Won't Confirm Hiring Vandewalle on Libya, Stonewalling Called
"Pathetic" - By Another UN Official
July 7 -- In defense of the UN Spokesperson's Office
refusals to answer simple questions, it is sometimes argued that the
spokespeople don't have the information and so can't provide it. But
the stonewalling, even on who the UN pays and how much, is often
July 1, based
press release by Dartmouth College, Inner City Press asked
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq:
Press: Dartmouth has put out a press
release that Professor
[Dirk] Vandewalle, an author on the topic of Libya, has been hired by
the UN as a Special Adviser to Ian Martin. Is that true? And what
type of recruitment took place, and what’s his compensation? Can
you confirm that?
Spokesperson Haq: No, I don’t have a confirmation for that.
You know that Mr. Martin is working on the post-transition work. If
there is anything further to say about his team, I’ll let you know. But
at this point, we don’t have any particular appointments to
announce on that.
in the UN's
North Lawn building, a senior UN official approached Inner City Press
to say that he found Haq's answer “pathetic,” that “everyone
knows that Ian Martin invited Vandewalle to give a brown bag lunch
presentation and then hired him.” The official, citing what he
characterized as the Ban Ki-moon administration's propensity for
retaliation, has asked that his name not be published.
assumption that Haq simply hadn't known of Vandewalle's hiring on
July 1, but would look into it and then confirm it, Inner City Press
did not raise or write again
about the issue for days. But nothing was
so on July 7
Inner City Press asked
Haq about it again, saying he'd said it wasn't
cut in to say
that he had, in fact, refused to confirm it because “we don't
publicly announce each level” of hiring.
why refuse to
confirm the hiring of a Political Adviser on a topic like Libya, on
which Ban Ki-moon has been assigned something of a supervisory role
by Security Council resolution 1973?
Vandewalle by Dartmouth wall, UN recruitment and
confirmation not shown
then recited what several senior UN official had told it about how
Vandewalle was hired. Haq said that was, “like your
characterization of my views, a little inaccurate.”
Press hasn't trying to characterize Haq's “views” -- the request
is simply that a spokesperson confirm or deny basic facts like who is
being paid by the UN. Inner City Press asked, is Vandewalle being
paid by the UN?
“I'll see if we
have anything to say,” Haq replied.
UN official called this approach “pathetic,” we'll simply note
that what is asked of spokespeople is not “views” or pre-packaged
announcements, but timely answers to basic factual questions about
the UN, including who has been hired as a Political Adviser, and how.
We will continue on this.
transcription of its July 7, 2011 noon briefing:
Press: I want to ask about, on Libya, I think it was last week I
asked if this Dirk Vandewalle, author and professor, had been hired
by the UN as a Special Adviser to Ian Martin. You said it wasn’t
clear. I mean, I have asked again over there…
Spokesperson Haq: That’s not what I said.
Press: What did you say?
Spokesperson Haq: That’s not what I said. I said I don’t
have a confirmation to give on that. I didn’t say it wasn’t
Press: Okay. Do you still, don’t have a confirmation, because
it’s been confirmed to me over there…
Spokesperson Haq: We don’t publicly announce each and every
appointment at each and every level of this Organization. For senior
level appointments, as you know, we do make those announcements.
Press: In this case, I guess the reason I would like to ask you
is that some have wondered, if Ian Martin is the Special Adviser, why
does he need a special advisor? And the question is: how was the
guy recruited? Is, how is he being paid, does he, can the UN just
hire anyone that comes in and makes a brown bag lunch presentation,
just hand him, I mean, I think it’s…
Spokesperson Haq: I think, much like what you said about my
views, that’s a little inaccurate. The basic point is that Mr.
Martin will have a team of people working with him, as he is entitled
to do, and they would be paid.
Press: Is Mr. Vandewalle being paid by the UN [inaudible]?
Spokesperson Haq: I’ll see whether we have anything to say
confirm what Dartmouth
announced a week ago in a press release?
* * *