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At UN, "Iranian" Arrested Was US Reservist, Gun was Prop for Western Film

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 12 -- At the UN in New York on September 8, a UN-accredited person was stopped with a prop gun.

  One wire service wrote a story emphasizing the Iranian link, stating that the arrestee was "working for Iranian state-funded broadcaster Press TV," apparently without speaking or even seeking to speak with those involved. (See wire service's response, below.) Subsequently a website called the arrestee "an Iranian journalist."

  Inner City Press' same day inquiry found that the person arrested was by no means Iranian. Sources told Inner City Press it was Sy White, a cameraman working a subcontractor to Press TV and others who was also working on a Western themed Internet video. For this side project he had a prop gun, which he forgot to remove from his backpack.

  UN Security, the sources told Inner City Press, called the New York Police Department which questioned White repeatedly over a 24 hour period. White's UN entry pass was confiscated, and they said it won't be returned.

Campaign against toy guns by UN in Haiti, abuse not shown

  Further inquiry over the weekend has confirmed that Sy White was detained, and that he is an Air National Guard reservist. The subcontractor is APTVS which "does provide content to Press TV but also to other clients." He has been told that the initial misdemeanor charge will be reduced to a violation, with some community service possible (Inner City Press from other sources hears this is twenty hours.)

  And the Western inspired workshop project is called "Kingdom Come." We may have more on this. And so it goes at the UN.

Update: the wire service mentioned above has responded that it sought to contact Press TV -- but apparently not the individual who was arrested and, some feel, personally damaged by the reporting.

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For UN Peacekeeping Post, How Ladsous Replaced Bonnafont, Who Now Returns Favor Under Juppe, Alliot-Marie Role?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 10 -- The UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations remains at partially headless in the midst of mounting scandals of sexual abuse in Haiti, and inaction in Sudan.

  After leading the top DPKO post empty for four weeks after the departure of Alain Le Roy, on September 2 the UN announced his replacement. It was not fellow Frenchman Jerome Bonnafont, who had bragged that he had the job to diplomats in India where he's been French Ambassador, and been congratulated by, among others, French politician Jean-Marie Bockel, click here for that.

  Rather it was the French Foreign Ministry's chief of staff Herve Ladsous, who headed the staff not only Alain Juppe but also his predecessor Michele Alliot-Marie, who resigned after being exposed receiving gifts from now deposed Tunisia dictator Ben Ali.

  Ladsous' role in that is not yet clear, even as his statements in 2004 pushing for the ouster of elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide come into focus in Haiti. Others of Ladsous statements are starting to be reviewed, as it appears the UN in their rush did not do. Meanwhile, tellingly, Bonnafont has been named to replace Ladsous as chief of staff to Alain Juppe.

  Well placed UN sources have informed Inner City Press how Bonnafont was passed over at the last minute for Ladsous. These sources say that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon likes his cabinet members even lower key than he is, like his Deputy, and Lynn Pascoe in the Department of Political Affairs.

  Bonnafont was viewed, ironically, as too energetic. His bragging about having the job, first reported by Inner City Press, was also not helpful.

  So, the sources say, Ban told the French to propose another candidate. Miffed, Ladsous was proffered as "the one," and was quickly given the post, without word reaching many in the French foreign service outside of Paris.

Ladsous, Bonnafont and rushed selection process now shown

  Kofi Annan "gave" DPKO to France as part of being Secretary General. From Jean-Marie Guehenno the post went to Alain Le Roy and now to the third Frenchman in a row.

   Owning UN Peacekeeping is useful to France: just this week in Paris, Nicolas Sarkozy bragged of his country's military action in Cote d'Ivoire as well as Libya. As reflected in documents exclusively obtained and published by Inner City Press, France has no problem using DPKO to advance its economic interests, click here for examples.

  It is noticeable that even after Ladsous was named, after the post was empty for a month, Ladsous has still not reported to work. He continued as chief of staff to Alain Juppe.

  And now Ladsous' replacement has been named. Who is it? Jerome Bonnafont, of course. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. Watch this site.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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

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