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UN's d'Escoto Supports Ban in "Deadbeat-Gate," UNIC Fingered, Japan's Threats Defended

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, March 17 -- Six days after Congressional complaints about UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's statement that the United States is a "deadbeat," owing the UN $1 billion, the President of the UN General Assembly Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann said "I support the Secretary General" and extended the critique of the US and its "doctrine of preventive war."

   Inner City Press asked for UN GA President d'Escoto's response to Ban's use of the word "deadbeat," which US President Barack Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs subsequently called "unfortunate." D'Escoto, on camera, asked his spokesman Enrique Yeves what the word meant, "qual es la palabra." Yeves ultimately said, in Spanish, "debe," meaning "to owe." Video here, from Minute 24:57.

  Senior officials in the UN have speculated to Inner City Press, in response to its "Deadbeat-Gate" reporting, that Ban may not have been sure that the term in English meant, and they have spoken about who used the term to Ban, "put it in this mouth" so to speak, in the form of talking points.  A witness inside Ban's March 11 meeting with the House Foreign Affairs committee states that Ban was reading from talking points when he said the word "deadbeat."

  While speculation centered on either some New York-based UN officials traveling with Ban, or his speechwriter, two well-placed sources tell Inner City Press that Ban's talking points for the meeting were authored within the UN Information Center in Washington, whose director Will Davis responded to Inner City Press' questions about media access during Ban's two days in DC. While describing Davis's British deputy director David Andrew Smith as "something of a wild man," a well-placed source marveled that talking point for such an important meeting would have been authored at this level. Inner City Press asked Ban's Spokesperson's Office point blank, who wrote the talking points, but has not received an answer.

UN's Ban and d'Escoto toast each other, talking points not shown

  At the General Assembly President's press conference on March 17, Inner City Press went on to ask d'Escoto what he made of the requests that Ban "acknowledge" the UN's contributions to the UN. "I look forward to more U.S. cooperation," d'Escoto said.  Quoting Noam Chomsky that "preventive war is the worst crime condemned in Nuremburg," d'Escoto said the U.S. has violated the UN Charter with its "doctrine of preventive war." He spoke about the U.S. war in Iraq, for which he has said George W. Bush should be indicted for war crimes.

  D'Escoto compared Bush's push to bring Sudan's Omar al-Bashir to justice to Al Capone complaining about a milk thief. "D'Escoto fills the news vacuum," one reporter said, adding that under Kofi Annan, statements like d'Escoto's "would have been condemned from the 38th floor, but now Ban is giving no guidance." Perhaps the UN Information Center in Washington can help...

Footnote on preemptive war: after the press conference, Inner City Press asked PGA d'Escoto what he thinks of Japan's threat to shoot-down North Korea's planned launch of a missile or satellite. Would such a shoot-down be preventive war? "No that's preemptive, that's not preventive war," President d'Escoto Brockmann said.

Inner City Press asked, "And that's okay?"

It's "maybe understandable," d'Escoto said, Japan "could defend themselves."

   One expected d'Escoto to defend North Korea's launch. But he did not. Never a dull moment at the UN.

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

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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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