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UN: Sri Lanka


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Ban Ki-moon Meets Obama Aug 4, Asks Only UN Censorship Alliance to Join

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 31 -- At the UN, transparency and access are in decline, due to collusion. Rather than follow any semblance of a rule of law, the UN doles out information on a selective basis to those who support or don't critique it.

  With Ban Ki-moon scheduled on August 4 to visit the White House in Washington, and space for media coverage, one would have expected the UN to tell all journalists, at least the "resident correspondents" at the UN.

But no - Ban's spokesperson's office told only the UN Correspondents Association, now the UN Censorship Alliance, see below. On July 30, when disgrunted "members" of UNCA who are strong-armed into paying money in order to get such information informed Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access of the inside game, Inner City Press immediately asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

"Please confirm or deny that the Secretary General is visiting the White House next week, and if confirm, say how and to whom this has already been announced or disclosed.

"Separately and not as pressing as the above, Inner City Press is multiply informed of DSS Security officer, more than twenty years in UN's employ, fired or separated from service for improperly removing a bottle of wine from a reception. Given among other things the individual's length of service, please state whether there were other charges, and any impact on pension."

 While this was asked on the afternoon of July 30, the stated deadline for signing up to cover Ban's dutiful White House visit, there was no response that day. (The Spokesman was still working, for example at Morocco's Throne Day at the Waldorf Astoria's Starlight Roof.)

  Instead, on July 31 Dujarric returned with this, modified only to pardon typos:

"We asked through UNCA if journalists would like to join the press gaggle at the White House. If you would like to join, please fill out the information requested in the form below before the noon briefing. Also, include a scanned copy of your press pass... The meeting will be around 10a. You will need to be at the WH gate about  90mns before. More details to come, if you tell me you will join.

"On the other issue, I have no information at this time."

  Inner City Press for FUNCA immediately replied:

"UNCA does not represent all UN resident correspondents, as you know, so it was and is inappropriate to limit such information -- the Secretary General's meeting at the White House -- to UNCA. This is particularly but not only true in light of UNCA actions of which you are aware.

"This information should have been sent at least to all resident correspondents, as is is done even with information about the UN parking garage, on an e-mail list in the possession of MALU (and I assume your Office). Please confirm that this should have been and will be the practice."

  Dujarric's response was merely this:

"We can have a longer discussion on this later. Let me know if you would like to join the group at the White House."

  This is UNacceptable.

  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has not held a sit-down press conference in months. From an open meeting in which he gave a speech to UN Peacekeeping, embroiled in rape cover up scandals, Ban's security ejected Inner City Press, at the demand of UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous.

  But the UN tries to conceal this by partnering with an also in decay UN Correspondents Association, which does not complain about Ban or the ejection of the Press by Ladsous -- in fact, UNCA itself tried to eject the Press for reporting on its current president's conflict of interest, unilaterally granting a UN screening for a Sri Lanka government film denying war crimes after renting an apartment to Sri Lanka's ambassador, here.

(Inner City Press on July 30 asked Ban's spokesman about more UN assistance with covering up of war crimes in Sri Lanka, so far without answer.)


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