Ban Silent on Sri Lanka Repeal of Term Limits, Links, Panel Still
September 14 -- As Sri Lanka's Mahinda Rajapaksa moved to
repeal term limits, and barred publication which criticized this as
inconsistent with national reconciliation, the UN and Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon stayed silent.
Inner City Press on
September 14 pushed and asked Mr. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky
about this, about why Ban's panel of experts on war crimes in Sri
Lanka, announced in March, has yet to begin its work, and Ban's
connections with Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka. Video here,
Nesirky said that
the UN and Ban have no comment on the repeal of term limits, calling
it an internal matter. That's what Russia and China on the UN
Security Council said about the bloody
final stages of the conflict
in early 2009. The Economist wrote that by the subsequent
constitutional change, Rajapaksa showed he "preferred to put the
consolidation of his family's power ahead of a sorely needed national
reconciliation” -- and then got banned. Nesirky offered the
“general” thought that censorship is inconsistent with democracy.
that Ban's panel still has not begun its work, that its four month
clock has not begun. He said that the panel members will meet with
Ban “this week.” We'll see.
Inner City Press
asked Nesirky to describe Ban's experience with Rajapaksa prior to
becoming Secretary General of the UN, and to confirm that Ban's son
in law Siddarth Chatterjee, while an Indian army officer, served in
the Indian Peace Keeping Force in majority Tamil areas.
UN's Ban and M. Rajapaksa, repeal of term limits not shown
he would “get back” to Inner City Press on these. Watch this
Mr. Ban held a press conference on September 13, but Inner City
Press was not granted permission to ask a question. On September 14,
Inner City Press was told no more questions were being allowed -- so
Inner City Press asked for an explanation of this limitation, that it
wanted to ask about Sri Lanka. Video here,
from Minute 31:18.
Nesirky, seemingly begrudgingly,
allowed the Sri Lanka questions, while deferring any answer to two of
them. We will continue to follow these issues.
* * *
UN's Holmes Speaks of Gov't Shelling, Casualties, 2 Sides'
26 -- Asked about Sri Lanka
on his final day as UN
Humanitarian Coordinator, John Holmes offered a defense of his
department's funding of the government's internment camps while
admitting the government may have “deliberately shelled”
civilians and hospitals. Video here,
asked Holmes about criticism of his and the UN's actions in Sri
Lanka, for example pulling out of Kilinochchi, funding the internment
camps and failing even now to get to the bottom of the murder of the
Action Contre La Faim humanitarian workers. Video here,
the “ACF massacre,” and said it has still not been explained or
even investigated. He did not explain the Kilinochchi pull out, which
has been criticized including the International Crisis Group.
there's a need to know how many civilians were killed, when it was
his OCHA unit which stopped reporting on civilians casualties when
one of their reports was leaked to and published by Inner City Press.
answer by referring to the “heavy propaganda claims on both sides.”
It was not clear if, beyond side of the the government and “Sinhalese
extremists” -- to use Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew's description of
Mahinda Rajapaksa -- Holmes meant the LTTE Tamil Tigers, or the Tamil
Press reported at the time, during Ban Ki-moon's trip to Sri Lanka in
May 2009, Holmes during an on the record briefing on the UN plane
said that he got lots of email from the Tamil diaspora alleging for
example bias by Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar. I just delete it,
Holmes said of the e-mail.
John Holmes in the UN auditorium, accountability not shown
Inner City Press tried to soften the story. But that is
what he said. And since he said it, information has emerged about
Nambair's still unexplained role in telling LTTE leaders who wanted
to surrender to come out with white flags. They were killed, and the
leader of the unit which did the killing is now reportedly coming to
the UN as Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative.
to a think tank of sorts, Ditchley Hall. Perhaps he will write a book
-- and perhaps it will address these issues. We'll be watching.
* * *
Lanka Move to Place Alleged War Criminal As Ambassador Questioned
25 -- Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative to
the UN post, vacant following Bandula Jayasekera's department
triggered by a sexual harassment scandal, is now reportedly slated to
be filled by Major General
Shavendra Silva, who “was allegedly
among those mentioned by MP Sarath Fonseka in a media interview where
he had said that the former 58 Division Commander had received orders
to shoot at sight LTTE suspects who came with white flags to
surrender to the army during the final stage of war.”
the UN on
Wednesday, Inner City Press asked Martin Nesirky, the spokesman for
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, about this reported appointment and
that of General G.A. Chandrasiri to replace Palitha Kohona as
Permanent Representative. Video here,
he wouldn't comment on hypotheticals, when Inner City Press asked if
Ban would have some discretion to not accept credentials when
presented, Nesirky said he would look into it.
clearly a witness to the war crime events about which Ban has
appointed a (stalled) three member panel to advise him. Would
appointing him an ambassador give him de facto or de jure diplomatic
UN's Ban takes credentials from Kohona- is acceptance automatic?
also asked Nesirky if the four
month “clock” of Ban's panel of
experts had finally begun. No, Nesirky said, the clock has not
started but it is being wound. But why so slowly? Watch this site.
Inner City Press asked a Sri Lankan diplomat about the
reported new Deputy Perm Rep and Perm Rep. “It's not yet
confirmed,” he answered, adding that the entire staff of the
mission in New York might be replaced.
* * *
Has No Comment on Fonseka, Panel Still Not Started, Ban
Book In Flux, Lee Kuan Yew Author Snubbed
-- As in Sri Lanka the government's
panel began, with a focus not on the civilians killed in
2009 but on how a ceasefire earlier broke down, Inner City Press on
Friday asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky if the UN had any comment on
Sri Lanka's or its panel,
Sarath Fonseka, whose offer to testify about war crimes the UN has
apparently turned down. Video here,
the UN has no “new comment” on Fonseka, but had earlier urged due
process. That was before the process and conviction, which Fonseka
has called a sham.
interim, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was
burned in effigy during a blockade of the UN compound in Colombo led
by government minister Wimal Weerawansa. Since then, the UN has said
and done almost nothing.
whether Ban's panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka
has finally begun its work, triggering the start of the four month
clock to turn in a report. Nesirky replied that he couldn't “say
when” the panel will start.
reason being offered to Inner City Press is the illness of the spouse
of one of the three panel members.
briefings were full of questions about author Tom Plate's
that he will profile Ban Ki-moon as the third in his series of
“Giants of Asia.”
UN's Ban unfocused in Sri Lanka, panel's start and
book not shown
At an August
10 book party near the United
Nations, Plate read from his book about Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew, who
is quoted on page 55 of the book saying the
is Sri Lanka. It is not a happy, united country. Yes, they [the
majority Sinhalese government] have beaten the Tamil Tigers this
time, but the Sinhalese who are less capable are putting down a
minority of Jaffna Tamils who are more capable. They were squeezing
them out. That's why the Tamils rebelled. But I do not see them
ethnic cleansing all two million plus Jaffna Tamils. The Jaffna
Tamils have been in Sri Lanka as long as the Sinhalese...[referring
to Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa] 'I've read his speeches
and I knew he was a Sinhalese extremist. I cannot change his mind.'”
this section of the book, and said that it was difficult to
keep it in. Afterward, Inner City Press asked Plate to explain: how
had wanted the section to come out? Of all that he said Tuesday
night, this was the only time that Plate asked to go off the record.
as we respected the request to omit from
coverage the presence of at least one individual and entourage.
later in the
repeatedly insisted that Ban has made
no commitment to Plate nor to anyone else for such a profile. Since
Plate unequivocally said that Ban will be the third Giant of Asia, in
Inner City Press' presence and in writing, Inner City Press asked
Friday if there was some meaning of the word “commitment” that it
responded that like any piece of information, it
could change. Video here,
15:48. Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
permission, e-contact Editorial [at]