Monday, February 16, 2004


Ariel Cohen, writing for Tech Central Station, covers growing payola scandal surrounding the UN's "Oil for Food" program in Iraq:
The documents uncovered in Baghdad by the Iraqi Oil Ministry and published in Al Mada, an independent Iraqi newspaper, are a jackpot of embarrassing information. Their veracity is confirmed by Naseer al-Chaderji, a senior member of the Iraqi Governing Counsel (IGC), and by Claude Hankes-Drielsma, the UK Chairman of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and an advisor to the IGC.

The documents list dozens of organizations and individuals in over 50 countries who were instrumental in orchestrating pro-Saddam policies around the world, and point to a medley of allies, from the pro-Saddam British back-bencher MP George Gallaway to President Jaques Chirac's close friend Patrick Maugein, an oil trader, and to highly influential former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua. The ex-minister has denied any connection to Iraq.

The list goes on to include Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the highly influential Russian Orthodox Church, Yassir Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization and Jordanian Islamic radical leader Layth Shbeilat. Many of those fingered have denied the accusations. Others, like Mr. Maugein, have announced that they "did nothing wrong." In view of the internal corruption scandals in France involving Mr. Chirac and his ex-heir-designate former Prime Minister Alain Juppe, what else can they say?
Cohen makes the point that there are still thousands of documents to analyze. I wonder what else we'll find?

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