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At UN, Praises Sung of Shell & Anglo-American, FT Softball Qs

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 28 -- When Mark Moody-Stuart appeared against the background of the East River with Wall Street behind it on April 28, it was a UN classic event: faux interview, self-congratulation and critical questions not taken.

  Moody-Stuart largely sung the praises of Shell Oil and then Anglo-American. A Financial Times journalist was brought it to toss soft ball questions and then pick, along with a UN Global Compact staffer, questions from the floor.

  These consisted of questions like, How can you expand the Global Compact, and what do responsible companies like Shell do with corrupt governments? One chosen questioner didn't himself disclose that he is on a board of the Global Compact; another was a UN official.

  Inner City Press indicated that it wanted to ask a question, even directly approached the question-distributor, who nodded. But no question was ever allowed.

  When it ended and Inner City Press walked out, a "business and ethics" scribe approached saying he had interviewed Moody-Stuart at some length earlier in the day. Inner City Press asked: did you ask about the global financial meltdown caused by predatory lending? Apparently not. Moody Stuart is a director of HSBC.

It should be noted that the UN uses as its bank JP Morgan Chase, even as a draft resolution by the Group of 77 circulated condemning Chase for essentially diplomatic redlining. Critical questions were not taken: there were a stack of books to be promoted, and a lot of backs to be patted.

  There may have been some improvements at the Global Compact, such as a described working group on remittances that might address such issues as Barclays' Somalia cut off.  But this type of controlled Q&A and self congratulation is indicative of continued blue-washing. Watch this site.


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