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UN Peacekeeping's Ladsous Fiddles As Copter Burns, Offers Photos Only to Western Wires

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 23 -- The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations is headed by a former spokesman for the French ministry of foreign affairs, but its professionalism, transparency and credibility have plummeted in the second half of 2012 under Herve Ladsous.

  Most recently on December 21, minutes after the Security Council issued a press statement condemning the shooting down of a DPKO helicopter by South Sudan, killing four Russian crew members, DPKO's spokesman Andre-Michel Essoungou e-mailed out "an interactive timeline to look back at the milestones of 2012. We’d be grateful if you could have a look."

  Three days earlier at the direction of Herve Ladsous, Essoungou seized the boom microphone at the UN Television stakeout, to prevent questions to Ladsous about mass rapes by DPKO's partners in the Congolese Army, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. Video here.

  This was called outrageous by many in the UN, including in the Security Council, but despite complaints the UN has yet to act.

  The problem is that no one dares tell Ladsous to do his job, since the post belongs to France and outgoing French president Nicolas Sarkozy dumped Ladsous into the job as a last minute replacement for Jerome Bonnafont, after Ladsous had been rejected by previous Secretary General Kofi Annan.

  Ladsous openly favors the French, including also giving advance notice and questions to Agence France-Presse, on one of the boards of which Ladsous used to serve. Under Ladsous, DPKO despite its use of South Asian peacekeepers and Russian pilots has become fixated on Western wire services.

  Consider this UNPeacekeeping tweet, of photographs of Wau in South Sudan:

RT "@UNPeacekeeping: Photos: Protecting civilians in #Wau #SouthSudan For use in publication @washingtonpost @afp @ap @reuters @bw"

  Even if this doesn't mean what to some it seemed like -- that Ladsous' DPKO was offering photos only to these five Western media including AFP -- the choice of these five shows the bias and non-UN thinking of Ladsous' DPKO. So did Ladsous taking two of the five listed above into the hallway on November 27, to avoid questions about the Congolese Army rapes in Minova, video here.

   Substantively, Ladsous' refusal to answer Press questions since late May, when he sought take advantage of anti-Press moves that has begun in September 2011 by AFP, ironically about coverage of Ladsous being the last minute replacement for Bonnafont, has hurt the Ban Ki-moon administration, for example leaving Ban's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy unexplained and not credible.

   But who would replace Bonnafont? The way the UN works, one thinks it could only be the French. Watch this site.

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