Difficult enough to believe that BNP Paribas, Saddam's favourite bank, would be the major sponsor of world tennis, including the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris.
BNP, which backed a regime that tortured athletes, is now the proud partner of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Saddam's psychopathic son, Uday, in charge of Olympic sporting in Iraq, had an obsession with tennis.
But that BNP Paribas would sponsor the prestigious Davis Cup match in South Carolina is something that must cause the souls of all the athletes that died under Saddam & Son to turn in their graves.
To sponsor a tennis match in the home state of the late army Capt. Kimberly N. Hampton, a tennis champion in her own right, underlines the hypocrisy of BNP Paribas.
Only 27 years old at the time of her death, Capt. Hampton died on Jan. 2, 2005 when the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter she was piloting was shot down by enemy ground fire near Fallujah, Iraq.
The Commander of the Delta Troop in the 1st Squadron of the 17th Cavalry Regiment in Iraq, Capt. Hampton was in her second term of military service to the U.S.a. when she was shot down.
In civilian life, Capt. Hampton was an honors graduate from Presbyterian College--who never lost a tennis match. She was the first woman pilot to die in Iraq and the first woman to die in combat in Iraq from North Carolina.
The brave captain, who will never play tennis again in South Carolina, will be missed for the rest of their lives by her tennis teammates.
Capt. Hampton's family and friends know that their fallen hero died at the hands of an insurgency that was prepared two years in advance of the invasion by Saddam. In effect, Saddam used the skimmed cash from oil-for-food in to kill Capt. Hampton and others like her.
Stories about the slaughter of athletes in Iraq are well documented.
In the BBC NewsWorld Edition story, Iraq's Tortured Children (John Sweeney, June 22, 2002) was a gruesome account of Uday. It starts with Uday wanting a certain woman who played tennis at the Baghdad Sports Club. One day he decided to go and see her. a ball happened to come out and hit her car, just as he was pulling up with his driver. a male tennis player came out and apologized to Uday. Uday beat him to death in the parking lot of the tennis club. The deceased's family had to later apologize to Uday for the "distress" they caused him! This tragic event took place in the days when BNP Paribas was allegedly laundering oil-for-food money for their prime client, Saddam Hussein.
In the January 22, 2004 Seattle Times article, Iraqi Turmoil Has Little Effect on Tennis Pros, we read the story of a tennis coach, who was jailed for 10 years by Saddam's regimeall for losing to algeria. David Miley, ITF Director of Development stated that he had been advised not to go to Iraq because of dangers due to the same insurgency funded by Saddam skimming money from the UN program funneled through BNP, proud sponsor of the ITF's prestigious Davis Cup.
The two-week spring ritual known as the French open, or Roland Garros gets underway in Paris, June 3.
The Roland Garros complex on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne is described by the New York Times as "an open-air corporate boardroom where deals are done, products are promoted, hooky is played and Frenchness is celebrated."
(The event's) "most successful media moment in recent years came in 2001 when former President Bill Clinton sat in the tennis federation's V.I.P. box just above the BNP Paribas banner."
"In central Paris, meanwhile, tennis themes abound Chanel has $550 high-heeled sandals with net heels and monogrammed tennis-ball pompoms on the toe.
"Roland Garros also brings together dozens of French and foreign corporations that rent booths and hawk their wares to potential customers.
"One of those, al Jazeera Sport, a new satellite television channel of the al Jazeera arabic-language news service, is broadcasting Roland Garros matches to the arab world."
Meanwhile, a fallen hero is breaking hearts in South Carolina. In Memoriam: army Capt. Kimberly N. Hampton, lst Battalion, 82nd aviation Battalion, 82nd airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]