Paper Trails: Explicating Bank Notes

As part of the US government's secret policy to appease Saddam Hussein, American officials supported General Motors in its efforts to do millions of dollars worth of business with Iraq. General Motors ended up selling thousands of cars to Saddam Hussein in 1988-89 (shortly after the Iraqi ruler had sprayed Kurdish rebels with poison gas), and Iraqi officials were hoping to entice the auto giant into helping build two truck factories there -- facilities which could be easily converted to military purposes. When the US Ex-IM Bank held that Iraq was a poor credit risk, the scandal-plagued Banca Nazionale del Lavoro issued several letters of credit to finance Iraqi purchases of GM products.

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