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July 26, 2006

Sweden’s blind eye and Kofi’s bald-faced lie

Filed under: Sverige, UN — limewoody @ 8:26 pm

The New York Sun reported yesterday on the developing scandal in Sweden over that nation’s knowledge of the bribes being paid in the UN Oil-for Food scandal.

The Swedish government knew in 2000 that Saddam Hussein’s government demanded kickbacks from companies participating in the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program, officials and news reports said Tuesday.

An unidentified Swedish company informed the country’s embassy in Amman, Jordan, in 2000 that Iraq was demanding 10 percent “fees” on all deals as a way to circumvent U.N. sanctions on Saddam’s regime, according to a Swedish Foreign Ministry document published on the Web site of Swedish Radio.

The document was sent from the embassy in Amman to the Foreign Ministry and Swedish delegation at the United Nations in December 2000, Swedish Radio said.

The document stated clearly that the extra fees violated U.N. sanctions. But it was “clear that an open Swedish engagement in this issue would negatively affect other Swedish business opportunities” in Iraq, it said. [emphasis added]

This is startlingly reminiscent of Swedish behavior in World War II, turning a blind eye to Nazi atrocities, and profiting handsomely from the sale of raw materials and armaments.

Ed Morrisey of Captain’s Qaurters picked up on the implication: that Kofi Annan has been caught in a bald-faced lie.

Turtle Bay has long claimed ignorance of the problem until the 2003 invasion of Iraq produced reams of evidence of kickbacks and payoffs. Kofi Annan claimed that the UN didn’t audit the OFF program thoroughly enough and never had any awareness of the vast monies being kicked back to Saddam Hussein. This announcement by Sweden makes clear that the UN had both knowledge and evidence of the corruption and a pretty good idea of its scope, but declined to enforce its own sanctions against the dictator.

Ed Lasky 7 26 06


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