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Who's Who in Oil-for-Food

Reported by Nancy - September 20, 2004 -

Since Fox seems intent on making a mountain out of this molehill, I thought it would be worthwhile to investigate the people they interviewed for the special report by David Asman that aired Sunday, 9/19. This entry is about Paul Conlon.

Eric Shawn interviewed Paul Conlon, who was VERY negative about the Oil-for-Food Program. Which is interesting: he previously wrote a book that apparently describes the program as "a program widely criticized for imposing misery on an entire population in a fruitless attempt to humble a cynical tyrant" -- an entirely different set of grounds for criticizing the program than the grounds alleged by Fox (corruption, scam, etc). In the interview, he sounded like a classic "disgruntled ex-employee" -- nobody listened to his complaints, he tried to warn them, etc. This attitude seems to be at odds with what I found on the net about him:

Paul Conlon was a lecturer & researcher at various Swedish & German universities & later an analyst & consultant in the oil industry. From 1988-95 he worked for the UN, originally for the Centre against Apartheid, later for the sanctions branch of the Security Council. Since 1995 he has operated a legal translation & information agency, Transjuris e.K., in Munich.

The Conlon UN Sanctions Papers (a collection at the U of Iowa) support Dr Conlon's "United Nations Sanctions Management: A Case Study of the Iraq Sanctions Committee 1990-1994" (Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers, Inc, 2001; ISBN 1-57105-059-0) a volume in the "Procedural Aspects of International Law" Monograph Series. The archive contains all "on file" documents cited in Conlon's book, organized in 2 series. The first consists of UN Documents, some annotated or accompanied with notes by Conlon. The second consists of 24 computer disks. The database of documents on disk is estimated to equal some 5000-6000 pages. The bulk of the materials relate to UN sanctions against Iraq from 1990 through the spring of 1995. There are also extensive materials dealing with UN sanctions against Yugoslavia in the same period. The collection additionally contains stray materials dealing with UN sanctions against Angola, Haiti, & South Africa & relating to certain peacekeeping activities of the time.

The book, by a former by a former Security Council official with experience in several UN sanctions exercises, scrutinises the rationale & enforcement of continuing UN sanctions in Iraq -- a program widely criticized for imposing misery on an entire population in a fruitless attempt to humble a cynical tyrant. It is the first full-length study ever undertaken of the functioning of a Security Council sanctions committee. It analyses in detail substantive UN sanctions law, the operation of mandatory Chapter VII sanctions, and their practical enforcement strategies. Conlon offers recommendations, both legislative and organizational, for improving the effectiveness of multilateral sanctions measures in the future.

If you go to the U of Iowa Library website, there's a list of which documents are incuded, as well as links to Conlon's description of UN practices, a "Note on Citation of UN Documents", & documentation on the AskSam software used to access the electronic files.  

I wonder if Conlon's archival materials are the "secret UN database" that Fox claims to have obtained?