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 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 Sudan Elections, Susan Rice Explains Gration, UN Silent, Paid "Rebel" Leader

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 8 -- As questions mount about both the Sudanese elections and the Obama administration's seeming two positions on them, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice on Thursday took two such questions from the Press. While the UN has in public been very quiet about doubts about the election, Ambassador Rice said that in closed door consultation, the head of UN Peacekeeping Alain Leroy described

"serious government restrictions on political freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of association, the opportunity for all political actors to campaign without impediment, harassment of the media, limitations on access to polling stations for many of the people of Sudan, in particular in Darfur."

  As Inner City Press has reported on for weeks, these are not things that the UN says in public. Tellingly, despite a promise that Alain Leroy would take questions from the Press after the consultations, his appearance was canceled.*

  Council President Yukio Takasu emerged to paint a more positive picture of the "historic" developments in Sudan, and to say that any questions should be directed to Alain Leroy, who did not come and is leaving for ten days leave, sources say.

  Inner City Press asked Ambassador Rice to explain the rosier outlook of the US envoy to Sudan:

Inner City Press: Scott Gration has said that he thought the elections would be as free and fair as possible, can you explain, I guess, what that means, whether that is being kind of retracted in light of what you said? Do you think that the UN, both UNAMID and UNMIS should be more, they said very little about as these events are taking place at least publicly, what is their role for trying to secure a free and fair election without incident?

Ambassador Rice: With respect to the characterization of the elections, I think as we heard from Undersecretary-General Le Roy this morning, and as we have said repeatedly at this mike and various other places, the trends are not encouraging. There have been some significant impediments on the ground, restrictions on civil liberties, harassment of the media, reduction in the number of polling places, insecurity, an inability, of many of the people, particularly in Darfur, to be able to register and participate. So, we have overtime expressed our concerns, those concerns are mounting as the election approaches, and we are certainly underscoring the importance of steps being taken immediately to try to mitigate, to the greatest extent possible, in the time that remains, these very serious infringements on free political activity.

   To some, it sounded like an attempt to say that things have gotten worse since Gration predicted that elections will be "as free and fair as possible."

Susan Rice on April 8, Scott Gration (and Samantha Power) not shown
With Sudan's Ambassador saying the elections will proceed on April 11 -- he also said, "the war in Darfur is over" -- Inner City Press asked if the U.S. favors any delay, as requested by many Sudanese opposition groups.

Inner City Press: Should there be a delay?

Ambassador Rice: I think our view has been that if a very brief delay were decided to be necessary, and we thought that a brief delay would enable the process to be more credible, we would be prepared to entertain that. That's obviously up to the authorities themselves, but the larger picture is that much is awry in this process, and that is a real concern.

There are at least two approaches to Sudan within the Obama administration. To the side of the stakeout, Samantha "Problem from Hell" Power stood. Could there be three U.S. positions?

Footnote: Inner City Press also asked Sudan's Ambassador, and the UN, about the propriety of pro-government Darfur "rebel" leader Al-Tijani Al-Sissi having been paid by the UN until March 8, 2010, as exclusively exposed by Inner City Press.

  Sudan's Ambassador said that Al-Sissi is a "long time" rebel leader -- that is, before March 8, while paid by the UN. The UN Spokesperson's office has tried to refer all questions to Addis Ababa, where Al-Sissi worked. But it is a question that goes to the top of the UN. Inner City Press has submitted five questions and a deadline. Watch this site.

* -- Regarding DPKO's Leroy's cancelation, it was explained that he didn't want to speak if the Council president was speaking. But to his credit Leroy has done so in the past. And in this case, President Takasu said, "Ask Leroy." An attempt was made to get Leroy to come back to the stakeout -- they said he "had a lunch" -- but this did not happen. Leroy is usually open with the Press, making the failure of the UN to speak on Sudan elections, and on the Al-Sissi scandal, all the more noticeable.

* * *

On Sudan, Moonlighting UN Staffer as Darfur "Rebel" Leader, As JEM Is Pressed to Support Elections on April 11

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 28 -- With elections in Sudan approaching as threats and irregularities multiply, a United Nations employee in Addis Ababa Al-Tijani Al-Sissi suddenly emerged as the head of newly formed rebel Liberation and Justice Movement. Beyond the politics, one wonders how a person can be a paid UN employee and at the same time by a pro-government "rebel" leader?

  Despite Al-Sissi being out of The Sudan for 20 years, and being a full time staffer of the UN's Economic Commission for Africa, he was brought to the fore as purported replacement for Abdel Wahid Al-Nur, leader of the legacy rebel Sudan Liberation Movement, whose Fur tribe has thus been unrepresented as Al-Nur refuses to participate in the Darfur talks much less elections.

  A Fur willing to talk with al-Bashir was needed, and a UN staffer was found. But to be a leader, he must have put time into the rebel movement, while being a UN staffer. Why was this accepted?

  Inner City Press is informed that Al-Sissi's supervisor at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Abdalla Hamdok, complained about the moonlighting or double service of Al-Sissi, but that nothing was done.

  This does not look good, one long suffering Darfuri told Inner City Press on Friday. The UN has some explaining to do: watch this site.

Al-Tijani Al-Sissi, moonlighting from UN ECA job not shown but accepted

  Meanwhile, with Sudanese opposition parties nearing a decision next week on whether to boycott the April 11 election if Omar al-Bashir's National Congress Party does not agree to postpone it, Inner City Press is told by Arab Group ambassadors at the UN that pressure is being brought to bear on Khalil Ibrahim of the Justice and Equality Movement rebels to have JEM come out favor of April 11 polling.

  "Khalil Ibrahim has been summoned to Doha," Inner City Press was told by an attendee of the March 26 meeting of the Arab Group, at the Ambassadorial level, held in the UN's new building by New York's East River.

  At the UN on Friday, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky to explain Ban's quote in Al Hayat against any postponement of the election, video here, transcript here:

Inner City Press: There is an interview that the Secretary-General gave with Al Hayat about… there are portions about President Bashir -- that he would not meet with him unless “absolutely necessary”. But particularly it seemed to be quoting him as saying that he is not in favour of any postponement of the Sudanese election. Something the opposition parties there requested and the Carter Center has said that -- and I believe that the UN in a background briefing has said -- that 11 April would be would very difficult to accomplish. So, what does he mean by no postponement? He believes it absolutely should be held on 11 April?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Read out the exact quote.

Inner City Press: Okay: “I understand that elections could be postponed for a short period of time, but why should be made to postpone the month of November? I am not sure it can properly [be] arranged at that time.” So I am asking, I guess there are some words missing there, but…

Spokesperson: Yes, there are some words missing. I read that, too, and there are some words missing in that transcript. What I think is clear is, as we have said before and has been said from here, there are fairly considerable technical challenges to delivering that election for the Government that is in the driving seat on this, and for those who are providing technical assistance. It is a considerable undertaking. What I think he is suggesting there is that, if there is a delay, it does not mean that it will be any easier should there be a delay to deliver at a later date. I think that is all he is saying.

  But some see a connection, which the UN has yet to address, to the UN housing or hosting a pro-government rebel leader to support talks with Al-Bashir, while also ignoring Sudanese opposition parties' call for a postponement in light of abuse. Watch this site.

Footnote: on the above quote by Ban Ki-moon, which came from the Sudan Tribune's pick-up of Al Hayat's interview, a junior Al Hayat correspondent ran into the UN press briefing room to say that her newspaper's version of the transcript did not have any words missing. While Inner City Press then explained where it got the quote from, strangely neither statement was included in the UN's transcript, although both can be seen in the video, here.

 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] -