Stephen at Friends of Saddam has been doing the yeoman's work of compiling the reports on the Oil-for-Food scandal. It's been helpful to have all the articles, and testimony centralized in one location. Today, we learn that Saddam was allowed to call most of the shots on how the program was run. (OK, so maybe we already knew that.) Quoting from the testimony of a Kurdish government offical:
The UN allowed the Iraqi regime to dictate hiring policies. There was a tacit agreement between OIP (UN Office of the Iraq Program) and the Iraqi regime that none of the foreign UN staff would be either British or American nationals. In addition, the OPI and UN agencies deliberately refused to employ any Kurd among its international staff. ... The result was that a large number of staff from Arab countries, France, and Russia ended up dominating the program. Many of these staff members were openly hostile to the Iraqi Kurds. The actual program head of OFF ended up becoming lobbyists against the very sacntions that the UN sought to enforce.
That was a smart move on Saddam's part. I'd say he "played" the UN for fools, but by all indications they were willing participants and eager co-conspirators.
Gotta love the Kurds!
Here's a new story on UNSCAM hot of the presses and also comes from Kurdish sources.
An Iraqi official said today there was a list of cash bribes made by Saddam Hussein's government to journalists, politicians and groups in connection with the US$67 billion ($108.92 billion) UN-run oil-for-food programme.
Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi Governing Council, said Iraqi officials combing Saddam's files had not decided whether to release the list as part of a burgeoning scandal over the defunct programme.
"We have a list of cash paid to journalists, personalities, groups and parties," Talabani told a news conference after conferring with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan over an Iraqi interim government.
A separate, previously released list contains the names of more than 250 individuals, business, politicians and other groups alleged to have received vouchers for oil they could sell.
Talabani said he hoped a UN-appointed independent inquiry, headed by Paul Volcker, the former head of the US Federal Reserve, would "let the chips fall where they may".
Talabani's got the disks! Talabani's got the disks!
I guess I should be leary of this latest "list" of peeps on the take from Don Saddam, but after the whole CNN/Eason Jordan thing, it's really not a stretch to believe that "journalists and personalities" were getting greased.
Roger L. Simon has totally plagiarized this post.
You know Roger, I thought you were better than that.