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At UN, War Crimes Defense Films in Pioli's Playhouse Echoed in UNCA Party

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 3 -- Six days before UN Correspondents Association president Giampaolo Pioli formalized a threat to sue Inner City Press for money, and in essence to shut down a small investigative website, Pioli hosted a party in the UN by the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium.

  New video here and below.

  It was in this auditorium, now dubbed Pioli's Playhouse, that on September 6, 2011 Pioli arranged for Sri Lanka Ambassador Palitha Kohona a screening of the Rajapaksa government video "Lied Agreed To," with commentary by Ban Ki-moon's peaceekeeping adviser alleged war criminal Shavendra Silva. (Click here for Silva leaving from advising Ban, 22000 views.)

  This propaganda film denies the war crimes depicted in UK Channel 4's Killing Fields of Sri Lanka documentary, which was NOT screened in Pioli's Playhouse due to a celebration for Ban Ki-moon. (Click here for Ban & Rajapaksa, 26000 views.)

  More the nine months after the screening and Inner City Press' reporting on it, and that Pioli rented one of his 12 apartments -- collectively, "Casa Pioli" -- to Kohona when Kohona was the head of the UN Treaty section, up to 2006, Kohona was one of the few UN Permanent Representatives to come to Pioli's and UNCA annual directory launch.

  As recently as 2008, when Pioli took over the presidency of UNCA after hissing in the hallway, "I have a lot of money," many Permanent Representatives came to UNCA events.

  Now, even Pioli's handpicked and conflicted chairman of the UNCA "Board of Examination" to investigate Inner City Press admits that the organization has suffered and lost credibility. He said this even as he denied any conflict of interest and prepared the bogus report he transmitted July 3.

  Pioli back in September 2011 told Inner City Press that if it did not entirely remove from the Internet the mention of his past financial relationship with Kohona, Pioli would get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN.

  On June 20, Pioli's Treasurer Margaret Besheer had her media, the US government agency Voice of America, formally ask the UN to review the accreditation status of Inner City Press.

   On July 3, Pioli had a lawyer he is paying -- with what money, some wonder -- write a letter threatening to sue Inner City Press for money for "tortious interference" with Pioli's livelihood, based on two e-mails Inner City Press sent to Pioli's reported media, Poligrafici Editoriale of the MonRif or Monti Riffeser family.

 Those e-mails alerted Poligrafici to threats Inner City Press has receiving, triggered by Pioli's proceeding, from extremist supporters of the Sri Lankan government.

A Poligrafici official wrote back to Inner City Press and said it would be brought to the attention of the general manager, who never responded (much less complained).

   Actually, it appears that Pioli's livelihood, referred to in his lawyer's letter, is more about real estate than journalism. He owns 12 apartments, and apparently has no problems renting them out to UN officials and other people he ostensibly covers.

  Inner City Press in looking into this found that Pioli made at least $800 in political campaign contributions in 2008 in a race he wrote about, again ostensibly independently, for Poligrafici. He made contributions in 2000 as well. The 2012 data is not yet available.

  In an UNCA meeting on July 3, when ever after threatening to sue Inner City Press for money Pioli refused to recuse himself from leading the proceeding against Inner City Press, Pioli said that he would contribute all the money he wins from Inner City Press to UNCA.

  What a fitting conclusion to his tenure atop UNCA that would be, like the party with alleged war criminal Kohona on June 28, and the ethnic cleansing film festival in Pioli's Playhouse featuring Kohona's Deputy (and Ban Ki-moon adviser) General Shavendra Silva back on September 6, 2011. Click here for video of that, and watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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