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 Iraqi Elections, UN Has Two Positions, Afghanistan Redux?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 -- While there is much to be said about the Iraqi elections just held, the UN can't seem to get it act together on what to say, or even what it should be talking about. Top UN envoy to Iraq Ad Melkert spoke for the second time in a month to correspondents at UN headquarters Monday, this time by video, and painted a rosy picture of the election.

  Inner City Press asked about the sample complaints of Ayad Allawi, about irregularities and confusion at polling stations, and his call for an investigation. We are aware of points of various candidates, Melkert said. It is is not my task to comment on particular statements. Video here, from Minute 10:42.

  But how could Melkert's rosy assessment not be seen as an implicit rejection of Allawi's complaints, Inner City Press asked. Video here, from Minute 11:52. It is not my task or UNAMI's task, Melkert replied, to assess complaints. I did not refer to fair elections, only that turn out was good, that it was a big day, Melkert said. "You cannot attribute to me any assessment."

  But the UK Telegraph did attribute an assessment to Melkert, specifically as a rebuttal to Allawi, directly by this quote: "The polling process was well-organised, orderly, and polling procedures were properly applied."

UN's Ban and Melkert, Iraq elections complaints and restraint not shown

  So Melkert made that statement to the Telegraph, and then told UN correspondents that it is not his or UNAMI's job to make such assessments. Which is it?

  To some, this is reminiscent of the UN's performance during the Afghanistan election, downplaying complaints until a whistleblower emerged to denounce Kai Eide's praise. Watch this site.

* * *

On Iraq, UN's Melkert Silent on Blackwater and Black Balling of Baath Candidates

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 16 -- What does the UN's top envoy to Iraq, Ad Melkert, have to say about the acquittal and impunity for the mercenaries of Blackwater now Xe who killed Iraqi civilians? "That is a specific case," Melkert told Inner City Press on Tuesday at the UN, "we don't advise on specific cases." Video here, from Minute 11:34.

  Inner City Press asked Melkert about a range of human rights issues in Iraq, from honor killings to executions to freedom of the press. Melkert said his Office, UNAMI, issues human rights reports every six months, "critical on several of the issues you mentioned." Video here, from Minute 6:03.

  But how can the UN be critical if, as Melkert claimed about Blackwater, the UN "doesn't advise on specific cases?"

  Melkert's main job right now is, like Kai Eide's was in Afghanistan, to try to make national elections appear credible. Inner City Press asked him about barred candidate Saleh Mutlak, who has been told he cannot run for office because he was a member of the Baath party. Mutlak says he quit in 1977, and was only goaded into saying he was still a member.

  Melkert called the grounds for exclusion "legitimate," and said the UN only advocates for transparency in the application of the rules, citing Iraq's "Accountability and Justice Law of 2008." While speaking about reconciliation, Melkert said that excluding former Baath party members is similar to what happened in Europe "after the Communist regimes."

 While Melkert told Inner City Press that the UN "has a permanent position against the death penalty" -- one that Ban Ki-moon backtracked on during his first day in office, on the subject of Iraq -- when Melkert was asked about the execution of former Baath party members, he replied, "I could not take your point on that, the way you formulated it, so I could not comment further."

Melkert and his less than democratic guards in Baghdad

  As Melkert walked away from the microphone, Inner City Press asked him if he now agrees with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's call that senior UN system officials make some minimum public disclosure of their finances. Melkert laughed and said, "You see that I" -- then signed his name in the air. "What is good is that you don't forget."

  When he was the Associate Administrator of UNDP, he came out publicly against Ban's call for financial disclosure. Video here, from Minute 37:55 through 44:41. He also said, on UN reform, "you ain't seen nothing yet." Inner City Press recounted this history for a Dutch television station tailing and filming Melkert for the day. Another correspondent criticized Melkert go along [to] get along performance in Iraq, wondering what next job he might have his eye on.

  Many in the UN grumble that Melkert "chased" fellow UN official Ibrahim Gambari out of Iraq. Now it's his show, for better or worse. 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.

* * *

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] -