Meanwhile, investigators probing claims of wrongdoing in the Iraq oil-for-food program accused its former chief, Benon Sevan, of corruption for taking illegal kickbacks and recommended his immunity be lifted for prosecution.
Some critics have accused the United Nations of squandering millions — and even billions — of dollars in its mismanagement of the program. Yet Volcker's team found that Sevan appeared to have received kickbacks of just $147,184 from December 1998 to January 2002.
Now here, this last paragraph really is incredible. Let's dismiss just for a moment the notion of the word "only" being attached to $147,184. What in the world does the first sentence of the paragraph have to do with the second? You see, when you stick that little conjunctive "yet" in there, you are implying that what follows has something to do with what came before (and further, that it somehow negates what came before).
Our question is, what does the fact that Sevan received "only" $147,184 personally have to do with the contention that the Oil-for-Food program as a whole squandered millions or billions of dollars in mismanagement? So far as I can tell, not a thing. Apparently, to MSNBC, it is somehow the case that both cannot be possible.
Having dispatched with MSNBC's shoddy reporting on the case, we move on to the substance of the article, which is chock full of more bad news for Kofi Annan:
The report touched briefly on Annan and his son, Kojo. It said new e-mails suggesting Kofi Annan knew more than he said about his son's involvement in the program raised questions that would be answered in the committee's final report, expected in September.
Though both men have quit, diplomatic immunity would cover their actions when they were employed. Volcker's recommendation that Annan waive that immunity was a strong indication of his conviction about the claims against them.
What are the opening odds on Annan waiving that immunity? Better or worse than the odds of Air America surviving the year? Better or worse than the odds of Bill Frist becoming President? I don't know that I have the answers to those questions, but it's not something I'll be betting on nonetheless.