You are here: HomeU.S. NewsForeign PolicyLawmakers Blast UN for Handing U.S. Technology to North Korea, Iran
Monday, 23 July 2012 04:43

Lawmakers Blast UN for Handing U.S. Technology to North Korea, Iran

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Outraged U.S. members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are speaking out against the United Nations “World Intellectual Property Organization” (WIPO) after it was caught providing potentially dangerous American technology to the regimes ruling Iran and North Korea. The UN agency reluctantly promised to “review” the issue, but GOP and Democrat lawmakers on Capitol Hill say that is simply not enough.  

“We have written to WIPO demanding an independent, external investigation of how WIPO could have provided sophisticated U.S.-origin technology to rogue regimes like North Korea and Iran,” explained Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.), the top Republican and Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Instead, the WIPO leadership has announced that it will institute a mere ‘review,’ which falls far short.”

“What’s needed is an immediate and credible investigation,” the lawmakers said in the joint statement.

The latest UN scandal began as far back as 2010 when, over the course of at least a year, WIPO offered computers, servers, firewalls, equipment, and other technology to the two dictatorships — both of which are currently under international sanctions by the UN itself. Details first began to surface earlier this year.

The global organization’s decision sparked an outcry, especially after it originally refused a U.S. State Department demand for an investigation. However, following the growing public scandal, WIPO agreed to take a few tepid measures including a change in some internal policies and a “review” of its activities. 

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry “reiterated that the Secretariat is treating concerns relating to the Organization’s technical assistance programs to countries that are the subject of UN sanctions with the utmost seriousness,” the global intellectual-property outfit claimed in a press release. The statement also alleged that WIPO had received legal advice approving the technology transfers despite international sanctions.

Among the measures announced by the entity following the uproar were new measures to verify the legality of proposed deals with regimes under UN sanctions, referral of the recent transfers to international “committees” for “guidance,” and initial steps toward an “independent review” of the controversial programs. WIPO will also stop offering IT hardware to governments, it said in the statement.

But for concerned U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, that is not nearly enough. “We will accept nothing less than an independent investigation, full cooperation, and complete accountability,” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Berman after the WIPO announcement.

Instead of the UN’s half-hearted measures and alleged probes, the two lawmakers apparently plan to get to the bottom of the scandal themselves. “WIPO also must fully cooperate with investigations by the Department of State and by our Committee, including by providing immediate, unfettered access to all documents and personnel,” they added.

And somebody needs to be held to account. “Those responsible for this outrageous misuse of U.S. technology and U.S. taxpayer dollars must be held fully accountable, and meaningful safeguards must be put in place to prevent these kinds of technology transfers in the future,” the House Foreign Affairs Committee leaders said. 

The lawmakers also reiterated previous concerns that the UN outfit might try to punish the individuals who exposed WIPO wrongdoings in the first place. “We remain deeply concerned that WIPO may retaliate against the whistleblowers who helped bring these allegations to light,” they said in the statement.

Last week, the two lawmakers sent a letter to WIPO boss Gurry expressing serious concerns that suggested a cover-up might even be underway. “Even more troubling are allegations that your primary focus on this issue has not been full disclosure of all relevant information on these projects in Iran and North Korea, but rather discovering and punishing whistleblowers who initially alerted outside bodies about these transactions,” they wrote.

The letter also blasted WIPO’s refusal to cooperate with State Department requests. “There is no rational basis for this refusal,” the letter stated, adding that if Gurry had nothing to hide, he should be happy to work with investigators on the matter.

Officials at the U.S. State Department said they were concerned about the UN programs as well. However, a spokesperson told Fox News that even though they share lawmakers’ concerns, WIPO’s recently announced changes were a “positive” development.

Even analysts in the intellectual-property field seemed alarmed by recent developments and acknowledged that the UN would probably have to do more to clear the cloud of scandal. “The United Nations seems to coddle dictators, tyrants and oppressive (and genocidal) regimes of various types,” wrote President Gene Quinn of IPWatchdog, which focuses on issues related to intellectual property. “It was, however, a shock to learn that WIPO was at the center of the controversy.”   

While he thought WIPO’s recent response was a “good first step,” Quinn suggested that the global outfit probably did violate UN sanctions by transferring the technology. “The lawyer in me understands why WIPO is saying that they don’t believe it violated UN sanctions, but the human in me just wishes they could step up and acknowledge that they screwed up, there were good but severely misguided intentions and promise that it will never happen again,” he added.   

One of the main concerns about the controversial WIPO program is that it provided what lawmakers said was potentially “dual use” technology — it could be used for military purposes — to the rogue regimes in charge of North Korea and Iran. It was also not clear how the effort helped advance WIPO’s mission either, which is described on its website as promoting “innovation and creativity for the economic, social and cultural development of all countries, through a balanced and effective international intellectual property system.”

The beginnings of the scandal first surfaced months ago when Fox News reported in April that the UN, working through China, may have offered the communist dictatorship enslaving the North Korean people technology that was being used by the tyrant’s armed forces. According to the news agency’s findings, WIPO used a complicated scheme that seemed designed to bypass the UN sanctions.

Rather than seeking yet another investigation and apology, American critics of the UN have seized on the latest scandal to renew their calls to defund and oust the controversial institution from the United States altogether. Earlier this month, lawmakers also slammed the UN for using U.S. tax dollars for forced abortions in China. Sex scandals and allegations of fraud — not to mention its attempts to foist assorted schemes on the world — have plagued the UN for decades, too.

Opponents of the global outfit have long believed that the U.S. government should completely withdraw from the UN, known to critics as a “dictators club.” But in the wake of seemingly never-ending scandals surrounding the UN and its increasingly brazen power grabs, American opposition to the global entity and its scheming continues to build.

Whether the mounting outrage will actually deal with the problems or even end the UN altogether remains to be seen. With so many scandals in the headlines, however, critics of the UN seem increasingly optimistic.    

Related articles:

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“Climate Science” in Shambles: Real Scientists Battle UN Agenda

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UN Ridiculed for Attacking Poverty and Demanding Tax Hikes in Canada

Photo: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.


 

2 comments

  • Comment Link Gordon Freeman Wednesday, 01 August 2012 04:06 posted by Gordon Freeman

    Im proud to say the party of which I was former member and had 21% of the vote in my country voted to for my nation to resign from the UN, most notably after the UN appointed IRAN to lead the comitte on protecting women rights. The UN started out as a fine thought for law among nations, but has turned into despicable, corrupt and tyrannical organization.

  • Comment Link Madeleine Monday, 23 July 2012 15:06 posted by Madeleine

    This is what happens when we have to take orders from a Chinese Communist. How our Government did not immediately arrest Kai Ban moon or whatever his name is , is beyond me, these peope are not Americans, they obviously all have something against us including Obama since thanks to him and Hillary Clinton we went before them , hat in hand, for Crimes against humanity for the first itme in American History.

    The UN is into everything from our TV sets to our clothing lines to our coffee pots and they all are the worse for it, there is nothing good they can do for us and they are charging enormous amounts of money to do nothing. They have become warmongers, these are not peacemakers . I think they should be arrested immediately and if they are not then we have no Government , the Government is suppose to be there ot take care of this country, when you hand over all our secrets to what to me is the enemy then somehting is wrong .

    You worry about American citizens to the point they have to go through humilation everywhere they go and be searched like dogs when the Government knows no terrorist is on these flights, not unless we put them there,yet these peoople, The TSA, are given the right to put their filty hands down your underpants and you allow it, you should fight that one, this is just a form of surrender, I just don't travel anymore. There should be no search and seizure when Obama is bringing in Muslims every week and last week brought in 80,000 more to tell us they want sharia law, and the Chinese everday, these people are not our friends, the Chinese have written to our Government with the help of the UN asking them ot remove our guns, they also wrote a letter claiming we have no human rights here, how would they know that considering a day after that complaint they ripped a baby almost full term from her mothes womb for a non payment of a fine for getting pregnant for a second time and left the little body next to the unconscious woman for her husband to see when he came home form work. We have no human rights here? . Now they are here and telling us what to do? Get them out or we will have to take thes matter to a Military court , this can't be allowed ot go un-noticed., they have gone too far.

    Obama is giving the UN too much power and way too much money, they can't seem to handle power, their soldiers have been in and out of courts for rape involved with very young girls, children actually, this is how they help a country, they come in to aid them and rape their kids while they are at it. They just love throwing their weight around and if you get rid of them now I can guarantee other countries will follow suit, no one wants some other group of unreliable people running their country, we never voted for them, most people don't even know who they are. Get them ourtt and lets stop listening ot a bunch of foreigners who really don't seem to have a clue about anything,

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