Claims Disclosed Oil Interest to UN, Eide Leaked Before Leaving?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 11 -- As the Norwegian press reports UN envoy to
Afghanistan Kai Eide will leave the post in March if not before, the
conflict between Eide and his former deputy Peter Galbraith has taken
a new twist.
an e-mail to
Inner City Press, Galbraith claims that he disclosed to the UN his
interest in a Kurdish oil field, and expresses "surprise that a
Norwegian tabloid happened to write a story about it within a week of
my Washington Post Outlook piece describing Kai Eide's role in
downplaying the fraud in the Afghanistan elections."
spelled out by Galbraith's supporters, is that the UN and perhaps Kai
Eide himself leaked Galbraith's financial information to the
Norwegian press. Galbraith has refused, however, to release a copy of
the financial disclosure form he filed with the UN.
has asked the UN if Galbraith disclosed the oil interest. UN Ethics
Officer Robert Benson responded that Galbraith filed a form, but that
its contents will not be disclosed, even to the UN's executive 38th
floor, apparently. The financial disclosure forms are filed with
PriceWaterhouseCoopers. It is unclear who in the UN system vets them
for conflicts of interest.
Norwegian media which reported Galbraith's interest were following a
story between the oil company DNO and the Kurdish Regional
Government. During their course of their inquiry, they stumbled on
documents reflecting an interest in the oil field by a company which
only later was discovered to be controlled by Galbraith.
officials have bad mouthed Galbraith both on and off the record. At a
press conference at UN headquarters, the number two official of UN
Peacekeeping Edmond Mulet said that Galbraith had an ulterior motive
which would later be revealed. And a senior UN official from the
38th floor called UN correspondents to make them aware of the
unilaterally announced he will stay until March, the word from the 38th
floor -- read, deputy chief of staff -- is that Eide will leave after
the conference on Afghanistan.
who's next for the UN in Afghanistan? While Inner City Press joked on
Friday with former Nepal envoy Ian Martin -- "next stop Kabul?"
-- the smart money is on former UN envoy to Iraq Staffan de Mistura.
The reasoning is telling: if the UN puts someone higher profile in,
they will have to spend more on security. One wag also wondered
whether de Mistura would bring his previous chief of staff with him.
Guehenno was said to be in the running, but apparently France is not
lobbying for him. Inner City Press sought to question Mr. Guehenno at
an event on the Congo one week ago, but he declined to answer
questions. Zut alors!
UN's Ban, Eide out of focus, Galbraith leak not shown
Inner City Press that:
Re: Press Q from UN: did you disclose oil interest
Inner City Press
did disclose all financial holding and interests to the UN including
the fact that I had a breach of contract claim in arbitration against
DNO. (This is the accurate description of the interest and not as
described in the NY Times.) The contents are confidential and, for
lots of reasons, I intend to keep them that way. The key accusation
in the NYT story--that I pushed through constitutional provisions for
my own benefit is untrue and illogical. I was a private citizen and
had no ability to push through anything. The NYT provides no source
for this allegation and, in a breach of any standard of fairness,
never asked me to respond to it.
arrangement with DNO dates back to June 2004 or more than five years
ago. I do find it surprising that a Norwegian tabloid happened to
write a story about it within a week of my Washington Post Outlook
piece describing Kai Eide's role in downplaying the fraud in the
Afghanistan elections. But, I also find the UN's ever shifting public
explanations for my firing also to be curious. Not one of them was
ever mentioned to me at any time. And they all smell of desperation
to come up with some rationale for firing a senior UN official who
had a private disagreement with boss about whether UNAMA should be
concerned about massive fraud in a UN funded and supported election.
the chapter 6 stuff, you are all wet. If you read carefully the
questions and answers, you will see they were replies to questions
sent both to Amb Redman and me. They reflected the views of the US
government, which I represented and not me personally. Since they
were questions to the record, I may not have even seen them before
they were submitted. (At this stage, I can't recall). The USG took
the same position on enforcing the arms embargo as the UK, France,
Germany and Russia. None felt legally obliged to report on
violations. The only difference is that we were asked our view by the
Croatians and the others were not. But their position and behaviour
was the same. (except for Russia which was a major source of arms
going to Croatia and Bosnia, in spite of the government's pro-Serb
appreciate very much your doggedness in pursuing the issue of how
the UN handled the Afghan elelection fraud. Keep up the good work.
* * *
UN Flies 700 Staff to Copenhagen, Coup
Set to Speak, Major
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 10 -- In the run up to the Copenhagen
change conference, Inner City Press on December 4 asked UN
Janos Pasztor how many UN system staff, officials and consultants
would be traveling to Denmark, with what carbon footprint. Pasztor
said it wouldn't be known until the conference began.
December 10, UN
spokesman Martin Nesirky finally answered the question, or part of
it. He said that the Copenhagen conference has among its participants
477 people from the UN Secretariat and 309 from 19 specialized
agencies and related organizations. That is, 786 people from the UN.
But does this include consultants? And what is the carbon footprint
and will it be offset?
answer two questions Inner City Press asked on December 10, after an
ill attended noon briefing held at the same time as a media stakeout
by U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice. Inner City Press asked if Ban Ki-moon
is aware of the request that the coup leader of Madagascar not be
allowed to participate in the Copenhagen conference, just as he was
barred from speaking before the General Assembly in September.
"As for Madagascar, it is scheduled to speak on next Wednesday
16 December, sometime after 6 p.m., so they seem to have been
invited." But what about the request that, as at the UN General
Debate in September, they be disinvited?
Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon
City Press: Has Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, has he
indicated to you – we’ve heard that you’ve spoken to him weekly
by videoconference – he represents the African Union. Is the $10
billion enough? They threatened to walk out if not sufficient funds
were committed. What’s you stance on how that issue’s going to
As you know I, together with Prime Minister [Lars Løkke]
[of Denmark], have been engaging in weekly videoconferences with
major stakeholders on climate change - particularly the
representatives of the most vulnerable countries, including the
African Union and small island developing countries. We are going to
continue to do that, as we did in Trinidad and Tobago. Now the idea
of short-term fast-track financial support is supported by developing
countries. We had a very in-depth discussion on this issue during our
Commonwealth summit meeting in Trinidad and Tobago. As you know the
53-Member State Commonwealth adopted a consensus declaration where
this financial support – fast-track support – was agreed by all
the Member States, including a provision that 10% of this $10 billion
will be provided to small island developing countries.
agreed -- but has the African Union? Inner City Press asked Ban's top
humanitarian John Holmes on December 10, but he said he hadn't been
involved in setting the $10 billion figure. So who was?
UN's Ban pre-signs Deal, coup leader coming, major
emitter not shown
also asking about the block on participation by Taiwan, which is a
major industrial emitter. Nesirky answered only that "Taiwan is
not a party to the UNFCCC." But why not? Would the UN want a
major source of emission like Taiwan to participate?
course, in China, a senior diplomat of which told Inner City Press a
good joke on Thursday. He noted that U.S.' Susan Rice had been harsh
against Iran in that morning's Council meeting. She has to play to
the electorate, he said, just as Iran's teetered regime tries to
strengthen its power by being ever more hard-line. The Chinese
diplomat said, "This is the problem with democracy." And
then he laughed.
* * *
UN, Downer Says Anti-Obama Op-Ed Has No Effect on Cyprus Work with
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 9 -- Alexander Downer, alongside being the UN
Special Adviser on Cyprus, works
for the consultancy Bespoke
Approach, serves as a director of Hong Kong based mining firm
ResourceHouse and its China First coal, and writes op-eds, most
recently saying Barrack Obama should not have been awarded the Nobel
asked Downer on December 9 if this op-ed had any effect on his
discussion for the UN with Obama's Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton, with whom he met about Cyprus on December 8. Downer laughed
and said, "Of course not! No such thing was discussed."
Video here, from Minute 8:32.
isn't whether Hillary Clinton brought up the op-ed: it's whether it
has any impact of Downer's effectiveness for the UN on the Cyprus
issue. Another correspondent pointed out that Downer had offered the
Press nearly exactly the same upbeat assessment of the talks back in
May. Has any progress been made?
City Press has asked
Downer and the UN what safeguards are in place
to avoid any conflict of interest between Downer's work for the
consultancy Bespoke Approach and his UN role. Downer scoffed that
Cyprus doesn't have much business. But of course, Turkey and Greece
have a stake in Cyprus, and both have big business. In fact, while
KKR lists Bespoke Approach as an Easter affiliate, KKR has business
interests in Turkey. So where are the safeguards?
is also on
the board of directors of ResourceHouse, which is raising funds for a
China director coal mine in Australia. Inner City Press asked Downer,
in this light, to comment on the UN climate change negotiations in
laughed, saying that his Cyprus role does not involve climate
How about his China First Coal role?
Downer at stakeout, round and round, hook not shown
in a press conference the same day the head of UN
peacekeeping argued that all UN peacekeeping mission are impacted by
climate change. But Downer, without responding to the question about
China First Coal, said that his personal hope is that the
negotiations succeed. And that an $2.25 will get you on the subway in
New York: appointments with Bespoke Approach cost more. Watch this
Footnote: the UN's
force commander in Cyprus is slated to be changed in the Spring of
2010. A question at the stakeout about Slovakia's
public claim to be lobbying for the position yielded no answer,
except that the process takes place in New York. We will follow this.
Sudan Claims "Unrelenting Backing" of UN's Ban,
Spokesman Snarks, Dodges
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 7 -- Indicted war criminal Omar al Bashir received
the "unrelenting backing" of UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon during a December 6 phone call, Sudanese media has reported.
Inner City Press asked Mr. Ban's new spokesman Martin Nesirky about
this call and characterization, among other questions on December 7,
his first day. Video here,
from Minute 16:08.
that Ban's call was "purely on humanitarian grounds," about
two UN hostages in Sudan. He acknowledged that the appointment of
Ibrahim Gambari as the UN's and African Union's envoy to Sudan was
also discussed. So how, some wondered, can the call be legitimately
characterized as "purely" humanitarian?
asked about advise by the UN's own Office of Legal Affairs, that Ban
avoid Bashir since his indictment by the International Criminal
Court. Nesirky that it is "right" that their was advice to
retain a distance, but this was "purely humanitarian." He
confirmed that it was the first call from Ban to Bashir since the ICC
Sudan's state media's quote of Ban's "unrelenting backing"
of Bashir, Nesirky snarked, to some refreshingly, "Listen to me, not
were less clear. Inner City Press asked if Darfur envoy designate Gambari,
in his December 7 speech in Nigeria about that country's
leadership, was speaking for the UN, or being paid that day by the
UN. Nesirky said during the briefing he would look into it, and
reiterated later on Monday that an answer was in the works. But after
the lid was called, after 7 p.m. no answer had arrived.
UN's Ban and Bashir in 2008, still "unrelenting" backing?
asked if the UN joined the call by
ECOWAS that the military junta in
Guinea must leave power. Nesirky responded with a statement of
concern, but no direct response to the regional ECOWAS position. On
the Secretariat's withdrawal of its human resources proposal for
"continuing" rather than permanent contracts, Nesirky said
he'd respond later.
the UN's Congo
Experts' report, which links the UN Mission in the Congo with
murderous former rebel units of the Congo's army, Nesirky said "ask
the expert," who in fact claims to be independent from the UN.
The expert brought a Secretariat employee, who refused to answer but
rather passed notes to the Expert. So much for independence. Click here
for that, and watch this site.
* * *
Congo Expert Covers Up for MONUC, Chides Press He Was With Under
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 7 -- The coordinator of the ostensibly independent
UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo appeared
in the UN briefing room on Monday to criticize the Press for focusing
on portions of the Experts' report which show the UN working
murderous former rebels engaged in Congo mining.
press conference, Dinesh Mahtani on December 4 declined to answer on
the record Inner City Press' questions about the UN's role in
providing logistical support to units of the Congolese army which
were until recently the rebel forces of Laurent Nkunda and indicted
war criminal Jean Bosco Ntanganda.
conference call at the German Mission to the UN, filled with an
audience of several dozen, Mahtani said "I can't speak on the
record," and referred Inner City Press to his press conference
on Monday. Dinesh was introduced, by former head of UN Peacekeeping
Jean Marie Guehenno, as having been a journalist in the past.
Guehenno also declined to answer questions.
when Mahtani took to the UN's rostrum accompanied by an employee of
the UN's Department of Political Affairs, he emphasized that the
Group is independent. He criticized press accounts of his report,
previously leaked to Reuters, BBC and others in Kinshasa, which
emphasized on the findings against the UN.
report, now available online here,
is mostly about two groups, the
FDLR and the CNDP, that latter of which has become a part of the
Congolese army. The UN's Mission in the Congo, MONUC, provides
logistical support to these former CNDP units, for example one led by
Innocent Zimurinda, who identified as Zimulinda is charged by UN
Special Rapporteur Philip Alston with murder and multiple rapes.
asked Mahtani if he believes the UN should be working for example
with these "Innocent" units. Mahtani replied that his
report mentions Zimurinda several times. But should the UN be working
got more surreal. Mahtani told one long time wire service
correspondent that her question was "strange." Dinesh
Mahtani, as it happens, reported from Kinshasa for Reuters, under the
name Dino Mahtani. Why so defensive?
In Bunia, mine awareness- land mine, that is, Experts not shown
defended China, which is named in the report as flying in weapons
without accounting for them to the UN Sanctions Committee. Defending
itself is the company Niotan, identified as a wrong-doer in the
report: it claims it has another name, Refractory Metals Mining
Company Limited. Sort of like Zimulina and a certain Mahtani... To be
the Report at paragraph 119 zeroes in on a Western Union transfer to
"the program manager of the Ahadi Institute, Edison Bashimbe
Nshombo [whose wife] reportedly administers medical treatment to
wounded FDLR in the region." But, hat tip CanWest, the Ahadi
Institute has as a supporter the UN's own UNESCO, click here for that,
and watch this site.
* * *
Congo's Gold Hits 60 Minutes, UN Is Let Off Hook, Wal-Mart's 10%
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 29 -- The Congo's conflict gold was the
subject of a fifteen minute feature tonight on the American television
program Sixty Minutes. A former rebel said he used collected gold to
buy weapons and ammunition from the Congolese army. A woman said she
was raped by men in Army uniforms.
accepted UN escort and showed a UN camp, but neglected to mention
that the UN now provides logistical support to the Congolese army,
which beyond weapon sales and rape has been documented for the mass
murder of civilians, by the UN's own special rapporteur and experts.
But the UN's
top envoy to the Congo Alan Doss has
told Inner City Press there is not
enough evidence, and has yet to act on Special Rapporteur Philip
Alston's report detailing mass rape by Congo's Army. (Click here for
coverage of Congo trip by Inner City Press.)
least mention this perversion of the UN's peacekeeping mandate, Sixty
Minute showed a UN camp to which 13,000 internally displaced people
fled. Bags of flour and beans and cooking oil were distributed on the
day of filming, for the first time in five months.
Minutes nor the two non governmental organizations which appeared on
screen, HRW and the Enough Project, explained the starvation
just outside a UN camp.
UN's Ban and Doss in Congo, continuing support of
rogue Army units not shown
The point of
the show was that just as conflict diamonds were focused on seven
years ago, conflict gold now cries out for action.
without explanation that the UN tries to stem the flow of conflict
gold. But if the UN is supporting Army units which rape, kill and
sell weapons, and which themselves control mines, how is the UN
trying to stop the flow?
Back in the U.S., Sixty Minutes quotes Tiffany's as identifying the
source of nearly all of its gold -- in Utah -- while Wal-Mart will only
that it will track the source of 10 percent of its gold by next year.
If it were rap music with profanity, Wal-Mart would take action. But
conflict gold from the Congo? Ten percent sourcing, maybe, by next
* * *
Murky on Angola's Oil, Bond and China Deals, Doles Out $1.4 Billion
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 25 -- Days after announcing a $1.4 billion
arrangement with Angola, the International Monetary Fund held a press
conference call to offer explanations. At the end, things were
murkier than before. Inner City Press asked if the IMF had been able
to fully assess the income and distribution of revenue from the state
owned oil company Sonangol.
Leigh, who led the Fund's missions to Angola in August and September,
replied that "in the context of our negotiations, Sonangol
participated fairly well." Inner City Press asked, since
Sonangol has accounts in off shore financial centers and tax havens,
if the IMF had gotten to the bottom of these accounts.
pause, Lamine Leigh proffered another answer, that the government has
"committed to steps in the more general area of resource revenue
transparency." But what about the Sonangol accounts?
Oil in Angola, Sonangol's accounts not shown
asked about the statement
by IMF Deputy Managing Director and Acting
Chair Takatoshi Kato that in Angola "measures will be taken to
strengthen further the regulatory and supervisory framework."
The IMF's Senior Advisor on Africa Sean Nolan replied that the IMF
analyzed the effect of the exchange rate on borrowers and "on
government has gotten billions in pre-export oil loans from, for
example, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank. The
latter has made similar loans in Turkmenistan, assailed by
transparency and human rights advocates. How much of the IMF's new
arrangement benefits these banks?
questioner after Inner City Press, cutting off follow up, was from
Standard Bank. Other than Inner City Press, the only other media
questioner was from Reuters.
ended, Inner City Press was able to ask about Angola's reported $4
billion bond sale planned for December. Sean Nolan said that the
IMF's "understanding" with Angola does involve a
"fundraising effort," but that the timing was not agreed
to, the IMF does not "micromanage" to that extent. Nolan added
that there is an agreement on an "overall limit."
billion dollars?" Inner City Press asked.
the precise limit will be "clear in the documents," which
have yet to be released. Why play hide the ball?
praised the country for "appointing reputable financial and legal
advisers for the transaction" -- JPMorgan Chase will be the manager.
that the actual size of the bond sale will depend on how much
"concessionary lending" Angola gets from "countries
with a strong record of financial support to Angola."
asked if the size of China's loans to Angola -- China gets 16% of its
foreign oil from Angola -- were known by the IMF or considered.
figured in our discussions," the IMF's Nolan responded. Why not? Watch
* * *
Food Speculation, UN's Expert Says Nothing's Being Done, S. Korean Land
Grabs from Madagascar to Sudan, Brazil on Ethanol
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 21 -- After many speeches at the UN about the need
to crack down on financial speculation in food, nothing has been
done, the UN's expert on the right to food told Inner City Press on
Olivier de Schutter, a Belgian law professor just back
from a visit to Brazil about, among other things, the loss of land
for food to ethanol, replied that "nothing is moving at the
inter-governmental level." This despite a statement by the G-20
in April favoring the regulation of hedge funds which present
systemic risk. The argument is that commodities index funds which
speculate in food present systemic risk to net food importing
countries. But nothing has been done.
about the monopolization of the seed industry, and made a slew of
recommendations for governments. The three top monopolizers --
Monsanto, Dupont and the Swiss-based Syngenta -- are all members of
the UN Global Compact, and claim to comply with human rights. De
Schutter pointed out the antitrust law is directed as national and
not global or subnational markets. It is all very heady but one
wonders what effect it has.
one of de Schutter's claims to impact. He spoke glowingly of
President Lula, saying that Brazil has said that only 19% of land can
be used for sugar cane for ethanol, and has committed to monitor
labor rights. But what about, for example, Indonesia and Malaysia?
De Schutter, action on food speculation not shown
Schutter's briefing, Inner City Press asked his staffer for an update
on the proposed land grab in Madagascar by South Korea based Daewoo,
which was reputed after the coup in that country. De Schutter had
been scheduled to visit, but it was put off by the coup. The same
thing happened in Honduras. So perhaps De Schutter does have an
effect after all, mused one wag.
immediately after De Schutter's briefing, the UN's Haile Menkerios
was scheduled to speak to the Press about Madagascar. While the UN
usually compartmentalizes its work such that a rapporteur looks at
land grabs, while the Secretariat remains on "political affairs"
narrowly defined, this land grab played a role in the change of
government. Now it's said the South Korean deal is being pursued from
India, while South Korea appears to have moved on to 690,000 hectares
in Sudan. Watch this site.
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
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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