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Annan out, Bill Clinton in at U.N.?

Newsmax | May 23, 2005

"There's still more to come, there's still more to the story," a veteran U.S. diplomat told NewsMax regarding U.N. chief Kofi Annan's role in the ever-expanding Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal.

The diplomat, closely tied with the world body's most influential members, said pressure is building for Annan to resign. "It is possible that the secretary-general could, for the good of the organization, eventually offer his resignation," he told NewsMax's Stewart Stogel.

But who would replace Annan?

"Bill Clinton," the source said with a smile.

The U.S. official admitted that Bill Clinton as secretary-general, while still a long shot, is now being taken more seriously than in the past.

No Impediments

At the U.N. recently, Clinton refused to answer a reporter's question on whether he wanted the U.N.'s top post.

And lest you think Bill Clinton is not allowed to hold such a post, think again:

# There are no legal roadblocks for a Clinton election to the U.N.'s top post.

During the term of Javier Peres de Cuellar a U.S. diplomat, Joseph Verner Reed, held the U.N.'s No. 2 slot - under secretary-general for General Assembly and Secretariat Affairs. Reed would have assumed Peres de Cuellar's responsibilities had the secretary-general been killed or incapacitated.

"When I am not in the house, Joe Reed runs the show. You take orders from him the way you take orders from me," Peres de Cuellar often told his senior staff.

# Clinton, under his assignment of coordinator for Tsunami relief, has already been given a United Nations office, a U.N. identity card and diplomatic passport.

It was Bill Clinton who, as U.S. president, sponsored Annan's move to unseat Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1996.

Clinton's Appointee

Around the U.N.'s corridors, Annan was privately referred to as "Clinton's boy."

Even though Annan's second five-year term doesn't expire until January 1, 2007, the pressure on him continues to grow.

A recent article in The New Yorker claims the U.N. chief has become increasingly despondent about the scandal, which refuses to die.

Annan has reportedly told staffers, "Only the U.S. press is interested in the matter." He insists that when he travels overseas nobody is as "preoccupied with the affair as they are in the U.S."

Others on the Annan staff darkly hint that those "sympathetic" to Israel are intentionally fanning the fires.

To say that Annan's relationship with Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is not exactly warm is a bit of an understatement: The two have repeatedly clashed over the years.

Silent Witness

A senior member of Annan's staff has told NewsMax in confidence that the secretary-general "knew more about the situation [Iraqi oil embezzlement] than he has let on."

"Miranda knows more about this [Annan's role] than you think," the staffer told NewsMax.

Miranda is Miranda Kaiser Duncan, one of two senior investigators for the Volcker panel who recently resigned in protest.

Duncan clamed the panel was "whitewashing" Annan's involvement in the scandal.

That was a charge publicly denied by Volcker.

However, Volcker, with Annan's approval has moved to legally block any testimony by Duncan to U.S. Congressional committees investigating the defunct U.N. Iraqi aid program.

Not only is Volcker using legal tactics to silence Duncan, but her grandfather has also entered the picture.

Duncan is the granddaughter of David Rockefeller, the scion of the legendary Rockefeller family.

She is now taking refuge in the Rockefeller townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side. "She is going through a messy divorce and wanted some privacy," explained a family member.

It happens that Rockefeller was once the boss of Paul Volcker when David ran the Chase Manhattan Bank and Volcker was its chief economist.

Not only is Rockefeller an occasional dinner companion of the current secretary-general, but also the family owns the lease to the land upon which the U.N. headquarters is built.

Not surprisingly, another family member tells NewsMax, "Grandpa has been advising Miranda not to talk to the press."

Since the scandal broke in 2003, more than half of Annan's senior staff has been "retired," fired, resigned or taken "a leave of absence."

Annan's son Kojo, a former employee of a U.N. contractor, is under criminal investigation by several U.S. government bodies, as well as Vocker's panel.

The former director of the Iraq Oil-for-Food Program, Benon Sevan, has been suspended by Annan and is currently under a tax evasion investigation by the Internal Revenue Service.

Another former senior Annan aide, Maurice Strong, a noted Canadian industrialist, is under several investigations for apparent "conflicts of interest."

Strong once controlled one of Canada's largest oil companies, Petro Canada.

Kojo Annan, Sevan and Strong were not available for comment.

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