AEF MORINGA presents:

      The Checkmate Pendulum   e-book from AMAZON  (October 15) hard-copy from AEF-Moringa/PayPall  (November 20)     30 chapters, 490 pages, action in 4 continents        0     PROLOGUE  (Autumn) GRIGORIOPOL,TRANSNISTRIA      I     THE CRISIS   (Autumn) 1.     HANDSOME AND SIMPATICO                     2.     DO I SHOOT, OR NOT?                               3.     NAZIS, STASI, SOVIETS, SATAN                4.     ISOZHU-NYAN: WHO...

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My Corner

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(1) A novel about politics, finance & crime

        The Checkmate Pendulum     What I saw, heard and witnessed in 40 years of international politics            The writing started in the early ’90s when I was Director General for Economics and Finance at the EU Commission.  That was the time when three related events shocked the world:  the U.S.S.R. collapsed, Germany was reunited, and the EU single currency was planned.   The author took part in crucial, secret negotiations associated with these developments:  his personal notes provided the background material for this...

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(2) From fiction to Reality

The Checkmate Pendulum     ... four questions on everybody's mind        Investigating the links between politics, crime and finance, TV journalist Pierre G Bosco is forced to address big questions. Nobody in Europe loves the euro, but everybody needs it.  Is the common currency a step towards greater EU integration or will it cause Europe’s disintegration? Germany has become the EU’s dominant country.  Will Germany save Europe or wreck it a third time in a century? Despite their crimes, bankers are “too big to fail or jail.” ...

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Afghanistan: staff with brains and guts PDF Print E-mail
The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)
Tuesday, 03 June 2008 15:31

Posted: 3 June 2008

UNODC's crop surveys on coca, opium and cannabis are considered the gold standard for reliable data on the cultivation of illicit drugs. The same goes for our reports on monitoring verification of drug eradication.

It is sometimes forgotten that there are people behind these numbers - real heroes who are out in the field (on foot, camel, horse, motorcycle, and all terrain vehicle) talking to farmers, and measuring first hand how much coca or poppy is being grown. 

From Morocco to Burma, from Afghanistan to Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia we have hundreds of specialists reporting, through UNODC, how the drug situation in evolving on the supply side. 

In Afghanistan, this year alone we have sent 131 eradication verifiers (selected and trained by our Office in Kabul) out to regions where cultivation activities are envisaged.   They measure, on a sample basis, the extent of the cultivation, the eradicated fields, collect info from GPS coordinates, draw maps, and take photographs.  With a couple of exceptions, all these people are Afghan nationals:  extraordinarily dedicated fellows who love their country and work hard at fighting the scourge of opium.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:10
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Greening the UN PDF Print E-mail
The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)
Monday, 05 May 2008 15:34

Posted: 5 May 2008

When the UN Secretary-General recently visited the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) he was impressed with the new "M" building (meeting facility) that has been generously given to the Vienna International Centre (VIC) by the host country. He was not only impressed by the modern look of the building, he praised its state-of-the-art environmentally friendly feat

 

ures - for example, sensors that adjust air temperature and flows depending on the number of people in the room, or the heating system that is based on steam produced from the city's incineration facility.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:10
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Less Crime for More Development PDF Print E-mail
The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)
Friday, 18 April 2008 16:10

Posted: 18 April 2008

Photo: UNODC/Thomas HaileyBeing called the Office on "drugs and crime" is pretty sinister. It says what we are against, not what we are for. We are known as being the centre of the UN's fight against "uncivil society", and for battling the "dark side of globalization". But I would prefer to tell people what we are in favour of, namely security and justice for all.

We are half way through the 15 year period of implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The rule of law is not one of those goals, and yet without it they will be hard to reach. 

Economic analysis has consistently shown that weak rule of law leads to weak socio-economic performance:  in countries ravaged by crime and corruption, and where governments have lost control of their land, the poor suffer the most, and the services provided to them get delayed, or never arrive. The poorest -- the so-called "bottom billion" -- have no access to justice, health and education and face rising food prices: how can such countries meet the MDGs?

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:09
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Baghdad diary PDF Print E-mail
The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)
Monday, 31 March 2008 16:16

Posted: 31 March 2008

On 17 March I took part in a Conference in Baghdad on good governance and anti-corruption, the first UN conference since the war. Over the three days I kept a diary which I want to share with you. The full text of my speech at the Conference is available here.

DAY 1 - Kuwait City

Spent Saturday at security briefings, learning what to do in case of IED (improvised explosive devices), ambush, kidnapping, sniping, rocket attacks. Real life situations, simulated. Plenty of gory videos as well. Most interesting. Remarkable the Marine who gets out of his bullet-proof car, looks around carefully, then suddenly drops dead - but only for a fraction of a second. He then gets up and screams "fire at 03 hrs", then runs to the other side of his Humvee. He was hit in the chest, but the flak jacket saved his life. Impressive.

I am sure there is a reason for spending hours looking at these reports on gruesome real-life details, though that reason escapes me. I'm constantly followed by security officers, even in the most private places. I have zero degrees of freedom, and no control at all of my life: should something happen, I don't think I'll be able to decide anything on my own.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:08
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Health: The First Principle of Drug Policy PDF Print E-mail
The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)
Tuesday, 18 March 2008 16:47

Posted: 18 March 2008

It is often forgotten that health is the first principle of drug policy.  Improving security (against drug traffickers and dealers) and promoting development (to enable farmers to find sustainable alternatives to growing illicit crops) are necessary, but not sufficient, measures. Because even if you eliminate the world's entire supply of cannabis, coca, and opium, and even if you could seize all drugs in circulation, you would still have 25 million drug users looking for ways to satisfy their addiction. So the key to drug policy is reducing demand for drugs and treating addiction - and that is very much a health care issue. 

Concern about the health effects of drug use was the chief motivating factor for the 1961 UN Drug Control Convention. Yet, over time, public security has taken priority over public health. This is reflected in resource imbalances (around 3:1 in favour of spending on security) and policy priorities. I fear this is political expediency:  to focus on quick wins, like seizures and arrests (that reduce the problem), rather than on agents of slow change, like prevention and treatment (that can solve the problem). 

It is also the result of the fact that the challenge of reducing demand for drugs has been left to individual states, whereas interdiction and reducing the world's supply of illicit drugs are the focus of multi-lateral agreements. There are Guiding Principles of Demand Reduction (1998), but they do not carry the same weight as an international convention. The practice is even more remote from the statements of principle.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:08
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The orphan protocol PDF Print E-mail
The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)
Thursday, 06 March 2008 16:53

Posted: 6 March 2008

My Office is not an adoption agency. But I urgently need to find parents for the "forgotten protocol" of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, namely the Protocol which deals with the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms. 

The global availability of illegal firearms is a huge problem and has a profound effect on global security and sustainable development. Close to one billion guns are in circulation around the world, three quarters of which are in the hands of civilians. 8 million new guns are manufactured each year, along with billions of units of ammunition, enough to kill everyone in the world twice over.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:07
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