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

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

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

At UN, Bolivia's Morales Hits Obama "Blackmail" and Lack of Change, "Sign Kyoto"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 8 -- "Maybe the color of the skin of the U.S. President has changed," Bolivian President Evo Morales told the Press on Friday, "but nothing else has changed." Video here, from Minute 47:45.

  Inner City Press asked Morales about reports in the Latin American press that the U.S. had "blackmailed" Bolivia and Ecuador by cutting off aid for not signing the Copenhagen Accord on climate change. Video here, from Minute 26:24.

  Morales confirmed that "Ecuador lost $2 million, and Bolivia lost $3 million," but said these were more than made up for by money from Venezuela and Brazil. "They took away the Millennium Account," he said. "We don't have any trade preferences any more. But we're better off than before."

  Last month Morales convened an alternative Copenhagen meeting in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Morales contrasts the non-binding Copenhagen Accord with the previous binding Kyoto protocol. On Friday he said the U.S. is "making a mistake" by cutting aid, that they could cooperate if the U.S. just "signed the Kyoto Protocol."

Evo Morales at UN, change he can believe in not shown

  To Cochabamba, the UN sent its Under Secretary General for Latin America, Alicia Barcena, to attend. She was reportedly booed as she read a statement from Ban Ki-moon, then offered "if you don't want us here, then we will withdraw ... we also represent peoples."

  Inner City Press asked Morales if, as requested in connection with the Cochabamba "cumbre," he had raised the issue of the U.S. blackmail to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and if so what Ban had said. Morales did not answer this part of the question.

  Since Ban is focused on obtaining a second term, which could be blocked by the U.S., France, UK, Russia or China, it is unlikely he would issue any criticism of the U.S., even about cutting off aid to countries like Bolivia and Ecuador. Millennium Development Goals, indeed.

  One issue that was raised in the Morales group's meeting with Ban was the upcoming naming of a new head of the UNFCCC, to lead the UN climate change talks into Cancun. Last week Inner City Press reported, based on tips from well placed Ambassadors, that the UN's short list of four consists of the candidates from Costa Rica, India, South Africa and Hungary. The last is an inside candidate who already works for Ban Ki-moon, Janos Pasztor, who has recused himself from much of his work while seeking the UNFCCC post. We'll see.

Footnote: given Evo Morales' direct attack on Barack Obama, in a televised and well attended UN press conference, one might have expected the US Mission to the UN to have issued some response. (Recent questions posed to the US Mission, about Ambassador Susan Rice not going on this week's Security Council trip to the Congo for example, have done unanswered.) But so far, there's been no statement from the US. We'll see.

* * *

At UN, Ahmadinejad Defends Iran's Treatment of Women, Mocks Obama & Ban Ki-moon

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 4 -- When Iran dropped its candidacy for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council last month, some described it as restoring at least some credibility to the UN, as when Bosnia stepped in and beat out Belarus for a seat two years ago.

But when Inner City Press asked President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about Iran's successful replacement candidacy, for a seat on the UN Commission on the Status of Women, despite gender discrimination and repression, Ahmadinejad had a different and lengthy answer.

  He said the switch was procedural, that Iran had always wanted the CSW seat more than the Human Rights Council, which within the Asia Group Pakistan was supposed to run for. Due to a misunderstanding, Ahmadinejad said, Iran temporarily made a grab for the HRC, before returning to the seat promised to it, on the Commission on the Status of Women.

  But how does Iran intend to use the seat, Inner City Press asked, since it has refused to sign the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women? We will never sign that, Ahmadinejad vowed. He went to on paint of picture of "love and complementariness" in Iran.

Women won't do menial jobs in Iran, he said, nothing "like you and me, cleaning the street or driving a truck." He said he had read that 70% of married women in Europe suffer physical abuse, but refuse to complain for fear of losing their families. Women are better off, he concluded, in Iran than in Europe.

UN's Ban and Ahmadinejad, human rights not shown

Ahmadinejad's answers came during a more than one hour long press conference held Tuesday across the street from the UN. The room in the Millennium Hotel was full, with journalists from the Daily News, Washington Post and wires, and even Christiane Amanpour (who was not called on).

The moderator had taken a list of reporters who wanted to ask question, which Inner City Press arrive too late to sign. But having covered Iran's Nowruz receptions -- "be more positive next time," the Iranian mission admonished, leading Inner City Press to ask "or what?" -- the moderator nodded and allowed the question.

In fact, many journalists remarked that Ahmadinejad's press conference was more open and democratic than those of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, or the pre-screened stakeout by Hillary Clinton the previous day. There, the US State Department decided in advance which questions to take. At Iran's event, alongside some very pro Tehran question, questions were taken about for example the reports of North Korean weapons intercepted on their way to Iran.

We don't need weapons from them, Ahmadinejad answered. If America finds and seizes such weapons they can keep them. Regarding Ban Ki-moon, Ahmadinejad said that if the UN were in Tehran and Iran had a Security Council veto, Ban would never have spoken as he did on Monday. Asked repeatedly about sanctions, he said that if they go through, it will mean that US President Obama has "submitted" and been taken control of by a gang. This order, he said, will soon collapse.

But what of those arrested and disappeared after the contested elections? Ahmadinejad did not answer that question, fastening instead on the women's rights part of the question. Whether the Iranian mission will in the future allow such questions to be asked, and even answered, remains to be seen.

 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] -