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Of US Bags of Cash in Afghanistan, UN Says Nothing, Oil for Food Echo

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 29 -- After the US giving “bags of cash” to the Hamid Karzai government in Afghanistan was exposed and confirmed, Inner City Press on Monday asked UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky if the UN Mission there had known, and what it now said.

  Nesirky said he's “seen the media reports on that” -- good job -- but “I don't have anything for you on that.” Video here, from Minute 20:08.

  How is that possible? The UN preaches about anti-corruption, at least when it is not a Permanent Five member of the Security Council passing around the bags of cash.

  Last Friday Nesirky's predecessor and spokesman for Kofi Annan, Fred Eckhard, said that the Oil for Food scandal was not so much Annan's fault as that of the powerful countries, P-5 members of the Security Council.

  But now, Ban Ki-moon's UN has nothing to say about the passing of bags of cash to the government in a country in which the UN has a mission.

  Then again, the UN system in Afghanistan has its own corruption scandal, the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan. So perhaps it's in no position to preach.

  One thing to remember: the UNAMA Mission's chief, Jan Kubis, is in the mix to succed Ban Ki-moon as Secretary General.

  While unlike Ban Kubis has to his credit said clearly that he thinks the UN should practice what it preaches (to the contrary, see Ban on the rule of law and then dismissal of Haiti cholera claims), Kubis would have to keep all five of the P-5 happy. This is how the UN system works. Watch this site.

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