The United Nations' second—ranking official has tried to persuade investigators to lay off, lest they overturn rocks which might expose influential critters hiding underneath. Benny Avni of the New York Sun reports:
The second most powerful man at Turtle Bay, Deputy Secretary—General Mark Malloch Brown, angered internal U.N. investigators by asking that they take into consideration the political needs of the organization when they carry out independent probes into wrongdoing by top officials.
Mr. Malloch Brown's attempt last week to influence officials of the U.N. watchdog, known as the Office of Internal Oversight Services, as well as his intervention in one of its high—profile investigations, came to light just as Congress was completing two reports, to be released today, that criticize the United Nations' ability to monitor itself and its heavily tainted procurement department.
The report by the congressional investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, found that since the United Nations' oversight organ depends for its funding on the same bodies it needs to investigate, its ability to arrive at independent conclusions is compromised.
U.N. officials said yesterday that they are trying to address the issue by creating an independent financing body for OIOS. Yet to be addressed, however, are political pressures on OIOS by the Secretariat, which were highlighted by an independent investigation of the oil—for—food scandal by Paul Volcker, in a report released late last year.
According to several participants in a closed—door town hall meeting last Wednesday, Mr. Malloch Brown asked staffers of OIOS to speed—up investigations into wrongdoings by high profile officials, especially if they are posted at politically sensitive spots. As an example, Mr. Malloch Brown cited possible harm to the United Nations' work in Iraq as long as the top representative there, Ashraf Qazi, is being investigated by the OIOS.
To minimize the damage, Mr. Malloch Brown decided, on his own initiative, to inform the press that Mr. Qazi has been exonerated. OIOS officials refused to back him up, and informed the U.N. spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, they would not comment before completing the ongoing complex investigation in Baghdad, Amman, and Kuwait, where offices of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq are located.
US Ambassador John Bolton cuts to the chase:
"OIOS should resist all management influence on its findings; they need to take all the time they need, to conduct the kind the investigations they need," the American ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, told The New York Sun yesterday. "OIOS is not for the secretariat. OIOS is for the member states."
Perfectly summed up, and based on American traditions of political accountability to citizens. Most world governments regard the citizens as accountable to them, not the other way around.
The United States is fortunate to have John Bolton's voice eloquently pushing for transparency and accountability. It is disgraceful that Democrats held up his appointment until President Bush made him a recess appointment.
The drive—by media want Americans to think warm thoughts about the United Nations. They do not want any attention directed at its corrupt governance and lack of accountability. That would incline Americans to distrust entrusting the UN with more responsibilities. So they wouldn't want to pay attention anyway.
But Bolton is doing America and its traditions proud by publicly standing up to the corruption that seems to be such a prominent part of the world order these days. The press doesn't want the public to realize what an embodiment of American vlaues he is, what a perfect voice he gives us, and how cravenly the Democrats obstructed him from his important business on our behalf.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky
Thomas Lifson 4 27 06