POLITICS: U.N. Oil For Food Scandal Grows. Possibly the Largest in Human History.

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posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 09:07 AM
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The "Oil for Food" program that the United Nations started in 1996 to help the citizens of Iraq, is turning out to be the largest scandal in human history. Under the program, Iraq was allowed to sell oil for purchasing food and medical supplies for Iraqi people in general. The first major flag that comes up is the fact the U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan, appointed a Swiss company that his son was a consultant at, a contract to review what was shipped to Iraq. No one brought up this huge conflict of interest. The Oil for Food program became a cash cow for the U.N. who received 2.2% commission on every barrel of oil sold, which accounts for over $1 billion dollars in revenue. French and Russian companies were also profiting in the amounts of $3.7 billion and $7.3 billion respectively. No wonder these countries vetoed every decision to take Saddam out of power. George Bush should rename the "coalition of the willing", to the "coalition of the honest."
 

Heritage.org
There is mounting evidence that the United Nations Oil-for-Food program, originally conceived as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, was subverted by Saddam Hussein's regime and manipulated to help prop up the Iraqi dictator.

Saddam's dictatorship was able to siphon off an estimated $10 billion from the Oil-for-Food program through oil smuggling and systematic thievery, by demanding illegal payments from companies buying Iraqi oil, and through kickbacks from those selling goods to Iraq--all under the noses of U.N. bureaucrats.

The members of the U.N. staff administering the program have been accused of gross incompetence, mismanagement, and possible complicity with the Iraqi regime in perpetrating the biggest scandal in U.N. history.

Read the full article from heritage.org. (A must read)

In keeping with the conflict of interest theme, the U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has handpicked a team of U.N. members to investigate the Oil for Food program. This is illogical in the same manner that a bank cannot audit itself. This decision is a laughable as George Bush handpicking the 9/11 Commission. An independent team that has no personal interest or involvement in the U.N. must be used to make an unbiased decision.

Who benefited from the illegal sales and trading of oil under this program, and how? The list includes a number of high ranking politicians and officials such as former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, and U.N. Assistant Secretary General Benon V. Sevan, executive director of the Oil-for-Food program. Sevan denied any wrongdoing, has taken an extended vacation, and has decided to retire from the U.N. this month. The list of names goes on to include 46 Russian, and 11 French names of individuals who benefited from the program. Saddam was smuggling oil through a pipeline to Syria, where the oil was sold to companies at below market value. Saddam then demanded kickbacks from these companies to keep the cheap oil flowing.

The political and military ties between Baghdad, Paris, and Moscow were extensive. Russia is believed to have sold weapons and arms to Iraq right up until a week before the war started. Documents found in Baghdad show that Paris shared sensitive information from talks with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and President George W. Bush with the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

President George W. Bush was correct in saying that the U.N. risked becoming irrelevant as a decision-making authority. As more and more evidence comes to light, it will be clear that the U.S., Britain, and their allies in ousting Saddam, were the most honest members of the world community. Now the U.N. wants a larger role in the restructuring of Iraq, but can they be trusted to make honest decisions. Information in today's New York Post reads," The vast majority of the United Nations' oil-for-food contracts in Iraq have mysteriously vanished, crippling investigators trying to uncover fraud in the program, a government report charged yesterday." Unless the U.N. is reformed, it appears to have lost most if its credibility, and influence.


Additional Information:
U.N. OIL PAPERS VANISH
UN chief hits out at fraud claims
How to Buy a French Veto
GAO denied access to oil-for-food audits
Kerry and Kofi's scandal

Related ATS Discussions:
Anti-war nations 'took bribes' before war began.


[Edited on 30-4-2004 by dbates]




posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 09:40 AM
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I dont understand why you cant trade oil for food.

If you have oil and you need food. WTF who cares.


Can someone explain to me why its wrong?



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 09:54 AM
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Originally posted by SpittinCobra
I dont understand why you cant trade oil for food.

If you have oil and you need food. WTF who cares.
Can someone explain to me why its wrong?

The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait. These sanctions were to make it harder for Iraq to buy weapons. In order for the Iraqi people to get supplies the U.N. set up the Oil For Food program.

Under this program Iraq was to sell oil through the U.N. and the money would stay in a safe account. This money was to only be spent on U.N. approved items such as food, medicine, ect. The U.N. set up the bank accounts, and monitored the entire operation, including the amount of oil sold. (Remember, the whole idea was to keep Saddam from having the money to buy more weapons.)

What ended up happening is that Saddam sold more than he was supposed to sell. To encourage companies to buy this illegal amount of oil, Saddam sold it at lower than market value. The companies could then turn around and resell the oil at market value and make a nice profit. In return Saddam asked for large kick backs from these companies. The amount we are talking about here is tens of billions of dollars. Not small change.

The biggest problem is that the sale and profit of this oil was tied to major political parties and members, who made large amounts of money themselves.

A case comparison would be if you were in charge of this program, and you made your son's company in charge of giving the ok on all sales and transactions. Then you put your best friend in charge of the entire operation. Your circle of friends would grow and grow as the money poured in. Meanwhile you and your friends are pocketing billions of dollars that belongs to the Iraqi people who are dying from food shortages, and lack of medical supples. If they had been given this money, there would have been no shortages at all. Its amazing what you can buy for a few billion dollars.

If you believe that stealing all the goverment assistance money from all the poor and homeless in England is cool. And you don't mind watching them die from starvation, and diesase. Then you would have no problem with the whole idea. Of course then you would be a ruthless dictator, or politician.

[Edited on 29-4-2004 by dbates]



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 09:56 AM
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Thanks Dbates, I was missing the Gun parts, of the story. I was tring to see the wrong in oil for food. It should say oil for food and guns. Thanks alot.



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 10:00 AM
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Originally posted by SpittinCobra
Thanks Dbates, I was missing the Gun parts, of the story. I was tring to see the wrong in oil for food. It should say oil for food and guns. Thanks alot.

Well said, but the actual name reflects the "intended" purpose of the program. To buy food from oil sales.



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 10:03 AM
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Originally posted by SpittinCobra
I dont understand why you cant trade oil for food.

If you have oil and you need food. WTF who cares.


Can someone explain to me why its wrong?

There's nothing wrong with fair trade. It's the people that handle the trade that are the disease plaguing our world. IMO, if terrorists can help get rid of them, more power to them. Unfortunately, it's about as tough to target them, specifically, as it is for us to target terrorists, specifically. It's the most elite against the least elite, is it not?


dom

posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 10:04 AM
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I think that's slightly revisionist. The oil-for-food programme seemed to run relatively well. There were some issues with distribution that I'm aware of, but nothing too sinister.

The seperate issue that seems to be popping up is that Iraq was also selling oil illicitly OUTSIDE of this programme. This was against the terms of the cease-fire agreement and this money was used for lining the bank accounts of significant political people, buying arms, etc.

However, that money was all outside of the UN oil-for-food programme, so it's silly to say that it's the UN's fault.

Note that at the time this was happening, Turkey (where the oil was smuggled) was the US's second biggest target country for military aid. If the US was keen on stopping the illegal flow of oil they'd have been in an ideal position to influence the country most likely to prevent the smuggling.



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 10:16 AM
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Large portions of the oil was smuggled out through a pipleline in Syria as well. The strange part is how Kofi Annan appointed his son's company a contract to oversee the pruchases. And Annan appointed his buddy U.N. Assistant Secretary General Benon V. Sevan to oversee the entire operation. By the way Sevan is on an "extended vacation" and has announced he will retire at the end of this month.

Iraq effectivly had two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council in their pocket. The main issue here is, is the U.N. an unbiased world decision making body, or is it a money gathering organization that helps to enrich its member states?

Now Annan has hand picked U.N. staff members to investigate the U.N.
How does any of this make sense?


[Edited on 29-4-2004 by dbates]


dom

posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 10:26 AM
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I don't think it's particularly strange that members of the UN were asked to manage the UN's oil for food programme... Kofi Annan's son being involved in it is slightly more fishy. But that's still independent of Iraqi oil smuggling.

I do agree with your latter point though, it'd be better to have an external independent investigation.



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 10:42 AM
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Originally posted by dom
I don't think it's particularly strange that members of the UN were asked to manage the UN's oil for food programme... Kofi Annan's son being involved in it is slightly more fishy.


No it's not strange. But we have a right to expect that it will be done with integrity and honesty. This is the problem many of us have with the UN. A lack of credibility!


dom

posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 11:15 AM
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The same problem most people have with US foreign policy.



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 12:54 PM
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There were rumors of this scandal even before the war started. Included with it were reports of Russian arms being smuggled into Iraq (supposedly paid for with the oil). Not suprisingly, there had been numerous reports throughout the war of relatively new Russian arms being used by Iraqi forces.

Unfortunately, it seems that where aid is provided with the intent of it benefitting humanitarian needs, that aid finds it's way into the wrong hands more often than not.



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 02:33 PM
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Yet another report of Russian weapons likely bought with that money..

"U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of military operation, said a U.S. military raid netted a range of Soviet-origin anti-aircraft missiles. He said they included the SA-16 and SA-14 missiles."

U.S. confirms insurgents have SA-16 anti-aircraft missile (Thursday, April 29, 2004) www.worldtribune.com...

[Edited on 29-4-2004 by Outland]



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 02:53 PM
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Originally posted by dom
The same problem most people have with US foreign policy.


thats not the point, we're talking about the U.N, are you trying to justify their illegal actions that probably killed many iraqi civilians from the lack of food and medical supplies? i bet more died from this than anything the U.S has done the past 13 years.



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 03:56 PM
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Heck. I've been posting about the Oil for Food fiasco and the ties to France and Russia on ATS for over a year now.

I've pointed out before that I believed that this was the reason why Moscow and Paris were so loathe to get involved in the Iraq conflict.

The whole system was open to abuse as soon as it was set up. The UN knew that this was going on but it was too much money for them to turn away. The whole reason that the US and the UK stood alone on the Security Council was becaue the other members knew that if they could get the coalition to stand down, the gravy train would keep on running. The invasion of Iraq hit them right where it hurts - in their pocket.

Don't look for moral reasons why the UN didn't back the US on Iraq. The whole reason they stood back was because they were making so much money from Saddam's regime. Money that was sorely needed by an organisation up to it's neck in debt and in dire danger of losing it's reputation as an International power.



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 09:51 PM
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POSSIBLY THE LARGEST IN HUMAN HISTORY. Sorry. I just like saying that.


ME

posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 11:47 PM
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I have read thru' this thread and its seems to boil down to one thing . . .oil. Right?

Who, err, what country uses all/most of the oil?

Ahh, The U.S.! . . . So where is the problem? . . . US/ and the U.S.



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 11:51 PM
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You obviously did not read it very well, cause what was exposed was that the UN, as well as countless other nation's, were seemingly more interested in the oil and the money being reaped from it, than what has been implied against the US since day one.


seekerof



posted on Apr, 30 2004 @ 12:48 AM
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I don't see what the problem is . The amount of questionable deals is mere drop in the bucket.

Do we really believe the oil giants got to where they are by fair trade


Americans are only pissed cause they didn't get a piece of the action


For god sake look at the source
If Rush Limbaugh endorces them you know its got to be ultra right wing rubbish.



posted on Apr, 30 2004 @ 12:54 AM
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Leveller, the reason nothing has happened, and the reason nothing will happen, is that the ultra-righteous "International Community" only knows how to bitch about the conduct of the United States and Israel. It is clearly more important to complain about the US overthrowing Saddam than it is to complain about the fact that hundreds of Iraqi kids probably went hungry so some fat French and Russian bigwigs could drive Mercedes and Bentleys. But yeah... being that the top crook assigned the investigators, not a damn thing will happen. Just watch.



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