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UN Mercenary Panel Asks of DPKO Use in Valencia & Congo, Somalia Murky

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 31 -- When the UN's Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries held a panel discussion Wednesday morning, listing forty minutes of questions and answers, it was assumed that for example the UN's use of armed guards in Somalia, so far left murky, could be clarified.

  But the Q&A was devoted only to member states, mostly for speeches. From the podium, it was claimed that all of the UN's uses of armed guards must comply with international law. Why then won't the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous answer if the Geneva Conventions apply to its impending offensive in the Eastern Congo?

  Rick Cottom of various UN staff unions said that in his experience, UN Security would rather be the one in the field, not paid outsiders.

  Lou Pingeot of Global Policy Forum asked why the UN Peacekeeping location in Valencia, Spain (the lawless establishment before its General Assembly approval Inner City Press covered at the time) uses outside armed security, and noted UN Peacekeeping's use of Saracen in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  Saracen is now repackaged as "Sterling," as noted in the most recently Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group report. In Somalia, as Inner City Press reported, David Bax of the UN Mine Action Service is said to provide information to US intelligence through the shadowy PMSC Bancroft Global. Bax has been photographed tooling around Mogadishu with armed guards.

The UN's Nicholas Kay acknowledged to Inner City Press that "some of our guards are armed." How many? From which company? Denel? Where is the transparency? We will pursue this.

But Wednesday morning the interventions were all from member states. Indonesia spoke of being part of the Syria observer mission killed off by Herve Ladsous. The Free UN Coalition for Access believes minimal transparency requires disclosing who can ask questions, raised here. Watch this site.


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