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UN Minders Told Press Not To Approach Diplomats With Questions, Covering Up Corruption

By Matthew Russell Lee, Series, Video, Reply

UNITED NATIONS, March 21 – After the UN evicted and restricted me I tried, at least, to be persistent. Some noticed it - my friend who'd come to sign Corey of the New York Times in, though said he could never be quoted, took me aside and said, “I thought you'd run out of steam, or go crazy - but you're beating them at their own game.” But was I? A guy from West Africa who worked for the UN told me, “You're sure to win, because you have more energy than they do.” But where had it gotten me?

   This day it got me to the UN food bazaar facing the river, sponsored by Ambassadors' wives and presided over by the First Wife herself, Mrs. Ban Ki-moon, who'd taken photos with the Ng Lap Seng bribery team. I stood and Periscoped the speeches, then visited the booths. A guy from Eastern Europe tried to con people into buying four dollar cookies. I got from the China booth two steamed buns, jowdzuh, for a dollar, and joked with China's new Ambassador about it. It brought back memories.

  I saw the guards eyeing me, as if now they thought I'd make a run at Ban Ki-moon. Had I ever done anything, other than write articles? But someone had put the word out. I was targeted, and something was sure to happen. I chewed my steamed bun and chanted softly: Ban Ki Moon. Is corrupt. Ban Ki-moon. He is corrupt. It had become my mantra.

Up at the stakeout, on the second floor, things hit a new low. I got a Media Accreditation minder to take me to in front of the ECOSOC chamber, a meeting about Security Council reform. The same Caribbean guard came over, asked why I was there with my pass, why I was so special. I told him I had a minder but he wouldn't let up.  Finally they told me, you shouldn't approach or speak to diplomats. What? “They have to come to one,” it was added, as if that made it better. UNCA scribes floated by, mostly just on their way for coffee or something stronger, who knew, some running after Western ambassadors like the UK's Rycroft, New Zealand's von Bohemen. This was a total double standard.

  All I could do was write it, tweet the headline, wait for disbelief. Minders in the UN? Look but do not touch?


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