Friday, January 16, 2015

Boycott the Crans Montana Forum in the Illegally Occupied Western Sahara



Please read the following press releases by the Sahara Press Service on the Sahrawi government’s condemnation of the Crans Montana Forum’s decision to hold their annual meeting (March 12-14, 2015) in the illegally occupied city of Dakhla and their call for a boycott of the Forum.


Shaheed Elhafed (refugee camps), December 30, 2014 (SPS) - The Sahrawi government condemned Crans Montana Forum’s decision to organize its 2015 session in the occupied Sahrawi city of Dakhla, calling the forum’s organizer to reconsider this serious decision.

“This decision is a flagrant violation of the international law, a blatant aggression against the Sahrawi people and a contradiction with the principles and the objectives stated in the Crans Montana Forum,” said the Sahrawi government in a communiqué.

After recalling that the city of Dakhla is illegally occupied since 31 October 1975 by the Moroccan military forces, the Sahrawi government said that “it is not reasonable that the forum justifies this dangerous behaviour by Moroccan illusions on the Western Sahara issue.”

In this regard, the Sahrawi authorities underlined that the Western Sahara issue “is not an ordinary African conflict, but an international issue, monitored by the United Nations’ Secretary General and discussed at least twice a year by the UN Security Council.”

The occupied Western Sahara is on the UN’s list of the non-self governing territories, and eligible to the implementation of the Resolution 1514 declaration on the granting of independence to colonized countries and peoples. (SPS)

             
           
ShahidAlhafed, January 6, 2015 (Sps)- the National Secretariat of Polisario Front called on countries, organizations and financial institutions to boycott the Crans Montana forum, which will be organized in the occupied city of Dajla next March.
In a statement culminated its tenth ordinary session headed by the General Secretary and the President of Republic, Mr. Mohamed Abdelaziz, the National Secretariat of the Frente Polisario, appealed to the organizers of Crans Montana forum to reconsider such serious decision which represents a provocative step and a violation to the legal statusof Western Sahara.
It also underlined that the move encourages Moroccan to continue its intransigence and fuels tension in the region.
Recalling that Western Sahara is a non-self-governing territory awaiting to be decolonized, the statement requested the United Nations to take the necessary measures and procedures to stop such violation of international law.
It is to be recalled that the Sahrawi government has already deplored the decision to hold the annual session of Crans Montana Forum in the occupied city of Dajla, considering it as a flagrant violation of international law and blatant aggression against an entire people.
 


The decision of the Crans Montana Forum to meet in the occupied territory is a thoroughly corrupt assault on international law, and their meeting in Dakhla must be stopped.

The Crans Montana Forum is quite simply one of the slimiest, sleaziest, and corrupt organizations I have run across in my 25 years of researching Western Sahara.

From a look at the Forum’s website, it is hard to see this organization as anything more than an international networking club where the rich, famous, and powerful of the world can rub elbows with the corrupt, brutal, and murderous scum of the earth. Take a look at the presenters, awardees, participants, and leaders of the Forum. Alongside the likes of Richard Holbrooke, Mikhail Gorbachev, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, Lech Walesa, Jesse Jackson, Aung San Suu Kyi, Shirin Ebadi, and Ban Ki- moon, you find the likes of Antoinette T. Sassou-Nguesso (the First Lady of the Republic of Congo, which is to say the wife of the corrupt and brutal President Denis Sassou Nguesso), Benazir Bhutto, (Pakistan’s legendary queen of corruption), Afghansitan’s President Hamid Karzai (well-known for his nepotism, corruption, electoral fraud, and worse), Dileita Mohamed Dileita (Prime Minister of Djibouti, quite possibly the most rapacious autocratic countries of Africa), and many many more. It is a great mystery to me how the long list of bureaucrats from international organizations such as the United Nations and Transparency International can justify hobnobbing with such a collection of lowlifes.

The Crans Montana Forum is notorious for its lack of transparency. How exactly does this group finance its annual junkets? Its website has no information about the Forum’s financials, donors, and support. They do tell us that their annual meeting last year in Rabat, Morocco, was under the High Patronage of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, but they certainly are silent about what that means. They did award all kinds of awards to lots of Moroccan government, business, and NGO leaders, which certainly smells very fishy to me.  In general, the Forum’s strange collection of awardees, many of them corrupt and savage, really makes one wonder whether this group is in the business of selling its awards to the highest bidders. As an aside, it is a great mystery to me how Huguette Labelle, chairperson of Transparency International, would join the Crans Montana African Women’s Forum in 2013. The lack of any transparency by this outfit is mind boggling.

On the subject of transparency, the Forum mentions four leaders  – HSH Prince Anton von und zu Liechtenstein, Honorary Chariman of the Board (Fondation du Forun Universale), Pfr. Daniel Warner, Chair, Advisory Board (Crans Montana Forum) Mr. Jean-Paul Carteron, Founder (Fondation du Forum Universale & Crans Montana Forum), Mr. Nicolas Buzaianu, Founder and Executive Chariman (Council on World Public Affairs CWPA) - but doesn’t enlighten us with biographies on any of them.

Prince Anton of Liechtenstein’s main accomplishment appears to be that he is a Prince of the House of Liechtenstein, because there is precious little information around about what he does.

Daniel Warner since 2011 has been an Assistant Director for International Relations, Management, of The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) , ”an international foundation whose mission is to assist the international community in pursuing good governance and reform of the security sector.” It is exceedingly hard to figure out what an academic who is committed to “Democratic Control of Armed Forces” and “pursuing good governance and reform of the security sector” is doing as Chair of the Advisory Board of an outfit seemingly committed to autocratic control of armed forces and pursuing totally corrupt governance.
And then there is Jean-Paul Carteron, the Founder and apparently Master of Ceremonies of the Crans Montana Forum. There is little information around about this guy, but luckily there is one Santa Barbara-based journalist, Robert Eringer, who has made a career digging up dirt about Carteron. In a December 27, 2008, article in the Santa Barbara News-Press titled “The Investigator” we get a short bio of Carteron:

Another shady character in sunny Monaco is Jean-Paul Carteron. Carteron left Paris in 1981 to work for "Papa Doc" Duvalier and wound up looking after the Haitian dictator's corrupt fortune. He carried on with "Baby Doc," facilitating real estate deals along the French Riviera. The Duvalier dynasty was brutal and murderous--and the beginning of Carteron's own fortune. After bloodying his hands with both "Docs," Carteron--in 1989--created Crans Montana Forum in Switzerland and re-styled himself as "humanitarian." His forum provided respectability for brutal, corrupt regimes in Africa, from which Mr. Carteron personally profited.

The Swiss, by 1996, suspected Carteron of laundering money and requested he move his forum elsewhere. He took it to the Principality and re-named it Monaco World Summit, creating the erroneous perception among foreign governments that his private entity was a Monaco institution. Then, mixing with representatives of the world's smaller nations, Carteron became a broker. Not stocks and bonds. Carteron brokers honorary consulships to Monaco. His going rate is 50,000 euros.

Prince Albert knew about these unethical antics, but rather than point the door to Carteron, His Serene Highness designated him co- fundraiser for a pet project called "Peace Through Sport."

Lovely stuff, all of this. What is the Crans Montana Forum all about? Eringer truly says it best, “His forum provided respectability for brutal, corrupt regimes in Africa, from which Mr. Carteron personally profited.” And the bit about Carteron brokering honorary consulships to Monaco sounds oh so much like his brokering sexy-sounding awards to the highest bidder at the Crans Montana Forum. And if you want a longer and uglier bio of Carteron by Erlanger take a look at TheSpymaster of Monte Carlo 29: Duvalier Humanitarianism.
 While Carteron’s bio is probably bad enough, moving on to Mr. Nicolas Buzaianu, Founder and Executive Chariman of the Forum’s Council on World Public Affairs, is also fascinating, to say the least.   A good place to start about him is an article on a blog named “The Power Brokers” about the electricity industry in Romania, “a world where many organizations make huge amounts of money, from God (literally the Romanian Orthodox Church) to the devil (convicted criminals and organized crime).”  Noting that “The true owners of many of these companies [in Romania’s electricitiy industry] are hidden behind anonymous companies from Switzerland or Cyprus,” the article continues,” By far, the most important private company in Romania is Energy Holding, which specializes in international electric power trading,” and which “is 95 percent-owned by the Swiss company Energy Consult SA ECSA, while the rest of the shares are owned by an off-shore company from Cyprus called Atell Investments.”  This is where we run into Nicolae Bogdan Buzaianu, the “sole administrator” of Energy Consult” until June 2006” and “one of the most controversial characters in the Romanian power market.” A cloud of corruption had followed Buzaianu and Energy Consult for years and “Energy Holding came under scrutiny in 2006 by the [Romanian] National Anticorruption Directorate because of its power dealings with two state-owned power plants….” In a nutshell, it certainly looks as if Buzaianu made a ton of money in the thoroughly corrupt world of energy trading in Romania.
Like Cartenon, Buzaianu appears to have tried to reinvent himself as a philanthropist. While he has continued his energy trading ways since he resigned from Energy Consult in 2006, he has moved on to several eclectic projects. He became obsessed with Zambia, where he served as this country’s representative to UNESCO, developed a charity to improve their educational system, and got implicated in a “soured gold deal” over “gold which allegedly went missing from the vaults of the Drug Enforcement Commission under mysterious circumstances.”  If you want to look further into the shady world of Nicolae Bogdan Buzaianu in Zambia, I urge you to take a look at WIREDPROJECT316, a blog published by Sanday Chongo Kabange, a pan-African journalist. Then there was in 2010 his appointment in Tokyo as Honorary Black Belt of the International Judo Federation (IJF); his being awarded in 2011 the Gold Medal of the Church of Russia, its highest honor, “for his charity work to complete the refurbishment of several churches in Moldavia.” and also in 2011 his “supporting the Bishnoi community in Rajasthan in Northern India in order to promote their message for the respect and protection of nature.”  And somewhere along the way he became Founder and Executive Chariman of the Crans Montana Forum’s Council on World Public Affairs. Believe me, I’m only touching the tip of the iceberg.  It really appears and at least a couple journalists concur that this guy spends a lot of time laundering a very dirty fortune though an extraordinary collection of causes. His conversation at Crans Montana Forum dinners must be fascinating.
 It should be very clear to anyone reading all of this that the Crans Montana Forum intends to hold its annual meeting in Dakhla in the illegally occupied Western Sahara  because the event is “under the High Patronage of HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco,” one of the world’s most corrupt monarchs. The King is bribing the Crans Montana Forum to break international law by meeting in a city that no country recognizes as part of Morocco. Last year the King’s High Patronage of the Forum’s meeting in Rabat bought him a wealth of Moroccan participants, presenters, and awardees. This year he is trying to buy respectability for Morocco’s illegal occupation and looting of Western Sahara.
 The Crans Montana Forum must be forced to cancel its meeting in Dakhla.
Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was a guest of the Crans Montana Forum at its meeting in Switzerland in 1996. Bouteflika, as the host and largest supporter of the Polisario Front and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in Algeria, must exert all diplomatic efforts to force the Forum to cancel their annual meeting in Dakhla and to force King Mohammed VI to retract his High Patronage of the Dakhla meeting.
 The Sahrawi in the occupied territory must organize non-violent demonstrations throughout Western Sahara to prevent the meeting from taking place and to disrupt the meeting if the Forum refuses to cancel.
 The Crans Montana Forum is an International Organization, Swiss owned and managed, but based in the Principality of Monaco. Both Monaco and Switzerland must use all legal means to prevent the Forum from meeting in a non-self-governing territory illegally occupied by Morocco.
 The large collection of business, governmental, inter-governmental, and non-governmental leaders that have undoubtedly been invited to the meeting in Dakhla must boycott this event. In particular, the United Nation should prohibit its bureaucrats and leadership from  participating at this meeting. The UN, after all, does not recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
 The bottom line is that the Crans Montana Forum is a thoroughly corrupt and mercenary organization that is colluding with Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara. The Forum in Dakhla should be boycotted by all and must be destroyed if it does not cancel its meeting.