Friday, May 07, 2004

Why I hate the U.N.

This my friends, is a perfect example of why I hate, I hate, I hate the U.N.. And we're supposed to take these jack-asses seriously? Gee, I wonder why the mainstream press isn't reporting on this:

The United Nations has sent a stern letter to an important witness in the Iraq oil-for-food investigation, demanding that he not cooperate with congressional probes of the scandal, The Post has learned.
The letter - in the name of oil-for-food program chief Benon Sevan - was sent to a U.N. consultant after it was learned he had been talking to congressional investigators about allegations of wholesale corruption, officials said last night.

"This particular individual is someone we have been in contact with for more than a month," said an investigator. "This letter has chilled his willingness to cooperate with the congressional investigation. This individual also appears to be genuinely frightened by the implications inherent in the letter."

Congressional officials would not identify the consultant because he is a potential whistleblower.

The U.N. letter, obtained by The Post, reminded the consultant that under his contract with the oil-for-food program, he "may not communicate at any time to any other person, government or authority external to the United Nations any information known to them by reason of their association with the United Nations, which has not been made public."

"In view of the contractual provisions referred to above and the fact that these matters relate to internal U.N. procedures for administering the Programme, we would ask that you consult with the U.N. before releasing any documentation or information," the letter said.

It is the third letter to surface this week from Sevan's office to companies that did business with the oil-for-food program that invoked confidentiality agreements and demanded that they not release documents to outside investigators.

U.N. spokesmen have said this week that the letters are following standard legal procedure and that U.N. lawyers want all documents to be collected by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who was appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to head an investigation into the scandal. But the letters have ignited a firestorm.

"These confidentiality agreements are fueling a perception on the Hill that the U.N. is deliberately seeking to thwart a congressional inquiry into these allegations," said one congressional investigator.

Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), whose subcommittee is one of three congressional committees investigating the scandal, noted this week that his panel recently heard sworn testimony that Sevan accepted sweetheart oil deals from Saddam Hussein's government.

"It would be a big mistake, I think, for him to suggest that people not cooperate in this investigation. It would further imply that he is totally mixed up in this," Shays said.

The United Nations has said Sevan, who is on vacation pending retirement, was not the author of the letters. They were drawn up by U.N. lawyers and sent out on his stationery.