Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Video (new)

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

On Libya, As Russia & India Say Can't Arm Rebels, Ban Punts, Obama & Shalgam

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 -- While the chairman of the UN's Libya Sanctions committee says that arming the rebels would be impermissible, and the Permanent Representatives of Russia and India told Inner City Press just that on the morning of March 29, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon apparently, or conveniently, takes no position.

Inner City Press at the noon briefing asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky for if it is Ban's understanding that the arms embargo of Resolution 1970 still prohibits arming the rebels, despite the protection of civilians “notwithstanding” clause of Resolution 1973.

I think that's for the Security Council to determine,” said Nesirky, who had just said that “the ceasefire means what is says,” a ceasefire on both side.

Why would Ban opine on one portion of the resolutions and not another? Inner City Press pointed out to Nesirky that Ban's predecessor was willing, at least once, to opine on the legality of a Permanent Council member's action.

The US, notably, is now arguing that the resolutions give the “flexibility” to arm the rebels, and France is saying it is ready to talk about it, seemingly not through the UN Security Council.

It's a battle among the Permanent Five members of the Security Council, for now with US and Russia with directly opposite positions.

On March 29 Inner City Press asked Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin of the resolutions permit arming the rebels. “No,” Churkin, noting that the US had asked for the arms embargo.

Susan Rice, Obama and Clinton, negotiation of Paragraph 4 and new position not shown

Minutes later, Inner City Press quoted Churkin's response to US Permanent Representative Susan Rice, who had earlier on “Good Morning America said that

the United States would maintain financial and diplomatic pressure on the Libyan government until Gaddafi leaves and hinted that new steps could be in the offing, including the arming of Libyan rebels. 'We have not made that decision, but we’ve not certainly ruled that out,' she said on ABC’s 'Good Morning America' program.”

    Ambassador Rice said thanks for the information about what Churkin had said. Inner City Press has asked the US Mission to the UN to explain their argument, and “If the US were to move to fund the rebels, would it inform (and, separately, seek guidance or approval from) the UNSC Sanctions committee first?” So far answers have not been provided.

  But, in fairness, the US Mission to the UN did answer an Inner City Press question about if anti-Gaddafi dipomats Ibrahim Dabbashi and Shalgam are invited and present at President Obama's dedication of the Mission's new building. “Shalgam is here,” the Mission has informed Inner City Press.

Later, Obama is headed uptown for a $30,000 a plate Democratic National Commitee fundraiser at Red Rooster. Inner City Press is told there will be protests. Watch this site.

* * *

At UN on Libya, Clash on Arming Rebels, Dutch In, Malta Stopped Greek Ship

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 -- Libya sanctions and arms embargo were the topics on Tuesday morning outside the Security Council, even as the meeting inside concerned Lebanon. The Netherlands has formally written in under Resolution 1973 to join the coalition, a well placed Council source exclusively told Inner City Press.

  An explanation of Malta's query to the Libya Sanctions Committee was finally gleaned, as another Inner City Press exclusive: Malta stopped a Greek ship from delivering petroleum products to a subsidiary of the Libyan national oil company.

  The subsidiary is not on the UN sanctions list. But it is on the European Union list. Malta 1, Greek ship 0.

Other battles are not so clear. Inner City Press asked India's Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri for India's position on if arming the Libyan rebels is permitted. No, he said, adding, and you can quote me. 

  Inner City Press asked Russian Permanent Representitive Vitaly Churkin, is arming the rebels permissible under Resolution 1973? No, he said, shaking his head. He noted that it had been the Americans themselves who asked for the arms embargo.

  While no answer was gleaned from US Permanent Representative Susan Rice despite a question proffered at 10:16 am as she entered the Council and 11:10 am when she left, it is understood that the US dispute an account of the negotiation of Paragraph 4 of Resolution 1973 in which Ambassador Rice said that the “notwithstanding” phrase was needed in case the US had to go in with weapons to save a downed pilot.

  The US, it is understood, says that referred to only precluding an occupation and not an intervention. But with Libyan Sanctions Committee chair Cabral now twice issuing an interpretation that arming the rebels is not permissible, Russia and India on the record and others with the same view, including China Inner City Press can report, could the US “just do it,” in the Nike phrase?

  Another member of the “Coalition” tells Inner City Press that while the “notwithstanding” phrase is somehow clear, his country believes that enforcing the no fly zone is the way to go.

  If somehow the no fly zone weren't being enforced, perhaps giving air defense equipment to the rebels could construed as protecting civilians. But to give offensive weapons? Even the non-US coalition member said no.

  But again: might the US “just do it,” in the Nike phrase?

Footnote: for President Obama's visit today to the UN, or the US Mission across First Avenue from the UN, press access has been limited to a “pool” from the White House press corps, as well as Mission selected journalists from the UN press corps.

  There's some grumbling, the substance of which is that a White House based reporter might miss some UN relevant details, including regarding which diplomats are invited. We'll have more on this.

* * *

UN Envoy Al Khatib Is On Board of Jordan Ahli Bank, Links With Libya Central Bank

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 -- In selecting Abdul Ilah al Khatib as the UN's envoy on Libya, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon moved quickly -- maybe too quickly.

 Since serving as the foreign minister of Jordan, describe even some close to Ban as an autocracy, al Khatib has served on the boards of director not only of Lafarge Jordan Cement Company but also of Jordan Ahli Bank.

Jordan Ahli Bank is active beyond that country's borders. A sample connection: along with Libyan Foreign Bank, a fully owned subsidiary of the Central Bank of Libya, Jordan Ahli Bank is a top 20 shareholder of Union de Banques Arabes et Francaises.

   Could there be conflicts of interest? Did the UN's Ban administration even consider these?

   Ban previously claimed that 99% of his officials have made public financial disclosure. But when Inner City Press showed this is not true -- even Ban's close ally Choi Young-jin, his envoy in Cote d'Ivoire, declined to make public financial disclosure -- Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban's statement had been “metaphorical.”

Now Ban names and injects al Khatib into a struggle about democracy and free press, when as Inner City Press noted yesterday

"Foreign Minister Abd al-Ilah al-Khatib in January initiated a criminal defamation suit against weekly newspaper al-Hilal's editor-in-chief Nasir Qamash and journalist Ahmad Salama. He [al-Khatib] objected to the content of a January article, and said his tribe had threatened to beat up Salama if he failed to take action. The case remains in the courts at this writing."

  By what process was al-Khatib vetted and selected? Watch this site.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -