A message from Tehran's NAM meeting for Ban Ki-moon

Maybe in reforming the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement should from now on seek to ensure that any future head of the United Nations be truly representative of the concerns and anguish of the world’s majority, and not a diplomatic salesman for imperialist powers. 

Click here to read full story on PressTv

Considering a career in organized crime ? - Try either your Government or the United Nations

SCANDAL: UNDP management played a key role in securing Iran and North Korea's votes for Francis Gurry of WIPO (it allowed internal cover up of shipments thru its China Office)

GENEVA | Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:06am EDT
(Reuters) - Four months after a U.N. agency's decision to send computer equipment to Iran and North Korea first stirred controversy, a feud has erupted between the body's director general and a suspended senior manager over misconduct allegations.

In a suit filed with a U.N. tribunal, the manager accuses Francis Gurry, the Australian head of the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization, of pledging the equipment to the two sanctioned countries in exchange for their votes.

The suit also alleges Gurry earmarked posts for member states who backed him in his 2008 election and those whose votes he is trying to secure as part of his 2014 re-election bid.

WIPO is the U.N.'s richest body and is almost entirely self funded with annual revenues of over $300 million, mostly earned from patent application fees. It was created in the 1970s to promote intellectual property rights, particularly in the developing world, to further economic progress.

"The evidence suggests that the Director General has a track record of manipulating appointments to WIPO professional posts in exchange for votes," said the complainant's brief to the International Labour Organization's Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) filed on August 20.

The lawsuit was filed by Swiss-based lawyer Matthew Parish, partner at Holman Fenwick Willan, on behalf of a senior WIPO employee, Christopher Mason. Mason contends he was unjustly suspended for corruption in May 2011, wrongly accused of an improper relationship with a contractor at a firm bidding for a WIPO contract.

Gurry denied the allegations, saying he made no deals with any country in exchange for its support. He said a document cited by the claimant, which appears to list political appointments, was fabricated.

"No job pledges were made in exchange for political support, and no such document was ever created or approved by me. I believe that any document purporting to list pledges must be a work of fabrication," he said in an emailed statement last week.

Mason's lawyer Parish said: "The commitments document has been widely circulated throughout the diplomatic community for many months and is an open secret in WIPO."

An International Labour Organization official declined to comment on the proceedings which she said were confidential.


Some diplomatic sources in New York, where the United Nations has its headquarters, dismissed Mason's suit as a publicity ploy by an employee intent on embarrassing his former boss. They said they considered it unlikely the equipment in question would breach U.N. sanctions, which are less stringent than those imposed by the United States and European Union.

U.N. sanctions primarily target Iran and North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. They also include a ban on arms exports and, in the case of North Korea, a ban on exports of luxury goods.
One diplomatic source familiar with the case said Mason may be motivated by a desire for revenge after his suspension.

Mason asked the WIPO Appeal Board to review his suspension in August 2011. The board found that the decision to suspend Mason from duty was "flawed" and recommended re-instatement and a moral injuries payment, a document of their conclusions dated March 2012 showed. Mason remains suspended, however.

Although the suit alleges that the transfers to Iran and North Korea were promised in return for their votes in Gurry's 2008 election, it contained no proof to support this claim.

The allegations of vote buying could not be independently verified by Reuters. WIPO records show that Iran and North Korea were among 83 countries on the WIPO committee that selected the director general in 2008 in a secret ballot. The Iranian and North Korean diplomatic missions in Geneva did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Nevertheless, Mr. Mason's supporters maintain that the suit's claims are credible. These supporters include some inside the organization who declined to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the press and said they feared management retribution.

Mason's sympathizers say further that the case offers a rare glimpse into what critics say is a widespread system of political patronage within the United Nations and raises broader questions about accountability at the world body.

For instance, the head of WIPO's staff council Moncef Kateb has complained of political appointments "that contravene the most basic principles of international public service, particularly that of its independence", according to a statement in 2010 before WIPO's Coordination Committee, a body that advises the director general.

Kateb declined to comment for this story because he is not authorized to speak to the press.
"It's totally unacceptable to have this type of deals and it corrupts the system," said Hillel Neuer of U.N. Watch, a non-governmental group that monitors the United Nations. "Regrettably, it is common. Governments jostle for their own interests and a lot of unsavory dealings occur."

Officials at the U.N. press office in New York did not respond to repeated email requests for comment.

The equipment in question, including servers, firewalls and computers worth roughly $200,000, was sent to Iran and North Korea, without the knowledge of other member states, according to a statement by Esther Brimmer, U.S. assistant secretary of state, earlier this month.

The 185-member agency says the transfers were legal and form part of a technical assistance program involving more than 80 countries to help them develop their patent offices.


The transfers of equipment by WIPO to Iran and North Korea are the subject of two U.S. government probes to establish whether they represented a breach of U.N. and U.S. sanctions aimed at curbing the development of nuclear technology.

The U.S. State Department said in July it was reviewing WIPO's dealings with countries that are under sanctions after media released documents showing WIPO had been involved in shipments to Iran and North Korea. The Department's initial conclusion is that there was no breach of U.N. sanctions because the items in question did not appear to be subject to a ban. The review is ongoing.
A U.N. Security Council diplomat said it was unlikely that its sanctions committees would take any action regarding the WIPO transfers of technology to Iran and North Korea for the same reason.
The U.N. panel of experts on North Korean sanctions said in its latest annual report that it was continuing to collect information on the WIPO case in relation to North Korea.

The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs is not yet convinced the transfers were legal, suspecting they may have involved banned items, a senior Congressional official involved in the investigation said. It is also reviewing a possible breach of the United States' own sanctions as some of the equipment may have been produced by U.S. computer maker Hewlett Packard Co, the official added.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Lawmakers on the bi-partisan House Committee raised concern about possible WIPO retaliation against whistleblowers in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 12 and in a letter to Francis Gurry on July 16, both seen by Reuters.

"I can't think of any action that has been taken against any whistleblower," Gurry told Reuters in July.
Email correspondence dated July 20 from Gurry to WIPO senior staff member James Pooley, seen by Reuters, indicated that the director general denied him permission to give evidence to the House Committee. Pooley declined to comment for this story because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

Members of the Committee said a second senior WIPO staff member was prevented from testifying at the committee hearing in a letter to Gurry dated August 1, forcing the cancellation of the session.
Asked in July about claims that witnesses were being blocked, Gurry said he would allow any "properly competent person" on the Iran and North Korea projects to testify.

Gurry said in a statement on the WIPO website on July 19 that supplies to sanctioned countries would in future need to be referred to legal counsel, which would consult the U.N. Sanctions Committee where necessary. WIPO has also commissioned an external enquiry to review the projects with Iran and North Korea, led by a Swedish police official and a U.S. attorney.

(Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau in New York; editing by Will Waterman and Janet McBride)


Helen Clark declares war against UN's Regional Economic Commissions and Kim Won-soo's Change Management Team

Even on a declared "vacation" time, Uncle Helen can't stay without doing nothing. She has led a team of UNDP top advisers in "thinking out of the box" on how to undermine UN's Secretary-General desire to concentrate more power onto his hand on Development agenda.

Helen Clark and a group of "thinkers" are extremely fraustrated with the latest attempts from the Office of Secretary General and more concretely Kim Won-soo and the Swedish Deputy Secretary General who are inclined of stripping UNDP from some of the main "duties" that until now (for almost 60 years) the United Nations Development Programme took them for granted.

But with all the scandals UNDP has gone thru, Ban Ki-moon pressed by some key donor countries is taking away slowly some of them, namely:

- UNDG (Development Group);
- One UN Initiative;
- MDGs and world coordination (recently appointed Jeffrey Sachs and a Committee of world renown experts in this area)
- HC (Humanitarian coordination); and
- RC (Resident Coordinators) ....after many complains from UNICEF, WFP, FAO and UNEP, Ban Ki-moon will be stripping UNDP from the jewel of the UN System - the ability to head the UN work in any country.

But Helen Clark is not known to give up easily. Her advisers (who are mostly connected to United Kingdom) are calling for help from the Kingdom experts in "development". After 5 years of Ban Ki-moon, now UNDP is telling many donors how ineffective Ban's team is and why the donors might have more to loose by letting UN Secretariat to go away with this "crime".

Thus the action plan for September will be to run a massive campaign with Donors and Member States, and destroy the reputation of Regional Economic Commissions (ECLAC, ESCWA, ESCAP, ECE), UN-DESA (Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and most importantly go after Kim Won-so (Ban's stooge).

Will have more about this very soon !

Internships in Education Policy with BPS

Apply to Intern for The Office of Legal Advisor to the Boston Public School Department

Position: Law Clerk

Contact: Andrea Alves-Thomas, Senior Assistant Corporation Counsel


The Office of Legal Advisor to the Boston Public School Department is a subsidiary of the City of Boston Law Department that advises the Boston Public Schools. The Office of Legal Advisor employs law clerks during the academic and non-academic year. Law students who are considered for positions must have completed their first year of coursework. The law clerk position will support a five-attorney office performing a variety of litigation and transactional functions.

The Office of Legal Advisor advises, counsels, and represents the Boston Public School Department in all aspects of its operations. Law clerks are exposed to both litigation matters and policy and/or research matters. Litigation assignments touch upon every aspect of civil defense litigation – research, writing, investigating, discovery requests/responses, attending hearings, depositions, mediations, etc. Our cases range from c. 258 claims (Mass. Tort Claims Act), to civil rights violations, discrimination, and special education litigation. Advisory assignments are more in line with providing in-house counseling to School Department employees on a wide range of topics and policy issues related to education law. Applicants demonstrating diversity are encouraged. 

Forward resume and cover letter. Accepting 2 to 3 candidates per academic year.      

Boston Public Schools

Office of Legal Advisor

26 Court Street, 3rd Floor

Boston, MA 02108

Ph. 617-635-9320

Full Time position in Immigrant Children's Rights - Chicago


Fellowship in Immigrant Child Law and Advocacy

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, based at the University of Chicago Law School’s Kane Center for Clinical Legal Education, is seeking applications for a Fellowship in Immigrant Child Law and Advocacy, to commence in September 2012. The Young Center is dedicated to promoting the best interests—safety and well-being—of unaccompanied and separated immigrant children in the United States. The immediate focus of the Young Center’s work is to serve as Child Advocate (guardian ad litem for children in immigration proceedings) for unaccompanied and separated children pursuant to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. The Young Center also conducts policy advocacy at the local and national level to promote consideration of best interests in all decisions concerning immigrant children. The Young Center is a project of the Tides Center and is an independent non-profit organization based at the University of Chicago Law School.

The Fellow will assist with the supervision of law students serving as Child Advocate for unaccompanied immigrant children through the Immigrant Child Advocacy Clinic. The Fellow will be expected to assist with all levels of client work, including serving as Child Advocate, research, writing and advocacy. The Fellow will participate in the teaching of a weekly seminar, focused on issues arising in the immigration context for unaccompanied immigrant children and skills training.

Selection of the Fellow is contingent upon the approval of the University of Chicago Law School and the Office of the Provost. This position has the following minimum requirements:

(1) J.D. and appropriate authorization to practice law.

(2) A strong academic background, excellent writing and oral advocacy skills, and a commitment to public interest work.

(3) Proficiency in Spanish.

(4) Candidates with at least two years’ experience practicing immigration law are preferred.

(5) Ability to take initiative and also work collaboratively.

(6) Enthusiasm for working with volunteers and teaching law students.

(7) Passion, tenacity and optimism for the issues affecting immigrant children and their families.

Salary*/Benefits: Salary is commensurate with experience. The Young Center/Tides Center provides benefits, including health/dental/vision insurance, a flexible spending account for medical and dependent care, vacation, and sick leave. The Young Center/Tides Center is an equal opportunity employer committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity. *Salary beyond one year is contingent upon funding.

Applications should include a cover letter describing the candidate’s reasons for applying for the fellowship, current resume, law school transcript, writing sample and three references.

Review of candidates will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Please email or fax application materials to:

Alexandra Laguna, Administrative Assistant: alaguna@law.uchicago.edu or 773-702-2063 (fax)

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

at the University of Chicago Law School

6020 S. University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

New England Law Boston Students Serve Veterans

“I’m from a military family, so I know that veterans are an underserved community. Entering law school I hoped to work with veterans so I feel lucky to be here today to help.” – Stephanie Rogers

New England Law|Boston students ended their first week of classes by aiding homeless and poor veterans at the Massachusetts Stand Down on Friday August, 24th. The Stand Down is an annual event designed to provide a centralized location for Veterans Administration services, food, clothing and legal assistance. This year, Shelter Legal Services (whose Co-Executive Director is Sarah Roxburgh, ’08) manned the legal services station backed up by area law students. New England students filled more than half of the afternoon positions and counseled dozens of veterans on a variety of legal topics. 

“Pay it forward. Anything I can do today is not even a fraction of what [veterans] have done for us and for our country. I want to serve them for serving us.” – Angelina Bruno-Metzger

 Seven New England Law | Boston students volunteered in the afternoon session. Left to right: Diana Mae Cabili, Jennifer Tremesani, Benjamin Jones, Stephanie Rogers, Mary Mulcrone, Sara Burns, and Angelina Bruno-Metzger.

 Stephanie Rogers and Angelina Bruno-Metzger, quoted above.

Jennifer Tremesani and Diana Mae Cabili, returning 2Ls, were eager to help and to gain practical experience while serving the community. 

Stay tuned for more information on how to get involved with Shelter Legal Services and the CLSR.

Help fight discrimination in housing and earn $$!

Housing Discrimination Testing Program (HDTP)

- through Suffolk University Law School

Help fight discrimination in housing! Paid positions are available. 

The HDTP is launching in September 2012 and will work with members of the community and law students to fight discrimination in housing.  The HDTP is seeking individuals who are willing to serve as housing discrimination testers.  Testers are independent contractors who assume a role and, without intent to rent, pose as renters for the purpose of collecting evidence of housing practices.  A fair housing test usually involves a pair of testers – as similar as possible in all ways, but for the actual or representation of membership in a protected class.  Suffolk University Law School has partnered with the City of Boston to test for housing discrimination in four areas: LGBT, familial status, disability and receipt of public assistance and will provide complaint-based testing support for all protected classes under the Fair Housing Act.
Testers are required to follow proper procedures in order to remain objective and impartial. Testers are required to complete all test forms in a timely manner.  Testing will be done in response to actual discrimination complaints; therefore, there is no guarantee as to how often a tester will have the opportunity to participate in tests. We anticipate that testers will be compensated upon completion of each test.
Testers may be called as witnesses if legal action is pursued.  The HDTP is supported by a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Per HUD regulations, a HDTP must perform a criminal background check prior to approving a tester’s participation in the program.  Testers cannot have prior felony convictions or have been convicted of crimes of perjury or fraud. Tester’s personal information will be held in strict confidence, but some information may have to be released pursuant to legal process, such as if a charge is filed or litigation is pursued.
Experience with renting housing is helpful, but not required.
Testers must be at least 18 years of age.
           The HDTP will be conducting tester training Wednesday, September 12th from 4:30 – 7:30 pm and Thursday, September 13th from 8:30 – 11:30am at Suffolk University Law School. 

Contact info:

Please email Jamie Langowski at jlangowski@suffolk.edu or call (617) 573-8778 if you have any questions or to RSVP for a training session.

Attorney General's Office Fellowship Application Available

Are you passionate about serving your community? 

If so, consider applying for the AGO's fellowship. This two year commitment will begin in Fall of 2013. See below:

Climate Counts 2011 Scorecard

Here's an interesting, innovative, relative newcomer to our SRI list.  It is brought to you by Climate Counts, an independent, non-profit organization which aims to raise public awareness of ethical consumption.  Climate Counts produces a "score card" or list of companies' impact on climate/sustainability.

Companies are rated on their practices to reduce global warming.  Scoring is from 0 to 100 (best).  The list is located at the bottom of this article with comments from us.  Climate uses 22 criteria to evaluate companies, which are broken-down into four categories. Please refer to its website for additional information.

Overall, trends have been good, with companies getting higher scores, on average since 2007's first scorecard.  Generally, larger companies (revenue-wise) attain better scorecards/ratings (see chart below). Only one large company (Amazon.com) has had consistently low rankings.  We are disappointed that the company, which is so innovative and a good place to work, has not been forward leaning in terms of the environment.  We have verified this with other sources, including CSRhub.

source: Climate Counts

What industries performed best?
The Electronics industry performed best compared to the 16 broad sectors evaluated.  Siemens scored best, while sadly, Apple scored worst.  Steve Jobs, as many of you know, is best known for inspiring his workers and make products that people love, but he was never known as being particularly charitable or being into the environment.  Let's hope new leadership moves the company forward.

What we like:
  • Climate Counts is quite innovative in its presentation and approach and is very adept at visual presentation of results.
  • The organization attempts to equalize the differences in industries given the very nature of some industries being large energy users/emissions emitters.  Thus, it attempts to adjust the jet-fuel using airline industry with others. (We are not sure how it does this or if he actually succeeds in creating a "level playing field.")
  • Climate released an iphone app (link) allowing consumers to check-up on companies before making an ill-advised decision.
  • Climate Counts is very attuned to the recent trend of "Greenwashing" where companies make themselves look good in public, while doing something quite different "behind the scenes."

What we don't like:
  • Two board members of Climate Counts are from Stonyfield Farms (the guys that make yogurt).  Stonyfield ranks high on Climate Counts' scorecard, so there may be a conflict-of-interest issue
  • In 2010, Climate Counts established a fee-based program to aid companies in achieving their climate goals.  Again, this may be seen as a conflict of interest.
  • The list is mostly large, well known consumer companies.  Other companies are not well represented.  As of 2011, Climate examined 150 (global) companies within 16 major consumer sectors.
  • The scorecard focuses on the "E/environmental" in ESG.  So, SRI investors are only seeing one side of the coin with Climate Counts' list.

Sector leaders:                                               Our Comments on right                  

Airlines:                     Delta (56)

Apparel/Accessories: Nike (85)                      Co. gets high rankings on most lists

Beverages - Beer:      Molson Coors (69)

Commercial Banks:   Bank of America (82)  Will the Occupy movement agree?

Consumer Shipping:  UPS (80)

Electronics:                Hewlett-Packard (83)   Co. gets high rankings on most lists

Food Products:          Unilever (88)

Food Services:           Starbucks (70)              A true leader in so many aspects

Home/Furnishings:    Herman Miller, and Masco (63)

Hotels:                       Marriott (73)

Household Prod:        L’Oreal (78)                Several European cos represented

Large Appliances:     AB Electrolux (80)     ""

Internet/Software:     Microsoft (68)

Media:                       General Electric (77)  Expect to move to another industry

Pharmaceuticals:       AstraZeneca (86)

Toys:                         Hasbro (52)                 Mattel typically makes most SRI lists

Fox News EXCLUSIVE: U.N. investigation of computer shipment to North Korea and Iran looks to be much less than thorough

by George Russell at Fox News

The United Nations agency that shipped American-made computers and sophisticated servers to North Korea is now attempting to avoid a thorough investigation that includes why the goods were shipped without either notifying United Nations sanctions committees that are trying to block the country’s nuclear weapons program, or the U.S. government.

The  probe, announced on Aug. 9 by the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO, was advertised at the time as a “full independent external inquiry” to determine whether WIPO acted in violation of U.N. sanctions against North Korea, which continues to ignore worldwide demands that it curtail its quest for a deliverable nuclear bomb. The shipment by WIPO of Hewlett Packard computers and servers to North Korea was first reported by Fox News.

The U.S. government, in particular, says it wants to know how it happened that neither U.N. sanctions committees nor other member-states of WIPO – including the U.S. -- were informed in advance of the shipment of U.S.-manufactured equipment, which was sent from China to Pyongyang by the United Nations Development Program.

UN News: United Nations climate fund inaugurates first meeting

Photo: UNEP
23 August 2012 –
A United Nations fund aimed at mobilizing resources to help developing countries mitigate the impact of global warming has kicked-off its first official meeting, it was announced today. Established by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) during the 2011 UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) was created to help developing nations protect themselves from climate impacts and build their own sustainable futures.
However, the GCF could not meet officially until it had filled all 24 seats on its Board, which effectively governs and supervises all aspects of the Fund.
According to a press release confirming the inaugural session, the GCF will now set about satisfying its mandate, which includes providing developing countries with simplified and improved access to climate change funding, as well as providing them support to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The Board inaugurated its first gathering by electing Mr. Zaheer Fakir of South Africa and Mr. Ewen McDonald of Australia as its Co-Chairs for a one-year term. Mr. Fakir is the Head of International Relations and Governance of the Department of Environmental Affairs of South Africa, while Mr. McDonald is the Deputy Director General of the Australian Agency for International Development, and both boast numerous years of experience in development and climate change-related issues.
Meanwhile, six countries – Germany, Mexico, Namibia, Poland, Republic of Korea, and Switzerland – are vying to host the Fund.
The GCF’s meeting will conclude on Saturday, 25 August.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue

UN News: Conflict management, development among key focus areas for deputy UN chief

Conflict management, development among key focus areas for deputy UN chief

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz
23 August 2012 –
Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson says key development issues such as tackling food security and fighting poverty, as well as the crisis in Syria, will feature high on his agenda at the United Nations. “As Deputy Secretary-General I will of course focus on what the SG [Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon] wants me to work with. But I will probably focus most on two areas: development – and we face some very serious challenges in this area – and secondly, political issues,” Mr. Eliasson said in an interview with the UN News Centre.
“On development, it’s such a wide range of areas, but the most urgent […] issue is the food security crisis,” he added. “We are expecting price increases of food all over the world in the next 4-5 months.”
The veteran Swedish diplomat, who took up his post in July, is no stranger to the Organization, having served in a number of UN positions, including Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, President of the General Assembly and Special Envoy for Darfur.
“The United Nations has always been very close to my heart,” said Mr. Eliasson. “I believe in the values and principles of the United Nations. We are often criticized but I think we are a reflection of the world as it is and not as we want it to be – but we have to bridge that gap, make sure the world becomes more of what we want it to be.”
Among the areas where there is still much work to be done, the Deputy Secretary-General cited the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – specific targets on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS reduction, and a ‘Global Partnership for Development’ that world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015.
Last month Mr. Ban announced the members of a high-level panel he set up to present recommendations on a global post-2015 agenda with shared responsibilities for all countries and with the fight against poverty and sustainable development at its core.
There were many crises to deal with on the political front, Mr. Eliasson noted. “The most dramatic one, the most internationally recognized one is, of course, Syria, where we are dealing with very serious matters, providing hopefully a peaceful alternative to the horrible fighting that goes on now, and the suffering that goes on now, with huge humanitarian consequences.”
Syria has been wracked by violence, with an estimated 17,000 people, mostly civilians, killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 17 months ago. Over the past month, there have been reports of an escalation in violence in many towns and villages, as well as the country’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo.
Other issues of concern, he said, include the tensions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel, along with the conflict in northern Mali.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue

WSJ: Obama's U.N. Friends

The Obama Administration has based its global security strategy around the United Nations, and these days that faith isn't turning out too well. Russia and China have blocked any "collective security" action in Syria, and now U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has decided to lend his prestige, such as it is, to Iran.

Despite public requests from the U.S. and what press reports say was a personal plea from Israel ...

Click here to read this in full at Wall Street Journal

Richard Grenell: "Reporters should pay attention to the UN Official claiming he was told to falsify report"

any state department reporters paying attention to the official claiming he was told to falsify reports? who knew?

Former UN official's revelations warrant full inquiry into actions of UNAMI in Iraq, says Association of Iranian-Americans in NY & NJ

NEW YORK, Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The recent revelations by Mr. Tahar Boumedra, a senior former UN Human Rights Official, about the actions of the United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative for Iraq, Ambassador Martin Kobler, raise questions as to whether the SGSR possesses the integrity, the competence and veracity to be an impartial arbiter in dealing with the issue of the 3,400 Iranian dissidents in Iraq, residents of Camp Ashraf and the "prison-like" Camp Liberty.

Mr. Kobler's actions, described in full detail, by Mr. Tahar Boumedra, former Chief of the Human Rights Office for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in an opinion piece in The Hill and his interviews with other media, are unconscionable. 

"Mr. Kobler not only has stained, to no end, the reputation and credibility of an organization charged with upholding the human rights and dignity of asylum-seekers the world over, but has also caused the entire community of civilized people everywhere to demand an independent, impartial and transparent investigation into Kobler's mission from the very inception," said Allen Tasslimi of the Association of Iranian Americans in New York and New Jersey, who has two brothers in the Camps, one of them disabled.

A UN spokesperson's comments Wednesday in response to these serious allegations are not acceptable. As family members of those affected by such cover-ups, we deserve an answer.
This inquiry must include looking into all potential malfeasance by Kobler, his May 2012 trip to Tehran, his dealings with the Iranian regime's Ambassador in Iraq, and his collusion with Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki of Iraq. And not the least, the suffering, deaths, physical and psychological torments endured by the residents of both Camps Ashraf and Liberty.

SOURCE Association of Iranian-Americans in NY & NJ

SCANDAL: "In Iraq UN ordered falsifying information and reports for senior U.N. leadership and the international community"

Former UN human rights chief in Baghdad Tahar Boumedra: Why I Quit the UN in Iraq

Click here to read this in full at The Hill

By Tahar Boumedra

For the past three and a half years I have served first as chief of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office and then as adviser to the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Iraq, monitoring, among other things, the human rights and the humanitarian situation of 3,400 Iranian exiles who have made their home north of Baghdad since 1986 at a place called Camp Ashraf. Iraq’s government has decided to terminate their presence in Iraq and required them to vacate Camp Ashraf. UNAMI has been facilitating their temporary relocation to a former base in Baghdad called Camp Liberty, with the purported task of conducting “refugee status determination” for all of these people and ensuring that international norms of human and humanitarian rights are maintained.

While the world assumes the United Nations has been upholding these norms, I know otherwise.
As hard as it might be for many to believe, as the United Nations serves the cause of human rights and world peace, this is a shameful story of hiding the truth and looking the other way when we knew there were violations: of complicity with wrongdoers, and neglect of human rights and humanitarian responsibilities.

The fundamental rights of these exiles — humane living conditions, access to justice, humanitarian necessities including medical services for the ill and wounded, and freedom from threats of physical harm — have been repeatedly denied by the Iraqi government at the direction of the prime minister’s office. Special Representative Martin Kobler, unlike his predecessor, who maintained his mission’s independence and integrity even at the displeasure of Nouri al-Maliki, has enabled the prime minister’s agenda while falsifying information reported to senior U.N. leadership and the international community.

As the lead person on Camp Ashraf-related matters in UNAMI, I faced a serious moral dilemma as I saw my reports doctored and censored. No first-hand report of mine ever reached U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon or top officials in New York. And while I kept silent far too long, I have now resigned and my conscience demands that I bring the truth to light. I am prepared to attest to these facts under oath.

When Iraqi forces attacked the unarmed residents of Camp Ashraf in 2009 and 2011, it was I who conducted the body count. The April 2011 raid, which took 36 lives and caused hundreds of injuries, was a massacre in which men and women alike were crushed to death by military vehicles or killed with one bullet at close range. Yet when the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNAMI called for an independent commission of inquiry, the Iraqi government refused. Our repeated efforts to send severely wounded exiles to Iraqi hospitals were blocked by the Iraqi government, and some died. UNAMI never objected, reporting instead that Iraq had met its international obligations.
When Iraq was ready to start relocating the exiles to the new site at Camp Liberty in December 2011, I made several visits to inspect Camp Liberty, and told Kobler that it was not fit to accommodate 3,400 men and women. Kobler visited Camp Liberty and saw that I was right; yet when the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) hired a consultant to assess the conditions at Camp Liberty, Kobler pressured him to certify that the camp met all required humanitarian standards, which we knew was far from the truth. After the consultant declined, Kobler issued a report that misled the international community and the exiles alike into believing the standards were being met so the transfer process could proceed.

He also had UNAMI staff take around 500 photographs at Camp Liberty, of which 20-30 of the least offensive were selected, and sent to the exiles’ parent organization in Paris with the message that the new site would measure 40 square kilometers, reduced to 2.5 square kilometers. On that basis, the exiles agreed to move out of Camp Ashraf. In reality, the site at Camp Liberty measures 0.6 square kilometers and is surrounded by three-to four-meter concrete walls. It reminds me of the concentration camp I lived in as a child during Algeria’s war of liberation.

Al-Maliki, with Iran’s encouragement, has continuously obstructed the U.N. mission of processing these exiles as potential refugees and placing them safely in third countries. Iraq would not let UNHCR conduct interviews at Camp Ashraf, although it had done so satisfactorily in the past. Iraq refused the Camp Ashraf residents’ request to cooperate with them in planning their departure. Death threats in Farsi have been broadcast for 18 hours on most days through loudspeakers surrounding Camp Ashraf, and Iraq has issued nearly 200 arrest warrants against residents with no due process. Each movement of exiles this year from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty has been coordinated, including dates and specific numbers, by Iraq with the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad.

Their agenda is obvious: to break the exiles’ will and morale as an organized group and force their departure. UNAMI never seriously tried to arrange for a third country to host the population and UN staff so that refugee processing could be accomplished smoothly. With 2,000 exiles at Camp Liberty to date, the United Nations has interviewed only a small number, and not one person has completed refugee processing. Whether U.S. government officials involved in the relocation and processing of the exiles are aware of these realities I do not know; Kobler is their interlocutor. Foreign officials other than from the United Nations and a few consular officers have been denied access to both Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty.

Iraq’s actions toward these exiles, which for years had been accorded a guest status comparable to a foreign sovereign establishment, violate the well-established principle that a change of government does not affect acquired rights without due process of law. The United States, which earlier granted them protected persons status under the Fourth Geneva Convention and then turned over their protection to Iraq in 2009, retains the obligation under Article 45 to ensure their continued protection.
These defenseless people are facing intolerable abuses and dangers. The U.N. secretary general and willing governments need to establish conditions, in Iraq or elsewhere, enabling the United Nations to process these people properly, expeditiously and safely. Immediate action is needed to uphold their basic human rights, secure them from further threat of physical harm, and restore the United Nations’s reputation.

Boumedra is an Algerian human-rights activist who previously taught law and served as co-editor of the African Journal of International and Comparative Law, deputy secretary general of the African Society of International and Comparative Law, consultant to the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights, editor of the African Review of Human and Peoples’ Rights and regional director of Penal Reform International.

Click here to read this in full at The Hill

New Center Fellow to Focus on Consumer Issues

The 2012-13 CLSR Fellow began her fellowship this week and will concentrate on consumer and foreclosure issues. 

Erika Barber, a Magna Cum Laude '2012 grad, clerked over a summer for Chief US Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Bailey and had an internship with attorney Nina M. Parker of Parker & Associates, who serves as a Director for the American Bankruptcy Institute's Consumer Committee. Erika is committed to alleviating economic inequality through consumer law reform.

During her fellowship, Erika’s substantive work with the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) will assist hundreds of homeowners fighting foreclosure in Massachusetts. On August 20th, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced that the NCLC and the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) will administer the Borrower Representation Initiative (BRI), which is part of the $19 million HomeCorps program. The program is funded by the multi-state settlement between state attorney generals and five national banks for foreclosure abuses.

For more information on the HomeCorps program, see the Attorney General’s press release

InnerCityPress: Ban Ki-moon Crime Report Has Moonlighting, Pipe Attacks, Sex for Hire, Guns

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, August 22 -- Some say, with reason, that the UN was too weak in Srbrenica, in Rwanda and now with its observers fleeing Syria. 

  But Ban Ki-moon's report to the General Assembly on misconduct and criminal behavior paints a picture of violence and threats in the UN, with armrests torn off chairs, firings based on gun threats, physical assaults with pipes. Here are excerpts:
23. A staff member physically assaulted another staff member by detaching an armrest from an office chair and throwing it at the other staff member’s face, resulting in injury to the staff member’s right eye and forehead. Disposition: Dismissal. Appeal: None.
24. A staff member physically assaulted another staff member by hitting the other staff member in the head with a metal pipe, resulting in injuries to the staff member’s head. Disposition: Dismissal. Appeal: None.
26. A staff member on three occasions acted in a verbally disrespectful and disruptive manner by arguing with colleagues and supervisors; on one occasion the staff member destroyed property during an argument; on two occasions the staff member made threatening remarks about the use of guns in the workplace. The staff member admitted the conduct with regard to the first two incidents and apologized to the persons involved. Disposition: Separation from service with compensation in lieu of notice and with termination indemnity. Appeal: None.

  Having seen how the UN conducts its interviews, some of these admission may be dubious. But the descriptions continue, with sexual exploitation:
"A staff member attempted to obtain sexual favors from a job applicant, who was a beneficiary of assistance, in return for offering to provide assistance with the United Nations recruitment process. The staff member falsely suggested to the applicant that there was a problem with the application form, and invited the applicant to the staff member’s residence to review the application. In the context of the invitation to the applicant, the staff member made sexually suggestive remarks. Disposition: Separation from service, with compensation in lieu of notice, and without termination indemnity. Appeal: None."

  There were stolen laptops and hard drives, airplane tickets and even copper wire. Some were more sophisticated:
"A staff member created a false note verbale on official letterhead on their United Nations computer. The staff member forged the signature of another staff member, and sold the note verbale to another staff member in order for the latter to obtain a non-immigrant visa. Several false documents, such as fake diplomas, were found on the staff member’s United Nations computer."

  And now, we'll perform or try to perform some detective work. Ban Ki-moon reports:
"A staff member was employed by their government for one year while employed with the Organization, without the approval of the Secretary-General. A conflict of interest existed between the nature of the staff member’s outside activities and their status as a staff member. The time taken to conclude the investigation and subsequent disciplinary process were taken into account in determining the disciplinary measure. Disposition: Separation from service, with in lieu of notice and with termination indemnity. Appeal: Filed with the Dispute Tribunal, where the case remains under consideration."

  This double employment, unless occurring more than once, sounds like a case Inner City Press has asked the UN about, that of Jeffery Armstrong

  Since the UN's ODS system has problems with direct links, Inner City Press is putting the report online through its Scribd, click here and watch this site.

Scandal: 637 Millionaires work for UNDP !!

United Nations Development Millionaires !

Welcome to the Republic of Humanitarian Millionaires !!

As per the latest internal statistics report of UNFCU for 2011, it revealed that only from UNDP (United Nations Development Progamme) 637 individual accounts are at $1 Million plus dollars.

Yes you heard it well:

637 UNDP Staffers are Millionaires !

While the above have $1 Million + in their accounts, the report also reveals that at least 1041 other UNDP staffers have home loans between $850K - $1.5 Million. Translation: 1041 UNDP staffers have enough salary (income) to justify million dollar homes in New York (or tri-state area NY/NJ/CT).

Ban Ki Moon to meet Kim Jong UN in Iran: will discuss the request for DPRK Leader to attend the UN General Assembly in September 2012





Ban Ki Moon's Office and UNDP are working behind the scenes with Chinese counterparts to organize this "historic" visit, which now they claim will have the potential to "open-up" North Korea (DPRK).

Government Regulations and Social Responsibility - An Anarchist Responds to Drew Johnson

Recently, Chattanooga Free Press Editor Drew Johnson penned an opinion piece entitled "Regulations kill a dream" in which he laments the demise of a small business start-up at the hands of buffoonish and insulated bureaucrats. Johnson pegs the demise of the pedicab business "Buzz Chattanooga" on not just Parks and Recreation Department Head Larry Zehnder and City Council representatives Jack Benson and Peter Murphy, but on government regulations in-themselves, using the death of one small business as anecdotal evidence for the common corporatist meme that public interests enacted through government regulations kill private interests and stifle economic development, innovation and job growth:
[Buzz Chattanooga owner] Thoreson’s story is the hidden side of regulations that the city council and other bureaucrats rarely consider in their absurd exercises in trying to keep people safe and micromanage businesses. Too often, regulations stifle entrepreneurs’ ability to innovate, and prevent them from improving their businesses, serving more customers and, ultimately, making Chattanooga a better place. . . Chattanooga’s businesses are weighed down by hundreds of pointless regulations. Rather than adding red tape and sending more Chattanoogans to the unemployment line, city leaders owe it to job providers to spend time looking for ways to reduce the burdens of excessive regulations on businesses.   
I think that Mr. Johnson's article deserves a response, and luckily one has been provide by my good friend Michael Gilliland. Michael is one of the smartest and most astute political thinkers I know and his opinions on local government are particularly fascinating because he is a dedicated anarchist - NOTE: this does NOT mean someone who believe in "chaos" but rather a libertarian socialist, if you believe that to be a contradiction in terms then I would point you to begin by reading "Notes on Anarchism" by Noam Chomsky. I recently sent Johnson's editorial in an email to Michael and asked him for a response. What Michael sent back, completely off the cuff, was so interesting that I wanted to take the opportunity to share it with everyone else. So here it is, a response to Drew Johnson by Michael Gilliland:
My thoughts are yes and no. Not surprising. Even the comment from Conservative was riding the fence on this. FYI- this group was being regulated under the taxi board, which oversees the carriage business as well. These regulations are almost identical to the ones that [name removed] deals with, including the $100 licensing fee, taillights, etc. But she can go over the Market street Bridge. The taxi board is filled by the owners of the businesses. The carriage owners of the different companies have been rotating their position in the past I hear, but I'm pretty sure [name removed]'s boss doesn't want to spend any time on the board. They handle all new taxi / vehicle applicants, and there is an inspector from the police department that is responsible for ensuring that the regulations are being kept up. 
So...my first real problem has to do with the centralized authority of the City Council and the taxi board. Our centralized culture gives ultimate authority over everything to the council, so they are expected to be qualified to rule on all matters pertaining the city. Some legislation whose issues are very familiar to the council might be very well written, but others will be clumsy and ignorant. And I think it would be absurd to see this as just a technocratic mistake; there are plenty of taxi drivers or other interested parties who would've been involved in this discussion. The idea of Jack Benson being the arbiter of power disputes just scares the hell out of me.  
But after this initial law-giving, the process is mainly self-managed by the business owners. Not all of them all the time, but sort of an aristocratic democracy that rotates members. So the idea is that major ground rules will be determined by the "City" (the representatives), and then owners can be responsible for seeing how it is done, or dealing with non-enforcement. Wow. Sounds ideal. It is this strange mixture of regulatory hope and conservative entrepreneurial idealism. Except when you have members on the board coming down heavy on their competition. But who would ever hear it? Who knows the taxi board exists? Or when you are trying to bring up any questions that owners rally against. It is another example of trust that the owners' perspective is the most important, and their concerns are really the only directly-affected concerns. 
Secondly, I have a problem with no alternative as the only alternative. Sorry. I know that could be confusing. But I hate the discussion being limited to bad regulatory mechanisms, or no regulations whatsoever. The fact is that the pedicab drivers have a responsibility to the community they work in. They are responsible for making sure people are safe, for making sure their brakes work, etc. There definitely has to be accountability on their part to the drivers on the road, the customers they haul around, and pedestrians. And I think liability insurance would be necessary if it wasn't in our horrible privatized world. Barring the expenses, there should be a notice that the cabs are not insured. I don't know that a notice would absolve them of their responsibility. I don't think the horse carriages should ever be allowed to operate without liability insurance, but the potential damage is much greater. These social responsibilities should be discussed with pedicab drivers, taxis, carriage drivers. There should be strong commitments from them, with an understanding of consequences. If society is not able to communicate social responsibilities and gain commitment from individuals, then it fails. And if the public doesn't understand the limits of responsibility, or understand the commitment, society fails. 
Our way of dealing with this in chattanooga rests so heavily on authority that broader engagement and commitments are impossible. This process of authority is the law; and once set, it is increasingly difficult to change. It doesn't have to be this way, but civil society isn't organized to provide a process that does this job better. Sounds a little like classic conservatism, but when conservatives talk about civil society they only mean the powers that be. Predominately business owners. Developing an inclusive civil society that is egalitarian, respectful of diversity, bringing people to an ideal that everyone could actually attain...that is the answer. But it also means training civil society to fight state power constantly and reclaim the space that would allow it to actually function. 
There is my analysis...the decision was screwed from the outset.

UPDATE 8.23.2012 Larry Zehnder was mislabeled as the Department of Public Works, he is in fact the Department Head of Parks and Rec. The post was updated to reflect this correction.