The UN scandal over the Iraqi “Oil for Food” program isn’t going away any time soon.
In a scathing letter sent to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on March 3, which he made available to Insight, Hankes-Drielsma called the U.N. program “one of the world’s most disgraceful scams,” and said that “based on the facts as I know them at the present time, the U.N. failed in its responsibility to the Iraqi people and the international community at large.”
In an earlier letter to Annan, to which he received no reply, Hankes-Drielsma noted that allocations of “very significant supplies of crude oil [were] made to … individuals with political influence in many countries, including France and Jordan,” both of which supported Saddam and his regime to the bitter end.
Under the U.N. program, the Dutch company Saybolt International BV was paid hefty fees to inspect oil tankers loading Iraqi crude in Basra, to make sure no cheating took place. “Now it turns out that the inspecting company was paid off,” one investigator said, “while on the ground, individual inspectors were getting cash bribes.” Saybolt denies it received an oil allocation, although the Iraqi documents show it was down for 3 million barrels.
And Richard Gwyn, in a Canadian paper, shock of shocks, says that the UN is in no position to lecture us, or anyone:
While the Americans have been trying to get Iraq turned around in the right direction for only a year, the U.N. and Atlantic alliance have been at work in the much smaller society of Kosovo for almost five years now.
Kosovo’s economy, though, is probably weaker than Iraq’s despite the ongoing insurgency in the Middle Eastern country. Kosovo’s only successful “industries” (not counting those working for one or other of the many international agencies there) are prostitution, drug smuggling, money-laundering, illegal immigrant smuggling and car theft.
If this kind of story continues to get serious traction, what does it do for John Kerry’s vague “let’s bring in the UN and have a ‘real’ (as though Britain, Australia, Poland, Italy, etc., aren’t legitimate states) international coalition” policy? How will it look to the American people come early November? Or even late August?