Saturday, January 10, 2009

UN Whistle-blowers

"An American-backed drive to curb misconduct at the United Nations is faltering, blighted by bureaucracy and accusations of retaliation against whistle-blowers. ... The U.S. pledged this [2005 reform] would ensure the 'highest standards of integrity.' ... 'The U.N. isn't serious about cleaning up its act', says James Wasserstrom, a former U.N. official in Kosovo, who, after becoming a whistle-blower himself last year, was placed under investigation by the U.N. A 25-year veteran of the U.N., Mr. Wasserstrom, an American was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing and recently filed a retaliation complaint with a U.N. appeal panel. The U.N., says Mr. Wasserstrom, 'uses the whistle-blowing program to get its most ethical staff to stick their heads above ground in order to chop them off.' The U.N. denies this and says it doesn't tolerate retaliation against staff members who report misdeeds. ... The U.N. declined to discuss individual cases of whistle-blowers who have alleged retaliation. ... The U.N. says it has no immediate plans to consolidate the various ethics bureaus, but it is finalizing one set of ethical standards to be followed by all its agencies. ... The U.N. also set by [Robert] Benson's [ethics] office to foster 'a culture of ethics, transparency and accountability.' ... At the same time that OIOS was looking into Mr. Wasserstrom's allegations, the U.N.'s personnel department in Kosovo announced what it said was a long-scheduled decision: Mr. Wasserstrom's job was to be eliminated. ... Detained at the Kosovo border by U.N. police in June last year, Mr. Wasserstrom says he had his American passport seized and car searched. ... In a letter to Mr. Wasserstrom in April, Mr. Benson said that while some of the measures taken against him 'appeared to be excessive' and 'involved investigative failures,' a detailed study of his treatment by U.N. investigators 'did not find any evidence that these activities were retaliatory'," my emphasis, Andrew Higgins and Steve Stecklow at the WSJ, 26 December 2008.

Connie Baby should have told the U.N. police they had 24 hours to return Wasserstrom's passport. Having not returned it, she would recommend the U.S. declare war on the UN. The article notes a "New York district court dismissed [a whistle-blower's] suit, saying it agreed with the U.N.'s defense that the court couldn't delve into a matter because of the international organization's immunity". I agree. The UN is a sovereign. Therefore the US can declare war on it. Barring that, the US should declare the UN and all of its non-US personnel personna non grata. Now. Now we know what Goldman is doing with its CNC guillotine, renting it to the UN to use on whistle-blowers. In reading this article, I almost laughed. Why? That anyone over 12 could think a whistle-blowing program would be used for any purpose other than chopping off whistle-blowers' heads is amazing. Many people live on the other side of the looking glasss. What does Benson think is evidence? Mere proximity in time is enough. "Ethical standards", "culture of ethics", don't make me sick. The UN might consider subjecting itself to SARBOX. That will fix everything. See also my 6 and 24 March 2008 posts:

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Poor James Wasserstrom...

"...That anyone over 12 could think a whistle-blowing program would be used for any purpose other than chopping off whistle-blowers' heads is amazing..."

IA ... I'm a naive dolt... cause I thought whistle-blowing was to help organizations get better... don't get sick laughing...

Independent Accountant said...

Anonymous:
It's OK. I understand. You are this blog's youngest reader at age ten. Of course if you say something similar in two years, I will banish you to spending the rest of your life reading Hans Christian Andersen.

Junior said...

I'll make sure to have my 5 year old check out this post so Anon doesn't feel so bad about feeling that way.

Even the chewiest-hearted liberal knows how the UN gets down...

Anonymous said...

I'm up way past my bedtime IA but I had to see if other youngsters were as naive dolty as me... thanks Junior!