Even filmmaker Michael Moore and others who opposed the Iraq war have to admit it’s better to have Saddam Hussein in jail than still in power. But others have reason to wish that he were still in power -- particularly those who took gifts from the dictator in exchange for various favors.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (search) has translated and just released a list of 270 politicians, businessmen and journalists who, according to the Iraqi newspaper in which the list was released, received multi-million dollar gifts from Saddam.
These gifts were allegedly handed out in the form of Iraqi oil certificates, which were then sold to oil brokers, or traded for goods through the U.N.’s oil for food program. About this, the Iraqi daily Al-Mada writes, “The 'oil for food [program]' … turned the oil sales agreements into the greatest bribery operation in history, buying souls and pens, and squandering the nation's resources.”
The list of voucher recipients includes a British Parliamentarian, a U.S.-based Iraqi who helped underwrite a film by former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, a former French Interior minister, Vladimir Putin’s political party and others from over 50 countries. While the list appears genuine, many of those on it have issued denials. The full list can be found at www.memri.org.
And that’s the Asman Observer!