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ICP Asks Evo Morales About UNGASS, Billionaire Buying Ban's UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 21 -- When Bolivia's President Evo Morales came to New York for the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the World Drug Problem or UNGASS on April 21, Inner City Press asked him about the closed manner in which the UNGASS document was negotiated, and about UN corruption.

  Morales began his answer by raising up two green coca leaves, saying that he chews them, as does his vice president and cabinet. How is the US to unilaterally declare things legal and illegal, he asked, while leaving the financiers of crime opaque?

 On that, Inner City Press asked about the billionaire Ng Lap Seng who bought his way into the UN, including through the Global Sustainability Foundation and Cristina Gallach's Department of Public Information and South South News and the UN Correspondents Association.

Morales said he read about the scandal "in the media" - which was more than the UN's Public Administration experts Inner City Press questioned the previous hour could say. He ended with a story about running for President with just a backpack against a corporate opponent with a whole entourage.

  In the next hour Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric why it had been ousted and evicted by the UN for covering corruption, while South South News, with its President (pleaded guilty) and Vice President charged with bribery still has its UN office. Does this mean that the UN only gives due process to those with money?

 Dujarric replied, "You have been afforded quite a lot of courtesies." We'll have more on this.

(UNCA, which previously demanded the first question from Morales even when he wanted to give it to another, this year didn't even show up.)

  Back on April 19, Inner City Press asked UNODC's Yury Fedotov why lower income civil society was, like harm reduction, excluded. Video here.

  Specifically, Inner City Press asked about confining the already restrictive drafting process to expensive cities like Vienna and New York, and Geneva. Fedotov's reply mentioned New York, but not Nairobi, for example. He said while the phrase harm reduction is not in, the concept it.

  That's not what's being said just outside the UN on 47th Street, nor in the literature being handed out across from the UN. There, groups complained that UN guards confiscated their materials, which Inner City Press finds not hard to believe, given how it was evicted from the UN on April 16, video here and here.

  Some claimed the banning of pamphlets was a misunderstanding. But Ban's and Cristina Gallach's ouster and eviction of Inner City Press was no misunderstanding: it was premeditated, and retaliatory.

Amid the Panama Papers and UN bribery scandals, now linked, Inner City Press went to the April 18 press conference of the Civil Society Organization, Financing for Development (FfD) Group.

 There, while the group's "Tax Body" globe mascot stood on stage, photo here, a UN staffer who participated in the eviction of Inner City Press' longtime UN office on April 16 (video here and here; petition here) came in and waited.

  After saying, "I am not reading your laptop," the staffer stepped forward and pulled the globe mascot off the podium.
  Inner City Press asked about it, and Tove Maria Ryding said the groups had an agreement with the UN that the mascot could be on the podium. But the UN is lawless. It is not the UN staffer's fault - this rot comes from the top.

See Vine, here.

 Inner City Press asked about the presence in the Panama Papers of Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng and his South South News, which paid money to the UN Correspondents Association then at the UN Ball at Cipriani's was given by UNCA a photo op with Ban Ki-moon.

  Moderator Stefano Prato answered about the corporate capture of the UN's public spaces - an apt description of UN DPI's Cristina Gallach letting Ng-funded Global Sustainability Foundation take over the Visitos Lobby for an event that broke UN rules. If you pay, you are invited. The Global Tax Body and investigative Press? Show them the door! More to follow.


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