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Inner City Press Podcast --

WFP Brochure-Gate? John Bolton Has Not Seen Brochure of "Official" U.S. Candidate to Head World Food Program

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, October 31 -- "Did the U.S. State Department produce the brochure promoting Josette Sheeran Shiner to head the UN World Food Program?"

            Nearly 7 p.m. Tuesday, Inner City Press asked U.S. Ambassador John Bolton this question.

            "I've never seen the brochure," Amb. Bolton said. "So I can't comment on it." Video on UNTV, at Minute 4:40.

            That can be quickly remedied -- click HERE for a scanned copy of the brochure, in PDF format.

UN office in Abidjan

            Also on Tuesday, Inner City Press asked the General Assembly president's spokeswoman who in her purview may have seen the campaign brochure. WFP is run by a 36-member executive board, half of the nations appointed by the UN ECOSOC, half by the FAO.

            The GA president's spokeswomen later said they do not answer for the ECOSOC, so Inner City Press put the question, in writing, to the mission of Tunisia, which chairs the ECOSOC. Similarly, Inner City Press has put the question to FAO, including asking if a provision of the FAO Constitution about picking the candidate with the most experience and technical competency applies to this WFP process.

            Kofi Annan's spokesman, who has before him several related questions, explained that the Secretary-General and the head of FAO propose the new head of WFP to the WFP executive board. So was the attached brochure created only for two men? Or for the five-person interview panel, including Mark Malloch Brown and Jan Egeland, which whittled eight finalists down to four? Or for all 36 WFP Executive Board members? After a day of asking the Secretariat, the General Assembly, the head of ECOSOC and FAO, the answers should come Wednesday. And by then U.S. Amb. Bolton will have seen, one way or another, Josette Sheeran Shiner's brochure. One example: what is the statement about "Pulitzer Prize nominee" based on? Developing...

"Official" U.S. Candidate to Head WFP Circulates Brochure With Pulitzer Claim, UN Staff Rules Ignored

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, October 30 -- "We support the official American candidate, Josette Sheeran," U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said Monday, responding to Inner City Press' question about another U.S. citizen in the final four to head the UN World Food Program, current head of WFP in Asia, Tony Banbury.

            Inner City Press asked, "How is the previously-announced U.S. candidate, Josette Sheeran Shiner, more qualified than Mr. Banbury?"

            "She has enormous qualifications," said Amb. Bolton, citing international agricultural affairs and that she has the "full confidence" of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.Video on UNTV, Minute 7.

            A four-page campaign brochure bearing Ms. Sheeran Shiner's photo on the cover states, "As executive director of WFP, I would ensure that this life-saving program has the resources, capabilities and global support to enhances its ability to respond with lightening speed to hunger and family."

Somalia refugees. Who should head WFP? Does experience, and UN Staff Rules, matter?

   The brochure lists, often repetitively, Ms. Sheeran Shiner's previous jobs, by far the longest of which was for the Rev. Sun Myung Moon-owned Washington Times. During that time, Ms. Sheeran Shiner was a member of Moon's Unification Church, which has since been renamed. Ms. Sheeran Shiner has stated she is no longer a member of the Unification Church.

            The campaign brochure also states that Ms. Sheeran Shiner is a "Pulitzer Prize nominee." Doubts have emerged about this. The Pulitzer web site states that

"Nominated Finalists are selected by the Nominating Juries for each category as finalists in the competition. The Pulitzer Prize Board generally selects the Pulitzer Prize Winners from the three nominated finalists in each category. The names of nominated finalists have been announced only since 1980. Work that has been submitted for Prize consideration but not chosen as either a nominated finalist or a winner is termed an entry or submission. No information on entrants is provided."

            The brochure lists Ms. Sheeran Shiner's work for William Bennett's "Empower America," stating that she "raised more than hundreds of thousands of dollars as CEO of Empower America." But sources tell Inner City Press that her departure from Empower America was due to not raising enough money.

            Given concerns raised about Ms. Sheeran Shiner's qualifications to become the executive director of the World Food Program, legal inquiry has been made into relevant provisions of the UN Charter, of UN staff regulations and rules and of the FAO Constitution. All speak to the need to select the most competent candidate; Staff Regulation 4.4 and Staff Rule 104.14 provide that "if qualifications are equal, staff members already in the Secretariat or in other international organizations are given preference over others in filling vacancies."

            WFP's Jim Morris has announced he is leaving, creating a vacancy. It is nearly a fait accompli that the post will again go to an American. Tony Banbury, a U.S. citizen who is current the head of WFP in Asia, has worked for the UN all the way back to 1988 in Thailand, 1995 in Cambodia, and from there to Bosnia and Croatia. He has actually run programs to deliver food for the WFP.

            Monday at the UN, after the Security Council meeting on Lebanon and Resolution 1559, Inner City Press asked Amb. Bolton to articulate how Josette Sheeran Shiner is more qualified than Tony Banbury. Amb. Bolton replied that Ms. Sheeran Shiner is the "official candidate." But that does not answer, why? Nor does it answer the previous question, of why Kofi Annan in a lame duck period is being asked, by the U.S., to make a five year appointment. Is this any way to choose the head of the UN World Food Program?

            Regarding Lebanon, Inner City Press asked UN Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen about press reports, confirmed by Russia's Defense Minister, that Russian road-repair teams in Lebanon have brought soldiers with them, from the Vostok brigade from Chechnya. Beyond the human rights issues raised, there is a question of whether such troops in Lebanon violates Resolution 1701. Video on UNTV. Mr. Roed-Larsen committed in an interview to look into the matter and get back to Inner City Press, and took a business card to do so. We'll see.

            Outgoing Security Council president Kenzo Oshima told reporters that the Ivory Coast resolution, which must be passed by October 31, is still being negotiated. Apparently, the Council will seek to satisfy the provision that resolutions should be finalized and their texts "put in blue" 24 hours before a vote by putting this unfinished text in blue on Monday night. Then the (light) blue text is slated to be nailed down and voted on during Tuesday's Council session.

            In a similar legal fiction, the North Korea sanctions committee's failure to meet the 14-day deadline in the resolution's Paragraph 8 is being ignored. The list, Amb. Oshima told Inner City Press, will be ready on Tuesday midday. "Don't try reading it," he advised. Video on UNTV. The Council voted on the resolution without having the list, and now the deadline in the resolution is being ignored. Is this any way to make international law?

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A Tale of Two Americans Vying to Head the World Food Program, Banbury and Sheeran Shiner

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, October 27 -- The four-person short list to replace Jim Morris as head of the UN World Food Program includes Tony Banbury, a Democrat who worked in the Bush Administration for a year before rejoining the UN system and the current head of WFP's Asia operation, Inner City Press has learned.

   As first reported by Inner City Press on September 29, the Bush Administration's nominee for the WFP post is Josette Sheeran (Shiner), formerly an editor of the Washington Times and a 20-year member, until 1998, of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. The two other short listers are Canada's Robert Fowler and Walter Fust. Sources say that many senior figures in the Bush Administration could live with Tony Banbury getting the job, given his strong credentials earned in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami and the earthquake in Pakistan. They simply couldn't or didn't choose to nominate a Democrat instead of a Republican, particularly a Republican with a history with the Unification Church, a sub-constituency.

            Friday, a senior UN official confirmed to Inner City Press that Tony Banbury is on the WFP short list. The list was whittled from eight candidates to four by a five-person panel that included the UN's Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland and  UNFPA's Thoraya Obaid, and well as two representatives from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. Now the finalists will be interviewed by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, who is currently in New York. It is widely known that Dr. Diouf does not get along with finalist Robert Fowler who has been serving as Canada's ambassador to the FAO in Rome. Dr. Diouf's views on Walter Fust, are not known. Nor are Dr. Diouf's connections with the Bush Administration although regarding these, the coming decision may speak loudly.

WFP's outgoing Jim Morris


            On October 25, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, as transcribed by the UN:

Question:  On the World Food Program (WFP) process, we have heard that there is a shortlist.  Is that true?  Who is on it?

Spokesman:  I have said all I have to say on that, and we expect an announcement in the next couple of weeks.

Inner City Press question:  When the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) selected Mr. Guterres they did actually say who was on the shortlist.  Is that not going to be done in this case?

Spokesman:  The process here is slightly different because as opposed to UNHCR this is not an appointment that goes to the General Assembly.  This is an appointment that is made jointly by the Secretary-General and the Director General of the FAO.

Inner City Press question: Will it be a five-year appointment?

Spokesman:  My understanding is that it will be.

            Concerns have been raised about Kofi Annan making five year appointments now that he remains Secretary-General for only nine more weeks. On September 27 at the UN, before the WFP nomination had become public, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told reporters that Kofi Annan's appointment of new UN officials would only be okay if these officials' contracts ended "soon after January 1." Video here, at Minute 4:43.

            September 29 at the UN, Inner City Press asked Ambassador Bolton if the U.S.'s position is that Josette Sheeran (Shiner) could be given a five-year WFP term even before Kofi Annan leaves the UN in three month. Ambassador Bolton answered that the appointment could be made before January 1, that "the precedents have differed." Video here, from Minute 8:15, the US mission's transcript:

Inner City Press: On the secretary-general transition and the World Food Program looking for a new executive director, I've heard that the U.S. put forward Josette Sheeran Shiner. Is it your position that this should not be done until January 1st or that she could be appointed and given a five-year term prior to that?

Ambassador Bolton: She could be appointed prior to January 1 or thereafter. And the precedent has differed from reappointment to reappointment.

U.S. Ambassador Bolton added that Josette Sheeran Shiner was "the most qualified candidate."

   As Inner City Press reported on September 29, open-source research reflects that Josette Sheeran (Shiner) was an active member of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church from 1975 through at least 1996. After that date, it is reported that she went "into the world," including into William Bennett's Empower America organization and then the U.S. State Department, in order to spread the Unification Church's message and position. Beyond controversial views on abstinence, mass-marriage and other matters, including the UN, these include business ties with and praise of North Korea.

            The internal U.S. State Department memo obtained by Inner City Press stated that

"For the past several weeks, we have been working with the White House to search for a highly qualified candidate to succeed Jim Morris as Executive Director of the World Food Programme. We now have an excellent candidate in Ambassador Josette Sheeran (Shiner)... Through the course of a distinguished career in government, business and journalism, Ambassador Sheeran has excelled as a diplomat, humanitarian, business leader and development policy leader."

            The reference to journalism is to Ms. Sheeran's tenure as managing editor of the Moon-owned Washington Times.

            In that capacity, in 1992 Ms. Sheeran went on an 11-day visit to North Korea, leading up a feature article commemorating the 80th birthday of Kim Il-Sung's 80th birthday. "Even if the sky is falling down on us, there will always be a hole for me to rise up through," said Kim -- a sentence Sheeran-Shiner later recollected, as recounted by the American Prospect, as "this wonderful thing which I printed in the paper."

            Sheeran-Shiner's interview with Kim Il-Sung painted him as a "self-confident, reflective elder statesman rather than the reclusive, dogmatic dictator he is usually portrayed as in the West."

            Now Kim Il-Sung's son is being portrayed by Ms. Sheeran-Shiner's nominator as a threat to international peace and security. More documents on the North Korea - Moon connection are online here.

            Josette Sheeran's first appearance in the media was in Time magazine of November 10, 1975, in an article entitled "Mad About Moon" --

"One typical worried parent is New Jersey's state insurance commissioner James Sheeran, three of whose daughters—Vicki, 25, Jaime, 24, and Josette, 21—are Moon converts. He wants laws to protect people from 'cruel and exotic entrapment of their minds, souls and bodies.' Late one night last August, Sheeran decided to act when Josette, normally compassionate, showed little interest upon learning that her grandmother was in the hospital. He, his wife and a son drove to Moon's school to seek Josette. Fifteen Moon men materialized, a scuffle ensued, and state police arrived amid mutual charges of assault."

           In fairness or under the doctrine of equal time, Inner City Press has heard a person who states that she "worked with Ms. Sheeran at the Office of the Untied States Trade Representative" and that "she severed her ties with the Unification Church... do you actually think the State Department's security clearance process" who have passed a Unification Church member?

   Well, yes. George H.W. Bush has given speeches extensively praising Sun Myung Moon. But it's duly noted here, this missive from a person who worked with Ms. Sheeran also at the Washington Times, that after 20 years of membership in the Unification Church, it's stated that all ties were then severed. It remains newsworthy, also on the shifting positions on whether Kofi Annnan should be allowed to hand out five-year appointments in the less than three months he has remaining in office. U.S. Amb. Bolton said Annan shouldn't make appointments beyond the end of 2006, then receiving new instructions, said there'd be precedent to give Ms. Sheeran five years right now. Would he and the Bush Administration take the same position on Tony Banbury? We'll see.

 WFP insiders have pointed out to Inner City Press that within the U.S. State Department, of Josette Sheeran (Shiner) it is said, "She is no Al Larson," her predessesor as Under-Secretary for Economic Affairs. These WFP sources note that Ms. Sheeran Shiner has no experience in humanitarian operations, or in emergency relief work, in international affairs, or in managing a large, complex, multi-billion dollar agency.  One argues, "it would still be possible for Kofi Annan to retain an American for the WFP post and to not agree to the Bush Administration's rather unqualified candidate. After the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, America learned a lesson: Don't place unqualified political appointees in charge of critical emergency response agencies.  The same lesson applies to leadership considerations for the WFP, the global 'first responder' for floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis the world over."

Yer doin' a heckuva job, Shinie!   Developing.

Other Inner City Press reports are archived on

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UN Envoy Makes Excuses for Gambian Strongman, Whitewashing Fraud- and Threat-Filled Election

U.S. Calls for Annan and Ban Ki-moon to Publicly Disclose Finances, As U.S. Angles for 5-Year WFP Appointment

Sudan's UN Envoy Admits Right to Intervene in Rwanda, UNICEF Response on Terrorist Groups in Pakistan

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At the UN, Ban Ki-Moon's Track Record on Myanmar Criticized by ASEAN Parliamentarians on Human Rights

At the UN, Cagey Council President of the GA on the Bottom of the Sea, of Stolen Chairs, Uzbek Human Rights and Georgia

At the UN, As Next S-G is Chosen, Annan Claims Power to Make 5-Year Appointments, Quiet Filing and Ivory Coast Concessions

Chaos in UN's Somalia Policy, Working With Islamists Under Sanctions While Meeting with Private Military Contractors

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At the UN, U.S. Versus Axis of Airport, While Serge Brammertz Measures Non-Lebanese Teeth

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In Some New Orleans, Questions Echo from the South Bronx and South Lebanon

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At the UN, Tales of Media Muzzled in Yemen, Penned in at the Waldorf on Darfur, While Copters Grounded

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Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Leads UN Agency to Suspend Its Work and Spending

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Blamed on UNDP, Still Silent on Finance

Alleged Abuse in Disarmament in Uganda Known by UNDP, But Dollar Figures Still Not Given: What Did UN Know and When?

Strong Arm on Small Arms: Rift Within UN About Uganda's Involuntary Disarmament of Karamojong Villages

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UN's Selective Vision on Somalia and Wishful Thinking on Uighurs

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At the UN, a Commando Unit to Quickly Stop Genocide is Proposed, by Diplomatic Sir Brian Urquhart

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UN  Waffles on Human Rights in Central Asia and China; ICC on Kony and a Hero from Algiers

At the UN, Internal Justice Needs Reform, While in Timor Leste, Has Evidence Gone Missing?

UN & US, Transparency for Finance But Not Foreign Affairs: Somalia, Sovereignty and Senator Tom Coburn

In Bolton's Wake, Silence and Speech at the UN, Congo and Kony, Let the Games Begin

Pro-Poor Talk and a Critique of the World Trade Organization from a WTO Founder: In UN Lull, Ugandan Fog and Montenegrin Mufti

Human Rights Forgotten in UN's War of Words, Bolton versus Mark Malloch Brown: News Analysis

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On AIDS at the UN, Who Speaks and Who Remains Unseen

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Kinshasa Election Nightmares, from Ituri to Kasai. Au Revoir Allan Rock; the UN's Belly-Dancing

Working with Warlords, Insulated by Latrines: Somalia and Pakistan Addressed at the UN

The Silence of the Congo and Naomi Watts; Between Bolivia and the World Bank

Human Rights Council Has Its Own Hanging Chads; Cocky U.S. State Department Spins from SUVs

Child Labor and Cargill and Nestle; Iran, Darfur and WHO's on First with Bird Flu

Press Freedom? Editor Arrested by Congo-Brazzaville, As It Presides Over Security Council

The Place of the Cost-Cut UN in Europe's Torn-Up Heart;
Deafness to Consumers, Even by the Greens

Background Checks at the UN, But Not the Global Compact; Teaching Statistics from Turkmenbashi's Single Book

Ripped Off Worse in the Big Apple, by Citigroup and Chase: High Cost Mortgages Spread in Outer Boroughs in 2005, Study Finds

Burundi: Chaos at Camp for Congolese Refugees, Silence from UNHCR, While Reform's Debated by Forty Until 4 AM

In Liberia, From Nightmare to Challenge; Lack of Generosity to Egeland's CERF, Which China's Asked About

The Chadian Mirage: Beyond French Bombs, Is Exxon In the Cast? Asylum and the Uzbeks, Shadows of Stories to Come

Through the UN's One-Way Mirror, Sustainable Development To Be Discussed by Corporations, Even Nuclear Areva

Racial Disparities Grew Worse in 2005 at Citigroup, HSBC and Other Large Banks

Mine Your Own Business: Explosive Remnants of War and the Great Powers, Amid the Paparazzi

Human Rights Are Lost in the Mail: DR Congo Got the Letter, But the Process is Still Murky

Iraq's Oil to be Metered by Shell, While Basrah Project Remains Less than Clear

At the UN, Dues Threats and Presidents-Elect, Unanswered Greek Mission Questions

Kofi, Kony, Kagame and Coltan: This Moment in the Congo and Kampala

As Operation Swarmer Begins, UN's Qazi Denies It's Civil War and Has No Answers if Iraq's Oil is Being Metered

Cash Crop: In Nepal, Bhutanese Refugees Prohibited from Income Generation Even in their Camps

The Shorted and Shorting in Humanitarian Aid: From Davos to Darfur, the Numbers Don't Add Up

UN Reform: Transparency Later, Not Now -- At Least Not for AXA - WFP Insurance Contract

In Congolese Chaos, Shots Fired at U.N. Helicopter Gunship

In the Sudanese Crisis, Oil Revenue Goes Missing, UN Says

Empty Words on Money Laundering and Narcotics, from the UN and Georgia

What is the Sound of Eleven Uzbeks Disappearing? A Lack of Seats in Tashkent, a Turf War at UN

Kosovo: Of Collective Punishment and Electricity; Lights Out on Privatization of Ferronikeli Mines

Abkhazia: Cleansing and (Money) Laundering, Says Georgia

Post-Tsunami Human Rights Abuses, including by UNDP in the Maldives

Who Pays for the Global Bird Flu Fight? Not the Corporations, So Far - UN

Citigroup Dissembles at United Nations Environmental Conference

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