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


Follow us on TWITTER

Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click os to Khmer courtn cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

At UN, Korean Ship Attack But Not Attacker Condemned, Faster Action on Lebanese Rock Throwing

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 8 -- At the UN Security Council, it's hurry up and wait. The sinking of the Cheonan ship was suddenly put on the agenda for consultations Thursday afternoon at 4:30. Some media reported that a statement condemning the sinking, and presumably North Korea, would be issued that same afternoon.

But Council sources told the Press that the meeting was only for the purpose of finally distributing the draft Presidential Statement to the other members of the Council, beyond the P-5 Plus Two. At least for appearance's sake, the pretense of non P-5 agreement must be kept up. Therefore no statement will issue until Friday.

And when it does, it will not squarely blame North Korea-see below

"the Security Council condemns the attack which led to the sinking"

Also slated for Friday is a “quick and dirty” press statement in support of France's peacekeepers, heroically fighting rock throwers in South Lebanon. France has drafted what it wants, and thinks it will get agreement.

Cheonan, responsibility not shown

Even though UN staff were barricaded into their offices in Sri Lanka by a mob led by a government minister, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who was burned in effigy, belatedly blamed it on the government, the Security Council has not, and in all probability will not, take up the issue. Until a ship gets sunk. And yet then.... Watch this site.

Update of 5:01 p.m. -- the draft, as obtained by the Press, does not squarely blame North Korea. Nevertheless, US Ambassador Susan Rice said it speaks for itself. No, one wag mused, it speaks the Council's new (post) flotilla language.

* * *

France's Complaint of Restrictions in South Lebanon to Trigger July 9 Meeting

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 7 -- Of the reported skirmishes in Southern Lebanon involving French peacekeepers win the UNIFIL mission, UN Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq on Wednesday called them both “not spontaneous” and “only involving a few local communities.”

  Asked about France's requests for a special meeting or consultation of the Security Council, Haq said “that's a matter for the Presidency of the Security Council.” Video here, from Minute 7:11.

 In Paris, Bernard Kouchner met with Saad Hariri about UNIFIL. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero announced France's intent to seek a Security Council meeting but not the timing.

  In front of the Council on Wednesday morning, a Lebanese reporter shouted out to French Ambassador Gerard Araud, will there be a meeting this week on Lebanon? Araud said no, and continued up the stairs with his Lebanese counterpart Nawaf Salam.

  But Inner City Press, later inquiring within this month's Presidency, has been informed that consultations will occur on Friday, July 9.

Kouchner previously at UN with Milliband, now a political Tweeter: what has either done on Lanka staff?

  France will apparently want some sort of Council statement supports its peacekeepers, and denouncing any restrictions on their freedom of movement.

Meanwhile, despite Tuesday's hostage taking and Wednesday's furlough of hundreds of UN staff members in Sri Lanka, caused by a mob led by a government minister protesting any inquiry into war crimes in the country, neither France nor any other Security Council member has asked to put the matter on the Council's agenda or issue any statement on this extreme restriction on the freedom of movement. Watch this site.

* * *

As Sri Lanka Burns Him in Effigy, UN Ban Has No Comment, Pillay Says Speak to Gov't

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 7 -- A day after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was burned in effigy in Sri Lanka, on his way into the UN Security Council he stopped to greet the Press. Inevitably, Inner City Press asked him what he was going to do about the taking hostage of UN staff in Colombo and the closure of the UN facility today.

  Mr. Ban smiled. His Associate Spokesman cut in, “The Secretary General will speak at the appropriate time.”

But UN staff have been held hostage, with the government minister leading the hostage taking now threatening more serious action -- if this is not the appropriate time for Ban to speak, including to Sri Lanka's Mahinda Rajapaksa, when is?

Minutes later, Inner City Press put the same question to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay: what should the UN do about the protests? “They should ask the government to speak with the protesters,” Ms. Pillay answered.

  But the protests are led by a government minister, who called Presidential brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa to get the police to let the hostage taking go forward.

Ban Ki-moon effigy burning July 6, (no) comment July 7 not shown

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has said it is seeking Non Aligned Movement approval of a statement that

It is a well recognized international norm that in situations where there are allegations or breaches of international law that the country concerned should in the first instance be allowed to conduct its own investigation and to make known its findings.”

Not only does this wording contradict most NAM members' call for an international investigation of the assault on the flotilla to Gaza -- on Wednesday morning, Inner City Press asked the Deputy Permanent Representative of a major ASEAN and NAM member state, who shook his head at the draft NAM statement. Sri Lanka shouldn't be doing this, he said. But they are. Watch this site.

* * *

As UN Capitulates and Closes Sri Lanka Office, Conflict in Council, Bribery Alleged

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 7 -- With Sri Lanka government minister Wimal Weerawansa threatening to get “more serious” than Tuesday's hostage taking of UN staff, and the UN capitulating by closing its office in Colombo on Wednesday, in New York the UN Security Council will meet on Wednesday morning. The topic is “The Protection of Civilians.”

  On Tuesday evening the political coordinator of a non-permanent Council member told Inner City Press his Ambassador may raised to other Council members the hostage taking of and threats against UN staff in Sri Lanka.

  He said the Council meets about the temporary arrest of a single shepherd in some parts of the world, but has yet to discuss the attacks on UN staff in Sri Lanka.

  The problem, he said, is Russia and China, both of which for geo-strategic reasons have expressed support for the Rajapaksa government's attacks on the UN for naming even an advisory panel on war crimes in Sri Lanka. Both sell weapons to the Rajapaksas; China is developing a major port, reportedly with prison labor.

  But will China and Russia be willing to support these attacks on UN staff led by government minister Wimal Weerawansa?

Preparing to burn Ban July 6, UN staff not shown

  Inner City Press asked two senior UN officials on Tuesday night about Weerawansa's call to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, which resulted in the police stepping back to allow the hostage taking of UN staff to proceed.

One official shook his head ruefully and said, “That's a problem.” The other dutifully said “We are still checking to see who Weerawansa called.”

  Well, here is a Weerawansa quote to the BBC, about Ban capitulating on even his advisory panel: "If he doesn’t do that, we will make our protest more serious."

Meanwhile Weerawansa is blaming the subsequent (and gentle) re-engagement by police on an unnamed UN official having paid a bribe to the police. What will be the UN's belated response? Watch this site

* * *

As Sri Lanka Burns UN Ban in Effigy, Some NAM Members Abandon It, UN In Disarray, Kohona Dressed Down

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 6 -- In the wake of the government sponsored or allowed hostage taking of UN staff in Colombo, Inner City Press on Tuesday asked the Permanent Representative to the UN of a major South Asian country if he still supported Sri Lanka's requested Non Aligned Movement statement opposing the UN's war crimes panel.

  We'll just stay out of it now, the Permanent Representative said. He and his Deputy expressed disgust at the Rajapaksas allowing hostage taking at the UN compound, and the burning of the Secretary General in effigy. Photos here. Very stupid, the Deputy called it.

But when Inner City Press late Tuesday asked several senior UN advisers about the hostage taking, they appeared ill informed and in disarray. One of the “Conspirators” portrayed on a sign board in Colombo only asked, “Did they spell my name right?” and thought that the dressing down of Sri Lankan Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona was enough.

  Kohona was back on the scene on Tuesday, in the General Assembly Hall to hear Queen Elizabeth II's speech. Afterward he walked desperately through the hall, looking for hands to shake. They were few and far between. When your government allows the burning of the Secretary General in effigy, it tends to go this way. Ask Omar al Bashir, who still takes Ban Ki-moon's calls.

By day's end the question was, why hadn't Ban Ki-moon yet tried to call the Rajapaksas? Did he think they would not answer?

Siege of UN in Colombo, draft NAM statement not shown

 Was it beneath him, since he was the one burned in effigy? He will meet on Wednesday with Benyamin Netanyahu. And we will try to be there. Watch this site.

Footnote: Inner City Press has obtained, and now puts online as a public service, the NAM draft as of June 30. Click here to view. It is obvious how paragraph 4 conflicts with what's being asked of Ban about the Gaza flotilla attack.

It is a well recognized international norm that in situations where there are allegations or breaches of international law that the country concerned should in the first instance be allowed to conduct its own investigation and to make known its findings.”

Another miscalculation by Sri Lanka. Watch this site.

* * *
UN Sri Lanka Panel To Include Steven Ratner and Yasmin Sooka of S. Africa, Reconciliation or Accountability?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Must Credit

UNITED NATIONS, June 21 -- On Sri Lanka war crimes, sources tell Inner City Press that the three names including not only former Indonesian attorney general Darusman but also American lawyer Steven Ratner, and South Africa's Yasmin Sooka, who served on that country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, who was proposed by Ban advisor Nicholas Haysom, also of South Africa.

 According to these well placed sources, and contrary to unsourced reports in the Colombo press, there will be no Austrian on the panel.

After his widely criticized "victory tour" to Sri Lanka last May, during which interned Tamil children were forced to sing for him in the Vuvuniya camp, surrounded by barbed wire, Ban has hounded by calls to follow through on his and Mahinda Rajapaksa's statement at the end of the trip.

On March 5, Ban said he would name a panel to advise him "without delay." Now, belated, he is slated to name the panel this week.

Sri Lanka's banner of UN Ban, with gun, Vavuniya camps

 Sri Lanka is lashing out in advance, even as their ambassador to the UN Palitha Kohona chairs an international investigation panel about the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Can you say, hypocrisy? 

  Kohona has also been named by Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar as having provided assurances that surrendering LTTE leaders would be treated in accordance with international law -- before they were killed. Kohona disputes the timing of his communications with Nambiar. 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.

* * *

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] -