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Easy 1st Question for Hillary Was Arranged with UNCA, False Tradition Claim

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 10 -- Hillary Clinton chose the UN as her venue to address her use of a private email server for work as US Secretary of State, and chose the first questioner.

 It was a correspondent from Turkish television who said “on behalf of the UN Correspondents Association, it's wonderful to see you here again” then asked if there would be the same inquiry of Hillary Clinton were a man.

   There was groaning at the stakeout; this first question being arranged with the correspondent had been witnessed in the run-up to its asking.

  But it gets worse.

  Responding to questions about how this set-aside question came about, UNCA president Giampaolo Pioli -- an Italian journalist who has never asked the UN about either Central African Republic or Burundi but is now flying with the UN Security Council to both -- and his vice president claimed to Al Kamen and Colby Itzkowit of “In the Loop” that it is tradition that UNCA gets the first question.

   As to the stakeout where Hillary Clinton spoke on Tuesday, this is not true, as a simple review of past stakeouts on UNTV's website shows.

   The only “tradition” at issue here is one of servility.

  Even as to the sit-down UN Press Briefing Room, where Hillary Clinton did NOT appear, UNCA claim for set-aside first questions is contested; when Chad was the president of the Security Council in December 2014, for example, UNCA did not get the first question. Often UNCA doesn't sent anyone to press conference, for example one on Tuesday about women in legislatures.

   So why did this UNCA get the first question to Hillary Clinton and why was what was asked (about if Hillary Clinton were a man the email / FOIA controversy not arising) asked?

   UNCA performs this softball question function for Ban Ki-moon, routinely. In fact, UNCA has shown itself willing to ask for the expulsion of the investigative Press which was critical of Ban (and UNCA) on inaction on Sri Lanka and other issues.

   At the stakeout on Tuesday, Clinton pointed to give the first question to UNCA, saying “Nick” is choosing the questions. But it was not Nick seen negotiating the question with UNCA. We'll have more on this.

In disclosure, when UNCA's Pioli ordered Inner City Press to take off the Internet its reporting on Sri Lanka and Inner City Press refused, instead offering to publish any letter to the editor Pioli would submit, UNCA board members tried to get Inner City Press expelled not only from UNCA but the UN.

  The latter was exposed, including using the US Freedom of Information Act. When Inner City Press' elected term on the UNCA board expired, Inner City Press quit the group and co-founded the new Free UN Coalition for Access. The UN shouldn't be an easy venue for softball questions.


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