UN, After NGO Ejection, Questions About Stakeout By Evictees From
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 6 -- The day after the UN ejected the
representative of a pro-Israel non governmental organization after
she spoke at the General Assembly stakeout against and after the
endorsement of the Goldstone report on Gaza, the Palestinian Observer
brought to the Security Council stakeout four people evicted for
settlers in Jerusalem. Video here.
which witnessed and covered the November 5 ejection, was informed
that Patrick Ventrell of the U.S. Mission to the UN asked the UN
Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit on what basis the evictees were
speaking. MALU sources took this, not surprisingly, as a complaint or
challenge from the U.S. Mission.
when Inner City Press asked Ventrell if he had complained to MALU, he
said no. He acknowledged that he was personally curious on what basis
the people were speaking at the stakeout. When first asked about the
November 6 ejection, he said he hasn't heard of it. When Inner City
Press named the NGO, he nodded and said yes, he'd heard of it.
asked, who told
you I'd complained? Another reporter, not able to write the story,
offered that talk of a U.S. inquiry with MALU was "only gossip."
Ventrell nodded. "And that's not good reporting."
for the record,
beyond Ventrell's "round" denial, what we can and will
report in the interest of adding another snapshot of how the UN works
(or doesn't) is that MALU sources tell Inner City Press that his
about the basis on which the Palestinian evictees were speak was
interpreted as a complaint.
time, Ventrell genially emphasized that he was only asking the MALU
staffer. But when one represents the world's most powerful country,
one's questions can be interpreted as more than that. And so it goes
at the UN.
question raised -- what are the UN's rules for who can speak at the
stakeout? -- has still not been answered. A senior UN official
scoffed that he's never heard of the NGO ejected on November 5, but
had heard of Human Rights Watch, which he said is holding an event in
a museum in New York. Mia Farrow was allowed to speak at the Security
Council stakeout -- but she is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, it was
pointed out. So what are the standards? MALU says to "ask the
Spokesperson's Office." Watch this site.
At stakeout, U.S. Mission, who can speak not shown
Sharihan Hannoun who spoke at the stakeout said she has 38 people in
her family, faces living in the street after eviction since there is
not enough space in Jerusalem. Another speaker described a
neighborhood of 55,000 Palestinians run by 300 settlers. A map in a
blue folder marked "Secret" distributed by a woman on
Mansour's side of the stakeout shows a neighborhood under threat,
next to the American Colony Hotel where the Quartet's -- and
Europe's? -- Tony Blair keeps up his rooms. We'll have more on this.
* * *
UN, Pro-Israel NGO Is Out of Place, "Did We Capture Them?"
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 5 -- Moments after the UN General Assembly voted
114 to 18 with 44 abstaining to endorse
the Goldstone report on war
crimes in Gaza, three speakers took to the UN Television microphone
and spoke to the Press. First was Assembly President Ali Treki of
Libya, who took only one question.
Next was the Permanent Observer of
Palestine Riyad Mansour, who took questions in both Arabic and
English. Inner City Press asked what Mansour expects of the Security
Council, whose Permanent Five members fought against the referral of
the Goldstone report. Video here,
from Minute 5:47.
woman took to the microphone, criticizing the resolution for not
mentioning Hamas. Journalists took notes, one later telling Inner
City Press he thought she was from the U.S. Mission. In fact, she was
Anne Bayefsky of the Touro College Institute for Human Rights -- that
is, a non governmental organization or NGO.
of the UN's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit monitoring the
stakeout grimaced, but did not move to stop Ms. Bayefsky's speech.
(As Inner City Press reported, once
when a representative of Western
Sahara's Polisario Front was speaking at the Security Council
stakeout, the plug was plugged on the camera and microphone, later
claimed to be an electrical system snafu.)
and then four
UN Security officers arrived. After Ms. Bayefsky finished, they
surrounded her and a young man she had brought into the UN with her.
She was asked, How did you get him in? What type of UN pass do you
have? The two were marched down to the UN Security office on the
Palestine's Observer Riyad Mansour walked back the General Assembly.
Inner City Press mentioned that a seeming pro-Israel NGO had spoke at
the stakeout after him. Mansour stopped and asked, "Did we
Palestine's Riyad Mansour at a stakeout, "did
we capture them?"
went down to the Security office. Minutes later, Ms. Bayefsky and her
colleague were marched out by two blue shirted guards. Ms. Bayefsky
called Inner City Press over. "This is your story," she
said. As Inner City Press took notes, one of the guards asked that
the interview wait until Ms. Bayefsky was escorted out onto First
Avenue. Missing, one wag mused, was the K-9 unit.
there, in the
dusk, Ms. Bayefsky argued that other NGOs are allowed to speak at
that stakeout, for example Human Rights Watch after the election of
members to the UN Human Rights Council. Later Inner City Press
verified this: May 17, 2007, video here. (By
contrast, on November 5, 2009, the Bayefsky stakeout
footage was not put on the UN's website, after
stated that a white shirted UN Security officer with a large belly
said that this was only happened because the Permanent Observer of
Palestine was mad. (This bought to mind the Heisenberg Principle, that
even by observing or reporting on something, inevitably it is changed.)
At stakeout Nov. 5, through a glass darkly
Some on the
other hand view it as a crackdown
after the UN
and UN Security were embarrassed by KFC's Colonel
Sanders impersonator being invited to take photos with GA President
Ali Treki, apparently by Treki's daughter who works in the Office
the President. But was Colonel Sanders escorted to the Security
Office and then out to First Avenue? Watch this site.
* * *
UN, Talk of "Welcoming" Gaza Goldstone Report, U.S. Will Not
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 4, updated Nov. 5--
With the debate
in the UN General Assembly on
the Goldstone report taking a lunch break, negotiations continued
a European-led proposal to not "endorse" the report, but
only "take note" of it. A well placed Arab diplomat told
Inner City Press that a compromise was possible: to "welcome"
referral to the Security Council? The Arab diplomat said that many
European Union nations have no problem with this, that the most
opposed are the UK and especially France.
Deputy Permanent Representative Alejandro Wolff, asked the Press if
the U.S. will join the 43 speakers set to address the General
Assembly about Goldstone, said no, "we will not speak on that
Goldstone and PGA Treki, "welcoming" not shown
the day's noon
press briefing, Inner City Press asked the spokesman for GA President
Ali Treki if Sudan and Syria are sponsors. No, he said, or not yet. You
have to go based on what is printed. Video here,
from Minute 26:56.
Press asked, what about the so-called French and UK draft. He said
is only one resolution on the table, that introduced by Egypt. A
senior European diplomat told Inner City Press that the negotiations
are being led by Sweden, and that the longer the debate goes, the
longer they have to negotiate. Watch this space.
of 3:10 p.m. -- Ali Treki has canceled his 4 p.m. press conference,
re-scheduling it for sometime on Thursday. As diplomats streamed back
into the General Assembly, the representative of the League of Arab
States stopped to speak to the Press. Asked about Obama, he said "he
is a good man, he means well, but actions speak louder than words."
If the settlements don't stop, there can be no negotiations, he said.
"So are we back to where we were when Obama took office?" Yes, he said,
basically we are back to square one.
of 3:19 p.m. -- Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of the
Palestinian Authority, speechified to the Press about the days
debate. He predict that the Assembly will "endorse" the
report, and that if the doors of the Security Council remain closed,
that all who've signed on to the Fourth Geneva Convention will have
to "bring to justice" all possible defendants. Asked about
the U.S. position, he said, "you have to ask Susan Rice." A
reporter answered, "But she won't answer." Mansour shrugged
and went into the Assembly.
of 3:35 p.m. -- on his way into the General Assembly, Sudan's
Ambassador said with a smile that
the day's events show the "double standards and selectivity"
of the UN system. The Security Council took up the International
Criminal Court in the case of Sudan, but won't on Israel. He pointed
out that some countries close to Palestine are uncomfortable with the
draft resolution, either because they don't want human rights issues
in the Security Council, or don't want to mention the ICC, or both.
The Press asked, Isn't that Sudan's position? We just want to expose
the double standards, was the answer.
of 5:24 p.m. -- and the beat goes on. Nicaragua's representative
begins by thanking "Libya" for arranging
this General Assembly debate. So does Ali Treki work for Libya? Is
his work attributable to them? Djibouti takes the floor. They have
their own problems with Eritrea, and diplomatically, Inner City Press
is told, with Uganda.
of 6:02 p.m. -- and precisely at six p.m., the interpreters' deadline,
the session was closed, to re-open Thursday morning. Watch this site.
of Nov. 5, from 4:37 p.m. -- the vote has been called, on the draft
resolution without any amendments. In an explanation before the vote,
Alejandro Wolff of the U.S. denounces the
Goldstone report and Hamas,
and the resolution for not naming it.
of 4:45 p.m. -- the vote has been taken: 118 for, 18 against, 44
abstaining. Norway explains abstaining: Egypt refused to taken any of
its amendments, only wanted to "politicize" the Middle East.
of 4:59 p.m. -- Heraldo Munoz of Chile's talking, he who is in charge
of the investigation of the murder of Benazir Bhutto, still pleading to
interview Pervez Musharraf in London.
of 5:19 p.m. -- India voted for the resolution, but did not endorce the
International Criminal Court, it points out.
* * *
Report on Gaza Debated in UN Assembly, the Politics of War Crimes
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 4 -- The Goldstone report on war crimes during this
year's Gaza conflict will be debated Wednesday in the UN General
Assembly chamber. What at the UN is called a debate is really just a
series of speeches. Before the first one began, an Arab representative
predicted more than 100 speakers, including the entire membership of
the Non Aligned Movement. The spokesman for Ali Treki, president of the
General Assembly, put the number of speakers at 43.
theater there is a resolution subject to vote most probably on
Thursday or Friday, which currently would call on UN Secretary-General
Ki-moon to report to the General Assembly, within three months, on
implementation of the resolution "with a view to considering
further action, if necessary, by the relevant United Nations organs
and bodies, including by the Security Council."
particularly after its House of Representatives' vote this week
against the Goldstone report, is the main opponent of considering the
report in the Security Council, neither Russia or China is keen to
have the killing of civilians taken up in the Council. Consider
Ingushetya, Xinjiang and U.S. drone bombings in Afghanistan and
Pakistan. The UK and France too have their own military actions to
consider, in Afghanistan and Africa. Hence the theater, the empty hat
tips to human rights.
Inner City Press debate
on the Goldstone Report taped on October 30. And see live blog
In Gaza, UNRWA's warehouse, through a glass darkly
expected to investigate itself? Israel says no. The Goldstone report,
unlike the UN Human Rights Council resolution which endorsed it, does
take Hamas to task. The current GA draft, to garner EU votes, also
makes the reference. An uncomfortable vote is coming up. But first
the debate, which we will be live blogging in the space below.
Update of 10:04 a.m.
-- outside the General Assembly, Sudan's Ambassador was in discussion
with his Egyptian counterpart and others. It's a procedural question,
it was explained, to be resolved in a few minutes.
Update of 10:14 a.m.
-- Ali Treki's spokesman Jean-Victor Nkolo tells a half dozen reporters
there are only 43 speakers inscribed at this time, and that only one
draft resolution has been submitted. What about that of France and the
Update of 10:18 a.m.
-- the debate, scheduled for 10, still has not begun. One journalist
quips, do you notice how ever since Treki took over, nothing starts on
time? But there are moves to get more co-sponsors. Sudan is still not
listed -- although word is that they have joined. Nor are Algeria and
Syria listed as sponsors. Egypt is the first of 43 speakers, at least
according to the list...
Update of 10:41 a.m.
-- Egypt's Ambassador is introducing the resolution, he refers to the
"United Nations Commissioner," presumably meaning the Human Rights
Council. There is the reference to Switzerland and the Geneva
Update of 1:05 p.m.
-- at the day's noon press briefing, Inner City Press asked Treki's
spokesman Nkolo about what's called the French and UK draft. There is
only one draft, Nkolo said, suggesting that Inner City Press "ask the
Update of 1:59 p.m.
-- as the Assembly took a lunch break, the Press asked questions in the
lobby. U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative Wolff said the U.S. will
not be speaking, "we do not plan to speak on that stage."
European diplomat said that Sweden, not France, is leading the
negotiations, and agreed that the longer the debate goes, the more time
there is to negotiate.
placed Arab diplomat told Inner City Press that a main rub with the EU
is that they want to only "take note of" the Goldstone report, rather
than "endorse." He predicted a compromise: to "welcome" the Goldstone
report. Only at the UN....
* * *
Report Buries Its Icesave Conditionality, Enforcer's Duplicity?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 3 -- While the IMF has acknowledged that its second
round of disbursements to crisis-hit Iceland was delayed for months
by the country's failure to placate those in the Netherlands and UK
who did business with IceSave, the IMF's just released report on
Iceland buries the issue on page 30 of the 98 page report. The IMF
terms and conditions of Nordic loans, amounting to $2.5 billion, have
been finalized. Their disbursement has been linked to resolution of
the Icesave dispute with the U.K. and Netherlands over deposit
insurance liabilities. After protracted discussions, the three
governments have reached an agreement on this"
agreement was reached, on October 18, the IMF then went forward with
a letter of intent and memorandum of understanding for the second
tranche of financing. But, as with the IMF's moves in Latvia for
Swedish banks, some see the Fund operating as an enforcement or
collections agent for creditors who even less would like to show
Iceland / Icesave protest, but is the heartfelt sign true?
the IMF does
not like to admit or reveal its degree of control over the countries
it lends to, the de facto conditions for loans, such as paying off on
IceSave, are often not explicit in what purport to be full agreements
containing all express and implied terms.
fact, the IMF
has claimed that it "no longer" engages in conditionality.
But the Iceland report has an entire chart about conditionalities.
It's just that the most important one was left unsaid. Is this
diplomacy or duplicity?
report continues, about other loan requests including from Russia:
loan from the Faroe Islands ($50 million) has already disbursed, and
a loan from Poland has been agreed ($200 million), and will disburse
alongside the next 3 program reviews. A $500 million loan originally
committed by Russia is no longer expected, but the $250 million in
over-financing in the original program, an expected
macro-stabilization loan from the EU ($150 million), and use of an
existing repo facility with the BIS ($700 million, of which $214
million is outstanding) will more than offset this."
Offset may be the right
word. Last year, in the midst of Iceland's abortive run for a seat on
the UN Security Council, the country announced it had to seek a $4
billion loan from Russia. It was after that that the IMF loan
commitment was made -- an "offset," some saw it -- and
after talks in Istanbul, on October 15 the already whittled down loan
request to Russia was formally rejected.
Then the deal
with the UK
and Netherlands, and the IMF's releasing. While the IMF calls these
types of moves only technical, others call them power politics. Watch
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
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