Tag: UN

New scam: Scammers offering scam compensation

Tuesday, 16 May, 2017 0 Comments

The e-mail subject line is suspect: “Dear Beneficary.” The misspelling of “Beneficary” there should alert every potential beneficiary that something odd is afoot. The mail is from one “[email protected]”, who claims to be acting on behalf of the officiously titled “Barrister Dusman Diko, Solicitors & Co, Chambers,” in Benin, a French-speaking West African nation that’s famous for being the birthplace of the vodun (or voodoo) religion and home to the Dahomey Kingdom from 1600 to 1900.

Anyway, Dusman Diko, we are led to believe, represents an entity called the “United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) West Africa Regional Office, Fraud Victim Compensation Unit of Fidelity Insurance Plc,” which happens to be located in Benin. There is no such unit and the UN constantly warns people about scams implying association with its offices. And now, the e-mail:

Dear Beneficary

I am writing to inform you that your Scam Victim Compensation Payment is ready, sum of $1,200,000.00 USD is been granted to you by the Scam Victim Regulatory Authorities. The fund is ready to be released to you, I await your urgent confirmation as soon as you read this message. Secondly remember that you will be responsible for the registration fee of $55 only and be assured to receive your compensation payment as soon as you are able to comply fully with the payment release procedures.

Sincerely yours,

Barrister Dusman Diko, Solicitors & Co, Chambers

Office of the Attorney General, Division of Scam Victim Services
For: United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) West Africa Regional Office, Fraud Victim Compensation Unit of Fidelity Insurance Plc, Benin Republic, West Africa

Despite the criminality involved here, one has to acknowledge that it takes a certain level of roguish ingenuity to come up with a “Scam Victim Compensation Payment” issued by the “Scam Victim Regulatory Authorities”.

Note: Australians report losses of $300 million to scams in 2016.


How did the UN get it so wrong on Julian Assange?

Saturday, 6 February, 2016 0 Comments

That’s the question posed by Joshua Rozenberg in the Guardian. “Assange has always been free to leave the embassy at any time,” says Rozenberg, adding: “Of course, he knew he would be arrested for breach of his bail conditions. Of course, he knew he would face extradition to Sweden. Of course, he knew that he might face extradition to the United States once proceedings in Sweden were at an end. But that does not mean he was detained, and still less that his detention was of an arbitrary character.”

Rozenberg outlines the faulty logic of the UN working group, but it is his colleague Marina Hyde who really gets to the heart of the matter with this devastating assessment of Assange: “He can issue limitless portentous statements, and declaim from all the Juliet balconies he likes, but for my money he looks more and more like just another guy failing to face up to a rape allegation.”

Elisabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for Julian Assange’s alleged victim, named as SW, was as critical of the UN group as she was of the purported rapist. She told the Daily Mirror:

“The panel seems to have a lack of understanding of the fact the alleged rape of a woman is one of the most serious violations and abuses of human rights.

That a man arrested on probable cause for rape should be awarded damages because he has deliberately withheld himself from the judicial system for over five years is insulting and offensive to my client — and all victims.

It is time that Assange packs his bag, steps out of the embassy and begins to cooperate with the Swedish Prosecuting Authority.”

Both the UN and Assange have emerged from this looking shabby and shameless.


World Refugee Day

Friday, 20 June, 2014 0 Comments

Today is World Refugee Day and, according to figures just released, the number of people forced to flee their homes across the globe has exceeded 50 million for the first time since the Second World War. Refugee numbers are stretching host countries and aid organisations to breaking point. Bound up with the tragedy of displacement is the trauma of those left behind. As the Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat wrote in Brother, I’m Dying: “It’s not easy to start over in a new place,” he said. “Exile is not for everyone. Someone has to stay behind, to receive the letters and greet family members when they come back.”


The bureaucratic birthday Nobel Peace Prize

Tuesday, 10 December, 2013 0 Comments

They’re handing out the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo today. According to the instructions in Alfred Nobel’s will, the recipient is selected by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a five-member body appointed by the Parliament of Norway, and over the years it has displayed its fondness for similar officialdoms. Peace An outfit called the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, headquartered in The Hague, is this year’s recipient. Just 185km down the road in the Flemish region of Belgium lies Ghent and back in 1904 the prize went to the Institut de droit international, which was founded there and today maintains an infrequently updated website.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, a somewhat sombre group, seems to have a weakness for bureaucratic birthdays. The 1917 prize was given to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which was similarly rewarded in 1946, and again in 1963, the year that happened to be the centennial of its founding. In 1969, the Committee gave its prize to the International Labour Organization, which was celebrating its 70th birthday, and when the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was having its 30th birthday party, it got the gong from Oslo. And then, the ultimate love in, the Nobel Peace Prize celebrated a century of its existence by awarding the 2001 honour to the United Nations and Kofi Annan.

Next up? In 2016, Unicef will be 70; in 2020, Terre des Hommes will be 60; in 2021, Amnesty International will be 60 as well, and in 2022, Vladimir Putin, the protector of Edward Snowden, will be 70.


On the uses of drones

Friday, 6 September, 2013 0 Comments

According to the Reuters news agency, a suspected US drone killed at least six terrorists in Pakistan’s Pashtun tribal region on the Afghan border. Hardly any fair-minded person would think that this is unjust, given the crimes committed by the region’s gangsters, yet there is considerable opposition to drone warfare. The United Nations has condemned US drone strikes in Pakistan, saying that they violate the country’s sovereignty. The UN, of course, ignores the fact that the Pashtun region is an infamous sanctuary for Taliban and al-Qaeda thugs. Heard of Waziristan? “These proud and independent people have been self-governing for generations, and have a rich tribal history that has been too little understood in the West,” said a person called Bill Emmerson, who bears the ludicrous title of “UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism”. Inevitably, not a word was heard from Bill Emmerson about the Taliban murdering Indian writer Sushmita Banerjee in southeastern Afghanistan earlier this week.

But back to drones. The really cool thing about this clip is that it was filmed by a drone, in one continuous shot, flying around the French band, Phoenix. Founded in Versailles, the group consists of Thomas Mars, Deck d’Arcy, Christian Mazzalai and Laurent Brancowitz. They became rich and famous in 2004 when their track “Too Young” was featured on the soundtrack of Lost in Translation, which was directed by Sofia Coppola. A romantic after-effect saw the same Sofia Coppola marry Thomas Mars in 2011 at her family’s villa at Bernalda in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. By the way, Phoenix will co-headline the Austin City Limits Music Festival next month, alongside the Kings of Leon, Wilco and Depeche Mode.


Keep the UN and its agencies away from the internet

Monday, 26 November, 2012 0 Comments

On Monday, 3 December, representatives of the world’s governments will meet in Dubai to update a key agreement with a UN agency called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Press reports suggest that the Russian Federation, Iran, China, Zimbabwe and other notorious champions of totalitarianism want control of key internet systems passed the ITU. “Member states […]

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The digital foxes are in charge of the human rights henhouse

Thursday, 15 November, 2012 1 Comment

On Tuesday, swelling with regional pride, Al Arabiya noted, “UAE wins seat on U.N. Human Rights Council, garners highest Asia vote“. The foreign affairs minister of the UAE (United Arab Emirates), Mohammad Gargash, welcomed the “victory” with the following quote: “The win crowned a series of achievements made by the UAE in its human rights […]

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Prodding a man-shaped Assange bag with a pitchfork

Thursday, 23 August, 2012

After nearly three decades in the UK’s Diplomatic Service, Charles Crawford retired from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at the end of 2007. So, when it comes to matters consular and tactful, he knows the score. In his blog post, “Diplomatic Bags (Assange)“, Crawford points out that, “… if a man-shaped diplomatic bag is seen […]

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