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On Somalia, Ban's Office Doubles-Down on its Stonewalling, Ladsousification of UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 9 -- The UN of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon under Herve Ladsous has reached this point: this Friday evening it claimed that its non-response to Inner City Press questions since June 24 about the UN in Somalia either were answered, or have not yet been partially answered in a statement by Ladsous' spokesperson Kieran Dwyer spoon-fed to another media. Both are false.

At Friday's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's associate spokesperson Farhan Haq:

Inner City Press: a question that I have asked all the way back to June about Mr. David Bax of UNMAS [United Nations Mine Action Service] in Somalia. One of the questions that was asked was, who were the private security personnel or armed guards with whom he went to the compound on the day of the attack; it seems like if they are UN contractors and they are getting paid by the UN, it shouldn’t be hard to answer it, but it is yet to be answered. I am wondering if you either have that answer or can provide it today?

Associate Spokesperson Haq: On the latter, as I believe Martin [Nesirky] had mentioned a few days ago, the United Nations Office for Project Services, which is the contracting group regarding Mr. Bax, is looking into this particular case, and we wouldn’t have any further comment while it looks into it.

Inner City Press: Are they looking into just the sexual harassment allegations or the private security?

Associate Spokesperson Haq: We have no comment while they look into the matter.

Inner City Press: I went back and looked, I think it was 5 July, in this room, when I asked about Mr. Bax. You made a big point of saying, “we always answer your questions, we always send answers,” and I am wondering, should I still be waiting, which I have yet to receive from your Office, so it’s an answer on the questions that I asked about Mr. Bax, or is this is indirectly answering the answer that’s gonna be given?

Associate Spokesperson Haq: No, while… as I just made clear, while they are looking into this, we wouldn’t have any further comment. At some point, if we have some answers…

Inner City Press: Well, why is Kieran Dwyer sending an answer to other… if the policy is that there will be no answer, so I am still wondering why…

Associate Spokesperson: Matthew, I don’t speak for Kieran. Whatever information we have, we’ve provided once we have it. As we did, by the way, with David Bax.

  Well, no. After Inner City Press on Friday afternoon published a piece with the video and Haq's previous July 5 statement, Ban's Spokesperson's Office sent this:

Subject: Your question at noon on Somalia
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Fri, Aug 9, 2013 at 6:39 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

On 24 June, you asked whether the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) had a response to the email received from an anonymous source in relation to a contractor in Somalia.

Today and on earlier occasions, DPKO says it has relayed the position that the hiring agency of the UN Mine Action Service staff member in question, the UN Office for Project Services, is inquiring into the complaint and will not make further comment while its inquiries are ongoing. This was and continues to be the case.

DPKO's public affairs team did not share any other information with other correspondents on questions on this anonymous email. This is the United Nations' response to questions on the email, and DPKO has relayed that.

  The game here seems to be to pretend that Inner City Press only asked about the whistleblower's complaint. But as simply one example, Inner City Press at the June 26 noon briefing asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey

Inner City Press: What’s their response to a… to public allegations that the head of the Mine Action Service in Somalia… a David Bax, shares information with United States intelligence through Bancroft Global Services and also was seen and photographed entering the UN compound with armed private contractors?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, we’ll have to check on that for you, Matthew. I don’t have an answer to that right now.

As Inner City Press reported on August 7, a canned response from UNMAS through Ladsous' spokesperson Kieran Dwyer was given to another media:

Agnes Marcaillou, the director of UN Mine Action Service in New York: Note to Kieran Dwyer

#1 The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) supports AMISOM and Somali Police Force explosive ordnance device teams collect evidence from the site of an IED incident or from recovered IEDs which have been rendered safe.

UNMAS is mandated to provide technical assistance, including training and mentoring, to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali Police Force (SPF) in explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), first response and post-blast investigation (PBI) to improvised explosive devices (IED), including mentoring and training them in law enforcement investigative techniques. This assistance to Somalia contributes to building a capacity commensurate with that of most nations with a well functioning security sector.

UNMAS provides assistance to the Somali Police in the preservation of evidence from IED incidents, to enable them to later prosecute through proper judicial process. This is important because improper handling and/or disposal of explosive devices would destroy evidence and result in minimal opportunity for possible legal action.

UNMAS supports cooperation between law enforcement agencies in facilitating knowledge sharing between the Somali Police Force and law enforcement agencies, such as Interpol and the FBI.

#2 At UN[S]OM’s request, UNMAS provided emergency response to the 19 June attack to save lives

UN[S]OM (the new UN mission in Somalia) asked UNMAS to assist while the attack was actually underway. The Burundian convoy escort team provided by AMISOM to support UNMAS was deployed in Mine Protected Vehicles to assist in the evacuation of UN staff from the common compound. UNMAS technical staff also deployed in cooperation with Department of Safety and Security (DSS) focal points and the Somali Police.

As part of this deployment supporting DSS and the Somali police, UNMAS Programme manager David Bax and team helped secure the area from residual explosive threats. At the request of the Somali police, UNMAS provided assistance in the gathering of forensic evidence for possible use in a criminal investigation, following recognized law enforcement forensic guidelines. Bodies also had to be checked to make sure they were free from explosive hazards and not booby trapped. A number of unexploded devices were discovered. Several were armed and extremely dangerous, posing a direct threat to the UNMAS and AMISOM teams as well as to anybody planning to reoccupy the UN common compound.

The whole investigation team evacuated when their position was no longer tenable due to the deteriorating security situation.

Under the circumstances UNMAS was the only entity equipped to gather information for both the internal UN investigation, and to support the Somali police before evidence was destroyed or compromised in the event that the compound fell out of UN control, following established international guidelines for the recovery of forensic material.

In an extremely difficult and dangerous environment, the UNMAS team contributed to the success of the evacuation of more than 35 staff and allowed important evidence for later inquiry/investigation to be obtained without further casualties from unexploded ordnance.

#3 Bax oversight of allocation of rooms on UNMAS compound follows normal procedures

...As in the case of other UN facilities world-wide controlled by their respective Head of Agency, David Bax, as Head of UNMAS-Somalia, has oversight over UNMAS accommodation facilities. It is logical therefore that, for UNMAS facilities, Bax has final say over allocation given tight resources and high demand. At some point over the past three years, UNMAS has hosted staff from all UN agencies operational in Mogadishu, and has gladly been an enabler for the UN family to gain access to Somalia.

  So what does Ban's Spokesperson's Office mean, "DPKO's public affairs team did not share any other information with other correspondents"? This is the Ladsousification of the UN. We'll have more on this Watch this site.


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