Thursday, August 9

Really Damaging the UN's Image, Respectability and Credibility III

Here is the latest update into activities that keep damaging the UN's Image, respectability and credibility. These are all ways that it was claimed that Paul Wolfowitz's employment damaged the UN's World Bank. They used these bogus claims to push him out of his job. What they did not get rid of was hits to the Establishment, including those listed below.

Various UN Agencies - Considering Policy to Ignore/Ban Bloggers as Media
NEW YORK, July 29 -- The United Nations says it wants to engage with bloggers, but only if it can control them. Those it cannot control, it wants to exclude, meeting minutes obtained by Inner City Press reveal.

At least three UN agencies have in the interim adopted policies of not answering questions from bloggers, no matter how widely they're read. From the top of the UN's headquarters building, it's a world of paranoia, a desire to turn back the clock of a type that usually proves fruitless.

In late June in Madrid, the spokespeople for 37 UN agencies met and, according to internal minutes leaked to Inner City Press, agreed that it is "important for the United Nations family to engage with all forms of new media, but that some, such as blogs, present particular challenges for accreditation." - Inner City Press
More details Here.

UNDP in burma - Suspected Fraud and Coverup
... The same modus operandi was on display in response to U.S. inquiries about the UNDP's operations in another Asian dictatorship--Burma, where the agency appears to be following the same practices that got it into trouble in North Korea. Inspection of projects is limited by the government and a percentage of U.N. outlays is required to be in foreign currency. Given what we've learned about North Korea, the U.S. is right to worry that UNDP aid--$107 million from 2002 to 2006--may have been diverted to the regime.

The UNDP has responded with its usual transparency. While deigning to release the information that it has conducted two internal audits of the Burma program in the past decade, it won't give the U.S. access to the audits or let it review the line-by-line details of the budgets. This is the equivalent of a CEO refusing to let a member of his board of directors see the company's financials--and is hardly the way to treat the country that has donated $1.2 billion to the agency over the past decade. In addition, there has been no external audit of the Burma program for more than 10 years. - Opinion Journal

Unmil Staff in Liberia - Sexual Exploitation
The Head of the UN Missions in Liberia, (Unmil), Alan Doss said some of the UNMIL Military personnel, including their commanding officers who were involved in Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA), have been dismissed from the UN service and reduced in rank and are presently serving sentences in their countries.

Mr. Doss explained that those serving sentences in their countries are serving between the period of six months and one year, and that five other SEA allegations involving peacekeeping personnel are under investigation by the Office of the Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). -

United Nations mission in Congo - 'Procurement Irregularities'
The United Nations mission in Congo has suspended five civilian staff members for "procurement irregularities," according to a U.N. statement issued Tuesday.

The action is the latest in a string of accusations of misconduct by the soldiers or employees of U.N. peacekeeping missions deployed to return stability to fractured countries.

A spokeswoman for the peacekeeping mission — the world's largest with about 18,000 troops — declined to comment or explain the nature of the irregularities, saying the investigation was ongoing. - IHT

UN Headquarters Renovation - Massive Lack of Accounting Details
Is the $US1.9 billion United Nations renovation of its crumbling New York headquarters another Oil for Food-type scam in the making?

There’s a discrepancy anywhere from $500 million to $1billion in unaccounted for expenses tied up somewhere in the projected costs for square footage. It’s a discrepancy lost in the same labyrinth of UN unpaid parking tickets. - Canada Free Press
New York developer Donald Trump, who called the projected costs of the project “incompetence or fraud”, offered to complete the project for one-third of what it will now cost. Annan refused to discuss the matter with him.

UN officials are explaining that the $1.9 billion price tag for the renovation project includes “other costs” to cover contingency funding, inflation, leasing and fees for consultants and architects.

Two more procurement officers Suspended - Corruption
The United Nations has "charged" two more procurement officers in its ongoing corruption investigations.

Yesterday a spokesperson for secretary-general Ban Ki-moon confirmed two buyers at the organisation had been "charged following the investigations conducted by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS)". It did not state what the individuals had been charged with but went on to say they have been suspended and placed on special leave with pay. - Supply Management (UK)

Russian UN Translator - Organizing Visa Fraud.
An employee at the United Nations headquarters in New York has been arrested on suspicion of visa fraud. Russian national Vyacheslav Manokhin, 45, is accused of using his position to provide false documents to support US visa applications since April 2005.

US prosecutors said he made it appear the UN supported the applications and, consequently, most visas were granted. - BBC (More here)

Russia and China on the Security Council - Prevention of legitimate actions:
The US may need to employ military power in the future, and the existing international structure for ensuring that such acts are seen as “legitimate” - both here and abroad - has fallen to tatters. Anti-democratic forces at the UN and indeed on the US Security Council continue to collude in preventing otherwise legitimate actions in the name of narrowly defined national interest. - Neptunus Lex

United Nations - Footdragging over Sudan's Genocide in Darfur
Yesterday, on cue, Mr Brown climbed nimbly aboard the United Nations bandwagon. In a specially staged speech before an invited audience at UN headquarters in New York, the Prime Minister flagged up - and in the process seemed to be assuming some of the credit for - the long-overdue UN resolution to deploy a 19,000-strong African Union peace-keeping force to Darfur. This fits neatly with Mr Brown's desired aim to adopt a more multilateral international posture.

The problem with this approach is that the United Nations is a woefully ineffectual institution. It is the hated United States that has led the way on Darfur, not the UN. As long ago as September 2004, Washington was describing the actions of the Sudanese government as genocide and demanding international action to stop it.

What did the UN do? It sponsored an international commission of inquiry, which concluded that the government of Sudan "has not pursued a policy of genocide … (though) international offences such as the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide". That's clear, then. - Telegraph, UK

Security Council - Catering to Sudan's Demands over Darfur Peacekeeping Mission
Sudan will have to accept non-African troops in a U.N.-authorized peacekeeping force for Darfur or face the prospect of new United Nations sanctions, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.

Although efforts will be made to ensure that Africa contributes a large percentage of the 26,000-strong mission, the continent does not have enough trained soldiers to fully staff the force and Sudan will be penalized unless it drops objections to non-African participation, said Andrew Natsios, the U.S. special envoy for Sudan. ...

The Sudanese government is adamantly opposed to non-Africans playing any major role in the hybrid U.N.-African Union operation that was authorized by the U.N. Security Council on July 31 and will be made up of 20,000 peacekeepers and 6,000 civilian police.

Disagreements over the composition of the mission were a major reason the authorization was delayed for months despite mounting pressure on Khartoum to accept it to help end nearly four years of internal conflict in which more than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been displaced. - Captain's Quarters

UN Security Staff, Pakistan - Manhandling the Press
According to a statement issued by DawnNews: “The staff of the security agency posted at the UN office confiscated the camera of DawnNews staffer Mansoor Ahmed, dragged him into the UN premises and detained him illegally for some time even though he identified himself. Another DawnNews cameraman, Asif Mirza, was also assaulted.” - Riehl World View

U.N. officials and foreign delegates - US Accusations of UN improprieties as accurate as US claims of WMD in Iraq
But Wallace has also drawn criticism from U.N. officials and foreign delegates who charge he has hyped his findings and in a manner that has drawn comparisons to the U.S. claims of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. For their part, U.N. development officials claim that Wallace's inquiry has led to a string of unsupported "wild" allegations against the U.N. agency. - Washington Post

UNDP Head Ad Melkert - He "is incompetent"
THE HAGUE, 21/07/07 - John Bolton, the former United States ambassador to the United Nations, thinks Ad Melkert should resign from his post at the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The Dutchman is incompetent, in his view.

Bolton, who is seen as a confidante of President George Bush, told TV programme Nova that Melkert, as the second-in-command at the UNDP, has failed to investigate and take action against alleged abuse of UN donor money. The US suspects that "hard currency went to the government of North Korea" directly that was intended for humanitarian aid, according to Bolton.

Towards American requests for appropriate action, Melkert has "adopted a very defensive attitude". "We find his behaviour puzzling. Why deny the existence of the problem," said Bolton. It "remains to be seen" how the affair works out for the US contribution to the UNDP and UN as a whole, he warned.

Apart from having a "bunker mentality", Melkert "insulted our ambassador Mark Wallace and threatened him with retaliation," added Bolton. Elaborating on the Dutchman's "undiplomatic behaviour", the American stated that "perhaps attitudes in your country are different" but internationally "the civil servants work for the member governments, not the other way around." -

UNDP Head in Philippines - Abuse of local staff
MANILA, Philippines -- At least 13 Filipino staffers of the United Nations office here, including two who have already left the office, are seeking the ouster of the office’s chief, Nileema Noble, for her allegedly “autocratic and oppressive behavior.” - the link for the details)

United Nations General Assembly - 23 Million Taiwanese Not Represented
"Based on the UN's principles, it is very strange that the 23 million people in Taiwan are not represented in there," he said.

Hsieh said reasons for pushing the UN bid under the name "Taiwan" include the nation's many failed attempts to join the UN under the name "Republic of China," the fact that the People's Republic of China does not represent Taiwan and that the name "Taiwan" is better known around the world than "Republic of China." - Taipei Times

Lets not forget UN taking over the responsibility of feeding a good portion of Zimbabwe's population without holding the Government that is responsible account.
The WFP says a poor harvest and the country's worsening economic situation means hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are running out of food. It says it will have to provide assistance to more than three million people over the coming months. - FFI

Why does it have to provide assistance? Isn't that Zimbabwe's responsibility?

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-- Don't worry. There is more coming in future updates. --

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