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As US Shown Spying on UN, In Denial UN in Iraq Under US Protection

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 29 -- The UN's rather pathetic reaction to evidence that the US State Department under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has tried to spy on it, from UN officials' computer passwords and frequently flier codes to the intentions of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations is indicative of the complex relationship between the UN and its host country.

  On November 28, after repeated Press inquiries, Ban's spokesperson's office put out a statement that “the UN is by its very nature a transparent organization that makes a great deal of information about its activities available to the public.”

  This is highly debatable: as simply one example, after the UN canceled its November 26 noon media briefing, Inner City Press submitted several questions about ranging from Haiti and Sudan through Iran and human rights to Myanmar and Iraq, less than half of which were answered.

   Tellingly, even the Iraq questions which got a one line response was dodged. Inner City Press asked the UN's top envoy in Iraq “Ad Melkert receive security protection from the US forces in Iraq” and “if yes, is this a change from previous procedure,” citing

The soldiers of Alpha Battery, 1/141, started out providing armed troops and armored vehicles to protect the supply convoys. They now act as the quick reaction force, which includes providing ground medical evacuation to area helicopters that cannot reach and secure landing zones, Fernandez said. They also staff entries to the United Nations Villa, a compound where UN workers live, and specifically guard the residence for the special representative for the UN secretary-general in Iraq. While the UN officials have personal security personnel, they also are shadowed by Alpha Battery when they travel. 'They’re not allowed to move without us,' Fernandez said. 'They don’t want to move without us.'”

  To this question, UN acting Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq answered “We don't comment on precise security arrangements, for security reasons.”

  If you have the UN in Iraq accepting not only security but also orders from the US, what position is the UN in to complain if Hillary Clinton orders UN envoy to Iraq Ad Melkert, or even Ban Ki-moon, spied on?

  An interesting aspect of Clinton's spying memo is its focus on the UN Development Program's actions on whistleblowers. The highest profile UNDP whistleblower case has been of the agency's security chief in North Korea, who exposed among other things that the UN system was allowing the Kim Jong-il government to choose the UN's staff and take payment for them.

  This became associated with the final days of George W. Bush's Republican Administration, leading one to wonder if there are not a serious of such spy memos, portions of which were unchanged, dating back to the previous administration. This would not let the Obama administration off the hook -- if anything, it would show how much the Obama administration's UN policy is on auto-pilot.

US' Hillary Clinton & Susan Rice with UNSC, spying not shown

  The revelations come at a particularly inconvenient time with the US, as Ambassador Susan Rice takes over the Presidency of the UN Security Council on December 1, and will be required or at least expected to stand before the Press reading out the decisions of the Council.

  In fact, every other Council President has scheduled a full press conference at the beginning of their month, to take a range of questions. The UN's “Week Ahead” scheduled distributed the day before Thanksgiving does not include any such press conference by Susan Rice. Watch this site.

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 24 STATE 080163

NOFORN, SIPDIS, E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2034




¶1. (S/NF) This cable provides the full text of the new National HUMINT Collection Directive (NHCD) on the United Nations (paragraph 3-end) as well as a request for continued DOS reporting of biographic information relating to the United Nations (paragraph 2).

UN Management

1) UN Leadership Dynamics (FPOL-1).

-- SYG's management and decision-making style, and his influence on the Secretariat.

-- Plans, measures and efforts undertaken by the SYG and subordinates on US political and bureaucratic objectives for UN management.

-- Role and influence of Secretariat and other key officials with SYG and other UN system agencies.

-- Views of and brokering by key officials on major issues.

-- Changes in and appointment and selection process for key officials of Secretariat, specialized agency, committee, commission, and program officials in New York, Geneva, Vienna, and other UN system cities, to include special assistants and chiefs of staff.

-- Personalities, biographic and biometric information, roles, effectiveness, management styles, and influence of key UN officials, to include under secretaries, heads of specialized agencies and their chief advisers, top SYG aides, heads of peace operations and political field missions, including force commanders.

2) Budget and Management Reform (FPOL-1).

-- Plans, measures and efforts undertaken by the SYG and subordinates on US political and bureaucratic objectives for UN management.

-- Plans and intentions of UNDP Executive Board members to push for or block management reform proposals.

-- Plans and intentions of UNDP Executive Board members or senior UNDP managers to address potential or actual cases of corruption or mismanagement by field missions, including efforts to cover up waste, fraud, or abuse.

-- Internal complaints by UNDP staff about waste, fraud, or abuse and efforts by UNDP management to respond to them.

-- Plans and intentions of Board members, such as Iran, to push for increased UNDP funding for programs in their own countries or those of their friends.

-- Degree of independence from UN headquarters of UNDP Resident Coordinators in the field and perceptions of field staff on UN aid consolidation reforms under the "One UN" Program.

-- Efforts by the G-77 Board members to develop common group platforms, especially on budget and management reform issues...

-- Impact and effectiveness of whistle-blowing provisions on the UN reform process.

-- Attitudes of UN staff and member states towards extending a common whistle-blower protection program to all UN funds and programs.

4) Telecommunications Infrastructure and Information Systems (INFR-5H).

-- Current technical specifications, physical layout, and planned upgrades to telecommunications infrastructure and information systems, networks, and technologies used by top officials and their support staffs.

-- Details on commercial and private VIP networks used for official communications, to include upgrades, security measures, passwords, personal encryption keys, and types of V P N versions used.

-- Telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of key officials, as well as limited distribution telephone numbers/directories and public switched networks (PSTN) telephone directories; dialing numbers for voice, datalink, video teleconferencing, wireless communications systems, cellular systems, personal communications systems, and wireless facsimiles.

-- Key personnel and functions of UN entity that maintains UN communications and computer networks....

-- Information about current and future use of communications systems and technologies by officials or organizations, including cellular phone networks, mobile satellite phones, very small aperture terminals (VSAT), trunked and mobile radios, pagers, prepaid calling cards, firewalls, encryption, international connectivity, use of electronic data interchange, Voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP), Worldwide interoperability for microwave access (Wi-Max), and cable and fiber networks.


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On S. Sudan Vote & Ban's Panel, UN Dodges Questions of Payment, Diaspora Visits

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 26 -- With questions mounting about the registration process for the Southern Sudan secession referendum scheduled for January 9, the UN is withholding basic information about the Panel to which Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “outsourced” key parts of the UN's role.

  At media briefings by Ban's spokesperson, Inner City Press has asked about how the Panel is funded, which registration sites they have visited in the United States, Canada, Ethiopia and Kenya, and whether they are implicitly trying to blame the SPML for under-registration of Southern Sudanese in the Northern part of the country and/or in the eight “diapora” countries in which polling would be held.

  UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq has declined to answer many of these questions, referring instead to a separate spokesperson's office set up for the panel. While Inner City Press has sent this “outsourced” office two recent rounds of questions, only one has been answered, and then only partially.

  This seems to be a pattern at the UN -- to name a Panel and then refuse to answer questions about the subject matter outsourced to the Panel.

  Left unanswered for example is when the registration site in four of the diaspora countries -- Australia, Egypt, Uganda and the United Kingdom -- will be visited and by whom, how much Panel chair Benjamin Mkapa has been paid and by whom, and what he meant when he blamed “some Southerners” for blocking registration in the North of Southern Sudanese.

Salva Kiir & Benjamin Mkapa, UN answers on funding & diaspora not shown

  Herebelow in order are Inner City Press' two rounds of question, both of which were copied to Ban Ki-moon's two top spokespeople without response, the UN Panel spokesman's partial response to the first round, and the second round un-responded to for more than 24 hours:

Hi. I would like responses on deadline to the following questions, as well as those I asked at the OSSG's noon briefings on November 22 and November 19:

How many people work for the Panel?

How much has thus far been paid to these people and to each of the three Panelists?

How much of this has come from the Basket Fund, and how much through UNMIS?

What is the status for each donor or pledger to the Basket Fund?

As asked November 19, has a vote by the Basket Fund group been taken regarding funding the Panel? If not, why not?

How much has been paid from the Basket Fund (or UNMIS) to IOM?

In which of the eight diaspora states have registration sites actually been visited?

Please provide updated registration figures or estimates for each diaspora country, as well as the number and location of registration (and polling) sites in each.

As asked November 22, on the statement “made from the Secretary-General’s Panel on the referendum. There seems to be a lot of controversy about the low numbers of Southern registrants in the North. Some people are putting the number as low as 9,000. So it seemed like, in your statement, you are saying some Southerners are encouraging other Southerners — I just want to understand, because the SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement] blames it all on Khartoum.”

When the Panel chair referred to “a campaign by some Southern leaders to encourage people not to register and vote outside Southern Sudan” was he referring to any SPLM role or not?

Separately, why is there no Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General briefing on November 26?

These were partially responded to by the Panel's spokesman:

Matthew, The Panel will have 38 staff when it reaches full deployment, which is expected by the end of this month. They are paid regular salaries just like any other UN staff members.

Any questions about the basket fund should be directed to UNDP.

Registration sites have been visited in Canada, Ethiopia, Kenya and the United States. Staff are about to visit sites in Australia, Egypt, Uganda and the United Kingdom as well.

IOM is conducting registration in the diaspora countries, so it will have the figures on the number of people registering and the number of sites. The Southern Sudan Referendum Commission will have the equivalent information for within Sudan.

The Panel chair was referring to Southern leaders and not to any specific SPLM role.

This response openly evaded the question for example of how much Benjamin Mkapa has been paid, as well as declining to answer questions about the Basket Fund to which the spokesman, and the Office of the Spokesman for Ban Ki-moon, has repeatedly made reference. And so these follow ups were submitted more than 24 hours ago to both UN offices:

Thanks but I again ask, with emphasis: How much has thus far been paid to each of the three Panelists? What you sent implies that they are “like any other UN staff members.” Are the three Panelists paid “When Actually Employed”? When have they so far been actually employed? How much have they been paid and by / through which mechanism: UNMIS or Basket Fund?

Please specify (with address) the registration sites the Panel has already visited in Canada, Ethiopia, Kenya and the United States, and will visit in Australia, Egypt, Uganda and the United Kingdom including date and who visit(ed).

And I am still asking for your (and OSSG/UNMIS) response or update on para 14 ofUnited Nations A/65/571 of 12 November 2010, Financing arrangements for the United Nations Mission in the Sudan for the period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011, Report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions

14. Concerning the requirements for the Secretary-General’s Panel, the Committee noted that, in paragraph 78 of his report to the Security Council on the Sudan (S/2010/528), the Secretary-General had indicated that it was expected that UNDP would contribute an amount of $0.9 million. Upon enquiry, the Committee was informed that the provision of those funds was uncertain, as the UNDP project documents for the referenda in the Sudan did not include the activities of the Panel and it would, therefore, require a decision by the basket fund steering committee. As such, no immediate disbursements could be made to facilitate the deployment of Panel support staff. The Committee was informed that should UNDP succeed in mobilizing resources for supporting the Panel, reimbursement to UNMIS would be made. The Advisory Committee is of the view that the Mission should continue to pursue this issue with UNDP and requests that further information on the status of the contribution be included in the context of the performance report.”

What is the status? What has UNMIS / DPKO / the Secretariat done? On deadline, thanks.

And after 24 hours and counting, no answer at all. Watch this site.

From the UN's November 22 transcript:

Inner City Press: I want to ask about Sudan on the statement that you made from the Secretary-General’s Panel on the referendum. There seems to be a lot of controversy about the low numbers of Southern registrants in the North. Some people are putting the number as low as 9,000. So it seemed like, in your statement, you are saying some Southerners are encouraging other Southerners — I just want to understand, because the SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement] blames it all on Khartoum.

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: Well, that was just a summary of a press conference that President Mkapa held in Khartoum, and I’d just refer you to the transcript of that. We have that available in our office.

Inner City Press: And does the Secretary-General’s Panel have any role in overseeing these sites, these eight Diaspora voting sites in Africa, the United States, Australia? Are they going to visit any of those sites? And there is some controversy now about the IOM [International Organization for Migration] role in it. It’s not exactly clear to me who is funding the IOM for that work, but what is the Panel’s role on these other sites?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: No, you can check with the Panel itself about the sites. It’s looking at the whole referenda process, which includes sites for Southerners to vote in the North.

Inner City Press: But isn’t his Panel — I have had some problem in the past getting responses from the Panel, so I just wanted to know, it’s the Secretary-General, he set up the terms of reference, it’s his delegated Panel, right

 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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