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In Congo Crunch Time, US Rice and Others Cancel Visit, Iran Prioritized, Post-Doss

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 7 -- With new violence starting up and being discovered throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the 15 countries on the UN Security Council arranged to travel to the DRC starting April 13. One goal is to negotiate with Congolese President Joseph Kabila, who has asked for the UN Peacekeeping mission MONUC to begin to pack up and leave.

  While Security Council members, particularly the United States, say that the issues in the Congo -- systematic rape of women as a weapon of war, exploitation of conflict minerals by rebels and rogue Congolese Army units -- are of much concern to them, on April 7 it emerged that only half of the Council member states are sending their Permanent Representative or lead Ambassador on the trip.

  US Permanent Representative Susan Rice, another Council Ambassador complained to Inner City Press on Wednesday, has dropped her initial plan to travel to the Congo, and will stay in New York for the beginnings of negotiations on a resolution to impose more sanctions on Iran.

  "She wants credit for cracking down on Iran," a source said, analogizing her calculus to that of her predecessors Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke when they wanted promotions from US Ambassador to Secretary of State.

Susan Rice, Secretary of State, UN meeting on women, Congo discussed, visit not shown

The UN's top envoy to the Congo Alan Doss, already the subject of a nepotism investigation by the UN for urging the UN Development Program to show him "leeway" and give his daughter a job, is said to definitely be out in June.

   To replace Doss several French names are being circulated, among them former UN Peacekeeping chief Jean Marie Guehenno and even former French Permanent Representative Jean Maurice Ripert, who while titularly employed as envoy on development to Pakistan is said to be in an office in the UN's nearly empty headquarters tower.

  There is also an American, the former U.S. Ambassador to Kinshasa, and current UN envoy to Cote d'Ivoire Choi, both of whom speak French.

  While the UN and its Security Council may show the Congo this idiomatic respect, sending lower level representatives on the upcoming trip at this time of crossroads is a bad sign. Watch this site.

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UN Exposed Supporting Congo Criminals In 2010, Secret List, Using Haiti as Defense

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 9 -- The UN and its Mission in the Congo have been caught in a web on contradictory statements by and about Congolese warlord Innocent Zimurinda.

  In October, UN special rapporteur Philip Alston charged Zimurinda with responsibility for mass rape and murder. On December 16, Inner City Press asked MONUC boss Alan Doss about the UN's logistical support to Zimurinda's units.

  "We've set up a procedure," Doss said, "as needed we will suspend support." Video here, from Minute 4:09. Doss claimed that UN support through the Kimia II operation to all Congolese units, not only Zimurinda's, was being ended in 2009.

  Now Zimurinda has been quoted that support continued into 2010; his deputy Dieudonne says that the UN is still willing to support Zimurinda's units. Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky to respond to Zimurinda's interview and explain Doss' December 16 claims.

  Nesirky began by disputing that it was "just an interview" by Zimurinda. He spoke about the wider Washington Post article, saying it gave "an inaccurate impression." He claimed that the support Zimurinda's units got in 2010 has already been "in the pipeline" and couldn't be stopped. Video here, from Minute 55:02.

  Even if one accepted this, why didn't Doss disclose it in December?

UN's Doss in the Congo, Zimurinda not shown or disclosed

 Doss was and is under fire for nepotism, having been exposed by Inner City Press urging the UN Development Program to show him "leeway" and give his daughter a job. To escape pressure, Doss claimed that the problematic support to Zimurinda was ending in 2009. But that turns about to be false.

Even now, the UN and MONUC split hairs. The Washington Post reports that even for the new Amani Leo operation -- the Post puts it in the future, but it has already quietly began -- two units of Zimurinda's command are on the list to receive UN assistance. Nesirky claims not. Inner City Press asked top peacekeeper Alain Le Roy to disclose which 18 battalions the UN will support. Video here. Le Roy said he would look into if that could be done, implying he saw no reason why not.

   I'm sure Mr. Le Roy will answer your question, Nesirky to Inner City Press, adding acerbically of Le Roy that "today he's had other things on his mind." The reference was to Tuesday morning's memorial service for UN staff who died in the Haiti earthquake. Nesirky cited to this to explain Le Roy's or the wider UN's lack of response.

  Nesirky also told a journalist his questioning of the UN in Haiti was "unfair." The UN's top envoy to Haiti Edmond Mulet, when asked about the condition and soundness of the Christopher Hotel, for which the UN in Haiti paid $94,000 a month in rent, said that he didn't know about the inquiry into the building's soundness, he was other things to worry about.

Some thought playing the Haiti earthquake trump card to cut off or not answer questions was distasteful. But the misstatements on the UN working with war criminals in the Congo is even worse. Watch this site.

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UN's Doss Won't Explain His Support of War Criminals, Playing Out the Clock in Congo

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 16 -- The head of the UN Mission in the Congo Alan Doss, under fire for assisting and covering up war crime by former rebel units of the Congolese Army, tried to defuse the critique on Wednesday by renaming the so-called Kimia II operation. While the UN said its Mission will now only "hold ground" in Eastern Congo, Doss' testimony to the Security Council acknowledged MONUC will still "undertak[e] focused interventions" -- that is, targeted strikes.

  MONUC works with units of the Congolese army which the UN's own experts as well as human rights groups say are war criminals. Inner City Press asked Doss, directly, why he has continued to work with Colonel Innocent Zimulinda (a/k/a Zimurinda), accused for murder and rape by UN rapporteur Philip Alston and illegal mining by the UN Experts.

  Doss did not answer why he continues to work with Zimurinda. Inner City Press asked about a list of 15 presumptive war criminals in the Congolese Army that MONUC itself drew up and gave to the Joseph Kabila government, but whom MONUC still supports. While saying it is the government's role to discipline, Doss did not explain why he continues to work with the unit commanders on his own list of human rights violators.

  Similarly, when asked about the leaked UN Office of Legal Affairs memos, two of which Inner City Press has put online, Doss claimed that the memos offer opinions that MONUC had to put into practice. But the memos say Doss should have had a policy much earlier on, and should suspend support to whole operations with violations, which he has not done.

  Doss himself is the subject of a nepotism investigation that will be the subject of a separate article.

Alan Doss, OLA memos, Zimurinda, nepotism answers not shown

  But sources in MONUC describe his leadership as compromised, and say that the UN investigation is being drawn out until Doss leaves, perhaps in March. Human rights groups favor new leadership, circulating the names of former peacekeeping chief Jean Marie Guehenno among others.

  While the Council is now considering a resolution which would extend MONUC's mandate for only five months, Inner City Press is informed that permanent member China, which now has a large mining and infrastructure deal with Joseph Kabila, was urging a mere "technical roll over." Others blame Doss' support of human rights violators on the push by his native UK, as well as the U.S., to destroy the FDLR rebels at any cost. We will have more on this.

 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.

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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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