L'Amerique vendue par la Françe ?

Chirac's War for Oil
> By Jamie Glazov
> FrontPageMagazine.com | April 16, 2004
> Frontpage Interview has the pleasure to have Kenneth Timmerman, author of
> the new book The French Betrayal of America, as its guest today.
> A senior writer at Insight Magazine, Mr. Timmerman has spent twenty years
> reporting on Europe and the Middle East. He is also the author of
> of Hate: Islam and the War on America . Visit his website at
> www.KenTimmerman.com.
> FP: Mr. Timmerman welcome back to Frontpage Interview, it is a
pleasure to
> have you with us again.
> Timmerman: Thanks, Jamie. Frontpage is one of the rare bright spots in
> today's media, which is dominated by the centers of spin.
> FP: President Bush's critics say Iraq was a war for oil. You seem to
> but in your new book, you claim that war was being waged by French
> Chirac. Could you explain this to our readers?
> Timmerman: If you read the French press, or the glowing accounts of
> opposition to the U.S. effort to build an international coalition to oust
> Saddam Hussein that appeared here in America, you might actually believe
> that the French were standing on principle.
> I reveal that Chirac was defending something quite different when he sent
> his erstwhile foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, around the
world to
> buy votes against America at the United nations. Chirac was determined to
> maintain Saddam Hussein in power so that two extraordinarily
lucrative oil
> contracts, negotiated by the French, could go into effect. Very
little has
> been written about this until now.
> The deals were negotiated separately by CFP Total and by Elf Aquitaine
> during the mid to late 1990s. At the time, both companies were
> state-controlled. They have since been privatized and combined into the
> world's second largest oil giant, TotalFinalElf.
> Through my sources, I obtained a copy of one of these contracts. It spans
> 154 pages, and grants the French exclusive right to exploit one of Iraq's
> largest oil fields at Nahr al-Umar for a period of twenty years.
Under the
> deal, the French were given 75% of the revenue from every barril of
oil they
> extracted - 75%! That is absolutely stunning. Not even during the
> days were foreign oil operators granted such extravagant terms.
> I discussed the contract with an independent oil analyst, Gerald Hillman,
> who estimated that during the first seven years alone, it would earn the
> French around $50 billion. Elf-Aquitaine negotiated a virtually identical
> deal with Saddam to expand the gigantic Majnoon oil field as well. Put
> together, those two deals were worth $100 billion to the French.
That's 100
> billion good reasons for Mr. Chirac to keep Saddam in power.
> FP: The contracts were dependent on Saddam?
> Timmerman: That's correct, although I am sure the French are trying
to put
> pressure on the Iraqi Governing Council to honor these scandalously
> deals.
> Because of the United Nations sanctions, the French were allowed to
do some
> initial scoping out work on the oil fields, but they couldn't begin
> production until the sanctions were lifted. So this was a clear quid pro
> quo. As Hillman told me, what the French were saying in this contract was
> very simple: "We will help you get the sanctions lifted, and when we do
> that, you give us this." And that is precisely what the French were
> to do at the UN. I've called these $100 billion deals from Saddam to
> the largest bribe ever paid in history. It was Chirac's War for Oil.
> FP: Were there personal payoffs to President Chirac? Your book
portrays him
> as shockingly corrupt, but what's the proof?
> Timmerman: Most American newspapers hardly ever write about France, so
> Americans have no idea that Mr. Chirac was on the verge of being
indicted by
> an investigative magistrate in 1999 on corruption charges. Never
before in
> French history had a sitting president been under such assault from the
> legal system, which traditionally has been under the boot of the ruling
> party.
> That particular case involved Mr. Chirac's alleged misuse of public funds
> during his 18 years as Mayor of Paris, where he established an extensive
> system of political patronage grafted to a national political party.
> the schemes that came to light, which I detail in my book, were kickbacks
> Chirac's party demanded from contractors on virtually every public works
> contract - right down to maintenance contracts in the public schools!
> Chirac's party wasn't alone in this; indeed, virtually everyone from the
> Communists to the Far Right benefited from similar schemes. But
clearly, Mr.
> Chirac was deeply involved on a very personal level in organizing the
> clandestine financing of his political party.
> There's one great scene I describe in my book, which came to light during
> these court cases, where a visitor allegedly brings Chirac and his
chief of
> staff a suitcase full of cash. Chirac is in his office in the
palatial Paris
> town hall, and opens a door to reveal a safe built into the wall. It
just so
> happens that the safe is located in the private toilet in his office. So
> Chirac flushes the toilet to cover the noise as he dials the
combination to
> the safe, just in case some political opponent has planted a listening
> device inside his office.
> There's another scene I describe in the scene, where a well-known arms
> dealer arrives in Geneva from Baghdad, carrying the torn half of a $1
> Under instructions from Saddam Hussein, he meets with an Iraqi government
> employee, then goes down to the UBS bank, where they withdraw several
> million dollars in cash. Later, at a pre-arranged meeting place, an
> for a prominent French politician arrives. "You'd never ask their
name, they
> 'd never ask you your name," the arms dealer told me. "You have half
of the
> dollar, and he has half of the dollar. You match the serial numbers
and make
> the exchange. That was how it worked."
> There have long been rumors that Chirac financed his RPR party with cash
> from Saddam Hussein, but no one has ever come forward with material
> to substantiate the claim. If my arms dealer source is accurate - and I
> believe he is - we now know why. Cash payments are by nature untraceable.
> FP: Can the United States ever trust the French again -- after all
they did
> last year to muster an anti-American coalition vs. Saddam?
> Timmerman: Mr. Chirac has shown through his behavior that France is no
> longer the ally that it once was. I am heartened by the change of foreign
> minister. Dominique de Villepin, whose theatrical silliness and weird
> obsession with Napolean I profile in the book, has gone on to greener
> pastures; as Interior Minister, he now runs the French counter-espionage
> service and their secret police. The new foreign minister, Michel
> is much more low key, and will focus on Europe more than America.
> He has stated that he will try to repair relations with the United
> But from all the U.S. diplomats and senior Bush administration people
> spoken with recently about this, I think the key phrase is "Trust, but
> verify." The French have a lot of work to do to demonstrate that they
> stab us in the back as they did last year at the United Nations.
> This said, we don't really need the French for much, unless the President
> decides he must return to the United Nations. Going to war without
France is
> like going deer-hunting without an accordeon.
> FP: What is it about the French do you think that makes them so
> to admiring anti-American dictators and mass-murderers like Saddam
> Timmerman: I think the problem, to paraphrase Condi Rice's recent
> is structural. The French Socialist economy has spawned vast state-owned
> enterprises that are unable to compete in a free, fair market. To
> the socialist welfare state, with its ten to twelve percent unemployment
> rates, the French desperately need to cut backdoor deals with
dictators and
> authoritarian states. Hence, their current fondness for the mullahs in
> Tehran, and the Chinese communists.
> Iraq was a special case. I was invited in the late 1980s to visit the
> Army staff college, and was surprised when I saw a plaque donated to the
> college by visiting French general Pierre-Marie Gallois, the "father"
of the
> French strategic nuclear force. Many in the French Gaullist elite saw in
> Saddam Hussein an Iraqi De Gaulle, a fellow spirit: someone willing
to stand
> up to superpowers, and take his country on a "third way." That third
way, of
> course, led directly through Paris, in opposition to Washington.
> One of our biggest problems as we go forward with France will be the
> safeguard of our nuclear weapons secrets. I tell the story in my book
of our
> extensive nuclear weapons cooperation with France, and end with a
> should U.S. taxpayers continue to subsidize the French nuclear weapons
> establishment?
> My answer is a clear, resounding: No.
> FP: Mr. Timmerman, it was, once a again, a pleasure to speak with you.
> Timmerman: And a pleasure to speak with you as well Jamie.
> http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID021
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