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[casi-analysis] rewriting history (2)

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Dear all,
the US disinformation is spreading. They are really working on the discrediting of the UN. And of 
course there may have been corruption. If you would have been forced into this situation (like the 
Iraqi government), would you not have tried to find ways out? The main question remains: who 
installed this inhumane system? It was the US/UK who forced the UN into this morbid oil-for-food 
program, and blocked so many contracts or put them on hold. But of course no questions will be 
asked by the so called "independent" investigators about the root of this system and the 
devastating effects on the Iraqi population. The suffering of the Iraqi people will be attributed 
to so-called "UN corruption".

I think that is our task as anti-sanctions activists. I've been talking with the organisers of the 
WTI (World Tribunal On Iraq). They think that at least one session of the WTI should be dedicated 
to the sanctions. But who wants to organise such a colloquim (or hearing, or commission of 
inquiry)? There is enough evidence and data about the effects of sanctions. And because CASI had 
the most elaborated website and discussion forum to investigate the sanctions, my proposal would be 
for CASI to organise such an event, in cooperation with other anti-sanctiongroups around the globe 
(Voices, Epic,...). I think it is a necessary thing to do. And a new counter-dossier should be 
written, as Rania and I suggested.

We must do something. The genocide on the Iraqi people should not be forgotten. Any constructive 
ideas about this?

Dirk Adriaensens.

      Volcker to Head Investigation of U.N.'s Iraq Oil-for-Food Program (2004-04-21)

      By Judy Aita
      Washington File United Nations Correspondent

      United Nations -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced April 21 the appointment of former 
U.S. Federal Reserve System Chairman Paul Volcker to head an independent panel to investigate 
allegations of mismanagement in the Oil-for-Food Program, and the U.N. Security Council unanimously 
backed his decision with a resolution calling for full cooperation from all involved.

      The panel will have the authority to investigate whether the procedures established by the 
United Nations for the administration and management of the Oil-for-Food Program were violated; 
determine whether any U.N. officials, personnel, agents or contractors engaged in any illicit or 
corrupt activities while on the job; and ascertain whether the accounts of the program were in 
order and were maintained in accordance with U.N. rules and regulations.

      Other members of the panel are Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa, who was the first 
chief prosecutor of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, 
and Mark Pieth of Switzerland, a University of Baselwith professor of criminal law and criminology 
with expertise in international bribery and money-laundering.

      Volcker was chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1979 to 
1987.  After his term as chairman ended, Volcker returned to private life joining an 
investment-banking firm.  He recently headed a private commission on public service, which has 
recommended a sweeping overhaul of the organization and personnel practices of the U.S. federal 
government.  He also chairs the International Accounting Standards Committee, which works toward 
converging accounting standards internationally.

      "I didn't agree to do this lightly," Volcker said April 21 at a press conference after his 
appointment was announced. "I think there are very important accusations made about the U.N., 
accusations about the administration of the program, accusations about activities outside the U.N. 
which need to be resolved."

      "The U.N. is an important institution and these questions once raised have to have a 
deliberate and full investigation and an answer so that the U.N., in fact, can fulfill its 
responsibilities . . . and contribute to the situation not only in Iraq but situations that are 
bound to come along in the rest of the world," Volcker said.

      The secretary-general decided to launch the independent investigation in March after news 
media around the world reported allegations of fraud and corruption in the program, including 
overpricing and kickbacks to U.N. officials and high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's regime in 
order to secure contracts. Under Secretary-General Benon Sevan, who headed the program, has been 
mentioned in news reports as being involved in the scheme to skim billions of dollars from the 
program, which was established to aid Iraqi civilians hurt by sanctions.

      Announcing the panel, Annan said that "obviously these are serious allegations which we take 
seriously, and this is why we've put together a very serious group to investigate it. The 
organization will take whatever steps may be appropriate to address the issues raised by the 
inquiry. We have assembled a group of respected individuals that I hope will complete its work as 
soon as practicable."

      "As to the impact on our activities in Iraq, I hope the Iraqis realize that even if there 
have been wrongdoings by certain members on the U.N. staff, the U.N. as a whole did make a genuine 
effort to fill in their humanitarian needs," the secretary-general said.

      "There were hundreds of U.N. staff who worked very hard and diligently to establish the food 
distribution system and ensure that supplies did go in and, I think, that positive aspect of it 
should not be overlooked either," Annan said.

      Under the Oil-for-Food Program, which was mandated by the Security Council in April 1995 but 
didn't become operational until December 1996, Iraq was allowed to sell oil to buy humanitarian 
goods under U.N. supervision in order to ease the impact of the sanctions imposed in 1990 after the 
invasion of Kuwait.

      Volcker and Annan asked the council for a resolution in order to give the investigation 
political authority with governments, some of which will have officials and companies investigated.

      "I wanted the resolution to make sure that member governments knew what they were getting 
into," Volcker said.

      He added that the U.N. Security Council resolution gives the investigation the foundation it 
needs. "I said if we are going to do this . . . we needed formal support of the U.N. and its member 
governments -- which would include their agencies and regulatory bodies -- to assist in any way 

      "We are ... not the official agency of any government. I don't have the police powers that 
come naturally to a government. You've got to conduct the investigation with the people who have 
that authority," the chairman said about the difficulty the panel and its staff will have.

      Volcker said that his "most urgent, but not the easiest" task will be to investigate the 
specific allegations of corruption within the United Nations. That may include investigating the 
individual contractors who provided the humanitarian supplies for the program. "I interpret [the 
mandate] to mean following the money as well as one can," he said.

      The panel's first status report to the secretary-general is due in three months, but Volcker 
said that the investigation will not be completed by that time.

      "I have no interest in prolonging this. We'll go as fast as we can consistent in doing a 
thorough job," he said. "But it won't be three months, I am convinced of that."

      In its resolution, the Security Council expressed its desire "to see a full and fair 
investigation of efforts by the former Government of Iraq, including through bribery, kickbacks, 
surcharges on oil sales, and illicit payments in regards to purchases of humanitarian goods to 
evade the provisions" of Security Council resolutions.

      "Affirming that any illicit activity by United Nations officials, personnel and agents, as 
well as contractors . . . is unacceptable," the resolution said, the council "calls upon the 
Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq, and all other member states, including their national 
regulatory authorities, to cooperate fully by all appropriate means with the inquiry."

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