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On Sri Lanka, Keating Staffs "Post Internal Review Panel on UN (In) Action"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 21 -- The UN's review of its action and inaction while 40,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka in 2009 is slow and low key, to say the least.

  After the delayed release of the so-called Petrie Report, of which Inner City Press first published the unredacted version including the executive summary, on December 5 the UN said that Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson was to head up another review panel.

  Now 45 days later, Eliasson's schedule includes a meeting with "Michael Keating, Head of the Secretariat of the Post Internal Review Panel Process on UN Action in Sri Lanka."

  Who is Michael Keating? Inner City Press was previously contacted by whistleblowers with the UN Mission in Afghanistan that Keating got his post there based on lobbying by Tony Blair, on whose Commission for Africa Keating previously worked in Geneva. Keating advised Mark Malloch Brown at UNDP from 1999 to 2001.

 In light of this new post which should inquire into the UN being too close to a government, it is relevant to know Keating's view of the UN backing down to Afghanistan on the murder by Afghan forces of UN staffer Louis Maxwell.

  He's been out of Afghanistan, and out of a job, for some months. Now this. Will he do a good job? Who knows. Who is he speaking with? Why not hold a press availability? We're open to hear differently, but will not stop reporting on this.

 It's secrecy, including the covering up of casualty figures, which got the UN into this shameful position in the first place.

  Meanwhile Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has yet to speak on the impeachment of Sri Lanka's chief justice, despite his previous if belated or even begrudging calls for accountability for war crimes in 2009. With the judiciary under attack by the Rajapaksa government, the accusee of war crimes, how could there be accountability?

  Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman about the impeachment on January 15 and was told, "we don't have any comment at this time. We are obviously aware of the media reports, and if that changes and we have something to say, I’ll certainly let you know." But in the six days since, nothing. Watch this site.

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