UN, Council Moves But Medical Files and Union Left Behind by Master Plan
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 29 -- While the UN Capital Master Plan lurches
forward, some are left behind. On fifth floor of the Secretariat
building last week, the hallway was full of rolling carts of medical
Weeks ago, the UN Medical Service,
embroiled in a scandal of
doctors without U.S. licensed signing out controlled substances to
themselves, moved out to Second Avenue and 42nd Street, "above
the liquor store," as it's known.
the contractor had made the shelves for medical records too small. So
so the records stayed in an office empty but for the X-ray unit. This
apparently can't be moved "above the liquor store." It will
be buried in the UN's third sub-basement.
on the fifth floor, the UN Staff Union hasn't even been told where
they will finally move to. They were offered a minuscule space in the
Alcoa Building on 48th Street; this offer may have been withdrawn.
This despite a blustery
ultimatum from the Capital Master Plan, that
if journalists don't relinquish their offices on the fourth floor by
March 31, their files will be thrown out. If the Staff Union one
floor above is any indication, the April 1 deadline is false. We
In terms of the forced move of UN
correspondents to cubicles that initially
came equipped with security cameras above them monitored by the UN --
the "no whistleblower zone," Inner City Press dubbed it -- now the
UN wants to begin charging even for an inside-the-UN phone.
Since these allow correspondents to
call and cover the UN's work in the field, from Congo to Timor Leste,
one wonders if it's smart. But this UN must know what it's doing,
monitoring and making things more difficult for independent journalists.
As new Security Council was built- now finished,
journalists not shown
Secretariat, Staff Union officials complain, has been trying to
divide and conquer. While two officials have been released from day
to day UN work to perform Union functions, the second vice president
remains employed in the forestry unit of the Department of Economic
and Social Affairs. She wants and applies for promotions, setting up
a conflict of interest in her Union work.
indicate that she came into UN service "through the back door,"
seconded by Brazil and then somehow "regularized." She has
accused Union president Steven Kisambira of being an emperor; he has
responded by putting on a emperor-like hat. And so it goes at the UN.
to give credit where credit is due, for the move of the Security
Council down to the old Conference Room 4 in the General Assembly
building basement, work went on over the weekend. By Monday morning,
if for example the Council wanted to meet about the subway bombings
in Moscow, they could.
visit Monday morning by Inner City Press found that the flags were
set up where the Vienna Cafe used to be. The consultations room was
in old Conference Room 5. And the horseshoe table was in place,
raised the mezzanine cheap seats, with a replica painting behind.
busted a nut," a CMP official said. Why not for those left
behind in the Secretariat? And how is the Council going to act when
the UN's Security Council Affairs has been relegated out to Third
Avenue in the so called Teachers Building of TIAA-CREF? There appears
to be dissension in that office. Watch this site.
* * *
Installs Cameras to Film Reporters' New Offices, No Whistleblower Zone
Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
NATIONS, December 14, updated
-- As UN correspondents were moved over the
weekend to smaller offices without floor to ceiling walls, the UN's
lack of respect or understanding for independent media became clear.
Directly above the journalists' cubicles, Inner City Press discovered
a spherical black security camera. Even investigative journalists
meeting with UN whistleblowers would be filmed under this
correspondent, when Inner City Press pointed out the camera, called
it "creepy." Another asked how it is different than the UN
bugging journalists' telephone conversations or reading their mail.
UN 360 degree security camera over journalists' cubicles
in charge of
the relocation space for the media during the UN's Capital Master
Plan renovation have problematic relations with independent media.
chief Michael Adlerstein, for example, demanded of the Press "did
you make a mistake" regarding reporting of a death at the UN,
and asked "how should you be punished?" He has also barred the Press
from his Town Hall meetings about the CMP.
head of the
Department of Management, Angela Kane, convened and summarized a
meeting in May 2009 at which the UN's top legal officer, spokesperson
and speech writer strategized
on legal threats against three
publications, including this one, which they sought to be removed
from the Google News data base.
At UN, a new swing space, surveillance camera not shown
correspondent has confirmed, with documents leaked from within the UN
Department of Political Affairs, the UN system including the UN
Development Program pays and controls many of the journalists which
monitor and film in their offices the journalists who are trying to
hold the UN accountable to member states and the public is a new low.
Watch this site.
wonders, too, if this means that Ambassadors and other diplomats will
also be surveilled.
a UN official with responsibility over the swing space into which UN
correspondents are being moved has argued to Inner City Press that
the cameras are only there to film the doorways, to see who enters.
But they are round and film 360 degrees. Watch this site.
II: one of the surveillance cameras has been moved, after a threat to
cover it with paper or disable it. But if one has thus been moved,
shouldn't all be moved or removed? Watch this site.