Thursday, 08 October 2015

UN Under Global Fire for Persecution of Whistleblowers

Written by 

After decades of persecuting whistleblowers who expose everything from fraud and corruption to the widespread rape of children by so-called “peacekeeping” troops, the United Nations' scandalous efforts to silence and crush those who blow the whistle on wrongdoing are slowly creeping into the limelight. The explosive case of Anders Kompass, who exposed rape of children by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic and faced retaliation from the UN's top leadership, drew headlines and outrage worldwide. But the Kompass case was merely the tip of a gigantic iceberg with massive implications — not just for honest UN workers, but for humanity as a whole. And unless serious actions are taken to stop it, the problems will keep getting worse.   

Experts, researchers, and critics say the infamous targeting of officials who expose crimes within the UN helps to protect and enable the criminals and the corrupt culture that permeates the global organization. With those honest employees who want to blow the whistle on crimes understanding full well that to do so will almost certainly lead to retaliation and potentially even personal ruin, UN bosses and troops are largely free to do whatever they feel like. Add in their deeply controversial “diplomatic immunity,” and working for the UN essentially becomes a license to commit crimes with impunity. Yet, there is a price to be paid — primarily by the victims of the UN, often children and other vulnerable people, and the taxpayers forced to continue funding the corruption and crime.

Indeed, according to UN whistleblowers, some of whom have reached out to The New American, corruption and secrecy have become endemic in the global organization. After all, the outfit refuses to police itself, purports to be beyond the reach of national authorities and criminal justice systems, and terrorizes would-be whistleblowers into silence. Even the UN's supposed “whistleblower protection” schemes, adopted after a global wave of outrage about a decade ago surrounding the infamous “Oil-for-Food” scandal, are pathetic, according to whistleblowers and their advocates. Indeed, figures compiled by the non-profit Government Accountability Project (GAP), which works to protect whistleblowers around the world, revealed that between 2007 and 2010, the UN failed to protect more than 98 percent of whistleblowers from retaliation.

The dismal track record continues to this day. For instance, a recent article by the left-wing U.K. Guardian, which is generally strongly supportive of the UN and its agendas, revealed that the UN “ethics office” had received 447 reports from UN whistleblowers saying they had faced retaliation for exposing wrongdoing. Data compiled by GAP, the whistleblower organization, showed that the UN office had completed reviews into less than 140 of those, the paper reported in its article, headlined “Ostracised, sacked … and even arrested: the fate of whistleblowers at the UN.” Of those, the UN determined that there had been retaliation in just four cases — “a statistic that is hardly encouraging to those who feel bound to report corruption, malpractice or sexual abuse,” the Guardian reported.   

“The percentage of whistleblowers who actually receive relief through this channel remains abysmally low,” Bea Edwards, the international director of GAP, was quoted as saying, echoing criticism of the UN that has been growing steadily over a period of many years. “We’re now working with UN whistleblowers who have simply resigned rather than endure such a protracted and complex internal process.” Indeed, last year, GAP compiled a shocking report examining representative cases in which the UN or its various tentacles retaliated against whistleblowers. Among other concerns, the sample cases reveal that retaliation against whistleblowers is a systemic occurrence that spans the entire UN system, and that so-called “protections” for those who expose corruption are essentially useless except as a tool for public consumption.   

Perhaps the most well-known example of the problem surrounds the case of Kathryn Bolkovac. The Nebraska police officer, working for U.S. defense contractor Dyncorp at the time, served in Bosnia as a UN peacekeeper after the war in the late 1990s. While there, Bolkovac uncovered a sex-slavery and child- and human-trafficking ring involving UN forces, her employer, and local sex-slave traders. Like any person with a conscience, Bolkovac tried to blow the whistle. Instead of celebrating her as a hero and immediately rescuing the sex-slaves and arresting the human traffickers, however, UN bosses did everything possible to keep the scandal under wraps and destroy the American woman who exposed them. She was fired, though a British court eventually found that she had been improperly dismissed. A few years ago, a movie was made based on her story, entitled The Whistleblower, that helped raise global awareness of her plight.

Almost three decades later, though, the UN continues to terrorize whistleblowers who expose UN troops or employees raping children, stealing money, slaughtering civilians, sexually exploiting locals, abusing their power, and other grotesque crimes that continue to be exposed on a regular basis. Kompass, the UN official who handed French authorities information on peacekeepers raping children in Africa, for example, was promptly fired and escorted from his office under armed guard. Leaked e-mails later revealed that the very top echelons of UN leadership conspired with each other at a secret gathering in Turin, Italy, to destroy him. Only after his case became an international scandal did UN boss Ban Ki-moon appoint a “panel” of cronies to “investigate” the whole affair. But aside from the widespread publicity it has received, the Kompass case is hardly unique.         

An American whistleblower working for a U.S. government contractor in Haiti, for instance, tried in vain to expose and stop horrifying sexual abuses perpetrated by UN troops and police in Haiti against women and children. Identified only as a 38-year-old woman, the whistleblower was told by Haitian refugees living in a camp that UN police were “taking advantage” of women there. Apparently a UN police supervisor was also involved in sexually abusing civilians. Less than a month later, the same whistleblower learned of the brutal assault on a cleaning woman by a UN soldier from Bangladesh. Separately, UN troops and their commander were exposed raping a mentally challenged boy, starting at age 8, for five years. Instead of dealing with the crime spree and punishing the perpetrators, UN officials, including the very people involved in terrorizing and raping Haitians, demonized and attacked the whistleblower. Eventually she was fired, too.

There are potentially hundreds of similar instances of UN retaliation against those who exposed UN crimes, ranging from arrests and searches to destruction of careers and being stationed in far-flung corners of the world. And because UN bureaucrats know that, even those who would be inclined to blow the whistle on criminal activity realize the futility of it — and so, choose to remain silent. “Until the UN can show that it has a credible record of protecting whistleblowers, employees who are aware of sexual exploitation, or other human rights abuses, in peacekeeping operations are likely to remain silent,” GAP's Shelley Walden explained after the hit movie told Bolkovac's story. “As a result, opportunities to curb atrocities similar to those depicted in The Whistleblower will continue to be lost.”

Speaking to the Guardian, another UN employee who tried to blow the whistle also lambasted the UN's alleged protections for whistleblowers. “It is all window dressing,” the UN staffer, who requested anonymity, was quoted as saying. “The offices within the UN that are supposed to protect staff members do the very opposite. They side with and report to management. For example, office of staff legal assistance and the ethics office, neither of which are independent. And you cannot appeal decisions of the supposedly independent ethics office because they are now considered ‘recommendations’.” Numerous sources have painted a similar picture of the UN's inner workings for The New American.

Another current UN official, David Kaye, who serves as “UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression,” noted that, unlike most democratic nation states, there is no public accountability mechanism at the UN, where being opaque is the rule and there is nothing akin to freedom of information laws to ensure public access. That means UN bosses are less concerned with being caught, he said. “That reduces their incentives to do the right thing,” Kaye told the British paper. “There is all sorts of opacity which makes it easy for an employee to suffer retaliation.” He said the UN faces a “broad structural problem” that needs to be dealt with. “It’s a threat to UN employees and international civil servants, and it’s a threat to efficiency and accountability in the UN system,” Kaye added. More importantly, perhaps, it is also a threat to vulnerable civilians in nations occupied by UN “peace” troops, as decades worth of sexual abuse scandals show clearly.

A group of UN whistleblowers made similar arguments earlier this year in a letter to UN boss Ban and other bosses at the organization about the atrocious treatment of whistleblowers. “Each one of us has blown the whistle on serious wrongdoing, gross misconduct and even criminal acts at the United Nations,” wrote the coalition of whistleblowers in the letter. “Our collective experience of reporting misconduct in the UN covers sexual exploitation, abuse of power, corruption and other criminal behavior over a period of more than a decade and a half. Each one of us has faced retaliation for reporting the wrongdoing. Our cases are well-known and, sadly, deter others from reporting wrongdoing. This must change.” The letter also outlined some recommendations, though it appears that nothing has changed.

U.S. law actually requires the State Department to withhold some American taxpayer dollars from the UN unless and until it implements proper protections for whistleblowers. While Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry has ludicrously certified that all is well, experts say that provision should be taken seriously. Generally speaking, though, critics and activists who have worked on the issues tend to argue for solutions such as better whistleblower protections, more accountability, more transparency, deeper engagement from UN member governments, and more. The Obama administration and the globalist-minded Council on Foreign Relations have even been pushing to further empower the UN and its scandal-plagued armed forces. However, after 70 years, it has become painfully clear to many critics around the world that the UN, often ridiculed as the “dictators club,” cannot be “reformed.” And the last thing it needs is more power or money.  

Instead of more meaningless “reform” or handing it more resources and authority, some U.S. lawmakers are looking at more serious solutions. One such effort is a bill introduced again in Congress this year to restore American sovereignty, withdraw U.S. membership from the UN, and evict the controversial outfit from American soil. Until the American people and their representatives demand serious solutions, though, the UN is likely to continue brutalizing, stealing, raping, embezzling, and mismanaging — all while seeking to destroy anybody who tries to put a stop to it by blowing the whistle.

And that should be considered unacceptable. 

 

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Related articles:

Whistleblower Targeted for Exposing UN Troops Raping Children

UN Panics Amid Growing Scandal on Child Rape by “Peace” Troops

UN “Peace” Forces in Haiti Prey on Civilians, Children

Embroiled in Scandal, UN Agency Boss Attacks Free Press

United Nations Exploits Pseudo-“Human Rights” to Attack U.S.

Doctors: UN Vaccines in Kenya Used to Sterilize Women

Congressman Mike Rogers Introduces Bill to Get U.S. Out of UN

Carbon Scam by UN and World Bank Behind “Genocidal” Land Grabs

Ruthless Tyrants Win Seats on UN “Human Rights” Council

The United Nations: On the Brink of Becoming a World Government

Please review our Comment Policy before posting a comment

Affiliates and Friends

Social Media