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Comparing the U.N. To The Mafia

Reported by Ellen - March 17, 2005

FOX News correspondent Eric Shawn must have been promised a bonus for each time he knocked the U.N. last night while he guest-hosted the radio program FOX News Live with Alan Colmes. Three times during the first hour he promo'd the second hour of the show in which guest Joe Pistone (a/k/a Donnie Brasco) "will talk about how the U.N. acts like the Mafia." Not why Pistone thinks the U.N. acts like the Mafia but why it is so. It was a shocking display of trash-journalism, even by FOX News standards.

Shawn opened the long-promised interview with a rundown of the Oil-for-Food scandal which he called "the largest grand larceny in human history." As it turned out, Pistone, who's an expert on the Mafia, didn't seem to know much about the U.N. It was Shawn who repeatedly drew the analogies. He began with his first, very loaded question. "Joe, let's talk about the mob for a second. At the U.N. and at the Oil-for-Food program, you're dealing with bribes and kickbacks. Saddam Hussein was able to set up a system in which he would extort money from businessmen, from corporations, from countries. Doesn't that sound like the way the Dons do business?"

Not surprisingly, Pistone agreed. "From reading your reports on it, it sounds exactly the way the mob operated."

Shawn: I mean Saddam is up there, in order to get business with Iraq, you go through the U.N. and then you would have a contract but you'd have to pay 10% to Saddam's regime. Then he would take that money and he would do whatever he wanted with it."

From there, Pistone would talk about how the Mafia operated and Shawn would make an analogy to the U.N. Some of the "highlights:"

"Tonight we're talking about the mob and the U.N. and oil-for-food (as if there is some real connection). You mentioned something about the cement business in New York. The U.N. is worse. Let me tell you why... The five families had a tax... and that tax was 2%.. and 2% would flow to the mob... Well, the U.N. - get this - to run the oil-for-food program, they had their own tax. They didn't call it a tax. They beat the mob. It was 2.2%. You had to kick in - of all the funds that went to Saddam, the U.N. made 2.2%. They made 1.6 billion dollars. (laughing). Kofi Annan was doing better than the Corleones." (as if the money went to Annan)

Ted, in San Diego, called to say that while he could see comparing Saddam Hussein to the Mafia, he didn't see the connection to the U.N. Shawn said, "I'll explain it to you briefly. I'm not saying they are criminal killers, I am saying comparing that they enabled Saddam to do this. They took a 2.2% cut of the oil-for-food program to run stuff themselves which is 1.6 billion dollars or so and they let it go on right under their nose without enforcing anything. Here's a mob story. They had $400,000 sitting in a desk... They used to take thousands and thousands of dollars around Iraq in paper bags."

Comment: Shawn didn't seem concerned about the ways in which the USA enabled Saddam (by selling him chemical weapons in the 80's) or the Halliburton overcharges in its no-bid contracts, or the missing 9 billion dollars or the missing weapons materials or the abused prisoners - all right under the US "coalition" noses. Either he's thoroughly myopic or there's just nothing in it for him to think about those facts.

I believe Shawn deserves a medal not only for the number of attacks against the U.N. he managed to work into one program but also a special mention for creativity in tieing almost any evil into oil-for-food.

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