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February 15, 2005
Claudia Calls Out Kofi Annan - Again
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, UN Oil For Food - Oil For Fraud

This time in the New Republic (of all places - The New Republic requires paid subscription to read the whole article. H/t reader Charles.) Claudia Rosett squarely calls Kofi Annan to account as well as Paul Volcker for his squeamish report that simply focuses on OFF Director Benon Sevan. Claudia adds this tantalizing tidbit based on Volcker's disclosure as to the source of some of Sevan's ill gotten gains:

Investigators are now pondering Volcker's disclosure that Sevan's aunt, while living on a government pension in Cyprus, sent Sevan a series of payments from 1999 through 2003 totaling $160,000. The aunt then died in 2004 after falling down an elevator shaft, right around the time the United Nations, after much stonewalling by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and assorted protests of innocence from Sevan, agreed to launch an official probe into Oil-for-Food. (Ed: Emphasis added)

Gosh, if his family name was Foster instead of Sevan it would sound almost like the Clinton administration.

Claudia references the clear international treachery that should create worldwide outrage in commenting on Saddam's arms smuggling business and how its increase coincided with the OFF program:

Investigators for Senator Norm Coleman's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found roughly the same inflection point [Ed: a key turning point for the regime decimated by sanctions] when they looked at the oil-smuggling that became an especially large source of illicit sustenance for Saddam--helping him pay not only for palaces but also, as Duelfer documents, the import of clandestine arms. Under U.N. sanctions from 1991 to 1996, prior to Oil-for-Food, Saddam's estimated smuggling totaled $3.9 billion. Once Oil-for-Food kicked in, from 1996 to 2003, Saddam's smuggling volumes more than doubled to an estimated $9.7 billion. (Ed: Emphasis added)

And she points out that Volcker missed out on showing any culpability for Annan (remember that Annan was not mentioned in a single investigative context in the report):

What Volcker did not mention is that the proposals to revive Saddam's oil industry, supported by Sevan, were made to the Security Council by Kofi Annan. (Ed: Emphasis added)

Drawing to her conclusion Claudia provides the denoument once again:

In the run-up to Volcker's interim report, and in the debate now following, much discussion of Oil-for-Food has focused on procedure. Not yet addressed is that, in a system as secretive and creaking as the U.N.'s, the only true safeguard is the character of the boss. And, if anyone is boss at the United Nations, it is the secretary-general, who enjoys the prerogative to speak above the cacophony of the member-states. Nor is Annan shy about doing so. Last fall, during the U.S. presidential campaign, he was willing to pronounce his view that the United States overthrow of Saddam was "illegal." Since the Oil-for-Food scandal broke in early 2004, Annan's spokesmen--presumably with his approval--have repeatedly, and publicly, blamed the Security Council. That Annan would in effect point a finger at the Security Council in order to defend himself--but decline to speak up during Oil-for-Food on behalf of the defrauded people of Iraq, the betrayed trust of the world public, or the integrity of the United Nations itself (as opposed to its image)--should be troubling. (Ed: Emphasis added)

It is troubling Claudia. Thank you once again for standing in the breech and so clearly telling the truth. This is still the Mother of All Stories and will continue to be until the United Nations is cleansed of this outrage.

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