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Sept 24, 2013

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Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

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After UN Evicted ICP, NYT Had Dujarric Saying All's Fine, Ban, Mulet & Eliasson Ignoring

By Matthew Russell Lee, Series, Video, Reply

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 – Weeks after the UN evicted and restricted me, Corey from New York Times called again about his now too-late article. “Looks like it's running tomorrow,” he said. “I just have a few more questions.” What timing I thought. Right after my office was given out. Corey wanted to know about the boxes, why the UN had put them on the street. I tried to explain but he said, too complicated. Call it a dispute. Yes, I told him. Call it a dispute.

  Down in the Vienna Cafe I ran into one of the few journalists at the UN who'd been willing to speak with Corey. I didn't tell him the story might run the next day - I'd previously told my favorite Dominican UN cleaning guy, then had to explain why it didn't. The journalist said he'd seen someone in my office, whom he'd never seen before in his twelve years at the UN. He said Giampaolo Pioli, who'd talked him out of circulating a letter supporting me or at least my right to due process, was now saying the United Nations Correspondents Association would have a meeting about access for “Green P” non-resident correspondents.
  “Bullshit,” I told him. They never did it, anyway.

  After he left I had sample indigenous food in front of Conference Room 4 - UN Security tried to move the indigenous out, I started filming - and staked out the DR Congo sanctions committee meeting in Room 7, even as two of the supposed sanctions experts glared at me.

  At midnight the New York Times story went up. It said I was unstable, that they'd had to call the cops on me. But it quoted me about the UN being like a totalitarian country, alleged or alluded to corruption, said they were “frustrated” with my questions. Stephane Dujarric was quoted that with a helper - that is, a minder - from MALU I could “get where [I] need to go.”  That line made me laugh, after being harassed by guards even when accompanied by a MALU minder.

 Anyway, it was what it was, as Dujarric also said. I e-mailed it and another plea to Deputy Eliasson, chief of staff Mulet, and Ban's e-mail address. I wrote to the Egyptian media, Akhbar Elyom, urging them to find another office, I'd help them, this one had a fight about it. Both emails bounced back; the one to the Jersey-based correspondent Sanaa Youssef, a former president of the UN Correspondents Association, went through. But would it stop them? Would it change their minds?


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