A billion dollars? I would not trust Kofi and his gang of thieves with a wooden nickel, let alone a billion dollars. Giving any money to the UN will all but doom those poor people trying to survive. I implore President Bush to go ahead with his original plan for a summit, without UN involvement, on how best to get help to the survivors of the tsunami disaster. - Sailor
A COUP FOR KOFI'S CREW?
New York Post Editorial
January 8, 2005 -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he needs $1 billion in cash — now! — to cover the first six months of relief efforts for survivors of the South Asia tsunami.
Does he, now?
But does he really expect the nations of the world to fork over that much hard cash to the UN?
The same UN whose cash-based relief efforts in Iraq may have resulted in the largest embezzlement in history?
Good luck, Kofi.
And the disclosure by the U.N.'s hand-picked "investigator" into the Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal, former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker, that he won't be producing any "smoking guns" won't help matters, that's for sure.
It was never clear that Volcker would be able to deliver an honest product on the scandal. His report was meant from the start to be submitted directly to Annan personally — to be made public only "in a form that will take into account the rights of staff members" and protect their confidentiality.
It was a prescription for a cover-up, in other words.
Which no doubt is why Annan has instructed his staff not to cooperate with U.S. congressional investigators, at least until Volcker releases his preliminary report — which Volcker himself now admits may be seen as a "whitewash" by the U.N.'s critics.
He's delivering the prescription, in other words.
Meanwhile, upwards of $20 billion disappeared down all manner of rat-holes — even Annan's son seems to have gotten a cut — while very little of the food, hospital supplies and other goods meant to be purchased for suffering Iraqis ever were.
And millions meant for humanitarian projects were diverted to Saddam Hussein's pocket — to purchase luxury items for himself and his family, and weaponry to keep his regime in power.
Says Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), who is chairing the congressional probe: "If this widespread corruption had occurred in any legitimate organization around the world, its CEO would have been ousted long ago in disgrace."
Despite the stonewalling from Turtle Bay, Coleman's sleuths reportedly have uncovered evidence from former Saddam aides implicating even more highly placed United Nations officials in the corruption — and the scheme to subvert international sanctions on Iraq.
These are some of the same folks who cite concerns that private humanitarian organizations involved in the tsunami crisis may be overwhelmed by the amount of money that's already been contributed by good-hearted people — and governments — worldwide.
None of the groups has experience administering that much money — which is why the United Nations wants to coordinate the relief efforts.
It's true that Kofi & Co. are skilled "coordinators."
But it's equally true that they're not so hot at providing actual relief.
Handing thick bundles of cash to the United Nations will make some exquisitely tailored diplomats on First Avenue happy; survivors of the South Asia tsunami will be on their own.