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UN Spokesman Nesirky Claims Right to “Lose It” & Go Berserky, Limits & Resents Questions, Rules, "It's My Briefing"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 22 -- After eight months as UN Spokesperson, Martin Nesirky on August 21 propounded his view of his role. “There are no rules,” he told the Press. “It's my briefing and I can do what I want.”

Inner City Press, increasingly left to the end of the briefing so that no follow up questions are possible, proposed to formalize a rule that each correspondent be allowed to ask a question in a first round, then a second round, and so forth.

There are no rules,” Nesirky said again. “You dominate that f**king briefing every day of the week. You ask any question you like, as many times as you like. Don't tell me who can or cannot ask questions.”

Each weekday for years now, the UN has held a noon briefing. It is a journalist's job to ask questions, including those that people impacted by the UN would like to ask if they could, and to follow up until an answer is given.

   Inner City Press asked why Nesirky was and is so angry about questions being asked, and why he has refused, for example, to answer questions Inner City Press put to him by e-mail two weeks ago.

I have the right to lose it sometimes,” Nesirky said. The reference appears to have been to a previous Inner City Press story in April 2010 abouti Nesirky blowing up at -- going Berserky on -- other journalists in connection with the Bhutto murder investigation report, after which Nesirky screamed at Inner City Press, “I was a journalist longer than you have been a journalist!”

  When met outside of the UN, Nesirky has been perfectly polite, and engaging conversationalist. But Nesirky is the spokesman for Ban Ki-moon and accompanies him on trips, including meetings with leaders like Omar al Bashir of Sudan, Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka and Than Shwe of Myanmar.

   If Nesirky cannot even keep his cool while speaking with the Press in the basement of UN headquarters, what will he do in meetings with Bashir, Than Shwe or Rajapaksa?

  Already under Nesirky, the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary General has been barred from consultations of the Security Council. Nesirky has claimed that he is working behind the scenes to get restored his office's access, which was the case for years before his arrival. But nothing has been accomplished, and UN correspondents get less and less information.

UN's Ban with Nesirky behind, Berserky outbursts not shown

  While some sessions are better than others, Nesirky has several times announced, "only one more question," then refused to say why he called an end to the briefing. A number of long time correspondents have diagnosed Nesirky in a downward spiral and have expressed concern, not only for the UN and news about it, but also for Nesirky himself.

Now, Nesirky has loudly proclaimed that there are no rules, that he feels he can call on or not call on whichever journalists he prefers, and that he resents those who ask questions. Is this appropriate for the UN, a public body? Watch this site.

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As Sudan Expels UN Officials from Darfur for Rape Detection, UN Silent, Menkerios One Year & Out, Gration's Khartoum Jaunt

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 18 -- As in West Darfur UN officials are being expelled for distributing rape detection equipment and collecting signatures on an anti-hunger petition, the UN in New York insists on saying nothing, trying desperately to ingratiate itself to Sudanese authorities.

After a spokesman for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization confirmed the expulsion of its official for circulating the petition on hunger, Inner City Press asked the Spokesman for Ban Ki-moon about this, and the expulsion of other UN officials for conducting research into rape in Darfur. Video here, from Minute 17:41.

Nesirky insisted, contrary to the FAO confirmation, that the UN has “still received no official notification,” is still speaking with the government and “can't say any more.”

But doesn't this reflect a split of the UN Secretariat from from FAO, which confirms the expulsions? Nesirky pointed back at his own answer, that he “can't say anymore.” Can't or won't?

Ironically, Nesirky moderated an August 6 press conference by Margot Wallstrom, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, at which Ms. Wallstrom said that Sudan would be a major focus of her offices since rape by “men in uniform” is widespread there. Video here.

How can the UN work on the issue of rape in Sudan it is lets its personnel be expelled for distributing rape detection equipment, and then refuses to defend them or even speak about the case?

UN's Ban and Wallstrom on rape, comment on Sudan expulsions not shown

Inner City Press also asked if the UN is facilitating or helping the visit to Sudan by US Envoy Scott Gration. While some said with this trip Gration would be addressing his perceived disinterested in Darfur, now this trip is reported to be mostly about the North - South conflict and the referendum.

So who in the UN would be facilitating his trip -- Haile Menkerios, the head of the UN Misssion in Sudan? Earlier this week, Inner City Press asked Nesirky's acting deputy Farhan Haq to confirm that Menkerios only went to Sudan begrudgingly, with a deal to come back to New York and his Department of Political Affairs job in at most one year.  Video here, near end.

  That is the informal understanding, Haq said. What does this say about the UN's commitment to protecting civilians in Sudan?

Another joke making that rounds is that while Sudan may throw out the UNAMID mission, it would allow UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari to stay. Others say Gambari, despite all odds, may have his eye on the top post in his native Nigeria. We'll see.

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

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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

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