Friday, January 27, 2006


Jennifer Chou writes of A Real Peasants' Revolt in China
On the night of December 6, 2005, Radio Free Asia (RFA) received a frantic call for help from a resident of Dongzhou village, near the port city of Shanwei, in the prosperous southern Chinese province of Guangdong. The caller told RFA that hundreds of paramilitary police had moved into the area and were firing at thousands of villagers. The villagers had been protesting what they claimed was inadequate compensation for land that local officials had expropriated, and upon which a power plant was being constructed. As the caller screamed into his cell phone, "They are using real bullets on us!" shots could be heard in the background. The incident is referred to by some as "mini-Tiananmen."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The result of one day following the local media

- the unreported stories: the saga of the Danish cartoons, the catch of a big Al Qaeda fish in India (the Indians are fighting their own WOT, did you know), the pope who is saying that Islam is uncapable of reform and George Galloway in tights (I deny any responsibility for any ensuing psychological damage).

- underreported stories: the elimination of 5 important leaders of Al Qaeda in Pakistan, including the manager of its WMD-operation

- the misrepresented stories: the eavesdropping scandals (it only concerns cross-border calls, not all calls), the new Canadian prime minister (he is pro-market, pro-US, pro-armed forces and anti-Kyoto, he is ruining the tolerant image of his country: he is a mini-Bush, he is EEEVIIIL).

Fraud at the U.N.?

Can you believe that there are now over 200 investigations into fraud and corruption at the United Nations? Yes! The U.N. has got to be one of the most crooked organizations on the planet. I often wonder what possible good they could be doing. Or are they even doing anything good, anywhere? How much of every dollar spent on peacekeeping or humanitarian aid is actually going into someone's pocket?

These investigations could bring light potential financial fraud ranging in the tens of millions of dollars. Many people could potentially lose their jobs. Well, more than likely, many of them will get a slap on the wrist as they often do to the crooked diplomats. It will be the diplomatic minions who will pay the larger price because they will be the scapegoats for the "bigger fish" within the U.N.!

Christopher Burnham, the undersecretary general for management stated that eight staff members were asked to take paid leave while they are under investigation. Assistant Secretary-General, Andrew Toh, is one of them.
In 2005, the U.N.'s Procurement Department handled almost $2 billion in purchasing for the Department of Peacekeeping, officials said.

The U.N.'s Office of Internal Oversight Services on Friday completed an internal audit into the allegations of fraud that "raises a number of serious allegations and concerns," Burnham said.

While the audit will not be made available to the public, Burnham read a few passages, including one stating that "important controls" into ensuring transparency in procurements "were lacking, while existing ones were often bypassed."

But Burnham underscored that the U.N. is working to police itself.

"We're doing all the right things to ensure that the global taxpayer's money will be protected going forward, and that we are ferreting out corruption and fraud where it existed and exists," he said.
Why am I skeptical about the United Nations policing themselves? Probably because it's a little like the fox policing the chicken coop? John Bolton, the United States Ambassador to the U.N., stated his concern is that this investigation points to larger issues:
"It's not simply this incident or that incident of mismanagement," he said. "It is a culture problem we're facing here."
We will have to see if these investigations bring true change to the U.N., or if it will be like every other investigation and end with a slap on the wrist and a "don't do that again!"?

Cross posted at A Rose By Any Other Name