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In UN Sanctions Branch, Of Sex and Waste and Fiefdoms, Pascoe's Transfer Examined

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 13 -- The UN's Sanctions Branch is run in such a way that when one of its Democratic Republic of the Congo experts began spending its money on prostitutes while in the DRC, he was allowed to continue by converting the working woman into his girlfriend, responsive UN sources tell Inner City Press.

  The team on Sudan sanctions was stacked with non Arabic speakers, friends and acquaintances of the UN official who recruited them, costing tens of thousands of dollars in extra translation fees.

  The Sanctions Branch is a part of the UN Department of Political Affairs, currently embroiled in controversy. Last week Inner City Press obtained and published a sharply worded "note to file" by DPA chief B. Lynn Pascoe reprimanding two long time staffers, Horst Heitmann and Aleksandar Martinovic, who oversees the Sanctions Branch. Since then additional whistleblowers have stepped forward, and the picture has become more complete.

  It is, as is so often the case at the UN, a story about family connections, nationality and fiefdoms. To fill an opening at the P-5 level in the Sanctions Branch Mr. Martinovic, a Peruvian who came into the UN along with Javier Perez de Cuellar, favored one James E. Suttlin, whose father James S. Sutterlin wrote a central bank about Perez de Cuellar.

  Lynn Pascoe's supporters recount that the Sanctions Branch under Martinovic faced complaints of sexism and "lack of gender balance."

  With two long serving women leaving the sanctions branch, the hiring of Sutterlin was not positively viewed. Nor was the fact that until one of the women left, the Sanctions Branch lacked staff meetings and coordination. "Just one on one, divide and conquer" is how one insider described it to Inner City Press. And so Pascoe intervened, circumventing an already ongoing recruitment process to laterally send in someone in his office.

  Martinovic and Horst Heittman protested, suddenly declaring that the position wasn't needed. The Pascoe supporters point out that while Heittman now contests USG Pascoe's lateral transfer, he himself favor a lateral move of his fellow German Gregor Boventer into the Charter Research Branch, with little background in the subject.

  National fealty and power politics seem to have determined much of the make up of DPA and its Security Council Affairs Division.

UN's Pascoe and Heitmann, note to file not shown, background coming into view

  It is said that when Heittman came in at D-1, then German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger pleaded his case to then DPA chief Kieran Prendergast. Now with another Germany Ambassador on his way, this level of support is not known.

  Heittman is said to have offered German help to Kofi Annan's last DPA chief Ibrahim Gambari, to try to keep this post under Ban Ki-moon. This didn't work, and now Lynn Pascoe is said to not let Gambari work on any African issues. But before he left, Gambari ensured Nigerian representation within DPA and its SCAD.

   It is like archeology, and if what Inner City Press reported in its last article, that the Obama administration wants peacekeeping and would give DPA to the French, a new round of musical chair might soon begin. But we like to get as close to the truth as we can for each round, hence this follow up report. Watch this site.

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At UN, Rebellion and Retaliation in Political Affairs Unit, Pascoe's Transfer Questioned, Faces French - Obama Switch?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 8, updated Oct. 9 -- The UN Department of Political Affairs, charged with working internationally for peace, has devolved into some internal warfare. On October 8, DPA chief B. Lynn Pascoe wrote an angry "note to file" about two of his directors, who rebelled against what many of Inner City Press' sources in DPA call a flawed and even corrupt hiring process. The note to file, after DPA's response, is being published by Inner City Press here.

  As Mr. Pascoe's Note to File about "Unacceptable Conduct by Messrs. Martinovic and Heitmann" has it, "a P5 level staff member in my office volunteered for the internal mobility exercise. I reviewed the Vacancy Announcement that was posted for the P5 in the Subsidiary Organs [of the Security Council] Branch, and I deemed that she was qualified for the post."

  There was only one problem: public notice of this P5 post has already been published, and three candidates from outside the UN had already applied. They were told that a test would be administered to make the process competitive and merit-based. Then they were told that the examination was canceled "for technical reasons."

  One of the suddenly disqualified finalists, from Germany, came to New York and demanded of Mr. Aleksandar Martinovic to know what these "technical reasons" were. Another internal candidate, already expert on sanctions, was also sidelined by Mr. Pascoe's unilateral decision to place his colleague Michele Griffin into the vacant P5 post, effective October 20, 2009.

  Returning to Mr. Pascoe's disciplinary version, after he "issued a note to all DPA staff announcing the move, plus one other transfer, on 2 October, 2009" suddenly Mr. Martinovic and Horst Heitmann, the head of the Security Council Division, informed Mr. Pascoe's Special Assistant Karin Ann Gerlach that "they no longer required the post, did not need the staff member I had laterally re-assigned."

  This was a protest of Mr. Pascoe's circumvention of an already begun recruitment process, sources tell Inner City Press. But rather than reconsider his actions, challenged by two respected directors in DPA, Pascoe fired off a note to their personnel files, calling it a "direct contravention of... the instructions I issued as head of the Department... unacceptable conduct for senior managers."

  For the head of the UN Secretariat's main diplomatic unit to resort to managing his directors by vituperative notes to personnel files strikes some as a bad sign.

  Less documented than the above but not entirely unrelated, well placed sources in the UN say that the United States is mulling taking over the Department of Peacekeeping Affairs, thereby displacing its current chief Alain Le Roy, but in exchange giving DPA to Le Roy's native France. They noted, however, that India too is making a claim to the Peacekeeping post. Watch this site.

UN's Pascoe and a retributed director who protested Pascoe's autocratic rule

  While there is no mechanism, it appears, for a "note to the personnel file" of Mr. Pascoe, his circumvention of an already begun recruitment exercise, disregard for the protests of two long time directors, and notes to their files do not reflect well on him. Pascoe concludes, "I have asked Mr. [Haile] Menkerios to duly note this incident on both e-PAS' for the 2009/10 cycle."

  Mr. Menkerios is known as Pascoe's "go-to" guy for African issues, totally sidelining Pascoe's predecessor as DPA chief Ibrahim Gambari. But with Menkerios reportedly up to replace Rodolphe Adada in Darfur, will he continue as the e-PAS hatchet man against two of his directors?

  A month ago, Inner City Press posed a simple question to DPA and its spokesman, about a hiring process. It took more than three weeks to get it answered, and even then, only partially. While that story is finally in preparation, the report above, supported by two documents with Mr. Pascoe's signature, does not require any three week wait. Pascoe's note to file says "they will have an opportunity to respond in writing should they wish." So, on that or Pascoe's response, we have have more. Watch this site.

Footnote: On October 8, the day Pascoe signed the above quoted note to file, Inner City Press asked him questions on the record about both Somalia and Guinea. On the former, both on and off camera, Pascoe presented himself as unaware of the specifics of the United States' curtailment of aid to the UN World Food Program due to questions about the applicability of anti-terrorism laws to aid in the Al Shabaab controlled portions of Somalia. Video here from Minute 7:47.

   On the latter, Pascoe expressed outrage about the rapes in Guinea, and said he hoped for an election, to which the UN would provide help. Video here, from Minute 11:29.

 Hopefully clearer than in Afghanistan.

Then Inner City Press obtained a copy of Pascoe's note to file, which seems an equally or more accurate reflection of current DPA diplomacy.

Update of October 9, 2009: rather than the more that three weeks it took to answer a simple question about an office overseen by the Department of Political Affairs, this time DPA sent a response the next day:

Subj: in response to your blog posting of today
From: Jared Kotler [at]
To: Inner City Press
Sent: 10/9/2009 12:03:11 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

Under USG Pascoe’s leadership, DPA is undergoing a process of strengthening and renewal which includes a mobility exercise intended to broaden the experiences of staff members, consistent with broader efforts to create a more mobile and well rounded Secretariat. The staff transfer you refer to on your blog today was taken in that context. Incidentally, you may be unaware that, as established in ST/AI/2006/3, it is entirely within the authority of a Department head to transfer staff laterally within a department. The reasons for the note to the file you refer to on you blog are well summarized therein.

Jared Kotler
Office of the Under-Secretary General
UN Department of Political Affairs

  And so, we publish the note to file, here and above. The protest / refusal to go along of two long standing and respected directors in DPA remains noteworthy. Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson, who Inner City Press asked about this on October 9, said that Ban would have not comments on the specifics. The question was and is, does UN "mobility" allow for a hiring process so irregular that long time and respected directors protest it? And is the answer to fire off vituperative notes to file? Watch this site.

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As Sri Lankan IDPs Shot, UN's Pascoe Says Camps To Be "Thinned Out," Council Should Meet

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 28 -- Just after the Sri Lankan Army shot people leaving the Manik Farms camps in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka's Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Secretary of Defense met in New York with the UN's highest officials.

 Afterwards, Inner City Press asked the head of the UN's Department of Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe about the shooting incidents, whether the Sri Lankan Army's web site had misquoted him, and why the UN had not convened a meeting about Sri Lankan during the last week's General Debate. Video here, from Minute 55:49.

Of the shooting, Pascoe attributed it to overcrowding in the Manik Farms camps, saying "they need to be thinning it out." He acknowledged that the Sri Lankan Army had put a "different spin" on what he said during his visit this month. Inner City Press asked about the headline "You have better story than is getting out today - Pascoe to President." Inner City Press asked this question ten days ago, without getting any answer.

  Pascoe said he was only been referring to de-mining, that he was "surprised" he was quoted "for saying things quite in the way that [he] had said them." But why didn't the UN seek a correction then, as it has when for example Sudan characterized what the UN told them in a bilateral conversation?

  Pascoe said that the meeting with Defense Secretary (and Presidential brother) Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka and Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama was attended not only by Ban Ki-moon, but also by John Holmes and Vijay Nambiar.

  As Pascoe sought to turn to another questioner, Inner City Press reminded him of the unanswered question of why the UN had not set up a meeting during the General Debate, as it did on Myanmar, Somalia and other countries.

UN's Pascoe on Sept. 28, Sri Lanka's "different spin" not shown
  Pascoe said there had been some thought "early on" of convening such a meeting about Sri Lanka, but it didn't happen. He added that "it is important for the Security Council to discuss... in their rooms or in the basement." Well, the UN Charter provides for the Secretary General to convene a Security Council meeting, under Article 99. Watch this site.

Footnotes: in continued reporting on the delayed U.S. State Department report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, which was due before Congress on September 21 but was then deferred, Inner City Press has been told that staff for Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont found deficiencies with the report, having nothing to do with the stealth visit of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Meanwhile, in Europe the possible termination of Sri Lanka's GSP Plus tariff benefit is set to be discussed on October 1, and voted on by October 15. We'll see.

Inner City Press' June 18 debate on Sri Lanka, click here

  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.

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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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