Tuesday, July 31, 2012

UNDP sets record straight on WIPO transaction - Fox News updates its story

UNDP Version on For-The-Record

27 July 2012
Click here to read this on For-the-record

UNDP has not ``financed’’ the shipment of computers to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea or Iran on behalf of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), as has been erroneously reported in a few media outlets recently.  As a service, UNDP occasionally makes payments on behalf of other UN agencies.

In November 2011, WIPO requested UNDP China to place an order to a computer supplier and to make a payment on its behalf. This transaction was blocked by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control due to possible concerns over sanctions. UNDP refunded the money to WIPO and has had no further involvement in this matter. 

Fox News Update

UPDATE: A day after this story was published, the United Nations Development Program contacted Fox News to  declare that  the computer shipments to North Korea were not “financed through the Beijing offices of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP),” as the story stated. UNDP noted, correctly,  that “this transaction was blocked by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control due to possible concerns over sanctions”—as also noted in Fox News’ original story on the affair.

In fact, as a document attached to that April 3, 2012, story shows, in addition to attempting to finance the transaction, UNDP was responsible for shipping the controversial computers to Pyongyang from the U.N.’s Beijing offices, a procedure which Fox News noted was “apparently designed to bypass safeguards specifically created by U.N. authorities to prevent a repeat of previous U.N. scandals involving shipments to North Korea.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/07/26/legal-proliferation-experts-charge-un-high-tech-shipment-to-north-korea/#ixzz229ALUncH

Jeffrey D. Sachs: Our summer of climate truth

Jeffrey Sachs

Read full article: http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/article_5ab60dc2-d836-11e1-be4e-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz2298w7R00

For years, climate scientists have been warning the world that the heavy use of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) threatens the world with human-induced climate change. The rising atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, would warm the planet and change rainfall and storm patterns and raise sea levels. Now those changes are hitting in every direction, even as powerful corporate lobbies and media propagandists like Rupert Murdoch try to deny the truth.

In recent weeks, the United States has entered its worst drought in modern times. The Midwest and the Plains states, the country’s breadbasket, are baking under a massive heat wave, with more than half of the country under a drought emergency and little relief in sight.

Halfway around the world, Beijing has been hit by the worst rains on record, with floods killing many people. Japan is similarly facing record-breaking torrential rains. Two of Africa’s impoverished drylands — the Horn of Africa in the East and the Sahel in the West — have experienced devastating droughts and famines in the past two years: the rains never came, causing many thousands to perish, while millions face life-threatening hunger.

Scientists have given a name to our era, the Anthropocene, a term built on ancient Greek roots to mean “the human-dominated epoch” — a new period of Earth’s history in which humanity has become the cause of global-scale environmental change. Humanity affects not only the Earth’s climate, but also ocean chemistry, the land and marine habitats of millions of species, and the quality of air and water.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

UNICEF calls upon every american to write to their senators to ask for $$$ for UNICEF

Financial crisis is about to hit hard the United Nations

UNICEF and other UN Agencies are spending millions in lobbying Washington not to cut its support for United Nations.

"Stop Child Trafficking"

In an effort to stem child trafficking, one of the worst forms of child labor, the United States enacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000.  The Trafficking Victims Protection Act must be renewed periodically, to ensure that the laws and programs meet current needs.  
Send a letter to your Senator to support the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011, that reauthorizes programs and funds for U.S. anti-trafficking initiatives through 2015.


  • Your Senators
Click here to read this at UNICEF-USA

Saudi Arabian draft resolution on Syria mentions Chemical and biological weapons

Click here to read full draft resolution Exclusively reported by InnercityPress

7. Demands that the Syrian authorities strictly observe their obligations under international law with respect to chemical and biological weapons, including the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925 and further demands that the Syrian authorities refrain from using, transferring, producing, developing or otherwise acquiring any chemical or biological weapons or any related material, and that the Syrian authorities meet their obligation to account for and secure all chemical and biological weapons and any related material; 

Click here to read full draft resolution Exclusively reported by InnercityPress

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dervis and Talbott bring together the world' left in Aspen to discuss "Innovation and Technology for Development" (UNDP' Helen Clark will attend)



August 1 3, 2012


Richard C. Blum
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Blum Capital Partners, LP 

Kemal Derviş
Vice President and Director
Global Economy and Development The Brookings Institution 

Strobe Talbott
The Brookings Institution 

Innovation and Technology for Development
Aspen, Colorado
August 1-3, 2012

The Brookings Blum Roundtable is an off-the-record annual forum for global leaders, entrepreneurs and practioners to discuss innovative ideas and advance groundbreaking initiatives to alleviate global poverty. Roundtable participants have convened each August since 2004 to explore timely subjects ranging from the emergent new players in the international donor community to the poverty-insecurity nexus. This year’s theme is “Innovation and Technology for Development.”

View the participant list » (PDF)
View the full agenda with session descriptions » (PDF)
View previous years of the Brookings Blum Roundtable »

Friday, July 27, 2012

PJMEDIA: Whatever Happened to the Hariri Case?

by Claudia Rosett @PJMEDIA

In early 2005, it was big news. A massive bomb blast on a main road near the Beirut waterfront killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and 22 others. The Lebanese rose up, blaming their Syrian occupiers and demanding that Syria withdraw from Lebanon. The UN launched a high profile investigation into the Hariri assassination, amid a lot of grandstanding about truth and justice. And then… it all went on, and on, and it became ever more confusing to keep track. Eventually the UN Security Council created a special tribunal, seated in The Hague, with chambers and a prosecutor and a defense team, and a holiday schedule. The tribunal eventually indicted four members of Hezbollah.
So where do things now stand?

Well, there was actually a bit of news this week. A judge at the tribunal has now set a tentative date for the trial to begin: March 25, 2013.

None of the four men indicted are actually in custody. It’s expected that they will be tried in absentia. By the time their trial begins (assuming the tribunal sticks to its tentative schedule) more than eight years will have passed since that bomb blast in Beirut. If the aim was to spend millions of dollars creating another UN-backed quasi-permanent institution, the entire venture might be considered a great success. If the aim was to deliver justice, and bring to account the terror-masters behind the assassination of Hariri, and a great many others, this project is looking ever more like another indictment of the UN system itself.

FoxNews EXCLUSIVE: Experts charge UN high-tech shipment to North Korea violates UN sanctions; State Department waffles

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/07/26/legal-proliferation-experts-charge-un-high-tech-shipment-to-north-korea/#ixzz21rPstrHe

The obscure branch of the United Nations that shipped sophisticated computers and other high-tech equipment to North Korea violated the U.N.’s own sanctions against that regime, according to a prominent international legal scholar, who echoed congressional investigators in calling for an “independent, external commission” to probe the incident.

John Yoo, a national security expert during the first Bush administration and now a  University of California, Berkeley, professor who specializes in international and U.S. constitutional law, says that the equipment shipped by the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO, “would allow North Korea to carry out simulations necessary to design highly sophisticated nuclear warheads…without the need for testing.” North Korea set off illegal nuclear blasts in 2006 and 2009, which led to the Security Council sanctions.

Yoo’s charge is at odds with the preliminary conclusion of the U.S. State Department on the same issue. A State Department spokesman said Wednesday that it “doesn’t appear” that WIPO’s actions -- which involved sending the equipment and paying for it via China, to avoid heightened U.N. oversight -- amounted to a violation.

Yoo’s opinion was echoed by other proliferation experts, including former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton and a former top-level expert at the State Department who now heads an important anti-proliferation center in Britain.

Any conclusion that WIPO’s actions did not violate repeated U.N. Security Council sanctions against the insular communist regime, Yoo said, “would assume that the agencies of the United Nations have a mandate to violate the very measures necessary to protect international peace and security -- as determined by the Security Council, the only arm of the United Nations empowered to take steps to prevent such threats.”

For its part, the State Department declared that its own judgment was a “preliminary assessment,” and that it would await a ruling by relevant U.N. sanctions committees looking into the issue. Those committees were not consulted by WIPO’s director general, Francis Gurry, before the controversial equipment was shipped to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

The very notion that even fully informed U.N. sanctions committees -- which were unsuccessful in halting the notorious Oil for Food scandal involving former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein -- will turn up much is questionable, according to Bolton, who previously headed the Bush administration’s successful effort, known as the Proliferation Security Initiative. (Bolton is also a Fox News contributor).

“Unfortunately, these committees have been where sanctions go to die,” Bolton told Fox News. “It is a complete abdication of responsibility, not to mention a signal of embarrassing weakness, for the United States to defer to the Security Council sanctions committees. The U.S. government should first decide its own position on sanctions violations, including the possibility of violations of U.S. sanctions, and then present that view in the sanctions committees.”

In an Op-Ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Bolton also warned that, “By evading sanctions within the U.N. temple itself, these nuclear proliferators show how to defeat even broadly supported sanctions regimes through death by a thousand cuts.”

For his part, Yoo was emphatic that the WIPO shipments, which took place in late 2011 or early 2012, and were revealed by Fox News last April, were in violation of  even stiffer U.S. sanctions that ban all computer exports to North Korea due to its role as proliferators of nuclear weapons technology and ballistic missile know-how.

The State Department, however, is also shying away from that conclusion, as spokesman Victoria Nuland said yesterday. State, she declared, is “seeking more information from WIPO so that we can conclude  our own work on whether there was any violation of U.S. law, but we don’t yet have everything that we need in order to make that assessment.”

Whether the U.S. will ever pry all the facts out of  WIPO is questionable. After earlier declaring that it viewed the issue with “utmost seriousness,” and announcing that it would not make such shipments in the future, Gurry blocked the appearance of two senior WIPO staffers before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, leading to cancellation of a briefing session on the shipments.

State Department spokesperson Nuland sidestepped a question at the daily briefing yesterday as to whether the small U.N. agency was providing “enough cooperation.”

Nuland’s reply:  “Well, we are continuing to work with them and that is a conversation that is ongoing.” She cited a number of “positive steps” taken by the agency in the wake of the cash-for-computers revelations -- but only on future projects, not those that have already taken place. One of those steps is a “commission that will have an external and independent auditing ability’’ to vet projects -- but  only in the future.

The under-the-radar shipments of Hewlett-Packard computers and servers by WIPO shipments took place in late 2011 or early 2012, and were financed through the Beijing offices of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). They were revealed by Fox News last April. The U.S. was not informed of the shipments even though the goods were of U.S. manufacture.

Hewlett-Packard has declared that the shipments of laptops, printers and servers violated the company’s strict ban on exports of its high-tech equipment to such rogue regimes.

When the State Department began investigating the North Korea incident, it learned that WIPO and UNDP had also made a similar shipment of 20 less-sophisticated computers to Iran.
According to Yoo, the equipment transfer gives the regime of fledgling leader Kim Jong Un a significant boost in hardware and software “that could quite conceivably contribute” to North Korea’s nuclear-related programs

That alone, he argues, is enough to cross the threshold of the first U.N. sanctions resolution against North Korea (known in UN-speak as DPRK, for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), enacted in 2006. That resolution urges U.N. member states to prevent the “direct or indirect” supply of goods and technology “which could contribute to DPRK’s  nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programs.”

Yoo emphasizes the world “could,” which, he says, means that the U.N. sanctions resolutions were intended to “cover a broad, non-exhaustive list of items and circumstances.” He also noted that other Security Council resolutions explicitly called on “relevant United Nations bodies and other interested parties,” as well as nation-states, to cooperate “fully” in the sanctions efforts.

Yoo offered his legal opinion jointly with another Berkeley law professor, Laurent Mayali, at the behest of a WIPO whistle-blower who first brought the issue to public attention by alerting the U.S. mission in Geneva, among others, to the agency’s actions.

Click here to view the legal memorandum. 

Their contentions were backed up by a sanctions expert who is not involved in the whistle-blower imbroglio: Mark Fitzpatrick, head of the Non-proliferation and Disarmament program at Britain’s prestigious International Institute for Strategic Studies, or IISS, and a former long-time top-level proliferation specialist at the U.S. State Department in the Bush and Clinton administrations.

“Dr. Yoo's argument is correct,” Fitzpatrick emailed in response to questions from Fox News based on the Berkeley professors’ arguments. “Regardless of whether or not the computers in question could allow North Korea to conduct simulations that would enable the development of smaller weapons, it seems unquestionable to me that the computers could aid the program.”

The fact that North Korea -- not to mention Iran -- is looking for ways and means to boost its nuclear capability also seems unquestionable. Immediately prior to the initial WIPO revelations, the Kim regime shocked the world -- and embarrassed the Obama administration -- by announcing that it was about to undertake a rocket-powered satellite launch that Washington considered a cover for work on missile-ready weapons programs.

The administration quickly canceled a freshly-minted deal to ship  some 264,000 tons of food aid to the poverty-stricken rogue country. The satellite launch subsequently did not take place.
For its part, Iran earlier this month launched a variety of ballistic missiles, including a longer-range version, as the U.S. and Europe ratcheted up sanctions intended to stop the Islamic Republic’s increasingly overt nuclear programs, which Iran claims are peaceful. So far, the regime does not seem deterred.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/07/26/legal-proliferation-experts-charge-un-high-tech-shipment-to-north-korea/#ixzz21rPstrHe

FoxNews: Bipartisan group of senators threatens to oppose UN arms treaty as deadline looms


A bipartisan group of  senators is threatening to oppose a global treaty regulating international weapons trade if it falls short in protecting the constitutional right to bear arms, as the United Nations bumps up against a Friday deadline for action.

A bipartisan group of 51 senators is threatening to oppose a global treaty regulating international weapons trade if it falls short in protecting the constitutional right to bear arms, as the United Nations bumps up against a Friday deadline for action.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

BBC NEWS: UN 'should take blame for Haiti cholera' - US House members

Click here to read this on BBC NEWS

More than 100 Democrats from the US House of Representatives have called on the UN to take responsibility for introducing cholera to Haiti. 

It is the latest twist in the allegation that UN peacekeepers unwittingly introduced the disease.
The United Nations' envoy to Haiti, Bill Clinton, has accepted UN soldiers may have brought cholera.
But with more than 7,000 deaths so far, the UN said tackling the disease is more important than attributing blame.

Outbreak source
In a letter to the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, the 104 members of Congress stated clearly: "Cholera was brought to Haiti due to the actions of the UN."

They call on Ms Rice to pressure the UN to "confront and ultimately eliminate" the disease.
The letter says the UN should help Haiti mobilise enough money to build water and sewage systems to tackle the disease.

While members of Congress often weigh in on foreign policy issues like Iran or Israel, it is unusual for so many members to sign a letter about a small Caribbean state like Haiti.

I gathered strong circumstantial evidence that UN peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti during a visit late last year:
  • The epidemic started near a Nepalese UN base
  • The UN base dumped raw sewage, which spreads the disease, near the country's main Artibonite River
  • Cholera spread down the Artibonite River and into the slums of the capital Port au Prince
  • Cholera was endemic in Nepal but had not been present in Haiti for a century
Mr Clinton has acknowledged that UN soldiers were the "proximate cause" of the cholera.

But UN officials shy away from taking full blame or issuing an apology.

They say tackling the disease is more important than apportioning blame.

They may also be reticent because Haitian and US lawyers are trying to sue the UN for financial compensation for the victims of cholera.

U.N. Commission Calls for Legalizing Prostitution Worldwide

Global Commission on HIV and the Law
(Click here to read full story on CNSNews.com) - A report issued by the United Nations-backed Global Commission on HIV and the Law; recommends that nations around the world get rid of “punitive” laws against prostitution – or what it calls “consensual sex work” -- and decriminalize the voluntary use of illegal injection drugs in order to combat the HIV epidemic.

The commission, which is made up of 15 former heads of state, legal scholars and HIV/AIDS activists, was convened in 2010 by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and is jointly backed by the United Nations Development Programme and UNAIDS – the Joint U.N. Programme on AIDS/HIV.

The Guardian’s Ian Williams Lobbied for Bashar al-Assad’s Syria to Join UN Security Council

Click here to read this on UN Watch 

How is it that the Assad regime, led by father and son, was able to retain the international legitimacy needed to retain power over 42 years, despite perpetrating systematic brutality, such as the killing of an estimated 20,000 citizens of Hama in February 1982, and being listed as a leading state sponsor of terrorism?

A key factor was that the world body mandated to hold such criminal regimes to account — the United Nations — turned a blind eye to Syrian murder, massacre and terror.

Prior to last year’s Arab Spring, during the decades that Mideast dictators were strong, neither the U.N.’s General Assembly or its Human Rights Council ever passed a single resolution on Hama — or on any other barbaric Syrian human rights violation.

Worst of all, in October 2001, the U.N. voted overwhelmingly to elect Syria to the Security Council, no doubt acting, as required by the U.N. Charter, out of due regard specially paid to Syria’s contribution “to the maintenance of international peace and security” and “to the other purposes of the Organization.”

One of the figures on the international stage shilling loudest for Bashar al-Assad’s election to the U.N. Security Council was Ian Williams of The Guardian, a long-time contributor to the Washington Report, a publication known for consistently opposing action for victims of Libya, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East dictatorships.

Writing a few months before the U.N. vote, Williams’s role in the well-circulated Washington report was to bolster Bashar al-Assad’s chances of victory by pressuring U.S. State Department officials to drop any idea of opposing Syria’s bid — which is exactly what American diplomats did last year, successfully, to keep Assad off the Human Rights Council.

Using the same methods as the Assads themselves, Williams reframed the discussion away from Syria’s despicable record by pointing at the Israeli bogeyman. It worked: Syria was elected by a huge majority of 160 out of 177 votes.

The massive vote to the prestigious position empowered the Assad regime. According to the BBC, Syria interpreted its election as a sign of international support. “The wide support for Syria constitutes a referendum and a clear message that these allegations [of Syrian support for terrorism] are void and false,” boasted Damascus. “I’m proud for this great success,” said the Syrian Ambassador to the UN, Mikhail Wehbe. “Syria will pray to preserve the peace and security in the world.”

Now is the time to ask: If the lobbying of Ian Williams — who makes sure to portray himself objectively as the former head of the UN Correspondents Association and not as a pro-Assad contributor to a pro-regime publication, or as a regular on Iran’s Press TV propaganda channel — had been rejected, and if instead the Syrian regime’s brutality had been exposed and Assad stripped of international legitimacy, would he still be in power and murdering his own citizens today?

Wikileaks: Darshak Shah and Kemal Dervis lied to United States about the posession of US Dollar counterfeit by UNDP in North Korea

On December 19th 2006 at a meeting between Kemal Dervis and Darshak Shah, the UNDP's Chief Finance Officer says:

10.(S) In response to Ambassador Wallace's inquiries regarding the counterfeiting of U.S. dollars, Mr. Shah and Mr. Dervis replied that UNDP officers and officials had no knowledge nor understanding of any counterfeiting of U.S. dollars in the DPRK and denied that UNDP had received any counterfeit U.S. dollars. They emphasized that they could not vouch for individual UNDP personnel in the DPRK who may in their personal capacity possess dollars or counterfeit dollars. (Wikileaks click here)
But Darshak Shah was lying under oath to United States of America, since he and the Treasurer of the United Nations Development Programme were in possession of :

1. End Year Report from DPR Korea (2004 / 2005/ 2006);
2. Content of Safe of DPR Korea (2004/ 2005/ 2006);
3. Photocopies of Counterfeit US$ currency in possession from DPR Korea;

Who is protecting Darshak Shah and why?
What else Darshak Shah hide from US Government ?
What does Darshak knows about UNDP Iran accounts and transactions initiated at UNDP accounts in Geneva ?

UNDP North Korea set-up parallel bank and treasury accounts to avoid USA' Treasury's scrutiny

In mid May 2009, when a team of UNDP advisers arrived in North Korea to restart operations, despite the absence of a development programme and the endorsement of such programme from its Executive Board.

Since then UNDP has taken extensive care to transfer the North Korean Desk from New York to Beijing, under the leadership of Napoleon Navarro (former Desk Officer of North Korea 2002-2008), disguised as Deputy Country Director (3rd) of UNDP China.

In order to escape US Treasury's watchful eyes and possibly keep the operations away from potential leaks in New York or elsewhere, this time UNDP's North Korea desk has set up three different accounts in the Bank Of China which is also a host and correspondent of DPRK's Foreign Trade Bank. These accounts are being used as "back-up" for transfers as well as operational expenses for UNDP and their back-up operations in Beijing.

Directives from Headquarters have instructed that all accounts be set outside of ATLAS (UNDP's corporate financial software) in order to avoid others review, access and track UNDP's expenses in North Korea. Many of such expenses for North Korea - have been incurred so far under the Business Unit of UNDP China and its ATLAS accounts.

Meanwhile UNDP Programme Team has had two separate working dinners at Landmark Hotel in Beijing with Maurice Strong and Nay Htun of Peace University, to develop the details of a different approach to Energy Assistance the UNDP will be offering the North Koreans as of September 1st. This assistance will start with an "allege support for electricity grids in cities" and among the first projects is to provide ad-hock support for DPRK hospitals and other public facilities to obtain uninterrupted electricity supply.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nairobi Procurement Scandal continues.....while UN denies any wrongdoing

Click here to read this on theStar

UN denies any wrongdoing in Internet deal

UNITED Nations officials in Nairobi have denied that a Sh800m contract for Internet services in Gigiri is being improperly awarded. Last week seven companies who tendered complained that the contract appeared to be going to Access Kenya even though their tender had not been received by the deadline of February 2.

UN Information Director Nasser Ega-Musa has now advised, “A contract has yet to be awarded and... at all stages this procurement action will have complied with UN Regulations and Rules and as a result the successful vendor will have submitted a timely bid that was subsequently subjected to a rigorous and comparative technical and financial evaluation.”

Seven bids were recorded at the opening bid on February 2 by the UN Procurement office with five bidders in attendance. Access was not among them. “On 6 February, 2012 it was discovered that two additional bids had arrived at the UNON Security Gate prior to the bid closing time, but the individuals delivering them were not allowed in by the UNON Security Officers. The bids were subsequently presented at the Security Gate and forwarded to Procurement Services on 3 February, 2012,” he explained.

Ega-Musa said the additional two bids were forwarded for evaluation which was completed on June 15. Seven companies tendered and were present when the bids were opened on February 2. They were KDN ( Altech), Frontier Optical Networks (FON), Emerging Markets Communication (EMC), Jamii Telecom, MTN Business, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya (Orange).

Access Kenya Group Communication Manager Kevin Keya has insisted that they submitted their bid properly on February 2, 2012. "Access Kenya Group tendered properly for the fiber internet link within the specified period and we are waiting for the communication from UN like the rest of the companies. What our team did not do is to go for the opening of the tender bids on February 2. However, they were submitted as per instructions. So far we have no official communication from UN that we have won the tender," stated Keya.

However their rivals are still unhappy about the participation of Access. “The tender details specified that bids had to be submitted to the Procurement Office by 2pm on February 2. The bids were then opened at 3pm. Seven companies managed to submit their bids in time. The fact is that Access was not compliant," said an official of one company. "The tender documents clearly state that 'delivery of tenders to any other UNON office other than stipulated will not constitute delivery'. Access should either be disqualified or the tender should be cancelled and re-advertised,” said the official.

US Congressional Committee Cancels Briefing, Blames WIPO Director General

By , click here to read this on Intellectual Property Watch

The United States House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee today cancelled its briefing on computer and software shipments to Iran and North Korea authorised by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The committee took the action after WIPO Director General Francis Gurry blocked two senior staff from participating in the meeting.

“Director-General Gurry is obstructing this Committee’s investigation of WIPO’s transfer of U.S.-origin technology to rogue regimes under international sanctions—a transfer that occurred on his watch,” said a statement issued by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida Republican) and Howard Berman (California Democrat), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the committee. “Because Mr. Gurry denied two senior WIPO staff members permission to brief Congress on what they know, the Committee has been forced to cancel a briefing which could have afforded our Members an opportunity to get answers.”

Gurry denied permission to Deputy Director General James Pooley, an American, and Miranda Brown, a strategic advisor to the director general, on the grounds that neither were directly involved in the technical assistance programme to deliver computers and software. Brown is an Australian, as is Gurry. The WIPO organigram of top staff is here.

Gurry did give permission to the whistleblower in the case, Moncef Kateb, and has indicated that he would allow other officials to attend (IPW, WIPO, 23 July 2012).

It is not known why the committee is targeting those two WIPO officials for testifying. The committee leaders also said Gurry’s announcement that WIPO will undertake a review is not sufficient.

“Last week, Director-General Gurry announced WIPO would commission a mere review of technical assistance programs rather than the full, independent investigation demanded by this Committee,” they said. “By refusing to commission an independent investigation and by obstructing an investigation by the Congress of the United States, whose citizens provide so much of the funds that keep WIPO operating, Director-General Gurry sends the message that he is not committed to transparency, accountability, and reform.”

“We urge Director-General Gurry to change course and immediately allow WIPO personnel invited by the Committee to testify and appear without fear of any form of retaliation for their testimony.”
The briefing website was here.

Fox previously published the internal WIPO documents related to the computer shipments, available here.

The relevant UN committees for North Korea and Iran, both sanctioned countries, are reviewing the shipments at the UN in New York.

WIPO could not be reached for comment at press time.

NZ's commitment to UN under question: "than why does UN need Helen Clark"?

NZ's commitment to UN under question

Click here to read this on TVNZ

New Zealand is to pull out of a United Nations Development aid agency, ONE News inquiries have revealed.

The UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) aims to help the world's poorest countries, and New Zealand contributes around $500,000 a year to the fund.

But in a briefing to Parliament, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Unido aid money is better spent in the Pacific as the organisation is becoming less relevant to New Zealand and its performance is mediocre.

UNIDO specialises in boosting sustainable industrial development in poor countries. It has a membership of 174 countries, although that no longer includes Australia or the US.
New Zealand's been a member of the Unido since its inception in 1985.

In its briefing to Parliament, Mfat acknowledges some member states could react adversely to New Zealand leaving.

The Ministry said it is possible poorer countries may now view New Zealand as less engaged in the UN.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said the decision to withdraw was based on an official review.
"Unido has a very minor footprint in the Pacific, where New Zealands Aid Programme is focused, its role in the international aid system is marginal, and its overall impact is limited," McCully said in a statement.
"By withdrawing our core funding for Unido we will be able to reinvest the funds in aid agencies that are able to demonstrate effective delivery on the ground and meet expectations around value for money and performance."
But Labour leader David Shearer said the move sends a bad signal to other UN member states.
"New Zealand, as a small country, gets benefit from the UN, but we also have to make a contribution," said Shearer.

The Green Party is concerned the move has come out of the blue with no consultation.
"I must say I'm surprised. This is another case of foreign policy by stealth and the hallmark of Murray McCully," said Green Party Global Affairs spokesman Kennedy Graham.
They say the move may also hurt New Zealand's chances of getting on the powerful UN Security Council.
Development agency Oxfam says Unido is still important.
"This UN agency isn't doing so much in the Pacific, but they are also important in terms of poverty reduction," said Oxfam Executive Director Barry Coates.
UN development programme head Helen Clark is currently working in Senegal and could not be contacted for comment.

Monday, July 23, 2012

WIPO’s Gurry Discusses Iran/North Korea; Denies Whistleblower Retaliation

By , Click here to read this at Intellectual Property Watch

World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry today said the UN agency has cut off its programme of providing computer equipment to countries in order to eliminate doubts in “certain countries” about the programme as it relates to Iran and North Korea, and said he is moving swiftly to establish an independent review. He also said that he would authorise any WIPO official with competence for the programme to testify about it if asked, and denied any retaliation against whistleblowers.

At issue is a longstanding technical assistance programme of providing hardware to about 80 countries with the aim of helping them to access and participate in the international intellectual property system.

WIPO maintains that it did not do anything wrong. Its activities will be reviewed by the UN sanctions committees for Iran and North Korea, sources said. Both countries are members of WIPO.
Yesterday, WIPO announced it would discontinue sending computers to all countries and would conduct a review (IPW, WIPO, 19 July 2012).

“There’s a relatively small number of countries who benefit from hardware as opposed to our complete software package,” Gurry said. “And since certain member states perceive that there is some ambiguity in the use of standard IT equipment – printers, cartridges, PCs and servers – we think the only complete answer we can give because of their perception of ambiguity is to say, we no longer do that.”

“We can argue for hours and hours and hours about the legal interpretation, that it’s only a few PCs, and so on,” he said. “But if there’s lingering doubt, let’s eliminate it.”
Gurry is working to identify someone to carry out a review of WIPO technical assistance to UN-sanctioned countries. “We’re considering who is best placed to do this,” he said, “as far as I’m concerned as soon as possible.” Timing will depend on the person or agency that does the review, who he will appoint, he said.

“We are taking time to find an appropriately neutral and independent, an unassailable person,” he said.

US Pressure

The US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs sent a strongly worded letter to Gurry this week expressing “grave concern” about WIPO’s decision to ship the computers, but also countering assertions by WIPO that it has not engaged in wrongdoing. The letter, signed by the Republican and Democratic committee leaders, accused Gurry of “ongoing attempts to keep these technology transfers a secret within your organization.”

The 16 July letter from the House committee available here [pdf], also said: “Even more troubling are allegations that your primary focus on this issue has not been full disclosure of all relevant information on these projects in Iran and North Korea, but rather discovering and punishing whistleblowers who initially alerted outside bodies about these transactions.”

Gurry flatly denied any retaliation against whistleblowers. “I don’t know of any action that has been taken against any whistleblower related to DPRK and Iran. None.” North Korea is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

According to a March letter to the House committee posted here, the person who called attention to the issue was WIPO Staff Council President Moncef Kateb, who wrote on behalf of the Council to the chair of the UN Joint Inspection Unit.

Gurry said that despite the 16 July date of the House letter, he just received it after midnight last night, and that he “has had absolutely no contact with them.” He did say he feels he has a political obligation to answer them.

The House letter seemed to imply they had contact with him. “With regard to your claim to confidentiality in documents provided to us, the information they contain is exactly what WIPO, as a governmental agency, should be providing to all its stakeholders,” it said.

The House committee is planning to hold a hearing on the issue soon, according to sources. Gurry said that he would allow an appropriate WIPO staffperson to testify if asked. A “properly competent person who was related to these activities in an official and authorised manner, who I am confident knows about the activities in question, will be authorised,” he said.

He pointed to the WIPO organisational chart published on the website that specifies areas of responsibility for every person. Responsibility for this area, after Gurry himself, might also include a deputy director general, assistant director general or the legal counsel.

Given the highly politicised environment in the United States just months before the presidential election, questions may be asked about why a committee controlled by the opposition party to President Obama is jumping on this issue so vigorously. They may also ask whether within WIPO there is a mounting effort to tarnish the image of the director who will face re-election in two years.
But for now it is the congressional committee that is asking the questions. “On the face of it,” the letter said, “the documentary record, coupled with your public statements, shows a shocking and intolerable lack of judgment, together with an inclination to disregard the legitimate concerns of Member States and to retaliate against your staff who are simply trying to tell the truth.”

By the Numbers

The House committee has suggested that the US suspend its funding for WIPO. But while members of Congress may be accustomed to this working in environments, where, based the size of its economy, the US can throw its financial weight around, at WIPO, the United States only provides a very small portion of the budget. Some 93 percent of WIPO’s budget comes from fees for its services (including many US lawyers and businesses).

The US government is one of five top government contributors to WIPO (along with France, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom), giving about US$ 1.1 million per year.

Click here to read this at Intellectual Property Watch

Kennya procurement scandal: Internet companies criticise UN tender


BIDDERS in a fiber internet tender at the United Nations Office at Nairobi are complaining that the contract is about to be awarded to a company that did not follow the proper tendering process. The Sh800 million is to provide a internet link for the UN village in Gigiri. Seven companies tendered and were present when the bids were opened on February 2. They were KDN ( Altech), Frontier Optical Networks (FON), Emerging Markets Communication (EMC), Jamii Telecom, MTN Business, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya (Orange).

However they are now claiming that the UN office is about to award the business to Access Kenya. The seven companies claim that Access Kenya was not pre-qualified and that their bid was not recorded when the tenders were opened on February 2. Yesterday, Access Kenya Group Communication Manager Kevin Keya insisted that they submitted their bid on February 2, 2012.
"Access Kenya Group tendered properly for the fiber internet link within the specified period and we are waiting for the communication from UN like the rest of the companies. What our team did not do is to go for the opening of the tender bids on February 2. However, they were submitted as per instructions. So far we have no official communication from UN that we have won the tender. This story is new to us," stated Keya. "Because of security reasons, Access team did not access the room where the documents were being opened. Instead, they left the documents at the reception," a UN source told the Star unofficially.

A team from UNON reportedly visited the Access Kenya offices last week and interviewed the board members and the staff. "This process is carried out at the very last stages when a decision has been made. We did not see Access Kenya Group or their name was not called out in the room as among the companies that tendered," a rival told the Star.

UNON invited bidders for the expression of interest for the provision of fiber internet link for UNON in November last year. The bidders conference for the actual work was scheduled for January 2, 2012 but was later postponed to February 2 in a letter to all bidders from the Chief Procurement Office Elisabeth Eckerstrom. Last Thursday UN Information Director Mr. Nasser Ega-Musa advised, "I will begin to inquire internally. I hope to be able to get back to you in due course."


Wayne LaPierre Fights for the Second Amendment Before the United Nations

United Nations wants to take away from you the 2nd Amendment !

Support NRA now !

Friday, July 20, 2012

GAP: UN Judge Asks Secretary-General to Reassure Whistleblowers

by Shelley Walden on July 19, 2012 ( The Whistleblogger2012 )
Last week, a United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT) judge issued another extraordinary decision that demonstrates the Tribunal’s respect for whistleblowers. Like last month’s Wasserstrom decision, this judgment shows that UNDT - the court of first instance of the two-tier internal justice system through which UN employees contest violations of their rights – is committed to ensuring that UN whistleblowers are protected.
In Dzuverovic v. Secretary-General of the United Nations, the applicant, a former United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) employee, contested the Office of Internal Oversight Services’ (OIOS) refusal to investigate her disclosure of recruitment and procurement irregularities in UN-HABITAT. OIOS failed to inform the applicant of this decision until 2010, fifteen years after she made her initial disclosure. In the meantime, she was subjected to retaliation, including decisions that “proved to be to the detriment of her career,” (para. 72) and ultimately separated from service.
Unfortunately, Judge Nkemdilim Izuako was compelled to find that the case was inadmissible at the Tribunal, as Dzuverovic missed the UN’s ridiculously short 60-day statute of limitations for contesting an administrative decision. But, although the Judge dismissed the case, she took the extraordinary step of “RECOMMEND[ing] it to the Secretary-General for sympathetic review with a view to bringing substantive justice and closure to it” and pleaded for him to take “a compassionate view.” (Paragraphs 74 and 61,original emphasis) This appears to be the first time that a UNDT judge has made such a recommendation in a whistleblower case, and the fact that it is emphasized in the text of the ruling suggests that the judge expects this recommendation to be taken seriously. The judge also wrote that:
This recommendation is made bearing in mind the special measures that have been put in place with regards to the protection of whistleblowers who risk their jobs, professional lives and livelihoods by courageously seeking to expose wrong-doings within the Organization. The United Nations, being the foremost international Organization for setting standards for governments and other organizations, needs to review the case of this Applicant as this will serve not only the ends of justice but also to reassure whistleblowers that they are indeed protected. (paragraphs 75 and 76).
UN whistleblowers could certainly use the Secretary-General’s reassurance. The UN Ethics Office, which is charged with reviewing retaliation complaints and safeguarding the interests of UN whistleblowers, has only found retaliation and recommended relief in one of the approximately 297 retaliation complaints that it has received since its launch in 2006. And that outlier whistleblower has yet to be fully protected from retaliation. The Secretary-General should take action in that case – and Ms. Dzuverovic’s – to ensure that justice is done.
In addition, GAP recommends that the UN General Assembly revisit the deadline for submitting a request for Management Evaluation and an application to the Tribunal. The 60-day statute of limitations is a major flaw in the UN justice system. According to best practice whistleblower policies from around the world, six months is the minimum functional statute of limitations for whistleblowers to become aware of or act on their rights … and one-yearstatutes of limitations are consistent with common law rights and are preferable. Also, a review should be done of the propriety of OIOS’ decision not to investigate Dzuverovic’s disclosures due to “resource constraints” and, if any of the alleged wrongdoers remain employed by UN-HABITAT, an investigation should be opened.

Shelley Walden is International Officer for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leadingwhistleblower protection and advocacy organization.

Spanish Trust Fund scandal: Helen Clark' seating in $247 Million of Spanish money while in Spain people are suffering

While Spain declares bankruptcy

@UNDP swims in


unspent balance of Spanish Trust Fund since 2007

WIPO says "we won't do it again" -- but no one knows what North Koreans and Iranians downloaded already ! Who was inside UNDP who approved all this and why? No one responsible ??

Information and Clarifications Concerning WIPO’s Technical Assistance Programs

Geneva, July 19, 2012

Following some recent media attention and requests for information from certain member states relating to WIPO’s technical assistance programs, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry provided the following information and clarifications concerning the actions that have been undertaken, or are being undertaken, by the Organization in relation to the provision of technical assistance to countries that are the subject of United Nations (UN) sanctions. 
The Director General reiterated that the Secretariat is treating concerns relating to the Organization’s technical assistance programs to countries that are the subject of UN sanctions with the utmost seriousness.

The actions undertaken include:
  1. Following the expression of initial concerns over the provision of standard IT equipment to patent and trademark offices for the processing of intellectual property (IP) applications, new internal procedures were established and made operational on May 1, 2012. Under these procedures, all managers must refer any activity proposed in a country subject to UN sanctions to WIPO’s Legal Counsel for guidance and clearance. The Legal Counsel will, wherever necessary, consult the appropriate UN Sanctions Committee. Additionally, any work plan for a country subject to UN sanctions will be submitted at the commencement of each calendar year for guidance by the appropriate Sanctions Committee.
  2. The provision of standard IT equipment to the IP offices of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Islamic Republic of Iran that occurred in the preceding years, within the context of the Organization’s business modernization program for IP Offices in developing countries, is being referred to the relevant UN Sanctions Committees for their information and guidance.
  3. The initial steps are being undertaken for a full external and independent review of the technical assistance provided to countries subject to UN sanctions.
  4. A new internal instruction has been issued ending any provision of IT hardware in any of WIPO’s technical assistance programs. 
The Director General reiterates his commitment to transparency and re-affirms the readiness of the Secretariat to continue to provide any information requested by any of the member states of the Organization.
While the legal advice received with respect to the technical assistance provided to DPRK and Iran was that the technical assistance was not in breach of UN Sanctions, it is hoped that the measures outlined above will provide assurance that the Organization is treating this matter with the seriousness that it warrants.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations Section at WIPO:
  • Tel: (+41 22) - 338 81 61
  • Fax: (+41 22) - 338 81 40
  • E-mail