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Book reveals scandal-ridden U.N.

From CNN Correspondent Deborah Feyerick

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United Nations officials have tried to block the book.
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
United Nations
Cambodia
Fred Eckhard
Bulgaria

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The authors of a controversial new book filled with stories of wild parties, drinking binges and sex scandals say it's a veritable account of life working for the United Nations.

Despite efforts by the U.N. to block it, three field workers are publishing "Emergency Sex & Other Desperate Measures: A True Story From Hell on Earth."

The book talks of sex fueled by fear -- or boredom -- and that is what the authors call emergency sex.

"Frankly we found it a sensational & selective account of peacekeeping," U.N. Secretary General spokesman Fred Eckhard says.

U.N. officials say its just "a few bad apples." But a former insider says these are "open secrets."

Others disagree.

"People do have a good time," spokeswoman Susan Manuel says.

"Your libido may be aroused. ... I never personally went to an orgy or even heard about an orgy, but it just wouldn't sell books and that's fine, we all know that compassion doesn't sell books."

The stories are first hand accounts by three U.N. staffers who worked in hotspots like Cambodia, Somalia and Rwanda for nearly a decade.

Among the strongest allegations in the book is the one that says some U.N. officials demanded local workers hand over 15 percent of their salaries.

Another is that Bulgaria freed prison inmates to serve as peacekeepers in Cambodia.

One of the authors describes the Bulgarians as "a battalion of criminal lunatics ... They're drunk as sailors, rape vulnerable Cambodian women and crash their U.N. Land Cruisers with remarkable frequency."

The Bulgarian government has told CNN the accusations are "outrageous."

But, for reporters who follow the U.N., finding out what's actually true is difficult.

"When you are out in the field its hard to actually confirm what's true and what isn't," New York correspondent for The Times of London James Bone says.

"A lot of these things are at the level of rumor and despite them having spent two years working on the book they remain at the level of rumor."

Two of the three authors still work at the UN. Senior officials have reviewed the manuscript, but did not give permission to publish as the rules require.

The authors went ahead and now face disciplinary action, but although they can't be fired, it is likely to be harder for them to get a promotion.

Two other books are reportedly in the works.


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