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Ladsous' Contempt for Press Is Allowed by Corrupt UN, Endive Could Have the Job

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 18 -- This UN has ceded its top Peacekeeping job to France, and so anyone that country nominates is put in charge.

  France could send a vegetable, an endive, and he would be given a staff, a military adviser, and spokespeople. He could refuse to answer or even acknowledge hard questions - heck, he could slobber and fall on the floor - and still he would have the job. That is the UN.

  So it has been with Herve Ladsous. The last three heads of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations have been from France, and so then-President Nicolas Sarkozy was given le droit to name the fourth.

  Sarkozy chose Jerome Bonnafont, a flashy French diplomat then Ambassador to India. But Bonnafont made the mistake of bragging that he had the job, and Inner City Press heard and reported it. Suddenly Bonnafont was out, and without any interview, without any review, bland bureaucrat Herve Ladsous was given the job.

  What were Ladsous' credentials? He had arranged the flights of Michele Aliot-Marie on planes of cronies of Tunisian dictator Ben Ali. Aliot-Marie left in disgrace: but Ladsous was sent to the UN.

  Here, when asked about the Tunisia flights, he refused to answer. He soon proposed another form of flight for the UN, the use of drones, but wouldn't say who would get the information gathered by the drones. Then he decided that the Press which asked these questions would be cut off - until he either shifted to positive coverage, or was banished.

  But that's not how it's supposed to work, at least under the First Amendment. And so questions kept being asked -- about a politicized pull-out from Syria, about cholera in Haiti, about peacekeepers' negligence and even recruitment of murderous militias in the Congo -- and Ladsous just kept refusing to answer or even to acknowledge the questions. Video here, from Minute 5:06.

  Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office tried to say this didn't matter, they would get answers for DPKO. But this substitution didn't work. Former UN Department of Field Support boss Susana Malcorra became Ban's chief of staff, and still nothing changed.

  Basically, once a top UN position has been ceded to a Permanent Five member of the Security Council, they can send anyone. Anyone at all. It undermines any concept of meritocracy or transparency at the UN. But that doesn't seem to matter. Ladsous came to run the UN's main department into the ground, and he has been worse for the UN than having NO ONE in the job. But France voted for Ban Ki-moon so they get the job, and they chose Ladsous.

   But wasn't it Sarkozy who chose Ladsous? What does Francois Hollande say? What does Jan Eliasson say? Many others are bought in, or are ignoring the Ladsous circus -- but some aren't. Watch this site.

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