Thursday, May 10, 2007

Chevron and Oil For Food

It seems like just yesterday that Bush was trying cajole our allies into joining the great Iraq Invasion. Unfortunately for him, France, Germany, and Russia weren't just not onboard; they were kind of being assholes about not being onboard. This posed a bit of an issue for Bush, who was simultaneously trying to convince the American people that the great Iraq Invasion was in their best interest. Hesitation from the allies cast a pallor of doubt on his scheme.

What to do, what to do.

If you're Bush, you simply find a way to discredit your detractors. And so, in early 2004, amidst a backdrop of lingering Bush pissyness toward our allies, Fox News broke the story of the UN Oil for Food scandal. Or selectively broke it, as the case may be. Although the dirty deed had been going on for quite some time with the full knowledge and complicit silence of the UN (of which the US is a ranking member), the scandal presented Bush with a timely opportunity to make our allies look like allies we could do without. And so it was that Fox News flashed us tantalizing and infuriating pieces of carefully wrapped scandal tidbits. Quite coincidentally, of course, France, Germany, and Russia were revealed to be greedy and slimy by virtue of harboring greedy and slimy corporations. Conveniently, we didn't get to see the "full list" of greedy and slimy corporations because of "pending US investigations". But we saw what we were meant to see and in this way the scandal reveal served its purpose.

Flash forward to this (sorry it's not the original news link... damn the subscription wall!):

Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, is preparing to acknowledge that it should have known kickbacks were being paid to Saddam Hussein on oil it bought from Iraq as part of a defunct United Nations program, according to investigators.

The admission is part of a settlement being negotiated with United States prosecutors and includes fines totaling $25 million to $30 million, according to the investigators, who declined to be identified because the settlement was not yet public.

The penalty, which is still being negotiated, would be the largest so far in the United States in connection with investigations of companies involved in the oil-for-food scandal.

***

According to the Volcker report, surcharges on Iraqi oil exports were introduced in August 2000 by the Iraqi state oil company, the State Oil Marketing Organization. At the time, Condoleezza Rice, now secretary of state, was a member of Chevron’s board and led its public policy committee, which oversaw areas of potential political concerns for the company.

Ms. Rice resigned from Chevron’s board on Jan. 16, 2001, after being named national security advisor by President Bush.

Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman, referred inquires to Chevron.

Ooooops.

Fox News, so triumphant in their role as muckraker lo those many years ago, has remained conspicuously silent on this latest bit of news. I stopped over for some of that famous O'Reilly outrage and maybe a boycott or two but sadly, no. Not even an honorable mention in the teeny tiny space Fox reserves for actual news headlines.

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