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October 28, 2005 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-28

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 28, 2005

NATION/WORLD

Report: 2,200 firms paid oil bribes NEWS IN BRIEF

Investigators say U.N. failed to
stop corruption, letting Saddam turn
$64-billion program into cash cow
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Investigators of the
U.N. oil-for-food program issued a final report yes-
terday that accused more than 2,200 U.S. and foreign
companies, and prominent politicians, of colluding
with Saddam Hussein's regime to bilk the operation
of $1.8 billion.
The 623-page document was a scathing indictment
that exposed the global scope of a scam that alleg-
edly involved such name-brand companies as Daim-
lerChrysler and Siemens AG, as well as a former
French U.N. ambassador, a firebrand British politician
and the president of Italy's Lombardi region.
It meticulously detailed how the $64-billion pro-
gram became a cash cow for Saddam and more than
half the companies participating in oil-for-food - at
the expense of regular Iraqis suffering under tough
U.N. sanctions. It blamed shoddy U.N. management
and the world's most powerful nations for allowing the
corruption to go on for years.
"The corruption of the program by Saddam would

not nearly have been so pervasive if there had been
diligent management by the United Nations and its
agencies," said Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve
chairman who led the investigation.
Volcker and many nations said the report under-
scored the urgent need to reform the United Nations.
Earlier reports in his investigation have already led
to criminal inquiries and indictments in the United
States, France and Switzerland.
The investigators found that companies and indi-
viduals from 66 countries paid illegal kickbacks using
a variety of methods, and those paying illegal oil sur-
charges came from, or were registered in, 40 countries.
Most of the contracts went to Russian and French
companies and individuals, who were rewarded for
their governments' outspoken opposition to the sanc-
tions. But the report found that even firms in coun-
tries supportive of the sanctions, such as the United
States, found ways to manipulate the system illegally
- sometimes by using Russian firms as middlemen.
While most of the names of those individuals and
companies were known, the extensive involvement of
U.S. firms will be embarrassing to the United States
government, which has been a leading critic of corrup-
tion in oil-for-food.

The oil-for-food program, which ran from
1996-2003, allowed Iraq to sell limited and then
unlimited quantities of oil provided most of the
money went to buy humanitarian goods. It was
launched to help ordinary Iraqis cope with U.N.
sanctions imposed after Saddam's 1990 invasion
of Kuwait.
But Saddam, who could choose the buyers of Iraqi oil
and the sellers of humanitarian goods, corrupted the pro-
gram by awarding contracts to - and getting kickbacks
from - favored buyers.
Volcker's $38 million investigation, which ran
for about a year and a half, had earlier faulted
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, his depu-
ty, Canada's Louise Frechette, and the Security
Council for tolerating corruption and doing little
to stop Saddam's manipulations.
The final report released yesterday detailed
just how companies bilked the program. There
were two main ways they did it: through sur-
charges paid for humanitarian contracts for spare
parts, trucks, medical equipment and other sup-
plies; and kickbacks for oil contracts. Most of the
illicit income - more than $1.5 billion - came
from the humanitarian contracts.
Israelis
kl7 in
response to
bombing
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel killed
seven Palestinians in a missile strike yes-
terday against Islamic Jihad, and Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon said he would not
meet with the Palestinian leader until he
cracks down on armed groups - a dou-
ble-edged Israeli response to the latest sui-
cide bombing.
Sharon threatened a "broad and
relentless" offensive against Palestinian
militants, including mass arrests and air-
strikes, but security officials said Israel
would stop short of a large-scale military
operation.
Sharon's decision to shun Palestinian
leader Mahmoud Abbas was the clearest
signal yet that efforts to reiive peacemak-
ing after Israel's pullout from the Gaza
Strip last month have run aground. Abbas
has said he cannot and will not confront
militants, fearing civil war, but it's unlike-
ly progress can be made unless the two
leaders meet.
The international community has been
pressing for a quick Israeli-Palestinian
agreement on new security arrangements
for Gaza's borders, and a continued dead-
lock over such issues will prevent the eco-
nomic recovery of impoverished Gaza.
That, in turn, could hurt Abbas's chances
in parliamentary elections in January.
Wednesday's bombing in an open-
air market in the central Israeli town of
Hadera killed five Israelis, the fourth sui-
cide attack by Islamic Jihad since Abbas
negotiated a truce deal with Palestinian
has groups in February.
Abbas, widely known as Abu Mazen,
and condemned the bombing, but Israel said
he must do much more.
prof it "If the Palestinian Authority does not
pment take serious and tangible action against ter-
pmeflt rorism, there will be no diplomatic progress
Chiefs and that would be a pity. In such a situation,
I will not meet with Abu Mazen," Sharon
le a said after meeting with Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov in Jerusalem.
d There had been repeated efforts in
recent weeks to arrange a Sharon-Abbas
e meeting, but Israeli and Palestinian nego-
face tiators could not find enough common
ground on issues such as Gaza border
arrangements, prisoner releases and an
Israeli pullout from some West Bank
towns to hold a summit.
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh
said Sharon's demands for a crackdown

"do not serve the peace process and we
are ready for a meeting between Sharon
and Abu Mazen without conditions."
.* In the Gaza refugee camp of Jebaliya,
Israeli aircraft fired two missiles at a car
carrying Islamic Jihad militants. Hospital
officials said at least seven people were
at the killed and 15 wounded, four of them criti-
cally. Among the dead were at least two
Islamic Jihad members, including field
commander Shadi Mohanna.

Iran should be expelled from the United Nations after its new president said
Israel should be "wiped off the map," Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres said
yesterday.
"Since the United Nations was established in 1945, there has never been a head
of state that is a U.N. member state that publicly called for the elimination of
another U.N. member state," Peres told Israel Radio.
"There has never been such a scandal. It is impossible to ignore this and close
your ears," said Peres, a Nobel peace laureate, adding there is no place in the world
body for such a country.
In a speech Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said "there
is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine will wipe off this stigma
(Israel) from the face of the Islamic world."
Ahmadinejad spoke at a Tehran conference called "The World without Zionism."
WASHINGTON
Legislators plan special honors for Rosa Parks
Black civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks would become the first woman to lie in
honor in the Capitol Rotunda under resolutions prepared yesterday by lawmakers.
Parks's refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala., in
1955 led to a 381-day boycott of the city's bus system and helped,spark the modern
civil rights movement. She died Monday in Detroit at age 92.
The Senate approved a resolution yesterday allowing her remains to lie in honor
in the Rotunda on Sunday and Monday "so that the citizens of the United States
may pay their last respects to this great American," according to a draft from the
office of Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) The House was expected to consider it today.
WASHINGTON
House rejects plan to keep military bases open
The House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to allow the first round of U.S. mili-
tary base closures and consolidations in a decade, clearing the way for facilities
across the country to start shutting their doors as early as next month.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
CORRECTIONS
A story in yesterday's edition of the Daily ('U' overshoots enrollment
targets again) incorrectly reported that John Matlock is associate director
of admissions. He is associate vice provost and director of the Office of
Academic Multicultural Initiatives.
A story in the Oct. 14 edition of the Daily (Ludacris to perform on
campus) incorrectly left the impression that Ludacris is the first hip-hop.
artist to perform at a Unviersity venue. Wyclef Jean performed at Hill,
Auditorium in 2000.
Please report any error in the Daily to corrections@michigandaily.com.

BAGHDAD
15 killed in clash between militants
Shiite militiamen loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr clashed yesterday with
Sunni militants in fighting that killed at least 15 people, and three American sol-
diers died in separate attacks the day before, officials said.
Six Iraqis died and 12 were wounded in other attacks yesterday.
The Shiite-Sunni fighting occurred after al-Sadr's Madhi Army militia raided
a house in Nahrawan, 15 miles southeast of Baghdad, to free a fellow militiaman
kidnapped by Sunni militants, said Amer al-Husseini, an aide to al-Sadr.
The Mahdi Army freed the hostage and captured two militants during the raid,
but was ambushed on its way out of Nahrawan, al-Husseini said.
Police Maj. Falah al-Mohammadawi said the 15 deaths included 14 Madhi Army
members and a policeman. He said 14 people were wounded, two policemen and
the rest either militia members or civilians. No insurgent casualties were reported.
The incident underscores tensions among hard-line elements in Iraq's rival reli-
gious and ethnic communities at a time when the United States is struggling to
promote a political process seen as key to calming the insurgency so that U.S. and
other foreign troops can go home.
JERUSALEM
Israeli official wants Iran booted from U.N.

40

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