The following is an archived copy of a message sent to the CASI Analysis List run by Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq.
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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] Dear List, The publishing of the “List” alleging to contain names of persons, parties, organizations and companies to whom the former Iraqi regime paid “bribes” has generated a lot of interest in the media, amid denials and ridicule by some of those whose names were in that “List”. It does not surprise me (nor bother me) that MEMRI was among the first to post the article in English. Knowing MEMRI’s agenda and that it is a tool for Zionist propaganda should suffice to understand their motives. After all, MEMRI only translated an article published in Arabic in Baghdad by an Iraqi independent newspaper. However, MEMRI does add its biased views to the article. It alleges, without proof or evidence, that these vouchers may have been issued to pay for goods that may have included military equipment or military parts, luxury automobiles that Saddam distributed as gifts inside and outside Iraq, and general luxury goods for the benefit of high-ranking officials in the Ba'ath party and government. MEMRI further alleges that the sold oil was collected from the Syria pipeline terminal, which was operating in contravention of the Security Council sanctions. No evidence supporting those allegations is given. These allegations are part of MEMRI’s standard policy aimed at discrediting anyone who opposes Israel’s policies in the area. But how independent is “Al Mada” newspaper? To understand that, we have to understand who is behind it. The founder and Chief Editor of “Al Mada” is Fakhri Kareem (who used to use the family name ZANGANA before, but has dropped it recently). Kareem was a member of the Politburo of the Iraqi Communist Party and a deputy to 'Aziz Muhammad (then Party Secretary General). It is worth noting that both Muhammad and Kareem are of Kurdish origin. At the end of the 1970s Kareem was subjected to a Party tribunal after it was disclosed that he had a relationship with agencies of the Iraqi regime. His Party membership was suspended. But on the basis of an individual order from Aziz Muhammad, Kareem was elevated to membership in the Political Bureau and put in charge of the Party's finance, propaganda, and security apparatus. In the 1980s, the party transformed itself, under the leadership of Muhammad and Kareem, to a mouthpiece for the chauvinist tendency within the Kurdish movement. Fakhri Kareem is accused by his party comrades of taking possession of the Party's resources, bank accounts, and propaganda institutions all of which he registered as his own personal property. With that money he founded a political magazine in Syria called “an-Nahj” (the path) in 1983. In September 1991, Fakhri Kareem accompanied Jalal Talabani, Secretary General of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) to the US. The delegation included Hoshyar Zebari , personal emissary of Mr. Massoud Barazani (KDP), Rassoul Mamaned, Secretary General of Kurdish Socialist Party (KSP), Brusk Shaways, Politburo Member, Kurdistan People’s Democratic Party (KPDP), Yacoub Yousif, Politburo Member, Assyrian Democratic Movement (ZOWAA) and Muzafar Arslan, Secretary General, Iraqi Turkman People Party. The group was invited by the U.S. State Department to Washington, D.C. to “commence a dialogue and establish a better understanding of the objectives of the Kurdish opposition to Sadam’s regime in Iraq.” At that time, Fakhri Kareem made a statement to the Voice of America radio in which he asked George Bush Sr. to intensify sanctions against the Iraqi people. Fakhri Kareem is also accused by his comrades of cooperating with the rulers of Kuwait and the Central Intelligence Agency in publishing a newspaper under the title "Sawt al-Kuwayt ad-Dawli" (The International Voice of Kuwait) which was one of the strongest advocates of the 30-nation aggression against Iraq in 1991. It was this newspaper that published the theatrical story of the young Kuwaiti girl Nayirah under the headline "The Iraqis steal incubators from the children of Kuwait." As the battles raged, this newspaper printed stories under huge headlines like "Coalition forces demolish Baghdad" and "Allied aircraft exterminate Iraqi military formation near Basra." Finally the Kuwaiti government got tired of this newspaper and considered the money allocated to it a waste of public funds and finally shut it down. Thus in 1993, Kareem expanded his activities in Syria and founded a publishing house “Al-Mada Publishing House” and, together with some of his editors from the Kuwaiti paper, established a new magazine in Syria called “al-Mada”. The activities were eventually moved into luxurious premises in the rich district of Al-Hamra in Beirut, Lebanon. The Iraqi Communist Party has, since the 1990s, splintered into four groups: the ICP Central Committee and the Kurdistan Communist Party (both of which support the occupation), the ICP General Command and the ICP Cadre (both of which oppose the occupation). The ICP Central Committee’s newspaper "Tariq ash-Sha'b" reported in July 2002 that the Deputy Consul in the American Embassy in Damascus visited the offices of the Iraqi Communist Party in Syria and discussed recent developments with Party representatives. In June 2002 the Party's internal publication, "Munadil al-Hizb" reported on a special meeting of the Party Central Committee to study how the Party would take part in the coming events, which they termed "the liberation of Iraq." During the invasion battles in 2003, the Party openly acknowledged that it had fighters on the front lines together with the "Coalition Forces." This background should serve to show the pattern of behavior. Al Mada is thus seen by Iraqi Communists opposing the occupation as a CIA financed newspaper, whose owner has been working for the CIA for over 20 years and is responsible for recruiting other communists for the agency. Whether or not the “List” is real or fabricated remains to be seen, though the history of the US and UK in Iraq since 1990 has been nothing but a series of lies and false allegations, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, without even an admission of guilt. The incubator story and the WMDs are only small examples of the campaign of misinformation. But the timing of publishing the “List” is no coincidence. It seems to serve several objectives: to divert the attention from the horrendous crimes committed by the occupation forces in stark violation of international laws and conventions; to divert the attention from the scandals being exposed related to the stealing of Iraq’s wealth by US companies and by members of Iraq’s Governing Council; and to tarnish the reputation of those opposing the illegal war and occupation. Saddam Hussein was the President of the sovereign state of Iraq; a founding member of the United Nations and the Arab League. He had the full legal authority to decide which party should benefit from its relations with Iraq, based on the principle of reciprocity, whereby political stands are rewarded. This is exactly what George Bush Sr. and Jr. did with countries that supported their illegal wars and sanctions, and what every leader in the world does. It is also wrong to consider those payments as bribes, since the oil vouchers were not given as gifts, but those receivers (provided the list is authentic) received the right to sell Iraqi oil under the MOU and the income from the sale would have been deposited into the UN supervised escrow account. In return they would make a profit. That is a normal business conduct. The names of some in the “List” raise questions. One would understand that awarding vouchers to certain states or influential parties or organizations would be logical in order to gain their political support to the demands for lifting the sanctions. And that would also suppose that those awarded the vouchers would have a real influence. But what would Iraq gain from a group like the 8th of October Movement, which is a Brazilian Communist group, or Myanmar's Forestry Minister, or Chad's Foreign Minister? What influence does any of the above have over the US or inside the UN to justify the awarding of the vouchers? Wouldn’t Iraq have better given vouchers to some official in the Brazilian government than to an obscure communist group in opposition that has no power nor influence? These questions, and the denials by a large number of those named makes one wonder, once again, if the “List” even exists outside the minds of the Chief Editor of “Al Mada” and his controllers in Langley.. If the “List” comes from the same sources that supplied the “45 minute” dossier or the Niger Uranium documents or the Galloway bribes, then we don’t need to worry about them. They will end up like the lies before them and those who invented them in the garbage bin of history. Hassan __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! 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