Monday, August 25, 2008

Condi Rice's Favorite Leftist: Soros Agent Mark Malloch Brown, Multinationalist Cabinet Secretary in the UK

In which the false Sorosian dialectic behind a recent key political appointment in merry old England is dissected ...

Also see "Labor Leader Gordon Brown's Guru is Mrs. Irving Kristol"

By Alex Constantine

Malloch Brown's CV boasts tenure at the World Bank, among other interesting places. The Bank's 1999 press release on Malloch's departure depicts a leftist and a humanitarian, like his boss Soros ... whose closest associates happen to constitute the upper tiers of the multinational power elite:

"Prior to joining the World Bank, Mr. Malloch Brown was the lead international partner from 1986-1994 in a strategic communications management firm, where he worked with corporations, governments, and political candidates. He also provided strategic advice to governments on managing change and on public policy issues including privatization, environment, human rights, and other matters. Mr. Malloch Brown also advised CEOs on corporate marketing and change management issues. ... Mr. Malloch Brown is a board member of the Open Society Institute, George Soros' foundation network.",,contentMDK:20016316~menuPK:162686~pagePK:210083~piPK:152538~theSitePK:544849,00.html

The foreign policy bona fidés that led to Malloch's appointment in Gordon Brown's cabinet belie his left-wing, "anti-American" image. From the maskofanarchy site, August 27, 2007, "Mark Malloch Brown - The Colombian Connection":

" ... Melanie Phillips, the representative of the far-right, has been quick to present the appointment of Mark Malloch Brown as causing 'dismay in Washington DC'. She also claims that he played a vital role in the oil-for-food scandal, the removal of Wolfowitz and portrays him as an opponent of the Iraq war. The combination of these factors allow Phillips to portray Malloch Brown as anti-American, corrupt and disreputable. This, of course, would lead to some on the right to suspect that Malloch Brown is therefore closely associated with the left. However, there is more to Malloch Brown than Phillips would have you believe, and it certainly seems unlikely that the US is really concerned about his appointment.

"During the late 1980s, Malloch Brown was on the payroll of Washington's Sawyer Miller political consultancy group. The Sawyer Miller group were actively involved in the political situation in Colombia during the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s. Their role? They were instructed to present the Colombian government in a positive light. Central to this was addressing the concerns that the government was linked to paramilitaries. The director of Sawyer Miller declared that:

"'the main mission is to educate the American media about Colombia, get good coverage, and nurture contacts with journalists, columnists, and think tanks. The message is that there are ‘bad’ and ‘good’ people in Colombia and that the government is the good guy.'

"Their appointment was made when the Colombian government was at its lowest standing with the American people. Opinion polls at the end of the 1980s found that 76% of all Americans thought Colombia was corrupt and further 80% wanted sanctions imposed. Sawyer Miller (and Malloch Brown) were given the task of presenting the Colombian government in a more positive light. They certainly seemed to profit from their task. The group earned nearly a million dollars in fees and expenses in the first half of 1991 alone.

"The main role of the group, who had signed up former Reagan administration Ed Rollins and PR star John Scanlon on as partners, was to pressure journalists into spinning for the government. They distributed pamphlets, sent letters to editors signed by government officials and placed full-page advertisements in The New York Times and The Washington Post. All American journalists were required to go through Sawyer Miller before they could interview government officials. According to one reporter, Sawyer Miller declined a request for an interview with President Gaviria because the network also wanted to interview former U.S. drug czar Bob Martinez, who had criticized the Colombian government. The reporter claimed:

"'Sawyer/Miller did not want to give the perception that the Colombian government and the U.S. had differences.'

"Producers even claimed that Sawyer Miller tried to change the content of the programme.

"Sawyer Miller also attempted to pressurise editors who were unsympathetic to Colombia's ties with drug barons. Sawyer Miller reuqested a meeting with the editor of the Miami Herald when it described the Colombian government as a 'weakling'. According to the editor:

"They were sharp and even followed up the meeting with a couple of phone calls. Yes, we did tone down our criticisms, but it was mainly because the president explained that he was following public opinion in Colombia."

"Sawyer Miller has also played a key role in skewing the 'war on terror' in Colombia. As a result of PR activities conducted by the group, FARC is considered the 'most dangerous international terrorist group based in the Western Hemisphere'. However, this is mainly due to the work of Sawyer Miller and the Colombian military who, according to the US ambassador to Colombia in 1996, 'considered it a way to obtain U.S. assistance in the counterinsurgency'. And this assistance has continued to this very day. Colombia continues to be on of the largest recipients of American military aid in the world.

"Colombia's links to narcotics and right-wing paramilitaries are well documented (click on the Colombia label below), Sawyer Miller's role was to cover this up and present Colombia as a country free from corruption. Sawyer Miller helped to convince the American public that Colombia wasn't the corrupt country that they had been led to believe, and that there were no such links to narcotics. The recent revelations over Uribe's administration have given lie to that and yet, such was the effectiveness of this PR campaign, Uribe maintains a level of popularity far in excess of most corrupt administrations. The fact that Malloch Brown played such a key role in producing propaganda for the Colombian government, much to the delight of Washington, truly gives lie to the claim that Gordon Brown has shifted the government to a more humane position in global politics. There are still those at the heart of government that are eager to do the bidding of the United States around the world. Melanie Phillips can sleep easy."
Posted by korova at 12:59

Caveat: Right-wing slant to this Spectator story. Author Claudia Rosett hails from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and she nurtures the false dialectic in the controversial Malloch appointment by clucking her tongue over his "leftist" agenda. I've redacted the story to reduce it to pertinent information.

Mark Malloch Brown, Former UN deputy secretary-general's taxpayer funded accommodation

The taxpayer is being stung so this Lord can live in Admiralty House
By Claudia Rosett
November 8, 2007

Mark Malloch-Brown, the minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, was the most prestigious recruit to Gordon Brown’s ministry of all the talents. But this appointment might be about to come back and embarrass the Prime Minister with controversy brewing over the former UN deputy secretary-general’s taxpayer funded accommodation.

In February 2006 Mark Malloch Brown, then the UN Secretary General’s chief of staff, was interviewed by Claudia Rosett at the UN, and found himself increasingly furious at the line of questioning about his housing arrangements in New York. Malloch Brown had caused controversy with his decision to live on the smart country estate of George Soros....

Scroll forward to the summer of 2007 and the same man found divine providence intervening on his behalf. Gordon Brown, shortly to become Prime Minister, was desperate to bring Malloch Brown on board. One friend who was advising him while Brown and Malloch Brown were negotiating over the telephone remembers egging him on: ‘It was great fun! You know, strike a hard bargain.’

It ended up with Malloch Brown nailing down a quite remarkable deal from the supplicant Prime Minister-in-waiting. This newcomer to British government picked up an extensive portfolio incorporating Africa--one of Brown’s foreign policy priorities--Asia and the United Nations, a peerage and the right to attend Cabinet. The message was clear: Malloch Brown was not to be some token peer picking up the crumbs under the Foreign Secretary’s table but a man with a seat at the top table.

Why was Gordon so keen to bring him in? In the months leading up to the takeover on 27 June, senior Brownites expressed concern at their boss’s comparative inexperience in foreign policy. Despite a decade at the centre of power, Brown’s experience on the global stage was limited to his work with the International Monetary Fund, the development agenda and his famously grumpy appearances at meetings of EU finance ministers. Brown’s emphasis on the economic aspects of international security and peace-making in the Middle East served only to highlight the narrowness of his focus. Blairites sneered that ‘Gordon doesn’t do abroad’.

There were obvious attractions, therefore, in hiring a foreign policy heavyweight to act as his guide and guru.... The answer Brown’s team came up with--with help from some unofficial headhunters--was Malloch Brown; a Brit in his early fifties who was married with four children and had been educated at Marlborough, Cambridge and Michigan, been a journalist on the Economist and a political consultant before entering the world of international bureaucracy, rising to become Kofi Annan’s deputy secretary general at the United Nations in April 2006. There could only be a dozen or so people in the world who were as thoroughly well-versed in the global agenda as Malloch Brown..... Malloch Brown, the theory ran, would add instant heft to Brown’s reform agenda for international institutions and signal that foreign policy would be very different under Brown. Shriti Vadera, now parliamentary under-secretary of state at DFID and one of Brown’s closest aides, was apparently particularly keen on the appointment. His multilateral UN credentials also meant that the Labour party was likely to tolerate his political promiscuity--Malloch Brown had flirted with the SDP in the 1980s and done a turn at David Cameron’s first Tory conference ....

The CV of Brown’s most senior outside appointment reads like that of a hair-shirted technocrat: a vice-president of World Bank, head of UNDP, chief of staff and then deputy secretary-general of the United Nations and now Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN.

But Malloch Brown’s living arrangements in this country are exceedingly grand, and provided by the taxpayer. Only three members of the government have grace-and-favour residences in London. Malloch Brown is one of them, the other two are the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. David Miliband and his growing family have yet to use 1 Carlton Gardens, the Foreign Secretary’s London residence. Yet Malloch Brown, astonishingly, has secured one of the three government flats in Admiralty House, where John Prescott used to live. In so doing, this newcomer has leapfrogged 20 full members of the Cabinet who notionally enjoy seniority over him. ...

The Treasury’s National Assets Register values the Admiralty House accommodation at £7.76 million and as worth more than the flats above No. 10 and 11 Downing Street. It is, indeed, fit for a Lord, and one with tastes which are the opposite of frugal. A parliamentary answer earlier this autumn revealed that ‘the floor area of the ministerial residences in Admiralty House is 859 square metres.’ In 2006–07 the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office paid the Cabinet Office no less than £173,000 for John Prescott’s living in one of the flats there.

One of the Brown government’s key selling points--part of its ‘change’ message--was that, in contrast to the Blair era, there would be no more high life, no more ministerial noses in the trough. Malloch Brown’s housing arrangements threaten to sully that message. One Cabinet minister fretted: ‘Housing is always so sensitive. Every voter can relate to it because everyone has a home or, increasingly, is struggling to afford one. ... Malloch Brown’s determination to keep the flat may not be in the best interests of the government’s image, but it conforms to a pattern of behaviour. The minister is simply keeping himself in the style to which he has become accustomed.

Before moving to London, Malloch Brown had been living as a tenant on George Soros’s estate in Katonah, New York. Katonah is in Westchester Country, home to the Clintons, and about an hour from New York City itself.

Soros’s estate is so large that only a curving tree-lined drive can be seen through the eagle-topped red-brick front gates. Malloch Brown was paying a UN-subsidised rent of around $10,000 a month for his accommodation. He could well afford this as by the end of his time at the United Nations his total, take-home compensation package amounted to $287,087 p.a. Malloch Brown might be doing ‘God’s work’, but he was receiving his rewards on earth, too. He was paid more as number two at the UN than Dick Cheney was as Vice President.

Despite being asked by the press on a number of occasions about the details of his housing arrangements in Katonah, Malloch Brown has provided neither details nor documentation. At a UN press briefing in New York on 20 June 2005, about six months after he had become Annan’s chief of staff, Malloch Brown was asked by a reporter to explain the full extent of his financial relationship with George Soros.

He heatedly denied any financial relationship, praised Soros for his work around the world and tore a strip off the questioner. He went on to say, ‘In UNDP we collaborate extensively. For that reason, it was absolutely critical when we set our hearts on a house on his property that if we were going to rent it, we’d pay the full commercial rent, and we have done so.’

But neither proof nor any further details were forthcoming. Indeed, Malloch Brown has refused even to say when he began his tenancy.

The relationship between the UNDP and Soros remains obscure. The UN last year was unable or unwilling to supply a complete list of details accounting for this relationship; neither did Soros’s Open Society Institute open up about it. But Malloch Brown and Soros were sufficiently close professionally to give a joint press conference on 19 March 2002 at a global aid gathering in Monterrey, Mexico.

Nor did Malloch Brown ever disclose his finances to the public--despite presiding over reforms that he assured the world would mean more transparency. In 2005, Malloch Brown told the US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations that ‘transparency and accountability are the watchwords for the United Nations in the new century’ and described ‘more rigorous financial disclosures by senior officials’ as an immediate management reform that the UN was already undertaking. In 2006, the UN Secretariat launched a reform requiring senior UN administrative officials to fill out financial disclosure forms and file them with the UN’s new Ethics Office. But this ‘financial disclosure’ policy came with an extraordinary loophole of which Kafka would have been proud: the forms did not actually need to be disclosed to the public. This year, Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan’s successor, and his deputy both voluntarily released their financial forms to the public. But despite much talk about transparency, neither Annan nor Malloch Brown chose to release theirs.

The connection with Soros became ever closer once Malloch Brown left the UN. Malloch Brown was appointed to senior positions at both Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Institute, which promotes democracy and the rule of law and which Soros founded and of which he remains the chairman. The Wall Street Journal cheekily dubbed Malloch Brown part of an ‘axis of Soros’.

Another episode at the UN that calls Malloch Brown’s judgment into question concerns a glowing book on the UNDP published in late 2006 by Cambridge University Press. It turns out the book had been commissioned by Malloch Brown shortly before he left the agency. More than half a million dollars had been spent to hire a historian, give him a travel budget and then buy copies of the book from CUP. To no one’s great surprise, the book is very positive about Malloch Brown’s tenure.

Back in Westminster, Malloch Brown’s appointment in June was widely and correctly seen as a message that things were going to change on foreign policy. He was, after all, known to oppose the Iraq war, and had slapped Bush and Blair down over the war in Lebanon. Malloch Brown’s appalling relations with the Bush administration-- the President personally pleaded with the incoming UN Secretary-General to get rid of him--were music to the ears of those who were desperate for reassurance that Brown was not going to pursue the same strategy as Blair on the global stage.

In Washington, however, Malloch Brown’s appointment caused considerable consternation and continues to cast doubt on Brown’s judgment. Confidants of the Prime Minister now report that Brown claims that if he ‘had known it would cause such a fuss, I wouldn’t have appointed him’. Nile Gardiner, a Republican foreign-policy thinker and expert on US-UK relations who is close to the White House, says that Malloch Brown is viewed in Washington as ‘viscerally anti-American’.

In his first (and so far only) big interview in the job, Malloch Brown set out to dismiss the idea that his appointment might cause problems with anyone but a few neocon crazies. He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘What I really hate is the effort to paint me as anti-American, but I am happy to be described as anti-neocon. If they see me as a villain, I will wear that as a badge of honour.’ He went on to boast that: ‘From Colin Powell to Condi Rice all the way through to Richard Holbrooke or Madeleine Albright, across that massive swath of American foreign policy, I would bet you a drink that you would find that I am their favourite multinationalist Brit.’ This, though, is not an opinion shared in Washington. An adviser to a 2008 presidential candidate warns that ‘the extremely negative reaction that he causes will last long after President Bush’s departure from office’. ,...

Since this disastrous start, little has been heard from Lord Malloch-Brown. His blaming of the neocons for all criticism of him is also wearing thin. As one minister says, ‘He explains away all criticism as evidence of neocon briefing. It is a completely bloody circular argument.’

Is this just a fable of folly and grandeur? No. There are substantive policy issues where Malloch Brown could well end up causing Brown problems. The government has already been embarrassed by the revelation that when at the UN, Malloch Brown was enthusiastic about the concept of a European Union seat on the Security Council....

Brown defends Malloch Brown’s appointment to those committed to the special relationship by saying that all he really wanted was his expertise on Darfur. But this answer doesn’t stack up. Since taking on the job, Malloch Brown’s diplomacy in the region has been unexceptional.

Claudia Rosett is journalist-in-residence with the US-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies and James Forsyth is online editor of The Spectator.