Monday, March 29, 2004

Corrupt UN Update

The U.N. Oil-for-Bribes scandal (tpfp posts 3/22 9:50pm, 3/10 9:31pm) is provoking ever wider outrage. Monday's New York Post says up to 3000 U.N. bureaucrats pocketed the proceeds. And now the flap's hit the NY Times! Here's the first sentence of William Safire's Op-Ed in Monday's edition: "Never has there been a financial rip-off of the magnitude of the U.N. oil-for-food scandal." Safire says U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan now admits his oldest son, Kojo, "was on the payroll of Cotecna Inspections of Switzerland until December 1998 . . .[the] very month. . . the U.N. awarded Cotecna the contract to monitor and authenticate the goods shipped to Iraq." Throughout the U.N. program, created to provide humanitarian relief to ordinary Iraqis,
Prices were inflated to allow for 10 percent kickbacks, and the goods were often shoddy and unusable. As the lax Cotecna made a lot of corporate friends, Iraqi children suffered from rotted food and diluted medicines.
In other words, a two-month U.S. led invasion benefited Iraqis more than a decade of corrupt, inept U.N. "aid."

The U.N. claims it's investigating the former "Oil-for-Annan" operations. As is Congressman Henry Hyde, who will hold an initial hearing April 21st. But I doubt anyone will uncover the truth--because the records are all in France, and France's U.N. ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, won't budge:
The money for the huge heist known as the Iraq-U.N. account passed exclusively through BNP Paribas. French companies led all the rest (what's French for "kickback"?), though Vladimir Putin's favorite Russian oligarchs insisted on sharing the wealth. That explains why Paris and Moscow were Saddam's main prewar defenders, and why their politicians and executives now want no inquiry they cannot control.
(via Roger Simon.) In fact, France's got lots of incentives to stonewall: the U.N. team included--in addition to dozens of Saddam's spies--"a bureaucrat who was widely known to be an undercover agent for the intelligence service of France."

But wait, there's more: blogger Clay Ranck mentions another U.N. horror in the NY Post story:
In July 2001, Kurdish security forces arrested a Tunisian U.N. employee with a car full of explosives meant for a terror bombing in Erbil. He was held for four months until the United Nations quietly negotiated his release, Ziad said.
This was no accident, but still more U.N. hostility towards the West.

Remind me, again, why anyone still considers France an ally. Remind me, again, why liberals everywhere have more faith in the weasel-dominated United Nations than they do in the United States.

No comments: