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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

That Horse is Dead, I Tell 'Ya

Under Eye of U.N., Billions for Hussein in Oil-for-Food Plan

Toward the end of 2000, when Saddam Hussein's skimming from the oil-for-food
program for Iraq kicked into high gear, reports spread quickly to the program's
supervisors at the United Nations.
Oil industry experts told Security Council
members and Secretary General Kofi Annan's staff that Iraq was demanding
under-the-table payoffs from its oil buyers. The British mission distributed a
background paper to Council members outlining what it called "the systematic
abuse of the program" and described how Iraq was shaking down its oil customers
and suppliers of goods for kickbacks.

When the report landed in the United Nations' Iraq
sanctions committee, the clearinghouse for all contracts with Iraq, it caused
only a few ripples of consternation. There was no action, diplomats said, not
even a formal meeting on the allegations.

I did three days worth of blogging on this already (here, here, and here) but, I figure it is worth a second look. If you got the point the first time, move on, there is nothing to see here.

Since the fall of Mr. Hussein, the oil-for-food program has received far more
scrutiny than it ever did during its six years of operation. Congress's
Government Accountability Office, formerly the General Accounting Office, has
estimated that the Iraqi leader siphoned at least $10 billion from the program
by illicitly trading in oil and collecting kickbacks from companies that had
United Nations approval to do business with Iraq. Multiple investigations now
under way in Washington and Iraq and at the United Nations all center on one
straightforward question: How did Mr. Hussein amass so much money while under
international sanctions? An examination of the program, the largest in the
United Nations' history, suggests an equally straightforward answer: The United
Nations let him do it.

No, not the UN, (cue celestial, new age music) bastion of all that is sacred and good in the world???!!!??


In blunt post-mortem assessments, they describe the program as a drifting ship -
poorly designed, leaking money and controlled by a Security Council that was
paralyzed by its own disputes over Iraq policy.

It goes on, but this, again, is old news, and can be read on the Times site.


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