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As UN Silent on Malawi & Congo, Ban-Lib Syria Statement Laundered by Wires

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 6 -- On a day when the UN in New York was closed and essentially did nothing, including not answering questions about the death of the president of Malawi and a mutiny in Eastern Congo where it has a peacekeeping mission, 7 pm Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky sent an e-mail.

  It conveyed a canned quote from Ban Ki-moon, a seeming cut and paste statement that might have been issued yesterday, or last week, or from Washington, or Paris. It seemed perfunctory -- but soon it appeared, in full and with no added analysis or context, on the Reuters newswire.

  AFP issued a longer story, but the additional length was only Ban Ki-moon's quotes from the day before, combined with more quotes from Nesirky. This is what these professional journalists call having two source -- i.e., "confirmation."

  The problem with this is that it gives the impression that something is being done when it is not. Even the most passionately anti-Assad activist is ill-served by this type of cut and paste stenography, or quote laundering. But this is what happened on Good Friday, as on so many other days.

  And here are two questions which Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Nesirky has neither answered nor even confirmed receipt of, on actual new topics on which the UN is supposed to have something to say, not least because it spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year in the Congo with a peacekeeping mission more robust than it wants to send to Syria:

What is the UN / MONUSCO doing about the reported fighting in the Eastern DRC involving fighters aligned with Bosco Ntaganda? What is the UN doing about Ntaganda?

Can the UN confirm, and does the S-G have any comment on, the reported death of the president of Malawi?

  After 15 hours, no answer. As the fairytale says, the Emperor has no clothes. Watch this site.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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