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In Congress, UNAMI Iraq Cover-Up Alleged, But UN in NY Hasn't Heard

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 14 -- On Capitol Hill on September 13, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs investigations subcommittee held a hearing about Camp Ashraf in Iraq. Twice in the past month, Inner City Press has asked the UN about complaints by former UN official Tahar Boumedra that his reports were covered up.

  In September 13 testimony, Boumedra said "I saw my reports doctored and censored. No first-hand report of mine ever reached U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon or top officials in New York."

   Back in New York on September 14, Inner City Press asked the spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon for some UN response to Boumedra's testimony. The response was that "I haven't heard the testimony, but I can assure you the Secretary General is informed by people in human rights... of information that needs to get to him." Video here, from Minute 3:46.

   So what information is it, that needs to get to Ban Ki-moon?

 Back on On August 27 Inner City Press reported that after Ashrafis say they were left to wait three hours in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, violence broke out. Photos of beaten Ashrafis, including an older man bleeding from the head, have been sent to Inner City Press and were published here.
  On August 28, Inner City Press went to the UN's noon briefing and asked about the incident.

   Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq replied that the facts were "in dispute" and that the UN needed "further details."
Video here, from Minute 14:25.

   Inner City Press tweeted this response, juxtaposing it with the photo of the bleeding older man.  Subsequently the following UN response arrived by e-mail:

Subject: Answer on Camp Ashraf
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 12:42 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

UNAMI's preliminary reports confirmed that yesterday, an incident between residents and Iraqi Police led to some light injuries on both sides. However the situation returned to normal. Preparations for the relocation of the next group of 400 residents to Camp Hurriya are continuing and we hope the move will soon be completed.

   Inner City Press has been sent video, of the type often shown by broadcast networks despite saying it could not be independently verified, which tends to call into question this "light injuries on both sides" claim. And here it is, on Inner City Press beta Facebook. Watch this site.

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