Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Roger L. Simon attacked by UN blog

Via Michelle Malkin we learn of a UN apologist blog called UN Dispatch attacking Roger Simon for dedicating 20% of his blog posts over the past month of April to the UN Food-For-Oil scandal. Well, I followed Ms. Malkin's link to this sterling blog and I did not read it the same way, at first. I thought the blogger (cleverly named "Dispatcher") was taking Mr. Simon to task for not dedicating more than 20% of his posts to the scandal. Like, say, 40 or 50 or 75%. The UN blog lists several programs which it says should be receiving good publicity to, I guess, counterbalance the bad stuff that Roger is trumpeting in his blog. I also followed all of the trackback links listed after the UN Dispatch post. I found one supporting the UN Dispatch's position and eight others that in one form or another ridicule the UN post. Not doing too well so far are we, UN Dispatch? I have decided to "live blog" the links offered by UN Dispatch in support of their position and we will see where they take me.

1.Tackling the threat of transnational organized crime - This is a news report from Inter Press Service News Agency which reports on the 11th U.N. Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice sponsored by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). There is no mention of any reduction in drugs, crime, terrorism, etc. Just speeches by UN officials and statements of solidarity. The headline says, "Crime and Terrorism Interlinked, Says U.N." Oh really? So are crime and murder, crime and rape, crime and fraud, crime and embezzlement, I think. Nothing to see here but an expensive conference attended by 3000 representatives who spent a week fattening up the Bangkok economy.

2.Shipping supplies to millions of Iraqi schoolchildren - This is an American Prospect synopsis of an report which would cost me $14.95 US to buy. The synopsis does state, "The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) shipped 5,612,257 student kits, 201,416 cartons of chalk, and 5,106,885 school bags for primary and intermediate-level schoolchildren in Iraq from the start of the Iraq War in 2003 through November 2004." No documentation to back up that claim is provided in the synopsis. However, I would comment that the UN was nowhere to be found in Iraq "from the start of the Iraq War in 2003". The UN arrived after Baghdad had been more or less secured by US forces, suffered some casualties in a terrorist bombing due to poor security, and hightailed it out of there until US forces got things calmed down a bit. I won't pay $14.95 US (or any other currency) so I cannot comment further.

3.Controlling the Marburg virus - This is an ABC News report which contains statements by World Health Organization officials saying that the number of new cases dropped from an average of 35 per week to 15. "'This is good news, but it doesn't mean the outbreak is over,' said Dr. Fatoumata Diallo, the WHO representative in Angola." Ok, isn't this the kind of thing that you are supposed to be doing every day? This report is dated 23 April, 2005. A visit to WHO's website just now and this is what WHO says,
"As of 10 May, the Ministry of Health in Angola has reported 316 cases of Marburg haemorrhagic fever in Uige Province, the epicentre of the outbreak. Of these cases, 276 were fatal. The municipality of Uige remains the most severely affected in the province.

New cases have continued to be identified in Uige in the last few days. As some chains of transmission are still ongoing, mobile teams are investigating suspect cases and following contacts."
Hmm. Under control?

4.Building thousands of homes for tsunami victims - This is a report on the UNDP (UN disaster Phund? I dunno) carried on a website called Indonesia Relief. The phrases that stick out here are; "UN-Habitat will spend" and "UNDP will contribute" and "will receive" and "will sort out". A lot of future tense here. In fact, it's all future tense with regard to some 9000 houses to be built. The only present tense is related to a garbage recycling effort for which 250 local workers are being paid by the UN at the rate of 3 dollars a day. The only past tense usage in the article is about a debris and mud clearing program to clear mud and debris from fields in which 30,000 people were gainfully employed, presumably also at 3 dollars a day. The date on this report is 29 April. On 9 May, this guy said this,
"It's shocking. Very limited things have been done for the poor people," Kuntoro told a group of foreign reporters in Jakarta after spending several days in Aceh to get a first-hand look at the monumental task he faces.

"There are no roads being built, there are no bridges being built. There are no harbours being built. When it comes to reconstruction, zero."
5.Partnering with the private sector to meet humanitarian needs - This link won't work for me. Perhaps it will for you.

6.Reducing child mortality rates - this is a report in New Zealand's Scoop website that quotes outgoing UNICEF director Carol Bellamy touting her accomplishments during her tenure. Make of it what you will. There is no attempt at outside confirmation of the numbers she quotes.

7.Rehabilitating Iraq's marshlands - a report in Inter Press Service News Agency (see 1. above) about the reclamation of the destroyed marshlands in Iraq. I cannot offer a comment any better than the one found here,
"(I would point out to the bloggers at UND that this latter effort would not have been possible if the US and UK had not removed Saddam Hussein from power despite the UN's best efforts to protect him. It also would not have been necessary had the UN allowed us to march to Baghdad in 1991 when the road was open and the marshes still existed.)"
8.Eradicating polio This report quotes the polio communications officer at UNICEF touting the reduction in cases in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Curiously, a header above the report states,
"This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations."
9.Rebuilding lives in Afghanistan - This is a UN report from the UNHCR claiming that 3.5 million Afghans have returned home and "UNHCR has been part of that process since its beginning..." The article fails to mention the UN's opposition to the only thing that made these homecomings possible. War waged by The United States.

10.Fighting the global malaria epidemic - This is another Un press release on their own site reporting on a press conference held to recognize the US for its 1.1 billion dollar contribution to The Global Fund to combat malaria. Well, it would appear that the UN can, with US money, raise money. The report goes on to mention that 3000 children die each day in Africa from malaria. The UN just can't seem to invest that money too wisely.

11.Curbing the world's most hazardous pollutants - Oh my. Another web page that won't open. Try your luck.

12.Improving global disaster and emergency response Well, another multiparty conference, this one on how to get US technology and experts to the site of future disasters more quickly. The report includes the agenda for the conference. As to the accomplishments thereof, nothing is mentioned. I, however, have the answer. The United States Navy. See how much time and expense I could have saved them if Kofi had just called me first?

13.Building a sustainable future - A sad ending to a sad exercise. Another web page that fails to open.

What we got for our efforts was a long list of selfserving UN official statements on UN official websites as well as US money, US technology, US reponse and more US money. Make no mistake that some of these programs really are working (I think). Nothing at all in defense of the Oil for Food program. About what I expected.

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