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« The SwiftVets On the Warpath, Again | Main | A Flow-Chart of Burkett's and CBS's "Shadowy Links" »
September 17, 2004

Yet Another Non-Existent Link: Oil-For-Food Money-Laundering May Link Iraq to Al Qaeda Front

This seems like an important article, but I have to warn you, it's so complicated as to be inpenetrable.

LUGANO, Switzerland β€” Did Saddam Hussein use any of his ill-gotten billions filched from the United Nations Oil-for-Food program to help fund Al Qaeda?

Investigations have shown that the former Iraqi dictator grafted and smuggled more than $10 billion from the program that for seven years prior to Saddam's overthrow was meant to bring humanitarian aid to ordinary Iraqis. And the Sept. 11 Commission has shown a tracery of contacts between Saddam and Al Qaeda that continued after billions of Oil-for-Food dollars began pouring into Saddam's coffers and Usama bin Laden declared his infamous war on the U.S.

Now, buried in some of the United Nation's own confidential documents, clues can be seen that underscore the possibility of just such a Saddam-Al Qaeda link β€” clues leading to a locked door in this Swiss lakeside resort.

Next to that door, a festive sign spells out in gold letters under a green flag that this is the office of MIGA, the Malaysian Swiss Gulf and African Chamber. Registered here 20 years ago as a society to promote business between the Gulf States and Asia, Europe and Africa, MIGA is a company that the United Nations and the U.S. government says has served as a hub of Al Qaeda finance: A terrorist chamber of commerce.

In a recent interview, U.S. Assistant Treasury Secretary Juan Zarate described MIGA as "a very good example of an investment company that is used as a shell to hide and move money."

...

MIGA had other founders as well. One of them, who does not appear on the U.N. terror list, is an Arab businessman now in his early 60s, Abdul Rahman Hayel Saeed.

Described by an acquaintance as urbane, polite and fluent in English, Hayel Saeed was born into one of Yemen's most prominent business clans, owners of a family-held global conglomerate based in the Yemeni capital of Taiz and named for its founding patriarch: the Hayel Saeed Anam Group of Companies, or HSA.

...

HSA is unquestionably a company involved in legitimate business. But given the involvement of Abdul Rahman Hayel Saeed, it is striking that between 1996 and 2003, while the United Nations ran its Oil-for-Food relief program in Iraq, the HSA Group β€” via U.N.-approved Oil-for-Food contracts β€” sold at least $400 million worth of goods to Saddam.

...

One of the big questions is whether any of the money skimmed from Oil-for-Food also slopped into terrorist-financing ventures such as MIGA.

This is another one of those cases of "shadowy links" that the New York Times shows absolutely no interest in exploring.


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posted by Ace at 04:29 PM

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