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Thursday, June 08, 2006


John Bolton a 'Right-Winger' But no Label for Dep UN Sec-Gen

-By Warner Todd Huston

The Times newspaper in the UK, in typical MSM style, labels US Envoy to the UN, John Bolton, a "right-winger" while UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown is just called a "former journalist" in a report about Bolton's reply to Brown's disparaging of the citizens of "middle America" in a speech the later made a few days before. (Times-Online)

Malloch Brown told a meeting of New York Democrats that there was “too much unchecked UN-bashing and stereotyping” by "Rush Limbaugh" and "Fox News". He also said that the role of the UN was a "mystery in Middle America" in an apparent criticism of the ability of average Americans to understand what it is the UN does or is supposed to do.

Speaking at the Centre for Policy Studies in London, Bolton pointedly rebuked Brown over his untoward remarks. “Mark Malloch Brown has a sentence in his speech where he says the role of the UN is a mystery in Middle America,” Bolton said.

“Maybe it is fashionable in some circles to look down on Middle America, to say they don’t get the complexities of the world and they don’t have the benefit of continental education and they are deficient in so many ways." Next, Bolton said, “It is illegitimate for an international civil servant to criticise what he thinks are the inadequacies of citizens of a member government."

Here is how the Times describes the two gentlemen:

Mr Bolton, a Republican right-winger, has been a leading conservative critic of the UN since serving as the assistant secretary of state for international organisations in the Administration of the first President Bush.(my emphasis in bold)

Notice the "right-winger" comment?

Mr Malloch Brown, a former journalist who founded The Economist Development Report and went on to work at a political consultancy before joining the UN system...

Notice how no such specific language is used to describe Mr. Brown's ideology? No, apparently Mr. Brown is just a "former journalist" and all around sensible fella.

So, Bolton is an eeeevil "right-winger", but no label for Brown?

Yet Brown is intimately linked to extreme leftist George Soros from whom Brown gets a wonderful deal on an estate home in New York for a mere $10,000 monthly "rent" -- which is $2,500 a month LESS than the previous occupant, by the way. Has anyone ever heard of high class New York real estate and rental fees going DOWN before?

Further, Brown has made it a point to consult only Democrats with his US consultations over UN policy and direction even as the GOP is currently the power Party in the US.

It is amazingly blind and free of introspection for Brown to imagine that the UN is being unfairly attacked in the US for being corrupt. After the Oil-for-food scandal in which even Secretary General Annan's own son is implicated in the theft of UN funds it is ridiculous to intimate that the UN is unfairly criticized.

There is so much wrong with the UN that many Americans believe it is beyond repair. It would be far better to create a new UNesque organization restricted to Democratic states than to try to fix this hopelessly broken mess.

There is so much wrong with the UN that it is hard to know where to start to begin the list. From some of the worst human rights offending nations being placed on UN human rights councils, to UN workers in Asia setting up brothels to service UN officials, to the oil-for-food scandal, to the general waste of the organization, to the failures to put right the Balkans after the actions in Bosnia, the UN has proven to be nothing but a mass of corruption with little, if any, benefit to the world.

Worse, it has become a circus of America bashing day in and day out to the point where it is so reflexive that it is notable when even a slightly pro-American statement is ever uttered. Still, it is heartening that US Envoy Bolton is scolding Dep. Sec-Gen. Brown over his absurd and combative statements about American citizens. Let us hope it is a sign of the eventual separation between the US and the UN.

...but then, I am just a Middle American Rube, ya know?
Recently Mark Malloch Brown, the eloquent speaking number two at the United Nations, said that "Middle America" did not know how the US is constructively engaged with the UN because of UN detractors and too much unchecked UN-bashing and stereotyping over too many years. Friends, the UN deserves to be bashed and bashed hard. Please allow us to give you a glimpse into how the United Nations is run:

Hirings and promotions routinely violate UN rules and revolve around patronage and whom one knows rather than professional qualifications. Poorly performing managers are simply moved into different management slots while others are placed in senior positions only because of his nationality.

Salaries for UN employees are free of taxes and come with six weeks vacation, 11 holidays, 10 sick days that are used as vacation, plus 4 weeks of home leave, rental and housing grants to supplement an already generous salary (we all make an average of $7,000-$10,000 a month tax free), a pension at 8% of salary times years of service that can be cashed out tax free, and educational subsidies for children of UN employees. Many also participate in an “alternative work schedule” in which they get every other Friday off. But don’t even try to apply. Your application will not be acknowledged nor will you ever get invited for a job interview. You must know someone to work at the UN.

Several of us have advanced degrees in management and have been trained to manage large public organizations, yet we are blocked from advancing by arrogant men in the 50s with no management training, education, or experience - only sitting in their chairs because they are friends with someone a higher position. We threaten them because they know they are there based only on their connections.

And there is a profound lack of accountability within the UN regarding resource allocation. Simple procurement that would normally take five minutes using modern technology systems takes 2-3 months in the UN. And many United Nations Development Program country offices pay "local experts" outrageously high sums of money for products of dubious quality. Such contracts would never be made by other international aid agencies such as USAID that have much stronger internal controls and oversight.

We are all familiar with outrageous examples of graft and corruption within the UN system and yet time and again the scandal is covered up. In fact, a recent article on internal management in the Financial Times cited a UN-commissioned report released in 1994 that was remarkably damning and yet, as the article noted, nothing has changed which has led to this crisis in credibility of the UN.

Despite its dysfunctionality, if the UN were actually making a difference, many would mutter to themselves but the UN deserves its strongest bashing because of its profound inability to respond to genocide, war, famine, natural disasters, and corruption.

Kofi Annan, current head of the United Nations who ironically lives in a mansion in New York worth about $10 million, was head of peacekeeping operations in 1994 in Rwanda when 800,000 people died. In 2004, he said "I believed at that time that I was doing my best" despite that he held back UN troops from intervening to settle the conflict and declined to provide more logistic and material support to stop the slaughter. And don’t forget that ten years ago thousands of Bosnian Muslims were murdered by the Serb militias who were in a UN protected ‘safe haven’ with hundreds of UN soldiers assigned to defend them. Yet the UN stood by while the entire adult and teenage male population was systematically butchered.

Kofi Annan was unable to stop mismanagement of the Oil-for-Food Program that allowed Saddam Hussein's regime to embezzle $4.4 billion through pricing irregularities and an additional $5.7 billion through illegal oil smuggling. Kofi's son Kojo received payments from the Swiss company Cotecna which won a lucrative contract under the UN Oil for Food program.

Kofi Annan protected Ruud Lubbers, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, against a report that found him guilty of sexual harassment by declaring him innocent. This created a global protest against Annan, resulting in Lubbers being forced to resign.

Kofi Annan accepted a $500,000 prize from the ruler of Dubai, courtesy of a judges’ panel rife with U.N. connections, one member of which Annan then appointed to a high U.N. job (Annan was advised to take the prize money by Malloch Brown who rents a home in Westchester County from from his friend George Soros for $12,000 a month but can be adequately covered by Brown's salary at $287,087).

Kofi Annan remains in power despite continuing sexual abuse scandals by UN peacekeepers. A 2005 internal UN investigation found that sexual abuse has been reported in at least five countries where UN peacekeepers have been deployed including the Congo, Haiti, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, and Liberia.

And Kofi Annan remains in power while genocide continues in Darfur, while Zimbabwe tailspin into despotism, while up to a third of the population of some African countries will die from AIDS, and while corruption keeps the poorest countries in starkest poverty.

Kofi Annan and Mark Malloch Brown arrogantly ignore the fact that the quality of life of several of us has come close to being destroyed by the many bitter experiences we have experienced over the past decades. Most who work for the UN are so used to its dysfunctionality that they have NO idea how sick the organization is or they are unwilling to come forward because UN labor laws and protections are abysmal.

And to add insult to injury, the newly created IOIS (the new “independent” internal oversight panel established to “reform” the UN) has been strong-armed by Malloch Brown and is not independent because its budget comes directly from the UN, thus dissuading anyone from within the UN from coming forward. Don't think that Malloch Brown is an independent UN operative. Justin Leites – UNDP - was placed on administrative leave to campaign for U.S. Presidential candidate John Kerry - with MMB's approval.

And what really happened at UNDP? Why would Malloch Brown leave his influential post as head of UNDP to spend a year defending the scandals swirling around Kofi Annan and then announce that he would resign when Kofi leaves at the end of this year? Duh! Because he royally mismanaged UNDP! Everyone at UNDP knows this but is too scared to share the details of what happened for fear of retaliation by Brown. But ask UNDP Country Directors and UNDP Practice Managers what happened under King Mark’s reign and you will get a completely different picture of his mismanagement skills and bombastic ways.

As the walls literally crumble down around them, those who work for the UN and citizens who believe in the founding principles of the UN have no understanding how bad it really is. Unfortunately, we encourage young people who are seeking a career in international affairs to avoid the United Nations at all costs. We wish there would come a day when we would no longer make this recommendation.

Of course the senior leadership of the UN try to hide the profound problems of the UN but shame on them for saying that Americans don't know or understand how the US is engaged with the UN. If you and everyone in Middle America truly understood what ails the UN, the US, who funds $3.3 billion annually or 22% of the entire UN budget, would shut off the money spigot. In sum, the UN should be shuttered, allowing a brand new organization to emerge because the current UN is broken beyond repair.

For more information, please contact Edward Patrick Flaherty at info@iowatch.org who represents UN employees including our views here. Written by a concerned group of current and former UN employees.

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