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January 30, 2005

Comments

BTW you need to be careful about relying on google news unless you are good at the date controls, since much of this was initially reported in May and June of 2004. For older things straight up google is often better.

Sebastian: the report whines that they couldn't control the money once Saddam got his hands on it.

*blinks* Statement of fact rather than a whine, I'd have said, most likely. (I notice you don't actually quote what it says, but paraphrase with your own anti-UN bias.)

They weren't supposed to be running a system where he could have gotten his hands on $10 billion dollars without anyone noticing.

Sorry Charles but Norm Coleman's political theater proves nothing. Coleman is not the UN auditor. A Safire is hardly a reliable source. Jeez, he's still pushing that silly Atta in Prague nonsense!

I have no love for Annan in any case but there is an investigation going on and they are cooperating with it.

And please stop bringing up that "no subpeona power" canard. Annan doesn't have the authority to do that. You might as well accuse him of not giving the investigators mind-reading abilities.

Sebastian,

Do you have link explaining what Annan did and said exactly re the contractors?

Sebastian: They weren't supposed to be running a system where he could have gotten his hands on $10 billion dollars without anyone noticing.

I repeat calls for a cite.

"Before the USA can do anything about the War on Terror it needs to bring peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict".

If we accept the so-called "War on Terror" we must accept that so much of the roots of the anti-American sentiment derive from our historical support of Israel vs. the Palestinians. If we are going to defeat "terror", if one can even do such a thing, we have to address the root causes.

You don't defeat cancer by killing every cancer patient, you work on cures that stop it from spreading.

"I repeat calls for a cite."

I'm really trying to be nice. But I find it annoying that there is this great internet tool available that you seem unable to use. Those who read the news in depth sometimes come across things that happened almost some years ago and don't have a cite directly at our fingertips. If we want to research it again we often use Google to find out about it. In this instance if you were to type in the words "Annan", "Contractor" and "Letter" you would find a number of articles on the subject. The annoying thing for me is that I spend a lot of time reading current news and would rather do that than finding a source for older information that I read which should be just as easily findable by you.

From these articles you would see things like

The letter to Saybolt also made specific mention that if U.N. internal audit reports are asked for, "we would not agree to their release." These would be the same internal audits that the U.N. Secretariat--which administered the Oil for Food program--did not share with the Security Council and has refused to provide to Congress.

Normally if I make an assertion that might sound odd to someone who has been following the topic, I provide a link. If my knowledge comes from an older source which is not at my fingertips and which should be well known to people who have been watching the topic, I don't provide a link--I presume that people who were not following the topic but now are interested can research it just as I do.

Since we have a history, and you tend to play the "I don't believe you, please link" game ad infinitum the link is intentionally not provided, though the roadmap to it is above.

lj, don't be so fast in giving Cotecna and Kojo Annan a clean bill of health, so to speak. Kojo recently admitted he lied when he claimed he had nothing to do with the award of oil contracts, and it remains to be seen whether the continuing Cotecna financial connection was simply a series of very expensive health plan payments.

I used to think we should just wait for the Volker report (assuming Annan releases it without censoring it first) but from what I've read above about restricted budgets, I'm glad congress is investigating. And I'm glad some are keeping this thread on point, despite efforts to derail it OT with references to Cheney, Bush, Bremer, 9/11, Indonesia, &c., &c, ad nauseum. What's the next attempted distraction, folks, Enron?

Just realized I looped BD's source, but at least I got in the "vampire-like" epithet, which I kinda liked. Not that my link was slanted or anything.

Sebastian:
Dutchmarbel, I dealt with the only of your 5 points that was particularly on point and good for your case.
When people ask for specifics you answered "google UN and Rosett" and said that her reports were good. My points showed that according to the UN her reports were not that good.

For example, the report whines that they couldn't control the money once Saddam got his hands on it.

"But since this was money clandestinely extorted from contractors, which did not pass through the UN account, it is not obvious how the UN could have been in any position to influence the Iraqi regime's decisions on how to spend it."

I didn't bother responding to it since I thought it was obviously self-refuting.

Well, maybe you can refute a bit more in future, for silly me.

The program was corrupted in multiple ways, most of which ought to have been detectable by the people running the program. It doesn't speak to the problem of the fact that the program was deeply corrupted, it doesn't speak to the fact that it was corrupted in ways that the UN ought to have detected, it doesn't speak to the fact that the corruption directly involved Mr. Annan's son. It doesn't go to the fact that the corruption with Annan's son presumabley had a point....

But it *was* detected by the UN and reported on. But the security council did not do much with it, or approved things the UN advised against.

Maybe this is only obvious to me because I've worked on cases where the cheesy defense goes along these lines, but the holes are huge.

darn, that must be silly me again. I thought in your line of work you were used to going for *facts* instead of allegations and being rather specific about them.

Maybe this is only obvious to me because I've worked on cases where the cheesy defense goes along these lines, but the holes are huge.

that bit should have been italic too, sorry

The points you cited did not refute Rosset's work, in three cases they avoided the main points in one case she appears to have been wrong and in one case they appear to be talking about something different from what she was talking about. Basically you are taking a mere administrative denial as thouroughly refuting an investigative report. I suspect you wouldn't do the same for a Republican administration.

The points you cited did not refute Rosset's work, in three cases they avoided the main points in one case she appears to have been wrong and in one case they appear to be talking about something different from what she was talking about. Basically you are taking a mere administrative denial as thouroughly refuting an investigative report.

This is so vague that it is hard to have any kind of discussion about which specific points and allegations you want to make.
She said things went unchecked - you said that the UN should have noticed things: the UN says it did and it reported them to the SC.

She said that OfF-money ended up in terrorist hands, the UN says that cannot be checked, but if it had happened it was with money they had no control over.

She said that Kofi Annan signed of things that he did not sign off.

The documents she claims are not being handed over *were* handed over to the Inquiry Committee, but not to the US congress. I quoted Volckers reasoning for that elswere in this thread.

The last point was less relevant to the discussion, but served more to show that Rosett's report was leading.

I suspect you wouldn't do the same for a Republican administration.

If I were not, there are many here who would do it for me I quess, including you ;-).
But if the US had elected a Democratic administration I would argue the same.

The righty lawyers on this thread should know enough about administrative law to understand the difference between staff and directors.

the UN is an administrative agency. it has staff, led by kofi, and directors, known as ambassadors, each appointed by the member countries.

Kofi is senior staff; he reports to his board of directors. He has a role in setting policy, but must ultimately defer to his directors. for example, i doubt that Kofi has the ultimate power to decide how the UN will respond to document requests. i suspect that such power lies in one of the UN's arcane committees.

here's the point: the "decrepit" international body exists pursuant to treaty. for those who need to brush up on their US Constitution, Art. VI says in part:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land . . .

Don't like the UN? take it up with the other member countries. renegotiate our treaties (presuming anyone will listen).

but laying all the blame for the OFF scandal on Kofi demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding about how admin. agencies work. If this statement is true: "UN officials frequently drew the attention of the Security Council Sanctions Committee charged with overseeing the Programme to anomalies in the pricing of both imports and exports" (lifted from dutchmarbel's 11:03 post), then the scandal lies with the directors, not staff.

other countries stalling a bribery / corruption investigation? espionage at the UN? American righties pointing the finger at staff rather than our allies?

i'm shocked, i tell you, just shocked!

republicans control the house, senate and presidency. if the UN is so objectionable, why aren't republicans making more of an effort to renegotiate the treaties under which the UN exists?

as best i can tell, the reason is that UN serves the same role in republican party politics as Michael Moore -- a convenient whipping boy useful for drumming up contributions out of a witless ignorant american polity.

cheers.

Francis

"if the UN is so objectionable, why aren't republicans making more of an effort to renegotiate the treaties under which the UN exists?"

Hey good idea. Seriously. Though I would prefer to simply withdraw at this point.

22 U.S.C. 287 et seq.

see, especially, section 287e

"There is hereby authorized to be appropriated annually to the Department of State, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, such sums as may be necessary for the payment by the United States of its share of the expenses of the United Nations as apportioned by the General Assembly in accordance with article 17 of the Charter"

last i checked, as posted above, treaties are law of the land.

i mean, i know that the theory of unchecked presidential power is kicking around a lot these days, like in the torture memos, but still . . .

shouldn't the US at least follow the process required by law for withdrawing?

yes, i'm still looking for the section of the Charter allowing for withdrawal. i'll post it when i find it.

OK. thanks for all those cites. errr, maybe not. I'm trying to be nice too, and I will cheerfully admit that this is not something that I've invested a huge amount of time researching. The front page post references one newspaper article and two Tacitus posts. So, when someone says "I've been following the scandal pretty closely", if I ask them politely for some more details, I get 'try google', well, I'm a little embarrassed for you. When someone cites Worldnet Daily my embarrassment turns to mortification. It really is pathetic.

On a side note syl, I didn't give Cotecna 'a clean bill of health'(I would never do that to any multinational, especially one that dealt with oil...)

Is this cite better? Or this? Or this?

I'm sorry you didn't appreciate the WorldDayNewsly cite, but the statement that "U.N. officials have become vampire-like in their fear of the light of truth" was just too good to pass up. Har.

fdl, weren't the UN "administrators" charged with administrating the UN's OFF program? And isn't that where the alleged fraud occurred? I don't think anyone's alleging that the ambassadors were getting kickbacks or oil vouchers -- the charges are in the area of administrative oversight, fraudulent or botched audits, fixed deals and the like. With few exceptions, the names showing up on lists of those ostensibly benefitting from the scheme are private corporations and banks (George Galloway and Megawati Sukarnoputri being two notable exceptions).

Sorry, tomsyl but the first two cites are drawn from the Sunday Times article. {insert snark here}. The Wapo article is about Samir Vincent and if you want a cite for Samir, this might be more appropriate, but I thought the request was about Kojo Annan. However, if your desire to cite is driven by the fact that a piece has a good one-liner in it, well, I see where you are coming from.

For those of you looking for a little light relief, check out WorldnetDaily's advertisement for ENEMIES WITHIN (all caps are theirs)

How can you "fuel global chaos"? By spraying gasoline randomly up in the air?

Someone forgot to oil the metaphor machine.

I guess by being a "global criminal enterprise determined to shift power away from individuals and sovereign nation-states to a small band of unaccountable international elites." That dang United Nations...

Someone forgot to oil the metaphor machine.

I don't know, the writers seemed well lubed to me ....

I would be carefull with wat I said about Galloway Tomsyl, unless you have a lot of money spare.

And the UN administrators had alerted people a lot, and for years, about kickbacks and such. But the decisions about what to investigate and what to change were for a big part made elsewhere. Have you read *any* of the UN documents I linked to??

Sebastian: Though I would prefer to simply withdraw at this point.

I wasn't aware you were a member.

DutchMarbel: Have you read *any* of the UN documents I linked to??

I suspect they haven't: after all, what good are facts?

The two links (I am an optimist Jes ;-) ) about Galloway I referred to are here and here.

For those not inclined to following links (I guess I am ap pragmatist too ;-) ): they link to two seperate articles about two seperate libel court cases George Galloway one. One against a UK newspaper:

MP George Galloway has won £150,000 in libel damages from the Daily Telegraph over claims he received money from Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

And one against an American newspaper:

MP George Galloway has accepted damages and a public apology over an American newspaper article that alleged he accepted money from Saddam Hussein.

Mr Galloway, expelled by Labour for his stance on the Iraq war, said he had been "completely vindicated".

The Christian Science Monitor admitted a set of documents upon which it based its story were "almost certainly" fake.

A warning, dutchmarbel: IIRC, the case against Galloway had no finding of fact in it whatsoever, despite his claims. The only question that was asked was whether the Telegraph had the right to print what they did based on the breadth and reliability of their sources. He could be as guilty as sin for all the court case cared; the point was that the Telegraph lacked the grounding to claim that in a public forum.

anarch: I know (it's kind of a CBS analogy isn't it ;-) ?). Frankly, I don't like the guy overly much, he is to biased in his own way of thinking for me. But opinions about the validity of the documents vary widely.

Neil Darbyshire, the newspaper's executive editor, said questions arising from the Iraqi documents still needed to be answered by the commissioner. "It has never been the Telegraph's case to suggest that the allegations contained in these documents are true," he said outside court on Thursday. "These documents were published by us because their contents raised some very serious questions at a crucial stage in the war against Iraq. "The Telegraph did not and could not perform a detailed investigation into their contents."

There might be truth in it, it might be part of a smear campaign: I don't know. I *do* know that so far none of the accusations about his profiting from Iraq could be proven and most are disproven.

dutchmarbel, I assuming you're joking when you suggest I should be afraid of being sued by George Galloway for saying that he's a crook. Has he sued the WSJ yet? You might want to be careful who you defend. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

As to the Telegraph article, maybe the documents they relied on were fake but accurate. Har.

Tomsyl you are linking to an extensive opinion piece in the WSJ that has exactly *one* sentence about Galloway:

The list, compiled in Arabic from documents uncovered in Iraq's oil ministry, included many of Saddam's nearest and dearest from some 50 countries, including the PLO, pro-Saddam British MP George Galloway, and French politician Charles Pasqua. (Messrs. Galloway and Pasqua have denied receiving anything from Saddam.)

AFAIK that the documents upon which the al Madi list were based have never been seen by anybody but Chellabi and his associates. Wasn't all information about them mysteriously hacked from one of the associates computers, including the info on the backup files?

The bit about sueing was a little snark; unless you have a lot more influence and money than I assume you have it would not really be cost-effective anyway I assume. However Galloway *has* sued over those allogations and won.

My comment was not intended as a defence for Galloway in particular (as said before, I am no fan of his) but to show that your data and allogations are unfounded and/or unproven.

dutchmarbel, I have no money and less influence. But I despair -- now there are reports that Paul Volker failed to disclose connections to Banc Paribas before he took the job, problems that may compromise the credibility of the report that I naively hoped would be the last word on the subject.

Agreed with the particulars of your post. Cheers.

tomsyl:
dutchmarbel, I have no money and less influence.

Join the club. Crowded, but with lots of good company ;-)

But I despair -- now there are reports that Paul Volker failed to disclose connections to Banc Paribas before he took the job, problems that may compromise the credibility of the report that I naively hoped would be the last word on the subject.

If I google Volcker and Banc Paribas I only find this column by Ian Williams and I have sincere doubts that that is what you mean ;-)

Are you referring to the story Heritage came up with? Does not strike me as something that seriously undermines Volckers credibility so far, to be honest. As we Dutch say: "If you really want you can always find a stick to hit the dog with" so people who do not like the outcome of the report will always try to find justifications.

Actually I was referring to the facts mentioned in this article's fifth paragraph.

Ah. The NBC reporter sounds pretty stupid from the article - but the article is hardly objective in tone, so I have difficulty judging it.

The story about Volcker is the same as I mentioned (see my Heritage link).

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