UN, As Ban Shakes Shashi's Hand, Shake Up Rumors Swirl
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 14 -- Three years ago, Ban Ki-moon and Shashi
Tharoor were competing for who would follow Kofi Annan as UN
Secretary General. After Ban prevailed -- one voter has written,
because he didn't wake up saying he is"God's gift to humanity"--
Tharoor went into private business, then ran for office in India. He
won, and was named Minister of State for External Affairs. Wednesday he
the UN and shook hands with Ban Ki-moon.
and a handful of other correspondents were shepherded up to the 38th
floor to wait for the photo opportunity. You are not to ask
questions, Inner City Press was told. This is only for photo
agencies. Inner City Press pointed out that in the world of new
digital media, the line between print and photo has blurred. There
were no space constraints: upstairs were only UN Photo, UN TV and a
single Indian photographer.
Ban staffer from
India came in first, jovial, and asked that his photo with Shashi be
taken as they were classmates at Tufts University. He was immersed
today, he said, in Somalia, in restoring order. Other Ban advisers
milled about in the hall, but Inner City Press was told it could not
start video filming yet.
the Chief of Office of the UN Department of Public Information, which
Shashi used to head. In fact, Shashi reportedly brought into the UN
the individual now the special assistant to the DPI chief that
followed, Kiyo Akasaka: Jaya Diyal. Her father, in turn, is described
by one insider as the "Indian Volcker," who help tamp out
an early inquiry into the Oil for Food scandal. And so it goes.
Ki-moon entered from a side door. "It's the Secretary General
himself," Shashi said. They shook hands, the Ban staffer and
Shashi classmate confined to the sidelines. The two men stood in
front of the UN logo and the flashbulbs flashed. They made small
you," said Ban.
of you to send me those congratulations," Shashi replied.
elected then appointed," Mr. Ban recited. Inner City Press was
tapped on the shoulder: it was time to go.
UN's Ban and Tharoor, with India's
Ambassador, shake ups not shown, (c) M.Lee
At least permission was granted to go up. Recently when Sri
Lanka's Prime Minister visited Ban, Inner City Press which arrived
early was told it was too late. Too much coverage, apparently. Before
its series about the Island of Blood, Inner City Press was let up to
cover Ban's meeting with presidential brother Basil Rajapaksa.
one wondered at
the topics of the meeting. India is said to be interested in taking
over UN Peacekeeping. Other say that as party to a UN recognized
conflict -- Kashmir -- such a post would not be possible. But that it
only an unwritten rule.
in the run
up to the photo op was current USG and chief of staff Vijay Nambiar.
It remains rumored he may be sent out to the field, and another
Indian USG sought for headquarters. Why not Peacekeeping? France only
has the post, insiders say, because it traded its vote for Kofi Annan
to the USG position. This is not even an unwritten precedent. Let the
shake up begin, some say.
in a dinner with South Korean legislators, Ban reportedly said he has
no interest in the politics of Seoul, and does not want to be
included in the polls. This was reported in the Korean press; Inner
City Press asked Ban's spokesperson to confirm it, for a read out of
the meeting. None has yet been given. Likewise, no answer as been given
about what Ban will do on the nepotism
case of his Congo envoy Alan Doss, who comes to town this week. In
the absence of simple
answers, rumors swirl through the now near empty building.
speechwriting and communications director jobs may be split in two.
Candidates for be the next Spokesperson are being interviewed, "very
hush hush," a denizen of the 38th floor tells Inner City Press.
Requests have been made for a briefing, never given, by the USG for
the Department of General Assembly and Conference Services. USG for
the Department of Political Affairs Lynn
Pascoe, subject to much
recent scrutiny, was more than polite by the stakeout. So was Mr.
Nambiar's deputy, up on the 38th floor. But some say the knives are
Watch this site.
* * *
UN, Biting Incident Reveals Nepotism of UNDP and Congo Envoy,
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, July 30 -- The biting incident at the UN, on which Inner
City Press exclusively
reported one week ago, has its roots in a
glaring case of nepotism in which the UN's top envoy to the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mr. Alan Doss,
lobbied to get his
daughter the UN Development Program job effectively held and applied
for by alleged biter, Mr. Nicola Baroncini.
When Mr. Baroncini was
suspected of knowing of the nepotism, documented by an e-mail to UNDP
from Mr. Doss, he was fired, forcibly removed, with pepper spray,
from the UN compound and arrested by NYPD on the basis of false
accusations. Doss' daughter Rebecca is now ensconced in the disputed
UNDP job, while Mr. Baroncini is due in Criminal Court on August 10
on charges of third degree assault.
case is an
early test of UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, in the job for 100 days
now, and new UN Security chief Gregory Starr, with whom Mr. Baroncini
is asking to meet in order to withdraw the criminal charges against
him. Also in question is how Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will react
to documented allegations of improper requests and nepotism by his
personal envoy to one of the UN's largest and most controversial
with the US Department of State, obtained by Inner City Press, show
the lead-up to the June 22 pepper spray.
On March 16, 2009, after several other UNDP posts ranging from
Cambodia to New York, Mr. Baroncini began functioning as assistant to
Ms. Ligia Elizondo, Deputy Director of UNDP Regional Bureau
for Asia and the Pacific (RBAP).
the complaint Mr.
Baroncini was "managing her personal agenda; screening inbound
and outbound communications; organizing meetings; reviewing documents
and other material; distributing tasks within the bureau. I had
unlimited access to her UNDP email account. My tasks also included
email filing (in my hard drive)."
month later in
April according to the complaint, Mr. Baroncini "witnessed that
Ms. Elizondo received several phone calls from Rebecca Doss. Her CV
was permanently in Ms. Elizondo’s in-tray. Also while filing Ms.
Elizondo’s UNDP email inbox I came across several emails from
Rebecca Doss to Ms. Elizondo. In one, Rebecca made reference to the
position of 'Special Assistant to RBAP Deputy Director' and said that
she would contact Ms. Elizondo at home."
Baroncini applied for and was one of four short-listed candidates for
this post, whose functions he was already performing. Other
candidates included Violeta Maximova and Rebecca Doss, whose father
Alan Doss, in charge of the UN's billion dollar peacekeeping mission
in the Congo, wrote on April 20 to Ms. Elizondo
This is just to inform that I have advised UNDP in writing
that I will transfer to DPKO effective 1 July 2009. I have also
spoken to Martin and advised him that I cannot transfer before that
date because the new DPKO contractual arrangements only come into
effect on the 1 July. He informed me that the ‘deadline’ for the
ALD contracts is 15 May so the period of overlap would only be 6
weeks (assuming Rebecca’s ALD would come into force on the 14th May
at the latest). I have asked for some flexibility, which would allow
a very long serving and faithful UNDP staff member a little lee-way
before he rides off into the sunset.
Becky is very excited about the
prospect of going to work for you so I hope that it will work out.
With my warm regards and thanks,
Special Representative of the Secretary-General United Nations Mission
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo"
in docx text
format - download
City Press asked the UN spokesperson's office on July 27 about the and
biting incident and the underlying recruitment, Associate Spokesman
Farhan Haq said "it
had to do with a frustrated jobseeker. The only thing I
can say is the information I got from UNDP on this is that the hiring
that particular vacancy at UNDP was filled in accordance with their
rules." Transcript here,
But as Doss'
the complaint shows, since it is illegal for the child of a UNDP
staff member, as Doss then was, to be hired by UNDP, Doss asked for
"a little lee-way" -- to ignore what he called a six week overlap. The
propriety of a UN Under Secretary General making personal contact and
applying pressure to waive rules and award a job to his daughter has
not yet been addressed.
UN's Doss, at right, with Kouchner and Clooney: Doss is connected
and Ms. Doss were declared the top two candidates. Ms. Maximova
suddenly was offered and accepted a job at the Clinton
Initiative, and Ms. Doss was given the job.
with the Director of RBAP, Mr. Ajay Chhibber, on July 19. Initially,
took an interest in hearing out Mr. Baroncini, offering him advice.
But once Ms. Elizondo realized that Mr. Baroncini might, in the
course of his duties, have become aware of the improper influence in
the hiring decision, Mr. Baroncini had his email access terminated
and was told to no longer come in to UNDP.
according to the complaint filed by Mr. Baroncini:
voiced my complete disapproval and said that I will challenge this
decision with the appropriate personnel.
handed to Mr. Chhibber a print-out of Alan Doss’ email to Ms.
Elizondo of April 20, 2009 and told him, “In case you do not know,
this is the way human resources selection works in UNDP.” I
repeated that I will challenge this course of events.
a couple of minutes a man arrived. He asked for my UN badge and
requested that I leave the building. I began collecting my personal
belonging. The whole process took several minutes.
UN Department of Safety and Security Guards approached me.
Immediately, Peter Kolonias, one of the guards, ordered me to enter
office 2312 of DC-1. I complied immediately.
entered the office and sat down escorted by two UN DSS Security
Guards. The door was shut. Shortly, my wife joined me (she works
elsewhere in UNDP).
waiting for some time, I asked the guards about the procedures in
place and why we had been waiting for so long. In several instances I
was told that Ms. Elizondo was giving a written statement and that
once she had completed it would be my turn.
began asking for access to a lawyer and my consulate. I repeated this
request frequently (I would say every 15 minutes) both to the guard
inside office 2312 and to other officials that entered the office.
asked my wife to leave office 2312 and look for Mr. Chhibber and ask
him to speak with me. I wanted to understand if he had any control
concerning what was happening, and I wanted to share my concerns
about this absurd escalation of events.
wife left the office, but the guards outside invited her to join Ms.
Elizondo and Ms. Jovita Domingo, a UNDP human resources advisor,
inside Ms. Elizondo’s office. There, they questioned my wife about
our private life until a UN official wearing a white uniform came in
and my wife was invited to leave by Ms. Elizondo.
my wife left Ms. Elizondo’s office, they shut the door and had a
meeting. My wife returned to office 2312.
UN official wearing a white uniform along with the third UN DSS
guard, Peter Kolonias, joined the two other UN DSS guards inside
office 2312. They asked my wife to leave and shut the door.
UN official wearing a white uniform swiftly informed me that I had
two options: leave the building with them or be handcuffed.
felt that something very wrong was happening and again I requested
access to a lawyer, the Italian consulate and to give a statement.
second or third time I repeated my requested I was assaulted.
Peter Kolonias put me to the floor. The two other guards followed
immediately. They tried to immobilize me using every sort of
technique. I was kicked repeatedly on the leg, stomach and neck. I
was punched repeatedly on the neck, head and face. Twice, at close
range, I was sprayed a pepper spray on the face. Immediately, and
for about two hours thereafter, I was blinded and suffered tremendous
pain on the face and eyes. Other than limited access to water, I was
denied proper medical treatment despite my repeated requests.
I was handcuffed. UN DSS guards brought me outside office 2312 and I
waited there for about 1½ hours, handcuffed, sitting in a chair
RBAP Directorate area.
2:35 pm, NYPD officers arrived and I was officially arrested
I was escorted outside DC1 building where an ambulance was waiting
waited handcuffed until approximately 7:40 pm in a waiting room of
Bellevue Hospital. After meeting with a Dr. Falck, I was immediately
was brought to a police facility where NYPD took my fingerprints, and
I awaited transportation to 100 Centre Street.
routine procedures, I was jailed until 9:30 am of the following day.
The jail was no more than 17-18 square meters. The number of
detainees kept changing between 18 and 20 men. No restroom. Primitive
sanitation. No hygiene facilities.
case was reviewed, and I was immediately released without any bail
payment. I am set to appear in Court on August 10, 2009."
-- the pepper spraying of those who ask questions, pressing of
criminal charges as retaliation -- are the type of tactics that the
UN and officials like Alan Doss criticize in places like the Congo.
But the UN engages in them right on First Avenue in New York. What will
Ban Ki-moon, Gregory Starr and Helen Clark each do? In the case Ms.
Clark, she was officially informed of all of the above on July 27, and
her closest advisor Heather Simpson a full week before that. Now what?
Watch this site.
has told Inner City Press first that
was an unfortunate and isolated incident involving an employee of
UNDP on 23rd June 2009. UN Security and the New York Police
Department responded, and it is now being handled by the authorities
of the host government."
after a follow up request by Inner City Press to UNDP spokesperson
Stephane Dujarric that UNDP "provide the requested description
of the recruitment process, the name of the post and the person
awarded, and whether they have any family or personal relationship
with the supervisor or selector," UNDP Administrator Helen
Clark's spokesperson Christina LoNigro responded that "we
cannot comment further on this case at this time as the legal process
* * *