Tuesday, November 16, 2004

"Coleman: Annan is impeding inquiry into oil-for-food fraud"

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Charging that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein "laughed at world opinion and U.N. sanctions," Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., called on top U.N. officials Monday to cooperate with his Senate investigation into fraud in the world body's past oil-for-food program.
Coleman's remarks came as he launched the first Senate hearing into the widely discredited humanitarian food program, which Saddam allegedly used to skim billions of dollars for palaces and weapons, while currying favor with global oil traders and U.N. officials.

Coleman [is] now... in the forefront of a public row with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whom Coleman and other committee leaders have accused of obstructing their inquiry.

Coleman's standoff with Annan came as his committee released new records documenting $21.3 billion in illicit sales since the imposition of U.N. trade sanctions shortly before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. That figure more than doubles previous estimates of Saddam's illegal revenue under the oil-for-food program, which began in 1996.

"This is like an onion; we just keep uncovering more layers and more layers," Coleman said.

Yeah. And it stinks.

Read the full text here.


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