Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cash For Kim

Adrianus Petrus Wilhelmus Melkert. Ever heard of him? Contemporary of Mozart, perhaps?

No, how about condemner of Wolfowitz -- that ring a bell? Ad, as he goes, Melkert was one of Paul Wolfowitz' main accusers in the recent World Bank reputation-lynching, and he's a no-gooder if ever there was one. The WSJ is slamming him in its editorial today, so it's a good, good Friday.

In the editorial, nicely titled Kim's UN Buddy, we learn and/or are reminded:
[Melkert] recently threatened to "retaliate" against the U.S. for its efforts to get to the bottom of incompetence and possible corruption in the UNDP's program in North Korea.

The international diplomat's nasty but revealing threat occurred in a meeting this month with Mark Wallace, who is the point man at the U.S. mission to the U.N. for the continuing investigation into the Cash for Kim Jong Il scandal, in which many millions of dollars of UNDP money may have been diverted to Pyongyang. The incident was recounted in a June 14 letter to Mr. Melkert's boss, Kemal Dervis, from Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. permanent representative to the U.N.

"I was surprised and concerned to learn that . . . Mr. Melkert suggested to Ambassador Wallace that UNDP viewed [the] United States inquiry relating to [North Korea] as justifying some kind of 'retaliation' against the Government of the United States," Mr. Khalilzad wrote.

I'll take Khalizad's charge over Melkert's quickly issued denial because the former head of the World Bank's ethics committee is a no good liar, and he's proved it with ExLax-like regularity. For example, he has stated that an audit of the UN Development Program, for which the Dutchman was associate administrator, did nothing wrong in North Korea.

Even without full access to the complete record, which is beautifully buried in the UN bureaucracy, the US has found his claim to be false:

In fact, as Mr. Melkert knows, the U.N. Board of Auditors found that the UNDP repeatedly violated its own rules until it pulled out of North Korea this spring. It hired staffers selected by the North Korean government and paid their salaries directly to Pyongyang; it disbursed large amounts of cash in foreign currency; and it inspected only a small fraction of its projects, which may or may not even exist. The auditors, who were barred from traveling to North Korea, were careful to note that they were unable to follow the money trail. That is, they had no way to know whether, as Mr. Melkert blithely asserts, the UNDP's funds "were used for development purposes."

The bottom line is that no one knows how much money the United Nations has actually spent in North Korea, or where it went. Using sums "self-reported" by the U.N., the Congressional Research Service says U.N. development assistance to North Korea for 1995-2005 was a staggering $1.4 billion. Of that, the UNDP spent a minimum of $33.1 million; if payments made by UNDP on behalf of other U.N. agencies are included, the total could reach more than $100 million. That's money Kim has used to prop up his brutal regime and perhaps to fund his nuclear weapons program.

Melkert and his ilk are part of what's wrong with the UN. Sure, the despotic rulers of various horrorocracies that have full voting rights are a big part of what's wrong with the sump, but they are at times outdone by the professional crooks in diplomatic clothing like Melkert, who feel the UN is their playground and pocketbook. They lie, steal and cover up, all while cloaking themselves in the glorious, sacrificial robes of people who care more about others than we do.

The House has cut $20 million in aid to the UNDP as a statement of dissatisfaction with Melkert's fluff investigation of the Cash for Kim scandal. I doubt if he'll get a single glare at the water cooler from his co-henchmen in the Global Bureaucracy; high-fives are more likely -- he stood up to Wolfowitz and it only cost them $20 million they could have spent to better people, but would have squandered anyway.

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