|DID BRUSSELS' OFFICE FABRICATE STATEMENT ATTRIBUTED TO FORMER
SECRETARY GENERAL DE CUELLAR?
15 October 2006
"The next Secretary General should be a capable communicator." That was supposedly the message former Secretary
General Javier Perez de Ceullar as told to Le Soir of Belgium. The feedback obviously came from the
U.N. in Brussels during the crucial days just before the last decisive straw poll by the Security Council end September.
The purpose, obviously, was to strengthen the chances of shameless self-promoter Shashi Tharoor who -- while
reportedly "on leave" -- was, of course, using his U.N. post, U.N. prestige, and staff in a clear evasion of
U.N. rules and
The reference to the former Secretary General was not accidental. Not only would he be lending his stature in favour
of a specific candidate, which is atypical of the cautious and political correct Don Javier. He is also a distinguished
Peruvian and Peru is a member of the Security Council; its time to preside is in November; this is next month, if
the campaign had been prolonged.
On double-checking, it turned out that the claimed quotation was not true. Mr. Perez de Ceullar was surprised and
astonished. He said he never talked to Le Soir; the only interview he had given on the subject was to
Swiss Le Temps. He would never use the term "communicator" which "is not familiar" to him. His immediate
response was that those who fabricated that statement were "malhonnetes" (no translation needed!).
As pointed out on earlier occasions, the Brussels office was openly used by Tharoor. A personal friend of his was
appointed last year after the initial job requirements were withdrawn and redrafted to suit her. A French citizen, she
was supposed to lobby for him, not only with the Europeans in Brussels, but with the French government. To be fair to
her, she has tried to display great caution recently, particularly after the point was made about her role. However,
that did not prevent another press officer from Brussels, Jean Pierre Bougada -- a Frenchman -- from being available
to Tharoor when he was campaigning in Paris. It was through Bougada that interviews were arranged with Le Figaro
and Jeune Afrique. Was the U.N. press officer performing U.N. functions? At U.N. expense?
Evading staff rules is one thing, however serious. But fabricating statements attributable to a former Secretary
General is unethical and requires a serious review.
While raising that issue, we would wish to pay tribute to the staff of the Department of Public Information who
stood their ground, refusing to be bullied or exploited by the ruthless self-promoter masquerading as head of their
Department. They delivered their work properly and effectively. There were a few exceptions. Besides Brussels, there
were the newly-appointed directors of Cairo and Manama (Bahrain) who sought to play up to their candidate/boss. But
these two are well-known to their other colleagues. They represent an isolated minority. But it is such a minority
that inflicts the damage. The question remains: Who fabricated the statement attributed to our former Secretary