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As Blair Lobbies for Wataniya, Do Kuwait and JPM Chase's Arranger Role Spell UN Conflict of Interest?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 13 -- When Tony Blair does business, who does he work for? He represents the Quartet, and thus the UN, on development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He has been paid by JPMorgan Chase as a consultant, and presumably works for them. When he acts in the West Bank for the Wataniya cell phone company, who is he working for?

  The UN has repeatedly claimed that there would and could be no conflict of interest between Blair's paid position for JPMorgan Chase and his work in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. When Inner City Press asked Blair, after a meeting of the Quarter in the Conference Room 4 in UN Headquarters, about any safeguards in place for his UN and JPMorgan Chase roles, he scoffed. A Blair staffer confirmed that he continued in JPM Chase's employ.

  This week, Tony Blair attended a press conference announcing the finalization of Wataniya's deal, which Blair "negotiated." At the UN noon briefing on November 11, Inner City Press asked about this last:

Inner City Press: yesterday, Tony Blair was in Ramallah, and he’s described as having negotiated on behalf of a cell phone company with the Israeli Government. There’s a whole press conference also that noted his role for the Quartet and for the UN. So I’m wondering, did he do this on behalf of the Quartet and the UN and what is the UN’s knowledge, do they have any knowledge on this business negotiating activity?

Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe: I have no knowledge of that.

  Even forty six hours later, no answer has been provided. But even cursory research reveals that Blair's employer JPMorgan Chase served as a "mandated lead arranger" for the acquisition of Wataniya. Click here for the document.

  So again, what safeguards are in place? Who is Tony Blair working for?

  Tony Blair Associates has as a client Kuwait, and by implication its royal family, while Blair has met with the finance minister of Kuwait while representing JPMorgan Chase. Wataniya Palestine is substantially (57%) owned by investors from Qatar and... Kuwait. For the former, it's Qatar Telecom. But for the later, it's the Kuwait Investment Authority, which operates on behalf of the State of Kuwait -- Tony Blair Associates' client.  So when Blair lobbies for Wataniya, who is he representing?

Tony Blair and UN's Ban, JPM Chase safeguards not shown

  While awaiting the UN's answers, we note that in June 2009, "Wataniya Palestine CEO Alan Richardson recently called on Middle East envoy and former British prime minister Tony Blair to intervene on behalf of Wataniya to get the frequency released. Richardson previously has been involved in controversial cell phone projects in Iraq, with Orascom and Iraqna, contracts which the U.S. Pentagon urged the Coalition Provisional Authority to cancel.

  So to the degree Tony Blair is working for Richardson, this too is problematic. But beyond the UN and Quarter, is Blair working for Kuwait? With JPMorgan Chase's documented mandate lead arranger role for the acquisition of Wataniya, there is a conflict which, it would seem, will require action. Blair is dismissive, and the UN appears cowed. Watch this site.

* * *

Were Galbraith's Oil Interests As Undisclosed at UN as at Opinion Pages He Wrote For?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 12, updated Nov. 13 -- Following reports that former UN Deputy Special Representative to Afghanistan Peter Galbraith's oil investments are worth up to $100 million, Inner City Press on November 12 asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe if Galbraith disclosed this interest in his financial disclosure form.

  Ms. Okabe stated that such forms are filled out when a person joins the UN at the level Mr. Galbraith did, and are "vetted by a professional firm," namely PriceWaterhouseCoopers. But did Galbraith make the disclosure which it's now clear was required?

   Ms. Okabe refused to answer, instead referring the question to UN Ethics Officer Robert Benson, who oversees the financial disclosure regime. Inner City Press asked Mr. Benson by both e-mail and telephone, early and late on the afternoon of November 12, but received no answer by the evening.

 Update: on November 13, UN Ethics Officer Robert Benson wrote to Inner City Press that "The Ethics Office can confirm that although Mr. Galbraith is no longer with the United Nations, he was a participant in the United Nations Financial Disclosure program following his appointment; however, as provided for in GA Resolution A/RES/60/238, the information disclosed remains confidential."

   Inner City Press is informed that Galbraith is now being barred from the op-ed pages of major American media based on his failure to accurate disclose his financial interests. The New York Times confirmed this on November 13. Galbraith is arguing that he didn't read the form, a strange argument for a diplomat who argued that the U.S. didn't have to comply with UN Security Council resolutions regarding the Balkans as long as they were under Chapter VI and not VII of the UN Charter.

   Earlier, just after Galbraith was fired by Ban Ki-moon, Ban's deputy chief of peacekeeping Edmond Mulet told the Press that Galbraith had some ulterior motive which would soon become clear. On November 12, Inner City Press asked an involved UN official if Mulet had meant the oil investments, or that he might want to run for lieutenant government of Vermont. "The latter," the official said. Only at the UN.

Galbraith and Scott Ritter, disclosure of $100 million oil investment not shown

   From the November 12 transcript:

Inner City Press: ...about Peter Galbraith, former Deputy UNAMA representative and his interest in oil contracts in northern Iraq. I wanted to know when he became a Deputy Special Representative, did he fill out the financial disclosure forms, and I’d also like to know whether this investment was disclosed in those forms.

Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe: As you know, the financial disclosure forms are something that the Secretary-General has instituted, it’s part of his UN reform, and all staff, once they’ve joined the Organization as senior staff and those in positions that require financial disclosure, are required to fill that form out upon entry into the Organization. So it’s a requirement.

Inner City Press: [inaudible] It seems, this article would make it important to know whether this, they say the investment is worth up to $100 million, whether that was disclosed in the form and if it wasn’t, what were the reasons…?

Deputy Spokesperson Okabe: As you know, these forms are vetted by a professional firm and if they see fit that they need to follow up on any questions that they have, that is done. I think Robert Benson, when he was here last time, gave you a briefing on how that procedure works. And just because they are not made public, it does not mean that they have not been vetted, and the firm that goes through it does the vetting and if they have any questions, they do get back to the staff member and do the follow-up on that.

Inner City Press: [inaudible] is it possible to just, and I don’t expect you to do it right this moment, but to get a yes or no answer, whether that investment was disclosed in the forms. Is that going to be possible?

Deputy Spokesperson Okabe: You know, you can ask that to Robert Benson, but that’s his call.

  But Benson has yet to return a call, nor an e-mail asking the above and the following questions, below.

Update of November 13, 2009 -- the following was received:

Subj: Re: Press questions,Galbraith, whisteblowers etc, thanks in advance
From: Robert Benson [at]
To: Inner City Press
Sent: 11/13/2009 9:23:56 A.M. Eastern Standard Time

Dear Mr Lee:

Responses provided:

Hi. At today's noon press briefing, I asked if Peter Galbraith (until recently Deputy SRSG in Afghanistan) had filled out a UN financial disclosure form, and separately if he had disclosed the oil interests in Iraq reported in today's NY Times.

Marie Okabe referred me to you on both questions.

A1 -- "The Ethics Office can confirm that although Mr. Galbraith is no longer with the United Nations, he was a participant in the United Nations Financial Disclosure program following his appointment; however, as provided for in GA Resolution A/RES/60/238, the information disclosed remains confidential."

Q2 -- I have also been told that in a recent UN Dispute Tribunal hearing, about the UNDP - North Korea whistleblower case, that OLA said they would not "allow" you to testify in the case. Are you aware of this? What do you think of UNDP's failure to follow your recommendation?

A2 -- "Since this is a matter that is before the UN Dispute Tribunal, I prefer not to make any comment regarding the matter."

Q3 - How many whistleblowers deserving protection have you certified / found in the past two years? Based on how many applications / approaches?

A3 - "The detailed information regarding the number of requests for protection against retaliation received by the Ethics Office and their disposition can be found in the Office’s Annual Reports for the previous two (2) years; that is, paragraphs 59-66 of A/64/316 and paragraphs 47-53 of A/63/301."

Q4 - Finally, does your Office cover local staff of UN Peacekeeping Missions? There is a recent case of a former MONUC local staffer, alleging MONUC involvement in / knowledge of diversion of jet fuel among other things, who has told me he feels retaliated against. Would your Office have jurisdiction?

A4 - "Yes, our Office would cover a request for protection against retaliation by local staff member from a UN Peacekeeping Mission. May I suggest that you have the individual contact our Office, in that way we would be able to advise the him/her directly."

Q5 - How long more do you remain in Office?

A5- "My three (3) year appointment as the Director of the Ethics Office will end on 30 April 2010, following which I will retire. During my tenure as the United Nations first Director of Ethics, I have indicated on numerous occasions that I considered it important, particularly in relation to the independence of the Office, that I serve for a fixed term and that I leave at the conclusion of that term. The Secretary-General has been informed and has accepted my plans to retire."

  While the answers, even the next day, are appreciated, one wonders in light of Q&A 2, above, who would want this job after the retirement announced in A5 takes place. Watch this site.

* * *

In Kabul Chaos, UN Pull Out Doesn't Add Up, Transcript Held Back, Budget Delayed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 9 -- While Afghans and aid agencies criticize the UN for a lack of clarity in its partial pull out announcement after the Taliban killed five UN staff, in New York the UN insists its messages have been clear.

  Inner City Press asked, for example, if the UN's figure of 200 people leaving the country included the reported 14 UNICEF staffers who are leaving. "We have answered that "we have already answered," that the 200 include "all agency and UNAMA" personnel. Video here, from Minute 14:40.

  Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on November 6 gave a rambling answer in response to what "red lines in your head" would have to be cross for the UN to pull out completely, as it did from Iraq after the bombing of its Canal Hotel headquarters there. He said, in part, that "no UNAMA election officials will be moved out... No UNAMA field staff will be moved out."

  More than seventy hours after Mr. Ban's comments, the UN had not put the transcript online on its "Off the Cuff" comments web site, nor emailed it to the Press, as usually happens one or two hours after a public statement by Ban.

   Inner City Press, which questioned Ban on November 6 and published quotes that day about it, here, on November 9 asked Ban's spokeswoman Michele Montas why the transcript had not been put online. Video here, from Minute 30:27.

  "Mostly technical reasons," Ms. Montas replied. But Inner City Press has seen a copy of the transcript which her Office prepared before six p.m. on November 6. Notably, as Ban was answering the "red lines" question, his chief of staff Vijay Nambiar arrived at the stakeout and gestured to end it, telling Inner City Press, we cannot tell them how to attack us. Then the transcript was not put on line, and still has not been.

  But the streaming video is online, Inner City Press' questions here (from Minute 6:42) and Ban's "red lines" answer here (from Minute 12:40). The transcript which the Spokesperson's Office prepared but then did not put online has Ban saying "There will be around 200 staff in a phased way - I would like to tell you -- 120 administrative staff will be relocated in six to eight weeks, and 30 development staff in six to eight weeks and 50 administrative officers will be rotated between Kabul, Dubai and Kuwait..".

  What is the difference between "administrative staff" (120) and "administrative officers" (50)? Mr. Ban went on, "UNDP level officers -- they have ended their assignment - 30 out of 125 are now remaining in Kabul." Are the 95 who left included in the UN's evacuation count? Are the 30 who, it seems, will leave included?

  Mr. Ban on November 6 said, "there was unfortunately a misunderstanding of our positions." Neglecting to put online the transcript of the Secretary General's answers on Afghanistan for more than 70 hours doesn't help.

UN's Ban and his Spokesperson on Nov. 6, as of Nov. 9, transcript not shown

  The UN claims this is all clear, but it is not. In fact, Kabul is full of rumors of UN pull out of more than 200 system staff. The price of food has shot up. As one international aid NGO was quoted, "the UN should have offered the option for its staff to relocate, rather than issue a blanket relocation. 'That's a bad signal to everyone: The perpetrators are getting what they want and are encouraged to continue, and the population feels more and more abandoned, realizing how little it takes to frighten us away, and to leave them alone to fend for themselves, in every possible field.'"

  On behalf of the UN, Ms. Montas refused to comment on or reply to this on November 9, saying that it is all clear. But is it?

Footnote: even the budget is not clear. After announcing he was seeking money after the five staff were killed, now the spokesman for the chair of the UN Budget committee tells Inner City Press that no proposals have yet been submitted to the committee, they are anticipated as "an add on to the budget fascicle" of DSS at the end of November. The ACABQ is said to have a folder, but got the DSS management review on a much delayed basis. Fast to pull out, slow to follow through, some say. Watch this site.

* * *

UN's Security Phase Confusion in Af-Pak Shown at Stakeout, Ban and Nambiar

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 6 -- In a press encounter that ended in disarray, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called the UN security threat level in Afghanistan confidential, despite it being public in Pakistan, and then described the reclassification, renovation and vacating of various guest houses in Kabul.

  His chief of staff Vijay Nambiar rushed to the stakeout and gestured to spokesperson Michele Montas to end it. Mr. Nambiar then told Inner City Press, we can't tell them how to attack us.

  Mr. Ban had emphasized the UN is not abandoning Afghanistan, that it cannot curtail its development efforts there. Inner City Press asked about northwest Pakistan, where the UN country office issued a press release putting the threat level at Phase IV and suspending UN development activities, and asked what the Phase is in Afghanistan. Video here, from Minute 6:42.

  Mr. Ban said that security phases are "determined by DSS" [the Department of Safety and Security] "after evaluating all situations." He said it "needs not to be known publicly."

  Inner City Press asked if there isn't a conflict of interest, like in Algeria before the UN was bombed there, in which host countries doesn't want the UN Security Phase raised, even if it's needed. Mr. Ban acknowledged that this is "very sensitive," that host countries don't like the level raised because it could effect "national prestige" and "socio economic activities." He said, however, that the UN sets its levels objectively.

  Another reporter asked, in light of the UN's pulling out of Iraq after the bombing of its Canal Hotel headquarters, what are the "red lines" that would trigger a pull out from Afghanistan. Mr. Ban began to answer. Inner City Press remarked to a diplomat at the stakeout, yeah, tell the Taliban what it would take for the UN to leave.

  Then, as Mr. Ban was describing the categorization of the UN's 93 guest houses into those to be closed and those to be brought to "MOSS" standards, Mr. Nambiar rushed back to the stakeout and gestured that this should stop. Some thought this was because of Ban's next appointment, with his advisory group of businesses on the environment. But Mr. Nambiar explained, we cannot tell them how to attack us.

UN's Ban and Nambiar leave Council, divergence on disclosure not yet shown

  While this statement was at the stakeout, with no mention of being off the record or on background, some have since tried to say this was implicit. For this reason, Inner City Press is not using the direct quote. But in fact, it is not surprising that even the UN's 38th floor would have divergent views on how much to disclose. Both positions in this case could be defended. And reporting these facts is to show how the UN actually functions.

  Inner City Press asked this month's Security Council president, Austria's Thomas Mayr-Harting, if Mr. Ban had told the Council in its consultations what the UN Security Phase is in Afghanistan. He said he would rather not "get into the details." Video here.

  Another reporter remarked to Inner City Press that "it is easy enough to learn the UN Security Phase." But why then be so secretive? In fact, Inner City Press is informed that the Phase in Afghanistan, even after the killing of five UN staff in a commando style raid by the Taliban, was kept at Phase III, while it was raised to Phase IV in Pakistan. Is this objective? Watch this site.

* * *

On Food Speculation, UN's Expert Says Nothing's Being Done, S. Korean Land Grabs from Madagascar to Sudan, Brazil on Ethanol

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 21 -- After many speeches at the UN about the need to crack down on financial speculation in food, nothing has been done, the UN's expert on the right to food told Inner City Press on Wednesday.

  Olivier de Schutter, a Belgian law professor just back from a visit to Brazil about, among other things, the loss of land for food to ethanol, replied that "nothing is moving at the inter-governmental level." This despite a statement by the G-20 in April favoring the regulation of hedge funds which present systemic risk. The argument is that commodities index funds which speculate in food present systemic risk to net food importing countries. But nothing has been done.

   De Schutter spoke about the monopolization of the seed industry, and made a slew of recommendations for governments. The three top monopolizers -- Monsanto, Dupont and the Swiss-based Syngenta -- are all members of the UN Global Compact, and claim to comply with human rights. De Schutter pointed out the antitrust law is directed as national and not global or subnational markets. It is all very heady but one wonders what effect it has.

  Brazil might be one of de Schutter's claims to impact. He spoke glowingly of President Lula, saying that Brazil has said that only 19% of land can be used for sugar cane for ethanol, and has committed to monitor labor rights. But what about, for example, Indonesia and Malaysia?

De Schutter, action on food speculation not shown

  After De Schutter's briefing, Inner City Press asked his staffer for an update on the proposed land grab in Madagascar by South Korea based Daewoo, which was reputed after the coup in that country. De Schutter had been scheduled to visit, but it was put off by the coup. The same thing happened in Honduras. So perhaps De Schutter does have an effect after all, mused one wag.

Footnote: immediately after De Schutter's briefing, the UN's Haile Menkerios was scheduled to speak to the Press about Madagascar. While the UN usually compartmentalizes its work such that a rapporteur looks at land grabs, while the Secretariat remains on "political affairs" narrowly defined, this land grab played a role in the change of government. Now it's said the South Korean deal is being pursued from India, while South Korea appears to have moved on to 690,000 hectares in Sudan. Watch this site.

* * *

UN's Indigenous Expert Stymied in Russia, Does Not Engage in Myanmar, Will Visit Ecuador

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 -- Russia blocked the UN's expert on the rights of indigenous people from visiting the site slated for the Evenki dam in Krasnoyarsk Territory, it emerged at the UN on Monday.

  Inner City Press asked James Anaya, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedom of indigenous people, if he had in fact been allowed to visit the site. The Russian press had quoted Igor Kurtushin, deputy head of the territorial administration’s department for external relations that "it would not be easy to visit the Evenki sites due to peculiar weather patterns."

  Inner City Press asked if Anaya had visit the contested site, from which indigenous people would be evicted. No, he said, it wasn't in the agenda we were able to negotiate. Video here, from Minute 30:53.

  Was this, in fact, due to the weather, Inner City Press followed up. "The weather was good was I was there," Anaya answered, describing two flights in Krasnoyarsk and an outdoor meal of reindeer parts. Video here, from Minute 36:29.

  This can be contrasted to Panama, where the government allowed Anaya to visit the site of a proposed dam. When Inner City Press asked about Ecuador and conflicts there, Anaya said he is going in December, invited by the government.

  To some, Anaya seems too accommodating of governments. When Inner City Press asked about Canada's refusal to sign on to the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, Anaya said Canada is moving in the right direction, that he doesn't criticize countries if there is the "possibility" of movement.

  Likewise, when Inner City Press asked about the position of Botswana that nearly all people there are indigenous, Anaya responded that he hadn't seen a need to contest this position during his recent visit there. Given that the position almost derailed the Declaration, it seems strange to some to be so accommodative of it now.

Reindeer, UN's Anaya and Russia permit to visit not shown

  But it is to and within the UN system that Anaya is most accommodative. Inner City Press asked about the UN's REDD program, which was protested earlier this month. Anaya said that the UN agencies want to address indigenous issues. When Inner City Press asked about indigenous people in Myanmar, Anaya responded that since there is another rapporteur on Myanmar, he does not engage in Myanmar. Video here, from Minute 49:22.

  First, this deference is not required: for example, the UN's expert on children and armed conflict engages with Myanmar, rather than deferring. Particularly given the issues that have arisen about the UN's special rapporteur on Myanmar, for Anaya to say he'll do nothing in or about the country ill-served indigenous people. Watch this site.

* * *

As France is Asked about Evictions in Calais and Chad, UN Cuts Off Questions, Jumps for Kouchner

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 -- In his first media availability at the UN, new French Ambassador Gerard Araud marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty with a press conference on October 19.

  Inner City Press asked Ambassador Araud about his country's eviction of immigrants from a camp near Calais last month, about the drowning of residents of the Comoros trying to get to the French island of Mayotte, and about mass evictions in the capital of Chad, where the Idriss Deby government receives substantial French support. Video here, from Minute 25:32.

  Ambassador Araud said immigration is an issues throughout the developed world, quickly equating the drowning of those seeking to get to Mayotte with deaths of African in the Mediterranean.

  He said that the "dismantling" of the camp was because immigration should be restricted to that which is legal, so that Europeans don't "become violent." He said it was fair to be critical, he has seen such criticism of U.S. policies as well, but these countries are democracies.

  Araud said that "answering about Chad is the easiest," and then proceeded to say that his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, the moment he got the post, took in the lead is setting up peacekeeping mission in Eastern Chad, first through the European Union and then the UN.

  A follow-up question was cut off by the UN's moderator, Rachel Mayanja. She said, "before we proceed... I am surprised none of you want to take advantage" of the boy on the panel, from Dominica, to "expose his journey." Video here, from Minute 31:55. But she had begun by saying that the youth would be accompanied by a chaperrone from ChildFund Caribbean, who was not on the podium.

  After a more compliant correspondent dutifully asked the boy about photography -- ChildFund saved him from being a criminal, he equally dutifully said -- Inner City Press asked Ambassador Araud about the evictions done by French ally Idriss Deby, did he have any answer? He shook his head no. And the press conference was over. Video here, from Minute 34:49.

  Afterwards, one of the French journalists opined that Ms. Mayanja may have been trying to protect or please France, a Permanent Five member of the Security Council, by shifting from questions about France's record to what she wanted journalists to ask and write about. This has become more prevalent at the UN.

France's Gerard Araud at the UN on Monday, Chad eviction answers not shown

We note that Ms. Mayanja's cutting off of questions cannot necessarily be ascribed to Araud. The UN may offer protection where none is even requested. If Ms. Mayanja wanted to play up the boy's story, why have him appear at the French Ambassador's first press conference?

Another reporter told Inner City Press that Bernard Kouchner called Ban Ki-moon recently and told him the UN should launch an investigation of the recent killing of some 150 protesters in Guinea Conakry. Ban did just that; when Inner City Press asked, his spokesman said that it was at the request of ECOWAS. But why didn't the UN launch any inquiry into the tens of thousands of civilians killed in Sri Lanka earlier this year?

Just as the UN on Monday sought to limit questions to the right kind of poverty, it will only investigate the killings of the right victims: it all depends on who the perpetrator is, and who provides protection.

Footnote: also on the Chad evictions, Inner City Press asked this question last week to Habitat's New York representative, and for an update on what if anything Habitat did to follow up on supposed commitments by Angola not to continue evictions. Video here. A response was promised, but has not been received. What was that again, about eradicating poverty?

* * *

At UN, Iran's Mottaki Says Protesters Are Dealt With, Nuclear Sites All Reported

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 1 -- In Iran "there are some people, a limited number of people, who look for trouble and want to create unreal," Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the Press on Thursday. "It is very clear how they should be dealt with." Video here, from Minute 31:55.

  During a Q&A session at the UN in New York, nearly all of which dealt with nuclear issues, Inner City Press asked Mottaki about a story of post-election torture, rape and exile, which Inner City Press heard from Ebrahim Sharifi by cell phone on September 21. Sharifi states that he joined the non violent street protests then was picked up, blindfolded and held for a week.

  Inner City Press asked Mottaki if he acknowledged the veracity of any such charges, if people can file complaints in Iran and what he thinks of the call for a UN General Assembly special envoy to Iran on human rights issues. Video here, from Minute 25:43, Mottaki's reponse here from Minute 27:08.

  Mottaki's more then five minute answer became with calling the June elections "the most glorious presidential elections in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran." Mottaki claimed the skeptics, once they received an explanation, were convinced. This left a few trouble makers -- "it is very clear how they should be dealt with."

UN's Ban, Ahmadinejad, Motakki and Zarif, pre election violence

  Mottaki said that Iran has vibrant NGOs, which rather than complain in Geneva to the Human Rights Council come to the UN in New York to participate in workshops about the rights on women.

  On Iran's nuclear program, Mottaki said that other than Qom, there are no other sites not reported to the IAEA. The press conference ended with a report for a newspaper in Israel calling for the floor, without receiving it. He was told by the UN's spokesperson that the UN is an "inter-governmental body... we cannot do anything about what member states do." Apparently not.

Footnote: Mottaki, before traveling to DC, wiled away the evening of September 29 at Indonesia's Independence Day celebration in the UN Delegates' Dining Room. There were satays, rice and noodles. One attending, chewing, snarked that at such receptions, the quality of the food is in inverse proportion to the amount of democracy in the hosting nation.

   Inner City Press has previously written about, and sampled, Iran's kebab diplomacy, click here for that. Seven thousand years of culture...

 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

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