January 29, 2004


Here’s a complete list (and here’s a translated list) of those accused by Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada of accepting Saddam’s oil bribes. (No Australians are included; as commenter murph suggested, an earlier Le Monde report seems to have confused Australia with Austria.)

George Galloway’s name appears often.

(Much thanks to Franco Alemán of HispaLibertas for locating and forwarding this.)

Posted by Tim Blair at January 29, 2004 06:28 AM

Grande Bretagne
1- George Galloway / Fawwaz Zreikate (19 mb)
2- Moudjahidin du peuple (36,5 mb)

Looks like Gorgeous George might need some asbestos underwear. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy...

Posted by: mojo at January 29, 2004 at 06:45 AM

They weren't bribes, they were donations.

Posted by: Steve in Houston at January 29, 2004 at 06:54 AM

George Galloway might have an alibi: "I got an email headed URGENT REQUEST FOR CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS ARRANGEMENT. I thought that it was on the level and that it came from Nigeria. You just can't trust those people. I expected to be scammed by honest Nigerians, and instead those sneaky Iraqis gave me millions of pounds worth of oil. Who could have known?"

Posted by: Ernie G at January 29, 2004 at 06:56 AM

Abou Abbas tops the list for the Palestinians - isn't that the guy who bravely executed an old man in a wheelchair and dumped his body over the side of a cruise boat??? Saddam supported such wonderful people....

Posted by: Neil at January 29, 2004 at 06:57 AM

Is what Galloway did illegal?

Posted by: rosignol at January 29, 2004 at 06:57 AM

Depends on what your definition of "is" is.

Posted by: Steve in Houston at January 29, 2004 at 06:59 AM


Now we know that the list must be faked. Everyone knows that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with terror, terrorism, terrorists.

So, this message must be a fake.


Back to the cocoon!

Posted by: Dean at January 29, 2004 at 07:01 AM

rosignol, as Yogi Berra said, you could look it up:

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Main Entry: brib·ery
Pronunciation: 'brI-b(&-)rE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -er·ies
: the act or practice of giving or taking a bribe

Main Entry: 1 bribe
Pronunciation: 'brIb
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, something stolen, from Middle French, bread given to a beggar
1 : money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust

Posted by: Ernie G at January 29, 2004 at 07:05 AM

Where's my name?

Gee, Chomsky, Pilger Monbiot et al not on it, which means they aren't corrupt...just dumb fucks.

Posted by: Quentin George at January 29, 2004 at 07:10 AM

Is it a surprise to anyone that Baghdad George is on the list?

I guess I should have let Saddam know that I could be bought although I'm not sure what I'd have done with those barrels of oil. Cleared out some room in the garage I guess.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at January 29, 2004 at 07:24 AM

Can the British press report this, or will oily George sue them for libel?

Posted by: J Mann at January 29, 2004 at 07:38 AM

I like how the translation calls Galloway "it."

Posted by: aaron at January 29, 2004 at 07:51 AM

Maybe I should have been clearer: is there any chance Galloway will go to prison for this?

Posted by: rosignol at January 29, 2004 at 08:01 AM

Vietnam is an interesting inclusion - it lacks a significant Muslim population and isn't a significant player with Iraq. Maybe favours for quagmire training.

Posted by: Andjam at January 29, 2004 at 08:15 AM

I am not surprised Pilger and Chomsky are not on the list. Why would Hussain bother paying them good money to betray their countries

Posted by: mike at January 29, 2004 at 08:18 AM

As Hillaire Belloc once wrote:

You cannot hope to bribe or twist
Thank God! The British journalist
But when you see what they will do
Unbribed, there's no occasion to.

Same applies to Australian journos.

Posted by: The Mongrel at January 29, 2004 at 08:32 AM

I'm pretty sure Casey Stengel said "you can look it up" not Yogi Berra, but maybe that particular nit doesn't need to be picked. Both said lots of good things.

Stengel also ordered his team (50's Yankees) to "line up alphabetically by height".

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at January 29, 2004 at 08:35 AM

Sorry, that quote was from Humbert Wolfe.

See I (unlike the SMH and NYT) am capable of correcting the record when I err.

Posted by: The Mongrel at January 29, 2004 at 08:42 AM

Does this list pass the sanity check? It adds up to about 3,000MB. Iraq's daily production is only 1MB. So this amount represents almost 8 years of production. I smell shenanigans, or at least something lost in translation. These bribes would leave enough to power the shredder. People might want to wait for some serious analysis before they leap all over the attached names,

Posted by: Craig Mc at January 29, 2004 at 09:19 AM

Argh! I meant "wouldn't power the shredder".

Posted by: Craig Mc at January 29, 2004 at 09:23 AM

Craig Mc - I think the barrels somehow equate to dollars, not a literal barrel of oil. Saddam shorthand, as it were.

Posted by: Doug at January 29, 2004 at 09:26 AM

Mr. Mongrel, May I suggest that to emulate the SMH and NYT, you should make your corrections in a post about 7 days old. That way, no one would see it unless they were checking the archives, it would have no direct link to the original error, and it would seem strangely out of place.

Posted by: charles austin at January 29, 2004 at 09:51 AM

I have to agree with Craig Mc. The nunmbers seem really, really high.

I would want some other proof.

Posted by: Blue State at January 29, 2004 at 10:13 AM

If this is the information that an Iraqi newspaper is getting - imagine what the US has access to. Wonder if they will use that sort of info to do a little arm twisting, surely not!

Posted by: Rob at January 29, 2004 at 10:39 AM

1991 to 1993 is twelve years; would it really be surprising if Saddam used 3/4ths of his income to try to get the sanctions lifted? That's what this was about, BTW, not about stopping the invasion. Saddam was paying people off to oppose the sanctions against Iraq, and it damn near worked.

Also, these people appear to have gotten the commission on the sale of the oil, not the complete proceeds. This is where the oil-for-food money went!

Posted by: Robert Crawford at January 29, 2004 at 12:16 PM

Wrong craig..

By all accounts, Iraq was at just over 2 mb a day.. sometimes pushing 3..

Right now the coalition is pushing 2mb..

That should bring new perspective on what "too high" means..In light of real production before and after sanctions, its not a "high" #..

Still, the 'gift' certificates represent a big chunk of the take, and demonstrates the utter contempt Sadam had for the welfare of his people.. He threw those things around like it was play money.. Excessive, wastefull..Dirty.

reminds me of another George. last name Sorros.

Posted by: Arvin at January 29, 2004 at 12:25 PM


Maybe I should have been clearer: is there any chance Galloway will go to prison for this?

I imagine so. If a prosecutor can prove he accepted money or some other enumeration in return for favors: staunch opposition to military action and calling for the lifting of economic sanctions could be viewed as "favors". Of course, here in the USA one could call it "campaign donations" and walk away without a scratch.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at January 29, 2004 at 12:34 PM

>Of course, here in the USA one could call it "campaign donations" and walk away without a scratch

Actually, in the US, campaign contributions cannot be made by nonctizens. I am not sure about noncitizen residents.

And there are limits.

Of course, you can give to non-party entities and charities. And lobbyists.

Posted by: Blue State at January 29, 2004 at 12:54 PM

>Of course, here in the USA one could call it "campaign donations" and walk away without a scratch

Actually, in the US, campaign contributions cannot be made by nonctizens. I am not sure about noncitizen residents.

And there are limits.

Of course, you can give to non-party entities and charities. And lobbyists.

Posted by: Blue State at January 29, 2004 at 12:54 PM

It's a lot harder to confuse Austria with Australia in other languages than in English. I'd take that suggestion of error with a pinch of salt.

On the subject of errors, Mongrel has no doubt inadvertently drawn attention away from his major error within his quotation when he admitted a minor error of attribution. No self-respecting author of that era would have used a spurious false singular "they" to avoid using a generic "he" (and they generally were all men then anyway, whether you like the sexist nature of the past or not). Quoting from memory, the verse should go:-

Thank God you cannot bribe nor twist
The honest British journalist
But seeing what the man will do
Unbribed, there's no occasion to.

That probably has errors from my own memory, but my own recollection is that it uses "nor" rather than "or".

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence at January 29, 2004 at 01:00 PM

This is the money quote from the link I posted: "As of mid-August 2003, Iraqi oil output was fluctuating on a daily basis, but generally was averaging just under 1 million barrels per day (bbl/d)."

Iraq was aiming to hit 2Mbbl/d by December. These are official US government stats BTW.

I'm not pretending to be an expert on oil production or the economics of running Iraq, but I still suspect this article fails the sanity test (at least as it's translated). The Iraqi free media is still in its infancy - and major errors of math (not to mention logic) happen in mature western papers all the time.

Here's another check: From what I can tell, George Galloway received at least 12Mbbl (remember this is a googleated number). At US$30/bbl that's $US360M. That's a lot of money to pay for someone as cheap as Galloway.

Posted by: Craig Mc at January 29, 2004 at 01:18 PM

I can't blame google for any confusion - I applied my rudimentary French to the original list and my Galloway calculation still stands.

Posted by: Craig Mc at January 29, 2004 at 01:21 PM

Did Irish Oil Concerns and Peace Campaigners Receive Saddam's Bribes?

Tim Blair today posts a complete list (with translation) of those accused by Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada of accepting Saddam's oil bribes.

So who's on it besides George Galloway?

"Irelande: 1 - Riad Taher (11 million barrels) 2- Afro Eastern (2 million barrels)"


Riad el Taher helped Deaglan de Breadun, the inquisitive Foreign Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times, (July 16, 2001) "look at the Irish position on the UN Security Council on lifting the ban on foreign investment in Iraq".

Deaglan conceded that "there is a dispute between the United Nations and Iraq over who is ultimately at fault" but asserts that "there is no doubt that many Iraqis, especially children, are dying because of the UN sanctions regime."

Taking advantage of its membership on the UN Security Council and "661 Committee", which oversees the sanctions,

Ireland sought to loosen the restrictions on the flow of goods into Iraq to the greatest extent possible by narrowing down and limiting the contents of the goods review list. Ireland also sought to minimise restrictions on imports which were necessary for civilian infrastructural projects to rebuild the Iraqi economy.
The Irish position was outlined in a letter from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Cowen, to the British Foreign Secretary, Mr Jack Straw, and the US Secretary of State, Mr Colin Powell. Ireland is seeking to reduce the number of contracts placed on hold because of objections by members of the Security Council. Ireland also seeks to lift the ban on foreign investment in Iraq and to increase access for the provision of services by foreign companies, especially in the health and transport sectors.

The Irish position has been criticised for a lack of independence and impartiality by Mr Riad El-Taher, chairman of the London-based Friendship Across Frontiers organisation, which campaigns for a lifting of the sanctions. A British subject of Iraqi origin, he wants Ireland to campaign for an end to the unanimity rule on the 661 Committee, in favour of majority voting. At present, if one member objects - usually the US or the UK - an entire contract can be rejected. Mr El-Taher says he has not met anyone on his frequent visits to Ireland who supports the sanctions. Ireland's view is that this would be desirable but would not get past the British or the Americans: instead, Ireland seeks a formal understanding that contracts would not be unreasonably blocked.

Deaglan did not give us much more information about Mr Riad el Taher.

Una McCaffrey, was a bit more informative:

Bula expects annual cash flow of more than $20m from purchase of US oilfield

Speaking at Bula's annual general meeting yesterday, chairman, [former Taoiseach (Prime Minister)] Mr Albert Reynolds, told shareholders that the field, understood to be located in the shelf of the Gulf of Mexico, would provide the company with an ongoing revenue stream while more substantial interests in Libya and Iraq continued to be mired in regulatory delays....
The a.g.m. was told that negotiations had been successfully completed on an exploration contract which was now in the hands of the Iraqi government.

Mr Riad al Taher, a director of Bula's Iraqi subsidiary, indicated that a change in Bula's board structure was essential to the company's success in Iraq and Mr Albert Reynolds told shareholders that Sunday's resignation of Bula technical executive director Mr William Lowry from the board was linked to this.

Mr Reynolds denied however that he personally had received a request for restructuring from the Iraqi authorities. Mr al Taher said that Bula needed people who were "more committed" to the company's future.

Ms McCaffrey makes no mention of Mr el-Taher's being chairman of the London-based Friendship Across Frontiers organisation, which campaigns for a lifting of sanctions against Iraq.

But it was not a propitious date for Bula's announcement: September 11, 2001.

A week later, Irish Minister Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen was a panelist on the popular Irish political talk show Questions and Answers. Fellow panelist, former American diplomat George Dempsey found himself being mau-maued by the members of the studio audience over, as Mr de Breadun would say, the "fact" that "there is no doubt that many Iraqis, especially children, are dying because of the UN sanctions regime."

(To understand that the Irish Independent was indulging in uncharacteristic understatement in describing this as "poisonously anti-American" you must view the video)

Foreign Minister Cowen promised to look into this. After he had done so, Mr de Bréadún found it necessary to report:

Cowen says Saddam fails to feed people (Irish Times October 22, 2001) which stated:

The Iraqi government has been sharply criticised by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Cowen, who said it had "deliberately failed" to co-operate with the United Nations to feed and care for its people and this behaviour was "unacceptable".
In an outspoken attack on President Saddam Hussein's regime over UN economic sanctions, Mr Cowen said the reason the sanctions remained was "Iraq's rejection of the Security Council demands to allow UN arms inspectors to verify that it is not engaged in the production of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons"....

"The Secretary-General's report has made it abundantly clear that, through the programme, the government of Iraq is in a position to address fully the nutritional and health requirements of its people, particularly children. That Iraq has deliberately failed to co-operate with the UN to fulfil those needs is unacceptable," Mr Cowen said.

Next we hear of Riad el Taher, Bula cancels Iraqi consultancy contract (Irish Times Breaking News, 04-03-02, 10:36).

Bula Resources has terminated its consultancy contract with Mr Riad el Taher and Petcon Limited effective immediately.
Mr el Taher had been employed by Bula to oversee Bula's bid for an drilling licence in the Block 4 oilfield in Iraq.

Mr el-Taher is chairman of the London-based Friendship Across Frontiers organisation, which campaigns for a lifting of sanctions against Iraq....

The terms of the exploration and development contract for Block 4 have been agreed with Iraq's oil ministry, and the contract has been submitted for signature since June 2001.

Bula is awaiting Iraqi government signature of the contract.

In pursuit of said signature, Mr el-Taher, still "a shareholder in Bula Resources" five months after the termination of his contract, prevails upon Deaglán de Bréadún to write" Iraq campaigner says State should not help US aircraft (Irish Times September 16, 2002)

Ireland should not give refuelling and overflight facilities to US military aircraft for an invasion of Iraq, according to Mr Riad El-Taher, an Iraqi-born British subject and chairman of the London-based Friendship Across Frontiers group which has campaigned for the lifting of Iraqi sanctions since 1993.
"It would be tragic if the neutrality of Ireland has been undermined. Are you neutral or not? You can't really play it both ways," he said on a visit to Dublin.

When asked why Iraq would not admit UN arms inspectors, if it had nothing to hide, Mr El-Taher said he had spoken about this with the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Tariq Aziz in Baghdad recently.

"He raised no objection to allowing inspectors back in, in different circumstances, namely, the removal of the possibility of war." Allowing inspectors in under present conditions would "undermine the security of the country".

So Riad el Taher, who allegedly received 11,000,000 barrels of oil from Saddam Hussein, was a shareholder of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds' Bula Oil Company while it was desparately awaiting Saddam's signature on a lucrative oil exploration contract. And Riad el Taher, at the same time, as chairman of the Peace organization Friends Across Frontiers, was campaigning to have the Irish government ease Bula's "foreign investment" into Iraq, and urging the Irish government to deny the US the same rights at Shannon airport that it provided to the USSR during the Cuban Missle Crisis.

And what is Afro Eastern (Ireland)?

We have labouriously typed out the relevant portions of pages 12 through 15 of a pdf file:


(P. 12)

... "Oil Sales Surcharges. As Noted above, the GAO study estimated that Iraq earned over $700 million in 2001 from oil sales surcharges and kickbacks on purchases of goods. The GAO study obtained that estimate by assuming that Iraq obtained on each barrel of oil sold under the oil-for-food program. The GAO estimated the kickback for Iraq at 5% of the value of the purchase contract. In September 2001 the Sanctions Committee moved to curb Iraq's ability to surcharge on oil sales by adopting a "retroactive pricing" formula. The United Nations said in late September 2002 that Iraq, in part due to the pricing formula, had ended its surcharging practice and that Iraq's oil sales were rebounding."

CRS-15 "Prior to adopting retroactive pricing, the Sanctions Committee had evaluated but not adopted another idea - to limit Iraq's oil buyers to major international oil firms, rather than smaller oil traders that were willing to pay Iraq the surcharge. A press report in March 2001 (Reuters March 8 2001) listed companies that were purchasing Iraqi oil; many are small companies from countries that seek to do business with Iraq or are sympathetic to easing sanctions on Iraq. U.S. major oil companies are said to buy Iraqi shipments from these small traders."

"The list included ... Afro Eastern (Ireland)..."

So the other "Irish" entity allegedly receiving 2,000,000 barrels of oil in bribes from Saddam was giving him illicit kickbacks, helping him build his palaces.

Small world.


(Posted on January 29, 2004)

Posted by: Bran at January 29, 2004 at 01:39 PM

Taking the list at its word, there are a lot of French contacts and a LOT of Russian ones, but no Germans, unless I'm confused. So why were the Germans part of the Axis of Weasels?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 29, 2004 at 01:41 PM

Steven - Probably for domestic politics - it gave Schroeder a needed bump up, IIRC.

Posted by: Doug at January 29, 2004 at 01:59 PM

Tim got a comic:


Posted by: Glue at January 29, 2004 at 02:20 PM

The question of how much money is represented by numbers of 'Barrels' or 'Tons' seems moot to me. But much more likely net rather than gross. Perhaps a percentage. But I think it likely that some substantial money was paid to at least some of these fine fellows and organizations. I tried Googleing the US names but got no hits using "" for an exact match , but I found someone who fits the profile under Italy. The Father Benjamin reference yields : http://www.casi.org.uk/discuss/2000/msg01093.html

Posted by: lgude at January 29, 2004 at 02:39 PM


Just seems bizzare to me that with the pipeline to turkey down, serious sabatage problems, and security problems, that we would be doubling Iraq's avg UNSUPERVISED output this early in the occupation..

One of us will be right.. I happen to think the numbers that more likely are to turn out 'fugged' will be the final count of Iraqi's official mb's per day..

And taking even the 1 mil per day figures, This type of desperate, last-ditch opinion buying, would not be unreasonable for a man who would in the end, lose it all anyway should the coalition strike..

It's like one of us facing a life sentence and spending your entire fortune to sway the court..
If that high priced lawyer you just bought succeeds, then sure, you'll be broke, but at least have freedom.

IF the lawyer fails, then you lose everything.
Sadam clearly bought the wrong lawyers.. In the end they could not persuade the judge.

Lastly, a good number of some of these pay-offs make little sense on the surface, meaning, IF this was a forgery, drawn up to punish those who opposed the coalition, I doubt such specificity and eccentricity would be present in these documents..

Posted by: Arvin at January 29, 2004 at 02:40 PM

Craig.. also, one last point.

In addition to barrels per day, what figures did you come up with for barrels on reserve?

I get 112.5 billion pre-war--citing LA times figures.. This may help provide context as well when discussing the available barrels for Sadam's bribery..

The details are just gunna get jucier..I think..

Posted by: Arvin at January 29, 2004 at 02:49 PM

Following on from Glue's link...

So, a man who sits in a comfy chair writing anti-war comics for an exclusive audience of people who agree with him mocks bloggers who sit in comfy chairs writing pro-war blogs for an exclusive audience of people who agree with them.

Has Tom Tomorrow had a complete irony bypass?

Posted by: Andrew D. at January 29, 2004 at 02:50 PM

Nice try Craig..

1 million per day?

Try 2.8 per day pre-war...You silly man.. look here:

State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO) Director Shamkhi Faraj said oil production has reached 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd), up from almost zero when the US-led troops ended the 24-year rule of Saddam Hussein in April.

"Hopefully, we shall keep on increasing production, our plan is to reach the pre-war sustainable production level of 2.8 million bpd by the end of March 2004, and god willing, before then," he told AFP.

Craig's fisking

Posted by: Arvin at January 29, 2004 at 02:57 PM

You cannot hope to bribe or twist
(Thank God!) the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
Unbribed, there’s no occasion to.

And it's been attributed to Humbert Wolfe and even Ogden Nash, so I'm not sure of its origin.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 29, 2004 at 03:17 PM

Wasn't Iraq smuggling so much oil out via Syria that Syria had to reduce it's oil sales after the invasion?


Anyone know what that pipeline's capacity was?

Posted by: rosignol at January 29, 2004 at 03:42 PM

Nevermind, it was on the MEMRI list- the pipeline carried 200,000 barrels/day.

Posted by: rosignol at January 29, 2004 at 03:44 PM

The original Telegraph article on Galloway is here:

"The spy chief wrote that Mr Galloway told the Mukhabarat agent: 'He [Galloway] needs continuous financial support from Iraq. He obtained through Mr Tariq Aziz [deputy prime minister] three million barrels of oil every six months, according to the oil for food programme. His share would be only between 10 and 15 cents per barrel.'"

The number of barrels quoted here is roughly in line with that of the original Telegraph article. What the Iraqis seem to have done is taken their "income" in the form of oil output and assigned fractions of it to various people. So ten cents of one lot of three million barrels may go to a lackey, and the rest to the Iraqi government.

The same middleman in Jordan is mentioned in both articles. Of course, it may be that the second article is merely parroting information from the first.

Posted by: Ernst Blofeld at January 29, 2004 at 04:42 PM

Most of these contracts were probably through "oil-for food" at approved prices, onto which Saddam added a surcharge of about 5%. Call it kickbacks, or commissions, or payoffs. Some of those on the list, assuming it's accurate, made both their profit and some extra grease; some may have settled for the grease, not that that leaves their hands cleaner.

Posted by: Alene at January 29, 2004 at 04:53 PM

One of the names on the list is "Father Benjamin", who seems to be this guy:


It's a two-fer: an UN-nik and a "peace" activist!

Posted by: Ernst Blofeld at January 29, 2004 at 05:22 PM

Stengel also ordered his team (50's Yankees) to "line up alphabetically by height".

Must be my Irish ancesty, but that perfectly clear to me.
If two people have the same initial, the taller one comes first.

Posted by: Padraig O Donndubhartaigh at January 29, 2004 at 05:49 PM

Another quote from the French born Joseph Hilaire Pierre Belloc

"it is sometimes necessary to lie damnably in the interests of the nation."

Posted by: Peggy Sue at January 29, 2004 at 06:14 PM

10 or 15 cents per barrel sounds much more believable. How many barrels were sold through the Oil-for-Palaces program?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 29, 2004 at 07:39 PM

Did you look at the link? They're not my figures, they're official US ones (as of August 2003). I'm not "trying" anything. I googled for "iraq oil production" and the EIA came up. I've got no reason to doubt official US numbers on the matter. Perhaps your AFP news article is on the money (it would make a change for French media) but I doubt either of us is in a position to know one way or the other. I consider myself unfisked.

As for barrels on reserve, they're not lying around waiting to be loaded onto a lorry. That's oil thought to be in the ground, yet to be pumped to the surface, with probably the wells not developed in the least. Much of it won't be developed until world oil prices make it economic, and it will take billions of dollars in investment to bring it to market.

If you're this anxious to fisk someone you should subscribe to Green Left Weekly. There you go - have fun!

The MEMRI translation is radically different to the original - regardez:

"Yougoslavie: 1- Parti socialiste (22 mb) 2- Parti de gauche (9,5 mb) 3- Parti italien (16 mb) 4- Parti de Kostunitsa (6 mb)"

"Yugoslavia: Four Yugoslav political parties received vouchers: the Yugoslav Left party received 9.5 million barrels. The Socialist Party received 1 million barrels. The Italian Party received 1 million barrels. Another party, whose name in exact transliteration is "kokstuntsha" - possibly Kostunica's party - received 1 million barrels."

There's definitely something wrong with these numbers.

Posted by: Craig Mc at January 29, 2004 at 10:10 PM

I'm beginning to think that the oil is a distraction. It's all about the BARRELS! Forget the oil companies, forget Haliburton. What about the barrel suppliers? The steel companies? I think I'm on to something.

Gotta go buy some stock.

Posted by: RC at January 30, 2004 at 02:10 AM

I agree with Craig. There is something seriously wrong with the quantities involved here. At most, he was pumping 2.5 MBD during the Oil for Palaces program. Hmmmn. Sounds like Millions should be Thousands.

How did the participants in this scheme actually get their money?? Did they have a truck pull up to their front door with hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil? Or were certain accounts credited? Have we seen these accounts? Did they have to pay the pumping and shipment costs? Did they have to kick some of their kickbacks to Uday and Qusay?

I want to believe this. Desperately. But I don't understand why Saddam wouldn't just distribute CASH, of which he has $10B - $20B around the world.

Posted by: Jack M at January 30, 2004 at 04:27 AM

Well, according to MEMRI, what was going on is that the recipients got a 'commission' on a given lot of barrels- I saw the number $0.10/barrel somewhere. So the commission on 1,000,000 barrels would be $100,000, not the retail price of that many barrels of oil (price of oil ~$20something * barrels = $big,000,000).

Posted by: rosignol at January 30, 2004 at 06:18 AM

Commissions would make much more sense (not that I can find a mention of them), both numerically and mechanically. Mr Corrupt McBribee simply acts as a redundant intermediary between Iraq and a customer and takes commission.

Now, anyone got an explanation for the numerical differences between the MEMRI version and the original?

Posted by: Craig Mc at January 30, 2004 at 08:50 AM

Pixy misa's version of that quatrain is as I remember it.

Posted by: Michelle Dulak at February 1, 2004 at 03:46 AM