receive Iraqi oil at below-market prices.

Committee investigators indicated Zhirinovsky and scores of other international political figures were able to earn 30 cents a barrel from the sweetheart deals.

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