Oil for Food program AGAIN found wanting, …



  • but by who/m or what agency?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9227220/

    The article says it is an independent report at the UN, but it could have been an independent report given at the UN by a USan(or other/otro) committee/representative.



  • What no comments? No opines? No little grey cells?

    Here’s more for yor contemplation…

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,168829,00.html

    EXCERPT
    Not only was Secretary-General Kofi Annan (search) found partly to blame, but Louise Frechette, the deputy secretary-general, also was fingered as being negligent.
    ……
    The report also says that the inconsistent explanations by Annan, Frechette and then-chief of staff Iqbal Riza — who was privy to many discussions and dealings with Oil-for-Food — “demonstrate a basic confusion within the highest offices of the secretariat.”
    END EXCERPT



  • They’re referring to the Volcker report. Volcker, a former Fed chairman, was tapped by Kofi Annan to investigate the Oil for Food scandal. While established by Annan, the commission does not report to, nor does it receive oversight from, the UN. To date, I believe he has given two briefings, both of which exonerate Annan from direct wrongdoing, but do criticize him on poor management and for not more carefully investigating his son’s connections to an Oil for Food contractor. However, Volcker casts a wider net of blame, pointing to improprieties throughout the UN management structure and to the responsibility of members of the Security Council.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    There’s really nothing they can argue. They’re man was caught red handed with his hand in the cookie jar, so they’re hoping, by remaining quiet, he’ll be let off the hook. Part of the tactic is to blow other events in the real world way out of porportion (ie torture in Gitmo, hurrican relief in NO, DPU in Iraq, etc) to divert attention away from Annon and his family.



  • Well, no, they can argue quite a lot in fact, given the scope of Volcker’s report and statements. He’s gone to lengths to say that Annan didn’t have any direct culpability in the scandal (nor did he profit from it), and to state that the Security Council deserves blame for either not looking into the matter or ignoring it and profitting from it. But, the crux of his report is that the UN needs reform, which mirrors Annan’s plans for the coming General Assembly meeting.

    I also think it’s a little disingenuous to say that the UN is blowing events out of proportion to cover for the Secretary-General. Annan publicly came out to give support to US efforts in New Orleans, and he hasn’t really said anything else. There hasn’t been any criticism or exaggeration from Turtle Bay. Torture in Guantanamo preceded this investigation by months if not a year or more, and besides, the critical mistake that many people make about the UN is that it is a unified, central organization. It’s simply not, and there is very little connection between the Department of Political Affairs, which coordinates policy in Iraq, say, and the Public Affairs, which would be the primary arm for statements defending Annan (but which, in this situation, has not done much. That responsibility has been given to Annan’s new Chief of Staff, Mark Malloch Brown).


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    @Chengora:

    Well, no, they can argue quite a lot in fact, given the scope of Volcker’s report and statements. He’s gone to lengths to say that Annan didn’t have any direct culpability in the scandal (nor did he profit from it), and to state that the Security Council deserves blame for either not looking into the matter or ignoring it and profitting from it. But, the crux of his report is that the UN needs reform, which mirrors Annan’s plans for the coming General Assembly meeting.

    No, he personally didn’t put any money into his bank accounts, but his son made a ton of money and friends of Annon did make a ton of money. So, there are really only two options, 1) Annon orchestrated this himself as the mastermind or 2) Annon was so incompetant a leader that he had no idea or control of his underlings and should be fired.

    That’s why they’re keeping their mouths as tight as possible on this instead of trying to pin it on some other poor person as a scape goat. Better to try and bury it under trumpt up reports then to try and argue that Annon is purely innocent. Not to mention, many other delegates and countries received much money from this scandle.

    @Chengora:

    I also think it’s a little disingenuous to say that the UN is blowing events out of proportion to cover for the Secretary-General. Annan publicly came out to give support to US efforts in New Orleans, and he hasn’t really said anything else. There hasn’t been any criticism or exaggeration from Turtle Bay. Torture in Guantanamo preceded this investigation by months if not a year or more, and besides, the critical mistake that many people make about the UN is that it is a unified, central organization. It’s simply not, and there is very little connection between the Department of Political Affairs, which coordinates policy in Iraq, say, and the Public Affairs, which would be the primary arm for statements defending Annan (but which, in this situation, has not done much. That responsibility has been given to Annan’s new Chief of Staff, Mark Malloch Brown).

    His support of events probably has more to do with rebuilding his image then it does actual support for what happened - even though it’s insane how fast the President was able to get federal aid to New Orleans once official documentation from the Gov of LA was forwarded to the white house authorizing and asking for Federal aid.



  • Again though, your statements aren’t factually or analytically accurate. Annan’s office has repeatedly made statements supporting the investigation, no matter what the findings. Plus, I’m rather certain that Benon Sevan thinks he’s being made a scapegoat for Annan. Also, Annan has also accepted Volcker’s findings, including his own responsibility in the scandal.

    In addition, no one really believes that Annan was a mastermind behind the whole thing, but that doesn’t necessarily make him entirely incompetent either. It of course does really hurt efforts to reform the UN, but that’s another matter.

    You’re of course right that part of Annan’s support for the findings is that he’s trying to rebuild his image, particularly for reform efforts. Also, the report isn’t as damning as it could have been, so I’m sure he’s happy about that.

    But overall, be careful in your assertions. You post some really interesting points, but sometimes I wonder whether you recognize the relationship between objective support and subjective analysis. In this instance, it’s pretty clear that while you have some good analysis, you don’t have all the objective factual support necessary for a comprehensive view of what’s going on. Benon Sevan was made a scapegoat (at least in his own opinion); Annan isn’t claiming to be pure and is accepting culpability (more so than any of the other people blamed in the report); the UN organs haven’t kept their mouths shut about this, particularly since coming the GA summit is provides the best opportunity for reform in a very long time. And even a cursory reading of the Volcker report reveals that Annan has by no means been caught red-handed.

    But, I don’t mean to be confrontational. I very much appreciate your thoughts on this issue, but I think it is significantly more complicated than you let on. And any analysis we have should reflect that.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    But he’s definately no Teddy Roosevelt.



  • Jenn, what do you think of Ariel Sharon? In how far is he worse than Kofi Annan ?



  • But he’s definately no Teddy Roosevelt.

    Well, okay. But, that’s not relevant. We weren’t discussing how Annan compares to other people, but whether or not he has culpability. Your choice of TR as an example of virtue is interesting (and to my mind, somewhat questionable), but I’m not going to pursue it because, as I said, it’s not germane to the discussion.

    Does that wrap up this topic? EJ, I hope this answered your questions. And a side note: the title of this thread perhaps suggests that the Oil for Food program was repeatedly lambasted from new sources of opinion or inquiry. While the New York Attorney General’s office is considering opening an investigation and has made statements, there’s only ever been one body providing consistent criticism, and that’s the Volcker commission.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    @F_alk:

    Jenn, what do you think of Ariel Sharon? In how far is he worse than Kofi Annan ?

    I really havn’t been informed enough about Sharon to make a concrete opinion of him. However, with that said, from what I have heard he seems like a man who’s taken all he’s going to take and is willing to strike back for what he believes in, either with words or with force.

    Is there some information I should know about him, F_alk? You have any SMALL (let me emphasize that again) SMALL links to information you find relevant that you’d like me to comment on? I only ask for small links because I only have 6 days left and I’d like to spend a majority of that time with my Son, so that leaves mostly after hours to respond and read - respectively.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    @Chengora:

    But he’s definately no Teddy Roosevelt.

    Well, okay. But, that’s not relevant. We weren’t discussing how Annan compares to other people, but whether or not he has culpability. Your choice of TR as an example of virtue is interesting (and to my mind, somewhat questionable), but I’m not going to pursue it because, as I said, it’s not germane to the discussion.

    Does that wrap up this topic? EJ, I hope this answered your questions. And a side note: the title of this thread perhaps suggests that the Oil for Food program was repeatedly lambasted from new sources of opinion or inquiry. While the New York Attorney General’s office is considering opening an investigation and has made statements, there’s only ever been one body providing consistent criticism, and that’s the Volcker commission.

    I used him specifically because of his catch phrase: “The Buck Stops Here” In other words, no matter what happened under his watch, he took personal responsibility for it. Obviously, he didn’t resign, but I get the feeling, from what I’ve seen and read, that he didn’t exactly tolerate evil happening around him.

    Now, if Annon would go through and force out those who took bribes, sanctioned those countries who took bribes and/or otherwise showed those law abiding countries that were hurt because of these bribes and underhanded dealings that he was going to do something to bring about some modicum of justice, I could begin to regrow some respect for him, as I’m sure many others around the world would. But all I hear about that is happening from him is nothing, it’s like he’d rather sweep it under the rug so his rich friends and compatriots can make billions while others live in hoover-villes. (Like how I tie in another president? Bah, what do you know, I thought it was rather clever.)



  • I used him specifically because of his catch phrase: “The Buck Stops Here” In other words, no matter what happened under his watch, he took personal responsibility for it. Obviously, he didn’t resign, but I get the feeling, from what I’ve seen and read, that he didn’t exactly tolerate evil happening around him.

    [\quote]

    You should have read more. “The buck stops here” is from Truman.



  • @Mary:

    I used him specifically because of his catch phrase: “The Buck Stops Here” In other words, no matter what happened under his watch, he took personal responsibility for it. Obviously, he didn’t resign, but I get the feeling, from what I’ve seen and read, that he didn’t exactly tolerate evil happening around him.

    [\quote]

    You should have read more. “The buck stops here” is from Truman.

    LMAO!!!

    This reminds me of those lists of Bush-ims. Except this is not a Bush-ism, of course. For some reason i suspect even he might be able to differentiate the various presidents from their quotes. . . .



  • @Jennifer:

    @F_alk:

    Jenn, what do you think of Ariel Sharon? In how far is he worse than Kofi Annan ?

    I really havn’t been informed enough about Sharon to make a concrete opinion of him. …

    Is there some information I should know about him, F_alk?..

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1417303,00.html
    "Sharon’s son charged in corruption case "



  • @Jennifer:

    Now, if Annon would go through and force out those who took bribes, sanctioned those countries who took bribes and/or otherwise showed those law abiding countries that were hurt because of these bribes and underhanded dealings that he was going to do something to bring about some modicum of justice, I could begin to regrow some respect for him, as I’m sure many others around the world would. But all I hear about that is happening from him is nothing, it’s like he’d rather sweep it under the rug so his rich friends and compatriots can make billions while others live in hoover-villes. (Like how I tie in another president? Bah, what do you know, I thought it was rather clever.)

    Interesting, and a good tie-in on Hoover. 🙂

    However, and I wonder if this is common to many who don’t like the UN, you’ve vastly overestimated Annan’s power. The UN, unlike what many people say, is not a place for power. It is, rather, a place for diplomacy, which has a power of sorts, but without a standing military force and a driving economy, makes compliance rather difficult. He cannot impose sanctions (that’s the Security Council), nor can he bring those responsible to justice without the acceptance of the relevant countries (he’s not a prosecutor or judge).

    So, what can Annan do? He can fire those responsible (which he’s done, although the people fired don’t exactly seem like they believe their guilt), remove their diplomatic immunity (which has happened), and comply with investigations. Consequently, I’d need to see some better evidence that he’s sweeping the issue under the rug, and frankly, that phrase itself sounds a bit too much like a talking point for my liking.

    Perhaps more importantly, Annan has made a concerted effort to reform the UN, and I tend to think his critics are so intent on attacking him that they fail to see structural reform as Annan’s attempt to ensure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again. I’m rather neutral on whether his resigning would have improved the prospects for reform or not. Certainly at this point, it’s a too late.

    That’s my two cents. But what are you doing reading this forum? Go be with your son! 🙂


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    @Mary:

    I used him specifically because of his catch phrase: “The Buck Stops Here” In other words, no matter what happened under his watch, he took personal responsibility for it. Obviously, he didn’t resign, but I get the feeling, from what I’ve seen and read, that he didn’t exactly tolerate evil happening around him.

    [\quote]

    You should have read more. “The buck stops here” is from Truman.

    Actually, Teddy coined the phrase before Truman. That’s probably where Truman got it, but he could have picked it up somewhere else.

    Teddy used the phrase after he stepped down from office to lead the Rough Riders and from thereafter.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    @F_alk:

    @Jennifer:

    @F_alk:

    Jenn, what do you think of Ariel Sharon? In how far is he worse than Kofi Annan ?

    I really havn’t been informed enough about Sharon to make a concrete opinion of him. …

    Is there some information I should know about him, F_alk?..

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1417303,00.html
    "Sharon’s son charged in corruption case "

    I really don’t see what hte last paragraph has to do with the rest of the article….but:

    This sounds similar to Annon’s situation - not identical, but similar. Like Annon, he was in charge of his organization and should have been a better leader to avoid any mal-activity from taking place under his watch. He too should be held accountable if proof of wrong doing is demonstrated.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    Cheng:

    If he’s so powerless then why does he have a position? Maybe we could reduce world government by dissolving the position of UN SecGen permanently and allow the security council to take up any responsibilities he may have?



  • @Mary:

    I used him specifically because of his catch phrase: “The Buck Stops Here” In other words, no matter what happened under his watch, he took personal responsibility for it. Obviously, he didn’t resign, but I get the feeling, from what I’ve seen and read, that he didn’t exactly tolerate evil happening around him.

    [\quote]

    You should have read more. “The buck stops here” is from Truman.

    I think you are right.
    I can not find any reference to Teddy and the phrase “The buck stops here” outside of a mention of a deer coming to drink at a river.
    Much of history, however, seems to favor Truman’s use of this expression.

    My mind could be changed with some PROOF that Teddy said this . . . .



  • @Jennifer:

    Cheng:

    If he’s so powerless then why does he have a position? Maybe we could reduce world government by dissolving the position of UN SecGen permanently and allow the security council to take up any responsibilities he may have?

    You know, I haven’t been successful in getting that little quote box to pop up. Hope it works this time.

    I didn’t say Annan was powerless, but implied that he has power within/over the organization of the UN. And that, of course, is the reference point for much of his actions: he has fired people, admonished others, removed diplomatic immunity, etc. But he is not a head of state. And the UN is not really a world government. Yes it operates on international law, but it does not have independent police power or the ability to tax, etc. As I said, the UN is a place for diplomacy. It has little true power outside what its members delegate it. But at the same time, it could not operate the way it does, it could not function, without some level of independence.

    And that I think is the biggest difficulty for people to get their minds around: there really are two UNs, and they don’t necessarily coincide. The first is the representative one, including the GA, the Security Council, the ambassadors to the UN, etc. It’s, in some respects, the ineffective one. Then, there is the Secretariat, which has oversight over UN programs like UNDP and UNICEF. This is somewhat independent of the UN’s members, and it’s probably better that it is so. But it also has much less power than the “other UN.”

    So consider: if you dissolve the Secretariat side of things (and that’s really what happens if you eliminate the post of the Secretary-General), you would have a forum for world debate with maybe some action by the Security Council. But you largely lose the moral voice that the UN can speak in, particularly on issues of poverty in the developing world, human rights, response to disasters. And, I would argue, you want that voice there, but you don’t necessarily want it to have too much power. You can argue that the voice isn’t necessary, that international relations is simply realpolitik. But that’s a rather meager view of the world, and it ignores the fact that having an international forum for discussion is itself a really good thing. Add to this the UN’s pretty good track record in dealing with the places that no one wants to deal with (the tsunami comes to mind, as does sub-Saharan Africa), and you can get a sense of why the Secretary-General position exists. Would you want the 15 voices of the Security Council to be dealing with this? Or would you rather have an elected leader, speaking with the moral authority of the world community, and establishing and directing an agenda which drives poverty reduction, health, and collective security?

    I think, as an exercise, it would be useful for you to describe what exactly you think the UN can do. It has far less political power than many people think, but much more moral and coordinating power than it is often given credit for, and it’d be interesting to see where exactly you fall on this.



  • http://www.trumanlibrary.org/buckstop.htm

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/355200.html

    "Origin

    U.S. president Harry Truman had a sign with this inscription on his desk. This was meant to indicate that he didn’t ‘pass the buck’ to anyone else but accepted responsibility for the way the country was governed."



  • Actually, Teddy coined the phrase before Truman. That’s probably where Truman got it, but he could have picked it up somewhere else.

    Teddy used the phrase after he stepped down from office to lead the Rough Riders and from thereafter.

    source……?



  • Google: Teddy AND “rough riders” AND “buck stops here”
    http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=slv1-&p=Teddy+AND+“rough+riders”+AND+“buck+stops+here”

    Needless to say, there’s not much help for Jen in those 8 links.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    @cystic:

    @Mary:

    I used him specifically because of his catch phrase: “The Buck Stops Here” In other words, no matter what happened under his watch, he took personal responsibility for it. Obviously, he didn’t resign, but I get the feeling, from what I’ve seen and read, that he didn’t exactly tolerate evil happening around him.

    You should have read more. “The buck stops here” is from Truman.

    I think you are right.
    I can not find any reference to Teddy and the phrase “The buck stops here” outside of a mention of a deer coming to drink at a river.
    Much of history, however, seems to favor Truman’s use of this expression.

    My mind could be changed with some PROOF that Teddy said this . . . .

    I can conceed that Truman is the one creditted with the phrase. I believe Teddy said it as well, but the arguement is rather semantic given that what I’m trying to point to is how a leader should act as opposed to how Annon is acting, by all perceptions at least.


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