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


Follow us on TWITTER

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

UN Housed Drug Kingpin in Guinea Bissau for 3 Months, Because "He Needed Protection"- What's Next, Pedophiles and Terrorists?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 15 -- When Guinea Bissau's former Navy chief of staff Bubo Na Tchuto entered the country in December, by canoe, he was allowed to take refuge in the UN compound.

  Even then, Bubo Na Tchuto was widely known to be involved in narcotics trafficking. Nevertheless, the UN continued to provide shelter to Bubo Na Tchuto until the April 1 mutiny, at which time he left the UN and has remained at large, wielding power.

Why did the UN provide this service to what the U.S. now calls a “drug kingpin”? At the UN's July 15 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq just this.

  Haq replied that “the office was acting on the basis of express concerns if the individual left the building, there would be a threat to his life.” Video here, from Minute 8:28.

  That a drug kingpin might face some dangers is axiomatic. Inner City Press asked if the UN would apply the same standard, and provide the same services, to a terrorist.

  Haq declined to answer, saying the the head of the UN Mission in Guinea Bissau, Joseph Mutaboba, be taking questions at the Security Council stakeout.

  While Mutaboba's media availability was announced, it was never held.

UN's Ban and Mutaboba, 3 months protection drug kingpin not shown

 Rather, Inner City Press asked U.S. Alternative Representative for Special Political Affair Brooke Anderson, in her first stakeout, the following question:

Inner City Press: one of the two people named as kingpins, Bubo Na Tchuto, was actually put up by the United Nations, was held in the UN compound, was protected in December for several months. I'm just wondering, what does the U.S. think, does the U.S. think that was a bad decision for the UN to essentially provide protection and supper [succor] to a man that is now known as a drug kingpin?

Ambassador Anderson: We have designated him as a drug kingpin, we are taking action to address this issue and we are concerned about the fact that he was in the UN compound.

  This concern was in turn reported by Reuters. But if the U.S. is concerned, what accountability will there be for those who allowed the drug kingpin in, and to stay for three months?

  In the UN, there is rarely accountability. Even now, the UN appears unable to say that it made a mistake. Back in December, Inner City Press asked a senior UN official about Bubo Na Tchuto. We think he didn't like his exile in Gambia, was the response. We are arranging another exile. It never happened.

  Here is a question: while staying with the UN, to where to Bubo Na Tchuto make phone calls? Who paid for that?

  More generally, in Jamaica Dudus Coke certainly faced a threat on his life. Would the UN house him for three months? Watch this site.

* * *

What Would a South Sudan Unilateral Declaration of Independence Trigger, with US Dissing Silent UN? "Total War"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 -- Less then six months from what is supposed to a referendum on the separation of South Sudan from the rest of Africa's largest country, the UN and others seem under-prepared.

  On July 13, Inner City Press asked the UN to respond to reports that Japan won't give helicopters for the UN Mission in Sudan, saying that “the support isn't there.”

  Inner City Press also asked about the renewed fighting in Darfur between the government and the Justice and Equality Movement rebels: could the UN confirm it, had it visited the areas or protected civilians?

On the latter, the UN could not initially say anything about this fighting in an area it has a $1 billion peacekeeping mission. Later in the day the UN issued a statement in response, that it was “aware of the reports” and would be doing to see. On the helicopter problem, almost nothing was said.

The senior military and peacekeeping diplomat of a major African country approached Inner City Press later on July 13 in the UN's new North Lawn building and asked: “what if South Sudan makes a Unilateral Declaration of Independence?”

Salva Kiir at UNMIS, block of referendum and UDI not shown

  This last, some times under the acronym UDI, hearkens to Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia and was immediately recognized by the United States, most but not all European Union countries, and now some 69 of the UN's 192 member states.

 There, grenades have been thrown, an International Court of Justice case is pending, the UN is in stasis.

In South Sudan, the diplomat continued, it would be much worse. “Total war,” he called it. Are the UN and member states, the Guarantors referred to in a study out today, prepared or preparing for that?

Inner City Press put the question in writing to the US Mission to the UN on July 13, nearly positive it would not be answered. Earlier this month, when Inner City Press asked the US Mission why Scott Gration had not attended a meeting including his Russian, Chinese and EU counterparts in Darfur on July 4, the Mission declined to answer, referring the question to Gration's staffer Marie Nelson, who after three telephone requests also did not answer.

Another UN diplomat offered this answer: Sudan is “so important to the US that the US refuses to work with, through or under the UN.” If true, and pending answers from the Obama administration's State Department, what would this mean for the short and long term future of South Sudan?

* * *

On Darfur, Gration Skips El Fasher Summit, US Won't Explain, UN Won't Comment

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 10 -- Why did the U.S. envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration, not attend last weekend's El Fasher summit on Darfur including Gration's Chinese, Russian and EU counterparts? Inner City Press has asked the U.S. Mission to the UN, including Ambassador Susan Rice as she walked into the Security Council. But the question has not been answered.

A Rice aide told Inner City Press to ask Gration's spokesperson, Marie Nelson, that she would be waiting for the call. But despite three calls to Ms. Nelson, including a request for answer by voice mail or e-mail, no answer has been received. Nor did a re-request to the U.S. Mission get any answer, except the vague statement that Gration's reason is simpler than it was assumed Inner City Press would speculate.

Other press reports have linked Gration's non attendance to his disagreements with the UN's Ibrahim Gambari. It is not that at this point Gration appears any more committed to justice in Darfur than is Mr. Gambari. It's a turf war, pure and simple.

On July 7, Inner City Press told and asked the UN Mission to the UN:

I called Marie Nelson before and after the noon briefing (where I asked some other Sudan questions, including about crackdowns on free press and the youth group Girifna). I'm sending you the "Final Communiqué from JSR Retreat for the Special Envoys to the Sudan" and an article speculating about Gration's absence. They say Gration had agreed to the time and place - true? I'd like an on the record explanation of Gration's non attendance, etc.

Three days later, as of this writing, nothing. Watch this site.

Envoys in El Fasher, Gration not shown, explanation not given

At the UN's July 6 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked

Inner City Press: On this meeting that you gave a readout of, of Mr. Gambari, you said that various Member States went, but many people picked up on the fact that Scott Gration of the US, neither the UK nor French envoys went. Essentially it was Russian, Chinese envoys; you can give me, if there is a longer list, give it to me. Did Mr. Gambari invite the Western envoys on the Darfur issue, and what does the UN make of their failure to attend and participate?

Associate Spokesperson Haq: Well, first off, the full text of the communiqué is available in the Spokesperson’s office. So, you can get a clear view of the parties and the discussions there. It’s, I think, a two-page readout. I don’t know the reasons for attendance or non-attendance of some of these.

The next day on July 7 Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: hree newspapers have been closed in Khartoum, and youth, with this Girifna, have been arrested by the Government, all for purportedly supporting separation or the referendum for the south to break away. Does the UN, I heard your statement of Mr. Bassolé, but what does either Mr. [Haile] Menkerios or the UN say about the north-south issue? And it’s related to that or not related to that, are reports that recent killings in Abyei are intended to drive the Dinka people out so that the vote would go Khartoum’s way. Is there any, what’s the UN doing on the north-south front rather than the Darfur front?

Associate Spokesperson Haq: Well, certainly the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is working very clearly with all the parties trying to ensure calm on the north-south front. I don’t have anything in particular to say about the situation in Abyei right now. As for the crackdown on the press, these allegations we’ll check first and foremost with our Human Rights and UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] colleagues whether they have anything to say on that.

Still waiting on that, too. Watch this site.

* * *

On Darfur, UN's Questionable Role Paying Pro-Bashir Rebel UNaddressed in 4 Speeches

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 14 -- When Ban Ki-moon was named UN Secretary General by, in essence, the United States and China, he declared Darfur one of his top priorities. What has happened since?

Now, Darfur's largest rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement is out of the "final" peace process in Doha. It has been replaced by a formation led by former UN staff member Al Tijani Al Sissi Ateem, who drew UN pay while a self proclaimed pro government rebel leader.

Inner City Press, which exposed the double dipping or double service asked Mr. Ban if this did not violate UN rules and undermine the UN's credibility or at least impartiality. I'm not sure what you mean, Mr. Ban replied. Exactly.

On June 14, Ban's two envoys to Sudan, Ibrahim Gambari and Haile Menkerios, came to brief the Security Council. Ban had sent both to attend the celebratory inauguration of Omar al Bashir, indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. Asked if this didn't promote impunity, Ban said that their attendance was somehow necessary for them to carry out their work.

Joining the two envoys were joint UN - African Union negotiator Djibril Bassole, who recruited Al Tijani Al Sissi Ateem from his post at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa to come as a sudden rebel leader to Doha, all the while paid by the UN.

UN in Darfur, in the weed, payments to Astro-Turf rebel not shown

  The UN has referred all questions about this to ECA in Addis Ababa, which claims not to have known of his service of Bassole in Doha. The UN has refused to say who speaks for Bassole.

Perhaps we'll find out on June 14. A Council member's spokesperson said what's expected from the meeting are mere "elements to the press" -- less than a Presidential Statement, not even a formal press statement. To this has Darfur fallen in today's UN.

 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 2006-2010 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -