Saturday, October 02, 2004

NY Times reports France, Russia and China involved in subverting the UN Oil for Food Program.

Read here:

Here is a sample of the article:

The paper suggests that France, Russia and China blocked inquiries into Iraq's manipulation of the program because their companies "had much to gain from maintaining'' the status quo. "Their businesses made billions of dollars through their involvement with the Hussein regime and O.F.F.P.," the document states, using the initials for the program. No officials of the three governments could be reached for comment.

The paper also accuses the United Nations office charged with overseeing the program of having "pressed" contractors not to rigorously inspect Iraqi oil being sold and the foreign goods being bought. The program office, headed by Benan Sevan, who is also under investigation by a committee appointed by the United Nations, turned a blind eye to corruption charges, the paper says, because it apparently saw oil-for-food "strictly as a humanitarian program."

Representative Christopher Shays, the Connecticut Republican who chairs the subcommittee, said in an interview that there was no doubt that the abuses were systemic and that blame for the widespread corruption must be shared by Security Council members, the United Nations office that administered the program, and the contractors hired by the United Nations to inspect Iraq's oil exports and aid purchases.

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