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Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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On Libya, Chad Wants Fast Finish, Sudan Said To Support, UN Silent, West Spins

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 -- What do Libya's neighbors think of the military action there? While at the UN Western diplomats whisper anonymously about permission to use Sudan's airspace to conduct air raids against Gaddafi, Inner City Press on Thursday asked Chad's Permanent Representative to the UN Ahmad Allam-mi about his country's position.

  “Gaddafi has no friends,” Ambassador Allam-mi replied. “Chad is afraid for its border. We've had the Central African Republic, we've had Sudan.” He paused and told Inner City Press, “This has to finish fast.”

  Earlier in the week, after the Security Council's March 21 closed door meeting on Sudan, Inner City Press at the televised stakeout asked Sudan's Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman for the Omar al Bashir government's position on the no fly zone and action on Libya. Video here, from Minute 9:39.

  Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman said of Sudan, we are members of the Arab League and fully comply.

  Inner City Press asked, but isn't Sudan also a member of the African Union, which has expressed doubts about the air strikes?

  “Whatever is agreed to in each of that, we are committed to that,” Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman said and then walked away from the UN microphone.

  The next day, a Western Permanent Representative told other media that Sudan had granted permission to use its air space to enforce the no fly zone over Libya. While Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman declined to several media to confirm this, the whisper campaign was said to be “confirmed” and reported.

  Inner City Press asked on March 24 asked a senior diplomat of a non-Western Permanent member of the Council about the statements about Sudan. “Why would they be leaking that?” was the diplomat's response. Why indeed.

Bashir flies to Juba, overflights of Sudan for Libya NFZ not shown

Footnote: At the March 21 stakeout, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman told Inner City Press that the UN's Atul Khare in the Security Council's closed meeting had blamed recent deaths on the SPLA and South Sudan (as well as denying any shuttering of El Fahser University or crackdown in Darfur).

At the March 23 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask about Sudan. The SPLA [Sudanese People’s Liberation Army] has said that the northern — the Government of Northern, or of Sudan – has bombed western Bahr El-Ghazal State from the air. I wanted to know whether that’s given — whether UNMIS [United Nations Mission in Sudan] is out there and looking — whether they can confirm that? And also, I know that there was a meeting on Monday of the Council where Atul Khare briefed. There was no readout by the Council after it. The two — South Sudan and Sudan — both had totally different public statements about what the meeting was. The Government of Khartoum said that Atul Khare backed them up totally, said that the violence is totally attributable to South Sudan in-fighting. So I wanted to know, again, does UNMIS believe that Khartoum is supporting, materially or otherwise, Athor and Lam Akol, the two renegade Generals within South Sudan’s fighting?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I’ll check with my colleagues from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations whether there are any further details that we can make available from that briefing that you referred to. As to the reports in which South Sudan says that the North has bombed its territory, the UN mission in Sudan has received reports of aerial bombings by the Sudanese Armed Forces on 21 and 22 March — in other words yesterday and the day before yesterday — in Firka and Timsaha in Northern Bahr El-Ghazal State. And I can tell you that the Mission is investigating these reports. That’s what I can tell you. Alright, thank you very much. Have a good afternoon.

[The Spokesperson later said that the meeting of the Security Council on Monday was not an on-the-record session. He added that, in line with standard procedure, the decision to release details of the discussion lies with the Security Council Presidency.]

  So the UN leaves unchallenged the statements on Sudan. Inner City Press is told that, while not of consultations, the UN does keep written records of “closed” Council sessions. Watch this site.

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At UN on Libya, France Dodges on Arming Rebels, Tales of Susan Rice in Her Absence, Bland Ban Ki-moon

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 -- After the UN Security Council's two hour meeting about its Resolution 1973 on Libya, among Council members only France's Gerard Araud came out to speak to the press. France alone has recognized the rebels based in Benghazi as Libya's government.

  Inner City Press asked Araud if France believes it is legal under Resolutions 1973 and 1970 to provide weapons to the Benghazi based forces. Araud replied, “We implement the resolution to the letter.”

  Of course that doesn't answer the question. Is France arming the rebels? Does it believe that it would be legal? If so, just say it.

  Informed Council sources on Thursday described to Inner City Press what Susan Rice of the US said in the run up to adoption, with five abstentions, of Resolution 1973.

  Rice said the US needed the “notwithstanding” exemption to the arms embargo if it needed to go into Libya with weapons if, for example, an American pilot were shot down.

But, the Council member told Inner City Press, it was not argued that the language permitted the arming of the rebels. Now France won't answer the question, and Rice is not at the UN.

Araud & Ban: 1 takes Qs & dodges, the other doesn't take them

   Several journalists and other observers at the Council on Thursday wondered where Susan Rice was for this important meeting. An Obama administration critic told reporters Rice is “on vacation.”

  Inner City Press notes, as for example Andrea Mitchell publicly has, a recent death in Rice's family. But other journalists pointed to a “blizzard” of press statements e-mailed out ostensibly from Rice about human rights in Iran, accompanied by Tweets. Inner City Press replied via Twitter asking for an explanation. If and when one is received, it will be reported -- and re-Tweeted.

Footnote: Ban Ki-moon spoke only briefly in the Council chamber, and held a highly controlled stakeout afterwards. No question were taken or allowed on whether and why Ban recognized Gaddafi as head of state while granting UN passes to Dabbashi and Shalgam, nor about his envoy Al Khatib being a current Jordanian senator, in presumptive violation of UN Charter and rules. Even so controlled, Ban said very little. There is grumbling. Watch this site.

* * *

UN Envoy Al Khatib Is On Board of Jordan Ahli Bank, Links With Libya Central Bank

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 -- In selecting Abdul Ilah al Khatib as the UN's envoy on Libya, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon moved quickly -- maybe too quickly.

 Since serving as the foreign minister of Jordan, describe even some close to Ban as an autocracy, al Khatib has served on the boards of director not only of Lafarge Jordan Cement Company but also of Jordan Ahli Bank.

Jordan Ahli Bank is active beyond that country's borders. A sample connection: along with Libyan Foreign Bank, a fully owned subsidiary of the Central Bank of Libya, Jordan Ahli Bank is a top 20 shareholder of Union de Banques Arabes et Francaises.

   Could there be conflicts of interest? Did the UN's Ban administration even consider these?

   Ban previously claimed that 99% of his officials have made public financial disclosure. But when Inner City Press showed this is not true -- even Ban's close ally Choi Young-jin, his envoy in Cote d'Ivoire, declined to make public financial disclosure -- Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban's statement had been “metaphorical.”

Now Ban names and injects al Khatib into a struggle about democracy and free press, when as Inner City Press noted yesterday

"Foreign Minister Abd al-Ilah al-Khatib in January initiated a criminal defamation suit against weekly newspaper al-Hilal's editor-in-chief Nasir Qamash and journalist Ahmad Salama. He [al-Khatib] objected to the content of a January article, and said his tribe had threatened to beat up Salama if he failed to take action. The case remains in the courts at this writing."

  By what process was al-Khatib vetted and selected? Watch this site.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 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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