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With Garbari in Darfur, UN Won't Confirm Bombings, Ignores Sudan Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 23 -- As the UN rushed Tuesday to do a press conference with Johnson & Johnson, it allowed only a single question, about Darfur. Inner City Press asked if the UN and the UNAMID mission have the capacity or the will to confirm or deny reports of Sudanese government “air raids on large areas in North Darfur on Kariyari, Boba, Furawiya, Wadi Howar and up to Alkhaim.”

UNAMID cannot confirm those reports, replied acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq. He said Gambari has actually been visiting North Darfur, and we have some information available on that.” But where? Of late Inner City Press has asked for UN confirmation or denial of various government attacks and killing in Darfur, and the UN has brushed off the questions during its briefing, and not responded afterwards.

Meanwhile in his November 22 address at Seton Hall in New Jersey, called his re-election speech, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon claimed that “in Darfur.... for years, conflict raged... today, the mission continues to protect civilians.” Continues?

UN's Ban & Gambari, claims of civilian protection not shown

From the November 23 UN transcript:

Inner City Press: I wanted to know if the UN can confirm that JEM [Justice and Equality Movement] rebels in Darfur are saying that there has been a week of bombing campaigns by the Government in North Darfur, and I am just… There have been a number of questions that have built up for UNAMID [African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur] to either confirm or deny, and Mr. Ban’s speech said that somehow Darfur is now so peaceful. Is UNAMID actually tracking… does it have any capacity or will to report on bombing by the Government in Darfur?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: UNAMID has not confirmed this attack. Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari has actually been visiting North Darfur, and we have some information available on that, but there is no confirmation of these particular reported attacks. And with that, I have to clear the room for our next guest.

   Also still unanswered, despite being submitted in writing to Haq and the Spokesman Martin Nesirky:

1) On Darfur, some question why JMAC data is not on UNAMID's web site, some say it is routinely and selectively leaked. Please respond, and whether these figures include Tarabat market.

2) Please confirm or deny that staff of Mr. Deng's Prevention of Genocide office are asked to work on his books, quantify what amount of time and whether this complies with UN rules, and if the books should be attributed to the UN.

  This last question has actually been asked three times without answer, as have questions about the Secretary General's links with Sri Lanka and its leadership, which Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky has said may never be answered.

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In Haiti, UN Fires Into Crowds, Says Its Only Focus Is Future, Not How Cholera Arrived

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 15 -- With protesters in Haiti still blaming the UN for the deadly cholera outbreak, and UN peacekeepers reportedly opening fire on the crowds, at UN headquarters on Monday Inner City Press asked the UN's interim humanitarian coordinator for Haiti Nigel Fisher why the UN had not acted to fully investigate reports of UN peacekeepers' roles in bringing or spreading the disease. Video here, from Minute 22:21.

My focus is on how to stop” the disease, Fisher replied. But even the UN's deputy special envoy Paul Farmer denounced this approach, call it more politics than science. Beyond being anti scientific, it appears in this case that the UN's attempts to brush off complaints and not fully investigate them has come back to haunt the UN, as suspicions have only grown.

Inner City Press asked when the last time cholera had been present in Haiti. “There has never before been cholera in Haiti,” Fisher answered.

Fisher characterized as “political manipulation” the claims by the Mayor of Mirebalais that the disease may have come from the UN Peacekeeping base there, staffed by peacekeepers from Nepal. But the Centers for Disease Control, even Fisher acknowledged Monday, said the strain is a strain which originated in South Asia.

Nigel Fisher by video, facts on MINUSTAH role not shown, (c) MRLee

Some in the UN system say that even looking into the role of the peacekeepers from Nepal is somehow racist. But political correctness can lead to riots in which UN peacekeepers are shooting into crowds of Haitians. Which is worse? 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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