On Myanmar, Ban Ignores Quintana's Call for Inquiry,
Daewoo Win-Win Unanswered
Myanmar “Doing Badly,” Ban Ki-moon “In a Rough
By Matthew Russell Lee
22 -- Elite pro-Asia academic Kishore Mahbubani,
speaking Friday at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, said
is “doing badly.”
in response to a question
from Inner City Press about the UN Secretary General, Mahbubani's
first response was that S-G Ban Ki-moon “has hit a rough patch.”
other response Mahbubani said that Deng Xioping should have gotten
the Nobel Peace Prize and that Asia is a much more serious power than
the Muslim world, that he nevertheless could not present a story of
an upward trend line about Myanmar or Ban Ki-moon is significant.
Yonhap that he is confident in receiving a second terms
as S-G (Team Ban contests the translation) and that the reviews of
his performance by the international
community have been “very positive.” But even Mahbubani could not
deliver a positive review.
delivered in a wood paneled room over Park Avenue and
68th Street, lined with oil painting of somber Caucasian old men.
This was largely the audience, too, but for two younger women who
spoke of human rights.
Mahbubani said that human rights
cannot be spread by sanctions, and that “after Guantanamo Bay, no
one takes the US State Department Human Rights Reports seriously.”
were the sister of Senator John Kerry, who works at the US Mission to
the UN, and Ban Ki-moon's speechwriter Michael Myer, among with John
Brademas and David Denoon of NYU, both of whom asked questions.
questioning was “Judith Miller, Journalist.” One wondered what
she thinks of Mahbubani's analysis that the US wrongfully spends 80%
of its foreign policy on the Muslim world, including Iraq, while it
should be devoting those resources to countering China's rise.
Mahbubani, when he was Singapore's PR to the UN,
with Sri Lanka's Kohona
that China overplayed its hand in strong-arming Japan to return
its ship captain, one also wonders what he'd make of China's
moves to block the
release of a UN Sudan Sanctions Committee report asserting
that Chinese bullets were found in Darfur after an attack on UN
peacekeepers there. The event ended at 9 am, and Mahbubani said he
had to catch at 10 am train.
the audience that he is used to being attacked, most
recently on by a historian while taping this week's Fareed Zakaria
GPS show on CNN. He praised Zakaria's piece which praises India -- a
regular circle of praise.
as Tom Friedman editorialized about
conversation with Mahbubani over tea, Mahbubani recounted a talk with
a “senior State Department official over tea.” In these heady
circles, the UN and Ban Ki-moon are an afterthought, going through a
rough patch. Watch this site.
talk was reminiscent of Tom Plate's
"Giants of Asia" talk at the Singaporean Mission to the UN earlier this
year, and his book series by that name which now, Inner City Press
has been told, will not include Ban Ki-moon. We'll see.
* * *
By Matthew Russell Lee
21 -- While on Myanmar
the UN's own Special
Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana has called for a Commission of Inquiry
into crimes against humanity, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on
October 12 issued a report on human rights in Myanmar, A/65/367,
which did not even mention the Commission of Inquiry idea, or
Inner City Press asked Quintana to honestly assess the Secretary
General's performance on Myanmar. Quintana said “you cannot ask me
to tell him what to do,” but also acknowledged the absence of the
commission of inquiry idea or accountability from Ban's report.
had met with Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar -- not with Ban, who
will however be in his office in New York on October 22 -- and
discussed not only the November 7 election but also “justice and
played a role in Ban setting up a purported Panel of Experts into war
crimes in Sri Lanka which has no investigative powers, no
spokesperson and no presence, Inner City Press asked Quintana is this
is what he has in mind for Myanmar.
has in mind the “finding of facts” -- expliclitly NOT what Ban's
Sri Lanka panel is about -- but then diplomatically said that perhaps
the Sri Lanka panel is a model.
He also after
Inner City Press asked
about the plight of the Rohingya diplomatically thanked the Myanmar
military government for cooperating and allowing him to “meet
political prisoners” -- but not Aung San Suu Kyi.
asked for Quintana's view on multinational corporations' engagements
with the Myanmar junta, including Total, Toyota and South Korea's
Daewoo. Quintana said that corporations might become complicit.
Quintana on Oct 21 on accountability, Ban Ki-moon not shown
he was South Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that
a Daewoo pipeline across Myanmar was a “win win” proposition. Inner
City Press has asked Ban's Spokesperson's Office to get from
Ban whether he still views it this way, without avail. Watch this
* * *
Press, UN Empties “Good Offices” for Other
-- As Myanmar
bar foreign journalists
and elections observers from its impending November 7 polling, the
on Monday churned out a prepared statement that did not directly engage
exclusion of the media.
acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq to confirm or deny that
staffers of the UN's “Good Office” on Myanmar operation, set up
by General Assembly resolution, have been even at this critical
juncture been redeployed to other non-Burma work within the UN
Department of Political Affairs, despite being in GA voted budget
lines not supposed to be changed by DPA.
wouldn't comment on “budget lines,” but said that the prepared
statement showed that Good Offices work continued. That wasn't the
question, of course. And the UN's Myanmar and other such statements
are largely cut and paste.
informed by well placed sources that the Department of Political
Affairs under B. Lynn Pascoe had “made a play” for staffers of the UN
Good Offices on Myanmar, “under-occupied”
with Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff Vijay Nambair "monlighting" in the
position since the departure for Darfur of Ibrahim Gambari. These staffers have
been assigned work for Tamrat Samuel of DPA.
Vijay Nambiar & Lynn Pascoe, "Good Offices"
power play not shown
however, the sources say. The Myanmar office is not directly
under DPA, and
its resources, specifically approved by the General Assembly, are not
supposed to be redeployed in this way. It is unclear why Haq feels it
is legitimate, in this context, to minimize and refuse to answer
“budget line” questions.
separation of powers -- and of coddling a dictatorship.
Under Ban Ki-moon, these sources say, the GA's Myanmar office has
been turning into a husk. Watch this site.
* * *
Documents, Myanmar Now Darfur
Ibrahim Gambari was humiliated by
the military rulers of Myanmar
in 2009, internal documents of the UK
Mission to the UN obtained by Inner City Press show. For example, of
Gambari's 2009 trip the UK Mission wrote:
visit on 26-27 June lasted a mere 32 hours. As on previous
encounters, his programme was revealed to him on arrival. He was
driven directly to the new capital, Naypyitaw, a 4-hour drive from
Rangoon. A flight to Naypyitaw would have taken an hour.”
September 2009 meeting
Group of Friends on Myanmar meeting (similar to the forthcoming
meeting on the sidelines of this week's UN General Debate) came to
very little. In 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest and
her NLD party has been dissolved.
to Than Shwe and others in
Burma's military regime, the documents will raise more questions
about Gambari's questionable engagement with Sudan's Omar al Bashir
government, from which Gambari as head of Darfur's UNAMID
peacekeeping mission awaits permission before even sending troops to
documents of the UK Mission to the UN and of the UK Mission in
Yangon, which Inner City Press is exclusively
putting online here, include
visit in early 2009
during which a “meeting was attended by the members of the CEC but
the Burmese/Myanmar authorities insisted on the exclusion of Win
acknowledge that there were now
cross-border implications to the issue, as a result of the situation
in the Kayin State;” and
“Than Shwe had pointed
out the challenges facing the country, including the underdeveloped
border areas, and the role of the military. Gambari commented that
he thought Than Shwe would like to re-engage with the international
community, and to turn a new page in relations with the UN.”
of Cyclone Nargis, the Than Shwe government took up
to 25% of the UN's aid by means of scam foreign exchange conversion
which the UN covered up, until exposed by Inner City Press.
UN's Ban & Gambari spin on Myanmar, UK docs and
Darfur not shown
in Darfur, seeking permission before protecting civilians and
reportedly angling to turn over to the government rebels who support
Abdel Wahid Nur, the Myanmar documents provide a glimpse some say
into the pro dictatorship leanings of a diplomat who formerly
represented a military government at the UN.
Gambari documents here, and
imagine what similar internal documents about the (in)actions of
Gambari's successor Vijay Nambiar will show. Watch this site.
* * *
Strategy Pitched, UN Ban Meeting
& US Quote Followed by Inaction
UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's Group of Friends on Myanmar, have a place in the upcoming
UN General Debate week. In the run-up, fifteen blocks from the UN,
there was a film screening and panel discussion about the
International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women of Burma, held at the
glitzy Paley Center for Media on September 16.
told an auditorium packed with well
dress and well meaning New Yorkers that they should write to US
Permanent Representative Susan Rice to thank her for President
Obama's belated joining of a call for a international inquiry into
war crimes in the country.
US position, after Obama first changed policy to one
of engagement with the Than Shwe military government. It's easy for
an unnamed US official to join a call for an international inquiry
which will never happen, these skeptics say.
and from the UN Security Council, can attest
that the US these days rarely even tried to raise the issue of
Myanmar. A senior US official who met with the Press earlier on
September 16 confided not being briefed about the upcoming Group of
Friends on Myanmar meeting.
propounded at the September 16 session was to press for Myanmar to be
referred to the International Criminal Court. Since Myanmar is not a
member of the ICC, this could only be accomplished by a referral from
the UN Security Council.
it is crystal
clear that any referral of Myanmar to the ICC would be vetoed by
China, as well as Russia. Strangely in Thursday night's discussion,
the word China wasn't once used.
promoting a strategy that has no chance of
success to such high profile and high income New Yorkers. But perhaps
that's not the goal?
UN's Ban, Jody Williams, Thin Thin Aung et al
on March 4, 2010, follow up not shown
on Crimes Against Women of Burma in March
2010, Jody Williams and several others including Thin Thin Aung of the
Women's League of Burma met with Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon. So far, no read out appears to have been given, nor follow up
taken. Watch this site.
“This Is My Witness: Women of
Burma Break the Silence” was screened, and afterward Jody Williams
urged moderator Pat Mitchell to do what she can to get it screened at
Sundance. Also, a portion of “Burma Soldier” by Annie Sundberg
was shown, in which a former Burmese military officer described the
routine rape of ethnic women in Myanmar.
Council resolution 1820, about sexual violence
and conflict, which may be more promising that the UNSC to ICC
strategy. But will UN sexual violence and conflict official Margot
Wallstrom, asleep at the switch during the recent Congo rape scandal,
do anything about Burma?
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.