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A crook's paradise

Posted by Richard Friday, November 19, 2004

There was something bizarre about Chirac the crook's call for "a new world order", yesterday during his visit to England.

He wants this to be based on "multilateralism" – meaning of course, not "unilateralism", as practised by the US because all the nations will do is sit on their hands. But then everything said by l’escroc, it seems, is coded, so when he warns that a world ruled by "the logic of power" is certain to be unstable and headed for conflict, he means a world ruled (in his terms) by the United States.

But his recipe for success is a world community working together to revive multilateralism, "a multilateralism based on a reformed and strengthened United Nations," currently led by secretary general Kofi Annan.

Annan, whose first name in Ghanaian means "Friday", has so far done very well out of the UN. Born in a country with an annual gross domestic product per capita of approximately $2,200, he had nevertheless benefited from a world-class educational background after attending college in Minnesota, graduate school in Geneva, and a Masters program at MIT, all of which has brought him to his current post where he makes $227,253 per annum.

For his money, Annan has presided over a United Nations which, amongst other things, has been widely criticised for failing to stop the Rwanda genocide that left 800,000 people dead, even though UN peacekeepers were on the ground - a catastrophe for which Annan has publicly apologised.

He has since been in the line of fire over a series of scandals including controversy about a UN aid program that investigators say allowed deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to embezzle billions of dollars and, with that still hanging over him, he has trouble closer at home. His staff at the United Nations are so sick of their secretary general that they are preparing to take an unprecedented vote of no confidence in him.

The trigger was an announcement this week that he had pardoned the UN's top oversight official, who was facing allegations of favouritism and sexual harassment after the union had requested a formal probe into the official, Dileep Nair, when employees accused him of harassing staff and violating UN rules on the hiring and promotion of workers.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard announced on Tuesday that Nair had been exonerated by Annan "after a thorough review" by the UN's senior official in charge of management, Catherine Bertini, and Annan underlined that he "had every confidence" in Nair.

Veteran UN staff said this was the first time that employees had risen up to make a vote of no confidence in a sitting secretary general. "Kofi Annan is surrounded by corruption, a gang of criminals responsible for some of the worst things that happened to mankind in the 20th century," said one angry staffer, referring to the Rwanda massacres.

"It's possible that he doesn't know directly what has gone on," said the employee, who has worked for the United Nations for two decades. "But that's no excuse."

Yet Man Friday has so far survived every crisis and he may do this one, but it again reinforces the impression that the UN is an irredeemably corrupt organisation. No wonder l’escroc is so much in favour of it.