In Ban's UN, Whistleblower Games Reveal UNDP Good Cop
- Bad Cop Charade
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at
the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, July 2 -- The UN
Development Program on June 28 delivered what it thought would be the deathblow
to investigation of its operations in North Korea, and by extension in
Zimbabwe and elsewhere.
A letter from Associate Administrator Ad
Melkert was given to the New York Times, which challenged each allegation in the
U.S. Mission to the UN's second round of charges against the agency. The Times'
Friday morning edition quoted extensively from this letter -- mirroring the Wall
Street Journal's coverage of UN Mission letters and briefing notes -- and ended
by quoting selectively from Sen. Norm Coleman's June 26 letter to Ban Ki-moon,
naming a whistleblower about UNDP: Atrjon "Tony" Shkurtaj.
Friday at the noon briefing by
Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson,
Inner City Press asked about this letter:
Inner City Press: It's reported that
United States Senator Norm Coleman wrote to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on
Tuesday about what he called "a whistleblower" on the whole United Nations
Development Program (UNDP) situation. He said he wrote to the
Secretary-General. So, I wanted to make sure that that letter's been received,
and to know what the Secretariat's response is on whether the individual named
in this letter is a whistleblower and should be afforded protection. And also,
I've become aware that those security guard television sets -- they're out on
First Avenue and inside the building, which have, like, pictures of people not
to be let into the building -- now includes this individual's photo. So I'm
wondering if we can find out how such a photo gets included, and whether that's
consistent with being a whistleblower.
question, still to be answered, about the inclusion of Shkurtaj's photograph in
what's known as the "crazy person photo array" that shows on guards' computers
at the UN Headquarters' entrances from First Avenue is, who in the Secretariat
put Shkurtaj's photo in the array?
UN Safety and Security handover of power: in 2007 ,whistleblowers shall not
City Press' initial inquiries -- the photo went in on June 18 -- yielded vague
answers about Shkurtaj's i.d. pass having expired without having been returned.
But current UN i.d.'s have the expiration date printed on the front, and are bar
coded so that they don't allow entry through the turnstiles once expired.
common practice to put anyone with an expired and not-returned i.d. in the crazy
person photo array? No. Can UNDP demand the inclusion of photos, of
whistle-blowers or other opponents, in the security booths of its across the
Avenue parent, the UN Secretariat? No. So who in the Secretariat put this photo
two weeks after Shkurtaj filed a complaint
with the new chief of the Secretariat's Ethics Office?
the Security Council stakeout, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was asked about
the Times article. Along with saying of Melkert, "I don't know this gentleman"
and saying he hadn't received his letter, Khalilzad went out of his way to
praise Melkert's boss, UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis. So is it Khalilzad's
position that these UNDP letters get written and leaked with no involvement by
the head of the agency, Kemal Dervis? If so, Dervis is shown, again, to be an
likely, Dervis is merely setting up, with U.S. acquiescence, a cartoon-like good
cop / bad cop dynamic, in which Melkert is prepared to be as some call it the "Che
Guevara" like fall guy for the North Korea scandal, while the U.S. can avoid
appearing to target a national of ally Turkey, a country also important to Ban
Ki-moon. Mr. Ban recently rushed back from Washington, where he had met with
Sen. Coleman, in order to eat filet mignon at a UNDP function and then deliver a
speech praising "my good friend, Kemal Dervis."
whistle-blowers and even spokesmen have pointed out to Inner City Press, the
largest contributor to the regime of Kim Jong-il has been the government of
South Korea. A portion on this aid was funneled through a UNDP trust fund,
according to UNDP whistle-blowers. But some is in plain sight. Even now, the Roh
government is negotiating to provide fuel oil alongside grain. The U.S. returned
the $25 million it had frozen. For many reasons and parties, the time is ripe
for the North Korea scandal investigation to be confined to and pinned on a UNDP
subordinate, and to be ended.
Friday, Inner City Press'
Q&A with Ban's spokesperson
Spokesperson: I will
find out whether, first, the letter was received, and second, whether the
picture of the person is included. But I'm not sure I can find that out. But I
Ban Ki-moon's lead spokesperson not be able to find out if a photos is in the
array? In fact, this office of the Secretary-General could find out and disclose
who put the photo in the array, if it chooses to.
Inner City Press: Also, what will the
Secretary-Generalís response be to this request that an alleged or purported
whistleblower should be protected? What will be done in that regard?
Spokesperson: I can tell you that the
Secretary-General has already discussed this with different senior advisers in
this building, and this is being taken care of. And it is a concern.
When was it, that Ban Ki-moon discussed the case of Mr. Shkurtaj with
"different senior advisers in this building," and how is it "being
taken care of"? Developing.
Again, because a number of Inner City Press'
sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while
it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this
installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the
UN agencies and many of their staff. Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone
calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep
the information flowing.
UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
(and weekends): 718-716-3540 Matthew.Lee [at]
Other, earlier Inner
City Press are listed here, and
some are available in the ProQuest service.
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UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
(and weekends): 718-716-3540