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

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Libya Briefing by d'Escoto Canceled by UN Is Further Put Off, Shalgam in UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 31 -- When the UN canceled a press conference scheduld for March 31 at 10 am by Miguael d'Escoto Brockmann about Libya, it claimed it was only a matter of too many press conferences being scheduled for the day.

It was a ludicrous claim: US Ambassador Susan Rice has complained about the press conference the previous evening, and the UN guarded the briefing room with armed security officers on Thursday morning. But the UN said that the press conference was being re-scheduled for Friday at 10 am.

At 3 pm on Thurday, Inner City Press heard via the Nicarguan mission that the Friday briefing was also being canceled, and reported it via Twitter.

A half hour later, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq confirmed this, again calling it a postponement. It was Haq who dodged Press questions Thursday at noon, telling Inner City Press that he could not speak for the whole Secretariat. Who does he speak for, then?

The result is that a briefing that many UN correspondents wanted to hear, the Tripoli position such as it is on Libya, was postponed and now perhaps canceled for good.

Some of UN Security block briefing room 10am March 31, (c) MRLee

Meanwhile on Thursday afternoon, former Gaddafi Permanent Representative Shalgam, who was removed by a letter from the Gaddafi regime but then given a “courtesy pass” by the Ban Ki-moon administration, was seen by and exchange greetings with Inner City Press on the UN's media floor at 3:30 on Thursday, on the way to speak on Al Jazeera television.

Tell it like it is,” Inner City Press urged Shalgam, who laughed. But shouldn't the UN press corps, some ask, be able to hear from both sides, inside the UN?

Meanwhile something that Inner City Press reported weeks ago - that Ali Treki would defect -- has today been confirmed. Watch this site.

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UN Security Blocks Room Where Libya Talk by d'Escoto Was Planned, Video

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 31 -- UN security guards blocked press access to the media briefing room on Thursday morning, when a session on Libya by Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann had been scheduled to occur. Inner City Press video at

The UN has already unceremoniously dropped d'Escoto Brockmann's press conference from its Media Alert on the evening of March 30, after US Permanent Representative Susan Rice complained that since d'Escoto Brockmann is on a tourist visa in the US, he cannot speak for Libya - and should not be holding a press conference inside the UN.

At a reception at the Chinese mission on Wednesday night and since, Inner City Press has been told that the when the UN Secretariat received the complaint, rather than point out that other press conferences have been held by non diplomats they moved to cancel Brockmann's “show.”

Inner City Press and some other media have complained. Now the word is that d'Escoto Brockmann's press conference has been re-scheduled for Friday at 10 am. Not only is that April 1st -- that is, April Fool's Day -- but to some it does not remove the taint of the UN canceling the press conference, then sending armed guards to block media from entering the briefing room. Watch this site.

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At UN, Susan Rice of US Says d'Escoto Can't Represent Libya on a Tourist Visa

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 30, updated 6:50pm -- With former Nicaraguan foreign minister Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann scheduled to give a UN press conference on March 31 after Gaddafi's then foreign minister Musa Koussa nominated d'Escoto Brockmann as Libya's Permanent Representative to the UN, Susan Rice of the US late on March 30 threw cold water on the nomination and even the press conference.

  Ambassador Rice announced that while d'Escoto Brockmann was born in the United States, he previously renounced his US citizenship. She said he is in the US on a tourist visa and, she argued, cannot represent any country at the UN on such a visa.

  She questioned the validity of Koussa's letter, given reports that Koussa has defected from Libya, and said that even if it were valid, d'Escoto Brockmann would have to leave the US and re-apply for a G-1 visa.

  By implication, such an application could be denied by the US -- despite its Host Country Agreement with the UN -- just as Koussa claimed the US denied a visa to recent nominee Ali Treki, who like d”Escoto Brockmann is a former President of the General Assembly.

Rice questioned why d'Escoto Brockmann is being allowed to hold a press conference in the UN, since he doesn't represent anyone.

To be fair, Inner City Press notes the following: other former PGAs, like Srjan Kerim, routinely come into the UN. In fact, former Libyan Permanent Representative Shalgam and his deputy Ibrahim Dabbashi are still allowed in on “courtesy” passes, and speak at the UN stakeout.

Many have asked Inner City Press if a country can be represented by a non-national. The ambassador of Palau, for example, is an American lawyer who represented the country as it applied to join the UN. (He is married to a woman from Palau).

During the General Assembly's budget votes in December, several countries were represented by non nationals, often New Yorkers who are drivers for their missions.

Inner City Press is told by UN sources that d'Escoto Brockmann was inside the UN building on March 30, in a UN TV studio doing a two way interview to Latin America. Does Ambassador Rice think that shouldn't have happened either?

  Rice said that if d'Escoto purports to represent Libya while on a tourist visa, he'll find that visa status reviewed....

Update of 6:50 pm - now the UN's current Media Alert no longer lists any d'Escoto Brockmann press conference for March 31, it's said to be "postponed." Watch this site.

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Letter from Gaddafi Minister Names d'Escoto Brockmann Libyan Envoy to UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 30 -- Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, former Nicaraguan foreign minister and UN General Assembly President, has been named Libya's permanent representative to the UN in a letter from Gaddafi's foreign minister Musa Koussa, a copy of which Inner City Press has obtained.

Click here for letter in Arabic (PDF), here for Spanish translation by Nicaraguan government (Word).

   UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told the Press at noon on March 30 that the UN had not received the letter. When Inner City Press asked him about Koussa's letter's statement that the US had denied a visa to Gaddafi's first replacement, Ali Treki, Haq said "ask the United States." Inner City Press has, without response.

   Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann is a dual citizen of Nicaragua and the United States - he does not need a visa. And on March 31 he will hold a press conference, which Haq presented only in terms of Nicaragua and the GA, not Libya.

  The stakes are now raised at the UN. Under customary procedure, d'Escoto Brockmann would be accepted as Permanent Representative replacing Shalgam. He could then enter and speak in the Security Council, as well as go and “clean out” the Libyan Mission to the UN on 48th Street of all those who renounced Gaddafi.

But these are not customary times. It is possible that Western “coalition” members and / or Secretary General Ban Ki-moon could push Musa Koussa's letter to the General Assembly's Credential Committee, as they recently did the case of Cote d'Ivoire. That would set a precedent. 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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