A bunch of Greens politicians have had their identities stolen by a shadowy and not-at-all-illegitimate-sounding “human rights organisation” which may have masqueraded as the UN and has been implicated in the smuggling of Colonel Gaddafi‘s fortune out of war-torn Libya, according to an investigation by Bellingcat.
The shadowy organisation in question is the Comité International Pour La Protection Des Droits de L’homme (CIPDH), which translates as International Committee for the Protection of Human Rights. It’s supposedly headquartered in Paris with other offices all over the world.
The website for the organisation passed off Greens leader Adam Bandt‘s likeness as one Wacław Kozakiewicz, a supposed Polish representative of the organisation. Meanwhile, Bob Brown and Scott Ludlam‘s pics were used for the organisation’s supposed vice-presidents, Zbishik Pakalov and Robert Comune, respectively.
“This is up there for the weirdest thing that’s happened in my time in public life, and you can’t help but be uneasy about it,” Bandt told Bellingcat.
“Seeing a shadowy organisation misappropriate my identity makes me deeply uncomfortable.”
Shadowy indeed. Here’s what dubious deeds the Bellingcat investigation uncovered.
For starters, it sure looks like this obscure organisation has lowkey been pretending to be the UN.
The CIPDH – which suspiciously shares its acronym with the actually-legitimate UNESCO International Center for the Promotion of Human Rights – has been busted on multiple occasions in multiple countries using self-issued number plates which look suspiciously like UN diplomatic plates.
On top of that, the CIPDH continually touted bogus or exaggerated links to the real UN all over its website until the investigation reportedly spooked them into deleting the evidence.
Now let’s talk about its real-life members, who apparently love to dress up in snazzy, electric blue, quasi-naval getups. Some of them have also been issued with CIPDH passports which read “official passport” (although the CIPDH did tell Bellingcat that they’re not supposed to be used as real passports).
Here’s where things go from weird to wild.
At the break out of the Libyan civil war in 2011, the country’s leader Colonel Gaddafi had amassed a fortune worth $150 billion thanks to Libya’s enormous oil reserves. Much of this fortune was in the form of $100 US banknotes, which suspiciously disappeared during all the fighting.
A 2011 report by the Panel of Experts on Libya to the UN Security Council alleges that at least part of this fortune was smuggled out of the country and into the CIPDH’s office in Ghana.
This is a huge deal. This is millions, if not billions, of dollars in cold, hard, cash that rightfully belongs to the Libyan people.
After Gaddafi was killed, the country’s new government offered a massive 10% commission to anyone who can help them recover it. Bounty hunters have even dedicated their lives to search for the missing money, to little or no avail thus far.
And now this missing fortune has the leader of the Australian Greens’ mug associated with it. If you’re keen for more spicy details (they’re good, trust me) you can read the full investigation here.
We live in a strange, strange world indeed.