Oil For Bribes

OpinionJournal, the editorial arm of the WSJ on the web, looks at the Oil For Food program in Iraq. We are disgusted.

Why would the U.N. delegate total, unsupervised authority to run the program to Saddam? Perhaps because Iraq and the other nations whose companies were participating in the scam didn’t want appropriate procedures and controls applied to their ventures. Teresa Raphael, the editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe, has seen a spreadsheet listing the companies Saddam had approved for oil purchases. It included 11 French middleman concerns, (150 million barrels sold to them), 14 companies in Syria (120 million) and dozens of Russian firms (more than a billion barrels), the president of Indonesia, the Palestine Liberation Organization, “the director of the Russian president’s office” and former French foreign minister Charles Pasqua.

Most stunning is Benon Sevan, the U.N.’s assistant secretary-general, whom his boss, Kofi Annan, designated to run the Oil-for-Food program. Mr. Sevan was allocated 14 million barrels of oil and disposed of 7 million of them.

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Erick Erickson

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