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Wake Up and Smell the Kofi

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Balladeer
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0 posted 12-03-2004 09:38 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


For everyone who stated US actions in Iraq were criminal because they were done without the approval of the UN...

For everyone who considered France and other countries honorable by refusing to participate..

For those who hold up the UN as a symbol of what's right and decent in the world...

For everyone who applauded Kofi for condemning US actions...

For everyone who believes the US should take no action without UN approval...

I suggest you fasten your seat belts. This is gonna be fun!
Mistletoe Angel
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1 posted 12-03-2004 11:29 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

I'm not sure where you're getting at exactly, but I can assume it has to surely be Kofi Annan being under fire for the U.N oil-for-food scandal.

I've never exactly felt inspired by Kofi Annan in particular. I disagree with him in how he praised Yassar Arafat with a great deal of integrity, so much as to order the U.N flags lowered half a step to commemorate him, as I'm critical of what both Arafat and Sharon have done in diplomacy. So all in all, I wouldn't say I'm thrilled or inspired by this particular man.

However, I believe the United Nations all in all has a great significance in reaching diplomatic decisions, non-violent ones. I do believe in international law, for America means much to the world and the world should mean much to us. I don't believe it is right to just flat out say, "America is going to war with this country, either you're with us or against us." Large-scale mobilizations like this affect global communities, and there has to be consensus. Otherwise, it only encourages the abuse of power by other sole nations.

Kofi was right about one thing especially. When he sent that letter to Bush and other leaders citing, "The threat or actual use of force not only risks deepening the sense of alienation … but would also reinforce perceptions … of a continued military occupation."

The United Nations is not the problem. I think Kofi is more of the problem. Like Kweisi Mfume apart from the NAACP. Many have the thought that these organizations, which have had long histories and great reputations, have had a unilateral edge under these new leaders. As always, it must be a bi-partisan effort.

I just think the United Nations, frankly, has become a bit more bureaucratic or being influenced too much by the corporate climate. Some say it is ineffective or usurps sovereignty of nations, but I believe the United Nations is effective, it just isn't realizing its full potential for the better.

The United Nations was founded right here in America, on October 24, 1945 in San Francisco. America itself is the mother to this enduring organization, and it needs to go back to its roots. Go back to the sense of that first meeting "The Establishment of a Commission to Deal with the Problems Raised by the Discovery of Atomic Energy" and use this same common sense in finding non-violent ways to stopping nuclear proliferation, something which I believe hasn't been taken as seriously as it should. Embrace the ethics of human rights in the fullest form, one of the cornerstones since the beginning for the UN. Its creation was largely influenced by World War II atrocities, after all, and I feel we need to once again embrace the "Universal Declration of Human Rights" ideals in assuring scandals like Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib don't repeat themselves. All at once, something must be done as well about the genocide in Sudan as well, etc as that also violates human rights.

What the United Nations needs I believe most of all is more individual liberty, because after all, the sharing of diverse individual views joined together makes a more promising pursuit in the truth of new opportunities and solutions. I think this lack of decentralization is what let such controversies erupt, such as the ethnic cleansing campaign in Rwanda, which I believe Kofi overlooked, and the failure to deliver food to the starving in Somalia. I believe the United Nations, like many organizations as of late, have become too attached to the corporate underbelly, and we need to reverse that trend and see to it communication is put back into the community, not solely by intercom.

Anyway, I protested against the war on Iraq from the beginning not because our administration didn't get U.N approval, just because I simply believe war is the wrong way in making peace and justice in the world.

In my final thought, the United Nations certainly has its flaws, but I do believe it remains one of the most right organizational communities in the world. It just needs to embrace its full potential is all. And I've been skeptical many times of Kofi Annan being this real role model in bringing about the full vision.

We'll just have to see where this goes.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20

Midnitesun
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2 posted 12-03-2004 11:50 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

The UN is more than just Kofi, more than just a cup of coffee.
I still applaud the UN, and yes, I still say the invasion of Iraq was an illegal act.

All this new news proves is that Kofi and other members of the United Nations are human, and subject to gross human misjudgements and misconduct, same as our American political leaders.
All the more reason to keep your eyes and minds open, to keep searching for leadership around the globe that treats ALL the people of Earth as Equals, and treats no one country as superior or inferior to all the rest of the Earth's inhabitants.

Mistletoe Angel
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3 posted 12-04-2004 12:15 AM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel



I absolutely agree with what Kacy has just said.

I believe we must keep ever vigilant in finding the great leaders of tomorrow throughout this world that inspires ALL. I credit the United Nations for doing much in community-building for over half a century, and still believe they are overall a great organization despite those earlier flaws I mentioned. I think their "moral equivalence" has inspired and spawned many other organizations in post-World War II times that do likewise in promoting the need for global community outreach and diplomacy.

Anyway, I find it absolutely saddening that Howard Kaloogian and Move America Forward would even think of attempting to ban the United Nations from the United States of America, the nation which so happened to give birth to this organization in the first place. Kaloogian himself writes on the official petition web-page that the United Nation's actions to promoting peace "have made it an accessory to terrorist crimes." He also goes on to say that the "United Nations have positioned the organization so that it is increasingly a body that sides with those who find the use of terrorism against unarmed and innocent civilians tolerable."

Just more false information disguised in the form of patriotism. Kaloogian says the United Nations has "veered from its original purpose" yet they've always been for non-violent solutions and human rights...period. Peace as in NOT WAR.

We need dependence from one another to seek solutions. Breaking apart these alliances that have stood the tests of time will only lead to further misunderstanding and incite further abuse of power. I basically say just what I told those who voted for Nader on indymedia community boards in that the Democratic party should be brought down. The solution lies not in imploding it from the outside, but fixing it on the inside. We've got to reach a bi-lateral understanding here and fix up the United Nations in that it can hold up these necessary alliances.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20

Balladeer
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4 posted 12-04-2004 12:16 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Thank you for such an in-depth response, Noah. The situation, however, deals with much more than Kofi. Money is currently being tracked to many places, such as millions going to the French president's closest friend, among others. it would appear on the surface that those who screamed the most about the US action against Iraq were the ones who were making fortunes under the table from the food for oil program. Even while they knew tens of thousands were being killed yearly in Iraq, even while they knew thousands of children were dying of starvation, they were allowing Hussein to pocket - the estimate now is 21 billion - as long as some of the money filtered down to them. How despicable is that? Why were they against Bush? He was the man threatening to kill the golden goose - that was their motivation.

Kacey, I always find it amazing that, when someone a person doesn't like does something wrong, it is called despicable and yet when someone a person likes does something wrong the answer is "Well, he's only human". I never heard you say "Well, Bush is only human" concerning acts you opposed. I wonder why....
Huan Yi
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5 posted 12-04-2004 12:23 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


“All this new news proves is that Kofi and other members of the United Nations are human, and subject to gross human misjudgements and misconduct, same as our American political leaders.”

What a wonderful out.
Balladeer
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6 posted 12-04-2004 12:24 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

yet they've always been for non-violent solutions and human rights

Noah, I would appreciate any solutions they have come up with over the past years to support your statement. It would appear that their non-violent solution to stop the mass murders in Iraq was to line their pockets with cash from Hussein and do everything possible to see the boat wasn't rocked. The countries supporting the US were obviously the ones not on the take.

I'm awaiting your examples of how and when their non-violent solutions have worked...
Ron
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7 posted 12-04-2004 09:38 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
... it would appear on the surface that those who screamed the most about the US action against Iraq were the ones who were making fortunes under the table from the food for oil program.

I haven't made a dime, Mike.

And despite efforts to refocus attention, I still haven't seen the WMD found. Everything else, while not unimportant in its own right, is superfluous to whether the war was justified or not. Discrediting Bush's detractors doesn't make a wrong war right.
Huan Yi
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8 posted 12-04-2004 11:14 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


September 11th  was the work of WMD; nineteen guys with
boxcutters, wanting to kill masses and willing to train and kill themselves
for the chance.
Tim
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9 posted 12-04-2004 11:57 AM       View Profile for Tim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tim

"I believe the United Nations is effective, it just isn't realizing its full potential for the better."

"Discrediting Bush's detractors doesn't make a wrong war right."

That pretty well sums it up.  I guess it is how you define effective and detractor.  Saddam was a detractor to the Shiite and Kurd.  It would appear the U.N. and it Security Council members sanctioning and partaking in billions via bribes to support Saddam must be part of the distraction.

Bottom line, I suspect those who do not presently support the U.N. would prefer an idyllic world where all countries were for equality and freedom.  

Some just desire the U.N. to give a little better indication they believe and are working towards the same goals.

Legitimacy is not awarded by words on a paper or spoken from a lecturn, it is earned by action.  

Interesting picture I saw on line which I feel comfortable will never be seen in the American or World media.  After the killing of innocent civilians by the French in the Ivory Coast, (how many different stories can the French concoct to explain the incident?) there was a gentleman holding up a sign, "Help us Bush".  It did not say, Help us U.N.
Huan Yi
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10 posted 12-04-2004 01:56 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Women and children, the Iraqi version
of Mother Theresa…  They’ll kill ‘em all
until, (as before),  they get their way or die…

What saddens me is that some can’t accept
that, even inadvertently, we may be involved
in doing a good thing.


Mistletoe Angel
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11 posted 12-04-2004 02:40 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Firstly, Balladeer, the $21 billion you speak of is an early estimate made from Norm Coleman, a Republican Senator from Minnesota, who also credits him receiving all the money because of Annan's lack of oversight.

This is quite a bold early estimate, and higher than some others being reported.

I think the real question here is to what extent the U.N was oblivious to this. This is becoming a hot topic simply because it could very well become the largest amount of money redirected from a relief program in history, and when many are still shaken over 9/11 and the war in Iraq, it is a voracious mix.

I think because Bush and his administration is desperate to defend the war's credibility, which I believe no credibility exists, and it's simply because Kofi Annan announced the war illegal (which I believe it is) that it has threatened the United States and British governments, for traditionally the neo-con right wing has had a definitive positioning on that the United Nations is a threat, and that international law is unacceptable because they feel it infringes on the Constitution, and that is why we have seen rejections from the Kyoto Protocol, the ICC, etc, and now why groups like Move America Forward are determined to remove the U.N headquarters from New York to another nation.

I think one major component to the development of this story will be on Benon Seval, a former U.N official who was said to be a recipient of 13 million barrels of oil from Saddam Hussein. Sevan has denied these charges, but I expect many eyes will probably be turning his way.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20

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12 posted 12-04-2004 02:55 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

LOL, Mike, I wrote a thank you poem to Bush for something a couple of years ago, can't remember what it was about now, but apparently you missed that one.
And I've offered to send Bush on an extended vacation more than once, since he often looks tired and frazzled.
I've often referred to him as a human, and even mentioned his human mistakes.
Ron
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13 posted 12-04-2004 02:56 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
September 11th  was the work of WMD; nineteen guys with boxcutters, wanting to kill masses and willing to train and kill themselves for the chance.

And that has WHAT to do with this thread, John?

quote:
What saddens me is that some can’t accept that, even inadvertently, we may be involved in doing a good thing.

Taking a shotgun to my wife-beating neighbor may be seen, by some, to be a good thing, John. If I did it because I was convinced he was going to set my house on fire, however, it's probably just paranoia (unless I can at least catch him with matches).

If stepping on a buttefly in Asia can, as some contend, result in a hurricane in the Midwest, virtually everything can result in inadvertent good. I'm not entirely sure, however, that's how we should judge our world.

quote:
Bottom line, I suspect those who do not presently support the U.N. would prefer an idyllic world where all countries were for equality and freedom.

I suspect everyone, Tim, regardless of U.N. support or not, would like an idyllic world. Some might define it differently, and some won't be holding their breath waiting, but I just can't imagine many who actually prefer chaos and corruption.
Mistletoe Angel
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14 posted 12-04-2004 03:10 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Oh, I believe the United Nations have done much good since forming over half a century ago.

The most recent credit I give to them is the improving of health conditions globally. On November 20, 1989, the United Nations gathered in forming the "Convention on the Rights of the Child" in setting goals and standards for improving the health and education of children in underdeveloped nations worldwide, which was signed by 109 countries and attended by more than 70 world leaders.

One major finding during the convention was that 14 million children under the age of five die each year from malnutrition or a variety of diseases, most of them preventable. They planned to reduce child mortality by a third and to reduce malnutrition by as much as half.

Sixty countries succeeded in reducing child mortality by one-third. Though they didn't reduce malnutrition by one-third, they still made very significant progress by reducing malnutrition globally for children under five from 177 million in 1990 to 150 million in 2000, where they reported malnutrition levels falling from 23 to 16 percent in East Asia and the Pacific. Access to safe drinking water improved from 77 to 82 percent in that same time-frame.

They also had goals to reduce the gender gap in schools worldwide. They split it in half, with huge progress made in South Asia.

They said they would work to eradicate polio and guinea-worm infection once and for all. In 1988, polio was endemic in 125 countries, now, it's only endemic in 10 countries, while guinea-worm infections and other diseases have seemingly vanished from many regions of the world.

Other than that, the United Nations have done much more. They formed the United Nations Decade for Women in 1975 in Mexico to see to it women are recognized and paid for all the unwaged work they do in every level of the government and at home, and through extensive lobbying in supporting their rights to child benefits, childcare, pensions, etc. the governments decided to measure and value unwaged work for them.

The United Nations played a major role in making Indonesia an independent nation by ordering the ceasefire back in 1947. They helped stabilize conditions in the Dominican Republic in the mid-sixties. They've maintained peace in Cyprus since getting involved in 1974. They played a major role in helping Namibia become independent. Because of the UN's call for international pressure, East Timor finally became free after all the atrocities.

The success stories are there, and I believe the United Nations has played a significant role in improving standards of living all throughout the world. They've done much good for us all.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20

Midnitesun
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15 posted 12-04-2004 04:25 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

I will always support the UN, via UNICEF/UNESCO and other UN funding programs that actively address the needs of children around the globe. It may not be the perfect organization, but it sure as heck beats NO organization at all, and offers an alternative for people who don't want to contribute under any particular religious banner.  
The UN deserves our support it can get, emotionally, politically, and financially.  
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16 posted 12-04-2004 05:32 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Everything else, while not unimportant in its own right, is superfluous to whether the war was justified or not. Discrediting Bush's detractors doesn't make a wrong war right.

I won't disagree with that statement, Ron, but I have to say this situation makes me wonder of things. At that time everyone, including the UN, believed in the presence of WMD's. Certainly you will acknowledge that. Had not several members of the UN been getting Hussein payoffs under the table, I wonder if perhaps they would have gone along with Bush's plans to attack - and, having done so, if there would have then been a multi-national force much greater than the one we had and much more world acceptance.

As it stands it's easy to see how they handled the situation. They would let Hussein have his way and, when somebody came up with a question of his non-compliance with the inspections, they would issue a warning to appease the complainers and all the while keep cashing in. After a time passed and someone else would come up to question, they would issue another one (how many times - 16?) and begin the cycle all over again. They could have gone on indefinitely as the money kept coming in. No wonder they hate Bush. Here he comes to kill the golden camel. What's worse is - what would happen when Bush ousted Hussein? Who knows what Hussein would say? Who knows what records might be uncovered implicating them in their participation of this crime against the Iraqui people? I have little doubt there was a lot of Maalox passed around  ever since Hussein was captured.

If there had not been payoffs going on, I believe there would have been a good chance that the UN would have sanctioned Bush's actions, this based on the global belief that Hussein had WMD's and the acceleration of terrorist activities with the advent of 9-11.  Then, all of a sudden, the "wrong" war would have been viewed differently by many people.

Huan Yi
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17 posted 12-04-2004 07:09 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Ron,

“I still haven't seen the WMD found”

my response:

“September 11th  was the work of WMD; nineteen guys with
boxcutters, wanting to kill masses and willing to train and kill themselves
for the chance.’

translation:

we’ve found WMD in Iraq.

John
Brad
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18 posted 12-04-2004 07:46 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

No, John, we've got WMD's, they just used them. But it's very Orwellian of you to stretch the language like that.

Currently, with the exception of the US, we have a list of nations that support the current Annan administration. This list includes the EU, the UK, Russia, China, France etc.

There is no evidence of kickbacks to UN employees and administrators -- even the Wall Street Journal admits this.

The question is whether or not or to what extent the UN and Annan knew about Hussein's diversions of funds.

Annan and family (particularly his son) are cooperating with the UN independent investigation team headed by Paul Volcker, an American and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Carter and Reagan.

Right now, it looks like America is playing grudge politics. Right now, it looks like innuendo and assumption are more important than evidence and investigative conclusions.

After the Republicans ditched the intelligence reform, allowed DeLay to stay in office, and threaten the end of the filibuster in the Senate, it looks like the same old tricks from the same old people.

Still, if Kofi Annan, either through negligence, incompetence, and/or fraud, has commited gross errors of responsibility, he should resign.

That's not hard to write. It's the same thing I've been writing for four years, just switch from the Kofi plant to the tea Bush.

Mistletoe Angel
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19 posted 12-04-2004 08:11 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

"The question is whether or not or to what extent the UN and Annan knew about Hussein's diversions of funds."

Yeah, I agree that this is one of the major questions that should be being asked.

As it is, Annan has overwhelming support across the world. More than 3,000 UN members have signed a letter of support to him. China's ambassador has praised him. Leader's of all 54 nations in Africa sent a letter of support to him. And all the European nations which oppose the war in Iraq also support him.

So, here, I just believe there's a lot of foulmouthing going on in our media and, other than those like Huan Yi who already believe we've found weapons of mass destruction, because the men are weapons themselves, in knowing no weapons of mass destruction exist and Saddam Hussein wasn't the one who attacked us on 9/11, this U.N food for oil scandal is a deliberate and desperate attempt to stamp this red herring in deep enough so it looks like it was always a stamp on the package in attempting to save any trickle of credibility in this senseless war.

I just hope Norm Coleman has thought out everything before acting on this bold accusation. I hope he's aware how this can only damage communities by inexplicable means and further isolate us from the international community. Then, we may be encouraging the bad influential impression that if our government could abuse its power in their minds, why can't they?

Global relations are at stake here. I hope critics of Annan and the U.N role in Iraq are also aware that while most nations worldwide support Annan, many also support a U.N reform of some sort. Those like Norm I believe should be lending an ear and working to see just how the desires of both our administration and the United Nations can be applied and co-exist.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20

Balladeer
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20 posted 12-04-2004 08:24 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

this U.N food for oil scandal is a deliberate and desperate attempt to stamp this red herring in deep enough so it looks like it was always a stamp on the package in attempting to save any trickle of credibility in this senseless war.

remember those words, Noah...
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21 posted 12-04-2004 08:34 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

"The U.S. State Department gave official approval Wednesday to congressional investigation of corruption in the United Nations-supervised Oil-for-Food program in Iraq.

That is certainly justified since the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee reported last week that Saddam Hussein reaped more than $21.3 billion from the program through kickbacks, illegal surcharges, extortion and smuggling. That's more than double the amount estimated when Congress began its investigation earlier this year.

The program began in 1996, permitting Iraq to sell limited amounts of oil to buy food and medicine. It was a humanitarian move to ease the burden of U.N. sanctions imposed after the 1991 Persian Gulf War and Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Saddam subverted the program in an attempt to buy his way out of the sanctions through bribery and influence-peddling.

The program ended with the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Iraqis themselves drew attention to alleged corruption in the program.

A report by Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. arms inspector, said last month that Saddam issued secret vouchers for oil purchases to officials and politicians in various countries that could be resold at a profit. Duelfer said officials from Russia, France and China received the most vouchers. That helps explain the opposition of those countries to U.S. efforts to get U.N. approval to invade Iraq.

Duelfer said Benon Sevon, the U.N. official in charge of the program, was personally approved by Saddam for vouchers worth $700,000 to $2 million. Duelfer also cited illegal oil smuggling to Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Turkey, as well as money laundering through banks in Jordan and Lebanon.

A separate report from the House International Relations Committee said last month that Saddam skimmed more than $35 million from the program into secret bank accounts in Jordan. He used the money to pay families of Palestinians killed and wounded in conflicts with Israelis, including the $25,000 "rewards" Saddam gave to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. What a perversion of humanitarian aid. "

You're probably right, Brad....grudge politic s.
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22 posted 12-04-2004 08:40 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

"Update: U.N. Oil for Food Investigation Hampered

As details of the scandal involving the U.N.’s Iraq Oil for Food program continue to dribble from inside and outside the world body (See: Oil for Osama, Scandal Continues to Grow, and U.N.-Inspections), U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has pledged a complete investigation and promised that those found guilty of corruption or improper behavior will be punished. To that end, Annan recruited former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker to lead a U.N.-sponsored probe.

Unfortunately, the apparent intransigence of the U.N. is making Volcker’s investigation a sham. Among the roadblocks Volcker has encountered are:

Volcker and his team have no subpoena power and no authority to require statements under oath. Thus, Volcker is deprived of an essential tool necessary for compelling material witnesses to talk and the U.N.’s bureaucracy to give up its secrets.

He is forced to rely on the U.N. for significant portions of his staff and office space, thus putting him at the mercy of the U.N. bureaucracy’s whims. This compelled dependence and other limitations have hampered Volcker’s efforts to hire his own staff of experts and made it impossible for him to move the investigation forward.

Most importantly, for Volcker’s probe to be effective, he must complete a thorough examination of complex financial records, audits, contracts, and other documentation while at the same time questioning U.N. staff, contractors, and other parties scattered across the globe. This requires a substantial budget. But recently, Bill Safire, writing in the New York Times, reported that Volcker’s budget is inadequate.

So, three months after Volcker’s panel was appointed, Volcker has hired no staff, has little money, and has made no progress in the U.N.’s investigation.

Meanwhile, truly independent investigations are being blocked by the U.N.’s refusal to disclose or release any information. And a dispute between U.S. Administrator Paul Bremer and the Iraqi interim government has halted progress on an investigation by international accounting firm KPMG." - CFIF.org
Ron
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since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
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23 posted 12-04-2004 08:48 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Had not several members of the UN been getting Hussein payoffs under the table, I wonder if perhaps they would have gone along with Bush's plans to attack - and, having done so, if there would have then been a multi-national force much greater than the one we had and much more world acceptance.

You may be right, Mike. IMO, that would just mean more people were wrong. A lynch mob, no matter how large it becomes, is still a lynch mob.

quote:
translation: we've found WMD in Iraq.

That doesn't even deserve a response, John. Iraq played absolutely no role at all in the events of September 11.

I only wish I could say the reverse were true.

quote:
I just hope Norm Coleman has thought out everything before acting on this bold accusation. I hope he's aware how this can only damage communities by inexplicable means and further isolate us from the international community.

Noah, that's just one more way of saying we should do what's expedient instead of what's right. If there are misdeeds, there needs to be repercussions. If damage ensues from that, blame it not on the repercussions but on the misdeeds.

There will always be a cost to doing the right thing. It's just never as high, in the long run, as the cost of NOT doing the right thing.
Balladeer
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24 posted 12-04-2004 08:49 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

For those basically not familiar with the Food for Oil program...

History of the Oil-for-Food Program

The Security Council established the Oil-for-Food program in 1995 "as a temporary measure to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people" while economic sanctions remained in place.2 Of Iraq's population of 24 million, 60 percent were dependent on food shipments administered through Oil-for-Food.

Oil-for-Food was the United Nations' biggest program anywhere in the world. As Claudia Rosett pointed out in The Wall Street Journal, the U.N. oversaw "a flow of funds averaging at least $15 billion a year, more than five times the U.N.'s core annual budget."3 Oil-for-Food was administered by 10 U.N. agencies employing over 1,000 staff internationally and in New York, as well as 3,000 Iraqi nationals. The U.N. collected a 2.2 percent commission on every barrel of oil sold, generating more than $1 billion in revenue.

Until 2001, all Iraqi oil revenues were held in an escrow account run solely by Banque Nationale de Paris. The money was later kept by several unnamed international banks, all approved by Saddam's regime.

The program was shrouded in secrecy, with little transparency or public accountability. There was no system of external auditing or publishing of accounts. The identity of the banks holding the Iraqi funds was kept secret. Oil-for-Food became a cash cow for the U.N. and a lucrative source of contracts for Russian and French companies. The Times of London calculated that from 1996 to 2003, Russian companies received $7.3 billion of business through Oil-for-Food, and French firms earned $3.7 billion.4
Oil for Corruption

In the 12 months since the fall of the Iraqi dictatorship, a clear picture has emerged of how Saddam Hussein abused the United Nations' Oil-for-Food program. The Iraqi Governing Council has begun to release critical information detailing how, in the words of The New York Times, "Saddam Hussein's government systematically extracted billions of dollars in kickbacks from companies doing business with Iraq, funneling most of the illicit funds through a network of foreign bank accounts in violation of United Nations sanctions." In effect the program was little more than "an open bazaar of payoffs, favoritism and kickbacks."5

Between 1997 and 2002, the Oil-for-Food program generated over $67 billion in revenues for the Iraqi regime. With little U.N. oversight, the Iraqi dictatorship was able to circumvent and exploit the program. It is suspected of selling Iraqi oil at bargain basement prices that benefited numerous middlemen while overpaying for various imports, which rewarded suppliers. The Iraqis then demanded kickbacks from both groups. The program was officially ended in November 2003.

The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates that the Saddam Hussein regime generated $10.1 billion in illegal revenues by exploiting the Oil-for-Food program, including $5.7 billion from oil smuggling and $4.4 billion in "illicit surcharges on oil sales and after-sales charges on suppliers."6 The scale of the fraud was far more extensive than the GAO had previously estimated.

According to the GAO, the oil was smuggled by pipeline into Syria, by ship through the Persian Gulf, and by truck across the borders of Turkey and Jordan. Oil purchasers were charged a surcharge of up to 50 cents per oil barrel, with an added commission of 5 percent to 10 percent of the commodity contract. A U.S. Department of Defense study cited by the GAO evaluated 759 contracts administered through the Oil-for-Food program and found that nearly half had been overpriced by an average of 21 percent.7
An International Network of Beneficiaries

Emerging from the evidence is a mosaic of international corruption involving a patchwork of politicians and businesses across the world that benefited from the Oil-for-Food program and helped to keep Hussein in power. The Iraqi Oil Ministry recently released a partial list of beneficiaries: 270 names of individuals, political entities, and companies from across the world who received oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein's regime, allegedly at below-market prices.8

The list includes former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, the "director of the Russian President's office," the Russian Communist Party, the Ukraine Communist Party, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the son of Lebanese President Emile Lahud, the son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass, and George Galloway, a British Member of Parliament.

Ominously, the list also implicates U.N. Assistant Secretary General Benon V. Sevan, executive director of the Oil-for-Food program, who has stringently denied any wrongdoing. Sevan, a longtime U.N. bureaucrat with close ties to Kofi Annan, has taken an extended vacation, pending retirement later this month.

Kofi Annan's son Kojo may also be implicated in the mushrooming scandal. Kojo Annan had ties to Cotecna Inspection SA, a Swiss-based company that received a contract for inspecting goods shipped to Iraq under the Oil-for-Food program. The younger Annan worked for Cotecna in the mid-1990s and became a consultant to the company until shortly before it won the Oil-for-Food contract.9 Cotecna, reportedly implicated in earlier bribery scandals, did not disclose this potential conflict of interest, and neither did the United Nations.
France, Russia, and Saddam

No fewer than 46 Russian and 11 French names appear on the Iraqi Oil Ministry list.10 The Russian government is alleged to have received an astonishing $1.36 billion in oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein.

The close ties between French and Russian politicians and the Iraqi regime may have been an important factor in influencing their governments' decision to oppose Hussein's removal from power. They also highlight the close working relationships between Moscow and Baghdad and between Paris and Baghdad, and the huge French and Russian financial interests in pre-liberation Iraq.

Prior to the regime change in April 2003, French and Russian oil companies possessed oil contracts with the Saddam Hussein regime that covered roughly 40 percent of the country's oil wealth. French oil giant Total Fina Elf had won contracts to develop the Majnoon and Nahr Umar oil fields in southern Iraq, which contain an estimated 26 billion barrels of oil (25 percent of Iraq's oil reserves). Russian company Lukoil had won the contract to develop the West Qurna field, also in southern Iraq, which has an estimated 15 billion barrels of oil.11

Political and military ties between Moscow and Baghdad were extensive. Documents found in the bombed-out headquarters of the Mukhabarat (the Iraqi intelligence service under Hussein) reveal the full extent of intelligence cooperation between the Russian and Iraqi governments.
 
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