The following article comes to terms with why the US should disown the United Nations until, or if, it gets its moral act together. Until then there is no moral reasons why the US should not dictate to other countries and entities how they are to behave civily.
It would also not hurt if the Annan familyand their friends were all tried as the war criminals that they are. They should be brought to trial in the US.
Oops, there goes the UN's 'moral authority'
How many Annans does it take to change a light bulb? Well, if the replacement light bulb's being shipped to Uday Hussein's Iraqi Olympic Committee recreational basement as part of the UN Oil-for-Food program, there's no telling how many Annans you'll need.
You'll recall that Kofi Annan's son Kojo – who had a $30,000-a-year job but managed to find a spare quarter-million dollars sitting around to invest in a Swiss football club – has been under investigation for some time for his ties to the Oil-for-Fraud program. But the investigators have now broadened their sights to include Kofi's brother Kobina Annan, the Ghanaian ambassador to Morocco, who has ties to a businessman behind several of the entities involved in the scandal – one Michael Wilson, son of the former Ghanaian Ambassador to Switzerland and a childhood friend of young Kojo. Wilson is currently being investigated for bribery over a $50 million contract to renovate the Geneva offices of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization.
The actual head of the Oil-for-Food racket, Kofi sidekick Benon Sevan, has resigned, having hitherto insisted that a mysterious six-figure sum in his bank account was a gift from his elderly aunt, a lady of modest means who lived in a two-room flat back in Cyprus. Paul Volcker's investigators had planned to confirm with auntie her nephew's version of events, but unfortunately she fell down an elevator shaft and died. It now seems likely that the windfall had less to do with Sevan's late aunt and more to do with his soliciting of oil allocations for a company run by a cousin of Kofi Annan's predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
Meanwhile, Alexander Yakovlev, a senior procurement officer for UN "peacekeeping" missions – and if you're on a UN mission in Africa, no, he can't fix you up with a hot-looking eight-year-old from the local village; Mr. Yakovlev apparently dealt with the non-child-sex aspects of UN procuring – anyway, Yakovlev salted away just shy of a million bucks in kickbacks in his account in Antigua. He's just been arrested in New York and pleaded guilty to money laundering, wire fraud, etc.
Despite the current investigations into his brother, his son, his son's best friend, his predecessor's cousin, his former chief of staff, his procurement officer and the executive director of the UN's biggest ever program, the secretary-general insists he remains committed to staying on and tackling the important work of "reforming" the UN.
Unfortunately, his executive co-ordinator for United Nations reform has also had to resign. Officially, Maurice Strong, under-secretary-general, godfather of the Kyoto Treaty and chief UN negotiator on North Korea, resigned because he'd put his step-daughter on the payroll – she's also quit – and because of his ties to Tongsun Park, a Korean businessman charged by the US Attorney's office with taking millions of dollars from Saddam to act as an unregistered foreign agent for Iraq. Park invested a million of those Saddamite greenbacks in a business of Under-Secretary-General Strong's son – a now-bankrupt Canadian petroleum company.
BY HAPPY coincidence, Under-Secretary-General Strong and Kojo Annan were both appointed, on the same day, to the board of a company called Air Harbour Technologies, a business registered in the Isle of Man and whose directors also included Michael Wilson, the guy under investigation for the UN office renovation contract in Geneva. It's a small world, at least at the UN. AHT was wholly owned by the son of Sheikh Yamani, the former Saudi oil minister. Yamani Jr. was putting together a $60 million oil deal with Saddam and seemed to think the presence of UN officials and offspring on his board might help him.
But not to worry. To demonstrate his ongoing commitment to "reform," Kofi Annan has now put his deputy secretary-general, Louise Frechette, another Canadian, in charge of the "reform agenda." In a February report by Volcker's committee, Mme. Frechette is said to have helped Sevan block efforts to bring details of the Oil-for-Food boondoggle before the Security Council.
How do we know all the above? We only know because the US invaded Iraq and the Ba'athists skedaddled out of town, leaving copious amounts of paperwork relating to the Baghdad end of Oil-for-Fraud, since when Claudia Rosett and a few other dogged journalists have been systematically unstitching the intricate web of family and business relationships around the UN's operations.
YOU'D THINK that by now respect for the UN would be plummeting faster than Benon Sevan's auntie down that elevator shaft. After all, these aren't peripheral figures or minor departments. They reach right into the heart of UN policy on two of the critical issues of the day – Iraq and North Korea – or four, if you're one of those Eurolefties who's hot for Kyoto and peacekeeping. Most of the Ghanaian diplomatic corps and their progeny seem to have directorships at companies with UN contracts and/or Saddamite oil options. I had no idea being a Ghanaian ambassador's son opened so many doors, and nor did they till Kofi ascended to his present eminence.
The other day I sat behind a car from Massachusetts bearing the bumper-sticker "War Is Never The Answer." Well, it depends on the question. In this case, without the war, we wouldn't even be asking the questions. Without the paper trail in Baghdad, who would have mustered the will to look into Oil-for-Food and see it through to the point where it's brought down a clutch of career UN bigwigs?
They're no great loss to humanity: Mr Strong's "legacy," the Kyoto treaty, is already seen as a joke that's likely to crash the economies of those few countries who've made the mistake of taking it seriously (New Zealand), and as for his North Korean outreach, we should be grateful it ended before a full-fledged Kim Jong-Il Nukes-for-Food program was up and running.
But this is how the transnational jet set works, and those sensitive flowers who don't have the stomach to look under the rock could at least do us the favor of ceasing to bleat about, in the marvelously loopy phrase of Britain's former Secretary for International Development, the UN's "moral authority."
In The Times of London the other day, Matthew Parris demanded to know whether I could now admit the Iraq war had been a mistake. No. I'm still in favor of it 100% – and these rare shafts of light on the sewers of transnationalism are merely one more benefit.
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