By Anonymous – 2004-07-15 14:29:26
The Nuclear Test-Ban Commission Is on Verge of Collapse
(July 15, 2004) — The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBTO PrepCom) — the Vienna, Austria-based United Nations organization set up to implement the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) — has been in crisis since January 2002 due to the shutting off of a monitoring station by the Islamic Republic of Iran and a damning report on the human resources problems within its Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS).
More than two years later, these matters have not been resolved. Since then, the PTS has been beset by a series of internal and external crises.
The Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission (www.ctbto.org), Dr. Wolfgang Hoffmann (68) of Germany has so far failed to resolve the Iran non-supply of data issue, increase the number of signatures and ratifications especially of the nuclear capable 44 states listed in Annex 2 of the CTBT. India, Pakistan and North Korea (DPRK) who are part of this group have not yet signed the Treaty, while China, Colombia, DRC (Zaire), Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, USA and Viet Nam are yet to ratify it. In fact Colombia has not yet even paid a cent in dues to the Preparatory Commission. The Republican controlled US Senate rejected the CTBT in October 1999. Dr. Hoffmann has failed his staff in more ways than one can imagine due to his complete lack of emotional intelligence.
The CTBT was opened for signature on 24 September 1996 and was to have entered into force three years later. The International Monitoring System (IMS) consisting of 321 stations and 16 radionuclide labs were to be ready in 1999, however, this system may not be read till 2007. The United States, United Kingdom and other states are getting frustrated with Dr. Hoffmann’s foot dragging in this and other areas.
Dr. Hoffmann who is a career diplomat and the former German Ambassador to the Conference for Disarmament in Geneva where the CTBT was negotiated is 68 years old and suffers from high blood pressure and heart problems due to his short stature and obesity. He eats noting but pork and drinks beer all day long. He is playing the fiddle while Rome is burning. While Iran has shut down its station it continues to receive data from other member states including the US. Is this fair?
The current internal and external challenges faced by the CTBTO PrepCom are a win win situation for Dr. Hoffmann. If the CTBT were to enter into force in the near future then many member states would be fighting to have their candidate become the Director-General (DG) of the fully-fledged CTBTO. This means that Dr. Hoffmann would have to be removed. As you are well aware this is what happened at the OPCW (www.opcw.org) in 1997 when the CWC entered into force. It was built-up under one man and run by another. The U.S. fired the second OPCW DG in 2002.
Money Talks: Ratification Walks
Dr. Hoffmann has successfully portrayed to the world that he is the courageous captain of a ship on an uncertain course. His position on the US is: Money talks and ratification walks.
A future US president will have to give serious attention on the resumption of nuclear testing due the ageing stockpile and the external dangers posed by rogue states and non state suicidal actors. The Bush Administration would like to resume nuclear testing in 2007 and has already taken several steps in this direction including preparing the Nevada test site and the research on mini nukes.
If the US stops funding in 2006 then other states are unlikely to pickup the tab as this means the US has withdrawn both its political and financial support to the CTBT. The CTBT is after all a compromise of the five declared nuclear powers. The PTS has a staff of 300 from 69 member states. More than 60 percent of the staff members are of European origin. The CTBT has been signed by 172 states and ratified by 115.
Also India, Pakistan and North Korea have not even signed the CTBT and are unlikely to do so in the near future. In fact they are not even part of the NPT and the CTBT is likely to be the big topic of discussion at the NPT Review Conference in 2005. North Korea may conduct a nuclear test in the future and Iran may withdraw from the NPT and the CTBT in the future as well. Israel may be forced to bomb Iran‚s nuclear plants before the come online in 2005. Think of Osirak, Iraq in June 1981.
The other nuclear powers are also watching the US subcritical tests that allow the US to undertake qualitative improvements to its nuclear arsenal.
The IMS is a useful tool, however, with current monitoring systems such as AFTAC clandestine nuclear tests can be detected so it will have to be put to better use for the benefit of the international community. Is it a giant spying system like Echelon?
The CTBTO: A New League of Nations?
We see the CTBTO PrepCom as the new League of Nations, however, it is unlikely last that long. In a related and long-running dispute, the Middle East and South Asia (MESA) regional Group of the CTBT has been in a mess since its start as the Islamic/Arab states will not allow for the election of a Vice-Chair form this Group as this would acknowledge that they have accepted Israel as part of this Group as stated in the CTBT.
Since the problem within the MESA group has not been resolved, it has been unable to elect a Chair of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission as it is required by the Treaty. The Chair rotates annually according to the regional groups. The international community tried to put Israel in its correct geographical region for the first time with the CTBT but to no success. In most United Nations organizations Israel is part of the North America and West European Group (NAWEG). The US is the only state in NAWEG that has not ratified the CTBT.
The Chief of the CTBTO‚s Public Information Section is very familiar with the problem as she was the second Chair of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission when she was the first ever Slovak Ambassador in Vienna (1993-1997). She tried hard to resolve this but to no success. She now does public relations instead if public information. News is something somebody wants suppressed, everything else is pubic relations.
The CTBTO Preparatory Commission lost its second case at the ILO Administrative Tribunal in Geneva in 2003. The ILO Administrative Tribunal has jurisdiction over most UN agencies. The ex-employee from the United Kingdom, filed a case of unfair dismissal. The CTBT Secretariat had to pay a substantial compensation in back wages and perks to him. This money could have been used to build the IMS but was wasted due to Dr. Hoffmann’s dictatorial management style.
The ex-employee worked for Dr. Hoffmann’s protégé and former Chief of the Personal Section. Hoffman fired his protégé also from Germany after the damaging Cedar Human Resources report in January 2002. He was made the fall guy for faithfully following Dr. Hoffmann‚s orders.
Dr. Wolfgang Hoffmann should have left on 16 March 2004 when he completed his seven-year tenure, however, he has obtained an extension till July 2005. The CTBTO management received a body-blow on 4th February 2004 when a lawsuit by a current staff member was won at the ILO Administrative Tribunal.
In 2001 the Bush Administration cut funding ($800,000) to the On Site Inspections (OSI) Division of the CTBT, saying that this could only be used after Entry Into Force of the CTBT. This was an indication that the Administration did not want to seek the ratification of the CTBT and thereby bring its Entry Into Force closer.
The OSI Division is still in operation although it does nothing useful rather than providing employment and other benefits to a group of aging bureaucrats who spend most of their office time smoking and drinking coffee on the 4th and 7th floors bars of the C Building of the Vienna International Center (VIC) (www.unvienna.org). The CTBTO Secretariat is based in the VIC along with several other UN agencies such as the IAEA.
In fact most of the Chiefs of the Sections of the PTS including one officer of the P5 rank from the office of Dr. Hoffmann can be seen spending his working day at the VIC coffee bars chatting up pretty secretaries. Since there is not time registering system for Professional staff they are free even not to come to office. In fact most senior Professional staff come to office only to check email and surf the Internet.
Most of them earn in excess of US$ 100,000 annually and this income is tax free. Dr. Hoffmann earns over US$ 140,000 yearly. If fact most of the senior management comprises Dollar millionaires thanks to the American taxpayer. Who wants to be a millionaire? Join the PTS at a P5 or above grade. This is how they abuse the money of U.S taxpayers. All fun and no work.
The Bush Administration did not attend the Entry Into Force Conference held at the UN in New York in November 2001 and did not attend the one in September 2003 (3-5) in Vienna. Also the U.S reduced its contribution to the overall budget from 25 to 22 percent. This has sent a negative message to other states.
China (the other declared nuclear power that is therefore not ratifying) and Iran took advantage of this situation to shut off its station. This is a violation of the CTBT. About 80 states never pay at all. From the major states, Italy is a persistent defaulter.
The Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Dr. Wolfgang Hoffmann has successfully abused his position and has offered the maximum number of post in the Secretariat to German nationals and nationals of the 25 European Union states. In fact the Organization is international only in name but essentially a smaller version of the European Union.
If Dr. Hoffmann had his way he would employ all the 4.5 million unemployed persons of his native Germany. The Secretariat suffers from the Irish coffee problem. No matter how you make the coffer the white will raise to the top and the black will head to the bottom.
Dr. Hoffmann’s lifelong insecurity and greed from power and food can be attributed to his childhood when he and his family had to flee the former East Germany and had to live for many years as refugees in West Germany. Therefore he needs to compensate by making all the money and eating all the food he can. He still feels like an outsider in Germany. His biography can be found at: www.ctbto.org
* The authors work inside the CTBTO organization and are accredited diplomats to it. They aspire to see the CTBTO “fulfil its mandate under a new and effective leadership.” They have requested anonymity.
A List of Unanswered Questions for the CRBTO PrepCom Leadership
o 1. According to your press release dated 19 November 2003 the budget of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission for 2004 is $94.5 million. Please provide a Divisional breakdown for ADMIN, LEGREL, IDC, IMS, OSI and OES? This information used to contained in your press releases of previous years.
o 2. At the end of 2003 what percentage of the Global Verification Regime is in operation? When will the system be fully operational given the political and financial uncertainty in the coming years? The system was to be ready by Entry into Force in September 1999.
o 3. The Executive Secretary of the PTS Dr. Wolfgang Hoffman (68) of Germany will be leaving in July 2005. Why is he not leaving on 16 March 2004 when he completes his seven-year tenure? Is there no consistency in the application of staff rules and regulations? Why is he not considered a staff member?
o 3. (b) Given Dr. Hoffmann’s health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and heart obstructions, is he fit to head a young outfit like the PTS especially since he is well over the United Nations retirment age of 60?
o 4. Is the extension of the employment contract of Dr. Hoffmann a reward for his failure to get even a commitment from India and the rest of the Annex 2 states to sign or ratify the CTBT?
o 5. Why has the Executive Secretary made no attempt since he took office on March 17 1997 to visit India? The so-called quite diplomacy with the Indian Permanent Mission in Vienna seems to be bearing no fruit? Why does he not even publish and OP ED in an Indian newspaper?
o 6. Over 170 states have signed the CTBT, however, you only employ only nationals from 69 member states and most of them are of European origin including those from South Africa.The PTS looks like the European Union. What steps are being taken to rectify this matter? The PTS can employ one staff member from each member state. How many Nobel Prize nominated scientists does it employ?
o 7. What steps are being taken to increase the percentage of women in the Professional and higher grades especially from the developing member states? A golden opportunity was lost to appoint a female as the next director of the IDC or OSI Division.
o 8. Several staff members are challenging the legality of the seven-year employment rule at the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation. The first judgement is expected in February. What steps will the PTS take to rectify this situation especially since it has lost two cases bought by ex staff member at the Tribunal?
o 9. How can the staff members affected by seven-year rule concentrate on their work when they are uncertain about their careers at the PTS. To what level has the morale and productivity of the PTS employees suffered?
o 10. In this context what steps have been taken to implement the 77 recommendations contained in the Human Resources by Cedar GMBH of January 2002? What steps have been taken to implement their follow up recommendations?
o 11. Also in this context why did the current president of the Staff Council not make a statement of the final session of the Preparatory Commission? Is this tradition also being? discarded?
o 12. The Republican controlled U.S. Senate defeated the ratification of the CTBT in October 1999 and the US also cut funding for the On-Site Inspection (OSI) by US$ 800,000 in 2001. It has recently revoked the ban on the development of mini nukes. The US is likely to resume nuclear testing in 2006 and in this regard what is the future of the Preparatory Commission? Will it become the next League of Nations?
o 13 Recently a middle-ranking official from the US State Department informed the Executive Secretary that the US will not pay its $21 million contribution to the Preparatory Commission in 2005. Did this force Dr. Hoffmann to decide to voluntarily leave his post in July 2005?
o 14. What is the status of the Iran non-supply of technical data issue?
o 15. What is the status of the non-payment of dues by Colombia? How long will these two issues continue as they are unfair to other member states?
o 16. When will the problems within the Middle East and South Asia (MESA) Region be resolved and when will it elect a Chairperson of the Preparatory Commission?
o 17. The Director of the Administration Division, Dr. Pearce Corden is over 63 and will he be leaving soon as well. Who will replace him? He has been in his post for less than three years?
o 18. Who is likely replace the Exective Secretary, Dr. Hoffmann? Is it the Director of the IMS Division, Dr. Gerardo Suerz? Are you a likley candidate as well?
Background Articles and Documentation
China, Iran Balking at Test-ban-pact Cooperation
Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent / Reuters
USA: March 8, 2002
China and Iran Threaten Test Ban Treaty
Julian Borger in Washington and John Gittings
Shanghai: March 26, 2002 The Guardian
CTBT: US Seeks to Replace Head of Test Ban Treaty Organization
David Ruppe / Global Security Newswire
February 21, 2003 issue
CTBT: Vienna Treaty Staff Dispute Mandatory Retirement Rules
David Ruppe / Global Security Newswire
January 10, 2003 issue
CTBT I: Anti-Nuclear Test Organization Seeks Better Funding
David Ruppe / Global Security Newswire
September 18, 2002
CTBT: Progress Mixed on Organization’s Five-Year Anniversary
David Ruppe / Global Security Newswire
March 19, 2002
Letter to Secretary Colin Powell from Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC)
Why the Senate Rejected the CTBT and the Implications of Its Demise. Remarks by Sen. Jon Kyl / Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
June 5, 2000
Cases Won by Ex-staff Members against the CTBTO PrepCom
ILO Administrative Tribunal Judgment
Judgment No. 2315
Judgment No. 2259
Judgment No. 2121
Judgment No. 2031