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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Preying on the Weak

The Washington Post:

Anyone who was shocked by the most recent revelations of sexual misconduct by United Nations staff has never set foot in a U.N.-sponsored refugee camp. Sex crimes are only one especially disturbing symptom of a culture of abuse that exists in the United Nations precisely because the United Nations and its staff lack accountability. This lack of accountability is the central blemish on today's United Nations, and it lies behind most of the recent headlines. Whether taking advantage of a malnourished refugee or of a lucrative oil-for-food contract, the temptation is there, the act is easy and the risk of punishment is nil. ... The risk to these staff members is low in U.N. refugee camps, because peacekeepers engaged in criminal acts are immune from local prosecution. Therefore, local parties seeking justice must travel to the peacekeeper's home country. U.N. workers from countries with unresponsive legal systems, or those committing unspectacular crimes, can sleep easy. At the same time, local NGO employees who are contracted by the United Nations to work in the camps are covered by a de facto implied immunity. That is, if these individuals are identified as being connected with U.N. operations, they will probably never face charges for their actions by local authorities. In West Africa, most of the sexual misconduct accusations are leveled against local NGO staff members. If the United Nations is to enjoy such immunity, it is incumbent on the organization to police itself aggressively and thoroughly. Yet the recent stonewalling over a series of scandals from the United Nations -- from oil-for-food to a sexual harassment imbroglio involving a high U.N. official -- are typical of a bureaucracy dedicated to self-preservation. This code of behavior travels rapidly down the organizational chart. The message is: Cover your tracks and the United Nations will obstruct your prosecution.
This is the heart of the corruption trouble within the U.N. The U.N. officials and beauracracy are not accountable to anyone. If the U.N. wants to make a positive difference in the world, if they want to ability to supply a unique moral authority, then they have to find a way to become an organization with a decent moral character.


Blogger The probligo said...

This coming from a nation that -

Promotes human rights but can not accept the validity of all adult human relationships - there are "exceptions".

Promotes Christian morality, and is at the same time the world's largest single source of pornography.

Promotes peace and prosperity, and is at the same time sponsor of one of the most murderous nations on earth and at the same time declares war and invades another nation on tissue thin pretexts.

Promotes free trade, and at the same time is one of the most frequent offenders in the application of trade barriers, punitive import restrictions and tariffs.

Promotes the family as ideal, and still has one of the highest divorce rates in the world.

Criticises the UN as an organisation for the "dishonesty" of its employees in the operation of the "Oil for Food" program with many calling for the dissolution of the organisation on that ground.

Should we be calling for the dissolution of the US on the basis of the trading frauds and defalcations prepetrated by the so-called "specialists" on the NYSE floor?


4/14/2005 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger The probligo said...

Here is that link again -


4/14/2005 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger The probligo said...

And the latest that is coming in...


"NEW YORK - A Texas businessman and two of his companies were charged with paying secret kickbacks to Iraq in a US federal indictment unsealed today as part of an investigation into the scandal-plagued UN oil-for-food programme.

David Chalmers Jr, his oil company Bayoil of Texas, and Bayoil Supply & Trading Ltd, based in the Bahamas, faced federal criminal charges as part of the scheme to pay millions of dollars in secret kickbacks to Iraq.

Two others also were charged in the plot: Ludmil Dionissiev, a Bulgarian citizen living in Houston, and John Irving, a British citizen, according to the indictment unsealed in US District Court in Manhattan. "

Interesting, huh!!

The article continues...

"Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the United States and Britain bore part of the blame in the Iraq oil-for-food debacle by allowing unsupervised oil exports that Saddam Hussein exploited.

Annan, addressing a seminar on the United Nations and the media, said most of the money Saddam earned was by oil sold to Jordan and Turkey outside of the UN program.

Only countries like the United States and Britain had interdiction forces that could have stopped it. But he said they "decided to close their eyes to Turkey and Jordan because they are allies".

Annan said the reason for it was understandable: no one had the money to compensate neighbours of Iraq for their losses under UN sanctions, imposed in mid-1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait. "

Your thoughts?

4/14/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Where to start...

First off, it is obvious that their are many contradictions to the 'American Character.' This is a wonderfully diverse country with a lot of contrary opinions and of course our efforts don't always meet our goals.

I can only assume that the nation you are referring to as one of the most murderous is Israel. Lets just say that I highly doubt you can show that Israel is in the top 10, or even the top 50 most muderous nations.

As to Free Trade, I am personally very unhappy with the anti-free trade practices my nation imposes. As is often the case, many people and politician support free trade except when they think they can gain personal advantage from one specific tarrif or subsidy. However, the frequency of our offenses is probably more a function of the size of our economy than a disposition toward unfree trade practices.

The employees of the stock exchange were caught and are being punished. That is precisely what I expect to happen. The article I link to talks about a culture of corruption where the organization knowingly ignores problems.

It is similar to the Catholic Church sex scandals. I don't blame the Church particularly for the fact that some preists are pedophiles. Any organization will have undesirable, even evil, members. I do blame the Church for establishing a culture that protected and hid these offenses. The U.N. is a very similar situation in my belief.

I don't believe I have ever said or implied that there were no Americans involved in the oil-for-food scandal. It doesn't appear that the scandal here penetrated into the government, which is not true of all countries. It is also nice to see that we are prosecuting these people.

As for Saddam's smuggling of oil to Jordan and Turkey, I am unsure of what Kofi think we could have done. The U.S. and Britian didn't have any ground forces on the borders of those nations. I suppose we could have bombed oil trucks or pipelines or something, but I am sure Annan and the rest of the world would have screamed bloody murder if we had.

I believe our Navy took part in inderdictions of smuggling operations in the Persian Gulf at that time, but I don't believe we had the authority or the responsibility or the capability of preventing oil smuggling from Iraq.

However, you and Kofi Annan should be happy that the War in Iraq has now stopped Saddam from smuggling any oil to either Turkey or Jordan. No need to say thanks.

4/15/2005 08:08:00 AM  

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