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May 03, 2005
UN: Hear that Kofi?
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, UN Oil For Food - Oil For Fraud

It's possible that audio tapes exist that implicate Kofi Annan in the OFF scandal.

Investigator for the Volcker Independent Inquiry Commission (IIC) Robert Parton (former FBI agent) and an assistant Miranda Duncan resigned from the Volcker commission after Volcker's last report that 'exonerated' Kofi Annan.

Stalwart Senator Norm Coleman wants to talk to Parton and Duncan - but Paul Volcker is personally resisting it - claiming that a non-disclosure agreement and diplomatic immunity will trump a subpoena by the United States Senate. From Yahoo news:

The committee's chairman, former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker, has been calling senators and congressmen, urging them not subpoena the investigator, Robert Parton. In the calls, Volcker has emphasized the confidentiality agreement in Parton's contract and the U.N.-appointed committee's diplomatic immunity, said Mike Holtzman, a spokesman for the Volcker committee.

But Senator Coleman is not stymied. From the article in the Australian linked above:

Senator Coleman now wants Mr Parton to testify to his committee but is being frustrated by Mr Volcker who, with the backing of the UN legal affairs division, claims diplomatic immunity extends to all past and present members of his inquiry and overrides the authority of any congressional subpoena.

Speaking on CNN's Late Edition, Senator Coleman said the effect of Mr Volcker's actions was to undermine the credibility of the UN inquiry.

He said his Senate committee, which is conducting its own investigations into the oil-for-food program, wanted to "visit Mr Parton". He said any confidentiality issues could be worked out.

"If you're going to have transparency, if you're going to have credibility, we should have an opportunity to speak to this witness (Mr Parton) to find out whether in fact he had information or he submitted a draft of a document that showed greater culpability (of Mr Annan)," Senator Coleman said.

"I'm very disappointed that they (the UN) are asserting some kind of immunity to make it difficult for us to do that. Does he (Mr Parton) have evidence, did he issue a report, did he have any tapes that show something very different from what the Volcker committee released?

"Here's a guy that resigned on principle, a former FBI agent, a man of high principle, one of two people who resigned. We should have the opportunity to speak to him."

And from Senator Coleman's web site:

SENATOR NORM COLEMAN TO SUBPOENA PARTON AND DUNCAN

Senator Coleman chairs PSI Hearing
Senator Coleman chairs PSI Hearing

April 29th, 2005 - WASHINGTON, D.C.-- - "I spoke with Mr. Volcker yesterday and expressed my grave and growing concerns about the credibility and independence of the investigation into the criminal misconduct that occurred in the U.N. Oil-for-Food program. Robert Parton and Miranda Duncan's resignation from the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC), and a lack of adequate explanation for their departure, only fuels concerns about the credibility of the IIC led by Mr. Volcker. His refusal to permit Mr. Parton and Ms. Duncan to cooperate with the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation (PSI) cannot stand. I have directed staff to issue subpoenas as soon as possible to Mr. Parton and Ms. Duncan to compel them to cooperate with PSI investigators. In order to preserve public confidence in the IIC investigation and the United Nations, it is vital to hear from these two individuals immediately.”

Looks like the UN's theory of 'diplomatic immunity' will be tested shortly. At least two other congressional committees are considering subpoenas for Parton and Duncan as well.

This bluster from Volcker really shouldn't be surprising - after all he's compromised in the first place. Looks like it will turn out that his report was a whitewash after all.

Of course, now that it is clear that the founding of the OFF program itself is mired in greed, graft, and international treachery - there could be far more at stake than Annan's culpability in terms of what Parton and Duncan know.

Dear Senator and congressmen - please do not compromise on this. Please continue your drive for justice and rid us of this scourge on the earth.

H/t to the inimitable Ace of Spades for the Australian link.



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