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UN Clears Bax on Somalia, Despite Its Own Report on Bancroft Global Dev't

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 6 -- Back on June 22, 2013, Inner City Press first reported complaints about Somalia UN Mine Action Service boss David Bax,  including his work alongside US-based Bancroft Global Development.

  After that, the UN said Bax was being investigated by UNOPS, the UN Office of Project Services, and that it would have nothing to say until that investigation was completed.

   On November 4, 2013, Inner City Press asked Anton Katz, Chair of the UN "Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination" about the Group's report on Somalia - and if he had met David Bax. (He had, in Cape Town.)

The report states for example that

"The Working Group was informed by UNMAS that to avoid this problem, their agreement with Bancroft requires that when conducting EOD and counter-IED operations, Bancroft employees must remain a minimum of 500 metres behind any front line. This type of rule might serve as an appropriate safeguard in other contracts as well... The Working Group notes that at least one employee of Bancroft pleaded, and was found, guilty in a South African court of, inter alia, recruiting persons for mercenary activities in Côte d’Ivoire and providing logistical support for the venture [See High Court of South Africa (Transvaal Provincial Division), case number A2850/03 of 2 and 20 May 2005 (ZAGPHC 248).]"

  Why are the UN, AMISOM and UNMAS working with Bancroft Global Development? What do they do together? Inner City Press has been informed by whistleblowers beyond Somalia that Bax has been part of the process by which genetic and DNA information from IED bombings have been transferred to US intelligence.

  After Inner City Press first reported this -- and others have tried to rehabilitate Bax -- the UN repeated that UNOPS is investigating, and that it would have nothing to say in the interim.

  Now on January 6, after Inner City Press asked several times over the holiday, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq read out at the noon briefing that UNOPS finished its investigation of Bax and found "no misconduct." Really?  

  So, is it OK for the UN to share genetic information with US intelligence? Were Bax' action on the day of the attack on the compound, and the way he ran "his camp," acceptably to the UN? What is the message?

  As with January Security Council president, Inner City Press offered thanks to Katz for the briefing for the new Free UN Coalition for Access, which will continue to push for increased transparency from the UN on cases like that of Bax. Given what has been made public by whistleblowers, to merely say "no misconduct" is not enough. Watch this site.


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