Wednesday, November 2, 2016

UNsilenced: Whistleblower Exposes UN Culture of Corruption

UNsilenced: Whistleblower Exposes UN Culture of Corruption
When she stumbled across massive corruption and made-up statistics in her job at the United Nations, Rasna Warah knew she needed to act. But when she tried to blow the whistle, she was viciously attacked, publicly humiliated, threatened, intimidated, and more. Unfortunately, though, as Warah explains in her new bookUNsilenced: UNmasking the United Nations' Culture of Cover-ups, Corruption and Impunity, her case is far from unique.
In fact, the corruption and lawlessness across the UN appears to be systemic. Some of the cases described in the book and the pages of The New American magazine make the scandals she exposed and the retaliation she suffered seem mild by comparison. Indeed, in her book, she actually spends very little time dwelling on her own case, but delves instead into some of the many other known and unknown scandals to rock the global organization.
Perhaps the most grotesque whistleblower-related story in recent memory surrounds the now-infamous case of Anders Kompass, the UN human-rights official who exposed child-rape by “peacekeeping” troops in Africa after the UN refused to act on it. But the book is filled with startling examples of corruption, mismanagement, and more, ranging from brazen theft of taxpayer money to the sexual abuse and exploitation of children by UN “peace” troops. Just the quotes from the UN whistleblowers exposing the putrid UN culture of impunity make the book worth reading. Apparently the UN did not want a “culture of snitches,” as one whistleblower put it.
It got so bad that in 2015, as Warah explains, a coalition of nine UN whistleblowers got together to raise the matter with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. “Each of us has blown the whistle on serious wrongdoing, gross misconduct, and even criminal acts at the United Nations,” the group wrote in the letter, which is quoted in the book. “Our collective experience of reporting misconduct in the UN covers sexual exploitation, abuse of power, corruption, and other criminals activity over a period of more than a decade and a half.”
Instead of the UN scrambling to make things right, though, it responded in every case by attacking the whistleblower instead of the crimes, abuse, and the people behind the problems. “Each of us has faced retaliation for reporting the wrongdoing,” the whistleblowers continued. “Our cases are well-known, and sadly, deter others from reporting wrongdoing. This must change.” Unfortunately for humanity, despite threats from Congress to cut funding, and increasingly widespread media attention, nothing has changed, as the book documents extensively.
Warah's realization that something was very wrong at the UN began while she was serving at UN-Habitat as an editor of various publications, including the important “State of the World's Cities” report. Her troubles began in 2009, when she traveled to Bahrain with Anna Tibaijuka, the executive director of the UN-Habitat agency that focuses on promoting “sustainable” cities. During the visit, Warah explained, some Bahrain officials asked how their money was being used.      
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