Ahlenius Trashes Ban, With Dirty Hands Too Late, Full Memo Needed
July 20 -- At the end of a less than successful term as the
UN's chief investigator, Inga Britt Ahlenius on July 16 delivered a
50 page “end of assignment report” trashing, largely deservedly,
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. At the same time, and some media but
not this one think by the same person, the memo was leaked to Turtle
Bay, which published not the 50 page memo but only a three-page
cover letter on July 20.
reporters went to that day's noon briefing to grill Ban's spokesman
about the cover letter, as they did when Norway's deputy ambassador
in a fully leaked memo similarly bashed Ban, some secondary coverage
has emerged, largely
siding with Ahlenius but concluding that a second term for Ban
Ki-moon is nearly inevitable.
however, is why did Ahlenius wait until the end of her term to make
her critique known? If leaving posts in her office empty was so
debilitating, if investigations were impossible without Connecticut's
Robert Appleton, why did Ahlenius stay quiet?
City Press and others asked for Ahlenius to come and take questions.
For Inner City Press, this began when a whistleblower leaked an
Ahlenius e-mail asking then Management chief Alicia Barcena to be
sure to be on the selection panel and give a job to Ahlenius' friend
Ms. Danielle Coolen. Click here for the
story, here for Ms.
never responded to requests to explain this
presumptive nepotism. So much for accountability.
l'affaire Ahlenius, then, is a plague on both their
Yes, Ban and his cardinal Kim Won-soo tried to undermine the UN's
system of independent investigations. But Inga Britt Ahlenius
accomplished less and less in each year of her tenure.
heroic Appleton, who made his name by leaking to large American media
outlets, never investigated the $250
million sole source Darfur
contract that American UN official Jane Holl Lute awarded to Lockheed
Martin for “super camps” that were never built. Because Appleton
and Ahlenius were playing to a elite public, they never felt a need
to explain this.
the June 20 noon
briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky to
substantiate claims in Vijay
Nambiar's response, such as that Ban has
somehow strengthened whistleblower protections.
asked, was Alan Doss held accountability, when action on a finding of
wrong doing in asking for “leeway” in getting his daughter hired
by UNDP is still being delayed, until after Doss' retirement?
lurched around about climate change and gender balance, along with
saying that perhaps Nambiar will come and take questions, which has
never happened, even on war crimes issues.
Ahlenius and Appleton Jan 08, then no briefing for 2 1/2 years
City Press threw Nesirky a softball, asking if
opposition to Appleton didn't come from Singapore and Russia, the
latter a Permanent Five member of the Security Council which could
deny Ban a second term. Nesirky said he wasn't aware of that.
senior Ban administration officials told Inner City Press they
thought this storm would pass, including in light of how few
journalists showed up to ask Nesirky about it. But one reason for
this is the continued non availability of the 50 page memo itself.
person familiar with the memo has told Inner City Press that while on
investigations Ahlenius has the conflicts of interest summarized
about, some of the critique goes beyond it, to Ban's overall
performance in “MONUC [sic - MONUSCO] and MINURCAT... Myanmar,
Darfur, Afghanistan, Cyprus, G20.”
and her Appleton, question whether their unwillingness to investigate
the corrupt sole source grant of a $250 million dollar contract in
Darfur to Lockheed Martin didn't contribute to UN loss of relevance.
But there is and will be more. Watch this site.
July 20 UN
noon briefing transcript:
Press: I’m sure you are aware of this controversy of the exit
memo by Ms. Ahlenius and Mr. Nambiar’s response. At least as of
now, Nambiar’s response to it says, makes various criticisms, but
presents as a defence of the Secretary-General that he has been,
among other things, on accountability, that he has strengthened
whistleblower protections and held people accountable. Maybe you
could describe what the strengthening of the whistleblower
protections are, and state, for example, if Alan Doss, with an OIOS
[Office of Internal Oversight Services] report sitting on Ban
Ki-moon’s desk for a while now, was he held accountable? Was
Shabaan Shabaan, with a pending case, and the court decision, I
guess, is there some opportunity, seeing now Mr. Nambiar’s response
to the press on these issues, to dig into them a little bit and
either have them come give a briefing, or to substantiate what is
said in his memo? And also to get a copy of the 50-page Ahlenius
exit? Only the cover page is online.
That’s presumably thanks to the journalistic endeavours
of the Washington Post correspondent. There is the three-page
summary there that you’ve been able to read.
Press: Nambiar’s thing is a public document, right?
Mr. Nambiar’s, the Chef de Cabinet’s, document is out there,
it’s also linked on the Washington Post and the foreignpolicy.com
sites — as you quite rightly say, that this is the Chef de Cabinet
on behalf on the Secretary-General, addressing specific points that
had been raised by Colum Lynch in his researching and writing of the
pieces that he did. So the response from Mr. Nambiar very
specifically is geared to the questions that Mr. Lynch had raised. And
as you also mentioned on accountability, there are any number of
different measures that had been undertaken, not just by the
Secretary-General. I think this is an important point, that this is
part of a process that is constantly evolving. Accountability is
something that has been there from the start, and successive
Secretaries-General have sought to improve it, to strengthen it, in
different ways. This Secretary-General came into office with
precisely that aim, to strengthen accountability and transparency. He
has been doing that; the specific examples that Mr. Nambiar has
quoted speak for themselves. I will relay your request to him. He’s
probably watching now and has heard it himself....
Press: It seems like a lot of this revolves around Robert
Appleton, who used to be the head of the Procurement Task Force?
One fifth of it revolves around that.
Press: This isn’t the softball I’m throwing you, Martin. Is
it true that Russia and Singapore have opposed Mr. Appleton being
considered for any post within OIOS? And if not, could this be, is
the Secretariat aware of opposition by Russia, Singapore, and other
countries investigated during Mr. Appleton’s tenure?
First of all, we wouldn’t necessarily be privy to any country’s
preference or opposition necessarily, I’m certainly not aware of
that kind of pressure being brought to bear, and what I can say is
that this one case that is repeatedly referred to, and as I said
takes up a large chunk of this end-of-assignment report, which is an
internal management tool; a very valuable management tool is the way
that one likes to look at these end-of-assignment reports, when they
are put together in the right constructive fashion. But what one
also has to stress is that this is not one particular individual,
this is about due process, about the rules for recruitment within the
Organization as a whole, not just for one division, department, one
part of the Organization. This is a standard rule that applies to
all appointments throughout the system, within the different
departments and divisions and so on, that there are. That’s the
way it is.
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