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

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On Sri Lanka, Ban Hasn't Begun Review of UN Acts, Ranil on July 5

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 1 -- It was April when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was accepting one recommendation of Panel of Experts he belated appointed into war crimes in Sri Lanka, that the UN review its own actions in the final stages of the conflict.

  The UN actions include leaving Kilinochchi, not releasing casualty figures, and having Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar pass assurances that international law would be complied with to surrenderees, who were then killed.

  Now that is July, Inner City Press on Friday asked Ban's acting deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq, yes or no, if this review committed to in April has begun.

It has not. The response is still that other UN agencies are being consulted to figure out the “modalities” and “how to go about it.” That's already more than two months of delay, even to begin.

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

Inner City Press asked asked for confirmation of what it reported the previous day: that on July 5, Ranil Wickremesinghe will meet with Ban Ki-moon. Yes, Haq said, that meeting will happen. There should be a photo op, as there was when Ban met Shavendra Silva. Watch this site.

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On Sri Lanka, Ban Won't Push to Get UN Heyns In, Have Been Given Killing Fields, Will Watch if Has Time, Ranil on July 5?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 30 -- Despite UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's statements that he is “checking every day” to see if the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka has deigned to respond to the UN Panel of Experts report documenting war crimes, there is very little follow-through.

  On June 30 Inner City Press asked Ban's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq if Ban has done anything about Sri Lanka blocking the visit requested by UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executing Christof Heyns, who has said “I have asked to visit Sri Lanka, but this has so far been denied.”

  Haq couldn't not say anything that Ban has done or even tried to do in this regard, instead “referring” the questions to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

  Heyns authenticated video used in the Killing Fields documentary, saying that the “video that I have examined in detail shows textbook examples of extrajudicial killings -- naked, blindfolded people whose hands are tied, are being shot through the head by people in military uniform. They speak Sinhalese. This clearly raises major concerns that cannot be ignored by someone tasked to investigate arbitrary executions.”

  For more than two weeks Inner City Press has asked Ban's spokespeople if he has taken the time to see the Killing Fields video.

 The first answer was that he was traveling.

  On June 30 when Inner City Press asked, Haq replied that “we have actually shared the video with the Secretary General. When he has time, we expect that he'll see it.”

  Inner City Press is told that Team Ban will meet on July 5 with Sri Lanka's Ranil Wickremesinghe. Might Ban have finally “found time” to see the Killing Fields by then? Watch this site.

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As Ban's Spokesman Blames UN Radio for Question, Other Answers Not Public

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 22 -- Just after Ban Ki-moon won his one-candidate race for five more years as UN Secretary General, when he came to the General Assembly stakeout on June 21 his final question was given to the UN's own in-house radio station.

  The question was, “hi Secretary-General, it is nice to see you again. How do you feel on this historic day and what is the message you have to the young people of the world?”

   Ban smiled and gave his longest answer at the stakeout, transcribed and put online by the UN.

  The next Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky, “at that press encounter yesterday, it seemed that the question was granted by yourself to UN Radio, which is owned by the UN, so it’s sort of an in-house station. Is that generally accepted?”

  Nesirky, prepared for the question, said that “No, it is not generally accepted, and it shouldn’t have happened. And UN Radio staff have been reminded of what the rules are. The rules are quite clear: it is for people with press badges to ask questions.”

  Some wondered about blaming the hapless UN Radio reporter, when it was Ban's spokesman who for whatever reason devoted the last question to her, and has left the seemingly scripted answer online.

  Later on June 22 this problem was addressed by Ban taking, but the UN apparently not transcribing, by-invitation only questions, about Kashmir, Japanese engineers to South Sudan and as reported, Syria.

Ban was asked, perhaps as wishful thinking, about “speculation in Korea that you are a potential candidate for the President. Are you going to run for the presidency of the country?”

  Twenty hours later, unlike his stage-managed stakeout including the child question from UN Radio, this Ban Q&A has not been transcribed and put online by the UN, even in its “off the cuff” section. To some this appeared to be a new media strategy, implemented on the first two days of Ban's new term:

Take public questions from the UN's own media and put the answers online; take questions in private from hand-selected journalists and don't put any transcript online. 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.

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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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