Thinking as a Hobby

Get Email Updates
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

3477936 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

Der Spiegel on Poor Little Kofi Annan
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (12)

This English-version column/interview with Kofi Annan gives some insight into how the major European newspapers are handling the massive corruption in the Iraq Oil-for-Food program.

Here's the lead paragraph:

The secretary general of the United Nations fights a war on many fronts in his crusade to bring human rights and peace to the world. But Kofi Annan's latest front isn't Sudan or Iraq, it's Washington, where right-wingers and spin doctors are plotting to overthrow him.'s all spin, right? Only rabid conservatives would want the leader of an ineffectual, massively corrupt organization to step down.

The latest name to surface in the corruption scandal is that of the 66-year-old secretary general's son, Kojo Annan. The implication of the 29-year-old in the scandal -- the largest to strike the UN in years -- has undermined Annan's credibility and many in the US are calling for his resignation. Of course, that chorus has been growing in numbers since Annan told the BBC in September he believed the Iraq war had been "illegal."

Oh, it's just because he criticized the war. Right.

The whole first page of the story is filled with what a pious and self-sacrificing man Annan is, and what a victim he's become. There's a lot of crap like this:

There's no question that American right-wingers, accustomed to swaggering Texan talk, consider a man like Annan to be a weakling. The lapel pins tell the whole story: George W. Bush wears an American flag, Kofi Annan a dove, the symbol of peace.

The story doesn't even mention the facts of the case against him until the second page:

The United Nations presents the Americans with too many reasons to find fault. The oil-for-food program that permitted Iraq to exchange oil exports for food during the embargo years, is the best example, because Saddam Hussein pocketed about $10 billion dollars in illegal earnings. Worse yet, the names of many UN workers are appearing on the lists of those implicated in the scandal. But if you look at it factually, the scandal over Annan's son Kojo would hardly account for a disaster.

I give less of a crap about the piddling money Kojo seemed to be making off the program than, say, the $10 billion Saddam Hussein pocketed, and the number of UN officials apparently involved in the corruption.

The case of the Cypriot Benon S. Sevan should be more troublesome for Annan. Sevan was executive director of the oil-for-food program and documents suggest he received private oil bribes. The Sevan affair is a disaster for the UN.

But Kofi Annan isn't responsible for the actions of Sevan, is he? I mean, he only hand-picked the guy for the position. The investigation is still ongoing, but there's a fair amount of evidence already that Sevan received bribes directly from Saddam's government, totaling hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of dollars.

But Kofi Annan is as innocent as a little lamb, right?

Read/Post Comments (12)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.