Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

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

Video (new)

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

In Haiti, UN's Deal for 2 Luxury Ships Led to $600,000 Loss, No Accountability

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 -- When the UN in Haiti rented two luxury ships to house its staff after the earthquake there, various UN officials told Inner City Press that it was a good use of UN money. The UN Development Program, for example, told Inner City Press that

the UN needed to find quickly accommodations to handle the surge of UN personnel coming in to the country...The accommodations were procured by WFP for the benefit of the UN system. The cost recovery from WFP is being calculated.”

  But now an audit by the UN's own Office of Internal Oversight Services has found that the UN system lost at least $600,000 on the deal that it had not recouped. Click here for the audit, see Page 13:

Special measures authorized for the crisis response in Haiti (AP2010/510/01).

...the Organization had paid for services related to staff accommodation in a passenger ship, including $600,000 for fuel charges, which were not fully rendered or were discontinued during the contractual period. Owing to the nature of the contract, which had been based on an all-inclusive rate, there was unfortunately no legal basis for recovery of the amount by the United Nations.

Cabin of a ship rented by UN, lost $600,000 not shown

The Department of Field Support explained that the hiring of the passenger ship had been an exceptional action for which there was a limited precedent within the Department and stated that it had made a record of the issues encountered, which would serve as lessons learned, to be applied to any future cases involving similar requirements.”

  Pretty expensive lesson. We could have said and did say it from the beginning: for the UN system to rent The Love Boat sent the wrong message, and ended badly. But will there be any accountability? Watch this site.

* * *

At UN on Libya, Clash on Arming Rebels, Dutch In, Malta Stopped Greek Ship

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 -- Libya sanctions and arms embargo were the topics on Tuesday morning outside the Security Council, even as the meeting inside concerned Lebanon. The Netherlands has formally written in under Resolution 1973 to join the coalition, a well placed Council source exclusively told Inner City Press.

  An explanation of Malta's query to the Libya Sanctions Committee was finally gleaned, as another Inner City Press exclusive: Malta stopped a Greek ship from delivering petroleum products to a subsidiary of the Libyan national oil company.

  The subsidiary is not on the UN sanctions list. But it is on the European Union list. Malta 1, Greek ship 0.

Other battles are not so clear. Inner City Press asked India's Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri for India's position on if arming the Libyan rebels is permitted. No, he said, adding, and you can quote me. 

  Inner City Press asked Russian Permanent Representitive Vitaly Churkin, is arming the rebels permissible under Resolution 1973? No, he said, shaking his head. He noted that it had been the Americans themselves who asked for the arms embargo.

  While no answer was gleaned from US Permanent Representative Susan Rice despite a question proffered at 10:16 am as she entered the Council and 11:10 am when she left, it is understood that the US dispute an account of the negotiation of Paragraph 4 of Resolution 1973 in which Ambassador Rice said that the “notwithstanding” phrase was needed in case the US had to go in with weapons to save a downed pilot.

Susan Rice, Obama and Clinton, negotiation of Paragraph 4 and new position not shown

  The US, it is understood, says that referred to only precluding an occupation and not an intervention. But with Libyan Sanctions Committee chair Cabral now twice issuing an interpretation that arming the rebels is not permissible, Russia and India on the record and others with the same view, including China Inner City Press can report, could the US “just do it,” in the Nike phrase?

  Another member of the “Coalition” tells Inner City Press that while the “notwithstanding” phrase is somehow clear, his country believes that enforcing the no fly zone is the way to go.

  If somehow the no fly zone weren't being enforced, perhaps giving air defense equipment to the rebels could construed as protecting civilians. But to give offensive weapons? Even the non-US coalition member said no.

  But again: might the US “just do it,” in the Nike phrase?

Footnote: for President Obama's visit today to the UN, or the US Mission across First Avenue from the UN, press access has been limited to a “pool” from the White House press corps, as well as Mission selected journalists from the UN press corps.

  There's some grumbling, the substance of which is that a White House based reporter might miss some UN relevant details, including regarding which diplomats are invited. We'll have more on this.

* * *

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.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -