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

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

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At UN, Downer on No Fly Zone, Iran Says 2 Sided Coin, Delay Continues

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 15 -- Amid predictions that Lebanon would on Tuesday afternoon circulate a draft resolution on Libya, Alexander Downer answered some Press questions about a possible no fly zone on Tuesday morning after briefing the UN Security Council about Cyprus. Downer said with a smile that the current foreign minister (Kevin Rudd) is enthusiastic about such a no fly zone.

   Inner City Press asked, Do you disagree?

    Downer said in essence that with the Arab League now having come out in favor of a no fly zone, some of his past concerns had been assuaged. So now Rudd, Downer and Prime Minister Gillard are all on the same page? Downer has criticize Gillard for “sucking up” to Barack Obama and his concerns about the no fly zone.

   On Tuesday morning outside the Security Council, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin declined to comment on any draft, saying "I don't have it -- do you?" The US position was unclear. Germany was understood to want to see Arab countries taking part in enforcing any no fly zone.

   Because a Libyan -- but not Gadhafi -- diplomat earlier on Tuesday told Inner City Press that the Germans and other shouldn't be so fixed on Arab countries enforcing a no fly zone with their planes, since “the Arab League does not have an agreement for this” unlike the Saudis' and UAE's agreement with Bahrain, Inner City Press asked Downer if how heavily he'd weigh Arab involvement in enforcing such a no fly zone.

Downer declined comment on that. Later, Inner City Press asked Iran's Permanent Representative about his country's reported opposition to a no fly zone. He stopped and said there are “two sides to the coin.” He said a no fly zone could be a “gateway to military intervention,” but might “stop Gadhafi from killing.”

Gadhafi over Gillard & Rudd, Downer & no fly zone not shown, h/t AdelaideNow

  What about Bahrain? Iran's Permanent Representative said “that's different.” And at Tuesday's UN noon briefing, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky for a second time did not answer if the UN thinks Bahrain's use of outside security personnel from Pakistan and Yemen is a use of mercenaries. If I have anything on that, I'll tell you, Nesirky said. Watch this site.

Footnotes: on Cyprus, Inner City Press asked Downer about the detention of two former members of the European Parliament during a “visit to abandoned Varosha, a fenced-off Greek Cypriot suburb of Famagusta on the island’s east coast that is controlled by the Turkish army.” Downer said that the fenced off status of Varosha shows the need for the Cyprus issue to be solved.

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With UNSC Dormant on Action Against Gaddafi, ICC Limits & Alternatives Discussed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 9 -- Even as France and the UK prepare what they call a “contingency” resolution for the UN Security Council to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya, there is talk of working around the Council, at least in pundit land.

  Inner City Press asked Colombia University law profession Matthew Waxman on Wednesday about last month's Security Council resolution, which partially referred the case of Libya to the International Criminal Court: would ICC members feel constrained to wait for UNSC authorization?

  Would the US-requested exemption of non-ICC members from referral to the ICC have any impact on decision making?

Waxman said that while some “potential coalition partners might be reluctant to participate in multi-national military operations” absent Security Council authorization, others might be comforted by requests from the African Union or Arab League.

  He said these are not “strictly legally alternatives” to UNSC approval, but might “endow... sufficient legitimacy to make states feel comfortable participating in a no fly zone.”

   Tuesday night at the UN, two Permanent Representatives on the Council told Inner City Press there is “no appetite” for ground intervention in Libya, and that opposition to the still vague UK and France no fly proposal was expressed in closed door consultations of the Council earlier that day.

Gaddafi and UN's Ban Ki-moon, action on Ambassadors not shown

   Then, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly said that it should be up to the UNSC to authorize action. This from the same Administration would demanded a carve out for itself from the ICC referral in the (first) Libya resolution last month....

Footnote: the other speaker on the CFR call on which Inner City Press questioned Waxman, Micah Zenko, predicted that the international community will not offer recognition to the rebels' government in Bengazi, pointing out that no one has recognized Puntland (or Somaliland) even though more stable that the TFG run "rest" of Somalia. At the Security Council on March 10, Somalia is the topic. Watch this site.

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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 & al-Khatib in 2007, directorships not shown: or considered?

   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.

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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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