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March 1, 2011: Libya

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Ban Admits Lapses, Sri Lanka Says, Writing Out Rights & Sex Violence

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 25 -- When Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his team on September 24, Rajapaksa accused Ban of undermining the UN's credibility and, cravenly, the "Secretary General's team acknowledged that there had been a lapse in communication" regarding the Panel of Experts report alleging war crimes.

  Rajapaksa's spokesman Bandula Jayasekara's readout is six times longer than the UN's, and was issued some 16 hours later.

 It lists all seven Sri Lankan attendees -- with accused war criminal Deputy Permanent Representative Shavendra Silva notably absent -- but only three of the UN attendees.

  Sri Lanka does not mention the presence of Ivan Simonovic, the New York representative of High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, nor Special Adviser on Sexual Violence and Conflict Margot Wallstrom.

  The latter, it seems, would be present due to allegations that Sri Lankan soldiers mass raped Tamil women in the final stages of the conflict in 2009.

The Sri Lankan side says that "read verbatim the minutes kept during the meeting held in 2010," and said that commitments made had been violated.

 After that September 24, 2010 meeting, the UN issued a read out that, unlike the others issued, purported to summarize both sides of the meeting. The Sri Lankans then issued their own version, which the UN refused to comment on.

  This year, the UN issued bland and in context misleading 67 work read-out less than two hours after the Saturday evening meeting, which Inner City Press added to its already-published story.

  Midday on Sunday, Bandula Jayasekara who preceded Silva as Deputy Permanent Representative until harassment charges were levied, issued a 408 word statement that is published in full below.

Rajapaksa shown in by Ban, Nambiar- then Wallstrom

  In the Lankan statement Lynn Pascoe's name is misspelled, unlike Vijay Nambiar's. Foreign minister Peiris, along with Permanent Representative Kohona, held meetings on September 22 with Pascoe (who told Inner City Press that the Sri Lankans "have complaints") and then with Nambiar, who confirmed the meeting but declined to summarize it.

At the conclusion of Saturday night's meeting, as filmed by Inner City Press, Kohona told Rajapaksa about Ban, "He has already seen the video we sent him."

This would seem to refer to the pro-Rajapaksa government video "Lies Agreed To," itself a purported rebuttal of the Channel 4 documentary "Killing Fields of Sri Lanka."

 Along with depicting Rajapaksa government war crimes, including a discussion of the White Flag murders involving Palitha Kohona and Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, "Killing Fields" criticizes the UN's and Ban's performance.

  But Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky had repeatedly told Inner City Press that Ban has still not watch Killing Fields, despite long ago being given a DVD of the documentary.

 On September 22, Nesirky's office told Inner City Press, that the"Secretary-General has yet to view the documentary "Killing Fields of Sri Lanka", but has been thoroughly briefed on the film's contents."

  Now Kohona says Ban "has already seen the video we sent him" -- the rebuttal.

  Similarly, as reported by Inner City Press, decisions to not show Killing Fields inside the UN but to screen "Lies Agreed To" along with Kohona and his Deputy Shavendra Silva, were taken unilaterally by Giampaolo Pioli who accepting money from Kohona, for property.

  The UN briefing room, and apparently Ban Ki-moon himself, saw the government's rebuttal without seeing the underlying documentary film about Rajapaksa -- and perhaps Nambiar's -- war crimes. Watch this YouTube video, and this site.

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

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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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