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In Myanmar, Ban Ki-Moon Praised & Partnered with Spying Company

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 4 -- While in Myanmar, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held an event with businesses, praising them for their Burmese engagements.

   Inner City Press asked Ban's Spokesperson, twice, which businesses were in attendance to receive Ban's thanks. After the second request a list was provided, and the delay perhaps became more understandable.

  Invited and thanked was a company which has sold surveillance and spying equipment, including to Gaddafi's Libya: ZTE Corporation. See this link and Wall Street Journal of August 30, 2011.

  With this company in attendance, Ban Ki-moon concluded on the 1st of May, "I wish you strength and success in your important efforts, and I very much welcome your partnership with the United Nations."

  Success for this company, it seems, is selling surveillance equipment, as for example France's Amesys / Bull SA. But a spy company partnering with the UN?

Already Ban's had of Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to hold the job, has proposed the UN using surveillance drones. But wiretapping?

  Also in attendance and praised by Ban were, among others, SK Telecom, PTT International, Mitsubishi, Total and Alcatel - Lucent.

In Tripoli as reported by the WSJ,

"on the ground floor of a six-story building here, agents working for Moammar Gadhafi sat in an open room, spying on emails and chat messages with the help of technology Libya acquired from the West. The recently abandoned room is lined with posters and English-language training manuals stamped with the name Amesys, a unit of French technology firm Bull SA, which installed the monitoring center. A warning by the door bears the Amesys logo. The sign reads: 'Help keep our classified business secret. Don't discuss classified information out of the HQ.'"

   This is more than a little ironic, given that outgoing French president Nicolas Sarkozy is now threatening to sue Mediapart for publishing Moussa Koussa's letter to Bachir Saleh. A documentary on the subject, including Sarkozy adviser Jean-David Levitte, is scheduled for broadcast on May 8, two days after Sarkozy's expected electoral loss despite his plea to National Front supporters.

  This has led to questions of whether not only Alain Juppe but at least some in the French Mission to the UN would also be replaced. Watch this site.

From the UN's noon briefing transcript of May 1:

Inner City Press: On Myanmar, Ban Ki-moon gave a speech with the, promoting the Global Compact. But, is there a way to get a list of the businesses he cited? He said, I am here with these businesses, many people think that most of the businesses in the country are affiliated with the, you called it a dictatorship. But, the former military Government. You may not have it, but is it possible to get a list of the businesses in attendance or certainly the ones that he was citing as, you know, the future of a non-military Myanmar?

Deputy Spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey: We’ll have to check on that, Matthew.

From the UN's noon briefing transcript of May 2:

Inner City Press: were you able to get the businesses that he was referring to when he introduced the Global Compact in Myanmar. Ban's speech definitely says "the businesses here," referring to particular businesses.

Deputy Spokesperson: Yeah, we’ll get that for you.

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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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