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Kofi Annan's Problem Child

The new report on the UN oil-for-food program is expected to focus on Kofi Annan and his son Kojo. The hint of impropriety, having long been established, now awaits only some shred of damning evidence. Financial Times in on the case:

Kojo Annan, son of Kofi Annan, United Nations secretary-general, received at least $300,000 from Cotecna, a Swiss inspection company awarded a contract ultimately worth about $60m under the Iraqi oil-for-food contract.

The discovery, in a joint investigation by Il Sole 24 Ore, the Italian business daily, and the Financial Times, comes as the independent UN inquiry led by Paul Volcker into possible abuses within the oil-for-food programme prepares to publish a new report on this matter.

Its findings, expected next Tuesday, will address allegations that Kojo's family connections may have helped Cotecna obtain the UN contract.

But the FT/Il Sole investigation reveals that senior executives from Cotecna met Kofi Annan on various occasions once at his UN office.

Perhaps the Volcker report will clear Kofi Annan, perhaps it will highlight a money for influence operation, it's hard to predict. From all the details swirling around the pre-release of the report it sure looks like Kojo and Cotecna are setup to take a serious fall. Whether Kofi Annan survives the resulting scandal is up for debate - he's displayed Clintonian-skill at deploying his Teflon scandal shields to date...

Annan son received $300,000 payments [Financial Times]
U.N. to pay fees for oil-for-food ex-boss [CNN]


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Comments (15)

The right has taken a huge ... (Below threshold)

The right has taken a huge interest in the UN all of a sudden because of it's opposition to the warmongers.

While it does need reform, keep in mind we need reform at home as well. I think the scandals are valid, but they are essentially bright shiny objects, drawing attention away from these points: the sanctions and the oil-for-food program were very successful policies.


Spl... split-splutter...spl... (Below threshold)

Spl... split-splutter...sploof... oh, darn, there goes my coffee all over the keyboard.

Very successful for French,... (Below threshold)

Very successful for French, German and Russian businessmen, not to mention all those palaces and arms Saddam bought. Throw in a sizable body count of pesky Iraqi dissidents and overall you have a very successful program, if your intention was to do everything but what you claimed to be trying to do to begin with. If you look at it from the viewpoint of the left I guess you can always go with the high point that at least the blue helmet wearing rape squads weren't able to rape half large numbers of iraqi children due to the fact they were pulled out because Iraq was too dangerous before the coalition ever invaded that's one for the plus column too. That freed the child molesters up to do their job in Sudan, the Congo, Haiti, Rwanda and just about every other place where the U.N. has run it's highly successful peacekeeping missions. Someone needs to remove the feeding tube from the U.N. It should have been done long ago.

We should just get rid of t... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

We should just get rid of the UN and deport all those beautocratic maggots in NY back to the shit holes they come from. They do nothing for us but want to steal our sovereignty and tax us to death.

Fuck the UN, and all their cronies like Kofi's son. Like father like son. Criminal parasites the lot of them.

The US shouldn't be in the business for bending over for the French, Pussy Spanish, Beef hating Japs, Germs or Ruskies! Or hell, even for those goddamn pussy Brits! We need to control our OWN destiny for a change.

I think conservatives shoul... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I think conservatives should pick up a new resonse to the anti war left who says "just think how many children you could feed with the money spent on war and defense."

We should just say "just think how many children you could feed, with all the money we give to the UN."

I am hard pressed to think of anything the UN does well enough to justify its existence. I say we put it down.

As for Kofi, I think he ends up surviving this, only because so many in the UN don't really care about the corruption.

To JP2:Success? H... (Below threshold)

To JP2:

Success? How do you measure success? Let me count the ways:

1) Saddam was able to sell all the oil he wanted, to almost anyone he wanted, although sometimes through murky third parties, like Marc Rich.

2) Saddam was able to use the proceeds, and kickback revenue, to buy almost everything he wanted, including rearming, support for terrorists, and lots of palaces.

3) The object of the OFF excercise - food and medicine for Iraqi Kids - was corrupted by substandard goods and expired medicine, for example, that allowed greater kickbacks. Almost nothing was spent on other things that would help kids, like infrastructure and schools.

4) Almost noone still thinks that the sanctions were "starving Iraqi kids" after noting the square-mile palaces, the rearming of the military almost to pre gulf war levels, and the stashes of cash. If Iraqi kids were starved it was not due to a lack of an OFF program it was because Saddam wanted it that way. He'd rather spend it on guns and palaces.

5) Some of the proceeds were used to purchase influence with Security Council members, and others, who helped circumvent the original intent of the sanctions after the gulf war, and to perpetuate the myth that these programs were all about kids. These same Security Council members also frustrated the purpose of the many UN resolutions.

So, if the sanctions did not stop Saddam from rearming, and the OFF program did not limit the oil sales to food and medicine, what then, did they accomplish?

Was Saddam "contained"?. Not unless you think those kids were eating AK-47s and army trucks.

It was obvious 8 years ago ... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

It was obvious 8 years ago that the UN Oil-for-Food program was a scam to enrich UN officials and heads of govt. of some Sec. Council members. After the revelations of the last three years the only folk that are now denying this are either themselves lying or are crazy.
The UN has been corrupt for 45 years. This is just the most recent example.

Here is how I define succes... (Below threshold)

Here is how I define success:

This is from the STATE DEPARTMENT.

"These international efforts, initiated by the United
States and administered by the U.N. under the Oil-for-Food Program, have prevented a potential humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq. Instead, basic humanitarian needs are being met in Iraq, and the quality of life has been improving since Iraq belatedly accepted the Oil-for-Food Program in 1996. Continuation of this trend is up to Baghdad, and its willingness to cooperate fully with the United Nations."

And the other program, sanctions, worked as well. There were no WMDs in Iraq. So, there you have it.

I know you hate the UN, and sometimes facts, but lets face it: the UN did a great job in Iraq. Let it swirl around for a while.


JP2 why don't you provide a... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

JP2 why don't you provide a link to the whole publication that paragraph came from?

Wow, those mass graves sure... (Below threshold)

Wow, those mass graves sure smack of "job well done", eh? What a rousing success!


Just me: sure, thought I di... (Below threshold)

Just me: sure, thought I did:


James: I usually don't respond to personal attacks, but my point was that both the sanctions and oil-for-food programs were successful. It "prevented a potential humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq" and clearly kept him from being a threat to anyone. (No WMDs)

And by the way, we are finding mass graves in Iraq that were dug post "Mission Accomplished."



Fee Fi Fo Fum, I'm feeling ... (Below threshold)

Fee Fi Fo Fum, I'm feeling hungry today, give me some more arrogant-ignorants-with-agendas to devour.

Here's a description of some of the 270 Oil-for-Food scandal recipients from a 5/3/04 article:

"Companies, politicians and pro-Saddam Hussein activists from countries that opposed the war in Iraq figure heavily in a list of about 270 recipients of suspected oil bribes from Iraq under the scandal-plagued United Nations oil-for-food program, investigators say...."

Further down, see mention of "Tlass" - another father and son team - currently involved in the power play in Syria.

More here: search "Tlass" on that page and you'll find a 1/30/04 partial list of Saddam's recipients of OFF money:

"Firas Mostafa Tlass, son of Syria's defense minister: 6 million."

At <a href="http://www.comm... (Below threshold)

At command-post.org":

1/8/04: Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction Are Being Hidden In Syria."
That article lists 3 exact locations where the WMD were hidden inside Syria - at Syrian air bases, some with underground tunnels, located around the city of Hims (also spelled Homs), halfway between Damascus and Aleppo.

Additional WMD locations under Syrian control (same pg at command-post.org):
8/26/03: "U.S suspects Iraqi WMD in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley"

"U.S. intelligence suspects Iraq's weapons of mass destruction have finally been located. Unfortunately, getting to them will be nearly impossible for the United States and its allies, because the containers with the strategic materials are not in Iraq. Instead they are located in Lebanon's heavily-fortified Bekaa Valley, swarming with Iranian and Syrian forces, and Hizbullah and ex-Iraqi agents…. U.S. intelligence first identified a stream of tractor-trailer trucks moving from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon in January 2003. The significance of this sighting did not register on the CIA at the time. U.S. intelligence sources believe the area contains extended-range Scud-based missiles and parts for chemical and biological warheads.

Mutually-lucrative Iraqi-Syrian arms transactions are nothing new. Firas Tlas, son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas, has been the key to Syria's rogue alliance with Iraq. He and Assad made hundreds of millions of dollars selling weapons, oil and drugs to and from Iraq, according to the May 13, 2003 edition of Geostrategy-Direct.com. The CIA now believes a multi-million dollar deal between Iraq and Syria provided for the hiding and safekeeping of Saddam's strategic weapons…."

And the Saddam/Syria mutual shipment society also went INTO Iraq:

"Western intelligence reports allege that several Syrian officials or their adult children were involved in shipments of tank engines, treads for armored personnel carriers, fuel pumps for missiles and other military equipment to Iraq.

One Syrian named in an intelligence report as a "key player" is Firas Tlass, head of MAS Economic Group, a business conglomerate based in Damascus...."

Remember Tlassie boy - the one who got $6 million in the UN's OFF bribe scandal?

Nevertheless, two programs ... (Below threshold)

Nevertheless, two programs that succeeded.

There is corruption in the UN - but closer to home we have lots of scandals just in this specific war. Missing billions of dollars, Halliburton overcharging not to mention torture. But Kofi Annan's son - that's a bigger problem? No, it's not, but it distracts people from the larger issues.


ROFWL... (Below threshold)







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