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At UN, Guehenno's No-Work USG Post Ends as French Influence Is Downplayed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 29 -- This month after France ousted its Ambassador to the UN Jean Maurice Ripert, he was quickly named to a UN Under Secretary General post, as a humanitarian envoy to Pakistan. The UN's fast accommodation of Ripert led Inner City Press to ask, on August 24 and August 26, how many French USGs the UN system has, and to write twice on the answers.

 Four days later, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal was quoted in that "we perceive no bad intentions towards our country through the questions that were asked. These questions fall within the free exercise by journalists of their profession." Paris-based ISRA went on to chide Inner City Press for describing "French diplomat Jean-Marie Guehenno... as a 'do-nothing USG' despite Mr. Guehenno's major achievements in peacekeeping operations from 2000 to 2008."

  Yes, Inner City Press used the phrase "do-nothing USG" for Guehenno, quite literally. After heading DPKO, Guehenno was quietly named USG for Regional Cooperation, a new post, like Ripert's. The UN never announced it, but confirmed it when Inner City Press discovered it.

  Later, in the Spring of 2009, Inner City Press interviewed Mr. Guehenno across the street from the UN, and asked what tasks he had done for the UN since his appointment. None, he answered candidly. The UN had not assigned him a single job. That is why we called him literally a do-nothing USG, and mused, as we had in print back in the spring, if such no show jobs might not constitute immigration fraud.

 Since the publication of Inner City Press' August 24 and August 26 articles, the Spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon Michele Montas has written Inner City Press that "One update on yesterday’s question : Mr. Guehenno's appointment had expired effective close of business 31 July 2009. He is no longer a staff member."

 So sometimes the UN does the right thing, even if only belatedly.

UN's Ban and France's Kouchner, Guehenno in rear

 For the record, during Guehenno's time at DPKO, Inner City Press often cover him favorably, and respected his requests, as in the case of Congolese warlord Peter Karim. But afterwards, still unexplained is the UN's rationale for giving Guehenno a USG post, with attendant immigration, tax and travel privileges, without expecting him to do any work?

   Similarly, why was the French chief the the World Meteorological Organization for example not included in the UN's presentation of French USG's in the UN system? The list that Ms. Montas read from on August 26 from the briefing room podium, apparently intended to downplay the number of posts given to France in the UN -- who prepared it, and why? Watch this site.

Footnote: the ouster of Ripert is viewed by insiders as a long expected move by Sarkozy adviser Jean David Levitte against his rival Bernard Kouchner, of whom Ripert is a follower. So in essence, due to French infighting, the losing flotsam washed up on the UN's shores and a USG post was created. This happened, though less embarrassingly, with Guehenno as well. Is this done for other countries? Do other countries even ask for it?

While UN Claims 10 American USGs, French at WMO and IMF Ignored, Egeland's Gone

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 26, updated -- France has four Under Secretary Generals in the UN Secretariat, while China has only one. Inner City Press asked about and reported this on August 24, after UN Spokesperson Michele Montas announced the hiring of outgoing French ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert as a USG special envoy to Pakistan. On August 26, Ms. Montas unilaterally updated her response, emphasizing that the United States has ten USGs and France has only four.

  Inner City Press, which noted U.S. dominance in its August 24 story, nevertheless asked why if Ms. Montas included the heads of UNICEF and the World Food Program among the American USGs, she didn't include the French chiefs of the World Meteorological Organization and the International Monetary Fund:

Spokesperson: Montas:I was asked on Monday about the number of French Under-Secretaries-General (USGs). The United Nations system presently has four French Under-Secretaries-General. Two of them are $1-a-year appointees.

Question: How many American USGs (Under-Secretaries-General)?

Spokesperson: Yes, I have the number for that also: we presently have in the system 10 American USGs, and 4 of them are $1-a-year appointments. And this number includes the heads of WFP [World Food Program], of UNICEF and of UNRWA [UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East].

Inner City Press: And for France, why didn’t you include the World Meteorological Organization, World Trade Organization, not World Trade Organization -- there are a number of UN, there are other UN…

Spokesperson: I have a list of the 82 USGs, 82 of them; from France, I have what I gave you; I don’t have more. I don’t know what the nationality is of some other…

Inner City Press: Le Roy, Guehenno…

Spokesperson: Guehenno is one-dollar-a-year contract. Now, you have the recent appointment that we had of the Ambassador (Jean-Maurice Ripert of France as Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan). And, let me see whether I have more, a larger list on that. There are four French Under-Secretaries-General. Philippe Douste-Blazy, who is a dollar-a-year man, Special Adviser on Innovative Financing for Development; Jean-Marie Guéhenno, who is a dollar-a-year man, as a Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Regional Cooperation; and we have Alain Le Roy, who has a fixed term as Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.

Inner City Press: How about Dominique Strauss-Kahn of IMF [International Monetary Fund], Michele Jarraud of the WMO, if you’re counting….

UN's Ban and Michel Jarraud of WMO: he's not counted, but Veneman is

Spokesperson: IMF is not counted as being part of the UN system. As you know, the Bretton Woods organizations have a different status

Inner City Press: How about the Global Fund to Fight AIDS; is that a UN Agency?

Spokesperson: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, yes.

Inner City Press: And, Michel Kazatchkine?

Spokesperson: Do we have to go through all this, Matthew? I told you who the people are who have French nationality, and that’s all I have.

   Afterwards, Ms. Montas argued that WMO is not included because it has its own governing board. But so do UNICEF and WFP. To some it appeared that the list prepared for Ms. Montas, which she later provided as background, not to be put online, was skewed to understate French USGs.

   The list also does not mention Jan Egeland as a Norwegian USG,* but shows that the UK's Ian Martin has a USG post with the Department of Political Affairs. Inner City Press asked if Joaquim Chissano, who has suspended his mandate to the Lord's Resistance Army impacted areas, is still a USG -- among other things, does he still have a UN laissez passer passport? That are more questions to be analyzed from the list -- watch this site.

* - shortly after publication of the above, Norwegian sources contacted Inner City Press to say that it's known there, where Ban Ki-moon is now slated to visit, that Egeland quietly ended his post-OCHA mediating USG post. But that was never announced by the UN, just as the doling out of a no-work USG post to Jean-Marie Guehenno was never announced, only quietly confirmed when Inner City Press by chance discovered it. What's wrong with the UN?

* * *

At UN, Ripert's USG Post is France's Fourth, US has Six USGs, the UK Four or Five While Russia Two and China Only One

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 24 -- As France on Monday was given yet another Under Secretary General job at the UN, bringing its total to four, China's main USG is Sha Zukang of the Department of Social and Economic Affairs, and Russia's two are Sergei Ordzhonikidze, head of the UN in Geneva and Genady Tarasov on Iraq - Kuwait. By contrast, the United States has six USGs, the United Kingdom has four or five. It's surprising that these disparities among the Permanent Five members of the Security Council are so little talked about, at least publicly.

At the UN Security Council's monthly closed door luncheon Monday with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, UK Ambassador John Sawers joked that a final toast to outgoing French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert wasn't possible, as Jean Maurice had already had to run off on his new job for the UN. Earlier on Monday it was UN made up and dole out a job for Ripert, pushed out as Ambassador by Quai D'Orsai: Ripert will be Special Representative in Pakistan. Inner City Press asked if Ripert's post would be at the Under Secretary General level. Yes, Ban's Spokesperson Michele Montas said. Video here, from Minute 19:12.

   Inner City Press asked if that now made three French USGs, with current peacekeeping USG Alain Le Roy and his predecessor Jean-Marie Guehenno, now a USG for Regional Cooperation although he had admitted that he has been assigned no work. I'll look into that, Ms. Montas said.

  Afterwards, a French journalist approached Inner City Press to argue that "you Americans" have more USGs. So Inner City Press decided to check.

  The French have at least four USGs, including Philippe Douste-Blazy, "Special Advisor on Innovative Financing for Development." There's also Jean Arnault, already in Pakistan, who appears to be an Assistant Secretary General.

  But it is true that the United States, including their own share of do-nothing USGs like Guehenno, has fully six USGs. There's B. Lynn Pascoe at the Department of Political Affairs. There's new Department of Safety and Security chief Gregory Starr, who Inner City Press recently wrote about in connection with Starr having extended the US State Department contracts of private military contractor Blackwater.

  The US' other USGs include Jeffrey Sachs, Joseph Reed -- recently feted as a "good friend of the Chinese people" -- Ray Chambers on malaria and Matthew Nimetz on the intractable "name issue" involving Greece and what's called the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or FYROM.

  The UK clocks in with four or five USGs, depending on whether Ian Martin, still seen buzzing around the UN long after his Nepal stint and Gaza report roles are over -- is still a USG.

Two way street: Ripert gives credentials (2007), UN's Ban gives job (2009)

  There's OCHA's John Holmes, Michael Williams on the Middle East, and in the Congo, Alan Doss, embroiled in a nepotism scandal on which Ms. Montas on Montas said Ban has still not received the expected report, despite being back in New York for five days.

  Then there's Kieran Prendergast, still listed on the Cameroon - Nigeria Mixed Commission.

  Compared to Russia and China, Norway even after Mona Juul's anti-Ban memo has four USGs: Kai Eide in Afghanistan, Juul's husband Terje Roed Larsen in New York, Jan Egeland in Oslo and everywhere, at least sometimes, and Gro Harlem Brundtland, a special envoy on climate change. India has three USGs, Messrs. Atul Khare, Nitin Desai and Vijay Nambiar (whose job, like Lynn Pascoe's, the UK's John Holmes is said to covet, in the Mona Juul memo). Italy as two USGs, Zannier in Kosovo and Costa on drugs in Vienna.

  As noted above the contrast, China's main USG is Sha Zukang of DESA, and Russia's two are Sergei Ordzhonikidze, head of the UN in Geneva and Gennady Tarasov on Iraq - Kuwait. It's surprising that these disparities among the Permanent Five members of the Security Council are so little talked about, at least publicly. Russia is known to want more posts. How can they feel about France's Ripert getting one so quickly? Watch this site.

Update -- it's been pointed out that if one expands the scope to include UN system funds, programs and specialized agencies, the U.S. dispararity grows even larger, sending the USG tally to eight with the World Food Program's Josette Sheeran and UNICEF's Ann Veneman. China rises to two, with the World Health Organization's Margaret Chan...

  One could go further and include American Bob Zoellick at the World Bank-- but consider Inner City Press' exclusive piece on the poker game in which in 2012 the U.S. would renounce the World Bank to China (and, some say, UNICEF before that), and the European Union would give up the IMF in order to gain the post of UN Secretary General - click here for that.

* * *

Reports of Nepotism for UN's Ban Ki-moon Removed From Internet After Legal Threats by Ban's Son in Law

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 22 -- The son in law of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Siddarth Chatterjee, had used threats of legal action to force the removal from the Internet of comments that he may have gotten his promotion with the UN Office of Project Services in Copenhagen due to nepotism, Inner City Press has learned.

  In preparing its exclusive August 14 article on nepotism at the UN and Ban's position on and in it, Inner City Press ran across an article in the Indian Star online, which cited Inner City Press' previous piece on Chatterjee's promotion with the UN in Iraq. Recently, that Indian Star article and comments were taken off the Internet -- following a threat from Chatterjee and then by his India-based lawyer. Click here for the now-empty page.

   Free press advocates express concern at the threats, noting that in such matters "the cover-up is always worse that the crime," and demanding that Ban Ki-moon rebuke and renounce them. But will it happen?

   Here for the record, and as requested by free press advocates in several continents, are comments which were on the Indian Star page which Ban's son in law, not stopped and presumably encouraged by Ban, got removed from the Internet by legal intimidation:

(Replied: Saturday, May 02, 2009, 06:05 am EST)

Interesting indeed. Some of us have, until very recently, had the misfortune of being exposed to this man, in a professional sense, in Iraq. Spineless is a very appropriate term to use in describing this individual. There are more, but few are fit for publication. He is, indeed, a discredit to India, the Indian Army, and now the UN (where, incidentally, he has recently moved on significant promotion - despite already being totally over-promoted in the opinion of all that know, and have to work with, him). The recent recruitment of this man to the United Nations Office of Project Services in Copenhagen is yet another example of the ineptitude, nepotism and corruption which is so prevalent within the UN system, even at the highest levels (in this case, within UNOPS). But those in Baghdad are delighted that UNOPS has taken him away from Iraq all the same.

It is a shame. And it would appear people are still being fooled.

 and Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2009, 06:34 am EST


Siddharth Chatterjee is a spineless man .He could not even pass the staff exams in Indian Army ... IT IS A SHAME THAT United Nations... GET FOOLED

   After the Indian Star article and its comments went offline, they still remained available in the cache of Google and other search engines.  Ban's son in law's lawyers made more legal threats -- "this is round two of the Bans and Google," said one observer of plans by the UN to get Inner City Press removed from Google News, click here for the most recent -- to get it out of cache.

  Now even that censorship of questions of nepotism within Ban's UN has been accomplished -- click here for the now empty cache page.

   Siddarth Chatterjee a public figure, and thus his legal threats are spurious, even an abuse of process. He is the son in law of the UN Secretary General, he was awarded a job at the UN's D-2 level (see below. Now, after refusing to answer Inner City Press' repeated questions referred by Ban's Spokesperson's Office if Chatterjee is a D-2 or a D-1, UNOPS tells other journalists that he is a D-1, in order to forestall other media coverage. Will it work?

UN's top lawyer O'Brien and Ban Ki-moon, legal threats of son in law not shown

  Most recently, UNOPS in Copenhagen has told a Nordic newspaper what Chatterjee is a D-1, without explaining that the post was described by UNOPS' deputy director, in writing, as a D-2 post:

Sent: 03 March 2009 11:09
Subject: Welcome to the new mailgroup

As you know, yesterday EUO and MEO formally merged into a new regional office called EMO (Europe and the Middle East) based in Copenhagen...I will be acting Regional Director of EMO until we have recruited a “permanent” replacement. In response to our advertisement for the D-2 regional director job, we received some 130 applications. Five candidates were short-listed for interviews: four were interviewed last Friday and the last interview is scheduled for Thursday this week. We’d like to make a decision by mid-March.

    So even assuming that, as in Iraq, the UN decided even if only belatedly to keep Mr. Chatterjee a level below the grade of the post they awarded him, that is only being done to discourage press coverage of nepotism.

  Even this raises questions of whether Ban, who came into the UN system promising reform and to run things cleanly, is due to his relatives' promotions so paranoia and angry about questions of nepotism that he has a conflict of interest in dealing with charges of nepotism against others in the UN, for example his own envoy to the Congo Alan Doss -- click here for that.

Inner City Press broke the story about Alan Doss asking the UN Development Program for "leeway," to bend hiring rules and give his daughter Rebecca Doss a job in UNDP's Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific leading to a "man bite man" incident which was the focus of other media's follow up coverage. After Inner City Press' story about Ban and nepotism early on August 14, Ban's Deputy Spokesperson wrote to Inner City Press that:

Sent: 8/14/2009 7:57:02 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: your latest entry

What I said was that queries on the biting incident should be directed to the NY County DA Office.

On the allegations, we take the matter very seriously.

"The Secretary-General is aware of the situation. He has been assured that a thorough independent investigation is underway, He takes this matter very seriously, and expects to see a report upon his return to NY."

   Ban Ki-Moon returned to New York from his South Korea vacation and delivered prepared remarks at a World Humanitarian Day event in the UN's visitors' lobby on August 19. He took no questions.  On August 21, after waiting two days, Inner City Press asked Ms. Okabe if Ban had as he expected now received the report on nepotism, and what would he do about it?

   Ms. Okabe answered that although Ban had returned to New York, he had gone on leave again. So finally, what will he do?

Footnotes: in the course of legally threatening the Indian newspaper -- but not U.S. based Inner City Press -- it was argued that the Indian Star report which triggered the two comments Chatterjee and Ban did not like was "based only on a blog." The response was that Inner City Press is better read, at least online, than the Indian newspaper they threatened.

  On that, Reuters of August 21 reported that "U.N. officials also complain bitterly about the indefatigable blogger Matthew Lee, whose website Inner City Press regularly accuses Ban and other U.N. officials of hypocrisy and failing to keep their promises to reform the United Nations and root out corruption." Later, a telling second phrase was added: "(Some U.N. officials accuse Lee of not always getting his facts right, but his blog has become unofficial required reading for U.N. staffers around the world.)"

   Ironically, on August 20 a UN under secretary general approached Inner City Press about the anti-Ban memo by Norwegian deputy permanent representative Mona Juul, having "just read it on your blog." For all of Ms. Juul's criticism of Ban, from Myanmar to Sri Lanka to climate change, Juul missed the nepotism and family connection angle. Her husband Terje Roed Larsen works for Ban, as another of his Under Secretaries General who has refused to make any disclosure of his finance or to answer Inner City Press' questions about them.

   This is run for the proposition that as well as being a nepotism cover up scandal, this is a story about new media. Ban and his son in law have lawyers threaten ill-read newspapers for daring to carry a report based on what they call the "blog" Inner City Press and two resulting comments. They urge what they view as "real" or mainstream media not to cover stories which are broken by Inner City Press -- which, for example, had the world exclusive, acknowledged on Associated Press and in Japan media amog others, of the final draft of the Security Council's North Korea sanctions.

   Inner City Press, which writes more about Myanmar than other UN based correspondents, was never even told of the opportunity, given to others, to accompany and report on Ban's ultimately failed trip there. Some say that in all this, Ban is being ill-advised by those around him. The question remains: is this anachronistic media strategy of cover up, deployed by Team Ban, working? 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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