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Two Oil-for-Food Investigators Resign

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Two senior investigators from the Independent Inquiry Committee, which is investigating the UN oil-for-food scandal, resigned in protest today. According to Associated Press:

Two senior investigators with the committee probing corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program have resigned in protest, saying they believe a report that cleared Kofi Annan of meddling in the $64 billion operation was too soft on the secretary-general, a panel member confirmed Wednesday.

The investigators felt the Independent Inquiry Committee, led by former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, played down findings critical of Annan when it released an interim report in late March related to his son, said Mark Pieth, one of three leaders of the committee.

“You follow a trail and you want to see people pick it up,” Pieth told The Associated Press, referring to the two top investigators who left. The committee “told the story” that the investigators presented, “but we made different conclusions than they would have.”

The investigators were identified as Robert Parton and Miranda Duncan.

The IIC‘s second interim report criticized Annan for failing to fully investigate possible conflicts of interest involving a contract that was awarded to his son Kojo’s employer. The AP article states that: “Annan said the report exonerated him — something Pieth denied at the time — and the secretary-general said he had no plans to resign.” (Click here for a 62 MB BitTorrent file containing the IIC’s First and Second Interim Reports, 58 internal audit reports on the Oil-for-Food Programme, and the Committee’s briefing papers and status reports.)

The announcement that two oil-for-food investigators were resigning comes as President Bush’s nominee for UN Ambassador, John Bolton, is under increasing fire over claims that he “bullied intelligence analysts who didn’t agree with his views” while working at the State Department. These allegations could be the key factor in whether Bolton is nominated, as three Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – Hagel, Voinovich, and Chafee – have expressed concern over them. Bolton is an outspoken critic of the United Nations, and it will be interesting to see what effect, if any, this new wrinkle in the oil-for-food scandal has on the debate over the UN Ambassador position, and/or the larger debate over the role of the UN in American foreign policy.

In my opinion, the recent attempts to paint the oil-for-food scandal as evidence that the UN is fatally flawed are not convincing. But it is definitely evidence that the UN needs reform.

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  • SFC SKI

    “In my opinion, the recent attempts to paint the oil-for-food scandal as evidence that the UN is fatally flawed are not convincing” I’d suggest you read it again, and then look over Sadddam’s bank statements, as well as his many fine palaces, paid for with money skimmed off the Oil For Food Scandal, the part that wasn’t going to bribe UN Oil For Food administrators or pay the survivors of Palestinian bombers, among other things.
    Badly in need of reform? A mild understatement.
    Outside of refugee relief, what does the UN actually accomplish?

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Thad and Ski, besides cleaning up corruption, which is endemic in all large organizations it seems, I think this news is yet another piece of support for the invasion of Iraq.

  • http://www.outragedmoderates.org Thad Anderson

    In response to the question of what the UN accomplishes, it carries out relief efforts, peacekeeping, and works to establish human rights standards, but also has a less concrete function, which is creating a forum for debate where all of the member nations at least have some voice. Without some kind of global forum/pressure valve, it would be easier for extremists and rogue nations to get away with making the conspiratorial arguments they often make, making issues like terrorism and human rights even harder to deal with.

    Again, there are definitely some major flaws with the ways the UN deals with these issues, but Annan and other high-ranking UN officials have been considering making changes that would correct some of these, including establishing a firmer definition of terrorism as being any attacks on civilians, and changing aspects of the committee election process to prevent scenarios like the current Human Rights Commission, which includes several human rights violators. If Annan’s able to hang on to his post, he’ll probably be compelled to push for reform. If he resigns, hopefully his successor will.

  • gonzo marx

    Eric O. sez..
    *I think this news is yet another piece of support for the invasion of Iraq.*

    really?…does that mean we can invade Texas to get those nasty Bay oil folks that are indicted for their involvement in this scandal too!! sweeeeEEEEeeeet!

    seriously tho…if Annan is impl;icated, toss him out…no patience with corrup tofficials no matter what they are supposed to be doing..

    as for Bolton…he may be good at some things..if so, keep him there..one thing all the hearings have shown..the guy is NOT any kind of diplomat

    but it goes along with the Wolfowitcz nomination and elevating Condi etc…the Agenda here is to have staunch “neo-con” people in as many positions as possible to further their goals..

    all i want to see is COMPETENCE..which this Administration has yet to demonstrate….bad intelligence leads to a pre-emptive war…they lose 9 billion dollars in cash….humvees and servicemen without proper supplies and armor…

    on and on…

    so toss the corrupt folks into the wood chipper feet first..but make damn certain those you put in place are at least good at the job, eh?

    Clinton for Sec Gen of the UN?…possible…

    boy..won’t Rove and company be pissed then…

    stay tuned kiddies, this will be a 2 bucket of popcorn double feature..

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    But no one misses $8.9 Billion unaccounted for in Iraq? 100 percent American taxpayer money.

    Odd how agendas can sway priorities.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I think Clinton would be a good UN Secretary General – probably too good for the job, really. They’d be more likely to go for a well-meaning buffoon like Jimmy Carter. Competence is really a liability in that job.

    Dave

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