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UN's Sierra Leone Rep Charged With Hitting Staffer, Council Colossus Gives Cookies

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 17 -- UN representation in Africa is riddled with abuse of power. Beyond the misconduct of Alan Doss in the Congo, confirmed this week by the Office of Internal Oversight Services, Inner City Press has learned that Michael Schulenburg, the Secretary-General's Executive Representative in Sierra Leone, has been formally accused of physically abusing a staff member.

  Sources from various parts of the UN system have brought this to Inner City Press' attention, as another example of the UN's abuse of Africa. But what will be done?

  On April 16, the Security Council canceled its already devalued trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It had been shortened from a week to four days, with the Rwanda and Uganda legs cut off.

 Then, with the volcano in Iceland as excuse, it was canceled in full. Later that day a Moroccan diplomat laughed that he was already to get a flight to Central Africa via Casablanca "like that," he said, snapping his fingers.

  To be fair, at least one Security Council member is nevertheless making his way to Africa. Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller, the chairman of the Somalia Sanctions committee, has embarked on a two week, six country tour to "raise consciousness" about the sanctions on Somalia.

 A visa to Asmara, Eritrea was not easy to obtain. Accompanying him are experts from the U.S., UK and elsewhere. Whether the vaunted "humanitarian window" to allow the resumption of food aid to southern Somalia can be opened remains to be seen.

UN's Ban and
Schulenburg, physical abuse of UN staff not shown

  The country most responsible for the freeze on funding to the World Food Program in Somalia, the United States, is said by a number of diplomats to have been most responsible for the shortening and devaluing of the Council's Africa trip, in order to focus and to be seen to focus on nuclear sanctions on Iran.

Sensitive to press coverage of these priorities, and of Ambassador Susan Rice's decision to skip even the shortened Africa trip, press staff of the US Mission emerged onto 45th Street on April 14, where the press corps staked out a meeting about Iran, and fed reporters cookies.

  Not information, mind you, but pastries. "This never happened under the Republicans," one reporter quipped. The remark could be taken any number of ways.

* * *

As UN's Doss Hit by OIOS, Council Tries to Save MONUC, Rice Defended, NGOs on Tap

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 14 -- The day after the UN's top envoy to the Congo Alan Doss dodged the Press by canceling a scheduled question and answer session, it emerged that Doss is named as a wrongdoer in the long delayed Office of Internal Oversight Services probe of his e-mail urging the UN Development Program to show him "lee-way" and give his daughter a job.

  Inner City Press first published Doss' nepotism e-mail, and reported on the macing and arrest of the UNDP staffer whose job was given to Rebecca Doss, Nicola Baroncini. Mr. Baroncini remains waiting for his day in court.

  Earlier this week, Inner City Press asked chief UN spokesman Martin Nesirky how it could take nine months to investigate Doss' six line e-mail, and Nesirky did not explain. Now Nesirky's associate Farhan Haq has said to Turtle Bay that "There is a draft investigative detail, provided only to Mr. Doss for his comment before a report is finalized. Once finalized, the report will be sent to the secretary-general."

Inner City Press has in the past asked both Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his top Peacekeeper, Alain Leroy, about l'affaire Doss. Now with the Security Council headed Friday to Kinsasha to try to save the peacekeeping mission Doss has overseen, the negative finding against Doss hurts not only him but the UN.

UN's Doss pensive at last stakeout, which he now skips: it's over

  On this trip, the French mission has said that eight of the Council's 15 members are sending their top representatives, five are sending "Deputy Permanent Representatives" and two, only advisors. While the U.S. seems to qualify for this last designation, since DPR Alejandro Wolff is not going, it emerged on Wednesday that France was considering the U.S. Brooke Anderson as a DPR, despite her current "number four" (at best) status in the U.S. Mission.

  While the Mexicans and Chinese were targeted by France as only sending advisors, from these quarters came a cry of double standards, that the U.S. would be let off the hook. China has no sitting DPR at present, unlike the US. And Mexican Perm Rep Heller is in fact going to more countries in Africa at the same time, for the Somalia Sanctions Committee.

Substantively, Austria has pushed to have Congolese NGOs flown from Goma to Kinshasa to brief the Council. A US Mission representative, reflexively defensive of Susan Rice's non attendance on family issues grounds, nevertheless trashed the Council for not traveling to Goma. But others asked, if you send your Number Four, who are you to criticize? Watch this site.

 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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