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Of UN Trucks With White Powder, Spox Says "Anti-Humidity," Ladsous Linked Rapes to R&R

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 24 -- When peacekeepers from France allegedly raped children in the Central African Republic and the UN learned about it more than a year ago, the UN and UNICEF did nothing, until French UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous asked to fire the whistleblower Anders Kompass in March of this year, as stated in two UN Dispute Tribunal rulings.

  On September 11, refusing to answer on this, Ladsous instead linked the rapes to soldiers' lack of "distraction" and saying rapes could be avoided by some "relatively cheap R&R." Video here.

  On September 15, the UN Mission in CAR, MINUSCA, disclosed yet another "allegation of sexual exploitation committed by one of its civilian staff."

 On September 23 it was reported that a ship carrying UN Peacekeeping mission equipment was found in Mombasa, Kenya, with cocaine and AK-47s hidden INSIDE the UN Peacekeeping equipment. It appears the equipment was headed to the DR Congo, where Ladsous has declined to go after the Hutu FDLR militia (he has a history, here.)

On September 24, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who twice now has Banned the Press from even posing a question to Ladsous, about the ship, the guns and the white powder. Video here. Dujarric said that APC guns can be stored inside the vehicle; if they were not registered it was, he said, a “clerical” error.

  On the white powder, Dujarric said that it might be “anti-humidity” powder to protected the tires of the vehicles during the voyage. The death of the UNODC official, he said, was by natural causes. Online, some speculated about Ladsous and a “French Connection” remake. But Ladsous' most recent video, linking UN rapes to “R&R,” takes the prize. Will it come up at the Peacekeeping summit?

In another story, presented as related, Shamus Mangan of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

“was found dead with considerable blood in his mouth...Eleven sachets of a powder believed to be cocaine were found in his room, as well as other drugs, police said. An official statement is awaited on details of the seizure from the vessel impounded last Thursday nigh... an assortment of weapons, including a General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) with serial numbers G6 5309, were recovered. The arms were hidden beneath combat wagons.”

The first story, here, says

“the Kenyan coastal police on Thursday raided the vessel, which was docked in the Indian ocean port of Mombasa, on suspicion that it carried drugs and lethal weapons. The ship had come on the radar of the Kenyan coastal police after they were alerted by the FBI and Interpol, who have been closely monitoring the movements of the international drug cartel. After almost four days of searching, the authorities recovered a huge consignment of drugs that was concealed inside the tyres of the trucks. The authorities also recovered weapons, including AK-47s, from the vehicles. The Hoegh Transporter, a vehicle carrier, began its voyage on July 22 at the Port of Hitachi in Japan, where civilian vehicles destined for Kenya were loaded, before reaching Korea on August 1. It then went to Dubai and left from there on September 3. Its next stop was Mumbai, where the trucks meant for the UN peacekeeping mission were loaded. The ship left Mumbai on September 10... Mombasa handles imports, such as fuel and consumer goods, for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia.”

  So where WERE these trucks headed?

   The UN was closed on September 23, and as set forth below, its spokesman has declined to answer questions, at least Peacekeeping related questions, online. Meanwhile the UN's noon briefings on both September 25 (the day of limited coverage of the Pope at the UN) and September 28 - when ironically a UN Peacekeeping summit will be held, chaired by Barack Obama. Will this and Ladsous' linkage of UN rapes and R&R be addressed?

  On September 24 at the press conference for Indian Prime Minister Modi's arrival in New York, Inner City Press asked about the upcoming Peacekeeping summit. Periscope video here. We will pursue this. Watch this site.

 (Note that the UN has previously tried to explain away drugs, even in its mail room in New York, when Inner City Press exclusively uncovered them, here.)

  Inner City Press on September 15 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, transcript here:

Inner City Press: does this person have immunity or would the UN waive immunity?

Spokesman Dujarric:  Immunity in criminal cases… in all criminal cases does not apply.  And if… if a case were to go… a judicial case were to go forward, there would be no immunity for these actions, clearly, as they're not part of that person's work.

Inner City Press:  When you say the person can't leave the country, is that by order of… the UN won't facilitate them leaving or the CAR…

Spokesman:  That's as far as… I'm speaking on behalf of the UN.

Inner City Press:  I guess, inevitably, I have to ask you this.  Since Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous said that one of the reasons these abuses take place is people don't leave the country and go for R&R elsewhere for recreation, one could say, how long has the person been in the country?

Spokesman:  Matthew, I think… I think you continue to gain great pleasure in distorting what Mr. Ladsous said…

Inner City Press:  You can read the transcript.  He said…

Spokesman:  Listen, I think you raised that issue yesterday.  I answered clearly this is a case… a possible case of sexual abuse, which is to be condemned and which will be pursued as far as we can, both internally and with the relevant judicial authorities.

Inner City Press:  How long has it been since the person left the country?  The reason I ask is that he made the linkage.  He's the one that brought up people traveling…  [Cross talk - actually, talk over, by scribes]

Spokesman:  Matthew, I will say this one last time.  Civilian staff and military staff work under two different regimes.  So you're… to compare soldiers that have been in-country in very difficult circumstances for three years and civilian staff is not to be comparable.  Yes, ma'am?
  Later on September 15, Dujarric declined a Press question about what Ladsous said, ironically during a Reditt "Ask Me Anything" session. Ask Me Anything, except...

  On September 14, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about what Ladsous had said, similar to comment which as noted below have gotten other military officials fired, even after they apologized. (Ladsous has not apologized, clarified, or answered any Press questions.) September 14 video here, transcript here:

Inner City Press: I'd wanted to ask you this on Friday or Mr. Ladsous, but I want to ask you, from this podium, he said, in discussing rapes, he said that peacekeepers there don't have enough recreation, that they don't have enough comfort.  He said that they are looking into getting them flights to get them fresh air, and although he did use the word, he's not excusing it.  I'm going to tell, many people saw this as basically a statement that somehow linking the rapes to a lack of other distractions…

Spokesman Dujarric:  I think… I think it's a complete misinterpretation of what Mr. Ladsous said.  He stressed a number of times that there was no excuse...

Inner City Press:  Then what about the flights?  I'm sorry.

Spokesman:  I'm a little over-caffeinated with me today so just bear with me.  He repeatedly said that there was no excuse for rape.  Okay.  That is clear.  That is UN policy, and I think that's everyone's policy.  There is no excuse for rape.  What he said in talking about the case of one contingent that had been deployed in basically a very hardship peacekeeping operation for more than three years.  When troops are not rotated, when troops don't have an opportunity to be rotated out for [rest and recuperation] and that's true for any armed forces, it creates the conditions where there can be all sorts of abuse or other things developing.  It is not an excuse for rape.  And I think it's clear that we have seen rape and horrendous sexual abuse by soldiers in many parts of the world.  Some of them come from very rich armies.  Some come from very poor armies.  There is no excuse.  What he was saying and I think people would agree with it, that three years for any contingent being stationed in very difficult circumstances is too long.

Inner City Press:  I guess what I want to say, US military, an admiral in the Pacific was fired for comments exactly like that for which the person… the person excused himself and apologized… he said distraction, comfort.

Spokesman:  Matthew, Matthew.  I read what you wrote.  I'm aware of the other case.  I think they're complete… they're not comparable.

Inner City Press:  Where are the flights going?  Where are the [rest and recuperation] flights going? 

Spokesman:  I will come back…

  Back in 1995 for similar comments, US Admiral Richard C. Macke was fired, as reported in the LA Times and the New York Times, which said Macke "apologized after members of Congress and Japanese officials complained, but it was too late.... A senior White House official said tonight that Anthony Lake, the national security adviser, had heard of Admiral Macke's remarks and told the Defense Department that the statements were 'not acceptable.'"

  Anthony Lake is now in the UN system, as the head of UNICEF - does he think UN Peacekeeping chief Ladsous' similar comments in 2015 are acceptable? Or does he, apparently like his and some other major member states, hope no one notices what Ladsous says and, worse, does?

  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has yet to act. Nor have Ladsous' French sponsors, who dumped him on the UN after he'd previously been rejected for the post by Ban's predecessor Kofi Annan, said anything.

 When Inner City Press started asking about this, Ladsous took to saying "I don't respond to you, Mister," right on UNTV. Instead he summoned Agence France Presse, Reuters and others to private briefings, as here in the hall. These media didn't report Ladsous' antics -- nor despite being present at Ladsous' September 11 press conference did they report his linkage of soldiers' rapes to their lack of "comfort" or R&R. This is today's UN.

  It was Senegalese Babacar Gaye, the head of the CAR mission, and not overall Peacekeeping chief Ladsous who was fired by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; Inner City Press obtained and put Gaye's letter online here (credited here and here) citing systemic problems.

  Before Ladsous' carefully controlled four day visit to the country - no questions on the peacekeeper rapes, colonial photographs sent out - UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press, which asked, that Ladsous would take questions when he returned, including about peacekeepers' sexual abuse.

But when Ladsous appeared at the September 11 UN noon briefing, UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric for the second time did not allow Inner City Press to ask Ladsous a single question.
Dujarric gave the first question to the UN Correspondents Association, which after a perfunctory questions about the number of sexual abuse cases said its “real” question was if Ladsous will meet Obama. (Yes, apparently, and inappropriately, see below). Video here.

  Inner City Press prepared to ask Ladsous an obvious question: what is his response to appearing in at least two UN Dispute Tribunal rulings as having tried to get the whistleblower Kompass fired? But Dujarric gave the second question to a Reuters reporter who has previously channeled Ladsous, then to Agence France Presse, whose UN reporter in 2011 asked UNCA's board to act on Inner City Press' reporting on Ladsous.

Even with the questions allowed, Ladsous' answers should get him fired. First, speaking of sexual abuse, he said he didn't want to “deflower” the subject. Vine here. Then explaining the peacekeepers' rapes he said that a solution would be to get them more “recreation” (translating back and forth with Dujarric, Ladsous began to say “R and R”).

  Ladsous was asked, what do you mean? He said that Asian countries are good at this. We'll have more, but on top of his role in covering up rapes in DR Congo, Darfur and now CAR, this should get Ladsous fired. More here.


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