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Congo's Bosco Exposes UN War Crimes Double Talk, Gambari's Planned Darfur Turn Over Confirms It

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 13 -- As indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda has walked freely around Goma in Eastern Congo, bragging about leading military operations which the UN has supported, the UN has claimed it did not deal with Bosco, that it wanted him arrested.

   Inner City Press has published at least four stories on the UN's dalliance with Bosco, indicted for child soldier recruitment, in 2008 and 2009. In May 2009 Inner City Press obtained and published minutes showing Bosco was in the chain of command of UN supported military operations, click here to view.

   The UN doggedly ignored the written evidence, claiming it it had obtained a letter to the contrary, even as a former UN peacekeeping official called the UN's double talk "shameful." Click here.

Then on October 11, 2010, days before a human rights report further detailed the UN's duplicity, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: Last week there was an interview with [Jean] Bosco Ntaganda — indicted for recruitment of child soldiers and other war crimes — in which he said openly that he is part of the Congolese Army’s action in Walikale, and that that’s some action that the UN provides logistical support to. So, since the UN has in the past claimed that it does not support any action in which he is a commander, how do they respond to him doing this interview in full view of UN peacekeepers and bragging about UN support to him?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: In precisely the same way as we have done before, Matthew.

Inner City Press: Meaning what? Saying it’s not true just by…?

Spokesperson: Correct. That we do not deal with him and we would not participate in operations with him.

Inner City Press: Is the UN providing logistical support to the attacks, to the attempts to rein in the FDLR [Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda] in Walikale, which he claims to be the commander of?

Spokesperson: As I have said, we would not be dealing with him. Okay?

Inner City Press: [inaudible] as I am sure you know, quotes a Western diplomat as saying everyone knows that he commands it. It’s basically that the UN doesn’t want to admit it. So I guess I am just… I am asking you, is it… how is it possible that the UN…?

Spokesperson: You’ve asked me, Matthew, and I have given the answer. So, what’s the next question?

Bosco & John Numbi, UN human rights standings not shown

Inner City Press: Okay, the next question is does the UN have any comment on the arrest in Paris of Callixte Mbarushimana?

Spokesperson: I know who you mean, and this is an ICC [International Criminal Court] arrest. We’ve seen the same press release or statement that you have on this person…

Inner City Press: He worked for the UN; I am wondering what the response…

Spokesperson: We of course know where he worked before, and you also know the full history to that. What I can simply say is that we are aware in the same way that you are — from the media and from their press release — that the International Criminal Court has announced that this man was arrested earlier today in Paris by the French authorities following a sealed ICC arrest warrant. That’s what I can tell you.

This last point is not unrelated -- since the UN is willing to mince words about providing logistical support to military operations involving and even led by a war criminal, why be surprised that a war criminal like the FDLR's Callixte Mbarushimana ended up in the employ and pay of the UN?

After Nesirky's dogged insistence that the double talk that began when MONUC was run by Alan Doss, who asked for “leeway” to get his daughter Rebecca Doss a job at UNDP then retired while the UN delayed and buried its investigation of nepotism, should continue unabated now that Roger Meece runs MONUSCO, Inner City Press necessarily turned to another UN official.

On October 12, Inner City Press asked Ban's Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy about MONUSCO working with Bosco, despite Bosco's indictment by the ICC for recruiting child soldiers.

While Ms. Coomaraswamy began by repeating the UN's line, under Nesirky's watchful eye, later to her credit she indirectly acknowledged that despite the UN's stated position, Bosco is still there -- taking photos with UN peacekeepers.

While truncated, the UN's own summary of Ms. Coomaraswamy's press conference states:

Asked about the case of Bosco Ntaganda, a former rebel commander charged with using child soldiers and war crimes by the International Criminal Court, she said that she had strongly advocated for his arrest and trial. The United Nations as a whole had the same policy, but had not able to arrest anyone anywhere in the world. She would not comment on photographs that allegedly showed him with peacekeepers.”

While in Sudan last week, Inner City Press continued reporting on the UN's next de-evolution: UN Darfur chief Ibrahim Gambari being on the verge of turning over five rebel supporters to the Sudan regime of indicted war criminal and genocidaire Omar al Bashir, relying on Bashir's promise he won't execute them.

It was been said, without any direct response from the UN spokesman when asked, that this would make the UN complicit in genocide. Bosco and MONUSCO are part of this picture. Now what will the UN do? Watch this site.

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In Darfur, Gambari Criticizes Nur & Inner City Press on Video, Transcription Here

By Matthew Russell Lee

DARFUR, October 8 -- Peacekeepers were sent to Darfur after reports of a brutal campaign by the government of Omar al Bashir against opponents of his regime and civilians perceived as supporting them.

Now top peacekeeper Ibrahim Gambari, as shown by documents leaked to and published by Inner City Press, is near to turning over five supporters of rebel Abdel Wahid Nur to that same Bashir regime, in exchange for a promise by Bashir to commute any death sentence his courts impose.

Several members of the UN Security Council, which ostensibly oversees Gambari's actions along with the African Union, expressed surprise to Inner City Press once they saw the leaked documents, consisting of a draft letter and “Additional Terms” from Gambari to Bashir's foreign minister Ali Karti.

On the UN plane Thursday to El Fasher from South Sudan, US Ambassador Susan Rice told Inner City Press that she intends to inquire into Gambari's offers about the Kalma Camp Five while in Darfur. This echoed a statement of intention previously issued by another Permanent Member of the Council.

After a closed door meeting with the visiting Security Council members, Gambari and two of his military officials, in uniform, came to see the Press. Gambari called Inner City Press' publication of his draft documents “reprehensible” and told Inner City Press to “be careful... lives are at stake.”  Transcription below.

  Yeah, a witness to Gambari's statements later said, the lives of the Kalma Camp Five are at risk if the UN turns them over to a strongman already indicted for genocide and war crimes. “Is this what the UN should be doing?”

Gambari, Lyall Grant, Susan Rice, Churkin- oversight not seen? (c) MRLee

  Gambari's statements to Inner City Press were caught on video and will soon be published online as such. For now, here is a transcription, prepared late Thursday night at a guest house in El Fasher outside of Gambari's UNAMID compound:

Inner City Press asked Ibrahim Gambari, “What's happen with the Kalma Camp Five that you are considering turning over to the government... or that documents indicate you are considering turning over?”

Gambari answered: “Here is the situation. We have these five sheikhs who have been accused of some very serious offenses. We have no means as UNAMID to try them... Down the line if ever there was a death sentence, the President has the prerogative of mercy. All has been discussed confidentially. I want to say how reprehensible it was that somebody leaked the confidential communication of the government of Sudan...endangering the lives of those in the camps. The recipient of such a leak I think should also think twice about what they do considering that they are endangering the lives.. We've lost 27 peacekeepers between UNAMID and UNMIS, I mean AMIS.”

Inner City Press asked about Abdel Wahid Nur saying that if the Five are turned over, it will make UNAMID complicit in genocide, and that his group would not cooperate with the UN any more.

Gambari responded, “you quote words Abdel Wahid was supposed to have said... I met Khalil Ibrahim yesterday, asked how about how someone said JEM wants Gambari to resign for Tarabat Market. [He said he] ever said that, never authorized this... I want to hear from Abdel Wahid. I've been to Paris twice, I went to Tripoli...What happened in New York I condemn it. Matthew I have known you a long time, you should be careful... You are a recipient of a leaked document... Journalism also is a responsibility. I regard you as a friend, I used to, I regard you as a friend, I am admitting that.”

Of Abdel Wahid Nur, Gambari said: “He wants all issues resolved almost before he comes.”

“Matthew, I'm very angry with you , what are we supposed to do, keep people indefinitely?”

Inner City Press said, “Several Security Council members, when they saw the leaked documents, said they were not aware that you or UNAMID were in such discussions, and some expressed worry. How much is this Mission overseen by the Security Council?”

Gambari said “Ask them. Ask the S-G. I am responsible to two masters. You have the AU and you have the UN. The unity of the international community is key to finding a solution.”

Inner City Press said, as Gambari backed out the door toward his vehicle, “Transparency you can always say is dangerous, but I think it's probably a good thing.”

“No,” Gambari said. “Believe me, lives are at stake.”

Or maybe jobs, a witness to Gambari's statements later said, adding that the lives of the Kalma Camp Five are at risk if the UN turns them over to a strongman already indicted for genocide and war crimes. Among other lives put at risk, without oversight, transparency or explanation. “Is this what the UN should be doing?” Watch this site.

Footnote: it's worth noting that even before Inner City Press obtained and published Gambari's draft letter to Sudan's Ali Karti, Gambari had already expressed anger at Inner City Press' publication of other leaked documents concerning his time as UN envoy to Myanmar.

  That time, before the UN's September 24 high level meeting on Sudan, Gambari didn't argue about lives being at risk. He claimed the documents were “old” (2009) and not newsworthy. “Just leave me alone,” he said, having in the past declined to respond to questions sentto his UN e-mail address by Inner City Press. Now, the claim that lives are put at risk. Is it just opposition to transparency?

Watch this site, follow on Twitter @InnerCityPress.

 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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