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HQ6
01-28-2004, 18:20
Iraqi govt. papers: Saddam bribed Chirac (http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20040128-094014-7323r.htm)

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Documents from Saddam Hussein's oil ministry reveal he used oil to bribe top French officials into opposing the imminent U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The oil ministry papers, described by the independent Baghdad newspaper al-Mada, are apparently authentic and will become the basis of an official investigation by the new Iraqi Governing Council, the Independent reported Wednesday.

"I think the list is true," Naseer Chaderji, a governing council member, said. "I will demand an investigation. These people must be prosecuted."

Such evidence would undermine the French position before the war when President Jacques Chirac sought to couch his opposition to the invasion on a moral high ground.

A senior Bush administration official said Washington was aware of the reports but refused further comment.

French diplomats have dismissed any suggestion their foreign policy was influenced by payments from Saddam, but some European diplomats have long suspected France's steadfast opposition to the war was less moral than monetary.

"Oil runs thicker than blood," is how one former ambassador put his suspicions about the French motives for opposing action against Saddam.

Al-Mada's list cites a total of 46 individuals, companies and organizations inside and outside Iraq as receiving Saddam's oil bribes, including officials in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Sudan, China, Austria and France, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian Communist Party, India's Congress Party and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I love being right.

Does anyone have more detail on this?

CPTAUSRET
01-28-2004, 18:40
Interesting, not at all surprising though:

Terry

Airbornelawyer
01-28-2004, 18:59
This is going to be the fourth or fifth time I have had to write this today, and I am getting tired and cranky about it, so I apologize for any rudeness.

You have posted a Washington Times posting of a UPI wire story based on a report in the UK paper The Independent based on a report in a Baghdad paper, al-Mada, based on documents shown to it which reportedly came from the Iraqi state oil concern SOMO (the State Oil Marketing Organisation, an adjunct of the Iraqi Oil Ministry).

The UPI story is riddled with errors, including, most prominently, the one you chose for your thread title. Where in that article does it allege that Saddam bribed or tried to bribe Chirac? It doesn't. Among other errors, the article says "46 individuals, companies and organizations" were on the list. In fact, 270 individuals, companies and organizations were on the list, from 46 countries. Of these 270, according to Le Monde, 11 were French and none was Chirac.

Those French identified by name were: former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua; businessman Patrick Maugein; Michel Grimard, president of the Franco-Arab Friendship Association (l'Association d'amitié franco arabe); former diplomat Bernard Mérimée; ADAX S.A., a maker of precision parts; a French-Lebanese businessman whose name is garbled; someone identified as Claude Kaspereit (but possibly Gabriel Kaspereit, a low-level Gaullist politico, or someone related to him); and someone named Bernard Desmaret. Several names are unclear as they are bad Arabic transliterations of non-Arab names.

As noted. people and groups from 46 countries are on the list. Among these countries are Algeria, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Egypt, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, the Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, the UAE, the United Kingdom, the United States, Yemen and Yugoslavia, and among non-states, the PLO and PFLP. Groups and organizations include the Russian Orthodox Church, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the aforementioned PLO and PFLP.

And the SOMO list, BTW, was generated in 1998, so the opening line of the story, that the bribes were to oppose the imminent invasion, is also a distortion.

The story is a deliberate distortion, spun to play to the pettiest and most ignorant anti-French bigotry in the US. It is a disgraceful piece of journalism, and undermines legitimate criticism of French government policies and actions.

CPTAUSRET
01-28-2004, 19:06
Originally posted by Airbornelawyer
This is going to be the fourth or fifth time I have had to write this today, and I am getting tired and cranky about it, so I apologize for any rudeness.

The story is a deliberate distortion, spun to play to the pettiest and most ignorant anti-French bigotry in the US. It is a disgraceful piece of journalism, and undermines legitimate criticism of French government policies and actions.

A L:

I am going to go out on a limb, with my presumption that you did not appreciate the aforementioned article:

At least that's the way it seems to me::D

Terry

HQ6
01-28-2004, 19:06
Thank you for the clarification and requested detail.

longrange1947
01-28-2004, 20:37
Terry

What gave you that idea? :)

Good rebuttal Airborne Lawyer! Noticed the US on that list.

Roguish Lawyer
01-28-2004, 20:41
Wow. Nicely done!

Airbornelawyer
01-29-2004, 10:19
Originally posted by longrange1947
Noticed the US on that list. Yeah, you would think a responsible American media (an oxymoron, I know) would be more concerned with finding out what Americans were on that list. The French media is certainly going after Pasqua and the others (all of whom naturally deny everything). The one UK name I know of on the list was pro-Saddam former Labour MP George Galloway, whose alleged bribe-taking became public last April.

HQ6
01-29-2004, 10:48
Damn. I should have researched this better before I posted. Sincerely, ABL thank you for the expanded detail on the article. I'll pass the information on to the data base which pointed me to the article in the first place.

Although, it would be accurate to say that the headline for the article was intentionally inflammatory against Chirac specifically, wouldn't you say the message behind the story is fairly well accurate? That the professed moral outrage heard loudest from Chirac at the on set of Iraqi Freedom was nothing more than a farce and the real reason for not wanting the US to take action against Saddam was in fact financially based?

BTW I can't take credit for the thread title... It was the headline for the article ;)

Take care

HQ6

Airbornelawyer
01-29-2004, 11:49
No.

I wrote a long piece over a year ago at SOCNET on why the blood-for-oil argument was as invalid for France opposing war as it was for the US going to war, but there's no need to rehash that argument here. The question is whether the article provides any evidence in support of that argument, and not the merits and demerits of the argument itself. The al-Mada article alleges bribes in 1998 and the most senior person named was even then a former cabinet minister (and intraparty rival of Chirac, by the way). There may be more recent bribes, and there may be higher level officials involved, and there may be an explict quid pro quo of opposing the US, but there is no evidence in that article, the documents it is based on, or anywhere else to substantiate that.

HQ6
01-29-2004, 11:53
I didn't say blood for oil. I said financially based. Meaning the large financial debt to Saddam had built up with France.

Alas, I guess we will have to agree to disagree here.

Take care,

HQ6

Airbornelawyer
01-29-2004, 12:01
"Blood for oil" is just shorthand for the economically-based arguments. If you can find the old SOCNET piece, it goes into greater detail, but the essence is that French economic relations with Iraq were and are miniscule compared with French economic relations with the United States.

Bribery is actually a better argument in this regard than national debts because a key individual might shade a decision based on a few thousand dollars that a nation wouldn't over billions.

Roguish Lawyer
01-29-2004, 12:12
Dave, have you considered litigation? I think you may be miscast. :cool:

HQ6
01-29-2004, 12:21
If France is so magnanimous, why would they not consider debt reduction for Iraq until after the US opened up bidding to them for reconstruction contracts? Why, if Chirac felt the entire action so morally bankrupt, did he send a congratulatory telegram to Bush upon Saddam capture?

France is playing the political game. No worries there. I can understand that. However, don't try to feed me that opposition to the US was a moral issue. It wasn't moral. It was political and financial.

At least that is my take on it.

As I said, might be better to agree to disagree here.

Take care,

HQ6

Airbornelawyer
01-29-2004, 13:17
Didn't you ever see that episode of The Odd Couple where Felix writes on the blackboard, "When you assume..."?

Where did I claim that French policy had anything to do with magnanimity or that "opposition to the US was a moral issue"? As I noted above, junk articles like the UPI story undermine legitimate criticism of French government policies and actions. To me, they are of a kin with the "BUSH LIED!!!!" pseudo-arguments of the Left over WMDs. Rather than read the Kay reports or actually listen to what he has been saying, they twist the results of his investigation to fit their anti-Bush theme. And real issues like how to improve our intelligence-gathering capabilities get lost in the polemics.

Regards,
Dave

HQ6
01-29-2004, 13:31
Originally posted by HQ6
Such evidence would undermine the French position before the war when President Jacques Chirac sought to couch his opposition to the invasion on a moral high ground.

Originally posted by HQ6
Although, it would be accurate to say that the headline for the article was intentionally inflammatory against Chirac specifically, wouldn't you say the message behind the story is fairly well accurate? That the professed moral outrage heard loudest from Chirac at the on set of Iraqi Freedom was nothing more than a farce and the real reason for not wanting the US to take action against Saddam was in fact financially based?

Yes I remeber those episodes... And you are assuming that I am condeming the French for reasons I am not.

The moral issue vs. financial issue was the original question.

Take care.

HQ6

Airbornelawyer
01-30-2004, 13:50
Originally posted by HQ6
The moral issue vs. financial issue was the original question.

Take care.

HQ6 The whole point is that your original question is based on a logical fallacy. It is a fallacy of bifurcation, in this case a disjunctive syllogism (the "either/or" fallacy):

Either p or q.
Not-p.
Therefore, q.


Originally posted by Airbornelawyer
Originally posted by longrange1947
Noticed the US on that list.Yeah, you would think a responsible American media (an oxymoron, I know) would be more concerned with finding out what Americans were on that list. The French media is certainly going after Pasqua and the others (all of whom naturally deny everything). The one UK name I know of on the list was pro-Saddam former Labour MP George Galloway, whose alleged bribe-taking became public last April.
The two Americans on the list are Iraqi-American businessman Samir Vincent and pro-Saddam Iraqi expatriate Shakir al-Khafaji.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Vincent had been able to insinuate himself among various political and religious groups favoring lifting sanctions, and he got close to luminaries such as Jack Kemp.

As for al-Khafaji, a pro-Saddam website (http://panarabunion.tripod.com/saddam/id2.html) carried this report a year and a half ago about him:Saddam receives cable of solidarity from Iraqi expatriates
Story Filed: Monday, September 30, 2002 9:57 AM EST
Sep 30, 2002 (Al-Bawaba via COMTEX) -- President Saddam Hussein has received a telegram of pledge from Iraqi expatriates, INA news agency reported Sunday.

The telegram was sent by chairman of the 17th conference of Iraqi expatriates Shaker Al-Khafaji who pledged, on behalf of the Iraqi expatriates gathering in Sofia, to defend Baghdad's positions in international forums and confront all aggressive policies, INA added. "We express our full solidarity with the wise and brave leadership of Iraq and hail President Hussein's brave and honorable stances in /confronting/ the evil policies that aim at harming Iraq's sovereignty," Al-Khafaji said. (Albawaba.com) By Al-Bawaba Reporters An opinion piece (http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=3191) from a conservative online journal in September 2002 says that al-Khafaji financed (to the tune of $400,000) former weapons inspector and alleged pedophile Scott Ritter's documentary "In Shifting Sands," but I am still looking for other corroboration for that.

Regards,
Dave

PS, complete list of alleged bribe-takers is here: http://www.socnetcentral.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=33732

Roguish Lawyer
01-30-2004, 14:00
I guess I should know this, but help me out here:

Either p or q.

Doesn't "either" essentially mean, "one of p and q is true, but not both"? If not, what is the purpose of including the word "either" in this expression? I follow the logic for "p or q," since "or" just means that one or the other (or both) could be true. But your comments suggest to me that "either" has no meaning, which should not be the case.

HQ6
01-30-2004, 14:16
Originally posted by Airbornelawyer
The whole point is that your original question is based on a logical fallacy. It is a fallacy of bifurcation, in this case a disjunctive syllogism (the "either/or" fallacy):

Either p or q.
Not-p.
Therefore, q.

Bifurcation
Also referred to as the "black and white" fallacy and "false dichotomy", bifurcation occurs if someone presents a situation as having only two alternatives, where in fact other alternatives exist or can exist. For example:

"Either man was created, as the Bible tells us, or he evolved from inanimate chemicals by pure random chance, as scientists tell us. The latter is incredibly unlikely, so..."

I think you, once again, missed my point.

Originally posted by HQ
That the professed moral outrage heard loudest from Chirac at the on set of Iraqi Freedom was nothing more than a farce and the real reason for not wanting the US to take action against Saddam was in fact financially based?

Mine was not a question of absolutes. I was not saying that France had to be opposed to US involvement either because it as a county was morally outraged OR because of financial reason. Mine was a question, more over a statement, regarding France, Chirac specifically, taking the moral high ground and repeatedly stating that opposition was NOT a financial based, but an issue of moral right and wrong. They may very well have been morally outraged, but that is not the primary motivator.

I realize the moral vs. financial may have lead you to believe that was my suggestion. That was my fault for over simplifying when posting in a hurry. However, if you go back and read the initial question, you will see that it was not an either or proposition.

Once again...

Take care.

HQ6

Airbornelawyer
01-30-2004, 19:36
More on al-Khafaji: apparently he financed the trip of Congressmen "Baghdad Jim" McDermott, Mike Thompson and David Bonior to Iraq in the Fall of 2002. See http://theweeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/002/605fgcob.asp

And another story on he and his friend Scott Ritter: http://www.papillonsartpalace.com/iraqiSRs.htm

Dave