Monday, July 03, 2006

BB said Iraq must not be concerned about U.N. weapons inspectors, suggesting that the regime should "put 600 mukhabarat" in place to monitor them

A Korean businessman, Tongsun Park, hinted that he needed $10 million from Saddam Hussein so he could "take care" of Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali
writes Benny Avni (merci à RV) as we recall how often we have been told to castigate American greed and asked to cast doubt on America's real reasons for its attitude in the Iraq crisis, and, conversely, invited to trust the word of the members of the "peace camp" and to put our confidence in the United Nations.
Mr. Boutros-Ghali told Mr. Park he wanted to "neutralize" a top U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq and that he was relying on his "Iraqi friends" to aid his mid-1990s bid for reelection, according to testimony. …

Mr. Vincent said under oath that he believed a 1995 defection by a son-in-law of Saddam, Hussein Kemal, revived U.N. efforts to find Iraq's illicit weapons and changed attitudes in Baghdad about accepting an oil-for-food plan. He went to see his U.N. contact, Mr. Park, who previously had arranged meetings with Mr. Boutros-Ghali and other officials.

During their meeting, Mr. Park "asked for $10 million to take care of expenses and to take care of some people," Mr. Vincent told the court. He assumed "some people" meant Mr. Boutros-Ghali, he said. He later relayed the conversation with Mr. Park to his main contact in Baghdad, Nizar Hamdoon, a friend of his from high school and Iraq's then-ambassador to the United Nations.

Mr. Vincent told the jury that Hamdoon, who died in 2003, said, "I guess we have to take care of B.B." He said the initials were understood to be a reference to Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

A year later, as the secretary-general was vying unsuccessfully for a second five-year term at Turtle Bay, Mr. Park relayed a conversation with Mr. Boutros-Ghali, Mr. Vincent said. According to notes kept by Mr. Vincent and shown in court, the secretary-general said, "I want to rely on my Iraqi friends to assist in my campaign for a second term."

Mr. Boutros-Ghali wanted to impress Saddam's top aide, Tariq Aziz, and the Turtle Bay leader told Mr. Park he was a friend of the regime, Mr. Vincent said.

According to Mr. Vincent's notes, Mr. Boutros-Ghali said he always suspected the chief U.N. weapons inspector, Rolf Ekeus, "had links to the United States." Mr. Boutros-Ghali added, how ever, that he had not yet been able to "neutralize" the Swedish inspector.

Mr. Vincent testified Wednesday that in an earlier stage of his and Mr. Park's dealings with the secretary-general, Mr. Boutros-Ghali said Iraq must not be overly concerned about U.N. weapons inspectors, suggesting that the regime should "put 600 mukhabarat" — or secret servicemen — in place to monitor them. …

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