"....The staff is sick and tired of the impunity extended by the office of the Secretary-General to senior managers for their failings especially in situations where it has led to death and disability....."
- UN Staff Union
At the center of the Russian spy ring rounded up this week by federal agents were two Russian handlers from Moscow's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the successor to the KGB, who managed a network of sleeper agents out of their Upper East Side Manhattan offices at the Russian mission to the United Nations.
Described in court documents simply as Russian Government Official #2 and Russian Government Official #3, the two intelligence agents, posing as low level-Russian diplomats, passed on hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and maintained secret communications with Russian "illegals" -- spies operating outside the protection of official cover -- sent to America to influence U.S. policymakers and send intelligence reports back to headquarters.
The federal investigation into the Russian spy network, which was detailed in more than 50 pages of court documents, opened a window into a highly secretive effort by President Dmitry Medvedev's government to gain access to influential political and business figures in the United States. But in some ways, Russia's decision to use Turtle Bay as a base for espionage is an old story.
The Russian mission to the United Nations has been at the center of Moscow's sprawling intelligence-gathering operations in the United States for decades, providing Soviet and Russian operatives with ideal circumstances to infiltrate U.S. diplomatic missions, businesses, and circles of political elites. Some of the most important Soviets to defect were also based at the United Nations, including Arkady Schevchenko, a former top-ranking U.N. official who defected to the U.S. in 1978, and Sergei Tretyakov, one of the top spymasters posted at the Russian mission from 1995 to 2000.
During the Cold War, the U.S. limited Soviet officials' freedom to travel to a 25-mile radius around the U.N. headquarters building. The Soviets used it to great effect, erecting a massive listening station in its U.N. mission, and purchasing an apartment complex for Russian diplomats in the Bronx and a beach mansion on Long Island for visitors and vacationing Russian diplomats. "The rooftops at Glen Cove, the apartment building in Riverdale and the mission all bristled with antennas for listening to American conversations," Schevchenko wrote in his book Breaking with Moscow.
Russia is by no means the only country that spies at the United Nations. The United States and Britain have long collected information on the positions of U.N. members. At the founding U.N. conference in San Francisco in 1945, U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius routinely reviewed the secret diplomatic cables sent by his colleagues to foreign capitals. The U.S. Army Signal Security Agency, the forerunner of the National Security Agency, forced commercial telegraph companies to hand over hundreds of pages of secret diplomatic messages, according toStephen C. Schlesinger in his book The Act of Creation.
In the years prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, U.S. and allied intelligence infiltrated the U.N.'s weapons inspection agency in Iraq, planting listening devices that that picked up microwave stations transmitting communications from Saddam Hussein's security detail. Charles Duelfer, the top American official on the U.N. inspection team, held daily conversations with the CIA. Before the war, a British translator provided the Observer newspaper with a National Security Agency memo requesting a "surge" in eavesdropping on Security Council members during a debate on authorizing the use of force against Iraq.
The extent of Soviet spying came to light at the height of the Cold War, in the mid 1970s, when Vice President Nelson Rockefeller headed up a commission looking into spying abuses by the CIA on American soil. The study turned up troubling evidence of Soviet surveillance. "We believe these countries [belonging to the communist bloc] can monitor and record thousands of private telephone conversations," the Rockefeller Commission wrote in its report. "Americans have a right to be uneasy if not seriously disturbed at the very real possibility that their personal and business activities, which they discuss freely over the telephone, could be recorded or analyzed by agents of a foreign power."
Two Soviet officials, Nikolai Fochine and Arkady Schevchenko, dealing with U.N. political matters in the mid-1970s, "seemed to be in a 24 hour a day competition to be first to relay the output of my office to the Soviet delegation," wrote Brian Urquhart, former under secretary-general of the U.N., in his memoir, A Life in War and Peace. Urquhart didn't know it at the time, but Schevchenko had been spying for the CIA as well. Moscow's espionage was so pervasive that top Soviet officials were routinely barred from access to highly sensitive information. Urquhart, who had once served himself as a British intelligence officer during World War II, informed Fochine that he knew he "would have to report to the Soviet Mission and that he would sometimes therefore have to withhold information from him. Fochine accepted this without demure," wrote Urquhart's successor Marrack Goulding, in his book Peacemonger.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served as U.S. President Gerald Ford's ambassador to the United Nations from 1975 to 1976, wrote in his book A Dangerous Place that Russian intercepts and wiretaps constituted "the most massive illegal invasion of Fourth Amendment rights in American history."
"In 1975, when I was named permanent representative to the United Nations, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller summoned me to his office in the Old Executive Building," Moynihan wrote a decade later in a Popular Mechanics article titled "How The Soviets Are Bugging America."
"There was something urgent he had to tell me. The first thing I must know about the United Nations, he said, is that the Soviets would be listening to every telephone call I made from our mission and from the ambassadors suite in the Waldorf Towers."
For decades, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has run a massive counterintelligence operation out of Manhattan, which monitors foreign spying operations by U.N.-based agents from Russia and many other countries. Periodically, the bureau expels some. In October 1986, the United States asked 55 Soviet diplomats to leave the country, including "operatives for intercepting communications," the New York Times reported.
But the sleuthing persisted well beyond the demise of the Soviet Union. Former President Boris Yeltsin's government continued to aggressively spy on American targets in New York. Tretyakov's efforts to expand Russia's intelligence-gathering capacity were documented in the book Comrade J., written together with former Washington Post reporter Peter Earley.
"The SVR was not interested in anything that concerned U.N. politics, U.N. resolutions, or other political U.N. bullshit," Tretyakov recounted. "Instead, Sergei and his men were ordered to penetrate intelligence targets and recruit spies who could steal political, economic, technical, counterintelligence, and military secrets."
Russian intelligence masters in Moscow outlined a list of nine targets, starting with the No. 1 priority: "Penetrating the U.S. mission." Other influential diplomatic missions, including Britain, China, France, Germany, and Japan were also on the list. But the Russian spies were also charged with snooping on New York political elites, particularly congressional figures, and key think tanks, including the Council on Foreign Relations. They also targeted Wall Street bigwigs, Manhattan banks, and scholars and foreign journalists, particularly those covering the United Nations.
In the latest case, federal investigators monitored the Russian operation over several years. In 2004, Russian Government Official #2 was filmed by federal agents at the Forest Hills train station in the Queens section of New York as he handed off a package filled with cash to Christopher R. Metsos, one of 10 sleeper agents arrested this week, according to court documents. The videotape showed the Russian handler, a second secretary at the Russian mission to the U.N., and Metsos carrying identical orange bags as they approached the train stairway, where they made the switch. "I believe that Russian Government Official #2's orange bag contained a large sum of money," a federal agent said, according to court documents.
Metsos, who claims to be a Canadian citizen, was detained in Cyprus after trying to catch a plane to Budapest, Hungary. He has been released on bail but has been asked to remain in Cyprus pending a U.S. request for extradition.
The Queens "brush-pass" was only one of several incidents involving the Russian handlers, who met with their secret operatives at a series of New York City landmarks, parks, train stations, and restaurants. Last summer, Russian Government Official #3, a third secretary at the Russian mission to the United Nations, was filmed at a Harlem train station passing as much as $300,000 and a computer memory drive to Richard Murphy, another alleged sleeper agent identified by federal agents. The money was then shared among a large group of Russian agents, who collected their cut in Central Park, a restaurant in Sunnyside, Queens, and Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. A portion was buried in a field in upstate New York for two years, before being dug up and passed on to other Russian agents.
It remains unclear whether the ring collected any valuable intelligence. Court documents accuse them not of engaging in espionage but of simply violating U.S. laws that require agents of a foreign power to register with the U.S. government.
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement denouncing the U.S. arrests. "These actions are unfounded and pursue unseemly goals," according to the statement. "We don't understand the reasons which prompted the United States Department of Justice to make a public statement in the spirit of Cold War spy stories."
637 UNDP Staffers are Millionaires, and another 1041 UNDP staffers have enough salary (income) to justify million dollar homes in New York (or tri-state area NY/NJ/CT).
UN/UNDP's budgets are untransparent !
U.N. budget is “utterly opaque, untransparent and completely in the shadow” and would benefit from being consolidated and audited from the outside. MMB from NyTimes
JOSE RAMOS HORTA - PRESIDENT OF EAST TIMOR
‘‘You know how many layers of bureaucracy there are when the European Union wants to help East Timor? Well, they don’t provide the funds to us, the funds allocated are managed by world bank. And the world bank has its own layers of bureaucracy. And they charge for that. The project is then managed by UNDP. But UNDP is only good at doing studies, they don’t execute projects.’‘
Boutros Boutros-Ghali on UN:
"perhaps half of the UN work force does nothing useful"
Can Helen Clark be trusted on Climate Change ?
President Obama's answer to Helen Clark's appeal for US to do more on climate change was : "I think the American people right now have been so focused, and will continue to be focused, on our economy and jobs and growth that ... if the message is somehow, we're going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don't think anybody's gonna go for that," he said. "I won't go for that."
In 2011 Rami Makhlouf - a trusted development partner of UNDP in Syria
In 2008 U.S. Treasury designation: Rami Makhluf Designated for Benefiting from Syrian Corruption (Click on photo to see US Treasury page)
"Screwed" How Foreign Countries Are Ripping America Off
A full chapter (7) dedicated to UNDP and UN Secretariat. But it today at Amazon.com (click above picture)
Asma al-Assad is UNDP's champion of reform in Syria
UNDP's special relations with dictators and terror is well documented. Yet, they continue to operate covered by UN Immunity. Click on immage for story.
Aicha Gaddafi You are Fired !
UNDP continues to be in bed with other dictators. Will clean it one at a time.
Where is NETAID money David Morrison?
UNDP Transparency Censored
UNDP's moto is: - eliminate the uncomfortable, frighten those who disagree, "educate" the perplexed..
UNDP Chief Finance Officer
The UNDP is a secretive organization and so far has kept in the dark every information related to its Chief Finance Officer and Deputy Assistant Administrator, Mr. Darshak Shah. Click on the picture for more on Finance Office of UNDP.
UNDP Belarus - best breast corner
Should tax-payers dollars be used to photograph beautiful breasts - even when making a valid point?
Uncle Helen turning UNDP into a cove of corrupt NZ labour politicians
CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE Chris Carter's latest Credit Card scandal - can he work at UNDP after that? It seems YES he is full tested!!
Helen Clark says: "No more cars"
Thinking about buying a new car this year? Why, you evil Westerner! You don’t need that. You are demanding your new car off the sweat, toil, and exploitation of the world’s poorest people in developing countries.
Eveline Herfkens belongs to Jail - she should return imemdiately Dutch Taxpayers money.
if anyone else would have done what Eveline Herfkens did, would have long been in jail. We denounce this impunity and demand justice.
Andrew Mitchell - says Helen Clark is up to no good!
1. UNDP’s partnership with the World Bank needs to be more effective, particularly in fragile and crisis-affected countries. 2. UNDP’s near universal mandate means its technical resources are spread very thinly. The Board does not provide strategic direction. HR management is weak. It has a weak results chain. 3. There is limited evidence of active senior management consideration of cost control. Country evidence points to mixed progress on demonstrating cost-efficiency. 4. The Executive Board is politicised and there is a lack of consensus on the key areas for reform. It is not clear that current plans for change will deliver the required depth and breadth of reform. 5. Evidence gathered at country level was highly critical of UNDP’s ability to deliver results. Its delivery can be undermined by staffing issues and bureaucratic processes. 6. Its performance in fragile states is mixed. It has reasonable training and a range of guidance and analytical tools but struggles to fill posts. 7. There is no evidence that the Climate Strategy was directly guiding resource allocation decisions
Mark Malloch Brown outraged over Aicha Gaddafi
“I hope she's not a UNDP Ambassador,” ...“I don't think it's UNDP. I was surprised when I saw that... she was an Ambassador to any part of the UN system.”
Travel Palestine - Rediscover Your Senses
Get ready to a sensual feast of ...sounds...scents of The Land of حماس Ḥamās Documentary sponsored by UNDP Funds (click on picture for video)
Helen Clark on UNDP's own corruption (Can she be trusted?)
“When funds intended for life-saving treatment and prevention are stolen, that theft is tantamount to murder.” CLICK ON PICTURE FOR MORE
Scandal in Rwanda with Human Development Report
Aurelien Agbenonci, UNDP's RR in Kigali accuses Khalid Malik of making up data without UNDP Rwanda's knowledge. Rwanda Government is unhappy !!!
H.E. Dirk Niebel - German Development Minister
"I take the accusations made in the media concerning corruption and breach of fiduciary duty at the Global Fund very seriously and I am sure that the Fund will clarify the matter without delay. Germany is one of the biggest donors to the Global Fund. I have therefore seen to it that a special review will be held. I have frozen all further disbursements to the Fund until matters have been fully clarified, and I will ask a representative of the Fund to come to the BMZ to discuss the matter."
US Amb. Joseph Torsella blows the whistle on UN budgets
U.N. Secretariat’s proposed $5.2 “regular” budget for 2012-2013, was “simply loosening our belt a little less than we originally planned.”
The U.N. Exposed
How the United Nations Sabotages America's Security and Fails the World (Click in picture to purchase the book)
Share now information about illegal dealings at United Nations
If you are in possession of UNDP or any other United Nations Agency' contracts, correspondence, financial records or databases, which you believe detail wrongdoing such as fraud, mismanagement and abuse of authority, and you have failed to have UN's internal control, oversight and justice systems respond and/or react to your claims, you can send them to UNDP-WATCH and we will make them public keeping your identity anonymous and confidential.
Send an email to: email@example.com
Helen Clark is watching you!
Gaddafi aint got nothing on UNDP - Click on the picture for more!
Malakia: A Turk advises Greece on Economy
Kemal Dervis (Turkish) and George Papandreou (Greek) share many late-night phone calls together (Click on picture to read story)
Where does Ban stand on Libya?
C'est vraiment ce que tu veux pour ta carriere?
United Nations Dispute Tribunal finds Ethics Office decisions Appealable
Because UNDT is the first level of the UN’s two-tiered justice system, there is a possibility that this decision may be appealed. Hopefully, the Secretary-General will not be “absurd” enough to do so. Click above to go to GAP page.
Andrew Mitchell Demands Transparency from United Nations
And I promise you as well that in future, when it comes to international development, we will want to see hard evidence of the impact your money makes. Not just dense and impenetrable budget lines but clear evidence of real effect
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT UNITED NATIONS
Ban Ki Moon supports Ethics Decision on UNDP North Korea
Question: He recommends strongly that UNDP pays 14 months back pay to the whistleblower. Does the Secretary-General stand behind that recommendation? Should UNDP in fact pay that money, or are they free to rebuff that recommendation? Spokesperson: We will see what is going to happen. The Secretary-General of course is behind Mr. Benson on his report. There is no doubt about it. What UNDP will do, we will be seeing this; how they will implement that report.
UNDP Watch is a grouping of United Nations Staff committed to openness. We believe that everyone has the right to access information held by United Nations.
Despite a stated commitment to openness, UNDP remain a highly secretive agency.
Although a wealth of information is available on some UNDP websites, its Executive Board operate behind closed doors, much important programme and administrative information is never made available and, as a rule, information that is disclosed is provided only after relevant decisions have effectively been taken.
While UNDP has adopted “internal policies” on information disclosure, they in fact operate on precisely the opposite presumption. For the most part, they list which documents will be disclosed and when, and there is a presumption against the disclosure of all the other information they hold. They do not establish right of access, the lists of documents subject to disclosure is limited, they do not set out clear and narrow grounds for refusing access and they do not provide for independent oversight mechanisms to ensure proper implementation of the policy.
The UNDP WATCH is calling for the complete overhaul of these policies.
"...We believe that without accountability, there is impunity. We ask that you (Secretary General) not be complicit in cover-up of what happened prior to 11 Dec attack. The staff is sick and tired of the impunity extended by the office of the Secretary-General to senior managers for their failings especially in situations where it has led to death and disability."