University for Peace Community Liason Group

- a concerned citizens initiative -

(Our group is independent of and has no formal approval from the University for Peace)

 

 

   
The following news re: University for Peace Council President Maurice Strong was circulated in the October, 2005 issue of the RFPI Newsletter.  Readers of materials posted to this website and long-time observers of Maurice will already be familiar with a long string of questionable dealings involving Mr. Strong -

Maurice Strong In the News for Links To U.N. Oil-for-Food Scandal

Maurice Strong; most readers of Vista and listeners to our broadcasts over the years have heard of this man.  Strong was the power broker who ordered RFPI to shut down our shortwave broadcast and was responsible for the damage to our studios and facilities in November 2003.

Strong is no stranger to controversy, having been fingered for defrauding the Costa Rican government for $1.65 million, as reported in many Canadian newspapers.  Peter Foster writing for the Financial Post on May 12, 2004 reports on Strong's Earth Council debacle:

"In 1996, the Earth Council was granted land on which to build a new headquarters, with the provision that the land would have to be returned if the Council shut down or moved on.  Trouble arose in paradise when the Earth Council decided to reimburse itself for its expenditures by selling the land that Costa Rica had given it.  The government cried foul, and the Earth Council upped and departed the country, citing the drain of the legal fight."

A  recent article penned by Judi Mcleod and David Hawkins of the Canadian Free Press, titled, Entity behind Kyoto Conned Public, states:

"The Costa Rican government has been pursuing the Earth Council for payment of U.S. 1.65 million, for the wrongful sale of a tract of land it imprudently donated to the Council ...... All hell broke loose when it was discovered that the Earth Council sold the land that was not theirs to sell in the first place."

No doubt, like Radio For Peace International, the Costa Rican government has found it daunting to bring legal action against Strong due to his U.N. diplomatic immunity.  That status may be a thing of the past however,  as Strong lost his job at the UN recently; it is said, due to his alleged links to the Oil-for-Food scandal [note: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has announced new financial reporting requirements for high-level UN appointments, citing the Maurice Strong case as a motivating factor in this decision]. 

During the  summer of 2005 the story started to unravel how U.N. officials had been receiving
kickbacks and bribes in the U.N. operated Oil-for-Food program.  This following an investigation by an Independent Inquiry Committee led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker into just who at the U.N. was involved.  In a September 7th 2005 Reuters article Irwin Arieff explains the complex corruption that was allowed to take place at the UN:

"Among the cast of characters in the complex scheme were Tongsun Park,
a South Korean .... and Iraqi-American oil man Samir Vincent.....Also
involved were Canadian businessman and longtime U.N. aide Maurice
Strong [together with] Cordex Petroleums Inc., a now bankrupt Canadian
oil company whose major investors included Strong's son, Frederick"

According to the report, some 15 million dollars was available for bribes designed to shape the Oil-for-Food program to Saddam Hussein's liking.  Tongsun Park, a business associate of Maurice Strong, was the bag man carrying money out of Iraq to be used to buy influence in the
U.N.  As Irwin Arieff details in the Reuters story:

"Park ....told associates he gave nearly $1 million in 1997 to Maurice Strong, who was then advising Boutros-Ghali and had been lobbied by Iraqi officials to get involved in Iraq.......Park carried the money out of Iraq in a cardboard box, and it ended up invested in Cordex, which had been established by Frederick Strong and failed soon
afterward......[Maurice] Strong, who lost his job as an adviser to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in mid-July, said he had no memory of getting a check from Park.  But when shown the check, said he recognized his signature on the endorsement."

Strong seems to have quietly cleaned his desk and left other officials at the U.N. to swing for the crimes.  At the time of writing this issue of Vista, the University for Peace's web site still listed Maurice Strong as President of the Council of the University. 

A kind reminder to Secretary General Annan: While working for you, your former Under Secretary-General  pillaged a non-profit radio station dedicated to peace that at the time was helping to bring the UN's message to the world, via its airwaves.  An apology would be nice, a payment for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages would be appropriate as well.


 


 

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