UNDP's Director for Spanish Trust Fund involved in Corruption at Inter-American Development Bank

As reported today the UNDP's Director for Spanish Trust Fund, Mr. Bernardo Kliksberg seem to have been involved in a corruption scandal at Inter-American Development Bank.

Whistleblowing and Retaliation at the IDB: The Case of Hada Mendoza

"The gathering, which was advertised as a technical-academic exercise, featured Bernardo Kliksberg as an ethics expert, who, like Cubillos, would later be discreetly separated from the IDB for misconduct and corruption revealed by a whistleblower. In both the Cubillos and Kliksberg cases, the whistleblowers who exposed the men were expelled by the Bank under circumstances much less favorable than those arranged for their corrupt managers." @Page 4.

You ain't seen nothing yet: United Nations news tax on "Climate Change" to hit americans soon

U.N. Seeks to Raise 'Level of Ambition' in World Climate Regulations

click here for this story on FoxNews

By George Russell

The 2009 Copenhagen climate summit may have failed, but its objectives, and theUnited Nations’ determination to realize them, are very much alive.

Global airline carbon taxes, taxes on shipping, sweeping changes in land use, and an even bigger squeeze on world-wide greenhouse emissions—including tougher U.S. emissions limits and enforcement —have been under intense discussion at a series of discreet international “workshop” meetings fostered by the U.N. in the past six months.

The gatherings aim at raising the stakes in the “climate change” agenda, while keeping new actions as much as possible under the cloak of purely domestic activities for each nation involved.

Documents summarizing the workshop proceedings will be presented to yet another U.N. gathering in Panama starting October 1, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The summary documents make clear that the governments of many Western developed countries—including the U.S.— are still hoping to increase the “level of ambition” of commitments they made in the wake of the failed Copenhagen climate summit to undertake drastic reductions in their carbon dioxide emissions to combat “climate change,” even without a global treaty to carve them in stone.

The main discussions, outlined in the customary dense and oblique language of U.N. climate debates, are apparently about how to get there.

Those attending the most recent workshop, held on June 9 in Bonn, included representatives of the U.S., Canada, Australia, the European Union and smaller nations such as Denmark andIreland.

A smattering of tiny developing nations were also present. Notably absent were representatives of developing superpowers like China (the world’s No. 1 emitter of greenhouse gases) and India, or other important nations such as Brazil or Russia.

An earlier meeting, held in April, 2011 in Bangkok, ostensibly focused on the issues involved for developing countries. U.S. and European Union representatives attended, along with a number of medium-sized developing countries, but once again, China, India, Brazil and Russia were absent.

The main impetus behind the Bonn meeting was to deal with an apparent “ambition gap” in meeting the draconian greenhouse targets endorsed by the UNFCCC as necessary to keep global temperatures from rising 1.5-2 degrees Centigrade by 2050.

Among other things, the meeting discussed an “emissions gap report” prepared by the United Nations Environmental Program, which warned that a “lenient” approach to enforcing the “lowest-ambition” CO2 reduction pledges made by developed countries in the wake of Copenhagen, would only reduce CO2 levels by about 25 percent of the amount required to meet the 2-degree warming limit.

In the case of the U.S., that approach nonetheless calls for a commitment to reduce national CO2 emissions of at least 17 percent from their 2005 levels by 2020—a commitment described in a workshop technical paper as “economy-wide.”

The 17 percent figure is one of the early targets contained in the drastic 2009 Waxman-Markey bill on U.S. cap-and-trade policy, formally known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which died in the U.S. Senate after passing the House of Representatives in 2009.

In the U.N. technical paper, that bill is described as “pending legislation,” and references are made to even steeper greenhouse gas targets in the remainder of the stalled law-- 30 percent by 2025, a 42 percent reduction by 2030, and a final reduction target of 83 percent by 2050—provided other nations also increase their ambitions.

Click here to read comments from the U.N. Climate workshop.

Any increase in the “level of ambition” of greenhouse targets would likely be achieved by “ implementing a wide range of policies and measures across all economic sectors,” rather than a single, overall target, the document says.

Moreover, they would be enacted not through international treaties, but through lower-profile “domestic legislation” which would have the same effect, but without the furor and attention brought on by coordinated international treaty efforts.

clear that even though a full consensus on how to proceed has not been achieved, a lot of definite suggestions were coming into focus, though most were still swaddled in bland bureaucratic language. Among them:

--the “enhanced use” of global carbon trading markets and the development of “new instruments” for use in those markets, i.e., new kinds of carbon reduction certificates;

--more “market-based mechanisms” to achieve the reductions;

--“addressing emissions from international aviation and maritime transport,” which the documents make clear would also be “a possible source of climate financing,” i.e. taxes. (Only one unnamed participant nation, the document notes, “expressed its concern over the possible impacts of such measures on tourism.”)

--“enhanced” pledges of greenhouse gas reductions by developed countries, and tougher enforcement to make them stick.

--sweeping changes in land use, and the extensive use of forestry projects to cut emissions, known in UN-speak as LULUCF, for “land use, land-use change and forestry. (The accompanying technical paper that sets out national commitments says that the U.S. will “undertake a comprehensive, land-based approach that takes advantage of the broadest array” of actions.)

Without going into specific details, the workshop records declare that participants “also engaged in a discussion about the way forward for the workshop process and linkages to the formal [climate] negotiations,” which are deemed to be ongoing.

Click here to read the U.N. workshop document.

Where does the quiet workshop process go from here?

According to the documents obtained by Fox News, some participants “suggested organizing more workshops which would focus on issues such as enhancing the level of global ambition” or the issue of how to account for greenhouse reduction claims. Others wanted more information on how to finance the sweeping changes.

The drum-beat for new taxes on international shipping and aviation has already begun. In the wake of an international agreement to increase emission standards for international merchant shipping, announced last July, both the World Wildlife Fund and Oxfam have begun calling for a new, global carbon tax of $25 per ton for maritime shipping to drive emissions down further.

The influential charities have called for the tax proposal to be considered at the next major meeting of the UNFCCC, slated for November in Durban, South Africa.

And much of the international aviation world is already in an uproar over a unilateral declaration by the European Union that it will force all airlines flying into the region to buy carbon permits if they exceed local emission standards, regardless of whether most of the emissions take place in European territory or not. The permits are intended to bring the industry into Europe’s carbon-trading system.

European officials have declared that they also intend to push for global regulation of aviation under climate change discussions at Durban..

The European action is fiercely opposed by airlines in the rest of the world, including the U.S., at least so far.

George Russell is executive editor of Fox News and can be found on Twitter @GeorgeRussell.

USA TODAY Polls Pink Campaign Shoppers

Just as when the Holidays roll around every year you can be sure to see the red and green everywhere, it is a sure bet that in October you will see pink all over the marketplace. Yes, another October has come rolling around and more and more businesses are getting on the pink ribbon bandwagon helping promote breast cancer awareness and  research. But research findings have addressed the many questions that many of us have asked as to whether the pink campaign has gone too far and whether it has proven worthwhile. A recent Gallup Poll in USA Today bears some good news about the pink campaign in that it has raised awareness of the cause and has brought in contributions. 

The ensuing article in USA TODAY, however, points out that with all the hoopla and additional funding there has been little advance in finding a cure for the disease and questions remain whether the intense focus on this one cause detracts from other causes just as worthy. 

No one has yet studied, as far as I can tell, whether the pink campaign has provided retailers with an additional boost in sales. Presumably the industry thinks so, unless of course, the campaigns are done out of altruism. 

Joseph M Torsella speech at 5th Committee on the UN Budget




Date: 04/04/2011 Description: Ambassador Joseph Torsella, Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform - State Dept Image

Ambassador Joseph M Torsella
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
September 29, 2011


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, congratulations to you on your election as Chairman of the Bureau, and to other members of the bureau. We are grateful for your service, and also thank Under-Secretary-General Angela Kane and her staff, who have produced the budget documents we will consider in this Committee. We look forward to working constructively with you, the Bureau and other Member States to ensure a successful outcome this session.

And we enthusiastically support your call, Mr. Chairman, for working more effectively here in the Fifth Committee. As the General Assembly body in charge of UN management and administration, the Fifth Committee should itself model the management behavior we expect from the rest of the United Nations. We sometimes cloak our discussions here in code words and diplomatic euphemisms, but in keeping with your call this morning for a new approach to our work, I would like to offer today, on behalf of the United States, some very frank and plainspoken observations on the 2012-13 budget proposal.

We meet at a time of severe – and worldwide – economic challenge. The General Debate that has just concluded made it clear: Member States around the world are under financial strain. This is not a phenomenon of one or even several donor nations, but a global reality, north and south, east and west. From Asia to Europe, from Africa to Latin America and North America, heads of state spoke of the enduring impact of the global financial crisis. That crisis has made financial resources ever more scarce, made efficient outcomes ever more important, and made leaders – including every one of us in this room today – ever more accountable to the citizens we represent for the fiscal decisions we make.

No one has said this better or more clearly than Executive Director of UN AIDS Director Michel Sidibè. “All indicators suggest,” Director Sidibe said in a recent presentation, “that key donor countries already experiencing public deficits will continue to face a serious, prolonged fiscal deficit in the near future. It is a mistake,” he continued, “to interpret this as AIDS fatigue. The world is not turning its back on AIDS. It is turning its back on business as usual.”

That is the simple reality we face, all of us: in a time of scarce resources, the United Nations cannot afford business as usual. But that, unfortunately, is exactly what is represented in too much of the budget submitted to us.

To be sure, there are some very positive steps in this budget. When the Secretary General called in February for managers to cut 3% or more from their budget outlines, we applauded. And the United States still supports and welcomes his determined efforts to trim the UN budget and his strong leadership in calling for change in the organization. But what this budget document makes clear is that not all of the organization has risen to the challenge set by the Secretary General. The Secretary General has done his part, but not all of the rest of us have.

First, let’s be clear. A reduction in planned expenses – from budget outline to budget proposal – is not what any family, government or business around the world would recognize as a real belt-tightening “cut.” It is simply loosening our belt a little less than we originally planned. So the relevant measure of our fiscal discipline is whether we will actually spend less in 2012-13 than we did in 2010-11. And this budget fails that test.

There are some cuts around the edges, for example, in conference services, the abolition of some vacant posts, and providing summary records to Member States. These are historic firsts, and we wholeheartedly support those initiatives. But there are too few economy measures in this budget that are entirely realistic, financially meaningful, and clearly sustainable. Of the 37 budget sections before the Committee, reductions are proposed for 18…but 19 either increase (15) or remain unchanged (4). The key driver of costs for future years, in any organization, is personnel. Yet this budget proposes abolishing just 44 net posts from the organization’s 10,307 person workforce. That represents a 0.4% decrease – less than one percent – from current employee levels.

And the onslaught of add-ons which will inevitably be presented during the session – potentially $6 million for Information Communication Technology, $9 million for Administration of Justice, $4 million for the Strategic Heritage Plan renovations in Geneva – as well as the program budget implications emanating from the Economic and Social session in July, a preliminary re-costing estimate of $147 million, and 15 reports still to be considered, could result in an alarming total 2012-13 budget of $5.5 billion.

Considered against the current 2010-11 biennial total of $5.367 billion, that is not a cut. That is in fact a more than 2 percent increase and this does not take into account potential add-ons in the second year of the budget. That does not represent a break from “business as usual,” but rather a continuation of it.

For a decade now, the United Nations regular budget has grown dramatically, relentlessly, and exponentially: from $2.6 billion in 2001-2002, to $5.4 billion in 2010-2011. This growth has significantly outpaced the growth of the budgets of almost all the Member States that comprise the UN. I am not drawing a comparison between the United Nations and the United States, but between the United Nations and the rest of the world.

It’s true that some of this growth can be justified by new mandates that we all proudly support. But it’s also true that those mandates do not account for the disturbingly persistent ten-year trend of increases in the UN budget.

We commonly hear that Special Political Missions are the main reason for the UN’s budget growth. But there are two key points to remember. First, SPMs are – by definition – non-permanent expenses. They may influence the picture for several years at a time, but they do not have the same long-term, structural impact on the UN’s cost structure as, for example, regular budget posts.

Second, SPMs are only part of the story on the cost side of the UN budget. If we consider the budget without SPMs, we see this clearly: it still shows dramatic increases, from $2.4 billion in 2000-2001 to $4.2 billion in 2010-2011. That’s a 75 percent increase – a rate that far outpaces budget increases again in most of the Member States of the UN and at a time when many Member States are cutting entire departments and ministries.

So what is behind this trend? Several budget lines deserve our attention this session: general operating expenses, travel of staff, and grants and contributions have all have played a role, and should be intensely scrutinized. But as I noted earlier, in any organization, it is personnel that is the largest and most important driver of long-term costs, and the UN is no exception: posts accounted for $2.4 billion in costs in 2010-11, a huge increase from ten years ago, when the total costs was a full $1 billion less ($1.4 billion in 2000 - 2001). When we look deeper, we see two troubling facts behind this increase. First, the number of posts themselves has increased, from 8,989 in 2000-2001 to 10,307 in 2010-2011. But second, the cost of UN posts – the total compensation to employees – has grown by 70 percent while the number of posts has grown by only 15 percent.

Focus for a moment on just one figure: according to the proposed budget, the average total compensation for a UN staff member – simply taking the total proposed cost of posts divided by the total number of posts, not including General Temporary Assistance positions – is $238,000 biannually. No number underscores Chairman Monthe’s point more than this one. Instead of spending our time arguing about whether this or that specific UN post should be a P-5 or a D-1, as we often do, we should focus on asking ourselves – and UN managers – the larger, more important questions: Why is it that both the number and compensation of UN personnel have grown so dramatically? How does management intend to bring these numbers and costs back into line? And why do we, as Member States, tolerate a budget process that tells us, how many meetings are scheduled or guidance materials published in a given department, but does not tell us, for example, how much the UN spends on health care benefits for its employees?

We therefore renew our objection, Mr. Chairman, to receiving the UN budget proposal in a piecemeal fashion, and with too little real financial analysis. And we call for a comprehensive makeover to streamline budgets and the budget process for transparency, flexibility, managerial accountability, and analyzable, actionable information.

Mr. Chairman, I am well aware that the sort of business-like focus on efficiency and economy that I am suggesting today has sometimes been heard in this Committee as political code in this committee for a United States perspective. And, yes, my government does have that perspective: we believe it is our obligation to our taxpayers to do more with less in Washington and here at the UN. But doing more with less is not just the American perspective, or just the developed world perspective. The economic challenges of our time that I began with have made it a global perspective. You don’t need to take my word for it; listen to voices from capitals around the world:

In Brasilia, Brazil’s Planning Minister Miriam Belchior says “finding ways to do more with fewer resources will be the government’s new mantra.”

From Maseru, Lesotho’s Finance Minister says “the time has come when we must all learn to do more with less for the sake of our country.”

And in Pretoria the deputy prime minister declares “we must do more with less. The focus has to be on value for money.”

When we look to our home countries, it’s not just words about efficiency that we find: it’s evidence – clear, convincing, relevant evidence – that public organizations like the UN can achieve more with less. That taking an entrepreneurial approach can save money and improve results at the same time. Consider just these few examples:

In Scotland, a multi-year efficiency program emphasizing greater use of shared services and procurement improvements has so far saved the government $2.3 billion pounds.

In 2010, the Mexican Government instituted structural reform of Ministries, salary reductions, hiring freezes, and other measures amounting to $66 billion pesos in savings.

Botswana is providing more medical services to more people...while reducing the costs of certain procedures by as much as 50%.

And Singapore has embraced eGovernment by creating a single online platform for all public services –improving services, increasing access, and leveraging economies of scale all at the same time.

If each of us looks to our capitals, our own private sectors, indeed our personal experiences, we find proof that the rhetorical choices we pose in the Fifth Committee are often false ones. Colleagues, we know that money does not equal mandates, and resources do not equal results. It is entirely possible for any organization – including the UN – to achieve its mission with fewer resources. The issue isn’t simply how much money we allocate to each department or program, it is whether each and every dollar, yen or euro, and every yuan, peso, real, and rand is being used in the most effective, efficient, and businesslike way.

In that regard, Mr. Chairman, although we will provide more detailed comments on the regular budget in our October statement, I want to raise today several specific concerns we have with the budget before us.

First, we are troubled that we have yet to receive the proposal that relates to the overhaul of the Administration of Justice system and all the details related to treatment of cases from the UNDT and UNAT. The potential cost associated with the implementation of decisions emanating from these tribunals is significant.

Second, while the United States has always been an advocate of UN modernization and innovation, we are also concerned with the recent developments on UMOJA – specifically the delay in deploying and the potential for additional costs. We were promised a great deal and now are being offered a patchwork approach to implementation. Let me be clear: UMOJA should be accomplished on-time, without additional resources, and with quantifiable savings from implementation.

Third, and more generally, we are disappointed that ICT continues to present proposals for additional staff and for further initiatives without first demonstrating tangible results with the resources already allocated. First priority for ICT should be timely completion of UMOJA and demonstrating improvements with the resources already approved by Member States.

Fourth, the Under Secretary General of the Office for Internal Oversight Services is actively engaged in putting OIOS back on course, and the strength of OIOS is directly related to achieving real management improvements at the UN overall. All Member States should make every effort to give USG LaPointe and OIOS the resources and tools needed to make OIOS the robust organization it was intended to be.

And fifth, Mr. Chairman, my delegation strongly believes that the buy-in of major stakeholders is required for “the broadest possible agreement” to be reached on any issue, and as such we look forward to working closely with all delegations on the many important issues on our agenda in the months ahead.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, as we consider the urgent need to find savings in the UN budget, let us not to do so abstractly. Let us remember that every savings we can achieve has real-world implications for the people we were all sent here to represent. $100,000 represents just .000001 percent of the UN’s regular budget; that’s the kind of sum sometimes treated as a rounding error in a $5 billion budget. But there are other, better ways to think about that $100,000. $100,000 also represents the average federal taxes paid by 16 hard-working American families in one year. $100,000 could provide over 130,000 high-energy biscuits for the malnourished children helped by UNICEF. It could test over 66,000 children for malaria, equip hospitals with over 1,300 basic surgical kits, or provide 100,000 waterproof sleeping mats for children who have lost their homes to disaster.

The United States, therefore, calls for a comprehensive, department-by-department, line-by-line, review of this budget, with the aim of achieving the Secretary General’s original goal: a real, meaningful, and sustainable reduction in expenses from the last biennium, and the first steps in a new course of fiscal restraint and prudence at the UN.

The experience of governments, businesses and families in each of our countries proves that it can be done. And the duty that each of us has to our taxpayers demands that we do it.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Discovering Justice Information Session October 6th

Discovering Justice

Thursday, October 6th, from 3-4 pm in Room 301 students are invited to come learn about Discovering Justice and ways to get involved.

http://www.discoveringjustice.org/ Projects include:

· Children Discovering Justice: This program is designed for 1st and 2nd grade students to take a field trip to the courthouse and learn about how the legal system works. They first take a quick tour of the building, and then we bring them to a courtroom where they preside over their own case (usually an issue like a stolen teddy bear). Law students would volunteer to help these students formulate their arguments and generally oversee the case (though we have a staff member who will be leading the program). It typically lasts for about 40 minutes.

· Kids Courts and Citizenship: In this program, the students act as a jury while our volunteers take the roles as defense and prosecutor in a case. After hearing the arguments of the volunteers, the students deliberate and make a decision as a jury would. We are hoping to have attorneys for this since it is helpful for them to talk about what they do as a lawyer, but there may be some room for law students if they are particularly interested.

· Discovering the Bill of Rights: Here we recreate a famous case (typically Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District) and help the kids work through it from a legal perspective. Law students would be helpful in coaching smaller groups of kids to help them understand how trials take place and why the rights provided to us are so important.

New England Law| Boston's NLG and ACS Speaker Event

On Wednesday October 5th New England's National Lawyers Guild and American Constitution Society will be holding a speaker event about what is required of states under the Sixth and Fourteenth amendments in regard to indigent defense services and how states avoid their constitutional responsibilities. The featured speaker is David Carroll, Director of Research for the National Legal Aid & Defender Association The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. in room 506 and food will be served from Boston Kitchen Pizza.

Some background information on this event:

In Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), the United States Supreme Court deemed the right to attorney for those unable to afford one “fundamental and essential” to fair trials. Nearly 50 years later, public defense services in America are plagued by deep-rooted, chronic problems that our nation’s top law enforcement official, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, has called “morally untenable” and “economically unsustainable.” The American Bar Association (ABA) defines the ability of states to guarantee a poor defendant constitutionally-adequate legal representation as being in a perpetual “state of crisis.” And, since upwards of 85% of all people charged with state crimes with potential jail time qualify for a public lawyer, state and local governments daily jeopardize the ability of our courts to produce verdicts that are fair, correct, swift and final.

Philanthropy: An Effective Tool for a Good Business

Philanthropy, a wonderful thing for any business to be involved with, as it is a universal law that "to give is to receive" and is proved true on so many occasions, in so many ways.
I've also observed that those with the least to give are the ones who give most in terms of time and money to various causes such as homelessness, domestic abuse, children with cancer, and the list goes on.

I suggest that anyone who has not dabbled in philanthropy should try it. For every hundred dollars that you make, give ten dollars to a cause that you would like to support. Save the Whales, Hug a Tree, Stop Pollution, Halt Elder Abuse, House the Homeless. The choices are endless.

Corporations in the Unites States annually give away over $11 billion to non-profits and other charitable organizations - an average of 1.3% of pre-tax income. Yet, many do so without realizing the strategic value it provides. Philanthropic donations provide a useful, though seldom fully-leveraged, channel for improving outcomes for both the corporation and the community.

Large corporations typically have a staff dedicated to philanthropy with structure and parameters built in, giving at small companies tends to be more grassroots. Small and non-publicly traded companies can often utilize unique ways to give, such as putting their companies in a charitable trust or donating company stock. In fact, 80% of Minnesota businesses with fewer than 500 employees contribute annually through some type of giving program, according to the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Businesses of any size reap the benefits of social investment with successful communities in turn supporting successful businesses.
It's important to be very observant. Upon donating your time or money, you will see a return on this investment in ways you may not have imagined.

The idea is to give what you can without any strings attached. Once you have started this movement of energy, then "what comes around goes around," and you will be pleasantly surprised at what ensues. I suspect that people like Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Buddha and Jesus were well acquainted with this universal law, and thus spent their lives practicing it.

For More details, Please visit http://www.philanthropist.org/

Eric Melin has been writing since the age of 16. His favorite topics include women's issues, homelessness, homeless veterans, the arts, cinema, biographies, nature and video production. His work has appeared in many publications around the world. You can read her blog, at http://www.ericmelin.com . His business site is http://www.philanthropist.org/

This article is free for republishing
Source: http://ericmelin.articlealley.com/philanthropy--an-effective-tool-for-a-good-business-908955.html

Volunteer Opportunity for New England Law | Boston Students

The American Irish Law Society (AILS) here at NEL|B takes part in Project No One Leaves, which is dedicated to empowering those living in foreclosed properties through community education. This is a great opportunity for students to get involved in community education, as well as make great contacts. The students over at AILS have passed along the information below about a great opportunity for more students to get involved:

This Saturday (October 1st), 9:45 a.m. at 23 Everett St, Cambridge MA next to the Harvard Campus
Students from AILS and students from other schools will be attending a training session lead by Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. This event is a great way to be introduced to the work being done at the community level. It is also a great way to become familiar with landlord-tenant and foreclosure law, how it applies, how it has evolved, and why a project like No One Leaves is necessary. Although it may be discussed on a less frequent basis, the mortgage crisis is not over and projects such as this have had success against the banks, with national mobilization as it continues to gain momentum.

For more information on No One Leaves and AILS's involvement please contact Joseph O'Sullivan at joseph.m.osullivan@nesl.edu.

Don't forget that work such as this (not for credit and unpaid) is eligible for the Public Service Transcript Notation.

Is Geroge Soros trying to replace investigative media at the United Nations ?

Soft UN & Dead Media Replaced By NGOs, Elite Soros Crowd Told at River Club

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 26 -- When the UN has gone soft and corporate media is dying, who or what will pick up the slack?

That was the question Monday night at the River Club ten blocks north of the UN where the non-governmental organization Global Witness hosted George Soros, financiers, journalists and tennis players in an Art Deco space beside a gleaming turquoise pool.

One of Global Witness' three founders Charmian Gooch told the crowd how they began on Cambodia, then illegal mining and now Gaddafi's Libya investment funds.

She said proudly, we have no membership, no public relations, no marketing. Then an Alex Soros was introduced to speak, followed by investigative journalist Ken Silverstein.

Silverstein spoke of the death of media, how the Los Angeles Times closed its investigative unit and tried to replace three reporters' 900 bylines a year.

He now works at Harper's, and did a story on the side for Global Witness but at least initially kept his name off it, he told Inner City Press, in order to get into Cambodia.

All of this took place close to the UN, during the annual General Debate, but the UN wasn't mentioned once.

Soros looks heavenward at GW event by UN Monday night, publish what you pay

Inner City Press asked Silverstein about Equatorial Guinea being the head of the African Union, and Gabon on the Security Council. Silverstein said that the son of Equatorial Guinea's long time ruler Obiang leaving the US shows the power of the pen. But to what end?

Another journalist present cautioned, you cannot change the world. Then what was this event about, with the senior George Soros present, acknowledged from the podium? Tennis players in whites wandered through on their way to indoor courts, the signs outside of which told "Babysitters" to not enter without The Pro.

Footnote: Among the attendees was one Scott Wallace, writing about uncontacted tribes in Brazil. Inner City Press asked him about such tribes impacted by the Belo Monte dam; he said they exist. He said Peru denies the existence of such tribe. He will be in New York at the Explorers' Club in November. And we will try to be there.