View Full Version : UN Oil For Food Scam
04-21-2004, 10:12 PM
Jeffrey Goldberg, the New Yorker writer, recalls an interview he had with Benon Sevan, the oil-for-food U.N. administrator now under scrutiny for allegedly skimming vast amounts of money in bribes from Saddam's regime. It was in a piece for the New Yorker in March 2002.
Last week, in New York, I met with Benon Sevan, the United Nations undersecretary-general who oversees the oil-for-food program. He quickly let me know that he was unmoved by the demands of the Kurds. "If they had a theme song, it would be 'Give Me, Give Me, Give Me,' " Sevan said. "I'm getting fed up with their complaints. You can tell them that." He said that under the oil-for-food program the "three northern governorates"—U.N. officials avoid the word "Kurdistan"—have been allocated billions of dollars in goods and services. "I don't know if they've ever had it so good," he said.
I mentioned the Kurds' complaint that they have been denied access to advanced medical equipment, and he said, "Nobody prevents them from asking. They should go ask the World Health Organization"—which reports to Sevan on matters related to Iraq. When I told Sevan that the Kurds have repeatedly asked the W.H.O., he said, "I'm not going to pass judgment on the W.H.O." As the interview ended, I asked Sevan about the morality of allowing the Iraqi regime to control the flow of food and medicine into Kurdistan. "Nobody's innocent," he said. "Please don't talk about morals with me.'"
Kerry wants to trust these bastards with no questions asked.
04-22-2004, 09:02 AM
Originally posted by: FishForLunch
Kerry wants to trust these bastards with no questions asked.
Actually GWBush has asked the UN to help, so where's your disgust for him? Shouldn't your statement be "George W. Bush and Kerry wants to trust these bastards with no questions asked."?
Second, "these bastards" as you call them won't be involved as they will be under investigation by Paul Volker:
Security Council approves independent probe of U.N. oil-for-food program
By Dafna Linzer
2:13 p.m. April 21, 2004
UNITED NATIONS – With the full weight of the Security Council behind him, former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker opened an independent investigation Wednesday into allegations of corruption and kickbacks stemming from the U.N.'s humanitarian program in Iraq.
His three-member panel will hire and oversee a team of investigators, accountants and legal advisers expected to pore through hundreds of pages of U.N. contracts awarded over the years to international companies that did business with Saddam Hussein's regime.
But Volcker's panel will have no subpoena authority and will need to rely on voluntary cooperation from foreign governments, U.N. staff, members of Saddam's former government and current Iraqi leaders who claim they have evidence that dozens of people, including top U.N. officials took kickbacks from the oil-for-food program.
The Security Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the independent investigation of the program that U.S. lawmakers have said allowed billions of dollars in illegal oil revenue to flow to Saddam Hussein.
In Washington, a panel of Bush administration officials involved in the U.N. program told the House Government Reform subcommittee that there was a widespread system of kickbacks in the U.N. program that benefited officials within Iraq, including Saddam. But they said there is no corroborated evidence so far that U.N. officials were part of the scam.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Wednesday that he took seriously allegations that U.N. officials had taken money and he expected the investigation to uncover the truth. He wouldn't comment directly on new reports that several unnamed U.N. officials could be implicated for taking kickbacks from the program.
Annan launched an internal inquiry in February but canceled it in March to allow a broader, independent examination.
"I want to get to the truth and I want to get to the bottom of this so I am happy they are taking on this assignment," Annan said.
Volcker, who will lead the three-man investigative panel, insisted on the resolution setting out the inquiry's aims before he would agree to head the probe.
"A full, fair investigation, as conclusive as we can make it, is in the long-term interest of the U.N. – that's the only reason I'm here," Volcker said at a news conference. "Whatever it shows, if it shows something bad in the U.N., (then they'll) clean it up."
Yugoslav war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone of South Africa and Swiss criminal law professor Mark Pieth will work with Volcker.
The U.S. General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative arm, estimated in March that the Iraqi government pocketed $5.7 billion by smuggling oil to its neighbors and $4.4 billion by extracting illicit surcharges and kickbacks on otherwise legitimate contracts.
The allegations of possible U.N. corruption first surfaced last January in the Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada. The newspaper had a list of about 270 former government officials, activists and journalists from more than 46 countries suspected of profiting from Iraqi oil sales that were part of the U.N. program.
The resolution supporting Volcker's investigation calls on the U.S.-led coalition now running Iraq, the Iraqis themselves, and all 191 U.N. member states and their regulatory authorities "to cooperate fully by all appropriate means with the inquiry."
Russia had initially opposed Volcker's request for a Security Council resolution on grounds that a council statement was enough. Asked whether he was satisfied with the resolution adopted Wednesday, Volcker said it included "the vital sentence" calling on all states to cooperate. "That's the guts of it," he said.
"Important accusations have been made about the U.N., accusations about the administration of the program, accusations about activities outside the U.N. that need to be resolved," Volcker said. "The U.N. is an important institution and these questions, once raised, I think have to have a deliberate and full investigation and an answer."
Annan said he hoped the outcome of the investigation, expected to get underway immediately, wouldn't taint the U.N.'s reputation in Iraq.
However, there was no indication Annan would send U.N. humanitarian workers back into the volatile country any time soon.
"We are monitoring the security situation. We hope attempts to reduce the violence will succeed (but) until that is done, security is a constraint for us," he said.
Under the oil-for-food program, which began in December 1996 and ended in November, the former Iraqi regime could sell unlimited quantities of oil provided the money went primarily to buy humanitarian goods and pay reparations to victims of the 1991 Gulf War.
Saddam's government decided on the goods it wanted, who should provide them, and who could buy Iraqi oil – but a U.N. committee monitored the contracts.
04-22-2004, 10:35 PM
Bush has asked the un to help all along the way. but because they ARE irrelevant they can't.
04-30-2004, 04:55 PM
Yikes.... Watch out UN, when CANADA gets' after you, you are in "deep trouble".
PM hopes to extricate Canada from UN box
By JOHN IBBITSON
Friday, April 30, 2004 - Page A4
WASHINGTON -- With yesterday's landmark speech, Paul Martin tacitly acknowledged what Canada's foreign policy establishment has refused to accept for decades: that the United Nations is a failure, for which there is no solution.
The Prime Minister's proposed alternative is a new international body, the G-20 summit of world leaders, representative of North and South, developed and developing, rich and poor: a working group unfettered by the UN's bureaucracy and its anachronistic Security Council.
Cananda nixes the UN??- more (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20040430/IBBIT30/TPComment/Columnists)
10-14-2004, 12:16 AM
So all those liars and crazies who said this war was about oil were not COMPLETELY wrong--rather, it was the OPPOSITION to the war that was motivated by petro-billions.
Good to know that the French allies on whom John Heinz-Kerry purports to be able to call for support were willing to let Hussein continue to oppress Iraqis and support global terrorism while stuffing their bourses with dirty billions.
To France: !ffO kcuF Your government sold your country's honor, though admittedly for a tidy sum.
The archetype of a French whore exists for a reason.
Duelfer to France: J'accuse!
By WILLIAM SAFIRE
Published: October 13, 2004
Powerful officials and their profiteering friends in France had a reason to try to stop the U.S. from overthrowing Saddam Hussein: they were pocketing billions in payoffs through a United Nations oil-for-food front.
That's the import of the Duelfer report. This nonpartisan investigation team found not only documents "giving economic favors to key French diplomats or individuals that have access to key French leaders," but also got Saddam's mouthpiece, Tariq Aziz, to sing about their purpose: "According to Aziz, both parties understood that resale of the oil was to be reciprocated through efforts to lift U.N. sanctions, or through opposition to American initiatives within the Security Council."
Charles Duelfer's group put on the public record the name of Charles Pasqua, France's former interior minister and now a senator. Pasqua denied all to the BBC and fingered ex-associates: "maybe other former ministers are involved."
The former French ambassador to the U.N., Jean-Bernard Mérimée, is listed as receiving vouchers for 11 million barrels of oil from Saddam, the proceeds from which would beat a diplomat's pay. Another of President Jacques Chirac's friends receiving Saddam's U.N. largesse is Patrick Maugein, "whom the Iraqis considered a conduit to Chirac," according to the report.
Maugein, 58, whose association with Chirac has occasionally been chronicled by the French journalist Karl Laske, is chairman of Soco, an oil company active in Vietnam. He's down for 13 million barrels. French oil companies Total and Socap got about 200 million barrels.
A name that keeps coming up in my poking around is Marc Rich, the American billionaire who was for many years a fugitive, until blessed with one of Bill Clinton's midnight pardons. Rich's company Trafigura, spun off from the Swiss-based Glencore, and its possible dealings with outfits like Jean-Paul Cayre's Ibex have excited the interest of many of the sleuths I've spoken to.
France's diplomats here are apoplectic, calling the unconfirmed Duelfer reports "unacceptable." They note in high dudgeon that U.S. firms involved in the U.N.'s corrupt caper are not named by the U.S. team and deride our excuse about "privacy laws."
However, within 24 hours of the damning report's issuance, Judith Miller and her colleagues had the names of the U.S. companies involved - Chevron, Mobil, Texaco, Bay Oil and one Oscar Wyatt Jr. of Houston, who may have profited by $23 million - on the front page of The New York Times. (Will our runaway anti-press prosecutor try to clap Judy in jail for protecting her confidential government sources on this one, too?)
The Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has issued seven subpoenas and a dozen hard-to-ignore chairman's letters from Senator Norm Coleman to companies in the U.S., as well as to multinationals doing business here. I hear the committee has met no legal resistance so far. Ben Pollner, head of Taurus Oil, active in Iraq all through the oil-for-food fiasco, stiffed Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau's men. (Pollner tells me his dealings were legal, but he clammed up to investigators because he remembers Martha Stewart.)
What also miffs the French is that Russian officials and oligarchs were able to rip off even more than France's predators. Vladimir Zhirinovsky made out like a bandit when his party had some power; so did "the office of the Russian president" and the Peace and Unity Party, both headed by the unmentionable Putin.
As the hares zoom by, Paul Volcker, the U.N. investigative tortoise, tells his people to forget the French and Russians and to concentrate on Kofi Annan's right-hand man, Benon Sevan, and Kofi Annan's son's relationship with Cotecna, the U.N.'s see-no-evil "monitor," The White House is wringing its hands because it needs the U.N.'s blessing on the Iraqi election, and John Kerry must be praying not to be asked about this in tonight's debate.
If I were a French reporter and wanted to lose my job at Chirac's Le Figaro in a hurry, I would drop in at 24 Boulevard Princess Charlotte in Monaco and ask if Patrick Maugein, Rui de Souza or Mario Contini has dropped by to see if Toro Energy and the African Middle East Petroleum company are still there? If that's a blind alley, try the casino.
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