Sunday, June 4, 2017

On N Korea, UNSC Adds 14 to Sanctions List, Haley Says Keeping Up Pressure, After ICP Asked of WIPO

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, June 2 – North Korea fired another missile, and June 2 the UN Security Council added to its sanctions list 14 individuals and four companies. Inner City Press put the resolution online here, and fast-transcribed the Council speech by US Ambassador Nikki Haley (USUN here): "The members of this Council, including three of North Korea’s closest neighbors, agreed that North Korea’s missiles are a threat to international peace and security, and that the international community must respond to the threat. It is long past time for North Korea to see the writing on the wall. The international community is coming together to take action, and the pressure will not cease until North Korea complies fully with this Council’s resolutions. North Korea’s provocative and illegal missile launches are a direct threat to the security of numerous countries, including my own.  Missiles have already fallen perilously close to japan, South Korea and most recently Russia. Each North Korean rocket has the potential to hit an airplane or ship which threatens civilian lives. Each test ratchets up tensions in the region. But despite all the rhetoric, and sanctions this council has imposed so far, North Korea still chooses to keep escalating. The reason that North Korea keeps launching these missiles is obvious. They openly say they want the ability to deliver to their weapons of mass destruction over long range distances, to US, South Korean, and Japanese citizens. That is why the regime’s ballistic missile tests are increasing. With each launch, North Korea gains valuable technical data to make even more progress. But bit by bit, North Korea wants to extend its reach. The Security Council has rightfully and repeatedly condemned these launches and required North Korea to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program. Foreign ministers gathered here one month ago to demand that North Korea stop. Today’s resolution shows that these were not just words. The US will work tirelessly to make sure that the international community never gets used to North Korea’s violations or looks the other way. And North Korea must understand that the international community will never accept the regime’s development of chemical and nuclear weapons. Until North Korea reconsiders, all UN member states must do their part to increase pressure. North Korea is a global threat that requires a global response. There is still a lot of room to improve implementation of Security Council sanctions on North Korea. The US renews its call on responsible states to sever diplomatic ties and cease illegal trade with North Korea. Countries must also do more to break up North Korea’s smuggling ring and cut off the sources of funding North Korea uses to pay for the development of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. The United States will continue to seek a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to the the situation. We want a negotiated solution. But North Korea must fulfill its basic obligations by first stopping all ballistic missile launches and nuclear weapon tests and taking concrete steps toward getting rid of its nuclear weapon program. Our goal is not regime change. The United States has no wish to threaten the North Korean people or destabilize the nation, and we have never closed the door to dialogue with North Korea. But as we have said before, all options for responding to future provocations must remain on the table. Beyond diplomatic and financial consequences, the US remains prepared to counteract North Korean aggression through other means. The United States has fully committed to defending ourselves and our allies against North Korean aggression. It is up to North Korea to decide whether to stay on the dangerous path. Future missile launches and nuclear tests are absolutely unacceptable. We hope North Korea sees this response and chooses a more constructive path towards stability."

on May 30 US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the press (video here) on a possible new Security Council resolution that “we're coordinating” but “nothing set and planned... Nothing is changing North Korea's actions, we're having these conversations this week. At this point I do believe that Chinese is doing back channel trying to get them to stop, they have the lay of the land. We're going to keep the pressure on China. We have heard from them, it's about at what point do we do the resolution, at what test model." This as some on the UN Security Council, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres or at least his spokesman Stephane Dujarric have no problem with or comment on the UN's own World Intellectual Property Organization helps North Korea with a patent application for social cyanide (WIPO site here).  Haley will be in Geneva on June 6, to speak before the UN Human Rights Council. She could productively stop in at WIPO, where Francis Gurry is not only defending his repeated work with North Korea, but also retaliation and attacks on the press. The UN Secretary again backed up WIPO on May 26 when Inner City Press asked, transcript here and below. Inner City Press on May 16 began to ask US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley about it (video here). 
On May 17, Nikki Haley replied to Inner City Press' question: "All parts of the UN system need to support the Security Council in its efforts to respond to the grave threat of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs. Sodium cyanide is banned for export to North Korea by the Security Council. A common sense reaction would be for WIPO to inform the Council of such patent applications. Its failure to do so may have dangerous consequences.” 
The UN through spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press it supports WIPO, video here. On May 19, Inner City Press asked North Korea's Ambassador Kim In Ryong about it, without answer. Video here.  Then the US Mission to the UN issued a longer press release, here. On May 26, Inner City Press asked the UN's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq to respond. UN transcript: Inner City Press: since, since I last asked, the US Mission has put out a second, more-detailed statement about the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) work on the sodium cyanide patent for either a North Korean individual or the Government.  They seem to insist that there was no need for them to inform the Sanctions Committee that everything is fine with that.  And I wanted to know, what does the Secretary-General think, given his calls and his own statements that all Member States take this very seriously both, implementing… does he think that WIPO has met all of its obligations and that it should continue in the future to do patent work in North Korea on cyanide without informing the Committee?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, as you're aware, the World Intellectual Property Organization has, twice now, on its website, put explanations of its actions, and we would refer you to what they have said on this.  Of course, the Secretary-General does want all Member States, and, indeed, all parts of the UN, to abide by Security Council resolutions, but you can see what the explanation is provided by WIPO itself.

Question:  But, what does he think of their explanation?  I guess that's my question.  He's the head of the UN System.  Does he think… obviously, there are some that think that the…   what they're saying is asinine, and they think that it's fine.  So, I'm asking what does he think of it?

Deputy Spokesman:  We're aware of what their explanation is, and we refer you back over to them. 
 That is not leadership. Inner City Press adds: condemnation should also include the UN Federal Credit Union, which is soliciting the funds of the North Korean mission and its employees, as well as UNA-USA members. Inner City Press on the morning of May 18 asked the chair of the UN Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee, the Italian Mission to the UN under Sebastiano Cardi, "Does your Mission, which holds the chair of the 1718 Committee, agree that WIPO should have informed the Security Council of this work with North Korea? I recently asked Ambassador Cardi about a DPRK sanctions violation in Germany, without yet much of a response. I notice that the Italian mission stopped sending Inner City Press any information at all in February 2017. Please explain." In the afternoon, the Italian Mission's spokesperson Giovanni Davoli replied, "the Panel of Experts was not aware of this matter. Therefore the Committee could not be. The Panel announced they are going to open an investigation. Once the Committee will receive the report of the panel, we might be able to comment further." We await that, and another answer.
 Inner City Press also on May 18 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Ambassador Haley's response - but all Dujarric would do was refer, positively, to a WIPO press release. In its press release, WIPO says "a DPRK individual citizen applicant filed an international patent application under WIPO’s PCT system in respect of a process for production of sodium cyanide." Are there really "individual applicants" in today's North Korea? Isn't the import of sodium cyanide into North Korea a violation of UN sanctions? Dujarric called this WIPO's "very clear explanation." Inner City Press repeatedly asked Dujarric to state if the Secretariat finds WIPO's statement on May 16 -- before Ambassador Haley's response -- sufficient. Apparently yes. We'll have more on this: Inner City Press has asked other UN Security Council members. Watch this site. In an earlier exchange with UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, the UN itself acknowledged that the Security Council's Panel of Experts is belatedly looking into it as a possible sanctions violation. Video here, transcript below. Later to May's President of the UN Security Council, Uruguay's Elbio Rosselli, Inner City Press asked about UN WIPO's (non) compliance with UN sanctions, working on a patent for North Korea's production of sodium cyanide. Periscope video here. Ambassador Rosselli said he had not heard of the issue. At the UN's May 16 noon briefing, Inner City Press had asked the UN about that and its reporting that the UN Federal Credit Union, regulated by the US National Credit Union Administration, openly solicits the business of both North Korean employees of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's mission to the UN and the members of the UN Association of the USA (UNA-USA), amid questions of immunity and a previous UNFCU settlement for sanctions violations.  UN briefing video here, from Min 10:20.
UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric dodged on whether Secretary General Antonio Guterres would this time talk to WIPO chief Francis Gurry, as he did not as Gurry deployed criminal defamation law against the press; he also wouldn't answer on UNFCU. UN transcript: Inner City Press:  About WIPO [World Intellectual Property Organization] doing a patent application for North Korea for the production of sodium cyanide, which is banned to be brought into the country.  Before, it wasn't clear to me if the Secretary-General had communicated with WIPO about their use of criminal defamation against journalists.  But, is this something that concerns him?  I also want to ask you about the UN Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) openly soliciting deposits from… from the Mission of North Korea, as well as the employees of the Mission despite having previously settled sanctions charges for just such activity on another sanctioned country.  Do you think that this is consistent with this whole idea of tightening up?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I don't speak for the Credit Union.  They're an independent body.  I would agree… I would urge you to question them.  On the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] and the Fox News report, obviously, I think what's contained in the report is disturbing and demands looking into.  The Panel of Experts… the Security Council Panel of Experts, as you know, is an independent team reporting to the Council.  And they have the prerogative to look into all alleged violations of DPRK sanctions and report to the Council accordingly.   I think, as noted in the article, the Panel's coordinator said the Panel will look into the issue.  And I think we'll need… the Panel will do its work and report back.  And if… we will obviously look more directly into the issue, as well from our end.

Inner City Press:  Given that there have been previous allegations and reported retaliation at WIPO concerning activities with North Korea, do you or the Secretary-General think it's something that at the CEB [Chief Executives Board] or some kind of system-wide, does it need to be reiterated to the UN agencies that these sanctions are reported?

Spokesman:  I think the need… the absolute need to respect the sanctions regime, both whether it's from Member States or within the UN, I think, is clear and should be clear to everyone.
 UNFCU's website lists under “Missions to the UN in New York eligible to join UNFCU” that of “North Korea (DPRK"). Inner City Press asked UNFCU's Senior Manager of Media Relations Elisabeth Philippe questions including “why some UN member states' missions to the UN are eligible to join UNFCU, including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and others are not, why members of UNA-USA became eligible to join UNFCU, what regulatory filings in any UNFCU made for this change in field of membership, and any restrictions on the use of these UNA-USA members' funds, and what services UNFCU offers to UN agencies and country teams, in which countries, and if there are any restrictions or safeguards.” 
  On deeming the North Korean mission and all of its employees eligible, UNFCU's Ms. Philippe told Inner City Press, “The employees of any mission to the United Nations based in New York are eligible to apply for UNFCU membership. The employees of all missions are eligible to join once their mission has submitted an application and been approved.” The website says the mission itself can join UNFCU. On May 10, Inner City Press asked the chairman of the UN Security Council's North Korea Sanctions Committee Sebastiano Cardi about North Korea's embassy in Berlin renting out space as a hostel, video here. What safeguards does UNFCU, with UNA-USA's members in its field of membership, have?

  On UNFCU expanding its field of membership to including anyone who joins UNA-USA, Ms. Philippe told Inner City Press, “UNA-USA is the largest UN advocacy organization in the United States. UNFCU is a financial organization providing retail banking for the UN community. Members of UNA-USA, who are US citizens or permanent residents of the US, are eligible to become members of UNFCU. In December 2013, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the US regulatory body which oversees US federal credit unions, approved the expansion of UNFCU membership to include UNA-USA based on a shared mission and values in support of the United Nations. UNA-USA members who become members of UNFCU are eligible for the full suite of products and services available to UNFCU’s field of membership.”

  But what is in the “full suit of products and services” available from UNFCU? The US Office of Financial Asset Control or OFAC settled charges against UNFCU for, in connection with Mission employees, violating sanctions, see here. And Inner City Press' third question, about precisely what services “UNFCU offers to UN agencies and country teams” - including for example in North Korea - remained at publication time unanswered. Now this: "As a member-owned financial institution that serves the UN community globally, UNFCU provides bank account services to UN/agency staff, and consultants subject to payroll requirements of the various UN agencies and subject to the rules and regulations governing all US Financial Institutions. Accounts are maintained in US dollars and are protected by federal share insurance through the National Credit Union Administration. UNFCU complies with US regulations, including those governing US economic sanctions." But why then did UNFCU settle charges of sanctions violations? We'll have more on this. Inner City Press previously exclusively reported for example that "Sudanese nationals working for the UN have had part of their salaries paid into UN Federal Credit Union accounts, in U.S. dollars. Then they were told that these dollar accounts were frozen, and could only be transferred to the Bank of Khartoum." Watch this site.