March 29, 2004
BEYOND THE BLOGOSPHERE: William Safire writes: “Never has there been a financial rip-off of the magnitude of the U.N. oil-for-food scandal.”
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.
Funny, isn’t it, that while people were accusing the United States of starving Iraqi children, it was actually the U.N. that was doing it? “Funny,” that is, in the sense that the crimes and hypocrisies of the international political classes are peculiarly unnoted, not funny in the sense of actually amusing.
Meanwhile Roger Simon has more, and observes:
While the Congress is playing the blame game with their 9/11 hearings… telling us all what we already knew (that no one did much about terrorism before 9/11–duh!)… the real investigation is beginning on 44th Street with potential information that can tell us a hundred times more about the terror game… no make that a thousand times more… than the partisan sniping going on on (where else?) Capitol Hill.
Leave no stone unturned. Or un-flung, at guilty UN officials and their co-conspirators.