Precinct 333

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Oil-For-Palaces Enablers

Guess which three nations kept the UN's Oil-for-Food program from being effectively monitored. France, Russia, and China.
In a briefing paper given yesterday to members of the House subcommittee investigating the program, the investigators said their review of the minutes of a United Nations Security Council subcommittee meeting showed that the three nations "continually refused to support the U.S. and U.K. efforts to maintain the integrity" of the program.

What's more, the UN wasn't even willing to really look too closely at what happened to the money from oil sales permitted under the program.
The paper also accuses the United Nations office charged with overseeing the program of having "pressed" contractors not to rigorously inspect Iraqi oil being sold and the foreign goods being bought. The program office, headed by Benan Sevan, who is also under investigation by a committee appointed by the United Nations, turned a blind eye to corruption charges, the paper says, because it apparently saw oil-for-food "strictly as a humanitarian program."

The program operated in such a way as to make it a perfect breeding ground for corruption -- and the extent of the problem is not fully known due to US stonewalling of investigations.
The paper concludes that the program's greatest weakness was a lack of transparency. "Most transactions involving the program were done behind closed doors or sometimes illicitly," it states. The lists of oil purchasers and aid providers were not known. The United Nations internal audits continue to be withheld from United Nations members and the public.

Maybe rather than having US military and foreign policy "pass the global test" like John Kerry wants, the United States should insist that all UN actions pass the United States' test! Yet one more reason to support the president's reelection.


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