Roger L. Simon

Oil-for-Food... What it's really about....

I don’t look at them much, but sometimes I see myself disparaged on liberalist blogs (I think that’s a better word than liberal, which doesn’t really apply) for my “obsession” with the Oil-for-Food scandal. What’s a little corruption, they seem to be asking (when they are not busy bashing me as an apostate)? After all, graft is pandemic. Why get so excited by one case? Well, the answer, my friends, is blowing in the London Timesonline today…

TWO former French ambassadors have admitted earning hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of oil that Iraq had assigned to them under the United Nations Oil-for-Food programme.

The disclosure tarnished France’s moral stand against the invasion of Iraq, and its Foreign Ministry scrambled to distance itself from the alleged illicit activities of Serge Boidevaix, a former director of the ministry, and of Jean-Bernard Mérimée, a former French Ambassador to the UN. Both are facing corruption charges.

Jean-Baptiste Mattei, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said: “There is no link . . . with the decision of France not to participate in the Iraq war. This stemmed from our concept of international law.”

Word that the two men had acknowledged payoffs from Baghdad has embarrassed the ministry, which fears that the actions of two retired diplomats will be used to discredit President Chirac’s opposition towards the invasion of Iraq.

Prosecution proceedings have been opened against both men on charges of influence peddling and corruptly acting for a foreign power. Le Monde reported that M Mérimée, 68, who served as UN Ambassador in the early 1990s, told Philippe Courroye, the investigating judge, that he had made $150,000 (£85,800) from two million barrels of oil that had been assigned to him in 2001.

Tariq Aziz, the former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, had given him the oil vouchers as thanks for his lobbying efforts on behalf of Iraq, Le Monde said. He was serving at the time as a special adviser to Kofi Annan, the UN SecretaryGeneral.

It’s not just about graft. It’s about the preservation of fascism for money. You down with that, liberalists? Think about it in your hearts. This isn’t about Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives and all the rest of that left-over Eighteenth Century sports terminology. This is about real human beings who were living in a country where the dictator tossed people in paper shredders while his minions bought him protection on the UN Security Council. No thriller writer could get away with a plot like that, but Saddam Hussein did… with the help of his buddies Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan.