Warning signs for Australia that Bill Clinton was way off the straight and narrow in PNG
Friday, 26 August 2016
Part One of this train-wreck is here.
It's worth looking at Papua New Guinea through Australian eyes.
[PDF]Report: The Torres Strait: Bridge and Border - Parliament of Australia
In parts of the Torres Strait at low tide, it's possible to wade from island to island to leave PNG and enter Australia. The two countries are within easy gazing distance of each other and there's significant fishing, transport and other trade interactions between the neighbours.
By the mid-2000s PNG had a raging HIV/Aids epidemic, with TB outbreaks closely following. The proximity of our two countries made PNG's problem Australia's problem too. And Australia budgeted hundreds of millions of dollars to fight it.
When he launched Australia's partnership with the Clinton Foundation in February 2006, Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said:
I would like to talk briefly now about what the Government is currently doing to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. Eighteen months ago, I announced a significant increase in Australia's contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the region: through the aid program, the Australian Government is committing $600 million in assistance to HIV/AIDS activities in the decade to 2010: most of this support is directed to activities in the Asia Pacific by way of bilateral assistance. Clearly, the Australian Government is already investing heavily in the battle against HIV. But if we are to deepen and strengthen the Australian response, we must look for new opportunities and partnerships to build on what has been achieved. Our partnership with the Clinton Foundation will build on the Foundation's impressive track record to provide practical assistance with procurement, supply chains and health system strengthening.
For Australia, finding the money to help our neighbours wasn't the problem. The bad press arose from the lax systems and processes in the way our money had been spent prior to Downer's discovery of the ArchAngel Bill.
Alexander Downer turned to the Clinton Foundation HIV/Aids Initiative Inc apparently because he believed their PR. The "Foundation's impressive track record providing practical assistance with health system strengthening" turned out to exist only in marketing brochures.
As at February 2006, the Clinton Foundation's climate change, global initiative, carbon-accounting and HIV/Aids operation in the Asia Pacific region had a total staff of one - Ruby Shang.
Ruby wasn't overly taxed, because beyond invoicing, the Clinton Foundation didn't actually do much. In between boning up on HIV epidemiology and counting carbon, Ruby was also able to hang on to a full time job running the Caterpillar earthmoving dealership in Vietnam.
The Foundation could not withstand scrutiny at the best of times, but even Clinton saw the vulnerability in having just one pretend employee who did everything all over Asia. A few more token appointments would be needed to satisfy the AusAid MOU.
When the Australian MOU was signed in Sydney, Clinton's PNG head honcho to-be was 16,000 kilometres away working in New York. Not in medicine, or management, or a charity. The Clinton Foundation's putative PNG boss was an entry level accounts payable clerk processing compo claims (or as Zachary Katz describes himself on his LinkedIn history, as a 'Payment Operations Associate").
Zachary Katz graduated from college in 2000 with a BA in earth sciences. In his only job since graduating, he "worked to eliminate backlogs of refunded, retained, and outstanding payments; responded to inquiries; investigated failed payments and established a network of contacts". It's not the sort of CV likely to win many multi-million dollar HIV/Aids contracts.
It's shocking, but the Clinton Foundation appeared to be much more interested in raising money and double-dipping on funding in Papua New Guinea than it was in helping people with HIV.
There is no other way to explain its actions.
Katz the New Yorker started working for the Clinton Foundation in June 2006 as a "country analyst".
Here's an extract from the independent review of the $11M Australian Aid project Mr Katz was ultimately responsible for.
In PNG, AusAID is supporting the CHAI to improve access to HIV and AIDS treatment. Total agreed funding is $11,080,000 for the period August 2006-2009.The goal of the CHAI in PNG is to work with the National Department of Health (NDoH) to improve clinical, laboratory and management capacity in Papua New Guinea to enable an expansion of access to antiretroviral treatment for HIV positive people.
By October 2006, Katz was made the permanent head of the Clinton Foundation PNG program where he remained for one year.
Australian aid money wasn't the only funding the Clinton's obtained for identical PNG work. In 2006 when our cash started flowing so did money from Unitaid, a European aid organisation hosted by the World Health Organisation. The Unitaid funding is for work described in identical terms in the AUSAid projects.
Here's some Unitaid background.
CHAI was established in 2002 by President Bill Clinton. Shortly after UNITAID’s creation in 2006, the two organizations set out to reach groups in developing countries that were neglected by HIV drug markets: adults living with HIV that needed “second-line” antiretroviral treatment and children living with HIV.
CHAI’s entrepreneurial approach to providing access to health care combined with UNITAID’s innovative financing and funding model was a potent mix in influencing market dynamics for HIV treatments.
Papua New Guinea: Papua New Guinea is one of the only countries in the UNITAID-CHAI Project to domestically fund its transition from CHAI/UNITAID projects. Starting in 2006, CHAI and the Department of Health worked to build clinical capacity for paediatric HIV treatment. As the UNITAID paediatric project approached its end date, CHAI and Papua New Guinea’s National Department of Health, National AIDS Council Secretariat and parliamentary representatives implemented a successful transition. While the existence of available resources made the transition possible, early planning, collaborative discussions and the work of key domestic advocates created consensus and national ownership. Read the full UNITAID/CHAI Papua New Guinea story [PDF, 270 KB].
This analysis describes the Unitaid funding to CHAI for PNG paediatrics HIV program.
And this extract is from the Australian Government funding review of the CHAI in PNG - looks like much the same work was submitted for assessment to each of Unitaid and the Australian Government.
The Australian Government's independent review of the CHAI PNG project makes a lot more sense now that we know the Clinton program chief's work experience.
We analysed the independent review of the CHAI PNG work here - in summary the money started flowing to Clinton with no statement of project goal or purpose, thus no indicators at that level, no clear Program Area objectives (with indicators) and no targets.
And it wasn't just PNG, every element of the $25M original funding under the MOU was reviewed with much the same conclusions. In Indonesia, the only project goal or purpose the CHAI country manager could produce was the Clinton Foundation global mission statement.
You should note that in August 2006 corporate regulators in PNG were either corrupted or deceived into acting illegally in the creation of the Clinton Foundation's PNG entity - the incorporated association called "Clinton Foundation HIV/Aids Initiative - PNG Inc" - full report here.
Australia gave millions to the Clinton Foundation for the express purpose of bringing its "impressive track record" of systems and processes to our region. How could we continue to pay Clinton the millions only to see months of delay culminating in the arrival in PNG of a recently graduated former New York accounts payable clerk with no work experience in
- government (he had a post-grad qualification in public administration)
- or the Clinton Foundation itself.
The Clinton charisma and fame seemed to paper over any problems.
PNG Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir M T SOMARE GCL GCMG CH CF K St J was clearly a fan.
In October 2005 the Clinton Foundation and PNG signed an MOU to give PNG access to the Clinton Foundation's price list for HIV drugs.
3 months later Prime Minister Somare launched the Michael Somare Foundation in PNG,
My life has been spent in the service of Papua New Guinea through politics and thanks must go to the people of this province. For many years I wanted to create opportunities to enable young Papua New Guineans to give service to their own people in all fields of industry.
The land on which the new ANZ Bank now stands belongs to the Foundation. And this partnership between the ANZ Bank and the Foundation has enabled me to make my aspirations a reality.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for honouring Wewak by being here today for the opening of the ANZ Bank and the launching of the Michael Somare Foundation.
M T SOMARE GCL GCMG CH CF K St J
Grand Chief Sir Michael was besotted with Bill.
In September 2006 Somare flew to New York to attend the Clinton Global Initiative. His speech would have been music to Clinton's ears, Somare said in part,
"we do not ask for "handouts" from the developed world to solve problems.....Instead, we seek to lead the world toward a new paradigm for environmentally and socially sustainable economic growth. We invite you, some of the world brightest minds, to join Papua New Guinea in this noble endeavour"
Michael Somare leading the world toward a new economic paradigm with hundreds of millions in aid money was too much for Clinton to resist.
On 21 September 2006 Somare met with Clinton in New York. That rated a press release.
NEW YORK: The Prime Minister, Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare met with former US President Bill Clinton and informed him about PNG's fight against HIV/AIDS and to promote PNG's initiative on climate change in New York last week.
Prior to their one-on-one meeting, Mr Clinton invited Sir Michael and the President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias and Chief Executive Officers of international environment groups and philanthropists to take part in a panel discussion on climate change.
Sir Michael Somare and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias are leading international efforts to create policy frameworks on deforestation and the associated carbon emissions.
Three organizations, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International & Environmental Defense, are publicly supporting the leadership of these developing nations by committing $6 million to help design market-oriented mechanisms to support their efforts to cut carbon emissions from deforestation and land-use change, reduce poverty, support rural development, and conserve biodiversity.
Sir Michael also met with the global CEOs for TNC, CI and ED in the afternoon who all pledged to support Sir Michael's leadership on the UNFCCC Deforestation Initiative.
During the panel discussion, CEO of Virgin Airlines, Sir Richard Branson pledged 3 billion US Dollars from carbon credits from his various industries for the work on climate change over a 10-year period.
On the issue of HIV/AIDS, a total of 500 million US Dollars was made to the Clinton Foundation to support the fight against Aids in the world.
Sir Michael also had the opportunity to address students at the Columbia University and the United Nations General Assembly on Climate Change during his stay in New York.
M T SOMARE, GCL GCMG CH CF KStJ
Later that day and love was in the air with the Foundation man Michael inviting Foundation man Bill to PNG. That rated a press release.
NEW YORK: The Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare today announced former United States
President Bill Clinton's acceptance of his invitation to visit PNG later this year.
Mr Clinton heads an organisation known as the Clinton Global Initiative Foundation (CGIF) that brings world leaders and philanthropists together to look at ways to assist countries and organisations deal with global health issues, poverty reduction, energy and climate change and mitigation of religious and ethnic conflicts.
Sir Michael accompanied by Ministers Sir Peter Barter and Sir Moi Avei made a courtesy call on former US president, Mr Bill Clinton during their visit to New York last week.
Sir Peter outlined the challenges that the government of PNG faces in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the work being carried out by Government in partnership with churches and non-government organisations.
Sir Michael said, since assuming office this government has given priority to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country. As the issue is a developmental issue, his department is responsible for HIV/Aids with a specifically designated Minister that deals with the issue.
Mr Clinton expressed a keen interest in PNG's indigenous diversity of peoples and his concern that action needed to be taken to save lives.
The CGIF has already carried out assessments in the Highlands and has committed 3 clinicians to work in PNG.
M T SOMARE, GCL GCMG CH CF KStJ
Somare came home to PNG quite excited.
ON 27 November 2006 the US Ambassador made a call on Somare in Port Moresby and the exchange was summarised in this cable back to the State Department.
Sir Michael didn't disappoint with the razzle dazzle for Bill on World Aids Day.
The same Bill who failed to deliver, didn't put in the money he promised and most importantly came to the poor and aid dependent nation of PNG with a plan to make money out of its misery.
Bill's Foundation paid for next to nothing in PNG. Other real donors and a sizable contribution from the busted-backside-treasury of PNG paid Bill's expenses.
But somehow Clinton gets away with it.
Here's Somare's speech after the MOU signing.
President Bill Clinton, Founder of the Clinton Foundation and former President of the United States of America.
Last September, when I was in New York to attend the 2nd annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, I had the privilege of a private audience with you to discuss a wide range of key global issues including climate change, poverty alleviation, public health and in particular HIV/AIDS.
Your determination to address these issues is commendable and very much appreciated by the people of Papua New Guinea.
In today's world, we are all neighbours who share this beautiful planet. What happens in one part of the world subsequently affects us all in one way or another.
Your Foundation is determined that neighbours, irrespective of their size and proximity to one another will be good neighbours, through policy and outreach.
Your presence here today in a remote Pacific Island Nation shows your outreach to those in need. It is also significant as it certainly raises the profile of awareness on HIV/AIDS in the country.
Your signature on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative and the Government of Papua New Guinea shows your willingness to help us in the most practical way, in a sensitive area of public health. You are helping us to help those infected including the most vulnerable, our children, who have contracted the HIV/AIDS virus.
Papua New Guinea is a nation of many tribes whose cultures in the past have provided a safety net for those who are orphaned, sick or aging.
With the arrival of this "new" virus, fear has turned families and relatives away from supporting their loved one.
Children, who traditionally brought great joy to families, often find themselves being abandoned and desperately needing care and treatment. It is estimated that with the present HIV/AIDS epidemic, perhaps 1,200 children are born HIV positive every year.
The Memorandum of Understanding you and I have just signed gives us a supply of (ARV) Anti Retroviral Drugs and diagnostics for adults and children affected by the virus. We shall endeavour in every way we can to meet our side of this generous agreement.
The Clinton Foundation and Papua New Guinea's Department of Health and the National Aids Council have identified areas in which your Foundation will work with us to improve and expand care and treatment.
§ Laboratory infrastructure and training of staff, development of Standard
§ Procurement and supply management for HIV – related materials;
§ Putting as many women and children as possible on AIDS-related treatment;
§ Supporting us as we extend medical services to our rural majority;
§ Strengthening monitoring and co-ordination, so that all our agencies are fully
§ Training of every grade of health worker to provide successful care for those
living with HIV/AIDS.
These areas will be of vital assistance to us as we fight the AIDS epidemic.
In your busy schedule, we appreciate that you can only visit us briefly. We have a beautiful and hospitable country, and are blessed with valuable resources, the most important being our children.
And we sincerely thank you for the concern and assistance extended to Papua New Guinea through your Foundation.
We wish you a safe onward journey in the region and hope that you will be able to visit us again to see more of PNG and the work of your Foundation.
I can assure you, Mr. President, that your presence in our country through the work of the Foundation will have the full support of my Government and people.
And to add insult to PNG's injuries, Prime Minister Somare bestowed upon Chief Clinton PNG's highest honour.
There's much more to come on this story - Australia is still sending taxpayer money to Clinton with current day politicians still stunned into star-struck insensibility by crooked Bill.