Current Chairman of the City of Milford Planning & Zoning Committee, Charles Rini, now helps guide City officials through land use issues, but before he was retired Mr. Rini had a career working with international diplomats through the United Nations. As Technical Director of Television Operations at the United Nations, Chuck had a front row seat to historical events such as the clandestine Soviet take down of Korean Flight 007, the throwing of red paint on US and Soviet Union Security Council Members by Marxist dissidents and the horrific events of September 11, 2001.
Charles Michael Rini grew up in a poor Italian family in Brooklyn in the 1950’s. After graduating from high school, Rini joined the United States Air Force where he served from 1967-1975. Seeing he had an eye for electronics, the military trained Charles in technical communications. He worked for the American Forces Radio and Television Service while stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War. With no technology such as satellite communications at the time, it was up to Charles and his crew to provide entertainment, supplied by the government, to the troops.
After serving his term and leaving the military Charles was immediately hired to work at the United Nations, helping with the daily broadcast of international diplomacy. A much different world then today, the United Nations was open to the public and had minimal security. From the beginning Rini started meeting delegates from around the globe and had the chance to chat with a few on a regular basis. On one occasion he had the opportunity to talk with one of the world’s most ruthless dictators, Manuel Antonio Noriega of Panama.
“I remember him looking at me, feeling a little uncomfortable, and he said ‘How about those Dodgers’,” commented Mr. Rini. “He knew every team and every player that played ball in the United States. When we asked him how he knew about all of those players he told us that ‘In my country I get all the games for free,.”
One of Rini’s first projects was recording The Music for UNICEF (United Nations International Emergency Fund) Concert that included musical performers such as ABBA, the Bee Gees, Andy Gibb, John Denver, Rod Stewart and Earth Wind & Fire. The proceeds raised from this project were donated to help children in war-torn countries around the world.
Being the Director of Television Operations, Charles had the opportunity to provide the world with the international diplomatic news during the Cold War and September 11, 2001. It was Rini’s job to present to the world the proof that the Soviet’s were involved with shooting down a Korean passenger plane in 1983. He received the CIA secret tape that showed Soviet officials talking about the monstrous event and relayed it to the international community. This event became a major turning point for the United States in the Cold War. Rini also experienced another horrific event during the September 11 attacks. For fear of being an additional target, the United Nations evacuated all of the delegates as Chuck and his crew stayed behind to document any possible attacks.
After the events of September 11 Rini began to seek retirement and did so in 2005 before retiring to Milford, Delaware. The anti-American sentiment that he continued to feel was something he did not want to be a part of. Seeing much political corruption through the world over his tenure, Charles believes that there needs to be an organization that can handle the world issues outside of a political body.
“The way the UN exists now is politically ineffective,” commente Rini. “As I walked out the door after 30 years it hit home that I could have taken the first Security Council taping I ever did and played it today an no one would know the difference.”
Through it all Charles enjoyed meeting world leaders such as Presidents William Clinton, George W. Bush and Pope John Paul II. His view of the world today was shaped by those 30 years working at the United Nations and has presented him with a lifetime of fascinating stories.
“I really enjoyed working at the United Nations for 30 years,” commented Rini. “It was so rewarding to be involved in worldwide news interpretation and being able to educate myself on the lifestyle of every culture on the planet.”