Rosset keeps at it
But bit by bit, the picture comes into sharper focus. More than a year ago, while trolling the U.N. Web site looking for clues as to what in creation was really going on inside the black hole called Oil for Food, I came across a most wondrously cryptic notation. It appeared on the U.N.’s public list of Iraq relief contracts, a list so generic that it was impossible to identify Saddam’s business partners, or how much of what, exactly, they were selling, or at what prices. But even in that bland landscape–in which, for instance, the lone word car served to describe $5 million worth of vehicles supplied via two contracts out of the United Arab Emirates–one entry stood out for sheer vagueness: The contractor’s country was Russia, and the contract was for “Goods for Resumption of Project.”
What goods? What project? Querying the U.N. produced only the answer that such details were secret. The U.N. was protecting the confidentiality of Saddam and his goods-for-resumption-of-project suppliers.
Now, thanks to assorted studies and leaked lists, it is possible with a little cross-referencing to discover that the supplier was a Russian state company, Technopromexport, and the contract was for “mechanical equipment,” sold to Iraq for $1,475,261. The question remains: Why should this have been a U.N. secret?