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In Haiti, UN Admits APC in Ditch, In Denial on Shooting & Cholera Origins, Clinic

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 23 -- The UN's dismissive attitude in Haiti to those who question it was on display on Tuesday when MINUSTAH chief Edmond Mulet repeatedly called demonstrations on the possible role of UN peacekeepers in introducing cholera politically motivated.

  He insisted that other than a case where 100 people with “machetes and guns” attacked four peacekeepers, they had not fired nor killed any other protester.

   Inner City Press asked about a November 17 incident in Cap Haitien where a UN armored personnel carrier fell into a ditch and had bottles thrown at it, after which witnesses say a civilian was shot dead. Mulet acknowledged an APC in a ditch, but denied any exchange of fire.

   The UN's Nigel Fisher, and then Mulet, called the Cedimat clinic in the Dominican Republic “independent” and credible. But Mulet confirmed that Cedimat has had a contract with MINUSTAH since 2004. The head doctor specializes in obesity. “Maybe the director general has another specialty,” Mulet said.

UN's Ban shown around by Mulet (& Montas), Nov 17 shooting & cholera origins not shown

  On November 22, Inner City Press asked UN acting Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq about reports that a Chilean component of the MINUSTAH force engaged with demonstrators in Cap Haitien in a separate incident on November 15, following which a dead body was found on 24th Street. Video here, from Minute 45:09. To questions about the source of the cholera and how it has been investigated, Haq referred back to previous answers.

  Afterward, the UN's deputy for Field Support Tony Banbury, previously quoted that three rapes in the Haitian camp “almost elated him,” was reportedly providing more UN perspective to a wire service based in a country which previously occupied Haiti.

  The UN has previously had Banbury give exclusive interviews on topics of wider concern, during his Banbury would deny “conspiracy theories” without having to directly engage the arguments against the UN (for example, in the alleged cover up of the murder of UN staff member Louis Maxwell by Afghan National Forces, click here for that).

  While one can debate the appropriateness of such a “spin strategy” anywhere by the UN, in the case of Haiti it has worked particularly badly. The failure to investigate, and statements to the effect that it doesn't matter where the cholera came from, have led to deadly protests against the UN. Deadly for the protesters -- and it is not yet clear how many. Watch this site.

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In Haiti, UN Fires Into Crowds, Says Its Only Focus Is Future, Not How Cholera Arrived

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 15 -- With protesters in Haiti still blaming the UN for the deadly cholera outbreak, and UN peacekeepers reportedly opening fire on the crowds, at UN headquarters on Monday Inner City Press asked the UN's interim humanitarian coordinator for Haiti Nigel Fisher why the UN had not acted to fully investigate reports of UN peacekeepers' roles in bringing or spreading the disease. Video here, from Minute 22:21.

My focus is on how to stop” the disease, Fisher replied. But even the UN's deputy special envoy Paul Farmer denounced this approach, call it more politics than science. Beyond being anti scientific, it appears in this case that the UN's attempts to brush off complaints and not fully investigate them has come back to haunt the UN, as suspicions have only grown.

Inner City Press asked when the last time cholera had been present in Haiti. “There has never before been cholera in Haiti,” Fisher answered.

Fisher characterized as “political manipulation” the claims by the Mayor of Mirebalais that the disease may have come from the UN Peacekeeping base there, staffed by peacekeepers from Nepal. But the Centers for Disease Control, even Fisher acknowledged Monday, said the strain is a strain which originated in South Asia.

Nigel Fisher by video, facts on MINUSTAH role not shown, (c) MRLee

Some in the UN system say that even looking into the role of the peacekeepers from Nepal is somehow racist. But political correctness can lead to riots in which UN peacekeepers are shooting into crowds of Haitians. Which is worse? Watch this site.

 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.

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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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