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Friday, October 28, 2005

UN: Oil-for-Food program

UN Investigation Details Kickbacks Paid for Iraq's Oil.
Paul Volcker presenting the results found by the Independent Inquiry Committee investigating the United Nations oil-for-food program.

There was a pretty meaningful article on the front page of the New York Times today. I won't post all of it... But you can view it here.

UN Investigation Details Kickbacks Paid for Iraq's Oil.

More than 4,700 companies took part in the United Nations oil-for-food program and more than half of them paid illegal surcharges and kickbacks to Saddam Hussein.
The country with the most companies involved in the program was Russia, followed by France...
"Even though we are looking at it from the outside, it kind of screams out at you, 'Why didn't somebody blow a whistle?' The central point is that it all adds up to the same story. You need some pretty thoroughgoing reforms at the U.N."
Mr. Hussein received $1.8 billion in illicit income from surcharges and kickbacks on the sales of oil and humanitarian goods during 1996-2003.
Earlier Volcker committee reports summarizing the year and a half of inquiries have examined the activities of the United Nations, finding the institution's management inept and corrupt, and providing evidence that the program's former director, Benon V. Sevan, received kickbacks. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Mr. Volcker noted that in the years immediately preceding the program, smuggling of Iraqi oil in much larger amounts had been going on for years to the benefit of the economies of American allies, including Jordan and Turkey. In his last report, Mr. Volcker said this smuggling amounted to $10.99 billion.
All the companies named have been notified, and many have replied... ..."The responses range from absolute denial to complete admittance,"

Yesterday in the NY Times, they had a "Roster of the Dead." It had thumbnail sized images of all the fallen American servicemen since the start of the Iraqi conflict. The reason they focused on it is because over the weekend we eclisped over 2,000 dead. I was going to post about it yesterday... But if all I ever post about is the news... Then... I get depressed. The roster was 4 full pages in the actual paper.


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