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« A Feminine Space Policy? | Main | Just How Useful An Idiot Is Oliver Stone? »

Oil For Palaces And East Side Condos

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?

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 14, 2004 10:39 PM
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Bad, very bad for Kerry to keep pushing that line regarding the UN. As this scandal grows and matures, and perculates through the media and the minds of Americans, Kerry will just look either naive or corrput by association.

Posted by Ben at April 15, 2004 06:23 AM

If Kerry can't find an alternative to UN real quick, he's in deep trouble. Especially if the drip-drip leaking of the UNSCAM continues.

Posted by Lola at April 15, 2004 06:30 AM

There was so many people and countries involved in ripping off the Oil for Food program its hard to keep track. Kofi's son is apparently in on the take through a Swiss front organization, the #2 Man at the UN in charge of the program has a had an allocation of oil through a front in Panama, he's retired now and refuses interviews. The poor Iraqi's, as they were being fed into paper shredders, being led to rape rooms and having their genitals wired up to 220, all the countries and most of the people against the invasion were on the take. Doesn't Mr. Kerry read the paper, why would he say the things he does about the UN, he is starting to look very naive.

Posted by Ron at April 15, 2004 07:40 AM

If Kerry has a brain, he probably knows all about the corruption and ineptitude of the UN. However, he has to pander to the liberals and lefties in the US, and not one of them will put down the UN-loving NYT or its acolytes for long enough to observe the wreckage, much less draw any conclusions. Business as usual for the reactionary NYT and lefties.

Posted by Insufficiently Sensitive at April 15, 2004 07:41 AM

These reports are interesting, but I wonder if events have not just passed this scandal by. The list is out and being scrutinized, even in Ireland.

The Syrian-Iranian counter-offensive in Iraq is consuming resources (treasure and blood), but likely only delaying the reckoning for the Bekka Valley (WMD storage? or Hezbollah) and the nuclear weapon development program in Iran. The administration's support for the Isreali proposed PA'd Gaza suggests that they will not soon be taking out that centrifuge facility. I am not the first to wonder if something bigger is very near.

All the while John Kerry is stroking his chin, nuancing about the next Botox injection.

Posted by Richard Meixner at April 15, 2004 07:54 AM

Is the Marc Rich mentioned in the first article the same chap that Clinton pardoned?

Posted by tom at April 15, 2004 04:47 PM

Yeah, that's the right Rich. Isn't it time Kofi's internal probe into the oil for food scam was asked about progress? Annan has a great talent for burying stuff, and he isn't going to come forward and enlighten us without a cattle prod.

Posted by Dave F at April 16, 2004 03:05 AM

What would be rich is if Marc Rich's pardon doesn't cover crimes that were probably committed during his involvement in the scandal. Don't expect this scandal to get the coverage it deserves here at home(USA), the media would be stepping on too many of their favorite toes. I wonder if Pinch Sulzberger is on the voucher list?

Posted by Bill Maron at April 17, 2004 09:29 PM

Great Article

Posted by Joseph J. Gaziano at April 21, 2004 03:56 PM

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