Wednesday, November 26, 2014

With UK's Andrew Lansley for UN Aid Chief Called Appalling, Herve Ladsous' Story, Dumped on UN Peacekeeping


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 26 -- Minutes after the UN announced the departure of Humanitarian Affairs chief Baroness Valerie Amos, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq if the vacancy will be advertised for candidates from all countries, or if it is set aside for Amos' United Kingdom.

  While Haq insisted that the position is "open to people from any region," transcript below, the disposition of the top jobs in UN Peacekeeping (four Frenchmen in a row) and Political Affairs (two consecutive Americans) indicates otherwise.

  Now from the UK comes word that Prime Minister David Cameron is tapping the man he in July "sacked as Health Secretary and Leader of the House: Andrew Lansley" and "has reportedly refused to come up with two alternative candidates, as requested by the UN Secretary General."

  While the UN refuses to be transparent about this "please submit three candidates" form of limited competition for positions already designated by nationality, it is what happened with UN Peacekeeping, multiple sources have told Inner City Press.

  But even this is often waived. It is UNclear if when B. Lynn Pascoe left as head of the UN Department of Political Affairs, the US put forward anyone beyond Jeffrey Feltman, who has the job.

  For Peacekeeping, as Inner City Press exclusively reported in July 2011, when Alain Le Roy left France put forward three candidates and Ban Ki-moon selected Jerome Bonnafont, then France's ambassador to India.

  After Bonnafont started bragging about having the job, and Inner City Press reported such boast based on sourcing in India and closer, Team Ban decided that Bonnafont was not the team player they were looking for.

  But then president Nicolas Sarkozy, angered, refused to put forward another trio of candidates, instead "dumping" on the UN Herve Ladsous, who had been rejected by Kofi Annan during a previous one-of-three process. Ban Ki-moon accepted these damaged goods, and Ladsous has gone on to cover up rapes by the Congolese Army and now in Darfur, and to openly refuse to answer Press questions,video compilation here, UK New Statesman coverage here.

  How would Lansley be? And how is the UN in such decay? Even for the Secretary General position there was some limited competition

 At a much smaller but not unrelated level, the in-house United Nations Correspondents Association is set to "elect" as president, with no competition, a rarely present Italian scribe Giampaolo Pioli, who tried to censor Press articles about Sri Lanka in his previous tenure, click here for that. Also under Pioli, UNCA was used to try to censor, or censure, Inner City Press' reporting about how Ladsous was foisted on the UN, here.

  One reason the UN is in such decay is that few questions are asked, and even fewer are answered, at the UN. Here's the UN's transcript of what Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq on November 26:

Inner City Press: on the Under-Secretary-General position for OCHA, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, could describe what the process for recruitment will be in the context that many people say that at least the top three jobs are pretty much assigned by country, for Humanitarian Affairs that was John Holmes and then Amos; the US had [B. Lynn] Pascoe, now Mr. Feltman; that France has had peacekeeping four times in a row.  Is this job going to be put in The Economist?  Are you seeking candidates from any Member State that chooses to step forward, or is it essentially designated for the United Kingdom?

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  The idea that there are spots that are designated is more a popular myth than reality.  As you know, many of the positions that have been said to be earmarked for this or that country have not over time proven to be that way.  There was an idea that Political Affairs was reserved for someone from the United Kingdom.  It hasn’t been that way for quite some time.  There’s been talk of how different agencies are headed by Americans or other nationalities, for example, UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), and over time you see that hasn’t held true.  That’s the case with this position, as well.  We’re seeking applicants from every area.

Inner City Press:  Will it be like in The Economist?  Is there going to be some public process to seek candidates?

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  We are seeking candidates.  We don’t talk so much about the appointment process as it’s in procedure, but certainly it’s open to people from any region.


  We'll stay on this.
  There have been rumblings, noted by Inner City Press, of DPA chief Jeffrey Feltman leaving -- and of the US perhaps trading Political Affairs for Peacekeeping. But that theory seems to have been that US State Department Number Three Wendy Sherman would move up to William Burns' deputy spot, opening her position for the return of Feltman.

  Now that the Obama administration has put Tony Blinken into the State Department Deputy post, as one insider told ICP, “Feltman stays at the UN.”

Even without any double switch, Ladsous is under fire atop DPKO, not only for refusal to answer questions, back to rapes in Minova in DR Congo, but now in Tabit in Darfur as well. 

 Haq, like lead UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on November 26, would not when Inner City Press asked confirm receipt of a letter, critical of Ladsous' DPKO, from Darfuri groups, here
 Outgoing UN Security Council president Gary Quinlan of Australia not only confirmed receipt of the letter - he circulated it to the other Council members. A press officer of UK mission to the UN told Inner City Press, "I can confirm that we received the letter indirectly." We'll have more on this, and on Amos' work while at the UN, and perhaps reason(s) for leaving, including as, like Lansley, may related to UK politics.
  We might also suggest, if the UN under Ban is to remain so captured by Permanent Members of the Security Council, a more deserving British candidate, in connection with the April 2015 arrival of Matthew Rycroft atop the UK Mission to the UN.
  On November 25, it was Quinlan and not Amos who took question after Amos' briefing on Syria. How much will Amos speak, publicly, before her departure at the end of March? Much, is the hope and goal of the Free UN Coalition for Access. Watch this site.

 
  

On Child Soldiers, Free Syrian Army Still A Listed Recruiter, Zerrougui Tells Inner City Press, As Syria Says It Was Given A Late Invite to Meeting


By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, November 26 -- It was the day before Thanksgiving with Children and Armed Conflict in Syria was the topic of a closed door meeting in the UN's basement.
  The November 26 UN Journal listed
"Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict
15:00 to 16:00 51st meeting (closed) Conference Room 7"
   Inner City Press inquired and learned that Syria's Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari had been informed of and invited to the meeting, only at 11 am on November 26, according to him. At his request, the meeting was moved back for a half hour.
  The goal of the meeting was to adopt the conclusions of the "new" conclusions on Syria -- which according to Ja'afari cover only 2013, and thus not the Security Council's resolutions on ISIL and Al Nusra. 
  Inner City Press asked Ja'afari, when he came out of the meeting, if the previously reported recruitment of child soldiers by the Free Syrian Army remains in. No, he said. He said he objected to the conclusions being adopted.
  Why are this committee's meetings routinely closed? That is why this first part of the story is based on Ja'afari, who was willing to speak. 
 When the meeting broke up, Inner City Press asked the UN's envoy on Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui if the Free Syrian Army still recruits child soldiers. They are still listed, she replied. She explained the timing of the meeting as related to the coming January 1 changes in the Security Council -- committee chair Luxembourg is leaving the Council - and an upcoming trip to the DR Congo.
  Ja'afari complained to Inner City Press that while his government is accused of not cooperating, it invited the UN Monitoring Team to visit the site of a bombed school in Homs but they declined, citing their holidays.
  Inner City Press asked Zerrougui about this and she said she would check. Watch this site.
    Zerrougui on back July 1 took questions about her most recent report, on which Inner City Press reported on May 14, including the ten paragraphs over three pages about Syria. 
  Since then, the US Obama Administration has announced a plan for $500 million to the "vetted" Syrian opposition: presumably, the "Free Syrian Army."
  As to this Free Syrian Army the UN report states that "most children associated with the FSA-affiliated group, as young as 14 years, indicated that they had received weapons training and 4,000 to 8,000 Syrian pounds pay per month. 
   Examples are given: "a 17 year-old boy who joined the al-Murabiteen battalion of the Falloujat Houran FSA brigade in Bosra al-Sham, Dara'a Governate, reportedly received a fifteen-day weapons training in al-Lajat valley close to Bosra al-Sham."
  Also, "In June 2013, two brothers, aged 16 and 17, joined the FSA-affiliated Majd al-Islam brigade in Dara'a, where they cleaned weapons and performed security duties."
 So on July 1, Inner City Press asked Zerroughui about the FSA. She said “we put 'FSA and affilaited groups,' because some groups at not entirely under the control of the FSA, but they are not distancing themselves from the FSA.”
 Inner City Press asked Zerroughui is she'd raised this to the US. “Yes, I did with the US, I visiting Washington and raised the issue, the Child Act was discussed.” 
That's the US 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act, which provides for example:
It is the sense of Congress that— 
 (1) the United States Government should condemn the conscription, forced recruitment, or use of children by governments, paramilitaries, or other organizations; 
 (2) the United States Government should support and, to the extent practicable, lead efforts to establish and uphold international standards designed to end the abuse of human rights described in paragraph (1); 
  There are prohibitions on funding which can only be overridden for formal, public findings in a waiver by the President. Would or will that be used in this case? Watch this site.

 
  

After UNHCR Censors Western Sahara From Its Refugees Report, No Explanation, Ladsousification


By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, November 26 -- The UN's lack of transparency on Western Sahara, where is has failed to hold the referendum on independence for which it has long had a UN Peacekeeping mission, has hit a new low.
 The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees censored even the words "Western Sahara" from its revised report on Saharawi refugees. And two separate UNHCR spokespeople have not provided any explanation, two days after Inner City Press sent them:
"a Press request for UNHCR to explain why its report(s) on Saharawi refugees "Nutrition Survey, Western Sahara Refugee Camps, Tindouf, Algeria," was initially released, here, with multiple references to “Western Sahara” but was finalized and re-issued with all of those references removed. (The "revised" new version, "Nutrition Survey Saharawi Refugee Camps, Tindouf, Algeria," can be downloaded for example here.)
"Why did UNHCR do this? What were the communications between UNHCR and Morocco before this change was made? Who made this change or revision? Who is responsible for it? Is this reflective of UN system-wide policy, or only UNHCR's policy? If only UNHCR's, please state why (and under what authority or mandate, given applicable General Assembly and Security Council resolutions) UNHCR adopted this policy. On deadline."
  Two full days after this was sent to UNHCR spokespeople Christopher Reardon and Melissa Fleming, no explanation. We'll stay on this. 
  At UN headquarters while UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric still refuses to comment on the leaked cable showing UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous undermining the MINURSO mission on human rights, on November 7 Inner City Press asked Dujarric about Morocco's King's speech.  Video here.
  Inner City Press asked Dujarric about these quotes of King Mohammed VI: "Morocco’s sovereignty over its entire territory is effective, inalienable and non-negotiable... 'No' to any attempt to reconsider the principles and criteria of the negotiation process, or any attempt to revise and expand the MINURSO mandate to include such matters as the supervision of the human rights situation."
   While Ladsous' views in the cable support or even parrot this last, against a UN role in human rights despite Ban Ki-moon's supposed "Rights Up Front" plan, Dujarric on November 7 had a prepared "If-Asked" about the speech, and read:
"We’ve seen the speech. We remain committed to our work as per the mandate of the Security Council on Western Sahara and in that respect one looks forward to the speedy resumption of the negotiation process and the facilitation of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary General, Christopher Ross, as well as the deployment of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Western Sahara, Kim Bolduc, who’s also the head of the MINURSO mission there. As you know, both Mr. Ross and Ms Bolduc briefed the Council on October 27 and afterwards the Council reiterated its desire to see Mr. Ross’s facilitation resume, as well as to see Ms. Bolduc take a her duties at the helm of MINURSO as soon as possible. We look forward to Mr. Ross’s visits to the region, as well as to the deployment of Ms. Bolduc."
   Other leaked cables discuss Ms Bolduc, and Mr Ross -- we'll have more on these. Inner City Press asked Dujarric to provide by e-mail the "if-asked" text that he read; Dujarric refused, despite the fact that his Office routinely provides this service to other, presumably more friendly, correspondents. We'll have more on this as well.

   Document leaks from inside the UN have identified improper service of Morocco, on the question of Western Sahara, by a staffer at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Anders Kompass.
  Inner City Press waited to report on the leaked cable(s) - the spokesperson for the High Commissioner on November 5 said his office is aware the leaked cables, which contain the perspective of certain diplomats, and that the situation is being investigated to clarify the facts.”
  Whatever the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, now under Jordan's Prince Zeid, does about the content of the leaks, more will be required in the UN Secretariat in New York -- particularly at the top of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, which runs the MINURSO mission in Western Sahara.
  The cables show that Herve Ladsous, a long-time French diplomat now the boss of DPKO and thus of MINURSO, was flacking for Morocco on the supposed quality of its human rights mechanisms. This directly undercuts the MINURSO mission, for which Ladsous is supposed to be working.
  African Union members of the Security Council, from Uganda to South Africa to Nigeria, have demanded that MINURSO have the same type of human rights monitoring mechanism as the UN Peacekeeping missions in the DR Congo, Mali and Central African Republic. 
  Now Ladsous is exposed undermining extending this to Western Sahara -- the policy of his country, France, but undercutting DPKO.
  During General Assembly debate week in September 2014, Ladsous refused to answer Press questions and ended up blocking the Press' camera, Vine here.

  This is a scandal. And since Ladsous had refused to answer Press questions, about rapes by his mission's partners in the DRC, about DPKO bringing cholera to Haiti, about under-reporting attacks on civilians and even peacekeepers in Darfur and now Central African Republic, it is time for the question to be asked. 
Update: on November 6, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about this, video here.


  Immediately after the briefing, Inner City Press emailed Dujarric the cable it had asked about. Watch this site.

 
  

As Russia Critiques UN Security Council “Propaganda Wrangling” Session on Ukraine, Petr Iliichev to Succeed Pankin


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 26 -- The UN Security Council wrap up session that have become an expected part of each monthly President's program of work came under fire on November 26 from Russia's Ambassador Vitaly Churkin. 

  Beyond critiquing the Security Council's approach to such issues as Syria, Bosnia and Ukraine, Churkin questioned the utility of the wrap up sessions.

  He said these have become a theater for “glorifying approaches that are not effective.” As an observer, it does seem strange to have the Council's 15 members generally praising themselves and each other, rather than for example listening to the other 178 member states -- and, why not, the Observer State of Palestine. As with the spirit behind this Country - By - Country report, critique and disagreements are more illuminating than pablum.

  Churkin complained about a Russian draft Presidential Statement on the dangers of terrorists possibly using chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq being blocked at the expert level. 

  He again explained Russia's abstention on the month's Bosnia resolution, saying “it unacceptable that Bosnia and Herzegovina should be urged to join the European Union and NATO through a decision of the Security Council on the basis of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.”

  On Ukraine, Churkin said that “the meeting on November 12 was used by those that proposed it for another round of propaganda wrangling.” On November 25, Ukraine saidUN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a telephone conversation with Petro Poroshenko had “assured that the entire world supported Ukraine."

  Another Permanent Representative who spoke during the wrap up session, Mark Lyall Grant of the UK, largely praised Australia's month as Council president (Inner City Press' review is here), describing the Council's response to the reports of rape in Darfur “agile.” Others disagree, and wonder why the Council didn't “take up” the Secretary General's report on UNAMID's earlier cover ups.
  Inner City Press asked the UK Mission to confirm receipt of a letter from Darfuri groups calling for a review of the response of Herve Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping and got this in return: “I can confirm that we received the letter indirectly. In terms of contents, on alleged rape cases, the Security Council issued a press statement calling for a full investigation. The UK initiated the call for a press statement and so agree that this issue needs to be looked at.”
 Today, with Russian Deputy Permanent Representative Alexander Pankin's departure public confirmed by his farewell call on Ban Ki-moon's schedule, Inner City Press can report that Pankin's successor as Deputy Permanent Representative will be Petr Iliichev, expert in among other things African affairs. 
 These make up more than half of the Security Council's agenda, so it is appropriate -- how ever frequently or honesty the Council's work is reviewed. Watch this site.

 
  

As UN Aid Chief Valerie Amos Leaves, Inner City Press Asks If Post Is UK's Like France & Peacekeeping, US & Political Affairs


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 26 -- When the UN announced on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving the departure of Humanitarian Affairs chief Baroness Valerie Amos, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq if the vacancy will be advertised for candidates from all countries, or if it is set aside for Amos' United Kingdom.

  Amos' predecessor was UK Sir John Holmes, just as current UN Department of Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman's predecessor was American B. Lynn Pascoe, now back at the UN on the UN Peacekeeping Operations review panel. UN Peacekeeping is even more closely held, with France controlling it four times in a row, now at a nadir with Herve Ladsous.

  Haq insisted that the Humanitarian Affairs vacancy will be open to candidates from all regions. But when Inner City Press asked if it will be advertised for example in The Economist, Haq did not answer.

  There have been rumblings, noted by Inner City Press, of DPA chief Jeffrey Feltman leaving -- and of the US perhaps trading Political Affairs for Peacekeeping. But that theory seems to have been that US State Department Number Three Wendy Sherman would move up to William Burns' deputy spot, opening her position for the return of Feltman.

  Now that the Obama administration has put Tony Blinken into the State Department Deputy post, as one insider told ICP, “Feltman stays at the UN.”

Even without any double switch, Ladsous is under fire atop DPKO, not only for refusal to answer questions, back to rapes in Minova in DR Congo, but now in Tabit in Darfur as well. 

 Haq, like lead UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on November 26, would not when Inner City Press asked confirm receipt of a letter, critical of Ladsous' DPKO, from Darfuri groups, here

 Outgoing UN Security Council president Gary Quinlan of Australia not only confirmed receipt of the letter - he circulated it to the other Council members. A press officer of UK mission to the UN tells Inner City Press, "I can confirm that we received the letter indirectly." We'll have more on this, and on Amos' work while at the UN, and perhaps reason(s) for leaving.

  On November 25, it was Quinlan and not Amos who took question after Amos' briefing on Syria. How much will Amos speak, publicly, before her departure at the end of March? Much, is the hope and goal of the Free UN Coalition for Access. Watch this site.

 
  

Australia's SC Month Has 7 Stakeouts, Darfur to December With Afghanistan, Syria Aid


By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, November 26 -- When Australian Ambassador Gary Quinlan began his second and last Presidency of the UN Security Council, he said he it was his plan to hold question and answer media stakeouts after Council closed-door consultation.
  November began with a flurry of such stakeouts: November 4, 12 minutes; two on November 5, of nine and 11 minutes; November 10, a full twenty minutes; andNovember 12, four minutes.
Then things fell off a bit, with nothing between a three minute “quickie” on November 18 and an appreciated 19 session, ranging from Syria to Darfur, on November 25, the evening of Australia's End of Presidency reception.
Quinlan's total of seven stakeouts, according to the UN Television website, equals that of Argentina, tops South Korea's three, but is dwarfed for example by fellow Commonwealth member United Kingdom's month of 17 stakeouts.
It has been pointed out to the Free UN Coalition for Access that the number of stakeouts it not entirely up to the Presidency, but rather depends on the news of the month. 
 While true, each Press Statement offers the chance to read the statement out on camera -- in which medium it is presumably more effective, unlike a Press Statement on Darfur rapes which the UN Spokesperson's office never emailed out -- to take questions.
In terms of substance, several issues seemed to slip past November into December -- the program of work of which, as Inner City Press reported with redactions to protect privacy, the Australian mission mistakenly emailed to other Council members with an ill-conceived comment about the Chadians, president for December, (not) understanding Christmas. 
  We all make mistakes, and the Australian mission and Quinlan himself quickly owned up to it, setting them apart from some other Council powers.
  Two Darfur issues, for example, bounced around but are ultimately slipping over into Chad's month: Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's report into allegation of cover-up in the UNAMID mission, and UNAMID's related November 9 whitewash of rapes, and community-military relations, in Tabit. 
  Quinlan to his credit circulated to all other Council members a petition from Darfur groups on this topic (click here for that), and twice said that on the cover-up report, the question is finding the right briefer(s). We'll see.
  Quinlan presided, not without humor, over the head-banging exercise of repeated votes with the same results on candidates for judgeship at the International Court of Justice; he covered Ebola in public, and Burkina Faso behind closed doors.
  Australia is interested, along with Luxembourg which like Australia leaves the Council on December 31, and Jordan which does not, in getting a new resolution on humanitarian access in Syria. Australia as pen-holder on Afghanistan also wants a resolution on new security arrangements, which we hear might be more problematic than anticipated. But we'll leave such clashes for another day, or article.
  At Australia's End of Presidency reception on November 25, a classical guitarist played, UN officials, journalists and diplomats mingled, including a recently re-appeared correspondent and the diplomat he rented out of his apartments to. This is mentioned, like the Free UN Coalition for Access push for stakeouts, including byreclusive Under Secretaries General, as a matter of press access and against censorship. That too is a fight for another day, or hour. Watch this site.

 
  

After Mike Brown Impunity in Ferguson, March on UN & Times Square, All Lives Matter


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 25 -- The day after St. Louis Country prosecutor Bob McCulloch blandly read out a justification of the non-indictment of Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on November 25 in New York a protest march came by the United Nations, taking over First Avenue with non-violent chants of "Hands up, don't shoot!"

  The UN locked its gates, and New York City sent Corrections Department busses to park in front of the UN compound. Inner City Press joined the march, headed to Times Square.

  In Times Square, amid the neon glitz, there were chants of "we do this for Mike Brown" and light-up signs for Justice. Seventh Avenue was shut down, peacefully. "All Lives Matter" -- video here. But where is it headed?



  Back on November 24, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric if the UN or Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have any comment (not this evening) and about limitations on the distribution of the UN's report on US torture and police brutality.

  Mike Brown's parents went to Geneva to testify at the UN review of the US' record on torture and police brutality. The results of the review are due on November 28, but will only be given in advance to media accredited at the UN in Geneva, UNOG. As noted, the Free UN Coalition for Access opposes that limitation on non-corporate media, and requested comment on the non-indictment from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
  Inner City Press asked:
"This is a request for comment on the non-indictment for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Separately but relatedly, this is request on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access that the planned restriction of the embargoed release of the UN's review of the US' record on torture and police brutality to media at UN Geneva. Media accredited here at the UN Headquarters should have the same rights, unless the UN is choosing to favor corporate / multinational media. The request for comment should be responded to asap; the request for equal treatment on embargoed copy should be addressed before November 27, given the November 28 public release."
  Dujarric to his credit replied quickly; he declined comment for the evening, and argued:
"Dear Matthew,  On your first question, I will not have a comment this evening.  On your second, this is the purview of my colleagues in Geneva. To your point about corporate media, I think you misjudge the press corps in Geneva which is as diverse as the press corps in NY. In fact, there are probably more freelancers in Geneva than in New York."
  Inner City Press, for FUNCA, has clarified:
"The point is, there is as much or more interest by US-based media in the report on US torture and police brutality as by media based in Geneva. But US-based media that have reporters based in UNOG are larger, more corporate media. So that particular embargoed report should be released to all UN system accredited media, not only those with reporters based at UNOG. (FUNCA says that should go the other way, too -- embargoed UN reports should be be restricted to NY / UNHQ based media either.) Will appreciate a decision on this asap, given the November 28 release and, for example, tonight's Mike Brown killing non-indictment, on which comment is still sought."
  Dujarric did not responded to that, but on November 25 he said " for the Secretary-General, his thoughts right now are with Michael Brown's family and with the Ferguson community.  I think he appeals to all of those in Ferguson and throughout the United States who felt disappointment at the grand jury's decision to make their voices heard peacefully and to refrain from any violence.  He also calls on the US authorities, on law enforcement authorities, whether at the federal, state or at the local level, to protect the rights of people to demonstrate peacefully and to express their opinions peacefully.  And he echoes the appeals made by Michael Brown's parents to turn this difficult time into a positive moment for change."
   FUNCA has spoken up to Turkish media, for example, on an attack on Turkish media in Ferguson. Back on August 13,  Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the killing and crackdown. Video here.
  Dujarric began by saying that Ban and the UN have "no particular comment," then added that "as in all cases, the right to demonstrate peacefully needs to be respected, and investigations need to be conducted." Okay, then.

  There have been reports mentioned the financial institutions in the area, including nationwide lenders Bank of AmericaUS Bank and Fifth Third.
  Inner City Press and Fair Finance Watch reviewed the demographics of mortgage lending by these three in the area in the most recent year for which data is publicly available, 2012.
   In the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area in 2012, Bank of America denied the conventional home purchase mortgage applications of African Americans 1.81 times more frequently then those of whites.

  Fair Finance Watch has previously objected to US Bank's stealth branch closings, including in Chicago, here and here. The US Community Reinvestment Act requires banks to lend fairly in all of their communities, but is not sufficiently enforced, FFW has shown.
For US Bank, the disparities was 1.6 to 1; for Fifth Third Mortgage, that company's lender, it was a whopping 4.95 to 1: African American applicants were denied 4.95 times more frequently than whites, worse that the aggregate (all lenders). 
  Troublingly, for all lenders Latinos were denied 3.1 times more frequently than than whites. So where is the US headed? And why has the UN had nothing to say so far? Watch this site.