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Thread: A Few Short, Quick Blurbs

  1. #1
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Oh, please...
    I'm really not too wild about cut-and-paste posting, but since no one here thinks this is a relevant story, I thought I'd do this without wasting a lot of time doing my own typing.

    BTW-the stories from Al-Jazeera and the BBC are kind of similar to the rest, in that they seem to question the U.N.'s raison d'etre.

    Senate panel investigating oil-for-food corruption

    By Frederic J. Frommer
    3:08 p.m. June 23, 2004

    WASHINGTON – A Senate subcommittee has begun an investigation into alleged corruption in the multibillion-dollar U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq, including whether American companies profited from it.

    The Senate Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has subpoenaed documents from BNP Paribas, a French bank that the United Nations used for the food-for-oil program.

    The panel has also written letters to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, the State Department, the Government Accounting Office, and Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, requesting documents in the probe.

    "We're going to follow the money," said the subcommittee chairman, Minnesota Republican Norm Coleman. "It's clear that the regime of Saddam Hussein profited. We want to find out who else benefited. How was it able to occur?"

    The oil-for-food program, which ended last November, was aimed at helping ordinary Iraqis cope with the hardship of sanctions by allowing the former Iraqi regime to sell oil to buy humanitarian goods.

    In January, the Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada published a list of about 270 former government officials, activists, journalists and U.N. officials from more than 46 countries suspected of profiting from Iraqi oil sales under the program.

    And in March, the General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative arm, estimated that Saddam's government pocketed $5.7 billion by smuggling oil to its neighbors and another $4.4 billion by extracting kickbacks on otherwise legitimate contracts.

    Coleman declined to say what he requested from the various agencies, citing the ongoing investigation. He said he has about 10 staff people working on the probe, including employees from the GAO, the FBI, the Treasury Department, and the Internal Revenue Service.

    The United Nations is doing its own internal investigation, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

    "His investigation doesn't obviate the need for the U.S. Congress to do its own investigation," said Coleman, adding that several lawmakers have expressed an interest in looking into the program.

    Volcker did not return phone messages left Wednesday, but he told Fox News: "There's a danger of too many cooks in this particular broth."

    A U.N. spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, declined to comment on the Senate investigation.

    By Brian Ross

    April 20 — At least three senior United Nations officials are suspected of taking multimillion-dollar bribes from the Saddam Hussein regime, U.S. and European intelligence sources tell ABCNEWS.

    One year after his fall, U.S. officials say they have evidence, some in cash, that Saddam diverted to his personal bank accounts approximately $5 billion from the United Nations Oil-for-Food program.

    In what has been described as the largest humanitarian aid effort ever undertaken, the U.N. Oil-for-Food program began in 1996 to help Iraqis who were suffering under sanctions imposed following the first Gulf War.

    The program allowed Iraq to sell limited amounts of oil, under supposedly tight U.N. supervision, to finance the purchase of much-needed humanitarian goods.

    Most prominent among those accused in the scandal is Benon Sevan, the Cyprus-born U.N. undersecretary general who ran the program for six years.

    In an interview with ABCNEWS last year, Sevan denied any wrongdoing.

    "Well, I can tell you there have been no allegations about me," he said. "Maybe you can try to dig it out." And in a Feb. 10 statement, Sevan challenged those making the allegations to "come forward and provide the necessary documentary evidence" and present it to U.N. investigators.

    But documents have surfaced in Baghdad, in the files of the former Iraqi Oil Ministry, allegedly linking Sevan to a pay-off scheme in which some 270 prominent foreign officials received the right to trade in Iraqi oil at cut-rate prices.

    "It's almost like having coupons of bonds or shares. You can sell those coupons to other people who are normal oil traders," said Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a British adviser to the Iraq Governing Council.

    Investigators say the smoking gun is a letter to former Iraqi oil minister Amer Mohammed Rasheed, obtained by ABCNEWS and not yet in the hands of the United Nations.

    In the letter, dated Aug. 10, 1998, an Iraqi oil executive mentions a request by a Panama-based company, African Middle East Petroleum Co., to buy Iraqi oil — along with a suggestion that Sevan had a role in the deal. "Mr. Muwafaq Ayoub of the Iraqi mission in New York informed us by telephone that the abovementioned company is the company that Mr. Sevan cited to you during his last trip to Baghdad," the executive wrote in Arabic.

    A handwritten note indicated that permission for the oil purchase was granted by "the Vice President of the Republic" on Aug. 15, 1998.

    The second page of the letter contains a table titled "Quantity of Oil Allocated and Given to Mr. Benon Sevan." The table lists a total of 7.3 million barrels of oil as the "quantity executed" — an amount that, if true, would have generated an illegal profit of as much as $3.5 million.

    "Somebody who is running the Oil-for-Food program for the United Nations should not be receiving any benefit of any kind from a rogue dictator who was perpetuating terror in his country," said Hankes-Drielsma.

    Full Investigation Announced

    The United Nations, at first, dismissed the allegations about Sevan, but this week, Secretary General Kofi Annan said there would be a full investigation led by the former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, Paul Volcker.

    "We are going to investigate these allegations very seriously," Annan said during a press conference.

    In addition, Congress is scheduled to begin hearings into the bribery scandal this week.

    As for Sevan, when news of the scandal first broke earlier this year, he took a long vacation to Australia.

    He declined to answer questions when ABCNEWS found him last week staying at a luxury casino resort.

    A U.N. spokesman says Sevan, who makes $186,000 a year, has submitted his retirement papers, effective May 21. The spokesman said Sevan would remain on full salary through the course of the U.N. investigation, which is expected to last at least three months.

    Oil Contracts for Political Support

    The inquiries into the United Nations Oil-for-Food program result from the release in January of a list of 270 individuals, companies and institutions that allegedly received lucrative oil contracts from Saddam Hussein's former regime in return for political support.

    The list was published by an Iraqi independent newspaper which claimed the document was discovered in the files of the former Iraqi Oil Ministry in Baghdad.

    Oil vouchers were allegedly given either as gifts or as payment for goods imported into Iraq in violation of the U.N. sanctions.

    The following are the names of some of those listed as receiving Iraqi oil contracts (amounts are in millions of barrels of oil):

    The Companies of the Russian Communist Party: 137 million
    The Companies of the Liberal Democratic Party: 79.8 million
    The Russian Committee for Solidarity with Iraq: 6.5 million and 12.5 million (two separate contracts)
    Head of the Russian Presidential Cabinet: 90 million
    The Russian Orthodox Church: 5 million

    Charles Pasqua, former minister of interior: 12 million
    Trafigura (Patrick Maugein), businessman: 25 million
    Ibex: 47.2 million
    Bernard Merimee, former French ambassador to the United Nations: 3 million
    Michel Grimard, founder of the French-Iraqi Export Club: 17.1 million

    Firas Mostafa Tlass, son of Syria's defense minister: 6 million

    Zeynel Abidin Erdem: more than 27 million
    Lotfy Doghan: more than 11 million

    Megawati Sukarnoputri: 11 million

    Ali Ballout, Lebanese journalist: 8.8 million

    The Socialist Party: 22 million
    Kostunica's Party: 6 million

    Arthur Millholland, president and CEO of Oilexco: 9.5 million

    Father Benjamin, a French Catholic priest who arranged a meeting between the pope and Tariq Aziz: 4.5 million
    Roberto Frimigoni: 24.5 million

    United States
    Samir Vincent: 7 million
    Shakir Alkhalaji: 10.5 million

    United Kingdom
    George Galloway, member of Parliament: 19 million
    Mujaheddin Khalq: 36.5 million

    South Africa
    Tokyo Saxwale: 4 million

    Shaker bin Zaid: 6.5 million
    The Jordanian Ministry of Energy: 5 million
    Fawaz Zureikat: 6 million
    Toujan Al Faisal, former member of Parliament: 3 million

    The son of President Lahoud: 5.5 million

    Khaled Abdel Nasser: 16.5 million
    Emad Al Galda, businessman and Parliament member: 14 million

    Palestinian Territories
    The Palestinian Liberation Organization: 4 million
    Abu Al Abbas: 11.5 million

    Hamad bin Ali Al Thany: 14 million

    Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem: 1 million

    Foreign minister of Chad: 3 million

    The October 8th Movement: 4.5 million

    Myanmar (Burma)
    The minister of the Forests of Myanmar: 5 million

    The Social Democratic Party: 8.5 million
    The Communist Party: 6 million
    The Socialist Party: 2 million
    The FTD oil company: 2 million

    Volcker Confident About Oil-for-Food Probe
    Friday, June 25, 2004

    For the first time since he began his investigation, the man charged with getting to the bottom of the oil-for-food scandal says he has uncovered "serious problems" with the program.

    In an interview with FOX News on Wednesday former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker (search) said that he will be publishing an initial report in about two months, and it will likely be damaging for U.N. officials and many others involved in the oil-for-food program.

    "There is a lot of smoke," Volcker said when asked if he feels the oil-for-food program was corrupt. "There are obviously big problems, and we want to see how big they were and why did they happen. Why did all this happen, in some sense, under everybody's noses?"

    Volcker said there are a lot of questions that need to be answered regarding the handling of the program.

    "If there were bribes, why did the bribes happen, why did the mal-administration happen ... why was money lost? All those are very relevant questions, and I owe the responsibility to deliver the most comprehensive report we can, explaining what happened and why, and what lessons should be drawn from it. That is our responsibility.

    "There is enough smoke here, so there is a problem, no doubt about that."

    Volcker also said he's concerned that some of the oil-for-food investigations being carried out by lawmakers on Capitol Hill might dilute his ability to get to the truth. For example, Sen. Norm Coleman (search), R-Minn., has served a subpoena on BNP Paribas, the bank that handled billions of dollars of oil-for-food money.

    "I think an investigation like this attracts a lot of attention," Volcker said. "A lot of people want to get in. I think potentially, it's damaging to have too many people trying to investigate in a partial way."

    Some of the efforts are helpful but others just clog up the system, he said.

    "I think there is a legitimate responsibility to go after miscreants," he said, "but cooperation among firms involved in the program can be stymied if politicians issue subpoenas without telling us. But it's their choice, not ours."

    As one of those leading the charge to get information from banks and oil companies involved in the scheme, Coleman says he and his colleagues have a duty to act alongside Volcker's investigation.

    Volcker said he is optimistic he and his panel will get to the bottom of the oil-for-food program's problems.

    "I am confident, if we are permitted to proceed, in an orderly way, that we can get the best explanation of the oil-for-food program, as administered by U.N., that it is possible to get," he said.

    "The complete story. That is my expectation."

    A three-member panel led by Volcker is investigating the oil-for-food scandal. The panel does not have subpoena authority and will rely instead on voluntary cooperation from governments, U.N. staff, members of Saddam Hussein's former government and current Iraqi leaders.

    The panel says it has evidence that dozens of people, including top U.N. officials, took kickbacks from the $67 billion oil-for-food program.

    The General Accounting Office (search), the U.S. 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 kickbacks on otherwise legitimate contracts.

    Under the oil-for-food program, which began in December 1996 and officially ended in November 2003, Saddam's government could sell unlimited quantities of oil provided the money went primarily to buy humanitarian goods and toward reparations to 1991 Gulf War victims.

    Investigative Report
    Documents Prove U.N. Oil Corruption
    Posted April 13, 2004
    By Kenneth R. Timmerman

    Reports have focused on oil vouchers granted to Sevan, head of the oil-for-food program.

    A team of international forensic investigators is preparing to blow the lid off the much-disputed U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq and will present new evidence of corruption at an upcoming congressional hearing that directly will implicate world leaders and top U.N. officials, Insight has learned.

    Investigators, led by Claude Hankes-Drielsma and the KPMG accounting firm, currently are in Baghdad sifting through mountains of Saddam Hussein-era records seized from his Oil Ministry and the State Oil Marketing Organization that detail payments by Saddam to his legions of foreign friends and political supporters. An Iraqi newspaper, Al-Mada, published the list of 270 recipients of special "allocations" (also known as vouchers) in January. But as Insight goes to press, the testimony of Hankes-Drielsma on April 22 before the House International Relations Committee is expected to provide new evidence of widespread international corruption.

    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.

    Saybolt spokesman Peter Box tells Insight that the company's own investigation of two known incidents of "topping off" involving the oil tanker Essex in 2001 "found no involvement of our staff at that particular time." Saybolt continues to operate in Iraq today, although it now has an "entirely new group of people," Box adds.

    Among the revelations at the April 22 hearings, Insight has learned from investigators directly working on the case, will be new details of oil vouchers allegedly granted to Patrick Maugein, a prominent crony of French President Jacques Chirac, said to total 72.2 million barrels.

    Maugein's involvement in the U.N.-approved oil deals is significant, investigators say, because he is believed to be a conduit for backdoor payments to Chirac and his family. It was Chirac who spearheaded a worldwide coalition last year that opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and tried desperately to keep Saddam in power.

    When the allegations of backdoor payments first surfaced in a Paris courtroom in 1998, Maugein swept them aside as "pure fantasy." And in a statement provided to Insight, he denies having raised funds for Chirac, his family or his political campaigns. But as more evidence begins to leak from the archives of Saddam's former oil ministry, such denials may become harder to sustain.

    The vouchers were assigned to two trading companies, identified in the Iraqi documents as Trafigura and Ibex, both of which were involved in the Essex incident. Investigators say they believe both companies are tied to Maugein, either through beneficial ownership or contractual arrangement. Vouchers for an additional 11 million barrels were granted to Maugein business partner Cabecadas Rul de Soussa, according to the original Al-Mada list. The ties between de Soussa and Maugein were first revealed by Therese Raphael of the Wall Street Journal Europe.

    Asked about the allegations by Insight, Maugein denied he was involved with either company, although he did acknowledge knowing their principals, with whom he had worked as an oil trader with Marc Rich in Switzerland. He insisted that all his dealings with Iraq were legal and conducted through the oil-for-food program. "Patrick Maugein bought oil for his refinery in Mantua, Italy," a spokesman said. "All the oil deals were run by the U.N. They were paid through the U.N. and monitored by the U.N."

    But those denials might not withstand the onslaught of the documents about to be released, investigators say. "Already we've got details of all the accounts held in the names of individuals," one investigator tells Insight in an exclusive interview. "On these records are exact details of which accounts were held by whom," including the foreign proxies and their ultimate beneficiaries - in Iraq and overseas.

    The Iraqi documents specifically tie Maugein to the 25 million barrels allocated to Trafigura Beheer BV, a company Maugein claims was a competitor of his own London-based SOCO International. Investigators say other information they have developed shows that Maugein could be a "beneficial owner" of Ibex Energy, a holding company registered in Bermuda that was awarded vouchers for 47.2 million barrels. "That is a very high allocation," an investigator tells this magazine. "If a Cabinet minister gets 12 million barrels, why would Ibex get 47 million barrels unless something much bigger was at stake?"

    Other French recipients named in the Iraqi documents include former Interior minister Charles Pasqua (12 million barrels), former French U.N. ambassador Jean-Bernard Merimee (8 million barrels) and Lebanese-French middleman Elias Firzli (14.6 million barrels).

    Firzli acknowledged in a lengthy interview with Insight in Paris that the Iraqis were desperate to meet with Chirac and were willing to pay a high price for access. Shortly before the war broke out in March 2003, Firzli says he introduced Iraqi diplomat Nizar Hamdoon - sent as an emissary from Saddam - to senior French government officials in Paris. But Firzli scoffed at the oil vouchers, calling them "small stuff compared to the billions of dollars people made in the 1980s."

    Published reports to date have focused on oil vouchers granted to the head of the United Nation's oil-for-food program, Benan Sevan, who has been on an extended vacation since the allegations first surfaced at the end of January. He denied the charges through a U.N. spokesman. And Insight has learned that as investigators pursue the document trail, they believe they are getting closer to world leaders, including Chirac.

    But can it be proved? "The Iraqi civil service, even under Saddam, was quite excellent. They kept meticulous records. Every order was cross-referenced, initialed and counterinitialed, so nobody could be accused of taking anything for himself," an investigator who recently returned from Baghdad tells Insight.

    Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), chairman of the House International Relations Committee, sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Annan on April 1, which committee staffers tell this magazine was intended to "lay down a marker." It called the scandal "without precedent in U.N. history" and urged Annan to make his response "equally unprecedented." Annan has announced that he will name an independent panel to investigate.

    Fears of a U.N. whitewash run high on Capitol Hill. Hyde urged Annan to take steps to ensure that all documents relating to the oil-for-food program "be preserved and secured," and asked that special measures be taken to protect potential whistle-blowers who could provide testimony on the illicit deals. The United States General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, told Hyde's committee recently that $10.1 billion of the estimated $60 billion handled by the United Nations under the program was paid in kickbacks, bribes and set-asides to Saddam and his cronies.

    The KPMG forensic-accounting investigators were brought to Baghdad by the Iraqi Governing Council to get to the bottom of the scandal. But Insight has learned that the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), led by J. Paul Bremer, recently took over the investigation, just as the accountants were stumbling over evidence of corruption by Americans working for the CPA. "We were hearing stories of contractors passing envelopes with huge amounts of cash to CPA officials," an investigator says. "As much as $300,000 in cash passed hands."

    Speaking from Baghdad, an Iraqi official confirmed to this magazine that the CPA was now in charge of these matters, although the Iraqi Governing Council was footing the bill. "We no longer have control over the documents or the investigation," the official said.

    In Washington, the State Department's Bureau of International Organizations is in charge of relations with the United Nations. In preparation for the April 22 hearing, Chairman Hyde has sent two letters to Assistant Secretary of State Kim Holmes requesting that State provide full documentation of the oil-for-food program, including commercial contracts. Since the United States is a permanent member of the Security Council and a leading member of the U.N. Sanctions Committee, State has access to the full United Nations record but has been unwilling to make incriminating information public until now for fear of angering U.S. allies. France accounted for approximately 25 percent of all U.N.-approved trade with Iraq, according to an estimate by the CIA.

    "Give France a break," says French ambassador to the United States Jean-David Levitte, writing in the Los Angeles Times. He said allegations that France condoned kickbacks or took bribes "are completely false and can only have been an effort to discredit France, a longtime friend and ally of the U.S."

    UN Oil for Food, or Oil for Corruption?
    Al-Jazeera - 27/04/2004 01:40:00 GMT

    Oil for food, or oil for corruption

    If anybody wondered why the sainted United Nations, France, Russia and Syria joined forces in trying to block the United States from ousting Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime in Iraq, the answer is now becoming clear; they feared exposure of the corruption into which they had dragged the now-infamous Oil for Food program.

    That program was meant to allow Hussein to sell a certain amount of oil outside of the bounds of the U.N. sanctions. The proceeds, handled by the United Nations, were to be used to buy food and medicine and other basic necessities for the Iraqi people, thus keeping the sanctions from punishing innocent Iraqis who were, in effect, prisoners of their despotic government.

    It didn’t quite work out that way. As Gen. Tommy Franks said, the Oil for Food programs should have been called “the oil for palaces” scam.

    The way it did work out built scores of posh palaces for Hussein and lined the pockets of France, Russia, Syria, China and the United Nations, which alone raked in more than $1 billion from its 2.2 percent “commission” on the more than $50 billion worth of oil Iraq exported under the program, allegedly to pay the costs of running the program. According to a New York Times expose, written by Claudia Rossett, U.N. staff members say the program’s bank accounts over the past year had more than $12 billion in the kitty, none of which will the United Nations account for — the books are closed to outsiders.

    The $50 billion paid for a featherbedded pre-war staff of 1,000 international employees and some 3,000 Iraqis all helpfully supplied by Hussein’s socialist Baath Party. More paid for a whole range of things that had nothing to do with feeding the Iraqi people or paying for medicine for sick children, stuff like TV broadcasting equipment, “boats” and boat “accessories” from France and “sport supplies” from Lebanon, all approved by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    It was a scam, and the truth is now coming out as documents uncovered in Iraq are showing. Documents such as those unearthed by Britain’s Telegraph newspaper show that George Galloway, a top Labour Party Parliament member who bitterly opposed Tony Blair’s part in the war, was allegedly on Hussein’s payroll. The paper reports that Galloway received an annual cut from Iraq’s exports under the oil-for-food program worth approximately $585,500.

    Galloway denies the accusation, but the corruption that centered on the Oil for Food program is hard to ignore.

    Rossett wrote that Annan handed out contracts to Hussein’s favored trading partners — France, Russia and Syria, the latter two of which mysteriously won contracts to supply Japanese vehicles to Iraq. France and Russia were among the top five contractors in the oil-for-food program.

    Back in 1997, Hussein found what he thought was a way to block U.S. efforts to stop him from dominating the region. He would get U.N. approval to lift sanctions and allow unrestricted oil sales, by bribing France, Russia and China with juicy contracts giving them a right to develop Iraq’s major oil fields — contingent on the lifting of sanctions.

    In short, France and Russia strove mightily to keep their good buddy Hussein in power to keep the gravy train running in their direction. It’s time to kiss them off, nullify those contracts and get out of the corruption-ridden United Nations once and for all.

    UN orders Iraq corruption inquiry

    Limited oil production was permitted during Saddam Hussein's rule
    The UN Security Council has approved an investigation into reports of massive corruption in the UN-administered oil-for-food programme in Iraq.
    The now-defunct scheme was designed to help Iraq buy humanitarian goods and ease the impact of sanctions.

    But an adviser to the Iraqi Governing Council told the BBC that it allowed Saddam Hussein to buy influence abroad.

    He said the former Iraqi leader spent billions of dollars bribing foreign businesses, journalists and officials.

    "The oil-for-food programme provided Saddam Hussein with a convenient vehicle through which he bought support internationally," Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a British adviser to the US-backed Governing Council, told the BBC's Today Programme.


    Mr Hankes-Drielsma quoted a recent report by the US Treasury, estimating that $10bn of illicit gains were made from the oil-for-food scheme.

    Significant amounts went to make sure that countries were indebted to Saddam Hussein

    Claude Hankes-Drielsma
    Adviser to Iraqi Governing Council
    One leading source of cash, he said, was a 10% mark-up on every invoice under the scheme, Mr Hankes-Drielsma said.

    He told the BBC that he discovered the extent of the abuse while going through documents in Baghdad.

    "I was shocked to the core," he said.

    "I was so shocked that I left the room. It took me about 15 minutes to recover.

    "Significant amounts went to buy influence, to make sure that countries were indebted to Saddam Hussein and his regime," Mr Hankes-Drielsma said.

    The former Iraqi leader managed to do this "under aegis of the UN", he added.

    The Security Council welcomed a wide-ranging inquiry proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and called for all governments to co-operate.

    But Mr Hankes-Drielsma said some countries on the council had benefited from the bribes and were "part of the problem".


    Launched in 1996, the oil-for-food programme was the largest humanitarian operation ever undertaken by the UN and was meant to help civilians.

    Recent media reports have accused individuals and companies from more than 40 countries, including a senior UN official, of being involved in corruption and bribery in connection with the oil sales.

    You can't sit on this and let it fester, you've got to get it investigated and... if it shows something bad in the UN, clean it up

    Paul Volcker
    inquiry head
    BBC UN correspondent Suzy Price says the allegations come at a sensitive time for the organisation, which is involved in mapping out Iraq's political future.

    Former UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Hans von Sponeck said the allegations needed to be cleared up, but denied that the world body was closely involved in corruption.

    "The major part of the transactions where graft, misuse [and] kickbacks were involved by-passed United Nations officials," he told the Today programme.

    He said these transactions were extremely complex, and negotiated between the Iraqi government and suppliers.

    However, he added, they were cleared by UN headquarters, and the inquiry was needed to avoid a "politicised mudslinging game".

    The head of the investigative panel, former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, said the priority would be to deal with allegations of corruption within the UN itself.

    "You can't sit on this and let it fester. You've got to get it investigated and... if it shows something bad in the UN, clean it up."

    He did not put a time frame on the inquiry but promised an update in three months.

    There's more where this stuff came from.

    I especially hope you all enjoyed the Al-Jazeera and BBC stories.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    Rat Faced's Avatar Broken
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    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.

    You have to admit, its nice to see a politician stay bought for a change.

    Seriously, something was so obviously wrong there sinse its inseption that its a scandal that its took so long to investigate.

    UNCEF's reports were so bad during the last 6 years of the program especially that anyone in power that gave a damn should have been looking... and yes, that includes Mr Clinton...

    He aint the absolute hero of mine you appear to think, just the best you've offered up recently

    However, it must also be remembered that these were "vouchers", so the investigation should also look at what vouchers were cashed, not just which were available.

    Just being offered a Bribe, does not necessarily mean you took it... although on saying that, the person involved should have shouted the offer from the rooftops to stop any other Bribes that were being done, and this clearly did not happen either

    I will particularly watching how it goes for George Galloway..... obviously.

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    Biggles's Avatar Looking for loopholes
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Gorgeous George is such a hate figure for the establishment that if he had even had a quick sniff of any of the oil money it would be plastered in every paper in the country - supplied by "reliable" sources close to the Government.

    You know sometimes I get the impression that J2 is not a fan of the UN.

    I am sure that I saw something regarding Chevron and other US oil companies in all this mess. I think there will be fall out from this but that the debris will scatter over a fair area. I don't think it will simply be a case of "it was the dasterdly French" all along or anything like as clear cut as that. Naked opportunism and greed has little respect for politics or borders. Every country is more than capable of providing snouts for the trough.
    Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Originally posted by Biggles@26 June 2004 - 15:27
    Naked opportunism and greed has little respect for politics or borders. Every country is more than capable of providing snouts for the trough.
    Now that is a well-turned bit of prose, Mr. Biggles.
    Just had to comment...
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Oh, please...
    So far, so good, then.

    It just bothered me intensely that the subject seemed somehow less-than-worthy of our high standards here in WN&E.


    You are of course correct in your assessment of my opinion of the U.N.; our difference being, perhaps, on the issue of whether or not it can be salvaged.

    To re-constitute it properly might require the building itself be razed, as it is a project on the order of the one currently undertaken in Iraq.

    For example, the abuses at Abu Ghraib have resulted in demands that Donald Rumsfeld, and, in some quarters, even George Bush tender resignations, especially given the U.S.'s presumptive "Leading Light" status.

    The case against the U.N. is so all-encompassing as to make Abu Ghraib a speck on the ocean, yet nobody is calling for Kofi Annan's head; in fact, an effort to re-habilitate him (before the fact, so to speak) seems to be afoot already.

    I find myself wondering why this is?

    The U.N.'s standard of conduct should, in actuality, be even higher than that of the U.S., yet such opinions as have been expressed by the international community have been at least empathetic, and have tended instead to look past any problem as superficial, and the U.N. as "entitled" to be made whole, as if the entire oil-for-food scandal was something cooked up by nefarious yet un-named conspirators.

    The U.N. is not, after all, the Beeb, which at least has a glorious past.

    The U.N. has been the feckless and senile God-parent of international relations for it's entire history, and deserves to be re-thought from charter; no less.

    BTW-Rat-Do you sometimes feel you are swept ahead of a tidal-wave of pro-Clinton tidings?

    Now you know how it feels, my friend....
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    The Doctor is: IN
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    My Surgery. Your Mum.
    yes yes i agree with everything you say my cracker yank friend

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Oh, please...
    Originally posted by Dr Spaulding@27 June 2004 - 11:43
    yes yes i agree with everything you say my cracker yank friend
    As well you should.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    lynx's Avatar .
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Yorkshire, England
    Looks like a total of about 400 million over 10 years.

    Good job they didn't have the 20 billion the CPA have been handling for the last 12 months.

    20 billion dollar fund "open to fraudulent acts"

    If the auditors don't finish by June 30, they never will, because the CPA staff are going home.
    Maybe that's the real reason why the handover has been brought forward 2 days.
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    Rat Faced's Avatar Broken
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Published on Monday, June 28, 2004 by the Guardian/UK*

    Billions of Revenue from Oil 'Missing'*
    by Stephen Bates and Richard Norton-Taylor
    A Christian charity has accused the coalition authority in Iraq of failing to account for up to $20bn (nearly £11bn) of oil revenues which should have been spent on relief and reconstruction projects.

    At the same time, the Liberal Democrats are demanding an investigation into the way the US-led administration in Baghdad has handled Iraq's oil revenues. The coalition is obliged to pay all oil revenues into the Development Fund for Iraq, but according to Liberal Democrat figures, the fund could be short by as much as $3.7bn.

    Sir Menzies Campbell, Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, said yesterday: "This apparent discrepancy requires full investigation".

    Christian Aid, in a report today, claims that the US-controlled Coalition Provisional Authority, which hands over power to an interim administration in Iraq this week, is in flagrant breach of the UN security council resolution which gave it control of the country's oil revenues.

    Resolution 1483, passed in May 2003, stated that the money should be spent in the interests of the Iraqi people and independently audited, but an auditor was appointed only in April.

    The charity quoted an unnamed UN diplomat as saying: "We only have the total amounts and movements in and out of the development fund. We have absolutely no knowledge of what purposes they are for and if these are consistent with the security council resolution."

    Last October, Christian Aid revealed that $4bn of oil revenues were unaccounted for, but although procedures have been tightened up, the charity said, "we still do not know exactly how Iraq's money has been earned, which companies have won the contracts that it has been spent on, or whether this spending was in the interests of the Iraqi people."

    According to the coalition's latest figures, the development fund has received $10.7bn. Yet it also admits that $12.5bn has been generated since June 2003.

    When 5% is taken away to pay for Kuwaiti compensation, $1.2bn is still missing, say the Liberal Democrats.

    Their own research, published today, also suggests that $12.5bn is anyway toward the low end of estimated revenue from oil sales.

    The British government told Sir Menzies earlier this year that "information on the amount paid for Iraqi oil is not publicly available" to protect commercial confidentiality.** <edit by RF: So how come we know what everyone elses price per barrel is then?>

    Christian Aid says billions of dollars are now being hastily allocated to projects which have not been properly planned and fears the authority will be wound up this week without ever having to account for the expenditure.

    The Handover was, of course today...2 days early.

    So there will be no audit....

    On Topic....


    Any idea why Marc Rich&#39;s name is missing off that list of UN investigations?

    He bought Iraqi oil through an Egyption Company he set up..... which was the middleman or "buffer" between Iraq and the International Oil Companies.

    Im surprised, considering that his somewhat controversial Pardon was Clintons last act as President, that his name hasnt cropped up...

    ...of course for reasons of his own, Bush has been discouraging the investigation into that Pardon by Congress i&#39;ve been told...

    I think that Marc Rich is another case we&#39;d love to know the ins and outs of, but never will..... he appears to have protection from both sides, even if it does only show itself overtly when its too late to question it before its a done deal

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Oh, please...
    Originally posted by Rat Faced@28 June 2004 - 14:22
    On Topic....


    Any idea why Marc Rich&#39;s name is missing off that list of UN investigations?

    He bought Iraqi oil through an Egyption Company he set up..... which was the middleman or "buffer" between Iraq and the International Oil Companies.

    Im surprised, considering that his somewhat controversial Pardon was Clintons last act as President, that his name hasnt cropped up...

    ...of course for reasons of his own, Bush has been discouraging the investigation into that Pardon by Congress i&#39;ve been told...&nbsp;

    I think that Marc Rich is another case we&#39;d love to know the ins and outs of, but never will..... he appears to have protection from both sides, even if it does only show itself overtly when its too late to question it before its a done deal&nbsp; &nbsp;
    No, and I see Rich got short-shrift in Clinton&#39;s book, too.

    As you say, there is obviously more here than is allowed to be seen by the naked eye, and one can&#39;t help but wonder exactly who&#39;s operating the blinders; I&#39;m aware you&#39;d question any attribution of malfeasance I&#39;d make toward Clinton, but I&#39;d expect it of him; I&#39;m honestly much more upset by Bush&#39;s mis-applied bent to overlook an opportunity to score easy political points.

    So many missed chances on the part of the Republicans-they go right to the edge, then back off.

    Makes me think uncharitable thoughts about them, y&#39;know?


    It is precisely this type of shit that leads to the full assortment of international conspiracy theories, the Tri-Lateralists, etc.

    No wonder this stuff is so all-pervading.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

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