Inner City Press


In Other Media e.g. Somalia, Ghana, Azerbaijan       For further information, click here to contact us         .

Home -For the Media

Search is just below this first article

Bank Beat/ RSS Feed
Freedom of Information
Human Rights
Current Campaigns
How to Contact Us


Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"

Inner City Press Podcast --

At the UN, Cyprus Confirms 'Paramilitary' Investigation, Denies Connection to Def Min Resignation, CBTB Update

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, September 20 -- Tassos Papadopoulos, the president of Cyprus, also described as Greek Cyprus, at the UN on Wednesday characterized in depth a brewing scandal in his country. When Defense Minister Fivos Klokaris tendered his resignation on September 6, local media drew a connection with an alternately described paramilitary group or officers clique within the National Guard. President Papadopoulos fired back, saying that a "so-called shadow group [inside the military] is non-existent," and that he had "nothing but scorn for these four or five political analysts who take it upon themselves to invent conspiracies when there are none."

   At a UN press conference Wednesday, Inner City Press asked President Papadopoulos to address the situation. Video here, from Minute 15:20 to 21:45. The President's five-minute response began that Mr. Klokaris is a longtime friend, who in July informed him of a suddenly-arising medical condition. The President said he asked Klokaris to seek a second medical opinion and to stay on until the defense budget was passed, which took place on September 5. The following day, Mr. Klokaris submitted his resignation, leading to immediate press stories that "the minister resigned because President Papadopoulos rejected Klokkaris’ pleas to dismantle a paramilitary unit within the army... The government first admitted the presence of a paramilitary unit 'with ties to a political party' in July, but did not specify which party. This could further strain the relations between the fragile three-party coalition forces that support Tassos Papadopoulos’ administration."

  In response to Inner City Press' questioning, President Papadopoulos confirmed that the investigation of "what you describe as paramilitary movements within the army" is ongoing, by an attorney general he described as "absolutely independent." President Papadopoulos advised Inner City Press to ask Cyprus media for more. These inquiries resulted in the following factoids: that the scandal inside the National Guard is real, but may or may not have anything to do with the resignation of Mr. Klokkaris, who reportedly has cancer. And now you know.

Cyprus President

  In a separate press conference earlier on Wednesday, Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer, speaking in favor of the Comprehensive (Nuclear) Test Ban Treaty, which is still not in force since the U.S. and some other have not ratified it, said the Howard administration nonetheless is in support of the U.S. - India nuclear deal, which does not cover all of India's nuclear facilities. Video here, from Minute 9:28.  His co-briefer said Bernard Bot, Foreign Minister of The Netherlands, was less in support of the India-U.S. deal. Neither had any answer on strategies to get the CBTB ratified and in force. And so it goes.

A Tale of Three Leaders, Liberia Comes to Praise and Iran and Sudan to Bury the UN

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the UN

  UNITED NATIONS, September 19 -- Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on Tuesday sung the praises of UN. To the General Assembly, she thanked the "men and women of the United Nations Military Mission in Liberia [who] have largely comported themselves well." The reference was to sexual exploitation and abuse. There are questions about UNMIL's role, or lack of it, in Liberia's security breakdown, which has led the government to call for vigilantes.

  At a press conference Tuesday, Inner City Press asked President Johnson-Sirleaf about this, and about UNDP reportedly not paying wages due to Liberians. Video here. She said that the vigilante comment -- which was made by her Justice Minister -- has since been clarified, that the call was for community groups to keep their eyes open and call police. Oh.

Prez Johnson-Sirleaf

  Meanwhile, at least two other high profile speakers at the UN on Tuesday took a different approach. Iran's President delivered a detailed critique of the current Security Council, saying that because of the veto rights of five countries, the Council protects only the powerful, while "children are killed in alleyways and streets." Notably, Iran's president and U.S. Senator Norm Coleman have called the Security Council outmoded, a relic in need of expansion.

   Sudan's president Al-Bashir Tuesday told reporters, "Everyone knows who is the real power behind the transition to a UN force... It's an attempt to dismember Sudan" and divide it into five pieces. Then, when asked about all those demonstrating under a banner of "Save Darfur," President al-Bashir said that "Zionist organizations organized the rallies." To that, one CNN reporter followed-up, talking over Bloomberg and other media, until President Al-Bashir opined that maybe CNN is part of the conspiracy as well.

  Meanwhile, General Assembly spokeswoman Sainte informed Inner City Press that the Thai prime minister had cancelled, with only an hour to spare, his appointment to speak to the GA -- while the coup goes on. And, Somalia was bounced from Wednesday into next week due to the substitution away from the head of state, despite the explosive attempt on his life. Tough crowd...

Feedback: editorial [at]

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

Reporter's mobile: 718-716-3540

Search WWW Search

Behind the UN Speeches, A Thai Coup, Somali Assassins and Hit-and-Run Chirac Ignoring Ivory Coast

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, September 19 -- As speeches began in the UN General Assembly, at least two of the planned speaker had more pressing business in mind. Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, already in New York for the General Debate, called a television station in Bangkok to declare a state of emergency. Tanks has surrounded government buildings and a coup d'etat is reportedly underway.

            The president of Somalia, scheduled to speak Wednesday at 4:30, was nearly assassinated on Sunday and his brother and ten others were killed by a suicide bomber in Baidoa. The Islamic Courts Union blame the blast on Ethiopia; others more darkly point the finger at Al Qaeda.

            Meanwhile journalists waited more than an hour for a briefing by French President Jacques Chirac. During the hour long wait, a series of "Reserved" signs appeared on the first two rows of seats. There was grumbling that the questioners had already been selected, including the Associated Press. The UN Correspondents' Association, traditionally given the first question, was told that might or might not take place. "President Chirac will decide," his staffer said.

            When finally Monsieur le President arrived, he made three points, the last of which was ecology. On this he spoke of Kyoto, and vaguely of the abuse of the environment. Inner City Press prepared, as it had at Kofi Annan's spokesman's noon briefing, to ask about Ivory Coast. As highlighted by the Spokesman's Office:

"COTE D'IVOIRE MINI-SUMMIT TO PROCEED: Asked whether it was confirmed that President Laurent Gbagbo of Cote d'Ivoire would not show up for the mini-summit on Cote d'Ivoire that was scheduled later this week, the Spokesman said that the United Nations would wait and see whether he comes, although the indication was that he would not. The Spokesman added that the mini-summit would go ahead, and would deal with actions to be taken in the region. It would also address the question of governance before the 31 October deadline."

            Two French citizens, Claude Dauphin and Jean-Pierre Valentini, have now been arrested for their part in the dumping of toxic waste in Abidjan by Trafigura Beheer BV. Inquiring minds want to know what's the Chirac Administration's position on the deaths in Abidjan, and on Laurent Gbagbo's plan to not attend the long-planned September 20 meeting on Cote D'Ivoire, and his invitation for the UN to leave the Ivory Coast? Or how about the Gbagbo administration's prosecution of journalists for suggesting that his wife Simone was connected to the toxic waste? A long-time Cote D'Ivoire correspondent says she heard, years ago, Simone say she would never give up power once she got it.

Kofi, Gbagbo & Banny

  There are also questions, including in the very mainstream press, about Chirac's continued support for the "corrupt" Deby government in Chad, and for having dropped a bomb on Chadian rebels, in support of Deby.

            But neither question was allowed. There was Iran, twice; there was the tribunal on the murder of Lebanese president Hariri, and a question from Arabic television which Chirac unceremoniously refused to answer.  And then he raised both hands and left. "Merci for nothing," a correspondent said. Or, was it aide de camp or aid de con?

  A more productive briefing was given at noon by Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte, who summarized the just-completed meeting on the least developed countries. Inner City Press had specifically asked about the five LDCs which are rich on oil: Angola, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Yemen and The Sudan.  Monday's video here. The answer, a day later, was that the discussion included a recognition that not only are these conflict or post-conflict societies, but also that "absence of good government" and "corruption" are problems as well. The president of Equatorial Guinea is slated to speechify Wednesday at 5:30. While he might address these issues, he probably will not. To be continued.

Annan Pitches UN With No Mention of Reform; EU President Dodges Human Rights and Micro-States

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, September 19 -- Globalization is not a tide that lifts all boats, outgoing UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the General Assembly on Tuesday. In a twenty-minute speech which contained the names of four countries -- Israel, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan -- and one part of a country, Darfur, Mr. Annan argued that "the only answer to this divide world must be a truly United Nations." The phrasing was vintage Edward Mortimer, the ex-journalist who is Mr. Annan's chief speechwriter. In a Jeremiad burst, the speech called "shameful that last year's Summit Outcome does not contain even one word about non-proliferation and disarmament."

            One glaring omission widely noticed in the speech was any discussion of reform or transparency at the United Nations. In light of Mr. Annan's recent attempt to back-away from an earlier commitment by his spokesman that he would file financial disclosure, and for example of Mr. Mortimer's polemic, still on the UN website, that none of the Oil-for-Food allegations were ever proved. This UN website has a similar un-updated letter from Under Secretary General Shashi Tharoor, now running to replace Mr. Annan. If the UN is the solution, it needs to be better run. This includes how information is released.

Kofi & R of Congo

  While much is withheld, the UN Spokesman's office on Tuesday gave out copies of Annan's luncheon menu. Two words on the menu were set off in quotations marks -- Pommes de Terre "Rosti" and Banana "Sundae." The last of these had one correspondent reminiscing about Chris Munnion's now out-of-print memoir of report from Africa, Banana Sunday. As noted by Mr. Annan, many problems in Africa have remain unimproved over the last ten years. The problems go back further -- an Inner City Press correspondent in Africa writes to remind that William Lacy Swing, now pro-consul in Congo, was once the democracy advisor to Liberia's Samuel Doe. Plus ca change.

            In a separate morning press conference, Finnish President Tarja Halonen denied that her September 10 meeting with Filipina President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo concerned the accelerating killings of journalists and activists in the Philippines. Asked by Inner City Press for a summary of the meeting, which was reported to concern the "killing of 752 civilians since Arroyo came into power into 2001," President Halonen said it concerned European Union and Asian relations, and will lead to an EU presences at ASEM in December.  Video here.

            Inner City Press also asked President Halonen to comment on the September 17 referendum in Transnistria, in which 97% of those casting ballots voted for independence from Moldova. Finland as EU president has already said it refused to recognize the referendum. But Tuesday Finland's president said she has not been very involved in the issue, which she described as a "longstanding" if not "frozen" conflict. She spoke positively of the momentum of Kosovo away from Serbia, but would not distinguish  Transnistria. She did, however, say that she agrees the next UN Secretary-General should be from Asia, and that the current Security Council make-up is a Cold War relic. Candor on some topics, but not on human rights, or frozen Transnistria...

  In marginal news, with First Avenue in front of the UN filled with police, the president of Benin was reportedly caught in traffic and missed his address to conclude the meeting on least developed countries.

Other Inner City Press reports are archived on

As UN Checks Toxins in Abidjan, the Dumper Trafigura Figured in Oil for Food Scandal, Funded by RBS and BNP Paribas

Targeting of African Americans For High Cost Mortgages Grew Worse in 2005, While Fed Downplays Its Own Findings

The UN and Nagorno-Karabakh: Flurries of Activity Leave Frozen Conflicts Unchanged; Updates on Gaza, Gavels and Gbagbo

The UN Cries Poor on Lawless Somalia, While Its Ex-Security Chief Does Business Through Ruleless Revolving Door

At the UN, Micro-States Simmer Under the Assembly's Surface, While Incoming Council President Dodges Most Questions

"Horror Struck" is How UN Officials Getting Free Housing from Governments Would Leave U.S., Referral on Burma But Not Uzbekistan

Security Council President Condemns UN Officials Getting Free Housing from Governments, While UK "Doesn't Do It Any More"

At the UN, Incomplete Reforms Allow for Gifts of Free Housing to UN Officials by Member States

Rare UN Sunshine From If Not In Chad While Blind on Somalia and Zimbabwe, UNDP With Shell in its Ear on Nigeria

Annan Family Ties With Purchaser from Compass, Embroiled in UN Scandal, Raise Unanswered Ethical Questions

At the UN, from Casamance to Transdniestria, Kosovars to Lezgines, Micro-States as Powerful's Playthings

Inquiry Into Housing Subsidies Contrary to UN Charter Goes Ignored for 8 Weeks, As Head UN Peacekeeper Does Not Respond

Congo Shootout Triggers Kofi Annan Call, While Agent Orange Protest Yields Email from Old London

On the UN - Corporate Beat, Dow Chemical Luncheon Chickens Come Home to Roost

UN Bets the House on Lebanon, While Willfully Blind in Somalia and Pinned Down in Kinshasa

Stop Bank Branch Closings and Monopolies in the Katrina Zone, Group Says, Challenging Regions- AmSouth Merger

Ship-Breakers Missed by UN's Budget for Travel and Consultants in Bangladesh, Largest UNIFIL Troop Donor

Sudan Cites Hezbollah, While UN Dances Around Issues of Consent and Sex Abuse in the Congo, Passing the UNIFIL Hat

With Somalia on the Brink of Horn-Wide War, UN Avoids Question of Ethiopian Invasion

In UN's Lebanon Frenzy, Darfur Is Ignored As Are the Disabled, "If You Crave UNIFIL, Can't You Make Do With MONUC?"

UN Decries Uzbekistan's Use of Torture, While Helping It To Tax and Rule; Updates on UNIFIL and UNMIS Off-Message

At the UN, Lebanon Resolution Passes with Loophole, Amb. Gillerman Says It Has All Been Defensive

On Lebanon, Russian Gambit Focuses Franco-American Minds, Short Term Resolution Goes Blue Amid Flashes of Lightening

Africa Can Solve Its Own Problems, Ghanaian Minister Tells Inner City Press, On LRA Peace Talks and Kofi Annan's Views

At the UN, Jay-Z Floats Past Questions on Water Privatization and Sweatshops, Q'Orianka Kilcher in the Basement

In the UN Security Council, Speeches and Stasis as Haiti is Forgotten, for a Shebaa Farms Solution?

UN Silence on Congo Election and Uranium, Until It's To Iran or After a Ceasefire, and Council Rift on Kony

At the UN Some Middle Eastern Answers, Updates on Congo and Nepal While Silence on Somalia

On Lebanon, Franco-American Resolution Reviewed at UN in Weekend Security Council Meeting

UN Knew of Child Soldier Use by Two Warlords Whose Entry into Congo Army the UN Facilitated

At the UN, Disinterest in Zimbabwe, Secrecy on Chechnya, Congo Polyanna and Ineptitude on Somalia

Impunity's in the Air, at the UN in Kinshasa and NY, for Kony and Karim and MONUC for Kazana

UN Still Silent on Somalia, Despite Reported Invasion, In Lead-Up to More Congo Spin

UN's Guehenno Says Congo Warlord Just Needs Training, and Kazana Probe Continues

With Congo Elections Approaching, UN Issues Hasty Self-Exoneration as Annan Is Distracted

In DR Congo, UN Applauds Entry into Army of Child-Soldier Commander Along with Kidnapper

Spinning the Congo, UN Admits Hostage Deal with Warlord That Put Him in Congolese Army

At the UN, Dow Chemical's Invited In, While Teaming Up With Microsoft is Defended

Kofi Annan Questioned about Congolese Colonel Who Kidnapped Seven UN Soldiers

At the UN, Speeches While Gaza Stays Lightless and Insurance Not Yet Paid

At the UN Poorest Nations Discussed, Disgust at DRC Short Shrift, Future UN Justice?

At the UN Wordsmiths Are At Work on Zimbabwe, Kony,  Ivory Coast and Iran

UN Silent As Congolese Kidnapper of UN Peacekeepers Is Made An Army Colonel: News Analysis

At the UN, New Phrase Passes Resolution called Gangster-Like by North Korea; UK Deputy on the Law(less)

UN's Guehenno Speaks of "Political Overstretch" Undermining Peacekeeping in Lower Profile Zones

In Gaza Power Station, the Role of Enron and the U.S. Government's OPIC Revealed by UN Sources

At UN, North Korean Knot Attacked With Fifty Year Old Precedent, Game Continues Into Weekend

UN's Corporate Partnerships Will Be Reviewed, While New Teaming Up with Microsoft, and UNDP Continues

Gaza Resolution Vetoed by U.S., While North Korea Faces Veto and Chechnya Unread

BTC Briefing, Like Pipeline, Skirts Troublespots, Azeri Revelations

Conflicts of Interest in UNHCR Program with SocGen and Pictet Reveal Reform Rifts

At the UN, A Day of Resolutions on Gaza, North Korea and Iran, Georgia as Side Dish

UN Grapples with Somalia, While UNDP Funds Mugabe's Human Rights Unit, Without Explanation

In North Korean War of Words, Abuses in Uganda and Impunity Go Largely Ignored

On North Korea, Blue Words Move to a Saturday Showdown, UNDP Uzbek Stonewall

As the World Turns in Uganda and Korea, the UN Speaks only on Gaza, from Geneva

North Korea in the UN: Large Arms Supplant the Small, and Confusion on Uganda

UN Gives Mugabe Time with His Friendly Mediator, Refugees Abandoned

At the UN, Friday Night's Alright for Fighting; Annan Meets Mugabe

UN Acknowledges Abuse in Uganda, But What Did Donors Know and When? Kazakh Questions

In Uganda, UNDP to Make Belated Announcement of Program Halt, But Questions Remain (and see The New Vision, offsite).

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Leads UN Agency to Suspend Its Work and Spending

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Blamed on UNDP, Still Silent on Finance

Alleged Abuse in Disarmament in Uganda Known by UNDP, But Dollar Figures Still Not Given: What Did UN Know and When?

Strong Arm on Small Arms: Rift Within UN About Uganda's Involuntary Disarmament of Karamojong Villages

UN in Denial on Sudan, While Boldly Predicting the Future of Kosovo/a

UN's Selective Vision on Somalia and Wishful Thinking on Uighurs

UN Habitat Predicts The World Is a Ghetto, But Will Finance Be Addressed at Vancouver World Urban Forum?

At the UN, a Commando Unit to Quickly Stop Genocide is Proposed, by Diplomatic Sir Brian Urquhart

UN's Annan Concerned About Use of Terror's T-Word to Repress, Wants Freedom of Information

UN  Waffles on Human Rights in Central Asia and China; ICC on Kony and a Hero from Algiers

At the UN, Internal Justice Needs Reform, While in Timor Leste, Has Evidence Gone Missing?

UN & US, Transparency for Finance But Not Foreign Affairs: Somalia, Sovereignty and Senator Tom Coburn

In Bolton's Wake, Silence and Speech at the UN, Congo and Kony, Let the Games Begin

Pro-Poor Talk and a Critique of the World Trade Organization from a WTO Founder: In UN Lull, Ugandan Fog and Montenegrin Mufti

Human Rights Forgotten in UN's War of Words, Bolton versus Mark Malloch Brown: News Analysis

In Praise of Migration, UN Misses the Net and Bangalore While Going Soft on Financial Exclusion

UN Sees Somalia Through a Glass, Darkly, While Chomsky Speaks on Corporations and Everything But Congo

AIDS Ends at the UN? Side Deals on Patents, Side Notes on Japanese Corporations, Salvadoran and Violence in Burundi

On AIDS at the UN, Who Speaks and Who Remains Unseen

Corporate Spin on AIDS, Holbrooke's Kudos to Montenegro and its Independence (May 31, 2006)

Kinshasa Election Nightmares, from Ituri to Kasai. Au Revoir Allan Rock; the UN's Belly-Dancing

Working with Warlords, Insulated by Latrines: Somalia and Pakistan Addressed at the UN

The Silence of the Congo and Naomi Watts; Between Bolivia and the World Bank

Human Rights Council Has Its Own Hanging Chads; Cocky U.S. State Department Spins from SUVs

Child Labor and Cargill and Nestle; Iran, Darfur and WHO's on First with Bird Flu

Press Freedom? Editor Arrested by Congo-Brazzaville, As It Presides Over Security Council

The Place of the Cost-Cut UN in Europe's Torn-Up Heart;
Deafness to Consumers, Even by the Greens

Background Checks at the UN, But Not the Global Compact; Teaching Statistics from Turkmenbashi's Single Book

Ripped Off Worse in the Big Apple, by Citigroup and Chase: High Cost Mortgages Spread in Outer Boroughs in 2005, Study Finds

Burundi: Chaos at Camp for Congolese Refugees, Silence from UNHCR, While Reform's Debated by Forty Until 4 AM

In Liberia, From Nightmare to Challenge; Lack of Generosity to Egeland's CERF, Which China's Asked About

The Chadian Mirage: Beyond French Bombs, Is Exxon In the Cast? Asylum and the Uzbeks, Shadows of Stories to Come

Through the UN's One-Way Mirror, Sustainable Development To Be Discussed by Corporations, Even Nuclear Areva

Racial Disparities Grew Worse in 2005 at Citigroup, HSBC and Other Large Banks

Mine Your Own Business: Explosive Remnants of War and the Great Powers, Amid the Paparazzi

Human Rights Are Lost in the Mail: DR Congo Got the Letter, But the Process is Still Murky

Iraq's Oil to be Metered by Shell, While Basrah Project Remains Less than Clear

At the UN, Dues Threats and Presidents-Elect, Unanswered Greek Mission Questions

Kofi, Kony, Kagame and Coltan: This Moment in the Congo and Kampala

As Operation Swarmer Begins, UN's Qazi Denies It's Civil War and Has No Answers if Iraq's Oil is Being Metered

Cash Crop: In Nepal, Bhutanese Refugees Prohibited from Income Generation Even in their Camps

The Shorted and Shorting in Humanitarian Aid: From Davos to Darfur, the Numbers Don't Add Up

UN Reform: Transparency Later, Not Now -- At Least Not for AXA - WFP Insurance Contract

In Congolese Chaos, Shots Fired at U.N. Helicopter Gunship

In the Sudanese Crisis, Oil Revenue Goes Missing, UN Says

Empty Words on Money Laundering and Narcotics, from the UN and Georgia

What is the Sound of Eleven Uzbeks Disappearing? A Lack of Seats in Tashkent, a Turf War at UN

Kosovo: Of Collective Punishment and Electricity; Lights Out on Privatization of Ferronikeli Mines

Abkhazia: Cleansing and (Money) Laundering, Says Georgia

Post-Tsunami Human Rights Abuses, including by UNDP in the Maldives

Who Pays for the Global Bird Flu Fight? Not the Corporations, So Far - UN

Citigroup Dissembles at United Nations Environmental Conference

Other Inner City Press reports are archived on

For reporting about banks, predatory lending, consumer protection, money laundering, mergers or the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), click here for Inner City Press's weekly CRA Report. Inner City Press also reports weekly concerning the Federal Reserve, environmental justice, global inner cities, and more recently on the United Nations, where Inner City Press is accredited media. Follow those links for more of Inner City Press's reporting, or, click here for five ways to contact us, with or for more information.

            Copyright 2005-2006 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editors [at] - phone: (718) 716-3540