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On Lebanon, Russia Resists Calling for Implementation of 1701 Resolution

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 10 -- When the UN Security Council met behind closed door Tuesday about its Resolution 1701 and the situation between Lebanon and Israel, there was a surprising blockage to even calling for implementation of the Council's own Resolution 1701. Diplomatic sources in the consultations meeting tell Inner City Press that Russia opposed even the use of the word "implementation."

  When the UN's Michael Williams emerged to brief the Press, he repeatedly took issue with reporters who asked about what opposition parties in Lebanon call his report's lack of balance. Every over flight of Lebanon, he insisted, is a violation of 1701.

  Of the ship stopped by Israel, Williams said it is beyond his mandate to comment on the legality of the cargo or its seizure. Regarding the Israeli Army chief of staff's comments that Hezbollah has rockets that can reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Williams answered that he has no way to know of their range.

  Inner City Press asked Williams about reports that Israel has asked for Italy to continue to force commander of the UNFIL peacekeeping mission, rather than pass the mandate to Spain.

UN's Ban in Lebanon, Russia and implementation of 1701 not shown

  Like you, Williams replied, I read colorful media reports. But it is up to the Secretary General and the decision should be made in a few weeks. We'll see.

Footnote: Russia also, behind the scenes, raised issues recently about the UN's panel of inquiry into the killing of civilians in Guinea. As with the strange pattern of the UN Mission anthrax scare, people are trying to find a pattern here.

* * *

Diplomatic "Anthrax" Postmarked from Texas, France Says, UN Terror Defenses Misused

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 10 -- At the UN Security Council stakeout the morning after the anthrax scare at the French, Austrian and Uzbek embassies, French Ambassador Gerard Araud told the Press that the letters had been mail from Dallas. "Don't mess with Texas," he said in an exaggerated drawl.

  He recounted how the staff of the French Mission to the UN had been decontaminated until 3:30 in the morning in a truck outside the Mission. Women first, men after, he said, describing how people passed their clothing into a small hole, and after decontamination put on plastic suits.

  The geo-political logic (of the three countries targeted) makes no sense, he said. Austria has the Council presidency this month, and has its big event, a debate on the protection of civilians, scheduled for November 11. Others mused to Inner City Press about American bases in Uzbekistan. It is a country known for torturing political opponents, and shooting them in the street. 

  The NYPD quickly concluded that the substance was not, in fact, anthrax. Because the common denominator is the UN, missions to, in this publication it will be called l'affaire Banthrax.

France's Araud and UN's Ban: l'affaire Banthrax not shown

  Meanwhile, the UN Secretariat used the NYPD's anti-terroristic threat squad to try to silence or back off a former UN staffer in the Democratic Republic of Congo who wrote to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon among other things that his family is still threatened in the region due to the work he did for the UN. Click here for that Inner City Press exclusive story, and watch this site.

* * *

UN Calls NYPD On Congo Staffer They Used Against Rebels, "UN Put My Family in Danger"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 9 -- While the UN Security Council held consultations Monday about its peacekeeping mission's involvement in the armed conflict between rebel groups and the Congolese Army, a related but more personal drama played out just outside the UN on First Avenue.

  The UN summoned New York City police officers to deal with John Dimandja Wembalonge. John C. Fernandez of the NYPD's Threat Assessment Unit counseled Mr. Dimandja to "stay away from the UN," following an e-mail Dimandja had sent to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, reproduced in full below.

   In it and related correspondence to the UN, Dimandja explained that he was a national staff member of the UN Mission in the Congo who had fled death threats after helping the UN disarm rebels in Ituri in Eastern Congo.

   Now Dimandja's family remains in the region at risk. "The UN is doing nothing," Dimandja told Inner City Press on First Avenue on Monday night. He said that the chief of the UN's Department of Field Services Susana Malcorra had, though an intermediary named Cedrick, told him to bring in his internal UN employment file, called at PHP, that perhaps a job could be found for him in New York and then his family brought.

  "But that will be too late," Dimandja told Inner City Press, and Officer Fernandez.

  According to Dimandja, while working for the UN in Ituri he was sent in to meeting of Lendu militias to convince them to disarm..Dimandja took pictures and video, and had, he says, much success in disarmament. But when militia leader Mathieu Ngudjolo was indicted for war crimes, Dimandja's video footage put him in danger.

  "They were trying to kill anyone who had taken pictures," he told Inner City Press. Who? "The militias had become soldiers in the Congolese Army," he said. It was the same government soldiers who the UN assists who were trying to kill him.

UN disarmament meeting in Ituri, protection of UN national staff not shown

  Dimandja says a UN official, Philip Toulet, advised him to pay a bribe to Congolese police, and to get paperwork to flee to the U.S. and seek asylum. He arrived in New York a year ago, and went straight to UN headquarters. He says the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services, ostensibly in charge of investigations, referred him to the staff counsel. He got nowhere, and lacking the funds to stay in New York City, he went upstate to Rochester for three months.

  Since being back in New York, he has sought to meet with Ban Ki-moon. But his e-mails, culminating in a threat to step in front of Ban's motorcade, resulted only in interventions by NYPD. "Stay away from the UN," Officer Fernandez advised him Monday night. "Perhaps this gentleman can help you." Here's hoping.

Some of Dimandja's e-mails

Subject: Urgent
From: John Dimandja
Date: Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 12:51 PM
To: Ban Ki-moon, Susana Malcorra, DSG Migiro

Dear Mr. Secretary General

Good afternoon, I am John Dimandja UN staff from MONUC, I would like to bring up to your attention that I have not a way to contact you due to multiple obstructions on your way, have prevented me to meet with you, and the New York local police is already informed about the plan that I am going to make very soon for meeting you.

Dear Sir, I am going to stop your vehicle everywhere I can, in way to put myself in contact with you, it will appear like a terrorist act but I am not a terrorist I am UN staff's member who is looking for a very urgent assistance.

The reason I am writing this mail to you is to inform you in advance that this will surely happen, you are kindly recommended to inform your security body about it, if they gunshot on me believe that you kill your own staff member, please be advised that this E-mail is copied to the local police of New York City in charge of the UN premises security (17 precinct community affairs New York, NY 10022) The way to avoid this sad event is to respond promptly to my request of appointment.

I would like again to inform you, Mr. Secretary General that my family is living day after day in a permanent danger and in fear of death because the community of rebels that wanted to kill me had his base in UGANDA this is the reason why my family is hidden in UGANDA.

I am expecting to hear very soon from you

Best regards

John Dimandja.

* * *

At UN, Obasanjo Brags of Deadly Kimia II, LRA Not in Mandate, Mountain in the Dusk

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 9 -- Only days after human rights groups documented hundreds of killings of civilians by the UN-assisted Congolese Army as part of Operation Kimia II, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo told the Security Council that "Operation Kimia II is achieving reasonable success."

  After the Council meeting, Inner City Press asked Obasanjo how this squares with the killed civilians, which had so far led even the UN Mission in the Congo to say it is suspending work with elements of the 213th Brigade, for the killing of 62 civilians.

  "I'm telling you what people told us," Obasanjo said, "operation versus the FDLR is welcome."

What about the 600 civilians who have been killed by the Congolese Army, documented by Human Rights Watch? Obansanjo, rather than disputing the number, played the ad hoc democracy card. "If the Congolese people says its necessary, why should I say to MONUC, or to anyone else for that matter, that what the Congolese people want they shouldn't get?" Video here, from Minute 7:19.

  Given the argument that popular will trumps or supports the killing of civilians, Inner City Press asked what Obasanjo's report was based on: a poll? "I was there," Obasanjo said, as a staffer gestured for the stakeout microphone to be taken away from Inner City Press.

  Since Obasanjo, even inside UN headquarters, walked surrounded by bodyguards and entourage, it's difficult to imagine him conducting a scientific man and woman on the street poll in the Kivus. But as they say, you hear what you want to hear. Obasanjo is stepping back from his UN Great Lakes gig. We will follow his next moves.

Obasanjo at UN on Nov. 9, dead civilians and LRA not shown

  As he left, Inner City Press asked, "What about the LRA," Lord's Resistance Army? Video here, from Minute 11:08. "The LRA is not part of my mandate," Obasanjo said, even though the Great Lakes include Uganda. If you design a mandate narrowly enough, success is not so difficult. Many say -- another scientific poll -- that Presidents Kabila and Kagame would have spoken anyway. But for Obasanjo, next stop: Mo Ibrahim prize?

   This month's Council president Thomas Mayr-Harting of Austria read out a press statement congratulating Obasanjo, as well as MONUC. Inner City Press asked about the 600 dead civilians, and the report by MSF that the Congolese Army used them as bait to attack civilians. Video here, from Minute 1:58. He referred to the press statement on the first, and said he hasn't seen reports of the second. We trust he will.

Footnote: When Inner City Press asked UN Spokesperson Michele Montas about the MSF as bait story, she didn't answer, except to say that outgoing MONUC deputy Ross Mountain would be in town this week and should answer questions. Mountain was seen in the dusk outside the UN on Monday night. When will the questions be answered?

* * *

On UN, Congo Says All or Nothing, Silence on MSF "Bait" Accusation, New P-5ers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 9 -- While the UN Mission in the Congo will stop assisting some units of Congo's 213th Brigade because they killed 62 civilians, according to top UN Peacekeeper Alain Le Roy, evidence mounts of far more extensive murder by other brigades and units of the Congolese army.

In this context, Inner City Press on November 5 asked the DRC's Ambassador to the UN Atoki Ileka what he thought of Le Roy's announcement. Ambassador Ikeka turned the question around, asking "how can you work with only parts of an army?"

Inner City Press noted to him that this was similar to Human Rights Watch's position, that MONUC should stop working with the Congolese Army as a whole, at least as regards the Kimia II operation. Yes, Ambassador Ileka said, on that we have the same position. Only at the UN.

   Unprompted, standing outside the UN General Assembly after the debate and vote on the Goldstone report on Gaza, Ambassador Ileka told Inner City Press, Alan Doss, he has his own problems, I'm not going to add to them.

At the November 6 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked

Inner City Press: Medecins sans frontieres has said in great detail that a vaccination campaign they conducted in October in FDLR-control areas of [the Democratic Republic of] the Congo was used as “bait” -- that is the word they used. So that FARDC [the Congolese Armed Forces] attacked the vaccination sites, killed some civilians and sent others into the bush. It’s such a graphic allegation on their part, I’m wondering what is MONUC -- is this a unit MONUC works with? Does MONUC deny that it happened? What’s MONUC going to do about that?

Spokesperson Michele Montas: I’m going to get more information -- in fact, we are going to have someone from [MONUC] coming to brief you on the Congo shortly. Mr. Ross Mountain [Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo] is supposed to come next week and he will be briefing you on the Congo, so I would suggest that you ask him the questions.

  Ross Mountain will immanently leave the MONUC mission, and more and more people say Alan Doss should. Is there accountability in the UN system?

In DRC, Obasanjo arrives, FARDC civilian abuse not shown

  On November 9, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo strode into the Security Council with an entourage, to brief about the Great Lakes region: how many trip to how many heads of state. Some mused that one of his last times at the UN, he was questioned about his role in now controversial Chinese infrastructure deals in Nigeria, if that gave him a conflict in deal with Congo's similar -- although now somewhat shrunken -- deal. Didn't he get mad? a correspondent asked Inner City Press, the poser of the Chinese dealing question. He should have seen it coming. And this time? Watch this site.

Council footnotes, or bookends: The grandly named new UK Permanent Representative, Ambassador Mark Lyall "No Hyphen" Grant, is said to have arrived in New York "at the weekend." He will get accredited, some face time with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and then assume his position in the Council. There are some hoping he's adopt a less exclusive approach, at least to the media, than those before him.

  France's Gerard Araud, who's said in French-only briefings to rebuff questions about poverty and spending, for example Sarkozy's on his EU Presidency stint, is still settling in. And so Russia, with the longest serving Ambassador, and China, which reportedly blocked consensus on the most recent Sudan sanctions report, will some say have the P-5 upper hand for a while. We'll see.

* * *

UN's Security Phase Confusion in Af-Pak Shown at Stakeout, Ban and Nambiar

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 6 -- In a press encounter that ended in disarray, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called the UN security threat level in Afghanistan confidential, despite it being public in Pakistan, and then described the reclassification, renovation and vacating of various guest houses in Kabul.

  His chief of staff Vijay Nambiar rushed to the stakeout and gestured to spokesperson Michele Montas to end it. Mr. Nambiar then told Inner City Press, we can't tell them how to attack us.

  Mr. Ban had emphasized the UN is not abandoning Afghanistan, that it cannot curtail its development efforts there. Inner City Press asked about northwest Pakistan, where the UN country office issued a press release putting the threat level at Phase IV and suspending UN development activities, and asked what the Phase is in Afghanistan. Video here, from Minute 6:42.

  Mr. Ban said that security phases are "determined by DSS" [the Department of Safety and Security] "after evaluating all situations." He said it "needs not to be known publicly."

  Inner City Press asked if there isn't a conflict of interest, like in Algeria before the UN was bombed there, in which host countries doesn't want the UN Security Phase raised, even if it's needed. Mr. Ban acknowledged that this is "very sensitive," that host countries don't like the level raised because it could effect "national prestige" and "socio economic activities." He said, however, that the UN sets its levels objectively.

  Another reporter asked, in light of the UN's pulling out of Iraq after the bombing of its Canal Hotel headquarters, what are the "red lines" that would trigger a pull out from Afghanistan. Mr. Ban began to answer. Inner City Press remarked to a diplomat at the stakeout, yeah, tell the Taliban what it would take for the UN to leave.

  Then, as Mr. Ban was describing the categorization of the UN's 93 guest houses into those to be closed and those to be brought to "MOSS" standards, Mr. Nambiar rushed back to the stakeout and gestured that this should stop. Some thought this was because of Ban's next appointment, with his advisory group of businesses on the environment. But Mr. Nambiar explained, we cannot tell them how to attack us.

UN's Ban and Nambiar leave Council, divergence on disclosure not yet shown

  While this statement was at the stakeout, with no mention of being off the record or on background, some have since tried to say this was implicit. For this reason, Inner City Press is not using the direct quote. But in fact, it is not surprising that even the UN's 38th floor would have divergent views on how much to disclose. Both positions in this case could be defended. And reporting these facts is to show how the UN actually functions.

  Inner City Press asked this month's Security Council president, Austria's Thomas Mayr-Harting, if Mr. Ban had told the Council in its consultations what the UN Security Phase is in Afghanistan. He said he would rather not "get into the details." Video here.

  Another reporter remarked to Inner City Press that "it is easy enough to learn the UN Security Phase." But why then be so secretive? In fact, Inner City Press is informed that the Phase in Afghanistan, even after the killing of five UN staff in a commando style raid by the Taliban, was kept at Phase III, while it was raised to Phase IV in Pakistan. Is this objective? Watch this site.

* * *

IMF's Report Buries Its Icesave Conditionality, Enforcer's Duplicity?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED 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 states that

"[t]he 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"

  Once that 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 their hand.

Iceland / Icesave protest, but is the heartfelt sign true?

  Since 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.

  In 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?

  The IMF's Iceland report continues, about other loan requests including from Russia:

"A 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 this site.

* * *

IMF Plays Ukraine, Zim and Pakistan As "Technical" Questions, Pushes Tax Hikes in Serbia

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 22 -- Are the International Monetary Fund's negotiations with countries about the level of taxes and salaries for public sector employees, the pricing of electricity and the privatization of social services political, or merely "economic and technical"? The questions arose Thursday in connection with Ukraine, Zimbabwe and Pakistan, among others, in the IMF's first press briefing since its annual meeting in Turkey.

  IMF spokesperson Caroline Atkinson fielded questions for half an hour, leaving unanswered one submitted by Inner City Press about Serbia, where the IMF's Paul Thompson has been quoted that "if the Serbian delegation has a concrete pan for decreasing expenses, we will support it, if not, they will have to agree with us and think about increasing taxes." Left unanswered: how is raising taxes merely "technical"?

  Ms. Atkinson did respond to Inner City Press' questions about Ukraine, Zimbabwe and Pakistan. While a full transcript is available online here, and video here, in sum the Q & A went as follows:

 Inner City Press asked, In Ukraine, the opposition party is critical of the IMF as funding the campaign of Tymoshenko. What is the IMF's response to the opposition's criticism? Ms. Atkinson replied that IMF funds go to the central bank, and that the IMF has a team on the ground in Kiev for a third review.

  The opposition was not, it seems, saying that money from the IMF is being used by Tymoshenko for advertisements or to pay poll workers, but rather "MP and opposition government's finance minister, Mykola Azarov, said this at a meeting with delegates of an IMF mission, 'We must say that the program of cooperation with the IMF has turned out to be ineffective, and nothing is left but to consider the IMF's assistance as politically motivated, as funding of one of the candidates running for the presidency.'"

  When another reporter asked a follow up question about Ukraine, wondering if with the IMF mission on the ground, the upcoming election "is an issue," Ms. Atkinson said the IMF does not comment while a mission is in the field, negotiating a program, but that information -- and one hopes some questions and answers -- will be provided once the mission is completed

IMF points the way, in budgets... and politics?

  On Zimbabwe, Inner City Press asked, "NGOs are critical of the IMF for, they say, pushing Zimbabwe to privatize its social services system. Has the IMF pushed for that, and how does it respond to the criticism?" Ms. Aktinson, while saying she can get back to Inner City Press with more information, argued that the IMF does not favor or disfavor particular privatizations, but must be pushing to strengthen the social service sector to help the poor.

  But speaking just ahead of civil society's consultative meeting with an IMF team under Article IV of the Fund's Articles of Agreement, NANGO said "'we are opposed to some IMF polices such as privatization of basic social services. We know it from the past that some IMF policies have worked against people in this country. They have affected the social services sector and their polices are anti-people and negative'... [NANGO] said some of the IMF instigated polices which had brought suffering to the people were the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) and Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation (ZIMPREST)." It's a pretty specific critique, and we'll publish the IMF's response upon receipt.

  Following up on Inner City Press' questions and article from August 2009, it asked "in Pakistan, the IMF in August extended for a year the country's time to eliminate electricity subsidies. Now, while the IMF says 2 price increases will be implemented, others say this is not possible politically. What is the IMF's thinking on consumer power pricing in Pakistan?"

Ms. Aktinson replied that "as I believe you know, the issue of issue of electric subsidy is typically done by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank," that IMF gets involved due to the budget."we will be having another review of the Pakistan program in early November." We'll be there....

* * *

On Food Speculation, UN's Expert Says Nothing's Being Done, S. Korean Land Grabs from Madagascar to Sudan, Brazil on Ethanol

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED 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 Wednesday.

  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.

   De Schutter spoke 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.

  Brazil might be 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

  After De 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.

Footnote: 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.

* * *

UN's Indigenous Expert Stymied in Russia, Does Not Engage in Myanmar, Will Visit Ecuador

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 -- Russia blocked the UN's expert on the rights of indigenous people from visiting the site slated for the Evenki dam in Krasnoyarsk Territory, it emerged at the UN on Monday.

  Inner City Press asked James Anaya, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedom of indigenous people, if he had in fact been allowed to visit the site. The Russian press had quoted Igor Kurtushin, deputy head of the territorial administration’s department for external relations that "it would not be easy to visit the Evenki sites due to peculiar weather patterns."

  Inner City Press asked if Anaya had visit the contested site, from which indigenous people would be evicted. No, he said, it wasn't in the agenda we were able to negotiate. Video here, from Minute 30:53.

  Was this, in fact, due to the weather, Inner City Press followed up. "The weather was good was I was there," Anaya answered, describing two flights in Krasnoyarsk and an outdoor meal of reindeer parts. Video here, from Minute 36:29.

  This can be contrasted to Panama, where the government allowed Anaya to visit the site of a proposed dam. When Inner City Press asked about Ecuador and conflicts there, Anaya said he is going in December, invited by the government.

  To some, Anaya seems too accommodating of governments. When Inner City Press asked about Canada's refusal to sign on to the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, Anaya said Canada is moving in the right direction, that he doesn't criticize countries if there is the "possibility" of movement.

  Likewise, when Inner City Press asked about the position of Botswana that nearly all people there are indigenous, Anaya responded that he hadn't seen a need to contest this position during his recent visit there. Given that the position almost derailed the Declaration, it seems strange to some to be so accommodative of it now.

Reindeer, UN's Anaya and Russia permit to visit not shown

  But it is to and within the UN system that Anaya is most accommodative. Inner City Press asked about the UN's REDD program, which was protested earlier this month. Anaya said that the UN agencies want to address indigenous issues. When Inner City Press asked about indigenous people in Myanmar, Anaya responded that since there is another rapporteur on Myanmar, he does not engage in Myanmar. Video here, from Minute 49:22.

  First, this deference is not required: for example, the UN's expert on children and armed conflict engages with Myanmar, rather than deferring. Particularly given the issues that have arisen about the UN's special rapporteur on Myanmar, for Anaya to say he'll do nothing in or about the country ill-served indigenous people. Watch this site.

* * *

As France is Asked about Evictions in Calais and Chad, UN Cuts Off Questions, Jumps for Kouchner

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 -- In his first media availability at the UN, new French Ambassador Gerard Araud marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty with a press conference on October 19.

  Inner City Press asked Ambassador Araud about his country's eviction of immigrants from a camp near Calais last month, about the drowning of residents of the Comoros trying to get to the French island of Mayotte, and about mass evictions in the capital of Chad, where the Idriss Deby government receives substantial French support. Video here, from Minute 25:32.

  Ambassador Araud said immigration is an issues throughout the developed world, quickly equating the drowning of those seeking to get to Mayotte with deaths of African in the Mediterranean.

  He said that the "dismantling" of the camp was because immigration should be restricted to that which is legal, so that Europeans don't "become violent." He said it was fair to be critical, he has seen such criticism of U.S. policies as well, but these countries are democracies.

  Araud said that "answering about Chad is the easiest," and then proceeded to say that his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, the moment he got the post, took in the lead is setting up peacekeeping mission in Eastern Chad, first through the European Union and then the UN.

  A follow-up question was cut off by the UN's moderator, Rachel Mayanja. She said, "before we proceed... I am surprised none of you want to take advantage" of the boy on the panel, from Dominica, to "expose his journey." Video here, from Minute 31:55. But she had begun by saying that the youth would be accompanied by a chaperrone from ChildFund Caribbean, who was not on the podium.

  After a more compliant correspondent dutifully asked the boy about photography -- ChildFund saved him from being a criminal, he equally dutifully said -- Inner City Press asked Ambassador Araud about the evictions done by French ally Idriss Deby, did he have any answer? He shook his head no. And the press conference was over. Video here, from Minute 34:49.

  Afterwards, one of the French journalists opined that Ms. Mayanja may have been trying to protect or please France, a Permanent Five member of the Security Council, by shifting from questions about France's record to what she wanted journalists to ask and write about. This has become more prevalent at the UN.

France's Gerard Araud at the UN on Monday, Chad eviction answers not shown

We note that Ms. Mayanja's cutting off of questions cannot necessarily be ascribed to Araud. The UN may offer protection where none is even requested. If Ms. Mayanja wanted to play up the boy's story, why have him appear at the French Ambassador's first press conference?

Another reporter told Inner City Press that Bernard Kouchner called Ban Ki-moon recently and told him the UN should launch an investigation of the recent killing of some 150 protesters in Guinea Conakry. Ban did just that; when Inner City Press asked, his spokesman said that it was at the request of ECOWAS. But why didn't the UN launch any inquiry into the tens of thousands of civilians killed in Sri Lanka earlier this year?

Just as the UN on Monday sought to limit questions to the right kind of poverty, it will only investigate the killings of the right victims: it all depends on who the perpetrator is, and who provides protection.

Footnote: also on the Chad evictions, Inner City Press asked this question last week to Habitat's New York representative, and for an update on what if anything Habitat did to follow up on supposed commitments by Angola not to continue evictions. Video here. A response was promised, but has not been received. What was that again, about eradicating poverty?

* * *

At UN, Iran's Mottaki Says Protesters Are Dealt With, Nuclear Sites All Reported

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED 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." Video here, from Minute 31:55.

  During a Q&A session at the UN in New York, nearly all of which dealt with nuclear issues, Inner City Press asked Mottaki about a story of post-election torture, rape and exile, which Inner City Press heard from Ebrahim Sharifi by cell phone on September 21. Sharifi states that he joined the non violent street protests then was picked up, blindfolded and held for a week.

  Inner City Press 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. Video here, from Minute 25:43, Mottaki's reponse here from Minute 27:08.

  Mottaki's more then 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

  Mottaki said that 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.

  On Iran's nuclear 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.

Footnote: Mottaki, 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 sampled, Iran's kebab diplomacy, click here for that. Seven thousand years of culture...

 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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