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UN Security Stonewalls on Drugs, Bombs & Noose, Crackdown on Amorous?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, May 8 -- While UN Security's high officials have yet to provide any update on the 14 kilos of cocaine transferred from the UN to the New York Police Department as exposed by Inner City Press earlier this year, nor on incidents involving bomb sniffing dogs and a hangman's noose found in the UN, they are prepared to crackdown on two UN Security officers found in flagrante delicto in the UN Library, multiple sources tell Inner City Press.

  Some of these sources urged Inner City Press to tread cautiously with this story, given the propensity to retaliate among UN brass under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. But others said a factual presentation would help the officers in question.

  According to these sources, the two UN Security officers were stumbled upon in the women's bathroom of the UN's Dag Hammarskjold Library by a person going to use the facilities after a yoga session. Other Security was called; the incident is now well known within UN Security, with concern of over-discipline.

  Under the UN-like rubric of "Make Love, Not War," we'll note that this incident created substantially less danger than the decision, when a UN bomb sniffing dog three times barked when a vehicle from the delivery company aptly known as TNT arrive, to send the vehicle back out into New York City traffic.

  Similarly, the hangman's noose that was found was a symbol of hate, not love. But nothing seems to have been done about that. After Inner City Press asked and wrote the story, the UN replied:

Subject: Your question at the Noon Briefing
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 4:51 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

On your question about a noose: The Safety and Security Service is aware of this matter. An investigation was launched immediately, and that investigation is being finalised. For that reason we cannot say more at this stage.

  And nothing has been said since. Watch this site.

  This week Inner City Press received and answered a number of questions about UN Security:

Reading the transcripts of a couple press conferences back in January, I saw you asking some tough questions about what seemed like a pattern of events involving suspicious packages detected by dogs. How would you put the drug package incident into the context of security issues at the UN?

 The combination of the UN's legal immunity and its leadership's lack of transparency make it a soft target, so to speak, for drug trafficking and other malfeasance.

 I learned of the 14 kilos of cocaine only through a lower level UN Security source -- the package had been found (by a fluke, it seems to me) and quietly turned over to NYPD. Nothing would ever have been said about it.

 After I wrote about it and then raised it in a noon briefing, Ban Ki-moon's spokesman's office and UN Security decided to come out with a story, that someone 14 kilos of cocaine in the UN, in a bag (badly) marked "UN" somehow didn't have anything to do with the UN. I think this remains a dubious theory. Frankly, they should have waited to see who might come and try to PICK UP the cocaine.

My research led me to an earlier drug case, of khat in the UN mailroom, on which the UN stonewalled.

 Then UN Security source came and told me of the barking of the bomb sniffing dogs -- and vehicle sent right back out into New York City -- and also of a noose, which UN Security belatedly said it was investigating, with no update yet.

As I understand it, the investigative premise is that some guy in a drug cartel started putting together a fake diplomatic package, but then DHL picked up the package before it was ready. What are your thoughts on this hypothesis?

 What it seems to me is that someone knew that DHL will deliver any package with a UN logo on it to the UN, and so this was used -- they should have waited to see who would come and try to pick up the package.

What can we learn from this incident about the UN's relationship with its host city and country?

 That the UN would, in the second bomb sniffing dog, went a vehicle which a dog had barked at back out into the city shows some contempt for City and its residents. Also not letting an NYC ambulance easily in -- recently I covered a story where an audio engineer had a seizure and ambulance was not immediately let into treat him. Think what this means for people inside the UN on tours -- and even for diplomats...

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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