Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Video (new)

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

At UN, Sri Lanka FM Peiris Meets Pascoe Then Nambiar, Ban No Time for Killing Fields

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, September 22, updated -- Amid charges of war crimes leveled at the government of Sri Lanka, including its Permanent Representative to the UN Palitha Kohona, the country's foreign minister G.L. Peiris came to UN Headquarters Thursday morning for at least two meetings.

  On the second floor of the UN's North Lawn building, Inner City Press spotted Peiris, Kohona and an entourage at 8:20 Thursday morning. They went into the office of the UN Department of Political Affairs at 8:34, and did not emerge until after 9 am.

  Inner City Press asked Peiris, how the meeting went. "We had a useful meeting," he said.

  Did you meet with [Lynn] Pascoe? Yes, Peiris said, and now "we are going to meet with Vijay Nambiar."

  Ban Ki-Moon's chief of staff Nambiar, of course, is involved in the same White Flag murder case as Kohona, having passed assurances to surrendering Tamil Tiger rebels that if they raised a white flag they would be treated in compliance with international law. In fact, they were killed.

  Nambiar has repeatedly refused to answer questions about his role. And now Peiris meets with him.

  Minutes later, Inner City Press asked Pascoe about his meeting with Peiris. Pascoe to his credit answered, saying that Peiris "explained where they are going and what they're trying to do."

  Pascoe paused then said, "He's got some complaints about things in the past, as we all know... But it was good for us to talk through." Pascoe confirmed the meeting with Nambiar.

Peiris at UN 9/22 before Pascoe meeting, (c) MRLee

  Inner City Press midday on Wednesday, when Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's spokesman canceled the regular noon briefing, asked to be given notice of Sri Lanka meetings, and asked again if Ban has watched "Killing Fields of Sri Lanka." The question was not acknowledged or answered. Why so secret?

 When Inner City Press asked Pascoe if Mahinda Rajapaksa is going to meet with Ban Ki-moon, Pascoe said "yes, sometime." Watch this site.

Update of 10:15 am -- twenty five minutes after the above was published, a belated answer can in from Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office:

Date: Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 10:09 AM
Subject: Your question on Sri Lanka
From: unspokesperson-donotreply [at]
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
Cc: Martin Nesirky

Regarding your questions on Sri Lanka, it is envisaged that the Secretary-General will meet with President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka on the sidelines of this General Assembly. The Secretary-General's daily appointments are made public on the evening prior, and are available at the Spokesperson's Office.

The Secretary-General has yet to view the documentary "Killing Fields of Sri Lanka", but has been thoroughly briefed on the film's contents.

No time to view Killing Fields, which critiques his UN's performance, but a full screening of the Whistleblower film about UN missteps under Ban's predecessor Kofi Annan. Priorities? Watch this site.

* * *

Sri Lanka's Request to Screen "Lies Agreed To" at UN Granted by Kohona's Ex-Landlord

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 21 -- At the UN some countries and state-funded media try to use access and even "ethics" as a club, with Sri Lanka the most recent example.

  Earlier this month a Sri Lankan government video was shown inside the UN in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, described as a rebuttal the UK Channel 4 documentary "Killing Fields," which despite a request was not shown inside the UN.

  At the front after the September 6 screening sat Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona and the President of the UN Correspondents' Association Giampaolo Pioli, who asked Kohona if the Tamil Tiger rebels were not akin to the Red Brigades in Pioli's native Italy.

  Whereas repeatedly throughout the summer proposals for movie screenings and briefings in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium were e-mailed for consideration and debate by members of UNCA's executive committee, including this reporter, in the case of Kohona's Sri Lanka Mission's request to screen "Lies Agreed To," this was not done. The decision was made by Pioli.

  The screening in the UN was described as a big victory for Kohona and the Rajapaskas, in Sri Lanka's "largest English language newspaper," here.

  But undisclosed at the time was that Pioli collected money as rent from Kohona for years. When this obvious conflict of interest was raised, the response was that the monetary relationship began when Kohona was a UN staff member. But in a sense that's worse: how can a reporter ostensibly covering the UN objectively have a monetary relation with a senior UN official?

  In all of New York, Pioli couldn't find a tenant he didn't purportedly cover as a journalist for "QUOTIDIANO NAZIONALE / LA NAZIONE / Il Resto del Carlino / IL GIORNO, Poligrafici Editoriale S.p.A." among those he lists working for?

  Now on September 21, after Pioli among other things came to Inner City Press' office demanding to know Inner City Press' sources, UNCA sent out a vague statement purporting to tell journalists how to prepare news reports.

Silva, Pioli & Kohona at UN, payment of money not shown, "Lies Agreed To"

  While it was raised that it is hardly the UN Correspondents' Association's job to tell journalists what to publish, it was not allowed to attach a dissent to this effect to the statement.

  Pioli has sought to retroactively put things off the record, but said things that are public, like that, can of course be published. Going forward, Inner City Press has counter proposed a number of other ethical reminders, including:

UNCA reminds UN correspondents that disclosure of possible conflicts of interest, particularly the receipt of money whether present or past, is proper when making decisions that impact UNCA and its credibility.

  Pioli has said it's not the time to vote on that, even as he openly hands gifts to UN officials. Ethics? So it goes at the UN.

Share |

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2011 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -