UN, as in UNconscionable

Who was the commenter here who said he liked the UN on paper, but found it maybe a bit lacking in practice (while still defending it)? I responded somewhat crudely that I wouldn’t cleanse certain parts of my person with the “UN on paper”, and invited the reader to peruse our UN archives to get some idea why.

Or just read Claudia Rossett’s latest post on UN connivance and appeasement:

In this case, the change-seekers are the members of Burma’s brutally repressive junta, led by Than Shwe. And the change they’ve been seeking — and getting — is hard-cash foreign exchange, skimmed out of the massive United Nations relief operation for victims of the cyclone that hit Burma in May.

How has Burma’s junta been managing this racket? In brief, by requiring the UN to change hard-currency into Burmese currency, the kyat, at lousy, below-market rates — with the Burmese regime pocketing as much as 25% of every dollar exchanged.

So, while the UN has been collecting hundreds of millions in emergency funding for Burma’s cyclone victims, how much of that money has the UN been forking over to the Burmese junta in hard cash?

So, what’s just happened here? Burma is hit by a terrible cyclone, with vast devastation, including an estimated 140,000 or so people dead. The reason the Burmese are so especially vulnerable is that the country is kept miserably poor under the boot of one of the world’s worst governments — the same regime that last fall slaughtered peacefully protesting monks. To help the cyclone victims, the UN raises hundreds of millions in aid from generous donors. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon makes a personal visit to Burma, where he says, “The whole world is trying to help Myanmar.” He sits down to talk with high-ranking officials, including the head of the junta, Than Shwe. From that meeting, Ban emerges to say, as reported by the UN public information office, that “substantive progress was made on all critical issues at hand regarding humanitarian assistance to Myanmar… .”

And now we learn — thanks not to the UN, or the MSM, but to the internet-based Inner-City Press — that in this coming-together and talking-to-dictators relief operation, the Burmese junta, dignified by a personal visit and happy words from the UN Secretary-General, buoyed up by a tide of relief money and goods from abroad, has been pocketing one heck of a lot of change. As with Oil-for-Food in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Cash-for-Kim in North Korea, aid to Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, funds to Gaza under Hamas … it’s an approach that helps keep Burma under the jackboot, while the world, standing as one, coming together, don’t-bother-us-with-realities, sings kumbayah.

How do you feel about the UN now? Before you answer, that’s only one story—we got a lot more where that came from.

Leave a Comment