Ted Turners United Nations Foundation: Making the UN a Pawn for Tax-Exempt Special Interests
Ted Turners United Nations Foundation: Making the UN a Pawn for Tax-Exempt Special Interests
by Cliff Kincaid
Almost 18 months after Time-Warner vice-chairman Ted Turner announced he would give $1 billion to the United Nations, serious questions remain about the nature and influence of his "gift."
One concern is technical and legal: Turners money is being channeled to the UN through a private foundation and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. But the UN is strictly prohibited by its own charter from accepting contributions not from member nations. Questions raised about this practice have not been fully answered by the UN.
Another concern is legislative and constitutional: Turners United Nations Foundation has very close ties to the Clinton administration and appears to be furthering the interests of certain State Department officials. Could Turners foundation be using private funds to help federal bureaucrats skirt funding roadblocks erected by Congress?
The final concern is political: Turners financial support for UN activities threatens to exert undue influence over UN policy and international relations. As is typical for the outspoken billionaire, the activities funded by Turners foundation are controversial and even raise serious human rights concerns. Moreover, in some cases, they ignore official U.S. policy to pursue the personal agendas of the foundations trustees.
When Turner announced his $1 billion donation last September, the media described the gift in glowing terms. Turner would help the UN with much-needed funds to take care of children, women and the environment.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called Turner a "world citizen extra-ordinaire." The New York Times described the proposal as "probably the single largest charitable donation in history." And it earned Turner a cover story in Newsweek, which quoted him as saying he was "putting the rich on notice" to follow his lead. There was even talk that Turner might be awarded the Nobel Prize.
But when Foundation Watch took a closer look at Turners plans in December 1997, we characterized Turners gift as "an opportunity to pursue his liberal social agenda through a powerful association of national governments." The UN Foundation was never intended to serve the UN members interests or needs, but to expand UN programs on population control, environmental regulation and other personal interests of Turners.
The media moguls leftist political views are well-known. He is one of many who slept in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House because of his strong support for President Bill Clinton. He has associated with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who allowed Turners Cable News Network (CNN) to become the first U.S.-based news organization with a Havana bureau since the Communist takeover. Turners wife, actress Jane Fonda, achieved notoriety for supporting the Communist side during the Vietnam war.
However, Turners personal politics may not be the only driving force behind the UN Foundation. Certainly the timing of his gift fueled the battle in Congress over U.S. payment of its alleged $1.5 billion debt to the UN. Clinton administration officials and others who advocate more UN funding may see the UN Foundation as a way to support activities not currently funded by UN member states, especially the U.S.
Indeed, Turner announced his gift at a dinner sponsored by the United Nations Association of the U.S., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that raises private funds and advocates more federal support for UN activities. In recent years, the UN Association has complained bitterly about the U.S. failure to pay its "debt" to the UN. The Association has even urged consideration of a global tax to alleviate the UNs financial problems.
The UN Foundations first year of operation has provided clues to its structure and relationship with the UN, but many questions remain unanswered.
Turners gift, it turns out, is not as generous as described in media reports. An amount of up to $1 billion will be donated in the form of Time-Warner stock in ten annual installments. The cost to Turner could be significantly less than $1 billion if he takes advantage of tax write-offs, tax deductions and ways to avoid estate taxes. Amazingly, USA Today claims "Turner, or at least his heirs, could end up $100 million richer because hes giving a billion away."
Moreover, the donation will be made not to the UN directly, but to Turners private UN Foundation. The foundation is tax-exempt under U.S. law and has no legal affiliation with the UN.
The UN and the UN Foundation have completed a 20-page agreement governing the use of foundation grants. According to the agreement, UN Secretary-General Annan will review grant applications before asking for approval from the UN Foundation board. But foundation grants will be disbursed by UN officials.
Annan has created his own bureaucracy to manage the money. The UN Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) is led by Miles Stoby of Guyana, the former Deputy Executive Coordinator for UN Reform. To demonstrate the importance of Ted Turners funds to the UN, Annan has announced that Stoby will report directly to him, and Stobys post will be at the level of Assistant Secretary-General.
The Better World Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit under the same leadership and trustees as the UN Foundation, will coordinate "public education" on behalf of the UN. It aims to create "a broader constituency of citizens, organizations and businesses with a deeper commitment to international cooperation through the United Nations."
The agreement was signed by Hans Corell, UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, and UN Foundation President Timothy Wirth. Atlanta attorney J. Rutherford Seydel II is listed as a recipient of any notices stemming from "disputes" between the foundation and UNFIP. Seydel is also listed in official papers as the legal representative for Jane Fondas new foundation. (See related article on page 1.) Any disputes will be resolved by an international arbitration panel.
The agreement offers no clues about the UNs justification for accepting private foundation funds, which is a violation of the UN Charter. Article 17, Section 2 of the charter states that UN expenses "shall be borne by the Members as apportioned by the General Assembly." This requirement is supposed to prevent private interests like the UN Foundation from exercising undue influence over the world body.
This author has repeatedly asked UN officials and members of Congress to provide a legal justification for the UNs acceptance of UN Foundation grants. Concerns about the foundations activities were first expressed in an October 1997 letter to Joe Sills, then director of the UN Information Office in Washington, DC:
"The UN Charter says the expenses of the organization shall be borne by the member-states. How, then, can the UN accept any money from a source outside of the member-states, such as a foundation, business or individual?
"What is the tax status of the UN in the U.S.? Can U.S. citizens make tax-deductible contributions to the UN?"
No answers have been provided, although the UNs legal department is supposedly studying the matter. However, it is known that contributions to the UN are not tax-deductible in the U.S. thus Turners elaborate setup to funnel $1 billion to the UN through a tax-exempt foundation.
The UN Foundations trustees share a globalist outlook, and most of them have a long association with the UN. The board includes Turner as chairman and Timothy Wirth as president.
Wirth is a former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs (1993-1997) and Colorado Democratic Senator (1987-1993). Before leaving the State Department, Wirth promoted the implementation of the global warming treaty. Even if the global warming theory is wrong, he has said, "we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy." A former official of Planned Parenthood in Colorado, Wirth is a crusader for population control and abortion rights.
The involvement of UN Foundation trustee Maurice Strong, long regarded as a possible candidate for UN Secretary-General, is also significant. The Canadian, a longtime friend of Turner and Wirth, has been involved in UN activities for more than 30 years. In 1997, Strong served as Executive Coordinator for UN Reform under Annan, and his deputy was UNFIP director Miles Stoby. He also chaired the 1992 Earth Summit.
During the early 1990s, Strong was a key member of the independent Commission on Global Governance, an international organization funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The Commission published the 1995 report Our Global Neighborhood, calling for a vast expansion of UN resources and activities through the imposition of a global tax. (See Foundation Watch, September 1996.)
A wealthy Canadian who lived in Colorado in the 1980s, Strong came under scrutiny by the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight during its campaign finance investigation in 1997. Strong, who is not a U.S. citizen, made a $20,000 contribution to the Democratic National Committee and gave $1,500 to two congressional campaigns in 1988. Strong said he made the contributions "because I wanted influence in the United States." But U.S. law prohibits contributions by foreign nationals unless they have a green card and intend to make the U.S. their permanent residence.
Interestingly, Strongs activities in Colorado also included formation of a group called the North American Institute to encourage passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). One of those involved in the effort was John Wirth, brother of Timothy.
Other UN Foundation trustees include Brazilian first lady Ruth Cardoso, an international AIDS activist and a participant in the UNs 1996 Habitat II conference; Graca Machel, the former first lady of Mozambique and a UN-designated childrens rights advocate; Emma Rothschild, a British associate of Strong who champions environment and disarmament causes; Andrew Young, U.S. ambassador to the UN during the Carter administration; and Pakistani Muhammad Yunus, an economist who has accused financial institutions of shortchanging the poor.
Target: Human Race
The first round of 22 UN Foundation grants was announced on May 20, 1998 and totaled almost $22.2 million. Another round of 17 grants was announced last September, totalling more than $32.8 million. The grants confirm the Foundations liberal bent and selective grantmaking.
Two UN agencies received more than 50 percent of the first-year grants: the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) received almost $12.2 million, and $18.6 million went to the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF). Both agencies are involved in controversial projects to encourage and assist abortions and other population control measures.
Another big recipient of UN Foundation funds is the World Health Organization (WHO), which is linked to UNICEF and UNFPA through a "Coordinating Committee on Health." Last year, WHO received two UN Foundation grants totalling almost $9 million. An additional grant worth $2.8 million was awarded jointly to WHO and UNICEF.
It is no surprise that a sizeable portion of the UN Foundations grants support UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO. These agencies have been criticized for their population control activities and complacency regarding human rights abuses, and from the outset Turner announced that his foundation would support population control.
Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon asked in a May 5, 1998 Wall Street Journal column whether the UN was being manipulated by Turner and his associates to maintain an aggressive campaign to reduce the human population "by any means possible."
Examples of UN Foundation grants supporting population control include UNFPA grants for "the delivery of family planning services" to reduce high fertility rates in Bolivia, the Comoros, Lebanon and the Philippines. Other grants encourage journalists to cover population control issues and target adolescent girls for family planning services.
Turner has a long history of support for population control activities. Turner and wife Jane Fonda served as "Goodwill Ambassadors" for UNFPA. Fonda now leads a Georgia campaign against teen pregnancy, partly funded by a private condom maker.
According to Nicholas Eberstadt, a population expert with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., Turner is on record in favor of a radical policy that Eberstadt calls "de-population." As recently as last month, the father of five children called for a worldwide one-child-per-family policy to reduce the world population. "We could do it in a very humane way, if everybody adopted a one-child policy for 100 years," Turner told participants at the annual meeting of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association in Washington, D.C.
Once honored as "Humanist of the Year" by the American Humanist Association, Turners stridency on population control has earned him a reputation as an anti-Christian bigot. In remarks last October to the Society of Environmental Journalists, he complained that the Judeo-Christian tradition emphasizes "dominion over everything" and "increase and multiply." Turner once told a Dallas Morning News reporter that Christianity is "a religion for losers" and "I dont want anybody [i.e., Jesus Christ] to die for me."
Wirth also is no stranger to population control efforts. In addition to his Planned Parenthood work in Colorado, Wirth led the State Depart-ments defense of a Clinton administration decision to deport several Chinese women who sought asylum in the U.S. to avoid forced abortion and sterilization in their native country.
At the urging of Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), chairman of the House Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, Congress has cut off federal funds for UNFPA because the agency has been accused of compliance with the brutal Chinese population control program of one-child-per-family. Congressional hearings have disclosed that the Chinese government has forced many women to have abortions when they exceeded their one-child limit. Some women have testified that they were physically assaulted and forced to undergo abortions when they tried to carry a second child to term. In some cases, baby girls were allegedly abandoned or starved to death in government-run orphanages because of Chinas cultural preference for male children.
Congressman Smith says UNFPA also has supplied abortion devices and drugs to refugees, displaced persons and "other poor and vulnerable women around the world."
UNICEF has been under increasing scrutiny since the Vatican decided two years ago to withdraw its support for the agency because of its involvement in population control programs. The Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, a UN-recognized non-governmental organization (NGO), observes, "Particular concern has centered on UNICEFs involvement in the drafting of a field manual for use by relief workers in refugee camps. The manual specifically called for the provision of vacuum aspirators that are used for abortions." UNICEF is headed by an ardent feminist, Carol Bellamy, a former New York City official and Democratic mayoral candidate.
Lack of Funds?
Many UN Foundation grants to UNFPA and UNICEF do not reflect an aggressive population control agenda. For example, some grants support UNICEF for "the eradication of polio" and for distributing "vitamin supplements to save mothers lives." WHO was granted almost $5.2 million as part of the UN Foundation program "Global Health Leadership for the 21st Century." This is described as a partnership between the Rockefeller Foundation and the UN Foundation to support WHO director-general Gro Brundtland "in her efforts to revitalize the organization," which has been plagued by scandal and corruption.
But critics complain that such grants, even when they support laudable efforts, still help underwrite population control activities. Indeed, when the Vatican requested that its financial contributions to UNICEF be directed into projects with no relation to abortion, UNICEF officials said they could not comply. The problem is that grants to UN agencies are "fungible," meaning that despite their intended purposes, they free up funds in agency budgets so officials can reallocate revenues to population control efforts.
The likelihood of shifting such funds increases if there are severe budget constraints, as UNICEF and UNFPA leaders claim. Shortly after Turners announcement of his $1 billion gift, officials of these two agencies and the UN Development Program (UNDP) issued a statement saluting Turners "extremely generous and socially conscious decision." They claimed the funds would arrive at a "crucial moment" for the UN as it grapples with "dwindling resources to meet a growing array of vital needs." The implication was that Turners private funds might fill the gap created by a failure or reluctance of UN member governments to fund those agencies.
The alleged funding gap may also explain the U.S. State Departments close connection to UN Foundation efforts. Because Timothy Wirth leads the foundation, some communication with the Clinton administration is to be expected. But could the State Department be influencing the UN Foundation to provide private funds for programs and policies that are opposed by influential members of Congress whom the Administration does not want to confront?
A recent encounter suggests the relationship is worthy of investigation. At a January 15 press conference on population matters in Washington, D.C., Wirth associate Ellen Marshall appeared with Frank E. Loy, Wirths successor as Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs. Marshall, who is responsible for womens issues at the UN Foundation, left the Clinton State Department with Wirth.
At the press conference, Marshall described the UN Foundations $1.1 million grant for an NGO and Youth forum held the previous month in The Hague, Netherlands to review the platform of the controversial 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo. The grant was meant to enable the NGOs to review the ICPD platform and work on strategies to implement the Cairo platform. It was funneled through UNFPA.
Marshall said she helped draft a controversial presidential decision directive (PDD) on population issues when she was a State Department official. The June 1, 1994 PDD proposed to reduce "the rate of population growth as rapidly as possible to levels consistent with sustainable development" through close cooperation with the UN. The document said the U.S. would continue to support "population assistance programs" primarily through the Agency for International Development, and would provide "adequate resources" to UNFPA, WHO and other UN agencies.
But Marshall said the State Depart-ments draft PDD on population issues was abandoned in favor of adopting the official "program of action" of the Cairo conference as official U.S. policy. This platform stopped just short of endorsing abortion as a method of family planning because of the opposition of the Vatican and some Third World countries.
According to Marshall, "There was a great deal of work done trying to reassess what the policy should be. That also happened to coincide with the International Conference on Population and Development. So rather than have a U.S. policy on international [population issues], the United States participated in this international discussion and looked to the ICPD program of action as its official position. So while there is no PDD, there is the United States endorsing the ICPD program of action as its policy statement.... It was a very conscious decision."
It is clear that when the UN Foundation supported the Netherlands follow-up conference, Marshall as a private foundation official was furthering a population policy she developed and the State Department endorsed through the UN conference. But the State Departments apparent deference to a private grantmaker for help with funding its agenda which includes activities opposed by influential members of Congress raises important questions about the relationship of the UN Foundation and the Clinton administration.
Greening the Earth
The UN Foundation is also using its grants to assist UN efforts to secure compliance with the global warming treaty, also known as the Kyoto Protocol.
Last year, the foundation granted $1 million to the UN Industrial Development Organization and more than $1.2 million to the UN Conference on Trade and Development. The grants support creation of an emissions-trading system, a concept backed by the White House as part of the global warming treaty. The system would allow U.S. firms to exceed UN treaty limits on fossil fuel emissions by purchasing pollution credits from other countries or transferring technology to the Third World. One element of the project "assistance to governments in defining adequate domestic regulatory and supervisory frameworks" suggests the extent to which UN Foundation money will subsidize government regulatory agencies.
The UN Foundation has committed another $900,000 for "Post-Kyoto Climate Change Policies" in China. The grant will support the development of public policies to reduce "greenhouse" gas emissions. The funds will be channeled through the World Resources Institute (WRI) and UNDP, which is headed by Clinton appointee and WRI founder James Gustave Speth. Speth is reportedly leaving his UNDP post in June to help Vice President Gore run for president.
There is a serious political problem with the UN Foundations grants: they support the implementation of a treaty that has not been ratified by or even submitted to the U.S. Senate. Most observers say that the pact, if submitted, would fail by a wide margin because it could cripple our industrial economy, while major fossil fuel emitters like China flatly refuse to sign or abide by it.
Other UN Foundation grants for environmental projects are less controversial. A $650,000 grant to the UN Environment Program (UNEP) supports efforts to reduce the impact of El Nino-related emergencies, and a $2.4 million grant helps African cities to develop better water management systems. But what can be expected from a $350,000 grant to let young people assess the state of the global environment?
Turner has never been afraid to leap into controversy, and the UN Foundation has followed his lead. While many of the 1998 foundation grants support worthy projects like eradicating Guinea Worm disease in Africa or fighting slave and drug trafficking some grants deserve closer inspection.
For example, a 1998 grant made jointly to WHO and UNICEF supports their efforts to promote "long-term strategies" to ensure "tobacco-free children and youth." No doubt the U.S. tobacco control movement is going global. Once again, children are the excuse for new taxes and regulation on the tobacco industry. The UN Foundation claims "this project is the single largest grant ever made to prevent and discourage international tobacco use among children and adolescents."
On the other hand, another UN Foundation grant is promising despite some controversy. The grant provides more than $3 million over two years to UNICEF for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS in Africa and Asia. The disease is a major problem in Third World countries, and the most tragic victims are the young. Babies whose mothers are HIV-positive have about a 28 percent chance of contracting the virus through breast milk.
Since last June, UNICEF has launched pilot projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America which support HIV-positive women who choose not to breast-feed. With UN Foundation funding, UNICEF counsels mothers about the risk of HIV transmission through breast-feeding and provides milk substitutes "for up to six months if necessary."
Thus UNICEF and the UN Foundation seem to be moving in a direction encouraged by groups like the Foundation for Democracy in Africa, which accuses UNICEF of helping to spread AIDS under its former policy of promoting breast-feeding exclusively. In this case, the UN Foundation may be having a positive impact on the policies of a UN agency.
Ted Turners dedication to the UN is well-known. He flies the UN flag over CNN Center in Atlanta and bans the use of the word "foreign" on CNN broadcasts.
But while Turners money could prove successful in revitalizing controversial UN agencies, it could also lead to increasing private involvement in the affairs of the world organization. Indeed, some have suggested using private funds to alleviate all the UNs financial problems, including the so-called U.S. "debt."
For political reasons, Secretary-General Annan has ruled that out, saying that UN Foundation grants will not offset Americas $1.5 billion debt because the world body cannot accept contributions from private citizens for that purpose. But if this is true, how can private citizens make contributions to the UN for any purpose at all?
Private funding for the UN makes congressional attempts to de-fund the UN or its agencies almost irrelevant. This might cheer supporters of privatization or implacable opponents of the UN. But is also undercuts those who hope U.S. government financial pressure might force much-needed UN reforms. A few billionaires could further the transformation of the UN from a collection of member-states to the pawn of tax-exempt special interests. That, of course, is a serious threat to American interests and perhaps to the UN itself.
Cliff Kincaid is a freelance journalist and president of Americas Survival, a public policy nonprofit.
Ted Turner's $1 Billion U.N. Give-Away:
Global Soft Money
Maybe Ted Turner will gain a seat on the U.N. Security Council. After all, in local politics the old saying is "Follow the money." Why should it be any different on a global scale? Ted Turner has publicly stated his global visions of shaping environmental policy and population control according to his agenda. Turner's gift to the U.N. looks like just another example of "Hide in plain sight" -- it looks like philanthropy but is really something else. After years of Turner's so-called philanthropy, this fam iliar spectacle provokes very little attention and even less suspicion. What makes this Turner "charitable gift" different is one, the enormous size, and two, the recipient of the gift. What kind of tax breaks does Turner get? What kind of business advant ages will Turner gain? The worst thing that might happen to Turner is that he will generate enormous good will. He is casting bread upon the waters, and stands to reap a great harvest, or profit. With Turner's money, and U.S. withholding of payments to th e U.N., the United Nations will likely oppose U.S. interests more frequently and more openly and submit to the clamoring world mob. You can bet Turner has strings tied to some, or all of this money. This is global "soft money". Ted Turner's pledge to the United Nations of $1 billion in stocks over ten years appeared in all the news reports listed below.
R.E. Turner is vice chairman of Time Warner Inc. and founder of CNN. He is also a member of Time Warner's board of directors. Time Warner Inc., the world's leading media and entertainment company, consists of four fundamental businesses: entertainment, cable networks , publishing and cable, with interests in filmed entertainment, television production, broadcasting, recorded music, music publishing, cable-television programming, sports franchises, magazines, book publishing, and cable-television systems. Turner oversees the Time Warner cable networks divisions, which consist of the assets of Turner Broadcasting System including Cable News Network (CNN), Cartoon Network, Cartoon Network Latin America, Cartoon Network Japan, CNN Airport Network, CNN en Espanol, CNNfn, CNN International (CNNI), CNN/SI, Headline News, TBS Superstation, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), Turner Network Television (TNT), TNT Latin America, TNT & Cartoon Network in Europe, TNT & Cartoon Network in Asia Pacific; as well as Home Box Office, Inc. (HBO), Cinemax, Warner Bros. International Networks and Time Warner's interest in Comedy Central and Court TV. He also oversees New Line Cinema and the company's professional sports teams - Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves, National Basketball Association's Atlanta Hawks and the Thrashers, the National Hockey League's expansion team in Atlanta.
Ted Turner Offers $35 Million To Help U.S. Pay U.N. Dues
Turner Offers $35 Million To Help U.S. Pay U.N. Dues
By Colum Lynch
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, December 22, 2000 ; Page A01
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 21 -- CNN founder Ted Turner has offered to make up the $35 million difference between the dues that the United States owes to the United Nations for 2001 and the amount Congress is willing to pay.
Turner's offer is intended to help U.S. Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke
clinch a deal for a permanent reduction in the U.S. share of the U.N.
budget and to bring an end to Washington's chronic debts to the world
body, U.S. officials and a Turner representative said.
The prospect of a billionaire media entrepreneur bailing out the United
States is a measure of how complex and troubled the U.S. relationship
with the United Nations has become.
As the Clinton administration draws to a close, it is making a final push
to resolve the funding issue and to reduce simmering resentment over the
U.S. debts, which senior American diplomats contend are not only an
embarrassment but also reduce the nation's clout in the world body.
At the same time, key conservatives in Congress, such as Sen. Jesse Helms
(R-N.C.), remain skeptical about the United Nations and its many offshoots,
which they view as spendthrift, bloated bureaucracies that often take
Turner has stepped into the middle of this picture, showing an apparent
taste for the limelight through high-profile philanthropy as well as a
passionate conviction that the United States should be more deeply
involved in the United Nations. He previously pledged to donate $1 billion
to the organization's work, but had said he would not help pay America's
In sticky negotiations that have come to a head this week, Holbrooke and
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright are trying to persuade other
countries to agree to reduce Washington's share of the annual U.N.
administrative budget from 25 percent to 22 percent.
Congress has passed legislation capping the U.S. contribution at 22 percent
and also has made payment of $926 million in U.S. arrears contingent on the United Nations accepting that reduction permanently.
During a closed-door meeting at U.N. headquarters this week, Holbrooke
promised his counterparts from around the world that if they agreed to
reduce Washington's share of the U.N. budget, the United States would
voluntarily cover the difference -- about $35 million -- for a year.
What he didn't tell them was that Turner would provide those funds, though
only if a firm deal is reached.
Turner made the offer to Holbrooke about five weeks ago at a board meeting of the United Nations Foundation, a private charity Turner established to distribute the $1 billion he pledged to contribute to U.N. causes. Albright, briefed on the offer, "thought it was wonderful," a U.S.
"Ted's gesture is extraordinary and visionary," Holbrooke said today. "I hope it proves to be the key that unlocks this extraordinarily complex problem."
Turner was unavailable for comment, according to a spokeswoman at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. But Tim Wirth, the former Democratic senator from Colorado who runs Turner's U.N. Foundation, confirmed Turner had made the offer.
According to Wirth and others, Holbrooke told the U.N. Foundation's board of directors last month that most countries had already set their national budgets for 2001. As a result, Holbrooke warned, it would be difficult for those governments to agree to cut the U.S. contribution and increase their own shares of the United Nations' $1.1 billion budget for 2001.
"Holbrooke said how complicated and difficult this [negotiation] was going
to be," Wirth recalled. "So Ted said, 'Well, what if I made available
funding so that you have flexibility? If that would be a useful part to
throw into this negotiation, you know I'll be happy to do that.' "
The potential arrangement was then vetted by State Department lawyers,
according to a senior U.S. official. "It is legal," the official said.
Although the United Nations is prohibited from accepting money from a
private donor to cover a country's dues, "as a matter of principle,
the U.N. can accept contributions from governments, and the U.N. doesn't
care where it comes from," said Fred Eckhard, spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.
In the budget negotiations, the 15-nation European Union has refused to
increase its portion of U.N. funding, arguing that it already pays more than
the United States although its collective economy is about the same size as
America's. Japan, like the United States, has demanded a reduction in its
dues, noting that its share of the global economy has shrunk in the past
decade. Several emerging economic powers, including Singapore, Brazil and South Korea, are reluctant to pay more.
Under a bipartisan U.S. congressional agreement fashioned by Helms and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), payment of U.S. debts to the United Nations is also contingent on a reduction in Washington's share of peacekeeping costs, to 25 percent from 30 percent. But Biden has indicated that Congress might be willing to compromise on the peacekeeping budget,
now about $3 billion a year.
At a gathering of U.N. ambassadors Dec. 12, Biden said he would seek to
persuade his Republican colleagues in Congress to accept a smaller reduction in the U.S. share of the peacekeeping budget -- if the world body's 189 members first agree to slash the U.S. portion of the regular budget.
A senior U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said today
that Biden and Helms have been briefed on Turner's offer.
Holbrooke has told several ambassadors here that retired Gen. Colin L.
Powell, President-elect George W. Bush's nominee for secretary of state,
hopes the long-festering dispute will be settled before the change of
A senior U.N. official predicted that a deal could be sealed by the end
of the week.
"The member states have moved appreciably towards agreement," the official said. "A number of the hardest issues have been dealt with successfully, and fortunately Christmas is coming, people are leaving for holiday, and they all have non-refundable airline tickets."
Diplomats said key elements of a potential deal have jelled during a week of late-night sessions in a U.N. budget committee. In addition to imposing a
22 percent ceiling on any country's dues for the administrative budget,
the United Nations would establish a new method for determining each
country's capacity to pay.
In the past, dues have been calculated by averaging a country's gross
domestic product over six years. Under the proposed new system, the period would be shortened to about 41/2 years, providing relief to countries, such as Japan, whose economies have been declining. To shield economically vulnerable countries, such as Nigeria and Brazil, the organization would phase in the rate increase over three years.
Diplomats said they were also close to an agreement that would reduce the
U.S. share of the peacekeeping budget to between 26 percent and 28 percent. The balance would be covered by slashing the "discounts" previously given to some developing countries, particularly those with fast-growing economies, such as Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait. "We are centimeters away from an agreement," an Asian diplomat said last night.
Ted Turner donates $1 billion to 'U.N. causes' - September 19, 1997
Worldwide development of policies and practices which will
reduce population growth by addressing the relationships between
population growth, global resources, the status of women and
girls, and access to family planning and reproductive health
Worldwide development of policies and practices which will reduce population growth by addressing the relationships between population growth, global resources, the status of women and girls, and access to family planning and reproductive health services.
To promote worldwide access to safe, affordable family planning and reproductive health services.
To support efforts which advocate increased government support for voluntary, affordable family planning and reproductive health services.
To support activities which address the relationships between population growth, the low status and lack of options for women and girls, consumption of natural resources, and the resulting environmental degradation.
To support activities that focus on women and girls and provide for their improved status in society through increased access to educational, political and economic opportunities.
To support initiatives that address the growing number of teenage pregnancies in the United States, with a particular focus on under-served populations. (Priority consideration given to statewide coalition in New Mexico, Montana, Colorado, Nebraska, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.)
Domestic and International
Turner and Fonda Split
04 January 2000 (CNSNews.com) - Media mogul Ted Turner and his
actress/political activist wife, Jane Fonda, have agreed mutually to
live apart, the couple announced in Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon. In
a brief, prepared statement released by Turner's office, the couple
said, "While we continue to be committed to the long-term success of our
marriage, we find ourselves at a juncture where we must each take some
personal time for ourselves. Therefore, we have mutually decided to
spend some time apart. We ask that you respect this decision." (By Bob
Melvin, CNS Evening Editor, 04 January, 2000, 09:16 pm) CNN: FULL STORY,
World Net Daily SCOOP | Fonda becomes born-again Christian, Hollywood
Christian leader: Pray for Jane Baehr says 'God trying to get Turner's
Turner Attacks Christianity at U.N. 'Peace Summit'
Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2000
Any pretense that the "World Peace Summit" is anything other than a cover for a left-leaning agenda was stripped away as American media mogul Ted Turner addressed nearly 1,000 hooting delegates Tuesday in the U.N. General Assembly Hall.
New Age billionaire Maurice Strong introduced Turner by saying he had done more for peace, the environment and the United Nations than any other person. Turner bounded toward the podium as the cheering crowd seemed to welcome a conquering hero.
Immediately Turner denounced his own childhood Christian faith. The crowds laughter turned to approving whoops as Turner explained he turned away from Christianity when he discovered "it was intolerant because it taught we were the only ones going to heaven. That confused the devil out of me since that would have left heaven a very empty place."
Turners meandering, off-the-cuff speech praised "indigenous" religious faiths and then wandered through a paean to the things all humans have in common "culture, language, love of birds, butterflies, wives and flowers." In his spiritual search Turner realized that there was one God and multiple ways he manifests himself and that it makes little difference which one is chosen. This approach is precisely what evangelical Christians fear about the World Peace Summit.
Among a small group of conservative Christians monitoring the event, Darren Logan, foreign policy analyst for the Washington-based Family Research Council, called Turners speech "the most blasphemous thing I have ever heard in my life."
Logan said Turner advanced the notion of "reductionism," which suggests that all religions are essentially the same. "Turner believes true tolerance means doing away with the uniqueness of all faiths and marginalizing all faiths that profess an exclusive component, like Christianity and Islam," said Logan.
Contrasted with the enthusiastic reception for Turners left-leaning remarks, the delegates gave an icy reception to the Patriarch of Ethiopia, who urged protection for unborn children. The same reaction greeted the assistant secretary general of the Muslim World Congress when he urged delegates to recognize only marriage between "a man and a woman" and denounced all "abnormal sexual activities."
Minutes later a Buddhist "master" received a standing ovation when he condemned all attempts at religious conversion, something at the heart of Islam and Christianity.
As it is, the summit is taking place under a cloud for excluding the Dalai Lama under pressure from the government of China; and evangelical Christians have pointed out that only one representative from their ranks, the Rev. Billy Grahams daughter, has appeared at the podium.
The reaction of the delegates fuels the growing suspicion that the permanent advisory to be established here will simply rubberstamp the agenda of Ted Turner, Maurice Strong and other powerful leftists working within the U.N. system.
Ted Turner Attacks Christianity At U.N. "Peace Summit"
Ted Turner Urges New National Anthem
Wednesday, March 7, 2001 4:45 p.m. EST
CNN's Ted Turner Slams Catholics as 'Jesus
CNN honcho and leading media maverick Ted Turner
apparently just can't help himself, choosing last week's
Ash Wednesday to deride believing Christians yet again.
"What are you, a bunch of Jesus freaks?" Turner asked when
he noticed several CNN employees with ashes on their
forehead, according to Fox News Channel's Brit Hume.
The remark reportedly "stunned" employees at CNN's
Washington bureau, who had gathered for a party to honor
the network's retiring anchorman Bernard Shaw.
No wonder Hume took special notice.
In his next anti-Catholic barb Turner suggested that his
observant Catholic employees "ought to be working at Fox."
Reacting to Turner's bigoted remark, Catholic League
President William Donohue noted:
"Ted Turner is a recidivist. Like all repeat offenders,
Turner evinces an animus against a particular portion of
the population. For him, it is Christians whom he
When Ted Turner announced his $ 1 billion pledge to the United Nations in 1997, he created the United Nations Foundation simultaneously to deal with the distribution of the funds. The Secretary General of the United Nations then created the UNFIP to serve as a liaison between Turner's foundation, which is considered a private organization and the United Nations. Today, the two organizations work together to oversee the distribution of Tuner's donation.
Full details: http://www.earthtimes.org/nov/developmentturnernov9_01.htm
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byname of ROBERT EDWARD TURNER III, broadcasting entrepreneur and sportsman who became a major figure in American business in the late 20th century.Turner was the son of the owner of a billboard-advertising company based in Atlanta, Ga. After incomplete schooling at Brown University (Providence, R.I.) and stints as an account executive in his father's firm, he became general manager of one of the latter's branch offices in 1960. After business troubles drove his father to commit suicide in 1963, Turner took over the ailing family business and restored it to profitability. In 1970 Turner purchased a financially troubled UHF television station, Channel 17, in Atlanta, and within three years he had made it one of the few truly profitable independent stations in the United States. In 1975 Turner's company was one of the first to use a new communications satellite to broadcast Channel 17 (later renamed WTBS, or TBS, the Turner Broadcasting System) to a nationwide cable television audience, thereby greatly increasing his station's revenues. Besides TBS, Turner went on to create two other highly successful and innovative cable television networks: CNN (Cable News Network; 1980) and TNT (Turner Network Television; 1988). He also purchased the Atlanta Braves professional baseball team in 1976 and the Atlanta Hawks basketball team in 1977. In 1986 he purchased the MGM/UA Entertainment Company, which included the former Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion-picture studio and its library of more than 4,000 old films. Many of the black-and-white films he proceeded to have "colorized," setting off a storm of protest from the film community and film critics. The large debt burden sustained from his MGM and other purchases compelled Turner to subsequently sell off not only MGM/UA but also a sizable share of his own company, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., though he retained control of it. He also retained ownership of the MGM film library, which contained many Hollywood classics among its holdings. Turner resumed the expansion of his media empire in the 1990s with the creation of the Cartoon Network (1992) and the purchase (1993) of two motion picture-production companies, New Line Cinema and Castle Rock Entertainment. In 1996 the media giant Time Warner Inc. acquired the Turner Broadcasting System for $7.5 billion. As part of the agreement, Turner became a vice-chairman of Time Warner and headed all the merged company's cable-television networks. Turner was also a noted yachtsman who piloted his yacht Courageous to win the America's Cup in 1977.
Ted Turner Has Lost $9.3
July 26, 2002 -- The stock collapse of AOL Time Warner yesterday is
dragging a virtual who's who of media moguls into pikersville.
A growing accounting scandal sent shares of the world's largest media
company to their lowest level since the early 1990s.
To make matters worse, analysts are trashing the historic, $106 billion
merger of old-line media giant Time Warner and Internet high-flyer AOL as a
Investigators are expected to expand their probe of AOL's books beyond
several questionable accounting practices that were first detailed in a
Washington Post report last week about the 2001 merger.
One analyst said the mess won't get better due to AOL's deepening problems
and internal weaknesses, raising more concerns that AOL might be spun off
to save the sinking ship.
"Despite a depressed valuation, we do not believe the Time Warner
businesses will be strong enough to overcome AOL division issues," said
Goldman Sachs' Richard Greenfield, who has kept a "market perform" rating
on the stock.
When AOL shares skidded yesterday to a new intra-day low of $8.50, it wiped
out more than $36 billion of shareholder value.
But worse, it put the shares in the dreaded low-rent district of stocks
valued in the single digits. Big mutual funds usually won't touch shares
AOL managed to recover late in the day to $9.64, off $1.76 in a sell-off of
150.4 million shares.
"From a technical standpoint, the stock looks like a falling anvil," said
Uri Landesman, of Arlington Capital.
Several analysts cut their ratings on the company, which last week
completed a management shake-up that returned control back to Time Warner
veterans. Investors are revolting over its 70-percent slide this year.
The darkest day for the merged company's share price came the same day it
reported its first net profit since AOL completed its takeover of Time
Warner in January 2001.
Wall Street ignored that good news, and focused on the Securities and
Exchange Commission's probe of alleged cooked books that AOL brought to the
A week before the merger was first announced in January
2000, Time Warner was trading at $92.25, making most of its major
shareholders very rich. A huge stake held by John Malone's Liberty Media
was valued at $10.5 billion, while Vice Chairman Ted Turner's shares were
valued at around $10.5 billion.
But in the year-long effort to close the merger, the shares slid to $50,
and it's been downhill ever since.
Two of the biggest victims from the merger's downside are Turner, who's
lost $9.3 billion and Malone's Liberty, which lost $10 billion.
Turner has managed to unload millions of his shares in the last two months
of the stock-price slide. He sold $365.1 million worth of his shares, less
than 10 percent, before the worst hit. In the old days, his stake was
worth a stunning $1.96 billion.
His ex-wife Jane Fonda was much luckier and escaped major damage from the
wipeout. In her prenuptial pact with Ted, she got a maximum of $10 million
in AOL stock, but in the past year she gave away most of it to
environmental causes and liberal Democrats running for public office.
Gerald Levin has become a tragic figure over the magnitude of his
losses. His 29-years at the company gave him a stock and option nest egg
valued at around $529 million at the time of the merger. Today it's worth
just $24.5 million.
Ted Turner's take on `Moses': Pedestrian Exodus on the
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