Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Follow us on TWITTER

Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

As UN's Ban Delays Bhutto Report 15 Days for Pakistan, Amid Dodges on  Who Sees It, Doubts Grow

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 30 -- The release of a UN panel's report on the murder of Benazir Bhutto was stopped on Tuesday, based on a request from the President of Pakistan to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky told the Press that the report will now be released on April 15.

  Inner City Press and others asked if the report would in the interim be shown to Pakistan, and if it could be changed before April 15. Video here, from Minute 11:15.

  Nesirky said, and his associate Farhan Haq later reiterated, that the report had not and will not be shown to Pakistan before April 15. But already there are quotes from "a U.N. official who has been briefed on the independent commission's report" that it faults the Pakistani "government for scrubbing down the crime scene after the killing."

  Inner City Press asked Nesirky if anyone in the Secretariat has seen the final or a draft of the report. "Pass," Nesirky said. "I don't know." Inner City Press asked if he would find out. He said he would "if the information is available to be publicly disclosed." Video here, from Minute 26:51.

In these circumstances, of quotes from UN officials "briefed" about the report, and a refusal to answer which UN staff have seen or been briefed on the report, suspicious grow that the report will be changed, that such changes are the purpose of the 15 day delay.

UN's Ban and Zardari, Bhutto report, pre and post, not shown

  In the case of Sri Lanka, Ban allowed the protests of Sri Lanka to delay, and then give a seat to Sri Lanka's ambassador, in setting up a panel of experts to advise him about war crimes in Sri Lanka.
  In the case of Pakistan, even once a report was finished, Pakistan's president was able to get release delayed for two weeks, and no assurances have been given that the report will not be changed.

  This UN loses credibility daily, on these panels and reports, and also on elections, to which we will shortly turn. Watch this site.

From the UN's transcript:

Inner City Press: Has anyone in the Secretariat, not just the Secretary-General, has anyone in the Secretariat seen either the final or draft report? And will you tell us between now and 15 April if anyone in the Secretariat, the Secretary-General or otherwise, sees the report? Is that something that you can, given the doubts that may come to exist about whether it was changed?

Spokesperson Nesirky: If I am at liberty to tell you, then I will.

Inner City Press: If you are not at liberty, will you tell us that you are not at liberty? I mean… [laughter]

Spokesperson: That’s called the moral maze. What I mean is, if I am told I am at liberty to tell you, then I will of course tell you. Do you understand what I mean?

Inner City Press: I suppose so. But then, so then… So, on the 15th then we’ll ask you, did anyone see it, and then you will answer that?

Spokesperson: Sure. Look, as you know, the commissioners have been working to put together the report, and they have worked extremely hard to put it together. They have worked with a team, and those people have been providing the technical assistance, if you like, to compile the report. Okay.

Inner City Press: And the team are paid by the UN or are UN staff? Who is the team?

Spokesperson: Pass. I don’t know.

Inner City Press: Can you find…?

Spokesperson: This is an independent inquiry… [interrupted]

Inner City Press: Staffed by the UN or DPA or no…?

Spokesperson: As I said, the three commissioners, as you well know, they have travelled to the region; they have had support in doing so.

Inner City Press: Right. But I just want to be like… is it, has there been any UN Secretariat staff involvement in staffing their work or arranging their travel? You see what I mean? It’s called independent, but who is actually doing the background for them?

Spokesperson: The Commission is independent. It was established by the Secretary-General, at his request. And the report is being provided to him. So, clearly, assistance will have been provided to help them to provide the report. The exact details, I don’t know the exact details. I am just telling you that they have been helped with the logistical support to compile the report.

Inner City Press: [inaudible]… maybe, you may not know it right now. But has anyone -- just the same question that I asked -- has anyone in the Secretariat seen the final report ready to be delivered, or a draft of the report?

Spokesperson: I don’t know that.

Inner City Press: Will you commit to find that out or say if you can say it?

Spokesperson: If the information is available to be publicly shared, then I will do so, okay? I think you understand what I can do and what I cannot do. I try to do my best, okay? Yes.

* * *

For UN's Sri Lanka Panel, Nambiar Meets with Kohona, "Two Foxes," Sources Say

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 -- The UN's panel on accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka is being put together by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, with his already controversial role in the final stage of the "bloodbath on the beach" and the Rajapaksa government's UN representative Palitha Kohona, Mr. Ban told the Press on Wednesday.

  A full week after Mr. Ban said there would be "no delay" in putting together the panel, Inner City Press asked him what had in fact been done. Video here, from Minute 7:54. Mr. Ban replied that he is "in the process of identifying persons" for the panel of experts.

  "My chef de cabinet has been meeting with Sri Lanka's Ambassador here," Mr. Ban said. Video here, from Minute 8:29, UN transcript below.

  Chef de cabinet Vijay Nambiar's role in Sri Lanka became more and more controversial as 2009 progressed, including him telling surrendering LTTE leaders that if they came out with a white flag they would be fine. They were, in fact, shot and killed -- at the order of the Rajapaksas, according to now imprisoned general Sarath Fonseka.

  While UN Special Rapporteur on Summary Execution Philip Alston has submitted questions to the Sri Lankan government, Nambiar himself is at least a witness. Why is he putting together the panel on accountability?

UN's Ban and NAMbiar, Kohona and accountability not shown

  Ambassador Kohona, most recently, is reported to have given food baskets and $100 dollars to pro-Rajapaksa protesters who denounced Ban Ki-moon in front of the UN twelve days ago.

  Kohona was also instrumental in the Non Aligned Movement's letter to Ban contesting his jurisdiction to appoint the panel. India's representative at the NAM meeting at issue has told Inner City Press that at the end of the meeting, essentially as people were leaving, Kohona asked for a NAM letter to Ban. In the moment, no one objected, and the letter was sent.

There are the two people putting together the panel to advise Ban Ki-moon on accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka. It is, one close observer told Inner City Press, like "two foxes studying the hen house." Watch this site.

Footnote: Inner City Press also asked China's new UN Ambassador Li Baodong for his views on Ban's panel and the NAM letter. Video here, from Minute 3:00.

  While Li Baodong answered Inner City Press' question on Myanmar, saying that its elections are a "matter of sovereign states that should be respected," he pointedly declined to answer Inner City Press' question on Sri Lanka, and walked away from the microphone. Video here, from Minute 4:34.

From the March 24 UN transcript:

Inner City Press: a week ago you'd said on the Sri Lanka panel or board on accountability that there'd be no delay. So a week's gone by, I want to know if anything's been done in that regard in that week?

SG Ban: I'm in the process of identifying persons who can work in the panel of experts. My chef de cabinet has been meeting with the Sri Lankan ambassador here and they are now in the process of making a move on this, and I expect that Mr. Lynn Pascoe will be able to visit Sri Lanka in the near future to discuss all the matters.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -