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UN Won't Confirm Nambiar Present At Sri Lanka Meeting, Hasn't Sent Report

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 7 -- The UN on Thursday confirmed that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “discussed the report of the Panel of Experts on accountability in Sri Lanka in his meeting on Tuesday with Ranil Wikremesinghe” -- but refused to say if Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, involved in the so called White Flag killings of surrenderees in Sri Lanka in May 2009, was present at the meeting.

  “We don’t have to give lists of all the senior officials who were present at different meetings,” Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told Inner City Press. “That’s not what we do.”

  But even in the past two weeks, the UN allowed independent media including Inner City Press to observe and photograph the beginning of the meeting of Ban and his aides with Israel's opposition leader Tzipi Livni.

  Yet when Sri Lanka opposition leader Ranil Wikremesinghe came, despite a timely request Inner City Press and all independent media were barred from even the beginning of the meeting.

  Only for that reason is it unclear if Nambiar, and Ban's top lawyer Patricia O'Brien who like Nambiar has rejected repeated previous requests to brief the press, attended the meeting with Ranil at which war crimes were discussed.

  The context is that Ban Ki-moon has not even transmitted his Panel of Experts report on Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Ban & M. Rajapaksa Sept 2010, Killing Fields and UN review not shown

 Haq on July 7 said, “Regarding any onward transmission to other bodies, the Secretary-General is considering next steps, and if and when we have further course of action to announce, we will announce it at that point.”

  Why would Ban and his spokesperson's office apply a double standard and not allow even independent photographs of Ban's -- and Nambiar's? -- meeting with Sri Lankan figures while allowing such photos of meetings with other countries' opposition leaders, and why has Ban not even transmitted his report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva? We'll have more on this.

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In Ban's UN, Press Barred from Photo Op with Sri Lanka Opposition Leader

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 5 -- That UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “runs scared,” as one of his staffers puts it, more on Sri Lanka than other countries was again on display, but not to be photographed,  on July 5. Ban was to meet with Ranil Wickremesinghe, described in Ban's schedule as “Leader of the Opposition.”

But when Inner City Press asked to attend the photo opportunity at the beginning of Ban's meeting with Ranil, the double standards began.

  Only last week, with “Leader of the Opposition” of Israel Tzipi Livni met with Ban, Inner City Press was allowed to go to the photo op, observing the banter between Ban and the Israeli delegation.

  At the July 5 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: there is this meeting till this afternoon with the opposition leader; I wanted to know, actually I wanted to know whether it is possible if there is going to be any kind of photo op for even the Sri Lankan delegates or UN Photo? And I also wanted to know, just sort of yes or no, if the Secretary-General has now seen the Channel 4 documentary Killing Fields depicting war crimes and somewhat critical of the UN’s…?

Spokesperson Nesirky: On the first, UN Photo will certainly be there, and I know that you’ve already requested to the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit [MALU]whether you can be present. And I am checking on that. And as for the other, as I think you already heard from Farhan in the last few days, a copy of the film, the documentary has been given to the Secretary-General. I don’t know whether he has had the time to see it yet. But as I have told you before as well, he has been fully briefed on its contents.

Shortly after this noon briefing exchange, Inner City Press was informed by MALU that it could not attend the photo op. While Nesirky told MALU he would ask UN Photo to put the Ban and Ranil photo online shortly after the meeting, as of 7 pm on Tuesday the photo was not up -- unlike the UN's own Livni - Ban photo.

Ban & Israel "Opposition Leader" Livni June 29, Ranil July 5 not shown

Inner City Press waited downstairs from the meeting. Ranil and his escort, Deputy Permanent Representative Shavendra Silva, never walked through any public area of the UN. Instead, going up at 3:30 pm were Ban's top lawyer (who refuses to speak with the press) Patricia O'Brien and the UN staffer who accepted a Tamil petition earlier this year then asked that his name not be published.

What is wrong with Team Ban on the Sri Lanka issue? Ban's chief of staff was involved in the so-called White Flag killings of surrenderees. Does that explain it? Or is there more? Watch this site.

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Sri Lanka & UN's Ban, Photos Not Allowed, Killing Fields Not Seen?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 5 -- Last week Ban Ki-moon's acting deputy spokesman told Inner City Press that Ban had been given a copy of the “Killing Fields” documentary showing war crimes in Sri Lanka and would see if when he had time. It was also confirmed that on July 5 Ban would meet with Sri Lankan politician Ranil Wickremesinghe.

When July 5 arrived, this meeting was listed at 3:30 pm. Inner City Press asked, just to confirm, that it would be allowed to take photographs at the beginning, as happens as such meetings, not only by UN Photo and delegations but also independent media.

Inner City Press was told to wait and see. At the day's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky if there would be such a photo op. He said, you have asked earlier, we do not yet know.

On whether Ban had taken the time to see the “Killing Fields,” Nesirky reiterated that Ban has been given a copy, but said he doesn't know if Ban has seen it. Ban's schedule lists another a trip later on Monday, to Spain.

After the noon briefing, Inner City Press was informed that it would not be allowed to photograph Ban's meeting with Ranil. It would be photographed by the UN itself, “for archival purposes.” It was said that an attempt will be made to make the UN's own photo available; then it was said that this is not done. A blackout of independent media, then. We'll see.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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