Somalia, WFP Spins As It Hires Mercenaries, Sources Say, of Fig Leaves
and Famine and Blackwater / Xe Training the TFG
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, September 20 -- The UN World Food
Program's activities in
Somalia, portrayed critically last week by the Wall Street Journal
and defended by the BBC, bear a closer look. The Wall Street Journal
ran a belated story on U.S. and UK concerns that some of their
funding of WFP is running off to the Al Shabaab rebels. Inner City
up, asking top UN humanitarian John Holmes about the
allegations. Holmes, like the BBC, pinned them on the U.S., not his
native UK. Video
from Minute 28:26.
piece saying that U.S. sanctions are leading to starving children in
zones that are rebel controlled. Inner City Press' Somali sources,
too, say that the U.S. and UK are playing the politics of food,
trying to starve out those who live in Shabaab controlled areas. They
wonder why the UN's Ban Ki-moon has said nothing about this.
tell Inner City Press that the World
Food Program, in part to counter U.S. concerns and
also to serve U.S. policy, has hired mercenaries, "Blackwater"
it is said. The sources go further, saying that the stated size of
WFP's program in Somalia cannot be verified with real food purchases,
that some portion is just cover for funding mercenaries' training of
militias supportive of the Transitional Federal Government.
this is not the first financial shenanigans by WFP, that much of
WFP's appeal for funding is to cover a "black hole" in
WFP's past budget, money borrowed in expectation of pledges.
UN's Ban and WFP's Sheeran on the
move, mercenaries and politics of food not shown
Inner City Press has reported, WFP
Sheeran spend some $400,000 dollars to have children
from Ghana flown
in for a "simulated feeding program" for the spouses of G-8
leaders at the meeting in Italy. Click here
can get her message
out through BBC. But why wasn't she included, as UNICEF's Ann Veneman
was, in Forbes' list of most powerful women? Watch this site.
* * *
Aid Diversion in Somalia Portrayed as Inevitable, Murky Investigation
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, September 16 -- Amid allegations that UN aid funds are being
diverted in Somalia, leading to reported threats by the United
Kingdom and U.S. to cut or condition their funding, Inner City Press
on Wednesday asked top UN humanitarian John Holmes what the UN is
Holmes said that the World Food Program has begun an internal
investigation, and that he doesn't know how long it will take. He
said it is mostly the U.S. that is concerned -- others name the UK
first -- and that other donors just keep on giving. He said there is
little choice but to continue. Video here,
from Minute 28:26.
allegations focus on particular trucking companies that are being
used, and their links to entities on anti-terrorism lists, Inner City
Press asked Holmes what is being done about this, since such
diversion would violate, in some cases, legal prohibitions. Holmes
said that WFP is diversifying the number of trucking firms it works
with. He did not address the legal question. (As reported
today, the UN's top legal refuses to answer questions other than on
the narrow topics for which she appears for press conferences: today,
the UN Treaty Event).
a sense, there
is not a contradiction between taking seriously and acting on these
allegations of diversion of funds, and wanting the programs to
continue. In fact, diversion leads to a lack of credibility, and
ultimately hurts the programs' beneficiaries more.
UN's Ban gets award from WFP's
Sheeran, diversion of UN aid in Somalia not shown
referring problems to internal investigations, the time frame of
which knows no limits, also hurts the UN's credibility, as has
happened this summer in the months old investigation of the head of
the UN's Congo Mission Alan Doss asking the UN Development Program
for "leeway" to hire his daughter. It was relegated to an
internal investigation, and nothing has been done. When
during the summer's G-8 meeting WFP
spent $400,000 to fly in children from Ghana for a "simulated feeding
demonstration" for the G-8 leaders' spouses, neither Ban Ki-moon
nor John Holmes for OCHA said there was anything wrong with this. This
too undermines confidence in the UN, including by donors.
other things going on beneath this WFP corruption story, Inner City
Press' Somali sources say: the use by the US and, contra Holmes, UK
of food as a weapon, embargoing or problematizing food aid to areas
controlled by Al Shabaab. As one source puts it, "to kill the
fish, you have to drain the water, right?" We will have more on
* * *
Somalia, UN Manufactures Consent As AMISOM Shoots Camels as
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, September 15 -- The UN, which nearly invariably uses as a
defense against inaction on human rights abuses that only works in
countries upon invitation, views Somalia through a different prism,
it seems. How else to explain the dismissive response of the head of
the UN's Department of Political Affairs, Lynn Pascoe, to questions
that have arise about the work of UN envoy Ahmedou Ould Abdallah
after his Norway-funded, Kenya-drafted Law of the Sea filing about
rights to Somalia's continental shelf was roundly rejected by
asked about that, and other questions that have arisen about the
legitimacy of the multinational naval
presence off Somalia's coast
under a UN Security Council resolution based on a letter signed right
at, or past, then President Yusuf's last day in (appointed) power.
from Minute 1:05.
breezily that Ould Abdallah is so "activist" that it is not
surprising that some people don't like it. But if those people
include the majority of Somali parliamentarians, isn't that a problem
for the UN? Pascoe replied that the former President -- presumably
Yussuf -- really wanted the UN in the country.
Pascoe about surprise, it is not surprising that rulers who have
never been directly elected by the people welcome outside forces
which treat and support them as legitimate. Some Somalis were found,
as a fig leaf, to invite in the Ethiopian forces in 2006. Recently,
the AMISOM force which took over from the Ethiopians mistakenly shot
and killed a group of camels just outside the barbed wire fence around
Adan Ade airport in Mogadishu, mistaking them for
The camels shot by AMISOM as insurgents
spokesperson, Barigye Ba-hoku, told the press that "It was our new
forces and they were not aware of the camels’ movements. They say they
were attacked, and so opened fire,"
has asked the UN what its role with AMISOM is, whether it provides
ammunition and training, and what it thinks of the camel killing
incident. Watch this site.
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
from Inner City
December 12 debate on UN double standards
here for Inner
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
this site, and this
Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
Reporter's mobile (and
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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