Diplomats Marvel at Wikileaks, Yemen Betrayal & Gaddafi
Russell Lee, News Muse
November 29 -- Wikileaks
was the topic at the UN Monday
evening, whether at an event about Gaza or an African alliance
Susan Rice earlier in the day had tried to sidestep the memo, signed
by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, directing US Ambassadors to
collect computer passwords and even frequent
flyer miles account
numbers of other Security Council members and UN bureaucrats and
Delegates' Dining Room some eight hours later, several African
Ambassadors asked Inner City Press how the US could have allowed this
“Did you see
what they did to Yemen's President?” one
of them asked, referring to the cable by then US ambassador Stephen
Seche which quotes President Ali Abdullah Saleh telling US General
David Petraeus, "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not
thing is not going to help him,” said another, at an end with an
open bar with Jack Daniels and Finlandia vodka. After several drinks
talk turns to Libya's Gaddafi and his Ukrainian companion, whom the
US turned back from the General Debate in New York in September. That
the leaked US cable has her talking to Ukrainian diplomats might
end the relationship right there, one predicted.
General Assembly lobby at the Gaza event there was no liquor, only
lamb chops and raw tuna on crackers. Inner City Press tried to follow
a diplomat from Belgium, the country which both hosts US nuclear
weapons and was offered “low cost” prestige if it took those
released from Guantanamo Bay.
into the crowd, to which Permanent Observer Riyad Mansour gave a
speech as UNRWA's John Ging beamed. The cables predict that Abbas
will not long hold his post.
Gaddafi & UN Ban: one travels in style, the
other out of town when news breaks
countries whose Permanent Representatives Inner City Press managed to
speak with were most surprised that anyone other than at the highest
levels of the Obama administration would have had access to this
breadth of information.
as is common at the UN, that Israel is behind it, since the cable
point the finger at Iran. One even noted that the timing lifts some
pressure on North Korea. That UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is
again out of town when news hits was not viewed as surprising. Nor
was the implication that the US expects another candidate to emerge
in 2012. Watch this site.
* * *
US Sought UN Frequent Flyer Miles, Misuse of Miles
Alleged in Liberia
November 29 -- In Wikileaks' release of US
State Hillary Clinton's directive to collect computer passwords,
credit card account numbers and “biometric data,” she included a
request for “frequent flyer account numbers.”
asked UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq on Monday about Secretary
Clinton's memo, and about UN officials' frequent flyer miles: are
they returned to the UN, which paid for the underlying flights, or
are they kept by some UN officials? Video here,
from Minute 8:04.
said he could
or would not vouch for the authenticity of Secretary Clinton's memo.
On frequent flyer miles, he said these are “essentially the
property of the UN.”
asked, can you confirm that all Special Representatives of the
Secretary General give the frequent flyer miles to the UN? Haq spoke
in reply of the “work you do for the Organization” being “part
and parcel of the Organization... held by the Organization.”
City Press asked was that sources for example in Liberia tell it
different. Specifically, sources describe the Special Rapporteur of
the Secretary General at the UN Mission in Liberia Ellen Loj
screaming at UNMIL's Travel Unit for mishandling “her” frequent
report came to
Inner City Press in connection with its confirmed reporting on the
conditions for peacekeepers in Liberia and SRSG Loj's UN-managed
living quarters on the UNMIL base.
the US has become even
less responsive, refusing for example to confirm public reports that
the US is providing at least back up security to the UN's SRSG in
Iraq, Ad Melkert.
the UN Susan Rice, who Haq said spoke to Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon just before Wikileaks put online the US memo asking that
Ban's passwords and frequent flyer miles accounts be collected, was
alleged through the WikiLeaks documents that your diplomats
would ask to take personal information in some cases, like frequent
flyer miles, credit cards, and -- were they asked to do so, and had
they used diplomatic resources at the time to do so?
Our diplomats are doing what diplomats do around the world
every day, which is build relationships, negotiate, advance our
interests, and work to find common solutions to complex problems.
That’s what they do. And they do it extremely well, with great
integrity, with hard work. And I want to just underscore that in the
complex world in which we live, the work that U.S. diplomats do here
in the United Nations and around the world is indispensible to our
national security and substantially advances our shared interests in
international peace and security.
gathering UN officials' frequent flyer miles account numbers
“substantially advance [anyone's] shared interests in international
peace and security”?
UN's Ban flies Saudi, Loj & frequent flyer miles
and spying not shown
UN's November 29 noon briefing transcript:
Press: The document says US diplomats should seek to get the
computer passwords, frequent flyer miles, credit card numbers,
etcetera, not only of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, but SRSGs
[Special Representatives] and Force Commanders. Would each of those
things, according to you, violate the agreement with the host
Spokesperson Haq: Well, on that, again, bearing in mind that
we don’t have any judgement at this stage on the authenticity of
the document, bearing in mind that, I do want to read to you a little
passage from the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of
the United Nations, and this is a direct quote: “The premises of
the United Nations shall be inviolable. The property and assets of
the United Nations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be
immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any
other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative,
judicial, or legislative action.”
Press I had some other ones on Sudan, but one thing that the
memo made me wonder is there is this reference to frequent flyer
miles that seemed strange. What does happen with the frequent flyer
miles of Ban Ki-moon or other SRSGs when they fly around? Are they
donated to the UN, do they keep them personally, what happens?
Spokesperson: The frequent flyer miles of UN officials are
essentially possessions of the United Nations. I don’t have
anything, I don’t have any details about what we do with them, but
this is all part of the Organization…
Press: But can you state, for example, for SRSGs that travel, it
goes to the UN or do they keep it personally?
Spokesperson: No, I believe on work that you do for the
Organization, this is part and parcel of the Organization. I need to
get further detail about what happens to them, but this is held by
hours after this statement, no information had yet been provided about
"what happens" to UN frequent flyer miles. The answer should be given
and should be interesting, particularly but not only with regard to
Liberia. Here's from Secretary Clinton's memo:
R E T SECTION 01 OF 24 STATE 080163
12958: DECL: 07/31/2034
ECON KPKO KUNR
AND COLLECTION NEEDS: THE UNITED NATIONS REF:
OWENS, ACTING DIR, INR/OPS. REASON: 1.4(C).
cable provides the full text of the new National HUMINT
Collection Directive (NHCD) on the United Nations (paragraph 3-end)
as well as a request for continued DOS reporting of biographic
information relating to the United Nations (paragraph 2).
should include as much of the following information as
possible when they have information relating to... credit card
account numbers; frequent flyer account numbers; work schedules, and
other relevant biographical information.
current and future use of communications systems
and technologies by officials or organizations, including cellular
phone networks, mobile satellite phones, very small aperture
terminals (VSAT), trunked and mobile radios, pagers, prepaid calling
cards, firewalls, encryption, international connectivity, use of
electronic data interchange, Voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP),
Worldwide interoperability for microwave access (Wi-Max), and cable
and fiber networks.