UN, China Raises Afghan Killings to Block Debate of Myanmar's, Burma
Off Month's Council Agenda
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 2, updated -- China has raised the killing of Afghan
civilians, in response to a proposal to include Myanmar and Protection
of Civilians in the footnotes of October's UN Security
Council program of work, Inner City Press has learned.
what is usually a routine beginning of the month Council meeting,
China disputed the possibility that the "umbrella" topic of
Protection of Civilians might be loophole through which the
activities of Burma's Than Shwe military government could be raised.
China, as Russia
has done in the past, said that the killing of civilians in
Afghanistan by the U.S. and NATO is also relevant.
In Afghanistan vote, fraud and protection of
civilians not shown
president, Vietnam, is having to run the debate. The Council members
had a customary breakfast, and then retired to the consultation room.
reporters at the stakeout drifted away. At 10:39, only Inner
City Press remained at the stakeout, under the now vacant space where
a tapestry "after" Picasso's Femme Sur l'Echelle used to
be. It was entirely silent. Watch this site.
Update of 11:10 a.m.
-- A Council diplomat tells Inner City Press that all except China
said, Afghanistan is on the agenda anyway, under an ISAF item.
Update of 1:10 p.m.
-- When Vietnam's Ambassador held a press conference as Council
president, Inner City Press asked about the omission of Myanmar from
even the footnotes of the program of work. We operate by consensus, he
answered, and it is not in the footnotes. So, those who proposed
Burma's inclusion let it drop. We aim to have more on this -- watch
* * *
Counters Galbraith Fallout with Unnamed Official, Sampler Next
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 1 -- Charged with covering up electoral fraud to
benefit Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, the UN in New York on Thursday,
in a background briefing to the Press, argued that it is not the UN's
role to uncover or publicize fraud. Rather, the speaker who insisted
on being identified only as a senior UN official said, the UN makes
recommendation for procedures to be put in place so that fraud can be
if the UN's
recommendations are dismissed, or if implemented are then revoked,
does the UN say anything? No, the senior official said, why should
we? The Independent Electoral Commission isn't breaking any laws.
asked the official if Afghan law provides for any penalty for those
found guilty of fraud. I don't know, the UN official said, adding
that the Elections Complaints Commission, three of whose five members
are appointed by the UN, has no power to impose criminal penalties.
provided by the UN, answered again and again that he was baffled by
the critiques made by the UN's just
fired deputy envoy to
Afghanistan, Peter Galbraith. Inner City Press asked if Galbraith's
letter to Ban Ki-moon is true in saying that Eide ordered UN staff
not to talk about the election and fraud. I can't imagine Kai doing
that, the official said. He allowed that the UN has rules about how
staff can talk, and Kai might have reminded
UNAMA staff of the rules.
UN's Ban and Karzai on red carpet, Galbraith
and fraud not shown
management, Galbraith said that only weak organizations punish those
who disagreed in internal debates. The official said that went beyond
his remit, as did Ban Ki-moon's decision to suspend any UN assistance
to the November elections in Honduras. That was Ban's decision, a Ban
spokesperson has said. But, as with the firing of Galbraith, who will
explain it on the record?
The Times of London has reported
that, to replace Galbraith, the U.S. is pushing
the UN to try Donald "Larry" Sampler. He worked
USAID contractor, and is in fact a Facebook
friend of Gary K. Helseth,
of accused of corruption in Afghanistan with the UN Office of
Project Services. Some Sample(r).
* * *
UN, Iran's Mottaki Says Protesters Are Dealt With, Nuclear Sites All
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 1 -- In Iran "there are some people, a limited
number of people, who look for trouble and want to create unreal,"
Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the Press on
Thursday. "It is very clear how they should be dealt with."
from Minute 31:55.
session at the UN in New York, nearly all of which dealt with nuclear
issues, Inner City Press asked Mottaki about a story of
torture, rape and exile, which Inner City Press heard from Ebrahim
Sharifi by cell phone on September 21. Sharifi states that he
the non violent street protests then was picked up, blindfolded and
held for a week.
asked Mottaki if he acknowledged the veracity of any such charges, if
people can file complaints in Iran and what he thinks of the call for
a UN General Assembly special envoy to Iran on human rights issues.
from Minute 25:43, Mottaki's
reponse here from Minute
five minute answer became with calling the June elections "the
most glorious presidential elections in the history of the Islamic
Republic of Iran." Mottaki claimed the skeptics, once they
received an explanation, were convinced. This left a few trouble
makers -- "it is very clear how they should be dealt with."
UN's Ban, Ahmadinejad, Motakki and Zarif, pre election violence
Iran has vibrant NGOs, which rather than complain in Geneva to the
Human Rights Council come to the UN in New York to participate in
workshops about the rights on women.
program, Mottaki said that other than Qom, there are no other sites
not reported to the IAEA. The press conference ended with a report
for a newspaper in Israel calling for the floor, without receiving
it. He was told by the UN's spokesperson that the UN is an
"inter-governmental body... we cannot do anything about what
member states do." Apparently not.
before traveling to DC, wiled away the evening of September 29 at
Indonesia's Independence Day celebration in the UN Delegates' Dining
Room. There were satays, rice and noodles. One attending, chewing,
snarked that at such receptions, the quality of the food is in inverse
proportion to the amount of democracy in the hosting nation.
Inner City Press has previously written about, and
kebab diplomacy, click here for that. Seven thousand years of
* * *
Tales of Iran Torture, UN and Ban Urged To Speak, Treki Role
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, September 21 -- As Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepares to
speak Wednesday before the UN General Assembly, across First Avenue
on Monday two non-governmental organizations briefed the press on the
arrests and killings of protesters that followed the recent contested
election. By cellphone, 24-year old computer scientist Ebrahim
Sharifi told the Press about his abduction on June 22 leading to a
week of torture, mock execution and rape.
Sharifi has since fled Iran,
having been told the rest of his family is also in danger. He worked
on the campaign of Mehdi Karroubi; later, the government accused
Karroubi -- or Mir-Hussein Mousavi -- of paying Sharifi to make the
many of the
protests of Ahmadinejad's UN visit focus on the nuclear or Israel
issues, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and Human
Rights Watch on Monday called on the UN General Assembly to adopt a
resolution appointing a special envoy to Iran.
asked for the panelists' review of the performance of UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon on the Iran human rights and democracy issues.
Steve Crawshaw of HRW was typically diplomatic, saying that while he
is sure there is "robust" advocacy by the UN "behind
closed doors," it is "very important that [Ban] makes his
voice heard... repeatedly." In fact, Ban's Spokesperson has
been asked repeatedly for comment on Iran, and has declined comment.
UN's Ban and Ahmadinejad, talk and envoy on torture not shown
General Assembly is headed by Libyan Ali Treki, Inner City Press
asked if this might have any impact on the likelihood of the Assembly
addressing these Iran issues. Crawshaw, again diplomatic, said that
while he didn't wish to pre-judge, every country should be worried
when people are shot and killed. Yeah...
Footnote: at a
briefing for countries' missions to the UN, the NY Police Department
predicted 12,000 protesters of Ahmadinejad, diplomatic sources in the
meeting tell Inner City Press...
* * *
UN's Ban Shielded from Nepotism Questions, Scandals Brew, Defenses
Outsourced to Mission
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, September 17, updated twice
-- While questions having swirled all
around Ban Ki-moon's leadership of the UN, Mr. Ban belated held a
pre-General Assembly press conference on September 17. But the
management, human rights, nepotism
and even corruption short falls in
Ban's UN that have been discussed in diplomatic circles and in the
media were scarcely mentioned.
allowed on two human rights short falls, Sri Lanka
less on the nepotism scandals festering at the highest levels of the
UN. It's as if these issues were censored out, after having been
strangely outsourced to South Korea's Deputy Permanent Representative
to the UN, who recently invited Inner City Press to a lunch with only
one topic: the integrity of Ban Ki-moon. [See Amb. Kim Bong-hyun's
reply, in full below.]
it's not that
Team Ban is unaware of the questions. After a leaked e-mail by Ban's
envoy to the Congo Alan Doss surfaced and was first published by
Inner City Press, Ban's Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe told
Press Ban was very concerned and expected a report on the matter when
he returned to New York from his vacation in South Korea.
month ago but when Inner City Press, denied a chance to question by
Ban's Spokesperson Michele Montas, asked Ban on his way out about the
case of Alan Doss, Ban muttered "that is still going on,"
presumably referring to the investigation.
who previously referred Inner City Press to Ban's main adviser Kim
Won-soo about the issue (Mr. Kim subsequently canceled the meeting),
should at least have allowed a question about Ban's actual management
of the UN.
Ban's lack of
action is attributed by some, including
prospectively a major U.S. newspaper, to questions about two recent
hirings of Ban's son in
law Siddarth Chatterjee. First he was hired,
without any competitive process, by Ban's envoy in Iraq Staffan de
Mistura to be his chief of staff, a position for which many said
Chatterjee did not have the diplomatic and political background.
had previously hired the son of Kofi Annan's chief of staff Iqbal
Riza, many saw a pattern, of the hiring of top UN leaders' children
as a way for far-flung officials to be viewed favorable in
de Mistura left
Iraq, Ban's son in law resurfaced hired by the UN Office of Project
Services to head a whole regional bureau. While UNOPS refused to
answer the simple question of whether Chatterjee's job is at the D-1
or D-2 level, it has since emerged that the post was upgraded to D-2
in connection with a process in which Ban gave UNOPS more freedom
over its human resources practices. While it is said Chatterjee for
now is at the lower of the two Director levels, he can be upgraded at
any time, without public announcement.
supposedly lateral moves resulting in reality in a meteoric rise up
two levels," as one observer wryly puts it, "only at the
UN." Meanwhile Chatterjee
has taken to telephoning Indian
newspapers which have picked up Inner City Press' coverage of the
issue and telling them to remove articles and comments from the
Internet, in the face of legal threats.
adviser Kim Won-soo canceled the meeting, which it was emphasized would
be off the record or on background, about the still unanswered
Chatterjee questions, Inner City Press received a lunch reach-out
from the Deputy Permanent Representative of South Korea's mission to
the UN, Kim Bong-hyun. Over a sizzling bowl of beef and noodles, the
Kim repeated again and again that Ban is a man of integrity, although
from an earlier generation of Korean diplomats.
UN's Ban on Sept. 15, report and action on nepotism
Kim made detailed
arguments about Ban's son in law's promotions and threats for
censorship; that seemed to be the purpose of the lunch. On the Alan
Doss matter, he first expressed concern about the "leeway"
e-mail, then recovered and argued that Ban's hands are tied by rules
making it difficult to fire UN staff. But Doss is Ban's personal
envoy to the Congo. There is no way to pass the buck. DPR Kim nodded
and said Ban would be sure to know and do something about the Doss
issue. But it hasn't happened yet.
DPR Kim gave no indication that his outreach was off the record or even
on background, normally these
indirect defenses of Ban would not have to be used or reported, if
Ban himself would address the issues in at least one of the fifteen
largely scripted answers he gave on Thursday. A weak communications
strategy has helped get Ban into the situation is his, entering this
General Assembly. And thing do not appear to be getting better.
Ban's Spokesperson, as Inner City Press first publicly reported, is
set to retire in November. Those who multiple
sources say are vying to replace
her include Eric Falt of the UN Department of Public Information [but see below], two
journalists who have covered the UN, and an official of the UN
mis-hiring scandal, which Inner City Press asked
about in writing on August 27 has still not been answered to or even
Watch this site.
of Sept. 17, 4:45 p.m. -- For the record we have received this
denial from Mr.
Falt: "I wish to inform you that I am very happy with my job as
Director of Outreach in DPI and am not currently applying to any
communication has been received from the South Korean Mission to the
UN, clarification has been sought, but has not yet been received. Watch
Second update -- we have received
the following from Ambassador
Kim of Korea and
publish it in full:
from Amb.Kim of Korea
Matthew Lee [at] innercitypress.com
just read your article titled "with UN's Ban Shielded...."
of Sept. 17, 2009. I found that facts of the article were distorted
and I was misused. My purpose to invite you to the lunch the other
day was to exchange views about agenda of the new session of the GA.
message to you was that the press should listen to both parties
concerned, otherwise the press would lose its balance and
on the contray to my intention, you initiated to explain the stroy of
Alan Doss to me, including the biting rumor of a staff of UNDP and
quoted me as making detailed arguments about SG's son in law.
did not know the story of Alan Doss at all and I din not know the
details on the stroy of the son in law of the SG. I answered to your
questions as to the two cases based on my common sense as a career
diplomat. I answered that there were rules and regulations for hiring
and firing staff in any organization. I added that I knew there was a
commission for the appeal of staff in the case of infringement of
interest. Also I urged you to look into the rules and regulations
about the prodedure of promotion in the UN.
said that the procedure of promotion regarding to the son in law of
the SG was supposed to be transparent and based on merits. I further
expressed my view that answers related to those questions should be
sought in the framework of the legal institution of the UN and
advised you not to try to personalize the issue.I strongly request
you to carry the above explanation in your blog as an exercise of
right of reply.
Deputy Permanent Representative
Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations
with the right to reply, we nonetheless note that very little was
said about the upcoming General Assembly session, while much was said
about the Mona Juul memo, the possible motives and the "Asian"
style of diplomacy. Detailed arguments were made about whether the
Secretary General's son in law was initially a P-4 or P-5, and is now
a D-1 or D-2 (the post has been upgraded to D-2). If nepotism is a
problem in the UN, as many think it is, it is difficult to report on
and address the issue without giving specific example: that is,
personalizing the issue.
seems significant is that while the Secretary General and his team
are reticent to address or even take questions on these nepotism
issues, the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Secretary
General's native South Korea made the arguments, with detailed
information about the Secretary General's son in law.
this may be
a credit to Ambassador Kim Bong-hyun, these arguments should be
coming, on the record, from the Secretariat itself, and they should
not be evading or not allowing questions on the issue. Frankly, it is
unclear if Ambassador Kim Bong-hyun disagrees with this analysis of
the weakness of the Secretary General's current Office of the
Spokesperson. But we appreciate his right of reply and so publish the
above in full. Watch this site.