Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bolton to Ban: Back off!

@ FOREIGN POLICY (Click here for story=>

Posted By Colum Lynch Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 5:28 PM

John R. Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, blasted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today for pressing ahead with an international probe into the Israeli commando raid on a flotilla carrying aid activists to Gaza. Bolton also appealed to the Obama administration to withhold U.S. funding to the organization until Ban backs down. "If he goes ahead and does this, why don't we withhold 20 percent of the U.S. share?," Bolton told Turtle Bay.

More than three years ago, Bolton played an important role in promoting Ban for the U.N.'s top spot. Today, he still says, "I thought it was the right thing to do." But he sharply criticized the former Korean foreign minister in his strongest terms ever in his interview with Turtle Bay and a Washington Times opinion piece for trying to set up an international inquiry into Israeli conduct without an explicit mandate from the U.N. Security Council.

"For Mr. Ban to act without express U.N. Security Council authorization, however, would far exceed his legitimate authority," Bolton wrote. "It would create a troubling precedent, with implications not just for Israel but for the United States, extending well beyond Israel's blockade of Gaza or the May 31 events. Nonetheless, President Obama has not moved decisively to quash the idea, and his inaction is understood in U.N. circles as implicitly consenting to Mr. Ban's illegitimate initiative."

The position taken by Bolton added an influential American conservative voice to Israel's efforts to convince Ban to back away from an international inquiry. Both Israel and the United States maintain that an Israeli inquiry -- involving two international observers -- is adequate to addressing international calls for a credible inquiry into the Memorial Day raid, which led to Israel's killing of nine aid activists who had violently resisted Israel's effort to forcefully seize control of the boat.

Following the raid, the Security Council issued a statement calling for "a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards." The Obama administration agreed to the text after eliminating language explicitly calling for an international probe. After the statement was adopted, the chief U.S. negotiator, Alejandro Wolff, said, "We are convinced and support an Israeli investigation as I called for in my statement earlier and have every confidence that Israel can conduct a credible and impartial, transparent, prompt investigation internally."

But Ban disagreed with the United States, telling reporters last week that key governments he is consulting believe the Israeli inquiry "is not sufficient enough to have international credibility." He said he would continue his efforts to convince Israel and Turkey to participate with an international panel probing the incident.

Bolton told Turtle Bay that Ban is "incredibly unwise" to pursue his investigation without the full support of the Security Council. He said Ban's approach to the Middle East has "evolved" in recent years, and reflects "a mood in New York, including the U.N. secretariat, which is growing steadily anti-Israeli." He said the Obama administration has behaved "duplicitously" by offering its public support for the Israel inquiry while failing to confront Ban. "Implicitly, they are going to let this happen," Bolton said. "We want to make it clear that we do not agree with what Ban is doing,"

A spokesman for Ban, Martin Nesirky, declined to respond to Bolton's article, saying only that the "former permanent representative of the United States is entitled to his opinion." But U.N. observers countered that Bolton was out of line with his criticism of Ban and the United States.

Jeffrey Laurenti, a U.N. analyst at the Century Foundation, said that "Bolton's strategy of non-payment to the U.N. had resulted in a crippled U.S. diplomacy in international organizations and elsewhere and that his own mercifully brief tenure at the U.N. was one marred by a record of negative achievements: that is blocking but not accomplishing."

Laurenti added, "It really is quite slanderous to charge the Secretary General with anti-semitism -- or anyone else -- for being critical of Israeli force."

"Bolton has long been closely allied with the most expansionist and retrograde elements in the Israeli security establishment, and one would be hard put to think of a single excessive [Israeli] move or action to which he has ever spoken critically," Laurenti said. The Obama administration, in contrast, "has been mindful of the outrage in much of the rest of the world. That's why they have muffled their opposition to the U.N. initiative in a way a more right-wing administration would not."

Click here to read story on Foreign Policy (

UNDP's Helen Clark Listed As VP of Socialist International, Until This Article

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 -- Why is Helen Clark, the Administrator of the UN Development Program, listed as a vice president of the Socialist International? It's a simple question, which Inner City Press posed in an article on June 21, here, and then to UN spokesman Martin Nesirky back on June 22:

Inner City Press: Helen Clark, UN system official, head of UNDP, is listed on the website of Socialist International, which is meeting here at the UN, as a vice-president of the organization. I’m just wondering, was, is there some kind of waiver given or is permissible for a UN system official to serve in such a capacity with an outside group?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I would ask you to ask UNDP.

Inner City Press: I think, there is a UN system, I mean, there’s UN rules that cover the whole system, so it’s not…

Spokesperson: But in the first instance…

Inner City Press: Right, okay.

Spokesperson: …ask UNDP.

And so later on June 22, at a UNDP briefing about hydro power in Nepal, Inner City Press asked UNDP's seeming Number Two official Olav Kjorven. Before answering, he whispered back and forth with a UNDP communications officials. Then he said, “I am not prepared to answer, but we will get back to you.”

After the briefing, the UNDP communications officials said to Inner City Press, you're known for this type of question. He then asked why Inner City Press didn't direct the question to Helen's people.

But aren't you all Helen's people? Another UNDP communications official said, in the briefing room and later by voice mail, that Helen's people would get back to Inner City Press with an answer.

Two full days later, there still was been no answer. Where were and are Helen's people? Watch this site.

Update: after preparation of this article, Inner City Press received an answer by asking, not UNDP again, but... Nesirky again. It is not clear why UNDP never responded to Inner City Press. Nesirky said that Helen Clark's role as Vice President of the Socialist International was only as prime minister of New Zealand.

Nesirky said Socialist International has now been asked to remove her name from its web site. But SI has as VP a number of politicians out of power, meaning that removal from the VP board is not automatic. Did Helen Clark make the request when she took the UN job? Or only now?

BOLTON: Ban mischief at the U.N..

The Washington Times

By John R. Bolton

Withholding U.S. funds would chasten secretary-general

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is close to making an enormously significant misjudgment about his role and authority. Mr. Ban has repeatedly called for an "international" inquiry into the May 31 clash with Israeli commandos, provoked by supporters of Hamas on a Turkish-flagged ship off the Gaza Strip, resulting in nine killed and dozens wounded. According to the media, he is seriously considering launching such an inquiry by his own personal decision.

For Mr. Ban to act without express U.N. Security Council authorization, however, would far exceed his legitimate authority. It would create a troubling precedent, with implications not just for Israel but for the United States, extending well beyond Israel's blockade of Gaza or the May 31 events. Nonetheless, President Obama has not moved decisively to quash the idea, and his inaction is understood in U.N. circles as implicitly consenting to Mr. Ban's illegitimate initiative.

The U.N. Security Council already has issued a statement by its president, which, although harshly critical of Israel, was significantly watered down from its original draft. The final text said specifically that "the Security Council takes note of the statement of the United Nations Secretary-General on the need to have a full investigation into the matter and it calls for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards."

In the U.N.'s arcane world, "taking note" of something is simply an acknowledgment it exists. "Taking note" implies neither approval nor disapproval and has all the force of saying "taking note that the sun rose this morning." In short, the Security Council, given the opportunity to authorize Mr. Ban to create an international inquiry, chose not to do so. (Moreover, under the U.N. Charter, the General Assembly lacks authority, whereas here, the Security Council is plainly dealing with a matter involving "international peace and security.")

In fact, U.S. spokesmen said in the immediate aftermath of the Security Council statement that a truly independent, transparent investigation conducted entirely by Israel would be satisfactory. Israel is, in fact, undertaking an investigation with international participants that it asserts will meet this standard.

Additionally, on June 2, the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva entered the fray. By an entirely predictable 32-3 vote, with the United States one of the three dissenters, the HRC created its own "fact-finding mission" to investigate. We can predict with total confidence, based on the Goldstone Inquiry, created by the HRC in January 2009 to investigate Israel's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, what this new inquiry will conclude. Israel, it will say, violated international law in creating the Gaza blockade, was unjustified in intercepting the Gaza flotilla and used disproportionate force in boarding the Turkish vessel.

Why, then, is there still talk of yet another inquiry being established by Ban Ki-moon? Even its ardent Obama-administration supporters know that the HRC, established four years ago to replace its thoroughly discredited predecessor, is itself now discredited and that any HRC report would be widely disregarded in both Israel and the United States. By contrast, an inquiry established by the U.N. secretary-general, whose conclusions almost certainly would be the same as those of the HRC investigation, could well have considerably greater weight and credibility. And if, as many suspect, greater pressure on Israel is what President Obama actually wants, a secretary-general's report would be much more effective.

Israel rejects Mr. Ban's idea, and Mr. Ban himself recognizes it would be futile to proceed if Israel refuses to cooperate, as it undoubtedly will do regarding the HRC inquiry. The real issue, therefore, is the United States' position, and the White House's nonexistent public response to date strongly suggests it would like to see Mr. Ban proceed with his idea. That would enable Mr. Obama to say, disingenuously, that the United States never actually voted to create such an inquiry, all the while letting the U.N. Secretariat know quietly that the White House was perfectly comfortable with it. Unambiguously, Mr. Obama's silence gives consent.

But we also should fully understand the broader implications of a Ban Ki-moon inquiry without express Security Council authorization. This would be a precedent for future power grabs by U.N. leaders, which could well come back to haunt the United States. The U.N. Charter is rhetorically expansive as it is, and when the secretary-general asserts authority beyond the protective reach of Washington's Security Council veto, all manner of mischief is possible.

Before Mr. Ban acts, congressional opponents of yet another inquiry should mobilize. Though they cannot stop Mr. Obama's behind-the-scenes support for this decidedly bad idea, they can respond to it legislatively. These are precisely the circumstances in which a legislative reduction in U.S.-assessed contributions to the U.N. would be warranted. And here, because the abuse of the U.N. Charter is especially flagrant, the amount of the withholding should far exceed our assessed share of the modest cost of the inquiry itself. This is a case where the secretary-general and other U.N. members need to understand that the United States is prepared to take punitive financial action to protect its interests. That way, and that way alone, we might actually get their attention in New York.

John R. Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad" (Simon & Schuster, 2007).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

AP Exclusive: UN Africa corruption case buried

June 19, 2010 - 9:48am

In this photo taken April 16, 2010, white SUVs and a new convention center adorn the sprawling UN compound in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. The United Nations compound of high-rise buildings, green lawns and white SUVs has been an engine of prosperity not only for Africa's diplomatic capital but also for two senior managers, an internal U.N. report found. A December 2008 report by the now-disbanded U.N. Procurement Task Force says former officials Ventzislav Stoykov and Edgar Casals each scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars and ran outside ventures at the U.N.'s Economic Commission for Africa. (AP Photo/John Heilprin)

Associated Press Writer

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) - The United Nations compound of high-rise buildings, green lawns and white SUVs has been an engine of prosperity not only for Africa's diplomatic capital but also for two senior managers, an internal U.N. report found.

A December 2008 report by the now-disbanded U.N. Procurement Task Force says former officials Ventzislav Stoykov and Edgar Casals each scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars and ran outside ventures at the U.N.'s Economic Commission for Africa.

The report obtained by The Associated Press says Stoykov manipulated bids and cut private deals with U.N. contractors he oversaw, while Casals forged birth certificates to get U.N. child support and used an American official to get U.S. visas for others _ a potential security risk. Both men have denied the allegations.

As one of the last big investigations the anti-corruption task force completed before it was forced to shutter its operations at the end of 2008, the case illustrates the limits of the U.N.'s self-policing _ which has seriously eroded in the past year and a half _ and its secrecy and bureaucracy in handling major cases of fraud and corruption.

"Investigations have been hampered and significantly slowed by the lack of cooperation of some parties, including vendors external to the organization, certain counsel for staff and vendors, and staff members themselves," the task force says in its 131-page report.

The task force recommended providing the ECA report to prosecutors in Ethiopia and the Philippines and to U.S. authorities to review visas Casals apparently obtained through Santiago "Sonny" Busa, a former U.S. consular chief in Addis Ababa. No one would confirm if that happened.

But the task force case did set off a confidential U.S. criminal probe.

"This case involves an ongoing U.S. law enforcement investigation and so we cannot comment on it," one U.S. official told AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. Busa couldn't be reached for comment.

Few U.N. officials in the Ethiopian capital appeared to know of the ECA report. Some said they had no evidence of misconduct in their midst.

Paul Buades, head of the U.N.'s procurement division in New York, says "the organization was quick to act" on the task force's findings by taking unspecified administrative actions against staff members, sanctioning U.N. vendors and re-soliciting bids for one project tainted by the report.

Stoykov's job vacancy was posted a week after AP visited the U.N. compound, and Casals retired in October 2007.

Between 2002 and 2007, the U.N.'s investigation division received complaints of bid-rigging and other fraud at ECA, but nothing was done.

In 2008, the complaints were referred to the task force _ created in 2006 to head off more scandals like the $1.8 billion bilked from the U.N.'s oil-for-food program in Iraq _ and an investigation began.

Task force investigators seized documents from Stoykov's office _ a first in ECA's 50-year history. Colleagues noticed his sudden, unexplained absence.

The task force's report says Stoykov, a Bulgarian, hired two major U.N. contractors for side projects, including a four-story building put under his wife's name. A board he sat on approved U.N. contracts for the firms _ including a road, sewers, power, pipelines and a security wall _ and he supervised that work while he hired them privately, the task force says.

Stoykov steered a $1.2 million U.N. contract to one firm to build guard booths, access roads, parking and a boundary wall around ECA's office building, the task force says. The two firms told investigators they did nothing improper.

Stoykov couldn't be reached for comment but told the task force in a 6-page letter he "committed no crime and have not knowingly broken any rule or regulation of the United Nations."

Casals, ECA's general services division chief, created fraudulent birth certificates for two children not his own to claim hundreds of thousands of dollars in bogus U.N. child benefits from 1971 to 2007, the task force says.

Its report includes divorce files from New Jersey, where Casals' ex-wife lived, indicating the birth certificates were a fraud.

Casals put on immigration visa applications that he was the natural father of two children claimed as dependents _ providing evidence, the task force says, he "knowingly falsified official documents and relied upon forged birth certificates in order to obtain United States visas for these two minors."

It says Casals, a Filipino who headed the U.N. staff union in Ethiopia, used his job and contacts "to facilitate United States visa applications for his business partner, girlfriend, family, friends and other unidentified individuals seeking U.S. visas."

One of Casals' e-mails in the report says Busa was among his "tennis buddies" and their families met most weekends.

Casals declined to cooperate with the task force but told AP by e-mail: "It is so easy to accuse anybody who is no longer there to defend himself."

He added: "I know Mr. Stoykov. He is the one you should go after."

The ECA's multimillion-dollar expansion drew scrutiny in the U.N.'s budget committee, whose minutes from the past two years reflect diplomats swapping concerns about project delays and "procurement irregularities."

U.N. auditors looking into millions of dollars of recent European-funded projects also said ECA needs stronger financial controls.

The ECA investigation was one of more than 300 the task force completed, leading to millions of dollars in restitution, misconduct findings against nearly 20 U.N. officials and a ban against about 50 U.N. contractors.

But the task force was dissolved before it could examine four other economic commissions that double as regional U.N. arms. The U.N. General Assembly decided the task force's capabilities and remaining caseload should be transferred to the permanent investigation division.

Since the start of 2009, however, the task force's investigators have departed and 175 leftover cases were closed or left to languish, the AP reported in January. For more than two years, no one has been permanently appointed to head the investigation division.

(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Kenya: UNDP `staff` arrested with cocaine

Alex Kiarie, AfricaNews reporter in Nairobi, Kenya
Cocaine worth over US$1 million was seized at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport over the weekend in Kenya. A female suspect who claimed to be working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is being held for questioning.
She had papers in her possession that identified her as a senior employee of United Nations Development Programme-UNDP, and the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Her passport particulars indicated that she had travelled to Brazil from Peru, before connecting flights to South Africa then Kenya. The 40 year old woman was travelling to Uganda.

The 21kilogramme cocaine haulage was packed in black containers with UNDP labels. Her arrest was triggered by her rivals in the drug trafficking underworld.

According to the JKIA Criminal Investigation Department boss Joseph Ngisa, the woman could not tell the police where the headquarters of UNDP is based, and neither could she be able to tell the nature of her job description in the organization. She also did not know the name of Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister.
She was due to be charged with drug trafficking on Monday.

Kenya has been marked as one of the major transit points for human and drug traffickers, due to sleaze in the immigration and police departments.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

North Korean UN Ambassador Issues A Chilling Warning

By Joseph A. Klein Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ambassador Sin Son Ho, Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“North Korea”) to the United Nations, gave a rare press briefing at UN headquarters in New York on June 15, 2010. His subject was what he called South Korea’s “fabricated” claim that its warship Cheonan was torpedoed by North Korea’s military.

He claimed that North Korea was the “victim” of a deceitful investigation. If the UN Security Council ends up taking the side of South Korea and “is again deceived by another lie,” admonished the North Korean ambassador, “the U.S. and the Security Council shall bear the full responsibility for the subsequent consequences arising there from.”

After reading a lengthy press release, Ambassador Ho responded to my question regarding North Korea’s likely response if the UN Security Council imposes additional sanctions against North Korea, or approves a resolution or Presidential Statement condemning North Korea for the torpedo attack. He warned that “Follow-up measures will be carried out by our military forces.”
When asked whether such measures might include the use of nuclear weapons, he did not directly reply except to say that “Nuclear weapons is our deterrent.”

Ambassador Ho spent most of his time during the press conference attacking the credibility of the Joint Investigation Group, which included foreign experts, and rejecting its finding that a torpedo launched by North Korea was responsible for the sinking of the South Korean warship on March 26, 2010. He charged that the Joint Investigation Group’s procedures for selection of its members, the members’ independence and scope of authority and how the members arrived at the investigation result have been shrouded in secrecy. “If the South Korean authorities have nothing to hide,” he said, “there is no reason for them not to accept our inspection group for the verification of their ‘investigation result’.”

The North Korean envoy also questioned the reliability of South Korea’s alleged “material evidence” for the sinking of the ship by a North Korean torpedo, which included the rear part of a torpedo found by a civilian fishing boat just five days before the release of the Joint Investigation Group’s finding. “This is indeed as funny story as some kind of fiction in the Aesop’s Fables,” Ambassador Ho quipped.

Ambassador Ho stressed that, on the day of the sinking, U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises were in full swing in the vicinity with many warships engaged in anti-submarine, anti-air and marine interdiction operations. “It was inconceivable,” he claimed, “that the U.S. and South Korean warships equipped with the state-of-the-art [detection]devices failed to detect” the North Korean submarine alleged to be responsible for the torpedo launching. Under such conditions, he argued, it was doubtful that North Korea’s “small size submarine attacked the corvette ‘Cheonan’, which has anti-submarine capacity.”

Ambassador Ho accused South Korea and the United States of concocting a “farce in pursuit of their political purposes.” He claimed that the U.S. benefited the most from the sinking of the South Korean ship.

“Soon after the incident,” said Ho, “the U.S. hyped the ‘threat from North Korea’ to sound real,” using the incident to pressure Japan into accepting American demands regarding its military base in Okinawa and to justify a further build-up of American military presence in the area.

Ambassador Ho charged South Korea with exploiting the incident to evade its own responsibility for the sinking caused possibly by “self-grounding” or “fatigue failure.” He also charged that South Korean authorities were attempting to “drive a wedge between China and my country which have excellent relations.”

I got in touch with a spokesperson from the South Korean UN embassy to ask for a response to North Korea’s litany of charges. Other than saying that there was “nothing new regarding North Korea’s political rhetoric,” he refused to comment until his government had the opportunity to issue a formal statement.

North Korea’s UN ambassador - who quipped that he would lose his job if the Security Council took any action against North Korea in response to the sinking - was not joking when he warned:

“Our people and army will smash out aggressors with merciless counteraction if they dare to provoke us despite of (sic) our repeated demand and warnings, and build the most thriving reunified nation on the Korean peninsula.”

In contrast to the urgency with which the Security Council approved a Presidential Statement condemning Israel for the tragic events that ensued aboard one of the Turkish ships in the blockade-running Gaza flotilla, the Security Council has been proceeding very slowly since the sinking of the South Korean ship that killed 46 sailors. The current president of the Security Council, Mexico’s UN Ambassador, defended the deliberative pace - which has included an informal session with North Korea on June 14th - as necessary to maintain stability in the region.
In other words, it is perfectly alright for the UN to rush to judgment against Israel in one of the most unstable areas of the world but North Korea needs to be handled with kid gloves after its chief UN diplomat threatens military retaliation. Once again we are witnessing the UN’s double-standard and appeasement in action.

NyTimes: Review Panel Judges See a Culture of U.N. Secrecy

UNITED NATIONS — Independent judges appointed to revamp the way the United Nations reviews decisions on matters like hiring, firing, promotions and raises are accusing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of shielding an unhealthy culture of secrecy and trying to undermine the new system.

The United Nations Dispute Tribunal, inaugurated last July to replace a process so deteriorated that employees challenging employment decisions sometimes waited years for answers, has succeeded in shrinking a backlog of about 300 cases.

But some of the decisions issued by the tribunal contend that Mr. Ban and the highest levels of management are determined to preserve a system in which their personnel decisions remain absolute. One judge even characterized their lack of cooperation as “an attack on the rule of law.”

Diplomats, lawyers and others tracking the cases describe the United Nations’ stance on the tribunal as contradictory, if not hypocritical, given the organization’s role in promoting the rule of law globally. “The organization has to decide from the S.G. on down whether this is an organization that respects the rule of law or not,” said George Irving, a former president of the staff union and a lawyer who has worked on administrative cases at the United Nations for more than 30 years. “What you are witnessing essentially is a power struggle. It is all about control, who is going to control the system.”

In several instances, the United Nations has ignored a judge’s orders to produce documents or have officials testify about how decisions were reached. In one case, the judge ordered the organization to pay $20,000 in compensation for the mistreatment of a translator who questioned why he was not promoted.

“Sometimes there may be some cases of decisions which are not totally in line with what the Secretariat has been doing,” Mr. Ban said at a news conference last month. “But we will try to respect all the decisions.”

Mr. Ban and his advisers believe they have the prerogative to make decisions in some administrative matters, which has become an issue with the court, he acknowledged. He declined to discuss specific cases.

Critics suggest that the secretary general is violating at least the spirit and possibly the letter of the rules approved by the General Assembly.

The old system was completely internal. There were no hearings, and the secretary general essentially served as his own judge and jury. It was deemed too slow and too haphazard to cover the needs of about 60,000 United Nations employees globally.

The new system, which the internal literature describes as “independent, professionalized, expedient, transparent and decentralized,” is run by independent judges whose decisions are binding. United Nations employees cannot sue the organization in national courts, so the tribunal is their sole route to address grievances. New York, Geneva and Nairobi, Kenya, each have a judge, with some extras appointed to deal with the case backlog. A three-judge appeal panel will begin hearing appeals in New York on Monday.

Without the power to declare someone in contempt of court, the tribunal judges rely on the Secretariat to engage with them in good faith. But some judges believe accountability goes only so high. Part of the problem stems from the rigid hierarchy of the United Nations, lawyers and other experts say. The judges were assigned an administrative rank that puts them below an assistant secretary general, so those who rank higher often feel that answering the tribunal is beneath them, they said.

Noting that an employee was fired despite a pending tribunal hearing, a May order from the Nairobi tribunal said that the decision “is significant for the contempt it shows of these proceedings.” It said that the United Nations’ response “does not bode well” for a system supposedly based on international law and due process.

“You have to look at the culture here,” Judge Michael F. Adams, an Australian judge, said at the end of his stint on the dispute panel in New York. “Someone in the position of under secretary general is never confronted with the requirement that particular questions be answered.”

Judge Adams has been notably scathing in his written decisions about the lack of due process in the tribunals. “The United Nations legal system may be an island, but it does not inhabit its own planet,” he wrote in one.

The outcomes of three appeals of Judge Adams’s rulings are being watched with particular interest to see what power the higher panel grants the tribunal.

In one case of an employee passed over for a promotion, Susan Maddox, the lawyer representing the secretary general, refused to produce any of the crucial documents requested or even identify the person who made the decision to refuse to cooperate. The secretary general, like a head of state, had to be allowed to make some decisions in private, the United Nations maintained.

Judge Adams dismissed the idea that the secretary general is akin to a head of state, calling him the chief administrative officer. The tribunal is not examining whether the decision was right, he said, but whether it was arrived at in the right way.

In another case, James Wasserstrom, who now serves as the anticorruption officer at the American Embassy in Kabul, is seeking $1 million in lost wages, compensation for defamation and mental distress, plus legal expenses. He contends that he was fired from his job with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Kosovo after reporting his suspicions of corruption. He said his mistreatment included being arrested at the border, having his house searched and having posters bearing his picture hung around the headquarters to bar his admittance.

Because he had been identified by internal investigators as a whistle-blower, he should have been protected from losing his job, he contends. But an Ethics Office investigation found no link between his allegations of corruption and his dismissal. Judge Adams ruled that the United Nations turn over that report and the evidence behind it, but Ms. Maddox refused.

In a third case, Samer Abboud, a senior translator, said he was passed over for promotion, the victim of discrimination by Egyptian officials who dole out plum jobs to their inner circle.

Shaaban M. Shaaban, an under secretary general and the most senior Egyptian official at the United Nations, initially testified to the tribunal, but then refused any further dealings pending the appeal. Judge Adams found that Mr. Shaaban’s testimony lacked credibility, calling him “an unreliable witness in respect of every important issue of fact.” The judge also found that Mr. Abboud was “subjected to insult, patronizing comments and retaliatory threats,” and ordered the United Nations to pay him $20,000 in compensation. The decision is under appeal.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

U.N. spending: U.S. suckers Homepage (click here for story)

If President Obama wants to bring some much-needed "discretion" to U.S. spending, as he insists, there's ample opportunity and valid reason to do so with what the United States spends at the United Nations. That's where fiscal discipline is a foreign concept.

In the past 10 years the U.N.'s regular biennial budget has more than doubled; its peacekeeping budget over the same period has increased threefold, according to the U.N.'s figures reviewed by The Heritage Foundation.

Time was when the U.S. had a policy of "zero growth" in the U.N. regular budget, which helped contain spending in the mid-1980s and '90s. That discipline has gone out the window. All told, the U.N.'s largest contributor today pays in excess of $5 billion annually.

The last time the U.S. actually put its foot down over the U.N.'s lack of fiscal transparency, gross mismanagement and moribund reforms was in 2007 when it voted against the U.N.'s budget. U.N. member states passed that spending plan anyway.

So exactly what is the U.S. role at Turtle Bay -- besides picking up 22 percent of its regular budget and more than 27 percent of its peacekeeping budget and being played for a sucker?

For what the U.S. spends at the U.N., it can begin formation of a League of Democracies. At the very least it should inform the spendthrifts at Turtle Bay that Uncle Sam's ATM is closed.

BP is Defended by UN, "Accidents Happen, Nature of Modern Life," Global Compact

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 15 -- As BP continues gushing oil for over 50 days into the Gulf of Mexico, at the UN on June 14, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's main adviser on corporate social responsibility defended the company.

"Big accidents happen all the time, it's the nature of modern life," said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. Video here, from Minute 42:20.

Kell was promoting an upcoming CSR event slated for New York on June 24, featuring Ban and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Inner City Press asked about several participating and donating corporation, including a tobacco distributor and a company of mercenaries or soldiers of fortune.

Then Inner City Press asked about BP, a long time Global Compact member. Video here, from Minute 33:11.

Kell claimed that BP has not been active in the Compact for two years. "I think their current status is non communicating," he said. But even as he said it, on the Global Compact website BP was listed as fully in compliance, with its next "communication of progress" not due until June 9, 2011.

One can only imagine what "progress" BP will communicate to the UN at that time. The reality is that the UN has no substantive standards for membership in the Global Compact.

UN's Ban listen to Kell, BP's gusher not shown

Despite receiving numerous detailed complaints, the UN Global Compact has for example kept as a member PetroChina and its investment in Darfur with the Sudanese government of Omar al Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court.

That Kell would try to misrepresent the status of BP with the Global Compact, and so quickly try to distance the Compact from BP before defending it, reflects that BP's image is now worse than PetroChina's.

But that Kell would then dismissively say of BP's still gushing undersea pipeline, "Big accidents happen all the time, it's the nature of modern life," shows either that Kell is not the right person to lead the UN's Global Compact, or that the UN is not what it claims to be - or both. Watch this site.

Diplomatic footnote: "It seems that Kell is more responsive to the UK than the US," opined one senior UN official, who requested anonymity due to Ban Ki-moon's anti whistleblower policies. "But where is [US Ambassador] Susan Rice on this, given Obama's new public attacks on Tony Hayward and BP?"

OECD: Few Nations Punish Foreign Bribery

By Channing Turner | June 15, 2010 6:10 pm

A majority of countries who pledged in 1997 to fight international corruption are falling down on the job, theOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found.

In an annual report released Tuesday, the OECD’s Working Group on Bribery said most of its member nations failed to levy a single penalty since the group established its Anti-Bribery Convention a decade ago.

The 1997 Anti-Bribery Convention — which was adopted by 38 countries, including the U.S., and took effect in 1999 — established legally binding standards to criminalize bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions.

According to the report, roughly one-third — 13 out of 38 — member nations of the Anti-Bribery Convention reported sanctions. In these countries, a total of 77 entities and 148 individuals were involved in criminal proceedings since 1999, and approximately 280 investigations are ongoing.

The U.S. showed the most anti-bribery activity, sanctioning 40 individuals and 20 companies, with an additional 28 deferred prosecution agreements, according to the report. Italy reported the second-highest number of proceedings with 21 individual and 18 company sanctions, while Hungary came in third with 27 individual sanctions.

Twenty-seven countries reported no sanctions since 1999; Ireland did not provide enforcement information.

“We have come far in the last ten years, but there is no time to rest on our laurels,” said Mark Pieth, chairman for the OECD Working Group on Bribery, in the report. “To fight foreign bribery, the 38 Working Group governments must continue to enforce their laws and to implement the Group’s peer-monitoring system.”

The OECD report’s findings echo a recent, similar report by TRACE International, a non-profit association focused on multinational anti-bribery efforts.

The TRACE report, which summarized all enforcement activity since 1977, found that 22 nations have enforced foreign anti-bribery laws in the past 25 years, with the United States representing 75 present of all “outbound enforcement,” or investigations brought against non-U.S. entities or individuals. The combined efforts of 21 other nations make up the remaining 25 percent.

Attorney General Eric Holder recently addressed the OECD in Paris, where he praised the group for its anti-bribery efforts. The Department of Justice collaborates with the organization in cases involving antitrust, cybercrime and anti-corruption.

Holder expressed his commitment to prosecuting corruption, pointing to the Justice Department’s use of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to pursue bribery beyond domestic borders.

In addition, the U.S. will complete the final phase of a three-part peer-review process this month in compliance with the OECD’s enforcement efforts.

Unesco Delays Decision on Prize Financed by Infamous Dictator

(CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NyTimes Full Story)

PARIS — The Unesco executive board announced on Tuesday that it would delay awarding the international prize for Research in the Life Sciences, which has been widely criticized for being financed by one of Africa’s most infamous dictators.

The prize was to honor scientific achievements that “improve the quality of human life.”

But officials from Unesco — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — said the controversy over a prize financed by and named for President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea had undermined the organization’s credibility.

“I have come to you with a strong message of alarm and anxiety,” said Unesco’s director general, Irina Bokova, in a news release after a meeting with the agency’s executive board on Tuesday.

“I believe that given the changing circumstances and the unprecedented developments of the past months, we must be courageous and recognize our responsibilities, for it is our organization that is at stake.”

Mrs. Bokova said that while she would not a set a date for awarding the “Unesco-Obiang” Prize, consultations would continue “in a spirit of mutual respect and dignity” until the next session of the executive board in October.

The Unesco-Obiang prize, scheduled to be awarded at the end of the month, has stirred concern among officials, human rights organizations and scientists who accuse Mr. Obiang, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1979, of corruption and personally profiting from his nation’s oil wealth.

On Monday, the American ambassador to Unesco, David T. Killion, sent a letter urging Mrs. Bokova to suspend plans to award the prize, which the executive board created in 2008. Mr. Obiang has committed $3 million a year for five years; half the money would go to five recipients who would receive $300,000 grants each, and half would cover the costs of their selection.

Conservative plans mean that foreign aid will continue to be wasted on vanity publishing

By Alex Singleton


If there’s one thing that the Department for International Development should scrap immediately, it’s a magazine called “Developments”. This has been costing taxpayers £400,000 a year and is distributed free of charge – well, no one in their right mind would pay for it. It reads like a magazine in search of a purpose, and is so boring that my copy normally goes into the bin within 30 seconds of opening.

Yet the Tories have missed a brilliant opportunity to show that they want to purge DFID’s wasteful expenditure by deciding to keep the publication. What they plan to do, apparently after pressure from the Treasury, is to stop sending it overseas. This change will cut £186,000 of distribution costs and £18,000 in printing costs.

That might seem welcome, but it still leaves around £200,000 of taxpayers’ money squandered on an unnecessary venture. A DFID spokesman told me that the department is “urgently reviewing” other ways to make savings in the magazine’s production, but the department still wants its 31,000 British readers to receive the publication.

Now I can see why DFID likes having a printed magazine – it looks good on coffee tables and makes DFID’s aid bureaucrats feel important. But if the department wants to communicate effectively with the development community – which accounts for 72 per cent of the magazine’s readers – there’s something it should know: many of the magazine’s target readers are rarely back at base to read their post, and if they are, find themselves inundated with reading material.

Let’s face it: effective aid workers spend large amounts of the year away from their offices in impoverished communities abroad. A printed publication is a singularly bad way of communicating with them and the DFID website would do a perfectly good job of communicating pertinent information without it.

There is no point to this vanity magazine, which does nothing to reduce poverty. The Tories should look again and scrap it.

As the euro fails, Brussels turns on us to save itself

The eurozone crisis and the ambitions of the European Commission will cost us dear, says Daniel Hannan.

By Daniel Hannan

Whatever Germany does, the euro as we know it is dead; Angela Merkel: 'If the euro fails, then Europe fails'; Bloomberg
Angela Merkel: 'If the euro fails, then Europe fails.' Photo: Bloomberg

Politicians sometimes use the word "crisis" vaguely. Crisis is, appropriately, a Greek word. It means a moment of decision, a crossroads.

The EU faces now a crisis in the most exact sense. There are two ways in which it can treat the economic cancer that has taken hold in Greece, and which now threatens to metastasise across the Mediterranean. One is through amputation. Greece could be allowed to leave the euro and devalue, thereby pricing itself into the market and winning time to carry through economic reforms.

Another version of amputation, runs the rumour in Brussels, would be for Germany and its neighbours to create a new, hard currency among themselves, bequeathing the legal carcase of EMU to southern Europe. The effect would be the same: Greece and the other Club Med states would benefit from an immediate economic stimulus, and northern taxpayers would be excused having to fund a bail-out.

Most Eurocrats, however, regard amputation as a final resort. Instead, they prescribe a lengthy, debilitating and uncertain course of chemotherapy. The 16 members of the eurozone are putting up vast sums in what are euphemistically called loans, though few expect them to be repaid. German taxpayers, who were assured when the euro was launched that such aid would be illegal, are understandably furious.

Even angrier are the people of Ireland. Unlike Greece, Ireland has tightened its collective belt, with everyone from the Taoiseach to welfare recipients taking cuts. Irish voters now learn that, had they been less self-denying, they might have qualified for a bail-out of their own. Worse, they find themselves, as eurozone members, having to join the rescue consortium. At a time when their public-sector workers face pay reductions of between 5 and 20 per cent, the Irish must borrow an extra 800 million euros to send to Greece.

EU leaders know that they won't get away with this again. It will be politically impossible to ask the voters of Germany, Ireland or anywhere else to fork out for a second rescue package. So they are devising a mechanism where such fiscal transfers will happen automatically. On Friday, the European President, Herman Van Rompuy, will chair a meeting of EU finance ministers aimed at establishing what he calls "European economic governance".

Part of this governance involves creating a reserve account: a European Debt Agency, or European Monetary Fund. Part involves the harmonisation of financial supervision: a process especially damaging to Britain, and one which began last week with the almost unanimous approval of a new scheme to regulate investment funds, which are overwhelmingly based here.

Above all, though, Eurocrats want more moolah. Although Brussels has considerable executive, legislative and judicial power, it lacks fiscal clout. The EU budget accounts for 1.24 per cent of Europe's GDP, the US federal government for around 35 per cent of America's. The key ambition of most Euro-enthusiasts is to make themselves financially independent of the national governments through what they call "own resources": that is, money levied directly by Brussels. Own resources already exist, in that the EU automatically receives a component of VAT revenue from its member states, but almost every Euro-integrationist regards the amount as insufficient.

How to get the money? Some federalists dream of a pan-European income tax, to be levied by MEPs: the policy of, for example, the European People's Party. Other ideas include a levy on emails and a duty on international phone calls. Several member states like the idea of carbon taxes, or other green imposts.

In the present mood, there is especially strong support for a tax on financial transactions. Most EU financial transactions, of course, take place in London, which makes the scheme attractive on the Continent. Rather as happened with the Common Fisheries Policy, Britain would find itself disproportionately filling a pot from which others could draw.

Until now, our decision to keep the pound has sheltered us from the worst of the storm. (Isn't it time, by the way, that those who supported euro membership in the 1990s apologise to William Hague? His determination to see the single currency working "in good times and in bad " suddenly seems eerily prescient.) Being outside the eurozone, however, won't shield us from the negative consequences of Mr Van Rompuy's economic governance. EU supervision of financial services, a larger Brussels budget, a Europe-wide tax on banking transactions: these things will fall more heavily on Britain than on the states that abandoned their currencies.

What we are seeing, 11 years after the launch of the euro, is a vindication of what opponents of the single currency – and, indeed, its more honest supporters – argued all along, namely that you can't have monetary union without political union. If a state can't accommodate an economic shock in its interest rate or exchange rate, it will need to be bailed out. Common taxes mean common government – or, as Romano Prodi, the former head of the European Commission, put it last week, "fiscal federalism".

The EU has a way of thrusting itself uninvited into our affairs. Most ministers would gladly do without the distraction, but the ambitions of Brussels directly threaten the coalition's newly agreed domestic programme. Last week, for example, Nick Clegg spoke about the need to diffuse and democratise power in Britain, starting with a Great Repeal Bill. I cheered him lustily, having proposed precisely these things two years ago. The trouble is that his agenda will run up against the brute fact of the supremacy of EU law.

You can't decentralise power in the UK while centralising it in the EU. You can't object to the quango state while submitting to the biggest quango of the lot, namely the unelected European Commission. You can't ask for across-the-board budget savings while increasing our net contributions to Brussels by 60 per cent. You can't strengthen parliamentary control over the executive when orders-in-council simply implement EU rulings. You can't, in conscience, give people a referendum on how to elect their MPs while denying them a referendum on whether those MPs are sovereign.

When the Lisbon Treaty was adopted, many thought that the EU would try to digest it before consuming additional powers. But the crisis in Greece has whetted its hunger anew. Satisfying that appetite will be expensive for all of us.

Daniel Hannan is a Conservative MEP and writes every day at

Aid to Gaza is inadvertently fuelling the conflict

By Daniel Hannan


Most of us weren’t present during the attack on the flotilla in the Eastern Mediterranean, and we should wait until all the facts are known before rushing to judgment. As often happens in these situations, both sides have hastened to fit events into whatever preconception they already had: either that Israeli commandos were defending themselves against Islamist radicals who had deliberately sought to provoke the use of force, or that there was an act of Israeli state terrorism against unarmed civilians. All we can say for certain at this stage is that something went horribly wrong.

We can, though, add one more observation. The current approach to Gaza — the approach supported by the UN, the EU and, indeed, Israel — is inadvertently fuelling violence. The priority of all the players, including Israel, is to “avert a humanitarian crisis in Gaza” by pouring aid into that unhappy place. In doing so, though, they have helped to create the perfect terrorist habitat.

The thinking is that paramilitarism can be killed with kindness; that the grievances of Gaza can be buried beneath an avalanche of euros. This policy is demonstrably failing. Palestinians are the most heavily subsidised people, in per capita terms, on the planet. Far from de-escalating the conflict, aid on such a scale has driven out enterprise and self-reliance and encouraged cronyism, resentment and rage.

Israel’s intention is clear enough: it wants to “reward” Fatah, by loosening restrictions on the West Bank, while “punishing” Hamas by blockading Gaza. But this policy is having the opposite effect, identifying Fatah in the eyes of many Palestinians with an enemy power. When I raised this issue with Israeli officials earlier this year, they told me that they were mitigating the policy by allowing through humanitarian convoys. This, I replied, was precisely the problem.

What Gaza needs is not aid but trade: the creation of a functioning society based on secure property rights and free commerce. Now plainly this isn’t going to happen immediately. Israelis point, with justice, to the decrease in cross-border terrorist attacks and suicide bombs that followed the sealing of the frontier. Lifting all restrictions tomorrow would lead to an influx of Iranian rocketry.

In the long run, though, Israel must work towards the establishment of a stable state as its neighbour. Palestinians are an enterprising people who, in other Arab countries, generally form the professional and mercantile classes. In Gaza, however, a combination of failed leadership, external blockade and infusions of aid have destroyed civic society. If there were a propertied bourgeoisie in Gaza, its members would be intolerant of freelance rocket-launchers operating from their facilities and attracting reprisals. If there were Gazan businessmen, they would want to remain on good terms with their customers, including their Israeli customers.

Which is why the focus of the international community should be on integrating Palestine into the world economy — a process which must involve a progressive easing of commercial frontier controls (no one is suggesting lifting all security checks in the current climate). It won’t be easy. But it is surely better than carrying on as we are now, with a whirling entropy in Gaza that draws in resources and spews out bombers.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dominican lawmaker slams the UNDP report on Haitian immigrants

SANTO DOMINGO. - The deputy Pelegrin Castillo said Thursday that the report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on the living conditions of Haitian immigrants in the country forms part of the disinformation campaign to again downplay the magnitude of the drama he affirms the Haitian people suffer.

The legislator denied that the Haitians are mistreated in the country, and noted that immigrants don’t get the best treatment nowhere in the world. “Let’s be clear, if there is a point in the world where Haitian immigrants have the best conditions is in Dominican Republic, considering our nation’s reality.”

He said the study isn’t credible because it places the Haitian immigrant population at only around 600,000 in the country, when in fact that figure was of 10 years ago, and the current number is as high as 1.5 million, mainly after the January 12 quake.

Interviewed in the National Palace, Castillo also warned that the country will have to confront an offensive against its credibility and image, because despite what he sees as being the most integrating, open and tolerant nation, the criticisms and harassment continue.

The lawmaker called the international community’s commitment with Haiti not serious, insincere, inconsistent and manipulative. “The United Nations knows perfectly well that Haiti’s tragedy is the fact that it was a collapsed State before January 12, when the earthquake occurred,” a calamity he said is being turned into a great business instead of a humanitarian effort.

“I had imagined that the United States, which is directing that campaign, was going to designate the Navy Corp of engineers for the reconstruction task,” he said.

The legislator for the National District (FNP party) said given the circumstances the Government must energetically bolster its border control policy. “The Dominican government should’ve demanded the international community’s guarantee of our territorial integrity a long time ago, because they know the magnitude of Haiti’s crisis and the dramatic deterioration of its reality.”

Somalia: More details emerge from the arrest Siyad Abdirahman Jama


More details emerged from the arrest of official of Galka’yo based agency of peace and development, Siyad Abdirahman Jama who was jailed by Nugal police after accusing him of linking to Al shabab.

Siyad has been jailed in Garowe and to know more about that RBC contacted to the family of Siyad Abdirahman Jama’a

The family of Siyad Abdirahman Jama’a told RBC Radio they heard the arrest of him and the time of his arrest he was in Garoowe town, the capital of Puntiland ,working for CPD.

One of Siyad’s family has appointed the allegation of the police as ‘propaganda’ and said Siyad isn’t involve like that actions.

Siyad Abdirahman Jama’a works agency of peace and development center CPD ruled by the politician, Mahamed Ali Yusuf .

Speculation reports say Siyad Abdirahman Jama’a was arrested for two purposes:-

1:- To know more about the politician, Mahamed Ali Yusuf known as (Gaagaab) whom Puntiland state says he has moved what is obstacle to it .

2: -To refuse him vacant position for UNDP which many people compete how they could win and the reports added that that some of the people who want to work for working UNDP have made propaganda which caused to jail Siyad Abdirahman Jama.

It is not clear the planes of Puntiland state towards the arrest of Siyad Abdirahman Jama’a who was working long time for aid agencies in Puntland.