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March 1, 2011: Libya

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Corporations Gone Wild at Clinton Global Initiative, Barclays Spin, No Haiti

By Matthew Russell Lee

NEW YORK CITY, September 20 -- Held at the same time as the UN General Debate, the Clinton Global Initiative is at once slicker and more sinister.

 At a session on Disaster Preparedness late Tuesday afternoon, videos promoting Toyota's work on the Gulf Coast were screened, while media personality Riz Khan chose questions from Barclays Bank and Dell Computers, and one promoting UPS.

  On stage Bill Clinton's head of FEMA and Denis O'Brien of Digicel said give money to established groups. Flacking for Bill Clinton and the UN, Denis O'Brien told fellow panelist and chief UN humanitarian Valerie Amos he had "no complaint about the UN, I saw what you did in Haiti." Introduction of cholera and sexual abuse in Port Salut were not discussed.

  Inner City Press had been shepherded into the back of the room. During the Q&A, while attempting to ask Amos about humanitarian crises on the agenda of the Security Council, a staffer came over and said "members of the press are not invited to participate."

  Still, at the table to which Inner City Press was led, an operative of Swiss Re insurance company handed out fliers and offered interviews after the session.

Back row at #CGI2011 no questions allows, offers from Swiss Re (c) MLee

  The listened sponsors were not only corporate but included long time New York political mystery Tom Golisano -- where's Lenora Fulani, one jaded reporter asked without answer.

  While defanged and denied questions, the press corps was well fed, with free granola bars, fruit and soda, and wireless Internet stronger and more reliable than at the UN. For a time there was discussion of ex President Clinton becoming Secretary General, overriding a rule that no national of a Permanent Five member of the Council can be S-G.

Instead, Clinton holds his corporate heavy parallel UN every September in Manhattan. The lobby of the Sheraton is full of hucksters; the soundtrack is smooth jazz, with Fleetwood Mac in the wings. Obama will come here, and Hilary and Chelsea Clinton. It's as if the mis-service of Haiti never happened. But that's true back at the UN too...

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At UN, Deby On TNC's "Hypocrisy, " 400,000 Chadians "Blocked" in Libya, "No Prisoners in Chad"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 19 -- Chad's President Idriss Deby told Inner City Press on Monday that there remain 400,000 Chadian's "blocked" inside Libya.

 He said the vast majority had gone to Libya to work. Some had been recruited to fight but by both sides, he insisted, Gaddafi and the National Transitional Council.

   He said that going forward the international community should help reconcile all Libyans, "including those who worked with Gaddafi." Video here, 1st part of interview.

  Deby accused the leaders of the "New Libya," the National Transitional Council, of hypocrisy as many of them previously worked with Gaddafi. He said there should be greater African Union involvement in the New Libya, and chafed at Inner City Press' statement that South Africa has led on that issue, and on that of African migrants.

  "There are other African countries on the Security Council," he said, naming Gabon and then Nigeria.

  Inner City Press asked Deby for his view of developments in Sudan. Deby spoke of Southern Kordofan and "Nil Bleu," Blue Nile, then said that much remains to be solved between North and South Sudan.

  On this, Inner City Press asked Deby to respond to reports that the publication N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo was told not to compare South Sudan to Southern Chad:

"In the October 14 to 17 edition of the local newspaper N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo, the publishers included an article comparing southern Sudan with southern Chad. The prime minister called the article 'dangerous' and asked the HCC to act on the matter. On October 19, the HCC met with journalists and warned N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo in particular and all media houses in general to "observe ethics rules" by not printing articles that risked inciting hatred, violence, or separatist sentiment."

  Deby said he didn't know about the case. He said "come to Chad" to see the freedom of the press, and also said that "there are no political prisons in Chad." Inner City Press began to ask of one example -- Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh -- but Deby didn't answer on it.

Deby and the author, smiles on Libya, other answers not show

  The interview was over, and Inner City Press left the Plaza Hotel. Deby will speak before the General Assembly on Friday, after meeting with Ban Ki-moon the day before. "Mais vous savez de tout," Deby said. Not as much as we'd like to. Watch this site.

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

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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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