Thursday, April 28, 2005

Oil for Sauerkraut

Paul Volcker and other investigators have uncovered still more UN corruption, according to Der Spiegel:
The latest development, however, is that German industry has also come under the scrutiny of UN investigators. As far back as October, some of Volcker's staffers contacted Germany's Foreign Ministry in Berlin and submitted a list containing 50 German companies. According to government sources, that list "also included some very well-known companies."

Volcker's investigators demanded an inspection of German contract documents pertaining to the oil-for-food program. The Foreign Ministry first released the export files to investigators after it received written consent from the companies in question -- and investigators first began examining the files in November. . .

In some cases . . ., "there are documents that already prove such payments," took place he said. The sensitive papers stem directly from the Iraqi ministries. The idea that inflated prices could be an indication of hidden kickback payments is nothing new: the U.S. Department of Defense already knew that much two years ago. At the time, its experts sifted through 10 percent of the contracts that were still pending when the war began. In 759 cases, they found massively inflated prices. One name which popped up in connection with medical technology offered via Russia was German engineering giant Siemens.

At Siemens, no one knows anything about any sales-promoting schemes to boost business in Iraq. "We do not know of any inconsistencies in processing these orders," said officials at the company's Munich-based headquarters.

In the case of German truckmaker MAN, which sold 950 vehicles worth €60 million to Iraq in 2001 alone, a spokeswoman confirmed that "the UN commission has requested access to (the company's) files in the Foreign Ministry." The spokeswoman, however, said the Iraqis had never asked MAN to "pay any premium" and the company had no knowledge of any such events.
Many leftists still belittle the forces in Iraq as a coalition of the bribed. This meme overlooks the more than $120 billion (in today's dollars) of American aid to the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1945. More importantly, it underscores the U.N.'s ineffectiveness and bias, as the WSJ said last fall:
Even if one accepts the desirability of some kind of "global test" before America acts militarily, U.N. Security Council approval can't be it. There was never any chance that this "coalition of the bribed" was going to explicitly endorse regime change, or the presumed alternative of another 12 years of economic sanctions.
Germany, France and the rest of the EU are bad enough; if the UN ever becomes a global government, as the dreamers desire, "stop the world!--I wanna get off."

(via LGF)


Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

Superb post. At this point, I'd think the French and Germans would have been a lot happier had WMD's been found, rather than what wil be unearthed vis a vis Iraq.

Carl said...

We sure live in interesting times. The likelihood that the "cradle of the Renaissance and Enlightenment -- twin sine qua nons of civilization" might vanish in our lifetime is unsettling as hell.