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UN Claims No More Tear Gas, Dodging Wyclef Jean, Killings by Haitian Police

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 1 -- Of the UN's use of tear gas in Haiti, the UN first denied it, then called it routine and regulated. Now, with its quasi partner Wyclef Jean saying he will speak to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about this "unacceptable" practice, the UN is at once acknowledging past use and saying it won't happen in the future.

Inner City Press at the February 1 noon briefing asked top Haiti envoy Edmond Mulet and his new adviser Michele Montas about Wyclef Jean's protest of the UN. Video here, from Minute 25:51.

  Mr. Mulet answered that in the "first days" after the earthquake, there were "some of this incidents."

   "All that has been taken care of," he said. "That is not happening anymore." This was tied, as he presented it, not to any swearing off of pepper spray, but due to what he called the instant success of the World Food Program's shift to distributing food coupons rather than food, only to women. He was asked about reports of some distributions breaking down this very day.

   Ban Ki-moon traveled to Haiti with Wyclef Jean in March 2009, accompanied by Bill Clinton. What does he think of the UN's use of tear gas?

  The Haitian National Police, with whom the UN proudly collaborates, are known to have shot and killed a number of "scavengers," and even some others.

  Inner City Press asked Mulet about this. Mulet said the UN has "heard reports," acknowledged that "maybe elements of the HNP" shot at "looters." Video here, from Minute 27:37.

   Earlier, the UN had urged journalists not to report on "looters."

UN's Ban, Wyclef Jean and Bill Clinton, earlier - tear gas answers not shown

 Now, the term is deployed in connection with killings by the UN's partner the Haitian National Police. Meanwhile, there are reports of the HNP committing summary executions. Where is the UN's Special Rapporteur on executions, Philip Alston, when you need him? Mulet claimed the UN is "investigating" cases of killings by the HNP. Inner City Press was allowed no follow up questions at the briefing, nor any questions to UNDP's coordinator. Watch this site.

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In Haiti, UN of Two Minds on China, No Guidance on Bullets, Florida Football Games Blocking Medical Flights

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED 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 crowds.

  Inner City Press 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.

  So are tasers 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?

  A stark different 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 country.

  But on January 28, 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.

  Inner City Press 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 here, from Minute 15:34.

UN's Holmes, UNDP's Helen Clark behind: paying $5 or just $3 a day in Haiti?

  Media in Florida reports that the flights evacuated injured Haitians to Florida have stopped, due to the upcoming Super Bowl and Pro Bowl of the National Football League. Inner City Press asked Holmes about this. "I have no idea," he said. "Ask the Americans."

  A 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.

 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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