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Oil-For-Food Scandal - Blame the US!

That's what ol' Koffi says, anyway, in defense of the UN (and his son) about the Oil-For-Food contract scandal.

UN chief hits at oil-for-food claims
By Mark Turner at the United Nations

Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, took the offensive yesterday against continuing allegations of corruption in Iraq's oil-for-food programme, saying the UN was being blamed for areas over which it had no control and that national governments shared responsibility for any lack of oversight.

"Some of the comments that I have read have been rather outrageous and exaggerated," he said.

"When you read the reports, it looks as if the Saddam regime had nothing to do with it: [that] it was all the UN." But Mr Annan said there was "no way" the UN could have stopped illegal oil smuggling, which accounted for $5.7bn (€4.8bn, £3.2bn) of an estimated $10.1bn in illegal revenues acquired by the Iraq regime.

National governments, through a committee of UN Security Council officials, had had a significant role in approving contracts, through which Iraq diverted an estimated $4.1bn in illegal surcharges and kickbacks.

"We had no mandate to stop oil smuggling," Mr Annan said. "There was a maritime taskforce that was supposed to do that. They were driving the trucks through northern Iraq to Turkey. The US and the British had planes in the air. We were not there. Why is all this being dumped on the UN?"...

Koffi Annan's statements just make me wonder how bad it really must be? There's already a suspision of an Al Qaeda link.

If you want to learn more about the scandal, here's a blog solely dedicated to this topic and Roger Simon has a lot about it, too.

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