There’s Fox News, there’s the BBC
and the twain shall not meet.
Right after Kofi said that America and Britain were the most responsible for the Oil-For-Food program’s “shortcomings”, the Beeb’s evening TV news report was exactly echoing his words: America and Britain are to blame. The BBC interviewed at their studio Britain’s former representative to the UN who essentially said that after the UN sanctions were enacted, and the UN was unable to enforce them, it was up to the USA and the UK, not up to the UN, to stop the whole thing.
Which I ask, does that mean that it’s OK for the US and UK to act unilaterally? Because that’s what that gentleman was proposing: the UN messed up, and it’s up to the US and UK to clean up the UN’s messes. If it is, then let’s have the BBC spell it out. Of course they won’t, and of course they interviewed no one (in-studio or anywhere else) who would question Kofi’s motives.
Kofi had said that
He insisted that most of the illicit gains Saddam made under oil for food were not the fault of the United Nations but the result of oil smuggling that happened outside the program.
Deftly pre-emptying any complaints from Syria or Turkey, Kofi clarified that
Mr Annan partly excused the smuggling to Jordan and Turkey, accepting that countries not under sanctions had a right to be compensated for any loss of trading income.
The Beeb just took it one step further and had the US and UK responsible for the whole thing. It’s just a matter of reinforcing the double standard. Hardly surprising, since the Beeb has Annan cleared over oil-for-food. It must be official, then.
While the Beeb was shinning its own light on things, Fox News Channel had a report that emphasized the point made in yesterday’s NY Sun article, 2 U.N. Officials Alleged to Be Bribe Targets:
Turtle Bay officials, reporters, and observers scrambled to learn the identity of two U.N. officials and the son of one of them who were mentioned in a criminal complaint yesterday as part of an ongoing series of federal prosecutions related to the oil-for-food program
It’s possible that former U.N. secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali is involved in wrongdoing under the program. Additionally,
Mr. Vincent, according to the indictment, was the Iraqi liaison to former American officials who could help the Iraqi regime politically, and Mr. Park was the middleman responsible for relations with U.N. officials who began setting up the oil-for-food program.
The two, who had received millions of dollars from Iraq, including bags of cash delivered in diplomatic pouches, met in February 1993 with “U.N. Official #1” in that official’s Manhattan apartment, according to the complaint against Mr. Park. The complaint said Mr. Park suggested to the Iraqis that the figure of $10 million should “take care” of the U.N official.
“U.N. Official #2” was contacted at a Manhattan restaurant in 1997, at a meeting with Mr. Park, Mr. Vincent, and an unnamed Iraqi official. The U.N. official left the meeting early, and, afterward, Mr. Park told his Iraqi handlers that he had used $5 million to fund dealing with the U.N. official.
In 1997 or 1998,the complaint further alleges, Mr. Park told Mr. Vincent that on one of his trips to Baghdad, he had received $1 million for a Canadian company established by the son of “U.N. Official #2.” The money, he said, was later lost because the company failed.
In June 1993, Park, along with Samir Vincent (search), the Iraqi-American now co-operating with authorities, allegedly arranged a meeting in Geneva involving two Iraqi officials and a man identified in the federal complaint as “U.N. Official No. 1” to discuss the proposed oil sale program.
That meeting happened in the same month that then-U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali (search) was in Geneva, meeting Saddam’s deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz (search), to discuss Iraqi oil sales. The timing of those meetings is something investigators are looking at very closely.
Park was accused of telling a cooperating government witness in 1995 that he needed $10 million from Iraq to “take care” of his expenses and his people, which the witness believed meant “U.N. Official 1.”
In 1996, another high-ranking U.N. official attended a restaurant meeting with Park, an Iraqi official and the government witness. After “U.N. Official 2” left, Park claimed that he had used a $5 million guarantee from the Iraqi government to fund business dealings with the “U.N. Official 2,” court papers said.
Apparently Park’s in South Korea right now, but
“The Government of Iraq agreed to pay $5 million to the bank account designated by Park upon an agreement between Baghdad and the United Nations regarding Resolution 986, the resolution that set up Oil-for-Food,” reads the complaint.
“Under the second agreement drafted by CW-1, Samir Vincent, at the direction of Iraqi officials, the Government of Iraq agreed to pay $10 million into a bank account in the Channel Islands.”
When the full amounts weren’t paid, according to the complaint, Park complained to the Iraqi officials that, “he [Park] had used the $5 million guarantee from the Government of Iraq to fund business dealings with U.N. official No. 2.”
On Jan. 18, Vincent, 64, admitted to being an illegal agent of Saddam’s government.
The Oil-For-Food program ran from 1996 to 2003, giving bribery, sanctions busting, money laundering and fraud time to flourish.