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

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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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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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