Another Day, Another Scandal

Prior to the Iraq War, we here at RSP spent many lunch hours debating which organization was more corrupt, the United Nations or the International Olympic Committee. Both are anti-American, anti-capitalist organizations that excuse the behavior of third world dictators. However, the uncovering of the Oil for Food scandal (or, as we liked to call it, the Oil for Palaces scandal), cemented the UN as the more corrupt of the two organizations.

You would think the a scandal of the size of the Oil for Palaces program would force the UN to keeps its nose clean. Well, guess again, it didn’t. This past week, according to a confidential UN internal investigation (the UN’s investigation are almost always confidential. That way, we, the US taxpayers who pay most of the UN’s freight, won’t know that our hard earned money has been stolen by international bureaucrats), the UN official in charge of the UN’s Afghanistan reconstruction efforts diverted over $500,000 to himself for his personal use.

Gary K. Helseth, the head of the UN Office for Project Services in Afghanistan from 2002 through 2006, is accused of using the funds for lavish purchases. The investigation claims that Helseth improperly used hundreds of thousand of dollars that were given to the UN’s Afghanistan reconstruction program by the US Agency for International Development.

These purchases included first class flights to Las Vegas and meals in expensive restaurants in Copenhagen, Dubai, Florence and New York City. Additionally, the investigators’ report changes that Helseth diverted funds for rent and a home renovation. Mr. Helseth is also accused of stealing $65,000 in cash from a UN safe and billing the United States and other international donors more than $60,000 for entertainment, including grandiose parties at his Kabul residence where guests enjoyed beluga caviar, Norwegian salmon and foie gras.

But the opulence didn’t stop there. Helseth defends his purchased of a new Lexus with UN money. However, he does admit that the purchase of $66,000 in gym equipment was “a little over the top”.

What do the powers that be at the UN do after the issuance of this report? They disband the unit that conducted the investigation and they prevent the head of this unit, Robert M. Appleton, from being promoted to the head of the UN’s investigations division. Why was Mr. Appleton denied his promotion, you ask? Well, top UN officials said it was because Mr. Appleton is a Mr. (i.e., he isn’t a female) and he is an American. So much for the UN being a meritocracy. With this gem, UN officials have finally outed themselves as the practitioners of identity politics.

This is just another in a long line of scandals that involve high ranking UN officials. Here’s a list of a few others:

· Of course there is the previously mentioned Oil for Food program, in which then-UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan’s, son personally profited.

· Don’t forget when the United Nations disclosed that its Ukrainian peacekeeping contingent in Lebanon, including the commanding officer, had engaged in "significant financial misconduct".

· There is my personal favorite – the sexual abuse and exploitation of war refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by UN peacekeepers and staff. The worst of the approximately 150 allegations of misconduct--some of them captured on videotape--included pedophilia, rape, and prostitution.

· Also, there was the 2005 scandal in the UN procurement department in which several Russian nationals pleaded guilty to bribery and corruption.

· Of course, what list of UN malfeasance would be complete without mentioning the outright larceny at U.N. offices in Geneva.

· How about more sex, the deportation of more than 100 Sri Lankan peacekeepers from Haiti for the selling of Haitian women into prostitution.

· Allegations of bribes paid for tsunami relief projects in Indonesia.

· There was a bribery scheme at the airport in Kosovo.

· Let’s not forget about the theft and resale of food rations by Ukrainian pilots serving the United Nations in Liberia.

With a record like this, it is unfortunate that so many Americans worship at the alter of the United Nations. With the UN in the midst of an attempted international power grab by trying to implement a world wide system of “Cap and Trade” and strongly advocating for an international currency in place of the dollar, it is helpful to remember that they are unable to keep their own house in order.
Americans should always remember that the UN is nothing more than a hapless, anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-Semitic bureaucracy and a corrupt organization. It can’t even achieve its primary goal – the prevention of war. However, the UN is excellent at one thing – it does prevent war from being effective. Just ask the Israelis.

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