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

March 1, 2011: Libya

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

Leaked French Memos Discuss Destablizing Gbagbo, Coup Plots & Leaders

By Matthew Russell Lee, 2d in Exclusive series

UNITED NATIONS, April 13 -- French government documents obtained by Inner City Press reflect, as far back as 2005, France and the UN wanted to “put in place a plan of action to destablize Laurent Gbagbo.” See document here, under the rubric “From New York: Departure of Gbagbo.”

  The French were monitoring, to say the least, plans for a coup d'etat against Gbagbo, that would result in Gbagbo's “displacement” outside of Cote d'Ivoire. See document here.

  France's internal reporting on military forces and leaders in Cote d'Ivoire is here.

  Also obtained by Inner City Press is the French analysis of the “failure” of African leaders Tandja, Mbeki of South Africa and Obasanjo of Nigeria -- later given UN mandates and pay elsewhere. Click here and here for French analyses of the three heres, and here again for a French memo on the intentions of Guillaume Soro, referring to another childhood friend of Gbagbo and his “ethnie Bete” -- Bete ethnicity.

After Inner City Press' publication on April 8 of the first installment in this series, which endeavors to use primary documents as background to recent action in Cote d'Ivoire -- as well as to question why a French diplomat, Romain Serman, arrested in New York for attempt purchase of cocaine and resisting arrest, has resurfaced as France's general consul in San Francisco -- Yousoufou Bamba, who has represented the forces of Alassane Ouattara at the UN for months, called Inner City Press.

Bamba, who has always been amiable and on the record, complained he thought Inner City Press is “being used,” adding that in Ivory Coast, these French documents are seen as helping Gbagbo. But question then the contents of the documents.

And on l'affaire Serman, France has not come forward with any explanation of re-sending Serman or of the other documents -- such explantions or comment would of course be published here -- and the US Mission to the UN has yet to answer questions it confirms it received from Inner City Press over the weekend, to know

as quickly as possible, whether the US was informed / aware of French diplomat Romain Serman's arrest in New York in 2006 for attempted purchase of cocaine and resisting arrest before Serman re-appeared in the US as France's current general consul in San Francisco.

See, e.g.,

Separately, please comment on the applicability of US law and precedent to this case, l'affaire Serman.

This is something the US State Department should be able to answer. Watch this site.

* * *

After Fleeing NY Cocaine Charge, French Diplomat Serman Resurfaces in San Francisco as Sarkozy Consul : Press Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, April 10 -- When French diplomat Romain Serman was arrested in Manhattan in 2006 for “attempting to purchase cocaine” and resisting arrest, he never faced trial or punishment.

  As reflected in the New York Police Department arrest document Inner City Press has exclusively published, here, Serman immediately -- or after resisting arrest -- insisted to police that he was a diplomat with the French Mission to the United Nations.

  Yet, after fleeing the US to escape this charge in 2006, Serman has re-appeared in the US representing France as its general consul in San Francisco. Several sources interviewed by Inner City Press say this is legally problematic, and may reflect a failure to disclose by France, negligence by the United States -- or both.

  When Serman signed the arrest document, he added “Dip. Fr” after his name. And, sure enough, under then French Permanent Representative to the UN Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, Serman left the United States before any trial on the charge of purchasing cocaine.

  Back in Paris, Serman was not punished, but rather continued to work for President Nicolas Sarkozy, on Africa and other issues.

  In July 2010, Serman was sent back to the United States, to become France's General Consul in San Francisco.

Serman gives French award to WWII veteran in Sacramento

  Most recently Serman hosted Sarkozy minister Frederic Mitterrand during a visit to San Francisco where he met, among others, executive of Google, Amazon and Apple, and linked his visit to what he called the Facebook revolution in Egypt.

  Click here for Serman's statements on his Twitter account, here for a video of Serman speaking in Salt Lake City about the education of children.

   Six hours after Inner City Press published Serman's arrest document as part of an investigative story on France's policy and actions regarding its now war torn former colony the Ivory Coast / Cote d'Ivoire, Inner City Press was admonished that the publication, particularly of the arrest record, was gratuitous.

  But several diplomatic sources, including in the US Mission to the UN, whom Inner City Press interviewed prior to publication said that Serman to re-appear in the United States as a French diplomat after he fled the country to escape charges of purchasing cocaine and resisting arrest is problematic.

  It is illegal, one diplomat said, citing a provision of 8 U.S. Code Section 1101 regarding “a failure to appear before a court pursuant to a court order to answer to or dispose of a charge.”

  In this case, the well placed source said, while Serman may have tacitly been allowed to flee the United States as a diplomat, he was “not supposed to come back in, as a diplomat.”

  The source said that when he has been sent to other countries, it has always been vetted by the country to which he was sent, seeking “agreement,” a French diplomatic word meaning consent.

  He noted that this comes at a time when the US is using visa law to block diplomatic status for some at the UN in New York.

  This diplomat wondered whether this is a case in which France falsely did not disclose the previous charge against Serman when he was sent to San Francisco last year, or whether US authorities were “negligent” -- or both.

  Inquiries are being made. 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] -