The reputation of the United Nations is taking a beating as the media devote more and more attention to the oil-for-food scandal. That’s the scheme under which Saddam Hussein made bribes and took kickbacks on oil deals, with U.N. supervision and authority, while the Iraqi people got very little food. But that appears to be only half the story. Some members of the media and Congress are drawing attention to how this money could have financed international terrorism, including Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda.
A new poll finds that “just 38% of American voters have a favorable opinion of the United Nations these days” while 44% have an unfavorable view. Rasmussen Reports says the U.N. failure to back the U.S. in Iraq and the “recent scandals” have “dragged down the international organization’s reputation.” If it turns out that the U.N. program financed terrorism against Americans, including the 9/11 attacks, there could be calls for a U.S. withdrawal from the world body.
Bob Woodward has missed out on this scandal, one of the biggest of all time, because he’s been making millions promoting his new book. The investigative reporting on this matter has been driven by William Safire of the New York Times and Claudia Rosett of the Wall Street Journal. She quotes financial investigators as saying there are possible “terrorist connections” in the list of companies doing business under the oil-for-food program. She says they include “a remnant of the defunct global criminal bank, BCCI; another was close to the Taliban while Osama bin Laden was on the rise in Afghanistan; a third was linked to a bank in the Bahamas involved in al Qaeda’s financial network; a fourth had a close connection to one of Saddam’s would-be nuclear-bomb makers.”
Rep. Doug Ose noted that one of the names on a list of companies and individuals benefiting from the scandal was the late Abu Abbas, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. Another listed is a U.S.-designated terrorist group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Fred Gedrich, Senior U.N. and Foreign Policy Analyst at Freedom Alliance, says several questions need to be answered: (1) How many terrorists and terrorist organizations benefited from the $10-billion-plus ripped off from the Iraqi people by Saddam? (2) How much of this money is being used to finance the terrorist activities occurring in Iraq and the broader Middle East today? (3) Will the U.N. and U.S. congressional inquiries pursue the terrorist connections in their investigations? (4) And will evidence finally show President Bush was correct in his statements about links with terrorism and Saddam/Iraq?
Gedrich said it appears that the U.N. “created a climate where Saddam could funnel large sums of money to terrorists and terrorist organizations to the detriment of humanity and civilization?and the free world is suffering for it today in Iraq and elsewhere.” The media, who have had a love affair with the U.N. and have regarded it as a sacred cow, could begin to rally around the world organization if they sense that its survival is in jeopardy. The American people will have to demand the facts.