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Impunity's in the Air, at the UN in Kinshasa and NY, for Kony and Karim and MONUC for Kazana

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the UN

  UNITED NATIONS, August 2 -- As in the Congo both vote-counting and vote-spinning continue, UN envoy William Lacy Swing on Wednesday told reporters in New York all irregularities with the election "have been dealt with by the electoral commission."

   This Mr. Swing later modified, saying the irregularities "are being" dealt with. These were not the only word games deployed by Mr. Swing over the video connection. Inner City Press asked Swing to explain why he had applauded the offer of a position in the Congolese army to Mathieu Ngudjolo, a warlord with the Mouvement Revolutionnaire Congolais (MRC) who has previously been quoted justifying the use of child soldiers.

          "I don't think you're quoting me on that," said Mr. Swing. "It's not my business to applaud."

            But a UN press release that was read out at the noon briefing in New York on July 27 states, "William Lacy Swing, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC, welcomed the agreement, signed yesterday in Bunia by the Congolese Government and the MRC in the presence of UN officials, calling it a major step forward for the elections." Perhaps there is some semantic difference between applauding and welcoming. Less semantic is Mr. Swing's and the UN's decision to acquiesce to the offer of a colonel's position in the Congolese army to Peter Karim, who took hostage seven peacekeepers in the UN's MONUC mission "for forty one days," as Mr. Swing emphasized.

            "It was absolutely our top priority to get them released," said Mr. Swing. Last week, the UN's head of Africa peacekeeping Dmitry Titov acknowledged that the offer of a colonel's role to Peter Karim was "as part of the negotiation" to get the peacekeepers released.  Wednesday Mr. Swing reverted to the old, previously abandoned story, that the offer only came about after Peter Karim freed the peacekeepers.

            On the timing of MONUC's self-exoneration, see July 28 report below, Mr. Swing stated that MONUC had last week sent to New York its report, apparently the one page, typo-ridden document handed to Inner City Press Friday in the spokesman's office. Mr. Swing stated that he or his spokesman would provide the date of the report. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday in New York, the date had not been provided.

Counting  Messrs. Swing and de La Sabliere

            An update on other UN information not provided yesterday by deadline, but arriving today: at Tuesday's noon briefing, it was said from the podium that three hospitals in South Lebanon had been closed for lack of fuel for generators. Inner City Press asked for the names of the three hospitals, beyond Bint Jbeil.  Wednesday morning, the following arrived:

"Subject: your question on Lebanese hospitals

From: __

To: matthew.lee [at]

Sent: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 11:23 AM

"WHO says the health sector is suffering from lack of supplies and fuel. The fuel shortage has forced Mais Al-Jabal hospital to close down and Marjeion hospital is to close tonight. Ghandour hospital (also in south Lebanon) was bombed while Tyre public hospital is running out of supplies and could close down soon."

   Without being needlessly contentious, that would be one hospital closed, and one to follow. Facts are facts, and many go unascertained. For example, the presence of Ethiopian troops in Somalia. While the UN continues to say it is not positioned to confirm the invasion, BBC on Wednesday quoted diplomats that Ethiopian prime minister "Meles had privately acknowledged the presence of Ethiopian troops on Somali soil."

          Wednesday Inner City Press asked Ghana's ambassador, and this month's Security Council president, Nana Effah-Apenteng if and when Somalia will appear on the Council's agenda. "When one member asks for it," he answered. Asked about Uganda's offer of amnesty to the Lord's Resistance Army's Joseph Kony despite his indictment for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, Amb. Nana Effah-Apenteng stated that during the Council's recent consideration of reports on Resolutions 1653 and 1663, the Council decided to "let the Juba process have a chance." He added that he was not ready to express Ghana's view on the offer of amnesty to Kony. Video is here.

   Impunity seems the order of the day.  One reporter, not this one, opined that this is the way of the world, to let bad actors into the army, to keep them from doing even more harm.  Another reporter, also not this one, pointed out that it was under William Lacy Swing that the scandal of UN peacekeepers trading eggs and peanut butter for underaged sex in East Congo took place, but that Mr. Swing was never held accountable, due to his nation's protection. Forgiveness is one thing, impunity's another.

            How does all this make the UN appear? Wednesday Inner City Press asked the panel assembled for the 60th anniversary of the World Federation of United Nations Associations whether they distinguish between the UN and Security Council, as it appears those who looted the UN's building in Beirut did not. "We are constructive critics, replied acting S-G Pera Wells.  Inner City Press asked if WFUNA has a position on such matters as expansion of the Security Council, and granting permanent seats to such nations as India and Brazil, and Japan and Germany. The matters will be discussed at an upcoming Argentine plenary. We'll see.

Feedback: editorial [at]

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UN Still Silent on Somalia, Despite Reported Invasion, In Lead-Up to More Congo Spin

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the UN

   UNITED NATIONS, August 1 -- When troops of one country invade another, what does the UN do? It depends.

   In the face of widespread reporting of Ethiopian troops in Somalia, Inner City Press has for the last two days asked Kofi Annan's spokesman's office for confirmation and comment on this fact. Monday the response was that the UN "is not in the position" to ascertain whether there are Ethiopian soldiers in Somalia.

  Tuesday the spokeswoman quoted Kofi Annan's envoy to Somalia Francois Lonseny Fall "at the IGAD meeting in Nairobi" on the importance of continuing the "dialogue between the Transitional Federal Government and the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts." Given that the TFG had in the past 24 hours postponed the dialogue in Khartoum for at least 15 days, Inner City Press asked what Mr. Fall was referring to, whether it took into account the postponement and the further defection of ministers from the TFG cabinet.  "He's aware of press reports," the spokesman answered.

            Among the members of the regional group IGAD are Ethiopia and Eritrea. So Inner City Press asked, did Francois Lonseny Fall at least at the meeting ask the Ethiopian representative if his country's troops have cross into Somalia?  "I have his statement," was the answer. And nothing more to say? Apparently not.

In the UN's blind spot

            The next part of the noon briefing, much longer -- one wag said "disproportionate" --  concerned events in Lebanon. It was said that three hospitals in south Lebanan have closed for lack of fuel. Inner City Press asked for the hospitals' names and locations, beyond Bint Jbeil, and asked for more information on the attack on the UN's building in Beirut. The spokesman emphasized that the Lebanese government and Hezbollah both appealed to the crowd to stop the attack. There were no injuries, he said. The staff had been evacuated. The scope and cost of material damage has yet to be assessed.

            And what of the less tangible damage to the United Nations' image? At UN Headquarters Tuesday, the mood was slow and languid. Drifting out from the Security Council were the U.S. Jackie Sanders and the income Council president, the Ambassador of Ghana. Maybe later this week, both in essence said. Maybe.

            What if the Council has a building in Beirut? The operational side of the UN is not paralyzed. The World Food Program is charged with getting fuel into Beirut. Twenty-five WFP staff were in fact in the building in Beirut was it was attacked. Monday's New York Times spoke of the U.S. teetering on the brink of a public relations disaster. But the U.S. has stronger building, further set back from the street. The UN Secretariat brings out the big guns on Lebanon, without as yet effect. On another invasion, and the crisis in Somalia, very little is said or done.

            Monday the spokesman's office referred Inner City Press, on the current question of the TFG's allegation that Egypt, Libya and Iran are supporting the Islamic Courts Union, to a months-old experts report on sanctions violators, S/2006/229. The report describes arms shipment to the warlords and TFG; only Eritrea is presenting at supporting what the report calls militant Islamic fundamentalists. According to the report, Ethiopia drove 10 trucks to Jowhar, including 2000 AK-47s and 100 rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers. Yemen provided the TFG with 15 Toyota Land Cruiser pickup trucks, to be converted into technicals. The report refers to "clandestine third-party involvement in Somalia" in support of the "Alliance for Peace Restoration and Combat Against Terror," APRCT. The report states that the "Monitoring Group did not specify third-country involvement because at the time of the writing of the present report it had not completed its investigation." And now? Francois Lonseny Fall, where are you?

            Fewer questions exist about William Lacy Swing, at least tomorrow. At 2 p.m. Wednesday in New York, Mr. Swing will appear on a video screen on the 32nd floor of UN Headquarters. With new allegations of fraud in the elections, and outstanding questions about the incorporation of warlords into the Congolese army and the quickly-released and now-apparently-ongoing investigation into the events at the village of Kazana, here's hoping that the video hook-up stays strong.

UN's Guehenno Says Congo Warlord Just Needs Training, and Kazana Probe Continues

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, July 31 -- The allegations in the Congo that UN troops stood by while the army destroyed the village of Kazana in Ituri are still being investigated, the UN's head of peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno said Monday. Inner City Press had on Friday asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan about the just-announced exoneration of the UN's Congo force, called MONUC; Mr. Annan said he'd look into it. Mr. Guehenno, asked Monday by Inner City Press when the investigation has been completed responded that "we got a report from MONUC, we are looking into it... we'll continue to look at it." Video here, Minutes 23:50 to 30:30.

            Asked about the offer of a colonel's position in the Congolese army to Peter Karim, who held seven UN peacekeepers hostage until earlier this month, Mr. Guehenno said, "I know he wanted to be a colonel... if he does become a colonel in the Congolese army, he will need a lot of training, let me say that." Video here, at Minutes 40:35 to 43.

            Mr. Guehenno had previously said, without any indication that it was off-the-record, that during the negotiations to get the UN peacekeepers released, Mr. Karim was erratic, frequently changing positions, and was "on drugs." At a minimum, the training to which Mr. Guehenno referred on Monday would have to include detoxification. 

  Mr. Guehenno said, "let's look at the facts and not at the spin machines." Mr. Guehenno defended MONUC on Kazana by referring to the phrase, "Damned if you do, damned if you don't... MONUC was accused of not being strong" in fighting eastern militias' "work of destruction and death." But one of the most destructive militias has been Peter Karim's.

            Questions remain about the culpability of the UN, in acceding to and / or participating in a deal in which a warlord the UN knows to be on drugs is offered a colonel's position, putting more civilians at risk.

            The disparity between the statement in the New York Times on July 28, that MONUC never asked for video footage of Kazana, and the statements of Kofi Annan's Congo envoy William Swing, repeated by Mr. Guehenno on Monday, that the video tapes were requested, also needs to be resolved. It was announced Monday at the noon briefing that Mr. Swing will take questions from reporters at UN Headquarters later this week. Developing...

Update: Vice president Jean-Pierre "Mange-Twa" Bemba, who during the campaign proclaimed "I am not a cannibal," claims to be ahead in the voting and like many "warned he would not accept defeat by President Joseph Kabila if he felt the process was rigged." We'll see.

Voting line in DRC

Also at the UN: Of Georgian Gorges and Blindness in Baidoa as Somalia's Invaded

            In other UN news, beyond the 14-1 passage of the resolution on Iran, and paralysis in the face of Qana, the outgoing permanent representative of Georgia Rezav Adamia Monday gave what he promised is his last press conference, for a mere six minutes to a nearly empty room. It concerned events in the Kodori Gorge, which Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin had addressed in a stakeout interview on Friday. Amb. Churkin had denounced Mr. Adamia as engaged in "blatant disinformation" about the discussions in a Security Council consultative meeting which Mr. Adamia did not attend. Inner City Press asked Amb. Churkin if Mr. Adamia had been invited or allowed to attend the meeting. Video here, at Minute 3:00 to 3:30. Amb. Churkin replied that is not the procedure for consultative meetings. Inner City Press asked, in light of previous Russian blocking of Georgia attendance at Security Council meetings on Abkhazia, if Mr. Adamia had in effect been blocked this time. No, Amb. Churkin responded, before going on to admonish the press to report things more accurately. Note to Churkin: this is not Moscow, said one wag at the stakeout.

            Finally, at Monday's noon briefing, spokeswoman Marie Okabe maintained that the UN is not in the position to ascertain if Ethiopian troops have invaded Somalia.  Beyond the obvious questions -- why now? and, who is? -- Inner City Press asked if the UN or Mr. Annan's envoy on Somalia Francois Lonseny Fall have any comment on the assertion by the prime minister of the UN-supported transitional government in Baidoa that Egypt, Libya and Iran are illegally supporting the Islamic Courts Union.  At noon now answer came; later in the afternoon this arrived:

"Re: Your question on Somalia at noon today

The SRSG for Somalia, Francois Lonseny Fall, has no comment on the Somali Prime Minister's claim that Egypt, Libya, and Iran are arming the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts in Mogadishu. While such statements are noted for what they are worth and, if necessary, their veracity is probed within the larger context of the mandate of the UN Political Office for Somalia, the SRSG is not in a position to comment on each and every allegation made by the parties or their representatives on a daily basis. Meanwhile, though, the Security Council-mandated Monitoring Group on Somalia has provided useful hints on possible sources of arms flow into Somalia in the Group's most recent report to the Security Council."

            We've already read the report -- which refuses to name the "clandestine party" then providing arms to the since-defeated warlords -- but hey, reading's always good. We close with this question: whether before the cursory vote Monday on the DR Congo sanctions, the Security Council members bothered to read the report of the Group of Experts. If they did, they'd know that hundreds of kilos of uranium among other things are going missing...

With Congo Elections Approaching, UN Issues Hasty Self-Exoneration as Annan Is Distracted

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the UN

   UNITED NATIONS, July 28 (updated 7/30, below) -- Two days before the elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN hastily issued a six-paragraph statement that allegations of abuse and negligence by UN asserting that allegations of abuse and complicity by its mission in the DRC "have been thoroughly investigated and found untrue."

   Hours before this exoneration was given to reporters, the day's New York Times appeared with an op-ed by the television journalist who had filmed the underlying events and their aftermath in Kazana village in April. He wrote that "United Nations investigators never asked to see the many hours of footage we took."

            While the UN's Kofi Annan attended a Security Council briefing on Lebanon, his spokeswoman Marie Okabe was asked by Inner City Press about the op-ed. Video here. On June 19 and July 18, Inner City Press had also asked about the UN's investigation of events at Kazana, and on July 26 Inner City Press asked the UN's head of peacekeeping in Africa Dmitry Titov about the status of the investigation.  Mr. Titov called the investigation "ongoing," and added that "we are interested... to come out of this as clean as we can."

            Less than 48 hours after Mr. Titov's statement about the ongoing investigation, the investigation was ostensibly concluded, and all allegations deemed "untrue."

Mr. Annan in DCR, March 23, 2006

 The UN's one-page statement, provided to Inner City Press full of typographical errors andnot even on letterhead, states that "fighting against militiamen is not an easy task, as demonstrated by the recent death of a Nepalese Blue Helmet in a 28 in operation" [sic; full MONUC statement is below].

            The referenced UN peacekeeper from Nepal was killed on May 28, when East Congo militiaman Peter Karim took hostage seven other UN peacekeepers. Earlier this month after negotiations involving Peter Karim and the UN, the peacekeepers were released and Mr. Karim was offered the post of colonel in the Congolese Army. After initial waffling by the UN spokesman's office, Dmitry Titov on July 26 acknowledged that the offer of "a post" to Peter Karim was "as a result of the deal" to release the UN peacekeepers.

            Kofi Annan took questions from the press on Friday afternoon. Inner City Press asked about the hastily-issued exoneration of the Kazana allegations, without the UN having asked to see the underlying video, and about Peter Karim being offered a colonel's post in the Congolese army. Video here, at Minutes 16:45 through 18:18)

         "With these two as the backdrop, is the UN system so committed to the elections that it is issuing half-dash exonerations" and "why would Peter Karim, who you said would face personal accountability, be allowed into the Congolese army?"

         Mr. Annan answered, "I do not have details on the issues you've raised... I was not aware that Karim had been abducted, recruited into the Lebanese, Congolese army."

         "But Mr. Titov--"

         "Titov. But I am not aware of it. I will have to follow up."          

            But on Monday Mr. Annan was provided, in hand, a Reuters article describing the offer of a colonel position to Peter Karim. Inner City Press waited more than an hour outside a meeting between Mr. Annan and the chief executives of large pharmaceutical companies, endeavoring to ask Mr. Annan about Peter Karim. When Mr. Annan emerged, he said his mind was too full with the pharmaceutical and other issues, but he took the Reuters article, in the margin of which was written, "Personal accountability? May 30, 2006. Or impunity?"

            The May 30 reference was to Mr. Annan's answer, at another stakeout interview, to Inner City Press' question about the then just-kidnapped peacekeepers. Mr. Annan said

"we have been in touch with Karim's group – we think that is the group holding them, and demanding their release. And hopefully, we will get them released. But Karim and others who get involved in these sort of activities, must understand that they will be held accountable... They will be held individually accountable for these brutal acts."

            On the afternoon of July 28, two months later, Mr. Annan said: "I will have to follow up." We'll see.

Update of July 30: During the afternoon of Friday, July 28 in New York, Kofi Annan answered Inner City Press' stakeout question -

"I do not have details on the issues you've raised... I was not aware that Karim had been abducted, recruited into the Lebanese, Congolese army."

   Further cursory web research shows that earlier on July 28, Kofi Annan's Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in the DRC Haile Menkerios said, in an interview on the UN's, that " the agreement with Peter Karim’s group and the MRC is very positive not only for the elections, but for the future extension of state authority." Click here for the interview, at, click here for SRSG William Lacy Swing's letter to the IHT, which among other things doesn't specify just when this investigation was completed; Developing...


UN MONUC statement as distributed July 28, 2006

"There are media reports alleging that a number of civilian casualties may have resulted from a military operation by the Congolese armed Forces (FARDC) with the support of MONUC troops on 22 April 2006, in the village of Kazana, Ituri District, in North East DRC. These allegations have been thoroughly investigated and found untrue.


"On 22 April 2006, a joint MONUC (1 Pakistani company, 1 company South African) FARDC (3 companies) operation was launched against militia positions in Kazana. After being fired upon by hostile elements, MONUC and FARDC forces engaged the militia positions with mortar fire from 0600 to 1000hrs. At 1200hrs, MONUC and FARDC troops entered the village which was condoned and searched. During the operation which lasted was over [sic] at 1600hrs, 1 FARDC soldier was killed in action, 3 others were wounded, and 4 dead bodies were recovered.


"On May 20 the operation ITURI EXPLORER was launched in Tchei, 65 kilometers south west of Bunia, to clear it of the presence of militiamen. Approximately 1000 MONUC soldiers as well as 3000 FARDC were involved in this operation.

"Ex-FPRI militia armed groups had stepped up their activities and presence in the territory of Irumu since the beginning of the year. MONUC, in support of the FARDC, conducted operations in order to re-establish the authority of the state in this territory. These actions culminated with operation ITURI EXPLORER which removed the militia from Tchei. Isolated groups of militiamen, who managed to escape, were on rampage, killing and robbing civilians in the vicinity of Komanda and Marabo, North of Tchei. Operations were conducted to make the area more secure.

"MONUC forces do not open fire indiscriminately and investigations are conducted in case of alleged infringement of their rules of engagement. Fighting against militiamen is not an easy task, as demonstrated by the recent death of a Nepalese Blue Helmet in a 28 in operation [sic]. Armed men in civilian attire often take position in villages, don't hesitate to hide among the population and use it often as human shield. Moreover, women and children have, oftentimes, been among combatants engaging MONUC and FARDC troops.

"In spite of challenges and often facing greater number of hostile elements, MONUC forces try to put an end to the impunity of the armed groups they are battling and help re-establish the authority of the state in Ituri, in order to allow the coming elections to take place. Collaborating with the FARDC is a necessity, as it is the Congolese national army which has the primary responsibility for the security of the country and its people. Any FARDC wrongdoings are brought to the attention of their command."

* * *

June 19, 2006 briefing Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary General

 ...Question:  Over the weekend, on British television Channel 4, there was a documentary, or kind of expose, about MONUC in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) having provided support to Government troops in razing a town called Kazana -- torching of huts and deaths of civilians -- so it seems like a pretty serious charge.  It's also in the Observer newspaper of the Guardian.  I don't know if the UN has checked into this... if there is a response from the UN?

Associate Spokesman:  In fact, we are checking into this.  I don't have anything for you on it now, but the Department of Peacekeeping Operations did inform me today that they are looking into this, and so we will examine what these charges are and what's behind them.

Question:  Can we expect some kind of update in this room?  How will this be handled?

Associate Spokesman:  We'll provide you an update when we have some more information.

* * *

July 18, 2006 briefing Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary General

Associate Spokesman:  Matthew.

Question:  Two questions about the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  It's reported that Peter Karim, who kidnapped seven UN peacekeepers that were since released, has now been made a Colonel in the Congolese army.  So, I guess my question is: was the UN deal to get the peacekeepers released -- did it envision Mr. Karim being incorporated into the Congolese army?

Associate Spokesman:  Release of the Nepalese peacekeepers was unconditional.  We did not try to have any conditions attached to their release.  No ransom was paid and no other arrangements were made.

Question:  Was the UN aware that this would be the end-game of that?

Associate Spokesman:  Well, this is something that has happened afterwards.  And this is, frankly, news.

Question:  The reason I am asking, and I am asking you, I guess, to respond to this: given what Mr. Karim did, and other reports about it, it seems like a setup for further abuse of civilians.  What's the UN's position on the individual who kidnapped UN peacekeepers being made part of the Congolese army?  That's my question.

Associate Spokesman:  I have no specific guidance on this, and, you know, it is not my place to comment on decisions that are made by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  But, at the same time, the basic point is, as a principle, we don't believe that people who kidnap out personnel or any others are to be rewarded for their actions.

Question:  Four weeks ago, MONUC said it was going to investigate a documentary on English television about the burning down of the town of Kazana with UN troops standing by -- is there any update on that?

Associate Spokesman:  The latest is simply that our investigation into that is continuing.  When we have something more, we will share it with you.

  [Note that the MONUC self-exoneration was not read out as part of Kofi Annan's spokeswoman initial presentation on July 28, but was only raised once inquiry was made into that morning's NYT op-ed].

In DR Congo, UN Applauds Entry into Army of Child-Soldier Commander Along with Kidnapper

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

   UNITED NATIONS, July 27 -- In what the UN Thursday described as a "major UN-brokered development," Mathieu Ngudjolo of the Congolese Revolutionary Movement agreed to join the Congolese army. Cursory research, however, reflects Mr. Ngudjolo justifying the use of child-soldiers, and as widely seen as operating for and from Uganda. Nevertheless, Kofi Annan's envoy William Lacy Swing "welcomed" Mr. Ngudjolo's incorporation into the Congolese army, and encouraged other "militia leaders to follow the MRC's lead."

            Before the MRC, Mr. Ngudjolo was affiliated with a number of Lendu militias, including the FNI.  An Associated Press article in mid-2003, entitled "War Has a Baby Face in the Congo" and datelined Bunia, reported that "adult commanders have their own reasons for taking on young recruits. Children are preferred because they can be easily controlled, are less demanding than adults and do not sense danger as acutely as their elders, said Col. Mathieu Ngudjolo, who leads Lendu fighters. 'Our children are born during war and they just grab arms and go into combat,' he said." The Congolese newspaper Le Potential has linked "the criminal groups of Peter Karim and Mathieu Ngudjolo," in an April 2006 article that is on the UN's MONUC's own web site

            It is apparent that in an attempt to ensure voter turnout on July 30, amnesty is being offered to users of child-soldiers and, in the case of Peter Karim Ugada, warlords who kidnapped UN peacekeepers. Wednesday, the UN's Dmitry Titov confirmed that the offer of a colonel's position to Peter Karim was part of the deal to get the UN peacekeepers released. Thursday, the UN Security Council's agenda included consideration of a UN Panel of Experts report on the exploitation of the Congo which specifically names

"Peter Ugada, also known as 'Peter Karim,' a former FNI commander [as] one of the chief perpetrators of these frauds... Peter Ugada regularly sends timber and coffee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Uganda in exchange for arms and ammunition, by road and occasionally Lake Albert... The use of timber in arms smuggling or the pre-financing of their activities involve[s] Ugandan businessmen, in particular Peter Karim, a Ugandan soldier and timber contractor in Paidha." S/2006/525, at Paragraphs 180 - 182.

            Beyond this UN description of Peter Karim simultaneous to his trading of UN peacekeepers for a colonel's position in the Congolese army, the report describes how even weapons that are laid down and turned in reappear in renamed militias' hands in the Congo. While this report was on the UN Security Council's agenda Thursday, it got short shrift in light of the two-day consultation on Lebanon. At the OSSG's noon briefing Thursday, Inner City Press asked about both the MONUC / Congo statement read out and about the UN's knowledge if Somalia's Islamic Courts Union has received a planeload of anti-aircraft guns from Eritrea, and for SRSG Lonseny Fall's response to the mass resignations from the Transitional Government, due to its failure to negotiate with the ICU and for having allowed or invited Ethiopian troops into Somalia. As of 6 p.m., responses had not been received about either.

            In the Ivory Coast, the UN's elections envoy Gerard Stoudmann was approaching the Prime Minister's office earlier this week when the UN armored car he was in was surrounded by 200 of overtime-president Laurent Gbagbo's Young Patriots.  In a briefing at UN Headquarters on Thursday, Mr. Stoudmann said his car was surrounded, and the presidential guard did nothing.  Mr. Stoudmann also emphasized that such attacks should not be over-dramatized. Speaking to Inner City Press after the briefing, Mr. Stoudmann added that the attack, which included the stoning of the armored car leading to windshield-breaking, resulted in his visit with the Prime Minister being cancelled.  Inner City Press asked him to contrast the process in Ivory Coast to that in the DR Congo.

            "In Congo," Mr. Stoudmann said, "the UN is in the driver's seat."

Other Inner City Press reports are archived on

At the UN, New Phrase Passes Resolution called Gangster-Like by North Korea; UK Deputy on the Law(less)

UN's Guehenno Speaks of "Political Overstretch" Undermining Peacekeeping in Lower Profile Zones

In Gaza Power Station, the Role of Enron and the U.S. Government's OPIC Revealed by UN Sources

At UN, North Korean Knot Attacked With Fifty Year Old Precedent, Game Continues Into Weekend

UN's Corporate Partnerships Will Be Reviewed, While New Teaming Up with Microsoft, and UNDP Continues

Gaza Resolution Vetoed by U.S., While North Korea Faces Veto and Chechnya Unread

BTC Briefing, Like Pipeline, Skirts Troublespots, Azeri Revelations

Conflicts of Interest in UNHCR Program with SocGen and Pictet Reveal Reform Rifts

At the UN, A Day of Resolutions on Gaza, North Korea and Iran, Georgia as Side Dish

UN Grapples with Somalia, While UNDP Funds Mugabe's Human Rights Unit, Without Explanation

In North Korean War of Words, Abuses in Uganda and Impunity Go Largely Ignored

On North Korea, Blue Words Move to a Saturday Showdown, UNDP Uzbek Stonewall

As the World Turns in Uganda and Korea, the UN Speaks only on Gaza, from Geneva

North Korea in the UN: Large Arms Supplant the Small, and Confusion on Uganda

UN Gives Mugabe Time with His Friendly Mediator, Refugees Abandoned

At the UN, Friday Night's Alright for Fighting; Annan Meets Mugabe

UN Acknowledges Abuse in Uganda, But What Did Donors Know and When? Kazakh Questions

In Uganda, UNDP to Make Belated Announcement of Program Halt, But Questions Remain (and see The New Vision, offsite).

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Leads UN Agency to Suspend Its Work and Spending

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Blamed on UNDP, Still Silent on Finance

Alleged Abuse in Disarmament in Uganda Known by UNDP, But Dollar Figures Still Not Given: What Did UN Know and When?

Strong Arm on Small Arms: Rift Within UN About Uganda's Involuntary Disarmament of Karamojong Villages

UN in Denial on Sudan, While Boldly Predicting the Future of Kosovo/a

UN's Selective Vision on Somalia and Wishful Thinking on Uighurs

UN Habitat Predicts The World Is a Ghetto, But Will Finance Be Addressed at Vancouver World Urban Forum?

At the UN, a Commando Unit to Quickly Stop Genocide is Proposed, by Diplomatic Sir Brian Urquhart

UN's Annan Concerned About Use of Terror's T-Word to Repress, Wants Freedom of Information

UN  Waffles on Human Rights in Central Asia and China; ICC on Kony and a Hero from Algiers

At the UN, Internal Justice Needs Reform, While in Timor Leste, Has Evidence Gone Missing?

UN & US, Transparency for Finance But Not Foreign Affairs: Somalia, Sovereignty and Senator Tom Coburn

In Bolton's Wake, Silence and Speech at the UN, Congo and Kony, Let the Games Begin

Pro-Poor Talk and a Critique of the World Trade Organization from a WTO Founder: In UN Lull, Ugandan Fog and Montenegrin Mufti

Human Rights Forgotten in UN's War of Words, Bolton versus Mark Malloch Brown: News Analysis

In Praise of Migration, UN Misses the Net and Bangalore While Going Soft on Financial Exclusion

UN Sees Somalia Through a Glass, Darkly, While Chomsky Speaks on Corporations and Everything But Congo

AIDS Ends at the UN? Side Deals on Patents, Side Notes on Japanese Corporations, Salvadoran and Violence in Burundi

On AIDS at the UN, Who Speaks and Who Remains Unseen

Corporate Spin on AIDS, Holbrooke's Kudos to Montenegro and its Independence (May 31, 2006)

Kinshasa Election Nightmares, from Ituri to Kasai. Au Revoir Allan Rock; the UN's Belly-Dancing

Working with Warlords, Insulated by Latrines: Somalia and Pakistan Addressed at the UN

The Silence of the Congo and Naomi Watts; Between Bolivia and the World Bank

Human Rights Council Has Its Own Hanging Chads; Cocky U.S. State Department Spins from SUVs

Child Labor and Cargill and Nestle; Iran, Darfur and WHO's on First with Bird Flu

Press Freedom? Editor Arrested by Congo-Brazzaville, As It Presides Over Security Council

The Place of the Cost-Cut UN in Europe's Torn-Up Heart;
Deafness to Consumers, Even by the Greens

Background Checks at the UN, But Not the Global Compact; Teaching Statistics from Turkmenbashi's Single Book

Ripped Off Worse in the Big Apple, by Citigroup and Chase: High Cost Mortgages Spread in Outer Boroughs in 2005, Study Finds

Burundi: Chaos at Camp for Congolese Refugees, Silence from UNHCR, While Reform's Debated by Forty Until 4 AM

In Liberia, From Nightmare to Challenge; Lack of Generosity to Egeland's CERF, Which China's Asked About

The Chadian Mirage: Beyond French Bombs, Is Exxon In the Cast? Asylum and the Uzbeks, Shadows of Stories to Come

Through the UN's One-Way Mirror, Sustainable Development To Be Discussed by Corporations, Even Nuclear Areva

Racial Disparities Grew Worse in 2005 at Citigroup, HSBC and Other Large Banks

Mine Your Own Business: Explosive Remnants of War and the Great Powers, Amid the Paparazzi

Human Rights Are Lost in the Mail: DR Congo Got the Letter, But the Process is Still Murky

Iraq's Oil to be Metered by Shell, While Basrah Project Remains Less than Clear

At the UN, Dues Threats and Presidents-Elect, Unanswered Greek Mission Questions

Kofi, Kony, Kagame and Coltan: This Moment in the Congo and Kampala

As Operation Swarmer Begins, UN's Qazi Denies It's Civil War and Has No Answers if Iraq's Oil is Being Metered

Cash Crop: In Nepal, Bhutanese Refugees Prohibited from Income Generation Even in their Camps

The Shorted and Shorting in Humanitarian Aid: From Davos to Darfur, the Numbers Don't Add Up

UN Reform: Transparency Later, Not Now -- At Least Not for AXA - WFP Insurance Contract

In Congolese Chaos, Shots Fired at U.N. Helicopter Gunship

In the Sudanese Crisis, Oil Revenue Goes Missing, UN Says

Empty Words on Money Laundering and Narcotics, from the UN and Georgia

What is the Sound of Eleven Uzbeks Disappearing? A Lack of Seats in Tashkent, a Turf War at UN

Kosovo: Of Collective Punishment and Electricity; Lights Out on Privatization of Ferronikeli Mines

Abkhazia: Cleansing and (Money) Laundering, Says Georgia

Post-Tsunami Human Rights Abuses, including by UNDP in the Maldives

Who Pays for the Global Bird Flu Fight? Not the Corporations, So Far - UN

Citigroup Dissembles at United Nations Environmental Conference

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