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Nikki Haley Took Names Then Went Native At the UN, Where Corruption and Censorship Continue

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NY Post

UNITED NATIONS, October 12 – When Donald Trump nominated Nikki Haley as his Ambassador to the UN, it seemed she would be a disruptor and clean up corruption. As she prepares to leave, though, at most one of those things is true: she was a disruptive force. But Haley's disruption of the UN was concentrated in her first few months, when she famously stood in the UN lobby and said she would be "taking names" of countries who opposed US interests, and when she blocked Secretary General Antonio Guterres' nomination of Palestinian candidate Salam Fayyad to be the UN's new envoy to Libya.

After that, however, Haley seemed to settle down and go native at the UN. Trump bragged at her send-off that Haley got to know "everyone" in the organization. But not well enough to get Russia's Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia to answer her calls before the UN's mechanism on Syria's chemical weapons expired. She cast vetoes on Jerusalem and Gaza, popular in some quarters but hardly a measure of the she-knows-everyone diplomacy that Trump spoke of.

Haley called for a UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry into the murder in the Democratic Republic of the Congo of American expert Michael Sharp and his Chilean-Swedish colleague Zaida Catalan. But the Commission never happened, and by June 2018 Haley was standing next to Mike Pompeo, explaining why the US was leaving the Human Rights Council.  The answer, some said, was John Bolton...

Haley got her fellow South Carolinian David Beasley installed as the head of the UN World Food Program; at her Press-less press conference as president of the Security Council in September 2018 a South Carolina journalist who'd flown up for the event asked if she'd be taking the Council members down to her home state. It didn't happen - until, in a different form, just after her resignation.

  Perhaps the most disappointing of Haley's failures to disrupt, or disruption interrupted, is on UN corruption. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres no fewer than 15 times since assuming office in January 2017 has used public money to fly to his home in Lisbon, where his spouse still lives. After for Inner City Press I asked questions about this, I was ousted from the UN and Haley did nothing. In fact, another journalist was told by the UN that the US Mission supported my ouster. Haley's spokesman also worked for Samantha Power; her Deputy Jonathan Cohen has yet to speak to the Press, now asking questions at the UN Delegates Entrance gate.

   Haley never even commented much less demanded UN action on a UN bribery case proceeding in Federal court in lower Manhattan against Patrick Ho of the China Energy Fund Committee for allegedly bribing then UN President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa for oil and other concessions in Uganda. While Guterres has refused to even start an audit to determine the full scope of CEFC's bribery at the UN, Haley has stayed quiet. Perhaps an expanded scope would call into question her oft-repeated claim that it is a new day at the UN. It is not. The UN tends to drag those who pass through it to its level. So it was time for Haley to declare victory and move on.

After twenty four Congressmembers urged Haley to schedule a Security Council meeting about the slaughter of Anglophones in Cameroon, I asked her about it, and she said she was “open” to such a Council meeting. But it never happened, and now even amid the re-coronation of 36 year president Paul Biya, there is no meeting on the horizon.

Haley came out a winner when the New York Times mis-reported that she had accepted $52,000 curtains for her penthouse apartment (the curtains were bought and paid for by the Obama administration). But the real story may have been her living in a $58,000 a month apartment. From there, how could she criticize Guterres spending public money to fly home? Haley herself was taking rides on private jets, as detailed in a formal complaint the day before her resignation was made public.

   Haley's shift from taking names to taking selfies was exemplified on the 4th of July 2018, when the UN gave her its fourth floor Delegates Dining Room and balcony for a party to watch the fireworks. Ambassadors of all stripes lined up, wanting photos with her just as she wanted photos with them, to show how well she was getting along. But what that supposed to be the point?

  The UN is the ultimate swamp, with reform always a chimera, blocked by immunity. Haley's narrative is that she came and quickly cleaned up the UN. Twenty one months in, little has been cleaned up. Perhaps it was time to get out before demands came for results and not rhetoric. At the UN, the corruption and censorship continue -- including with the discovery that under Guterres the UN maintains a secret "active ban" list that includes "political activists' - and Inner City Press. But that's another thing that Haley hasn't acted on; that's another story. Watch this site.


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