on Bed Bugs, Spin Supersedes Solutions, One Year & Counting
By Matthew Russell Lee
October 27 -- With bed bugs having been found in the UN's
Capital Master Plan office in its headquarters building on 42nd
Street, as first
reported by Inner City Press on October 25, two days
later the UN issued a statement trying to minimize the problem. Spin,
it seems, takes precedence at the UN over solutions.
Inner City Press' exclusive
October 25 report, at the October 26 UN noon briefing it
asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky what the UN was doing. Later that
afternoon Nesirky's office read a short statement over the UN's
“squawk box” system.
Inner City Press request to be e-mailed a
copy of Nesirky's responses to its questions itself went unresponded to.
October 27, Inner City Press asked Nesirky what had happened after
the UN found bed bugs in its 46th Street Albano Building in September
2009, another outbreak exclusively reported by Inner City Press.
Nesirky first said that had been “clover mites,” then
acknowledged that characterization applied to a test done in May
2010, not the September 2009 incident Inner City Press was asking
about. See list of previous Inner City Press articles, below.
UN's Ban, Adlerstein, Kane in North Lawn: bugs' next stop?
the October 27 noon briefing, the UN issued the following written
2009, a bed bug sniffing dog confirmed infestation on most
floors of the Albano building. The whole building was fumigated on 19
September 2009 and repeated 2 weeks later. As is standard practice, 6
months later on 6 May 2010 the dog returned and indicated the
presence of bed bugs. However, the dog is not able to distinguish
between alive and dead bed bugs. As a precautionary measure the whole
building was fumigated the weekend of 8, 9 May 2010. On 10 May 2010 a
staff member reported the presence of a bed bug in the office. The
contractor examined the bug and identified it to be a “clover
mite”, which is not harmful to building, furniture, or humans.
Since the fumigation in September and October last year, one staff
member advised of a suspected bed bug bite, but the expert advised
this was from some other insect. In conclusion there has been no
confirmed bed bug activity in the Albano building since the
fumigations last year.
time, as reported recently in the media, bed bug infestations
have been found in many public and commercial buildings throughout
New York City indicating a worsening problem. On 15 October 2010, bed
bugs have also been found in furniture which came from the 19th and
20th floors of the Secretariat Building and on 22 October 2010 in
furniture in the 1B area of the Library Building. This furniture has
been moved to a part of the building not occupied by staff to
facilitate fumigation. Two important factors are noted, firstly that
the dogs are not able to distinguish between bed bugs that are alive
and active or dead and secondly that no staff or building occupants
have reported being bitten. We continue to follow the expert advice
of our exterminator specialist making further tests with the bed bug
sniffing dog to more fully assess and manage the problem.
27 Oct. 10
Inner City Press' previous reports:
Bed Bugs But No Medical Service in the Swing Space, Skanska's
Closed Bid Openings
Bed Bug Infestation Confirmed, Spread to General Assembly by
Bed Bugs Spread, Incoming Diplomats Warned of Itching, No
Answers, Talk of Gaddifi's Tent
"Extensive" Bed Bugs, Claims Missed Them in Due
Diligence, GA Next?
Watch this site.
* * *
Bugs Move to Capital Master Plan Office, Raising Price for Press
By Matthew Russell Lee
25 -- Bed bug infestation of the UN's Albano
Building “swing space” on 46th Street was exposed more than a
year ago by Inner City Press. An impromptu Town Hall
called, and UN officials assured the staff that everything possible
would be done to address the bed bug problem.
sources told Inner City Press that, in fact, the bed bug problem has
spread, now to the UN's own Capital Master Plan which is in charge of
fixing up the UN's building. Inner City Press went to ask CMP
spokesman Werner Schmidt to confirm or deny the presence of bed bugs
a bed bug sniffing dog checked our office and found [bed bugs] in our
conference rooms,” Schmidt to his credit immediately acknowledged.
conference room chairs were taken away”and that FMS (the Facilities
Management Service) is now in charge.
in May Inner City Press reported that
rift had emerged among senior UN officials about inaction on
the bedbug infestation. In a memo leaked
City Press by a whistleblower, Under Secretary General Shaaban
Shaaban on May 11 wrote of CMP chief Michael Adlerstein that "In
my meeting with Mr. Adlerstein five weeks ago, I never agreed that
the Albano staff will be stacked there... So, in the stacking
proposal you sent to Mr. Nambiar on 4 May 2010... I read in the
appendix twice that 'based on initial consultations with DGACM,
agreement has been made to retain the use of the Albano Building,'
which does not reflect my discussion with Mr. Adlerstein."
Now bed bugs have been found in Adlerstein's own CMP Office.
UN's Ban and Adlerstein, bed bugs and
changing rent to press not shown
Also back in May, Inner City Press reported
that "the memo reveals
that Shaaban has been told that his staff, of the Department of
General Assembly and Conference Management, may not as promised be
allowed to return to their offices in UN headquarters.
has been told this as well. Their spots on the third and fourth
floor, it now appears, may be given for another use. This would leave
the press corp in the "whistleblower free zone" above the Library,
where all conversations can be heard...The effect
would be to drive smaller and
more independent press out of the UN, even as the UN gets less and
less press coverage, and fewer and fewer reporters attend the UN noon
months later, the UN press corps has now been told that the plan is,
even if they return to the third and fourth floor, they will for the
first time be charged rent.
They say this
UN administration's attempt to disclipline or even drive out the
independent press continues. Watch this space.
* * *
Beepers and Bed Bugs in the Albano Building, Electronic Sign
12 -- Months after Inner City Press exclusively
bugs had been found in portions of the UN's office space
the Albano Building on 46th Street, and the UN
belated confirmed it, the UN has found that there are
bugs on almost all floors of the building. A notice was sent out on
May 7, provided to Inner City Press by a whistleblower, that
Please be advised that the report came back from the
exterminator on the bed bug follow up inspection. The exterminator
reported that the dog found problems on almost all floors. The
reports says 90% of the building had problems. The exterminator will
be fumigating the building on Saturday 08 May 2010 from 9:00am
-9:00pm. No staff are allowed in the building while it is being
fumigated. All staff are safe to return to the building on Sunday
morning. Sorry for the short notice. If you have any questions please
feel free to call me. Thanks, Brian Hogan."
houses, among other things, the UN's Text Processing Units. These are
about to be subject to an electronic sign in system promoted by
Assistant Secretary General Franz Baumann, who tells Inner City Press
that when he was at the UN in Vienna, staff had no problem with this
system. Here the Staff Union -- both factions -- have opposed by
swipe in. But Baumann is pushing forward, as explained in this recent
Q & A:
Can you confirm or deny you have ordered the text
processing unit to implement electronic sign-in, despite opposition
has been ordered. But DGACM will introduce the kind
of state-of-the art electronic time and attendance keeping system
which has been successfully implemented at UNOV/UNODC since 2003 to
much acclaim from staff, including the Staff Union there. So, stay
tuned. In the meantime, we are discussing details with the staff and
the staff representatives of DGACM.
UN's Ban swears in Baumann, staff shown, bugs not
also asked Baumann about another controversy within the Text
Can you confirm and explain that you now expect all of
this in Text Processing Unit to have (and pay for) their own cell
phones, to replace the beeper system you have discontinued?
is not one Text Processing Unit, but six. Staff in
these, as in other parts of DGACM, are expected on occasion to be on
stand-by - and are compensated for this. During such stand-by
periods, staff have to be reachable, whether on their home-phone or,
if they choose to be away from home, by other means. It is not a
contractual requirement - or a sensible assumption in this day and
age - for the Organization to pay for this reachability. Pagers are
a - like Morse Code or Telex - a very outdated technology, yet
expensive to administer, and their use has indeed been decided to be
discontinued by the DGACM Departmental Management Group on the advice
of its ICTC Committed.
that they do not have a cell phone, and should not be
required by the UN to get one at their own expense, while others even
having one do not view this as a legitimate demand by the UN as
employer. There are other views. But so it goes.
independent judge in the UN's internal justice system has
been pressured not to seek re-appointment, Inner City Press is told.
Judge Adams, who has issued findings of contempt against the
administration of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, his USG
Shaaban and others, will some staff are saying hear his last case
for the UN on May 12. We
hope to be there -- and that it's not true. Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN, NY 10017
City Press are listed here,
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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