Humanitarian Aid – Bad, Oil Smuggling – Good

Last Friday a U.S. Federal District judge ordered Voices in the Wilderness to pay a $20,000 fine for bringing humanitarian aid to Iraq during the 1990’s. The logic here is that the organization was breaking UN sanction by providing this humanitarian aid, mainly medicine, to Iraq. What I find most troubling is that this action was pursued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) while at the same time several U.S. oil companies were profiting heavily from breaking these very same sanctions. Case in point, Bayoil

The U.S. Treasury Department failed to adequately monitor U.S. companies that violated U.N. sanctions against Iraq, permitting a Houston-based oil company to avoid scrutiny as it paid Saddam Hussein’s government more than $37 million in illegal kickbacks, according to a report released yesterday by Democrats investigating abuses in the U.N. oil-for-food program.

Yesterday’s report contains documents that bolster previous allegations that the State Department and the U.S.-led naval force may have assisted efforts by a key ally, Jordan, to smuggle $53 million worth of oil from Iraq in seven supertankers in the weeks before the invasion of Iraq.

So let me get this straight, it was bad to supply humanitarian aid to Iraq but it was good to smuggle oil out of there and pay $37 million to Saddam? Oof, my head hurts. By the way, Voices in the Wilderness has said they “will not pay a penny of this fine.” Good for them. They should not pay until Bayoil pays a fine commensurate with their violations.

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