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NIGERGATE:Connections between the UN Oil-for-food Inquiry, the Rockefeller Group and the French
http://www.ilgiornale.it/a.pic1?ID=43214 ^ | november 16, 2005

Posted on 11/16/2005 11:22:36 AM PST by parnasokan

NIGERGATE: Connections between members of the UN Inquiry Committee into the Oil-for-food program, the Rockefeller Group and the French.

As promised some elements that the “radar missed”. Once again the Italian newspaper Il Giornale offers some fascinating insight into the less discussed aspects of the Nigergate affair. In addition I’ve posted a HIGHLY SIMPLIFIED chart mapping A PART of the links between members of the UN Oil-for-food Inquiry, the Rockefeller Group AND THE FRENCH.

Is it perhaps because of these ties that France despite having been in possession of the false documents since the fall of 2000, despite only having revealed the truth to the USA on March 4 2003 and despite DGSE having been the employers of Rocco Martino, has never been named by Rockefeller or his media allies and have never been investigated?

It is worth re-reading the following two paragraphs from the Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: “On November 22, 2002, during a meeting with State Department officials, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director for Nonproliferation said that France had information on an Iraqi attempt to buy uranium from Niger. He said that France had determined that no uranium had been shipped, but France believed the reporting was true that Iraq had made a procurement attempt for uranium from Niger.” “On March 4, 2003, the U.S. Government learned that the French had based their initial assessment that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from Niger on the same documents that the U.S. had provided to the INVO.”

So as specifically stated in the Report the French were in possession of Rocco Martino’s false documents, that is “the same documents that the U.S. had provided to the INVO.”

I will continue to post articles on this front. The details of the whole affair are all slowly coming out.

--- Article begins --- The strange ties between Nigergate and Oil-for-food By Gian Marco Chiocci and Mario Sechi Rome, November 16, 2005

For some time behind the scenes of the Nigergate affair silent wars are taking place inside the intelligence agencies. An internal one at the CIA, another between the French DGSE and the British MI6. At the origins of the Anglo-French disaccord is the somewhat ambiguous behavior of Paris in regards to the supply of the self same documents regarding the traffic of uranium between Niger and Iraq that turned up in the hands of the freelance spy working for the French, Rocco Martino. The agreement that Paris insisted upon when supplying the documents to MI6, documents of which Paris garanteed the maximum attendability, was that the British could not reveal the source to anyone, including the USA. Looking back that was a heavy order, one which today puts all of the responsability for the invasion of Iraq on the British. When Bush spoke about Saddam he was basing his facts on British intelligence. This explains the blanked out parts of the Senate Report, the parts where “a foreign service” is reported to have given information regarding Saddam’s attempts to procure tons of yellow cake to the British (and thus to the USA).

This is what lead to the attempt to place the blame on SISMI, a blame and responsability that the Italian Military Intelligence Service has no part of. The British report on arms of mass destruction made reference to information supplied by the French and the telephone intercepts of Saddam’s officers. In the report there is no mention or trace of the false documents, even if some parties have tried to convince half of the world of the opposite. With the advantage of hindsight and after having been stung the analysts at Vauxhall Cross begun to re-wind the Nigergate tape. Having re-run the tape over and over again the analysts reached their conclusion: they were put in a trap. Organise by who? The French? The same French that as of fall 2000 knew of the false dossier and kept quiet about it until the eve of the war. The suspicion gains credibility when events over time are studied. In particular when considering how Rocco Martino on July 23 2003, well after Baghdad had fallen, presented himself at the British Embassy in Brussels – the city where he held his meetings with his DGSE handler – with the intention of “placing” the false documents, swearing that the were different from those that everyone was talking about.

Martino explained to Il Giornale that this wasn’t so, that in reality he was trying to earn some money by recounting his version of the story. At MI6 they don’t believe him, it is believed that his goal was to “place” the bogus documents. To what end? To put the fakes into British hands and then leak it to the press. A double or triple game seems to be impossible, but when the goal is to confuse an issue even an illogical move has a reason to exist. In fact at Downing Street the behavior of the French spies was not appreciated. In act Tony Blair’s Government gave the “green light” to MI6 and MI5 to conduct a 360° investigation into the affair. Pure counterespionage. At the cost of digging and digging into Nigergate the British either find uranium or find petrol. It’s either a link to Niger or to Iraq but in both cases the fingerprints are French. The French consortium Cogema has the monopoly on uranium mining in Niger, while Saddams oil leads to the Oil-for-food scandal where Paris (the BNP Paribas bank) has a leading role. When Saddam’s oil barrels are opened out it all comes, and it’s a mess. Even the hither to unknown comes out. Diverse intelligence agencies find themselves in front of the following picture: the French in Cogema are in business with the oil magnates, including the Rockefeller group. This name brings immediatley to mind the world’s second largest petrol company: Exxon, a company present in Niger through the activities of the Esso Exploration & Production Niger. Interesting indeed but there’s more, the other partner: the French Elf Aquitaine. The link, according to a number of observers on the banks of the Thames, is of particular interest, espeially due to the fact that a well known member of the Rockefeller family is currently vice president of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The very same adversory of the Bush administration: Senator Jay Rockefeller IV. The very same man who – after having approved the invasion of Iraq – is currently involved in a battle against the White House, the FBI and the Italian Military Intelligence Service SISMI. According to the Senator – and the blogs and newspapers who spread his ideas – Italy should be investigated, Rockefeller makes no mention of the role played by France however. Thus French and American petrol interests (Texaco, Chevron, Mobil, Elf Aquitaine etc.) in Iraq and transversal political ties end up capturing the attention of the analysts. Not only the analysts but also the magistrates.

Who investigated the Oil-for-food scandal alongside Paul Volcker? Miranda Duncan, the niece of David Rockefeller. Duncan resigned from the commission following the polemic brought about by the conflicts of interest between the United Nations and the commission. Duncan, David Rockefeller’s niece, was working in the front line of the investigation. A conspiracy? It’s still too early to say, Volcker (the president of the commission who has a CV full of ties to the Rockefellers) produced the Oil-for-food report on October 27 2005. Critiscism of the way in which the inquiry was conducted has been ferocious. The links between Iraq, petrol, uranium and the war are getting closer by the day but someone – not only in Paris – may well have hidden an important part of the story.

-- ARTICLE ENDS--


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: brewsterjennings; cialeak; elf; france; iraq; mirandaduncan; niger; oil4food; oilforfood; pauldesmarais; roccomartino; rockefeller; uranium; volcker; volker
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1 posted on 11/16/2005 11:22:38 AM PST by parnasokan
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To: parnasokan
What a tangled web we weave...

What's this mean? Vockler and Rockafella coverup?

2 posted on 11/16/2005 11:27:52 AM PST by TexasCajun
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To: parnasokan

I read today the only UN official fired because of the Oil for Food scandal was re-hired.


3 posted on 11/16/2005 11:35:37 AM PST by Semper Paratus
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To: parnasokan

It is plain to me that the French investigation of Niger uranium smuggling was for the purpose of finding the leaks and plugging them.


4 posted on 11/16/2005 11:39:01 AM PST by marron
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To: parnasokan
Interesting, now where does Syria fit, other than its historical French connection, and how does a sitting senator show up in Damascus allllll by himself?
5 posted on 11/16/2005 11:42:27 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: BARLF

mark


6 posted on 11/16/2005 11:55:00 AM PST by BARLF
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To: parnasokan

Looks to me as though Jay has some 'splainin to do about all this stuff !! Let's watch him have a meltdown like he did with C. Wallace last Sunday on the t.v.


7 posted on 11/16/2005 12:04:54 PM PST by geezerwheezer (get up boys, we're burnin' daylight!!!)
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To: parnasokan

Where does Wilson fit in that matrix? He's gotta be there somewhere.


8 posted on 11/16/2005 12:05:20 PM PST by penelopesire
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To: penelopesire
Oh he fits in there alright. Please see: Joseph Wilson IV: The French Connection
9 posted on 11/16/2005 12:13:24 PM PST by Quilla
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To: parnasokan
He said that France had determined that no uranium had been shipped, but France believed the reporting was true that Iraq had made a procurement attempt for uranium from Niger.”

Of course they did...they initiated the investigation that ultimately led to the forgeries. From a recent post of mine:

The Niger forgery caper began as the result of an investigation by the French into illicit uranium mining and smuggling in 1999 - 2001. Not to defend that scumbag Wilson, but the people he spoke to may not have known about that and probably wouldn't tell him if they did:

European intelligence officers have now revealed that three years before the fake documents became public, human and electronic intelligence sources from a number of countries picked up repeated discussion of an illicit trade in uranium from Niger. One of the customers discussed by the traders was Iraq.

Information gathered in 1999-2001 suggested that the uranium sold illicitly would be extracted from mines in Niger that had been abandoned as uneconomic by the two French-owned mining companies-Cominak and Somair, both of which are owned by the mining giant Cogema-operating in Niger.

"Mines can be abandoned by Cogema when they become unproductive. This doesn't mean that people near the mines can't keep on extracting," a senior European counter-proliferation official said.

Source

Once the forgeries were discovered, everything else was discounted even if it was true.
10 posted on 11/16/2005 12:36:33 PM PST by ravingnutter
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To: penelopesire
After Wilson left the state department he opened a business to exploit his international contacts and officed near someone who was up to his neck in all of this. His exwife was French intel.

But then, what ab out the Clinton/ Marc Rich connections? Scooter Libby was Rich's lawyer. Go figure.

11 posted on 11/16/2005 12:42:25 PM PST by ClaireSolt (.)
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To: Quilla
This name brings immediatley to mind the world’s second largest petrol company: Exxon, a company present in Niger through the activities of the Esso Exploration & Production Niger.

What a coincidence...

Brewster Jennings & Associates was a front company set up by the CIA for Valerie Plame. < snip >

Intended to infiltrate ties between groups involved in smuggling nuclear weapons, it was apparently named after the late Brewster Jennings, who served as president of a predecessor company to Exxon Mobil Corporation.

Source (#41)

12 posted on 11/16/2005 1:08:31 PM PST by ravingnutter
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To: parnasokan; paperjam

Good stuff - don't you hate it when apps won't let you spell stuff the way you want and give you the red squigglies?


13 posted on 11/16/2005 1:15:42 PM PST by txhurl
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To: marron
It is plain to me that the French investigation of Niger uranium smuggling was for the purpose of finding the leaks and plugging them.

I think you're right.

14 posted on 11/16/2005 1:19:40 PM PST by GOPJ (Frenchmen should ask immigrants "Do you want to be Frenchmen?" not, "Will you work cheap?")
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To: parnasokan

Lest we forget, the Canadian PM's relative (son-in-law I think) sat on the board of directors for Total Fina Elf, the largest French-owned oil producer in Iraq.


15 posted on 11/16/2005 1:21:30 PM PST by lilylangtree
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To: ravingnutter

Good catch and coincidences abound. Please note that Plame's CIA front company's name, Brewster-Jennings, is hyphenated. Brewster Jennings' original company was called Socony-Vacuum, also hyphenated.


16 posted on 11/16/2005 1:22:16 PM PST by Quilla
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To: parnasokan
OMG:

Who investigated the Oil-for-food scandal alongside Paul Volcker? Miranda Duncan, the niece of David Rockefeller.The links between Iraq, petrol, uranium and the war are getting closer by the day but someone – not only in Paris – may well have hidden an important part of the story.

17 posted on 11/16/2005 1:23:37 PM PST by GOPJ (Frenchmen should ask immigrants "Do you want to be Frenchmen?" not, "Will you work cheap?")
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To: GOPJ; parnasokan
Heck...you think that's bad...Volker did not reveal his potential conflicts of interest by his association with the Power Corporation (founder: Paul Desmarais), where he held a seat on their international advisory board. Also, there was Volcker’s membership in David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission.

Source

A picture of them together can be found at the Trilateral Commission Website

18 posted on 11/16/2005 1:45:15 PM PST by ravingnutter
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To: parnasokan
Connections between members of the UN Inquiry Committee into the Oil-for-food program, THE ROCKEFELLER GROUP and the French.

Hmmmm. I wonder if this connection has anything to do with the junior Senator from West Virginia, J.D. ROCKEFELLER III's little trip to meet with the leaders of several mid east countries back in 2002.
Inquiring minds are inquiring.
19 posted on 11/16/2005 2:00:03 PM PST by Long Distance Rider
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To: Quilla
Remember the Democratic Policy Committee Hearings that Dan Rather exploited?

Members: Daschle, Rockefeller, Levin, Harkin, Graham, Lautenberg

Witness: Vince Cannistraro, Larry Johnson, James Marcinkowski

Geez...looks like the all the usual suspects. Book 'em Dano...

20 posted on 11/16/2005 2:02:13 PM PST by ravingnutter
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To: TexasCajun

See #18 on this thread for Volker's conflicts of interest.


21 posted on 11/16/2005 2:13:49 PM PST by ravingnutter
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To: Quilla
Oh good grief...look what the Dems have done now. I just found this in a search...they apparently just put it up yesterday, according to the moonbat site I unfortunately landed on:

Prepared at the direction of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Iraq on the Record is a searchable collection of 237 specific misleading statements made by Bush Administration officials about the threat posed by Iraq. It contains statements that were misleading based on what was known to the Administration at the time the statements were made.

I'm assuming this is going to be a full scale civil war?
22 posted on 11/16/2005 2:20:20 PM PST by ravingnutter
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To: piasa; Fedora; Peach; Enchante; Mo1; kcvl; doug from upland; marron; ScaniaBoy; popdonnelly; ...

Speaking of the usual suspects...here's a ping to round up the research crew and other interested parties, LOL! Check this one out y'all!


23 posted on 11/16/2005 2:34:10 PM PST by ravingnutter
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To: Quilla

From Your link:(thanks)

"Today Wilson claims to be a business agent for “African mining companies.” But Niger’s mines are owned by a French consortium, which operates cheek-by-jowl with the Quai d’Orsay. Niger itself is a semi-colony of France. No uranium sales go on there without the full knowledge and consent of the French government. Valerie Plame was quoted in a CIA memo as saying that “my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts)...” Lots of French contacts, indeed."

Here is what I 'smell': FRANCE was selling Niger uranium to Iraq and Joe Wilson was part of it..knew about it..(probably profitted from it) and was sent there to bait and switch the intelligence community with the help of his wife. I have always believed this was more than a partisan political deal on Wilson's part. He looks like a run of the mill sleazy opportunist! After all, France was up to thier neck in the Oil For Food Fraud..why not the uranium we found all over Iraq as well?



24 posted on 11/16/2005 2:58:39 PM PST by penelopesire
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To: ravingnutter
Who investigated the Oil-for-food scandal alongside Paul Volcker? Miranda Duncan, the niece of David Rockefeller. Duncan resigned from the commission following the polemic brought about by the conflicts of interest between the United Nations and the commission. Duncan, David Rockefeller’s niece, was working in the front line of the investigation. A conspiracy?

No wonder Rockefeller was worried about war in Iraq and warned Syria and company.

25 posted on 11/16/2005 3:11:00 PM PST by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: GOPJ
the French investigation of Niger uranium smuggling was for the purpose of finding the leaks and plugging them.

I see it that way too.

26 posted on 11/16/2005 3:23:56 PM PST by Alia
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To: Ben Hecks

Bump for later.


27 posted on 11/16/2005 3:37:23 PM PST by Ben Hecks
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To: GOPJ; parnasokan; penelopesire; ravingnutter

I believe it was a Mark Huband article in the Financial Times some time back that charged that Libya's uranium had been smuggled off-the-books from Niger. That seems to have dropped down the memory hole.


28 posted on 11/16/2005 3:48:15 PM PST by marron
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To: ravingnutter

Thanks.


29 posted on 11/16/2005 3:54:34 PM PST by Fedora
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To: marron

Sounds familar. France has been arming the enemies of the United States for years. If you locate a link to that article, let us know.


30 posted on 11/16/2005 3:56:11 PM PST by penelopesire
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To: parnasokan
Ancillary data:

U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution Condemning Killing of Hamas Leader Yassin, 03/25/04

snip:

On Wednesday, the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva voted 31-2 to condemn Israel for Yassin's death, but the body has no power to punish countries. A resolution by the Security Council would have carried more international weight. The 11 Security Council members who voted for the measure on Thursday were: China, Russia, France, The Philippines, Angola, Chile, Pakistan, Spain, Algeria, Benin and Brazil. Britain, Germany and Romania abstained from the vote.--end snip

Link no longer found: www.adn.com/24hour/story/1245613p-8299749c.html, entitled: Russia boasts weapon to overcome U.S. Star Wars

snip:

MOSCOW (March 29, 5:17 am AST) - Russia has designed a "revolutionary" weapon that would make the prospective U.S. missile defense useless, Russian news agencies reported Monday, quoting a senior Defense Ministry official. The official, who was not identified by name, said tests conducted during last month's military maneuvers would dramatically change the philosophy behind development of Russia's nuclear forces, the Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies reported. If deployed, the new weapon would take the value of any U.S. missile shield to "zero," the news agencies quoted the official as saying.

The official said the new weapon would be inexpensive, providing an "asymmetric answer" to U.S. missile defenses, which are proving extremely costly to develop. Russia, meanwhile, also has continued research in prospective missile defenses and has an edge in some areas compared to other nations, the official said. EU slaps France in the face over lifting Chinese arms ban (China), 04/28/04

--snip:

He [ed: French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier] said the EU was treating China like Zimbabwe, Sudan or Myanmar while cooperating with it on satellite technology.

end snip

Claudia Rossett: Oil-for-Terror: U.N. Iraq money may have ended up in accounts tied to al Qaeda and the Taliban, 04/28/04

snip:

It's looking more and more as if one of the best reasons to get rid of Saddam Hussein was that it was probably the only way to get rid of Oil-for-Food. The problem wasn't simply that this huge United Nations relief program for Iraq became a gala of graft, theft, fraud, palace-building and global influence-peddling--though all that was quite bad enough. The picture now emerging is that under U.N. management the Oil-for-Food program, which ran from 1996-2003, served as a cover not only for Saddam's regime to cheat the Iraqi people, but to set up a vast and intricate global network of illicit finance. In Oil-for-Food, "Every contract tells a story," says John Fawcett, a financial investigator with the New York law firm of Kreindler & Kreindler LLP, which has sued the financial sponsors of Sept. 11 on behalf of the victims and their families. In an interview, Mr. Fawcett and his colleague, Christine Negroni, run down the lists of Oil-for-Food authorized oil buyers and relief suppliers, pointing out likely terrorist connections. One authorized oil buyer, they note, was a remnant of the defunct global criminal bank, BCCI. Another was close to the Taliban while Osama bin Laden was on the rise in Afghanistan; a third was linked to a bank in the Bahamas involved in al Qaeda's financial network; a fourth had a close connection to one of Saddam's would-be nuclear-bomb makers.

--end snip

Link no longer working at Insight.mag, article entitled: "Walker's World: Bush Blair to Talk China"

snip:

The Americans also want to talk about China, and the moves by the European Union to lift the embargo on arms sales to Beijing that was imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre nearly 15 years ago.

The push to lift the EU embargo is being led by French President Jacques Chirac, who sees a glittering opportunity, not just for French arms sales, but for a warm new relationship with Beijing that can lead to even more lucrative deals.

--end snip

Enuf for now.

31 posted on 11/16/2005 4:00:24 PM PST by Alia
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To: penelopesire

FINALLY!!!!


32 posted on 11/16/2005 4:20:33 PM PST by freema
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To: penelopesire

Now, where do Bill & Hill, or Hill & Bill fit in??!!


33 posted on 11/16/2005 4:21:18 PM PST by freema
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To: freema

Mark Rich.


34 posted on 11/16/2005 4:28:40 PM PST by penelopesire
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To: penelopesire; parnasokan

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1161297/posts

Quoting:

The FT has now learnt that three European intelligence services were aware of possible illicit trade in uranium from Niger between 1999 and 2001. Human intelligence gathered in Italy and Africa more than three years before the Iraq war had shown Niger officials referring to possible illicit uranium deals with at least five countries, including Iraq.

This intelligence provided clues about plans by Libya and Iran to develop their undeclared nuclear programmes. Niger officials were also discussing sales to North Korea and China of uranium ore or the "yellow cake" refined from it: the raw materials that can be progressively enriched to make nuclear bombs.

The raw intelligence on the negotiations included indications that Libya was investing in Niger's uranium industry to prop it up at a time when demand had fallen, and that sales to Iraq were just a part of the clandestine export plan. These secret exports would allow countries with undeclared nuclear programmes to build up uranium stockpiles.

One nuclear counter-proliferation expert told the FT: "If I am going to make a bomb, I am not going to use the uranium that I have declared. I am going to use what I acquire clandestinely, if I am going to keep the programme hidden."

This may have been the method being used by Libya before it agreed last December to abandon its secret nuclear programme. According to the IAEA, there are 2,600 tonnes of refined uranium ore - "yellow cake" - in Libya. However, less than 1,500 tonnes of it is accounted for in Niger records, even though Niger was Libya's main supplier.


35 posted on 11/16/2005 4:29:47 PM PST by marron
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To: penelopesire

bingo...


36 posted on 11/16/2005 4:33:57 PM PST by bert (K.E. ; N.P . (FR = a lotta talk, but little action))
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To: marron

wow..FROM YOUR LINK:

"However, European intelligence officers have now revealed that three years before the fake documents became public, human and electronic intelligence sources from a number of countries picked up repeated discussion of an illicit trade in uranium from Niger. One of the customers discussed by the traders was Iraq.

These intelligence officials now say the forged documents appear to have been part of a "scam", and the actual intelligence showing discussion of uranium supply has been ignored."

LIKE I SAID..IT WAS A BAIT AND SWITCH DONE BY JOE WILSON! Get everyone looking at the 'forged' documents, while folks like Sandy Berger stuff the REAL ones down their pants...lol


37 posted on 11/16/2005 4:40:12 PM PST by penelopesire
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To: parnasokan; USF

with friends like these who needs enemies?


38 posted on 11/16/2005 4:48:08 PM PST by Fred Nerks (The media isn't mainstream it's the ENEMY! The enemy enemy ENEMEDIA!)
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To: marron; penelopesire
This one's from Frontpagemag.org:

Saddam Tried to Buy Uranium, 06/28/04

snips:

Illicit sales of uranium from Niger were being negotiated with five states including Iraq at least three years before the US-led invasion, senior European intelligence officials have told the Financial Times.

Intelligence officers learned between 1999 and 2001 that uranium smugglers planned to sell illicitly mined Nigerien uranium ore, or refined ore called yellow cake, to Iran, Libya, China, North Korea and Iraq.

Of course, there's also Christopher Hitchens: Rove Rage: The poverty of our current scandal, 07/18/05

snip:

The third bogus element in Wilson's boastful story is the claim that Niger's "yellowcake" uranium was never a subject of any interest to Saddam Hussein's agents. The British intelligence report on this, which does not lack criticism of the Blair government, finds the Niger connection to be among the most credible of the assertions made about Saddam's double-dealing. If you care to consult the Financial Times of June 28, 2004, and see the front-page report by its national security correspondent Mark Huband, you will be able to review the evidence that Niger—with whose ministers Mr. Wilson had such "good relations"—was trying to deal in yellowcake with North Korea and Libya as well as Iraq and Iran. This evidence is by no means refuted or contradicted by a forged or faked Italian document saying the same thing. It was a useful axiom of the late I.F. Stone that few people are so foolish as to counterfeit a bankrupt currency.

--end snip

39 posted on 11/16/2005 4:51:09 PM PST by Alia
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To: Alia

Thanks for the links. Going in the Freeper Keeper file.


40 posted on 11/16/2005 5:38:39 PM PST by penelopesire
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To: parnasokan

Bookmark


41 posted on 11/16/2005 5:41:01 PM PST by freema
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To: Fred Nerks
Thanks Fred.. Im going be saving this link.

At times I wonder when we and our friends all collectively get up and walk out of the UN, let them rename themselves the OIC, then round the swine up and send them all on vacation to Club Gitmo, no, make that Club "undisclosed secure location"...
42 posted on 11/16/2005 5:48:39 PM PST by USF (I see your Jihad and raise you a Crusade )
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To: USF

Rather difficult to fight the enemy whilst your kith and kin are stabbing you in the back, correct?


43 posted on 11/16/2005 6:00:14 PM PST by Fred Nerks (The media isn't mainstream it's the ENEMY! The enemy enemy ENEMEDIA!)
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To: Fred Nerks

I hear ya Fred...


44 posted on 11/16/2005 6:23:22 PM PST by USF (I see your Jihad and raise you a Crusade )
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To: lilylangtree

Power Corp. has had a lot to do with Canadian foreign policy in this war, in that it is entwined with some of the power brokers. Have a look at this Western Standard article:

http://www.canadafreepress.com/2005/cover030505.htm

How Montreal's Power Corp. found itself caught up in the biggest fiasco in UN history

by Kevin Steel, The Western Standard

Saturday, March 5, 2005

Most Canadian companies look forward to the day they earn themselves a mention on the prime-time news. They hire PR firms and spend thousands to harass news editors with press releases to tout their latest acquisition, invention or foreign venture in hopes of convincing someone to give them even a passing mention on the national news–never mind the nearly unimaginable publicity of being plugged on a U.S. newscast.

But when Montreal-based Power Corporation of Canada found itself, in late January, the topic of a news story on America’s top-rated Fox News Channel, which draws millions of U.S. and international viewers, executives there probably weren’t thrilled. Unlike most publicly traded firms looking to build their brand on Wall Street, Power Corp. is, at the best of times, a quiet, often obscured company (in the past year it’s issued a total of five news releases). That might seem strange, given the massive size and, well, power wielded by the holding company. Power controls some of Canada’s biggest blue-chip companies, including the Investors Group, the country’s largest mutual fund dealer, and investment firm Mackenzie Financial. It owns insurers Great-West Lifeco, Canada Life and London Life. Power owns several Quebec newspapers, including La Presse. It also holds substantial positions in Chinese airlines and telecom firms and has large stakes in the world’s leading entertainment company, Bertelsmann, as well as a big piece of one of Europe’s largest oil producers. In 2003, Power Corp. reported annual revenues of $16 billion.

But the Fox News story wasn’t prompted by an announcement from Power of some billion-dollar takeover or the appointment of a new senior executive. It was something altogether different: the revelation that the man handpicked by the UN secretary general last April to probe the UN’s scandalized Oil-for-Food program, Paul Volcker, had not disclosed to the UN that he was a paid adviser to Power Corp., a story which had originally been broken by a small, independent Toronto newspaper, the Canada Free Press. Why did the highest-rated cable channel in the U.S. care? Because the more that Americans came to know about Oil-for-Food, which has been called the largest corruption scandal in history, the more the name of this little-known Montreal firm kept popping up. And the more links that seemed to emerge between Power Corp. and individuals or organizations involved in the Oil-for-Food scandal, the more Fox News and other news outlets sniffing around this story began to ask questions about who, exactly, this Power Corp. is. And, they wanted to know, what, if anything, did Power have to do with a scandal in which companies around the world took bribes to help a murderous dictator scam billions of dollars in humanitarian aid out of the UN while his people suffered and starved?

Just a month before the Canada Free Press revealed that Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman, is a member of Power Corp.’s international advisory board–and a close friend and personal adviser to Power’s owner, Paul Desmarais Sr.–a U.S. congressional investigation into the UN scandal discovered that Power Corp. had extensive connections to BNP Paribas, a French bank that had been handpicked by the UN in 1996 to broker the Oil-for-Food program. In fact, Power actually once owned a stake in Paribas through its subsidiary, Pargesa Holding SA. The bank also purchased a stake in Power Corp. in the mid-seventies and, as recently as 2003, BNP Paribas had a 14.7 per cent equity and 21.3 per cent voting stake in Pargesa, company records show. John Rae, a director and former executive at Power (brother of former Ontario premier Bob Rae), was president and a director of the Paribas Bank of Canada until 2000. And Power Corp. director Michel François-Poncet, who was, in 2001, the vice-chairman of Pargesa, also sat on Paribas’s board, though he died Feb. 10, at the age of 70. A former chair of Paribas’s management board, André Levy-Lang, is currently a member of Power’s international advisory council. And Amaury-Daniel de Seze, a member of BNP Paribas’s executive council, also sat on Pargesa’s administrative council in 2002.

In September, the U.S. Congress–conducting one of seven U.S. government investigations into Oil-for-Food, in addition to the UN probe–subpoenaed crates of documents from the bank, which earned $700 million for its work, ostensibly to investigate the companies that had been doing business through Paribas that may have ripped off Oil-for-Food. But Capitol Hill insiders say that Paribas itself is of interest to congressional investigators, in particular whether Paribas violated "know your client"—style banking regulations, which require banks to be vigilant in watching for money laundering and other criminal activities being conducted through their bank. In February, Congress subpoenaed more documents from the bank, looking for very specific information. "The international program was managed through the escrow accounts of BNP maintained in New York and we have pretty strict banking laws, pretty strict disclosure laws and have gotten even more so with the passage of the Patriot Act," says one aide to a senior Republican working for the House International Relations Committee, one of the bodies investigating the Oil-for-Food program. "There are some doubts as to the veracity of BNP’s compliance with the more stringent rules that are contained in the Patriot Act that were law by the end of ‘01."

The reason investigators are interested in Power’s possible links to the bank that acted as a clearing house for Oil-for-Food is because the firm also appears to have had a stake in an oil firm that had been working out lucrative contracts with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Subsidiary Pargesa owns the largest single stake in Total Group Inc. (a Belgian-French petroleum multi-national corporation formed from the merger of Total, Petrofina and Elf Aquitaine), which reportedly had been negotiating, prior to the U.S. invasion in March 2003, rich contracts with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to develop and exploit the Majnoon and Nahr Umar oil fields in southern Iraq. Those regions are estimated to contain roughly a quarter of Iraq’s reserves. The contracts were on the verge of being signed in 1997, one year after the beginning of the UN’s Oil-for-Food program replaced U.S. sanctions on Iraq, when the French government intervened and stopped the deal. Paul Desmarais Jr., now chairman of Power Corp. (Paul Sr. retired in 1996, but is said to be active in the firm), sits on the board of Total, and Power director, François-Poncet, also sat on the board of Total’s predecessor firm, Totalfina Elf. Paribas also owned shares in Total as recently as 2000, records show.

Add up the facts that Power Corp. appears to be connected to an oil company that would benefit extensively if Saddam remained in power, with the bank appointed by the UN to help broker an Oil-for-Food program that appears to have been directly enriching Saddam, and which is being investigated for irregularities that may have abetted the wholesale corruption that eventually engulfed Oil-for-Food, and that Power’s owners have a professional and personal relationship with the man hired by the UN to investigate the corruption, and it’s no wonder that more and more questions are being asked about the firm.

The United Nations has refused to co-operate with the U.S. Congress investigations into the US$67-billion Oil-for-Food program and Security Council members Russia and France have refused to give Volcker the right to subpoena witnesses in the internal UN probe. But the way the scam appears to have worked is that Saddam was permitted to sell oil to customers he selected himself (he favoured French and Russian companies) at below-market prices, by allocating them oil vouchers. The customers could resell the oil at market prices and make a large profit, provided they kicked back a portion of the money to Saddam, who used the money for everything but badly needed food and medicine (the program came to be known by critics as Oil-for-Palaces). It is estimated that Saddam may have skimmed as much as US$2 billion from the aid program. And the fact that Iraqis were suffering while Saddam built up weapons and enriched his own personal wealth, obviously makes this scandal not only bigger, but more heinous than any run-of-the-mill Wall Street book-cooking. Companies implicated in what effectively amounts to crimes against humanity may never recover. And, to be clear, Power Corp. has not been linked in any direct way to the con. As for the fact that Power’s name has come up several times in the investigation, Power’s vice-president, general counsel and secretary Ted Johnson believes the news reports to be inaccurate and irresponsible. Says Johnson: "The stories coming out of the United States are a bunch of misinformation based on innuendo and half-truths."

There’s a tale they used to tell on Parliament Hill about a president, a billionaire, an ambassador and a prime minister. The four of them got into an elevator one day at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, when Jim Blanchard, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, began ribbing the billionaire, Paul Desmarais’s son André, about his recent marriage to France Chrétien, the daughter of then prime minister Jean Chrétien, as then U.S. president Bill Clinton listened in. "France certainly married well," Blanchard reportedly said to the prime minister. To which Chrétien replied, smugly: "André married well."

In reality, the wedding of France and André, in 1981, had only formalized the marriage between the Canadian government to the Desmaraises. While the family, worth an estimated US$4 billion and ranked the sixth richest in Canada, has always kept a fairly low profile, they have been in the news for decades--even if most Canadians never really noticed. The fact that the family happens to be friendly with the man who once ran the U.S. federal reserve won’t surprise those who know them: the Desmaraises are as well connected politically as they are corporately. And it’s arguable, based on the circumstantial evidence anyway, that nothing happens on Parliament Hill that isn’t, in some way, a product of the Desmarais family’s design. Prime Minister Paul Martin and former PMs Jean Chrétien, Brian Mulroney and Pierre Trudeau have all been close, personal friends of Paul Desmarais Sr. The story on Parliament Hill was that Trudeau’s leadership bid was cooked up in Power headquarters in Victoria Square in Montreal. In the hiatus of his political career in the 1980s, Chrétien cooled his heels sitting on the board of a Power Corp. subsidiary, Consolidated Bathurst, and Power executive John Rae ran Chrétien’s leadership campaigns in 1984 and 1990, as well as the 1993 election campaign that brought Chrétien to office. Martin got his start in the business world in the early sixties, working for then Power Corp. president Maurice Strong, and was made a millionaire, thanks to an undisclosed 1981 deal in which Desmarais sold him Canada Steamship Lines. Strong continues to act as one of Martin’s senior advisors.

But the connections don’t end there. Ted Johnson, the Power vice-president, is a former assistant to Trudeau. Paul Desmarais Sr. has long been a mentor of former prime minister Brian Mulroney. Don Mazankowski, a former Mulroney cabinet minister, sits on Power Corp.’s board. Bill Davis, former premier of Ontario, is on Power Corp.’s international advisory council. Daniel Johnson Jr., Quebec Liberal leader and briefly premier, worked for Power from 1973 to 1981. In fact, the political connections really don’t stop at all. You could spend days trying to trace the connections that Paul Desmarais Sr. has not only with Canadian politicians, but in nearly every western capital in the world. Not bad for a guy from Sudbury, Ont., who started out fixing buses to save a nearly bankrupt transport company, inherited from his father. Desmarais’s friends have joked that he "collects politicians."

And he has been doing it for a long time. Thirty years ago, in his 1976 book,

The Canadian Establishment, Peter C. Newman wrote, "It seemed to those who knew him best that Desmarais sometimes treated politicians with the deference due to sleepwalkers: men who must be led, but ever so gently, lest they wake up to the fact."

If there’s one government in which Power has as much interest as it does in Canada, it’s the UN. Maurice Strong, president of Power from 1964 to 1966–who went on to run Ontario Hydro and Petro-Canada–is not only a member of the Privy Council for Canada and a direct adviser to Paul Martin, he’s also a senior adviser to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Appointed by Annan in 1997, after he took over the general secretariat, Strong’s specific role was "to assist planning and executing a far-reaching reform of the world body." Since Annan’s son, Kojo, has been implicated in the Oil-for-Food scandal, having accepted money from a Swiss firm, Cotecna, which was in charge of overseeing the shipments of food and medicine to Iraqis, Strong’s presence at Annan’s side provides yet more ammunition to those looking to link Power to this terrible tale of corruption and mismanagement (no direct links have been established). In fact, Strong had been an undersecretary general of the United Nations since 1985. He once told Toronto journalist Elaine Dewar that he liked working for the UN specifically because of its undemocratic nature. "He could raise his own money from whomever he liked, appoint anyone he wanted, control the agenda," wrote Dewar in her 1995 book, Cloak of Green. "He told me he had more unfettered power than a cabinet minister in Ottawa. He was right: no voters had put him in office, he didn’t have to run for re-election, yet he could profoundly affect many lives."

How close Strong is with Power Corp. these days isn’t clear. But what is clear is that certain UN policies have been a boost to the value of the conglomerate. For one thing, the UN-created Kyoto Protocol–which was spearheaded by none other than Strong himself, born of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which he chaired–could have significant potential benefits for Power’s holdings in China. Through their subsidiary, CITIC Pacific Ltd., the Desmaraises own power-generating facilities, automobile concerns and myriad other industrial interests throughout the Communist nation. The fact that Kyoto’s framers deliberately created regulations that will hamstring exactly those sorts of businesses in the West by imposing limits on greenhouse gas production, but exempt China from those same limits, gives Power a competitive international advantage. Meanwhile, under the protocol, Chinese power plants will be able to sell clean air "credits," or allowances, to Western producers for cash. Some economists have predicted that Ottawa will buy credits as a way of meeting their Kyoto emissions targets.

And few companies stood to benefit from the UN’s resistance to the invasion of Iraq to the same extent that Total might have, had Saddam made good on promised resource development deals with the oil giant. Since the early nineties, Total and Elf had been jointly negotiating with Hussein to develop the Majnoon oilfields north of Basra. In 2000, Total’s president of Middle East exploration and production, had publicly suggested, on several occasions, that the Oil-for-Food sanctions were hurting Iraqi oil development. Shortly afterward, the two companies merged, with Power Corp. owning the biggest stake. According to Power’s official history, "When . . . Totalfina proceeded to take over Elf Aquitaine, the Pargesa group emerged as the largest shareholder, with 3.4 per cent of the shares and three seats on the board of what was to become TotalFina Elf, the fourth largest integrated petroleum company in the world."

Last year, the New York Post interviewed prominent Wall Street figure Gerald Hillman, managing partner of Trireme Investments in New York, who had seen and analyzed the contract. He called the deal "highly unusual" and "very one-sided," as it permitted Total to keep 75 per cent of total production, whereas most deals with foreign partners top out at 50 per cent. It seems that the longer Saddam stayed in power, the better it was for the Total Group and its shareholders in Montreal.

The fact that sustaining Saddam directly could have potentially benefitted a family connected to so many Canadian mandarins and politicians–and married into the family of the prime minister–led some Canadians to raise questions about the motivations behind the Liberal party’s decision to refuse to support the invasion of Iraq and Saddam’s ouster. When Chrétien announced that decision in early 2003, Opposition foreign affairs critic Stockwell Day asked in the House of Commons, "I do not fault the prime minister’s family ties with his nephew [Raymond Chrétien], our ambassador to France or with Paul Desmarais Sr., who is the largest individual shareholder of France’s largest corporation, TotalFina Elf, which has billions of dollars of contracts with Saddam’s former regime. With this valuable source of information and experience at his fingertips, has the prime minister ever discussed Iraq or France with his family or friends in the Desmarais empire?"

Chrétien responded by defending his nephew first and, with regard to Power, added: "I hope the attack against the people who have invested money in something, that he will repeat it outside and he will face the consequences." Power’s general counsel, Johnson, told reporters at the time that TotalFina Elf "had no contracts in Iraq . . . Hasn’t. Doesn’t. Nothing with Saddam." Just a few months earlier, The New York Times reported that "The French oil giant TotalFina Elf has the largest position in Iraq, with exclusive negotiating rights to develop Majnoon, a field on the Iranian border with estimated reserves of 10 billion barrels, and Bin Umar, with an estimated production potential of 440,000 barrels a day, according to oil industry executives."John Thompson, president of the Mackenzie Institute, a Toronto-based security think-tank, says that Power Corp. directors were probably not thinking about foreign policy implications when they invested in TotalFina Elf. "They probably thought–and a lot of people thought like this–there would eventually be a reopened Iraq, probably under Saddam but not necessarily, and they would like to be in position when it did," Thompson says. "Part of this whole thing was the Europeans bidding to have control of Iraqi oil and afraid that the Americans would be there instead. For the Americans, it was all about not having weapons of mass destruction coming out of the area, but for the Europeans it was all about oil."

Jason Kenney, a Conservative MP, says the questions being raised about Power’s possible connection to Oil-for-Food are worth asking. But he’s quick to point out that if the Liberals guided the country’s foreign policy based on their connections to Power, then we should be asking questions about the Canadian government, too. "I am not the least bit critical of the Desmarais family for being rational actors in a free marketplace and pursuing their advantage," says Kenney. "I am, however, somewhat disquieted by the degree to which Power Corp.’s corporate interest seems to influence Canadian foreign policy. Obviously, every company seeks to influence government policy–regulatory, taxation or otherwise–but Power Corp. seems to have a particularly unique influence over Canadian foreign policy."

That’s something that hasn’t been proven. But in addition to Power’s connection to Total, there’s the connection to Paribas, the bank selected to be in charge of the Oil-for-Food money. According to Power Corp.’s official history, produced in 2000, in 1981 it "made a $20-million investment in Pargesa Holding SA, a Swiss corporation that owned a major interest in Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas (Suisse). The Swiss bank had been a subsidiary of Compagnie Financière de Paris et des Pays-Bas, the French banking organization commonly known as Paribas, with which Power had enjoyed a close association for several years."

Nadhmi Auchi, who has been identified as a cousin of Saddam Hussein, was a significant shareholder in BNP Paribas at least until 2001. Auchi, who resides in London and owns a company called General Mediterranean Holdings, was ranked by London’s Sunday Times in 2003 as England’s thirty-fourth richest person, with some estimates putting his net worth at US$3 billion. In its 2001 annual report, General Mediterranean Holdings described itself as the largest single shareholder in BNP Paribas.

Auchi is a former member of Saddam’s Baathist party. In 1959, he was tried, along with Saddam Hussein, in an attempted assassination plot. He eventually fled Iraq and publicly distanced himself from Saddam after the dictator murdered his two brothers. Time magazine reported in 2003 that Auchi maintained deep connections to Iraq and built much of his fortune selling them armaments. He has been fingered as a key figure in the Oil-for-Food scandal, with accusations that he acted as one of Saddam’s brokers. He certainly is no stranger to shady deals: in 2003, Auchi was convicted in France of bribery charges, along with a raft of Elf oil executives, in a scandal dating back to 1990 involving the sale of a Spanish oil refinery.

Power also has indirect connections to Iraq through one of its directors, Laurent Dassault, managing director of Dassault Investissements, the parent company of Dassault Aviation, a French-based weapons and aeronautics manufacturer that sells, among other things, the Mirage jet. During Iraq’s eight-year war with Iran in the eighties, Dassault Aviation was a major supplier of aircraft to the Hussein regime and it has been alleged that the firm continued illegal weapon sales to Iraq during the embargo period, using intermediaries and a complex system of money laundering set up by the Hussein regime.

Meanwhile, the UN had its own reasons for wanting to keep Oil-for-Food in business. For some strange reason, the aid program had been set up so that the UN would keep a portion of all oil sold through the program–compensation for the costs of overseeing the aid initiative–three per cent of every barrel sold. Aid programs usually use money from contributing members to finance their administration. Recipients of previous UN aid programs had not been forced to pay the overhead of the programs. And since the fee paid to the UN was variable, the longer Oil-for-Food went on and the more oil that was sold through it, the more money the world body would earn.

That was not enough, however, for Benon Sevan, the man appointed by Annan to oversee the Oil-for-Food program. An interim report issued by Volcker in February found that Sevan–who has since retired from the UN–had personally requested that Iraq allocate some of its oil vouchers (with which companies could resell Iraqi oil at a lucrative profit) to a company with which he was affiliated. Documents uncovered by investigators indicate that Sevan may have directly been the beneficiary of oil allocations. Volcker told reporters that Sevan’s conduct was "ethically improper" and that he had "created a grave and continuing conflict of interest."

Now, Volcker himself is the one facing allegations of conflict. In addition to his connections to Power Corp., which he did not disclose upon being appointed head of the UN probe, Volcker has also been linked to a pro-UN lobby group, the United Nations Association of the United States (which happens to receive generous support from BNP Paribas). Critics are suggesting that the final report, expected in June, could end up being a whitewash.

Oil-for-Food has certainly put the UN’s credibility at stake in a way that no other incident has before. The world body has already demonstrated an inability to deal effectively with rogue dictators, such as Hussein and North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, and has proven impotent to end genocides, like Rwanda in 1994 and Darfur today. But if the world discovers that the UN cannot even run a basic aid program, then there isn’t much left for it to do. "The liberals are having a harder time asserting that what the conservatives want is to get the U.S. out of the UN," says the Republican aide. "They can say that, but it’s not true. We need international mediating organizations like the UN. But you know what? We need them to work. And if they are not working, we are either going to make them work or we are going to find substitutes," he says. Increasingly, he reports, both Republicans and Democrats are open to finding alternatives to the UN for handling international affairs. "Maybe that model is NATO," says the aide. "If the UN is unreformable, then it will begin to shrink in its importance. Certainly in the United States it is already shrinking. That can be good or that can be bad. It is what it is. We do need these international mediating institutions and if the UN cannot step up to the plate and do it, then you are going to see a U.S. push in the next generation to get something else to do it," the aide says.

And certainly that has broad implications for Canada, whose government invested heavily in the UN when it stood by the world body’s plan to keep Oil-for-Food in place, rather than stand by the U.S. in putting an end to a containment program that wasn’t really containing Saddam at all. Whether Canada’s foreign policy–given the government’s connection to Power–was "all about the oil," as some have theorized, however, may never be determined. Or, it likely won’t be determined here: while there are six probes being conducted into the Oil-for-Food scandal in the U.S., and one through the UN, there is no investigation underway in this country into any involvement by Canadian companies. And, with few exceptions, the Canadian mainstream media seems to have largely ignored the story linking Volcker to Power Corp. The firm itself has issued no official statement on the accusations.

One press release did come across the wires on Jan. 27 with good news about Power Corp. Not from the normally quiet Power itself, mind you, but from KPMG, an accounting firm that works for Power (and, coincidentally, did audit work on the Oil-for-Food program). The news? A survey conducted in conjunction with pollsters Ipsos-Reid and the Globe and Mail found that Power Corp. is considered the most respected business in Quebec, as ranked by its peers. Hopefully, when all the smoke clears on Oil-for-Food, that will still be the case.


45 posted on 11/16/2005 7:15:42 PM PST by Frank T
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To: lilylangtree

Here's an(other) excellent article by Mark Steyn on Power Corp.

http://www.westernstandard.ca/website/index.cfm?page=article&article_id=542

Monday, 14 February 2005
Mark Steyn

I always love the bit on the big international news story where they try to find the Canadian angle. A couple of months back, every time I switched on The National, there seemed to be no news at all and Peter Mansbridge was in the middle of some 133-part series of reports on “Canadians making a difference in the world,” which at least three nights a week seemed to be an “encore presentation” of the same worthy soft-focus featurette about some guy helping with an irrigation project in Sudan.

Once upon a time, it didn’t seem such an effort to find “Canadians making a difference in the world”--D-Day, say, or even the early years of Pearsonian peacekeeping. But it’s a stretch nowadays. In the maple-free zone of the Afghan campaign in fall 2001, several desperate media outlets were driven to rhapsodizing over my old chum from Fleet Street days, Alex Renton, spokesman for the international aid agency Oxfam--or to give him his full honorific, as the Sun chain’s Greg Weston liked to put it, “the Toronto-born spokesman for the international aid agency Oxfam.” The Toronto-born Alex spent his formative years at Eton--not Eton, Ontario, the agreeable municipality a scenic one-day drive from Sault Ste. Marie, but Eton College, the swanky boys’ school for Brit toffs. His father is Lord Renton, a cabinet minister under Mrs. Thatcher. I’m all for celebrating the rich diversity of the Canadian mosaic, but we haven’t had a Canuck like this since Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, checked out of Rideau Hall. Still, any oasis in a desert. When I made a couple of cracks about Alex being the designated Billy Bishop of the new world war, I got a huffy e-mail from the Hindu Kush protesting that it wasn’t his fault the likes of Greg Weston had decided to anoint him as the Great White Hope of Canadian Global Relevance.

And yet, throughout this period, there has indeed been a Canadian making a difference in the world-and if The National wanted to do a 133-part special report on him, for once they’d have enough material. Most of us know Paul Desmarais as the . . . well, let’s hold it there: most Canadians don’t know Paul Desmarais at all. You could stop the first thousand people walking down Yonge Street and I’ll bet no one would know who he is. But the few who do know him know him as the kingmaker behind Trudeau, Mulroney, Chrétien and Martin. Jean Chrétien’s daughter is married to Paul Desmarais’s son. Paul Martin was an employee of M. Desmarais’s Power Corp., and his Canada Steamship Lines was originally a subsidiary of Power Corp. that M. Desmarais put Mr. Martin in charge of. In other words, Paul Martin’s public identity--successful self-made businessman, not just a career pol, knows how to meet payroll, etc.--is entirely derived from the patronage of M. Desmarais.

That in itself is a remarkable achievement. Imagine if Jenna Bush married the chairman of Halliburton’s son, and then George W. Bush was succeeded by a president who’d been an employee of Halliburton: Michael Moore’s next documentary would be buried under wall-to-wall Oscars and Palmes d’Or. But M. Desmarais has managed to turn Ottawa into a company town without anyone being aware of the company. We’re a G8 economy; it would be reasonable to expect a prominent British or American businessman to number prominent political figures among his friends, but to have brought so many of them into his company and even family would surely excite some comment. Power Corp.’s other alumni range from Quebec premiers to Canada’s most prominent international diplomat, Maurice Strong. In fairness, you don’t have to work for M. Desmarais to reach the top of the greasy pole-Kim Campbell managed it, for about a week and a half.

But this is just the hicksville stuff. What’s really impressive is that, when one considers the epic events of the last three years, the truly Canadian content is not Toronto-born aid spokespersons, but the ubiquitous presence of M. Desmarais.

During the Iraq war, for example, I mentioned en passant that Power Corp. is the biggest shareholder in TotalFinaElf, the western corporation closest to Saddam Hussein (it has since changed its name to the Total Group). Total had secured development rights to 25 per cent of Iraq’s oil reserves, a transformative deal that would catapult the company from a second-rank player into the big leagues with Exxon and British Petroleum. For a year, the antiwar crowd had told us it was “all about oil”--that the only reason Iraq was being “liberated” was so Bush, Cheney, Halliburton and the rest of the gang could annex in perpetuity the second biggest oil reserves in the world. But, if it was all about oil, then the fact--fact--is that the only Western leader with a direct stake in the issue was not the Texas oilpatch stooge in Washington, but Jean Chrétien: his daughter, his son-in-law and his grandchildren stood to be massively enriched by the Total-Saddam agreement. It depended on two factors: Saddam remaining in power, and the feeble UN sanctions being either weakened into meaninglessness or quietly dropped. M. Chrétien may have refused to join the Iraq war on “principle,” but fortunately his principles happened to coincide with the business interests of both TotalFinaElf and the Baath party.

As I said, I mentioned this curious footnote at the time. Stockwell Day picked up on it. The CBC, CTV, The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s and all the rest steered clear. A bland perfunctory 200-word CP story reporting M. Desmarais’s denial--“Power Financial Head Refutes Saddam Link”--was carried by far more media outlets than had bothered going anywhere near Day’s original remarks.

Well, okay. Let’s take M. Desmarais’s word for it. But, getting on for two years later, we’re in the middle of the UN Oil-for-Fraud investigation, the all-time biggest scam, bigger than Enron and Worldcom and all the rest added together. And whaddaya know? The bank that handled all the money from the program turns out to be BNP Paribas, which tends to get designated by Associated Press and co. as a “French bank” but is, as it happens, controlled by one of M. Desmarais’s holding companies. That alone should cause even the droopiest bloodhound to pick up a scent: the UN’s banker for its Iraqi “humanitarian” program turns out to be (to all intents) Saddam’s favourite oilman.

I’m not a conspiracy-minded guy, and, if I were, I’d look for a sinister global organization with a less obvious name. If “Power Corp.” was the moniker given to the sinister front operation for the latest Bond villain, critics would bemoan how crass the 007 franchise had become. And a “Power Corp.” that controlled the “Total Group” would have them hooting with derision. But it’s nevertheless the case that M. Desmarais’s bank functioned as the cashier for Saddam’s gaming of the global-compassion crowd: if a company agreed to sell Iraq some children’s medicine for $100 million, Iraq would invoice BNP Paribas for $110 million, pay the supplier and divert the skim-off into other areas. Everyone knew this was happening. It seems impossible, even with the minimal auditing, that BNP Paribas did not.

So here is a Canadian “making a difference in the world.” Suppose Conrad Black controlled a bank that had enriched a brutal dictator with a fortune intended to go to starving children, and that he also had an oil company that had cooked up an arrangement to make billions from the same dictator’s oil resources. Think Maude Barlow and the CBC might show an interest? But Paul Desmarais’s no-publicity clause is apparently enshrined in the Charter of Rights. So on it goes. Only the other week, M. Desmarais was hosting at his home in Quebec Nicholas Sarkozy, very likely the next president of France. Even after they’d become heads of government, neither Bush nor Blair could be bothered swinging by Ottawa to look in on Chrétien; not for years. But an invitation from M. Desmarais, and France’s coming man can’t wait to hop on the plane.

M. Desmarais’s spectacular rise from an obscure Quebec bus company operator to an obscure global colossus is an amazing story. Instead of struggling to find a local angle on the international scene, why doesn’t the CBC just start from the basic premise that whatever the subject--Iraq, oil-for-food, the European Union--somewhere at the heart of it will be the world’s least famous Canadian.

Instead, not a whisper. The good news is it’s not because Robert Rabinovitch, president of the CBC, is another discreet Power Corp. alumnus. He’s not. Rabinovitch’s close buddy, John Rae, who ran Chrétien’s campaigns, is. And so’s Rabinovitch’s old colleague Joel Bell, who was Trudeau’s chief economic adviser. And so’s Rabinovitch’s old boss, Senator Michael Pitfield. And so’s . . .

P.S. If, by the time of publication, Power Corp. has bought the Western Standard, please disregard all of the above.


46 posted on 11/16/2005 7:19:09 PM PST by Frank T
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To: penelopesire

"Where does Wilson fit in that matrix? He's gotta be there somewhere."

And where does Paddy Buchanan and his ilk fit into here, too? Where exactly does their loyalties lie? Old Europe?


47 posted on 11/16/2005 7:20:24 PM PST by Frank T
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To: lilylangtree

Here's an(other) excellent article by Mark Steyn on Power Corp.

http://www.westernstandard.ca/website/index.cfm?page=article&article_id=542

Monday, 14 February 2005
Mark Steyn

I always love the bit on the big international news story where they try to find the Canadian angle. A couple of months back, every time I switched on The National, there seemed to be no news at all and Peter Mansbridge was in the middle of some 133-part series of reports on “Canadians making a difference in the world,” which at least three nights a week seemed to be an “encore presentation” of the same worthy soft-focus featurette about some guy helping with an irrigation project in Sudan.

Once upon a time, it didn’t seem such an effort to find “Canadians making a difference in the world”--D-Day, say, or even the early years of Pearsonian peacekeeping. But it’s a stretch nowadays. In the maple-free zone of the Afghan campaign in fall 2001, several desperate media outlets were driven to rhapsodizing over my old chum from Fleet Street days, Alex Renton, spokesman for the international aid agency Oxfam--or to give him his full honorific, as the Sun chain’s Greg Weston liked to put it, “the Toronto-born spokesman for the international aid agency Oxfam.” The Toronto-born Alex spent his formative years at Eton--not Eton, Ontario, the agreeable municipality a scenic one-day drive from Sault Ste. Marie, but Eton College, the swanky boys’ school for Brit toffs. His father is Lord Renton, a cabinet minister under Mrs. Thatcher. I’m all for celebrating the rich diversity of the Canadian mosaic, but we haven’t had a Canuck like this since Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, checked out of Rideau Hall. Still, any oasis in a desert. When I made a couple of cracks about Alex being the designated Billy Bishop of the new world war, I got a huffy e-mail from the Hindu Kush protesting that it wasn’t his fault the likes of Greg Weston had decided to anoint him as the Great White Hope of Canadian Global Relevance.

And yet, throughout this period, there has indeed been a Canadian making a difference in the world-and if The National wanted to do a 133-part special report on him, for once they’d have enough material. Most of us know Paul Desmarais as the . . . well, let’s hold it there: most Canadians don’t know Paul Desmarais at all. You could stop the first thousand people walking down Yonge Street and I’ll bet no one would know who he is. But the few who do know him know him as the kingmaker behind Trudeau, Mulroney, Chrétien and Martin. Jean Chrétien’s daughter is married to Paul Desmarais’s son. Paul Martin was an employee of M. Desmarais’s Power Corp., and his Canada Steamship Lines was originally a subsidiary of Power Corp. that M. Desmarais put Mr. Martin in charge of. In other words, Paul Martin’s public identity--successful self-made businessman, not just a career pol, knows how to meet payroll, etc.--is entirely derived from the patronage of M. Desmarais.

That in itself is a remarkable achievement. Imagine if Jenna Bush married the chairman of Halliburton’s son, and then George W. Bush was succeeded by a president who’d been an employee of Halliburton: Michael Moore’s next documentary would be buried under wall-to-wall Oscars and Palmes d’Or. But M. Desmarais has managed to turn Ottawa into a company town without anyone being aware of the company. We’re a G8 economy; it would be reasonable to expect a prominent British or American businessman to number prominent political figures among his friends, but to have brought so many of them into his company and even family would surely excite some comment. Power Corp.’s other alumni range from Quebec premiers to Canada’s most prominent international diplomat, Maurice Strong. In fairness, you don’t have to work for M. Desmarais to reach the top of the greasy pole-Kim Campbell managed it, for about a week and a half.

But this is just the hicksville stuff. What’s really impressive is that, when one considers the epic events of the last three years, the truly Canadian content is not Toronto-born aid spokespersons, but the ubiquitous presence of M. Desmarais.

During the Iraq war, for example, I mentioned en passant that Power Corp. is the biggest shareholder in TotalFinaElf, the western corporation closest to Saddam Hussein (it has since changed its name to the Total Group). Total had secured development rights to 25 per cent of Iraq’s oil reserves, a transformative deal that would catapult the company from a second-rank player into the big leagues with Exxon and British Petroleum. For a year, the antiwar crowd had told us it was “all about oil”--that the only reason Iraq was being “liberated” was so Bush, Cheney, Halliburton and the rest of the gang could annex in perpetuity the second biggest oil reserves in the world. But, if it was all about oil, then the fact--fact--is that the only Western leader with a direct stake in the issue was not the Texas oilpatch stooge in Washington, but Jean Chrétien: his daughter, his son-in-law and his grandchildren stood to be massively enriched by the Total-Saddam agreement. It depended on two factors: Saddam remaining in power, and the feeble UN sanctions being either weakened into meaninglessness or quietly dropped. M. Chrétien may have refused to join the Iraq war on “principle,” but fortunately his principles happened to coincide with the business interests of both TotalFinaElf and the Baath party.

As I said, I mentioned this curious footnote at the time. Stockwell Day picked up on it. The CBC, CTV, The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s and all the rest steered clear. A bland perfunctory 200-word CP story reporting M. Desmarais’s denial--“Power Financial Head Refutes Saddam Link”--was carried by far more media outlets than had bothered going anywhere near Day’s original remarks.

Well, okay. Let’s take M. Desmarais’s word for it. But, getting on for two years later, we’re in the middle of the UN Oil-for-Fraud investigation, the all-time biggest scam, bigger than Enron and Worldcom and all the rest added together. And whaddaya know? The bank that handled all the money from the program turns out to be BNP Paribas, which tends to get designated by Associated Press and co. as a “French bank” but is, as it happens, controlled by one of M. Desmarais’s holding companies. That alone should cause even the droopiest bloodhound to pick up a scent: the UN’s banker for its Iraqi “humanitarian” program turns out to be (to all intents) Saddam’s favourite oilman.

I’m not a conspiracy-minded guy, and, if I were, I’d look for a sinister global organization with a less obvious name. If “Power Corp.” was the moniker given to the sinister front operation for the latest Bond villain, critics would bemoan how crass the 007 franchise had become. And a “Power Corp.” that controlled the “Total Group” would have them hooting with derision. But it’s nevertheless the case that M. Desmarais’s bank functioned as the cashier for Saddam’s gaming of the global-compassion crowd: if a company agreed to sell Iraq some children’s medicine for $100 million, Iraq would invoice BNP Paribas for $110 million, pay the supplier and divert the skim-off into other areas. Everyone knew this was happening. It seems impossible, even with the minimal auditing, that BNP Paribas did not.

So here is a Canadian “making a difference in the world.” Suppose Conrad Black controlled a bank that had enriched a brutal dictator with a fortune intended to go to starving children, and that he also had an oil company that had cooked up an arrangement to make billions from the same dictator’s oil resources. Think Maude Barlow and the CBC might show an interest? But Paul Desmarais’s no-publicity clause is apparently enshrined in the Charter of Rights. So on it goes. Only the other week, M. Desmarais was hosting at his home in Quebec Nicholas Sarkozy, very likely the next president of France. Even after they’d become heads of government, neither Bush nor Blair could be bothered swinging by Ottawa to look in on Chrétien; not for years. But an invitation from M. Desmarais, and France’s coming man can’t wait to hop on the plane.

M. Desmarais’s spectacular rise from an obscure Quebec bus company operator to an obscure global colossus is an amazing story. Instead of struggling to find a local angle on the international scene, why doesn’t the CBC just start from the basic premise that whatever the subject--Iraq, oil-for-food, the European Union--somewhere at the heart of it will be the world’s least famous Canadian.

Instead, not a whisper. The good news is it’s not because Robert Rabinovitch, president of the CBC, is another discreet Power Corp. alumnus. He’s not. Rabinovitch’s close buddy, John Rae, who ran Chrétien’s campaigns, is. And so’s Rabinovitch’s old colleague Joel Bell, who was Trudeau’s chief economic adviser. And so’s Rabinovitch’s old boss, Senator Michael Pitfield. And so’s . . .

P.S. If, by the time of publication, Power Corp. has bought the Western Standard, please disregard all of the above.


48 posted on 11/16/2005 7:20:30 PM PST by Frank T
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To: marron

Thanks for the info...


49 posted on 11/16/2005 8:04:56 PM PST by GOPJ (Frenchmen should ask immigrants "Do you want to be Frenchmen?" not, "Will you work cheap?")
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To: Alia
One authorized oil buyer, they note, was a remnant of the defunct global criminal bank, BCCI. Another was close to the Taliban while Osama bin Laden was on the rise in Afghanistan; a third was linked to a bank in the Bahamas involved in al Qaeda's financial network; a fourth had a close connection to one of Saddam's would-be nuclear-bomb makers.

Need to add a fifth one:

A U.S. official said the money was wired to an account in the Rafaidan Bank of Jordan then transferred to the personal account of Iraq's ambassador to Jordan, who would then have the money delivered to the Palestinians.

As WorldNetDaily reported, remnants of Saddam's regime may still be funding terrorism against Israel by continuing the payments to families of Palestinian suicide bombers the dictator previously provided, according to a document recently seized in Iraq and obtained by WorldNetDaily .

The document, discovered by a U.S. military unit on the body of an Iraqi combatant in Northern Iraq in September, is a general "Certificate of Martyrdom" honoring a family member who carries out a suicide attack against Israelis.

According to documents captured in 2002 by Israel's Operation Defensive Shield, Saddam set up an "Arab Liberation Front" – a Ba'ath party department in the Palestinian areas used to encourage terrorism and issue checks, usually through the Palestine Investment Bank, to the families of suicide bombers.

The payments were $15,000 at the start of the intifada, and were later raised to $25,000.

Saddam would also issue checks of $10,000 to the families of "ordinary" Palestinians killed in the intifada by other means, such as "through the aggression of the Zionist army."

A $25,000 check and martyrdom certificate, for example, was transferred June 23, 2002, to Khaldiya Isma'il Abd Al-Aziz Al-Hurani, mother of the Hamas terrorist Fuad Isma'il Ahmad Al-Hurani, who carried out a suicide attack on March 19 of that year in Jerusalem's Moment Cafe. Eleven Israelis were killed and 16 wounded in the attack.

Source

50 posted on 11/17/2005 6:00:44 AM PST by ravingnutter
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