Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Story of the Century

Here you have it. The world's largest bribery/corruption scandal happened right under the nose of the United Nations, and in many ways directly as a result of the world body. In my second ever blog post I commented on this story as one of the most important and underreported stories of the past 20 years. In fact, the massive failure of the UN was one of the reasons that I began writing this blog.

About 2,200 companies in the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, including corporations in France, Germany and Russia, paid a total of $1.8 billion in kickbacks and illicit surcharges to Saddam Hussein's government


The report alleged that Jean-Bernard Merrimee, France's former U.N. ambassador, received $165,725 in commissions from oil allocations awarded to him by the Iraqi regime. He is now under investigation by the French authorities.

Merrimee "began receiving oil allocations that would ultimately total approximately 6 million barrels from the government of Iraq," the report said.

Other so-called "political beneficiaries" included British lawmaker George Galloway; Roberto Formigoni, the president of the Lombardi region in Italy, and the Rev. Jean-Marie Benjamin, a priest who once worked as an assistant to the Vatican secretary of state and became an activist for lifting Iraqi sanctions.

Astounding. What this particular article doesn't mention is that Merrimee was bribed to both work towards lifting UN sanctions on Iraq and stop the US from getting a motion through the security council to authorize military action against Iraq. Herein lies the greatest scandal of all time: a nation under sanction by the UN bribed UN and governmental officials to manipulate it. Had the US not acted against Iraq much of this may never have been known.

I hope this gets the coverage it deserves. This whole episode is profoundly disturbing.

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