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As UN Stonewalls ICP On Somalia DNA to US Story, Threatens Accreditation

By Matthew Russell Lee, 2d Follow Up on Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 -- A whistleblower's complaint that the head of the UN Mine Action Service in Somalia, David Bax, has been giving genetic information from Somalia bombings to US intelligence was filed on Friday, June 21 with three UN officials.

There were the head of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, his Rule of Law chief and the director of UNMAS, Agnes Marcaillou. Inner City Press before publishing a June 22 story about this whistleblower complaint sought comment from two of three above, as well as from Bax. (Also, even a Twitter question was sent to UNMAS; this is a type of non-response issue worked on by the Free UN Coalition for Access, @FUNCA_info.

Amid reports of a witch hunt in Mogadishu to find the whistleblower, Inner City Press put the question at Monday's noon briefing to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey, video here:

From UN's transcript:

Inner City Press: whether Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous, Mr. [Dmitry] Titov and the head of UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) have received a detailed complaint from an UNMAS whistleblower in Somalia that the head of UNMAS in Somalia provided genetic information from bombings to United States intelligence agencies and also moves around Mogadishu with armed guards from that group, Denel, that we were talking about. It’s a pretty troubling thing, I’ve seen a copy of it, and it seems to have been directed to and received by those three individuals, so I would like to get a statement from you that they have received it and what their response to it is. I also e-mailed several of them and asked for a comment; I haven’t received anything.

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Well, we’ll have to check on that for you, Matthew, we’ll check with DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations].

Inner City Press: is it your understanding that UNMAS individuals and their contractors can walk around with arms, weapons?

Deputy Spokesperson: Matthew, you’d have to ask DPKO that, I don’t have the information.

Inner City Press: It’s UNMAS… I mean it’s…

Deputy Spokesperson: I don’t have the exact nature of what they are allowed to do and not allowed to do. Speak with DPKO over that.

Inner City Press: You always say that and then I don’t have any answer from them. I’ve e-mailed the head of UNMAS about a complaint that her agency provides genetic and other information to US intelligence and she wouldn’t deny it, so I am asking you.

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, you know we… there are all kinds of complaints, they have to be…

Inner City Press: By a UN individual?

Deputy Spokesperson: …they have to be proven.

Inner City Press: And the individual says that there is already now a witch hunt to find out who the complainant is, so I am asking to get a response, that’s all.

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, I wouldn’t say there is a witch hunt, but when people are being accused of something, we obviously have to go to the bottom of it and find out what is happening. So, as I said, we will check with DPKO and then get back to you.

Inner City Press: But, when a UN person comes forward… will this person be protected by whistleblower protections?

Deputy Spokesperson: We will have to get back to you on that, Matthew. We don’t discuss hypothetical situations. Right now, we… right now, I certainly don’t know anything about a whistleblower. Pam?

  But seven hours after this exchange, the UN system had still not gotten it together to respond to these serious allegations. They were engaged in a witch hunt in Mogadishu; in UN Headquarters in New York, Inner City Press on Monday afternoon, four hours after these questions, was threatened with suspension or withdrawal of accreditation. Watch this site.

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