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On Mike Brown Impunity in Ferguson, UN Silent, Withholds Report on US Torture

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 24 -- After St. Louis Country prosecutor Bob McCulloch blandly read out a justification of the non-indictment of Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric if the UN or Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have any comment (not this evening) and about limitations on the distribution of the UN's report on US torture and police brutality.

  Mike Brown's parents went to Geneva to testify at the UN review of the US' record on torture and police brutality. The results of the review are due on November 28, but will only be given in advance to media accredited at the UN in Geneva, UNOG. As noted, the Free UN Coalition opposes that limitation on non-corporate media, and requested comment on the non-indictment from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

  Inner City Press asked:

"This is a request for comment on the non-indictment for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Separately but relatedly, this is request on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access that the planned restriction of the embargoed release of the UN's review of the US' record on torture and police brutality to media at UN Geneva. Media accredited here at the UN Headquarters should have the same rights, unless the UN is choosing to favor corporate / multinational media. The request for comment should be responded to asap; the request for equal treatment on embargoed copy should be addressed before November 27, given the November 28 public release."

  Dujarric to his credit replied quickly; he declined comment for the evening, and argued:

"Dear Matthew,  On your first question, I will not have a comment this evening.  On your second, this is the purview of my colleagues in Geneva. To your point about corporate media, I think you misjudge the press corps in Geneva which is as diverse as the press corps in NY. In fact, there are probably more freelancers in Geneva than in New York."

  Inner City Press, for FUNCA, has clarified:

"The point is, there is as much or more interest by US-based media in the report on US torture and police brutality as by media based in Geneva. But US-based media that have reporters based in UNOG are larger, more corporate media. So that particular embargoed report should be released to all UN system accredited media, not only those with reporters based at UNOG. (FUNCA says that should go the other way, too -- embargoed UN reports should be be restricted to NY / UNHQ based media either.) Will appreciate a decision on this asap, given the November 28 release and, for example, tonight's Mike Brown killing non-indictment, on which comment is still sought."

  Watch this site. FUNCA has spoken up to Turkish media, for example, on an attack on Turkish media in Ferguson. Back on August 13,  Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the killing and crackdown. Video here.

  Dujarric began by saying that Ban and the UN have "no particular comment," then added that "as in all cases, the right to demonstrate peacefully needs to be respected, and investigations need to be conducted." Okay, then.

  There have been reports mentioned the financial institutions in the area, including nationwide lenders Bank of America, US Bank and Fifth Third.

  Inner City Press and Fair Finance Watch reviewed the demographics of mortgage lending by these three in the area in the most recent year for which data is publicly available, 2012.

   In the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area in 2012, Bank of America denied the conventional home purchase mortgage applications of African Americans 1.81 times more frequently then those of whites.
  Fair Finance Watch has previously objected to US Bank's stealth branch closings, including in Chicago, here and here. The US Community Reinvestment Act requires banks to lend fairly in all of their communities, but is not sufficiently enforced, FFW has shown.

For US Bank, the disparities was 1.6 to 1; for Fifth Third Mortgage, that company's lender, it was a whopping 4.95 to 1: African American applicants were denied 4.95 times more frequently than whites, worse that the aggregate (all lenders).

  Troublingly, for all lenders Latinos were denied 3.1 times more frequently than than whites. So where is the US headed? And why has the UN had nothing to say so far? Watch this site.


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