NY Oil-for-food trial may look into oilman’s alleged aid to Saddam Update: It’s Teddy!

posted at 9:00 am on August 27, 2007 by Bryan

The WaPost has a sense of humor, entitling its story about Houston oilman Oscar S. Wyatt, Jr “NY Trial to Look at Wyatt’s Patriotism.” Wyatt is accused of conspiring to pay Saddam kickbacks so that his company could get oil contracts through the UN’s mismanaged Oil-For-Food debacle. He’s also accused of tipping Saddam to US troop positions, movements and possible angles of attack prior to the invasion. Because he fought (on the US side, evidently) in WWII, the defense plans to portray him as a patriot who just doesn’t like Bush.

The government said in court papers that it is entitled to portray a Texas businessman as so eager to win oil contracts from Saddam Hussein’s government that he told Iraqi officials about the impending U.S. invasion of Iraq and encouraged opposition to the war.

The government argued that jurors should hear about statements that Oscar S. Wyatt Jr. made to win favor with those who handed out lucrative Iraqi oil contracts. The documents were filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan late Thursday for Wyatt’s Sept. 4 trial…

The statements about him were contained in a diary kept by an employee of Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization. The diary claims that Wyatt bragged at a Jan. 27, 2003, meeting that he had convinced a U.S. senator to speak out against an attack on Iraq. The diary said Wyatt also discussed the nature of a U.S. invasion of Iraq, including anticipated troop numbers, timing and direction of attack, prosecutors said.

The senator isn’t named. But if Wyatt actually did persuade a senator to speak out against the war prior to January 2003, the list of senators who were doing that at that time is much shorter than a similar list would be now. All would be liberal Democrats, fwiw.

Wyatt’s trial should be an interesting one to watch. The government will have to detail to some extent the Oil-For-Food program’s corruption, and we might get a glimpse of a more or less official take on who within the UN was involved in the process.

I’ve maintained for years now that OFF was one of the key reasons that we actually had to go to war because to a great extent it lessened the threat that Saddam could see arrayed against him (and from Saddam’s point of view, corruption for self-protection was the point of even starting OFF in the first place — he had no interest or need in actually helping the Iraqi people). To the extent that Saddam was buying alliances with key individuals around the world and to the extent that he was hearing from braggarts such as Mr. Wyatt is accused of being, it distorted his understanding of the seriousness of the threat that the US-led coalition posed for him. He must surely have thought that between all those billions in oil contracts and the corruption in the UN that went along with that, and his open supporters in Jacques Chirac and to a lesser extent Vladimir Putin (and the quiet non-belligerence of the Chinese), that the US would eventually stand down. Its allies were bought, the UN was corrupt and had a price, and some even in Bush’s country and at least one in his home state could be bought for the right price. How could the US seriously expect to wage war against him, he must have thought, when he can use the UN more or less against us and we’re predicating our war in part on enforcing UN sanctions?

Without all the corruption of OFF and what that said about the larger UN, and without all the underhandedness of “allies” like Chirac’s France, there’s a decent chance that Saddam would have understood the threat more clearly than he seems to have done, his survival instinct would have overtaken his ambitions for a while, and he would have been more compliant. The OFF corruption gave him reason to think he could keep in playing games forever, necessitating the drastic step that we had to take to prove him wrong.

Update: Reuters named the senator way back on August 14:

Wyatt is also asking to have portions of a diary of a former Iraqi state oil agency employee, Mubdir Al-Khudhair, omitted. It suggests Wyatt provided the Iraq government with information about when the United States would invade and bomb Iraq and how many soldiers would be sent, according to the motion.

“Such actions would likely be considered repugnant by most Americans and could potentially bias,” said the papers, arguing the diary was irrelevant to Wyatt’s case.

One diary entry also states that “Wyatt allegedly convinced Senator Edward Kennedy to deliver a speech against the war with Iraq,” according to the motion. A spokesperson for Senator Kennedy did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Why didn’t the Post name him then, since it was already out in a Reuters report? Is the Post covering for the senator from Chappaquiddick?

Swimmer did deliver a speech against the war in September 2002.

The Senate’s preeminent liberal said the Bush administration had failed to make a convincing case that war against Iraq was the only way to deal with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, whom the U.S. and British governments accuse of developing weapons of mass destruction in violation of U.N. resolutions.

“I have come here today to express my view that America should not go to war against Iraq unless and until other reasonable alternatives are exhausted,” Kennedy said in a speech before the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Interestingly, one of Kennedy’s arguments against the war was based on the presumption that Saddam had WMDs.

Kennedy warned that a war with Iraq could trigger Baghdad’s use of weapons of mass destruction, and possibly start a wider, destabilizing conflict in the Middle East.

None of this will matter, even if it turns out that an Oil-For-Food oilman actually did convince Kennedy to speak out against the war. Sen. Kennedy has already gotten away with murder, more or less, and with being a shill for the Soviets at the height of the Cold War. He’s made of Teflon.


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He’s Geraldo’s also accused of tipping Saddam to US troop positions, movements and possible angles of attack prior to during the invasion.

BadgerHawk on August 27, 2007 at 9:17 AM

“Oscar Wyatt has shown time and again that he’s an American patriot,” Shargel said. “He was a war hero, flying bombing missions in World War II. He loves this country. He doesn’t love this administration.”

That is a stunning statement. I could easily understand a moonbat saying something like that, but Wyatt’s attorney? If you don’t like the President you get to break the law and make deals with the enemy?

Shargel must be assuming that the jury will be packed with Bush haters for whom this concept will make perfect sense.

Bryan,

Your analysis as to how the OFF Program made war inevitable is spot on. Why should Saddam have capitulated to Bush’s (or the U.N.’s) demands?

I wish they would try Wyatt for treason. I know, I know…I’m dreaming.

Buy Danish on August 27, 2007 at 9:27 AM

Treason is so passe. We should all strive to bring peace and harmony to the universe. Kum-buy-you, kum-buy-me….

What do you think would happen if the calendar read 1942 instead of 2007? This guy would have a fair trial, followed by a first class hanging. (I know, but I just love that line.)

Texas Nick 77 on August 27, 2007 at 9:37 AM

I’m curious as to who this member of Congress was that Wyatt allegedly convinced to speak against the war. There was only a small handful who were against the war as Bryan mentioned (despite attempts from liberal Dems to pretend otherwise recently for political gain) but it doesn’t seem like that information is going to be pursued unfortunately.

It’ll be interesting to get more details about the Oil for Food (OFF) and how corruption from that contributed to the Iraq War being fought in the first place, something which is strongly under appreciated IMO.

It’ll be hard to use past acts of patriotism to defend Wyatt’s actions. The govt is going to need someserious evidence to convict him of treason. He does however seem to be guilty of extreme greed and maybe some unethical business practices based on the article alone.

Yakko77 on August 27, 2007 at 9:41 AM

We need to break out that rope in Leavenworth and start hanging the treasonous bastages.
That includes politicians that abuse the public trust, like Jefferson and Cunningham.

TheSitRep on August 27, 2007 at 9:45 AM

Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t we supposed to believe that President Bush started this war for the oil companies?

striper1 on August 27, 2007 at 10:08 AM

Unless my memory is playing tricks on me I’m pretty sure that I read something when this deal started to be noticed in the press and I seem to remember the name of that fat bastard Kennedy being mentioned.

Jeff on August 27, 2007 at 10:13 AM

I am so proud to be a citizen of the only country on earth willing to investigate, try, and convict someone involved in the UN oil for food scandal.

JiangxiDad on August 27, 2007 at 10:31 AM

Jeff on August 27, 2007 at 10:13 AM

Your memory serves you well.

Reuters reported this on April 14, 2007:

One diary entry also states that “Wyatt allegedly convinced Senator Edward Kennedy to deliver a speech against the war with Iraq,” according to the motion. A spokesperson for Senator Kennedy did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Buy Danish on August 27, 2007 at 10:58 AM

Make that, Reuters reported this on AUGUST 14th…

Buy Danish on August 27, 2007 at 10:59 AM

Words can’t express the pride I feel in being from MA. When will the people here smarten up?

striper1 on August 27, 2007 at 11:01 AM

Good job Buy Danish. At least I know I’m not dreaming things. Will Kennedy be implicated though? Fat chance.

Jeff on August 27, 2007 at 11:14 AM

Words can’t express the pride I feel in being from MA. When will the people here smarten up?

striper1 on August 27, 2007 at 11:01 AM

I feel sorry for you.

JiangxiDad on August 27, 2007 at 11:18 AM

I sent the teddy kennedy story into hot air back on the day it was released.

Doesnt anyone read the mail there ?

William Amos on August 27, 2007 at 12:11 PM

None of this will matter, even if it turns out that an Oil-For-Food oilman actually did convince Kennedy to speak out against the war. Sen. Kennedy has already gotten away with murder, more or less, and with being a shill for the Soviets at the height of the Cold War. He’s made of Teflon.

Bingo!

This is interesting! I found this from a 1998 Forbes Magazine profile of Oscar Wyatt:

OSCAR WYATT, the 74-year-old founder of Coastal Corp., is a flamboyant Texan with a knack for finding himself at the center of controversy.

Wyatt built Coastal into a $12 billion energy company with interests in natural gas pipelines, coal mines, oil refineries and service stations.

Along the way, Wyatt reneged on contracts, fought a hostile takeover and cut deals with murderous dictators like Muammar Qaddafi and Saddam Hussein.

Buy Danish on August 27, 2007 at 12:16 PM

That Oscar Wyatt link isn’t working. Let’s try this:

http://www.forbes.com//forbes/1998/1019/6209136a_2.html

Buy Danish on August 27, 2007 at 12:31 PM

If it’s true and this guy actually believes that giving troop strengths and movements was only because he doesn’t like Bush shows his true depravity. It’s typical of liberal beliefs, and how they view those they consider to be less human than themselves. Liberals would willingly slaughter U.S. troops to make Bush (or anyone they disagree with) look bad.

The party of hatred and abortion.

Rode Werk on August 27, 2007 at 2:09 PM

Without all the corruption of OFF and what that said about the larger UN, and without all the underhandedness of “allies” like Chirac’s France,

I thought that Chirac was the analogue of Kennedy in this story, i.e. there were French businessmen taking bribes from Saddam through OFF, and they had the ear of their govt officials. Similar story in Germany.

This whole OFF thing broke so long ago, though (in the blogoverse, that is) that I don’t remember the details that well. Maybe Chirac was listening to his defense contractors instead?

stivv on August 27, 2007 at 2:49 PM

a real life JR Ewing

jp on August 27, 2007 at 3:15 PM

Wait, presuming the Dem’s take back the White House… what laws am I then permitted to break without punishment (due to my dislike of the presumtive administration)?

I’d like a list of these up front, this answer may affect my voting habits significantly.

I’m not even looking for violent crimes. Graft, counterfeiting, embezzlement, money laundering, and tax evasion seem sufficient. None of those will damage foreign policy or national security; so it seems less damaging than this case.

Or am I missing something again?

gekkobear on August 27, 2007 at 3:23 PM

I’m looking up Political Contributions by this guy at Open Secrets, here is what I’ve found:

WYATT JR, OS
HOUSTON,TX 77027
THE COASTAL CORPORATION/CHAIRMAN OF
5/30/2001
$1,000
Gephardt, Richard A

WYATT JR, OS
HOUSTON,TX 77046
LAKER AIRLINES/EXECUTIVE
4/29/2001
$1,000
Oberstar, James L

WYATT OS JR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
N/A
6/4/2002
$50,000
DCCC/Non-Federal Account 10

WYATT OS JR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
N/A
11/5/2002
$20,000
DCCC/Non-Federal Account 5

WYATT, O
HOUSTON,TX 77046
COASTAL CORP./CEO ENERGY COMPANY
6/6/2002
$1,000
Frost, Martin

WYATT, O S
HOUSTON,TX 77046
THE COASTAL CORPORATION
10/4/2000
$2,000
Democratic Party of Texas

WYATT, O S JR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
RETIRED
10/30/2000
$15,000
DCCC/Non-Federal Account 5

WYATT, O S JR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
RETIRED
10/30/2000
$10,000
DCCC/Non-Federal Account 5

WYATT, O S JR
HOUSTON,TX 77019
THE COASTAL CORPORATION
8/20/2000
$1,000
Gephardt, Richard A

WYATT, O S JR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
COASTAL CORP
2/9/2004
$2,000
Daschle, Tom

WYATT, O S JR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
NUCOASTAL CORPORATION
9/6/2004
$2,000
Isakson, Johnny

WYATT, O S JR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
NUCOASTAL CORPORATION
9/26/2004
$2,000
DeMint, James W

WYATT, O S JR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
NUCOASTAL LLC
9/24/2004
$2,000
John, Chris

WYATT, O S JR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
NUCOASTAL CORPORATION
3/28/2005
$900
Clinton, Hillary

WYATT, O S JR MR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
COASTAL CORPORATION
3/1/2004
$2,000
Hutchison, Kay Bailey

WYATT, O S JR MR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
RETIRED
1/7/2004
$2,000
Clinton, Hillary Rodham

WYATT, OS
HOUSTON,TX 77046
COASTAL CORPORATION/FORMER CEO
3/5/2004
$2,000
Lampson, Nick

WYATT, OS JR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
N/A/RETIRED
10/8/2003
$5,000
Bayou Leader PAC

WYATT, OS JR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
COASTAL CORP./CHAIRPERSON
8/15/2003
$2,500
National Leadership PAC

WYATT, OS JR
HOUSTON,TX 77046
COASTAL CORP./CHAIRPERSON
8/15/2003
$1,000
National Leadership PAC

there’s alot more than those, very active contributor and obviously a Democrat however he did give a little bit to a few Repubs playing the game so to speak, never to Bush though.

didn’t see any contributions to Teddy, and none to Bush OR DeLay who is from Houston area himself.

Interesting

jp on August 27, 2007 at 3:28 PM

Totalfinaelf the big French Oil Firm is largely linked with food for oil. Is a lot of dirt there to be found in France

William Amos on August 27, 2007 at 3:35 PM

his 2007 Contributions:

WYATT, OSCAR S
HOUSTON,TX 77046
COASTAL CORPORATION/CEO
4/28/2007
$1,000
Lampson, Nick

WYATT, OSCAR S JR
REALITOS,TX 78376
RETIRED/RETIRED
4/17/2007
$2,300
Richardson, Bill

WYATT, OSCAR S JR
HOUSTON,TX 77098
SELF EMPLOYED (NUCOASTAL CORP)/ENGI
5/11/2007
$1,000
Cornyn, John

WYATT, OSCAR S JR
HOUSTON,TX 77098
SELF EMPLOYED (NUCOASTAL CORP)/ENGI
5/11/2007
$300
Cornyn, John

WYATT, OSCAR S JR
HOUSTON,TX 77098
SELF EMPLOYED (NUCOASTAL CORP)/ENGI
5/11/2007
($300)
Cornyn, John

WYATT, OSCAR S JR
HOUSTON,TX 77098
6/25/2007
($400)
Cornyn, John

WYATT, OSCAR S MR JR
HOUSTON,TX 77098
RETIRED
6/1/2007
$2,300
Rockefeller, Jay

jp on August 27, 2007 at 3:45 PM

I have no problem with politicians accepting money from him

I do have a problem with a politician standing up to defend Saddam making Teddy our own versuion of Galloway

William Amos on August 27, 2007 at 4:08 PM

Shoot all the Dems and let the Devil find the honest one.

drunyan8315 on August 27, 2007 at 4:35 PM

Shoot all the Dems and let the Devil find the honest one.

drunyan8315 on August 27, 2007 at 4:35 PM

Why did I get flashbacks to “The Devil and Daniel Webster” ?

William Amos on August 27, 2007 at 4:41 PM

treason: what’s it there for (in the constitution) if we never try traitors?

jummy on August 27, 2007 at 7:28 PM