Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

As UN Staffer Found With Child Porn, No Answers on Supervisors' Role, UNMIS or Cote d'Ivoire, Gun-slinger Retained in Nairobi

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, April 21 -- A long-time UN staff member was arrested for child pornography at Canadian customs on April 9. When Inner City Press asked the UN about it on April 21, Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe said that the UN's Mr. Jose Antonio "Ortega was on a personal trip and left on Thursday, 9 April, for Canada.  He was expected to be back in the office on 13 April but did not show up."

   As reported in the Canadian press, "portable memory devices found in his backpack contained more than 800 images of hard-core child pornography, some involving a girl who appeared to be about five years old. Mr. Ortega Osona expects to lose his job as a demographer with the UN's fertility division because of the convictions, defense lawyer Geoff Newton said. 'Any jail sentence he gets pales in comparison to the effects this will have on his life,' Mr. Newton said."

   But if the UN's refusal to oust or reassign Alexander Barabanov, a Russian staff member at the UN in Nairobi who insulted local authorities and carried an unlicensed gun, or its reportedly kid-gloves treatment of higher officials involved in a pornography ring are any guide, Mr. Ortega will not necessary "lose his job."

   At Tuesday noon briefing, Inner City Press also asked, video here

Inner City Press: In terms of seriousness, there is a report that the Head of Operations of the UN Centre in Nairobi, Alexander Barabanov, who was found by Kenya to have an illegal weapon, is still serving the UN.  A series of letters has been sent to Angela Kane and OLA trying to get authority to discontinue his service to the UN, due to the illegal gun. Is he still in service, and if so, why?

Deputy Spokesperson:  I don’t have any information on that. I have to look into that for you.

  But twelve hours after that statement, no further information has been provided.  Some now say that Anna Tibaijuka's demotion at the UN in Nairobi in favor of Achim Steiner may have been related to her persistence in trying to hold Mr. Barabanov accountable. We aim to have more on this.

UN on screen in Canada, child porn arrest(s) not shown

  Earlier in Tuesday's noon briefing, Ms. Okabe claimed that there was no substantive difference in having cancelled the previous days' Q&A session, because we "took your questions in our Office and we responded to your questions like we normally do." That is, responded only partially, and to some questions, not at all.

UN: blue passport, blue movies, carte blanche

   Earlier in the afternoon on Tuesday, since Ms. Okabe limited questioning by saying, "only one more question" even though the previous day's briefing had been cancelled and there was no one else waiting for the room, Inner City Press submitted these questions in writing, none of which have been responded to ten hours later:

Subj: Re: your question on sri lanka - follow-up, incl. on Sudan, Nairobi (2), Cote d'Ivoire, pornography (2), thanks
From: Inner City Press
To: Deputy Spokesperson, Associate Spokesperson, Spokesperson for OCHA
Sent: 4/21/2009 2:05:11 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

In a message dated 4/21/2009 1:19:19 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, unspokesperson-donotreply [at] writes:
We have raised the issue of staff in IDP camps with the GoSL since at least February. --Stephanie Bunker

Hello. (1)  Please comment on / respond to the following public statements by the GoSL:

"The Government has received a letter from the United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator Neil Buhne requesting movement for UN staff in refugee camps in Vavuniya, Resettlement Minister Rishad Baduideen said yesterday. “We received the letter on Wednesday evening and it was from Neil Buhne,” Minister Baduideen said. .. Minister Baduideen said he had not received a letter from the UN and unless they receive a formal complaint that they cannot look into it, and as and when they do they will discuss it with the military officials. END
 So are you saying that the UN's raising of the issue since Feb was informal? To whom was it raised, given the above? And what is the current status?

  I have been told that a (South) Sudan paragraph was sent to me, but I have not found it. Please send. And (2) what is the UN's response to

"A report on the March attacks by a joint team of different U.N. agencies... called for UNMIS to increase patrols in the area and to increase support to local officials to try to improve the dire security situation."

   (3) What is the UN's response to the Forces Nouvelle in Cote d'Ivoire saying they will withdraw from the peace process if elections are not held in 2009?

According to the UN, when will elections be held?

  (4a) The name of the administrative officer in UN - Nairobi I asked about is Alexander Barabanov, director of administrative services.

(4b) on the UN Security officer killed in his home in Kenya, please state whether the UN has any inkling if it had anything to do with his service at/to the UN, or that is had nothing to do with it.

  (5a) The child porn guilty plea, on which I am asking for updates on what the UN does, was by "Jose Antonio Ortega Osona, 40, a Spanish citizen who lives in New York, pleaded guilty Friday in Dartmouth provincial court to a Criminal Code charge of possessing child pornography and a Customs Act charge of smuggling prohibited goods."

(5b)  Finally, for now, a simple factual question best answered in this format / medium:

 please confirm or deny that there are several senior DSS / SSS officers at UNHQ in NY who have received letters of reprimand for pornography, and explain any difference of treatment from that accorded on the same charges to a lower level staff member. To ensure your answer, I suggest you ask OHRM, OIOS and DSS.

   The context of this last still-unanswered question is the UN's show of discipline against a lower level UN purveyor of pornography, while the underlying investigative report made it clear that many more people, at higher levels, were and are implicated. Click here for Inner City Press' exclusive December 18, 2008 report, " Suspended UN Pornographer Opposed Gays, Liked Dogs, As Higher Ups Escape."

  Now, sources in the Department of Safety and Security complain more loudly of and name supervisors who have been informed they are under investigation or found to be involved in pornography, but nothing has happened to them. Several were part of the "scam promotions" imbroglio exposed by an intra-DSS memo leaked to and published by Inner City Press, click here for that. Some say a wave of disciplinary actions might soon begin. Watch this site.

  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.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -