Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rights and Democracy: the worst defence an inept offence.

Paul Wells, senior Maclean's columnist, chipping away at the comic-opera governance of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (ICHRDD), gets this for his pains:

Insults from the Chairman of the Board:

I am in between classes, and I just received your message. I truly believe that the truth loves light. Unfortunately, you have only attempted to bury the truth. The fact that, here, you have approached us at the very last minute on the afternoon of your deadline with such a barrage of distortions (which would obviously take substantial time to correct), indicates that you do not seek my cooperation in shedding light on the truth, but rather my assistance in helping you write yet another grossly misleading piece against myself and the leadership of Rights & Democracy.


Aurel Braun

Evasion, bluster, even a veiled threat from the interim President:

Dear Mr. Wells,

I have read your questions. Given my other commitments, it has not been possible in the short time this afternoon you have provided to respond to your questions. The assumptions behind your questions are in large part demonstrably wrong, misleading, incomplete and\or distorted and I caution you against publishing an article based on them. You have certainly been interested in this matter on an ongoing basis, and if you wished to be fair and balanced and genuinely wished to hear our perspective, you would have written a few days ago and given me an adequate opportunity to respond. It is wrong that you have not done so. [emphasis added]

Jacques Gauthier, Ph.D.

Meanwhile, when you're under attack on all fronts, why not kick out the top managers and call in private detectives on the taxpayers' dime--that'll let the staff know who's boss. And everyone else will see you're on the job, fearless white knights in a dark cavern.

What, not enough?

OK, then, let's order up a forensic audit.* Never mind that the Auditor-General carries out annual audits. Brush aside the five-year review conducted by Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2008 whose "final assessment of the five years in question [was] a positive one," and which concluded: "A review of the financial statements for the 2003-08 period did not find any abnormalities. "

Mud is mud. Some is sure to stick. Won't it? Keep throwing!

What an exciting, action-packed several months it's been. The new Board members set to with a will, starting last year with a full-bore attempt to blacken the name of the (now-late) President, spending a wodge of taxpayers' money to try to keep him from seeing, let alone responding to, a negative evaluation. Conducting ethnic profiling of the staff to see if any Jews have been hired; asking around to find out who speaks Arabic.

Riding herd on employees, who have consequently complained almost unanimously of on-going psychological harassment and intimidation. "Repudiating" grants to respected human-rights groups, then slandering them. Suspending the top echelon of managers. Hiring a surveillance firm. Commissioning a forensic audit.

Human rights? Democratic development? Good grief, at this point ICHRDD ought to be giving a grant to itself.

*Forensic audit: "Application of accounting methods to the tracking and collection of forensic evidence, usually for investigation and prosecution of criminal acts such as embezzlement or fraud. Also called forensic accounting."

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