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


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

At UN, Spirulina Pomp Likened to Snake Oil, Obama and Clinton Links Played Up

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

UNITED NATIONS, March 5 -- On the fourth floor of the UN on Wednesday night, a restive crowd formed to shake hands with a Sheikh from Dubai, in the name of spirulina. This is an algae which, according to the videos shown at the subsequent dinner, can miraculously cure the disabled. It was rubbed onto knees in Kenya, it was shipping into the white phosphorous marked Iraqi city of Fallujah.

   While one skeptic in the crowd muttered, "Snake oil," it was said from the podium that the UN in 1974 deemed spirulina the best hope to fight world hunger. Its proponents called themselves Ambassadors; they are omnipresent in the UN's Delegates' Lounge, passing out books of poetry and quoting Che Guevara. Wednesday night they kept a Dining Room full of freeloaders waiting for two hours for the main course, as representatives of wine firms and the "Official Spokesman of the Obama Family in Kenya" praised the qualities of spirulina.

   Inner City Press, among the freeloaders, spoke with a Thai refugee of sorts, now with Smith Barney in San Francisco, who admitted to only coming because it was a chance to see the UN, and contrasted the evening's pomp to a Bay Area non-profit which helps recent immigrants. Next to her was a farm owner from Mississippi, who flew up from Jackson for the promise of US Department of Agriculture subsidies for spirulina farms on the Gulf Coast.

   "It'll be like ethanol production there," she said. "Thirty six months to make money, then get out."  One wondered if the cited connection to Obama might help with the USDA subsidy.  A point was made from the podium of noting the attendance of Hillary Clinton's brother Tony Rodham.

  In the crowd, along with Tony and others, was the UN's envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari. Jovial as always, he wished "good luck" to those urging International Criminal Court indictment of Myanmar's General Than Shwe, and expressed concern at the demotion of Tanzanian Anna Tibaijuka from head of the UN Office in Nairobi in favor of the German, Achim Steiner.

UN's Ban with spirulina promotor : UN, We Believe

  The spirulina awardees, for the most part, did not come to the dinner.  An award was given to an Jamaican soccer player -- called "the Diego Maradona" of that country -- and to a doctor who took spirulina to Falluja despite the dangers there. "I have a good nose for bullshit," said a woman from the Deep South, "and this is a Code Red, pure bullshit."

  The evening's host and sponsor, Sulaiman al Fahim, is described in his spirulina bio as having begun "investing in the stock market under his mother's name" at the age of fourteen. An Inner City Press source saw him at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, while Sudan's press conference about their president's indictment went on, sitting in the delegate's lounge in what are described as dirty jeans. Hours later, in full dish-dash, he said "I have connections all over the world" and predicted a campaign for spirulina including "Hollywood" people.

  In fairness, while not shown in the videos, sprirulina is said to re-open the digestive tract in under-nourished people. But to rub it on your legs? We will have more on this.

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate esp. here on Darfur

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

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

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] -