Hidden Nook

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Monday, January 10, 2005



Why am I angry with the U.N.?


[Media Source*]

It isn't the opposition to the war in Iraq nor the lack of confidence in dealing with regime's violating international law. It is the U.N.'s arrogance that I loathe. They have a pride about themselves that puts them "above" accountability which ultimately is their downfall. The Oil-for-Food program is only the latest example, and the "secular pope" (aka Kofi Annan) may be able to stay in office, but he will have little respect as a leader. Major reform within the U.N. is evident to all but the blind, and unless a major "purging" happens inside the international bureaucracy, they will become as effective as the dinosaurs in dealing with current world events.


Kofi Annan

Photo from Prensa.com


It seems that their is talk that Kofi might go. Although our friends the Brit's support him, time may not be in his favor. The Oil-for-Food program is rocking his world, as the new reports from Volcker's investigation are showing (and being reported by the media).
In April Mr Annan set up a committee chaired by Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, to investigate the UN's performance.

This has now pinned a large dose of responsibility at the secretary-general's door by releasing 58 reports by the UN's auditors who identified a litany of misused funds. Much more seriously, the committee says these checks only dealt with "peripheral" aspects of the programme.

The vital core functions were ignored: the performance of UN headquarters was not audited, and there were no checks of Iraq's contracts to sell oil and buy humanitarian supplies. It is from these contracts that Iraq was able to skim off hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of illegal funds.

The committee implies that this was a failure by the UN bureaucracy, and therefore of Mr Annan. It now remains to be seen whether the Volcker committee, which is due to release a fuller interim report later this month, finds that UN officials were corrupt as well as incompetent.

Between 1997 and 2002, the UN oversaw the export of about $65 billion worth of Iraqi oil and the import of $46 billion worth of humanitarian and other civilian supplies.

In the same period, the US General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates, Saddam earned about $10 billion in illegal revenues. Only a fraction - $1.7 billion - was skimmed off the oil-for-food programme, while the rest was raised by oil smuggling or oil sales to neighboring countries.

The dumbest part about this is that these fraudulent behaviors could have been contained and/or scaled back if the U.N. had simply used proper scrutiny. This makes me sick to see U.S. tax dollars supporting an organization that is producing little "fruit" in the world. As much as I would like to see the U.S. leave this organization, that would not solve the issue. Rather, this reflects that we need to get involved more inside of the U.N. in order to establish proper guidelines. But as for the leadership inside, a purging needs to be in order. Selah.



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By Darnell Clayton • 10:45 PM • Email Post • •

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