Tuesday, October 25, 2005

‘These people!’ so unfair!!!

It took more than a year, but the UN oil for food scandal has arrived.

Claudia Rosett

«Even the French have finally discovered the United Nations Oil-for-Food scandal. With the arrest in Paris this week of a former French ambassador to the U.N., Jean-Bernard Merimee, alleged to have received illicit and lucrative contracts to buy oil from Saddam Hussein's U.N.-sanctioned regime, the French newspapers are now aflutter over "petrole contre nourriture."
The funny thing is, while France had plenty to do with Oil-for-Food, Merimee's main trail leads not to the Quai d'Orsay, but to the doorstep of the U.N. secretary general.

That fact seems to have escaped Annan himself, who, as the French investigation was turning hot, turned up on Swiss TV last weekend lamenting in French that criticism from "these people" (presumably he meant the people who object to corruption at the U.N.) is "unfair" and "hard to bear." If that is Annan's bottom line after abundant evidence that his handpicked head of Oil-for-Food, Benon Sevan, was on the take from Saddam, and that his own son, Kojo Annan, sought to profit from the program, then perhaps the case of Merimee will not interest the secretary general in the least.»
Everyone is special:

«But the timing of Jean-Bernard Merimee's trajectory through Kofi Annan's list of "Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys" ought to interest anyone who cares about the integrity of top management at the United Nations.
From 1991-1995, Merimee served as ambassador of France to the U.N. From there, he went on to serve until 1998 as ambassador of France to Rome. Then, he became one of the U.N's own. In February, 1999, Kofi Annan brought Merimee into his select U.N. team of special advisers and envoys, bestowing on Merimee the U.N.'s third-highest rank of undersecretary general, and appointing him as "Special Adviser of the Secretary-General for European Issues."»

It isn’t about where it ends, but where it NEVER ends:
«Even by the standards of U.N. bureaucracy, Merimee's lingering calling card seems to have been a monumentally persistent oversight, suggesting at best that Annan holds cheap the designation of high U.N. rank. Other entries on the list showed it had been updated by way of at least 60 new entries since Merimee was supposed to have departed. There was also at least one more update earlier this year, involving the removal of the name of another of Annan's top advisers and envoys, Canadian Maurice Strong [ED. some of his friends call him Maurice] — who stepped aside in April in connection with a U.S. federal investigation related to Oil-for-Food. Throughout, Merimee remained on the list.»
As hard as it tries to insulate itself from justice, the international clique CAN be brought to account for its’ negligence and actions. The very positions that heads of barely-auditable, big-time, guilt-tripping NGOs aspire to and hold in high regard do not put anyone above standards of decency.

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