Spokesman for "Transparent" Ban Ki-moon Typifies UN
January 21 -- While UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon runs
for a second term claiming
transparency and good government, he is
represented by a spokesman who on Friday refused to answer questions
after being asked about the applicability of a UN
Press asked a question about the UN seeming cover-up of killings in
Darfur, Spokesman Martin Nesirky stood up and left the briefing room,
saying “I will take questions from you when you behave in an
interchange earlier in the briefing had Inner City Press asking how UN
Staff Regulation 1.2, prohibiting staff from public statements
underlying impartiality applied to UN official (and Ban Ki-moon
favorite) Michelle Montas going on CNN to say she would sue Baby Doc
Inner City Press has asked Nesirky what rule applied to Montas'
actions. Nesirky did not
provide any rule then, nor the next day.
City Press was
approached by outraged UN staff, who called Nesirky “the worst
spokesperson the UN has ever had,” and provided the applicable rule.
They also provided a precedent from last decade, when Doctor Andrew
was fired under this rule for making public UN peacekeepers' sexual
abuse of those they were charged to protect.
Inner City Press asked Nesirky about the rule, and intended to ask
about the Thompson precedent. But Nesirky said, “I don't want to
talk about it further.” Video here,
from Minute 18:30.
briefing, Inner City Press had asked why the UN has said nothing
about Sudan's Omar al Bashir's government blocking the printing of a
newspaper directed at Southern Sudan, after they published articles
about the secession referendum. Video here
from Minute 16.
Rules question, despite having said he would take Inner City Press'
question about Ban Ki-moon's humanitarian coordinator for Sudan Georg
Charpentier's claims that the thousands of violent deaths in Darfur
in the last 12 months were not the al Bashir government's fault,
Nesirky refused to take the question.
stood up to leave.
Asked why, he said “I will take questions from you when you behave
in an appropriate manner.”
paid to answer questions. It is particularly strange that the
spokesperson for a Secretary General claiming transparency and good
government would simply refuse to answer about the applicability of a
rule to a public UN action.
retaliate against the media
asking the question about rule and refuse to take any question,
including about a UN mission for which the UN charges its member
states $1 billion a year is outrageous.
Ki-moon's UN, will a UN official who on camera refuses to do his job,
explicitly retaliating against a question about Ban
administration lawlessness suffer any
Ban Ki-moon & Nesirky, refused questions about
Darfur & Sri Lanka not shown
would fire such an individual, including it seems the
UN-affiliated International Monetary Fund. Inner City Press currently
also covers the IMF, for example getting three
questions answered on
January 20 with no acrimony, retaliation or lack of
But in Ban's UN, officials like Nesirky are permitted lawless
behavior that would not be allowed anywhere else.
has publicly yelled at Inner City Press, “It is my briefing! I run
it how I chose!” For the week at the end of 2010, for which he was
being paid, Nesirky left question after question unanswered.
month, Inner City Press asked Nesirky for Ban's response to a New
York Times article about bloat, overlap and waste in Ban's UN.
Nesirky replied that since Ban was holding a press conference on
January 14, Inner City Press could ask him then. But Nesirky did not
allow Inner City Press to ask any question on January 14. Afterward,
Inner City Press assessed the lack of transparency in Ban's UN for
Swedish television, here.
Nesirky said he would get an answer about Ban's staff's involvement
in war crimes described in the New Yorker magazine - but has not
provided any answers. Many UN correspondents have said he should not
remain in the job. And yet he does, representing Ban Ki-moon and a UN
that is, particularly on this front, in dramatic decay. Watch this
* * *
Dodges on 2d Term, Claims a Transparency Not Seen at UN
14 -- With expectations he'd confirm he'll seek a
second term, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held a press conference
in New York on Friday. He began by focusing on three issue, not
mentioning the critiques of the UN on any of them.
Haiti, but not the allegation that UN peacekeepers brought cholera to
the island and then covered it up. He has been asked to remove the UN
immunity of a UN staffer there for a murder inquiry, but his
spokesman Martin Nesirky has refused to address Ban Ki-moon's
Cote d'Ivoire, but not that UN peacekeepers under the command of his
close ally Choi Young-jin in fact turned tail and retreated leaving a
neighborhood of supporters of Alassane Ouattara to be attacked by
forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo. All Ban would say is that those who
comment attacks will “face accountability.”
Sudan and Darfur,
did not address the the UN Mission there this
week provided free transportation and logistics help to an indicted
war criminal, Ahmed Haroun. What was that about accountability?
points, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky presided over a question
period in which issues like the Middle East, North Korea and Ban's own
a month ago about his Panel of Experts being able to do work in Sri
Lanka were not present or allowed. As the frustration against Ban and
Nesirky grew in the room, some journalists started shouting out
about the corruption and lack of transparency in the Ban
administration alleged by former top UN investigator Inga Britt
notes, claimed that 99% of his officials now make public financial
disclosure on the UN's web site. This figure is not true. Many
officials simply file a one page form that they refuse to make any
such as Alexander Downer who simultaneously works for a business
consultancy Bespoke Approach, don't make financial disclosures.
genocide Francis Deng is allowed, on UN time, to work on private book
projects. He owns property, allegedly in the Sudanese region impacted
by the referenda and stalled popular consultations. But his “public
financial disclosure” doesn't even state what state of Sudan his
property is in, nor how much it is worth. On UN time Deng writes
books about Sudan and the referendum, but the UN refuses to say that
the contents are attributable to the UN.
weeks in Ban's Spokesperson's Office. Spokesman Martin Nesirky says
proudly that that are questions that he simply will never answer,
without even explaining why. This is not transparency.