• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 6 1234 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 56

Topic: How hard is this to work out?

  1. #1

    How hard is this to work out?

    sponsored links

    here is some info i just looked up

    Population: The population of Iraq (1997 estimate) is 22,219,289. The estimated overall population density is 51 persons per sq km (131 per sq mi). The density varies markedly, with the largest concentrations in the area of the river systems. The population is 75 percent urban.

    now lets have a look something, over 500,000 children died because of Clintons Sanctions , now lets forget for a moment all the adults that died in Iraqi /Iran conflict that America stooged them into, and lets forget the adults that died for any other reason, just concentrate on the childrens death.
    Now take a family of say 4, mother , father , one daughter, one son.
    The family loose's a son, now how many other people would have a link to that family, cant say with certainty but for the sake of this example lets say 50 people. Now 500,000 * 50 = 250,000,000 , way over the population of Iraq

    now the popultation of Iraq is 22,219,289, well as you can see the whole society would have been connected with the deaths of those children, in fact probably intimatedly connected with the deaths.
    So work it out why Iraq will never accept America, The Bush Administration are total morons and sadistic on top of it

  2. #2

    Re: How hard is this to work out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernstinen
    Where did you get that figure?

    The Media Culpability for Iraq October 11, 2004 By John Pilger

    In October 1999, I stood in a ward of dying children in Baghdad with Denis Halliday, who the previous year had resigned as assistant secretary general of the United Nations. He said: "We are waging a war through the United Nations on the people of Iraq. We're targeting civilians. Worse, we're targeting children. . . . What is this all about?"

    Halliday had been 34 years with the UN. As an international civil servant much respected in the field of "helping people, not harming them," as he put it, he had been sent to Iraq to implement the oil-for-food program, which he subsequently denounced as a sham. "I am resigning," he wrote, "because the policy of economic sanctions is . . . destroying an entire society. Five thousand children are dying every month. I don't want to administer a program that satisfies the definition of genocide."

    Halliday's successor, Hans von Sponeck, another assistant secretary general with more than 30 years' service, also resigned in protest. Jutta Burghardt, the head of the World Food Program in Iraq, followed them, saying she could no longer tolerate what was being done to the Iraqi people. Their collective action was unprecedented; yet it received only passing media attention. There was no serious inquiry by journalists into their grave charges against the British and American governments, which in effect ran the embargo.

    Von Sponeck's disclosure that the sanctions restricted Iraqis to living on little more than $100 a year was not reported. "Deliberate strangulation," he called it. Neither was the fact that, up to July 2002, more than $5 billion worth of humanitarian supplies, which had been approved by the UN sanctions committee and paid for by Iraq, were blocked by George W. Bush, with Tony Blair's backing. They included food products, medicines and medical equipment, as well as items vital for water and sanitation, agriculture and education.

    The cost in lives was staggering. Between 1991 and 1998, reported UNICEF, 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died. "If you include adults," said Halliday, "the figure is now almost certainly well over a million."

    In 1996, in an interview on the American current affairs program 60 Minutes, Madeleine Albright, then U.S. ambassador to the UN, was asked: "We have heard that half a million children have died . . . is the price worth it?" Albright replied, "We think the price is worth it." The television network CBS has since refused to allow the videotape of that interview to be shown again, and the reporter will not discuss it.

    Halliday and von Sponeck have long been personae non gratae in most of the U.S. and British media. What these whistleblowers have revealed is far too unpalatable: not only was the embargo a great crime against humanity, it actually reinforced Saddam Hussein's control. The reason why so many Iraqis feel bitter about the invasion and occupation is that they remember the Anglo-American embargo as a crippling, medieval siege that prevented them from overthrowing their dictatorship. This is almost never reported in Britain.

    Halliday appeared on BBC2's Newsnight soon after he resigned. I watched the presenter Jeremy Paxman allow Peter Hain, then a Foreign Office minister, to abuse him as an "apologist for Saddam." Hain's shameful performance was not surprising. On the eve of this year's Labor Party conference, he dismissed Iraq as a "fringe issue."

    Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian editor, wrote in the New Statesman recently that some journalists "consider it bad form to engage in public debate about anything to do with ethics or standards, never mind the fundamental purpose of journalism." It was a welcome departure from the usual clubbable stuff that passes for media comment but which rarely addresses "the fundamental purpose of journalism" -- and especially not its collusive, lethal silences."When truth is replaced by silence," the Soviet dissident Yevgeny Yevtushenko said, "the silence is a lie."

    He might have been referring to the silence over the devastating effects of the embargo. It is a silence that casts journalists as accessories, just as their silence contributed to an illegal and unprovoked invasion of a defenseless country. Yes, there was plenty of media noise prior to the invasion, but Blair's spun version dominated, and truth-tellers were sidelined.

    Scott Ritter was the UN's senior weapons inspector in Iraq. Ritter began his whistle-blowing more than five years ago when he said: "By 1998, [Iraq's] chemical weapons infrastructure had been completely dismantled or destroyed by UNSCOM. . . . The biological weapons program was gone, the major facilities eliminated. . . . The long-range ballistic missile program was completely eliminated. If I had to quantify Iraq's threat, I would say [it is] zero."

    Ritter's truth was barely acknowledged. Like Halliday and von Sponeck, he was almost never mentioned on the television news, the principal source of most people's information. The studied obfuscation of Hans Blix was far more acceptable as the "balancing voice." That Blix, like Kofi Annan, was playing his own political games with Washington was never questioned.

    Up to the fall of Baghdad, the misinformation and lies of Bush and Blair were channeled, amplified and legitimized by journalists, notably by the BBC, which defines its political coverage by the pronouncements, events and personalities of the "village" of Whitehall and Westminster. Andrew Gilligan broke this rule in his outstanding reporting from Baghdad and later his disclosure of Blair's most important deception. It is instructive that the most sustained attacks on him came from his fellow journalists.

    In the crucial 18 months before Iraq was attacked, when Bush and Blair were secretly planning the invasion, famous, well-paid journalists became little more than channels, debriefers of the debriefers -- what the French call fonctionnaires. The paramount role of real journalists is not to channel, but to challenge, not to fall silent, but to expose. There were honorable exceptions, notably Richard Norton-Taylor in the Guardian and the irrepressible Robert Fisk in the Independent.

    Two newspapers, the Mirror and the Independent, broke ranks. Apart from Gilligan and one or two others, broadcasters failed to reflect the public's own rising awareness of the truth. In commercial radio, a leading journalist who raised too many questions was instructed to "tone down the antiwar stuff because the advertisers won't like it."

    In the United States, in the so-called mainstream of what is constitutionally the freest press in the world, the line held, with the result that Bush's lies were believed by the majority of the population. American journalists are now apologizing, but it is too late. The U.S. military is out of control in Iraq, bombarding densely populated areas with impunity. How many Iraqi families like Kenneth Bigley's are grieving? We do not experience their anguish, or hear their appeals for mercy. According to a recent estimate, roughly 37,000 Iraqis have died in this grotesque folly.

    Charles Lewis, the former star CBS reporter who now runs the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C., told me he was in no doubt that, had his colleagues done their job rather than acted as ciphers, the invasion would not have taken place. Such is the power of the modern media; it is a power we should reclaim from those subverting it.

  3. #3

    Re: How hard is this to work out?

    Quote Originally Posted by charles
    now the popultation of Iraq is 22,219,289, well as you can see the whole society would have been connected with the deaths of those children, in fact probably intimatedly connected with the deaths.
    So work it out why Iraq will never accept America, The Bush Administration are total morons and sadistic on top of it
    I am sorry. I think you are in the wrong place. In discussing the suffering of the Iraqi people, you should be directing any of your comments to the United Nations and their Oil for Food program...one of the largest scandals in the history of the world.

    Secondly...since your indirect support of Saddam would have resulted in that brutal ditator still being in power and still oppressing his people...and still enabling, supporting and encouraging terrorists around the world...you really have no credability or authority to speak on any of this anyway.

    So...back to your own terrorist problem in Spain...you know...the one where because of Spain's pathetically weak knee jerk response to the train bombings encouraged other terrorist groups to carry out the same type of attack just a couple weeks ago...so in response to your own thread question in the topic How hard is this to work out?...

    ...apparently pretty hard for the Socialists and the European Left.

    Brian W. Ralston

    Check out my new FREE iPhone App! Click Here!

  4. #4

    Re: How hard is this to work out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian W. Ralston
    I am sorry. I think you are in the wrong place. In discussing the suffering of the Iraqi people, you should be directing any of your comments to the United Nations and their Oil for Food program...one of the largest scandals in the history of the world.
    Scandals of Oil for Food

    by Joy Gordon; Middle East Report Online; July 20, 2004

    Rep. Ralph Hall opened a set of Congressional hearings on July 8 with a dramatic flourish, denouncing "the deaths of thousands of Iraqis through malnutrition and lack of appropriate medical supplies." "We have a name for that in the United States," the Texas Republican told a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "It's called murder."

    The target of Hall's accusation was not the UN economic sanctions that, according to a 1999 UNICEF study, had helped to double the rate of mortality among children under five in central and southern Iraq over the preceding decade. Rather, the Congressman was introducing yet more hearings to air broad allegations of incompetence, manipulation and personal corruption in the so-called Oil for Food program established by the UN Security Council in 1995 to ameliorate the humanitarian emergency in Iraq. According to these allegations, UN mismanagement allowed Saddam Hussein to pocket billions of dollars in oil sales at the expense of the Iraqi people. Benon Sevan, former head of the Office of Iraq Program, which housed the now dissolved Oil for Food program, has been named as one UN official who purportedly took what amount to bribes to look the other way.

    No fewer than nine discrete investigations into these claims have been launched: three in the House of Representatives, one in the Senate, one each at the Treasury Department and US Customs Service, one in New York courts and one by the US-appointed Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit, as well as an internal UN investigation headed by Paul Volcker, former head of the Federal Reserve Bank. One House probe has issued a subpoena for relevant records from the Paris-based bank, BNP Paribas, where the UN kept the Oil for Food funds on deposit; ExxonMobil has received a subpoena from a US attorney's office in New York.

    The raft of investigations has been accompanied by a loud campaign, led by William Safire and other conservative columnists, to discredit the Oil for Food program in public opinion. Claudia Rosett, one of the most vitriolic critics, wrote in the April 28 Wall Street Journal, "It's looking more and more as if one of the best reasons to get rid of Saddam Hussein was that it was probably the only way to get rid of Oil for Food." How seriously should these sensational accusations be taken?


    Oil for Food, though never more than a stopgap measure, saved Iraqi civilians from privations even worse than those they suffered. The economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, combined with the destruction of infrastructure during the Gulf war and refugee flight afterwards, had resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis by the summer of 1991. A UN team found a threefold increase in under-five mortality over the first eight months of that year. Iraq rejected the terms of the Security Council's initial proposal to permit very limited oil sales, and, over the next four years, the nearly comprehensive sanctions helped to cause increases in malnutrition and waterborne diseases. The infrastructure continued to crumble. In 1995, the Security Council authorized a new proposal allowing Iraq to sell somewhat larger amounts of oil and then use the proceeds to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian goods.

    Several different UN agencies provided expertise, service delivery and monitoring once Oil for Food was finally implemented in March 1997, including UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the World Food Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN Development Program. When the program was formally terminated in November 2003, $31 billion of humanitarian aid had been delivered, primarily food and medicine, but also items for water and sewage treatment, electricity production, transportation and agriculture. Within the narrow strictures of the sanctions regime, the Oil for Food program accomplished a great deal, according to statistics kept by these agencies and independent observers. Between 1997 and 2002, the nutritional value of the food basket distributed monthly by the program almost doubled, from 1,200 calories per person per day to about 2,200. The incidence of communicable diseases, including cholera and malaria, was cut down substantially. Electricity became more reliable, as did the availability of potable water. Despite these gains, sanctions continued to take a toll.

    In the late 1990s and the early days of the current Bush administration, most of the debate over Oil for Food focused on its limitations as a remedy for Iraq's humanitarian crisis. Today's spotlight on alleged corruption in the program, in addition to being tinged with reflexive right-wing hostility to the UN, reveals the collective amnesia about the effects of the economic sanctions that made Oil for Food necessary in the first place.


    It is important to separate out accusations implicating the UN agencies, as distinct from individuals working at the UN, or the policies of member nations. One of the main sources cited by the UN's accusers is a General Accounting Office (GAO) report issued in April 2004, which estimates that Iraq received $5.7 billion in proceeds from oil smuggling between 1997 and 2002. Critics like Safire and Rosett charge the UN with incompetence, if not complicity, in this illicit trade that bypassed the Oil for Food mechanism.

    Yet it is somewhat misleading to portray smuggling as a failure on the part of the UN. In 1990, Security Council Resolution 665 invited member states to interdict the suspected smuggling with their own military forces, leading to the establishment of the Multinational Interception Force patrolling the Persian Gulf. The US Navy provides most of the ships for the force, which has operated under the command of a series of American rear admirals and vice admirals from the Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain. None of the members of the Security Council ever intervened to block the well-known smuggling route passing through parts of northern Iraq controlled by US-allied Kurdish militias into Turkey. The US also filed no objection to the oil trade between Iraq and Jordan that took place throughout the history of the sanctions.


    The GAO report estimates that Iraq received $4.4 billion in illicit income from kickbacks on import contracts and on oil surcharges. According to interviews with Iraqi ministry officials cited in the report, it was the practice of the Iraqi government to inflate by 5-10 percent the price it would pay for humanitarian imports channeled through Oil for Food. The vendor would then return the surplus to the Iraqis under the table.

    It would have been difficult for UN officials to detect and stop these kickbacks. As the deputy director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency testified before Congress on April 21, his agency had found that of several hundred contracts reviewed, 48 percent were "potentially overpriced" by at least 5 percent, based on market prices. A 5 percent price difference is not outside the normal variations of commerce. But Oil for Food contracts were not signed under normal market conditions. Many contracts were for specially designed items, such as parts for sewage treatment plants, for which there was no "market price." In addition, there were extraordinary transaction costs: to sell Iraq goods under the Oil for Food program, a vendor had to go through an elaborate application procedure, provide detailed documentation and often answer additional questions about component parts and chemical makeup. The process sometimes dragged on for years. It would be surprising if, under these circumstances, vendors always sold their goods at the "normal" rates.

    On more than 70 occasions when there were obvious price discrepancies, the Office of the Iraq Program did bring them to the attention of the so-called 661 Committee -- composed of all 15 Security Council members -- which reviewed all proposed Oil for Food contracts. In testimony submitted to Congress on April 28, John Ruggie, the assistant secretary-general charged with relations with the US mission, recalled that the committee "approved roughly 36,000 contracts over the life span of the program. Every member had the right to hold up contracts if they detected irregularities, and the US and Britain were by far the most vigilant among them. Yet, as best as I can determine, of those 36,000 contracts not one -- not a single solitary one -- was ever held up by any member on the grounds of pricing."

    The US delegation alone had 60 people examining contracts, and, over the course of the program, this delegation blocked thousands of contracts worth billions of dollars. In July 2002, for instance, over $5 billion of contracts were on hold, virtually all of them red-flagged by the US and its ally Britain. Yet, in placing the holds, the US and Britain were almost exclusively concerned with preventing potential "dual-use" goods -- items that theoretically could have military uses -- from entering Iraq. From time to time, according to sources who served on the 661 Committee staff, Americans on the staff did claim to have espied kickbacks, but offered no evidence.


    In late 2000, Iraq began a practice of selling oil at low prices, often to middlemen, who would then resell the oil at higher prices and pay Iraq a surcharge under the table. The "oil overseers," oil industry consultants working for the Oil for Food program, brought this practice to the attention of the Security Council. The US and Britain responded in 2001 by implementing a "retroactive oil pricing policy." Normal commercial practice is to set the sale price for some period of time, such as a month. Under Oil for Food, the oil overseers submitted a proposed price, the 661 Committee then approved it and oil was then sold for the following month at that price. As the 661 Committee operated by consensus, every member could effectively exercise a veto over any measure. Making "creative use of the consensus rule," in the words of Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, a US official familiar with the 661 Committee, the US and Britain simply withheld their approval of contracts until the sales period had passed. The 661 Committee then decided what the market value would have been the prior month -- a determination that can be somewhat arbitrary -- and required the buyer to pay that amount. Thereafter, buyers had to sign a contract to purchase oil literally without knowing the price until well afterwards.

    Few buyers would commit to purchases under these conditions, and the oil overseers warned the committee that Iraqi oil sales were likely to collapse. Iraqi petroleum exports, in fact, dropped from an average of 1.7 million barrels per day in 2001 to less than one quarter of that amount in September 2002. Meanwhile, Iraq had ended its surcharges -- oil prices were raised and the profit margin was too low for surcharges to be possible. Still, the US and Britain would not suspend the retroactive pricing gambit, with which they continued until the US-led coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003.

    The result was that the Oil for Food program was, in substantial measure, bankrupted. Speaking before Congress on April 21, Kennedy bragged that, through retroactive pricing, "we were able to save the people of Iraq significant sums of money in illegal oil charges," yet the policy also prevented the program from raising billions of dollars in revenue for critical humanitarian goods. In February 2002, Benon Sevan announced that revenues had dropped so drastically that $1.6 billion of approved contracts could not be funded. If the contracts then on hold had been approved, the shortfall would have totaled $6.9 billion. While the former Iraqi regime may well have reaped ill-gotten gains from the surcharges, that practice had far less impact on the Iraqi population than the punishing response of the US and Britain, which nearly halted the humanitarian program altogether.


    In January 2004, the Iraqi newspaper al-Mada published a list of individuals and companies around the world that supposedly received certificates from the government of Iraq that entitled them to buy a certain amount of oil from Iraq. The list included an apparent reference to Sevan, the former director of the Office of the Iraq Program. If Sevan did in fact accept these oil certificates, he would indeed be guilty of an egregious form of corruption.

    It is rumored that the list was provided to al-Mada by Ahmed Chalabi, the former member of the Iraqi Governing Council now in disrepute for allegedly providing the US with false information about weapons of mass destruction in pre-war Iraq. Thus far, no documentation of the list's authenticity is in evidence; the Volcker commission is inquiring.

    While Saddam Hussein's regime may have found ways to capture funds that were meant to serve the Iraqi population, abuse of oil monies seems to be occurring on a similar scale in US-occupied Iraq. For example, Halliburton, under its contract with the US Army Corps of Engineers, provided fuel to the military at $1.59 per gallon, while the Iraqi national oil company could buy the fuel at 98 cents per gallon. The difference came to $300 million, and the profits were funneled into the coffers of an American corporation, rather than pumped into the Iraqi economy. In October 2003, a leading British aid agency, Christian Aid, released a study showing that of the $5 billion in Iraqi oil money transferred to the Coalition Provisional Authority, the CPA could only account for $1 billion. The accounts were still incomplete upon the CPA's dissolution, according to Christian Aid. On July 15, the International Accounting and Monitoring Board, created by the Security Council to watch over the CPA's stewardship of Iraqi oil funds, found that controls over the funds from November-May 2003 had been inadequate. The CPA, for instance, was unable to certify that crude had not been smuggled out of Iraq. Another independent NGO, the Iraq Revenue Watch project of the Open Society Institute, reported that in the weeks before the June 28 handover of "sovereignty," the CPA rushed to commit nearly $2 billion in Iraqi funds with no planning and questionable justification. In many cases, billions of dollars of US funds had already been committed in the same areas.


    Regardless of the truth of the allegations of impropriety in the UN's administration of Oil for Food, it is clear that the real goal of the program's vociferous new critics is to damage the credibility of the entire international body. At the July 8 Congressional hearings, Jed Babbin, a former Defense Department official and author of a UN-bashing tract called "Inside the Asylum," described the UN as "the handmaiden of terrorism, the errand boy of despots and dictators, and a quagmire that is the antithesis of our policy to preempt terrorist attacks."

    Perhaps not coincidentally, the unfolding investigations into Oil for Food come at a time when the terms of the UN's future involvement in Iraq are unclear. Security Council Resolution 1483, passed in May 2003 under enormous pressure from the US, removed all UN monitors from Iraq, eliminated the 661 Committee, suspended the role of UNMOVIC, the UN disarmament agency, and eliminated any UN oversight of oil sales or disposition of oil proceeds. The resolution also endorsed the "Occupying Authority" of the US and Britain in Iraq. One year later, the Bush administration again induced the Security Council to approve a mandate for a US-dominated "multinational force" and left the UN role in Iraq's troubled political transition undefined. Despite its substantial experience in reconstruction, development and the supervision of free elections, the UN's ability to negotiate a larger role was arguably compromised by the accusations involving the Oil for Food program.

    More to the point, the Oil for Food flap fits into the decade-old pattern whereby Washington and London place exclusive blame for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq before the invasion -- and now for the country's hobbled economy as well -- upon the "neglect" of the former regime. While Oil for Food funds may have improperly ended up in the hands of Saddam Hussein's government, the fundamental responsibility for the humanitarian crisis was the sanctions regime imposed on Iraq by the Security Council, and then enforced in an extraordinarily harsh way at the insistence of the US and Britain. Under the sanctions, Iraq's annual gross domestic product dropped from about $60 billion to about $13 billion, according to a joint Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program estimate released in 1997. Assume that all the accusations of corruption are true, and the government of Saddam Hussein did indeed salt away $11 billion over the six years in which Oil for Food was in effect. Even if those funds had purchased humanitarian goods, the Iraqi GDP would have risen to $15 billion annually -- not an amount that could have compensated for the loss of 75 percent of the economy or rebuilt the dilapidated infrastructure. History may record US and British evasion of their share of responsibility for the havoc wrought by sanctions in Iraq as the real Oil for Food scandal.


    For background on Oil for Food, see Colin Rowat, "How the Sanctions Hurt Iraq," Middle East Report Online, August 2, 2001. http://www.merip.org/mero/mero080201.html

    The Iraq Revenue Watch report on CPA allocation of funds is accessible online at: http://www.iraqrevenuewatch.org/reports/061504

    Joy Gordon, author of numerous articles about sanctions on Iraq, teaches at Fairfield University. This article was written for Middle East Report Online, a free service of the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP).

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian
    Secondly...since your indirect support of Saddam would have resulted in that brutal ditator still being in power and still oppressing his people...and still enabling, supporting and encouraging terrorists around the world...you really have no credability or authority to speak on any of this anyway.
    There is no indirect support of Saddam on my part or of the left, all the support came from American sources. Rumsfield had no problems with Saddam when it suited American Corporate interests, problems only started when Saddam wouldnt play ball. If you look at the history of your foreign policy Brian, you will notice a startling pattern of great consistency its called naked self interest and total disregard for the welfare of other countries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian
    So...back to your own terrorist problem in Spain...you know...the one where because of Spain's pathetically weak knee jerk response to the train bombings encouraged other terrorist groups to carry out the same type of attack just a couple weeks ago...so in response to your own thread question in the topic How hard is this to work out?...

    ...apparently pretty hard for the Socialists and the European Left.

    Btw i live in Australia, we were actually bullied into being one of the coalition of the willing. "How hard is it to work out" that Iraq as a society has experienced unbelievable trauma, and that trauma has its origins in American policy in the region ,and that this is the cause of the hostility towards your Country

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Ojai, California

    Re: How hard is this to work out?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGrant
    Right on, Charles.


    I second that.

  7. #7

    Re: How hard is this to work out?

    And we were supposed to be greeted with cheers.

  8. #8

    Re: How hard is this to work out?

    "your indirect support of Saddam"

    Arguing against the killing of civilians is not any kind of support for Hussein. A good cause is immediately questionable when it brings bad results. An attempt to stop a bank robbery, for example, would be a good thing, unless it was known that the prevention meant killing a large number of innocent people. To oppose killing the innocents is not to support robbery.

  9. #9

    Re: How hard is this to work out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian W. Ralston
    since your indirect support of Saddam would have resulted in that brutal ditator still being in power and still oppressing his people...and still enabling, supporting and encouraging terrorists around the world...you really have no credability or authority to speak on any of this anyway.
    What contemptuous drivel. You disagree, so he has no authority. Could you be any more arrogant ?


  10. #10

    Re: How hard is this to work out?

    US Attacks UN

    by Phyllis Bennis; Institute for Policy Studies; December 10, 2004

    NOTE: Rumors are circulating regarding the possible replacement for Bush's UN ambassador, John Danforth, who resigned last week. Selection of Nicholas Burns, current ambassador to NATO and a smart hold-over from the Clinton years, would likely signal a Colin Powell-type effort to use and co-opt the UN and to try to portray the Bush administration as diplomatically serious and multi-dimensional. Choosing John Bolton, a leading right-wing ideologue whose history of UN-bashing dates back to his role in the Reagan administration, would indicate that the administration intends to maintain its attacks on the UN and escalate its unilateralist anti-UN strategy. Keep tuned.

    ** The attacks on Kofi Annan and the oil-for-food "scandal" are really a right-wing political attack on the UN. ** The U.S. and other Security Council governments, not the UN Secretariat, were responsible for allowing Iraq to sell oil to Turkey, Jordan and elsewhere outside of the oil-for-food program despite knowledge that billions of dollars would go directly to Saddam Hussein's government. ** The U.S. and its allies, not the UN Secretariat, also held primary responsibility for accepting or rejecting oil-for-food contracts; they never publicly raised concerns or held back contracts because of kickbacks or surcharges. ** The report of the UN reform panel, while seriously flawed regarding possible UN legitimation of the use of military force, still represents an important step towards reclaiming the UN as a partner in the global movement against empire.


    The escalating attacks on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, including calls for his resignation, are not responses to any "scandal." Rather, they must be seen as major attacks on the United Nations as a whole. While they are so far coming from right-wing elements in Congress and the media, rather than the Bush administration directly (see below), they reflect among other things a growing view among many in Washington that the UN has gone too far in challenging U.S. legitimacy and credibility, particularly regarding Iraq.

    The New York Times, ironically enough, had it right. Its 5 December 2004 lead editorial acknowledged that "Iraq accumulated far more illicit money through trade agreements that the United States and other Security Council members knew about for years but chose to accept. ... The United Nations bureaucracy had no power to prevent these illicit oil or arms deals outside the oil-for-food program. It was the responsibility of member nations... Thus the primary blame for allowing Iraq to accumulate illicit billions lies with the United States and other Security Council members that winked at prohibited oil sales...."

    The ideologically-driven attacks are led by Senator Norm Coleman (the Minnesota Republican who replaced Paul Wellstone), Claudia Rossett (a one-note reporter jumping from the Wall Street Journal to the right-wing Rumsfeld-endorsing New York Sun), columnists William Safire in the NY Times and Charles Krauthamer in the Washington Post, and the pundits of the American Enterprise Institute. But much of the background comes from documents made public by the dubious Ahmad Chalabi, the former CIA asset and Pentagon favorite. When he returned to Iraq shortly after the U.S. invasion under protection of the U.S. military, following decades in CIA-backed exile, the U.S. military turned over to Chalabi massive quantities of alleged Iraqi government files. Among those documents, Chalabi claims, were lists of people and international corporations who were offered the right to sell Iraqi oil allocations by Saddam Hussein's regime.

    The effect of the right-wing campaign has been to focus public and media attention on the alleged responsibility of the UN secretariat, especially Kofi Annan personally, in overseeing the oil-for-food program, rather than keeping the focus where it belongs, on the role of the U.S. and other Security Council member states. The power to approve contracts for Iraq to sell its oil or purchase humanitarian supplies rested entirely with the UN's "661 Committee," made up of all members of the Security Council - whatever the back-up role of the UN Secretariat in initially examining some contracts, the ultimate power to approve or reject belonged solely to the member governments. U.S. Deputy Ambassador James Cunningham was the U.S. official who most often participated in the work of the 661 Committee. The U.S. and Britain routinely and publicly used their power on that committee to delay or cancel contracts based on their often-cited (though rarely substantiated) claim of "dual use," meaning potential military as well as civilian use. But there are no publicized reports of an American or British representative (or any other Council member) putting holds on a contract because of the widely-known practice (typical of the global oil industry) of kickbacks and surcharges.

    The attacks have focused on Kofi Annan personally largely because it is easier to demonize the symbol of an institution than an institution itself; unspoken appeals to racism no doubt make attacking Annan even more popular. Also, Annan and the Secretariat, in failing to make all the records completely public right from the beginning, enhanced the rumor-mongering grist mill.

    It is certainly not a coincidence that the anti-UN attacks are escalating after the election; during the campaign, accountability to wide-spread U.S. support for the UN might have had to be taken into account. Further, it is emerging at least partially in response to Annan's important (however belated) public recognition that the U.S. war in Iraq was illegal. After all, the UN's official independent investigation of the oil-for-food imbroglio, under the direction of quintessential Washington insider and former Fed chief Paul Volcker, has been underway for months and is expected to produce its first interim report in January.

    The kickback and corruption claims have focused primarily on two individuals. Benon Sevan, a long-time UN employee who was in charge of the UN's Office of the Iraq Program and thus nominally overseeing the oil-for-food program, is alleged to have been on Iraq's list of oil allocation recipients. The other is Kofi Annan's son Kojo Annan, a former consultant for the Swiss firm Cotecna that the UN hired to oversee the oil contracts. His continuing financial arrangement with the company, even after leaving their employ shortly before the UN signed the contract, has given the appearance of possible nepotism and/or influence peddling. There is one key question that so far Cotecna has refused to answer: Why did Cotecna's common and perfectly legal "non-compete" payments to Kojo Annan, that began at the end of the 1990s, stop in February 2004, just after public rumors began to surface about Kojo's involvement?

    Certainly the allegations against Sevan should be investigated and he and any others should be held accountable for any proven violation of UN rules that prohibit international civil servants from profiting from UN programs. Similarly, any appearance of inappropriate influence by Kojo Annan should be thoroughly examined. Volcker's panel is properly looking at both those claims. But neither of them have anything to do with what should be recognized as the REAL oil-for-food scandals: (1) The role of the U.S. in deliberately approving (or at times acquiescing with a wink and a nod) out-of-program oil sales to Jordan and Turkey that led to billions of dollars in unaccountable hard currency going directly to Saddam Hussein's regime. (The special oil sales to Jordan were based on a special Council protocol. Sales to Turkey, a NATO member and key U.S. military ally vitally important for supporting the U.S.-British military "no-fly zone" patrols and frequent bombing campaigns against Iraq, were informally approved but widely known in the Council. Both arrangements were based on the UN Charter's Article 50 that gives special consideration to countries impacted by UN sanctions imposed against a neighboring state.) (2) The role of the U.S. in undermining the oil-for-food program's capacity to sustain Iraq's civilian population by demanding that the UN divert up to 30% of Iraq's oil income to pay for UN overhead costs and for reparations claims from Kuwait, Israel and other wealthy countries; and by placing holds on contracts that undermined Iraq's ability to obtain vital humanitarian goods. (3) Most important, the role of the U.S. in imposing what ultimately became genocidal economic sanctions against Iraq, and how it manipulated the Security Council to maintain them.

    The claim that Kofi Annan should resign now, based on rumors and innuendo, can be seen as nothing more than a means of attacking the UN as a whole. The fact that the attacks are coming largely from right-wing Congressional, think tank and media sources, rather than the White House itself, may reflect Bush administration ties to U.S. oil companies, which, in purchasing Iraqi oil, were active participants for years in the kickback scheme. It may reflect the grudging recognition in the White House that right now, on the eve of the flawed plans for Iraqi elections the U.S. needs greater, not lesser, UN involvement in Iraq. And it may mean simply that the administration has determined it is better served by letting surrogates take the lead.


    The release of the report of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change is an important accomplishment for the UN, bringing to the front of the global agenda many crucial interlocking issues involving poverty, disempowerment, environmental degradation and more. The media attention to the report has focused much too much on the issue of Security Council expansion, ignoring more important assessments. It is significant, for instance, that the report explicitly rejects the idea of "security being best preserved by a balance of power, or by any single - even benignly motivated - superpower."

    The panel, while carefully identifying contending positions, recognized that "the refusal of the Security Council to bow to United States pressure to legitimate the [Iraq] war is proof of its relevance and indispensability: although the Security Council did not deter war, it provided a clear and principled standard with which to assess the decision to go to war. The flood of Foreign Ministers into the Security Council chambers during the debates, and widespread public attention, suggest that the United States decision to bring the question of force to the Security Council reaffirmed not just the relevance but the centrality of the Charter of the United Nations."

    The panel fails in a key area of improving UN democracy. It calls for strengthening the thoroughly undemocratic Security Council, calling on it to be "more proactive" in the future. But it charges that the General Assembly, by far the most democratic of UN agencies, has "lost vitality and often fails to focus effectively on the most compelling issues of the day." This despite the crucial role played by the Assembly in building UN and international rejection of Bush's Iraq war, and the potential for greater UN relevance by further empowering the far more democratic Assembly.

    An important contribution of the panel's report is the recognition of the breadth of threats facing the UN and the 21st century world: not limited to the threat of terrorism, as the Bush administration continues to claim, but a range of interconnected threats including poverty; infectious disease, especially HIV/AIDS; environmental degradation; inter-state conflict; internal conflicts including civil war and genocide; nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological weapons; terrorism; and transnational organized crime. Recognizing these broad social crises, and the inter-connected and indivisible nature of them, is an important contribution.

    A crucially significant development in the report, however, has to do with redefining the legitimacy of the use of pre-emptive or preventive force. It is important that the panel did not favor abandoning, or even officially reinterpreting Article 51 of the UN Charter, which outlines the very restrictive conditions in which a nation can legitimately use military force in self-defense. (It states that such force can be used "if an armed attack occurs," and only "until" the Security Council can meet to determine a collective response.)

    The report acknowledges that Article 51 should be understood to include self-defense by a state facing an imminent threat - such as a hostile state loading ballistic missiles onto launch pads. But crucially, the report ultimately fails to answer the fundamental question of what to do when a state justifies self-defense by claiming to face an imminent threat, but in fact the claim is false, and fails to determine who has the right to determine the legitimacy of the claim. There is a dangerous implication that any country, following the pattern of bald-faced lies that undergirded Washington's and London's claims of Iraq's imminent threat (remember Tony Blair's claim of 45 minutes for Iraq to launch a missile?), might have the right to simply announce to the world that X country represents an imminent danger and therefore claim it has the right to go to war without Security Council authorization. The panel says nothing about who might hold such governments accountable for such false claims. The other key unanswered question is whether there is an implicit recognition of the kind of double standard that characterizes so much of UN policy-- with the veto-wielding members of the Security Council held to a lesser standard of accountability than other countries.

    The panel did provide the beginning of a set of criteria for determining the legitimacy of military force. The guidelines are proposed for UN authorization of force, but the panel urges governments to accept them as well. They include the threat being serious enough to justify the use of military force; clarity that the primary purpose of the proposed military action is in fact to halt the threat; insuring that every non-military alternative has or will fail; the military force is proportional to the threat; and that there is a "reasonable consequence"

    that the military action will work against the threat and the consequences will not be worse than the consequences of inaction. But again there is no proposal for holding governments accountable to those guidelines, let alone how to deal with rogue governments taking military action in defiance of those guidelines, such as Washington's war in Iraq.

    The panel distinguished "preemptive" military force, used unilaterally by a country claiming to face an ostensibly imminent threat, from "preventive" force, used in "anticipatory self-defense," meaning a longer-range threat that is not claimed to be imminent. "The short answer," as the panel describes it, "is that if there are good arguments for preventive military action ... they should be put to the Security Council, which can authorize such action if it chooses to." In other words, the panel anticipates that even without "rewriting or reinterpretation of Article 51," the Council may authorize the use of preventive force -- something never before considered as legitimate in international law. Such authorization, if the Council granted it, would compromise even further, perhaps irreparably, United Nations credibility.

    In the diplomatically difficult area of genocide and ethnic cleansing within an ostensibly sovereign state, the panel breaks some new ground in defending the obligation of the international community to protect endangered peoples. It states that "there is a growing recognition that the issue is not the 'right to intervene' of any State, but the 'responsibility to protect' of every State, when it comes to people suffering from avoidable catastrophe - mass murder and rape, ethnic cleansing by forcible expulsion and terror, and deliberate starvation and exposure to disease. And there is a growing acceptance that while sovereign Governments have the primary responsibility to protect their own citizens from such catastrophes, when they are unable or unwilling to do so that responsibility should be taken up by the wider international community - with it spanning a continuum involving prevention, response to violence, if necessary, and rebuilding shattered societies." It remains unclear whether this language might be used to strengthen calls for the UN to provide international protection to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

    In other areas there are significant advances in the panel's report, including the recognition that the Non-Proliferation Treaty's Article VI requires the U.S. and other acknowledgement nuclear powers to move towards full and complete nuclear disarmament. The report bemoans the weakening of the NPT overall. But by recognizing the obligations of the most powerful nuclear weapons states rather than focusing, as U.S. policy does, only on the possible proliferation of such weapons to other non-nuclear weapons states, the panel supports a more equitable global accountability for compliance with the NPT.

    The sections that deal with changing Security Council composition provide two parallel proposals for Council expansion to the existing structure of five permanent, veto-wielding members and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms; both proposals would add a total of nine new Council seats. One calls for adding six new permanent but non-veto seats (two from Africa, two from Asia, one from Latin America and one from Europe), plus three additional non-permanent seats. The other calls for eight new four-year, renewable seats (giving powerful countries a kind of "illusion of permanence") without veto rights, as well as one new two-year non-permanent seat. The panel does not recommend any expansion of veto power, but they also do not propose methods of ending the anti-democratic veto arrangement altogether.

    The panel acknowledged that any expansion of the Council, under either proposal, should "give preference for permanent or longer-term seats to those States that are among the top three financial contributors in their relevant regional area to the regular budget, or the top three voluntary contributors from their regional area, or the top three troop contributors from their regional areas to United Nations peacekeeping missions." This would undermine the long-standing UN principle that financial support for the organization is based on an "equity of pain" principle - that holds that it is equally difficult for the U.S. to pay the multi-million dollar 22% of the UN budget as it is for impoverished Chad or Laos to pay the tiny fraction of one percent that constitutes their share. It would privilege the wealthiest states and in a few instances those with a military big enough to send troops for years abroad on UN missions.

    In fact it is unlikely that either proposal for Council expansion will become reality any time soon. Rather, the panel report is fueling an important global discussion of the undemocratic and illegitimate nature of the current Council composition, thereby advancing the more useful effort to delegitimize Council power in favor of reimpowering the far more democratic General Assembly.

    Overall, despite its significant inadequacies, the panel's report represents a major institutional advance in the cause of UN reform and the fight for UN global centrality, particularly in recognizing the interlocked relationships between economic, social, environmental and security crises. While not endorsing the recommendations wholesale, the international peace and justice movements should view the panel's report overall as an important step in reclaiming the United Nations as part of our global mobilization against the ravages of empire.

Go Back to forum
Page 1 of 6 1234 ... LastLast


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts