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Fired UN employee gives exclusive interview with Fox's Eric Shawn

Reported by Chrish - June 11, 2005

One of the medium stories on The Big Story yesterday 6/10/05 was an exclusive interview of the fired UN staffer, Joseph Stephanides, who claims to be "just a scapegoat" who "didn't do it" and who wants his name publicly cleared. He is so far the only UN employee fired in the ongoing Oil-for-Food investigation.

Eric Shawn reported: he told us Stephanides "worked as a middle-level executive for twenty-five years and was just a few months shy of his retirement. Mr. Stephanides' now out of a job completely. The UN claimed he violated rules by going to bat in 1996 for a British company called Lloyd's Register instead of a French firm that for a big oil-for-food contract. Well the UN investigation headed by Paul Volker declared that Stephanides had, in effect, acted alone. By himself, they said, improperly influencing the contract process. But Mr. Stephanides' defense is that he was only carrying out what the Security Council members told him to do, and what his UN bosses had authorized. Nevertheless, he was summarily dismissed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Stephanides told me that he certainly does feel victimized."

Finally, Stephanides: "Everything was above board, there was nothing underhanded, I can assure you, and I'm very very proud of my little contribution to promote peace and security objectives of the Security Council. Throughout my career I have been faithful to this commitment."

Shawn again: "Well the UN has said it has reviewed his case and concludes that Mr. Stephanides deserved to be fired but one of the ambassadors who helped oversee oil-for-food, former American ambassador Edward Gnehm backs up Stephanitti's contention that it was the Security Council members and the UN bosses who encouraged Mr. Stephanides to help the British firm."

Gnehm: "We made it clear to the United Nations, to Joseph personally and to his superiors that we would not support the contract going to the French firm and that it should go to Lloyd's of London."

Shawn: "And guess what? The ambassador says that he did tell that to the Volker investigators, so when I asked how did the Volker committee pin the blame only and completely on Stephanides, the ambassador said he could not explain that. Judge..."

Napolitano: "Has he given you any names that you want to share with us now, Eric?"

Shawn: "We won't share them with you now, Judge, but I think we shall as we continue our investigation of oil-for-food."

Napolitano: "We'll keep watching..."

Comments: Normally disdained on Fox, this man claims victimization. It's obvious why he does not get slapped with the "disgruntled former employee" label like Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill, Jon Lieberman (Sinclair Broadcasting), and many others who have spoken out against this administration - he's supporting Fox's (and hence the administration's) efforts to bring down the UN. OFF is the WMD of the UN...it is the stated reason for "reform" but is actually just a foot in the door for takeover and control.

The only words we heard from Mr. Stephanides lips were self-defense. We did not see an interview, we got a carefully edited report no doubt tailored to suit the agenda.

And I can't let go unremarked the pity evoked for Stephanides, fired so close to retirement and left jobless. Bush's policies have cost untold thousands of Americans their jobs, looted our legacy, and his crooked corporate cronies are busy gutting your pension fund and it's all just part of the 'cost of freedom'.

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