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

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At UN, Kohona Tells Rajapaksa Ban "Has Seen Video We Sent Him"

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, September 24 -- When Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Permanent Representative to the UN Palitha Kohona left their meeting with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday night, they paused at the elevator speaking to and about Mr. Ban.

  As caught on video by Inner City Press and put online here, Kohona told Rajapaksa, about Ban, "He has already seen the video we sent him."

  This would seem to refer to the pro-Rajapaksa government video "Lies Agreed To," itself a purported rebuttal of the Channel 4 documentary "Killing Fields of Sri Lanka."

  Along with depicting Rajapaksa government war crimes, including a discussion of the White Flag murders involving Palitha Kohona and Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, "Killing Fields" criticizes the UN's and Ban's performance.

But Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky had repeatedly told Inner City Press that Ban has still not watch Killing Fields, despite long ago being given a DVD of the documentary.

  On September 22, Nesirky's office told Inner City Press, that the "Secretary-General has yet to view the documentary "Killing Fields of Sri Lanka", but has been thoroughly briefed on the film's contents." Now Kohona says Ban "has already seen the video we sent him" -- the rebuttal.

Similarly, as reported by Inner City Press, decisions to not show Killing Fields inside the UN but to screen "Lies Agreed To" along with Kohona and his Deputy Shavendra Silva, were taken unilaterally by Giampaolo Pioli who accepting money from Kohona, for property.

Sri Lankan side: Peiris, Rajapaksa, Kohona, across from Ban, Killing Fields not shown

  The UN briefing room, and apparently Ban Ki-moon himself, saw the government's rebuttal without seeing the underlying documentary film about Rajapaksa -- and perhaps Nambiar's -- war crimes. Watch this YouTube video, and this site.

Footnotes on footage:  How was this video filmed, and what will the UN say about it? After the initial photo op, cameramen are usually shepherded off the North Lawn building's third floor.

 But this time, the Sri Lankan national UN Security officer seen directly behind Rajapaksa in the footage arranged for the three other photographers, all Sri Lankan, to stay up at the entrance to Ban's office. Inner City Press stayed as well.

 When ten minutes late the meeting ended, Ban escorted Rajapaksa, Kohona, Peiris et al. to the elevator, and Inner City Press filmed. There Kohona said the above to Rajapaksa, about Ban, well out of the earshot of Ban's spokesman, Martin Nesirky, who stopped Ban on his way back in to the waiting Montenegro delegation and asked him questions. But what did Ban tell him? And what if anything will Nesirky say? Watch this site.

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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.

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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

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