An expat's commentary on current events in national security, foreign affairs, the media, culture, technology and assorted trivia.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Quote for the day

This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

- William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) (said by Polonius in Hamlet, Act I, Scene iii)
English playwright and poet

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Nepotism, embezzlement, malfeasance, but no punishment

Last week, the New York Post carried an op-ed from Cuban exile and Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (notable for being the first Hispanic woman and the first Cuban-American elected to the US Congress). She points out a few more juicy tidbits on Oil - for - Food - and - Weapons - and - Palaces - and - UN - bureaucrats - and - their - families:

... the United Nations had pledged to pay the legal bills of Benon Sevan, the now disgraced director of Oil-for-Food.

Annan's chef de cabinet suggested that the U.N. did this only to encourage Sevan's cooperation with the Volcker investigation — but Volcker strongly denied that claim.

Worse yet, the U.N. sought to pay Sevan's bills — $300,000 — out of Oil-for-Food funds. That money rightly belongs to the people of Iraq — the very people who suffered from the corruption of Oil-for-Food under Sevan's administration. Yet it took intense media attention to get the U.N. to back off from this plan.

Former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali appears to have involved himself in a sub-scandal here. As described in Volcker's first interim report, Boutros Ghali apparently chose Banque National de Paris (BNP) to serve as the bankers for Oil-for-Food — even though the bank didn't qualify under U.N. procurement standards for the contract.

Moreover, Fakhry Abdelnoor — identified in the CIA's 2004 report on Oil-for-Food as Sevan's courier for his Iraqi-supplied oil vouchers — is Boutros-Ghali's nephew.

Sevan has been charged with receiving millions of dollars in vouchers entitling him to receive oil allocations that were later sold to Abdelnoor's oil company, The Africa Middle East Petroleum Company of Panama.

Sevan repeatedly denied knowing Abdelnoor, yet Volcker's investigators found two of his business cards in a search of (Sevan's) U.N. office, and Abdelnoor's name appeared repeatedly in Sevan's phone logs.

Indeed, Sevan was introduced to Abdelnoor by Boutros-Ghali's brother-in-law, Fred Nadler. Could this all be a coincidence? It certainly looks like nepotism, favoritism and outright willful ignorance of proper management were the rule at the United Nations.

(Emphasis added.)

I have not seen any media reports that Benon Sevan, who administered the Oil - for - Food - and - Weapons - and - Palaces - and - UN - bureaucrats - and - their - families programme at the UN, has discharged Mr. Sevan.

Therefore I must assume that Mr. Sevan, like Kofi Annan's former chief of staff Mr. Iqbal Riza (aka the document shredder), is still working at the UN on a US$1 per year salary and therefore retains diplomatic immunity and so cannot be indicted.

Crooked bastards.


New conspiracy theory from German Green bigwig

David's Medienkritik spots a phantasmagorical new conspiracy theory from a top German Green Party harridan, who happens to be Germany's highest ranking female member of parliament.

Antje Vollmer lays out her lunatic theory that the neo-con-subverted-USA government created the Catholic Church's pedophilia scandal to damage the Pope's international standing because the Pope opposed the Iraq war.

I have to give proper credit to Der Spiegel for a nice takedown of this Moore / Monbiot / Meyssan moonbattery.

How does she explain that the pedophilia scandal date back to at least 1984 (nice timeline from CBS in sidebar) and likely earlier, whilst the Iraq war debates occurred throughout 2002 and 2003?

And that plenty of priest pedophilia cases have turned up in Australia and Britain, as well as France, Canada, and even Germany's little sister Austria? Seems to be a stark mixture there of Coalition of the Willing and Axis of Weasels nations.

Bush and Rove must have a time machine and a fleet of SR-71s.

Oh, I know... I bet it is the neo-cons working with the worldwide Jewish network.

Why am I wasting time pointing out logical inconsistencies in Antje's acid trip? Cognitive dissonance does not work on moonbats.

I should remind myself to not waste time trying to dissuade Antje from her whacked-out conspiracy theory. See today's Quote for the day for the reason.


Quote for the day

It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into.

— Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745)
Irish author and satirist


Another brick in the wall

The Washington Post has an op-ed from a legal aid worker in Sierra Leone who saw abuses of power, sexual abuse and embezzlement every day, even as Kofi Annan promised 'zero tolerance'.

It won't come as shocking news for readers of this blog, but it should be read.

Anyone who was shocked by the most recent revelations of sexual misconduct by United Nations staff has never set foot in a U.N.-sponsored refugee camp. Sex crimes are only one especially disturbing symptom of a culture of abuse that exists in the United Nations precisely because the United Nations and its staff lack accountability.

This lack of accountability is the central blemish on today's United Nations, and it lies behind most of the recent headlines. Whether taking advantage of a malnourished refugee or of a lucrative oil-for-food contract, the temptation is there, the act is easy and the risk of punishment is nil...

I found abuse of a sexual nature almost every day -- zero compliance with zero tolerance, as one investigator was to write.

(Emphasis added.)

Like Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca, I am shocked, shocked to hear evidence of embezzlement and rapine at the expense of starving, frightened war refugees by our UN betters.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


More UN scandals appear in daylight

U.S News & World Report has a good roundup on the UN's proposed 'reforms' that most readers are already aware of, but it also reveals some great tidbits, such as:

...(T)wo thirds of U.N. employees surveyed by Deloitte Consulting last year admitted being privy to unethical conduct--and that almost half said they were too scared to ever report it. Those who do air dirty laundry typically find themselves shunned, and their employment contracts often aren't renewed. Although new whistleblower shields are being proposed, those who step forward currently have few protections. And internal audits reveal how little has happened on Annan's watch when misdeeds are reported. From 1998 to 2001, a U.N. staff member forced defense lawyers to pay him kickbacks to process their payments at the International Criminal Tribunal for the genocide in Rwanda. In September 2003, frustrated investigators found that the man had not been fired but, instead, had been shifted to other clerical duties.

In another case, a staff member at the U.N.'s Geneva office was allowed to take early retirement after he was found viewing child pornography on his office computer...

A management review conducted in October found that it took, on average, two to three years to fire an employee for whatever reason. "Meanwhile, you still have to pay them; they just don't do any work," says one longtime U.N. staffer. "So normally you just keep them on and the standards go down in your office."...

The system seems designed for failure. U.N. staff members say there is virtually no training for new employees and no clear career path. Promotions are based on seniority, not performance. And those in charge of complex issues may be chosen for whom they know, not what they know. "They throw people from this mass of incompetence into posts where they have no experience," complains a former U.N. worker, recalling a large peacekeeping operation in Africa where the chief procurement officer "was a former air conditioner repairman who just happened to be related to the right person." Sometimes it's even worse. In Kosovo, Jo Hans Dieter Trutschler was hired to a senior-level position requiring knowledge of public works engineering. A 2003 audit reveals that he was hired without any background check because he was a friend of the program manager. His resume turned out to be a lie. Trutschler was later convicted in a German court of diverting $4.3 million into an offshore account.

(Emphasis added.)

Repeated financial and sex scandals, and repeated cover-ups. They cannot possibly reflect on the executive management of the UN, can they? They must all, each and every one, be the fevered imaginings of the dreaded neocons, n'est ce pas?


Quote for the day

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)
Political philosopher