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At UN on Wikileaks, Downer & Ging Dodge, Candor at UK Party, Kerim in the Wings

By Matthew Russell Lee, News Muse

UNITED NATIONS, November 30 -- While Wikileaks was not discussed in the UN Security Council on the last day of the UK presidency, the leaks were a major topic elsewhere in the UN during the day, and at the UK's End of Presidency reception Tuesday evening.

  During the day, Inner City Press asked the Gaza chief of the UNRWA mission John Ging what he thought of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's directive to US diplomats to determine if UNRWA is connected to Hamas or Hezbollah.

  Ging immediately replied that UNRWA welcomes scrutiny, that such connections to do not exist. Inner City Press clarified that it was seeking Ging's view of U.S. intelligence gathering, given his critique of disclosures that his staff has been allowed four sub-machine guns for his personal protection.

  If nothing else a loyal UN system staffer, Ging said that the (deputy) Spokesman had commented on Wikileaks the day before, and that he would not add to it.

  Likewise, when Inner City Press asked UN Cyprus envoy Alexander Downer to comment not only on the leaks from his own (“good”) office but on the Wikileaks released cable saying that he is “frustrated” by the stalling of Cyprus negotiations, Downer portrayed the cables as second hand.

   It brought to mind South Korea diplomat's spin to the US that China is ok with a united Korean peninsula under Seoul's leadership. Dream on.

  Things got more honest over drinks at the UK's end of presidency reception over Park Avenue Tuesday night. Reference was made to Iran's piecing together and publication of memos in the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979, and to memoirs by former UK ambassadors in Washington and Uzbekistan. We still need to write, we can't stop, a European diplomat said.

  A diplomat from a non Permanent Security Council member told Inner City Press that that US Mission personnel had "definitely" spied on this country's political coordinator.

  The outing of Yemen's president came up, in the context of Yemen having refused to have the meeting of the Group of Friends on Yemen inside the UN in September.

  Most intriguingly, Inner City Press was told by an informed source that former President of the General Assembly Srgjan Kerim now schemes to replace Asha Rose Migro as UN Deputy Secretary General, claiming that Ban Ki-moon has promised him the job. Watch this site.

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At UN, Diplomats Marvel at Wikileaks, Yemen Betrayal & Gaddafi Companion

By Matthew Russell Lee, News Muse

UNITED NATIONS, November 29 -- Wikileaks was the topic at the UN Monday evening, whether at an event about Gaza or an African alliance against malaria.

  US Ambassador Susan Rice earlier in the day had tried to sidestep the memo, signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, directing US Ambassadors to collect computer passwords and even frequent flyer miles account numbers of other Security Council members and UN bureaucrats and force commanders.

  But in the Delegates' Dining Room some eight hours later, several African Ambassadors asked Inner City Press how the US could have allowed this to happen.

  “Did you see what they did to Yemen's President?” one of them asked, referring to the cable by then US ambassador Stephen Seche which quotes President Ali Abdullah Saleh telling US General David Petraeus, "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.”

The whiskey thing is not going to help him,” said another, at an end with an open bar with Jack Daniels and Finlandia vodka. After several drinks talk turns to Libya's Gaddafi and his Ukrainian companion, whom the US turned back from the General Debate in New York in September. That the leaked US cable has her talking to Ukrainian diplomats might end the relationship right there, one predicted.

  Over in the General Assembly lobby at the Gaza event there was no liquor, only lamb chops and raw tuna on crackers. Inner City Press tried to follow a diplomat from Belgium, the country which both hosts US nuclear weapons and was offered “low cost” prestige if it took those released from Guantanamo Bay.

  But he disappeared into the crowd, to which Permanent Observer Riyad Mansour gave a speech as UNRWA's John Ging beamed. The cables predict that Abbas will not long hold his post.

Gaddafi & UN Ban: one travels in style, the other out of town when news breaks

  Most of the countries whose Permanent Representatives Inner City Press managed to speak with were most surprised that anyone other than at the highest levels of the Obama administration would have had access to this breadth of information.

  Some speculated, as is common at the UN, that Israel is behind it, since the cable point the finger at Iran. One even noted that the timing lifts some pressure on North Korea. That UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is again out of town when news hits was not viewed as surprising. Nor was the implication that the US expects another candidate to emerge in 2012. Watch this site.

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 24 STATE 080163

NOFORN, SIPDIS, E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2034




¶1. (S/NF) This cable provides the full text of the new National HUMINT Collection Directive (NHCD) on the United Nations (paragraph 3-end) as well as a request for continued DOS reporting of biographic information relating to the United Nations (paragraph 2).

...Reporting officers should include as much of the following information as possible when they have information relating to... credit card account numbers; frequent flyer account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information.

...Information about current and future use of communications systems and technologies by officials or organizations, including cellular phone networks, mobile satellite phones, very small aperture terminals (VSAT), trunked and mobile radios, pagers, prepaid calling cards, firewalls, encryption, international connectivity, use of electronic data interchange, Voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP), Worldwide interoperability for microwave access (Wi-Max), and cable and fiber networks.


 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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