Tags: U.N. | Arms | Inspector | Challenged

U.N. Arms Inspector Challenged

Saturday, 28 February 2004 12:00 AM

Butler, who proceeded Hans Blix in the U.N. post, told reporters from his residence in Australia, that he believed his office and home in NYC had been bugged by foreign intelligence services. The flamboyant Aussie diplomat detailed how he and his U.N. staff coped with the problem:

"If I really truly wanted to have a sensitive conversation with somebody...including Iraqis or members of my staff...I was reduced to having to have to go either a noisy cafeteria in the basement of the U.N. where here was so much noise around, and then whisper... or literally take a walk in Central Park."

Several U.N. staffers dispute the efforts the former U.N. arms chief went to -- to avoid eavesdropping. One told NewsMax that several of the efforts Butler described in wire reports were "totally baloney."

"He never went for walks with staff in Central Park, not even once."

Another staffer who served with Butler explained, "If he (Butler) ever left the office for a meeting, he would drag Charles Duelfer (former Butler deputy, now director of the CIA search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction) along down to the U.N. Delegates Lounge and mostly talk about things like Monica Lewinsky."

The staffer went on to call Butler's wire stories "a total big lie."

The veteran Australian diplomat had a checkered history even before signing onto the U.N. arms post. In 1996, then Australia's U.N. ambassador, Butler proudly proclaimed he had won a seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Problem was, the vote for the Council seat had not yet taken place in the U.N.'s General Assembly. Several days later, when the GA voted, Portugal (in an upset) won the Council slot. The loss to Portugal was widely attributed to Butler's brash and abrasive campaign style.

The humiliating defeat forced the ambassador into an early retirement from the Australian foreign service. Butler then landed the U.N. Iraq arms position, despite misgivings from the Canberra government.

After three highly publicized years, where he clashed with Council members almost as much as with Saddam Hussein, Butler called it quits.

He left the U.N. post in July 1999. Officially, he decided to "move on." In reality, Butler was fired under pressure from the Russian and French ambassadors.

Leaks of confidential reports on Iraq to the Security Council often made their way to the press before they reached Council members.

"We should not have to read confidential reports to the Council in the press first," complained Sergey Lavrov, Russia's U.N. ambassador.

While Butler never admitted to leaking such reports to the media, his denials eventually lost their credibility. As the leaks continued, his status with the Council members plummeted, eventually forcing his departure.

Today, after holding several jobs as a research fellow for various think tanks and TV commentator, Butler is now Queen Elizabeth's personal representative to the Australian state of Tasmania.

Governor Butler, as he is now called, conducts his "royal duties" for Her Majesty out of an official castle in Tasmania's capital Hobart.

It is not known whether British intelligence has planted any bugs in Butler's castle down under.

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Butler, who proceeded Hans Blix in the U.N. post, told reporters from his residence in Australia, that he believed his office and home in NYC had been bugged by foreign intelligence services. The flamboyant Aussie diplomat detailed how he and his U.N. staff coped with...
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2004-00-28
Saturday, 28 February 2004 12:00 AM
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