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Monthly Archives: December 2006

The UN: Saddam’s Friend to the End

December 30th, 2006 - 1:28 am

Just what part of mass-murdering war-mongering terrorist-backing tyrant do the United Nations top brass not understand? Not only did the UN collaborate with Saddam, enrich itself off Saddam, and object to the overthrow of Saddam, but during Saddam’s final hours, up piped one of Kofi Annan’s appointees, the UN’s so-called High Commissioner for Human Rights (yes, that really is her title), Louise Arbour, doing her bit to the bitter end to raise doubts about Saddam’s trial and postpone his execution. Shortly before Saddam’s hanging, Arbour was hustling out a statement demanding that Saddam be kept around until, by Arbour’s standards, he had exhausted every possible avenue for leniency or amnesty.

The way the UN Human Rights gang has been going, maybe they hoped to sign on an amnestied Saddam as a special rapporteur on internally displaced ex-tyrants. Arbour’s protest comes from the same UN culture that had Libya in 2003 chairing the Human Rights Commission, and then “reformed” the commission into the current Israel-fixated Human Rights Council, with seats for the likes of Algeria, China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. This is the same UN system whence Kofi Annan felt free to call the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam “illegal,” but never applied that word to the activities of Saddam himself — or to his own secretariat’s strange and troubling (but lucrative) Oil-for-Food business partnership with this monster.

Saddam’s hanging was not only justice done; it was long overdue.

Fiddling While Iran Builds the Bomb

December 27th, 2006 - 1:13 am

It’s time to open an office pool on how many failed resolutions the UN will produce before Iran, on an industrial scale, gets the bomb. We’ve already had a UN resolution with an August 31 deadline — utterly ignored — for Iran to stop enriching uranium (according to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kofi Annan himself told the Iranians not to worry about it). This past weekend we got UN sanctions-lite, watered down to please Russia and China even before they are further filtered through an opaque and corrupt UN system. Iran responded by promising to fire up a whole new set of centrifuges and run them at top speed. Iran’s rulers have learned that the UN is, in effect, on their side — providing a Security Council stacked with their business partners and pals, a stage to dignify their propaganda, and a forum that protects them from surprise attack by requiring months, even years of debate, before even the weakest decisions can be reached.

If the UN were serious about stopping Iran’s nuclear-bomb program, then Iran’s swaggering abuses of recent times would have had members of the UN Security Council, seconded by Annan, calling, pleading, begging for the U.S., with its precision capabilities, to lead a bombing raid on Iranian targets dear to the hearts of the terrorist-spawning totalitarian ayatollahs and their globe-trotting totem, Ahmadinejad. Even if it’s impossible to track down every iota of Iran’s sprawling nuclear program, it ought to be at least feasible to target the known nuclear-related installations, assorted crucial ministries, and enough in the way of Iran’s oil-export and gasoline-import facilities to give Ahmadinejad & Co. a deadly serious message of disapproval, backed by a large repair bill — costing not only money, but the precious element of time. That would be far more fool-proof, not to mention bribe-proof, than anything that goes under the name of UN sanctions. As a by-product, it would introduce a note of sobriety in Tehran, and neighboring Damascus, that would do more than all the Iraq Study Groups in creation to help quell the Syrian- and Iranian-backed violence in Iraq. It would cut down on the available resources now flowing from Iran to assist Hezbollah’s terrorist takeover of Lebanon. And watching Ahmadinejad and his cohorts pick through a Bushehr reactor reduced to rubble might even inspire North Korea’s Kim Jong Il to re-think the wisdom of acting as the nuclear pace-setter of rogue regimes.

Instead, the UN is now providing our own administration with an excuse and an avenue to delay and dither while terrorist-sponsoring Iran, one of the world’s most dangerous regimes, arms itself — to borrow President Bush’s phrase — with the world’s deadliest weapons. My colleague at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Andy McCarthy, has an excellent piece about this on NRO.

A few months ago, I wrote an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, arguing that UN sanctions will not stop Iran. A UN resolution or so later, one can update minor details. The basic case remains the same. Here’s the conclusion:

It is quite possible that–after years of delay and dithering by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, the European Union and the U.S. itself–there is no initiative that will by now stop Iran short of direct military force. But whatever the solution, it is clearly the U.S. that will have to do the bulk of the cajoling, prodding and backroom bargaining to put together any coalition both able and willing, in whatever way necessary, to get the job done. That is a challenge urgent and daunting enough, without trying to drag along the entire baggage of the U.N.

The entire article is here.

Winston Churchill’s Christmas Message

December 25th, 2006 - 7:37 pm

A merry Christmas. What better day to remember Winston Churchill’s 1941 Christmas visit to the White House, from which he broadcast to a nation at war a message linking peace with the unabashed defense of the Free World.

On his way out the door, Kofi Annan has signed new rules meant to curb corruption in UN procurement activities, which since the Feds began investigating last year have been sprouting indictments and guilty pleas pertaining to the abuse of enormous amounts of taxpayer money on Kofi’s watch. It’s thoughtful of Kofi to bequeath brand new rules to his successor, Ban Ki-moon, who takes charge Jan. 1. But this leaves the question of why Kofi, who worked in the UN system for more than four decades, and spent much of that time deep in the nitty-gritty of UN personnel and financial management, did not sign such a package of rules early in his decade as Secretary-General –back around the time that Kojo Annan in 1998 was making phone calls to staff in the UN procurement department.

For more on Kofi’s decade-long reign at the UN, my fellow Pajamas blogger, Victor Davis Hanson, has written a brilliant column on “Annanism,” over at NRO. This evening, I will be on the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Report on Fox TV, talking with editorial-page editor Paul Gigot about Annan’s legacy. And The New York Sun carried an editorial Friday, illuminating further the curious nature of the Annan family involvement over many years with a low-rent taxpayer-subsidized New York apartment.

Kofi’s evasions and derelictions can fill volumes — and in matters such as the multi-billion dollar Oil-for-Food scandal, some of them have. But let’s focus for a moment on two things easy for anyone to relate to: the car, and the apartment. The departing Kofi, who has refused to disclose his UN financial “disclosure” form to the public, has stonewalled to the end on what became of Kojo’s Mercedes, or the accompanying UN paperwork for the car — which was shipped into Ghana at a hefty savings in 1998 under false use of Kofi’s name and the UN seal; Kofi has also refused to explain how his old taxpayer-subsidized apartment in New York ended up in use over the past decade by the family of his brother, Kobina Annan –who has served for years as Ghana’s ambassador to Morocco. At a farewell press conference, asked how the apartment was transferred to Kobina’s family, Kofi replied: “I know that my spokesman answered the thing.” That is flat-out false. His spokesman in multiple rounds of email refused to answer any factual questions whatsoever about “the thing.” At his press conference Kofi went on to say he does not hold a lease on the apartment –which is not the point. The questions for Kofi are: who did hold the lease, who does now, how did well-paid Kofi and his wife — who are forever lecturing the U.S. on obligations to those less fortunate — justify their use of a low-rent NY state-subsidized apartment right up until he became Secretary-General in 1997, and how did the transfer of use to the family of his brother take place? At Kofi’s farewell press conference, devoted in the main to adulation from quarters such as Voice of America and a Saudi news agency, there were at least two reporters Kofi’s spokesman managed not to call on: myself, and the reporter whose questions about the Mercedes Kofi deflected last year with personal insult –James Bone of the London Times. We were there this time, and we tried. Apparently, in Kofi’s legacy, there is no room on such matters for straight answers.

More on Kofi’s Mystery Apartment

December 20th, 2006 - 12:54 pm

Following up on my article yesterday about the secrets of Kofi Annan’s old taxpayer-subsidized apartment on Roosevelt Island, now in use by the family of his brother, Kobina Annan (currently Ghana’s ambassador to Morocco), Michelle Malkin on Hot Air puts Kofi’s doings neatly in context as the subject of today’s Vent, where there is also a link to my Hot Air phone interview on the Annan scandals. Yet more on Kofi’s apartment by Paul Colford in today’s New York Daily News, and Benny Avni in The New York Sun. The American Thinker ponders the “Annanklatura,” and on NRO, Cliff May at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (where I am journalist-in-residence) makes an excellent point about “Kofi’s Crash Pad.”

Kofi Annan’s Mystery Apartment

December 19th, 2006 - 2:15 am

Kofi Annan has spent his long career in a series of increasingly well-paid UN posts, and his wife, Nane, is famously related to one of the wealthier families of Sweden. So perhaps they already owe New Yorkers an explanation of why, for years before Kofi became Secretary-General, they felt justified in hanging on to a New York low-rent apartment subsidized by New York taxpayers as part of a program meant to give low- to middle-income New York families a boost in life.

The bigger mystery, however, is that after Kofi and his wife moved into the rent-free official UN residence at the beginning of 1997, their old low-rent taxpayer-subsidized apartment appears to have been passed to the family of his brother, Kobina Annan — who for some years has been serving as Ghana’s ambassador to Morocco, complete with an official residency in Rabat. There may be a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this, but, as I note in an article in Tuesday’s New York Sun, it sure does raise a lot of questions. Why won’t Kofi answer them?

A PJ Media reader sends in the following item. Is it a spoof? You tell me:

Oil-for-Food-Denial Conference Opens in Iran
If there was a scandal…”

TEHRAN (OFF News) – March 15, 2007 – After three months of living “underground,” former Secretary-General Kofi Annan came to the surface and spoke in the Iranian capital city on Monday at the opening of a two-day conference questioning the existence of the UN Oil-For-Food scandal, a move that has sparked outrage among groups seeking to promote greater accountability of the world body.

One such group, Transparency Transnational, planned to counter the event with a teleconference showcasing evidence that the scandal had indeed occurred.

Senon Bevan, the Tehran conference’s rapporteur, told Iran’s state-run news agency, IRNA, that the international community would accept that the oil-for-food scandal occurred only if scholars attending the conference “could prove that officials formerly associated with the program had actually received payments in violation of UN rules and regulations.”

Officials with Transparency Transnational scoffed at Bevan’s statement, saying that such proof was impossible because prior to leaving office in December 2006, then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan ordered all documents obtained by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker to be collected by the United Nations and sealed in perpetuity at one of the world body’s archive facilities, maintained at an undisclosed location in a flood zone.

Speaking on the first day of the conference, Mr. Annan said that he does not deny that the program may have resulted in kickbacks and surcharges paid to the Saddam Hussein regime, but stated that allegations of complicity or profiting by former UN officials were propaganda by a vast right-wing conspiracy and without basis in fact.

Annan welcomed the conference, hosted by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to counter the media’s repeated assertion that the Oil-for-Food was the “biggest financial scandal in history.”

“If the Oil-for-Food scandal is a historical event, then is it not warranted to be looked into and researched?” Annan asked rhetorically. “That’s why we are here today.”

Because of the negative reactions to the nature of the conference, Iran has not announced the names of the participants. A source within the French embassy in Tehran did disclose, however, that the list would include a number of former UN staff members who worked under Kofi Annan and his predecessor, whoever-that-was, IRNA reported.

No one from the administration of current UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will attend the conference, which began at 9:30 a.m. (1 a.m. ET), a spokeswoman for Mr. Ban said.

Transparency Transnational announced on its Web site that it would convene a videoconference of 70 whistleblowers whose personal accounts of the Office of the Iraq Programme are intended to counter the Tehran conference.
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton, who will participate in the Transparency videoconference, rejected the Tehran conference as one of several attempts by Annan and his associates to deny the existence of the scandal.
“This is an outrage, an insult to humanity, that the former Secretary-General could stoop so low as to deny the greatest financial scandal in the history of civilization,” Bolton said.

“That is why we gathered together whistleblowers who will counter these revisionist claims by giving first-hand accounts of what they actually experienced and witnessed.”

Although President Ahmadinejad would not release a full list of participants, sources close to the Iranian President hinted that while the invitees have been culled to exclude anyone from the American heartland, there will be a warm welcome for ivy league scholars, former UN special advisers, French ambassadors, and of course the conference organizers extend their special greetings to Her Excellency the former US ambassador during the establishment of the Oil-for-Food Programme.

And Over at the UN, the Good News Is…

December 14th, 2006 - 2:14 pm

… that the new UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, speaks bad French. Ban doesn’t officially take charge for two more weeks, but at a press conference just after his swearing-in, he was immediately confronted with some of the burning issues at the UN, including a reporter’s query, in French, about why French in all its growing obscurity remains the second official working language of the UN. To understand and provide a suitably evasive answer, Ban had to default to English. How wonderfully unfashionable! How pleasantly un-Kofi-like! (Not that Kofi’s French was all that good, but he had those trademark platitudes down pat). Of course, because Ban is taking over the throne of a $20 billion system of global patronage and pork-barrel spending, he could probably confine himself to Pig-Latin and still become the toast of the same well-decked dinner tables that over the past 10 years have so reverently hosted ofi-Kay nan-Nay (or is that “nnan-Ay?” — any pig-Latin experts out there — how do you translate “Annan?”)

The other piece of good news — one can always hope — is that Ban says he is still reviewing “all contracts” for Kofi’s battalions of Under-Secretaries and Assistant-Secretaries, and won’t be making decisions until Kofi’s out of the building. If he’s smart, he’ll have them all out on the street and be counting the UN silverware by noon on New Year’s Day.

Apart from that, the events surrounding Ban’s swearing-in this morning, starting with a General Assembly tribute to Kofi Annan that went on for almost two hours, including homage from Cuba (speaking for the the Non-Aligned Movement), had all the integrity of Andropov’s 1982 funeral oration for Brezhnev (remember them?).

Some of the words used in tribute to Kofi this morning: “far-reaching reform” “exemplary” “outstanding” “inspirational dignity” …

Some words not mentioned in the homage to Kofi: bribery, graft, corruption, Oil-for-Food, procurement, hypocrisy, genocide, cover-up, moral bankruptcy, Mercedes…

The Speech Kofi Did Not Make

December 12th, 2006 - 11:32 am

A link to my column today on NRO: The farewell speech I wish Kofi Annan had given.

Annan as the Next Jimmy Carter

December 11th, 2006 - 11:20 am

In a virtuoso display of the sleaze that has marked his tenure as UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan used his farewell speech today at the Truman library to blast the Bush administration, this performance accompanied by a Washington Post Op-ed this morning that boils down to — guess what? — blasting the Bush administration. At Captain’s Quarter’s Ed Morrissey writes, “Come on, WaPo — level with us. Claudia Rosett wrote this as a spoof, right?”

If only it were that benign. One has to wonder if there is more going on here than simply Annan’s trademark mix of hypocrisy and moral vertigo. Annan has been hinting at plans after he leaves office at the end of this month to launch his own foundation (this was the justification with which he tried to pocket $500,000 in personal prize money earlier this year, from the ruler of Dubai). Annan’s farewell slam of Bush amounts to an open invitation to any number of Annan’s favorite left-wing tycoons, such as George Soros and Ted Turner, to donate whopping sums of money to the post-UN ventures of the self-styled “chief diplomat of the world,” as Annan has described his job. Were there swift justice in the world, Annan would now stop his meddling in U.S. politics and retire to Ghana to nurse a nose grown longer than Pinnochio’s. Instead, brace yourself, we are witnessing the birth of Annan, elder statesman, the next Jimmy Carter of the international set.