Thursday, May 10, 2007

money changes everything

More evidence of this administration’s integrity…

Condi Snoozed While Chevron Paid Off Saddam

…Near the end of (Condoleeza Rice’s) decade on Chevron's board (she joined it in 1991 while a professor at Stanford University), the corporation cooked up the very responsible-sounding "The Chevron Way to a Strong Board." As chairman of the "Public Policy Committee," she should have been tuned in to the open secret of kickbacks being paid to Saddam starting in June 2000…

While she left the board to head the National Security Council seven months later, there was plenty of time to keep Chevron from buying millions of barrels of crude from Iraq and sending around $20 million to Saddam's private accounts and "pet projects" like aiding Russian whacko bigot, Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Chevron will pay around $25 million to settle the charges - an amount the company will recoup hundreds of times over if the Iraq oil law goes forward with Production Sharing Agreements in the legislation.

The commentary above is referencing this article right hyah…

Chevron seen settling case on Iraq oil

Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, is preparing to acknowledge that it should have known kickbacks were being paid to Saddam Hussein on oil it bought from Iraq as part of a defunct United Nations program, according to investigators.

The admission is part of a settlement being negotiated with United States prosecutors and includes fines totaling $25 million to $30 million, according to the investigators, who declined to be identified because the settlement was not yet public.

The penalty, which is still being negotiated, would be the largest so far in the United States in connection with investigations of companies involved in the oil-for-food scandal.

The $64 billion program was set up in 1996 by the Security Council to help ease the effects of United Nations sanctions on Iraqi civilians after the first Gulf war. Until the American invasion in 2003, the program allowed Saddam's government to export oil to pay for food, medicine and humanitarian goods.

Using an elaborate system of secret surcharges and extra fees, however, the Iraqi regime received at least $1.8 billion in kickbacks from companies in the program, according to an investigation completed in 2005 by Paul A. Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve.

A report released in 2004 by an investigator at the Central Intelligence Agency listed five American companies that bought oil through the program: the Coastal Corporation, a subsidiary of El Paso; Chevron; Texaco; BayOil; and Mobil, now part of Exxon Mobil. The companies have denied any wrongdoing and said they were cooperating with the investigations.

As part of the deal under negotiation, Chevron, which now owns Texaco, is not expected to admit to violating the United Nations sanctions. But Chevron is expected to acknowledge that it should have been aware that illegal kickbacks were being paid to Iraq on the oil, the investigators said.

The fine is connected to the payment of about $20 million in surcharges on tens of millions of barrels of Iraqi oil bought by Chevron from 2000 to 2002, investigators said.

These payments were made by small oil traders that sold oil to Chevron. But records found by United Nations, American and Italian officials showed that they were financed by Chevron.

The negotiations, which might take several weeks to conclude, follow an agreement reached in February by El Paso, the largest operator of American natural gas pipelines, to pay the United States government $7.73 million to settle allegations that it was involved in illegal payments under the oil-for-food program.

Thus far, only former United Nations officials, individual traders and relatively small oil companies have come under scrutiny in the United States.

According to the Volcker report, surcharges on Iraqi oil exports were introduced in August 2000 by the Iraqi state oil company, the State Oil Marketing Organization. At the time, Condoleezza Rice, now secretary of state, was a member of Chevron's board and led its public policy committee, which oversaw areas of potential political concerns for the company.

In sworn statements last year to an Italian prosecutor, an Italian businessman, Fabrizio Loioli, said he sold Iraqi oil to many companies, including Chevron, and all were aware of the Iraqi request for payment of a surcharge. "In fact, each final beneficiary involved used to add this amount to the official price to disguise it as a premium to be paid to the intermediary," Loioli said in his statement. "In reality, they were perfectly aware that only a part of that would go to the intermediary, while the remaining part was to be paid to the Iraqis."

It just shocks me to no end that people in the U.S. actually believe the bullshit fed to them by the Bush Administration. This has nothing to do with Republican versus Democrat…it’s just plain old greed and dishonesty for the sake of greed. Democrats are just as capable (the Kennedys, Gores and Clintons didn’t get where they are based on hard work).

Are conservatives just afraid to call out the folks they elected for their lack of ethics and hypocrisy? Or is it just a case of being steadfastly stubborn about admitting you were wrong about – or fooled by – someone you once supported?

I cannot wrap my head around the allegiances Americans have to the two parties.

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