Talk from Ban & Spokesman, No Sudan, No Sri Lanka or Congo
September 13 -- Ban Ki-moon and his team, trying to
manipulate the media, will attempt to use the upcoming UN General
Debate to nail down a second term for “Mister Ban,” UN sources
observing Ban's recent behavior say.
On Monday, Ban and
his spokesman Martin Nesirky chose and answered questions, none of
them on such topics as the UN's inaction in Darfur, Myanmar, on the
rapes in the Congo, or corruption and dissension in Ban's own
positioned himself a something of a spiritual guru, opining on the
state of relations between Muslims and the West, telling the media
not to cover planned Koran burnings, which Ban said “cannot be
But these are
issues over which the UN, and Ban in particular, have no power at
all. What about Sudan, where despite two $1 billion peacekeeping
missions, Darfurians are slaughtered without the UN coming to their
aid before they get permission from Khartoum?
How about Eastern
Congo, where hundreds of women were raped within short distances of
UN Peacekeepers? Ban's envoy to the Congo, Roger Meece, blatantly
misspoke to the UN press corps, saying that the first his Mission
heard of the rapes was August 12. Disproved by a July 30 e-mail sent
out by the UN, there has been no retraction, much less
The only vaguely
pointed question Nesirky accepted for Ban on Monday concerned a
drunken toast by the director of DESU, Sha Zu Kang. “He has
apologized,” Ban said smugly. “Let us move on.”
But what about the
critique of Inga Britt Ahlenius? No questions on that, none of the
promised follow up briefing. At Ban's last press conference, he said
that the Ahlenius critiques, of corruption and weak leadership, were
“too small,” and would be the subject of a separate briefing -
which has yet to occur.
An issue which
seems to have entirely fallen off the table, with the Ban
administration's push, is the panel of experts on the war crimes in
Sri Lanka. Ban announced his panel in March, but its work -- and four
month time clock -- has yet to begin. No questions on that, no
answers: issue disappeared.
UN's Ban and Spokesman, Qs or As on Sudan, Sri
Lanka, corruption not shown
Ban's trip to
Rwanda is now viewed as an attempt to keep the issue of genocide in
the Congo under wraps until after the General Debate, at which Ban
will attempt to be omni-present in a highly controlled way, with
critique questions screened out by Nesirky.
Likewise, the top post in UN Women will be used
in this way, sources say: either Michelle Bachelet to ward off a
challenge for Ban's second term, or less likely now Rwanda's foreign
minister, in an attempt to forestall untimely hypocrisy criticism from
Rwanda. So it goes in Ban Ki-moon's UN.
loudly proclaimed that as to UN briefing there “are no rules, it is
my briefing,” may now say that he was attempting to spread
questions around. But given the UN's spending and responsibility in
Sudan, once no questions on the topic were asked, it was Nesirky's
job to allow such questions. He pointedly did not. Watch this site.
* * *
Being There Enough, with Ban Under Fire for a 2d Term?
-- 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?
-- 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.
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.