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November 18, 2005

Mon Dieu! French Diplomat Admits Taking Saddam Cash

I haven't been this shocked since Robert Downey Jr. violated his parole:

One of France's most distinguished diplomats has confessed to an investigating judge that he accepted oil allocations from Saddam Hussein, it emerged yesterday.

Jean-Bernard Mérimée is thought to be the first senior figure to admit his role in the oil-for-food scandal, a United Nations humanitarian aid scheme hijacked by Saddam to buy influence.

The Frenchman, who holds the title "ambassador for life", told authorities that he regretted taking payments amounting to $156,000 (then worth about £108,000) in 2002.

The money was used to renovate a holiday home he owned in southern Morocco. At the time, Mr Mérimée was a special adviser to Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general.

Another surprise.

How's this for refreshing, if ugly, candor?

But he also said that the payments were made in recompense for work he had done on Iraq's behalf. "All trouble is worth a wage," he is reported to have said.

You read that right. His defense is against bribery charges is that he really earned those bribes.

The American press is forever flagellating itself for not reporting more on foreign news. (Actually, they half flagellate themselves and half flagellate the public for not caring enough to make such stories worth pursuing.)

And yet, we have a huge, juicy scandal about real corruption in a major quasi-governmental world body that is of great interest to many Americans.

And still-- scarcely any coverage from the MSM.

The MSM likes reporting on pretty minor stories that hurt Bush, like John Bolton throwing sharp elbows and alienating the UN. But when it comes to the UN and their favorite rogue nation, France, they're pretty goddamned protective, ain't they?

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posted by Ace at 10:51 AM

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