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After ICP Exclusive, UN Admits Suspicious Bags Found, Leaves Courier Qs Unanswered

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 26, updated -- After Inner City Press this morning published, and at noon asked, about cocaine found inside the UN, two hours later the UN has issued a "Note to Correspondents" seeking to minimize the UN's role while not answer the questions that were actually raised and asked.

  Inner City Press asked, "what is ID/OIOS" -- the Investigations division of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, from which Ban removed his critic Inga Britt Ahlenius - "doing about drug trafficking in the UN?"

  From a whistleblowering source, Inner City Press also posed this question from a whistleblowing source: "why didn't they let the pouch be picked up and see where it would lead?"

  Rare for the Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, this follow up answer was provided:

Subject: Note to Correspondents on suspicious bags
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 2:14 PM


Last week, two suspicious mail bags were intercepted by the Security and Safety Service at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The United Nations nor anyone located in the United Nations was the intended recipient of this delivery and the bags were not UN bags, diplomatic or other.

The relevant Host Country authorities - the Drug Enforcement Administration and the New York Police Department - were notified about the discovery of the suspicious bags and the material handed over to their custody. The U.S. Mission to the United Nations was also kept informed.

As the Host Country authorities are investigating, we would refer you to the DEA or NYPD for any further details.

  At least at the top level, Inner City Press can report first hand that the US Mission to the UN was not informed or aware. Further reporting by Inner City Press including with the "Host Country authorities" to which Ban's spokesperson's office now refers the Press, reveals a story that continues to raise questions about the UN. Federal sources confirm they have "launched an investigation."

  Some "private couriers" make deliveries to the UN, using a loading dock in the UN's third sub basement. The cocaine at issue, Inner City Press has learned, came in this way.

(c) UN Photo
Ban Ki-moon and his spokesman, suspicious bags in UN not shown

  The argument is that there were two packages not addressed to the UN which got added to the delivery to the UN, and were found during the screening process inside the UN.

   That $750,000 to $ million of cocaine showed up in the UN, with its unique legal character, by mistake is not immediately credible to some. But even accepting it, it raises the question of what are the practices, screening and otherwise, of the couriers the UN allows in?

Update -- in the aftermath of Inner City Press' exclusive report Thursday morning and subsequent public question to the UN at its noon briefing, the NYPD has provided a statement that "because there was no addressee, the DHL just thought well that's the UN symbol so we should ship it on to UN headquarters and let them figure out who it was supposed to go to." A unattributed windfall?  We'll see.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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