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

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

On Cote d'Ivoire, UN Has Nothing on Mercenaries on Blocked Broadcasts

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 27 -- Five days after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for member states to help break the blockade and deliver supplies to peacekeepers in Abidjan, Ban's Office of the Spokesperson has stopped answering any questions about the UN in Cote d'Ivoire.

On December 23, Inner City Press asked Ban's acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq why at this time the UN was planning to suspend all of its noon press briefings for the week starting December 27. After claiming that it was journalists who asked to receive less information, Haq said not to worry, while he was going on vacation until January 4, main spokesman Martin Nesirky would be in charge and answering questions.

On December 26, Inner City Press sent three Cote d'Ivoire questions to Nesirky and Haq, asking for responses for a 12:30 pm December 27 deadline. These were and are the questions:

What has the UN done about mercenaries in Cote d'Ivoire since Alain Le Roy confirmed the UN's sighting of mercenaries in that country?

Please confirm or deny the UN's knowledge of Angolan fighters in Cote d'Ivoire.

Inner City Press had asked Le Roy, when he came out from briefing the Security Council last week, if he could confirm Liberian and Angolan mercenaries in Cote d'Ivoire. Yes, Le Roy said, speaking of Liberian mercenaries who spoke English and not French.

Even after Le Roy's statement, Ban's deputy spokesman Haq denied that the UN had knowledge of mercenaries. The next day, Ban himself referred to them. Then the UN stopped answering questions, including about what if anything they had done. Inner City Press also asked on December 26:

Also in Cote d'Ivoire, confirm or deny any UN involvement in or knowledge of the blocking of broadcast stations beyind Abidjan. Separately, plea se provide Ban Ki-moon's and Choi Young-jin's comment on this article (link).

Ban and Le Roy had called state broadcasting in Cote d'Ivoire hate radio for what it said of the UN. Then when it went off the air, what did they say? Apparently, nothing.

UN's Ban and Y.J. Choi, spokespeople's answers not seen

If and when we get answers from Ban's office, we will publish another article. Watch this site.

Footnote: at 11:30 am Monday, Ban acting Deputy Spokesman sent the following, in response to the three Cote d'Ivoire and other questions outstanding since the previous week and before:

From: Farhan Haq [at]
To: Inner City Press, Martin Nesirky [at]
Date: Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 11:32 AM
Re: Press Qs on Cote d'Ivoire, Darfur, Sri Lanka and Kosovo (and old questions... reiterated re [26] days ago

UNHQ is closed on Monday. Thanks.

* * *

As UN Seeks to Decertify Gbagbo Diplomat, Le Roy Reconfirms Mercenaries

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 21 -- After Cote d'Ivoire's UN Ambassador was targeted in a General Assembly speech by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, top UN Peacekeeper Alain Le Roy again told Inner City Press that Laurent Gbagbo is using mercenaries, and the ports of Abidjan have been blockaded.

Inner City Press asked Le Roy if the UN is asking other member states, like Nigeria or others in ECOWAS, to help break the blockade, as Ban implied. Le Roy said there is a Friday meeting of ECOWAS at which response will be decided.

Both Ban and Le Roy spoke about state media preaching hate and attacking on UN peacekeepers. Inner City Press asked if the UN would move to shut down the radio, as some in the UN say should have been done in Rwanda in 1994. Le Roy answered by contrasting a speech by Gbagbo ostensibly calling for peace with what the media is doing.

Inner City Press asked Le Roy to confirm that UN Peacekeepers have shot and killed at least one Ivorian. He said only that they had responded appropriately, but that there are more threats.

It was Le Roy's second confirmation to Inner City Press of Gbagbo's use of mercenaries. After the first one, still Ban's acting Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Tuesday at noon that it had NOT been confirmed. Video here.

  But Le Roy confirmed it again four hours later. Why did Haq deny it?

UN's Ban & Gbagbo, mercenaries and blockade not shown

In the hall of the UN's North Lawn building, Sudan's Permanent Representative greeted Ban and his chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, and then the Ambassador of Nigeria and ECOWAS, and Le Roy. At the stakeout, Inner City Press asked Le Roy about Sudan's destruction of IDP camps in Darfur. We are aware of that, Le Roy said. UNAMID is on the scene. We'll see.

Footnote: Inner City Press interviewed Cote d'Ivoire's Deputy Permanent Representative both before and after Ban's speech. Before, when Inner City Press asked if he would speak, he said “nous ne sommes pas mandate.” Afterward he said Ban's speech was only about the Permanent Reprentative Djedje, and that the new Ouattara Perm Rep Mr. Joseph previously represented Gbagbo: “He's a career civil servant.” Oh, diplomacy.

* * *

Darfur Seems An Afterthought In Ban Ki-moon's UN, Defense of Gambari, Withholding of Massacre Reports

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 17 -- “Mister Gambari has been working very hard with the Sudanese government,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the Press on Friday of his envoy in Darfur.

  Inner City Press had asked why the UN peacekeepers under Ibrahim Gambari's UNAMID command did not leave their base when dozens of civilians were murdered in Tabarat in September, and whether Ban would at least make UNAMID's report on the killings public.

  “We will have to see,” Ban answered. But UNAMID has answered requests for copies of the report by saying it is up to the Secretary General.

Until the very end of Ban's end of year press conference, run by acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, there had been no questions or answers about Sudan, where the UN has two $1 billion peacekeeping operations. After a protest, Haq allowed the Sudan question from Inner City Press:

On Darfur, you said it was one of your priorities. As the year ends, the government of Omar al Bashir is attacking the one rebel group it supposed made peace with, the Minni Minawi group, UNAMID has no access to Jebel Marra and ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo says that UNAMID doesn't report attacks on civilians because it is threatened by the government. You summoned Ibrahim Gambari to meet you... about the massacres in Tabarat, after the UN peackeeepers didn't even leave their base in Tawila to do to the site. Even the report on these Tabarat killings is being withheld. What will you do differently in 2011?

  To this Darfur question, Ban responded largely about the Southern Sudan referendum. He said, “The situation in Sudan will be one of the top concerns of international community starting January 9... There are sticking issues, to establish a commission in Abyei.” Video here, from Minute 51:31.

  After that Ban turned briefing to Darfur, saying that “the security situation in Darfur a serious concern. The recent bombing by the Sudanese government of the north and south boundary of southern sudan... [We are] making demarches that the Sudanese government should be cooperative. This afternooon I meet the Minister for Peace and the CPA for Southern Sudan to discuss this matter.”

Of the so-called Doha process, Ban answered that the “peace negotiation has not been progressing well. Except that government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement LJM have agreed to a negotiation text. That can be done, but without participation of all other rebel movements -- JEM, SLA and Abdel Wahid -- without their participation this negotiation will not be sustainable. Joint mediator Bassole is asserting his best efforts.”

Then Ban defended Ibrahim Gambari, saying that “Mister Gambari has been working very hard with the Sudanese government... to have freedom of movement of UN peacekeepers.”

  This implies that the peacekeepers in Tawila for example tried to go to the Tabarat or Tabra site but were stopped by the government. But internal UN communications obtained by Inner City Press show that the UN Peacekeepers told relatives of those being killed and injured that they had come to late, to come back in the morning.

UN's Ban & Gambari, report on Tabarat massacre not shown

Now the report on the incident is being withheld, with UNAMID saying it is up to the Secretary General, who when asked would not released, instead speaking of “consultations.”

Inner City Press also asked if the report on Sri Lanka war crimes inquiries by Ban's three person Panel of Experts will be made public. Ban did not answer this either. Watch this site.

Footnote: There was widespread dissatisfaction in the UN press corp about how acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq ran the press conference, and about lack of question and answer opportunities with Ban Ki-moon throughout 2010. Ban said he will make an announcement in early 2011 about seeking a second term as S-G. We'll see.

 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] -