NY, as Obama Raises Wall Street Money for his Party, Lady Gaga Goes
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 13 -- First Avenue in front of the UN was lined with
metal police barricades on Thursday. Nor for a protest of Libya
getting a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, but as the route for
Barack Obama's DCCC fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel.
charged $50,000 to meet Obama and attend a private reception. The
minimum charge was $15,000, for an individual. For this they got
lobster in something called yuzu dressing, and "truffle gift box
potato." Many of the attendees from from Wall Street; some
politicians stayed away. Nevertheless fully 21 of New York State's 26
Democratic Party members of Congress were slated to attend.
protests, right on time at 6 o'clock. By seven pm after twenty-some
arrests, they were gone. What were the politicians afraid of? Being
spotting by the media?
Kathryn Wilde of the Partnership for NYC made an implicit threat:
"New York's future as a place to raise money hangs in the
balance!" If you regulate too hard, we won't keep paying you.
Obama with Libya's Ali Treki, lobster not shown
aftermath, when Fifth Avenue was filled with Obama fans and gawkers,
Inner City Press asked Jeff "Bootstraps" Fisher why the
protesters left so quickly. "If you had an M-16 pointed at you,
you'd leave too," he said."Google me," he added,
noting that four blocks away at Carnegie Hall, Lady Gaga was playing,
"there are more people there than here."
Hall, the concert of Lady Lady and Elton John and Sting, produced by
Trudy Styler, was to benefit the Rainforest Fund. At the St. Regis,
it was to benefit a political party, with money from Wall Street. A
foreign correspondent marvels, "Lady Gaga has more soul?"
For this night at least.
* * *
Sri Lanka War Crimes, US' Rice Supports UN's Ban, So Panel Without
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 13 -- U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told the
Press on Thursday, "the Secretary General has a very
constructive and worthy interest in accountability inside Sri Lanka
and we support his leadership in that regard." Video here,
two months the
Sri Lankan government has lobbied against UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's March 5 announcement he would "without delay"
name a panel of experts to advise him about war crimes in the
President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced the country's own "mechanism"
to look at "lessons learned." When US Ambassador to the UN
Susan Rice on May 10 issued a statement welcoming and setting
benchmarks for the Rajapaksas' mechanism, without mentioning Mr.
Ban's proposal, it brought
into question whether the U.S. supported
Ban's move toward outside review.
on May 11 sought comments from Ambassador Rice and the State
Department, and from Human Rights Watch. The latter responded first,
by way of Tom Malinowski, HRW's Washington Advocacy Director:
Lanka has a long history of failed commissions of inquiry and there
is no indication that this one will be any different. Everyone should
be asking what happened to the committee Sri Lanka established in
response to the October US State department report. The members of
that inquiry were initially supposed to report in December 2009 and
then in April, but nobody has heard from them since. The Sri Lankan
government launches these efforts from time to time not because it
wants to bring out the truth, but because it wants to delay calls for
an international investigation. There is no reason to let this
process play itself out again to its inevitable, inconclusive end
before calling for an independent, international inquiry, which is
realistically the only way forward.”
May 13, after
Ambassador Rice spoke of positive developments in the UN Human Rights
Council since the U.S. joined -- she did not mention the flip of the
EU proposed resolution about the killing of civilians by Sri Lanka's
government into one praising and demanding resources for the
government -- she took four questions, about Libya, Iran
and at the
end, Sri Lanka.
US Rice and UN Ban, action on accountability not yet shown
asked Ambassador Rice to clarify her May 10 statement -- does the
U.S. support Ban Ki-moon's stated intention to without delay name a
panel to advice him on war crime in Sri Lanka, or does the Sri Lankan
mechanism replace that?
you know, Matt, my statement didn't address that one way or another,"
Ambassador Rice began. Yours "is a different question. Why don't
you ask that question, instead of asking me to reinterpret my
re-asked, Ambassador Rice said that "the Secretary General has a
very constructive and worthy interest in accountability inside Sri
Lanka and we support his leadership in that regard." Video
from Minute 8:46.
senior Ban administration official on May 11 told Inner City Press,
of Ambassador Rice's statement, that Ban would now wait to
see how the Sri Lankan mechanism developed before acting on his
stated intention to name his own panel "without delay." Now
what? What this site.
* * *
War Crimes Experts, UN Waits for "Sham"Sri Lankan Panel,
Hiding Behind Rice
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 11 -- The UN's
statement on May 10 that on naming a
panel of experts on war crimes in Sri Lanka Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's wheels are turning -- or spinning -- was amplified to
City Press on Tuesday by a senior Ban official. "Now they've
come out with theirs," the UN official said, referring to the
Rajapaksa administration's announcement of a "mechanism."
will be a
sham," the UN official continues. Inner City Press asked, but
how long will it take the UN to reach that conclusion? The UN
official shrugged. "They have to appoint the members." He
paused. "Susan Rice did a very good thing," he said,
referring to US Ambassador Rice's May 10 statement on Sri Lanka.
it but listed expectations which they will never meet," the UN
asked the official, as it has now asked the US State Department, what
ever came of the committee the Rajapaksa administration named in
November 2009. The official shrugged. "There is an EU statement
coming," he said.
on May 11,
as US Ambassador Susan Rice entered the Security Council for a
meeting on terrorism sanctions, Inner City Press began to ask for a
question about the statement issued in her name the previous day -
what does it mean for the U.S.' support of Ban Ki-moon intention
announced on March 5 to name a panel of experts to advice him on
accountability in Sri Lanka?
indicated she was busy. Later a genial Mission staffer came to asked
what the question was -- Inner City Press rephrased it -- and said he
would go in and get an answer. But leaving the Council along with
Ambassador Rice, he said he'd have to check with the "Sri Lanka
later in the UN's North Lawn building he again
promised an answer. But still as of close of business and deadline,
none was provided. Inner City Press sent this and other questions to
an Assistant Secretary of State in Washington. Watch this site.
UN's Ban and Susan Rice, experts on war crimes not shown
City Press: There is a report in Sri Lanka that the visit of Lynn
Pascoe has been delayed by the Government; that the request was made
that it be in mid-May. The Government said no. Now dates in June
have been proposed, and this article.. seems to link Pascoe’s visit
with the appointment of this Panel of Experts to advise the
Secretary-General on accountability -- meaning they wouldn’t be
named until his visit. And now the visit, according to this, has
been put off to June. Does the UN disagree with this portrayal? What is
the connection between his visit and the naming of the panel? And is
the visit not, in fact, going to take place in May despite
the wheels that you described being motion?
Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Well, thank you for prompting me; the
wheels are still in motion on both the visit by Mr. Pascoe…
City Press: Does the Government have the brakes on your wheels?
Nesirky: Well, that’s for you to ask the Government of Sri Lanka. What
I can tell you is that the UN wheels are definitely turning, and
they’re well-oiled. And what they’re turning towards is, one, a
visit by Mr. Pascoe, and, two, for the Panel of Experts that we’ve
discussed many times here.
City Press: This article says that there are some connections between
the two; that that the panel would not be named before the visit is
made. I have been told by the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka
that, given changes on the ground there, no panel is needed and he
predicts that no panel will be named. So, is there any connection at
all between Mr. Pascoe’s visit and the naming of the panel that’s
now been delayed more than two months? Or not been delayed; it’s
been two months since it was announced it would happen.
Nesirky: Well, I don’t think that we should draw a line between
the two or to see this as cause and effect. The visit and the
composition and naming of the panel -- these are two separate
reason clarification of Ambassador Rice's statement, is sought is the
re-emergence in State Department of Samantha "Problem from Hell" Power,
who wrote the -- well, a -- book on the lack accountability for war
crimes. What does she think of the statement?
PRESS RELEASE # 083
by US Ambassador Susan E. Rice on Sri Lanka's Announcement of a
Commission on Lessons Learned and Reconciliation
U.S. Government welcomes President Rajapaksa's announcement of his
intention to establish a Commission on Lessons Learned and
Reconciliation to examine key aspects of the recently ended conflict
in Sri Lanka and his acknowledgment in doing so that accountability
for serious violations of international humanitarian law is a crucial
pillar of national reconciliation and the rule of law. Experience in
other countries has shown that commissions of inquiry can play a
valuable role in advancing accountability when they are appropriately
constituted and enjoy broad public support. Particularly important
in this regard, broad experience has shown that to be effective in
advancing accountability and reconciliation, commission members
should be and be perceived as independent, impartial and competent;
their mandate should enable them fully to investigate serious
allegations of violations and to make public recommendations;
commission members and potential witnesses must enjoy adequate and
effective protection; the commission must receive adequate resources
to carry out its mandate; and the Government should undertake to give
serious consideration to its recommendations. We hope the commission
will also reflect the desires and requests of the citizens of Sri
Lanka, who were the primary victims of the conflict. Being responsive
to their needs will be an important measure of the commission's
success. In light of these general principles, we would welcome the
Sri Lankan Government's commitment to give the Commission on Lessons
Learned and Reconciliation a mandate to probe violations of
international standards during the final stages of the conflict and
to identify those responsible and, we would expect, to make
appropriate public recommendations based on its findings.
And see, www.innercitypress.com/sri5unfollow051310.html
* * *
On Sri Lanka, As UN's
Ban Delays on Panel, Pascoe's Trip Delayed For "Goodies"
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 5 -- Two months after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
said he would form "without delay" a panel of experts to
advise him on possible war crimes in Sri Lanka, still no such panel
has been named.
In the interim, the UN has said that Under Secretary
General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe will travel to Sri Lanka.
But that has not happened or even been nailed down yet.
official told Inner City Press on May 5 that they think Sri Lanka is
putting off the trip so that they can put certain things in place and
show "goodies" to the UN. Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN
Palitha Kohona continues to predict that Ban will never go forward
and name the panel. "Ask them why they would name a panel,"
Kohona has urged Inner City Press, "for anything more than
has put Kohona's question to the senior UN official, who while not
confirming that the panel idea is dead or dying, said the UN is happy
to think that improvements are being made under the shadow of a
visit. In fact, Inner City Press was told that an Austrians national
was approached about being on the panel. But two month are two
UN's Ban and Pascoe in Uzbekistan, Lankan follow
through not shown
Lanka itself, the Red Cross still does not have access to the
so-called rehabilitation centers, and there are whispers of a slew of
babies being born to women who were in government detention nine
The IMF has
delayed the next tranche of its loan, as the government has not
followed through on its commitments.
CHAP was rejected by presidential
brother Basil Rajaksa, NGOs complain. They do not complain loudly,
threatened as they are with expulsion from the country. Watch this
transcript of its April 30 noon briefing:
City Press: This is, it’s
now been seven weeks since the Secretary-General said that without
delay a panel of group of experts would be named to advise him on
accountability in Sri Lanka. It was also said that Mr. [B. Lynn]
Pascoe would be visiting the country. Has a request for Mr. Pascoe
to visit been made, and what progress, if any, has there been on
naming this group of experts?
Nesirky: A visit
by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Lynn Pascoe, is
in the works and is likely to take place fairly soon. We don’t
have a date yet, but it’s in, if you like, an active planning
phase. So that’s to answer the first point. The second point: the
Secretary-General has made clear that this panel of experts will
be put together without delay, and I know that that is indeed the
case. People are working actively on putting that panel together. It is
not complete yet, and neither are the terms of reference. But
active work is being done on this and the Secretary-General is very
clear that there will be no delay. But it needs to be done properly.
Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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