Haiti, UN of Two Minds on China, No Guidance on Bullets, Florida
Football Games Blocking Medical Flights
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 29 -- Two days after the UN's spokesman in Haiti
David Wimhurst denied knowing about UN Peacekeepers shooting even
rubber bullets to control crowds of aid seekers, detailed reports
emerged of "UN troops" shooting 50 caliber guns over
asked the UN's humanitarian coordinator John Holmes about these
reports, and what the UN considers the best practice in crowd control
while aid is distributed. "There is no set standard in the
humanitarian lexicon," Holmes said, adding that the main focus
is that nobody gets hurt. Video here,
from Minute 26:03.
okay? Tear gas? Electrified fences? Are these decision left up to
each country's contingent adopting the UN's blue helmets in Haiti,
including a battalion from Sri Lanka, accused of war crimes?
in the statements of David Wimhurst and Holmes was also raised but
not resolved. On January 27, Wimhurst confirmed to the press that the
Chinese search and rescue team, once it dug out the Chinese diplomats
from the wreckage of the UN's rented Hotel Christopher, left the
Chinese diplomats told Inner City Press to check with John Holmes,
who they cited as on record about additional Chinese work in Haiti --
a country with whose government China has no diplomatic relations,
since Haiti recognized Taiwan.
asked Holmes to square this with what Mr. Wimhurt said. "I don't
know what to add," Holmes said. "That's my understanding,
the Chinese information as well." But was he a witness? Video
from Minute 15:34.
UN's Holmes, UNDP's Helen Clark behind:
paying $5 or just $3 a day in Haiti?
that the flights evacuated injured Haitians to Florida have
stopped, due to the upcoming Super Bowl and Pro Bowl of the
Football League. Inner City Press asked Holmes about this. "I
have no idea," he said. "Ask the Americans."
reporter whispered, "Touchdown!" -- referring also to
Holmes "touchdown" space in the UN compound, now that
others in his office have been moved full time to Madison Avenue.
Football is only simulated war. But the UN in Haiti is shooting with
real bullets. Watch this site.
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Haiti, Chinese Team Dug Up Its Own and Left, UN Confirms, $94,000
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 27 -- UN peacekeepers have been firing tear gas and,
according to eye witnesses, rubber bullets at Haitian aid seekers.
Meanwhile, the UN confirmed on Wednesday that the Chinese search and
rescue team which appeared so quickly in Haiti left just as quickly,
as soon as it recovered the bodies of its own national who had been
visiting the UN Mission, MINUSTAH.
asked MINUSTAH's David Wimhurst about the use of rubber bullets and
tear gas, which Wimhurst previously said he had not witnessed in Cite
Soleil on January 24.
Wimhurst counted the Cite Soleil
"incident" as one of two uses of tear gas. He said the use
by the UN is under "strict rules and regulations" that are
"well established." Video here,
from Minute 32:31.
said he is
"not aware of rubber bullets" being used, despite numerous
eye witness accounts of both Uruguayan and Brazilian UN peacekeepers
firing into the air. Inner City Press asked about similar reports of
peacekeepers leaving behind food and in one case a pile of radios,
which were then fought over.
said he was
"not aware of [these] being left behind," adding that
battalions take their equipment with them. But these are transistor
radios. Inner City Press asked him to confirm that the UN was paying
$94,000 a month for the Christopher Hotel, now collapsed. "The
number you mention is probably close to the amount," Wimhurst
replied, saying that Security informs him the Hotel was MOSS
compliant. Video here,
from Minute 12:15. We'll see.
Chinese search team in Haiti, recovering own and
ready to leave, per UN
silent when asked to explicitly confirm that the Chinese search and
rescue team left immediately after digging out its own national. But
when asked twice to name a single other place in Haiti where the
Chinese team had dug, he could not. "They went back to China,"
he said. Video here,
from Minute 10:02.
month's UN Security Council President. We will be pursuing this.
Watch this site.
Footnote: The UN's
noon briefing on Wednesday, 15 days after the Haiti earthquake, was
limited to a video link to MINUSTAH, with no other UN questions taken
on any other topic. Some said that Spokesman Martin Nesirky was still
busy from having accompanied Ban Ki-moon into the Security Council
earlier on Wednesday. But his Office has other staffers.
Ki-moon is slated for a stakeout on Wednesday afternoon, it is doubtful
that many questions can be asked. To some, this appears to be an
attempt by the UN to manipulate the press, to remain "on message," on
Haiti and Ban's Wednesday announcement, about Afghanistan. What about
Sudan? Somalia? Sri Lanka? Corruption? Watch this site.
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