All those (like John Kerry) who believe that the United States needs to take moral guidance and foreign policy leadership from the United Nations and France should be called on to explain the U.N.’s reluctance to come clean about its “oil-for-food” program:
U.N. bureaucrats are stonewalling requests from Iraq’s new government for records from the scandal-plagued oil-for-food account set up in Saddam Hussein’s handpicked French bank, officials said yesterday.
The mysterious activities over the handling of the U.N. account at the French banking giant BNP Paribas, where $100 billion worth of oil-for-food transactions flowed until the war, has emerged as a central focus of several investigations in the wake of the massive bribery-kickback scandal that has rocked the world body at its highest levels.
“The key question in this investigation is, what was the relationship between the U.N. and this French bank?” Hankes-Drielsma [a British businessman who is advising the government of Iraq] added.
Hankes-Drielsma said serious questions arose shortly after the war ended, when files were found in Iraq’s Oil Ministry indicating that four earlier audits of the account unearthed “discrepancies” in some of the oil transactions.
Saddam’s Central Bank of Iraq was asking questions that the United Nations refused to answer, he said.
Kofi Annan is calling for an independent investigation, but the reality is that an investigation is not needed to demonstrate that the U.N.’s operation–dubbed “oil for palaces” by an American general–was hopelessly corrupt.