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

On Somalia Piracy, US Questions Regulating Mercenaries, Egypt Says Crime is Crime

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 -- Amid controversy about the use of mercenaries to face off against pirates off the coast of Somalia, the US State Department's Donna Hopkins on July 14 told Inner City Press “there's a robust international effort [about] the use of armed security, private or not, and how it should be regulated, if at all.” Video here, from Minute 13:30.

  Earlier in the month, the chairman of the UN's Working Group on mercenaries told Inner City Press that a draft convention to regulate private military contractors is being opposed by large states.

   Apparently, even with Blackwater having renamed itself Xe Services and moved to the Middle East, the US is still opposed to regulating mercenaries, including on the high seas.

  Hopkins is formally the Coordinator of the Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Bureau of Political Military Affairs at the US State Department, and chairs “Working Group Three” of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. Denmark's Legal Adviser Thomas Winkler declined to say if the use of armed security is good or bad, but added that no ship with armed guards has been hijacked.

  Another Contact Group member, Egypt's Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister and Counter Terrorism Coordinator Ashraf Mohsen, adopted an even harder line. Inner City Press asked if the Contact Group has done anything about illegal fishing or the dumping of toxic waste.

  “Some will try to justify criminal behavior,” Mohsen said, citing poverty as an excuse for stealing, injustice as a rationale for killing. “Crime is crime... Piracy is a form of criminal behavior. Any justification is unacceptable.”

  As if to counteract this position, Mary Seet-Cheng of Singapore said that piracy cannot be solved at sea. The UK's Chris Holtby chimed in about efforts on the rule of law in Somalia, the development of its Exclusive Economic Zone. He did not mention outside involvement in what purported to be Somalia's own Law of the Sea filing. And so it goes at the UN.

* * *

On Somalia, As UN Dodges on Mahiga Meeting in Kenya, Calls for Firing

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 7 -- On April 6 Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky to respond to criticism from Somalia of Ban's envoy Augustine Mahiga scheduling a consultative meeting on Somalia this month not in that country, but in Nairobi, Kenya:

Inner City Press: on Somalia, there is quite a lot of protest within the country about a supposed consultative meeting that Mr. Mahiga is organizing in Kenya and there have been calls to boycott it. The Government has also asked that the UN move its offices to Mogadishu. So, what’s the UN’s response to these two critiques, both from clan leaders and from the TFG?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, Mr. Mahiga extended this invitation to various parties there to take part in some discussions and we are aware of the report or the reports that you refer to about the presence of UN offices in Somalia; we’re aware of that report. I don’t have anything further on that at the moment, simply to say that the people who work for those offices are regular visitors to Mogadishu. Indeed Mr. Mahiga was briefing the Secretary-General last week when we were in Nairobi, within hours of having just returned from Mogadishu.

On April 7 Nesirky read out a statement that Mahiga will proceeding with the meeting in Nairobi, and has gotten many commitments to attend, summarized by the UN in this way:

Augustine Mahiga, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, said today that the High Level Consultative Meeting will take place as scheduled on the 12 and 13 April in Nairobi. He said that he has received positive responses to the conference from Somali parties and officials who are willing to participate in strengthening the dialogue between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and its partners.

What Nesirky, who more and more limits questions at his noon briefing while refusing to answer the vast majority of e-mailed Press questions, did not mention is that the Somali Transitional Federal Government's prime minister himself has opposed the Kenya location, and has gotten Raila Odinga's support on this:

The Kenyan government will back efforts by the Somalia Transition Federal Government (TFG) to host an impending high-level peace meeting to resolve the crisis in the strife-torn country. Prime Minister Raila Odinga assured his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi the government would back their bid to convince the United Nations and the African Union to hold the peace meeting in Mogadishu.”

Ban and Mahiga in Naibori, protests from Somalia not shown or answered

  Now, a major Somali cleric -- Sheikh Ahmed Abdi Dhi’isow, the chairman of the Somali religious assembly -- has asked for Ban Ki-moon to fire Mahiga:

'Mahiga disregarded all of our requests and suggestions and he continued organizing the meeting in an attempt to divide Somalis, so we are calling on the U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon to dismiss Augustine Mahiga from United Nations Political Office for Somalia,' he said.”

What do Ban and Nesirky say to that? The UN of late has been bragging about "its" Djibouti process. And it's come to thise? 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] -