Ban Ki-moon Plans Quick Unveiling of Flotilla Panel Win, With N.Zealand
Sources Say, An End to Leaks?
Russell Lee, Exclusive
July 31 -- While Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's meeting with UN
General Ban Ki-moon on July 30 was shrouded in secrecy, afterward UN
diplomats bragged about their boss' “win.”
has agreed to Ban's -- or really the Security Council's -- idea of a
independent panel about the assault on the Gaza flotilla. They said
that while the UN's cursory Friday evening read out didn't say it,
the unveiling of Ban's “win” would take place next week.
who spoke to
Ban later on Friday night said the announcement will be Sunday
evening, and that the chair of the panel will be from New Zealand, with
other members from Israel and Turkey.
typically, sees this development in the context of Ban's
travails triggered by the leaked End of Assignment memo by Inga Britt
Ahlenius, until then the UN's chief of the Office of Internal
Oversight Services. Trying to combat the memo's critique, including
of Ban's diplomatic skills, Ban has deployed first his chief of
staff, then his chief of Management, without much impact.
unveil a diplomatic win, just before Ban travels for the week to
Hiroshima in Japan, seems to Team Ban a true turning of the corner.
UN's Ban and Barak back in June, OIOS memo, leak and
"win" not shown
administration sources, in Ban's closed door selective briefing to
some Japanese reporters to hype up his trip, Ban asked for “East
Asian solidarity” in fighting leaks and attacks on his image.
complained he was particularly offended by Ahlenius' critique since
he had thrown her a retirement party and invited her into his home.
It's an Asian thing, he in essence said, this simply isn't done.
What, leaking? Whistleblowing? Criticizing one's boss?
* * *
Merely Being There Enough, with Ban Under Fire for a 2d Term?
26 -- What has Ban Ki-moon accomplished as UN Secretary
General in Myanmar and Sudan, Inner City Press asked his spokesman
Monday, for the fourth day in a week.
“His record is
clear,” Spokesman Martin Nesirky replied. “From standing in front
of a still burning warehouse in Gaza, to visiting Haiti five days
after the earthquake, to visiting Darfur refugee camps... he has
achieved a huge amount.” Video here,
achievements listed were only “being there” -- celebrities have
traveled to Haiti, and to refugee camps in Darfur and elsewhere.
reports on the UN's performance in Sudan are largely negative. Rubble
still fills Haiti's streets. And even the Goldstone response is late,
due to failure to translate. Myanmar, telling, was not even mentioned.
Is being there enough?
Administration's -- if not yet Ban Ki-moon's -- response to the
criticism being heaped upon his tenure, Inner City Press asked
Nesirky when he made a piece by a heretofore big UN supporter, “Good
Night, Ban Ki-moon.”
“We don't need
to comment on every piece,” Nesirky said, calling that piece a
“rehash.. a lot of what is in the piece has been seen before.” A
lot by not all: the piece mentions inaction on Sri Lanka:
peacekeeping official pointed out that Ban had insisted on
behind-the-scenes diplomacy in Sri Lanka even as the government was
killing thousands of civilians in its campaign to erase the brutal
insurgency of the Tamil Tigers: "We're doing everything we can
to avoid saying anything at all about it. That's been our line on
practically everything. The SG is clear that his final consideration
is going to be the political costs of whether he should or shouldn't
speak." That's a very real calculation every secretary-general
must make. But, he added, "There's no sense that the
deliberations include, 'What should we do?'"”
after saying he would name a panel of experts on war crimes in Sri
Lanka, then delaying 90 days, has gone out of his way to limit the
scope of the panel to providing advice on “models of
accountability” to himself and the Rajapaksa government, if they
want it. The Rajapaksas have said they will deny visas to the group;
Ban through Nesirky has repeated declined to comment on the refusal
UN's Ban on plane: he was there, cracked
windshield and direct responses not shown
fight is Ban's decision to bypass South African and other developing
world candidates to nominate a Canadian, Carman Lapoint-Young, as the
new head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services. Inner City
Press, which reported
exclusively on the move on the night of July
23, asked Nesirky for Ban's response to developing world countries
who say the post was meant for their regions.
declined comment, except to say there is “very strong, overwhelming
support” for the nominee. Sort of like the overwhelming support for
a second term?
is time for Ban
Ki-moon to speak for himself on this controversy -- time for him to
“be there,” as it were. He will appear before the press Monday at
5:30. Before his appearance Friday at a reception for the press,
Inner City Press was repeatedly told not to ask about the
controversy, not to “hijack” the event. That cannot similarly be
asked on Monday evening. Watch this site.