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Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight.
Are they torturing captured al Qaeda thug Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? A report in a moment, but first the Talking Points Memo. Blood money in Iraq.
The Factor has been investigating just who is profiting by having Saddam Hussein in power. And here's what we found out for you.
Russia profits the most. Saddam owes Moscow billions for arms and supplies and is paying the debt off by sending the Putin government oil well below market prices. The Russians then turn around selling the oil, making huge profits.
Saddam has also given Russia contracts to explore for oil on Iraqi soil. Those could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars more.
So no way Russia wants Saddam out.
France sells Iraq just about everything and gets hard currency from Saddam in return. This is done under the U.N.'s oil-for-food program, which is a complete farce.
Iraq buys whatever it wants with oil money. The U.N. looks the other way. Some experts believe U.N. supervisors have been bribed by Saddam but The Factor has been unable to confirm that.
France also has signed oil exploration contracts with Saddam, although they are not nearly as lucrative as Russia's.
British and U.S. oil companies are still buying Iraqi oil through middle men in Jordan and Syria. America buys tons of oil that originates in Iraq, money that goes right to Saddam's military.
So this is embarrassing and the Bush Administration owes us an explanation, as does Prime Minister Blair.
The good news is that Mr. Bush has no vested interest in removing Saddam, other than the danger angle. American oil companies are getting Iraqi oil from Arab middle men fairly cheap, and this system benefits the U.S. economy.
So it's logical to assume that if Saddam did not pose a changer to us, the president would have no reason to push him out.
Finally, the Germans have sold billions in arms to Iraq and U.S. intelligence believes that country will be embarrassed when those deadly weapons are uncovered. Thus Germany does not want USA making that discovery.
So the next time somebody tells you that America should make a decision about military action against Saddam with the world's approval, you can read them this Talking Points Memo.
Our allies are making billions off Saddam. Those billions mean a lot more to them than American lives do. And that is the cold heart truth of the international situation.
And that is The Memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...
According to the London Telegraph newspaper, nine of the 11 Brits who traveled to Iraq to become human shields have returned to Britain citing safety concerns. Well, yes.
A spokesman for the shields, Christiaan Briggs, said, "If we had 5,000 or 10,000 people, there would never be a war, but we don't have those numbers, so we're getting out of here."
All right. It might be ridiculous.
--You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: email@example.com