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On Maxwell's Death, UN Staff Say de Mistura "Crony" Manlove Aided Cover-Up

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, April 29 -- The UN's "implausible" report on the death in Kabul in October of Louis Maxwell has been met with skepticism not only by diplomats, but also staff at the UN Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA. While the UN refused to release the text of the report, or to name the members of the Board of Inquiry beyond the head Andrew Hughes, former UN Police advisor now in Australia, whistleblowers form UNAMA have contacted Inner City Press.

  They name as key Board of Inquiry member one Richard White Manlove. He was the security advisor in Iraq to Staffan de Mistura, who is now head of UNAMA in Kabul. Sources say de Mistura played a role in Manlove being put on the Board of Inquiry "to cover up anything damning, like that Louis Maxwell was executed by Afghan National forces," a well place source tells Inner City Press.

   Manlove previous served, as a a security advisor, under Cypriot UN official Benon Savan, later charged with corruption and living out of range of extradition in Nicosia. Then he as at the P-4 level, then raised to P-5.

  Susana Malcorra of the UN, when she refused Inner City Press' request for the names of panel members, said they were not P-3 for example, but rather, she nodded, D-1 and P-5. Could Manlove get a promotion for what whisteblowing staff say is a cover up?

UN's Ban and de Mistura schmooze Karzai, Maxwell and family not shown

   Several of the sources, who initially complained to Inner City Press that Ban Ki-moon personally was refusing to raise the issue of Maxwell's death to the Afghan authorities, now point out that Ban Ki-moon's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee was de Mistura's chief of staff in Iraq, at the same time Manlove was de Mistura's security advisor. (It has previously been speculated that by hiring Ban Ki-moon's son in law, de Mistura helped his UN career, including being awarded the top job in Afghanistan over candidates considered, including by the New York Times, more qualified and willing to stand up to governments like Hamid Karzai.)

  Whether this connection, which the UNAMA whistleblowing staff say may show yet more fingerprints from the third floor of the UN's North Lawn building on the report about Kabul, is what these UN staff are saying remains to be seen.

  Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky on April 27 what Ban Ki-moon will do, now that Afghanistan's Interior Ministry has rejected the UN's findings, and complained that it has not been shown the full report:

Inner City Press: I do have a follow-up on Sudan, but first I wanted to ask you, following yesterday’s briefing by Ms. [Susana] Malcorra on the Louis Maxwell report, the spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, Zemarai Bashiri, has said: “We do not accept this report; we, in fact, reject it,” adding that “the findings have not been fully shared with Afghan authorities”. Since the report ends pretty inconclusively and seems to call on Afghanistan to conduct its own investigation…

Spokesperson Nesirky: Is that still from the spokesman or is this you?

Question: No, no. Now I am turning it into a question. That is why I am looking at you. So, now that Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry has said they reject the report and have not been shown the whole thing, first I want to ask you, does the UN agree that they have not been shown the whole thing? Were they shown the entire report?

Spokesperson: As I think Ms. Malcorra said yesterday, the findings were shared with the Ministry of the Interior. Not the report itself, but the findings.

Question: Were they told, more or less, what we were told or more than we were told yesterday?

Spokesperson: I am not going to go into exactly how much, more or less, they were told. But they were briefed in detail on the findings, as you know, by the Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary-General on the ground. And also, Mr. [Alain] Le Roy and Ms. Malcorra briefed the Permanent Representative of Afghanistan here yesterday.

Question: So now that the Interior Ministry, which is the ministry in charge, says, “We reject the report”, what will the UN do to ensure that Afghanistan actually investigates the death of Louis Maxwell? What are the next steps?

Spokesperson: Well, again, you heard what the next steps are. The Secretary-General has been very clear on this and has said in the statement that we put out yesterday a number of things. Amongst them, that he takes this matter sufficiently seriously and that there are some concrete steps that need to be taken, one of which is that the Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, Gregory Starr, will be going to Kabul to speak to the Afghan authorities. As you also know, Mr. Le Roy, the Head of Peacekeeping Operations, and Staffan de Mistura, the Special Representative in Kabul, will be speaking to NATO officials -- all this with the aim of looking at security, looking at what happened, and how to try to ensure that, in the future, response could be even better.

Finally, as you also know, the Secretary-General did urge the authorities in Kabul to conduct an investigation. You also heard Ms. Malcorra say here yesterday that if the Afghan authorities would wish that to be a joint investigation with the United Nations, then the United Nations would be open to that.

....The Board of Inquiry report was, as Ms. Malcorra explained and as I have explained as well, an internal management report that is required by UN regulations, and such a report would be carried out to cover any incident of this nature, and indeed many other incidents. That report has now been finalized and, as you know, it has been shared with those who need to know about the findings.

The next steps that follow from that -- which the Secretary-General has outlined and which Ms. Malcorra has also outlined -- involve being on the ground; involve talking to different interlocutors -- whether it is NATO, whether it is Afghanistan -- to look at, amongst other things, security. Now, as you know, we wouldn’t want to go into details on any new security measures. We don’t do that. But if it is felt that there is the need to brief interlocutors, that will be done. If there is felt the need to brief the media, that will be done, too.

As for the question of whether there will be some new report, I don’t think it is envisaged at this stage that there would be some new single document. Of course, there will be reporting coming out of these meetings. How that is collated, I cannot tell you right now.

Question: Since the Secretary-General seems to be calling on Afghanistan to conduct either its own inquiry or [one] that the UN would help with, what time frame does he expect that in, given that the Interior Ministry has said: “We reject the report” which calls for it? At what stage, if Afghanistan does not in fact conduct its own inquiry? That is really what I was trying to get at. He has called for it, but they seem to be rejecting that call. So, then what?

Spokesperson: Well, in diplomacy you carry on speaking to people and that is what is happening. Mr. Starr will be going quite shortly to Afghanistan. And, of course, Mr. de Mistura and his Deputy are in constant communication with the Afghan authorities, and the same also goes for Mr. Le Roy. I cannot say exactly when, but clearly there is a conversation that is going on pretty much as we speak with the Afghan authorities. That is the way you handle these things.

Watch this site.

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Skepticism Greets UN's "Implausible" Tale of Kabul Killing, Even with Video Not Yet Seen by US' Rice and Other Dips

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 27 -- The UN's "implausible" explanation of the death of its staffer Louis Maxwell in Kabul last October drew skeptical reviews from diplomats at a South African reception Monday night. One Asian Ambassador, who had watched the UN webcast of Under Secretary General Malcorra summarizing a report she would not release, said sarcastically, "So they are saying he was shot while on the roof, then just happened to fall dead while surrounded by Afghan police?"

  At Monday's press conference, Ms. Malcorra said both that Maxwell as killed by a bullet fired at long range and that it was definitely him in the cell phone video falling dead while next to Afghan National forces who neither flinch nor look up.

See cell phone video, here, esp. at Minute 1:01 to 1:04

  Inner City Press asked the Ambassador's question to a senior UN official who said he was involved in the report-related last minute writing. No, the official stammered, we are not saying that he died, and then died again. There are a lot of open questions. We are counting on the Afghan's help at this point.

  This help seems unlikely. It has already been made clear that the Afghan government did not assist with the UN's Board of Inquiry. This is now explained by the UN as a product of the Karzai government's anger at not being able to be a formal co-sponsor of the investigation rather than as obstruction.

  It can be and has been said: Louis Maxwell's was an inconvenient death.

UN's Malcorra and Nesirky summarizing a report they won't release

  Afghanistan's Ambassador Tanin was at the South African reception, and Inner City Press asked him about the report. I have passed it on to Kabul, he said. He met Monday morning with the UN's Alain Le Roy, Susana Malcorra and top security official Gregory Starr. Normally unflappable and impeccably dressed, Ambassador Tanin did not seem worried in the least on Monday evening.

  U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, however, said that the Afghans are very worried. Inner City Press asked her about the Maxwell report, as well as about Sudan and Congo. On the latter, she requested off the record treatment. But on the Maxwell report, after saying she had been otherwise occupied on Monday -- presumably with the NPT and/or Iran -- she asked, "I take it you can't see in the video who is standing next to him?"

  It seems the U.S. Ambassador has not seen the video. It is here. As more people do, the story the UN spun on Monday will become less and less tenable, the Asian Ambassador predicted. Watch this site.

 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.

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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

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