Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Oil for Food

Claudia Rosett is still on the case, reporting on the continuing cover-up at the UN in the WSJ.

"In other words, in the interval between March 19, when Mr. Annan finally conceded in the face of overwhelming evidence that the program might after all need investigating by independent experts, and April 21, when former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker was appointed to head to the investigation, Mr. Annan's office explicitly reminded these two crucial contractors, which worked for the Secretariat's Oil for Food program checking the imports and exports involved in more than $100 billion worth of Saddam's oil sales and relief imports, to keep quiet."

The Journal editorial page follows up with its own take on the obstruction and the UN's excuses:

"It's hard to see how this legalistic approach serves the interests of the U.N., or why the U.S. Congress--which foots 22% of the U.N. budget--should put up with it. 'The U.N. increasingly has a credibility problem on this issue,' a Capitol Hill source told us yesterday. 'If it seeks to overcome this problem, the best thing it can do is to waive the confidentiality agreements and allow this information to become public.' "

The way the UN is handling this is equivalent to letting Ken Lay and Andy Fastow investigate Enron. Given the size of the scandal and the fact that it reaches into the office of the Secretary General himself, the UN can not be allowed to audit itself, especially now that there's proof that they are continuing to hide evidence of wrong doing. The US should consider withholding its substantial funding of the UN pending progress on this issue.