Iraq, UN's Melkert Silent on Blackwater and Black Balling of Baath
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 16 -- What does the UN's top envoy to Iraq, Ad
Melkert, have to say about the acquittal and impunity for the
mercenaries of Blackwater now Xe who killed Iraqi civilians? "That
is a specific case," Melkert told Inner City Press on Tuesday at
the UN, "we don't advise on specific cases." Video here,
from Minute 11:34.
asked Melkert about a range of human rights issues in Iraq, from
honor killings to executions to freedom of the press. Melkert said
his Office, UNAMI, issues human rights reports every six months,
"critical on several of the issues you mentioned." Video
from Minute 6:03.
how can the UN
be critical if, as Melkert claimed about Blackwater, the UN "doesn't
advise on specific cases?"
right now is, like Kai Eide's was in Afghanistan, to try to make
national elections appear credible. Inner City Press asked him about
barred candidate Saleh Mutlak, who has been told he cannot run for
office because he was a member of the Baath party. Mutlak says he
quit in 1977, and was only goaded into saying he was still a member.
grounds for exclusion "legitimate," and said the UN only
advocates for transparency in the application of the rules, citing
Iraq's "Accountability and Justice Law of 2008." While
speaking about reconciliation, Melkert said that excluding former
Baath party members is similar to what happened in Europe "after
the Communist regimes."
Melkert told Inner City Press that the UN "has a permanent
position against the death penalty" -- one that Ban Ki-moon
backtracked on during his first day in office, on the subject of Iraq
-- when Melkert was asked about the execution of former Baath party
members, he replied, "I could not take your point on that, the
way you formulated it, so I could not comment further."
Melkert and his less than democratic guards in Baghdad
away from the microphone, Inner City Press asked him if he now agrees
with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's call that senior UN system
officials make some minimum public disclosure of their finances.
Melkert laughed and said, "You see that I" -- then signed
his name in the air. "What is good is that you don't forget."
he was the
Associate Administrator of UNDP, he came out publicly against Ban's
call for financial disclosure. Video
from Minute 37:55 through 44:41. He also said, on UN
ain't seen nothing yet." Inner City Press recounted this history
for a Dutch television station tailing and filming Melkert for the
day. Another correspondent criticized Melkert go along [to] get along
performance in Iraq, wondering what next job he might have his eye
Many in the
UN grumble that Melkert "chased" fellow UN
official Ibrahim Gambari out of Iraq. Now it's his show, for better
or worse. Watch this site.
* * *
by Haitian National Police Ascribed to Imposters by UN, No
Anti-Corruption Role, UN's Pro-Government Focus
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 11 -- The UN says it is investigating reports of
summary executions by the Haitian National Police. Video here,
for the second time in ten days asked acting UN chief in Haiti Edmund
Mulet about the killing of alleged thieves, this time citing Haitian
religious leader Max Beauvoir's account of a January 16 meeting of
President Rene Preval, the Prime Minister and police chief at which
"we decided we had to deal with them in an emergency way...
capital punishment, automatically, for all bandits."
that "we are aware of some incidents of shooting [by] private
security guards... perhaps Haitian National Police members involved."
But even this, he tried to convert into imposters, who stole the HNP
February 1, when
Inner City Press asked, Mulet said that the UN Mission MINUSTAH was
"investigating" such claims. Ten days later, there are no
"conclusions," he said.
Alain Le Roy began the February 11 presentation by praising Mulet for
maintaining such good relations with the Haitian government.
Mulet credibly investigate and speak out against Haitian National
Police killings, which Max Beauvoir said were decided on at a meeting
including Rene Preval and the Prime Minister, if he is also tasked
with "getting along well" with these officials?
UN has at least
two conflicting goals: to get along with the government, and to
ensure that at least basic human rights are being respected. Right
now the UN in Haiti appears to be paying only lip service to the
second, human rights goal.
UN need to be
(made to be) much more clear about its role in Haiti. The UN has some
hard working international and national civil servants in Haiti, but
only if the UN admits what it cannot or will not meaningfully do will
the need for others to do it become clear. Lack of clarify ill-serves
the Haitian people.
UN's Ban and Mulet with Rene Preval, HNP not shown
also asked about another ostensible UN role: to try to minimize
corruption, so that needed donations will be made. Inner City Press
asked about documented meetings with President Preval by a
Florida-based business, AshBritt, which is under fire for how it got
Hurricane Katrina contracts -- with Haley Barbour as a lobbyist --
and how it performed under other contracts.
meeting in which
AshBritt pitched for major contracts in Haiti, Mulet said "we
have nothing to do with that." Video here,
from Minute 58:49. So much for an anti-corruption monitoring role for
the UN. But if the
UN is not going to do it, who is? Watch this site.
Footnote: Mulet also
said he had no information about Haitian land owners seeking payment,
now or in the future, for land used for housing, temporary and later
permanent. Since aid funds are involved in this re-housing process, and
the question was squarely raised to Mulet's deputy Kim Bolduc on
February 8, it seemed strange that Mulet had no information three days
later. We will continue to pursue this.