Friday, April 22, 2005

Roger Simon's Mystery 2

While the DNS name servers migrate the old domain to a new hosting site, which will enable me to get my graphic back up, there have been some new developments in the Roger Simon's mystery: the strange connections in the Oil for Food scandal. Readers will recall that an earlier post described the connections between the French-Canadian Demarais family and the oil for food bank BNP Paribas, the connections between Canadian diplomat and fixer Maurice Strong and Saddam bagman Tongsun Park. Now comes another development from the Canada Free Press. It is a very poorly written article, but I will try to lay out the main point, which is that Saddam Hussein invested in a company that is partially owned by the present Prime Minister of Canada.

Among Martin’s Public Declaration of Declarable Assets are: "The Canada Steamship Lines Group Inc. (Montreal, Canada) 100 percent owned"; "Canada Steamship Lines Inc. (Montreal, Canada) 100 percent owned"–Cordex Petroleums Inc. (Alberta, Canada) 4.6 percent owned by the CSL Group Inc."

(Maurice) Strong admitted that Tongsun Park, the Korean man accused by U.S. federal authorities of illegally acting as an Iraqi agent, invested in Cordex, the company he owned with his son, in 1997. ... Two years after taking the Park-through-Saddam one million dollars, Cordex went out of business

Cordex was formerly known as "Baca Resources". Maurice Strong, in addition to being an investor in Cordex, owns the Baca ranch, apparently operated by the Crestone Institute.

Hanne and Maurice Strong acquired the big track of land knows as the Baca Ranch in 1978. Guided by the vision of Native American elders that his land had a great purpose, and her own desire to establish a sustainable, interfaith retreat community in North America, Hanne began to implement a new kind of development. She consolidated tracks of land and gave them to traditional religious and educational/intellectual organizations.

None of this is particularly strange in the context of Maurice Strong. Although he has large investments in petroleum he was also a principal moving force behind the Kyoto Protocol. In fact, he is known in the environmental movement as "Father Earth". But Renaissance figure that he was, Strong had no problem doing business with Tongsun Park. A synoptic view of the Cordex transaction is provided by the New York Post:

Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday acknowledged ties with a shady South Korean man indicted Thursday for bribery in the oil-for-food scandal. Maurice Strong, a Canadian businessman who serves as Annan's special adviser for North Korea, said Tongsun Park invested in an energy company with which he was associated in 1997. ... A government witness has said Park told him he had invested about $1 million of Saddam's money in a Canadian company established by the son of a U.N. official in 1997 or 1998. He also claimed he used $5 million in Iraqi money to fund the official's business dealings. But there is no proof that the official was Strong, although the probe is continuing.


The National Post of Canada has more information on the relationship between Maurice Strong, Tongsun Park and Cordex. It implies that it was highly unusual for Ambassador Strong to hook up with Tongsun Park.

Mr. Park has apparently admitted that he invested US$1-million in a Canadian company associated with the son of a UN official. Mr. Strong himself immediately came forward and declared that he was the official, and that the company was Cordex Petroleums. Intriguingly, other investors in the company included CSL Group Inc., the holding company controlled by Paul Martin (which was at that time being managed in trust). ...

Mr. Strong is a man of enormous informal power within the "international community." A lifelong self-confessed socialist, he espouses apocalyptic alarmism as a rationale for a much more powerful United Nations. Paradoxically, however, he has always kept one foot in the capitalist camp via an array of often messy business dealings. The fact that he would do business with the likes of Mr. Park has raised eyebrows. The Wall Street Journal wrote this week: "Even if Mr. Strong had the best of intentions, his decision as a high-ranking UN official to be involved in any business relationship with the star bagman of Koreagate suggests seriously odd judgment."

Strong claimed that Cordex needed the money because he neglected it, being preoccupied with environmental matters. The National Post continues: "In a personal interview seven years ago, Mr. Strong said the Cordex situation had placed him in 'financial difficulty.' ... owever, according to Mr. Strong in interviews this week, Mr. Park's money wasn't used as a cash injection but in order to buy out another investor. It will be intriguing to discover who that investor was." The ifs accumulate.