Inner City Press


In Other Media-e.g. Somalia, Ghana, Azerbaijan, The Gambia   For further information, click here to contact us          .

Home -

Search is just below this first article

Top 10 '07 UN Stories

These reports are also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07 7/19/07 6/29/07 6/14/7 6/1/7

How to Contact Us


Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"

Inner City Press Podcast --

At UN, Clooney Announcement but No Answers on Darfur Nor Alliance of Civilizations

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, January 18 -- George Clooney will be named a UN Messenger of Peace, the UN announced on Friday. Inner City Press asked about a story it had already reported, that the UN Department of Field Support lobbied Sudan to let Clooney into the country. UN spokesperson Michele Montas answered, "I cannot confirm this. I do not know. What I have on the announcement is what I have." So is the officer of charge of DFS currently in Sudan? That can't be confirmed either. Video here, from Minute 15:28.

            Other unanswered questions accumulated through the week. On Thursday, a UN response was sought to a European Court of Justice decision which in essence make the UN terrorism block list inapplicable in Europe, due to the lack of due process it affords to people put on the list. Any reaction? "I'll try to find out for you. We don't have anything at this point, but I'll get some answers for you." Transcript here. Thirty hours later, nothing.

    How about the claim by Kemal Dervis of the UN Development Program, that the UN Department of Management is conducting a review of housing subsidies by governments to high UN officials? "I will ask whether there is a review under way. I had said there are rules. Of course we can ask for you." That is, a commitment was made to look into it, but nothing's been said so far. Likewise on the Alliance of Civilizations, a commitment was made to provide budget and other information, video here, but nothing was ever sent.

UN trading his way into Darfur?

            A question that was answered concerned a display in the UN lobby about the Holocaust, sponsored by the International Organization on Migration. The displays were on the floor; the questions wondered aloud if they had been kicked out, in full view of UN Security. Later, a security officer approached Inner City Press about this question from another media outlet, and said it was the wind that knocked them down, adding, "Never again." The display was moved further from the door, and as of Friday evening the display was standing tall.

            Finally, for this week, an update. In an attempt to shut down inquiry into the UN's $250 million no-bid contract with Lockheed Martin, the following exchange took place:

Inner  City Press: Before we had that briefing by Ms. Ahlenius and Mr. Appleton, I think there was some idea that maybe the questions around PAE / Lockheed Martin would be addressed in the briefing.  Mr Appleton said he couldn't talk about any particular company, and Ms. Ahlenius said that has only begun or has yet to begin the investigation that the General Assembly is calling for.  So I guess I'm still wondering whether somebody from DFS can come and brief us about the selection of Lockheed Martin and the specifics of how it was done and why it was done before the Security Council.

Spokesperson:  There is an investigation, as Ms. Ahlenius told you.  That is an investigation on the contract on the request of the General Assembly.  They won't talk about anything until they are finished.

Question:  To me it seems like a Catch-22, because once it came out, you said there would be a briefing after the General Assembly voted.  But the GA vote called for an investigation, not specifically of Lockheed Martin, but of all the extraordinary measures the Secretary-General announced on 2 October.

Spokesperson:  You were told by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) -- was it three days ago, four days ago? -- that there was going to start [inaudible].

Question:  The Secretariat never having answered the questions of why, for example, Jane Holl Lute pushed for the [inaudible] sole source contract back in April.  She never came to do a briefing until the GA voted and when the GA voted they called for an investigation, which now puts it off to an infinite time in the future.  The question was never answered.  And the OIOS investigation will not be released when it's finished.  So I guess I'm wondering:  Who can answer the question?

   There's been, you guessed it, no on the record answer.

* * *

These reports are 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

  Because a number of Inner City Press' UN sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the UN agencies and many of their staff. Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep the information flowing.

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Search WWW Search

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] -

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540