All Over But The Dying

The Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of the Schindlers to get food and water restored to Terri Schiavo:

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to order Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube reinserted, rejecting a desperate appeal by her parents to keep their severely brain-damaged daughter alive.
The decision, announced in a terse one-page order, marked the end of a dramatic and disheartening four-day dash through the federal court system by Bob and Mary Schindler.
Justices did not explain their decision, which was at least the fifth time they have declined to get involved in the Schiavo case.

I’m not surprised by this action. I always felt that the only hope Terri had of getting relief was at the district court level. Once Judge Whittemore ignored Congress’ express desire for a de novo retrial, I knew the effort was doomed.
I’ll post more later. I hear that Jeb Bush wants to take physical custody of Terri, a move for which I have serious misgivings, but I don’t really have any reasoned arguments for it yet. I need more time to absorb this.
UPDATE: Judge George Greer quashed Bush’s motion for a custody transfer this afternoon:

A state judge refused Thursday to hear Gov. Jeb Bush’s arguments to take custody of Terri Schiavo, leaving the brain-damaged woman’s parents with only the slimmest hopes in their fight to keep her alive.
Bush’s request cited new allegations of neglect and challenges the diagnoses that Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state, but Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer wasn’t convinced.

Not much surprise there, either, since Greer has been the only finder of fact throughout this entire case. However, I doubt that any other Florida court would have granted this particular motion, certainly not as injunctive relief. Before taking custody of a disabled person under any conditions, the state would have to show a high threshold of proof that state confiscation of a person and the termination of custody rights were warranted. That means a trial, not just a hearing; otherwise, it’s a violation of habeas corpus, strictly speaking. Any lower threshold would enable the state (especially the executive) far too much leeway to confine people while the defendants suffered under the burden of proof.
I think this has been part of my misgiving about Jeb Bush’s notion of protective custody from the beginning, but also I think I have a deeply-rooted fear of an overpowerful executive regardless. The courts have appellate courts above them, although certainly in this case they’ve mostly taken the cowardly way out and refused to look at the facts as well as the procedures. Legislatures answer directly to voters and in most cases could face recalls if they abuse their power. The same might be true of executives, but notwithstanding California’s example, such a choke on power has proven exceedingly difficult to engineer. The executives have the agencies of law enforcement under their command, with their near-monopoly on legal lethal force. An out-of-control executive is a far greater danger than any of the other branches in the long run.
I’m still conflicted on it. However, practically speaking, it won’t happen anyway. We’ve sentenced a woman to die in a manner which we wouldn’t dream of ordering for a dangerous animal or a convicted terrorist, and now we have to watch as the people who supposedly should be protecting her force her to die horribly. I’m praying for Terri and the Schindlers, but I think that’s all that’s left.

Media Matters Underscores Judge Greer’s Capriciousness

I received an e-mail from Bart M this morning with the following message:

You published a link to a Michelle Malkin article which repeated a slime on Schiavo’s husband. I suggest reading the following to appreciate just how scurrilous Ms. Malkin’s opportunistic hit piece was[.]

The link was to this Media Matters post, and as you might imagine, I took the reference with a huge, Lot’s Wife-sized grain of salt. Sure enough, our friends at Media Matters have the spin cycle going pretty hard trying to discredit the nurses who have brought affadavits forward regarding the behavior of Michael Schiavo during his guardianship of Terri Schiavo. Not only does Media Matters take all the news agencies to task for giving Carla Iyer airtime during this debate, they link to another affadavit from another nurse who corroborates Iyer’s testimony, while claiming their testimony is “incredible”.
Where do they get that idea? From Judge George Greer himself, of course:

Greer dismissed Iyer’s charges, noting that they — along with a similar affidavit given by Heidi Law, another nurse who formerly took care of Terri Schiavo — were “incredible to say the least” and that “[n]either in the testimony nor in the medical records is there support for these affidavits as they purport to detail activities and responses of Terri Schiavo.”

First, it’s important to review both affadavits to see how dumb that argument is. Iyer specifically states in her affadavit that her comments to Terri’s chart had been repeatedly removed, and Law says notes she provided the nursing staff routinely went into the trash. Both sworn affadavits corroborate the fact that Michael would not allow nurses to perform any kind of therapy for Terri in the period from 1995 to 1997, and the hostile attitude Michael had towards Terri. When two different people who worked with Terri at two different times give essentially the same testimony, a court should give some consideration to their presentation.
However, Greer dismissed them with little if any consideration, and you can almost feel the contempt he had for their testimony in this curt dismissal:

The remaining affidavits deal exclusively with events which allegedly occurred in the 1995-1997 time frame. The court feels constrained to discuss them. They are incredible to say the least. Ms. Iyer details what amounts to a 15-month cover-up which would include the staff of Palm Garden of Lago Convalescent Center, the Guardian of the Person, the Guardian ad Litem, the medical professionals, the police and, believe it or not, Mr. and Mrs. Schindler. Her affidavit clearly states that she would “call them (Mr. and Mrs. Schindler) anyway because I thought they should know about their daughter.” The affidavit of Ms. Law speaks of Terri responding on a constant basis. Neither in the testimony nor in the medical records is there support for these affidavits as they purport to detail activities and responses of Terri Schiavo. It is impossible to believe that Mr. and Mrs. Schindler would not have subpoenaed Ms. Iyer for the January 2000 evidentiary hearing had she contacted them as her affidavit alleges.

Why is that so impossible to believe? Staff comes and goes at hospitals and hospices; it’s more than just possible that the Schindlers couldn’t remember their names by 2000, it’s probably very likely, considering the vast number of nurses and caregivers that the family had encountered the previous nine years. I’ve dealt with the highly professional and wonder staff at Fairview University Medical Center in Minneapolis for over two years, and I haven’t a clue as to the names of the nurses and technicians who have assisted the First Mate during that period. The Schindlers couldn’t very well subpoena people whose names they couldn’t recall and whose notes had been expunged from the official records. As far as the cover-up including the facility which Michael paid to house Terri, did the judge even consider their financial stake in continuing to receive compensation for Terri’s care?
This is why Congress wanted the federal court to take a de novo look at the Terri Schiavo case — so that Terri’s fate could be considered by a finder of fact besides George Greer for the first time. Media Matters for America blunders into the truth of why so many of us have so many problems with Greer’s handling of the case, although true to form, MMFA can’t recognize the truth with both hands and a flashlight.

Dutch Defend Euthanasia But Hide It From Muslims?

The Washington Times editorial board met with the Dutch ambassador to the US, Boudewijn van Eenennaam, who discussed a wide range of issues with the board. The Times headlines his defense of euthanasia, but van Eenennaam also discusses the problem of assimilation the Dutch now have with their significant Muslim population:

“Almost without us noticing, we had schools in Rotterdam and The Hague that were 80 percent and 90 percent Muslim,” he said. Today, in a nation of 16 million, there are 1.6 million Muslims, many of whom are second- and third-generation Dutch citizens whose parents and grandparents were guest workers who arrived to stay.
The mistake, he said, was that the Muslim immigrants had been welcomed to the Netherlands with almost no conditions. There was no requirement that they learn the Dutch language or assimilate into the European culture.
“We were too tolerant. … There is strong support that Islam in the Netherlands will have to adapt to the Netherlands,” he said. The native Dutch must accommodate the newcomers as well. “I do think the Dutch population should be open a little more.”
He noted that a government video showing topless women on a beach and homosexuals embraced in a kiss, meant to demonstrate the reality of life in an open and permissive culture, had been edited to avoid offending prospective Muslim immigrants.

The last paragraph in that excerpt brings up a lot of questions about the Netherlands and its approach to immigration. First, it’s important to understand why European countries have had to market themselves to immigrants. Their birth rates have declined so steadily that their social programs have reached a breaking point. There aren’t enough younger workers to fund the promised benefits their older populations expect to see, and the political calamity that would result from a default will create a complete meltdown of Dutch society. Immigration is one key component to resolving this — but not the only one, to which I’ll return in a moment.
So how do the Dutch attract immigrants, especially those who will work cheap? They create government videos depicting Dutch reality: open homosexuality and nudity, which fairly represents Dutch openness towards sexuality in general. Nothing wrong with that, although I think it’s hilarious that a government chooses to promote itself that way. However, when that doesn’t get the response needed to keep their economy afloat, what does the Netherlands do? They edit the tape — and then market themselves to the one group of people that their sexual laissez-faire almost guarantees to offend.
That kind of self-destructive decisionmaking makes me question whether the Dutch really believe in their open society, or if they simply are too lazy to defend any set of beliefs beyond their nanny-state benefits. Euthanasia provides another example of this, because a state that faces increasing pressure to fund the cradle-to-grave socialism that the Dutch (and the rest of Europe) have promised have an swfully big incentive to move the more costly of its citizens towards the end stage of that spectrum as quickly as possible:

In a luncheon interview yesterday with editors and reporters at The Washington Times, Mr. van Eenennaam emphasized that he takes no position on how U.S. courts and medical authorities should deal with Mrs. Schiavo’s illness. The disagreement between her husband and her parents, he said, presents unusual difficulties.
Under Dutch euthanasia law, the advice of medical experts in similar cases “weighs very heavily in the final decision.”
Critics of the Dutch law have raised alarms over a new drive by Dutch medical authorities to authorize euthanasia in cases in which a patient hasn’t given his consent, and in cases of mental suffering not based on physical ailments.

So far, the Dutch have resisted going that far, but who are the government to tell someone who is in such unbearable psychological pain that they can’t kill themselves? And why wouldn’t the insistence of medical physicians that a patient cannot ever be helped by their care eventually trump that person’s irrational insistence on staying alive? As resources become more scarce and more physicians feel comfortable insisting on these changes, don’t be surprised to see the Dutch parliament and courts start carving out mechanisms for these in the near future.
Interestingly, the one group that will probably object to euthanasia at all will be the Muslims the Dutch imported to solve their worker crises. The Netherlands will rightly but incompletely blame this on a failure of assimilation, one they started the first time they edited their videos to attract workers antagonistic to Western culture. The complete truth will be that the expansion of euthanasia shows the decadent nature of European socialism, one which the Muslims oppose and which they will use to eventually overtake Western culture on the Continent unless Europe wakes up from its socialist slumber and starts retooling their economy for dynamic capitalism. Once it does that, the need for cheap Muslim labor will drop and the Muslim incursion will marginalize itself.
Perhaps then, the Dutch will quit focusing their medical efforts on how to kill people as kindly as possible and start focusing on how best to preserve life.

Democrat Conspiracy To Buy Votes Grows Wider

ABC News reports that five Democrats have been indicted on federal charges of vote-buying in last year’s presidential election:

Five East St. Louis Democrats were charged in a scheme to buy votes in November’s election in a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday.
An undetermined number of voters were paid $5 or $10 to cast a Democratic ballot in the Nov. 2 election, court records said. The money allegedly came from the St. Clair County Democratic Committee, though there was no indication the county committee knew how the funds would be used.
Federal prosecutors charged four Democratic committeemen and one precinct worker, a day after three other committeemen and a precinct worker pleaded guilty to related vote-buying charges in federal court.

It sounds like their co-conspirators cut a deal in order to reduced their jail time, which means they’re looking to find bigger fish to fry. The seven committee members fit that bill, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the investigation doesn’t stop there. Stay tuned.

Britain Stakes Further Claim For Speech Jurisdiction

Earlier, I wrote about Sheikh Mahfouz and his libel case in Britain against Rachel Ehrenfeld for a book she never published outside the United States. Mahfouz won a default judgment against Ehrenfeld when she refused to acknowledge English jurisdiction for the case. Now British courts have laid claim to the entire Internet for libel and slander cases and Arnold Schwarzenegger has become their first target:

Schwarzenegger, who is now governor of California, had challenged a ruling by a senior High Court official giving Anna Richardson permission to serve proceedings on him out of the jurisdiction.
The decision today, by Mr Justice Eady, has cleared the way for a libel trial in London sometime this year.
Miss Richardson alleges she was libelled by Schwarzenegger and two campaign workers in an October 2003 article in The Los Angeles Times, which also appeared on the internet.

The article ran in the Los Angeles Times, which publishes within the United States, about a political race that involved the state of California and covered political topics. The LAT does not publish in the United Kingdom and only is available through the Internet to British readers. However, the plaintiff filed her case in Britain because defendants bear the burden of proof in the UK, not the plaintiffs, and it becomes much easier to win large judgments against media outlets.
Before people begin discounting this development with the attitude that the Times deserves a spanking over its atrocious recall-election coverage, consider what British courts have done. They now claim that anything which appears on the internet falls within their jurisdiction and can be adjudicated by British courts using British legal standards. That will apply to bloggers as well. If we start criticizing Tony Blair, for instance, he may well be able to file suit against us in London instead of the United States. That means our own due process will evaporate, as well as our First Amendment protections and the presumption of innocence we take for granted.
Not only does this bode ominously for free speech, it constitutes an unacceptable assault on American sovereignty. Had the LA Times published specifically in Britain — say, with a paper version disseminated in London — then they have to assume the liabilities that involves. However, simply making their editions available on the Internet does not give the UK the right to override their right to free speech and the protections of American legal code and custom.
While I’m no fan of the LA Times, in this case we’d better start speaking out against this encroachment before it (a) discourages media outlets from publishing to the Internet, and (b) starts getting applied to bloggers. The State Department should send a strong message to the United Kingdom explaining that America will not tolerate an infringement on our sovereignty and our open speech.

Kojo’s Take From UNSCAM: $300,000

The Financial Times reports that Kojo Annan, the son of the UN Secretary-General, received over $300,000 in payments from Cotecna, half of which went through channels designed to hide the payments (via Instapundit):

Kojo Annan, son of Kofi Annan, United Nations secretary-general, received at least $300,000 from Cotecna, a Swiss inspection company awarded a contract ultimately worth about $60m under the Iraqi oil-for-food contract.
The amount was almost double the sum previously disclosed, but payments were arranged in ways that obscured where the money came from or whom it went to.

This shows that Cotecna knew perfectly well that their relationship with Kojo Annan would be viewed as inappropriate. Hiding payments demonstrates a knowledge of impropriety, which flies in the face of Cotecna’s denials in the past. Cotecna made $60 million from the management of oil deals with Iraq based on the OFF program, which means Kojo by himself accounted for 0.5% of all revenue from the contract — a rather amazing amount.
Of course, Cotecna claims that Kojo had nothing to do with the OFF contract. However, as FT reports, that disclaimer may run into the wall of reality rather quickly:

[Cotecna] insists his work had nothing to do with the UN contract and that it never took advantage of Kojo’s access to the secretary-general.
But the FT/Il Sole investigation reveals that senior executives from Cotecna met Kofi Annan on various occasions, once at his UN office. A UN spokesman said the meetings had nothing to do with a contract awarded under the oil-for-food programme. Kojo Annan declined to comment.

What else would Cotecna need to discuss in Kofi Annan’s office, other than the OFF program? The weather at Turtle Bay? The reason for the denials, which have worn threadbare by now, is that the meetings tie Kofi himself through Kojo personally to the corruption in the OFF program. If Kofi is to be believed, he let Benon Sevan run the entire program and he had nothing to do with it except supervising Sevan’s work. He has consistently claimed that he did nothing operational with OFF. Now we have one of the prime contractors for the program meeting with Annan and paying his son wads of money through covert channels at the same time. That may not be enough to convict Kofi for a RICO indictment, but it’s getting pretty close to it.
In other words, the stink has risen all the way to the top. Kofi Annan needs to explain why Cotecna met with him on “various occasions”, what topics were discussed, and who arranged the meetings. Cotecna executives should be subpoenaed by Congress to testify under oath about their contacts with Kofi and these surreptitious payments to Kojo in order to ensure that the full story comes out.

Questioning My Editorial Policy

One of the privileges and responsibilities of maintaining a blog is complete editorial control over its content. That means I write about topics which interest, inspire, and infuriate me, and hopefully the same topics and my essays on them interest a large readership. Once I have attracted a large readership — which is now the case — what responsibility do I have to become responsive to their desires in terms of coverage and tone?
I’m not asking this question lightly, because I take the views of my readers seriously. Earlier today, a CQ reader sent this thoughtful and critical e-mail to me:

You HAVE been one of the more refreshing sources of a viewpoint on the Net and have been my favorite blog to read. Your blog is quickly becoming, however, something that I no longer wish to read on a regular basis. I’ve been coming back hoping you were just going through a time. What I liked so much about your blog is that you used to give a very balanced opinion on the issues we see every day. I guess where I really saw where you lost it was with what you called Easongate (sorry very bad English). It’s not that I didn’t agree with a lot of your views, but it’s like you were throwing a blog tantrum insisting on getting your way. Another thing that bothers me os that every time I come into your blog I have to look at the fool cartoon you have re-published. Alright, already! You got recognized by a national cartoonist. But, for crying out loud, Ed, that’s old news now. It just makes it looks like your full of yourself. Now the latest item that you’re jumping on is the Schiavo case. I know this is your blog and you can say whatever you like. But, you’ve lost your balanced approach. I wish you would take the approach of Glenn on this one – not to have a written opinion. I do not like how many people have been throwing accusations around treating them as fact, when in fact none of us have the full story, nor will we ever. This issue has been handled over and over again in the courts and I get nervous that when courts issue rulings that is not liked by a certain group it suddenly becomes tyranny.
Please, step back from where you are and really assess whether you like where your blog has headed. As for me, if your type of writing doesn’t change, I will remove your website from my bookmarks and just stop reading you. That would be a shame.

Let’s not debate the Schiavo case specifically here — we have plenty of that going on in the posts I’ve written on the case already. I’d like feedback from CQ readers about what you see as my responsibility to you, and the limits of editorial control. I’m not going to comment on it myself until I read your feedback in the comments section.
For the record, my editorial policy is fair game for criticism, as far as I’m concerned.
Note: I didn’t identify the reader because (a) I don’t feel it’s germane to the point, and (b) he didn’t post this in comments and it would be unfair of me to identify him without his permission.
UPDATE 21:55 — Many, many thanks to all of you who have written in reply to this question, both in comments and in e-mail. I have read every response and appreciate it all, both the criticism and the encouragement.
My response to the reader who originally wrote — and who, by the way, graciously wrote back during the day thanking me for taking him seriously — falls along the lines of the overwhelming majority of your responses. I write about what interests and inspires me, for better or worse. I don’t pretend to be a news service, although sometimes I believe I do provide original reporting. CQ readers should check my references and my assumptions, one of the reasons I try to provide links for all such support. If I’m wrong — well, that’s why I leave the comments open.
Sometimes I will blog once on a story and find that I got it out of my system. Other times, I feel obligated to post on updated information. In the case of Eason Jordan, I kept posting in order to highlight the lack of coverage the issue received from the Exempt Media. For Terri Schiavo, it comes from a frustration at the impotence and limitation of blogging, frankly; I see a non-terminal woman being slowly killed by dehydration in front of family members who want nothing more than to care for her, and I can hardly believe that this can happen in America. Other causes may come later, and I may choose to cover them extensively. Hopefully I will write in an engaging and thought-provoking manner and keep everyone interested in the topic.
At any rate, I plan on being myself and writing passionately, and I hope you keep reading. You have all been such a great audience, however, that I wanted to make sure I took the time and had the courtesy to ask for your feedback. Thank you for taking the time to provide it.

Second Bombing In Lebanon Kills Three

The second bombing in Lebanon this week has people pointing towards Damascus again, believing that Bashar Assad may want to destabilize Lebanon in order to build a pretense for a re-occupation of their country:

A bomb killed three people in a Christian commercial center early Wednesday, the second attack in an anti-Syrian stronghold in five days, raising fears that agitators were trying to show a need for Syria’s military presence in Lebanon.
A major opposition group, Qornet Shehwan, accused the pro-Damascus authorities of seeking to “terrorize” the people through the blasts. The local member of parliament called on his constituents to resist attempts to draw them into sectarian strife.
Meanwhile, the magistrate investigating the Feb. 14 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which brought Syria’s long domination of the country into the spotlight, has asked to step down, the Justice Ministry said Wednesday. The move comes ahead of a report by U.N. investigators reportedly accusing authorities of negligence and tampering with evidence in the aftermath of the blast that killed Hariri and 17 other people in central Beirut.

Unfortunately, this type of action was all too predictable. Those who benefit from the Syrian occupation understand that their position post-withdrawal may quickly become untenable, as the Lebanese react to the presence of collaborators among them. Historically, those who have enabled foreign oppressors have short life spans after the foreigners leave, and therefore they have strong motivations to do whatever they can to either get out or keep the foreigners in.
The most likely suspects will either be Hezbollah, which will face demands to disarm after Syria leaves, or the Syrian intelligence forces that want to remain within Lebanon, covertly or overtly. Probably the bombings are a combination of both. The two factions would like nothing better than to restart the civil war that Syria used as a pretense for a three-decade occupation of its wealthier neighbor, mostly for its economic exploitation.
France and the US must remain firm on complete and verifiable withdrawal of all Syrian forces from Lebanon, especially in the Bekaa valley. Even if Syria didn’t store Saddam’s WMD there, it provides too strategic a position to allow the Syrian military to remain there, supporting Hezbollah in the south and staging a force that could recapture Beirut before anyone could intervene. Now is not the time to value the stability of dictatorship and oppression over the dynamics of liberty, no matter how many bombs Assad drops in his wake.

ABC News Channeling Mary Mapes?

The talking-points memo that ABC News reported this weekend that supposedly encouraged Republicans in Congress to support the emergency bill for Terri Schiavo looks fishier all the time. As Power Line noted last night, the memo itself has finally been scanned to PDF and placed on the Internet, although not by ABC. The memo has some odd characteristics, as Rocket Man points out:

The memo is not only “unsigned,” as it was described by the Washington Post; it is not on House or Senate letterhead, nor is there any indication of source or authenticity. It is a memo that anyone could have typed and distributed[.]

Not only that, but unlike regular TP memos, the arguments appear amateurish and poorly written. They also do not descend in order of impact, as most do in order to allow quick scanning by Congressmen and Senators. But most damning of all is the header of the memo, which reads, “S. 529, The Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act.” Senate bill 529 was in fact a proposal to establish a federal anti-doping agency. The bill in question was S. 539, a mistake that a staffer would be highly unlikely to make.
This, combined with the ABC push polling this weekend, calls into question the entire editorial process at ABC. This appears to be a coordinated effort to misrepresent the news by ABC, using misleading poll questions and a memo of highly questionable authenticity to cast Republicans in the worst possible light over the Schiavo issue. It smells of another Exempt Media ideologically-based attack, just as the Killian memos formed one during the final weeks of a presidential campaign. However, in this case, a young woman’s life is at stake — apparently a fact that ABC news missed in its zeal to discredit the GOP.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin’s new column talks more about the bias at ABC News:

ABC News did not see fit to inform either the poll takers or its viewers of the truth. Instead, it misled them — and the result was a poll response that produced — voila! — “broad public disapproval” for any government intervention to spare Terri from slowly starving to death. …
Imagine how the poll results might have turned out if ABC News had made clear to participants that Terri is not terminally ill. Not in excruciating pain. Capable of saying “Mommy” and “Help me.” And of “getting the feeling she’s falling” or getting “excited,” in her husband’s own testimony, when her head is not held properly.
Imagine how the poll results might have turned out if ABC News had informed participants that in a sworn affidavit, registered nurse Carla Sauer Iyer, who worked at the Palm Garden of Largo Convalescent Center in Largo, Fla., while Terri Schiavo was a patient there, testified: “Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused on Terri’s death. Michael would say ‘When is she going to die?’ ‘Has she died yet?’ and ‘When is that bitch gonna die?'”
Now, if you were in this situation, would you want to be kept alive, or not?

Imagine a major news agency that actually reports objectively on political issue. Unfortunately contradicting John Lennon, it’s not easy even if you try.
UPDATE: This meme has almost completely fallen apart, as Power Line and In the Agora have now found:

ABC News, the original source of the story on the alleged “GOP talking points” memo now appears to be backing off the story. Blogger Josh Clayborn has been talking to ABC representatives, both on and off the record, and they are now telling him that they never meant to imply that the “talking points” memo originated with the Republicans–only that it was given to some Republican Senators. …
ABC’s current position, as reported by Josh, makes little sense, as their coverage certainly did say that this was a Republican memo. (ABC’s website described the memo as containing “GOP talking points.”) But the fact that they are now backing off suggests that in reality, they have no idea where the memo came from.

Power Line has more; keep scrolling.

Iraqi Victims Of UNSCAM Pay For Benon Sevan’s Lawyers

The United Nations has paid the attorney’s fees for Benon Sevan, who headed up the corrupt Oil-For-Food program that stuffed billions into the pockets of Saddam Hussein at the expense of the Iraqi citizens Sevan was supposed to help. In fact, as the UN itself acknowledges, the money for Sevan’s fees came from the UN management percentage of the oil deals themselves:

The United Nations agreed to reimburse Benon Sevan, the suspended head of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, for legal fees he incurred during an investigation into allegations of fraud in the operation, a U.N. official said Tuesday.
Payment for Sevan’s legal fees was to come out of the account containing the 2.2 percent of Iraqi oil revenues from the $64 billion program earmarked for its administration, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said.
Sevan’s fees are to be reimbursed with Iraqi oil funds set aside to help administer the program. That means Iraq oil money would essentially pay for Sevan to defend himself against charges that he bilked the program.

Does anyone at Turtle Bay ever consider the fact that the Iraqis might not appreciate the money from their oil paying to defend the man who pocketed their money and allowed Saddam to starve them? We aren’t talking about ordinary graft here. UNSCAM’s sheer unbelievable scope allowed Saddam to retain an iron grip on power by redirecting the funds that should have bought food and medicine to Saddam and the men who supported him. Instead of weakening Saddam, the massive corruption solidified his power base and made him unassailable from within.
Benon Sevan and the OFF acted as Saddam’s underwriter in the final decade of his tyranny. Now Iraqi oil money pays for his defense. It’s outrageous, but it’s hardly surprising from the tone-deaf Kofi Annan regime at the UN.