Accuracy in Media

It was big news in the Washington Times, and the paper deserves credit for covering this important development. Despite claims about being more open, honest and reform-minded, the United Nations will NOT be releasing the financial disclosure form filed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The cover-up continues.

Actually, we had the story first, back in March, when I questioned U.N. official Christopher Burnham about the new ethical standards at the world body. They only go so far. 

Reporter Betsy Pisik said in the story, carried by the paper on October 4, that the  form was filed as part of  “several moves to reform the institution in the wake of the oil-for-food scandal.”  That was the scheme in which Saddam’s regime paid off governments and individuals, including some in the U.N. If the U.S. had not invaded Iraq and overthrown Saddam, the scheme would have led to the lifting of international economic sanctions against Iraq and its full-blown pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. That’s a benefit of the Iraq War that the media fail to remind the American people about.

Regarding financial disclosure by Annan, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told the paper, “The secretary-general has filed the form. We will not be making it public.” How’s that for accountability?

Last March I had asked Christopher Burnham, the new American U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Management, about the new financial-disclosure policy. During an appearance at the Heritage Foundation, he said the financial-disclosure forms will be “far more expanded and meaningful” and more informative “than the one we have in the federal government we have in Washington, D.C.”

But he then admitted, in response to my question on the matter, that the forms would NOT be available to the public. He said secrecy was necessary for security reasons, because the information in the forms might subject the individuals to threats or attack for some reason. It didn’t make much sense.

An October 2 AP story, “Annan Files Financial Disclosure Form,” waited until the seventh paragraph of an eight-paragraph story to acknowledge that “the form will not be made public?” So if you didn’t read to the end of the story, you might have come away with the belief that the U.N. boss was being more open and honest.

Forget about using the Freedom of Information Act. It doesn’t apply to the U.N.

And this is the organization that is supposed to safeguard our security against rogue regimes like North Korea and Iran? We have no way of knowing who at the top of the organization is on the take from those regimes.

And isn’t the U.N .the same place that failed to hold Saddam Hussein accountable?

Did John Kerry win the election after all?

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