Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: Oil For Food, Oil For Iraq… How many scandals does it take?

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Friday, December 03, 2004

Oil For Food, Oil For Iraq… How many scandals does it take?

As the investigation goes forth regarding the Iraqi Oil for Food scandal, which for 7 years funneled some 23 billion dollars to Saddam Hussein, many questions remain. The right is quick to hang France, Germany, and Russia for their involvement and their consequent apathy for our noble cause of invading Iraq. Meanwhile the United States corporations and citizens that were involved seem to fly under the radar. The Duelfer report was quick to name international names, however the CIA thought it best to give the US companies involved their 9th amendment right to privacy. Subsequent leaks have named Chevron, Texaco, Mobil, Bay Oil and other individuals as culprits.

Earlier this week Lisa Myers of NBC reported the old story about the United States being involved, albeit in a bigger scale, in another money laundering operation. In only two years since that the United States took control of the Iraqi government’s bank accounts there has been a minimum of $8.8 billion in unaccounted oil funds. How much of this cash got in the wrong hands? It is hard to say since a single person tracking billions with spreadsheets has carried out the only audits that have occurred.

Darrell M. Trent, a former U.S. deputy secretary of Transportation and friend to Reagan, Nixon and of course Rumsfeld lasted only nine months in the critical beginning of the “reconstruction effort in Iraq.” Trent was implicated in awarding no-bid contracts to a Jordanian airline. Some say that he was one of the people diverting moneys from the fund. Trent’s successor, Frank Willis, former chief deputy of the Iraq Ministry of Transportation said The Development Fund for Iraq was being managed as a “wild west” bank, doling cash in bags to almost anyone who claimed a bill.

What is now only one of the many scandals plaguing this administration and the second unleashed this week, I hope that next weeks meeting of the International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq will dig deeper. When the IMF, World Bank and the United States are operating under the guise of the Coalition Provisional Authority, it is amazing what they can achieve. What remains uncertain is why when the UN gets involved in scandal there are copious calls for resignations, yet when the US is involved in a similar scandal, no one is quick to assess blame.