Es ist eine verheerende Bilanz: Mehr als 650.000 Iraker sind laut einer Studie an den Folgen des Krieges gestorben. US-Präsident Bush räumte ein, dass es in dem Land "entsetzliche Gewalt" gebe - und zweifelte die Glaubwürdigkeit der Studie an.
Washington/London - Einer heute veröffentlichten Studie von irakischen und US-amerikanischen Fachleuten des Gesundheitswesens zufolge sind damit seit Beginn der US-Invasion 2003 und der anschließenden Gewalteskalation zweieinhalb Prozent der irakischen Bevölkerung ausgelöscht worden. Die Todesrate habe sich seit Kriegsbeginn mehr als verdoppelt, hieß es in des Studie weiter, die die medizinische Fachzeitschrift "The Lancet" im Internet veröffentlichte.
Na, wenigstens einer behält hier einen klaren Kopf. Denn anders als die SPIEGEL-Redakteure kann sich der US-Präsident durchaus noch genau daran erinnern, daß es zufälligerweise eben genau jene
Hans Sponeck was United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq from 1998 to 2000 when he resigned in protest against the sanctions policies toward Iraq. One of his major responsibilites during his Iraq job was the distribution of goods under the Oil-for-Food programme and the verification of Iraqi complicance with that programme. He reported to the Executive Director of the Iraq Programme, Benon Savan.
Von Sponeck is frequently quoted in the German media (and sometimes in non-German media) as "expert" on the Iraq war. His criticism of President Bush and the U.S. Iraq policy is aggressive and polemic, and as such of course highly welcomed by his journalistic counterparts. In 2003 he received the Bremen Peace Award for the resignation from his UN post in protest "against the sanctions policy of the Security Council and in particular the USA, responsible for the death of several hundred thousand Iraqi children" (no mention of Saddam's responsibilities, of course).
As it now turns out, Hans von Sponeck also pursued other interests in Iraq after he left the UN:
"Mr. von Sponeck solicited financial contributions for his sanctions-related work from corporations seeking to do business with Iraq under the Programme (Oil for Food) ... (a business partner of Mr. von Sponeck) recalled that - after he enlisted Mr. von Sponeck's assistance - Iraq granted his request for additional oil under the Programme. ... Mr. von Sponeck's activities should have been subject to post-employment restrictions in order to safeguard against a possibility of an actual or apparent conflict of interest..." Source: Independent Inquiry Committee into the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme: Manipulation of the Oil-for-Food Programme by the Iraqi Regime, p. 508-509
The Washington Times reports on von Sponeck's Iraqi business affairs under the headline "$addam and hi$ enabler$" (mentioning von Sponeck next to George Galloway).
In the light of the revelations in the Volcker report I fully understand von Sponeck's opposition to the Iraq policy of the Bush administration. After all, as a result of the invasion, he must have lost a steady source of income...
I just wonder why nobody from Saddam's administration ever contacted me! Just a few million barrels of oil, and I would have eagerly turned into an anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-American activist, fiercly denouncing the evil American assault on the treasured Iraqi democracy under Saddam.
I definitely would have made a brilliant expert for the German media.
BTW, not much is reported on von Sponeck's Iraqi business activities in the German media. Well, it's not Halliburton stuff, I guess...
A LEAKED report has exposed the extent of alleged corruption in the United Nations’ oil-for-food scheme in Iraq, identifying up to 200 individuals and companies that made profits running into hundreds of millions of pounds from it.
The report largely implicates France and Russia, whom Saddam Hussein targeted as he sought support on the UN Security Council before the Iraq war. Both countries were influential voices against UN-backed action.
A senior UN official responsible for the scheme is identified as a major beneficiary. The report, marked “highly confidential”, also finds that the private office of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, profited from the cheap oil. Saddam’s regime awarded this oil during the run-up to the war when military action was being discussed at the UN. (...)
The report says oil was given to key countries: “The regime gave priority to Russia, China and France. This was because they were permanent members of, and hence had the ability to influence decisions made by, the UN Security Council. The regime . . . allocated ‘private oil’ to individuals or political parties that sympathised in some way with the regime.”
Will this make big waves in the German media? Not yet...
And don't bet the farm on it... Not as long as the culprits are Germany's allies.
This might change if the U.S. is implicated.
Note: You can bet this will never get reported on in Germany...had this been Bush, it would have already been a major scandal.
The Iraqi Governing Council has lists naming people who allegedly received payments from the U.N. oil-for-food program while Saddam Hussein was in power, Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani said.
Talabani, a council member and the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, was asked Friday whether in addition to the list published in Al-Mada there was now additional evidence that the council had uncovered about cash payment to individuals.
"We have lists of cash paid to journalists, personalities, groups and parties," he replied.
I'm almost certain that there were no German journalists on Saddam's payroll. Their anti-Americanism is free for the asking...
I wouldn't exonerate German politicians, though. Some folks - not all of them still alive - come to mind. And some "experts", too.
And don't forget German business people. We'll have more on that later this week.