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UN Says Porno Is Behind It, Dodges on No Bid Lockheed Contract, Valium

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

JFK Airport, May 21, updated May 26 and June 3 – The range of questionable management practices at the UN were on display Thursday, as Department of Management chief Angela Kane belated came to field questions from the Press. Inner City Press asked her around millions of dollars the UN mis-payed to military contractor Lockheed Martin in Darfur, about a pornography scandal that continues to reverberate in the UN, and about her Department's retaliation against staff member they quick provided information about unlicensed distribution of Valium and controlled substances by the UN Medical Service.

On the pornography scandal, she claimed that all of those implicated have been disciplined, noting that five views are different than five hundred. This was just after she was asked about the Wall Street Journal's expose of the UN's mishandling of sexual harassment cases.

Two of these three questions, Ms. Kane referred to others. On the report that the UN paid $4.3 to Lockheed's PA&E subsidiary for construction services, at a time no construction took place, she said to “ask Susana Malcorra,” the head of the Department of Field Services. She said that the Secretariat disagrees with the findings of the UN's own Office of Internal Oversight Services.

UN's Ban and Kane, Ahlenius and Lockheed not shown

Then, she said to ask the head of OIOS, Inga Britt Ahlenius, about a non-public report she says cleared the Medical Service of wrongdoing. Ahlenius hasn't answered Press questions for months, and Kane could not commit to making the report purportedly clearing the “doctors” public, despite chiding the Press for not reporting on it. (Kane is known to be asking the Office of Legal Affairs to make publications print the UN's position, even if based on reports the UN withholds.)

  She said of course US licenses are required by those in the Medical Service, and some countries only require a single lifetime license, never renewed. She denied that US authorities are looking into the matter. We'll see.

Update: On May 26, Inner City Press received the following

Sent: 5/26/2009 1:45:29 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

In response to your recent news story on the Medical Service, we are transmitting the following information provided by OIOS:

In response to media reports claiming that ga group of largely unlicensed doctors and nurses are dispensing and in some cases taking and self-medicating with Valium, Diazepam, Demerol, Ambien and other controlled narcoticsh at the UN, the Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) informed us that the facts need to be correctly stated.

The Office informed us that a complainant had reported to OIOS about possible abuse in the management and dispensation of controlled substances in the Medical Services Division (MSD) of the United Nations. OIOS immediately assigned two investigators to conduct preliminary inquiries into this report.

Based upon the information obtained, OIOS confirmed that the Medical Services Division does have a process in place to ensure safe custody and dispensation of controlled substances.

OIOS concluded its preliminary inquiries and determined that the complainant's claims about the abuse of the dispensation of controlled substances in the MSD could not be verified. It adds that a fully conclusive verification can only be obtained upon a full investigation. This would require review of confidential medical records, to which OIOS does not have access.

  Is this what the UN means by exonerated -- that it creates "rules" that preclude its supposedly independent investigative unit from verifying a whistleblower's allegations which are backed up by photographic and other evidence?

Update of June 3, 11:46 a.m. -- moments ago, Inner City Press received immediately adds to this page the following, which it will later analyze:

Subj: transmitting message from Dr. Brian Davey of the Medical Service
From: unspokesperson-donotreply [at]
To: Inner City Press
Sent: 6/3/2009 11:18:18 A.M. Eastern Standard Time

"I would like to point out that a [story] on the site of Inner City Press is reporting outdated information. In an update dated 26 May, accessible at, the following is reported:

"OIOS concluded its preliminary inquiries and determined that the complainant's claims about the abuse of the dispensation of controlled substances in the MSD could not be verified. It adds that a fully conclusive verification can only be obtained upon a full investigation. This would require review of confidential medical records, to which OIOS does not have access."

Is this what the UN means by exonerated -- that it creates "rules" that preclude its supposedly independent investigative unit from verifying a whistleblower's allegations which are backed up by photographic and other evidence?

"This is inaccurate. The facts are that after the preliminary enquiries reported above, the Medical Service Division (MSD) voluntarily provided access for OIOS to the confidential medications control record, so that conclusive determinations could be made without any qualifications. This allowed verification that the information provided by the informant was incomplete and misleading. Further, the information provided to OIOS presented demonstrably false interpretations of what the photographs of the record actually showed. Access to the record allowed OIOS to verify that the actual evidence contained in the confidential medication control record did not substantiate the allegations that had been made. OIOs has now closed the investigation.

We ask that you correct the story for the record.

Thank you."

  As stated above, this will be subject to analysis later. What Mr. Davey calls inaccurate was the response provided by the UN. It has since been supplemented, in front of three journalists, by USG Kane. More to follow.

And see, a May 13 Inner City Press debate on Sri Lanka, here

Ambulance aflame in "No Fire" Zone, May 13, 2009

In the final week of fighting we ran this message, from Dr. Sathiyamoorthy

13 May 2009

Dear Sir / Madam,

Heavy battle started since 5.30 am. Many wounded civilians were brought to hospital and hospital is not providing services because hospital was under shell attack. Few staff reported duty. nearly thousand patients are waiting to get daily treatment. But even simple wound dressing and giving antibiotics problems. So many wounded have to die. In the ward among patients many death bodies are there.

Looking hospital seen and hearing the civilians cry really disaster. Did they make any mistake do the world by the innocent. But the important sta[keholders] are just listening the situation and not helping the people.


Regional director of Health Services

Kilinochchi (Now at No Fire Zone)

  From the UN's May 18 noon briefing transcript:

Inner City Press: on Mr. Nambiar. Can you say whether while he is there the issue...there are some saying that there are many people that are now injured in the (inaudible) care in what had been called the no fire zone; and that the ICRC has no access. Is this something this in the case there some doctors who used to report on the casualty figures who have gone missing as reported in the Guardian and the Independent. Are these issues, I mean you mentioned he’s talking about the IDPs instead of post-conflict; what about people that are actually at this moment sort of dying without medical care...(interrupted)?

Deputy Spokesperson Okabe: Well, that’s the subject that I think John Holmes is going to come and talk to you about right now.

Inner City Press: Burt can you say whether Mr. Nambiar, I guess I am just wondering... -- John Holmes is not there, Mr. Nambiar is -- is this an issue that the UN is urgently raising with the Government or not?

Deputy Spokesperson Okabe: The Chef de Cabinet’s visit, as we mentioned to you, focuses exactly on the same issues that I just mentioned; which are the United Nations’ and the Secretary-General’s concern. Now, obviously the immediate humanitarian needs on the ground are the utmost priority for all of us.

But what about the doctors?

 On Thursday May 7, Inner City Press asked Associate UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask about this invitation that’s been made to the Secretary-General to visit Sri Lanka. First I wanted to ask if on Monday when he met with the Ambassador of Japan, whether he was briefed on a visit by Mr. [Yasushi] Akashi to Sri Lanka and was urged by Japan that he should take this visit. And I also wanted to know whether he would be in New York 11 May for the Middle East debate, and 15 May to meet with the Chinese diplomats, that in fact this is one reason that he is considering not going, as I have been told by senior Secretariat staff.

Associate Spokesperson Haq: Well, first of all, we don’t announce the trips of the Secretary-General until they are close to occurring. And in that regard, I don’t have anything to announce about a trip to Sri Lanka at this stage. At the same time, as Michèle told you yesterday, and is still true for today, if the Secretary-General believes that visiting Sri Lanka can have an impact in terms of saving lives there, he will certainly try to go. So he is considering that. But part of what he is studying is what the impact of a potential trip would be.

Inner City Press: But if he had that belief, that would be without regard to attending the 11 May Middle East thing or the 15 May meeting with the Chinese diplomats? I am told that’s a major factor in his planning.

Associate Spokesperson: Scheduling is a separate issue. What we’re talking about is the decision of whether or not to go. And certainly if he can make a difference and can save civilian lives, which is what his priority has been on this case, then he will go. At present, we don’t have anything to announce at all in this regard, though.

Question: Just one last one on that. I wanted to know, can you at least confirm that he met with Ambassador Takasu on Monday in his office inside the Security Council? Can you give a read-out of that meeting and say why it wasn’t on his public schedule?

Associate Spokesperson: I can confirm that he met with the Permanent Representative of Japan. He did that, yes. It was in his office in the Security Council. We don’t provide readouts of meetings with ambassadors.

Question: And why wasn’t it on the schedule?

Associate Spokesperson: It came up all of a sudden when he had a bit of free time in between other appointments on a fairly hectic day.

  On Friday May 8, Inner City Press asked Deputy Spokesperson Okabe:

Inner City Press: On the invitation by the Government of Sri Lanka to the Secretary-General to visit, is there any progress in thinking? In the alternative, is the Secretary-General, is he considering invoking Article 99 or responsibility to protect or making some other move of some type on the situation in Sri Lanka?

Deputy Spokesperson: I have nothing beyond what we’ve been saying from this podium this week on Sri Lanka, including what the Secretary-General himself has said earlier this week.

   What Ban said did not involve calling for a cease-fire. Watch this site.

 Channel 4 in the UK with allegations of rape and disappearance

  Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

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.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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