13 June 2004

Bias watch


While many leaders came here in affectionate remembrance, some were drawn here despite bitter memories of the Reagan era. Grenada, for one, which was invaded at Reagan’s order, was represented by Prime Minister Keith Mitchell.

AP press report

Grenada’s leaders sent condolences and ordered flags flown at half-staff in honor of the late President Ronald Reagan. In a letter to President Bush on Tuesday, Prime Minister Keith Mitchell called Reagan a “stalwart in the advancement of democracy.”

The Grenadans

Meanwhile, in Grenada, they’re celebrating the anniversary of the invasion. But move along, no bias here.

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[source, source]

During his years at the United Nations, monitoring sanctions imposed on Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf war, critics called Michael Soussan a baby killer. One said the oil-for-food programme administered by the UN amounted to “overseeing genocide”. To Mr Soussan’s dismay, the most vocal critics worked alongside him at the UN. The genocide charge was levelled by an assistant secretary general in charge of humanitarian work in Iraq.

His colleagues blamed the Security Council - especially the United States and Britain - for the suffering of Iraqis, ignoring evidence that Saddam was stealing food from his own people’s mouths.


UN staff did not speak out when Saddam refused to buy high protein foods recommended by UN experts, or spent oil-for-food millions on sports stadiums, or broadcasting equipment for his propaganda machine.

The UN turned a blind eye to signs that Saddam was bribing cronies at home and abroad with black market oil vouchers, and was skimming billions from funds meant for food and medicine, demanding secret, 10 per cent “kickbacks” on humanitarian contracts.

The UN recently claimed it “learned of the 10 per cent kickback scheme only after the end of major combat operations” in 2003.

A lie, said Mr Soussan, recalling the hapless Swedish company that called in 2000, seeking UN help after being asked to pay kickbacks. The Swedes’ plea was quickly lost in red tape and inter-office turf wars. After a “Kafka-esque” flurry of internal memos, the Swedes were told to complain to their own government.

Obviously this is the Bush Administration’s fault for not catching and prevent the UN from engaging in all that corruption!

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