Yikes: UN Agency Shipped Computers to N. Korea and Iran

Posted: Jul 05, 2012 1:31 PM

Another scandal developing out of the UN? Shocking, I know. Apparently the obscure UN agency ‘World Intellectual Property Organization,’ is being investigated by the State Department for shipping “computers and other sophisticated equipment” to North Korea and Iran - despite the fact that both the U.S. and U.N. have sanctions against the pariah regimes in an effort to halt the development of their respective nuclear weapons programs.


According to a Fox News report:

The broadening inquiry raises new concerns about the ways in which U.N. agencies have managed to sidestep restrictions that the world body expects the rest of the world to obey in halting the spread of sensitive technologies to nuclear-ambitious pariah regimes.

It also calls into question how much U.N. member states know about the activities of agencies they supposedly approve and supervise.

In this case, there are hints that the top official at the U.N. agency, the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO, “has not yet been fully open” to the inquiries, according to a senior U.S. official.

The State Department probe came in the wake of Fox News revelations in April about the actions by WIPO in sending such sensitive equipment to North Korea by a complicated method that seemed designed to bypass U.N. Security Council sanctions against the country.

WIPO claims on its website that:

IP is not an end in itself but rather is a tool that could power countries’ growth and development. WIPO, as the lead United Nations agency mandated to promote the protection of intellectual property through cooperation among states and in collaboration with other international organizations, is committed to ensuring that all countries are able to benefit from the use of IP for economic, social and cultural development. Implied in this are the notions of balance, accessibility and reward for creativity and innovation.


So, they were just concerned with North Korea and Iran’s growth and development? I believe one of those countries blatantly declared that Israel should be “wiped out from the map.” Just sayin'. 


The Fox report continues:


The shipments took place in late 2011 or early 2012, and were financed through the Beijing offices of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The WIPO actions also violated the sweeping restrictions of the equipment manufacturer, Hewlett-Packard, which forbids any HP equipment from being sent to such regimes. 

The U.S. is a member of WIPO, yet apparently knew little or nothing about the controversial delivery of computers and sophisticated services. And within a month, the State Department discovered the problem went beyond North Korea, a spokesman said in response to questions from Fox News.

In 2011, the gross contribution the U.S. made to the U.N. budget was $582,678,514.