Skip to comments.The Oil-for-Food Scandal - the Canadian Connection
Posted on 01/18/2005 1:33:56 PM PST by Libertas aut Mortis
The Oil-for-Food Scandal the Canadian Connection Charles R. Smith Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2005
"Its all about the oil" was the chant issued by a vast army of protesters around the world.
Yes, it may have been "all about the oil" but it didn't involve Americans, who did not own any of the oil in Iraq, but rather a horde of rich global fat cats who wanted to make millions in a so-called U.N. humanitarian program. One of those who made out like a bandit is a rich Canadian whose bank made millions and whose Paris-based holding companies include the originally French-Belgian oil company TotalFina Elf, which cut lucrative deals with Saddam's Iraq and is currently operating in war-torn Sudan.
Various congressional committees have launched hearings into what has been described as the biggest corruption scandal in history. Not surprisingly, U.N. officials have refused to cooperate with the congressional investigations.
The investigations have turned up a number of damning facts that point directly to the incompetence at best, complicity at worst of the most senior U.N. officials and those involved.
It is now well known, for example, that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's own son was getting big cash payments from a Swiss firm that profited from the program, in return for his "expert" opinions and advice. Recently published evidence shows that Annan's son was paraded as a high-level contact within the U.N.
The congressional investigations have surfaced preliminary accounting figures that show that Saddam Hussein likely siphoned off as much as $15 billion, almost a quarter of the entire funds transferred.
While the anti-U.S. critics wailed at the impact of the embargo on the Iraqi people, their attention miraculously centered on the nation that liberated the victims of Saddam's original aggressions and not on the Thug in Chief or his numerous continental 'partners'.
Free to "govern," Saddam did so with a vengeance, and the rest, as they say, is history which, thankfully, Congress is now exposing after the U.S. military put an "Out of Business" sign on Baghdad.
Hussein was not alone in his corruption, and several others involved in the money flow, including government firms and politicians in Europe, are now nervously following the investigations while checking out one-way flights to Paraguay.
Top among these is the European-based BNP Paribas bank, which the U.N. chose to administer the program and which reportedly received nearly $1 billion for its efforts. Congressional investigators reviewing the bank's actions have discovered broken rules, missing documents and improper transfers by BNP Paribas, which up until now has been assumed to be a French bank.
In fact, BNP Paribas is actually controlled by Power Corporation, an appropriately named Canadian company that has a shocking track record of 'business' relationships with the worst gangsters and tyrannical regimes in the world.
BNP Paribas also has one other distinguishing feature: a direct corporate and familial relationship with the persons running the government of Canada for the last 20 years.
The truth about BNP Paribas and Power Corp. sheds a new light on Canada's seemingly bizarre anti-American foreign policy in the Middle East, in China and elsewhere.
BNP Paribas bank is part of a holding company, Pargesa Holding, which is jointly owned and controlled by the Frère and Desmarais families. Paul Desmarais Sr. is the chairman of the group, while Albert Frère is the vice-chairman. Gerald Frère, Albert's son, is one of three general managers who oversee day-to-day operations, and Paul Desmarais Jr. is also an officer.
Pargesa, and thus Power Corporation and the Canadian Desmarais family, holds a controlling significant stake in TotalFina Elf, the Belgian-French petroleum multinational corporation formed from the merger of Total and Petrofina.
BNP Paribas and TotalFina may have blood-stained corporate histories, but the intimate and intricate connections of Power Corp. to Canada's governing elite raise the truly disturbing questions.
Power Corporation CEO Andre Desmarais is the son-in-law of former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who went out of his way to oppose U.S. intervention in Iraq, where the family's business interests with the Saddam regime would be jeopardized.
Current Canadian PM Paul Martin is a former Power Corporation employee who made his fortune when he bought Canada Steamship Lines from Power Corp. aided by loans from Power Corp. To this day both CSL and Power are reported to have mutual equity interests in each other.
The most senior foreign affairs/international trade adviser to current Canadian PM Paul Martin is Maurice Strong, former CEO of Power Corp. and a longtime U.N. and Kofi Annan adviser.
So, who is TotalFina Elf? Just an oil company that cut a deal with Saddam to develop and exploit the Majnoon and Nahr Umar oil fields in southern Iraq. These properties are estimated to contain as much as 25 percent of the country's oil reserves.
With Saddam under arrest, the Canadian-controlled company has expanded its "client base" and now has a deal with the murderous Sudanese regime to quietly extract its oil and funnel profits back to Khartoum for its infamous social programs.
Disgusted by the lethargic pace and willful blindness of the U.N.-led investigation of itself headed up by Paul Volcker, the U.S. Congress opened its own investigation. Committee investigators found that eight government agencies notified BNP Paribas about "deficiencies" in handling money in the U.N. program.
No wonder Congress smelled a rat when it watched the deliberately ineffectual U.N. 'review' of the 'Food-for-Oil' program. Thankfully, it followed up on that and launched its own investigations which, if allowed to follow their natural course, will inevitably expose fraud, corruption, sleaze, theft, incompetence and, perhaps in the long run most significantly, the corrupt political and personal motivations of supposedly friendly governments, including Canada, in this entire mess.
For our Canadian friends and supposed partners, we are left with the disturbing question: Who's really in charge and whose interests are they really serving?
Not a Frog bank , but a Frog-Canadian as CEO.
No---no Joe say it aint so, Not the Canooks.
Didn't know that. Knew TotalFinaElf had multi-billions in potential oil drilling rights with Saddam, which helped explain Chretien's vociferous attacks on Bush - it was a family matter for him. (BTW, his daughter's name is "France")
Chretien got a post-PM "job" with the Canadian company PetroKazakhstan. Anyone know if it is connected to Total or Power Corp.?
The 'little man from Shawinigan' seems to be doing very well for himself.
" Less than two months after stepping down as prime minister, Jean Chretien is moving quickly to forge a relationship with China's wealthiest and most powerful business conglomerate.
Making a surprisingly speedy entrance onto the global business stage, Mr. Chretien will arrive in China this weekend with a team of Power Corp. executives to meet some of China's most influential business leaders.
The visit, his first major overseas trip since his retirement, is being kept hush-hush. Neither the Canadian embassy in Beijing nor his law office in Ottawa is revealing any details of the visit, insisting that it is completely "private."
But The Globe and Mail has learned that much of Mr. Chrétien's tour of Beijing and other Chinese cities over the coming week is being organized by state-owned China International Trust and Investment Corp. CITIC is China's biggest and most powerful conglomerate, with a vast range of interests on four continents. ...
....Since his retirement from politics, Mr. Chrétien has lined up a series of business gigs. He is an international-relations adviser to PetroKazakhstan, a Calgary-based oil company that is trying to expand its oil exports to China and other Asian and Middle Eastern countries. And he has joined three separate law firms: Montreal-based Heenan Blaikie, Calgary-based Bennett Jones, and Montreal-based Desjardins Ducharme Stein Monast.
His speedy return to China has provoked some raised eyebrows in the Canadian business community in Beijing. "I think there should be a cooling-off period," said one Canadian businessman in Beijing, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"There has to be a period of decorum if you're civilized. It's interesting that he's back here so quickly. Considering that he was here in October and hosted Wen on his last day in office, he should have waited." ...
I've sent an email asking O'Reilly to take on this. The a** kissing Canadian media won't take on this, hopefully Fox News will.
I don't think any of this dough is going towards our 'social programs', unless you count being on the Liberals guest/friend list.
Good on you. One of the benefits of FOX in Canada. I've e-mailed Charles Smith similarly.
PetroKazakhstan's CEO Bernard Isautier has this in his background:
Mr. Isautier is currently a director of a number of companies. From 1993 to 1995, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Occidental Petroleum Ltd.. . .Early in his career, Mr. Isautier served as an advisor to the French Minister of Energy and Industry and as an advisor on uranium development to the President of the Republic of Niger.
There's also a Jacques Lefèvre on their board; he also shows up here along with Bertrand Collomb from Total and Vivandi Universal and Atco (another name I'm finding shows up when I search on this):
Wouldn't THAT be a story? I'm looking forward to it.
I think PetroKazakhstan was originally Hurricane, and was one of the early companies to operate in Kazakhstan. I believe they operated in Sudan as well.
As Mark Steyn explained in fine detail in the February 14th issue of Canadas conservative journal of opinion, the Western Standard there exists strong reasons not to accept either the PMs or his governments opposition at face value.
It all begins with a gentleman named Paul Desmarais, a power-broker in the intimate world of the Liberal Party and Canadian politics. Desmarais owns the deliciously-named Power Corporation, which in turn owns the largest chunk of stock in the French energy company Total Group (formerly TotalFinaElf). Total had secured from the regime of Saddam Hussein the rights to develop a whopping 25% of Iraqs oil reserves, a fact that catapulted Total into the ranks of the worlds oil giants, like ExxonMobil and British Petroleum.
Desmarais was a huge campaign contributor to both the Liberal Party in general and Chrétien in particular. In addition, Chretiens daughter is the wife of Desmarais son, who stands to inherit both a controlling interest and the day-to-day control of Power Corporation. As Steyn explains:
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.
------- But, wait, theres more! As Steyn explains, dont look for the following in the MSM anytime soon:
But, getting on for two years later, were 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. Desmaraiss holding companies. That alone should cause even the droopiest bloodhound to pick up a scent: the UNs banker for its Iraqi humanitarian program turns out to be (to all intents) Saddams favourite oilman.
Im not a conspiracy-minded guy, and, if I were, Id 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 its nevertheless the case that M. Desmaraiss bank functioned as the cashier for Saddams gaming of the global-compassion crowd: if a company agreed to sell Iraq some childrens 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 dictators oil resources. Think Maude Barlow and the CBC might show an interest? But Paul Desmaraiss 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 theyd 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 Frances coming man cant wait to hop on the plane.
Oh, and by the way, both current PM Paul Martin and current CBC head Robert Rabinovitch are also former Power Corp. men.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
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