Tonight at 21:00 CET there will be an interesting program on the French / German TV Channel Arte (www.arte.tv). It details the unbelievable corruption of the oil for food program started by the united nations in 1996 for Iraq. I will post some more after I have seen it, but I would recommend all to see it.
See Artes listing for the German description.
Update: see after the break for details from the documentary.
It is incredible, their problem was “how to spend the money quick enough”. The OIP (organization for the oil for food program by the UN) spent more than 60 billions of dollars in 7 years, which is 30 times more than the budget of the UN itself (per year). One of the methods of corruption was to reduce the oil price of the Iraqi oil by 50 cents. Half of this rebate (the original price was already below market price) was for the buyer and the other half was payed back to the Iraqi regime. The amount of this “rebate” increased during these 7 years up to approx. 15 USD per barrel.
Additionally to the known oil sales, there was an officially supported smugle of millions of barrels of oil over various routes. This produced another 10 billion USD.
The purchase sidealso had quite some corruption. The purchased goods where billed much above the market price and again this money was put aside, partially paid back to the Iraqi regime. This was called kick-back-payments. This methodology was known by thousends of people and not a single contract was stopped due to overpricing. There were 2,800 companies that have made illegal payments!
Why is the BNP Paribas (Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BNP_Paribas, Official Site http://www.bnpparibas.com/) the bank that has been used to transfer the 64 billion USD from the Iraq oil? It was not on the list of recommended banks originally. But now nobody bothers. Why were only 34 billion USD used to by buy food & drugs for Iraq? Where are the other 30 billion USD?
One part was spent on war reparations (20 billion USD), most of this going to rich firms. This money was spent on the peak of the child mortality rate in Iraq. There was not even the requirement to prove that a company lost money, the claim was enough. Companies like (Texaco, Toys’R’Us, Pepsi and American Express received reparations, but also The British Bird Watching Society and two kibbutzim in the Golan were re-payed for loss in business (that is an illegally occupied territory, as the UN decrees!). Obviously everybody gained from the oil for food program, while 500.000 children died in Iraq, which could have been saved.
And the rest of approx. 9 billion USD? That was transferred to the federal reserve. The money was transported in cash via Andrews Air base to Baghdad (12 billion USD were transported). 360 ton of cash were sent into “a war zone” and 9 billion USD have disappeared. Probably the CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority, the interims government controlled by the US) knows where it is gone, but all people doing business with the CPA can not be prosecuted.
So the Iraqi people lost more than 31 billion USD from the sale of their own oil “f0r their own good”! And this was done by the only government of us all, the UN.
Why is no one in the UN interested in making sure something like this does not happen? Why didn’t the UN impose transparency requirements on such a project? Because nobody cared. We should never allow such things to happen, but still they are happening all the time. Transparency is the only answer for this, require all government organizations to be completely “see-through”.
I am very disappointed especially by Kofi Annan, for whom I had the greatest respect. Only very few people were convicted. The payments made by a Swiss company on their conviction were used in Swiss road building projects. Still the UN continues being as intransparent as possible and is doing good for mankind.