But I digress. Back to Mazlan Othman, the Malaysian head of the UN’s Office for Outer Space Affairs and reported alien-outreach ambassador wannabe. Othman may be obscure to most Americans, but at the UN’s offices in Vienna, she has been busy at OOSA for quite some time. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Oil-for-Food Annan appointed Othman as OOSA’s director from 1999-2002. Then she went home to spend five years as the founding director-general of the Malaysian space program — which led to Malaysia putting its first astronaut into space. In 2007, she returned to the UN post of director of OOSA, which she still holds.
Who else holds a prominent position in OOSA’s orbit? Why, you guessed it! The head of Iran’s space agency, Ahmad Talebzadeh. This Iranian official was recently “elected” at the UN for a two-year term chairing (you couldn’t make this up — see page 2) the Legal Subcommittee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space — for which the Othman-headed OOSA serves as the secretariat.
Together with OOSA and one other German-chaired subcommittee on outer space, the job of this Iran-chaired Legal Subcommittee is to track legal and technological developments and applications related to space, in order to provide information and advice to UN member states and international organizations, including the rest of the UN itself. So, if the Malaysian head of OOSA ends up doubling as a UN envoy tasked with crafting a program for representing the “sensitivities” of all mankind to aliens, it would be nothing more than normal UN procedure should she end up huddling with Talebzadeh, head of the Iranian space agency, to draft a plan for the planet. That might be less worrisome were Malaysia and Iran a tad less cozy these days — but as it is, Malaysia was one of the three countries which last November at the UNs International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna voted against rebuking Iran over its sanctions-busting nuclear program.
Forget the aliens, folks. If there are any adults at all still minding the store in Washington, it’s high time they sent an envoy empowered to sort out what human beings are doing right here and now on planet Earth, at the UN’s outer space bunkers in Vienna.