Thursday, August 19, 2004

Peace Camp's and UN's Iraqi-Oil-for-Food Scandal Ignored in French Press

Unless I am very much mistaken, the news in the New York Times article that was front-page news in the IHT, requiring a boxed headline in the newspaper published in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, has not given rise to a single word in France's independent newspaper of reference.
This is probably due to the fact, see, that the French (besides wanting to prop up the United Nations) are extremely busy in their holy fight against Bush. Let's take a look…
[A report on "the systematic abuse of the program"] caused only a few ripples of consternation. There was no action, diplomats said, not even a formal meeting on the allegations…

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. … 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.

…the official position of the United Nations office that ran the program was that it learned of the endemic fraud only after it ended. But former officials and diplomats who dealt directly with the program now say the bribery and kickback racket was an open secret for years. … The result was a paralysis that translated into acquiescence toward matters like oil kickbacks.

… Evidence of fraud passed from office to office in a round robin ending nowhere. A former State Department official who was part of an interagency committee that reviewed trade contracts with Iraq said the group detected "abnormalities in pricing that suggested fees and kickbacks." The former officials said the committee "asked why Iraq needed to import gilded tiles for palaces, or liposuction equipment" [not to mention French perfume, German limousines, and 1,500 ping-pong tables].

…The oil-for-food program was established to get food and medicine to the Iraqi people and to counter Mr. Hussein's claims that sanctions were solely responsible for the widespread malnutrition in Iraq after the embargo was imposed in 1990.

Iraq was not prohibited from buying food and medicine; it just was not using its money for that purpose. By modifying the oil sanctions, the Security Council wagered that it might gain enough leverage to force Iraq to buy more relief goods.

…Meanwhile, the United States and Britain were delaying the approval of billions of dollars in contracts that they feared would provide Iraq with material or equipment that could be used for the development of weapons of mass destruction. Those "holds" on contracts deeply concerned the United Nations officials trying to improve Iraqi living conditions, and drew objections from members of the Security Council that favored a freer flow of commerce with Iraq.

…Iraq's suppliers included Russian factories, Arab trade brokers, European manufacturers and state-owned companies from China and the Middle East. … When the United States and others wanted the sanctions committee to confront Syria on oil sales, they were blocked by Russia and France, which argued that Syria should not be singled out …

Congressional investigators have estimated that Iraq collected $5.7 billion from selling oil outside United Nations supervision, while the oil-for-food program was chronically short of money for relief supplies. …

The Hussein government demanded kickbacks on almost every contract it negotiated, beginning in 2000, according to documents from Iraqi ministries … Senior Iraqi leaders ordered ministries to notify companies that they had to pay an amount equal to 10 percent of the contract value into secret foreign bank accounts, a violation of the United Nations sanctions.

The UN was — and is — the organization (the same that threw Uncle Sam off the human rights committee, while electing countries like Libya and Syria to head it) that Chirac, de Villepin, and the rest of the French intelligentsia promised the world — and their own people — was the best means for dealing with Saddam Hussein and for bringing about a better world. No wonder France's independent newspaper does not write a single line about it…

Read more about the Peace Camp's Humanitarian Scam

Lire un autre post sur ce scandale aux
Nations Unies ignoré par Le Monde

To keep abreast of the UN scandal,
pay regular visits to Friends of Saddam

Update: When the French press does not ignore
the New York Times, it can only mean one thing…

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