Top ten useful stooges of 2015

We thought we’d wind up 2015 by revisiting some of the folks we’ve covered on this website during the last year. No, these definitely aren’t the ten worst human beings we’ve written about; they’re just some of the people whose activities during 2015 we found despicable in distinctive ways, and we thought that, as the year moves toward a close, they just might be worth looking at one more time.

brandRussell Brand  Last year, the holier-than-thou British comedian came out with an inane book, Revolution, in which he celebrated Castro and Che Guevara, whose transformation of Cuba he presented as a model for the 21st century. This year, his image took a big hit when it was discovered that his line of sweatshirts – which he’d represented as being manufactured in the UK – were, in fact, made by laborers in Bangladesh who worked up to eleven hours a day for 25p an hour. Also, while he’d claimed that the profits went entirely to charitable causes, it turned out that only £1.37 of the take on a £65 sweatshirt was going to charity – and the “charity” in question was a trendy London café Brand opened in March.

stellaStella McCartney  In June, flibbertigibbet clothes designer (and daughter of the immortal Beatle) threw an exceedingly high-profile party with the theme “Cuba Libre.” In the garden of her Manhattan townhouse, such guests as Alicia Keys, Liv Tyler, and Maggie Gyllenhaal sipped rum-and-cokes, grooved to the rhythms of a salsa band, and mingled with two guys dressed up as – we kid you not – Fidel and Che. McCartney’s explanation for this obscene trivialization of totalitarianism: “I simply wanted to have a fun party, and I think Cubans know how to do that.” Almost unanimously, the fashion media applauded what Women’s Wear Daily described as McCartney’s “nod to Cuba.”

maxMax Blumenthal  The spawn of unsavory D.C. operator Sidney Blumenthal, young Max has made a career out of slandering Israel in particularly nasty ways while cheering on some of its most violent enemies. This year, in collaboration with Electronic Intifada and Al Jazeera contributor Rania Khalek, he co-wrote a long piece smearing several U.S. journalists for criticizing Putin – among them Liz Wahl, a reporter who’d recently quit her anchor job at the Kremlin-run TV “news” channel RT America because she was sick of serving up pro-Putin, anti-American propaganda. Writing in Commentary, Seth Mandel called Blumenthal’s attack job “a textbook example of character assassination.”

Lanny-pic-smLanny Davis  In 2015, regular viewers of cable news saw a great deal of this shifty creep, a longtime Clinton crony and spinmeister who, during the current presidential campaign, has spent a great deal of his expensive time trying to extinguish the many scandals that have been swirling around Hillary Clinton. (During a March appearance on Fox News, Chris Wallace asked Davis, “Do you ever get tired of cleaning up after the Clintons?”) When he’s not engaged in this unenviable task, Davis keeps busy shilling for some of the planet’s most corrupt and brutal despots, including Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea and Laurent Gbagbo of Cote D’Ivoire. 

gloria2Gloria Steinem  In May, the 81-year-old Ms. founder traveled to North Korea “to say we care by being physically present” because “conflicts are far more likely to be solved when people sit down together.” She then led a group of women on a “walk for peace” across the DMZ. The whole thing came off as a PR stunt to polish Pyongyang’s image. It didn’t help that the feminist icon stayed mum about the Kim regime’s treatment of women – and chose as her partner in this dubious undertaking one Christine Ahn, an open admirer of Juche ideology who routinely blames the U.S. and South Korea for North Korea’s problems.

We’ll get to the next five tomorrow. Happy New Year!

Comptes de Minaj

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Beautiful downtown Luanda

Angola. It’s the country that, as we saw yesterday, made Trinidadian-turned-American hip-hop superstar and fragrance mogul Nicki Minaj $2 million richer, thanks to a single late December concert performed under the exceedingly shady auspices of Angolan strongman José Eduardo dos Santos.

What are some of the important things to know about Angola?

First of all, Freedom House considers it unfree. Dos Santos, who’s been the country’s head of state since 1979, has spent his three-plus decades in power denying his subjects basic rights – and looking with indifference upon their grinding poverty – while accumulating a staggering personal fortune at their expense.

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Another glimpse of lovely Luanda

Yes, in recent years the country has undergone an impressive oil boom, which, as Michael Specter explained in the New Yorker last June, “has transformed a failed state into one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.” Most of Angola’s population, however, has yet to experience the slightest improvement in quality of life as a result of this metamorphosis. Half of the country’s people make less than two dollars a day; the life expectancy is 52; only four out of ten Angolans have reliable electricity; corruption is ubiquitous, infecting every aspect, large and small, of Angolan life; critics of the regime risk being thrown into one of dos Santos’s nightmarishly violent, unsanitary, and overcrowded prisons; and – most shameful of all – the mortality rate for children under five is the world’s highest. 

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Mariah Carey with the first family of Angola, 2013

All of which is why Minaj’s announcement of her Angola concert brought quick responses from human-rights organizations. They weren’t happy.

For example, Jeffrey Smith of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group accused Minaj of “callously taking money from a dictator who’s been in power for nearly four decades and who has effectively and ruthlessly choked free expression, setting a horrible precedent not only for Angola, but for the entire region.” Smith observed that Mariah Carey had accepted a million-dollar fee from the same tyrant in December 2013 – an act that also drew such harsh criticism that Carey fell all over herself apologizing.

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Minaj’s panties selfie

In the days leading up to Minaj’s Angolan concert, the human-rights activists urged her to cancel. In open letters to the star, they gave her a crash course in Angolan perfidy. In particular, they drew her attention to the arrest, last June, of Angolan hiphop star Luaty Beirão and 16 of his countrymen. Their crime? Attending a meeting at which they discussed From Dictatorship to Democracy, a book about nonviolent resistance. Beirão has yet to be set free. Did Minaj, the human-rights community wondered aloud, really want to perform for – and cash a check from – people who’d put a fellow rapper behind bars for reading a book?

The activists made a strong case. But was Minaj fazed? Not in the slightest, apparently. On Twitter, without mentioning any of her critics by name, she warned: “Every tongue that rises up against me in judgment shall be condemned.” On Instagram, dropping the Biblical tone, she posted a photo of herself in a pair of too-tight panties she’d been given by her boyfriend and fellow hip-hop artist Meek Mill, commenting that she obviously needed a bigger size.

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Minaj on Instagram, December 20: “Oh hai, Angola. Ready for the show?”

And so our heroine jetted off to Luanda, where, as the New York Post reported, she again took to Instagram, posting several provocative “photos of her bejeweled behind” – her point, in the Post‘s not unreasonable view, apparently being “to rub it in” to the human-rights busybodies who’d tried to talk her out of increasing her fortune by yet another $2 million. The pictures went online not long before her performance in Luanda. “Oh hai [sic], Angola,” she wrote. “Ready for the show?” 

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With Isabella dos Santos

There were other Instagram photos, including one of Minaj with Isabella dos Santos, the president’s daughter, which the clueless chanteuse captioned as follows: “Oh no big deal…she’s just the 8th richest woman in the world. (At least that’s what I was told by someone b4 we took this photo) Lol. Yikes!!!!! GIRL POWER!!!!! This motivates me soooooooooo much!!!! S/O [shout-out] to any woman on a paper chase. Get your own!!!! Success is yours for the taking!!!!!” In short, even after the nature of the Angolan kleptocracy had been patiently explained to Minaj by human-rights organizations desperate to keep her from implicitly endorsing the dos Santos regime (as the Buzzfeed website noted afterward, Isabella’s name appears on Transparency International’s list of 11 symbolic cases worldwide of what it calls “grand corruption”), the hip-hop queen seemed not to grasp that this isn’t about “GIRL POWER” but about a dictator whose family steals blindly from his exploited, destitute subjects. 

So much, apparently, as far as Nicki Minaj is concerned, for human rights in Angola.

Nicki Minaj’s dirty payday

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Swank onstage in Chechnya

We’ve spent some time on this site pondering celebrities who’ve taken money to perform for – and thus help whitewash the images of – authoritarian tyrants. In 2001, for instance, Hilary Swank, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Seal took a six-figure fee to entertain Putin’s puppet leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov. When Swank’s involvement in this disgraceful episode was exposed, she tried to shift responsibility to her PR firm, which promptly dropped her. She also promised to donate her paycheck to charity – but later refused to say exactly which charity, if any, she’d given it to.

Then there’s the night in 2010 when Vladimir Putin hosted Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Paul Anka, Gérard Depardieu, Mickey Rourke – and, last but not least, Sharon Stone, who according to the Independent is a regular at events promoting Putin, showing up each time for a fee somewhere in the ballpark of a quarter-million dollars. 

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Nicki Minaj

The latest example of this kind of shameless showbiz sellout: hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj. Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and raised in the South Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New York, the 33-year-old Minaj was the first female solo performer to have seven singles appear simultaneously on Billboard‘s Hot 100 in the United States; no female rapper has broken into the Hot 100 more times than she has. Her latest album, The Pinkprint, released in December 2014, went triple platinum. A fixture on the record charts and at the awards shows for the last five years or so, in 2015 she climbed to bigger heights than ever: at the American Music Awards she was named Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist; she walked away from the BET Awards with the trophy for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist; at the MTV Awards she won Best Hip-Hop Video, and at the MTV Europe Awards she took Best Hip-Hop.

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Minaj Barbie

In addition to the millions she’s raked in from her music, moreover, she’s pursued a highly lucrative career in merchandising and endorsement deals: there’s a Nicki Minaj Barbie doll, a Nicki Minaj brand of lipstick and lip gloss, a Nicki Minaj line of clothing, accessories, and housewares for K-mart, and several Nicki Minaj fragrances. She’s also been the face of Pepsi, Adidas, and a range of other products.

In short, this is a woman who, unless she is really bad with money, almost certainly has no cash-flow problems.

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Dos Santos with Fidel Castro, 2007

This is also a woman who has striven to polish her image, associating herself with AIDS charities, education projects, and arts funding. It’s all the more odd, then, that Minaj agreed to perform in Luanda, Angola, on December 19, in exchange for a reported $2 million fee. She announced her plans in an Instagram post only a few days before the engagement, explaining that she would be performing at a Christmas gala hosted by Unitel. And what’s Unitel? It’s a phone company controlled by none other than José Eduardo dos Santos, the autocrat who has run the country singlehandedly since 1979, and by his daughter Isabel. Dos Santos and his family, as it happens, have their fingers in a great many businesses in Angola, and are worth (as Carl Sagan might have put it) billions and billions – in a country where  half the people live on $2 a day.

It’s called corruption.

Human-rights activists were quick to blast Minaj for accepting the Angolan gig. And how did Minaj react? Tune in tomorrow.

 

Labour’s Madame Mao

We’ve already written here about the head of Britain’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who’s a fan of Hugo Chávez’s disastrous socialist “revolution” in Venezuela, and about the party’s recently appointed spokesman, Seumas Milne, who (to put it mildly) has a soft spot for Stalin.

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Diane Abbott

Well, here’s another high-profile Labourite for whom the label of useful stooge is manifestly appropriate: Diane Abbott, an MP since 1987 and currently Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. Abbott was Britain’s first black female MP, and has long been notorious for her incendiary comments about race. In 1988, for example, she told an audience in the U.S. that “the British invented racism.” And eight years later, she complained that a hospital in her “multicultural” district had hired nursing trainees from Finland. Why? Because, she said, the “blonde, blue-eyed” Finns had probably “never have met a black person before, let alone touched one,” and were therefore incapable of handling black patients. “The hospital,” she maintained, “should have taken on Caribbean staff – they know the language, British culture and institutions.”

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Ian Bruce

Abbott’s remarks outraged one of her Tory colleagues, Ian Bruce, who said: “I have never heard such racist rubbish from an MP in recent years….Most Finnish girls are dark-haired,” he noted, and all of the Nordic nations “have people from African and Caribbean countries living there.” The Royal College of Nursing reacted too, issuing a statement to the effect that Abbott’s comments seemed intended to “set nurse against nurse.” The story even made the news in Finland, where Katri Luukka, head of a nursing school in Helsinki, called Abbott’s statement “[r]eally thick, even for an MP.” The Spectator pointed out that some nursing trainees from Finland were, in fact, black, and that the then-reigning Miss Finland was also black.

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Andrew Neil

Did Abbott learn from that misstep? Nope. On a BBC TV program in 2010, she said that “West Indian mums will go to the wall for their children” – in response to which the host, Andrew Neil, asked: “So black mums love their kids more than white mums, do they?” The next year, in another TV appearance, she called David Cameron and Nick Clegg, the then leaders of the Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties respectively, “two posh white boys.” And the year after that, she stated in a tweet that whites “love playing ‘divide and rule.’ We should not play their game.”

MP for Stratford on Avon Nadhim Zahawi adjusts his glasses during a discussion on 'The United Kingdom in Action' during the second day of the Conservative Party Conference at the ICC, Birmingham.
Nadhim Zahawi

After that tweet, there were calls for her to resign. Iraqi-born Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi said, “If this was reversed, I guarantee a white politician would have to resign their frontbench post or be sacked.” But Abbott, in a live TV interview with Sky News (see the first video below), held firm, insisting that the problem was not with her views but with people who’d interpreted her words “maliciously.” Her tough stand didn’t last for long, however. During the Sky News interview, her cell phone rang. The caller was Ed Miliband, who at the time was the Labour Party leader. While the TV cameras continued to roll, he gave Abbott “a severe dressing down,” ordering her “to apologise unreservedly” for her tweet. She obeyed – kind of. “I understand people have interpreted my comments as making generalisations about white people,” she said in a statement released after the interview. “I do not believe in doing that. I apologise for any offence caused.”

But none of these foolish remarks was quite as disgraceful as a claim that Abbott made on a TV chat show (see video below) back in 2008 – and that the Spectator reminded us of in a recent item. Michael Portillo, sitting beside her on the show, observed that Prince Harry had been widely criticized for wearing an SS uniform to a party – but “had he worn a Mao outfit, nobody would have blinked.” When host Andrew Neil asked why this was the case, Abbott chimed in: “I suppose that some people would judge that on balance Mao did more good than wrong. We can’t say that about the Nazis.” 

Exactly what good did Mao do, in Abbott’s view, that would outweigh his murder of tens of millions of people? Abbott’s answer: “He led his country from feudalism, he helped to defeat the Japanese, and he left his country on the verge of the great economic success they are having now.”

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Mao Zedong

Well, let’s break that down. On her first point: yes, Mao led the Chinese from feudalism…to totalitarianism. On her second point: no, Mao didn’t help defeat the Japanese; Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang did. Third, while Taiwan, under the Nationalist Chinese, was becoming a developed nation, the Chinese economy under Mao remained undeveloped. Even now, four decades after Mao’s death, when China is considered an economic powerhouse, its per capital GDP, at around $7,000, is still only a fraction of Taiwan’s, at $32,000. In short, Mao didn’t pave the way for his country’s economic success – his imposition of brutal totalitarian rule prevented his people from attaining Western-style prosperity.

Of course, even if Abbott’s assertions about Mao’s supposed accomplishments were absolutely true, her belief that they somehow outweighed or legitimized or made up for his annihilation of tens of millions of his own people is reprehensible, and should have resulted in her immediate forced resignation from Parliament. But no: she’s still there, and seems to have no plans to leave anytime soon. 

Anna Louise Strong, cheerleader for Mao

Yesterday, after our posthumous look at the life of global-warming godfather Maurice Strong, we started telling the remarkable – and reprehensible – story of his distant cousin Anna Louise Strong, a small-town Nebraska clergyman’s daughter who spent three decades in Moscow, serving as a major English-language propagandist for Soviet Communism.

But Strong didn’t stay in Moscow forever.

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At a meeting with Mao and others

In 1946, she visited China for the first time. There she met with Mao, who, apropos of the atom bomb, then solely in US hands, said, “In the end the bomb will not destroy the people; the people will destroy the bomb.” Years afterwards, Strong wrote that she “was so impressed by these words that I used them later for a Christmas card.” Apparently disillusioned (at least to some degree) by the USSR, Strong found new hope in Mao’s China:

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Around 1950

In America we were always “God’s country,” qualified to liberate and improve the world. In Russia there was always “the perfect system,” spoiled till now by some personal devils. In China they “made mistakes,” suffered by them, acknowledged and studied them, thus planned victory.

Here at last seemed credible history of the difficult advance of Man.

Returning from China to Russia, Strong was deported to the US on charges of being a spy, after which she spent several years in Los Angeles. Even she acknowledged that it was exceedingly pleasant: “I owned a town house, a summer lodge in the mountains, a winter cabin in the desert.” Not too shabby. But the continuing draw of totalitarianism proved too powerful to resist. In 1958, at the age of 72, Strong left her comfortable life in southern California behind forever and moved to China, telling friends, “I think the Chinese know better than anyone the way for man.” The adherents of Mao’s revolution, she believed, were on the cutting edge of “man’s struggle to advance” and understood “that victory depended not on the power of weapons but on awakening the consciousness of man.”

With Mao, W.E.B. Du Bois and others, 1959

It is interesting to note that Strong’s relocation to China coincided with the beginning of the Great Leap Forward, a campaign of state terror, violence, and forced collectivization that claimed the lives of tens of millions of people. Did Strong already know about the Great Leap Forward when she decided to move to China? Was that, perhaps, the reason why she wanted to go? Was the thought of mass famine and meaningless murder in the name of The Cause just too exciting for her to miss? Her own writings contain only positive references to the Great Leap Forward, whitewashing the butchery and starvation while representing the whole thing as an economic advance.

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With Zhou Enlai

In Beijing, Strong was installed in the finest flat in a particularly stately apartment block. The building had formerly belonged to the government of Italy, and had housed that country’s diplomats; after it fell into the hands of the Chinese state, it was put to use as a luxury residence for specially favored foreign friends of Mao’s regime. In addition to giving Strong a home, the government also supplied her with three servants – “a housekeeper, cook, and handy-man.” If Strong was disturbed by the utter contradiction between this exceedingly lavish, generous arrangement and the strictly egalitarian tenets of her beloved Communism, she appears never to have mentioned it in print.

During these years in Beijing, Strong was as busy as ever. She socialized with both Mao and Zhou Enlai, and she churned out book after book about China’s “revolutionary spirit,” “the struggles of oppressed peoples,” the “revolt against imperialist oppression,” “the colonial peoples’ struggle for liberation,” “the onward march of man,” etc. (Her oeuvre provides innumerable examples of the kind of empty ideological sloganeering that George Orwell inveighed against in his essay “Politics and the English Language.”) “The Chinese leaders,” we’re told, “considered her their unofficial spokesperson to the English speaking world.”

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Her grave in Beijing

She finally died in Beijing, aged 84, in 1970, at the height of yet another ugly chapter in the history of Red China, namely the Cultural Revolution – a brutal bloodbath in which tens of millions of citizens were removed from their jobs, torn from their families, “re-educated,” tortured, and killed in the name of the greatness and glory of Communism. During this period, most of the regime’s resident “foreign friends” were imprisoned or executed. Not Strong. Presumably because she’d rendered such extraordinarily loyal service to her totalitarian hosts, she was, one source tells us, “one of the last ‘Old China Hands’ to remain in the good graces of the Chinese through the cultural revolution.”

Did Anna Louise Strong ever, ever write a single word in criticism of the Cultural Revolution? No. On the contrary – impossible as it is to understand, repulsive as it is to contemplate – she cheered it on lustily, just as she had the Great Leap Forward. To the very end, in short, she was a useful stooge par excellence – a woman who, born and educated in a free country, was driven by a degree of blind ideological commitment beyond imagining to spend her adult life venerating, socializing with, and celebrating in print the two most bloodthirsty mass murderers in human history. 

Anna Louise Strong, devotee of Stalin

We spent the last three days examining the life of Maurice Strong, the Canadian tycoon who concocted the global-warming scare as a rationale for subordinating democracies to a UN elite with dramatically enhanced sovereign powers.

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Anna Louise Strong

One name that popped up briefly in our investigations into Strong’s life was that of his distant relative Anna Louise Strong. We’d never heard of her before, so we decided to find out about her. What we discovered was that she was a useful stooge of the first water.

Born in small-town Nebraska in 1885, the daughter of a Congregational minister and missionary, she attended Bryn Mawr and Oberlin and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Chicago. Moving to Seattle, she became active in local progressive politics and began writing newspaper articles in support of the Russian Revolution, which had just taken place.

In 1921, after attending a lecture about the Russian Revolution by journalist Lincoln Steffens (who was famous for saying about the USSR: “I have seen the future, and it works”), she went to Russia and began writing glowing books about Bolshevism in action. In The First Time in History (1925), which carried a preface by none other than Leon Trotsky, she described Russia as

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Around 1912

the only place in the world where I get a feeling of hope and a plan. With hundreds of thousands of people living for that plan and dying for it and going hungry for it, and wasting themselves in inefficient work for it, and finally bringing a little order out of chaos for it. America seems cheerful and inconsequential after it. Europe, – the insane nightmare of Europe, – seems impossible to endure….

In Russia when they speak of the Revolution, they don’t mean one grand and horrible upheaval; that was merely the “October Overturn,” the taking of power. Now comes the using of power to create a new world through the decades.

Anna_Louise_Strong_NYWTSThere have been many revolutions in history, each with its tragic dignity, its cruelties, its power released. But never has there been a great organisation, in control of the economic as well as of the political resources of a nation, planning steadily through the prose of daily life a future embracing many lands and decades, learning from mistakes, changing methods but not aims, controlling press and education and law and industry as tools to its purpose….This is Common Consciousness in action, crude, half-organised and inefficient, but the first time in History.

stalinStrong spent thirty years in Russia, where she pronounced herself “greatly stirred by the building of the first socialist state in the world.” She “wrote hundreds of articles about it and some fifteen books,” and almost annually “went to America to lecture and make contacts with publishers,” invariably stopping “in other countries on the way.”

Her books on Russia, along with articles for such high-profile publications as The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and The Nation, made her a pretty big name. She lunched with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She met with Stalin and Molotov. She was a founder of the first English-language paper in Russia, The Moscow News. 

But after years of gushing in print about Soviet Communism, the USSR, for Anna Louise Strong, turned out not to be utopia. That, she found elsewhere. Tune in tomorrow. 

Maurice Strong, dealmaker for China

We’ve been spending the last couple of days remembering Maurice Strong, the “godfather of global warning,” who died on November 27. We’ve seen that Strong was something of a New Age wacko and a champion of world government by himself and other UN elites.

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Maurice Strong

But there’s more. As John Izzard noted at the Australian website Quadrant, Strong “was caught with his hand in the till.” Here’s the story:

Investigations into the UN’s Oil-for-Food-Program found that Strong had endorsed a cheque for $988,885 made out to M. Strong — issued by a Jordanian bank. The man who gave the cheque, South Korean business man Tongsun Park[,] was convicted in 2006 in a US Federal court of conspiring to bribe UN officials. Strong resigned and fled to Canada and thence to China where he has been living ever since.

Why China? Apparently Strong enjoyed a special protected status in that country because of his relative Anne Louise Strong (1885-1970), an American author and journalist who was a prolific propagandist for Communism and a friend of Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong. (According to Izzard, she actually spent two years in an intimate relationship with Mao.)

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Claudia Rosett

Claudia Rosett, a first-rate journalist and longtime UN expert, wrote in 2007 that any effort to clean up the UN after a rash of recent scandals – not just the Oil-for-Food scandal, but also scandals involving procurement fraud” and “peacekeeper rape” – must involve “a look at the long and murky career of Maurice Strong, the man who may have had the most to do with what the U.N. has become today.” In all of the darker chapters of recent UN history, stated Rosett, “Maurice Strong appears as a shadowy and often critically important figure.” Above all, she suggested, Strong’s story “illustrates the way in which the U.N., with its bureaucratic culture of secrecy, its diplomatic immunities, and its global reach, lends itself to manipulation by a small circle of those who best know its back corridors.”

As for Strong’s relocation to China, Rosett noted that the country was “a special place for Strong, a self-declared, life-long socialist.” How special? Well, consider this: although it’s “one of the world’s biggest producers of industrial pollution,” China had been profiting handsomely “from the trading of carbon emissions credits – thanks to heavily politicized U.N.-backed environmental deals.” And who arranged those deals? Who else? Maurice Strong.

FILE - In a Jan. 22, 2003 file photo, Maurice Strong, special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on North Korea, responds to a question outside the Security Council at U.N. headquarters in New York. The head of the U.N.'s environmental agency says Strong, whose work helped lead to the landmark climate summit that begins in Paris on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, has died. He was 86. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Rosett painted a vivid picture of the expertise with which Strong used – and, it appears, continually magnified – his power:

Strong has developed a distinctive pattern over the years of helping to set up taxpayer-funded public bureaucracies, both outside and within the U.N., which he then taps for funding and contacts when he moves on to other projects….Through his maneuvers, Strong has nurtured the U.N.’s natural tendencies to grow like kudzu into a system that now extends far beyond its own organizational chart. In this jungle, it is not only tough to track how the money is spent, but almost impossible to tally how much really rolls in – or flows through — and from where, and for what.

One example: through a UN-created outfit called the University for Peace, Strong poured UN funds into North Korea. Of course, the purported ends were humanitarian; but in reality much of that money likely found its way into the Hermit Kingdom’s munitions programs. Rosett noted that at Tongsun Park’s trial, “it emerged in court testimony that a few years after Strong accepted from Park the check for almost $1 million funded by Baghdad, the two men had set up yet another business arrangement.”

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Tongsun Park

And now he’s gone. But his work is finished; the mischief is done. Thanks in extremely large part to Strong, climate change has become a rallying cry for power-hungry elites everywhere, routinely cited by them as a legitimate reason to curb individual liberties and economic freedoms and to transfer political authority in democratic states from those countries’ citizens to the leaders of the UN and other world organizations (which are dominated, in all too many cases, by unfree and partly free nations). Not only was Strong himself a useful stooge in many respects – a champion of Chinese Communism, a tireless agitator for the UN superstate. He was also, as hundreds of adoring obituaries attest, the cause of useful stoogery in blinkered admirers around the world, who, rather than recognizing him as a singular threat to human freedom, celebrated him as a noble savior of the planet.