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


Subscribe to RSS feed

Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Video (new)

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

UN's Envoy al-Khatib Has Attacked the Press, Commitment to Democracy Questioned

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 7 -- Faced with armed and unarmed struggles for democracy in North Africa and the Middle East, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week decided to name a UN envoy to the region.

 But sources close to Ban tell Inner City Press, shaking their heads, that democracy seemed the last thing in Ban's mind when he assembled his short list.

  Ban offered the post to Lakhdar Brahimi of Algeria, where the election of an Islamic party was simply annulled.

  Ban offered the post to Kemal Dervis, which the Ban administration sources say was ridiculous, given that Dervis is mostly an economist and academic, and given his record at the UN Development Program, reviewed below.

  Finally, as what the sources called a “fall back,” Ban gave the post to a former foreign minister of Jordan. According to Human Rights Watch's World Report 2008, this Jordanian

"Foreign Minister Abd al-Ilah al-Khatib in January initiated a criminal defamation suit against weekly newspaper al-Hilal's editor-in-chief Nasir Qamash and journalist Ahmad Salama. He [al-Khatib] objected to the content of a January article, and said his tribe had threatened to beat up Salama if he failed to take action. The case remains in the courts at this writing."


Ban and al-Khatib in 2007, threats to press not shown

  Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky, who did not allow a question at Monday's noon briefing about Libya from Inner City Press, instead telling another reported that "this will be the last question," said that al-Khatib will not be based in Libya. If he will not speak with the rebels, will Gaddafi speak with him, given Gaddafi's characterization of Jordan as a stooge of the US and Israel? So how was he selected?

  At Friday's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked if Ban has had any contact with Libya's Ali Treki, now nominated by Gaddafi to be his new ambassador to the UN, since Treki left his post as President of the UN General Assembly. From the March 4 UN transcript:

Inner City Press: can you describe what, since Dr. Treki was the President of the General Assembly, since that time, the Secretary-General’s contacts, if any, with Mr. Treki?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I am not aware of anything particular. Obviously, within the context of Dr. Treki being the President of the General Assembly for the sixty-fourth session, they obviously interacted with him, he with him in that capacity. I am not aware of any specific interaction since then.

Inner City Press: Did he have any other UN system role since he left being the President of the General Assembly?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Not to my knowledge, but if colleagues have details, I am sure that they will correct me, but not to my knowledge. I think it is important to point out that this was a letter from the Libyan authorities, and naming Dr. Treki as the person they wish to have as the Permanent Representative.

Inner City Press: And what does this mean, what’s the next step in terms of the Secretariat? Does this go to the General Assembly or do you just automatically process and begin, and give Mr. Treki a pass?

Spokesperson: It doesn’t go to the General Assembly. As I think you know, recognition of countries is a matter for Member States. Libya is a recognized member of the United Nations, and it is in that context that, when any country sends a letter naming the Permanent Representative, that person is the person who will be recognized as the Permanent Representative. But that is a question of presenting credentials; the person comes to present credentials.

Inner City Press: One last thing on this, because I remember in the case of Côte d'Ivoire, the Secretary-General went and gave a speech; he said the General Assembly should take up the matter and take on the [Alassane] Ouattara people as opposed to the [Laurent] Gbagbo people.

Spokesperson Nesirky: That’s a very different matter; this is entirely different. This was, as you know very well, this was a question of new Government being recognized by Member States, by the Credentials Committee; it is entirely different. You can’t compare the two.

     Treki has yet to arrive in New York, and in fact may not any time soon to replace current Ambassadors Shalgam and Dabbashi, sources tell Inner City Press. We'll have more on this.

  Regarding Kemal Dervis, when he left the UN system in early 2009 Inner City Press wrote that his

"tenure was marked by a series of scandals in UNDP, from funding violent disarmament in Uganda anddiamond mining in Zimbabwe to procurement fraud cover-ups and financial irregularities in its North Korea program. Through it all, Dervis largely avoided the media, repeatedly telling Inner City Press that he refused to answer questions in the hallway of the UN, as even the Secretary General and his top officials do. He presided over retaliation, and then fought to keep UNDP exempt from the UN system's Ethics Office."

   So why did Ban offer Dervis the job, then turn as a fall back to a Jordanian minister who has threatened the press?

Footnote: on Dervis, all that said, Inner City Press has a semi-positive memory. On his way into the Secretariat building one blue-skied day, Dervis stopped and mused that, you only have so many mornings like this in your life, you have to enjoy them. We hope he does -- and that the next UNDP Administrator does a better job. At the UN noon briefing then, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson if he will at least commit to what his predecessor did, releasing a short list of candidates for the post. I don't know yet, the Spokesperson said then.
 And now, this secret fall-back process and this result.

* * *

At UN, Libyan Dabbashi Predicts Inaction by UN on Gadhafi's Ouster Letter, Visa & Shalgam Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 3 -- Hours after the UN confirmed receiving a letter from the Gadhafi government to withdraw the credentials of Ambassadors Ibrahim Dabbashi and Shalgam, Inner City Press asked Dabbashi what he thought the UN would do.

  “Nothing,” Dabbashi said. “The regime is already illegitimate.”

  But while a senior UN official on Wednesday night told Inner City Press about the letter and the possibility of referring it to the UN Office of Legal Affairs for a long consideration, others say it is an open and shut case. Gadhafi is still viewed the UN as the head of state, and his government gets to choose who represents him at the UN.

  “Even though we'd have to hold our nose,” a well placed Secretariat official told Inner City Press, “the principle is bigger than this one case.”

  The principle is that each country has one recognized head of state -- even if like Alassane Ouattara in Cote d'Ivoire they control only a single hotel -- and that person chooses their representatives.

Dabbashi at UN microphone, Gadhafi's letter not shown

   Others have guessed that the United States could try to deny visas for any new diplomats whom Gadhafi might send. But under the US' Host Country Agreement with the United Nations, the US has to allow in people accredited to the UN.

  At most the US can impose resistrictions on them such as not being able to travel more than 25 miles from Columbus Circle, or not being able to visit Ground Zero.

So despite Dabbashi's statement, it seems clear that through time, if Gadhafi is not ousted, Shalgam and Dabbashi will be, from the UN. The US, one assumes, won't revoke their visas and make them go back to a Gadhafi-fun Libya....

 At Thursday's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky to confirm receipt of Gadhafi's letter. Nesirky confirmed it and said it is being studied. He said he didn't know the date on the letter, since he hadn't actually seen the letter.

Footnote: Shalgam is being sought to explain his role in a deal struck between Italy, Gadhafi and Saddan Hussein, under which Saddam would have been given asylum in Libya. Shalgam is head to have cut the deal in Rome. Then, the US is said to have intervened with Gadhafi to stop it. Might this give Shalgam some leverage? Might he want to talk about it more at this time? Watch this site.

* * *

In UN Libya Resolution, US Insistence on ICC Exclusion Shields Mercenaries from Algeria, Ethiopia

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 26 -- After passage of a compromise Libya resolution by the UN Security Council on Saturday night, Inner City Press asked French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud if mercenaries aren't let off the hook by the sixth operative paragraph, exempting personnel from states not members of the International Criminal Court from ICC prosecution.

  Araud regretted the paragraph, but said the the United States had demanded it. He said, “No, that's, that was for one country, it was absolutely necessary for one country to have that considering its parliamentary constraints, and this country we are in. It was a red line for the United States. It was a deal-breaker, and that's the reason we accepted this text to have the unanimity of the Council.”

  While a Bush administration Ambassador to the UN in 2002 threatened to veto a UN resolution on Bosnia if it did not contain a similar exclusion, the Obama administration has maintained this insistence on impunity, which in this case applies to mercenaries from Algeria, Tunisia and Ethiopia, among other mercenary countries.

 (In the case of Algeria, there are allegations of official support for Gadhafi).

   While Inner City Press was able to ask UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant about the exclusion for mercenaries from non ICC countries, US Permanent Representative Susan Rice did not take a question from Inner City Press, and none on this topic, despite having mentioned mercenaries in her speech.

Obama, Hillary & Susan Rice: mercenary impunity not shown

  When Libya, but no longer Gadhafi, diplomat Ibrahim Dabbashi came out to take questions, Inner City Press asked him which countries the mercenaries used by Gadhafi come from.

  He mentioned Algeria, Tunisia and Ethiopia -- highlighted by NGOs as non ICC members -- as well as Chad, Niger, Kenya and Guinea. So some mercenaries could be prosecuted by the ICC, and not others, under language demanded by the US Mission to the UN. Watch this site.

Here is the US-demanded paragraph:

6. Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State.

Footnote: Araud blaming the US position on "parliamentary constraints" seemed to some a way to try to blame a decision by Obama's executive branch on the Republicans who recently took over the House of Representatives. But it was an Obama administration decision. More nuanced apologists blame the Defense Department for pulling rank on State. But the result is mercenaries firing freely.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 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] -