Monday, November 15, 2004

UN's Oil for Food Scandal EXPLODING

Saddam's Oil for Food Scam Twice As Big As Previously Thought
NEW YORK — Saddam Hussein's regime made more than $21.3 billion
in illegal revenue by subverting the U.N. Oil-for-Food program (search) through surcharges, kickbacks and smuggling oil — more than double previous estimates, according to congressional investigators.

Washington Post
Oil-for-Food Official May Have Blocked Inquiries
Head of U.N. Program in Iraq Accused of Improperly Accepting Purchasing Rights

UNITED NATIONS -- Benon Sevan, the official accused of improperly receiving
lucrative rights to purchase oil from Saddam Hussein's government while he was
running the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq, discouraged his staff from
probing allegations of corruption and helped block efforts by the U.N.
anti-corruption unit to assess where the program was vulnerable to abuse,
according to senior U.N. officials.


and for more background, here is a killer article by the reporter leading the charge on this story, Claudia Rosett of the Wall Street Journal.

The Oil-for-Food Scam: What Did Kofi Annan Know, and When Did He Know It?
The UN, in the name of its own lofty principles, and to its rich emolument,
actively helped sustain and protect a tyrant whose brutality and repression were
the cause of Iraqi deprivation in the first place. What can this mean? The
answer may be simply that, along with its secrecy, its massed cadres of
bureaucrats beholden to the favor of the man at the top, its almost complete
lack of accountability, external oversight, or the most elementary checks and
balances, the UN suffers from an endemic affinity with anti-Western despots, and
will turn a blind eye to the devil himself in order to keep them in power.
Certainly there is much in its history and its behavior to support this view.

Perhaps, then, the complicity was there all along, built in, and was
merely reinforced year after year as the UN collected the commissions and
processed the funds that transformed Oil-for-Food into the sleaziest program
ever to fly the UN flag and the single largest item on every budget of all nine
UN agencies involved, plus the Secretariat itself. That, in the end, may be the
dirty secret at the center of the Oil-for-Food scandal.

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