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Posted on on August 19th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Algerians Insisted That Algerias Lakhdar Brahimi Be The Investigator In The Killing of 17 UN Staff In Algiers. Does The UNSG Not Care For The Safety Of UN Civilian Staff? The Staff Union Wants an Inquiry Modeled After The Ahtisaary post-Baghdad Bombing Inquiry.

Posted on on February 3rd, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

This February 3rd, 2008 posting is an update of our first posting of February 1, 2008, when two fliers by the UN Staff Union were brought to our attention. We attach these two fliers to the end of the article. The flier of January 23, 2008 talks about the bombing in Algiers and demands an outside independent investigation as it was done after the Baghdad bombing of the UN compound there. But the other flier shows total distrust of the UN top brass. The December 17, 2007 flier came about because the killing of two Red Cross workers in Sri Lanka beginning of 2007, and also of aid workers killed in 2006. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his opposition to the killings, but did he stand up to the Sri-Lanka government when it accused UNICEF Country Representatives that protested the killings. If the UNSG cannot stand up to Sri Lanka and Algeria, why in the world will a UN employee want to serve in a troubled country knowing that he/she is not completely backed by the UN system?

The original article:

The Algerians Insisted That Algerias Lakhdar Brahimi Be The Investigator In The Killing of 17 UN Staff In Algiers. Does The UNSG Not Care For The Safety Of UN Civilian Staff?

Last evening we went to the UN to watch an Academy Award winning documentary – “Into The Arms Of Strangers: Stories Of The Kindertransport.” That was the story of 10,000 children that were sent off by their Jewish parents from Nazi occupied European continent to Britain – this in order to give them the chance to live. Not an easy task for parents and children alike. On the way to the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium we passed the BESA exhibit that shows Albanian Muslims – Kosovarians – that saved Jews during the war – so humanity can feel that in those days of darkness there were Muslims that felt repulsion to Nazi behavior.

After the movie I happened to talk to a journalist accredited to the UN that told me – you know what? Ban Ki-moon looked high and low and landed upon an Algerian Ex-Minister and perpetual Algerian UN emissary to investigate the recent killing of 17 UN employees in Algeria. If I would not be afraid that someone would accuse me of racism – I would clearly say that this stinks of “WHITEWASHING.” I cannot see why the stomachs of UN civil employees would not turn over with these news.

People of their ilk, were indeed killed like they were in the bombing of the Baghdad UN compound – this because the UN top brass is back-bone-less when it comes to stand up to what it calls a sovereign government – and do not wink when in the process they sacrifice lives of UN employees. You can say that military people have sold their safety when signing up for serving in an army, but civilians did not. The UN Staff Committee, if they have any backbone must now speak up. If they are also run by interested country citizens on the UN quota based system, so good luck when next bomb strikes.

With above information in my head, I discovered at home that things start filtering to the press via the very few outlets of true investigative journalism that still operate at the UN.

After Algiers Bombing, UN to Appoint Algerian Ex-Minister Lakhdar Brahimi to Investigate.

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, January 31, 2008 — “In the wake of the bombing last month that killed UN staff in Algiers, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would appoint an outside panel to investigate. The Algerian government protested, saying it had not been consulted. Ban and his chief of staff Vijay Nambiar both met with Algerian officials, and Thursday night Algerian diplomats said that the choice to head the UN panel is former Algerian foreign minister Lakhdar Brahimi.”

At the UN, some scoffed at such a choice as an accommodation which would call into question any independence of the panel. Others called it astute politics, given that Brahimi’s previous study of peacekeeping made it likely that he will exonerate the UN system, too.

But UN Development Program Administrator Kemal Dervis, asked by Inner City Press about UNDP’s Marc de Bernis’ role in not having raised the threat assessment level after the April 2007 bomb attack in Algeria, said that the UN had in fact asked the Algerian government to help block off the street in front of the UN building, without any formal response. So this time, in effect there was a UN employee who on location asked for improved security from the Algerians. Obviously, nobody from UN headquarters in New York has moved onto that subject in those days. Mr. Marc de Bernis was killed in the bombing – so now we rely on his widow’s statements.

“Algerian officials have fired back, including at a conference in Tunis on Thursday, when Algeria’s interior minister Yazid Zerhouni spoke, in front of UN Security chief David Veness, of the need for \’respect for the sovereignty of states… without interference in their internal affairs.’ Hours later, other Algerian diplomats named Algerian Brahimi as the UN’s “outside” investigator.”

Now that is what we keep saying all the time – THE UN IS JUST AS GOOD AS THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR OF ITS SOVEREIGN STATES – and this is lower then low.

Lakhdar Brahimi – is he “a fox guarding the hen house,” as one diplomat put it?
Remembering that Algeria is a member of OAPEC and sells oil and gas to Europe – could he be rather the cat that was put in charge of the sour cream jar?

David Veness, it should be said, was previously with Britain’s Scotland Yard, for which he investigated without success the disappearance of three million dollars from UN custody in Somalia. Now Scotland Yard is providing the veneer of outside investigation to Pervez Musharraf’s inquiry into the murder of his political rival Benazir Bhutto.

Matthew writes that “one wag at the UN Thursday night, at the end of the month of Security Council presidency reception by the Libyan mission, asked and answered a question. What is the difference between Pervez Musharraf and Ban Ki-moon? (A beat.) At least Pervez Musharraf has Scotland Yard.”

So, the UNSG will not even show strength of looking for cover by reaching out to someone like David Veness to look into what hapened in Algiers. That corects us now – THERE WILL NOT BE EVEN A WHITEWASH in the Algiers affair – plain lack of trust in the so called Algerian in-house investigation.



The two flyers mentioned were lost in these past 4 years as the computer system tends to delete attachments after a while – sorry for that but we think the essence of the posting is still alive. So the fact that reporting from the UN is still limited mainly to one single truly investigative reporter, and some at the UN – you guessed it – probably the same people that un-earth Mr. Brahimi ever-so-often – try now to throw him out from the UN. But the UN Department of Public Information has now a new USG. Will this help?

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