Sunday, May 31, 2009

Some people never learn then there's New York lawyer Robert A. Kahn!

Good Day Readers:

This is a follow up to an earlier article which appeared on Truth To Power ( anonymously hosted by The Public Eye a Canadian attorney.

Clare L. Pieuk
29 May 2009
New York Lawyer Robert Kahn

Friday, May 22, 2009


Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced today that a 72-year-old lawyer was found guilty of sexually abusing a 34-year-old female Law Guardian last August during an appearance in Family Court.

Robert Kahn, of the Bronx, was found guilty on one count of Sexual Abuse in the 3rd degree, a Class B misdemeanor offense and one count of Harassment in the 2nd, a violation of the New York State Penal Law, following a non-jury trial before Acting State Supreme Court Justice James Kindler.

Kahn was given a Conditional Discharge and sentenced to attend a counseling program for sex offenders.

The incident occurred on August 18, 2008 in Part 3 at Family Court at 200 Sheridan Avenue.

According to court papers, Kahn placed his hand on the victim’s buttocks, “cupping the left side of her buttocks” without her consent, causing her to suffer annoyance and alarm. The unwanted physical contact occurred when the victim leaned over to retrieve a file from her briefcase.

In addition to testimony directly related to the incident of August 18, 2008, the evidence included a decision by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department suspending Kahn from the practice of law for six months effective April 8, 2005.

Kahn was suspended after a hearing into charges that he had engaged in “a pattern of misconduct involving sexually oriented or other offensive comments directed at female attorneys, in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.”

Assistant District Attorney Danielle Pascale of the Child Abuse/Sex Offense Bureau prosecuted the case.

Jillian S. Osorio
Public Information
Bronx District Attorney's Office
(718) 590-2234 / 2236

A "cyber tsar" for Canada next?

US launches cyber security plan
US President Barack Obama has announced plans for securing American computer networks against cyber attacks

May 31, 2009

US President Barack Obama has announced plans for securing American computer networks against cyber attacks.

He said that from now on, America's digital infrastructure would be treated as a strategic national asset.

He announced the creation of a cyber security office in the White House, and said he would personally appoint a "cyber tsar."

Both US government and military bodies have reported repeated interference from hackers in recent years.


US President Barack Obama's speech on cyber security [31.2 KB]

Mr. Obama pointed out that al-Qaeda and other groups had threatened computer warfare.
Acts of terror today, he said, could come "not only from a few extremists in suicide vests, but from a few key strokes of a computer - a weapon of mass disruption."

The president said the United States was particularly dependent on its computer networks and therefore particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks.

In 2007 alone the Pentagon reported nearly 44,000 incidents of what it called malicious cyber activity carried out by foreign militaries, intelligence agencies and individual hackers.

Security priority

Mr. Obama said that protecting America's digital infrastructure, the networks and computers everyone depended on every day, would be "a national security priority."

"It is now clear," he said, "this cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation."

He said the United States had failed to invest in its digital infrastructure. "We are not as prepared as we should be," he said.

In the past, no one US department was responsible for cyber-security, resulting in poor communication and co-ordination, he said.

The new cyber-security office will be a multi-billion dollar effort designed to restrict access to government computers and to protect systems - such as those that run the stock exchange and air traffic control - that keep the country going.


April 2009: US government admits power grid is vulnerable after media reports that Chinese and Russian spies have planted software that could shut it down

April 2009: China denies hacking into a system containing data on a new US fighter jet

November 2008: Congressional panel says China has stepped up computer-based espionage and is stealing "vast amounts" of sensitive information

Sepember 2007: China denies reports its military hacked into the Pentagon in June of that year

But Mr Obama emphasised that it would also help protect individual Americans, adding: "Millions... have been victimised: their privacy violated, their identities stolen, their lives upended, and their wallets emptied."

He pointed out that according to one survey, cyber crime cost Americans more than $8 billion over the last two years. Worldwide, it was estimated that cyber criminals stole intellectual property from businesses worth up to $1 trillion.

"In short, America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cyber-security," he said.

The Obama administration is also expected to create a new cyber command at the Pentagon with the dual task of eradicating potential vulnerabilities in America's sensitive computer networks, while simultaneously creating ways to exploit them in the systems of potential enemies.

An influential study published last year suggested that having an offensive computer warfare capability would have a deterrent effect against would-be attackers.

Seal tidbits coming soon to a food outlet near you?

Good Day Folks:

A couple comments recently made in the national media caught our attention. One by Heather Hiscox host of CBC Television's National Morning Show who pointed out the Governor General with experience as a former journalist and broadcaster knew beforehand exactly the impact eating seal would have internationally. We first encountered Her Excellency when she hosted the popular documentary series The Lens while working for Radio-Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Then there was Andrew Coyne McLean's Magazine's Editor and panelist on CBC's At Issue who noted initially he had reservations when Michaelle Jean was appointed Governor General but has subsequently warmed to her predicting this will eventually become the signature event when her days as GG are over.

Perhaps so, however, we were more interested in the article's analysis of the economic prospects of expanding the use of seal as a food source to the rest of Canada. Unfortunately, there was no comment offered as to its nutritional value.

Clare L. Pieuk
GG seal-snacking inspores Infit food industry dreams
May 30, 2009
The Canadian Press

IQALUIT, Nunavut -- You've seen it being eaten on your television screen. Now, people of the Arctic have visions of their food on your plate.

Inuit leaders want to capitalize on the promotional bonanza offered by images broadcast around the world of Canada's vice-regal munching on a raw slice of seal heart.

They have reason for optimism: One Montreal restaurateur says his seal orders have doubled thanks to the media frenzy, and now account for two-thirds of his total appetizer sales.

The premier of Nunavut hopes more southerners follow the lead of Governor Geneneral Michaelle Jean and add to their diet what the locals call "country food" -- not just seal, but Arctic char, caribou, and muskox.

In a region desperate for economic activity -- the employment rate in Nunavut is just 58 per cent -- there are dreams of southern palates, and wallets, opening to the spoils of their land.

There's one big obstacle in getting the food down south: there are no roads to these Arctic communities, and shipment by boat or plane is painfully expensive.

"We have all these wonderful, highly nutritious foods," Premier Eva Aariak said in an interview.

"It's straight from the land. No preservatives. If only we had the infrastructure."

The Governor General can attest to the tastiness of country food.

During their stay, Jean and her entourage were treated to succulent muskox ribs topped in a demi-glaze sauce, and canapes of Arctic char, which resembles salmon or trout in colour, texture and taste.

But none of those meals captured international headlines like the video of Jean slicing and sampling a seal.

Jean said the blubbery mammal had a texture like sushi -- but with a meatier flavour. The premier agrees it tastes like meat, only with a subtle fishy flavour derived from the animal's steady diet of marine life.

Although fatty flipper pies are a favourite of Newfoundlanders, seal is a rare find on Canadian menus.

One restaurateur who offers seal in unusual appetizers can't believe his good fortune.

Customers have been gobbling up the $13-$15 seal tartare with capers; rare seal tataki; and seal smoked meat from the appetizer menu at Montreal's Au Cinquieme Peche.

Chef and co-owner Benoit Lenglet has been selling the dishes for two years and he's never seen anything like this.

"It's the most expensive item on our appetizer menu," Lenglet said.

"But there's been so much publicity on this that seal now represents two-thirds of our appetizer sales. . . They have doubled."

Such evidence of her culinary influence was greeted with a vice-regal chuckle.

"That's marvellous," said Jean.

And that's music to the ears of Nunavut's premier.

Aariak says she became envious during a trip to Greenland when, at a meat market, she spotted seal laid out for commercial consumption. Why not in Canada?

"It could be in the high-end Toronto restaurants," Aariak said.

"It would be fresh, fresh on those plates."

But building a viable industry would require new infrastructure in Nunavut -- where there are no commercial ports for shipping and no highways connecting the tiny hamlets to one another.

To a visiting passenger, an Arctic community seen from an airplane can resemble a few specks of sand dropped in the middle of a frozen hockey rink.

Airfare even within the region can cost $3,000, and a plane ticket from Nunavut's capital to Canada's capital runs around $2,000.

That's one of the reasons so many Inuit rely on hunted food, rather than shelling out more than $20 at the grocery shop for frozen chicken shipped up from southern Canada.

There are long-term plans, however, to connect the territory to the national highway system.

Montreal engineering giant SNC Lavalin has already conducted a feasibility study for the governments of Nunavut and Manitoba that maps out a proposed 1,200-kilometre road to northern Manitoba.

The project cost is pegged at $1.2 billion -- and connecting it to Manitoba's railway system would take an estimated 20 years, and another five years to link it to Manitoba's provincial Road 290.

The study suggests that construction of the road from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, to Churchill, Man., could at first link Inuit communities with one another before finally connecting with Manitoba.

The province and territory hope for funding help from the federal government, and from the mining companies seeking a cheaper way to ship the region's minerals like gold, diamonds, and iron ore.

"You have highways in the south. We don't," Aariak said.

"What is taken for granted in the south, we have to fight for in the north."

Even without a harbour, the locals use creative means to build a fishing industry. They use snowmobiles to meet the ships, they use barges, or they wait for high tide to bring the boats to shore.

An article in this week's Nunavut News announced that the turbot fishery in the town of Pangnirtung hauled in 108,410 kg. of fish -- almost five times more than last year.

The $250,000 paid out to 31 local fishers might seem small by big-city standards. But to a community of 1,364 people, that's a more important employer than General Motors is in Ontario.

And, just maybe, better infrastructure might drive down the price someday of a seal surf and turf special on the table d'hote menu of a Quebec City restaurant.

The premier certainly hopes so.

"We know we can't do everything all at once," she said.

"But we have the energy, we have the willpower, we have the person power to do these kinds of things."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Public Eye strikes again!

Good Day Folks:

When we saw the picture accompanying the latest article by The Public Eye (Truth To Power - about prominent Newark, New Jersey defence attorney Paul Bergrin we wondered what would Dirty Harry say?"Sure, go ahead punk make my day shoot yourself in the balls you .......!"


Clare L. Pieuk

Friday, May 29, 2009

Three wise monkeys?

Good Day Folks:
Received the following documentation recently. By way of background for those not familiar with the case, during mid-September, 2003 we received an anonymous telephone call MMF President David Chartrand at that year's pre-Annual General Assembly provincial Board of Directors meeting was attempting to get a Motion passed to sue for alleged defamation. Failing that, it was eventually agreed a lawyer would begin monitoring the site looking for litigious material. We believe that person to have been Federation solicitor Murray Trachtenberg who bills the Federation at a rate of at least $250/hour.
Upon being apprised of the situation, I immediately suggested to Mr. Belhumeur the site retain an attorney to oversee the material posted. He recommended Lionel R. Chartrand who at the time was working for Manitoba Legal Aid. Currently he's a Crown Prosecutor in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. Mr. L. Chartrand contacted me and subsequently agreed to serve pro bono as's General Legal Counsel and an announcement to that effect was posted.
During late January, 2004 Lionel Chartrand suggested the idea of an election funding petition offering to draft it given his legal background. He subsequently made copies available to Vanessa Everton who had agreed to be the project's co-ordinator and I. In a November 9, 2006 letter eerily similar to Mr. Belhumeur's (below) she was dropped as a Co-Defendant. At no material time did Mr. Lionel Chartrand caution us his material could contain defamatory material. Accordingly, on January 28, 2009 it was displayed and the following day Mr. Belhumeur was advised by e-mail
On February 9, 2004 Messrs Chartrand and Belhumeur received Defamation Warning Letters as did Ms Everton from Counselor Trachtenberg - I did not although my name was referenced. In late May of 2005 Mr. Belhumeur, Vanessa Everton and I were served with Statements of Claim. For reason(s) never explained Lionel Chartrand was not named as a Co-Defendant and, in fact, had entered into a $2,500 monthly retainer agreement (late December 2004 - early 2005) to provide legal advice (aboriginal hunting rights) to the MMF.
Fast forward to the present. On September 8, 2008 the first Pre-Trial Conference was held (subsequent ones have taken place October 30, 2008, January 14, February 6 and February 20, 2009). In addition there have been two Case Management Meetings - April 6 and May 22, 2009 with a third scheduled for July 30 of this year.
At the initial Pre-Trial Conference, MMF lawyer Murray Trachtenberg requested and was granted a publication ban only as it relates to Pre-Trial Conferences. It was later extended to Case Management Meetings. It states in part:
..... I (Madam Justice Karen Simonsen, Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench) ordered that, until further order of the court, all material filed for and discussions at the pre-trial conference, as well as this memorandum, be subject to a publication ban - that is, they not be published or transmitted in any way, including the internet .....
The Order then goes on to cite several authorities (Queen's Bench Rules) to justify the decision.
Although we are without any formal legal training, we have carefully read the publication ban on several occasions and are of the opinion displaying Mr. Trachtenberg's correspondence of May 26, 2009 does not violate the judicial order. Besides, at the April 6 and May 22, 2009 Case Management Meetings no mention was made whatsoever by Messrs Trachtenberg or Belhumeur of the latter's March 17, 2009 letter.
The Manitoba Metis Federation is financed by Canadian taxpayers, therefore, so is its lawsuit. has been defunct for several months.
Clare L. Pieuk
Posner & Trachtenberg
An Association of Independent lawyers
710-491 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 2E4
Murray N. Trachtenberg, B.A., LL.B.
Phone: 204-940-9602
Fax: 204-944-8878
Legal Assistant Pat Bergen
Phone: 204-940-9603
May 26, 2009 File No: 2003-20
Via Email/Mail
Mr. Clare L. Pieuk
2-371 Des Meurons Street
Winnipeg Manitoba R2H 2N6
Dear Mr. Pieuk
Re: Manitoba Metis Federation Inc. et al v. Terry Belhumeur et al
Queen's Bench File No. CI 05-01-41955
Enclosed please find copies of the following:
1. Plaintiffs' production No. 122 which is a letter from Mr. Belhumeur to MMF dated March 17, 2009;
2. Revised page 9 to plaintiffs' affidavit of documents.
Yours Truly,
cc: Terry Belhumeur (via email) (with encl)
March 17, 2009
Manitoba Metis Federation
150 Henry Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0J7
Attention: David Chartrand, President
Dear President Chartrand:
Re: Manitoba Metis Federation Inc. et al v. Terry Belhumeur et al
Queen's Bench File No. CI 05-01-41955
I write to you and the Board of Directors of MMF with regard to thislawsuit. At all times since it's inception I have had ownership and control of the website Although I did not produce or post the funding Petition, I did have the power to erase it as soon as I seen it. I should have deleted the petition and erased the password to prevent Mr. Pieuk from causing you and the Board of the MMF any more harm. Furthermore, I should have immediately returned all materials I received regardless of the manner in which I received them to their rightful owner which was and is the MMF.
I wish to state that I have no knowledge of any facts nor have I any evidence which would support the allegations contained in the Election Funding Petition. Without limiting the generality of the previous sentence, I specifically have no knowledge of or evidence of the following:
(a) the Board illegally authorized campaign spending by you or unlawfully spending public monies;
(b) of large sums of money intended for appropriate purposes being spent by you on campaigning;
(c) of MMF needlessly spending vast amounts of money for inappropriate travel and accommodation for you and some Board members; and
(d) of unnecessary Board travel being authorized for public relations purposes To support you as a candidate.
I retract all allegations contained in the Election Funding Petition. I also have had no contact with Mr. Pieuk in the past couple of years other than our meeting in court nor have I had any input into his website which I feel is hurtful to all Metis People.
I wish to apologize to you and the members of the Board of Directors and the Metis people for any embarrassment, hurt and inconvenience the publication of the Election Funding Petition has caused you.
Yours truly,
Terry Belhumeur
Page 9
115. Pleadings;
116. Routine correspondence with defendants;
117. Routine correspondence between counsel;
118. Box of documents containing bundles of documents produced by Mr. Pieuk in May, 2006;
119. Whois Results search for;
120. Whois Results for;
122. Letter from Terry Belhumeur to Manitoba Metis Federation dated March 17, 2009;

Ladies please watch your glasses and cleavage - men your zippers!

Which type are you?

'Glass hold' reveals personality
The way you hold your glass can reveal much more than you might realise, a psychologist has warned. Dr Glenn Wilson, a consultant psychologist, observed the body language of 500 drinkers and divided them into eight personality types. These were the flirt, the gossip, fun lover, wallflower, the ice-queen, the playboy, Jack-the-lad and browbeater.
Dr Wilson, who carried out the work for the Walkabout bar chain, said glass hold "reflected the person you are."
The types of drinker are:
This is usually a woman, who holds her glass with dainty, splayed fingers and uses it in a provocative way.
She may position it over her cleavage so as to draw attention to her attributes or peer over the rim to make eye contact when taking a sip - and she may "tease" the rim of the glass with her finger, perhaps dipping it into the drink and sucking it dry.
Again, usually a woman who clusters together with her friends. She may be talking about other people, and can be critical. She holds a wine glass by the bowl and uses it to gesticulate and make points in conversation.
She is inclined to lean over her drink, in towards others so as to speak confidentially. This person already has a close-knit social group with little inclination to extend it, therefore, advances from outsiders are not usually welcome.
This type of drinker could be a man or a woman. They tend to be sociable and convivial and "like a laugh."
They take short swigs from bottled drinks so they don't miss out on chipping in with the conversation. The bottle is held loosely at its shoulder for ease. This type of person is always happy to extend their social circle. The best way to approach them, therefore, is to leap directly into light, good-humoured conversation and make them laugh.
Usually a shy, submissive person who holds the glass protectively, not letting go, as though afraid somebody will take it away.
Palms are kept hidden and the glass is used as a social crutch - the drink is never quite finished, with a mouthful left in case of emergency. The drink is small - maybe half a pint of lager for a man.
When you're in a crowded bar, often all you have to go on is body language
It may be drunk through a straw, which is fidgeted with, and used to stir the drink between sips. The style and pace of drinking is an echo of those around them - very little is initiated.
This individual needs to be approached in a gentle, sensitive way, with perhaps a few understated compliments to build self-confidence, but may eventually warm to overtures.
This is a mainly female type whose natural style is cold and defensive. She drinks from a wine glass, or a short glass, which is held firmly in a barrier position across the body so as to deter intimate approaches. It is usually a waste of time approaching this woman; she may be ready with a castrating put-down.
This man is active and self-confident; a "Don Juan"-type seducer.
He uses his, usually long, glass or bottle as a phallic prop, playing with it suggestively. He is inclined to be possessive, and can be tactile with his female companions.
This "peacock" is conscious of his image and will drink a bottled beer, or cider.
He is inclined to be confident and arrogant, and can be territorial in his gestures, spreading himself over as much space as possible, for example, pushing the glass well away from himself and leaning back in his chair. If he is drinking with friends, he would be unlikely to welcome approaches from outside the group, unless sycophantic and ego-enhancing.
Again usually male, he prefers large glasses, or bottles, which he uses as symbolic weapons, firmly grasped, and gesticulating in a threatening, "in the face" kind of way.
Something of a know-it-all, he can come across as slightly hostile, even if only through verbal argument, or jokes targeted at others. He should be approached with great care, or not at all.
'An unconscious thing'
The simple act of holding a drink displays a lot more about us than we realise - or might want to divulge.
"When you're in a crowded bar, often all you have to go on is body language.
"To a large extent, it's an unconscious thing and just reflects the person you are and the type of social relationships you have." But he warned: "The next time you're in a bar, it might be worth thinking about what you're saying to the people around you, just by the way you're holding your glass."

The Public eye responds!

Truth To Power

The Public Eye has left a new comment on your post, "Will the real Robert A. Kahn please stand up!"

I appreciate your interpretation of the metaphoric role that pictures and images often play on my blog. That certainly was the intention in posting a picture of Herb Tarlek to represent this vile New York lawyer. Herb Tarlek was mild and polite compared to the illustrious Mr. Kahn. And, by the way: I'm not through with Mr. Kahn. As you will see from his latest conduct, this is a man who apparently cannot prevent himself from acting boorishly. This is my vice as well, but in my case it manifests itself in publishing posts about thugs and nitwits in positions of power over (often) vulnerable persons.

Dear Public Eye:

Thank you for writing. We wouldn't have guessed Herb Tarlek because we never got into the television series WKRP in Cincinatti so credit goes to one of our readers who e-mailed us.

It's hard to believe a lawyer like Robert A. Kahn who's been practicing since 1960 and has already been suspended for 6 months would continue his inappropriate behaviour. If anyone should know better you'd think it would be him.

If you're going to have a vice we can't think of a better one. It's about time someone exposed these people for what they really are while hiding behind their judicial robes. We look forward to your follow up article about Mr. Kahn.

Clare L. Pieuk

You know it's bad when .....

Lee Iacocca losing pension, car in Chrysler bankruptcy
Links to this article
By Emily Chasan Reuters
Friday, May 29, 2009

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lee Iacocca, the car executive credited with saving Chrysler from bankruptcy in the 1980s, is to lose a big chunk of his pension and a guaranteed life-long company car due to the U.S. automaker's bankruptcy filing two decades later.

Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli told a U.S. bankruptcy court on Thursday that Iacocca's pension would be among the obligations Chrysler will no longer have to pay if it gets bankruptcy court approval to sell itself to a "New Chrysler" to be owned by its union, the U.S. and Canadian governments and Fiat SpA .

Iacocca, the storied former chairman and CEO who revived Chrysler in the 1980s and appeared in car commercials, has participated in a supplemental executive retirement plan that was comprised of non-IRS qualified pension funds and is subject to bankruptcy.

The claim is unsecured, and typically would be paid after secured creditors in a bankruptcy, but even secured creditors are not expected to get full recovery in a Chrysler bankruptcy that will see hundreds of dealerships shuttered and plants closed.

Chrysler has also written to former executives saying that as a result of its April 30 bankruptcy filing it will stop a program that furnished company cars to former executives and directors.

Iacocca, famous for the phrase "If you can find a better car, buy it," and other senior executives who were part of the program are being asked to return their cars to a Chrysler marshalling center or arrange to pay for them, according to the document.

Chrysler said it regretted the action "in light of the many contributions these individuals have made to Chrysler over the years" and that the "New Chrysler" does not expect to reinstate the car program.

(Additional reporting by Tom Hals and David Bailey, Editing by Ian Geoghegan.)

"Ignite your spirit for only $250-$2,500!" Not!

Good Day Readers:

Former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton will be appearing today in Toronto in what is being billed as "a conversation." City officials have already announced they are expecting a large contingent of anti-war demonstrators to show up perhaps as many as 10,000-15,000.

We couldn't help but post this picture courtesy of - kind of suits him doesn't it?
Clare L. Pieuk
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton, Bush to clash for cash in Canada
Honorarium big for joint appearance

By Joseph Curl
Thursday, May 28, 2009

On Friday, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who led their opposing parties in the White House for the past 16 years, will appear together in Toronto for what is being billed a "conversation."

No one will say how much each will take home, but estimates run as high as $150,000 apiece for the two-hour appearance. Just to be one of the 6,000 people inside the city's convention center costs $250, with VIP tickets at $625 and the sold-out "emerald" section seating going for $2,500. Front-row ticket holders also get a photo with the two ex-presidents.

The event will be only the second public appearance by Mr. Bush since leaving office; his first was also in Canada, in Calgary. Mr. Clinton, meanwhile, is an old hand on the speakers' circuit, hauling in a reported $31 million in speech fees from 2001 to 2005.

Friday's event is being put on by "The Power Within," which produces "full-day inspirational, motivational and entertaining events with the power to ignite your spirit!" as its Web site,, proclaims exuberantly. The Toronto-based company is affiliated with self-help guru Tony Robbins, "the nation's foremost authority on the psychology of peak performance."

No one will divulge details about how the joint appearance came about. Rob Saliterman, Mr. Bush's spokesman, said only that "the event organizers proposed the idea for the event to the former presidents, and they agreed to it."

Mr. Clinton's handlers didn't return calls seeking comment.

But the two baby boomers - born just six weeks apart in 1946 - suddenly are far more alike than different. They are members not only of the exclusive former presidents' club, but also of a subset within it - two-termers. Unlike former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, the two served eight years, living through the sensational highs and disastrous lows the office brings.

Although Mr. Bush centered his 2000 campaign on restoring "honor and dignity" to the Oval Office - a direct slap at Mr. Clinton's ethical troubles while in office - he tapped his Democratic predecessor for help later in his presidency.

"Presidents Bush and Clinton developed a good relationship over the years, and Bush called upon Clinton to help with some of our biggest crises - helping raise awareness and funds for the tsunami and then Hurricane Katrina victims," said Dana Perino, last White House press secretary to Mr. Bush.

In January 2005, Mr. Bush named his father and Mr. Clinton to head up private fundraising efforts to help nations devastated by the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The two bonded, despite the fact that Mr. Clinton portrayed the elder Mr. Bush as out of touch during their 1992 presidential contest.

Mr. Bush the younger, who had been bitter about that election, had actually started to warm toward Mr. Clinton months earlier. In June 2004, he unveiled official portraits of Mr. Clinton and his wife, Hillary, at the White House.

"The years have done a lot to clarify the strengths of this man," said Mr. Bush, calling his predecessor a man with "a deep and far-ranging knowledge of public policy, a great compassion for people in need, and the forward-looking spirit that Americans like in a president."
Mr. Clinton returned the favor at the ceremony.

"The president, by his generous words to Hillary and me today, has proved once again that in the end, we are held together by this grand system of ours that permits us to debate and struggle and fight for what we believe is right," he said.

The thaw between the two former commanders in chief deepened after Mr. Bush paired his father and Mr. Clinton on the humanitarian mission. After Mr. Clinton had heart surgery in March 2005, Mr. Bush joked at the Gridiron Club dinner that "when he woke up, he was surrounded by his loved ones: Hillary, Chelsea - and my dad."

But the bond went deeper in private.

"Bush would call Clinton from time to time - especially on the days when you might not expect it," Mrs. Perino said. "For example, when Clinton was being labeled a racist by some during the bitter primary fight last year, Bush defended him and also placed a call to let him know he was a friend."

Still, there has always been a political chasm between the two. During the contentious contest last year for the Democratic presidential nomination, which former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was seeking, Mr. Clinton slammed the Bush administration's "cronyism" in its response for Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Bush, meanwhile, sought to portray Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona as more experienced than Mrs. Clinton.

Yet the most recent phase of the two men's relationship has been marked by civility and respect.

In Friday's event, Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton will join in a 90-minute discussion moderated by Frank McKenna, a former Canadian ambassador to the United States, followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer session. The event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is closed to the media.

Just a day before the event, tickets were still available. In fact, buyers who snapped up tickets early with hopes of reselling them for a profit were beginning to look panicky on Craigslist.

One seller sought to hype the "conversation" as a monumental clash.

"2 Presidents in 1 Room for 2 hours. 1 Democrat, 1 Republican. 1 the most loved, 1 the most hated. 1 the smartest, 1 the dumbest. ... Laugh at all the protesters outside who wish they were in the same room. Time is running out," the lister wrote.

"Whack-a-Politician" your Member of Parliament!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What presumption of innocence?

Peel Police officerers guard a crime scene. (J.P. Moczulski/National Post)

Police can share records even if charge dropped: court
Shannon Kari, National Post Published: Thursday, May 28, 2009
TORONTO -- An individual falsely accused of a crime does not have the right to stop police from keeping permanent records of the information and sharing it with other agencies, the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled.
An individual's "right to liberty does not include the right to censor accurate information lawfully held," the appeal court concluded in a 3-0 ruling, written by Justices Marc Rosenberg and Kathryn Feldman, with Justice Robert Blair concurring.
More than 30 per cent of cases in the country are dropped without any criminal conviction, according to Statistics Canada. In Ontario, it's closer to 40 per cent that are stayed or withdrawn.
The Court of Appeal ruling means records of these charges and allegations can remain on police databases, and may end up being disclosed in situations where individuals are required to undergo background checks for employment or volunteer work.
Employers and agencies are entitled to "all potentially relevant information," said the appeal court, in ruling against a 57-year-old Toronto-area social worker who used to operate a group home.
"In a case where withdrawn charges which were false are disclosed, the potential employee has the ability to explain the circumstances to the proposed employer," the three-judge panel suggested.
Alan Davis, who represented the man, said he's considering seeking leave to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.
"This has significant implications," said Mr. Davis. "Put yourself in the position of someone who is the victim of a spurious allegation. Charges may be dropped, but years later you may not be allowed to coach your kid's soccer team," he noted.
While the ruling appears correct in its interpretation of the law, the result may be unfair for some people wrongfully accused of a crime, suggested David Fraser, a Halifax lawyer who specializes in privacy matters.
"In the minds of most people, if you are charged, you are presumed guilty. While the information on the databases is factually correct, there is no context. In many cases, people may not be given a chance to explain," said Fraser.
The decision overturned a Superior Court ruling in 2007 that found Peel Regional Police violated the rights of the man when it turned over records to Toronto police.
He had been charged with four counts of sexual assault and four counts of sexual interference in 2002 by Peel police, based on allegations by children in the group home.
All charges were withdrawn in the fall of 2003. He agreed to abide by a peace bond, but always insisted the allegations were false.
The man gave his consent for a "vulnerable persons search," when seeking work in Toronto after his charges were dropped. Peel police disclosed the records of the charges to its Toronto counterparts. The man alleged that group-home agencies learned of the charges, although both police services denied passing on this information.
The appeal court noted that the man "set in motion" the disclosure of information when he agreed to the background check.
The appeal court rejected arguments that the process violated his right to liberty and security under the Charter of Rights."Disclosure by one police service to another of information obtained by the public prosecution of an individual does not fall within this concept of liberty," it said. The Charter "does not guarantee a right to work in any particular job or career."

"Will the real Robert A. Kahn please stand up!"

Soda Meilleur has left a new comment on your post, "Nice hair but what's wrong with you?"

Why are you attacking Herb Tarlek from WKRP? What has he ever done to you (other than hurt your eyes with his crazy suits)? Seriously, keep up the good work. Can't wait to see what your beef is with ol' Herby!
Dear Soda Meilleur:

Thank you for writing and the kind words.

The picture we showed came from one of our favourite Blogs Truth To Power ( operated anonymously by The Public Eye a Canadian attorney.

Sometimes we've noticed TPE will use a different picture than that of the individual featured in an article to make a subtle point - a parody if you will, which is what we think happened in this case. Perhaps they'll contact us to confirm our suspicion.

Here's a couple pictures of actor Frank Bonner who played Herb Tarlek the boorish, tastless advertising executive in the late 1970's-early 80's television series WKRP in Cincinnati. "Herby" as you know had a penchant for loud plaid jackets and a white belt to match his shoes.

The subject of the Truth To Power posting was, in fact, Robert A. Kahn a New York lawyer suspended for 6 months during 2005 for what could best be described as lewd and lascivious behaviour in and around a courtroom.


Clare L. Pieuk

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nice hair but what's wrong with you?

Matter of Kahn
2005 NY Slip Op 01668 [16 AD3d 7]
March 8, 2005Per Curiam, J.
Appellate Division, First Department
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
In the Matter of Robert A. Kahn, an Attorney, Respondent. Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner.
First Department, March 8, 2005
Thomas J. Cahill, Chief Counsel, Departmental Disciplinary Committee, New York City (Naomi F. Goldstein of counsel), for petitioner.
Marvin Ray Raskin for respondent.
Respondent Robert A. Kahn was admitted to the practice of law by the First Judicial Department on March 21, 1960. At all times relevant to this proceeding, respondent has maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Judicial Department.
Respondent was served with a notice and statement of charges dated April 26, 2004 in connection with a pattern of misconduct involving sexually oriented or other offensive comments directed at female attorneys, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibility DR 1-102 (a) (7) (22 NYCRR 1200.3 [engaging in conduct that adversely reflects on the respondent's fitness as a lawyer]) and DR 7-106 (c) (6) (22 NYCRR 1200.37 [engaging in undignified or discourteous conduct that is degrading to a tribunal]). Respondent served an answer and, prior to the hearing, stipulated with staff counsel as to the facts and to the resolution of the asserted ethical violations pursuant to the disciplinary rules cited in the statement of charges.
An evidentiary hearing was held on June 17, 2004, at which respondent was represented by counsel. Testimony was received from respondent and two character witnesses. Respondent suggested that he receive public censure, and the Committee urged that he be given a six-month suspension. On August 16, 2004, the Referee issued an extensive report sustaining both of the charges against respondent and recommending a three-month suspension based upon the stipulated facts and upon the independent finding that the charges were fully supported by the record. The Hearing Panel agreed with the findings, identifying as the sole issue presented the appropriate sanction to be imposed.
The Disciplinary Committee now seeks an order confirming the Hearing Panel's determination and sanctioning respondent as this Court deems appropriate. The Committee contends that the pattern of abusive behavior established by the record warrants a suspension (see e.g. Matter of Simon, 32 AD2d 362 [1969]), rather than the more limited sanction of public censure that would be warranted by conduct limited to a single outburst or incident (see e.g. Matter of Hayes, 7 AD3d 108 [2004]). It recommends a suspension of six months and, in any event, no less than three months. Respondent urges that he be publicly censured based upon mitigating circumstances, particularly, that he has acknowledged his misconduct, fully cooperated with the Committee and has begun psychotherapy to address the problem. Respondent argues that, at age 67, a suspension would represent a considerable obstacle to his continued ability to practice law.
As a member of the First Department's 18-B panel for over 30 years, respondent represents clients in the Bronx Family Court, in which the City of New York is represented by either the Office of the Corporation Counsel or the Administration for Children Services. About half of respondent's work consists of such appointments, and he has repeated contact with counsel representing these agencies. Respondent stipulated that he frequently consumed peppermint-ball candies in the courthouse and, when offering candies to adversarial female staff attorneys, consistently made sexually offensive comments, such as, "Do you want to suck one of my balls?" When told by female attorneys that they were offended by his remarks, respondent replied, "If you're so damned refined then why do you understand?" Respondent conceded that he never made similar comments to men or to Family Court judges.
Respondent further stipulated that he was repeatedly asked by a female Corporation Counsel Assistant Deputy Borough Chief, whom he has known since 1996, to refrain from using profanity in her presence, but consistently ignored her requests. On one occasion, he referred to a female Assistant Corporation Counsel as "pig vomit on my shoes." On another occasion, as the same attorney, who is overweight, was about to enter the courtroom, respondent yelled, "Here is the elephant, she's coming in. Who wants tickets? Come see the show." He further conceded to having made improper remarks about a 13-year-old client arrested for prostitution and to having invited a female adversary to guess the bra size of a 14-year-old client.
Based upon the testimony received at the hearing and respondent's own stipulation that he "engaged in a pattern of conduct" by "regularly making" offensive remarks and by "frequently making unseemly comments in the courthouse," the record amply supports the finding that the offensive conduct was not limited to isolated incidents. There is evidence indicating that this pattern of misconduct goes back as far as 1991. While respondent submits that letters of apology he sent after the hearing should be considered as evidence of contrition, this expression of remorse does little to ameliorate the harm inflicted by respondent's abusive, vulgar and demeaning comments, directed at female adversaries and young clients, alike.
Though warned by a friend that his remarks were inappropriate and asked by adversarial colleagues to refrain from vulgarity, respondent persisted in his course of conduct. Such persistent behavior warrants more than a minimum sanction (see Matter of Muller, 231 AD2d 296 [1997] [series of harassing telephone calls to former girlfriend]; see also Matter of Simon, 32 AD2d 362 [1969], supra).
Accordingly, the Committee's petition for an order confirming so much of the Hearing Panel's determination, which confirmed the Referee's findings of fact and conclusions of law should be granted; so much of the aforesaid determination which confirmed the Referee's recommended sanction of three months' suspension disaffirmed, and respondent suspended from the practice of law in the State of New York for a period of six months.Tom, J.P., Ellerin, Williams, Gonzalez and Catterson, JJ., concur.
Respondent suspended from the practice of law in the State of New York for a period of six months, effective April 8, 2005, and until further order of this Court.

The United Nations protector of human rights? Think again!

Good Day Readers:

When we hear the United Nations mentioned most associate it with a bastion for human rights. However, The Public Eye (Truth To Power - has posted a couple articles recently which should re-shape our thinking. What they document is an agency where sexual harassment is all too prevalent but even more troubling a system for dealing with it that's antiquated to say the least!

Clare L. Pieuk
MAY 21, 2009

Sexual-Harassment Cases Plague U.N.

The United Nations, which aspires to protect human rights around the world, is struggling to deal with an embarrassing string of sexual-harassment complaints within its own ranks.

Many U.N. workers who have made or faced accusations of sexual harassment say the current system for handling complaints is arbitrary, unfair and mired in bureaucracy. One employee's complaint that she was sexually harassed for years by her supervisor in Gaza, for example, was investigated by one of her boss's colleagues, who cleared him.

Cases can take years to adjudicate. Accusers have no access to investigative reports. Several women who complained of harassment say their employment contracts weren't renewed, and the men they accused retired or resigned, putting them out of reach of the U.N. justice system.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls sexual harassment a 'scourge' (Getty Images)

"No matter which way the cases go, they mishandle it," says George G. Irving, a former U.N. attorney who now represents clients on both sides of such cases.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged that the system is troubled. "I fully share your concerns regarding sexual harassment and sex discrimination," he wrote in February to Equality Now, a women's rights group that had complained to him. "This scourge remains a high priority issue for me."

On July 1, the U.N. plans to make changes to its internal justice system for handling all employee disputes, including harassment complaints.

Yasmeen Hassan, an Equality Now attorney and former U.N. employee who met with Mr. Ban in December to discuss the issue, says she has "no faith" that the new system will be better, in part because complainants apparently still won't have access to investigative reports to help them with appeals.

The Wall Street Journal examined the U.N.'s handling of five sexual-harassment cases, reviewing hundreds of pages of confidential U.N. documents and interviewing U.N. employees who brought the complaints, supervisors they accused, the lawyers involved and U.N. officials.

It is impossible to know whether sexual harassment is a bigger problem at the U.N., whose global staff numbers about 60,000, than at other large multinational organizations. Officials in the secretary-general's office say they don't know how many sexual-harassment cases are filed at the world body because each U.N. entity tracks cases separately, and confidentially. The secretariat, the U.N.'s main administrative body, says it handles between five and eight cases a year. But those figures include only cases referred to its human-resources department for possible disciplinary action, not complaints that have been dismissed.

Changes to Internal Justice Coming

The planned overhaul of the United Nation's internal justice system is set to take effect July 1.

Its goal is to create a more independent and professional system for resolving disputes, including sexual-harassment claims. ( Read more )

A spokesman for the United Nations Children's Fund, or Unicef, said it has handled 15 complaints since 2004. Five alleged perpetrators in those cases have been dismissed, and two others were issued lifetime employment bans from Unicef because they resigned during investigations. Disciplinary proceedings are being initiated against another accused staffer.

In one important respect, the U.N. handles such problems differently than other large organizations, such as multinational corporations. Many U.N. managers have diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution or civil litigation. Except when the U.N. lifts immunity, its internal justice system is the only one workers can turn to.

Bewildering System

The current system, which dates back to 1946, has a bewildering array of investigative channels and appeals processes. Many of the 10 U.N. agencies, programs and funds have their own investigative systems. A multilayered appellate process includes "joint appeals" boards that can review departmental decisions. The U.N. Administrative Tribunal is the final authority.

The system gives the secretary-general the authority to rule on appeals. Confidential U.N. records in two cases show that Mr. Ban rejected the recommendations of an appeals board and ruled against the women who brought those cases. A spokesman for Mr. Ban declined to discuss any specific cases. Under the new system, the secretary-general no longer will play a major role in the process.

Last year, Mr. Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister who became secretary-general in 2007, issued a bulletin stating that "any form of discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment, and abuse of authority is prohibited." A spokeswoman for the secretary-general said in a statement that the U.N. has "zero tolerance for sexual harassment in the workplace. And we take seriously every single case."

In 2002, Joumana Al-Mahayni, a Syrian, was working as a secretary to Yusuf Mansur, then chief of the Kuwait office of the United Nations Development Programme, or UNDP, the U.N.'s global development network.

The following year, U.N. records show, she filed a complaint alleging that Mr. Mansur had made sexual advances, including grabbing and kissing her hands while saying "my darling, my darling" -- then refused to renew her contract when she didn't respond to his advances.

Ex-U.N. official Ruud Lubbers was accused of sexual harassment. (Associated Press)

In an interview, Mr. Mansur, who now lives in Jordan, denied the allegations, calling them "baloney."

'Unnecessary Touching'

U.N. documents state that the UNDP's investigative report found evidence that Mr. Mansur had subjected Ms. Al-Mahayni to "physical assault," "verbal abuse," "unnecessary touching," "patting," "constant brushing against a person's body" and "pressure for sexual activities." The coordinator of the UNDP's investigative panel asked its human-resources director, Brian Gleeson, to take "appropriate action" against Mr. Mansur. In April 2004, 10 days after the investigative report was filed, Mr. Mansur resigned, U.N. records show.

Mr. Gleeson later told Ms. Al-Mahayni, in an email reviewed by the Journal, that the internal probe "vindicated your allegations and directly contributed" to Mr. Mansur resigning. Mr. Gleeson wrote that he "possibly" could have refused the resignation and pursued disciplinary action, "but advice from legal sources and past practice strongly suggested that it is better to get the person out of the office and the system asap" and avoid litigation. He also stated that "no further action can be taken after a staff member resigns." Mr. Gleeson declined to comment.

Mr. Mansur says he resigned because he was "disgusted" with the U.N., including its handling of the case. "The way the system deals with it, you become accused right away, the person becomes a monster right away," he says. He says he provided evidence that he wasn't in Kuwait when some of the alleged incidents occurred. "I should have hired a lawyer and sued back," he says.

Ms. Al-Mahayni requested compensation for being harassed and losing her job. UNDP rejected the request, saying, in part, that her contract had simply expired. She appealed. In April 2006, the U.N. Joint Appeals Board found that she had "no legal expectancy" that her employment contract would be renewed. But it unanimously recommended that she be awarded $10,000.

Kofi Annan, then U.N. secretary-general, accepted the recommendation.

Read UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Feb. 2008 prohibition on sexual harassment Read Mr. Ban's response to a letter from Equality Now, a women's human-rights advocacy group, on the issue of sexual harassment at the U.N.

Ms. Al-Mahayni appealed the decision before the U.N. Administrative Tribunal. She argued the compensation was inadequate and she shouldn't have lost her UNDP job. She also requested reimbursement of $8,000 in legal expenses. On Jan. 30, 2009 -- more than five years after she first filed her complaint -- the tribunal rejected her appeal "in its entirety," arguing that the $10,000 award was "adequate in view of the harm caused to her."

Ms. Al-Mahayni, who in November 2006 got a job with the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations in Sudan, didn't respond to a request for comment.

In a written statement, the UNDP said it regretted that Ms. Al-Mahayni's supervisor "was allowed to resign before disciplinary action could be initiated."

U.N. records detail other cases in which internal probes supported women's claims of sexual harassment, but the employees they accused went unpunished.

A French woman who worked as a legal officer in Gaza for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East shared records from a case she initiated.

According to the records, in November 2004 she complained that she was sexually harassed by Lionel Brisson, then director of operations for the Palestine Refugees unit. She alleged Mr. Brisson had used binoculars to spy on her while she was in her Gaza apartment, and repeatedly made sexually explicit comments and groped her buttocks, according to a subsequent report by the U.N.'s main investigative unit, the Office of Internal Oversight Services, or OIOS.

'Completely Ridiculous'

In a telephone interview, Mr. Brisson denied the allegations, calling them "completely ridiculous." He said he had tried to help the French woman advance her career, and "this is the kind of thanks you get."

At first, a probe by the Palestine Refugees agency cleared Mr. Brisson. An agency official says the man in charge of the investigation, the agency's health director, was a "colleague" of Mr. Brisson, and was assigned to investigate because he headed the agency's human-resources committee.

The French woman had also complained directly to the OIOS, which began its own investigation.

Mr. Brisson reached his mandatory retirement age and left in December 2005, before that probe was complete. One month later, his accuser's employment contract ran out and wasn't renewed.

In February 2006, the OIOS reported that the evidence "tends to support a finding" that the complainant was sexually harassed. If Mr. Brisson "was still with the Organization," the report said, "we would recommend counseling."

Mr. Brisson, who is French, said the U.N. had rejected his requests for a copy of the OIOS report, and he hadn't seen it until one was provided to him by the Journal. He called its conclusions "very vague" and noted that it didn't recommend any disciplinary action. He said he had pressed the OIOS to investigate because "I wanted to clear my name."

In February 2008, Mr. Ban weighed in on the dispute. The French woman had appealed her case to the U.N. Joint Appeals Board, seeking an equivalent job and compensatory pay. It had urged Mr. Ban to allow her to pursue her case elsewhere in the U.N. system "to ensure both fairness and impartiality." Mr. Ban's office rejected that recommendation, saying that the secretary-general had no "competence" over the Palestine Refugee agency's internal justice system. Her appeal there is pending.

In another case, Fatima Moussa, a U.N. translator in Lebanon, had accused a U.N. security officer of raping her. A probe by the U.N. commission where she worked did not substantiate her allegations. She appealed, and calls the investigation a "travesty." The appellate board unanimously recommended that Mr. Ban extend her employment contract until her appeal was heard. On July 15, 2008, Mr. Ban rejected the board's recommendation and Ms. Moussa's contract expired. U.N. records show that Mr. Ban didn't accept the board's findings that Ms. Moussa would suffer "irreparable injury." The man she accused now works for the U.N. in Darfur.

Impetus for Change

Much of the impetus for the U.N.'s effort to change the way it handles sexual-harassment cases stems from a 2004 case. An OIOS investigation concluded that Ruud Lubbers, then head of the U.N.'s main refugee agency and the former prime minister of the Netherlands, had sexually harassed Cynthia Brzak, a longtime American staffer. The probe found that Mr. Lubbers engaged "in serious acts of misconduct" of a "sexual nature."

Justice in Limbo

Unicef employee Archana Pandey accused the organization's top officer in India, Cecilio Adorna, of sexual harassment. Mr. Adorna denied the allegations; Unicef investigated. On Jan. 16, 2007, Unicef's top personnel officer sent disapproving letters to each of them. See the letters.

Mr. Annan, then secretary-general, didn't accept an OIOS recommendation that Mr. Lubbers be disciplined. He said at the time that the findings could not be sustained. Mr. Lubbers, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, resigned in 2005. He couldn't be reached for comment.

Ms. Brzak said she faced retaliation, including threats to abolish her position. She filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Manhattan seeking damages from the U.N., Mr. Lubbers and others.

Last year, a federal judge ruled that U.N. officials had diplomatic immunity, and dismissed the case. Ms. Brzak has appealed.

Diplomatic immunity also factored in a more recent case at Unicef in India. In October 2006, Archana Pandey, an assistant communications officer in New Delhi, accused Cecilio Adorna, then Unicef's top officer in India, of sexual harassment. She alleged he threatened not to renew her contract, which was due to expire at year end, if she didn't grant him sexual favors, according to U.N. records and Ms. Pandey, in an interview. She said she suffered an emotional breakdown and had to take sick leave. Mr. Adorna denied all the allegations. That December, Ms. Pandey's Unicef contract wasn't renewed.

Unicef Investigated

On Jan. 16, 2007, the agency's top personnel officer sent her a letter stating that its probe failed to find "clear and convincing evidence" to support her claims. The letter, which was reviewed by the Journal, accused her of misrepresentation, and said "if you were still a staff member, Unicef could consider taking disciplinary actions against you."

U.N. records also show that the same Unicef personnel officer sent Mr. Adorna a written reprimand that same day. That letter, which was also reviewed by the Journal, stated that while nearly all the allegations couldn't be supported, the inquiry found that he "at times touched female staff in a manner they considered inappropriate" and had a tendency to tell jokes or make comments with sexual connotations.

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"The Investigation Committee itself witnessed one of such comments during your interview when you stated that you would not have invited anybody for romantic drinks in your hotel room, because you 'can't do sex without food first,' " the letter said. "Such a comment is highly inappropriate, particularly in light of the fact that you were being interviewed on sexual harassment allegations." The letter threatened Mr. Adorna with disciplinary action for "any further misconduct."

In a written statement to the Journal, Mr. Adorna said Unicef later wrote to him stating that it couldn't find "clear and convincing evidence" to support Ms. Pandey's allegations. He said the Unicef letter also said: "Insufficient evidence does not necessarily mean that the allegations were found to be false." He accused Unicef of "negligence" for failing to defend him.
In 2007, Ms. Pandey, who is Indian, filed a criminal complaint with the New Delhi police that accused Mr. Adorna, a Filipino, of attempted rape, among other allegations, according to Indian court filings. The police declined to take action because U.N. employees have diplomatic immunity. She has continued to press her case in Indian courts. She also filed an appeal within the U.N. system.

In December 2008, the U.N. appeals board, while not addressing the sexual-harassment allegations, found that Unicef had "let go" Ms. Pandey "wrongfully" and "illegally" while she was on sick leave. It recommended that the secretary-general award her two years' pay, plus interest, or $76,800. In March, Secretary-General Ban accepted the recommendation.

Mr. Adorna retired from Unicef last month. He has filed an appeal with the U.N. seeking, among other things, a public statement of exoneration and monetary damages. He accuses Unicef of making him "its sacrificial lamb" and urging him to resign.

Unicef declined to comment on Mr. Adorna's appeal or his allegations.

Write to Steve Stecklow at Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A1

The Church of Scientology?

Truth To Power

Good Day Folks:
The following posting by The Public Eye caught our attention for a couple reasons. Since the "movement" was launched in 1950 with the first publication of Dianetics by American science fiction writer L. (Lafayette) Ron Hubbard, it it has been dogged by controversy.

Then in February, 2008 the Winnipeg Free Press announced the Scientologists had purchased the 115-year-old Peck Building in the city's historic Exchange District for $2.2 million with plans to invest another $10 million to renovate and convert it into a church and community ourtrach centre.

While we certainly agree the landmark site is in much need of an upgrade, we're not so sure about it's future tenants.

Clare L. Pieuk
26 May 2009
Church of Scientology facing dissolution in France as members go on trial accused of organised fraud
As originally posted: Mail Online
May 26, 2009
The Church of Scientology is facing dissolution in France after members went on trial yesterday on charges of organised fraud.
Registered as a religion in the United States, with celebrity members such as actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Scientology enjoys no such legal protection in France and has faced repeated accusations of being a money-making cult.The group's Paris headquarters and bookshop are defendants in the case. If found guilty, they could be fined €5million and ordered to halt their activities in France.
Seven leading French Scientology members are also in the dock. Some are charged with illegally practising as pharmacists and face up to 10 years in prison and hefty fines.
The case centres on a complaint made in 1998 by a woman who said she was enrolled into Scientology after members approached her in the street and persuaded her to do a personality test.
In the following months, she paid more than €21,000 for books, 'purification packs' of vitamins, sauna sessions and an 'e-meter' to measure her spiritual progress, she said.
Other complaints then surfaced. The five original plaintiffs - three of whom withdrew after reaching a financial settlement with the Church of Scientology - said they spent up to hundreds of thousands of euros on similar tests and 'cures'.
They told investigators that Scientology members harassed them with phone calls and nightly visits to cajole them into paying their bills or taking out bank loans.
The plaintiffs were described as 'vulnerable' by psychological experts in the case.'
For each person who complains we have 100,000 ready to say nothing but good things about scientology,' Agnes Bron, an official of the French organization, said before the trial, which is expected to last until June 17.
Investigating judge Jean-Christophe Hullin spent years examining the group's activities, and in his indictment criticized practices he said were aimed at extracting large sums of money from members and plunging them into a 'state of subjection'.
The investigator questioned what he called the Scientologists' 'obsession' with financial gain, and the group's practice of selling vitamins, leading to the charge of 'acting illegally as a pharmacy'.
Patrick Maisonneuve, lawyer for the Church of Scientology in France, dismissed any organized fraud, although he acknowledged there could have been individual abuses.'
The discovery of a paedophile priest does not allow us to question the entire Catholic Church,' he was quoted as saying in the weekly L'Express magazine ahead of the trial opening.
Presiding Judge Sophie-Helene Chateau said the job of the court was 'to find whether the acts in question constitute a crime. ... It is not up to the court to decide questions of society.'
Scientology, founded in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, describes the 'e-meter' as a religious artefact that helps the user and supervisor locate spiritual distress.
Investigators have described the machine as useless and said vitamin cures handed out by Church members were medication that should not have been freely sold.
Judge Jean-Christophe Hullin ruled last year that the offices and members, including the group's 60-year-old French head, Alain Rosenberg, should be tried. The public prosecutor had recommended the case be shelved.
In a trial that has revived a debate about religious freedom in secular France, the defence is expected to argue the court should not intervene in religious affairs.
Scientology has faced numerous setbacks in France, with members convicted of fraud in Lyon in 1997 and Marseille in 1999. In 2002, a court fined it for violating privacy laws and said it could be dissolved if involved in similar cases.
The headquarters and bookshop account for most of the group's activities in France and a guilty verdict would in practice mean its dissolution, although it is unclear whether it could still open other branches in the future.

..... and he keeps getting re-elected?

Noemi Letizia, is at the centre of a nasty divorce between Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his wife. (AFP, Getty Images)
Berlusconi pressed to explain relationship
18-year-old woman
Philip Pullella, Reuters, with files from news services
Published: Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The story of Silvio Berlusconi's friendship with an 18-year-old woman has transfixed Italy and forced the Prime Minister onto the defensive as he leads his party into European elections and prepares to host a Group of Eight summit.
Italy's opposition, media and even the Roman Catholic Church have been pressing him to clear up the nature of his relationship with Noemi Letizia, an aspiring model who wants to break into show business.
"A politician has a duty to respond and a duty to tell the truth," Dario Franceschini, head of the opposition Democratic party, told a rally at the weekend.
Ms. Letizia, whose 18th birthday party Mr. Berlusconi attended in Naples last month, is at the centre of a messy divorce suit by his wife, Veronica Lario.
Mr. Berlusconi, accused by Ms. Lario of "frequenting minors," insists nothing improper happened between him and the teenager who refers to him as "Papi" (Daddy).
But the saga has become so politically explosive the Italian leader has vowed to clear his name with a formal address to parliament, something he rarely does.
And he told CNN International it was "shameful" the private matter of his divorce was being used for political attack. "There is nothing, nothing of nothing, that is even remotely negative" about the relationship with Ms. Letizia, he added. "Now they accuse me of lying ... and I will respond."
La Repubblica, Italy's second largest mainstream daily, has been leading the charge against Mr. Berlusconi and breaking most of the stories.
Yesterday, the left-leaning paper ran an investigative story whose headline accused him of offering the country "a rosary of lies." Every day since May 14 it has published 10 questions it says he should answer to clear up the controversy.
The furore began last month when Ms. Lario expressed her anger after he attended Ms. Letizia's 18th birthday party and gave her a $9,370 gold necklace.
Ms. Lario, who has also criticized what she says is a bevy of attractive women chosen to run for office in her husband's party, said he had never attended their children's 18th birthday parties.
Since then, newspapers have wanted to know, among other things, if Mr. Berlusconi ever was with Ms. Letizia when she was not accompanied by her parents and was still a minor.
The Prime Minister has said he has known the family for years.
Ms. Letizia's former boyfriend, Gino Flaminio, 22, told The Daily Mail she was among overnight guests at a New Year's party at one of Mr. Berlusconi's villas on Sardinia. "She said Berlusconi treated them well and laughed and joked with them. ...They flew back on the Prime Minister's personal plane. When she got back, she wasn't my Noemi, she wasn't the Noemi or little anchovy, as I called her, that I knew."
The newspaper La Repubblica has drawn up a list of 10 questions for Silvio Berlusconi, 72, the Italian Prime Minister, to answer about his relationship with Noemi Letizia, 18. They include:
- How did you get to know Noemi Letizia?
- How many times have you met Noemi Letizia and where?
- Do you take an interest in Noemi Letizia and her future, or support her family economically in any way?
- Is it true you promised Noemi you would help her career in show business or politics?
- Veronica Lario has said that you "frequent underage girls." Do you meet any others or "bring them up"?
- Your wife says that you are not well and you need help. What is the state of your health?
Source: National Post