By Terry Vanderheyden

NEW YORK, January 11, 2006 ( – Canadian businessman, radical environmentalist, depopulation guru and former Undersecretary General for the United Nations, Maurice Strong, is denying any involvement in the UN-Iraqi Oil-for-Food scandal, despite a suspicious money trail, according to a compelling National Review article by Claudia Rosett.

In 1997, Secretary-General Kofi Annan thanked “one person by name” who was chiefly responsible for revamping the Oil-for-Food program, “and that person was Strong,” Rosett explains. Strong reformed Oil-for-Food from the original oversight of two UN entities to one “special unit within the secretariat.”

“This proposal was buried deep in the reform plan,” Rosett writes, where only the most astute observer who knew what they were looking for would find it. “In effect, it said that Oil-for-Food was no longer ad-hoc and ‘temporary,’ but about to be incorporated into the U.N. system as a special office under the secretary-general.”

Strong met with South Korean businessman Tongsun Park two days after the reform was announced; Park was arrested in Houston last Friday and charged “with acting secretly as an agent of Saddam Hussein’s U.N.-sanctioned regime to try to influence to Saddam’s advantage the shaping of the U.N. Oil-for-Food relief program for Iraq.”

According to the UN-authorized Oil-for-Food investigation conducted by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, within a week of Strong’s meeting with Park, “Park traveled to Baghdad, picked up at least $1 million in cash, took it to Jordan and deposited it in a newly opened account in Amman’s Housing Bank. From that account, the bank that same day issued [a] $988,885 check, made out to ‘Mr. M. Strong’ and dated July 30, 1997.”

Park was in New York a few days later to meet with Strong. “By August 5, Strong had endorsed over the check as part of a transaction transferring to Park from another businessman, Theodore Kheel, an interest in Strong’s family-controlled company, Cordex — which soon after went bankrupt,” Rosett explains. “Asked last year by Volcker’s team to explain this payment, Strong first denied any memory of the check. Then, when Volcker’s investigators showed him his own signature on the cancelled check, he denied any knowledge of where the funds originally came from.” (See a copy of the check, as reproduced in the Volcker report, here:

Rosett concludes her column: “It would pose no threat to the innocent — and that may well include Maurice Strong — to let the public peruse the full records of whatever discussion went on inside the U.N. over the decision to create an ‘Office of the Iraq Programme,’ which pretty much conformed to what Saddam reportedly desired, and which Saddam then powerfully exploited to corrupt the biggest humanitarian effort in the history of the U.N.”

Read Rosett’s column:
  Strong Implications

See also
  Maurice Strong’s Yellow Brick Road to Global Governance