Morin of France Dismisses Georgia on Mistrals, Dodges Roma
September 19 -- When French Defense Minister Herve Morin
came to the UN on September 17, Inner City Press asked him about his
country's proposed sale of Mistral ships to Russia. Morin began with
a long answer about Russia's changes since 1989, calling for a change
of “mental paradigm.” Video here, from Minute 14:42.
Press asked as a follow up, “What about the war with Georgia?”
Morin replied dismissively, can we imagine that “the sale of a few
vessels can significantly change the balance of force between Georgia
and Russia?” Yes, we can.
asked about France's declared war on Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Morin mentioned Mauritania, Mali and Niger and spoke of “400 to 500
fanatical fighters,” saying that France will take then on. Some
wondered why France does not focus on the similarly sized Lord's
Resistance Army in the Congo, CAR and South Sudan.
Morin at UN on Sept 17, Roma answer and entourage not shown
French reporters tell Inner City Press, came to New York with
an entourage of 24, in the process of announcing his new political
party to challenge President Sarkozy (who has been in New York this
weekend visiting his son now that his previous wife has
moved to New York with Richard Attias, the French reporters say.)
then, that Morin declined to answer a reporters reflexive question
about Sarkozy's crack down on the Roma, saying instead that neither
US officials nor Ban Ki-moon had raised it. If the burning of a Koran
could put US soldiers at risk, how not the expulsion of the Roma?
Inner City Press has requested access to various French mission
events this week, to get the answers and France's side of the story:
watch this site.
* * *
with Dictators Shown in UKUN Documents, Myanmar Now Darfur
Russell Lee, Exclusive, Must Credit
September 19 -- The UN's 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.”
optimistic projections, including from the 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.
Gambari's and the UN's subservience 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
thanking Italy and summarizing Gambari's 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
document in which Gambari “did acknowledge that there were now
cross-border implications to the issue, as a result of the situation
in the Kayin State;” and
document reciting Gambari's claim that “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.”
and in the wake 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.
* * *
in Manhattan, Long Shot ICC Strategy Pitched, UN Ban Meeting
& US Quote Followed by Inaction
September 17 -- Myanmar, or 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.
the Nobel Women's Initiative 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.
are dubious of
this change in 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.
which reports daily on 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.
found it strange to be 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
the session of
the International Tribunal 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.
the panel discussion the movie “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.
to using UN Security 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?