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UN Swamp Spreads As Ertharin Cousin Mulled For USAID After WFP Waste and Censorship

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

UN GATE / SDNY, Dec 1 – What is it about the United Nations, that rather than moving away from its tattered recent history of corruption and sexual abuse, it just keeps going unreformed?

   From Washington sources Inner City Press, banned from the UN by nepotistic Secretary General Antonio Guterres for 882 days now, hears that leading the list of candidates for USAID is... Ertharin Cousin.

  Before being roughed up as it reported on the UN Budget Committee where Guterres made a deal with Cameroon as chair, for silence on human rights abuses in exchange for bureaucratic favors, Inner City Press twice exposed Cousins as head of UN WFP, noting that

"WFP has not answered a series of questions about its and Cousin's spending which concerned WFP staff have exclusively provided to Inner City Press, seeking to reform what they see as injury to their agency by waste and even fraud. 

   Sources and documents obtained by Inner City Press show WFP Executive Director Cousin asking for an increase of nearly €24,000 euros for her housing allowance, up to €160,000 per year.  

  They show use of WFP funds for a recent Thanksgiving trip to Chicago which, several WFP staff say, was not mostly WFP work. 

  Click here for itinary of the November 20-25 trip, of which a WFP staff member complained to Inner City Press that WFP's "Executive Director has also taken it upon herself to fly (business class no less) on the UN’s dime* to spend thanksgiving at home in her hometown of Chicago, stay at a nice hotel,* attend a homecoming reception, and speak at the International Law Committee -- none of which has anything remotely to do with WFP’s work of responding to emergencies and eliminating world hunger." 

  The above is not an "anti-UN" perspective, but that of a long time UN worker angered by perceived waste and abuse, which should be answered.  

 The sources point to what they call a sole source consulting contract Counsin gave to Piers Campbell for "consulting," without transparency."  

  December 1 re-consideration: it's clear that many support Ertharin Cousin, maybe in good faith. But should these questions be ignored? Should those who ask them be roughed up and banned?

Then, "The Italian Insider, the only English language daily in Italy, picked up Inner City Press' story. Then a funny thing happened. A planned ad campaign for an Italian tour by a band sponsored by the Detroit Institute of Arts was pulled from the Italian Insider.  The go-between for the band, called The Flutter and Wow, e-mailed the Italian Insider:

  ----- Messaggio Inoltrato ----- Da : theflutterandwow.gigs A : Oggetto : Re: Payment Processed and Contract Signed Data : Fri, 4 Jan 2013 06:21:47 +0100  we have a HUGE problem. One of the Board members of the DIA read on your website an article about the head of something called the food program and is fuming mad. They are close friends from Chicago. I have been summoned for a meeting tomorrow and I sense there are some very pissed off people at DIA.  There was more -- after his meeting with DIA, the go-between asked the Italian Insiders' editor if he was "a right winger" or British. The editor surmises that Ertharin Cousin's "friend from Chicago" on the DIA board viewed even a pick-up for the story about her spending as "right wing." 

It took two days to get an answer from WFP, but when it came it was absolute denial:   

 WFP spokesman Steve Taravella replied to Inner City Press, "As to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the executive director has had no interactions with this organization, and has not been able to determine whether she has met any member who serves on its board. She has no knowledge of the actions you describe."    Why would the band's go-between pull the advertising citing a DIA board member who is a "close friend" of Ertharin Cousin? Why would this go-between as reflected by multiple e-mails push to get the pick-up of Inner City Press' article taken down, or the belated comments of WFP spokesman Taravella played up?"

  The UN must be cleaned up, and made to comport with basic press freedoms including due process. We'll have more on this.


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