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3.29.2004

Maybe the US wasn't starving hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children after all 

We all remember the evening news spots on the thousands of Iraqi children who were undernourished and undermedicated because the US persuaded the UN to slap trade sanctions on Saddam Hussein's Iraq during the 1990s.

Well, a different story is emerging:



Never has there been a financial rip-off of the magnitude of the U.N. oil-for-food scandal.

At least $5 billion in kickbacks went from corrupt contractors — mainly French and Russian — into the pockets of Saddam and his thugs. Some went to pay off his protectors in foreign governments and media, and we may soon see how much stuck to the fingers of U.N. bureaucrats as well.

Responding to a harangue in this space on March 17, the spokesman for Kofi Annan confirmed that the secretary general's soft-spoken son, Kojo, was on the payroll of Cotecna Inspections of Switzerland until December 1998. In that very month, the U.N. awarded Cotecna the contract to monitor and authenticate the goods shipped to Iraq.

Prices were inflated to allow for 10 percent kickbacks, and the goods were often shoddy and unusable. As the lax Cotecna made a lot of corporate friends, Iraqi children suffered from rotted food and diluted medicines.

The U.N. press agent also revealed that Benon Sevan, Annan's longtime right-hand man in charge of the flow of billions, was advised by U.N. lawyers that the names of companies receiving the contracts were "privileged commercial information, which could not be made public." Mr. Sevan had stonewalling help.

To shift responsibility for the see-no-evil oversight, the U.N. spokesman noted that "details of all contracts were made available to the governments of all 15 Security Council members." All the details, including the regular 10 percent kickback to the tune of $5 billion in illegal surcharges? We'll see.



I can understand why liberals and leftists don't trust our federal government (even if I don't fully agree). I don't understand at all why the UN and its associated member states are such an authority in their eyes though.

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