Monday, November 29, 2004

Liars and thieves

"No one is completely useless...
you can always be a horrible example."
– Maj. Brian Maka
U.S. Army
Former 2ID Public Affairs Officer

William Safire has written this column about Kofi Annan’s son Kojo’s involvement with the U.N. oil-for-food scandal. Apparently, Kofi denied charges that his son had been receiving payments from Cotecna Inspection for years after he resigned from the company, which would have led to a de facto conflict of interest when Cotecna received the "open-ended no-compete contract." Highlights:

The story put out by the U.N. Secretariat at the time was that the son, Kojo, had resigned from Cotecna just weeks before the U.N. switched its fast-growing inspection business to the Swiss firm. Though such a timely termination looked fishy on its face, the absence of post-contract payments to Kofi's son was the basis for the U.N.'s claim that there had been no conflict of interest or nepotism.
Last week the truth was outed. The U.S. attorney's office in New York is in competition with the U.N.'s "independent" investigation, whose Paul Volcker - while stonewalling angry Congressional investigators - has grand jury help from the Manhattan district attorney's office...

The lawyer confirmed that Kojo received payments of $2,500 per month for four years after he supposedly severed his relationship with Cotecna - up to February of this year, when Iraqis blew the lid off the U.N.-Saddam-French-Russian conspiracy.

Ha! So these are the bastards who we needed to head up the "international effort" into Iraq, eh? Naturally, there’s nothing left of Annan’s credibility, if he ever had a shred. But I’d be surprised if he has the spine to step down. Safire seems to think that’s his only option:

This marks the end of the beginning of the scandal. Its end will not begin until Kofi Annan, even if personally innocent, resigns - having, through initial ineptitude and final obstructionism, brought dishonor on the Secretariat of the United Nations.

And you know, Kofi himself may be clean... but I strongly suspect he isn’t. In fact, as Safire points out, the $125,000 pocketed by Kojo is "chump change" when the issue at hand is a $20 billion embezzlement.

It does seem that we need some kind of international oversight committee to keep the nations and powers of the world in line... but the United Nations is a doomed shell of the founders’ original intent, and is instead a model of inefficacy and flaccid bureaucracy.

And this band of thieves is the group who’s supposed to be making the moral pronouncements for the just treatment of the "international community." They’re just another bunch of money-grubbers looking for their next scam.


Update: CNN reports that Kofi Annan is "disappointed" at his son's continued involvement in Cotecna. Annan is quoted in the article as saying that his son works in a "different field," and that the two don't meddle in each other's affairs.

Great story, Mr. Secretariat. When you are the United Nations Secretary General, and your son is involved in a company on contract with the U.N., you've officially meddled in each others' affairs.