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Microscoping Maurice Strongby Judi McLeod
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Canadian businessman and UN envoy Maurice Strong is one weird dude.
Weird in his sidekicks. Mikhail Gorbachev, for one. The former Soviet leader and the Canuck really believe they can replace the Ten Commandments with their overstated Earth Charter,
Weird in his handpicked protégés. Try Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin, the career politician whose one and only trip to the election polls as Canadian PM reduced the powerful Liberal Party to minority status. This, after assuming the mantle left by the departure of Jean Chrétien in pomp and splendour Indian smudging ceremonies, addressed by Irish rock star, Bono. Martin's surrealistic ascension to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had such an emotional impact on Strong that he wept.
Strong actually teared up at the mention of Martin in the PMO on Canada's state-controlled television network, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which ran a special, called the Life and Times of Maurice Strong just three months after Martin's December 12, 2003 swearing-in ceremony. In the special, CBC reporter Ann-Marie McDonald gushed about how Strong was a special guest in the still Gorbachev controlled Kremlin and how he came away with a saber-shaped bottle of brandy from Joseph Stalin's special stock.
McDonald went on to describe Strong as "a cross between Rasputin and Machiavelli", "the Michelangelo of networking" and an "international traveling salesman with buts of paper in his pocket".
In spite of all of these monikers, Strong, McDonald said, "refuses to be pigeon holed".
You can call it weird from whence Strong came in the world of business. He was spawned by the Montreal-based Power Corporation, whose CEO Paul Desmarais is a key figure in BNP Paribas, Saddam Hussein's favourite bank and part of the oil-for-food investigation.
Martin, who was hired by Strong, got his start in business from the same source, and because of it ended up as the owner of Canada Steamship Lines. While Strong, now Martin's senior advisor in the House of Commons is Martin's long time mentor, the duo is so close that the men are, in some speculative quarters, alleged but unproven half brothers.
Strong is weird in the kind of advisors from whom he says he takes his counsel. For example, "Koreagate Man" Tongsun Park, with whom he admits he has continued to maintain a relationship, and who Strong said in a written statement, advised him on "North Korean issues in my role as a U.N. envoy." In other words, Strong was taking advice from a man the U.S. Attorney's Office is looking to arrest for allegedly accepting millions of dollars from the Iraqi government while operating in the U.S. as an unregistered agent for Baghdad.
You'd think "the Michelangelo of networking" could do better for himself than that.
Strong is weird in the kind of international assignments he lands. What really qualifies him to conduct UN reform? Precisely what credentials does Strong really have to be dispatched by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to global hot spots like North Korea, and what is he doing when he's in China?
It is weird that Strong advocates for world depopulation schemes; tells the unwashed masses that both refrigeration and air conditioning are going to wipe out Mother Earth. It's weird that as a practicing New Ager, Strong dabbles in the occult. Weird is that he didn't know one of the largest American aquifers was sitting right under the 100,000-acre Baca Ranch in Colorado, he ran as a New Age Mecca with his wife Hanne, and that he came to acquire the property through Saudi arms dealer Adnan Koshoggi.
Weirdest of all is the spin that comes with the Maurice Strong package. The kind of spin about Strong that comes from Nicholas Sonntag, a Canadian who heads up the Beijing office of CH2M Hill, one of the world's leading environment companies. Sonntag has said of Strong's business in China: "They (China) are taking a big risk. They're determined to be the economic engine of the world. This is why Maurice is here--to help them think things through."
Why would an entire country rely on one man to "help them think things through"?
It's a kind of spin that only the pros at Fox News' O'Reilly Factor could stop. It shouldn't matter that Strong is a Canadian spinmeister when it was the Rockefeller family that gained him entree to the United Nations.
Now that a link has been proven between Strong and Park, watch for senior UN officials to begin distancing themselves from "the man with the rolodex to die for".
We can only hope that the mainline media does not forget that Kofi and Mo are the Frick and Frack of the fairytale world in Manhattan. Back in 1997, Maurice Strong's UN offices were within spitting distance, just down the hall from those of Kofi Annan's.
Even now, spin-doctor Annan is blaming everything but the UN for the oil-for-food scandal. Annan was only yesterday holding up the "He's Innocent!" placard, and complimenting Strong just for cooperating with the independent probe panel investing oil-for-food.
What choice does Strong have but to cooperate with the probe? He may be Envoy God to Annan, but not to serious investigators.
Even in Canada where he's senior advisor to the prime minister, average Canadians know little about Strong, who is remembered most for trying to use their tax dollars to purchase a Costa Rican rain forest when he was running Ontario Hydro.
Strong is out there alright, but somewhere in all the either and the fog.
In the end it could have been the weirdness of Maurice Strong as described by those media outlets Strong catalogued as believing in black helicopter conspiracies that inadvertently kept him covered in a fog.
It's time for Maurice Strong to be dragged in out of the fog and examined close up if only to ascertain who and what he really is.
Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]
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